Rhode Island: It's All in Our Backyard

Our Stories

Thinking big at Bouckaert

Bouckaert Industrial Textiles (BIT), the leading manufacturer of industrial felt products on the East Coast, occupies half a million square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space in Woonsocket. Now a division of The Brickle Group, BIT was founded in 1988 by Thomas Bouckaert to make disaster relief blankets. Today, their felt is found in insulating footwear to keep feet warm, dry and to decrease the risk of frostbite. They supply orthopedic felt to physicians and hospitals to pad splints, braces and casts. Their felt is used in aircraft cabins and cockpits, in cars, trains, and buses – as carpet padding, console and sun visor linings, soundproofing and more. It shows up in stamp pads, horse saddle pads, on appliances, and weather stripping. And to minimize environmental impact, Bouckaert has found an application for its recycled felt in the Green Roof industry. Next month, the company will be recognized for Overall Excellence – Mid-Size Manufacturer at the PBN Manufacturing Awards.

 

Thinking big at Bouckaert

Bouckaert Industrial Textiles (BIT), the leading manufacturer of industrial felt products on the East Coast, occupies half a million square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space in Woonsocket. Now a division of The Brickle Group, BIT was founded in 1988 by Thomas Bouckaert to make disaster relief blankets. Today, their felt is found in insulating footwear to keep feet warm, dry and to decrease the risk of frostbite. They supply orthopedic felt to physicians and hospitals to pad splints, braces and casts. Their felt is used in aircraft cabins and cockpits, in cars, trains, and buses – as carpet padding, console and sun visor linings, soundproofing and more. It shows up in stamp pads, horse saddle pads, on appliances, and weather stripping. And to minimize environmental impact, Bouckaert has found an application for its recycled felt in the Green Roof industry. Next month, the company will be recognized for Overall Excellence – Mid-Size Manufacturer at the PBN Manufacturing Awards.

 

Manufacturing excellence at Hope Valley Industries

Hope Valley Industries, tucked away on ten bucolic acres on Exeter Road in North Kingstown amidst farmlands, a church camp and a Little League baseball field, is a leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of all-weather automotive accessories – predominantly high quality floor mats and mud flaps. They recently captured the PBN Manufacturing Award for Overall Excellence for Rhode Island companies with 150-plus employees. In 2002, Thomas Melucci and an investment partner bought the company out of bankruptcy and invested millions in it. Today, they have more than 250 employees and continue to grow and expand at a rapid pace. They manufacture millions of mats each year, shipping to an international cadre of automakers. Their success reflects their ability to innovate as well as their ongoing commitment to their employees and to Rhode Island.

Manufacturing excellence at Hope Valley Industries

Hope Valley Industries, tucked away on ten bucolic acres on Exeter Road in North Kingstown amidst farmlands, a church camp and a Little League baseball field, is a leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of all-weather automotive accessories – predominantly high quality floor mats and mud flaps. They recently captured the PBN Manufacturing Award for Overall Excellence for Rhode Island companies with 150-plus employees. In 2002, Thomas Melucci and an investment partner bought the company out of bankruptcy and invested millions in it. Today, they have more than 250 employees and continue to grow and expand at a rapid pace. They manufacture millions of mats each year, shipping to an international cadre of automakers. Their success reflects their ability to innovate as well as their ongoing commitment to their employees and to Rhode Island.

SEED: Innovation meets education

The SEED Project grew out of the desire to provide industry experience and mentorship to design students seeking to build a career in fashion. Since 2011, the StyleWeek team has worked directly with universities and colleges in the Northeast to identify the most talented students to compete. The only program of its kind, SEED: Innovation Meets Education events are held bi-annually and provide students with their first experience of a professional runway show. Each student submits their aesthetic look to the StyleWeek team as well as their styling concept for the show. StyleWeek provides the venue, styling team, music, PR, advertising, models, and judging by an industry panel of fashion and press professionals. The 11 participating students in last week’s show hail from RISD, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Bay State College, Lasell College, Mount Ida College, and the School of Fashion Design – which produced this year’s winner: Alexandra Bianchi with her wedding dress made from coffee filters.

SEED: Innovation meets education

The SEED Project grew out of the desire to provide industry experience and mentorship to design students seeking to build a career in fashion. Since 2011, the StyleWeek team has worked directly with universities and colleges in the Northeast to identify the most talented students to compete. The only program of its kind, SEED: Innovation Meets Education events are held bi-annually and provide students with their first experience of a professional runway show. Each student submits their aesthetic look to the StyleWeek team as well as their styling concept for the show. StyleWeek provides the venue, styling team, music, PR, advertising, models, and judging by an industry panel of fashion and press professionals. The 11 participating students in last week’s show hail from RISD, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Bay State College, Lasell College, Mount Ida College, and the School of Fashion Design – which produced this year’s winner: Alexandra Bianchi with her wedding dress made from coffee filters.

