Home 2010 April
40 Under 40 The Class of 2010
Media Director, Garvey Communication Associates Inc. Age: 26

As she talked with BusinessWest for this profile, Mary Fallon was thinking about what she might do on her first real outing with Lashanna, her first ‘little sister,’ whom she had just met through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The list of options — which includes hiking, playing soccer or basketball, shopping, or dog-walking, among others — reveals just some of the things Fallon enjoys when she’s not working as media director for Springfield-based Garvey Communication Associates. Especially the dog-walking part.

Fallon counts her 95-pound weimaraner, Riley, as her best friend. “We do everything together,” she said, noting that the two walk her neighborhood in Springfield for at least an hour a day, more on weekends. Lashanna is apparently a dog lover, so the two should hit it off.

Her current involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters is the latest example of how Fallon mixes her job responsibilities — which include public relations, media buying, and social media — with civic involvement. A veteran Facebook user, she is also adept in applying Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, among other vehicles, and is becoming well-known and regarded as a social-media expert. “I do a little bit of everything,” she said, “which makes each day different and my job challenging, but also fun.”

In the community, Fallon has donated time, energy, and expertise to several organizations and causes. She helped lead efforts to collect personal care and clothing items for the homeless for St. Francis Chapel, a downtown Springfield shelter. She recorded a radio public-service announcement, used social-media channels to build awareness of what the chapel was doing, and coordinated media coverage to further spread the word. Fallon is also a volunteer and presenter for Media and Marketing for Middle School, a vocational mentoring program at the Zanetti School in Springfield.

When asked where her career might take her, Fallon said she has yet to think that through. For now, she’s focused on what she and Lashanna might do next weekend, and what route the next walk with Riley might take.
—George O’Brien

Sections Supplements
Women Presidents? Organization Provides a Forum for Growth
Sarah Morin

Sarah Morin says WPO has helped her work on her business, and not in her business.

Some members call it a support group, while others say it’s like having a board of directors. Some use both phrases interchangeably. They’re talking about the Springfield-area chapter of a group called the Women Presidents’ Organization, a three-year-old outfit that provides an effective forum for sharing ideas and helping businessiness — and individuals — grow.

Sarah Morin says she keeps pretty busy trekking between her two Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar franchises — in Hadley and Windsor, Conn. But she has some ambitious plans that will tax her time, and her vehicle, much further.

Indeed, she wants to have several more operations going in Southern New England within a few years, and is aggressively searching for attractive sites for the sports- and family-oriented restaurants. Managing the two she has while also drawing an outline for explosive growth is challenging, and she says she often found herself looking for what she called, alternately, a support group or informal board of directors to bounce things off and gain valuable insight.

She’s found one in the local chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization, or WPO, which, as the name suggests, brings women business owners together to share ideas, concerns, issues, hopes, dreams, and more. The local group, the Springfield-area chapter, was formed three years ago with the help of some women who were members of the Boston chapter and thought Western Mass. needed its own. The Springfield chapter reached its current number, 13, thanks to a recruiting drive that brought Morin and several others into the ranks, with the goal of getting to 20 and perhaps more.

The group meets once a month for 3 1/2 hours, said Morin, noting that this a serious time commitment for busy business owners, but one she is willing to make given what she takes home with her after each session and what the group is helping her focus on.

Specifically, this comes down to “working on your business, not in your business,” she said, adding that this is a problem common to many in growing companies. Most business owners spend most of their time putting out fires, meeting deadlines, and doing what’s necessary to keep a business going day to day, she continued, adding that she wants to spend much more time in what she called the next ‘quadrant’: doing planning, relationship-building, and staff development. “That’s where I want to live, and this group is helping me get there.”

Using a roundtable format, WPO puts aside time each meeting to dive into one member’s ‘issue,’ said Cathy Crosky, chapter chair and a principal with the Charter Oak Consulting Group in Williamsburg. That’s accomplished not by preaching or telling that individual what to do, she continued, but by sharing experiences and providing insight into matters ranging from succession issues to effective use of social media to finding alternative funding sources.

“We do something called a ‘peerspective,’” she said, referring to the process by the Edward Lowe Foundation. “It takes us through a structured process so that we can understand a situation deeply and help that person think it through in a different way and offer perspective.”

Lauren Wright, president of Ludlow-based CSW Inc., a provider of integrated services for packaging, was the beneficiary of one such ‘peerspective,’ this one involving what she called a desired culture shift, from production-focused to sales-and-service-focused.

“I was having some issues around that, so we brainstormed ways to get employees more involved and raise accountability,” she said. “They had some great suggestions, some of which I’ve already implemented. It has helped quite a bit; I love being able to get input from people with so much knowledge and experience.”

The women-only format, meanwhile, provides an environment featuring individuals with shared challenges and an understanding, and appreciation, of the many nuances (and headaches) of balancing life and work.

“This is a network of women who understand what it’s like every morning to go to your little laptop to see if there’s any money in the bank,” said Nancy Urbschat, owner of Springfield-based TSM Design and one of the first members of the Springfield chapter. “It’s important to have someone to talk to — someone who has that understanding — because owning a business is a lonely position.”

For this issue and its focus on women in business, BusinessWest takes an indepth look at WPO, its mission, and how it carries it out.

Meetings of the Minds

‘Reaching farther. Together.’

That’s the working slogan for WPO, and Crosky says those three words effectively convey what the organization is all about.

At a time when more women are becoming business owners, but also when many such women (especially those over 40) lack role models, WPO essentially provides a room full of them. But it goes much further; by bringing these women together, the group helps them meet career goals, set new ones, and, well, reach farther.

“Women being in leadership roles and owning their own businesses is still relatively new,” said Crosky. “A generation before us … most of us didn’t have mothers who do what we do. The group provides an opportunity to learn from one another and benefit from the wisdom of the other women in the group.

“People can learn best practices and hear about things that people have gone through that they haven’t gone through yet,” she continued. “In that way, it’s like a peer-advisory group or a board of directors. It’s a way to look at your business through many different lenses.”

And while some WPO members were admittedly skeptical about the need for — and value of — a women-only group, they have, though their experiences with the organization, come to the conclusion that there is a clear need for such an organization.

“For most of us, if not all of us, there was some initial apprehension about a group solely for women,” Urbschat said. “But this group provides the kind of opportunity that many men are afforded, to have that kind of peer group to bounce ideas of, to mentor, and to be supportive. This is an alternative for us, and even though many of us were reluctant at first, its value has been proven time and again.”

WPO, which was founded in 1997 and now has 83 chapters worldwide, is open to women who own their own companies or have a partnership stake, as in the case of a law firm or accounting firm. The companies involved must have at least $2 million in annual sales ($1 million for nonprofits), making them what Crosky called “second-stage” businesses, and not startups.

There is significant help available to new businesses, she said, noting such groups as the Mass. Small Business Center Network and other agencies, but not nearly as much for these second-stage outfits, and especially for those owned and managed by women.

“You have to lead differently when you’re a second-stage entrepreneur than you do when you’re a startup,” she explained. “And there’s just not a lot of support out there for the kinds of things business owners face when their businesses start to grow.”

