Home 2007 October
Opinion
STCC Technology Park Is an Asset for the Region

Lost in the controversy earlier this year about the possible location of a new state information technology center either at the STCC Technology Park or in the former Tech High School on Elliot Street is the vital role the tech park has played, and will need to play, for Western Mass. to be considered an inviting address for new, emerging, or native tech-savvy companies.

When former STCC President Andrew Scibelli had the vision to create a technology business park adjacent to the college campus, he, and those of us who were part of the founders’ team, were responding to changes evident in a global marketplace early in the high-tech revolution. It was bold, risky, and the first of its kind.

It was just that kind of ahead-of-the-curve thinking that led STCC’s first president and visionary, Edmond Garvey, to establish STCC, known then as the Springfield Technical Institute, in 1967, turning a suddenly defunct federal armory into a center for technological learning.

Just 10 years ago, around the time the technology park was launched, E-mail and use of the Internet in daily commerce was still in its infancy. That the technology park has grown, changed, and broadened its scope is a testimony to just how fluid and dynamic this new age of technology is. Just as Edmond Garvey saw a niche to fill, so too did all of us who were involved in the startup of the park.

As I exit at the end of October from my service as chairman of the STCC Assistance Corporation Board, I leave satisfied that the park has upheld its original mission but also acutely aware that it will need vision and renewed commitment from all involved in order to respond to a rapidly changing and expanding business environment.

So much has changed, yet the focus, and need for the technology park, have never been greater. Events in the global marketplace and the acceleration of technology at all levels of business and commerce make the case that not only was development of the park the right thing to do, but that it is a critical piece of the puzzle in attracting new business development.

Flying somewhat under the radar to date, the park now has a broad range of business concerns that represent an asset to Springfield, the region, and STCC. These include organizations such as One Communications, the largest privately held competitive telecommunications provider in the U.S.; C2C, the E-mail archiving and management firm; and national and regional companies such as Verizon and Western Massachusetts Electric Company.

On the other end of the spectrum is a company like Mind Wing, a small startup technology firm born in the Curtis Blake Day School at American International College that recently graduated from the STCC Incubator. The park also hosts the National Center for Telecommunications Technology, the advanced technology center that develops and pilots telecommunications courses in high schools and colleges. It is a testimony to the original vision that organizations large and small have the confidence to be stakeholders in the park.

The park has also attracted a breadth and scope of business concerns that are utilizing the park’s unique assets of security and redundant digital capacity. These are important elements needed by growing technology-based companies and can be duplicated nowhere else in the Valley.

And it isn’t just those of us who had a founding role who feel this way. The park has won some national acclaim over the years: in 2001 the Economic Development Administration recognized it for ‘Excellence in Urban Development,’ and the International Economic Development Council bestowed its Excellence in Economic Development Award on the park in 2002.

At the end of the day, it isn’t about awards or recognition, or about my own view of the Technology Park’s success and prospects.

What’s at stake here is how we do business as a larger community — putting on display all of the region’s assets as we go about the task of advancing economic development in the region.

And, as Edmond Garvey proved to all of us, we shouldn’t limit our own thinking about what is possible.

Brian Corridan is the outgoing chairman of the Springfield Technical Community College Assistance Corp.

Sections Supplements
O.C. White’s Success Stems from 113 Years of Bright Ideas
Richard May

O.C. White’s owner, Richard May (left), and his son, Richard, stand near some of the company’s lighting offerings.

Richard May, owner of The O.C. White Company in Thorndike, has a wide array of antique lights and magnifiers adorning his office.

All of them are products made by his company, a lighting, audio, and magnification fixture manufacturer, at the start of its 113th year in business. May hopes to acquire several more, displaying them in a showroom now being devised in the six-story mill building in Thorndike, a village of the town of Palmer, into which he moved the company in March.

“It’s going to be designed as a ‘walk through time,’” May explained, noting that the showroom will have a museum-like feel and display some of O.C. White’s earliest and latest contributions to the industrial world.

Many of the items are collector’s items today, as they’ve been used through the years everywhere from textile mills to battleships. That’s a good thing for the O.C. White name, becoming more recognizable each year among antique dealers, but not for May himself, who, despite owning the company at which they were manufactured, must scour flea markets and online auctions regularly, paying top dollar for each and every piece. He purchased one lamp directly from the Edisonian Museum, a collection of antique electrics.

“There are a great many variations,” said May. “Some I’ve never seen, even after 40 years with the company. I find most of them on eBay, where antique dealers don’t think twice about paying thousands. The original molds stamped that O.C. White name right onto the piece, and that’s what the collectors look for.”

A Business with Bite

O.C. White has an intriguing history that is still being written. The company was founded in Worcester in 1894 by Otis White, a dentist who, after failing to find such an instrument in the marketplace, invented a small reflector — illuminated by a flame — to peer at teeth from all angles.

“Basically, he started this company out of need, but he was quite the inventor,” said May.

Records from those times are sketchy — “in the early years, everything was just spoken, not written down,” May noted — but White is also rumored to have invented the first tilt-back dentistry chair, before moving on to create a long-armed, swiveling light that could be easily moved back and forth from a stand.

This invention is documented, by four awards garnered by White at the 1901 Pan American Exposition, a precursor to the World’s Fair. The awards, a gold, silver, bronze, and honorable mention, hang in May’s office as a reminder of the company’s auspicious roots.

Throughout the next 50 years, O.C. White diversified, and began to create a wide range of industrial-strength lighting fixtures, including some for battleships during World War II.

By the 1950s, the company had also become the nation’s largest machine light supplier, working with nearly all machine builders in the country.

May’s father, Robert May, was working as a sales representative in the lighting industry at that time, and in 1962, he purchased O.C. White from the White family. The machine lighting market had begun to decline by the 1960s as Japanese outfits positioned themselves as the world leaders in that realm, but O.C. White was able to shift with the times, developing and manufacturing new products that catered to the electronics industry — items like draftsman’s lights, spring-armed lights, and other work-oriented products designed for industrial use and abuse.

