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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Brown Forum for Enterprise to make first visit to URI

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

‘Creating the Business Model’ is topic for Nov. 18 forum

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 29, 2004 – The University of Rhode Island has participated for many years in what was once called the Brown Venture Forum, a consortium of business, civic and academic leaders committed to encouraging entrepreneurs.

Now called the Brown Forum for Enterprise, the organization will make its first visit to URI’s College of Business Administration on Nov. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. When it convenes that evening at the University Club on Upper College Road, it will be the forum’s first meeting outside Providence. The topic is “Creating the Business Model.” The program is free and open to the public.

“This is a great opportunity for URI’s College of Business Administration and the University as a whole,” said Dean Edward M. Mazze, the Alfred J. Verrecchia-Hasbro Inc. Leadership Chair in Business. “It’s also a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs and business people to learn what the forum and what URI have to offer. I extend an open invitation to this exciting night.”

Jerri Paquin, director of URI’s Research Center in Business and Economics, said that the enterprise forum now has a statewide perspective and is interested in hearing from inventors and entrepreneurs from around Rhode Island.

“This program is for entrepreneurs, faculty members and others interested in forming new businesses or growing existing ones,” Paquin said.

The keynote speaker will be Cheryl Watkins Snead of Banneker Industries Inc. There will also be three panelists: Nabil Lawandy, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Solaris Nanosciences Corp., Providence; Robert Petrocelli, chief executive officer of Heartlab Inc., Westerly; and Jeff Jacober, chief executive officer and founder of The Ocean Group, Providence.

Snead is president and chief executive officer of Banneker Industries Inc., a supply chain management company in Lincoln. The company performs electronic procurement, assembly, packaging, inventory management and distribution services.

Snead earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After working for a Fortune 100 company, she earned her master’s degree in business from Purdue University and went on to manage the machine shop operations of a small, minority-owned firm in Rhode Island. In 1991, she and a partner started Banneker Industries Inc., and now she is the sole owner. The company is named after Benjamin Banneker, an African-American scientist, inventor and astronomer.

Banneker Industries and Snead have received numerous awards for business accomplishments and ongoing civic work, including the 2004 National Federation of Black Women Business Owners “Woman of Courage Emerging Business Award,” the 2003 Rhode Island Black Heritage Society’s Labor and Enterprise Award, the 2000 New England Minority Entrepreneur of the Year and the Rhode Island Business and Professional Women’s “Women Mean Business Award.” Banneker Industries has been recognized nationally in Inc., Essence and Black Enterprise magazines, as well as the L.L. Bean catalog.