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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums’ monthly lecture and tour schedule continues in January with the popular Museums à la Carte lectures, which take place each Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

Admission is $4 ($2 for members of the Springfield Museums), and visitors are invited to bring a bag lunch (cookies and coffee are provided). For more information about Museums à la Carte, call (413) 263-6800, ext. 488. This month’s lectures include:

Jan. 7: “The Last Blasket King, Pádraig Ó Catháin, An Rí,” a talk by Gerald Hayes, co-author of the book of the same name that he wrote with Eliza Kane, the great-great-granddaughter of the last king of the Great Blasket near Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland.

Jan. 14: “Why, How, and the 343:  Better Angels, The Firefighters of 9/11.” Dawn Howkinson Siebel, artist and creator of the “Better Angels” exhibit, shares her personal journey in creating this fascinating and powerful exhibit.

Jan. 21: “Leaving Our Mark: In Celebration of the Pencil — Artist’s Words and Views.” Steve Wilda, artist and organizer of “Leaving Our Mark,” will be joined by other artists featured in the exhibit, including Doug Gillette, Bill Simpson, Lesley Cohen, and Luciana Heineman.

Jan. 28: “The Klondike Gold Rush: A Chicopee Man Goes to the Yukon in 1898 (and Back).” Robert Romer, professor emeritus at Amherst College, brings to life the story of Chicopee’s John Gibson, an Irish immigrant who set out for the Klondike to seek his fortune.

As part of the Museums’ members-only “Continuing Conversations” series, museum docent Jim Boone will lead a guided gallery discussion immediately following the Jan. 14 talk at the Wood Museum of Springfield History, and docent Pat McCarthy will lead a post-lecture gallery discussion on Jan. 28 at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Art.

Daily News

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration recently announced that five Massachusetts farms with land permanently protected from development through the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program — including three in Western Mass. — have been awarded $400,000 in grant funding for infrastructure improvements.

“These agricultural investments help create jobs and make Massachusetts’ farms more competitive in the national and global marketplace,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Our administration is committed to supporting Massachusetts’ vibrant agriculture industry, which provides fresh, healthy food for the Commonwealth’s residents.”

The local grantees include Burnett Farm in Adams, $50,000 for barn expansion; Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield; $100,000 for dairy infrastructure improvements; and the Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, $75,000 for produce packing and storage building.

“The grants awarded will ensure that land protected for agriculture continues to support commercially viable farm businesses for current and future generations of Massachusetts farmers,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “Through this year’s awards, farmers in the Commonwealth will be able to upgrade and expand their agricultural buildings, keeping their businesses safe and competitive.”

The APR Improvement Program, established in 2009, is funded by the federal Farm and Lands Protection Program and is administered by the Department of Agricultural Resources. The program also provides recipients with technical and business-planning assistance to identify the best use of funds to improve farm infrastructure and productivity.

Since 2009, AIP has provided more than $3.5 million in total grants (average $66,509 per farm) and $330,150 in technical assistance (average $6,229 per farm) to Massachusetts APR farms that own a combined total of more than 7,000 acres of protected farmland.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recently announced the eligible candidates for the class of 2016, with Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, and Shaquille O’Neal among the headliners. A complete list can be found at www.hoophall.com.

The class of 2016, including those selected by the direct-elect committees, will be unveiled on Monday, April 4 at the Men’s NCAA Final Four in Houston. Enshrinement festivities will take place in Springfield on Sept. 8-10. Tickets for the various class of 2016 enshrinement events are on sale at www.hoophall.com.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Office of Spiritual Life is hosted its 15th annual adopt-a-family program over the holiday season. Members of the campus community purchased gifts for 20 families that are part of the Teen Parent Program, which is part of Open Pantry Community Services Inc., located in Springfield.

Members of the Springfield College campus community were able to participate in this program either as individuals or as part of a group. Faculty, staff, students, clubs, and athletic teams throughout the campus collaborated in purchasing gifts for Teen Parent Program families, with the Office of Spiritual Life assisting in collecting and matching the gifts with the appropriate families. Gifts included gift cards, food donations, clothing, and toys.

The Teen Parent Program is a residential program dedicated to providing teenage parents and their children a safe place to live while also seeking to bridge access to resources, life skills, and the development of achievable, long-term self-sufficiency goals.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — The Rural Community College Alliance has awarded a $25,000 grant to Greenfield Community College (GCC), Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), and the Franklin Community Co-op (FCC) to fund a new collaborative College Farm Market Project (CFMP).