There are 10 stated ‘primary objectives’ for the organization. Specifically, it strives to:

  • Increase the business and financial success of women presidents;

  • Develop innovative solutions to business challenges through discussions held in a confidential environment;
  • Provide continuing education in business and leadership;
  • Increase awareness of women’s issues and opportunities;
  • Provide a forum where women presidents can make strategic contacts and promote business development;
  • Increase the visibility of women presidents on the local, national, and international levels;
  • Provide business resources including monthly newsletters, a Web site, media referrals, an annual membership director, and an annual conference;
  • Advance the influence of women in the business community;
  • Re-energize and revitalize women presidents, leading to a more productive balance in work and life; and
  • Celebrate the success of women in business.
  • Not Winging It

    The current membership of the Springfield chapter conveys diversity (one of its oft-listed assets), with many professionals, including a lawyer, accountant, and business consultants, and many sectors represented, including manufacturing (Al’s Beverage), retail (Buffalo Wild Wings and Fran Johnson’s Golf & Tennis), and advertising and marketing.

    Morin, who noted that she is very much in the minority as a woman in the world of restaurant franchising, said her five-year plan is quite ambitious, calling for perhaps 15 franchises in Southern New England, with the third coming later this year. “A girl’s got to dream,” she told BusinessWest, noting that WPO is helping her do that, and will likely be a real force in making the dream come true.

    When asked how the group has helped her and others, Morin said it comes down to imparting wisdom and support, not through preachy lectures, but through queries aimed at helping an individual contrive their own solution.

    “The feedback, or ‘feed-forward,’ comes in the form of questions, so you don’t have that, ‘in my second year in business, I did this…’” she explained. “It’s less anecdotal. And when the probing comes in the form of a question, not only does the person with the problem or issue benefit, but we all do.

    “We turn it inward and think of how it’s applicable to our business,” she continued. “I find that incredibly helpful and unique to this group, as opposed to other professional organizations.”

    Urbschat said she joined WPO not long after long-time business partner Leslie Lawrence left TSM. It was a difficult time in her career, one when she was questioning what she wanted to do — and how to go about doing it.

    “I needed to think about whether I wanted to continue doing this or do something else,” she said. “I eventually concluded that I did want to keep doing this, but that I actually needed to figure out what would be an appropriate role for me in the business. My roles had to change.

    “I was inspired by the other members and their stories to think about growing the business,” she continued. “I had always been happy with it just being where it was, and it had been there for a a lot of years; we had been just sort of skidding along. Now, I actually have goals. I’ve been alive for 58 years, and this is the first time in a while I’ve actually had goals.”

    One element of WPO that Urbschat finds unique, as well as helpful, is the desire of members to hold others in the group accountable when it comes to issues they’re facing and steps they are taking.

    “If someone walks away with a solution and chooses to ignore it, there may well come a time when someone might say, ‘you know, what have you done about that thing you were concerned about?’” she explained. “That accountability is a really good thing for a small business because we don’t have boards of directors saying, ‘these are our expectations of you.’”

    Meghan Sullivan, a partner with the Springfield-based law firm Sullivan Hayes & Quinn, is another newcomer to the group. Crosky invited her to join after hearing her speak on her specialty, employment law.

    Sullivan said she’s learned a lot about business, and people, since joining, and especially about strategic planning and more-efficient use of time, energy, and resources “in ways that move the business forward and hopefully motivate people to follow you.

    “Other members have helped me become more cognizant of situations where you’re so caught up in the minutiae that you’re missing the mission of the organization,” she continued. “There’s really been some learning opportunities presented in ways that, while I was in some ways aware of the concepts, I hadn’t brought them to the forefront in my business.”

    Generous Share

    When asked for a qualitative perspective on the value provided by WPO, Urbschat found a rather uniue and insightful answer.

    “How many 3 1/2-hour meetings do you look forward to?” she asked, letting that question stand by itself, because it could.

    Others used different words and phrases, but expressed generally the same sentiment: this is time and energy well-spent, because, as Urbschat said, running a business is a lonely job.

    And with WPO, these women leaders never have to go it alone.

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

    Opinion

    When BusinessWest started its 40 Under Forty recognition program in 2007, there were some cynics who wondered out loud just how many good classes of winners this region had in it. Indeed, there were many who had doubts about just how deep the pool of talent is in the Pioneer Valley.

    Maybe these individuals were reading too many stories about brain drains and how young people have to leave Western Mass. to find fulfillment professionally and personally. Or maybe that’s just another indicator of the Valley’s large and often-disruptive inferiority complex.

    From out vantage point, there seems to be no shortage of young talent in this region, and the 40 Under Forty program serves as a way to communicate this fact to the region as a whole. Read the 40 profiles and, as with the first classes of winners, you should be impressed, and maybe a little surprised (still) at the core of young talent in the 413 area code.

    That’s because the 40 winners are not simply successful in business, whether they are lawyers, accountants, technology-sector entrepreneurs, or managers of nonprofits, but because they are leaders who are also contributing to quality of life in this region, be it through work for Habitat for Humanity, serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister, being a mentor to one or more young students, or rescuing basset hounds.

    It is this balance of work in the office (or plant) and in the community that makes the class of 2010, and the ones who came before it, worthy of much more than their day in the sun.

    Some of the credit for this work within the community goes to the companies that members of this class are working for. Many, such as Big Y, PeoplesBank, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, and others, have long and impressive track records for urging employees at all levels to give back. But some of the credit should also go to the region’s two young-professional organizations, based in Springfield and Northampton.

    Indeed, while networking has been a primary focus for these groups, they have also instilled in their memberships the need to be active within the community and to find ways to put their talents to use to improve quality for life for people in area cities and towns. This message is clearly resonating.

    We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The 40 Under Forty initiative is not merely a recognition program designed to honor the top scorers with their pictures on the cover of BusinessWest, a plaque received at the June gala, and a line on a résumé that conveys excellence and accomplishment. No, the program was, and is, intended to shine a light on all the young talent in the region — not just those who won, but also those who were nominated, and even those who were not, and many fall into those latter categories.

    The 40 members of the Class of 2010 are simply spokespeople, if you will, for the hundreds, make that thousands, of talented young professionals and entrepreneurs in this region.

    Each year, those of us at BusinessWest tell those who judge the 40 Under Forty contestants to enjoy the process, and that the experience will, indeed, make them feel good, or at least better, about the Western Mass. region and its prospects for growth and prosperity. And they invariably tell us that we’re right.

    And we think we’ll be saying that for many years to come.

    10 Points Departments

    By Susan Bellows

    1. Job Design: The job description needs to include the skill set of the ‘ideal candidate.’ Someone who’s great at cold calling might not excel at paperwork, which may be a key requirement at your company.

    2. Pre-qualifying Interview Questions: Thoroughly screen applicants before inviting them for an interview. Ask open-ended questions, such as “how would you rate your personal drive, and what specifics can you cite?”
    3. Behavioral Interviewing: During the interview, ask questions that uncover what’s not on the résumé. For example, “tell me about a time when it was necessary to admit to others that you had made a mistake. How did you handle it?”
    4. Motivators: Ask questions about what really motivates the individual. Your company may not provide the motivators that drive a particular candidate, such as the opportunity to continually learn or mentor others, which would not be a good fit for either of you.

    5. Candidate Assessment: Résumés don’t tell the whole story. Invest in candidate testing to reveal the real person. Imagine if you knew ahead of time that a sales person couldn’t deliver on résumé claims.

