The United Way of Pioneer Valley held its 93rd annual meeting and celebration recently to elect new board members and honor donors, community partners, volunteers, corporate partners, and employee campaign managers. Bennet Markens, President and CEO of the Markens Group Inc., was elected Chairman of the board. Also:
• Jennifer Endicott, Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President of Baystate Health, was elected Vice Chair;
• Brian Smith Sr., Vice President and Treasurer of People’s United Bank, remains as Treasurer;
• Susan Mielnikowski, attorney with Cooley, Shrair, P.C., remains as board Clerk; and
• Denis Gagnon Jr., Vice President of Excel Dryer Inc., and Michael Mathis, President of MGM Springfield, were elected as new board members for a three-year term. Gagnon was also named chairman of the Resource Development Council, the volunteer fund-raising arm of the United Way. Stephen Spelman, attorney at Egan, Flanagan and Cohen, P.C., was named vice chair of the council.
Lisa Kraus, Western Massachusetts vice president and mortgage sales manager at United Bank in West Springfield, has been named 2015 Affiliate of the Year by the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. The announcement was made during the association’s annual awards banquet on June 11 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. As the highest honor given to an affiliate member, the award is bestowed upon one person who has shown outstanding service and devotion to the organization during the past 17 months in the areas of affiliate-related association activity, community service, and business activity. A member of the Realtor Assoc. since 1999, Kraus is chairperson of the community service committee and a member of the affiliate-Realtor committee. She is an active participant in the association’s many charitable fund-raising efforts, serving as co- chairperson of the annual benefit golf tournament, and the calendar raffle. She chaired the Minute to Win It charitable fund-raising event. She is involved in shopping, wrapping, and delivering gifts to area homeless shelters as part of the association’s activities during the holidays. Kraus is a co-presenter of financing classes as part of the “If the Realtor Had Only Known” series and at the annual Education Fair & Expo. She regularly participates in association membership meetings and networking events. Her business activities include hosting a monthly Meeting of the Minds, a gathering of local lenders, attorneys, and appraisers who come together to discuss real-estate market trends and challenges, and craft potential resolutions. She is also a member of the Home Builders & Remodelers Assoc. of Western Massachusetts.
Unemployment Tax Control Associates Inc. (UTCA), a national unemployment-insurance service provider based in Springfield, with offices in Boston and Houston, announced the addition of Carrie Jo Dennis as Vice President of Business Development. Dennis, based in Houston, will be responsible for managing sales and marketing strategies to accommodate corporate goals and will ultimately develop and lead the future sales team. Prior to joining UTCA, Dennis was a client-development consultant for a background screening firm serving the healthcare industry, helping to ensure the safety of patients and staff. She holds a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, holds certifications in Paradigm Sales Training and Integrity Selling Training, and has completed the Franklin Covey Organizational Course.
Following the firm’s annual stockholder meeting, Tighe & Bond announced the promotion of three of its veteran managers to vice president: Christopher Bone, Antonio da Cruz, and John McClellan:
• Bone, who has 22 years of engineering experience and works out of Tighe & Bond’s Westfield office, joined the firm in 1999. Over the years, he has served as an environmental engineer and project manager for numerous high-profile wastewater and water-resources projects. He has overseen the design of numerous new treatment plants, and also has a history of finding innovative and cost-effective solutions for challenging upgrades at existing facilities. Currently, he serves as project manager on a design-build team for a $130 million sludge-dryer facility in Detroit, which will be the largest facility of its kind in North America once constructed. University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is a member of the American Water Works Assoc., the New England Water Works Assoc., and the Water Environment Federation;
• da Cruz, who has 22 years of engineering experience and works out of Tighe & Bond’s Worcester office, joined the firm in 1993. Over the years, he has served as a civil engineer and project manager who specializes in wastewater, water resources, solid-waste management, and site/civil projects. He has hands-on experience with a wide array of project roles including planning, design, and construction administration. He designs and manages numerous high-profile infrastructure projects for the city of Worcester and the town of Palmer. He formerly served as a member of Ludlow’s Board of Public Works, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Environment Federation, and the New England Water Environment Assoc.;
• McClellan, who has 20 years of engineering experience and works out of Tighe & Bond’s Westfield office, joined the firm in 2000. He specializes in water supply and treatment, water-distribution systems, water-treatment plant upgrades, and environmental modeling. He has performed system-wide water-quality modeling studies and water-treatment process-evaluation studies for major communities and water suppliers throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. He also has managed design- and construction-phase services for numerous water-supply and treatment projects to improve water quality and overall system improvement. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Water Works Assoc. Founded in 1911, Tighe & Bond has offices in Pocasset, Westfield, and Worcester, Mass.; Middletown and Shelton, Conn.; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Amanda Murray has joined the Berkshire Museum staff as the Curator of the Little Cinema. In her new role, Murray will be choosing films for the weekly showings, as well planning special screenings, organizing film-themed talks and events, and improving the moviegoing experience for Little Cinema audiences. “Coming from both the museum world and the independent-film world, I was so excited to learn that the Berkshire Museum is home to a thriving independent cinema. What a rare combination — and a rare opportunity for a film programmer,” said Murray. “In my own life, I’ve relished opportunities to see the latest independent films at festivals and historic, small theaters around the country, and it’s a joy to now be representing and programming such a unique venue for independent film.” Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema has been showing independent and foreign films for 66 years in downtown Pittsfield. Little Cinema is a single-screen movie theater inside the museum; typically, one first-run independent or foreign film is shown each week. As the film curator, Murray will be developing new initiatives, such as presenting films and film-related programs that complement the museum’s exhibitions and support its mission to create inspiring connections among art, history, and natural science.
Comcast Cable announced that Sandy Weicher has been appointed Vice President of Customer Care for the company’s Western New England Region, which includes Western Mass., Connecticut, New York, Vermont, and Western New Hampshire. In this role, Weicher will be responsible for delivering a positive experience for Comcast customers across the region and will oversee day-to-day management of the company’s regional call centers located in Enfield, Conn., and South Burlington, Vt. Weicher will work closely with her team to implement the company’s recently announced multi-year strategy to transform the customer experience. Weicher has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and has worked at Comcast for more than a decade. She comes to the Western New England Region after serving as vice president of care for the company’s Freedom Region, which includes Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, New Jersey, and Northern Delaware. Prior to that, she worked as area vice president for the Greater Chicago Region’s north area, where she was responsible for the network operations, repair, installation, and technical operations teams providing video, high-speed Internet, and voice services to the area’s customers. Weicher is a member of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and received the Greater Chicago Chapter’s Breaking the Mold Award and Mentoring Award. She is also a graduate of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and Comcast’s Field Executive Boot Camp. Additionally, she previously served as president of the Indiana Cable Television Assoc., held a board member position with the Chicago Urban League, and was a fellow in Leadership Philadelphia, a nonprofit community-service organization.