People on the Move

Eric Polep

Eric Polep

J. Polep Distribution Services announced the promotion of Eric Polep to president and CEO, reporting to Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Polep. “Eric has proven time and again he understands how to grow with the industry and as the business dictates. He represents J. Polep with pride, and his everyday goal is to make sure each customer and vendor sees the outcome of long-term success, which is the foundation to our business,” said Jeffrey Polep, also Eric’s father. J. Polep Distribution Service is the fifth-largest convenience wholesaler in the U.S., exceeding $1.5 billion in sales. The locally owned and operated business posted a 30.1% increase in overall sales, rising from ninth place to fifth place in the 2017 CSNEWS Top Wholesalers report. Eric will continue to work closely with Jeffrey and all of the company’s support staff to ensure effective execution of strategies and operational services. “I am very excited for this opportunity that lies ahead of me and look forward to the continuing growth of the business,” Eric said. “Upon graduating college, I knew I wanted to go right into the family business and absorb everything I could from my father. Working beside him has always been a dream of mine, and it’s an honor to be named president of J. Polep Distribution Services by him and our board.”

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Christopher Scott

Christopher Scott

Michael Pike

Michael Pike

PeoplesBank announced appointments of two key associates. Christopher Scott was appointed assistant vice president, portfolio manager, while Michael Pike was appointed Hadley branch manager. Scott has more than six years of banking experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in corporate finance, from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. He is also a graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute. Pike has more than 12 years of banking and financial-services experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Notre Dame College.

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Dr. Neil Kudler, former chief medical information officer for Baystate Health, has joined Holyoke-based healthcare consultancy VertitechIT as chief medical officer. “IT consultants focused primarily on bits and bytes are doing their clients a disservice,” said Kudler, who has held other senior executive and strategist positions at Baystate Health, one of New England’s largest healthcare systems. “As CMO of VertitechIT, I’m in a position to bridge that all-important technology gap between clinicians and the IT departments that must support them.” VertitechIT is among the fastest-growing healthcare IT consultancies in the country, focused on helping senior IT leaders to strategically and tactically transform the role of IT in the hospital setting. “Any consultant worth their fee can design and implement a new cloud strategy or infrastructure platform,” said VertitechIT CEO Michael Feld. “Dr. Kudler gives us immense credibility on the clinical side of the house, providing guidance on things like diversified health-system operations, population health, and data analytics.” Before joining VertitechIT, Kudler served as senior healthcare innovation strategist for TechSpring Technology Innovation Center, and as chief operating officer for Baycare Health Partners. He is a graduate of Colgate University and received his master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. He received his doctor of medicine degree from New York University and trained in internal medicine at UC San Francisco.

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Jonathan Howell

Jonathan Howell

Springfield College named Jonathan Howell as its new director of Human Resources, effective March 5. He brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources, with the last 15 years working in higher education. As the college’s lead human-resources officer, Howell will be responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction surrounding all human-resources initiatives and priorities for Springfield College. Howell comes to Springfield College from Mitchell College in New London, Conn., where he served as vice president for Human Resources starting in 2015. Prior to his most recent position, Howell also served as director of Human Resources at Mitchell College from 2012 to 2015. Prior to his time there, Howell was employed for eight years at the University of Illinois in multiple human-resources positions. Howell received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Augustana College and will complete a master’s program in human resources from Ft. Hays State University this spring.

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Carol Anne McGowan

Carol Anne McGowan

The UMass Donahue Institute, an outreach and economic-development arm of the UMass President’s Office, promoted Carol Anne McGowan to associate director. In this position, McGowan works closely with the executive director to develop and implement management strategies, systems, and practices across the Donahue Institute. She is also directly responsible for overseeing all fiscal and human-resource functions. Previously, she served as the institute’s director of Administration and Finance. She first joined the institute in 2000 as a member of the Financial Management, Education and Training (FMET) team. She spent more than 10 years with FMET, developing curriculum and instructing in the areas of government finance and accounting for the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to her role as associate director, McGowan has developed a credited course on post-award management of grants and contracts, which she will teach through UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management. Earlier in her career, she served as director of Onslow Community Health Improvement Process, a community nonprofit organization in Onslow County, N.C. She has a master’s degree in human resources and organizational development from Webster University and an MBA from the UMass Isenberg School of Management.

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Miriam Siegel

Miriam Siegel

Country Bank announced that Miriam Siegel has joined its team as senior vice president of Human Resources. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in business, Siegel boasts 26 years in the financial-services industry. She is also a certified compensation professional and certified benefits professional from WorldatWork. For 21 years, Siegel worked at United Bank. She began her career as a payroll clerk and worked her way through the ranks until she found her passion within the human-resources department. Her time at United Bank made a significant impact on her approach to human resources. “I live and work by the philosophy that your most valuable assets are your people,” she said. “I am very excited to be back at a local community bank where employees and customers come first.” Siegel owned and operated the Village Store Café in Wilbraham with her husband. During that time, they began a run/walk event, the Cup to Pint Fun Run, to support local charities. The Children’s Museum in Wilbraham, the Livestrong Program at the Scantic Valley YMCA, and the Wilbraham Hampden Academic Trust, have all received donations from this annual fund-raiser. Siegel is a member of the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc., WorldatWork, and the New England Human Resources Assoc., and serves on the board of directors for Behavioral Health Network in Springfield. “Miriam’s extensive expertise in human resources within the financial-services industry makes her a perfect fit for Country Bank,” said Paul Scully, the bank’s CEO and president. “We are thrilled to have her join our team; we know that Miriam will be an esteemed resource for Country Bank and its employees.”

