Today’s guest post is from C. Alexander Chiulli, native Rhode Islander and attorney at law with Barton Gilman LLP. It marks the start of a monthly column where Chiulli will speak with local entrepreneurs and innovators in Rhode Island to chronicle their Ocean State happenings, from one professional to another. First up? Chiulli himself. -CG
Rhode Island, it’s great to be home.
By way of background, I grew up in the Edgewood section of Cranston, drinking Del’s, knowing that the Gaspee was the original Boston Tea Party, and rooting for God Shammgod and the Friars. There is good reason why my parents raised our family in Rhode Island, and my parent’s parents made the same choice. But at some point, and I am not sure why or when, I came to believe that I needed to look outside of my beloved home state to find opportunity.
So, I left Rhode Island lacking appreciation for what our biggest little state in the union has to offer. Well, seventeen years later I’m back, and I’m filled with excitement because the innovation tides are turning here in the Ocean State.
If Roger Williams is Rhode Island’s superhero, then doing things differently is our state’s origin story. We might be an irreverent bunch, but we don’t lack for character or creativity. Before there was Google and Silicon Valley, there was Slater Mill and Blackstone Valley.
But let’s talk about the now. We have all the pieces right here. We have history, diversity, and a multi-cultural population. We have a smart, driven, and talented workforce. We have Brown, PC, URI, Johnson & Wales, and RISD. We have artists, chefs, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, musicians, educators, farmers, academics, doctors, performers, designers, writers, and politicians. We have big businesses, family businesses, start-ups, and an inspiring non-profit scene. We have business incubators, free thinkers, government support, and an engaged community ready to point you to a wealth of resources. And true to our state’s ethos, we are nimble, quirky, and ready to stand apart.
“We have all the pieces right here. We have history, diversity, and a multi-cultural population. We have a smart, driven, and talented workforce.”
Plus, the quality of life here is good! If you are not from Rhode Island, you might want to consider staying. Check out the home prices north and south of us, and then check out ours. Do you like the beach? Because it’s never more than twenty-five minutes away. How about food — oh, the food. Without a doubt, we can go toe-to-toe with the best food cities in this country. We’re proximate to Boston and New York. We have an international airport, Providence, Newport, and Block Island. Not to mention, four distinct seasons filled with traditional New England charm, as well as plenty of unique people and groups that aren’t afraid to be (delightfully) eccentric.
Which is all to say, how inventive is Rhode Island? In the months to come, we’re going to help you find out, by sharing the stories of innovators and entrepreneurs doing incredible things in the state they love — Ocean Stater to Ocean Stater.
Do you know of someone or something going on here in Rhode Island that fits the above bill and deserves a spotlight? All recommendations, suggestions, and impassioned pleas for attention are welcome, and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time to let it be known — Rhode Island is remarkable.