“Our forte is offering products with a form, function, and fit that is superior to existing products on the market,” said May. “We’re not a retail outfit because we can’t outprice the lights and fixtures you’ll find at retail stores, so we make the best products that aren’t priced for normal, regular use.

“That’s how our company is different – the quality,” May continued. “It’s possible for one of our products to hold up for years and withstand the greatest abuse.”

Brick and Switch

The company moved its headquarters from Worcester to Three Rivers, another village of Palmer, in the 1980s, and recently relocated to its new home — a 92,000-square-foot brick mill building once used by Thorndike Awning, and later by Federal Paperboard, among a handful of other manufacturers. O.C. White will use all but 20,000 square feet of the property, which May said will be leased. In addition, he’s taken on what he estimates will amount to about $600,000 in renovations.

“The building is a great shell, but it needs several upgrades to bring it up to current levels for manufacturing today,” he said, noting that the historic showroom will be one aspect of those improvements, doubling as a conference room for clients and distributors, and a tutoring mechanism for new hires.

The latter will instill the importance of the O.C. White name and story, but also introduce the newest products available to the company’s 250 distributors, and how and why they came to fruition.

Today, the company still specializes in spring-arm light fixtures, as well as a suite of newer products that speak to the outfit’s ability to continuously shift gears along with the economy. It has a medical and life sciences division, for instance, that produces high-power microscopes, video monitors, and high-resolution video screens. Imaging firms such as Olympus and Leica use O.C. White components in their products. May said his company both designs and manufactures such items, sometimes contracting a portion of the manufacturing with other U.S. companies, but often completing every step in-house.

Lights and magnifiers for microscopes have become core products, as have lights for video systems and heavy-duty microphone arms that are considered some of the best in the broadcast industry. The product lines may have diversified, but May said that devising sturdy, long-lasting products is still very much a part of the O.C. White mission.

“Every day, you can see our microphone arms on television,” said May, who designs many of the products he sells himself along with O.C. White’s engineers. “They have the best functionality and hold far more weight, without jiggle or squeak. That means they won’t affect radio and television transmissions, and that’s made them the industry standard.”

Moving ahead, May said LED, or light-emitting diode technology, is the future of the business — especially small fixtures used in detail work to view small items.

LEDs form the numbers on a digital clock, assist in the transmission of data from a remote control, illuminate watches, and signal when a household device is on. They’re essentially tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electrical circuit, but unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, don’t have a filament that will burn out, and don’t get especially hot.

“Electronics is dying,” he said, “so the key for us will be designing high-level, better-functioning LEDs.”

Light Duty

In the meantime, he’s on the lookout for a particular model of O.C. White lamps, one that hovered over seamstresses as they hunched over industrial sewing machines in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Finding one will help complete the showroom May is building, but, more importantly, it will help shed more light on why this company with the rich history has a seemingly bright future.

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

Sections Supplements
As the Market Slows, More Firms Are Bidding for Less Work
Kerry Dietz

Architect Kerry Dietz says she seeing and hearing some “hunger” in the construction market.

Many in the construction sector are starting to see more signs that the market is tightening up. There are more companies bidding on projects — no less than 16 firms vied for rights to build the new clubhouse at the Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley, a comparatively small project — and more companies from outside the region are joining the fray. These indicators point toward continuation of a relatively flat period for most builders, but there is considerable optimism that there will be enough work to go around in 2008.

Joe Marois has noticed some bigger crowds lately at the so-called ‘walk-throughs,’ at which construction companies can get a feel for a specific project before deciding whether, and how much, to bid on it.

“At some of them, there’s enough people at the walk-through to do the job,” joked Marois, president of the South Hadley-based construction company that bears his name, noting quickly that this is not a laughing matter for most of the players in this sector.

The big turnouts mean that many companies are looking for work, at least in part because there’s less of it to find, and some of those outfits are coming from outside of this area code. The heightened competition brings the bid prices down, he continued, which is good for the customers, but not necessarily for the company winning the bid, which is ultimately looking at a smaller profit margin or, in some cases, just breaking even.

“We’re working hard to keep the lights on … we’ve had to work twice as hard for about half as much, it seems,” said Marois, exaggerating to make a point — that his firm has been successful in finding plenty of work, although many of the projects are smaller in size than what it usually pursues. He sees an abundance of projects for the balance of ’07 and the looming spring building season, but admits there is some apprehension in the industry about what lies ahead.

‘Flat’ is the term he and others used to describe the current state of the local construction market, and there are concerns for the year ahead about everything from the prices of steel and other building materials to the subprime lending mess and perceptions of same.

“The subprime housing situation hasn’t had an impact on the commercial market,” said Peter Wood, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Associated Builders in Southampton. “But what may impact the commercial segment is the lack of discretionary income after we get through a winter of continually rising commodities prices.”

Wood agreed that there is heightened competition touching many segments of the market, some more than others. There has been less overall impact in Associated’s specialty, design-build work, he noted, adding that the company has remained busy, has a number of projects on the books for next spring, and hasn’t seen a pronounced decline in margins.

“We’re still seeing opportunities to sell our product and without having to discount it,” he said. “That’s because we’re not really in a bid market, we’re in a service market.”

Kerry Dietz, owner of Dietz & Co. Architects, said her sector has also seen a surge in the number of companies bidding on projects, and also some firms from well outside this region vying for work in the 413 area code. There are several factors contributing to this, she said, including some general uncertainty about the economy, which may be prompting some business owners to err on the side of caution when it comes to building projects.

But also, some public initiatives have been slower in developing than many in this sector had expected, she said, noting that state funding of school projects — renewed after several years when the pipeline was closed off — has been slower than anticipated (the new Putnam High School in Springfield is the first project). This has no doubt forced companies specializing in school work to continue looking elsewhere, she continued, adding that funds for another state initiative involving public housing have started to trickle in.

In this issue, BusinessWest examines the state of the construction sector, and what looms ahead for an industry that is often a good predictor of the economy as a whole.