GCC farm and food systems and business majors will work as interns with CISA and FCC to enhance and expand on existing opportunities with farmers’ markets in the Pioneer Valley. The project’s goal is to develop a replicable model for coordinating food- and farm-focused education, marketing, and sales that support the growing sustainable farm movement in Western Mass.

The RCCA grant will fund six three-credit paid internships for GCC students while the costs of the credits earned are covered by other grants the college has won. Three interns will work at FCC, and three will work at CISA. The grant also provides funds to defray some of the partner-agency staff time needed for this project and for staff to attend national and regional conferences to share information about the project with other colleges and organizations. This grant brings together three organizations that have significant impact on regional farm and food systems and will enhance coordination around food justice and development of farmers’ markets.

The internships housed at FCC will continue the work of fall 2015 GCC interns to create a mid-week farmers’ market in Greenfield, seeing its development from its opening this spring through the remainder of the summer and fall. At CISA, the GCC interns will focus on broader regional issues that affect farmers’ markets in general, further food justice and SNAP matching efforts, provide replicable templates for building market business structures, and expand the customer base for locally grown foods that promote sustainable models for farm viability. Staff and administrators from the three organizations will meet regularly to develop long-term structures for interorganization collaboration for strengthening agricultural cooperative supports in the region.

“This project enhances the learning of our students in farm and food systems and in business through work experience in which they can apply their academic work,” said Christine Copeland, SAGE assistant and internship coordinator at GCC. “It’s great for their career prospects, and they also make professional contacts and network with people in their field. Not least, they work in the farm and food sector, about which many of them feel passionately.”

Daily News

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration announced that 19 more cities and towns have been designated Green Communities by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and will receive more than $3.1 million for local clean-energy and energy-efficiency projects.

The Western Mass. communities added to the list, and their funding, include Adams ($166,865), Bernardston ($131,290), Egremont ($138,570), Stockbridge ($139,625), West Springfield ($222,765), and Windsor ($137,880).

“The Green Communities program demonstrates state and local governments can work together to save energy and taxpayers’ money, while making the Commonwealth a healthier place to live,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “These 19 communities will be able to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, reducing energy costs and reducing their carbon footprints.”

Added Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, “helping cities and towns reduce their energy consumption allows them to channel their financial savings into other municipal needs, like public safety, education, and municipal buildings. These grants further reiterate the Commonwealth’s ability to work with municipalities to ensure Massachusetts continues to be a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency.”

The 155 Green Communities are cities and towns of all sizes that range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 54% of Massachusetts’ population. All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20% over five years.

“Through the Green Communities program, DOER is able to work with municipalities to find clean-energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen local economies,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The commitment and hard work of these 19 communities to reduce their energy use and undertake clean-energy projects will help Massachusetts continue its leadership in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions.”

Daily News

CHICOPEE — The Athletics Department at Elms College will add men’s and women’s outdoor track teams in 2017.

“I’m excited about the prospect of adding this new sport to the 15 other men’s and women’s sports we already sponsor,” said Ellen McEwen, director of Athletics at Elms. “This addition to our Athletics Department can be very successful in this geographical area, especially under the leadership of our cross-country coach, Matt Dyer, who has a very strong background in the area of track. He put together the program proposal for us, and will be coaching both the men’s and women’s teams.”

The team will be about more than sport, according to Dyer. “We really care about giving back and carrying out the mission of Elms College and the Sisters of St. Joseph,” he said. “Our cross-country team does a multi-day, overnight service trip each fall, and I’m sure we will continue some similar mission and service work with our track programs. We really love and enjoy the process of working hard and growing together not only as students and athletes, but as people trying to serve a higher cause.”

Dyer has just completed his fourth season as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross-country programs at Elms. Hired in August 2012, he has helped direct both teams to successful finishes in the New England Collegiate Conference; the women’s team came in second in 2013 and 2014, and the men’s team was third in 2015. He was named NECC Women’s Coach of the Year in 2013.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Partners for a Healthier Community (PHC) has confirmed Jessica Collins as its executive director.

Collins is a nine-year veteran of the Springfield-based nonprofit, where she previously served as interim executive director and deputy director. She will be leading the institute’s expansion of services in research and evaluation, coalition-building, and policy advocacy.

“Communities of color, members of the LGBT community, and people with disabilities face significant disparities in health in our region, Collins said. “Our mission is to address these inequities so that all people will have what they need to lead healthy lives.”