    6. References: Have the candidate line up phone appointments for you with their last five past managers. For details, read Avoid Costly Mis-Hires!, a free e-book at www.topgrading.com.
    7. Onboarding: Even perfect candidates will flounder with the ‘just follow Joe around’ orientation method. Instead, develop or borrow a formal process for integrating new hires.
    8. Expectations: Make your expectations of salespeople specific and explicit to them. Don’t assume their assumptions match yours.
    9. Ongoing Coaching: Salespeople, in particular, need constant encouragement and to be challenged regularly. You will be trusted and respected for it.

    10. Constant Feedback: Great sales leaders encourage ongoing and open communication. Make it safe for salespeople to tell you what is going on ‘out there’ and that there’s no limit to what you can achieve together.

    Susan Bellows is a sales strategist who helps businesses select and retain high-performing salespeople as well as determine whether and how underperformers can be turned around; (413) 566-3934; www.susanbellows.com

    Sections Supplements
    A list of exhibitors taking part on May 5

    Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding

    (413) 536-5955

    160 Old Lyman Road

    South Hadley, MA 01075

    www.1800newroof.net

    Booths: 25 & 26

    Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield Inc.

    (413) 787-1555

    1441 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.myonlinechamber.com

    Booth: 74

    After Hours DJ & AV Rental

    (413) 562-2632

    1310 Russell Road

    Westfield, MA 01085

    www.afterhoursdj.net

    Booths: 43 & 44

    American Convention Services

    (413) 739-6811

    Springfield, MA 01104

    www.americanconventionservice.net

    Booth: 31

    An African American Point of View

    (413) 796-1500

    688 Boston Road, Suite B

    Springfield, MA 01119

    www.afampointofview.com

    Booth: 84

    Answer Is Fitness

    (888) 270-3640

    1739 Allen St.

    Springfield, MA 01118

    www.answerisfitness.com

    Booths: 68 & 69

    Bay Path College

    (800) 782-7284

    588 Longmeadow St.

    Longmeadow, MA 01106

    www.baypath.edu

    Booth: 189

    Bert Hill Moving and Storage

    (413) 485-0050

    978 Southampton Road

    Westfield, MA 01085

    www.berthill.com

    Booth: 114

    BusinessWest & The Healthcare News

    (413) 781-8600

    1441 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.businesswest.com

    Booth: 54

    Career Point

    (413) 532-4900

    850 High St.

    Holyoke, MA 01040

    www.careerpointma.org

    Booth: 138

    Catuogno Court Reporting and Sten-Tel Transcription

    (413) 746-8100

    One Monarch Place, 1414 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01144

    www.catuogno.cc

    Booth: 50

    Chicopee Savings Bank

    (800) 662-0974

    70 Center St.

    Chicopee, MA 01014

    www.chicopeesavings.com

    Booth: 99

    Clear Channel Radio

    Phone (413) 781-1011

    1331 Main St., Suite 400

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.mix931.com

    Booth: 56

    Comcast Business Services

    (413) 730-4540

    3303 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01107-1111

    www.comcast.com/business

    Booth: 34

    Constellation New Energy

    (617) 772-7500

    116 Huntington Avenue, Suite 700

    Boston, MA 02116

    www.newenergy.com

    Booth: 102

    Country Bank

    (413) 967-6221

    75 Main St.

    Ware, MA 01082

    www.countrybank.com

    Booth: 92

    Crestview Country Club

    (413) 786-2593

    Shoemaker Lane

    Agawam, MA 01001

    www.crestviewcc.org

    Booth: 42

    DiGrigoli Salons

    (413) 827-8888

    1578 Riverdale St.

    West Springfield, MA 01089

    www.digrigoli.com

    Booths: 195 & 196

    Eastfield Mall

    (413) 543-8000

    1655 Boston Road, Unit A11

    Springfield, MA 01129

    www.eastfieldmall.com

    Booth: 192

    EDC of Western Mass.

    (413) 593-6421

    1441 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.westernmassedc.com

    Booth: 73

    Elms College

    (413) 594-2761

    291 Springfield St.

    Chicopee, MA 01013

    www.elms.edu

    Booth: 110

    Fandotech

    (866) 514-4415

    78 Interstate Dr.

    West Springfield, MA 01089

    www.fandotech.com

    Booth: 115

    Fasttrack Airport Parking

    (800) 590-6789

    24 Ella Grasso Turnpike

    Windsor Locks, CT 06096

    www.avistarparking.com/fasttrack

    Booth: 27

    Forest Park Zoo

    (413) 733-2251

    302 Sumner Ave.

    Springfield, MA 01138

    www.forestparkzoo.org

    Booth: 194

    Freedom Credit Union

    (413) 739-6961

    P.O. Box 3009

    Springfield, MA 01101

    www.freedomcoop.com

    Booth: 199

    FutureWorks

    (413) 858-2800

    1 Federal St., Building 103-3

    Springfield, MA 01105

    www.getajob.cc

    Booth: 72

    Get Set Marketing, LLC

    Phone (413) 781-7800

    125 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01105

    Booth: 65

    Hampton Inn & Days Inn

    Phone (413) 593-1500

    600 Memorial Dr.

    Chicopee, MA 01105

    www.chicopee.hamptoninn.com

    Booth: 131

    Harrington Insurance Agency Inc.

    (508) 219-0209

    www.harringtonsaves.com

    Booth: 190

    Health New England

    (413) 233-3178

    One Monarch Place, Suite 1500

    Springfield, MA 01144

    www.healthnewengland.com

    Booths: 90 & 100

    H.L. Dempsey Co.

    (413) 736-8742

    103 Baldwin St.

    West Springfield, MA 01089

    www.hldempsey.com

    Booths: 35 & 45

    Holyoke Community College

    (413) 538-7000

    303 Homestead Ave.

    Holyoke, MA 01040

    www.hcc.edu

    Booth: 60

    Holyoke Gas & Electric Department

    (413) 536-9463

    One Canal St.

    Holyoke, MA 01040

    www.hged.com

    Booths: 197 & 198

    H&R Block

    www.hrblock.com

    Booth: 86

    La Voz Hispana Newspaper

    (203) 865-2272

    51 Elm St., Suite 307

    New Haven, CT 06510

    www.lavozhispanact.com

    Booth: 63

    Landmark at Monastery Heights

    (413) 781-1282

    110 Monastery Ave.

    West Springfield, MA 01089

    www.landmarkseniorliving.com

    Booth: 96

    Liberty Mutual Insurance

    (413) 567-2000

    175 Dwight Road

    Longmeadow, MA 01106

    www.libertymutual.com

    Booth: 98

    Lincoln Culinary Institute

    (866) 672-4337

    1760 Mapleton Ave.

    Suffield, CT 06078

    www.lincolnedu.com/schools/lincoln-culinary-institute

    Booth: 180

    MacDuffie School

    (413) 734-4971

    One Ames Hill Dr.

    Springfield, MA 01105

    www.macduffie.org

    Booth: 61

    n Mary Kay Cosmetics

    (413) 530-1786

    www.www.marykay.com/jmcnulty8

    Booth: 137

    MassLive, LLC

    (413) 733-2000

    32 Hampden St., 4th Floor

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.masslive.com

    Booths: 70 & 80

    MassMutual Center

    (413) 787-6610

    1277 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.massmutualcenter.com

    Booth: 91

    McIntire Business Products

    (800) 847-2463

    128K Hall St.

