Quonset Business Park is a busy place. With 168 companies, 8,800 jobs, and the Port of Davisville now ranked as the 7th largest auto importer on the continent, it is a true Rhode Island success story.Tags:
Our success has been made possible by several factors. Quonset Business Park has a central location to Boston and New York, with an ideal placement on the Narragansett Bay. The park has ease of access via air, highway, sea, and rail, which is extremely appealing to a myriad of businesses and industries. We also have demonstrated a unique commitment to improving and maintaining the infrastructure within the park to serve our current tenants and attract new ones. And we are constantly finding ways to expand business at the Park, such as the recent purchase of our new mobile harbor crane and the creation of our pre-permitting program, to name just a few examples.
The fact that there has been $297 million in private investment made here since 2005 with some 2,700 new jobs created in the same time frame is a testament to our commitment to growth. But behind the scenes, making it all happen is a team of dedicated, committed professionals. Without their efforts, none of this would be possible.
This month, I would like to introduce one of our team members who shares a vision for Quonset Business Park that includes its enormous potential for economic development, uniquely combining commerce and recreation. Her name is Katherine Trapani, and since 2009 she has been our planning manager at the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC).
Katherine is a native of Maine who earned a Master's degree at the University of Rhode Island. In addition to overseeing all aspects of the development planning for Quonset Business Park, Katherine's responsibilities include real estate development and plan review, grant writing and grant management. Previously, Katherine served as supervisor of transportation at R.I. Statewide Planning, and prior to that she worked for the R.I. Port Authority during the Davisville "Seabee" base closure and federal property transfer in the 1990s.
Katherine personifies the multi-talented team players we have here, someone whose value is most evident through her versatility. She does not simply "plan" how a project or program may take shape, but rather, she painstakingly guides it from beginning to end. Katherine has the ability to develop a specific concept, incorporate it into our Master Plan, secure the necessary funding, assist with design, evaluate bids, and see the project or program through to its completion.
Katherine's skill set has never been more apparent than in our efforts to secure the $22.3 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant funds through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) 2010. From the state, Katherine worked closely with U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, along with their staffs, to secure this critical funding for Quonset. The projects made possible through the TIGER grant have already added significant new port capacity, and will continue to do so into the future.
Following the grant award, Katherine assisted with the implementation of its key elements, most notably the improvements to Pier 2 and the addition of a port crane there. That crane is now poised to produce important dividends for the Port of Davisville and Quonset Business Park. As we speak, the QDC is is actively working with companies in the short-sea shipping business that use the Marine Highway to import and export various goods for businesses on the East Coast. The new mobile harbor crane will also serve as an important tool for loading and off-loading project cargo, including off-shore wind turbine components.
Katherine's vision has been critical to our success at Quonset. She played an important role in the pre-planning and implementation of our innovative "Quonset Zone," the single zoning district designation assigned to the business park and made possible by a collaborative effort between the QDC and officials from the Town of North Kingstown. It is now an award winning model for others, and a shining example of the true possibilities when public entities work together.
Katherine likes to say that seeing a project completed "makes planning real." That is a testament to her approach and a reminder of why she is such an asset to us. The economic development results generated here at Quonset are "real" and we believe with Katherine's help, we will be able to do even more.
Steven King, PE, is the managing director of the Quonset Development Corp., North Kingstown.