PHC was recently awarded the contract to lead the Community Health Needs Assessment for the 10 regional hospitals in Western Mass. in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Collaborative for Educational Services. “This assessment documents the existing health needs of each community and provides the data necessary to develop effective strategies to address health inequities,” Collins said.

Added Rev. Karen Rucks, PHC’s board chair, “having a local public-health institute to serve Western Mass. is invaluable. The staff of Partners for a Healthier Community bring an understanding of the context and communities in our region to their services. They are committed to building capacity in our region to better understand how to use data and to collect and report on specific issues that are worthy of collective attention.”

Prior to coming to PHC, Collins led community-based participatory research projects including the Shape Up Somerville program focused on the prevention of childhood obesity in Cambridge and Somerville. Other nationally recognized community-health initiatives led by Collins include efforts to address substance abuse and suicide prevention, as well as preschool oral health.

In addition, Collins announced the hiring of Jessica Payne as senior research associate. Payne brings 25 years of experience in program development, evaluation, and needs assessment. She has extensive knowledge of regional communities and public-health initiatives, and collaborates with partners and informants of varied backgrounds relative to age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, occupation, and region. Since 1988, her company, Jessica Payne Consulting, has provided research and evaluation services in the healthcare, education, community-development, marketing, and culture and arts industries.

Cover Story

Assignment: Springfield

Laura Masulis

Laura Masulis says working on initiatives to increase foot traffic downtown is among her goals.

Before last spring, about all Laura Masulis knew of Springfield was what she could see off I-91 as she drove back and forth to Wesleyan. But when she was chosen as one of MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative fellows, and the city was selected to be granted such an individual, she got off the highway, took a much closer look, and became intrigued, to say the least. A match was made, and now she’s heavily involved in all efforts to make downtown a destination.

Laura Masulis grew up in Nashville, which is known worldwide for its music industry and, in recent decades, a burgeoning healthcare sector. But for most of her adult life, she’s had what she called a soft spot for “old industrial cities.”

That sentiment helps explain why she considers her current assignment, as a so-called Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) fellow working in Springfield for MassDevelopment, a “match made in heaven.”

Indeed, Springfield’s long history as a manufacturing hub and current work to reinvent itself certainly resonated with Masulis as she was rating potential landing spots within the statewide TDI program as part of a matching process similar to the one experienced by graduating medical-school students.

“We rate them, and they rate us,” said Masulis, 28, as she talked about how she interviewed in Springfield, Lynn, and Haverhill, and officials in those communities ranked the various candidates as much as the candidates ranked potential destinations. “I ranked Springfield first, and they ranked me first, so it was pretty simple.”

But there was more than an industrial heritage that convinced Masulis that she wanted Springfield to be her home, figuratively and quite literally — she recently purchased a home in the Forest park neighborhood — for at least the three-year duration of her assignment.

There was also its many forms of diversity — Masulis majored in Latin American studies and economics in college — as well as the architecture downtown, cultural attractions, and, most importantly, vast potential for improvement.

“I was amazed by how visually beautiful the city was, in both the downtown and the neighborhoods — that surprised me,” she noted. “I was moved by the architecture, excited about the diversity of the community, and intrigued by all that’s happening; it’s definitely an exciting time for this city.”

Her general assignment is Springfield, but, more specifically, it’s a several-block area downtown that it is now called the Innovation District — a name that is slowly working its way into the lexicon but is still used almost exclusively by elected officials and development leaders. Perhaps more importantly, it has been designated by MassDevelopment as a TDI District, with the focus squarely on the first two words in that acronym — ‘transformative’ and ‘development.’

MassDevelopment literature outlining the TDI initiative defines that phrase this way: “transformative development is redevelopment on a scale and character capable of catalyzing significant follow-on private investment, leading over time to transformation of an entire downtown or urban neighborhood, and consistent with local plans.”

There are 10 TDI projects in various stages of progression across the Commonwealth, including those focused on the so-called TOD District in Holyoke, the Tyler Street District in Pittsfield, the One Lynn District in Lynn, the Merrimac Street Transformative District in Haverhill, the North River Neighborhood in Peabody, Downtown Gateway in Brockton, and the Theater District in Worcester.

