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Archived: AIM Honors Six with Next Century Awards

Posted on August 5, 2015

The world’s foremost oceanographic research institution, a Worcester business owner who left behind a unique educational legacy and an iconic fashion company that has made manufacturing part of its label are among the recipients of Next Century awards to be presented at two Associated Industries of Massachusetts regional centennial celebrations in September.

Woods_HoleThe Next Century awards recognize individuals, companies and other organizations for unique contributions to the Massachusetts economy and the well-being of its citizens. Presentations will take place during late afternoon receptions on September 16 at the renovated Hanover Theater in Worcester and on September 21 at the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

“The six recipients exemplify the transformative and lasting power of economic opportunity. Their vision and leadership have allowed Massachusetts residents to work, support families and build lives for themselves while making the commonwealth a wonderful place to live,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.

The Worcester event will posthumously honor Edwin B. “Ted” Coghlin of Worcester and the Worcester Technical High School he worked to build; Worcester Polytechnic Institute for the development of Gateway Park; and fiber-laser pioneer IPG Photonics of Oxford. The Foxboro event will honor Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Company and Waters Corporation.

Here are summaries of each recipient:


President Barack Obama called Edwin B. Coghlin the “godfather” of Worcester Technical High School during an address to the school’s graduating class of 2014. “Because about 10 years ago he set out to make this school what he knew it could be – a place where businesses train new workers, and young people get the keys to a brighter future,” the president said.

Coghlin, the President of Coghlin Electrical Contractors who passed away in December at age 79, helped to turn Worcester Tech into a national model for vocational education and was a key player in fundraising for the construction of the $100 million school facility on Skyline Drive. He established the Skyline Technical Fund to raise millions of dollars for state-of-the-art training and equipment for the school.   In recognition for his efforts over 40 years, the school dedicated the Coghlin Construction Technology Academy.

The US Department of Education named Worcester Tech a Blue Ribbon School in 2013.

AIM will present the award to Coghlin’s daughter, Susan Mailman, and Kyle Brenner, principal of Worcester Technical High School.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has long played an important role in the Massachusetts economy by preparing students for a world increasingly driven by technology.   In 2006, the school broadened its influence by turning a swath of old and underutilized factory buildings off Interstate 290 into a center of research, innovation and commerce.

The flagship complex at Gateway Park is WPI’s 125,000 square-foot Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, which opened in 2007 and is fully occupied with graduate research laboratories, life science companies, state-of-the-art core facilities, and WPI’s Corporate and Professional Education division. WPI has committed a total $110.5 million to Gateway Park, which includes $65 million for the Life Sciences facility at the flagship building, $40 million for a Faraday Street residence hall under construction, and $5.5 million to construct the Fire Protection Engineering labs and WPI business school. Federal investments in infrastructure improvements, research funding, and brownfields cleanup total nearly $23 million.

Gateway Park has been recognized as a national model of environmental stewardship and urban redevelopment. In 2007, the park won the prestigious Phoenix Award for its successful redevelopment of an old industrial site.  Also in 2007, the U.S. Department of Commerce gave Gateway Park the Excellence in Economic Development Award for Urban or Suburban Economic Development.

IPG Photonics pioneered the development and commercialization of optical fiber-based lasers that combine the advantages of semiconductor diodes with the high amplification and precise beam qualities of specialty optical fibers. IPG’s low, mid and high-power lasers and amplifiers are used in materials processing, communications, medical and advanced applications.

Founded in 1990 by Valentin P. Gapontsev, IPG now enjoys the second highest market capitalization of any company in central Massachusetts.  Sales rose 19 percent during 2014 to $770 million.

The company employs 1,100 highly skilled people at its main facility in Oxford and more than 3,000 people worldwide at manufacturing operations in Germany, Italy and Russia, and regional sales offices in Detroit, Silicon Valley, China, France, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the U.K.

The company is also spending $13.5 million to transform a complex in Marlborough into an advanced manufacturing and research-and-development center that will eventually create 100 new full-time jobs.

IPG plays a prominent role in helping area schools to prepare students with math and technical skills needed by employers in the innovation economy.  The company has developed curriculum for secondary schools via Project Photon, sponsored by the New England Board of Higher Education. IPG also sponsors internships with Springfield Technical Community College and Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut, and partners with Worcester Polytechnic Institute on engineering opportunities.


