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February 20, 2017 2017 Business Leaders: Hall of Fame

Carroll never stops working, advocating

PHOTO/BRAD KANE Although Frank Carroll's history museum highlights multiple presidents and vice presidents, his favorite president is Harry Truman, highlighted in a special corner of the facility.

Frank Carroll never left Worcester, but in a vast career in business advocacy bringing him deep into the national political area and an abiding commitment to philanthropy, Carroll's reach extends far beyond city limits.

In an interview in February, Carroll counted eight projects he was actively working on. He was particularly busy helping to launch a new website for St. John’s Food for the Poor Program, an outreach program of St. John’s Church in Worcester that he’s worked tirelessly to grow and promote. Plans for travel to Washington D.C. to advocate for the small businesses on looming changes to federal healthcare reform were ongoing, and he was in the planning stages of a facade renovation of the Main Street block in downtown

Worcester housing the headquarters of the Small Business Service Bureau Inc., the national business membership organization Carroll founded in 1968 and still leads as CEO.

At an age when most executives are enjoying well-deserved retirement, Carroll’s passion for work seems infinite. He spends seven days a week working.

“I love the thrill of the chase,” Carroll explained. 

Small business advocacy

That applies to his work at the Small Business Service Bureau – which provides small business owners expert business services and insurance products as well as advocacy on Capitol Hill – and his charitable outreach and contributions to community service.

Carroll said working with the poor is his chief cause, an ode to his own hard upbringing as one of six children in the Vernon Hill neighborhood. He was the lead donor and fundraiser of the Saint Francis Xavier Center on Temple Street, housing the Saint John’s Food for the Poor Program. The center opened in 2013, greatly increasing capacity and outreach.

A Korean War veteran, Carroll brought to downtown Worcester a Korean War Memorial, dedicated in 2007. Much farther from home is the Living Memorial Hospital in Vietnam, a project Carroll spearheaded in the late 1960s with Gold Star families from Worcester, in honor of the local fallen.

An American history buff, Carroll curated the U.S. Presidential Museum at his offices. An impressive collection of documents dates back to the founding fathers; portraits and memorabilia span the entire history of the U.S., through modern times. Political leaders featured there include those Carroll has worked with on political issues affecting small business.

Michael Angelini, chairman of the Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey, said the museum is more than a collection of American historical artifacts.

“It’s a metaphor,” Angelini said. “He believes strongly in the political system.”

Working with Carroll on local projects, from the renovation of the Hanover Theatre to United Way fundraising, Angelini said Carroll is the type of leader so hard to find today.

“He leads by giving the example of someone who is good and cares about other people,” Angelini said.

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