Entrepreneur of the Year – Brett Niver of Irrigation Automation Systems

Brett Niver

Brett Niver,owner of Irrigation Automation Systems, accepts the award of Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Breakfast.

From cranberry bogs to vineyards to citrus groves throughout the US and Canada, Irrigation Automation Systems (IAS) customers have a lot to be thankful for
this year.

These small-to-medium growers of agricultural cash crops operate on razor-thin margins based on achieving maximum crop yield per acre. The difference between success or failure often hinges on their ability to respond quickly to the forces of nature.

Brett shares, ” After our customer workshop yesterday where we helped educated cranberry growers on new diesel engine technologies and requirements, Jim reminded me that our technology actually cuts emissions and protects air-quality by reducing the total amount of fuel used for irrigation.  We’re working to improve our world one grower at a time.”

Brett Niver, an Ohio native with a background in industrial automation, purchased IAS on April 15, 2011. Brett wanted to focus his software development expertise on agrarian challenges and IAS had the beginnings of the products and services infrastructure he needed to move forward. Today, the Company leads the industry in technology innovation and “first of a kind” automation systems for agriculture. Its Early Warning and Monitoring System collects data in real time and provides growers with status alerts on soil and weather conditions. Remote pump control systems direct the release of water and fertilizer when and where they are needed.

But IAS is not just about product innovation and growth. Their concerns for the community they live and work in run equally as deep. Last year, they donated systems to Community Harvest in Grafton where they were used to produce tons of fresh fruits and vegetables for the Worcester County Food Bank.

The Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce congratulates Brett Niver for exhibiting true ‘Valley’ entrepreneurial skills and success!

2013 in Review – Chairman’s Report from Joseph Deliso

Joe Deliso at 2013 Annual BreakfastAs Chairman of the Board of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce I have witnessed an evolution in the Chamber – resulting in an invigorated sense of growth and a new energy. We have met and surpassed many of our projected goals and continue to grow and serve the business community. We persistently open the door to new partnerships that increase services and benefits to our members all the while preserving sound fiscal management and discipline.

We continue our mission as we improve the quality and content of our events, increase services and benefits to our members and develop our work to foster the essential collaboration between public and private sector. We are particularly proud of the overwhelming response we have received to the workforce training initiatives offered at the Chamber headquarters.

Our Chamber has worked very hard assisting small business owners by providing programs which allow them to do better business; many of which were suggested by the business owners themselves. A majority of these programs are funded through grants awarded to the Blackstone Valley Chamber by Mass Growth Capital Corporation (30,000.00) and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (38,000.00), the latter award being a regional one which has forged a new partnership with The Central Massachusetts South Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber works hard to be available to our members and provide useful services and assistance, making it the “go to” organization for business in the region. There has been a marked growth in Economic Development, which we celebrate here today. This lays the foundation for increased potential of marketability throughout the Valley and opens the door to collaboration within the eleven towns and our RI borders.

Another effort I am especially proud of is the establishment of the Blackstone Valley Leadership Council a group of our most talented members who will advise and assist to further the efforts of the BVCC.

We are here today to celebrate those of you who enrich the Blackstone Valley through your contributions of time, talent and resources. Because of your support, we can continue to preserve and enhance the economic vitality of the Blackstone Valley. We address the needs and concerns of businesses and provide leadership resources in connection with issues which impact commerce and the quality of life in the Valley.
I am ready to continue to work with our very able Board of Directors to meet the challenges of the year ahead and to promote the Chamber’s presence in the Blackstone Valley. Thank you all for this opportunity.

Chairman’s Report
Joseph C. Deliso
Blackstone Management & Consulting

Insurance Considerations for a Hobby versus Business – Guest Post from Gaudette Insurance

It’s safe to say that many people have a hobby. For some hobbyists, it’s something to do for interest and enjoyment during free time. While for others, it is something to do for financial reward. If the second one is you, and you’re interested in turning your hobby into a small business, then there are a few things about insurance you’ll want to know.

Do you have a Hobby or a Business?


A hobby is defined as something you enjoy spending your free time doing, but generally don’t get paid to do. A business, on the other hand, is something you do with the intention of making a profit.

The majority of states allow you to make a certain amount of money per year before your hobby becomes a business. If you suspect your hobby has become or is becoming a business then you’ll want to make sure you’re in compliance with the law. To do so, contact your attorney or local Small Business Administration (SBA) office, to help you navigate business law.

Should you insure your hobby, even if it’s not a business?

While you should definitely consider having insurance for a business, it’s not necessary to have insurance for your hobby. But here are a few reasons to consider insuring your hobby.

Let’s say Amanda is known throughout her town as an excellent cake baker and often is asked to make cakes and other similar treats for special celebrations.  What if someone picking up a cake slips on flour in her kitchen and breaks a leg? Will homeowner’s coverage apply?  It might not but a general liability policy could help cover this risk.

Check out another example. Read the rest of this blog post from Gaudette Insurance, here.