News Articles

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Former MOBD official brings growing industry, towns together
By Christina Oneill, Worcester Business Journal

November 12, 2006

When Oxford-based Fabrico Inc. wanted to expand, it contacted Lynn Tokarczyk, president of Business Development Strategies Inc. That was in October 2005. Twelve months later, the company was cutting the ribbon on its new, expanded facility - and it saved $500,000 on the deal.

Pennsylvania-based logistics supplier A. Duie Pyle Inc. is relocating its Massachusetts operations to Northboro. It expects to retain and relocate 158 full-time jobs and add another 100 full-time jobs. In the process, it’s saving an estimated $800,000.

When Wilson Language Training Corp. outgrew its Millbury mill site, it relocated to Oxford in August 2005, investing about $4.5 million in a 46,000-square-foot, campus-style facility. Wilson plans to double its 50-person workforce over the 20 years of its Tax Increment Financing package with Oxford. While it doesn’t have a hard-dollar estimate of the savings, ‘the numbers are significant," says Wilson’s Director of Financial Services Bert Baldarelli. Business Development Strategies helped Wilson put this package together, too. Tokarczyk, he says, worked with the company to navigate the state incentive system. The result: more local hiring that will benefit both the company and the town.

In all three cases, BDS shepherded the companies through the process of becoming certified projects under the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program, which includes a 5 percent EOA Investment Tax Credit and Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The latter program only provides tax breaks on new expansion, so towns that give them don’t lose any existing tax revenue. But the breaks give companies the cushion they need to fully fund their expansion plans.

"Companies are so busy running their businesses that they don’t know the programs that are available," says Tokarczyk, a former official of the state’s Massachusetts Office of Business Development. She runs her three-year-old company with the mission of bringing money-saving state packages to every qualified business that wants to locate in an Economic Target Area in the state, where it will invest in new facilities and/or to add new full-time jobs.
During her six years at MOBD, Tokarczyk worked on the Exit 23-C project in Marlboro at the junction of I-495 and Route 20, acting as liaison between the state and the growing high-tech and financial industries then beginning to cluster at the spot. It was a high-visibility project that drew the attention of Ernst & Young, who recruited her as a manager in 2000 in its government incentives practice. In a year, she rose to senior manager, but the thought of becoming a partner did not appeal to her.

In 2003, she left to start BDS. Since then, she’s helped set up the game board for clients as varied as Samsonite Corp., Bodek & Rhodes, and Medline Industries. She’s getting to look at TIFs from another dimension in Milford, where the town is considering decertifying a 12-year TIF given to Holmes Products. That company was acquired last year by Jared Corp., which is shuttering the site and laying off 221 workers to relocate the business to its Florida headquarters. That still leaves Milford with the TIF, which is site-specific, not company-specific,

Tokarczyk explains. She’s trying to help the town explore whether keeping the TIF in place might make the site more attractive to companies that might want to move in.
Tokarczyk knows the angles. While high-tech Hopkinton might not be the first town that comes to mind as needing new business expansion under an ETA designation, Tokarczyk helped the town get the designation based on its 30 percent office vacancy rate at the time.

"Lynn’s company has an intimate knowledge of the state TIF program," says Oxford Town Manager Dennis Power, who describes her as acting as a mediator between the town and potential industrial clients. Her company, he says, "is a unique mix of talents."