    Concord, New Hampshire 03301

    www.mbp-inc.com

    Booth: 17

    Mercy Medical Center Bloodmobile

    Phone (413) 748-9000

    271 Carew St.

    Springfield, MA 01104

    www.mercycares.com

    Booths: 175-179

    Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.

    (413) 536-8510

    330 Whitney Ave., Suite 800

    Holyoke, MA 01040

    www.meyerskalicka.com

    Booth: 30

    MJ Norton Security Inc.

    (888) 734-0707

    318 Griffith Road

    Chicopee, MA 01022

    www.mjnortonsecurity.com

    Booth: 132

    Moriarty & Primack, P.C.

    (413) 739-1800

    1414 Main St., Suite 1300

    Springfield, MA 01144

    www.mass-cpa.com

    Booth: 95

    NECS

    (800) 321-NECS

    www.necs.biz

    Booth: 183

    New England Financial Group

    (860) 521-2250

    17 North Main St.

    West Hartford, CT 06107

    www.nefghartford.com

    Booth: 83

    New England Tractor Trailer Training School

    (800) 243-3544

    32 Field Road

    Somers, CT 06071

    www.nettts.com

    Booth: 184

    Northeast Security Solutions Inc.

    (413) 733-7306

    33 Sylvan St.

    West Springfield, MA 01089

    www.northeastsecuritysolutions.com

    Booth: 82

    Peter Pan Bus Lines

    (800) 343-9999

    P.O. Box 1776

    Springfield, MA 01102

    www.peterpanbus.com

    Booths: 75 & 76

    Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

    (413) 781-6045

    60 Congress St., Floor 1

    Springfield, MA 01104

    www.pvpc.org

    Booth: 133

    Porter & Chester Institute

    (413) 593-3339

    134 Dulong Circle

    Chicopee, MA 01022

    www.porterchester.com

    Booth: 3

    ProShred Security

    (413) 596-5479

    75 Post Office Park

    Wilbraham, MA 01095

    www.proshred.com

    Booth: 140

    Regional Employment Board of Hampden County Inc.

    (413) 755-1357

    1441 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.rebhc.org

    Booth: 103

    Reminder Publications

    (413) 525-3247

    280 North Main St., Suite 1

    East Longmeadow, MA 01028

    www.thereminder.com

    Booth: 207

    The Republican

    (413) 788-1000

    1860 Main St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.masslive.com

    Booth: 81

    ResaVue Exhibits

    (860) 627-6399

    10 Stran Road

    Milford, CT 06460

    www.resavue.com

    Booth: 1

    Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School

    (413) 787-7424

    1300 State St.

    Springfield, MA 01109

    www.sps.springfield.ma.us

    Booths: 200 & 201

    Roger Sitterly & Son, Inc.

    (800) 533-1171

    P.O. Box 2530

    Springfield, MA 01101

    www.sitterlymovers.com

    Booth: 87

    Royal & Klimczuk, LLC

    (413) 586-2288

    1350 Main St., 4th Floor

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.rkesq.com

    Booth: 89

    RRD Technologies

    (413) 786-5255

    80 Ramah Circle South

    Agawam, MA 01001

    www.rrd-tech.com

    Booth: 185

    Sage Engineering and Contracting Inc.

    (413) 562-4884

    199 Servistar Industrial Way, Suite 2

    Westfield, MA 01085

    www.sage-llc.com

    Booth: 135

    Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel

    (413) 781-1010

    One Monarch Place

    Springfield, MA 01144

    www.sheraton.com/springfieldma

    Booth: 160

    S.J. Services Inc.

    (800) 281-1665

    52 Robbins Road

    Springfield, MA 01104

    www.sj-services.com

    Booth: 94

    Spirit of Springfield

    (413) 733-3800

    101 State St., Suite 220

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.spiritofspringfield.org

    Booth: 40

    Springfield Armor

    (413) 746-3263

    One Monarch Place, Suite 220

    Springfield, MA 01144

    www.nba.com/dleague/springfield

    Booth: 62

    Springfield Business Improvement District

    (413) 781-1591

    1441 Main St., 1st Floor

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.springfielddowntown.com

    Booth: 191

    Springfield College

    (413) 748-3000

    263 Alden St.

    Springfield, MA 01109

    www.springfieldcollege.edu

    Booth: 101

    Springfield Falcons Hockey Club

    (413) 739-3344

    45 Falcons Way

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.falconsahl.com

    Booth: 125

    STCU Credit Union

    (413) 732-9812

    145 Industry Ave.

    Springfield, MA 01104

    www.stcu.com

    Booth: 67

    Steve Lewis Subaru

    (413) 584-3292

    48 Damon Road

    Northampton, MA 01060

    www.stevelewissubaru.com

    Booths: 38 & 39, 48 & 49

    TD Bank

    (413) 748-8231

    1441 Main Street

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.tdbank.com

    Booth: 85

    United Personnel

    (413) 736-0800

    1331 Main St., Suite 100

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.unitedpersonnel.com

    Booth: 64

    Univision-TV 43

    (860) 278-1818

    One Constitution Plaza, 7th Floor

    Hartford, CT 06103

    www.wuvntv.com

    Booths: 32 & 33

    Valley Communications Systems Inc.

    (413) 592-4136

    20 First Ave.

    Chicopee, MA 01020

    www.valleycommunications.com

    Booths: 187 & 188

    Verizon

    (800) 941-9900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (800) 941-9900      end_of_the_skype_highlighting 

    www.verizon.com

    Booth: 55

    Western Mass Wellness, LLC

    (413) 732-9355

    West Springfield, MA 01089

    www.westernmasswellness.com

    Booth: 53

    Western New England College

    (413) 782-3111

    1215 Wilbraham Road

    Springfield, MA 01119

    www.wnec.edu

    Booth: 71

    Westfield State College

    (413) 572-8020

    577 Western Ave.

    Westfield, MA 01086

    www.wsc.ma.edu

    Booth: 105

    Westover Job Corps

    (413) 593-4000

    103 Johnson Road

    Chicopee, MA 01022

    www.westoverjobcorps.com

    Booth: 2

    WFCR 88.5 FM & WNNZ 640 AM Public Radio

    Phone (413) 577-0779

    Hampshire House, UMass

    131 County Circle

    Amherst, MA 01003-9257

    www.wfcr.org

    Booth: 104

    WGBY

    (413) 781-2801

    44 Hampden St.

    Springfield, MA 01103

    www.wgby.org

    Booth: 93

    Whalley Computer Associates

    (413) 569-4200

    One Whalley Way

    Southwick, MA 01077

    www.wca.com

    Booth: 15

    Wilbraham & Monson Academy

    (413) 596-6811

    423 Main St.

    Wilbraham, MA 01095

    www.wmacademy.org

    Booths: 57 & 58

    WMAS 94.7 FM & ESPN 1450 AM

    (413) 737-1414

    1000 West Columbus Ave.

    Springfield, MA 01105

    www.947wmas.com

    www.espnspringfield.com

    Booth: 14

    Zasco Productions, LLC

    (800) 827-6616

    340 McKinstry Ave., Suite 400

    Chicopee, MA 01013

    www.zascoproductions.com

    Booths: 202 & 203

    Sections Supplements
    Commercial-loan Market Remains Sluggish
    Commercial Loan Market

    Commercial Loan Market

    The financial meltdown of 2008 and the recession that followed in its wake were a double punch to commercial lending nationally, as banks tightened up credit and businesses of all types retreated from capital investments. In Western Mass., banks say they still have plenty of money to lend, but demand is still stubbornly low as companies remain uncertain about their own growth. Overall, the picture is improving … but slowly.

