MSPP Thirty-Fourth Commencement, 2014
Doctorate of Humane Letters
Francis R. Carroll
Francis R. Carroll didn't have to go to Vietnam. He served his term in the U.S. Navy and got out before America's involvement in the conflict began. Carroll has been to Vietnam, though, many times. There's a hospital there dedicated to fallen American soldiers and Carroll was instrumental in getting it built.
One can imagine that such an undertaking involves a certain amount of politics, and it does. Today, small businesses can be thankful that Carroll began navigating the streets, halls and offices of Washington, D.C., all those years ago.
"What's good for big business is not necessarily good for small business, and that's been proven," Carroll said. "That's what gets me so passionate. The majority of legislators want to help small business. They don't get the credit they deserve, but unless you tell them what's happening, they don't know. It's a partnership."
In order to tell legislators what's happening, Carroll founded the Small Business Service Bureau in Worcester in 1968, just a few years after he began his efforts in Vietnam, and the political process he was introduced to through his advocacy for veterans is no less powerful in his advocacy for small business.
Armed with that information, SBSB goes to Washington. "It's our feeling that legislation will put you out of business as fast as competition," Carroll said. "Time and again, Congress talks about helping small business, but small business ends up at the bottom of the pile."
Kennedy said the fact that Carroll not only knows his way around the state house, but that he's been dealing with the legislature for "a significant amount of time" gives businesses access they may not have otherwise.
"He has access to and relationships with the people you need access to get your opinion known," Kennedy said. And for Carroll, relationships with the community and the social, charitable and advocacy organizations within the community are just as important as business relationships. His tireless efforts on behalf of those organizations has garnered Carroll much recognition in recent years.
He was honored in 2004 with the Isaiah Thomas Award, an award given by the Telegram & Gazette to individuals who dedicate themselves to public service.