trippleCrown1There is a growing phenomenon of leaders being forged from the Fall River community Through an international learning program called Toastmasters. For a little over a year the Fall River Innovators Toastmasters Club of Fall River has been building a solid membership of community leaders and professionals interested on improving their public speaking skills. This relatively new Fall River club and it’s members have been achieving awards and have accomplished the honor of “Select Distinguished” status.

This inviting club not only offers a solid curriculum for improving valuable skills in leadership and public speaking but offers a community of mentors geared for uplifting confidence and providing a platform for professional development.

Fall River’s Toastmasters Club has had some remarkable success since it began in 2015. Within the first year of creation two of its valued members, Michael Batista (President of the Club at the time) and CJ Ferry (Director of membership at the time), received the District 31 Triple Crown Award.  In-order to receive this award one must earn the Competent Communicator Award (CC), earn a Competent Leader Award (CL), and then earn any Advanced Award (ACB, ACS, ACG, ALB, ALS). These criteria must be earned in the same Toastmaster year with no exception.

Now the Fall River Toastmasters Club has done it again with another founding member and original sponsor of the club’s initiation receiving an award. Stepping up and earning the Triple Crown Award is Christopher Nielsen who also serves on the leadership team as the club’s Sergeant at Arms and is the first recipient this season. Christopher is the owner of the Business Innovation Center, which hosts the Fall River Toastmasters Club on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month from 6pm to 8pm.

TripleCrown0When asked about the success of the club he said,”It is exciting to see how much of a confidence builder this program provides to its membership. It has been a privilege to see how so many folks involved have made such a noticeable improvement in their abilities to communicate as well as take on new responsibilities with confidence, respect and enthusiasm.  It is a real honor to have achieved the Triple Crown award and I could not have done it without the support and encouragement of the club mentorship. I found through my participation that I was able to improve on my listening skills, better organize my thoughts and grow professionally. To top it all off, it is a great group of people that I can now call friends. Each meeting is loads of fun and filled with all kinds of surprises.” Mr. Nielsen was presented this trophy at the District 31 Conference that took place on the 28th and 29th of October at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center. This was an emotional event for the Fall River Toastmasters Organization who were able to compete very steadily with the other Toastmasters Clubs that have had far more time to establish themselves.

The Fall River Innovators Toastmasters Club is always looking for more diverse and motivated members to join. Mr. Nielsen and the club officers have been focused on creating  an inviting and unintimidating environment that everyone can feel welcomed and engaged. “There are so many awesome and unique people who get to tell their story when on stage. There is nothing more rewarding then to be apart of that and witness their transformation” says Mr. Nielsen. As the membership for the Fall Rivers Toastmasters Club continues to increase, so will our outreach programs into the community and continued success. Help us in spreading awareness for all of these wonderful opportunities and come check out what all the hype is about!

Seaperch RoboticsSeaperch Robotics: Students work on a marine robot through the SeaPerch program at Atlantis Charter School, one of many activities for local participants in the First Annual Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire on September 18 at the Fall River YMCA.

FALL RIVER – Atlantis Charter School’s (ACS) new High School hopes to inspire students to become “makers” through use of robotics and other activities centered around science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics programs (STEAM).

With this in mind ACS will dive into the Fall River Makers Movement with hands on activities centered around land and sea-based robotics as part of the First Annual Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire to be held at the Fall River YMCA on Sunday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At the event students and adults will be able to drive underwater robots through an obstacle course pool side or with other robots used in their interactive curriculum.

Atlantis Charter School plans to establish a best-practice 9-12 urban public high school that leverages the spirit of transformative systemic change that is rooted in establishing personalized, student-centered small-learning communities (PSC-SLC’s),” said Robert Beatty, Executive Director of ACS. “Maker Fairs do just that and in their own way, they are visionary examples of the PSC-SLC concept.”

The PSC-SLC model is an amalgamation of two different pedagogies that focus on changing the traditional model of education, where it is an individual endeavor with a classroom centered on the teacher, to a collaborative one allowing students to work at their own level and learning through their strengths.

The pairing between the schools goals and those of the Makers movement is too strong for ACS to resist.

“Simply put, is a simple but powerful “playbook” that prioritizes the “students first” agenda with an engaging classroom-focused learning environment where teachers, parents and community partners are the most valuable resources,” said Beatty. “Where a community of learners possess an unrelenting resolve and dedication to continuous improvement.”

There are two programs in particular that they are hoping to highlight through this program. The first highlights Blue Technology (very popular in this region)– research that focuses on technology meant to be deployed in marine environments – through the SeaPerch Program.

SeaPerch focuses on guiding students to the creation of a remote operated vehicle for use in the water that they will work on inside and outside of school and in-school setting.

“The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum,” according to the SeaPerch website. “Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications.”

SeaPerch is supported through grants and training provided by the Raytheon Corporation.

The second area robotics will be presented at the Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire will be using Ergobot’s, which are a small controllable robotic platforms with wheels motors and controllers and adaptable for a variety of sensors and other cool gadgets. Typically you drive them from a handheld device like an iPad. Participants will be able to navigate through a variety of interactive activities and compete for rewards.