In Springfield, the TDI District stretches, for the most part, from Main Street to just east of Chestnut Street, and from Bridge Street to Lyman Street. It includes the city’s entertainment district, Apremont Triangle, Stearns Square, the park located on the former Steiger’s site (now known as Center Square), and the so-called ‘blast zone,’ those blocks heavily damaged by the November 2012 natural-gas explosion.

As part of efforts to transform the identified districts, the Gateway cities can apply for what’s known as a ‘mid-career fellow’ to help develop and implement strategic initiatives. Springfield, Lynn, and Haverhill prevailed in the spirited competition for the first three fellows to be funded by MassDevelopment (three more will be assigned in 2016), and that brings us back to Masulis and that matching process.

Her assignment, which started in May, dictates that she works closely with several local development-focused agencies, including the city’s Economic Development Department, the Springfield Business Improvement District, DevelopSpringfield, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and others, and thus she’s been involved in a number of recent initiatives.

These include everything from movie nights at Stearns Square over the summer (The Princess Bride was among the films shown) to the recent pop-up Downtown Springfield Holiday Market; from Valley Venture Mentors workshops to public stakeholder meetings (the latest was on Dec. 17); from a project at Market Place involving UMass landscape architecture students (see related story, page 41) to the recent City2City trip to Chattanooga, Tenn. (her thoughts on that excursion later).

She said much has been accomplished, but much more obviously needs to be done to transform the district into a place people will not only want to visit, but also live in and start a business in.

For this issue, BusinessWest talked at length with Masulis about her assignment, the TDI District, and her thoughts on what the future might bring for the City of Homes — now her own home.

Developing Story

Masulis did her undergraduate work at Wesleyan University in suburban Middletown, Conn. But she’s spent the past several years working and going to school in Boston (she earned a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership at Boston University), and, as mentioned earlier, she grew up in Nashville.

So she’s used to streets teeming with people, and is thus well-acquainted with the energy — as well as the sense of security — that such a critical mass provides.

And those are two of the things she noticed were largely missing during her visits here early on — and are still missing, for the most part. She noted that the clubs along Worthington Street can be crowded — and parking spots hard to find throughout the entertainment district — on weekend nights, but her impression is that the streets are seemingly, and somewhat alarmingly, empty too much of the time.

“I was moved by the fact that there was so little foot traffic,” she told BusinessWest. “At night, you only feel unsafe because there’s no one around. That was sort of an eerie thing to experience when I first got here.”

It’s not officially written into her job description, but doing something about that quiet on the streets, the lack of foot traffic, is a very big part of why she’s here.

And that goal has been at the forefront of many of those efforts described earlier, from the movies in the park to the holiday market. But there is obviously much more to this assignment than announcing such events with chalk on downtown sidewalks, as Masulis could often be seen doing over the past several months.

Indeed, the work involves strategic planning, developing partnerships to carry out initiatives identified in those plans, meeting with the key stakeholders, and, overall, creating and maintaining a buzz about downtown and, more specifically, the TDI District.

Springfield’s Transformative Development Initiative District

Springfield’s Transformative Development Initiative District encompasses several blocks in the city’s entertainment district and so-called ‘blast zone.’

Masulis brings to these various duties a diverse background that includes work with social-service agencies and small businesses. She’s served as a program assistant for the Center for Women and Enterprise and as a business analyst for the Public Consulting Group, and also co-founded the still-operating Lawrence BiciCocina, a community bike and board workshop in Lawrence (another of those old industrial cities) to promote healthy lifestyles, sustainable and low-cost transportation, youth leadership development, and job training.

Most recently, she’s been a senior project manager for Interise, the Boston-based venture that stimulates economic growth in lower-income communities by helping established small-business owners grow and expand their ventures.

She said this background meshed effectively with what Springfield and its TDI District perhaps most needed — small-business recruitment, retention, and development efforts — and this contributed to those ‘match made in heaven’ sentiments.

Masulis admitted that, prior to last spring, about all she knew of Springfield was what she could see from I-91 as she traveled on that road to get to Wesleyan nearly a decade ago. When the city became one of the finalists to be assigned a fellow, she said she got off the highway for a weekend visit that focused on the downtown and the TDI District itself.

As she mentioned, she was somewhat unnerved by the lack of foot traffic — “sort of creepy” was another of the phrases she used to describe it — but looked past it to its many attributes and considerable growth potential, something she says many of those who live and work in the city have a much harder time doing.

“People from the outside can often appreciate the many assets of a city more than the people who are there every day,” she explained. “And I definitely experienced that with Springfield.”

What’s in Store?

