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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Announces Nominees for the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission

Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today joined with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and House Speaker Gordon Fox in the heart of Providence’s Knowledge District to announce the nominees for the seven-member I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. The commission, which was established by legislation signed into law by Governor Chafee on July 9, will help guide and oversee – with public input – the thoughtful and planned economic development of the land opened up by the relocation of I-195. The seven nominees are: Colin P. Kane (Chairman); Barrett Bready, M.D.; Barbara A. Hunger; Diana L. Johnson; John M. Kelly; Mark T. Ryan; and Michael S. Van Leesten.

“This is a historic opportunity for our capital city and our state,” Governor Chafee said. “The valuable land made available by the I-195 relocation is prime for job-creating development in the medical, research, and life-sciences industries. I am proud of the collaboration that has occurred between the state, the City of Providence, and the General Assembly, and that collaboration continues with today’s announcement. Each of these seven talented individuals brings with them proven records of accomplishment, commitment to service, and a common purpose: bringing economic revitalization, jobs, and future prosperity to Providence and Rhode Island.”

The legislation establishing the commission, H 5994 and S 0114: “An Act Relating to Public Property and Works,” was the product of months of collaboration between the Governor, the General Assembly and the City of Providence. The nominees are subject to the advice and consent of the Rhode Island Senate.

One of Governor Chafee’s top economic development priorities since taking office has been the planning for and development of the I-195 land. The Governor has led Rhode Island delegations on fact-finding trips to Houston and Baltimore, both of which have successfully developed urban areas centered around educational institutions and the medical, research and life-sciences industries.

“I look forward to working with the Commission to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put shovels in the ground and get people back to work,” Mayor Taveras said. “This collaboration will be vital to bringing the economic benefits of this opportunity to the people of Providence and to the entire State of Rhode Island.”

“This is an exciting time for both the State of Rhode Island and our capital city,” Speaker Fox said. “While much hard work is in front of us, I am extremely optimistic that this announcement marks another significant step forward in both the revitalization of the Knowledge District and the improvement of our state’s economy.”

“It’s my privilege to be nominated to Chair the 195 commission,” said Colin Kane, the Governor’s nominee to lead the commission. “The commission has a unique opportunity, working in concert with the City of Providence, to knit downtown with the emerging Knowledge District. These ‘unpolished gems’ of the former Jewelry District offer a unique opportunity to create jobs and become the intellectual and aesthetic center of economic development. This commission’s job is to provide an open and transparent decision-making process that results in the highest and best use of these newfound parcels and transmits loudly to the investment community that Rhode Island is open for business.”


Colin P. Kane, Chairman Colin Kane is Principal of Peregrine Group LLC. Kane is Peregrine’s lead partner for project transactional activities, including structured workouts, payment settlements, deal origination, project planning, asset acquisition and sales, leasing, financial analysis, workout analysis, and debt/equity capitalization.

Prior to helping found Peregrine in 2001, Kane worked as a Development Manager for Gilbane Properties and as a naval officer serving as a Flag Lieutenant and division officer stationed aboard the guided missile destroyer USS KIDD. Kane has broad experience in real estate development, including successful projects in Rhode Island, North Carolina, California, Maine, Nevada, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, and Florida over the past 12 years. Projects include mixed-use campuses, historic rehabilitations, multi-family housing, hospitality venues, planned residential communities, large-scale corporate and institutional build-to-suits (including medical facilities), and brownfield redevelopment.

Kane is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm, a graduate of Harvard Business School (MBA), Georgetown University (MA), and the US Naval Academy (BS, with distinction), and serves on the Executive Committee of the RI Builder's Association. He was named Admiral of the Rhode Island Commodores by Governor Chafee in January, and is a resident of Wickford. [Nominated by Governor Chafee]

Barrett Bready, M.D. Barrett Bready, M.D., is President and CEO of NABsys, Inc., a start-up and an advanced DNA sequencing technology company located in the heart of the Knowledge District. Bready has headed NABsys since 2005, and has led the company’s acquisition of GeneSpectrum as well as the execution of its licensing deal with Brown University.

Bready has been named one of the top "30 under 30" in New England by Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology and one of 25 “movers and shakers” in the State of Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly.