    Almost two years ago, the worldwide financial-services industry was rocked by a credit crisis that left many large, national banks reeling and awash in toxic assets.

    The repercussions of that meltdown hit a faltering economy hard and contributed to what’s become known as the Great Recession — and also to a tightening of credit across the board, as banks that had facilitated reckless loans over the past decade focused on digging out from the wreckage. Meanwhile, the recession caused businesses in all industries to back off from further borrowing and capital investment.

    Almost two years later, by many accounts, the economy may have hit bottom and started to rebound (see related story, page 6). But are banks still willing to open the commercial-loan window? And are businesses actively seeking those loans?

    “Yes and no,” said Paul Scully, CEO of Country Bank. “We are totally prepared to lend money. This belief that money is not available for small businesses is just not true. In this region, there’s plenty of money to do that.

    “However,” he added, “businesses are definitely being cautious. They’re not 100% comfortable because they don’t know where the economy is going. We are finding some real caution in terms of whether people want to leverage their organizations more.”

    David Glidden, regional president of TD Bank, sees the same skittishness.

    “There has clearly been a drop in demand from borrowers,” he told BusinessWest. “A lot of companies we’re dealing with are rightfully nervous about the economy and have been paying down debt instead of building up cash. They’re nervous about when they’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel economically.”

    These two trends — the repercussions of the credit crunch and a reluctance to borrow — could be starting to give way to more activity as businesses gain more confidence. But bankers say that, while they want to lend, they need to see healthy revenue streams and an ability to repay. And so far, the uptick in commercial loans has been sluggish at best.

    Emerging from the Storm

    According to Plunkett Research, a provider of financial-industry trend analysis and market research, greatly increased regulatory oversight has already begun to restrict lenders, and an era of much lower risk-taking by bankers has begun.

    Yet, the executives we spoke with stressed that regional banks — and, in TD Bank’s case, a larger institution with a strong presence in Western Mass. — remained healthy throughout the crisis because they weren’t prone to taking unwise risks in the first place.

    “Last year, from a market standpoint, statistics would certainly back up a contraction in commercial lending in the U.S.,” Glidden said. “But you have to understand that a lot of the larger, money-center banks were having financial issues with their own balance sheets.”

    Regionally, however, “many of the banks, ourselves included, remained triple-A-rated institutions, and our lending outpaced the market,” he said. “There was a huge constriction just because the volume of lending capacity represented by the large players dropped.”

    “Our health is fantastic,” Scully said, noting that Country Bank made close to $7 million last year and is well-capitalized to lend. “None of that is an issue. The marketplace has contracted, and businesses aren’t ready to take that next step and say, ‘I want to expand my organization.’

    “That’s the way of the world right now,” he added. “I think caution is a good thing for a business, but I don’t expect any change for awhile; I think this caution will continue right through 2010. We may not start to see any pickup until businesses are at the point of increasing their employment base.”

    Banks want to write loans, said Jeffrey Sattler, president of NUVO Bank, a recently established player in the regional lending market. “But there’s not enough incentive out there in the economy for businesses to take on undue risk. They’re not borrowing; there’s also too much uncertainty with issues like taxes and health insurance.”

    The landscape is better than it was a year ago, he conceded. “I do think there’s a sense of optimism; on the other hand, we’re not out of the woods. We’re seeing very low appraisal values.”

    M. Dale Janes, NUVO’s CEO, said New England-based banks “were good, sound lenders, for the most part, on commercial real-estate and residential mortgages. But the subprime market crashed so hard and had such a ripple effect; people lost jobs, businesses lost revenues.”

    Many businesses are struggling with profits right now, with lease rates on property down and revenue streams curtailed. Sattler cited one loan applicant whose business brought in $1.5 million in sales one recent year, and $600,000 the next, with a net loss of about $125,000.

    For such cases, Plunkett Research said alternative lending sources are on the rise, from peer-to-peer loans to angel investors. Janes said family-and-friends lending can fill the gap, as can agencies like MassDevelopment, “but we need more of these kinds of programs.”

    Janes suggested that the real-estate market might be near the bottom, “because there are bottom fishers out there now, looking to purchase distressed real estate at rock-bottom prices. When the bottom fishers are coming in and starting to get active, that’s followed by more activity from people who are not necessarily looking for the lowest price.

    “The problem is, some go get big buildings that are 15 or 20 years old, well-constructed, for an unbelievable price, but they may not have any tenants, or enough to provide the bank with cash-flow coverage to support the loan,” he said. “So there may be great real-estate deals, but they need to make sure they have their own money or lease it up first, then come to the bank. I don’t think any bank, with the way the regulatory environment is, can finance distressed real-estate properties that are not fully leased.”

    On the Way Up?

    In Western Mass., Glidden said, “there are a number of major industries that drive the regional economy. The state economy has obviously seen a transformation to much more of a service economy, but when you look at Western Mass., the areas that have stayed robust have been good areas to lend in — health care, higher education, even the manufacturing sector in Western Mass. and the Greater Connecticut River Valley has done surprisingly well throughout this economic recession.”

    Still, the nervousness many feel about the economy has caused even thriving businesses to shy away from investing in their companies, choosing instead to pay down existing debt on an accelerated basis and build up cash reserves, he explained, adding that the pace of loans will pick up once it’s clear that the economy has indeed hit bottom and is on its way back — and employers are increasingly feeling that way.

    “I’m starting to get the sense from business owners that their level of confidence is coming back, which is the first and most important thing,” Glidden said. “Many businesses have been doing well, but if they don’t have a lot of confidence in the economy, they’re not going to reinvest.”

    Meanwhile, banks continue to say they’re ready to loan to companies that do get back in the market — and are financially stable enough to do so.

    “We’re all at the mercy of where the markets are going,” Sattler said. “There aren’t many cranes in the air. Look at Springfield; there aren’t many buildings being created, while there’s a glut of buildings in industrial parks waiting for someone to fill them.

    “We’re looking for those who want to reinvest, but we’ve got to find where the bottom is,” he added. “After that, we’ll see more people coming back to reinvest in their buildings.”

    Janes said there will always be a bad real-estate deal or two, or an overly aggressive bank facilitating it, but that situation is the exception right now, not the rule, and banks will continue to be cautious.

    “If a company has a decent track record over the past few years and a reputation for good management, banks will be lined up at their door. Everyone wants loan volume, but it’s got to be quality loans,” he said. “Banks are aggressive to get new business, but not aggressive like they were years ago, cutting rates and reducing collateral requirements. We’re all trying to sell our services, but we’re trying to bank responsibly, too.”

    It’s a philosophy that kept regional banks afloat while national institutions were rocked by their own poor lending decisions — and has kept them prepared to do business as the economic picture improves.

    “People feel, knock on wood, that the worst is behind us,” Glidden said, stressing, however, that no one thinks the economy will come racing back, only that it might have hit bottom. “Even though it’s not necessarily a robust environment, businesses are starting to feel better about looking at expansions and acquisitions and seeking capital. When they don’t have that level of confidence, they kind of hunker in.

    “So we’re optimistic that we’ve turned a corner,” he continued. “But caution will continue to be the operative word for the next 12 to 18 months.