Board Feat

As he talked with BusinessWest about the general state of the building sector, Wood clicked his way to a story in the local paper about the bidding for the contract to erect a new clubhouse at the Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley.

“It says that 16 contractors — that’s a lot, that’s huge — had taken out documents to bid on what will be about a $700,000 project,” he said, noting that the clubhouse work accurately reflects what is happening within the local market, especially the publicly funded projects “Clearly some of those companies are not from around here — that’s what happens when the economy goes south for builders; that’s good for the club because it will get a good price, but it’s not good for the people trying to do business in this area.

“What happens when the market gets tight is that prices get lower in the bid process,” he said. “But you can’t swap a dollar for a dollar to stay in business; you still have to be allowed to make a profit in the business sector.”

The Ledges bidding war provides an effective backdrop for Q4, and may be a harbinger of what’s ahead, said Wood, noting that as 2007 winds down, many in this sector are still doing well, but all players are watching the landscape closely in search of clues for what might happen in the short and long term.

People like Tim Pelletier. “I’m just lying in the weeds watching to see what happens,” said Pelletier, president of Ludlow-based Houle Construction. Like others, he sees the heightened competition for jobs as a clear sign that companies are hungry for work, sometimes just to keep crews busy so they don’t lose valued employees.

“When you see people that you haven’t seen before, and when you see people start to come up from Connecticut, that tells you that things are getting tighter,” he said.

There are several theories as to why. First, the residential market has slowed down (although not as much here as elsewhere), forcing some companies that specialize in that work to veer toward commercial projects until the housing skies brighten, said Pelletier.

Meanwhile, there are more concerns about the economy — again, more nationally than regionally — and other factors that are contributing to some hesitancy in the building market.

“I’m hearing some hunger, and seeing it,” said Dietz, noting that the architectural community is often among the first sectors to note turns or trends in the economy. “Some of the sub-trades haven’t quite felt the pinch yet because they’re still working, so they think there’s plenty of work coming afterwards. They’re not at the beginning of the food chain, they’re more toward the end, so they’re not seeing it as much, but I suspect they will.”

Overall, Dietz expects more flat times ahead before the picture improves.

“I think the beginning of 2008 will be on the slow side for everybody,” she said, “but by the end of the year we’ll see some action as the housing controversy will settle down and people will get over it.”

Dietz said that at the moment, her firm is ‘slammingly’ busy — there were four proposals submitted during one recent week — but, as is typical is this business, she can’t really project more than a few months out.

Like others we spoke with, she said the perception that the economy may be slowing down may be a bigger factor in what happens across this sector than reality. Overall, she said, the problems with the housing market, and the economy in general, are not as bad as many of the headlines make it appear.

“Housing goes up like 80,000%, and then goes down a tiny fraction of that and everyone talks about the burst bubble,” she said. “I think we’ve lost our perspective on the economy in a lot of ways.”

Marois said his firm is also busy, albeit with projects it might not have pursued if times were better.

“We’ve had a lot of small jobs, and we’re going after things we normally wouldn’t go after,” he said. “But I’m noticing that there’s a lot out there to bid on … things are ramping up a little bit, and that’s unusual for this time of year.”

Finishing Work

Summing up the state of the market, Marois said that few if any companies are in panic mode. But these are times when firms must focus on the bottom line, be alert to opportunities, and do what’s necessary to ride out the storm.

“You have to really pay attention to survive right now,” he explained. “You have to watch what you’re doing, stay lean, and just be careful.”

And also expect those large crowds at the bid walk-throughs — at least for the time being.

George O’Brien can be reached at[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Misclassifying Construction Employees as Independents Can Lead to Serious Problems

Over the course of the past several years, there has been an upward trend in the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. While such a classification may have benefits to an employer, such as reduced insurance costs and certain tax benefits, it often has adverse affects on the individual that is misclassified, such as the inability to seek unemployment compensation when needed.

Construction companies are especially vulnerable to misclassifying their employees as independent contractors, and this can lead to very serious legal and financial penalties down the road.

To determine whether or not an individual is an employee, Massachusetts General Law states that an individual performing a service shall be considered an employee unless:

  • The individual is free from control and direction in connection with performance of the service, both under his contract for the performance of a service and in fact;
  • The service performed is outside the usual course of business of the employer; and
  • The individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.

The presumption that an individual is an employee may be rebutted only if the presumed employer established that it has met each of the above three tests. The employer bears the burden of proving all three conditions.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has held that an employer’s direction and control of an employee versus an independent contractor follows the common-law analysis of a master-and-servant relationship. If the employer dictates stipulations such as mandatory work hours, place at which work is performed, and job oversight, with threat of discharge as penalty for lack of compliance and employer displeasure, the individual should be classified as an employee.

Although this three-part test seems straightforward, there are some instances where the line between employee and independent contractor becomes blurred. This is commonplace in the construction industry. Most construction projects have a general contractor and several subcontractors or independent contractors. But under what circumstances should these people actually be classified as employees of the general contractor?

By way of example, consider a home remodeling company that installs residential siding. It may be tempting to classify the company’s salesmen as independent contractors to avoid paying workers compensation and taxes. However, if these individuals’ sales appointments are generated and arranged by the remodeler, and the salesmen are required to show up at a predetermined time arranged by the remodeler, it would be a difficult legal argument to prove that the employer doesn’t have control over them. Therefore, the employer would fail the first requirement of the above, control over an employee.

The salesman is selling siding specifically for the remodeler, which would also cause his classification as an independent contractor to fail the second requirement that his business must fall outside the normal course of business of the employer, since selling siding is core to the remodeler’s business. By means of comparison, the marketing and accounting of the remodeling business may be subbed out to independent contractors, as these are completely outside the business of selling and installing siding on peoples’ homes.

In addition, the employer would have to prove in court that the salesman was customarily engaged in an independently established business of the same nature in order to pass part three of the above test. To be classified as an independent contractor, the siding salesman would have to be wearing the hat of his own independent enterprise or also selling products for other companies as well as those of the remodeler.