As she talked about her assignment, Masulis said it is unique, in many respects, with regard to others within the broad realms of economic development and urban planning. Getting more specific, she said that, while there are certainly many meetings to attend — she didn’t attempt to guesstimate how many she’s been part of since arriving — her work mostly involves implementation, which is what she likes most about it.

And there is plenty of implementation to do, considering the various initiatives taking place in the city and the many partner agencies she works with. Which means that the calendar is full and each day is different.

“It’s an interesting role because I’m doing 15 things at once,” she explained. “I’m working with projects involving the Pioneer Planning Commission on the walkability of downtown and signage and pedestrian infrastructure. And the next meeting I’m at, we’re talking about recruiting restaurants for the district, and at the next meeting, I’m talking with property owners about improvements that need to be made and how they’re going to finance those.

“I’m meeting with residents who are talking about how they wish there was better lighting on their street,” she went on. “It’s a broad spectrum of issues and initiatives, and every day is a complete mix of things. And while geographically I’m very focused on this one district of downtown, all the issues are interconnected to the city and the region, so I wind up being part of these broader initiatives and conversations.”

As for the TDI District itself, Masulis said the basic mission is to make it a destination — or much more of a destination — for a wide array of constituencies. These include people looking for a place — or places — at which to spend a night out, individuals who want to do some shopping, entrepreneurs looking for a location to launch or relocate a hospitality-related enterprise, and people looking for a place to live. And she’s working with the various partner agencies to anticipate and meet the needs of those and other groups.

“This is an entertaining, dining, innovation district that has seen a couple of major investments made, but a lot of it has yet to be built out,” she said, citing the stunning transformation of the Fuller Block as an example of the type of development that could — and hopefully will — happen at dozens of buildings and vacant lots within the district.

“That’s a perfect model for what could happen to buildings across the district,” she said of the property, which now houses National Public Radio, the Dennis Group (an engineering company), and a host of other tenants. “And there have been others that have not been rehabbed, including those in the blast zone, on the extreme end.”

One of the keys to making such redevelopment happen is successful recruitment of new businesses, she said, adding that such work represents just one component of her work involving small businesses. Another is working with those that are already located within the district, she noted, adding that, while attracting new ventures is critical, so too is making sure existing ventures can thrive and thus serve as models for others.

“I’m doing on-the-ground work with the established businesses there — making sure they know what’s going on and have awareness of the various resources available to them,” she said. “And there’s also the work of recruiting businesses from around the region who could potentially open another location in Springfield.

“But I’m also part of the conversation about building out the small business and entrepreneurship pipeline in the region,” she went on, “and for filling in the gaps and having a more cohesive umbrella regarding all the resources available. We need to pull those together more tightly and in a more user-friendly way than what’s currently in place.”

The Right Place and Time

Still another factor that made Springfield a desirable landing spot, said Masulis, was the fact that her three-year assignment — which could go much longer — coincides with an obviously intriguing chapter in the city’s history and reinvention process.

one of 10 across the state

Springfield’s TDI District is one of 10 across the state identified by MassDevelopment.

Beyond the elephant in the room — the $900 million MGM Springfield, which is scheduled to open its doors around the time Masulis’ three-year tenure wraps up — there are other initiatives, including the redevelopment of Union Station, the construction of a subway-car manufacturing plant in the east side of the city, a wave of entrepreneurial energy that manifests itself in the form of the various Valley Venture Mentors initiatives, the new innovation center downtown, and much more.

And Masulis feels privileged to be in a position to not just watch it happen, but play a role in how events transpire, especially with regard to the entrepreneurial piece of the puzzle.

“I feel very lucky to be coming in at this point,” she told BusinessWest. “I definitely recognize that there’s been a huge amount of work and sweat equity already put in to developing this entrepreneurship culture; I’m just here to provide some additional capacity to help keep it moving forward.”

As for the bigger picture — and where Springfield and its TDI District might be three years from now, or 10, or 20 — Masulis, acknowledging that she was taking that outsider’s perspective, even with eight months of work downtown under her belt, takes a decidedly optimistic view.

“Regardless of what happens with MGM, there is already a lot of positive energy in the city, and that includes the innovation and dining space,” she said, referring to the real estate within the TDI District that comprises her primary focus. “There’s a lot of momentum when it comes to the anchors that are already in place that we really want to build upon; what we want to do is fill storefronts with positive activity.”

