Home 2017 January
Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Valley Blue Sox announced their 2017 schedule this week. As was the case in 2016, the Sox will play a 44-game slate, with their home opener set for Thursday, June 8 against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats at 6:35 p.m. at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke.

The Blue Sox have 10 home games slated for the month of June and 12 scheduled for July. This year’s NECBL All Star Game will be played in North Adams on Sunday, July 30. The final Blue Sox home game will be Friday, July 28 vs. the New Bedford Bay Sox. To see the entire schedule, click here.

“The biggest and most important thing is that all but three home games this season will be played on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday,” said Blue Sox President Clark Eckhoff. “That maximizes the accessibility for fans — they won’t have to worry as much about school nights, getting to work the next day, and the like. They can come out and do what they’re supposed to do at a baseball game — and that’s have fun with their families.”

In a slight change from previous campaigns, the Blue Sox will be kicking off 2017 on the road on Tuesday, June 6 versus North Adams as well as ending the regular season on the road against Ocean State on August 1. It’s the first time the Blue Sox have opened on the road in four years, and the first time in three seasons that they’ll close out the season on the road.

“You know the home opener is coming no matter what — but it’s always nice to have those few extra days to get things ready the way you want them to be,” said Blue Sox General Manager Hunter Golden. “For the fans, the slightly later start date will just mean a better experience right out of the gate. Opening day is fun and exciting, but there’s also a lot that needs to get done. We’ll be better for it.”

The Blue Sox promotional schedule will also be released in the coming months, Eckhoff said. “We’ve got some really exciting things on tap. Some staples like Star Wars night and Friday night fireworks will be back — and we’ve got about five new promotions that we think the fans will get really excited about.”

Individual game tickets will go on sale starting March 1 and will cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors. Season tickets, flex packs, and group tickets are already on sale, and can be purchased either online at www.valleybluesox.com or by calling the Blue Sox ticket office at (413) 533-1100.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Savings Bank announced that Kelly Gagnon has been promoted to trust officer in the bank’s Trust & Investment Management Group, Michael Cherry has been promoted to office sales manager at the bank’s Northampton office, and Anna Zadworny has been promoted to office sales manager at the South Deerfield office.

Gagnon joined Greenfield Savings Bank in 2010, and has worked in the financial-services industry for more than 18 years. She is a graduate of Greenfield Community College, a trust graduate of the Cannon Financial Institution, and earned the designation of certified trust and financial advisor from the Institute of Certified Bankers in 2015. She is active volunteering in the community.

Cherry joined Greenfield Savings Bank in 2015 with eight years of experience in the banking industry, and will be concentrating on new business and account development. He volunteers as a member of the board of directors for the Amherst Boys and Girls Club.

Zadworny has been in banking for 26 years and at Greenfield Savings Bank since 2012. She completed the finance program at Babson College with honors, and holds an associate’s degree in business management from Holyoke Community College. She is active in the community as a volunteer for NEF, the Salvation Army, the United Way, and the Northampton school system.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Plenty of good seats are available for the ninth annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, to be held on Thursday, March 30 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke.

The winners, profiled in the Jan. 23 issue and at businesswest.com, are the Community Colleges of Western Mass. (Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and
Springfield Technical Community College); Friends of the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round; Denis Gagnon Sr., president and CEO of Excel Dryer Inc.; Junior Achievement of Western Mass.; and Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One.

Tickets to the event cost $65 per person, with tables of 10 available. To order, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Event sponsors include First American Insurance; Health New England; JGS Lifecare; Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; Northwestern Mutual; O’Connell Care at Home; Royal, P.C.; and Sunshine Village.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank announced the appointment of Allan Costello as president of its wholly owned subsidiary First Choice Loan Services Inc., a mortgage-banking business originating loans across a national platform.