    “It’s still very slow and very cautious, and there are still a lot of fragile pinnings to this economy that can go the wrong way. But as the businesses we deal with get more confidence, we’re hopeful that the worst is behind us, and we can start cautiously moving ahead again.”

    Joseph Bednar can be reached at

    [email protected]

    Bankruptcies Departments

    The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

    Acevedo, Manuel
    Acevedo, Zenaida
    309 Poplar Ave.
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Anthony, John Mitchell
    23 Chestnut Hill
    Greenfield, MA 01301
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Anthony, Tony
    Anthony, Kyomi
    a/k/a Murata, Kyomi
    62 Westminster St.
    Springfield, MA 01109
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Architecture/Design
    Bixby, Dana R.
    Bixby, David R.
    P.O. Box 556
    West Stockbridge, MA 01266
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Baczek, Francis J.
    100 McArthur St.
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Baez, Luz E.
    310 Tokeneke Road
    Holyoke, MA 01040
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Baillargeon, Paul A.
    56 Lark Dr.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Bates, Alfred
    Bates, Annette K.
    90 North Liberty St.
    Belchertown, MA 01007
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Beaudry, Alan L.
    340 Dale St., (Unit M)
    Chicopee, MA 01013
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Bedore, Raymond E.
    Bedore, Mary S.
    14 Elm Shade Way
    Springfield, MA 01119
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/20/10

    Bein, Jennifer A.
    111 Lawton Ave.
    Westfield, MA 01085
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Belge, Mary E.
    62 Sandy Hill Road
    Florence, MA 01062
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Beresford, Vincent
    26 Forest St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Berrios, Aracelis
    21 Bowers St., Apt. 61
    Holyoke, MA 01040
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Bisson, Kelly A.
    a/k/a Unsderfer, Kelly A.
    82 White St., 1st Fl.
    Westfield, MA 01085
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Black, Rose M.
    1015 Maple St.
    Palmer, MA 01069
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/20/10

    Bourbeau, Neal A.
    Bourbeau, Shelly A.
    7 Simpson St.
    Sturbridge, MA 01566
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Bracey, Kathryn F.
    28 Miles Morgan Road
    Wilbraham, MA 01095
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Buda, Cale M.
    Foley-Buda, Jennifer L.
    10 Balance Rock Road
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Burgos, Zenaida Y.
    232 Saint James Blvd.
    Springfield, MA 01104
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Burinskas, Edward Allen
    41 Stewart Lane
    Agawam, MA 01001
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Cacciolfi, Anthony W.
    Cacciolfi, Kelly J.
    a/k/a Carey, Kelly J.
    935 Old Keene Road
    Athol, MA 01331
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Campbell, Hugh William
    Campbell, Melissa Amber
    a/k/a McMahon, Melissa Amber
    472 Millers Falls Road
    Millers Falls, MA 01349
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Chalue, Robert F.
    Chalue, Lynn C.
    a/k/a Ellsworth, Lynn C.
    14 Wales Road
    Monson, MA 01057
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Chmiel, Kamila Julia
    3 Boileau Ter.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Clark, Daniel J.
    Bourdeau, Nicole L.
    42 Warebrook Village
    Ware, MA 01082
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Colletta, Juanita L.
    706 West Housatonic St.
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Colon, Lorraine
    a/k/a Lopez, Lorraine
    3 Morison Ter.
    Springfield, MA 01104
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Comforte, Anthony
    31 Moore St.
    Chicopee, MA 01013
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Conlin Interiors
    Conlin, Sonia R.
    8 John Mason Road
    Southwick, MA 01077
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Cosme, Melvin E.
    77 Gratton St.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Crosby, Theresa A.
    80 Brush Hill Ave., #65
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Crotti, Daniel J.
    1367 Westfield St.
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Cukur, Erdogan
    155 River St. L3
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Curtis, Gary W.
    Curtis, Cynthia L.
    163 Massachusetts Ave.
    Springfield, MA 01109
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Davila, Jenny B.
    1667 Parker St.
    Springfield, MA 01128
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Davila, William A.
    1667 Parker St.
    Springfield, MA 01128
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Debbie Kates Design
    Kates, Deborah E.
    23 Chestnut Hill
    Greenfield, MA 01301
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Dell, Jason L.
    175 Williamsville Road
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Dell, Nicole M.
    175 Williamsville Road
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    DePratti, Michael J.
    DePratti, Amy E.
    157 River Road
    Agawam, MA 01001
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Dion, John V.
    Dion, Joanne E.
    49 Fedral Ave.
    Agawam, MA 01001
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Dudukal, Mikhail I.
    Dudukal, Natalia
    1145 Elm St., Apt. 3R
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Duval, Henry Paul
    Duval, Annette Marie
    81 Cherri St.
    Feeding Hills, MA 01030
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Fisher, Daniel J.
    Fisher, Laurie Ann
    a/k/a Greene, Laurie Ann
    37 Columbus Ave.
    Greenfield, MA 01301
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Foggs, Lorraine D.
    45 Willow St., Apt. 10
    Springfield, MA 01103
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Gagne, Andre L.
    25 Venture Dr.
    Springfield, MA 01119
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Garcia, Rafariel
    3 Smallwood Ave.
    Indian Orchard, MA 01151
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Garrant, Jacqueline
    54 High St., #208
    Greenfield, MA 01301
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Gebo, Troy J.
    Gebo, Joey A.
    96 Birnie Road
    Longmeadow, MA 01106
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Gianquinto, Salvatore G.
    150 Ashland St., #312
    North Adams, MA 01247
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Gilbert, Donna
    a/k/a Zumwalt, Donna Aldith R.
    25 Eton St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Goodreau, Allen Francis
    Goodreau, Christine Marion
    14 Cresent Hill
    East Longmeadow, MA 01028
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Gouin, Kelly J.
    51 School St.
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Granger, Douglas F.
    195 Durant St.
    Springfield, MA 01129
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Gray, Roberto R.
    PO Box 6107
    Springfield, MA 01101
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Greene, James R.
    45 Ringgold St.
    Springfield, MA 01107
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/21/10

    Greeno, Raymond S.
    4008 South Athol Road
    Athol, MA 01331
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Griggs, William J.
    Griggs, Marylynn
    91 Fenton Road
    Monson, MA 01057
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Grincewicz, Wayne R.
    77 Cottage St., Apt. 1
    Amherst, MA 01002
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Gross, Stella L.
    192 Mohawk Forest
    North Adams, MA 01247
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Guevin, Andrea G.
    15 Liberty St., Apt. 2
    Easthampton, MA 01027
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Guyer, Dennis P.
    Guyer, Erika L.
    20 Perry St.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Harnois, Edward F.
    Harnois, Patricia M.
    P.O. Box 290
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Harris, Cynthia D.
    P.O. Box 1395
    Easthampton, MA 01027
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Haskins, Merilyn L.
    Pike, Merilyn
    225 Main St.
    Ashfield, MA 01330
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/29/10

    Healey, Lauren
    210 Dayton St.
    Springfield, MA 01118
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Hudson, Gerald
    P.O. Box 631
    Hanson, MA 02341
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Ivanchenko, Eugene
    15 Silver Lake Dr.
    Agawam, MA 01001
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Jackson, Donald
    37 Chapin Road
    Hampden, MA 01036
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Jaeger, Amy
    16 Prospect St.
    Gt. Barrington, MA 01230
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Jaeger, Nick
    16 Prospect St.
    Gt. Barrington, MA 01230
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    JD’s Transmission and Auto
    DeJesus, Julio
    39 Vernon St.
    Holyoke, MA 01040
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/29/10

