WNPR

Harriet Jones

Reporter/Editor

Harriet Jones reports on all aspects of the business world for WNPR. She's covered such diverse issues as the threat to close Connecticut's submarine base, the sub prime mortgage crisis and the impact of casinos on the state.

In 2011, she created WNPR's Small Business Project as a way to tell stories about the companies that make up 90 percent of our economy, but often get overlooked in the media.

She is the winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her reporting on Connecticut's 2010 floods.

Harriet joined WNPR in October 2000 as Morning Edition producer and reporter. Born in Scotland, she worked for the BBC for much of her early career.

She was news director at Scotland's largest commercial radio station, ScotFM, and was lucky enough to cover that country's two biggest political events in 300 years - the referendum which delivered a new parliament, and the subsequent elections.

She has also taught broadcasting for the BBC at some of their international schools in Eastern Europe, delivering courses to journalists in Romania, Albania and Bosnia.

Harriet lives in Stonington with her husband, Bob Statchen, and their three children.

A workforce training initiative in Eastern Connecticut has become the first in the country to offer college credits for free online work-skills courses. 

For six years, CT Works Careers Centers in Eastern Connecticut have offered their clients free three-month licenses to access over five thousand skills training courses via computer. The courses are concentrated either in IT skills or in health care certifications. John Beauregard of the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board says the service is already a success.

Harriet Jones

Tourism is vital industry for Connecticut, generating some $14 billion in visitor spending each year. Small businesses are the mainstay of the sector. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, many are worried about the future.

Governor Dannel Malloy says he gets it on tourism.

“We’re going to rethink in its entirety our approach to tourism—we’re going to work where partnerships work and we’re not going to carry partnerships that don’t work.”

Harriet Jones

Many communities around Connecticut rely on small businesses to provide essential, basic services. For WNPR’s latest small business profile, Harriet Jones visited a home-based daycare in Hamden that’s helping children and parents alike.

Morning exercise is all part of the routine at Every Child Ahead in Hamden.

“I just care for them like they’re my children, and I think that’s why I keep my daycare full.”

Harriet Jones

If Connecticut is to have an engaged and productive workforce it must have reliable childcare. Childcare comes in many different forms, but an increasing number of providers are small, home-based businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

In a tiny condo in Hamden, Lushanna Thompson is allowing her small charges to let off some steam.

Aplicare

Getting into the international market can be both exciting and challenging for a business. It offers the chance for new customers and growth, but it’s also a steep learning curve. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one Meriden firm that’s sending Connecticut-made medical products all around the world, and bringing work back from overseas.

“So this is our production floor. We have 21 production lines, that are operating on two shifts….”

Last year President Obama challenged the nation’s businesses to double their exports within 5 years. Connecticut has been responding to that call, and as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, small business has been a key part of the effort.

Exporting—selling products overseas—is complex and often challenging. It may not seem to be a natural fit for a small business. Not so, says economist Peter Gioia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Harriet Jones

Manufacturing used to be a mainstay of employment in Connecticut. Competition from lower-cost states and overseas production has decimated the industry. But small manufacturers persist in the state and are finding ways to survive. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one shop in Milford for our latest small business profile.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has around 5,000 manufacturing companies. You may be picturing Pratt & Whitney or Electric Boat, but of course the vast majority of manufacturers are small businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at the challenges facing those firms in a shrinking industry.

It’s a typically busy day on the shop floor at Prestige Manufacturing in Milford. Ken Dugan has run this business for 27 years.

Harriet Jones

We hear all the time that small businesses are having trouble accessing credit. But sometimes it’s hard to picture what that means both for an individual firm, and for the wider economy. To find out more, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited a construction company that’s currently rehabbing several old homes in Middletown.

Cash is the lifeblood of any small business, and access to financing can be a critical factor in whether a small enterprise can grow and thrive. Businesses need credit to hire and to make capital investments. It may sometimes seem as if the chips are stacked against them.

For 17 years, Joe Petti ran a small manufacturing firm, Delaney Engineering in Milford. He says one of the biggest issues he faced growing his company was dealing with the banks.

courtesy Larry Berk

“Buy local” has become a rallying cry for small businesses attempting to revive the high street. But it’s also a good message for those small businesses whose customers are big business. Plenty of small suppliers in Connecticut would like to see big corporations and state government look first in their own backyard when they spend money.

For the latest of WNPR’s small business profiles, business reporter Harriet Jones met with one such small supplier. 

Harriet Jones

WNPR’s Small Business Project is in Waterbury this week. 

A special edition of Where We Live this Wednesday will come live from the Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury. 

The Brass City has seen its share of hard times and economic upheaval, but revitalization efforts, many led by small business, are underway. 

Harriet Jones

This year, WNPR’s Small Business Project is taking apart what it means to be a small business owner. As part of our coverage we’re showcasing the huge diversity of the state’s small businesses and what they’re accomplishing. Most businesses start very, very small—even at the kitchen table. For the first of our small business profiles, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visits a tiny commercial kitchen in Griswold.

Jennifer Chominski is spending the morning pressing out piecrust for her baking business, Gracie Mae’s Kitchen.

Federal regulators have rejected a new inhaled insulin treatment from drug maker MannKind. The diabetes treatment was due to have been manufactured in Danbury. 

More details are slowly emerging about the Connecticut-based financial expert that Warren Buffett has chosen to oversee investments at Berkshire Hathaway. The billionaire has been trying to arrange succession planning at the company after his five decades in charge. 

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