Continuing with our residential siding example, consider also the classification of siding installers. Those who work only on projects for a particular remodeler, with materials and tools supplied by that remodeler, at a rate set by the remodeler, and in a manner under which the remodeler determines when and how the subcontractor performs, would likely fail all three of the above stipulations classifying an independent contractor. Such conditions transform an independent contractor relationship into an employer/employee relationship.

A good example of the discrepancy between the employee/independent contractor designation centers on a case involving an insurance salesperson. The employer laid down many requirements, but when the salesperson visited clients or perspective clients, no one followed him to direct him as to details. He exercised his own skills and judgment, choosing among a number of allowable ways to present his products, and he closed sales as he judged best for each particular customer. Nonetheless, the court found him to be an employee.

In holding that he was in fact an employee, the court stated that his employer held a significant amount of discretion as to how he performed. For example, he sold only products of the employer, and he did not perform services of the same manner for any other employers. This finding proves that just because one performs services outside of an employer’s office, that does not always make him an independent contractor. The employer can still have a significant amount of control as to how the employee performs.

When a general contractor classifies his workers as independent contractors as opposed to employees, he usually does not provide for worker’s compensation insurance. Should one of those workers become injured, and it is later determined he should have been classified as an employee, the general contractor can be held liable for the worker’s pain and suffering, which is not permitted in a worker’s compensation claim. Similarly, if the general contractor’s workers’ compensation insurer conducts an audit and determines that workers should have been classified as employees and included on the workers’ compensation policy, they can back-charge the employer for the premium he should have paid. This can result in a large amount of money owed immediately.

Any employer, and in particular construction companies, should seriously consider the classification of their workers. Failure to do so correctly can lead to a multitude of problems in the future.

Adam J. Basch, Esq., is an associate with Bacon & Wilson, P.C. He is a member of the Litigation Department with expertise in the areas of construction, employment, and general litigation, as well as personal injury and creditor representation; (413) 781-0560;[email protected].

Opinion

This issue, BusinessWest begins a series of articles on how other cities are faring with the challenges facing all urban centers in the 21st century, with the goal of identifying strategies and philosophies that may be incorporated in this region. We start with Lowell, a community similar to Springfield in many ways — it is a former manufacturing (textiles) hub, runs along a major river, pursued minor league baseball (successfully), and was managed by a finance control board during its darkest days — and also a community hailed by many as a model for urban revitalization.

The comeback effort, waged over the past 30 years or so, was recently called into question by some academics and economic development experts, who say that Lowell hasn’t created enough new jobs and still has high rates of poverty. This may be true, but by most estimates, what Lowell has accomplished is worthy of praise and emulation. The city is vibrant, with perhaps 3,000 more residents living in its downtown (most all of them with disposable income) than just seven years ago, and it has re-invented itself as a cultural destination, and an attractive place to live and work.

Springfield has those same goals, but it faces some handicaps that Lowell doesn’t. It is too far from Boston and the Route 128 beltway to gain appreciably from the strong economy there. Meanwhile, it doesn’t have the millions of square feet of vacant mill space that developers transformed into condos and apartments in Lowell’s downtown area.

But there are plenty of lessons Springfield officials can take from Lowell, and we hope they do. Here are a few:

  • Embrace the Past: Lowell’s revitalization efforts started with the Lowell National Historic Park, which pays tribute to the city’s heritage as a planned industrial city, and it was moved forward by the fact that the city didn’t bulldoze all those old mills. Springfield can learn from this and try to create more cultural and historical attractions. The Armory museum is already here, and it can supplemented by facilities that recognize the city’s manufacturing heritage, the products made here, the many ‘firsts’ for which the city is known, and the entrepreneurs who started those ventures.
  • Focus on Market-rate Housing: Lowell found a way to add market-rate housing to its downtown without displacing poor residents and those in subsidized housing. Springfield can do the same, but it will have to be more creative. It doesn’t have mills, but it does have upper-floor spaces in many buildings downtown. And if the struggles to attract commercial tenants to One Financial Plaza continue, maybe, just maybe, several floors could be converted to market-rate (not subsidized) housing. It may be necessary to incentivize developers to build such projects, and if that’s the case then the city needs to find a way.
  • Embrace the Arts: The key to urban residential development in any city is to make that urban area attractive enough for people to want to live there. Thus, Springfield has a lot of work to do. Part of the success formula in Lowell was a full embrace of arts and culture. The city boasts a number of museums and galleries, and hosts several music and cultural festivals each year. These assets are complemented by restaurants and clubs that keep the downtown humming throughout the day. Springfield can and must do the same.
  • Foster Teamwork: Little of what has happened in Lowell could have been accomplished without teamwork and consensus-building. Creating the same type of working environment in Springfield will be an important assignment when — and even before — the control board eventually finishes its work here. One planning official in Lowell said a key to progress there was the ability to get officials to share in the responsibility for getting things done — and then share the credit. This may be the most important lesson Springfield can learn.
  • Be Positive: It would wrong to say that the “Lowell miracle,” as some call it, was made doable by a can-do attitude. But it certainly helped. At some point early in the revitalization process, Lowell started believing in itself. In Springfield, it seems, a ‘can’t-do’ attitude seems to prevail.
Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

A1 Pizza
Durmaz, Koray
Durmaz, Jessica
a/k/a Savage, Jessica
86 Walter St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/14/2007

Acus, Donald E.
Acus, Sarah M.
a/k/a Cortesi, Sarah M.
21 Berkshire Ave.
Southwick, MA 01077
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Auger, Diane Marie
15 Chapel St.
West Warren, MA 01092
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/12/2007

Cahoon, Jean L.
155 Veazie St.
North Adams, MA 01247
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Day, Lee J.
88 Lyman Road #4
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Darling, Patricia A.
1549 Allen St. Apt. 1
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Doran, Amelia
PO Box 216
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Fazio, Aldo R.
6 Lyric Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Fazio, Candice L.
a/k/a Brown, Candice
579 Barry St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Herbert, Oliver S.
Herbert, Elizabeth J.
a/k/a Rocasah Elizabeth J.
P.O. Box 60751
Longmeadow, MA 01116
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Hill, John E.
Hill, Marcia J.
79 Forest Ridge Lane
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/13/2007

