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Dusty Rhodes takes on HarborFest


Dusty Rhodes helped rescue First Night this past winter. Now she’s hoping to do the same with Boston Harborfest this summer.

The Conventures Inc. president volunteered to have the First Night Inc. nonprofit take over Harborfest, the multi-daycelebration that precedes the July 4th fanfare.

The reason? Rhodes says Harborfest struggled to stay afloat in the past two years, in part because organizer Susan Park became ill. Prior to that, the organization suffered whenadvocate Larry Meehan, of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, died in late 2012.

“It had lost its momentum,” says Rhodes, whose firm specializes in event planning. “We ... had run into a similar situation with First Night, where it needed rebranding and rebooting. [So] we’re rolling the winter and summer celebrations into one holding nonprofit.”


As with First Night, Rhodes’ team is scaling back the scope of Harborfest. This summer, it will consist of three days of events centered around Columbus Park. They will include live music, a movie screening, an arts festival, and a “Taste of Harborfest.” A Navy warship will pay a visit, docking in the Seaport.

There will also be a fireworks display over the harbor on July 2. It won’t be as grand as the more famous pyrotechnics over the Charles River. But Rhodes still needs to find a way to pay for the festival, which could cost more than $60,000. She says she’s donating her time to get Harborfest off the ground and is hoping to break even on expenses by seeking sponsorships.

“Much like we did with First Night, we’re starting on a lower scale, doing what we can with the budget we have, to grow it back into something that’s better and bigger,” Rhodes says. — JON CHESTO

From mortgage and oil spill crises to Citizens Bank

Randall Black has handled payouts for oil spills and settlements over questionable mortgage practices, now he’s coming to Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial Group as the bank’s chief accountant.


Citizens Bank in filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week that Black, 59, would become its chief accounting officer starting on April 18.

Some might think of accounting as an eye-glazing topic, but Black has worked on some interesting projects over his career. Since 2014, he’s been the chief executive officer for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement. That’s the court-appointed organization that has been in charge of payouts for economic loss and property damage claims resulting from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to that, Black was a managing director for Citigroup’s mortgage division and involved in the bank’s consumer relief activities related to the national mortgage settlement over foreclosure practices. Black also spent some time on the other size of the table as a bank regulator working for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

At Citizens, Black will replace Ronald Ohsberg, who is leaving the bank to “pursue other interests,” according to filings. —DEIRDRE FERNANDES

Life is Good for young artists

Life is Good CEO Bert Jacobs vividly remembers strolling through his clothing company’s New Hampshire warehouse with brother and co-founder John Jacobs a decade ago when they spotted art on the wall.

“All of a sudden, we looked up and saw all of this incredible artwork. We said, ‘Where did this come from?’” Bert Jacobs says.

The answer: a class that visited on a field trip. The teacher had asked the students to draw what they thought made life good for them, and then the pictures were sent to the company.


The Jacobs brothers have been kicking around ways to replicate this simple gesture for years. Now, their Boston company has launched a contest to do so, one that starts this week and continues through the end of April.

Kids ages 3 through 12 can draw a T-shirt picture and submit it to the company. Three winners in different age groups will be picked: They’ll get $2,000 scholarships and their designs will be made into shirts.

Life is Good is spreading the word via social media and events at the Boston Children’s Museum and Dedham’s Blue Bunny Books & Toys.

“This is probably a more authentic way to connect with people and spend our resources than a traditional television ad campaign,” Bert Jacobs says. — JON CHESTO

GIC names Roberta Herman exec director

She has big shoes to fill. But Roberta Herman, named the new executive director of the Group Insurance Commission, has a background as a primary care physician and is a well-known Massachusetts health insurance executive in her own right.

The commission, a state agency that manages health and other benefits for more than 430,000 public employees, retirees, and their families, voted this week to confirm Herman as the successor to Dolores Mitchell, a high-profile advocate for health care affordability who ran the agency for nearly three decades.

Herman, who currently serves as a director in health care practice of Navigant Consulting, is a former chief operating officer of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the state’s second largest health insurer. Her start date at the Group Insurance Commission has yet to be disclosed. — ROBERT WEISMAN


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