University News

Huidekoper nominated to serve on state commission

Retiring from longterm post, finance VP to join state commission overseeing I-195 lands

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration, is one of six nominees for the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced last week. The commission recommends and implements new strategies for developing 19 acres of vacant land in Providence previously occupied by the interstate highway.

Huidekoper recently announced her retirement after more than a decade of serving as the University’s top administrator in charge of finances. While the nomination did not contribute Huidekoper’s retirement decision, she could not have joined the commission while working at the University due to several potential conflicts of interest, she said.

Her role as executive vice president for finance and administration helped prepare her to act as a commission member, she said, adding that she worked on redeveloping the Jewelry District near the new Alpert Medical School campus in order to attract investment — a task similar to those she could face as a commission member.

The nomination process began with a meeting between Huidekoper and Mayor Jorge Elorza, who recommended her to Raimondo, Huidekoper said. Raimondo then reviewed recommendations from Elorza and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, to form a group with the diverse experiences and skills required to develop the vacant land and foster economic growth.

Huidekoper said she does not foresee a difficult transition to being a committee member, adding that she has “been involved in several volunteer opportunities while working at Brown.”

Colin Kane, the former chair of the commission who resigned last week, favored a free-market approach to developing the land made available by the relocation of I-195, Rhode Island Public Radio reported Feb. 4. Conversely, Raimondo hopes to implement a government-supported strategy to encourage growth.

“We’re focused on expanding opportunity and creating jobs for Rhode Island families, and the 195 land can be a key lever to attract businesses and boost economic growth,” Raimondo said in a statement.

The six nominees have yet to be confirmed in their positions. Barrett Bready ’99 MD’03, president and CEO of the life sciences company Nabsys, will join the six nominees as the only returning commission member.

The other five nominees are Joseph Azrack, owner of the investment and advisory firm Azrack and Company, Robert Davis, former partner in the law firm Goulston and Storrs, Melissa Husband, executive director of Community Action Partnership of Providence, Edwin Santos, chairman of the Board of Prospect CharterCARE and Sandra Smith, a former consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

At this time, it is hard to predict the committee’s first steps, since the nominated members have not yet been confirmed or met as a group in an official capacity, Huidekoper said.

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