Jasienowski, Shannon N.
19 Helen St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/11/2007

Jones, Melanie F.
39 Duggan Circle
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/12/2007

Kelley, Samuel T.
33 Claremont St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/11/2007

Loomis, Thomas P.
11 Stanley St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Malejka, Patricia Ann
254 South St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/07/2007

Malone, Arthur D.
64 Carlisle St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/13/2007

Malumphy, Bernard J.
58 Taylor St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/11/2007

 

Neves, Bret J.
95 Stafford Road
Wales, MA 01081
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/14/2007

Owens, James J.
4 Williston Drive
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/14/2007

Parker, Wilmer A.
52 Pendleton Ave.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/13/2007

Pinney, Edward L.
a/k/a Pinney, Edward V.
Pinney, Stella A.
a/k/a Antico-Pinney, Stella R.
297 Granville Rd.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/07/2007

Provost, Judith A.
439 Beech St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Provost, Desiree N.
122 Bellwood Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Ray, Rachel M.
88 Providence St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Richer, Michelle D.
58 Camden St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Rodriguez, Keishla
588 Chestnut St.
Springfield, MA 01107-2045
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/14/2007

Samimi, Behzad A.
36 Emerald Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/11/2007

Slick, Nancy Marie
180 Montgomery Ave. Ext.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/14/2007

Smith, Eric T.
18 Lombard Ave.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/10/2007

Sullivan, Kimberly A.
57 Chilson St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 13
Date: 09/13/2007

Villemaire, James Clifford
24 Marion St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/13/2007

Watson, William Paul
28 Berbay Circle
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Welz-Andrews, Ann
42 Navajo Dr.
North Adams, MA 01247
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Wolf, Donna Marie
4 Amostown Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/12/2007

Zorfas, Harvey
Zorfas, Cynthia W.
P.O. Box 256
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Date: 09/14/2007

Sections Supplements
Giclée of New England Is Helping Turn Artists into Business Owners
Nancy Bryant

Nancy Bryant, owner of Giclée of New England, said her trade allows artists to thrive, not starve.

Nancy Bryant snapped her first photo with a digital camera at the start of this decade, and now has become one of the eminent digital artists in the region.

Her work has won awards, including one from the International Assoc. of Panoramic Photographers, and also earned her respect from a growing number of artists.

However, those artists, as well as several business owners, are increasingly seeking out Bryant to take advantage of the unique venture she incorporated in 2003 — Monson-based Giclée of New England, which is using still-emerging technology to lessen the accuracy of the term ‘starving artist,’ one piece of original artwork at a time.

It’s a term that some have trouble pronouncing, but many, especially creatives, hope to learn more about. Giclée (pronounced jee-clay) is an art and photograph reproduction process, which uses digital technology and archival inks, canvas, and papers to create long-lasting, high-quality images.

The process borrows its name from the French verb ‘to spray,’ as inks are sprayed onto paper or canvas by specific, commercial-sized digital printers. The archival nature of the prints the process creates (they last for 100 years or more, instead of just a few), as well as the color management it allows, are what make giclée prints unique, and also some of the best reproductions of artwork available for sale, in terms of resemblance to the original and longevity of the print.

From French to Folk

Giclée has an intriguing history; first developed in the early 1990s, one of its pioneers was Graham Nash, a fine art photographer better known for his musical career with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. His company, Nash Editions, honed the method, and continues to offer it to photographers and artists from around the world.

But Bryant’s story is an interesting one, too, and it began with a yearning to make a living as an artist, one since expanded to help others do the same.

She graduated from Springfield Technical Community College in 1975 with a degree in graphic arts, and immediately began working in that field, pausing after a few years to start a family.

Bryant returned to college in 1988, this time at Westfield State, to complete her bachelor’s degree in fine arts. But upon completing her coursework in 1990, she realized that time and technology had made her previous job as a paste-up artist obsolete.

“My job no longer existed, and I had no computer skills,” she said, adding that she found a job working in the state’s former welfare system, where she stayed for 10 years, while becoming what she calls ‘a weekend artist.’ “It was a good, solid job, and I kept trying to create on my own time, but that’s a very frustrating thing for an artist.”

The tide began to turn, but without Bryant truly realizing it, in 2001, when her son bought her a small digital camera as a gift. The possibilities surrounding the new technology intrigued her, even though this was her first foray into the digital age.

Still, she stuck to family photos and snapshots until another development pushed her further into the digital art world. Her brother became ill, and when she went to visit him, she brought her new camera and began documenting his final days.

These portraits, titled Peter’s Journey, found their way into a local art show, and garnered some praise from other artists. One fan in particular caught Bryant’s attention, though, when he said as beautiful as the portraits were, they would soon fade, because she’d printed them on a standard desktop printer with commonly used inks.

“That’s when I realized that image permanence is an issue,” she said, noting that from that point, her immersion in the digital imaging world became nearly all-encompassing. Just months after receiving her first digital camera, she completed a course in PhotoShop, began researching long-lasting printing methods, and, like Graham Nash before her, stumbled upon giclée.

“I also finally told myself, ‘life is short. If you’re going to do it, do it now,’” she remembers. “So, I mortgaged the house, set up shop, and here I am.”

Art and Parcel

Since its start, Giclée of New England has grown each year and is now, says Bryant, a profitable operation doing a little bit better all the time.

She owns two of the massive giclée printers needed for the process, and has also expanded her services to include framing and large format printing of banners, posters, and signage (up to 44 x 40 feet). She also handles graphic design; business services including logo, letterhead, brochure, and business card design; image capture (creating a digital version of original artwork and photographs); and offers a sales and shipping service for reproduced artwork, used most frequently by working artists who reproduce their original work and sell prints, often limited edition sets, for additional profit.

The business has also grown to include the GoNE Inc. Gallery on Main Street in Monson, which displays a number of both original and giclée prints on a rotating basis.