As president, Costello will work with the current leadership team at First Choice Loan Services, including Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Norman Koenigsberg and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ralph Picarillo, in developing strategic initiatives. Costello will be instrumental in setting corporate policies and procedures for this subsidiary consistent with the compliance culture at Berkshire Bank. In addition, he will continue to serve as executive vice president for the bank’s Home Lending Division, leading its sales and operations functions including loan origination, underwriting, compliance, processing, and servicing.

Costello has been integral to developing the growth, improved operational efficiencies, and strong mortgage oversight and governance of Berkshire Bank Home Lending. In his new role, he will execute on First Choice Loan Services’ strategic vision and cultural integration as part of Berkshire Bank.

Costello brings more than 30 years of experience in auditing, risk management, compliance, accounting, operations, and banking. He joined Berkshire Bank in 2011 and held the position of senior vice president, Audit before transitioning to the Home Lending Division. Prior to Berkshire Bank, his career was focused on the auditing and financial fields, including director at Accume Partners, divisional vice president of Bank Protection at Charter One Bank, and chief financial officer at Rhinebeck Savings Bank.

“Since opening its doors in 2009, First Choice Loan Services has evolved into an extremely well-respected and nationally recognized leader in the mortgage industry,” Costello said. “I’m excited to join Norman, Ralph, and the rest of their outstanding leadership team and continue to build on their tremendous success.”

Costello holds a bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting from Siena College and graduated from the American Bankers Assoc. Graduate School of Banking. He is a certified internal auditor and certified fraud examiner.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — The West of the River Chamber of Commerce announced its Legislative Breakfast event, which brings members and non-members together for a morning of breakfast and legislative updates.

The event will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 7 to 9 a.m. at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with local business people over breakfast, and later will enjoy an informational session, emceed by Anthony Cignoli and presented by a panel of legislators, including State Sens. Don Humason and James Welch, stat Reps. Nicholas Boldyga and Michael Finn, Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen, and West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt. The presenting sponsor is Six Flags New England, and the premiere sponsors are Health New England and OMG Inc.

The event costs $30 for members and $35 for non-members. For more information or to register, visit www.westoftheriverchamber.com or call the West of the River Chamber of Commerce office at (413) 426-3880.

Daily News

GLASTONBURY, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016.

The company reported net income of $14.6 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the quarter, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $14.2 million, or $0.28 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $9.9 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2015.

“In the fourth quarter of 2016, the United Financial Bancorp Inc. team delivered record revenue, record earnings per share, and strong loan growth, all supported by an attractive cost structure and excellent asset quality,” said William Crawford IV, CEO of the company and the bank. “I want to thank our employees for their relentless focus on serving the financial needs of our customers.”

Total assets at Dec. 31, 2016 increased by $54.7 million to $6.60 billion from $6.54 billion at Sept. 30, 2016. Total loans were $4.90 billion, representing an increase of $181.0 million, or 3.8%, from the linked quarter. Changes to loan balances during the fourth quarter of 2016 were highlighted by a $63.9 million, or 9.7%, increase in commercial business loans and a $24.6 million, or 6.3%, increase in owner-occupied commercial real-estate loans. Total residential mortgages increased during the fourth quarter of 2016 by $27.1 million, and total held-for-sale loans decreased $20.8 million. Total cash and cash equivalents decreased $123.3 million, or 57.6%, during the linked quarter, partially due to the company funding loan originations.

Deposits totaled $4.71 billion at Dec. 31, 2016 and increased by $15.7 million, or 0.3%, from $4.70 billion at Sept. 30, 2016. Reflective of growth in newly acquired deposit relationships, increases in the fourth quarter of 2016 included a $20.2 million, or 2.9%, increase in non-interest bearing deposits and a $65.6 million, or 15.2%, increase in NOW checking deposits. These increases were offset by a $115.4 million, or 6.2%, decrease in certificates of deposit, some of which migrated to money-market deposit accounts that reflected growth of $40.5 million, or 3.4%, during the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Creative Strategy Agency Inc. (tCSA) announced the addition of a new position to the agency, welcoming Bridget Delaney as social media coordinator, and also announced the Google certification of Tony Papoutsakis, who joined the agency in June.

