Is Jim Gordon (right) the most unlucky guy on Beacon Hill? Or just the most unloved?
It’s a question Gordon must be asking himself after the dust settled on the pell-mell that capped this year’s formal legislative sessions. The Energy Management Inc. president watched what was likely the last best shot for his pet energy project, Cape Wind, vanish.
Lawmakers crafted a bill compelling utilities to make big purchases of offshore wind power, but they boxed Gordon out of the bidding in the final compromise version released Sunday night.
The language emerged in the House a few months ago after the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the longtime Cape Wind foe chaired by Bill Koch, hired a former House speaker, Tom Finneran, to lobby on its behalf. Finneran’s relationship with House Speaker Bob DeLeo dates to their high school days together at Boston Latin. The alliance had also already enlisted powerhouse O’Neill and Associates for lobbying work.
Koch and his alliance aren’t the only ones gunning for Cape Wind. The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, that elite group of high-powered CEOs, worked behind the scenes to undermine it. The state representatives on the Cape have also made it clear they don’t like the project. And three wind farm developers with plans for areas farther offshore from Cape Wind have avoided Gordon like the plague.
Gordon seemed too angry or frustrated to talk openly this week, preferring instead to issue a prepared statement, one that emphasized his company’s local ties and the 15 years he has invested in the project. He blasted the “influence of fossil fuel billionaire Bill Koch and other wealthy NIMBYs.” One thing he stopped short of saying: that he was giving up on Cape Wind.
Alliance CEO Audra Parker hasn’t given up, either: Gordon still controls the rights to a key section of Nantucket Sound. She concedes that her group’s lobbying probably played a role in the project’s blow. But she says the alliance isn’t alone. “The support for Cape Wind has eroded drastically,” she said, “because there are better alternatives that make more sense.”
— JON CHESTO
A food pairing that works
Some things are just more delicious when they’re paired: Peanut butter and jelly. Cookies and milk. Ketchup and french fries.
The same can be said of the new collaboration between the Greater Boston Food Bank and Snapchefs, the local culinary workforce training and placement program.
On Wednesday, the two organizations said they had begun a partnership in which Snapchef students would use donations from the food bank during their weeklong training program.
Todd Snopkowski, Snapchef’s founder and chief executive, said the missions of the two organizations are aligned, and many of his students live in shelters or halfway homes and are the very people that the food bank hopes to feed. As part of the partnership, any excess food that is prepared during the sessions is sent home to the student’s families.
“We’re really coming full circle now,” he said.
“The Greater Boston Food Bank seeks to reduce hunger through collaboration with direct service programs across Eastern Massachusetts,” Catherine D’Amato, the food bank’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Snapchef’s mission and impact in bridging Eastern Massachusetts residents with needed job skills made this partnership a natural fit.”
— JANELLE NANOS
Eric Gothier wants to help you dress like a TV star. Gothier leads the Boston-based development team at TVRunway, a New York startup that lets consumers buy the clothing worn by characters in their favorite shows, just by clicking on their computer screens.
The idea is far from new. But up to now, most buy-what-you-see systems required video producers to add product identification tags to the digital video stream, which takes time and costs money.
TVRunway’s software actually looks at the images in the video, then compares them to catalogs of clothing from major retailers, including Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Target. If the retailers stock items similar to those in the video, they appear in a pop-up window, with links to the online store.
Kentucky native Terena Bell, the company’s chief executive, met Boston native Gothier when they both attended Centre College in Danville, Ky. After Bell conceived TVRunway last year, she persuaded Gothier to build the software. “Terena sort of tricked me into it,” Gothier said. “It started as me helping out in the background . . . as I saw more of it, I continued to realize what a game changer this was.”
Bell also recruited Rob May as an adviser. May, a Kentucky native, cofounded Backupify, a Cambridge cloud storage company acquired in 2014 by Datto Inc.
For now, TVRunway works only on StreamnowTV.com, an obscure video streaming service with just a handful of indie videos. But the technology works, enabling users to shop for the same outfits that appear in the shows. TVRunway is in talks to bring its technology to major online video services.
— HIAWATHA BRAY