“There are a lot of things going on,” said Bryant. “It really is a full-service shop, especially for artists. Since we can handle everything from the image capture of a piece of art to its sale, we’re helping artists make a living at what they do.”

What’s more, the very option of reproducing art is a new one for many artists, and that alone is causing business growth at Giclée of New England as the word spreads.

“A lot of artists are just beginning to discover reproduction,” she said, “as well as the idea that they can hold onto their original work longer, selling giclée prints for a few hundred dollars and getting more mileage out of it, while at the same time still being able to sell the original artwork, often for thousands.”

Image is Everything

Bryant said that as an artist herself, she also has a certain sensitivity for staying as close to the original creation as possible. In the early days of giclée, she explained, fading was an issue, but today’s inks, printers, and special canvasses and papers have largely negated that problem.

Later, there was the issue of metamerism, or the effect of various light sources on a print. Sunlight, for instance, could bring the pinks and reds out, while fluorescent lights cast a yellow or green hue. The newer printers, one of which Bryant owns and uses exclusively for artwork and so-called ‘critical jobs,’ have addressed this problem as well. The older printer at Giclée of New England won’t be put out to pasture, though, says Bryant — it’s perfect for banners and other non-critical orders.

But even as technology continues to improve, there is still a very strong human component to quality control at Bryant’s shop. She’s begun to develop a reputation around New England as one of the most accurate fine art reproducers in the region, due to meticulous study of her craft and attention to detail.

“I have spent countless hours learning my trade,” she said, noting that it doesn’t begin with feeding a digital file to a printer and pushing ‘start.’ Rather, Bryant must first capture the image, using a scanner mounted vertically on a hydraulic table. She then reproduces the original artwork, often in sections due to size, and readies the art for printing in PhotoShop. The method is called ‘scan and stitch,’ and amounts, in layman’s terms, to just that — piecing the image together to create a seamless product.

From that point, the image can be printed, but color correction still falls to Bryant’s eyes on many occasions, as she carefully compares the reproduction to the original.

“Sometimes, I get it on the first try. Other times, it can take 50 passes or more to get it right,” she said.

Either way, the finished print is close to indistinguishable from its original, and in the GoNE Gallery, Bryant has taken to noting which pieces are original, and which are giclée prints.

As she moves ahead with the business, Bryant said there are plenty of new plans brewing. She’s currently searching for a new home for the gallery, and is also planning to upgrade some of the equipment that is integral to the shop.
This could mean an investment of upwards of $50,000 — equipment includes digital cameras or camera backs, scanners, copy tables, and copy stands — but Bryant said a faster process will also translate into lower prices for her customers.

A Very Fine Art House

She’s also begun teaching courses, including adult education classes such as ‘how to read your camera manual’ and digital coaching for artists who hope to do some of the work she does on their own.

“I want to keep expanding to help artists market their work,” she said.

And as she does so, she’s helping the arts community thrive, printing her own creations more than ever, and perhaps giving Graham Nash a run for his money.

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

Features
As Confusion Mounts, Cautious Optimism Surrounds Health Insurance Reform
Christine Phillips and Carole Parlengas

Christine Phillips (left) and Carole Parlengas of United Personnel say health insurance reform could have some rocky times ahead, but they view the changes as necessary and important.

‘One calendar month is the calendar month, commencing with the first calendar month following the first day of employment, unless the first day of employment is the first day of a calendar month, in which case the calendar month commences with the first day of employment.’

That’s how one sentence, regarding employee start dates and how they affect a company’s calculation of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, reads on the Mass. Office of Labor and Workforce Development Web site.

Carole Parlengas, vice president and CFO, and Christine Phillips, executive vice president with United Personnel, a staffing agency based in Springfield, said it’s also a good example of the verbiage surrounding the Commonwealth’s health insurance reform legislation that has their heads spinning.

“If just one sentence is overwhelming, think of all the other things we haven’t even seen yet,” said Parlengas, to which Phillips added that, while in many respects United Personnel has stayed ahead of the game in terms of implementing new requirements, there’s still an anxiety level surrounding what needs to be done, and how.

“From the beginning, we’ve said that we will work with whatever the state gives us in order to stay legally compliant and in step with the legislation,” said Phillips, “but we’re still nervous, because we’re not always sure what the state is doing. And from what I’m hearing, we’re actually ahead of some other companies who’ve gotten lost in the quagmire and are waiting for more direction.”

United Personnel represents the business sector that could be experiencing the most problems with the Commonwealth’s implementation of health insurance reform, signed into law by former Gov. Mitt Romney in April 2006. It requires all Massachusetts residents to have health insurance — the deadline was this past July — and through mandates and new filing requirements, places this responsibility not only on individuals, but state agencies, health plans, and employers as well.

Devil in the Details

While the plan has received little public criticism of late on administrative or legislative levels, employers are beginning to feel the weight of the new paperwork required by the law.

Staffing agencies are particularly stymied, trying to understand how to efficiently file new forms when employees are temps, often starting a new position multiple times throughout the year. This makes it difficult to pinpoint how many FTEs an agency actually has, not to mention those employees are scattered throughout various businesses, not contained in one office.

“I don’t think the administration ever thought about transient employees,” said Parlengas, who, over the course of the last month, has attended several meetings with legislators, health insurance companies, and other staffing agencies across the state as they scramble to find their place in the puzzle. “They thought of seasonal and part-timers, but not the temps.”

This concern has moved closer to the forefront in recent weeks due to the arrival of the first round of new annual filings for employers that are part of the legislation.

Employers were notified the week of Sept. 24 that beginning on the first of October, they would receive their first Fair Share Contribution report (FSC), which can be completed online and details whether or not an employer with 11 or more FTE employees has made a ‘fair and reasonable contribution’ to their employees’ health insurance, and if not, to what extent a per-employee Fair Share Contribution (of up to $295 per employee annually) must be paid.

