Company Notebook

Smith, Watson & Co., LLP to Open Office in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD — Smith, Watson & Co., LLP, with offices in Great Barrington, North Adams, and Lakeville, Conn., is expanding by adding a Central Berkshire County presence. The new office, at 7 North St. in Pittsfield, will open its doors in July. “Our top priority has always been to meet the needs of our clients,” said Bryon Sherman, managing partner. Sherman, along with fellow CPAs Robin Markey, Kim Whalen, and Colin Smith, are partners in the firm. The firm will continue to serve its clients from its other three offices. Smith Watson is a full-service accounting firm licensed in multiple states offering a broad range of tax, accounting, and consulting services. Smith Watson’s staff of 19 professionals, including seven CPAs, will expand to include several more senior accountants.

UMass Dining Chefs Capture Gold at Competition

AMHERST — UMass Dining took gold for the seventh year in a row at the American Culinary Federation-sanctioned competition held June 9 during the 23rd annual Tastes of the World Culinary Conference at UMass Amherst. UMass Amherst chefs Pamela Adams, Matthia Accurso, Anthony Jung, and Robert Bankert competed against 14 other culinary teams from across the U.S. and Canada. Skidmore College also achieved a gold for its menu.

Country Bank Awards Scholarships to Students

WARE — Officials at Country Bank are pleased to announce the presentation of 15 scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each, to area high-school seniors. Country Bank scholarships were offered to graduating students within the region. The applicants needed to demonstrate a commitment to their communities through volunteerism and leadership by submitting an essay outlining their experiences along with recommendations from their guidance counselors or teachers. A committee of five Country Bank staff selected the recipients after reading more than 100 submissions. Recipients include Cameron Wright, Belchertown High School; Alysse Carpenter, Leicester High School; Fiona Marie O’Sullivan, Ludlow High School; Jordan Baker, Minnechaug Regional High School; Ashley Gurney, Minnechaug Regional High School; Patricia Murphy, Minnechaug Regional High School; Timothy Canning, Palmer High School; Matthew Remillard, Palmer High School; Cise Nur Balik, Quabbin Regional High School; Kerri Stolberg, St. Peter Marian High School; Jessica Rousakos, Shepherd Hill Regional High School; Delaney Giguere, Tantasqua Regional High School; Rachael Farley, Wachusett Regional High School; Julie Anne Goldberg, Wachusett Regional High School; and Makaela Flamand, Ware High School.

Pioneer Valley Credit Union Recognized by Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — Pioneer Valley Credit Union was recognized with the 2017 America Saves Designation of Savings Excellence for its efforts during America Saves Week/Military Saves Week to encourage members to save money. The award is presented each year to financial institutions that succeed in encouraging people to open and add to wealth-building accounts. Just two in five American households report making good or excellent savings progress. America Saves Week is an annual opportunity for people to assess their savings status and make a plan to start or increase their savings and for organizations like banks or credit unions to support good savings behavior. America Saves Week is coordinated each year by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council.

HCC Gateway to College Graduates Largest Class Ever

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College’s (HCC) award-winning Gateway to College program graduated the largest class in its nine-year history June 6, presenting certificates to 33 high-school students who have been taking college courses at HCC. Those students will now collect their diplomas from eight area high schools: Springfield, Holyoke, Westfield, Palmer, Longmeadow, Agawam, Minnechaug, and Belchertown. Among them, the students also amassed a total of 372 transferable college credits, or enough to fulfill the requirements for more than six associate degrees. Gateway to College is a national program that takes high-school dropouts or students at risk for dropping out and gives them the opportunity to earn their high-school diplomas as dual-enrolled college students. “You gave us a second chance when you didn’t have to,” said student speaker Deborah Manus, from Holyoke. “This is the beginning of bigger and bigger things.” The HCC Gateway to College program has consistently been one of the best-performing Gateway programs in the country, earning top marks for GPA, graduation rate, and retention rate. For the second year in a row, the program has received the Excellence Award from the national Gateway to College organization. Since its founding in 2008, HCC’s Gateway to College program has helped 251 students earn their high-school diplomas while also getting an early start on college. More than half have continued onto college, and so far 30 have earned their associate degrees from HCC, and six have earned bachelor’s degrees. Six Gateway to College graduates earned their associate degrees from HCC on May 27. “What I see in front of me are not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today,” said student speaker J’Anthony Smith Sr. of Holyoke. “The country’s pretty divided, but there’s hope in every single one of you sitting here today.” HCC Gateway to College graduate Eimy Holguin of Springfield was also the valedictorian for the Springfield Public Schools Alternative High School graduation, which was held on June 8.

LUSO Earns Designation of Savings Excellence

LUDLOW — LUSO Federal Credit Union, a financial cooperative locally owned and operated by its members since 1971, recently received the Designation of Savings Excellence from America Saves for the third consecutive year. This award recognizes the achievements of the top-performing credit unions that surpass the expectations of their members, the public, and the financial experts at America Saves. The Designation of Savings Excellence recognizes and honors the hard work and integrity of credit unions that are able to successfully achieve their goals of compelling people from low- to medium-income households to open and contribute to a wealth-building account. LUSO Federal Credit Union has consistently hit its mark and, in the process, helped members learn the value of personal savings and garner the skills and confidence to make smart financial decisions.

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