“I am thrilled that he is now certified in Google, allowing us to better serve our advertising clients with search-engine optimization and AdWords advertising,” said Alfonso Santaniello, president and CEO of tCSA. “With the growth in the agency this past year, we’ve been fortunate enough to bring on a talent like Bridget.”

Delaney joins the agency with a strong background in social-media marketing, working with organizations within Springfield. She stays on top of all the latest social-media trends and is skilled at creating unique and inspiring content. She possesses a broad range of creative skills that she brings to any project. Her love for simple and classic designs is evident in her work, Santaniello said.

As a social media coordinator, she creates and implements marketing strategies for tCSA clients across all social-media platforms. She then manages these sites and curates engagement among users to produce higher brand awareness.

Before taking her role as tCSA’s social media coordinator, Delaney worked with the Downtown Springfield Business Improvement District and Spirit of Springfield, where she managed social-media pages and assisted in event marketing and planning.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Savings Bank has appointed Tara Brewster business development specialist. The position is part of an expansion of the bank’s Commercial Banking Department. She brings more than years of small-business experience, including seven years as owner of Jackson & Connor in downtown Northampton.

“Tara’s 20 years in business makes her a great addition to our commercial business development team,” said Mark Grumoli, senior vice president and commercial loan officer. “Her experience and success running her own business, Jackson & Connor, gives her a first-hand perspective of the financial and banking needs of local businesses.”

Brewster is a Northampton native and graduate of Smith College. Before joining the bank, she worked for independent small businesses and multi-million-dollar companies between Massachusetts and New York City in a wide range of management positions, including manager, promotions director, buyer, regional sales manager, and East Coast account executive.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELDBusinessWest magazine will accept nominations for the 40 Under Forty Class of 2017 through the end of the work day (5 p.m.) on Friday, Feb 17. The annual program, now in its 11th year, recognizes rising stars within the Western Mass. community, which includes Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties.

This year’s group of 40 will be profiled in the magazine’s April 17 edition, then toasted at the June 22 gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke. The nomination form, which can be found online at businesswest.com (click ‘Our Events’), requests basic information and can be supported with other material, such as a résumé, testimonials, and even press clippings highlighting an individual’s achievements in their profession or service to their community.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — The Franklin County Young Professionals Group (FCYPG), a program of the United Way of Franklin County, will host its first annual Nonprofit Board Fair in partnership with Leadership Pioneer Valley’s Leaders OnBoard program.

The event will be held at Terrazza at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday, Feb. 16. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the fair runs until 8 p.m. Sponsored by Ramon Financial Services, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, and Franklin First Credit Union, the event is free and open to the public. RSVP is requested by visiting [email protected] or calling (413) 772-2168.

“FCYPG’s first annual Nonprofit Board Fair has been at the top of our young professionals group’s list for quite some time. We are pleased to finally make it happen and support the work of exceptional local organizations here in Franklin County by helping them recruit volunteers and committee and board members,” said Stephanie Gale, director of Resource Development and Community Engagement at United Way.

Currently, 15 organizations will be represented: Leadership Pioneer Valley, Friends of the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter, YMCA in Greenfield, Franklin County Community Meals Program, New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, Stone Soup Café, Stavros Center for Independent Living, Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, LifePath Inc., Franklin County Young Professionals, Center for New Americans, Children’s Advocacy Center, Friends of Children, and Montague Catholic Social Ministries. There’s still time to sign up for a table at the event by e-mailing [email protected] or calling the United Way at (413) 772-2168.

“We are looking forward to this event and working with individuals and organizations to expand and strengthen their pool of volunteers, which is essential to a nonprofit’s success,” said Amy Proietti, program coordinator, Leadership Pioneer Valley, Leaders OnBoard Program. “Local residents looking for opportunities to give back to their community or make connections with area nonprofits are highly encouraged to attend the fair.”