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the world’s largest, private non-profit oceanographic research institution and a global leader in the study and exploration of the ocean. An unmatched reputation for intellectual discovery under the water has allowed the organization to contribute to its economic surroundings out of the water as well.

Woods Hole scientists and engineers have played a part in discoveries that form the modern understanding of the ocean and how it interacts with other parts of the planet, including human society. WHOI professionals combine access to specialized tools, ships, labs, and underwater vehicles with knowledge of how to explore the ocean to create a detailed understanding of the global ocean system.

The institution, founded in 1930, employs more than 1,000 researchers, engineers, information technology specialists, and crews for ships and underwater vehicles like the Alvin that famously explored the wreck of the Titanic in 1986. A combination of government grants and contracts, foundation and private donations and industry contracts provide the organization with an annual operating budget of $215 million.

Increasingly WHOI is involved in projects that apply the knowledge gained from basic research to societal issues, providing high-quality data and analysis across a range of topics, from climate to biodiversity to resources to natural hazards mitigation. These efforts have given WHOI’s work reach into new and important arenas.

In 2010, the Institution rapidly mobilized researchers from several different disciplines to assist the Coast Guard and other responders during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In response to the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, WHOI mounted another rapid response and mobilization to gather data and water samples quickly to determine the amount of radioactivity released into the ocean. That monitoring effort continues.

Engineers and scientists at WHOI worked for nearly two years to successfully locate, in May 2011, the deep water wreckage of Air France flight 447, using the WHOI-designed and -built REMUS 6000 autonomous vehicle.

WHOI and 100,000 other high-level research labs like it around the world form the customer base for Waters Corporation, which for 50 years has developed innovative analytical instruments that help scientists uncover new knowledge.

Founded in 1958 by James Waters in the basement of the Framingham police station, Waters Corporation is a Massachusetts innovation company.  Today, Waters designs, manufacturers, sells and services a focused line of analytical science technologies used by scientists the world over in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, food and beverage, fine chemical and clinical industries.

With annual revenues approaching $2 billion, Waters employs 6,000 people worldwide, including 1,500 here in the commonwealth.  In addition to investing more than $100 million per year on research and development making its Milford headquarters one of the state’s largest innovation centers, Waters proudly manufacturers its advanced technologies in Milford and Taunton, and houses a demonstration laboratory in Beverly.

Waters develops sustainable innovations and fosters enduring partnerships that enable scientific advancements through the success of its customers. Addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow is fundamental to Waters, The Science of What’s Possible.

The company also hosts the AIM Sustainability Roundtable, a professional development group for sustainability executives from throughout the region.

The global fashion industry may revolve around Paris, Rome and Milan, but the 800 people who work in New Bedford making garments for the Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Company are testament to the commitment of the company and its eponymous founder to their Massachusetts roots.

It’s a rarity in an industry where most clothing production has long since moved overseas. Abboud Manufacturing, instead of joining the exodus, decided in 2004 that the company’s appeal lay in its cachet as a custom designer of suits made in America. The company invested heavily in lean manufacturing and state-of-the-art equipment that now makes it possible to deliver individual made-to-measure suits in 10 working days.

Among the 1,300 suits manufactured each day in Abboud Manufacturing’s 400,000-square-foot facility, the company’s attire has graced the frames of celebrities from former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and jazz giant Wynton Marsalis. The company is the third largest private employer in New Bedford with an annual payroll of more than $25 million.

Founder Joseph Abboud was born and raised in Boston, encountered the apparel industry as a 16-year-old working part-time at Louis Boston and graduated from UMass Boston before attending the Sorbonne in Paris. He established Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Company in 1990 in New Bedford because: “When it came time to build my business, I chose to head back to the place where I got my start. Though the fabrics I use in my suits are carefully chosen from the Biella region of Italy, each individual piece is made in New Bedford ��_ To create suits with personal heritage and an authentically American style”that was my ultimate goal.”

After leaving the company in 2005, Joseph Abboud returned in 2013 when national retail chain The Men’s Wearhouse bought the business for $97.5 million. Abboud serves as Chief Creative Director for The Men’s Wearhouse.