Through their hands on robotics activities and other STEAM curriculum, Atlantis Charter School is hoping to instill a culture of making within the students who pass through their programs. Since the Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire is an event focused precisely on making, it was an opportunity ACS feels was important for their mission and commitment to growing an innovative and unique area high school program.

“The Maker Faire is a fun way for our students to learn how to experiment, troubleshoot potential mistakes, strive for continuous improvements, and learn how to persevere so that their ideas can become successful,” said Beatty. “The Maker Faire will provide a unique opportunity for our students to learn about and share their personal vision and passion for applying their hands on skills to create, design, fabricate, and test their ideas and inventions.

“By doing so they can also learn how to become expert problem solvers, as they will quickly learn that even the best ideas don't always work the first time,” he concluded.

For more information about the Southcoast Mini Maker Faire and the planned activities visit.


The Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire is put on by a volunteer committee and supported by the following community partners and sponsoring organizations:

Make Magazine, Fall River YMCA, Atlantis Charter School, UMass Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, SNEEF (Southern New England Entrepreneur Forum), The Business Innovation Center, CNP Integrations, Mallard Printing, Fall River Community TV, Bristol Community College, Aha Fall River, Narrows Center for the Arts, Tinker Bristol, City of Fall River, TJ’s Music, The Childeren’s Museum, EforAll, Northeast Engravers Suppoy Co.

And many more…

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement.  It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers.  They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2016 celebrated its eleventh annual show with some 1300 makers and 150,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in five years to 900+ makers and 90,000 attendees.  Thirty-two larger scale Maker Faires occur in cities around the world—Detroit, Atlanta, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and Shenzhen to name a few— and over 150 community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced in the United States and in 34 other countries around the world.

For info about the Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire:

Contact Chris Nielsen: 401-662-1035

SouthcoastMA MMF Logo eventbrite

The Team at CNP Integrations and the Business Innovation Center are proud to be part of the Incredible Maker Movement here on the Southcoast of MA.

Join us as a maker sponsor or participant!

A national movement to grow a community of makers is now looking to make Fall River a Gateway to the Future with the launch of the First Annual Southcoast MA Mini Maker Faire. Join and contribute to building the local maker community by answering our Call to Makers.

  • Show us your stuff!
  • Show us what you can do!
  • Show us something cool!
  • Show us something you can make!
  • Share with us something you know!
  • Share with us your ideas!
  • Share with us something important!
  • Tell us something interesting!
  • Tell us something inspiring!
  • Tell us your story!

Become a community partner to show, tell and share your experiences of new technologies, your inspiring notions of the future, and performances that reflect our creativity, cultural heritage and Fall River’s history of creation.
Bring your ideas, creations and technology to showcase Smart Soft goods like smart clothing and accessories, Blue Tech that advances marine sciences and Smart Cities technologies that integrate the world we live in with the internet. Share experiences that will inspire innovations and forge the future of our communities.
Share your robots, gizmos and inventions. Promote your work as an artisan, crafter, maker, technologist, or performer and inspire a new generation of learners in the fields of S.T.E.A.M. education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).
To apply for participation go to our web site:
All submissions must be in by August 15th. We will contact you for acceptance and placement.

IMG 6938This is the fifth in a series of profiles on the Business Innovation Center team:

Parth Bhatt

Education: Ahmedbad Institute of Technology (Bachelor), Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, UMass Dartmouth Computer Science

Q: How is it that you got involved in your field?
A: When I was a tiny-taught, I had an occasion to visit my dad’s bank  in Ahmedabad, in the year 1996. I clearly remember that visit cause it was the first time, I was introduced to the computer. I became fascinated with them and this fascination was so strong that when I started my high school education, I was determined to remain tagged to a computer forever. Working with computers is what made me happy and I turned this into a professional career in computer engineering.

Q: So banking got you into programming?
A: That visit got me interested but I was mostly interested in games at first.

Q: What are some of the goals you have your life?
A: After getting my Masters I want to become a project manager. I plan on working here in the States for a little bit and then, after getting experienced, I want to develop my own firm back home in India.

Q: Who are some figures in history that you look up to?
A: I’d have to say Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs.

Q: Those are two very different people. Why them?

A: Gandhi was a man of peace and tranquility. Intellectually, he educated me that taking the path of peaceful non-cooperation and 'Satyagraha' will give anyone iron will with true vision I admire Gandhi’s honesty, constructive use of anger, tremendous vision, innovation, creativity and selflessness.

Steve Jobs had an outstanding ability to think profoundly and make things truly basic and useful, constantly searching for the better ways to do things, persistent at keeping the things he found interesting.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs were able to associate with their followers through their leadership styles, which empowered them to execute their dreams of being effective pioneers. Both the pioneers were visionary.

Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (A.P.J.) Abdul Kalam

Q: Favorite movie?
A: Three Idiots

Q: Favorite music?
A: Any instrumental music.

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