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February 20, 2017 2017 Business Leaders: Hall of Fame

Angelini connects the dots of Worcester's community

PHOTO/NATHAN FISKE Mike Angelini, who has worked in Central Massachusetts since the 1960s, has left his fingerprints all over the community's economic development.

Over the course of his 50 years in Worcester, Michael P. Angelini has had his hands in a lot of different ventures.

As the chairman of Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey, the Leominster native has helped dozens of lawyers launch their careers and grow into competent and successful attorneys. As the chairman of the board of the Hanover Insurance Group, he has helped set the agenda for one of the largest employers in Worcester, and spearheaded the search process for its latest CEO, Joseph Zubretsky. He is the chairman of the board of the Massachusetts Port Authority, influencing such actions as the redevelopment of the Worcester Regional Airport.

And as a person with considerable influence in Worcester and a detailed knowledge of the region, he has his hands in economic development and, most recently, public education.

“He is an exceptional individual, and his ultimate goal is to make a difference,” said Robert Johnson, the president of Becker College in Worcester, who has worked with Angelini on community issues since 2010.

Universal talent

Angelini could have been anything he wanted to be – a politician, or a managing partner of an international law firm – but he chose to stay in Worcester, said Louis Ciavarra, partner and leader of the Bowditch litigation practice area.

Ciavarra said that says more about Angelini than any of the individual things he has done or accomplished.

“It can’t be understated how lucky Worcester is that Mike Angelini decided to work and stay here,” said Ciavarra, whose office at Bowditch has been next to Angelini’s for more than 30 years.

Angelini is interested in making Worcester a more efficient and better place to live and work. A few years ago, he proposed consolidating the economic development efforts of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, the Worcester Business Development Corp., and other groups. The merger didn’t happen, but now, those institutions work more closely together.

“We have learned to work together. [Worcester] used to be controlled by a relatively small group of people – generally people of privilege – and that’s all changed,” Angelini said. “We have disparate groups of people, we know each other pretty well, and we all work together pretty well.”

Lately, Angelini has been helping improve the quality of the Worcester public schools, something he sees as the key to making the city a more appealing place to live.

“One ambition is each school will have connection with either a business, charity, or educational organization,” he said. “Those are little things we can do as part of this process that will help distinguish us.”

Angelini has a way of making his clients and the people who work closely with him feel at ease, said Ciavarra.

“He combines natural intellect and street smarts with a work ethic like nobody I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Meet the other 2017 Business Leaders of the Year

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Innovator of the Year

Business Leaders of the Year

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