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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Names Three Nominees for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Board

Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced his nomination of Marcia Blount, Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, and Alison Vareika for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors. "First, I would like to thank all those who have served the EDC Board for volunteering their time, talents, and energy on behalf of our state," Governor Chafee said. "I am pleased to announce today my nomination of Marcia Blount, Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, and Alison Vareika. These three committed individuals have very different experiences in business, but all of them are connected to important sectors of our economy. Marcia helps run the boat-building business started by her father – a trade that has been practiced successfully in Rhode Island for generations. Dr. Rodriguez is closely involved with the medical industry – one of the keys, I believe, to Rhode Island's economic future. And Alison is a small business owner who has strong ties to Aquidneck Island, and thus knows how large a role arts and tourism play in the economic life of Newport and our state as a whole. I am pleased that these three outstanding Rhode Islanders will bring their unique experiences and perspectives to the Board, and I hope to continue to draw from a variety of backgrounds and fields of expertise as we work to make the EDC work for Rhode Island."

Nominee (Replacing)

Marcia Blount (J.L. Singleton) Marcia Blount is President and Chief Financial Officer of Blount Boats, Inc. in Warren, which designs and builds steel and aluminum vessels utilizing both proven and new designs. Blount Boats is a full-service shipyard specializing in design, construction and repair of steel and aluminum vessels up to 220 feet. Founded as Blount Marine Corporation in 1949, the company is privately held and managed by the Blount family. Hundreds of Blount built boats have been put into service, including passenger vehicle ferries, fast commuter boats, dinner excursion boats, passenger ferries, small cruise ships, bunkering tankers, tugs and commercial trawlers. Blount Boats has built over 325 hulls at its Warren shipyard in Warren, Rhode Island which has been in continuous operation since the company was founded. Ms. Blount is a certified public accountant who previously worked as Senior Accountant for Roger Williams University, owned Ecotrends and Craftgroup, both based in Providence, and served as Manager in the Operations Division of Citibank and as Staff Accountant with Price Waterhouse, both in New York, NY. She worked as Controller of Blount Marine earlier in her career and returned full-time after her father, company founder Luther H. Blount, passed away in 2006. Ms. Blount serves as Treasurer of Mount Hope Farm, Bristol; as Board Member of the Prudence Conservancy, Prudence Island; and as Board Member of the George Hail Library, Warren. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Dr. Pablo Rodriguez (Helena Foulkes) Dr. Pablo Rodriguez is Chairman of the Board of Women and Infants' Health Care Alliance, a newly formed group of merged private practice providers associated with Women and Infants Hospital. He is also Associate Chair for Community Relationships in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women and Infants' Hospital, former Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, and is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. Dr. Rodriguez is a well-known community leader and an active participant in civic and charitable organizations both locally and nationally. He is Past Chairman of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals in Washington, D.C. and has also been Chair of the Rhode Island Foundation, the International Institute of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee, RI Project AIDS, and led the effort for the $1.5 million Capital Campaign to benefit Progreso Latino, the leading social service agency for new immigrants. He is a past member of the Boards of Citizens Bank, the Urban Project, and the Minority Investment Development Corporation. He currently also serves on the Board of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, the state's Medicaid HMO, and Bank Rhode Island. Dr. Rodriguez has received numerous awards for his community involvement including the Community Service Award from the American Medical Association in 1994 and Planned Parenthood of RI in 1996. In 1996 he was named a Community Hero Torchbearer for the Olympic Torch Relay of the 1996 Olympics. He received the Bertram Jaffee Award for advocacy in Public Health, given by the RI Public Health Association. The John Hope Settlement House also gave him their highest honor, The Paris Vaughn Sterett Award for community service and the Ministers Alliance bestowed him with the Martin Luther King Service Award. Rhode Island Monthly magazine has included him twice in their "Top Doctors" edition. A host of radio and television programs, he is currently featured in "Hablemos" and "Nuestra Salud" on Latino Public Radio, where he also serves as Chairman and CEO.

Alison Vareika (Stephen Lane) Alison Vareika is the founding co-owner of William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd in Newport, established in 1987 and one of the largest art galleries in New England. Over the past twenty-five years, Alison and her husband, Bill, have raised and contributed considerable funds to a long and varied list of local and regional organizations and have used the success of their business to help support the vital public service of non-profit organizations. Ms. Vareika is currently Chair of the Board of the Newport Performing Arts Center, which is restoring the historic Newport Opera House in Washington Square. She is also a Trustee of Trinity Repertory Company in Providence and is a member of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She has served as President and Board member of the Aquidneck Land Trust; Trustee of Swinburne School, Newport; and Trustee of the Newport Art Museum, where she was Chair of the Museum Special Events Committee for ten years. Ms. Vareika also currently serves on the Advisory Councils of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and the Aquidneck Land Trust. In 2007, Ms. Vareika and her husband were selected as "Partners in Philanthropy" by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for their work with the environmental organization Save The Bay. In 2008 they received the Small Business "Encore" Award from the Arts and Business Council of Rhode Island and a "Keeper of the Dream" award from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport. In March 2011, Alison received the "Dominique Award" from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Newport County for her contributions to the arts community. In April 2011, William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd was recognized with the "Excellence in Business Award" as the "Small Business of the Year" by the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Vareika received her B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the University of Rhode Island. A native of Ada, Oklahoma, she has lived in Newport for 36 years.

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