Ximedica: driving change in med tech

Thirty years in the making, Ximedica has evolved from a toy-making/mosquito-zapping intellectual property firm to what it is today: an outsourced medical device company collaborating with a client list from around the globe. Started in 1985 by two RISD graduates, the application of “human-centered” design thinking to the innovation and product creation process remains central to the company’s success. “The med tech industry is in a period of massive change driven by several significant forces,” says Aidan Petrie, CIO and co-founder. Those forces include “the need to cut costs, the rise of a connected and informed patient population, and a significant lag in technology adoption.” Petrie says Ximedica focuses on simplicity, accuracy, and relevancy to “produce medical devices that enable information to be transferred from patient to provider, and ultimately reduce strain on the already spent healthcare system.”

Ximedica: driving change in med tech

Thirty years in the making, Ximedica has evolved from a toy-making/mosquito-zapping intellectual property firm to what it is today: an outsourced medical device company collaborating with a client list from around the globe. Started in 1985 by two RISD graduates, the application of “human-centered” design thinking to the innovation and product creation process remains central to the company’s success. “The med tech industry is in a period of massive change driven by several significant forces,” says Aidan Petrie, CIO and co-founder. Those forces include “the need to cut costs, the rise of a connected and informed patient population, and a significant lag in technology adoption.” Petrie says Ximedica focuses on simplicity, accuracy, and relevancy to “produce medical devices that enable information to be transferred from patient to provider, and ultimately reduce strain on the already spent healthcare system.”

Job-producing granola in Providence

The Providence Granola Project – started in 2008 by a refugee educator and an entrepreneur with an MBA, both of them eager to start a social venture – set out with a goal of providing essential transitional work-life skills to refugees who have resettled in Rhode Island.”Refugees who desperately want to work should have that opportunity,” says co-founder Keith Cooper. “Refugees don’t flee their homes and all they’ve known and loved in hopes of receiving a welfare EBT card.  They want to work.” While their primary goal is the people they work with, the granola they are producing out of the Amos House kitchen is extraordinary, attracting loyal followers, many of whom knew little or nothing about refugees. It won a Best of Rhode Island award and has been mentioned in the New York Times. The workplace is proving more effective than the classroom in teaching job skills: almost every person they hired has transitioned into the job market.

 

 

Job-producing granola in Providence

The Providence Granola Project – started in 2008 by a refugee educator and an entrepreneur with an MBA, both of them eager to start a social venture – set out with a goal of providing essential transitional work-life skills to refugees who have resettled in Rhode Island.”Refugees who desperately want to work should have that opportunity,” says co-founder Keith Cooper. “Refugees don’t flee their homes and all they’ve known and loved in hopes of receiving a welfare EBT card.  They want to work.” While their primary goal is the people they work with, the granola they are producing out of the Amos House kitchen is extraordinary, attracting loyal followers, many of whom knew little or nothing about refugees. It won a Best of Rhode Island award and has been mentioned in the New York Times. The workplace is proving more effective than the classroom in teaching job skills: almost every person they hired has transitioned into the job market.

 

 

An authentic experience

Whether you’re a lifelong resident, a newcomer to our great state, or are simply passing through, Experience Rhode Island Tours will take you to scenic and historic places with fascinating stories to tell. A family-owned business started by brothers who grew up in Rhode Island, they know the local culture, the back roads, and the places and people that make this one of the most beautiful and unique states in America. Select one of their tours or create your own. During January and February, as they finalize their 2015 tours which begin in March, they will be offering Dine Around Providence, featuring three of Providence’s best restaurants in one night: Every Tuesday and Thursday night, one of their new 25-passenger mini coaches will depart from the Rhode Island Convention Center to treat you and your friends to a first-class dining experience sprinkled with a tour of the city between courses.

An authentic experience

Whether you’re a lifelong resident, a newcomer to our great state, or are simply passing through, Experience Rhode Island Tours will take you to scenic and historic places with fascinating stories to tell. A family-owned business started by brothers who grew up in Rhode Island, they know the local culture, the back roads, and the places and people that make this one of the most beautiful and unique states in America. Select one of their tours or create your own. During January and February, as they finalize their 2015 tours which begin in March, they will be offering Dine Around Providence, featuring three of Providence’s best restaurants in one night: Every Tuesday and Thursday night, one of their new 25-passenger mini coaches will depart from the Rhode Island Convention Center to treat you and your friends to a first-class dining experience sprinkled with a tour of the city between courses.