PROVIDENCE — Last week, city resident and long-time municipal employee Bill Fazioli took on a key position with the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank as the quasi-state agency expands its …
PROVIDENCE — Last week, city resident and long-time municipal employee Bill Fazioli took on a key position with the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank as the quasi-state agency expands its lending into the private sector.
Fazioli, a one-time city manager in East Providence who only resigned as the director of Planning and Economic Development in the administration of Mayor Bob DaSilva in October of last year, has accepted the high ranking role as RIIB’s Managing Director of Program and Business Development.
Fazioli takes the job after spending the intermitting four months back in the private sector with the firm BondLink. It a track he's followed throughout much of his four-decade career, which has seen him split time between the private and public sectors.
As he explained it, an employment recruiter reached out to him in late November 2022 about the opportunity at the RIIB. The position he eventually filled was vacated in the fall of 2022. Fazioli said he went through multiple interviews and meetings during the process, then decided over the holidays to accept the position. His first official day in his new position was January 23, 2023.
“The infrastructure bank was actually a (BondLink) client. Everyone there understood it was an opportunity too good to pass up,” Fazioli said of the quick turn-around in recent career moves.
“My role at the infrastructure bank is to do outreach to the communities, to encourage municipalities that are eligible borrowers to work with the bank and finance the improvements they need through us,” Fazioli explained, noting the bank’s unique role in the local lending space.
RIIB — created by General Assembly in 1989 first as the Clean Water Finance Agency and expanded in 2015 to include energy and brownfield remediation initiatives — has subsidized interest rates, can finance for longer periods and on more favorable terms than its for-profit counterparts. The bank has lended money to all of the major wastewater facilities in the state.
Fazioli said RIIB recently expanded its offerings to private companies with its “efficient buildings fund,” which allows commercial entities to borrow from the bank for environmentally friendly, “green” initiatives.
“I’ve always had a great interaction with bank during my time as a municipal advisor and working in city government,” Fazioli said. “It’s a great option to finance projects. By expanding their scope, the bank has really grown into a dynamo. And with a lot of the federal infrastructure money being funneled through the bank, it’s a great place to be.”
Fazioli said he felt good about leaving the position considering where many aspects of “planning and economic development” were in the city.
Of his time in the DaSilva administration leading Planning, Fazioli said, “Obviously, working in East Providence was a great experience. The mayor and I had a great relationship. We continue to have a great relationship. But I made my contributions. I just felt it was just time to turn it over to someone with a little more experience in Planning. That’s not my expertise.”
Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, Fazioli said East Providence’s commercial warehouse capacity was near full, its manufacturing companies were back on the rise and key residential and commercial developments were either underway or in the works.
Fazioli highlighted the “East Point” housing plan begun at the end of his tenure at the old Washburn Wire/Ocean State Steel plant in Rumford as well as the announcement last year that the igus Corporation wanted to turn its current location also in Rumford into its North American hub.
“It’s a remarkable piece of property. It’s really amazing a property that valuable had not been developed,” Fazioli said of “East Point” where a variety of residences are to be built over the next several years. “It started out with ‘GeoNova,’ but unfortunately that didn’t come to fruition. Now, it’s really come full circle. With that getting started along with what’s happening with the Henderson Bridge and Waterfront Drive, it’s great to see all those things come alive. And the igus expansion is going to be big for economic development in the city long term.”
Not only was Fazioli involved with developments around the city while working for the administration, but he has long been a member of the East Providence Waterfront Commission, which was side-by-side with Planning in regard to seeing projects the likes of “East Point” and igus become viable.
A member of the Waterfront Commission since its inception in 2004, Fazioli will remain as body chairman, saying “there are really no conflicts…the commission doesn’t borrow any money or anything like that.”
And finally, on taking the Infrastructure Bank post, Fazioli said, “With my finance and commercial development background, this is a really good spot to be in with where I’m at in my career.”