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Mad Men & Women of New Bedford


Writer Steven Froias and friend

DATELINE: Groundwork!, NEW BEDFORD, MA – Welcome to my first official column as resident Groundwork! blogger. Or, as I prefer, resident Groundwork! Mad Man.

I write official because I’ve actually been writing about Groundwork! for some time in a variety of ways on, Facebook, Twitter and in my daily diary (but that’s sealed until 50 years after my death to protect the innocent).

In fact, I wrote a sort of ‘Dummies Guide to Co-Working’ this past winter (read it here) which promised to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the subject – but were afraid to ask.

So yes, its’ going to be that kind of column. Quirky but informative. Fun but thought-provoking. Social media style – with spell-check.

It will be centered in and around Groundwork! – New Bedford’s first co-working facility – but encompass a lot more. Because Co-Founders Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden have in a short amount of time managed to re-arrange the old order of things around here and create an entirely new solar system with its own center of gravity – 1213 Purchase Street. (And thank God this ain’t the ’60s; Mad Women call the shots!)

Some readers probably already know that Groundwork! is the home-office away from home for folks pursuing the opportunities of an economy different than the ones their parents and grandparents experienced. The 21st economy is fluid, mobile and full of surprise – and so are its practitioners. Multi-tasking doesn’t get at it; multidimensional is more like it.

That’s going to make up much of what I write about – the multifaceted aspects of our members and how they live in this city, not just work here. Often, the two twist and turn upon each other and create a better picture of who we all are now than any one narrow label or definition.

Most of us recognize that collectively we represent a new way of doing business here in New Bedford. We’re not only creating an identity for ourselves here but for the entire city.

The members of Groundwork!, their supporters, friends and family are helping to re-brand funky New Bedford in so many ways that only someone with the soul of a Mad Man can capture the complexity of their efforts. I look forward to doing that on this blog by digging deep when necessary, being glib before we all take ourselves too seriously and sincerely acting out of a sense of adventure all of the time.

That’s how we see living and working in New Bedford. We’re all here because we appreciate it for what it is – not just what it was or what it may be. The former is fabulous and the latter is up to us. We bought the hype and hope; we’re fine with being the change we seek.

And so many of us are making it happen on every level – from urban farming to technology, through the arts and entrepreneurship, to marketing and…blogging.

It all adds up to a fascinating narrative and not one but many stories to tell and anecdotes to share. This Mad Man is excited to begin doing just that…..

Steven Froias