    Jenkins, Alan G.
    Jenkins, Marie J.
    111 Colony Dr.
    Hampden, MA 01036
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Jeskey, Alan R.
    Jeskey, Lorrie R.
    36 Hamilton Road
    Sturbridge, MA 01566
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Kenyon, Kristina M.
    a/k/a Santos, Kristina Marie
    124 Woodlawn St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Kieffer, Daniel R.
    1583 Riverdale St. #48
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Lamorie, Wanda Marie
    a/k/a Cosentino, Wanda Marie
    a/k/a Underwood, Wanda M.
    49 Foundry Village Road
    Colrain, MA 01340
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Lapik, Sergey V.
    Lapik, Nataliya
    21 A. Kellogg St.
    Westfield, MA 01085
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Libbey, Wendy J.
    PO Box 80694
    Springfield, MA 01138
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Liebowitz, Robert
    Bruland, Lorraine
    PO Box 981
    Williamsburg, MA 01096
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Lility, Tamas
    41 Oriole Dr.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

     

    Looney, Jennifer M.
    Looney, Kacey W.
    89 Tower Hill Road
    Brimfield, MA 01010
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Lopez, Bethzaida
    252 Walnut St.
    Holyoke, MA 01040
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Louvitakis, George
    51 Monson Tpke. Road
    Ware, MA 01082
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Mack, James E.
    344 North St. #1
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Maloni, Mark A.
    36 Russell St.
    Greenfield, MA 01301
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Manley, Edward L.
    15 Homer Dr.
    Monson, MA 01057
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Manson, Corey J.
    27 Fountain St.
    Orange, MA 01364
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    May, Darnell
    May, Tiffany L.
    33 Norman Ter.
    Feeding Hills, MA 01030
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    McCarthy, John
    McCarthy, Jean M.
    42 Prospect St.
    Athol, MA 01331
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    McCarty, Karen J.
    49 Colony Dr.
    East Longmeadow, MA 01028
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    McDonald, David A.
    McDonald, Dawn M.
    62 Bridle Path Road
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    McLean, Douglas J.
    McLean, Kristin A.
    860 North Main St.
    Orange, MA 01364
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    McNamee, Pauline
    2 Barker St.
    Palmer, MA 01080
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    McPartlan, Deborah
    79 Drewsen Dr.
    Florence, MA 01062
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Merrill, Edward L.
    47 Erskine Dr.
    Longmeadow, MA 01106
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/28/10

    Moise, Michael S.
    19 Karen Dr.
    South Hadley, MA 01075
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Moise, Tina
    LaFontaine, Tina
    19 Karen Dr.
    South Hadley, MA 01075
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Morgan Builders
    Morgan, Ralph A.
    710 Church St.
    North Adams, MA 01247
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Moriarty, Pauline A.
    310 Oak Ave.
    Sturbridge, MA 01566
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Murphy, Tammy L.
    805 East Guinea Road
    Conway, MA 01341
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    North, Kevin A.
    North, Sherry L.
    a/k/a Adams, Sherry
    227 North Main St.
    Orange, MA 01364
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    O’Connor, Christopher J.
    355 Moxon St.
    Indian Orchard, MA 01151
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    O’Grady, Lynn A.
    a/k/a Vanderleeden, Lynn A.
    14 Benz St.
    Springfield, MA 01118
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Olinski, Marc A.
    64 Cass Ave.
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Olmeda, David
    75 Whittier St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    O’Malley, Michael Thomas
    58 Ardmore St.
    Springfield, MA 01104
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    O’Meara, Linda J.
    640 court St.
    Brockton, MA 02302
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    O’Neil, Timothy
    682 Colrain Road
    Greenfield, MA 01301
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Palermo, Paul Joseph
    Palermo, Nancy Ellen
    1105 Stony Hill Road
    Wilbraham, MA 01095
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Patrissi, Jason S.
    Patrissi, Judith A.
    a/k/a Cernese, Judith Ann
    97 Church St.
    Ware, MA 01082
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Pearson, Russell W.
    Pearson, Pamela J.
    Post Office Box 781
    North Adams, MA 01247
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Pelletier, Richard Gilbert
    Pelletier, Mary Ann
    194 Old Warren Road
    Palmer, MA 01069
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Pereira, Sergio
    Pereira, Elisa
    65 Pasco Road
    Springfield, MA 01151
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Peters, Walter H.
    151 Westbrook Dr.
    Springfield, MA 01129
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Petrin, Frances Jean
    P.O. Box 874
    Bernardston, MA 01337
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Piescik, Jennifer Finch
    33 Riverview Dr.
    Northfield, MA 01360
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Pinkett, Pearlie M.
    79 Judith St.
    Springfield, MA 01118
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Pinto, Joseph M.
    268 South Barre Road
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Plaud, Jose L.
    a/k/a Plaud-Sanchez, Jose Luis
    61 Revere St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Poitras, Brenda S.
    404 Unity Ave.
    Athol, MA 01331
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Powell, Aubrie Ellice
    20 Church St. #2
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Powell, Nicholaus John-Paul
    20 Church St. #2
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/31/10

    Rannikko, Nicole Suzanne
    a/k/a Drapeau, Nicole Suzanne
    10 Grant St.
    Plainfield, MA 01070
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Ravid, Yoram A.
    29 Sharpe Road
    Newton Center, MA 02459
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Realini, Michael J.
    343 Beacon St.
    Athol, MA 01331
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Redzko, Joseph M.
    49 Ducharme Ave.
    Chicopee, MA 01013
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/29/10

    Ribeiro, Joao Cesar
    332 Bay St.
    Springfield, MA 01109
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Rodriguez, David
    84 Tyler St.
    Springfield, MA 01109
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Rodriguez, Herminio D.
    26 Loring St.
    Springfield, MA 01105
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Root, Benjamin N.
    115 Plain St.
    Easthampton, MA 01027
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Rosa, Monica
    16 America St., Apt. 1
    Chicopee, MA 01013
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Ross, Shane Matthew
    88 Cass Ave.
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Rougeau, Sharon L.
    91 Phoenix Ter.
    Sp
    ingfield, MA 01104
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/21/10

    Rud, Elaine A.
    23 Glen St.
    Holyoke, MA 01040
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    RW Andrews Contractor
    Andrews, Robert W.
    P.O. Box 596
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Sanders, Allan J.
    Sanders, Gertrudes O.
    71 Hagan Ave.
    Westfield, MA 01085
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/20/10

    Santos, Brian V.
    Santos, Kelly J.
    a/k/a Rooney, Kelly J.
    21R Lathrop St.
    Palmer, MA 01069
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Scorsome, Joseph A.
    21 Hidden Pond Lane
    Northfield, MA 01360
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Sears, Regina M.
    a/k/a Canavan, Regina
    a/k/a McCarthy, Regina
    73 Ontario St.
    Springfield, MA 01104
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Sellars, Lisa
    329 Bearsden Road
    Athol, MA 01331
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Selvitella, Dennis A.
    Selvitella, Paula S.
    830 Valley Road
    P. O. Box 713
    Barre, MA 01005
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Shea, Jane B.
    21 Biltmore St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Shea, Jeffrey S.
    Shea, Melissa D.
    76 Dana Hill
    Belchertown, MA 01007
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Sheridan, Philip James
    Sheridan, Sherry Anne
    97 Daniel Shays Highway
    Orange, MA 01364
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/23/10

