Business & Tech

Bold Types

If retirement were a class, former college president would flunk

Richard Freeland.
Chris Morris for The Boston Globe
Richard Freeland.

So much for retirement.

Richard Freeland says he’s almost as busy now as he was when he ran Northeastern University for a decade. He “retired” from the president’s job there in 2006, but then went on to be the state’s commissioner of higher education for more than six years.

Now, at age 75, Freeland is taking on a new gig: He just joined Maguire Associates, a Concord-based adviser to colleges and universities, as a senior consultant. Freeland will balance that part-time job with his existing one, a history teaching gig at Northeastern.


Freeland, who helped vault Northeastern into the top 100 in US News & World Report’s rankings, has known Maguire Associates founder Jack Maguire for three decades. The firm’s current CEO, Jim Murtha, reached out to Freeland to see if he would be interested in joining Maguire in mid-2016, about a year after Freeland left his state job.

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Freeland has been asked to strengthen Maguire’s business in strategic work and help get the firm hired earlier in a college’s planning process. He says he’ll also help develop Maguire’s executive coaching business for university presidents and board members. Maguire is perhaps best known for its analysis work that links financial aid decisions with admissions decisions.

“I’ve kind of been around the track in public and [private] higher education [and] I think their reasoning is I ought to be able to help people in a variety of institutions,” Freeland says. “I’m delighted to have a way to stay engaged and share what I’ve learned over four-and-a-half decades.”

Freeland is also vice chair of the board of trustees at Clark University in Worcester and plays squash regularly at the Tennis & Racquet Club in the Back Bay. The busy schedule doesn’t faze him. “I’ve always worked long days,” he says.


Home plates at Fenway


Tom Werner is known for his careers in TV and baseball. So what was the Red Sox chairman doing on Monday speaking at a restaurant trade show in South Boston?

Think about the fact Werner helps oversee what amounts to the biggest restaurant in Boston — a certain ballpark with nearly 40,000 seats — and his appearance at the New England Food Show makes sense. Werner has also entered the pizza industry by investing in the Blaze Pizza chain.

During a Q&A session with TV personality Jenny Johnson at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Werner talked about how the Red Sox leadership regularly tries to improve the food options at Fenway Park. (Werner’s Red Sox partner, John Henry, also owns the Globe.) This season, those efforts include an ice cream sundae booth and a bread cone stuffed with meatballs created by Strega, the local restaurant.

Pat Moscaritolo, CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, thanked Werner for bringing events to Fenway when the home team isn’t playing. That prompted Werner to remark how Fenway typically sells more beer at concerts than at games, with a show by former Grateful Dead members setting the record.

After a James Taylor show, Werner said he asked Sox president Sam Kennedy how the beer sales held up compared to that Dead concert: “He said, ‘We didn’t do as well, but the chardonnay sales were [through] the roof.’ ”



A mud-free game

Last summer, Tom Brady caused a stir when he was scratched at the last minute from a Patriots preseason game. The reason? Brady was trying to dislodge something from his cleats with a pair of scissors, which slipped and cut the star quarterback’s throwing thumb.

Brady later called it ‘just a silly accident.’ But for Boston high-tech company NBD Nanotechnologies, keeping spikes free from debris could be a big business opportunity.

NBD makes chemical coatings and additives that can affect how well products attract or repel water and oils. It has previously marketed a coating that it said causes fingerprint oils to spread in a thin layer, making smudges invisible on touchscreens.

NBD’s newest product takes things a step further. Known as RepelShell, the additive “makes plastic surfaces highly repellent to water, dirt, mud, and ice,” NBD said.

The company said its additive could be used to make synthetic fabrics, for example, more stain-resistant. But Tom Terrific might be most interested in the idea that they could keep mud and dirt from clogging up his spikes. “If the bottoms of the player’s cleats have RepelShell for plastic, they will remain permanently and completely mud-free,” company president Deckard Sorensen said in a release.

That might not be too useful for games at Gillette Stadium, which like many NFL venues today uses artificial turf. But, hey, every little bit helps.


Lawyer sues Buzzfeed

When a Florida Web-hosting company turned up in the controversial Russian dossier that BuzzFeed News published last month, a Newton lawyer pounced.

According to the dossier of unverified documents, Webzilla Inc. of Fort Lauderdale had a hand in hacking the Democratic Party e-mails before the presidential election. Not true, says attorney Val Gurvits, who filed a defamation suit against BuzzFeed on behalf of his longtime client Webzilla and its owner.

BuzzFeed removed the names of Webzilla and its owner, Aleksej Gubarev, a 36-year-old Russian venture capitalist, from the file after Gurvits objected. The company also apologized, according to BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal.

But the damage was done, says Gurvits, whose Boston Law Group is based in Newton Centre. Millions of people had by then read the BuzzFeed report. He is estimating damages of at least $45 million for his client.

“With a Web-hosting company, your reputation is everything,’’ Gurvits says. “Pretty much the worst thing you could say about a Web-hosting company was in that report.”

BuzzFeed otherwise stands by its decision to publish the dossier, Mittenthal said. The Trump administration has denied the contents of the documents.


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