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Bulkley Richardson announced that Seunghee Cha and Jodi Miller have been promoted to partner, and Mary Bonzagni has joined the firm as partner as well. In her comprehensive estate-planning practice, Cha assists individuals and families from all walks of life, with a particular focus on special-needs planning for individuals living with intellectual, developmental, and age-related disabilities; conservatorship and alternatives; estate settlement; and trust administration. Miller focuses her practice on commercial and other civil litigation, including class actions, as well as regulatory matters. She has a particular expertise in the area of health law and also represents public and privately held corporations, financial institutions, schools and universities, nonprofits, and individuals in a range of litigation matters. Bonzagni has an established reputation in the field of intellectual property. Her work involves prosecuting, defending, and licensing patents for a wide variety of inventions, as well as challenging the patentability of both pre-grant and post-grant patents in a number of countries and regions. In-depth experience as a chemist has equipped her with a unique perspective and allows her to provide clients with both legal and scientific strategies. She also advises businesses on strategic aspects of trademark, copyright, and trade-secret protection.

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Charlie Epstein

Charlie Epstein

Charlie Epstein, an investment adviser and author who specializes in retirement consulting, has been appointed to the Holyoke Community College board of trustees by Gov. Charlie Baker. He was sworn in Feb. 2, and is expected to join the board for its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Epstein is principal of the Holyoke-based Epstein Financial Group LLC and Epstein Financial Services, a registered, investment advisory firm providing corporate retirement-plan consulting as well as wealth-management and financial-planning services for business owners, professionals, and individual plan participants. He is also owner of the 401K Coach Program, which offers financial-adviser education services and training; the author of two books: Paychecks for Life: How to Turn Your 401(k) into a Paycheck Manufacturing Company and Save America, Save! The Secrets of a Successful 401(k) Plan; and an industry conference speaker and commentator who has appeared on the Fox Business Network. In 1994, he founded the Family Business Center of the Pioneer Valley in Amherst and remains on its board of directors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colgate University.

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David W. Griffin Sr.

David W. Griffin Sr.

David W. Griffin Sr., executive vice president and treasurer of the Dowd Agencies, LLC, is the 2018 recipient of the Daniel J. Gallivan award from the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. “We are honored that one of our own has received this well-deserved honor,” said John E. Dowd Jr., president and CEO. “David has provided tireless effort for Holyoke, fulfilling various leadership capacities that have benefitted our clients and the citizens of Western Massachusetts alike.” Griffin is an active member of the Holyoke community, serving as president of the West Springfield Chamber of Commerce, West Springfield Rotary, Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, Springfield Country Club, Hampden County Insurance Agents, and chair of Mont Marie Health Care Center. He remains active with the CYO of Western Massachusetts as well. Griffin has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, beginning his career in 1978 as a surety underwriter for Aetna Casualty. Since then, he has served as a broker specializing in large commercial and contracting accounts. He is a licensed insurance advisor as well as a certified insurance counselor. Since 1972, the Daniel J. Gallivan award, named after the South Hadley resident and longtime member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, has been awarded to long-standing members of the association who have made significant contributions to the overall success of the parade and committee.

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Meaghan Murphy

Meaghan Murphy

Bacon Wilson announced that Meaghan Murphy has joined the firm as an associate attorney. A member of the firm’s litigation department, her practice is focused on labor and employment law. Murphy is a graduate of Western New England University School of Law, and received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. She works primarily from Bacon Wilson’s Springfield location, and is licensed to practice in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. Founded in 1895, Bacon Wilson, P.C. is one of the largest firms in the Pioneer Valley, with 44 lawyers and approximately 60 paralegals, administrative assistants, and support staff. The firm’s offices are located in Springfield, Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, and Westfield.

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Berkshire Bank promoted Lori Gazzillo to senior vice president and director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. She was previously the foundation’s vice president. In her new position, Gazzillo is responsible for the development, planning, and implementation of strategies to support the Berkshire Bank Foundation, improving quality of life, cultivating partnerships, and fostering community relationships across the Bank’s six-state footprint. Gazzillo joined Berkshire Bank in 2011 from Legacy Banks, where she was the Community Relations officer since 2006. “Lori has more than 20 years of communications and community-relations experience and has shown exceptional leadership in improving and developing strong relationships in our existing and new markets. We look forward to continuing to foster these relationships as we grow,” said Linda Johnston, senior executive vice president and chief Human Resources officer. Gazzillo serves on the board of directors of 1Berkshire, the Brien Center, and Associated Grant Makers, is a member of the newly formed Berkshire Leadership Impact Council, and was recently appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Berkshire Community College board of trustees. She has a bachelor’s degree from Keene State College and a master’s degree in education from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She is also a graduate of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management.

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Michelle Theroux of Berkshire Hills Music Academy was installed as president of the South Hadley & Granby Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 23. The election of officers and directors took place at the Willits-Hallowell Center. The other officers elected were Dina Mead, vice president; Jessica Bodon, clerk; and Alexandra Wern-LaFlamme, treasurer. New or returning directors elected that evening were Carol Constant, Mead, Darren Thomas, and Wearn-Laflamme.

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