Employers have also received a second form, the Employer Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure report (HIRD), which confirms whether or not an employee has been offered a Section 125 plan, a pre-tax payment system for health coverage and the minimum requirement for employers. Forms must be signed by each employee regardless of their decision to accept or decline the plan, and must be kept on file for three years.

Further, they must be filed with the state by Nov. 15, and that quick turn-around has many people reeling. Staffing agencies have arguably felt the pressure first, but Phillips said she wonders if similar worries will surface in other industries, such as health care, which employs a large number of per diem employees, and in restaurants, in which servers rarely work ‘normal’ hours.

“The data is the scariest thing; it’s going to be a few rocky years for some companies,” she said. “It’s the biggest piece of this right now — record-keeping, and producing the data the state needs.”

In some ways, the problems brought on by the new filing requirements start at a very basic level, Phillips noted. For one, the computer systems currently used at United Personnel have no way of ‘answering’ the questions posed by the state: questions such as ‘what is the percentage of the premium cost for individual coverage your business offered to contribute for all full-time employees?’

“We need certain tools in order to report the data correctly that we don’t have; our databases weren’t built to deal with such sophisticated queries,” she said, adding that for now, the process has become a very human one — and therefore very time- and resource-consuming. “It’s daunting that record-keeping has become so important … especially when we don’t even understand what constitutes a calendar month.

“I think that when this was being planned out, the administration was thinking in terms of standard jobs, and standard hours,” she continued. “When I think of people in restaurant and hospitality jobs, or the medical field, I think they must have some of the same challenges as we do. I don’t think the administration thought long on logistics.”

Painting with a Broad Brush

Still, some with a bird’s-eye view of the reform say that while some roadblocks are bound to crop up, the plan has moved ahead as smoothly as they could have hoped.

Mike Widmer, president of the Mass. Taxpayers Assoc. (MTA), spoke with BusinessWest a year before the health coverage deadline, and at that time cautioned employers against leaping to any conclusions when the legislation’s reporting components began to fall into place.

“The classic, Massachusetts response at the first sign of trouble is ‘man the torpedoes,’” he said in May 2006. “We have to keep working, to progress into new territory.”

Today, his sentiments have not changed much.

“Massachusetts gets very high marks for how well the implementation has gone, and I include the Connector in that,” said Widmer, referring to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, an independent public authority created to implement significant portions of the health care reform legislation, including assisting qualified Massachusetts adult residents with the purchase of affordable health care coverage.

“The administration in general deserves high marks for implementing health care reform. It could have been a problem with a Democratic governor taking over after a Republican governor, but they’ve been sensitive to this and have not tried to reinvent solutions to the issues.

“It took a broad and unusual coalition to pull this off, and a group of constituencies sought to achieve compromises that have held together,” Widmer continued. “We’ve enrolled 200,000 people to date, and moreover, the Connector Authority votes on tough issues, like affordability. Those votes have been largely unanimous, and that reflects the compromise and proves that the board is not going to the mat on every issue.”

Widmer said he, too, has some looming concerns despite his confidence in the system, including the possibility of losing key federal funds.

“We are negotiating with the federal government to maintain funding in 2008 that is critical,” he said. “Once the reform was in place, they approved it, and we didn’t lose the money, but now, we must re-evaluate, and that’s going to determine how much funding we’ll get.”

The Finer Points

Jeff Ciuffreda, vice president of Government Affairs with the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, agreed that while much remains to be seen, the current climate in the region seems to be one of acceptance of the law, and of respect for its objective. But like Widmer, he also guards his optimism.

“The roll-out of the products is being seen as fairly good,” he said, “and overall, we haven’t heard a lot of negative feedback. I do hope, though, that there aren’t too many people adopting a ‘let’s-wait-and-see’ attitude.”

Ciuffreda said he fears some employers may be unclear on some of the details of the legislation, in particular the role of the Fair Share Contribution, and that this could create a backlash later in the year as tax time approaches.

“I hope this lack of feedback isn’t a sign that employers are not understanding some of the fine complexities of the law,” he said. “When they file their taxes, they could face the first phase of penalty, and we could hear more complaints.

“The biggest misconception is that the Fair Share Contribution of $295 is a good deal, but that’s just the first part,” he added. “It could get exceedingly worse for those employers.”

That’s because if employees at a given company (of 11 employees or more) accrue more than $50,000 in health care costs drawn from the free care pool the legislation is aimed at eliminating, the employer is responsible for at least a portion of the bill, and possibly the whole amount.

“If the legislation hasn’t gotten people’s attention, those penalties will,” said Ciuffreda. “They’re not meant to fine; they’re meant to make health care ultimately more accessible for everyone, and by the end of this year, we’ll have a clearer picture as far as how that is progressing.”

Agents for Change

Despite the challenges they’re currently facing, Phillips and Parlengas also agreed that with any new legislation, especially one with such broad implications, there are bound to be some stumbling blocks.

Overall, though, they’re optimistic that the Commonwealth’s health insurance reform will achieve its goal — to make health care universally accessible to Massachusetts residents.

“We’re patient, and we’re positive,” said Phillips. “We have a commitment to making sure we’re compliant and we take doing business in this state very seriously.”

“Something needed to be done,” added Parlengas. “Even though it’s confusing now, and the employer bears the brunt — it’s important.”

Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

Departments

Cutting the Ribbon

School officials, alumni and student-athletes participated recently in a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the new $5 million Wilbraham & Monson Academy Athletic Center. The 16,800 square foot facility includes a state-of-the art fitness center, new lockers for students and visiting teams, a dance studio, a boardroom, administrative offices and an outdoor deck overlooking Crystal Pond in the center of the campus. The construction project also included improvements to the Academy’s pool and gymnasium. The new fitness center was also dedicated the Jane McNamara Kelly Center for Strength & Endurance. Kelly was a long-time instructor and swim coach at the Academy. She was also responsible for bringing the Relay for Life fundraising event for the American Cancer Society to WMA. She lost her own battle to cancer in 2005. Back row: Athletic Director Skip Jarocki, Titan, team captains Eddie Jewel, Andrew Harvey, Brigid Jurgens, Russell Dinkins, Sarah Lyon, Makeeda Gibbs, and Head of School Rodney LaBrecque. Front row: Heather Hamil, Brittany Batterton, Hanah Kee, and Chelsea Goldrick.