The pop-up Downtown Springfield Holiday Market was an example of this, she said, adding that the initiative, based in the ground-floor space of the building most still know as Harrison Place, was designed to increase foot traffic while also giving retailers, who take on temporary, or pop-up space, a chance to try on downtown Springfield and see if the shoe might fit.

“That’s one strategy to get more retailers to come downtown and try it out,” she explained. “For us, the plan is to then transition them into longer-term leases in more permanent locations. In five years, we want to see a lot more foot traffic on the street, not just on workdays, but also at night and on weekends. The goal is fewer vacant storefronts and more people utilizing the green spaces that are already there.”

Masulis said she’s heard all about how vibrant Tower Square was decades ago, and also about Johnson’s Bookstore, Forbes & Wallace, Steiger’s, and all the other retail now relegated to the past tense. She said the goal moving forward isn’t about restoring the past, but creating something different, equally vibrant, and more reflective of the changes that have taken place over the past four decades.

“We have a very different community than we had 30 years ago,” she noted. “What’s going to be in the future is not going to be a perfect replication of what was.”

She acknowledged that the task of getting more people to live and do business downtown is a complicated process — people won’t live in the area until there are things to, and there won’t be things to do unless there are people living in and coming to the area. But she believes progress will come on both fronts, and this will generate continued progress.

“You need to work on both things at the same time,” she said of the commercial and residential aspects of the equation. “And you have to find a couple of risk takers who are willing to come out early before the proven model.”

She said the Chattanooga trip, while energizing, certainly, provided ample evidence of how much work remains to be done, but also how much progress Springfield has already made, especially with regard to creating opportunities and closing the gap between the haves and the have-nots, something Chattanooga has not done as well.

When asked if Springfield could host a similar program now, or when it might be able to do so, Masulis said that, in many respects, she believes the city is already there, but that, in a few years, it will have many more success stories to put on display.

“In five years, Springfield will look very different, and I really hope that we’ll be in a position where people want to visit this city and we’re able to show that not only do we have these flashy projects that have been very successful, but we’ve made real strides in reducing inequality as well.”

At Home with the Idea

Those words ‘we’ll’ and ‘we’re,’ while seemingly innocuous, are rather telling when it comes to this fellowship and how Masulis looks upon it.

She’s not just someone working in Springfield on a project funded by MassDevelopment. OK, she is, but rather quickly, she’s become an integral part of the multi-faceted effort to revitalize and reinvent one of the old industrial cities she’s so fond of. And she’s using words like ‘we’re’ and ‘we’ll.’

More than that, she’s already talking about how that house in Forest Park may be home for much longer than three years.

In the meantime, she’s in the middle of something special — a match, as she said, that was seemingly made in heaven.

 

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

Daily News

The Commonwealth’s defense-contract work supported more than 88,000 workers and contributed more than $20 billion to the Massachusetts economy, while Massachusetts military installations directly or indirectly supported more than 57,000 jobs with a total economic contribution of more than $13 billion in fiscal year 2013, according to two new University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute reports. Massachusetts companies exemplifying the crucial and beneficial connections between the defense sector and small businesses include Holyoke’s Meridian Industrial Group, which does machining for portable MRI equipment; Southampton’s J&E Precision Tool, which produces components for Black Hawk helicopters, periscopes, and F-22s and F-35s; and CPI Radant Technologies Division in Stow, which develops components for military aircraft.

“The Commonwealth’s six bases and defense-related firms continue to have a major impact on the Massachusetts economy, both in terms of jobs and dollars,” said Gov. Baker. “Academia, business, and technology – three of the Commonwealth’s top sectors — play a role in our installations and defense contracts, helping this industry serve as an economic driver. We look forward to their continued growth and contribution to Massachusetts.”

The Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and MassDevelopment commissioned the reports. The first studied the impact of the Commonwealth’s six military installations – Barnes Air National Guard Base, the Fort Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, Hanscom Air Force Base, Joint Base Cape Cod, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, and Westover Air Reserve Base — and the Massachusetts Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. To view the full report, click here.

“Massachusetts is on the cutting edge in helping our military modernize,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. “The work that goes on at military installations and by defense contractors across the Commonwealth is critical to our national security and to our state’s economy, and I am glad to partner with our local industry to make certain that Washington recognizes and supports the excellent work done here.”

The second report studied the defense industry’s contribution to the New England economy, finding that in fiscal year 2013, New England defense contracting generated nearly $49 billion and more than 218,000 jobs.