The Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) announced today that more than 10,000 people are now working at Quonset Business Park and its Port of Davisville. A major milestone for the state and former naval air station and construction battalion base, the event was attended by the state’s highest elected officeholders, including: Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, Governor-elect Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representative Jim Langevin, U.S. Representative David Cicilline, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, and others.
“Today’s announcement is proof that if we invest in our assets, modernize our infrastructure, and provide an attractive environment where businesses can grow – we can create more jobs and strengthen our economy,” said Governor Chafee. “Quonset is seen today as one of the premier business parks in New England, and it is a driver of economic growth and job creation in Rhode Island. It didn’t happen overnight - it happened with patience, investment, and smart planning.”
Quonset is now home to almost 200 companies, employing more than 10,000 people in every sector of the economy. Since 2005, when the QDC was established, the Business Park has added more than 4,000 new jobs. Quonset is also home to the Port of Davisville, one of the Top Ten auto importing sites in North America.
“Quonset Business Park is one of Rhode Island’s greatest assets and an example of how we can grow more jobs in our state,” said Governor-elect Raimondo. “Its success is more than just one industry, or one company. It is about sound investments, and a team at the Quonset Development Corporation working with companies to help them grow, create jobs and opportunities for Rhode Island families. While I am glad to be here to celebrate the 10,000 job milestone, I look forward to seeing many thousands more created in the years to come.”
The event was held at AmWINS Group Benefits, a wholesale health insurance broker, which moved to the Business Park in August 2013. The company develops, distributes and administers benefit programs to businesses of all sizes across a wide range of industries. Since arriving at Quonset, they have grown from 100 to 125 employees. Today, the healthcare industry accounts for almost one fifth of the workforce in Rhode Island.
Justin Jay of Warwick, RI, who was recently hired by AmWINS, was recognized at the event as the “10,000th Employee” at Quonset Business Park. He received a special plaque and proclamation from the governor’s office to mark his special role in Quonset’s success. The QDC designated him as the honoree based on the most recent job counts received from tenants and a subsequent estimate of when the Park would have surpassed the 10,000 milestone.
“This is a significant milestone for Quonset Business Park and the Rhode Island economy. Quonset’s success reflects years of investments at the federal and state level. And sustaining this growth means we’ve got to keep working to ensure Quonset is well positioned to compete, both now and in the future,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, who has worked for over two decades to secure federal funds to upgrade Quonset, including $182 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHA) funds; $55 million for the Freight Rail Improvement Project (FRIP); and a $22.3 million TIGER grant for a crane and additional infrastructure that can support short sea shipping.
“Quonset Business Park continues to be a hub for economic growth in our state, and I congratulate the Quonset Development Corporation on reaching the 10,000 jobs milestone,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I’m proud to see that federal investments we have made to improve Quonset’s infrastructure are paying off, and I look forward to working with the QDC to continue expanding opportunities there for Rhode Island businesses.”
“Quonset Business Park is a tremendous success story in our state’s economy, and I believe we can look to Quonset as an example of how to foster growth and add jobs across the state,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “The Quonset Development Corporation, in partnership with private stakeholders and public officials, has created a winning model for how to do business, and I will continue to work closely with all involved to ensure that Quonset has the resources it needs to keep growing. Ten thousand jobs is a huge milestone, and I look forward to celebrating the next 10,000!”
“Congratulations to the Quonset Development Corporation on reaching this new milestone that demonstrates the exceptional economic growth that can be achieved when business and government work together,” said Congressman Cicilline. “For years I have supported local and federal efforts to attract businesses to Quonset to create new jobs in Rhode Island and I’m proud this statewide asset has become a model for success across New England. I look forward to continue working with QDC to ensure this business park continues to grow for years to come.”
“My focus has been on improving Rhode Island’s job climate, and I always point to the Quonset Business Park as a model for successful economic development. With its site-readiness and aggressive marketing programs, Quonset is a true jewel that needs to be emulated throughout the state. I have been proud to support the job growth efforts at Quonset, and today’s milestone is indeed worthy of celebration,” said Speaker Mattiello.
“This is a very exciting milestone for Quonset. It is a testament to the success brought about by collaboration at all levels of government and with the private sector towards our goal of a thriving Rhode Island economy. It is a result of sustained focus among many on the success of Rhode Island’s working waterfronts, including dredging at the Port of Davisville and a site-readiness program and lease incentives at Quonset Business Park,” said Senate President Paiva Weed.
“This is a great day for Quonset, North Kingstown, and for Rhode Island,” said Steven J. King, managing director of the QDC. “We wanted to take a moment to recognize the enormous growth we have experienced here at Quonset. It hasn’t been easy, and we still have more growth to come, but thanks to Governor Chafee, the tireless work of our federal delegation, and so many others we are proving that we can help companies succeed and bring greater economic growth to Rhode Island.”