Celebrating 40 years

Springfield Technical Community College staged a 40th anniversary gala on Oct. 19 at the Storrowton Tavern Carriage House. Nearly 200 current and former administrators, staff, faculty members, and trustees turned out. Above, current President Ira Rubenzahl, left, and former President Andrew Scibelli pose with former trustee and faculty member Dorothy Pryor (center) and Cecelia Gross, a current professor of Social Sciences. At top, Trustee Chairman Steven Bradley, left, chats with fellow trustee Maria Goncalves and her husband, Larry Tiberio.


After 5

The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce staged its September After-5 networking event at the Fathers and Sons dealership in West Springfield. At top, Webster Bank was the Gold Sponsor for the event. Above, from left, John McTighe, Sarah Chapin, and Amada Davis from Strategic Information Systems.

Sections Supplements
Providing Care for Aging Parents

When an aging parent needs assistance to live at home, many children opt to provide the care personally. Often, the parent will not agree to hire health care professionals to provide care due to their inability to appreciate the decline in their ability to live independently. Occasionally, the parent has concerns regarding privacy or safety, and the only caregiver they trust is their child.

Regardless of the circumstances, the ‘caretaker child’ arrangement conjures up a variety of legal issues.

A caretaker child arrangement begins when either the parent begins residing with the child in the child’s home or the child begins residing, or continues to reside, in the parent’s home while receiving care similar to that of a facility.

hen the child resides with the parent in a caregiver capacity, it is common for the parent’s home or other assets to be transferred to the child as compensation. When the parent begins residing with the child, normally the parent’s home is sold and the proceeds are used to build additional living space for the parent in the child’s home or given to the child in exchange for the services the child agrees to provide.

In either situation, it is best to establish a care agreement. This is a contract between the parent and the child and possibly the child’s spouse, in which the parent agrees to pay the child (in either a lump sum or on an ongoing basis) or to finance an improvement to the child’s home, and the child agrees to care for the parent until the parent either passes away or is no longer able to perform two of the activities of daily living. These include bathing, eating, dressing, transferring, and toileting.

When establishing a care agreement, value must be associated with the services provided. One approach involves valuing the services as a package like those at a board-and-care facility, and this is only feasible when the services rendered are substantially the same as those rendered by such a facility. In this situation, the average monthly cost of the facility may be used in the agreement as the monthly cost of the care provided by the child.

An alternative approach involves valuing each service individually. This approach should be used when a child is performing only some of the caretaking activities or when there are indications that a non-caretaker child may challenge the agreement. Tasks performed by the child may include, but are not limited to, grocery shopping, meal preparation, accounting services, driving the parent to medical appointments, housecleaning, laundry services, etc. When using the individual pricing method, the child must keep a record of the services performed and receive payment based on the actual amount of service reflected on the time sheet.

In addition to valuing the services provided, there are various other provisions of the care agreement that are equally important. The purpose of the agreement should be clearly stated and should set forth the exact services that the child will provide as well as the location at which they will be provided. The parent’s space, as well as any common areas, should be described in detail. Additionally, the agreement should set forth whether the parent or the child is responsible for paying monthly utility charges, such as gas, water, and electricity, as well as yearly expenses, such as property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

It is imperative that the parent and child decide under what circumstances the child is willing to care for the elder. The agreement should specifically state the terms and conditions upon which the parent or the child is allowed to cancel the contract. In order to avoid the appearance of an illusory promise on the child’s behalf, the agreement should provide that cancellation shall only occur upon the occurrence of specified conditions, such as when it becomes unsafe to continue to provide care in the home.

The services that the child provides with respect to housekeeping, laundry, meals, and personal assistance should be as detailed as possible. The agreement should detail a schedule for cleaning the parent’s room and establish parameters regarding the parent’s transport to and from medical appointments by the child.

The agreement should also address any property maintenance duties the child will perform, including, but not limited to, ensuring repair of the premises or its mechanical components as needed, mowing the lawn, additional landscaping and snow removal.

In addition, a formula should be provided to determine how increased costs will be calculated whenever anticipated. For example, if the elder pays $50 per month to cover the cost of food, any increase should be tied to the annual consumer price index increase or calculated in some other definable manner so that its application is precise. Without such a provision, a disagreement may arise between the parent and the child, which could, in turn, disrupt the ongoing performance of the agreement.

Any comprehensive care agreement should also address the disposition of the parent’s property upon passing or admission to a nursing home. As the parent’s last will and testament will govern the distribution of any remaining assets, the care agreement should mandate the execution of estate-planning documents by the parent.

The impact of a care agreement with respect to the parent’s long-term care financing options is substantial.

At present, the most common options for financing long-term care include obtaining long term care insurance, privately paying for care, or obtaining Medicaid benefits. When applying for Medicaid benefits, the Division of Medical Assistance will ask whether the applicant has made any gifts during the applicable look-back period. If gifts are found, the Division of Medical Assistance will assess a penalty upon the applicant. This penalty prevents the applicant from obtaining benefits for a certain time period based on the amount of the gift. When assets are transferred to a child as payment for care provided, it may be possible to avoid this penalty as the money was transferred to pay for services provided and was not merely a gift.

Although there are many issues to address when establishing a care agreement, the benefit of such an agreement far outweighs the effort involved in establishing one.

Outlining the responsibilities of each party will prevent most disagreements during the pendency of the agreement. Ultimately, working through the issues raised in a care agreement will lay the framework for a successful arrangement between the parent and the caretaker child.

Gina M. Barry is an associate with the law firm of Bacon & Wilson, P.C. She concentrates her practice in the areas of estate and asset protection planning, probate administration and litigation, guardianships, conservatorships, and residential real estate. She is a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the Estate Planning Council, and the Western Mass. Elder Care Professionals Assoc.; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]