Bready teaches “Biotechnology Management” at Brown, where he holds the position of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biotechnology. He received his M.D. from Brown Medical School and his Sc.B. in Physics from Brown, both as part of the University’s eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education. He co-chairs BioGroup, Rhode Island’s biotechnology industry organization, serves on the Board of Directors of the Brown Medical Alumni Association, and is a Trustee of the Providence Preservation Society and WaterFire. [Nominated by Governor Chafee]

Barbara A. Hunger Barbara Hunger has been a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Women and Infants Hospital for 25 years. Prior to joining Women and Infants, Hunger worked as a nurse in hospitals throughout New England. She earned a BS from Southern Connecticut State University.

Her civic involvement includes volunteerism with CityArts, Elmwood Neighborhood Housing, Community Music Works, and the Steel Yard.

Hunger has been a resident of and homeowner in Providence’s Elmwood neighborhood for 25 years and raised two children who attended Providence Public Schools. [Recommended by Mayor Taveras]

Diana L. Johnson Diana Johnson is a self-employed art consultant. She served as Director of Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery and as Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Chief Curator, and Acting Director of the RISD Museum of Art.

Additionally, Johnson’s diverse career has included stints as: Senior Vice President and City Executive with the Private Clients Group at Fleet National Bank-Bank of America; Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager with the Providence Group Investment Advisory Company; and Vice President with the Trust and Investment Division of Fleet National Bank.

Johnson has served on the Boards of the RI Committee for the Humanities, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, and Trinity Repertory Company, and as Board Chairman of the RI State Council on the Arts, Travelers Aid Society of RI, and Planned Parenthood of RI. She received a BA in Government from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) and an MA in Art History from Brown. She is a resident of Providence. [Nominated by Governor Chafee]

John M. Kelly John Kelly has been the President and CEO of Meeting Street School for the last 14 years. Meeting Street serves over 3,000 Rhode Island children and families each year. During his tenure, Kelly has overseen the development of Meeting Street’s $25 million South Providence campus which resulted in over 180 jobs moving to South Providence (with an additional 40 jobs added since its relocation).

An attorney by training, Kelly previously focused his law practice in corporate and real estate law as a partner at Tillinghast, Collins & Graham. Kelly subsequently held a leadership position in a non-profit organization, The Coalition for Community Development, which was created to revitalize downtown Providence.

Kelly has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Genesis Center and the Providence Revolving Fund and has chaired four city boards and commissions: the Port Commission, the Zoning Board of Review, Adhoc Permitting Review and the Salary Review Commission. As Chair of the Adhoc Permitting Review group, he was tasked with streamlining Providence’s permitting process. To date, the city has implemented electronic plan review, concurrent plan review and launched of an expedited review process. He is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and earned a law degree from Boston College. Kelly is a resident of the city’s south side. [Recommended by Mayor Taveras and Speaker Fox]

Mark T. Ryan Mark Ryan is a principal at Moses and Afonso, Ltd. where he concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate and business law. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and New England School of Law.

Ryan has extensive business and business law experience. Prior to joining Moses and Alfonso, he was with the Providence Journal Company for nearly 25 years, where he served as Executive Vice President and General Manager, Senior Vice President – Legal and Administration, and Vice President – Legal and Administration. From 1992 to 1996, Ryan served as the Providence Journal Company’s Assistant General Counsel and Senior Corporate Attorney, representing the newspaper as well as the company’s cable television division and the Food Network. Ryan was also responsible for litigation management, environmental issues and labor and employment matters country wide, and oversaw digital operations. He has broad legal experience, including labor negotiations.

Ryan is active in the community, serving as a Director and Member of the Nominating and Legislative Committees of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce; First Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Providence Performing Arts Center; a Member of the Rhode Island Commodores; and a Member of the Rhode Island Bar Association. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and New England School of Law. [Recommended by Mayor Taveras]

Michael S. Van Leesten Michael Van Leesten is CEO of OIC of Rhode Island, a non-profit community development organization that provides training, employment, and minority business development services. He also heads Van Leesten Group, LLC, a community development consulting firm.

Van Leesten has over 40 years of community and business development experience, including: Executive Director of the Providence Planning and Development Department; Director of Fleet National Bank; Chairman of the RI Home Mortgage & Finance Corporation; Executive Director of the OIC of Rhode Island; public affairs management with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; and, currently, Chairman of the Providence Black Repertory Company. He has directly managed and developed various types of commercial and residential real estate projects in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Van Leesten is a member of the RI Heritage Hall of Fame and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University and Rhode Island College, from which he earned his undergraduate degree in Education. He has also completed the University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Management program and did course work in Community Planning at the University of Rhode Island. [Nominated by Governor Chafee]

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