    Sirois, Laura G.
    a/k/a Gamblin, Laura G.
    19 Zuell Hill Road
    Monson, MA 01057
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Smith, Laurie L.
    a/k/a Robinson, Laurie L.
    98 Fairman Road
    Orange, MA 01364
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Solek, Michelle Deborah
    a/k/a Bressette, Michelle D.
    649 Prospect St.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/24/10

    Spillman, Marjorie Rose
    28 Manhan St.
    Northampton, MA 01060
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    St. Francis, Nancy L.
    111R Union Road
    Wales, MA 01081
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    St.Marie, Scott S.
    1 Belden Court, Apt. N4
    Agawam, MA 01001
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/26/10

    Sylvestro, Vivenzio
    53 Johnson St.
    Springfield, MA 01108
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/22/10

    Terzi, Holly K.
    1102 Chapin St.
    Ludlow, MA 01056
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Valley, Marc L.
    P.O. Box 135
    Hubbardston, MA 01452
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Vigneault, Raymond J.
    Vigneault, Noreen E.
    254 No. Washington St.
    Belchertown, MA 01007
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Vintila, Louise P.
    433 Amherst Road, Apt. 1
    Belchertown, MA 01007
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/17/10

    Wagner, Gertrude Anne
    Leclerc, Gertrude Anne
    715 Grattan St.
    Chicopee, MA 01020
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/30/10

    Wessinger, Marc Andrew
    123 Heywood Ave.
    West Springfield, MA 01089
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    White, Marvin
    66 Larchmont St.
    Springfield, MA 01109-1825
    Chapter: 13
    Filing Date: 03/16/10

    Williams, Kathleen Anne
    7 Gamwell Ave.
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/25/10

    Williams, Tina L.
    51 Lawe St.
    Springfield, MA 01151
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/19/10

    Wilson, Daniel C.
    69 Ardmore St.
    Springfield, MA 01104
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Zoller, Carolyn J.
    72 Exeter Ave.
    Pittsfield, MA 01201
    Chapter: 7
    Filing Date: 03/18/10

    Sections Supplements
    Dynamic Keynoters, Networking Event on Tap for Market Show 2010

    ACCGS President Russell Denver says a down economy is not a reason to stay on the sidelines for a big trade show like the Market event slated for May 5 at the MassMutual Center.

    In fact, these are the times when companies should be front and center, he told BusinessWest, adding that a show like Market gives businesses a chance to differentiate themselves from the competition and put their products and services — not to mention their perseverance in the face of tough conditions — on display.

    “The show will provide an opportunity for companies to show they’re not only surviving, they’re thriving,” he said. “And it can give them an edge that companies not exhibiting won’t have; when others are pulling back, they’ll be standing out and differentiating themselves.

    “Trade shows remain a comparatively low-cost way to effectively market a company,” he continued, adding that participating companies can put their name and services in front of hundreds of other exhibitors and visitors.

    Despite this reasoning, Denver knows that some business owners will need some additional incentives to invest the time, energy, and money needed to participate in the 2010 Business Market Show. So he and others at the Affiliated Chambers are providing them.

    “We’re upping the ante,” said Denver, who used that phrase to characterize everything from the speakers at breakfast and lunch to the Cinco de Mayo Networking After Hours Event.

    Concerning the former, the lineup consists of breakfast keynote speaker Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com, while at lunch (which will have a separate fee), Charlie Baker, Republican candidate for governor and former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, will take to the podium.

    “We’ve always had dynamic, informative speakers, but we’re very excited about this year’s keynoters,” said Denver. “Jeff Taylor has an incredible story to tell, one that inspires all small-business owners, and with the passage of health care reform legislation, there should be a lot of interest in what Charlie Baker has to say, and many questions as well.”

    As for the networking event, it will be a blend of the long-running Taste of the Market event that has wrapped up the last several market shows and the Affiliated Chambers’ monthly After 5 networking programs, said Diane Swanson, events manager for the ACCGS.

    Area restaurants and caterers are still being lined up for the day-capping event, said Swanson, which will have a festive, Cinco de Mayo flavor to it, and should keep many attendees at the Market show through the afternoon, while spurring some later arrivals as well.

    Overall, sales for the show have been solid, said Swanson, noting that they are down slightly from previous years, an obvious result of the still-sluggish economy, but should approach the 200-booth level, which is the traditional goal for the Market show.

    Attendees will find a number of value-added elements to the show, Swanson continued, adding that, for the fourth consective year, DiGrigoli Salons will be offering free haircuts, and there will be several giveaways. Meanwhile, there are two morning seminars:

    • From 10 to 10:45 a.m. in Room 1 will be a program titled “2010 and the Roth IRA Conversion Opportunity.” Speakers will be David Veale, senior vice president, AXA Equitable; John L. Carty, CRPS, vice president and financial advisor, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; and Patrick Willcutts, CFP, CIMA, vice president and financial advisor, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

    • And from 11 to 11:45 a.m. in Room 2 will be a program titled “Social Networking and the Workplace: a Discussion of the Business and Legal Issues Arising Out of Employees’ Use of Facebook, Linkedln, Twitter, and Other Social Networking Applications.” The speaker will be Kimberly A. Klimczuk, Esq., a partner with Northampton-based Royal & Klimczuk, LLC.

    There is still plenty of time to become part of the trade show, said Swanson. To register, or for more information, call (413) 755-1313 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (413) 755-1313      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or e-mail[email protected].

    40 Under 40 The Class of 2010
    This Diverse Group Is a Breed or Several Breeds Apart

    The Class of 2010

    You could call this a good dog-gone class of 40 Under Forty winners.

    Canines are dominant in this year’s photographs, with several breeds, including the basset hound, weimaraner, and rottweiler, among others, represented (apparently cats don’t sit still for this kind of thing). There’s even a cartoon dog that has become a company’s logo. But members of this class are much more than animal lovers — although that’s a good start.

    They’re also successful in business and contributors within the community, helping those with two legs as well as four. And, like the three that came before it, the class of 2010 is diverse, with a number of business groups and nonprofit agencies represented. There are entrepreneurs as well, with members starting businesses in the high-tech sector, marketing and public relations, and even motion pictures.

    This year’s class has several lawyers, accountants, and bankers, as in previous years, but it also has managers of nonprofits ranging from Springfield School Volunteers to the United Way to Big Brothers Big Sisters. And the contributions within the community are diverse as well, from work (if you call running work) to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund to efforts on behalf of Habitat to Humanity, to initiatives to rescue basset hounds.

    Overall, this is an inspiring class, perhaps best exemplified by the story of Nancy Bazanchuk (page A4), this year’s highest scorer. Born with a congenital condition that required the amputation of both legs above her knee, she is now program director of Disability Resources for the Center for Human Development. In that role, she has grown the department exponentially over the past 13 years, and today empowers people with physical disabilities through participation in a number of different sports.

    There are a number of stories like Bazanchuk’s over the next 30 or so pages. They involve people who were inspired, and are now inspiring others. People like Natasha Clark, who was reminded daily by her father about the importance of reading and learning. He didn’t live to see her become a respected journalist and, now, program manager for Springfield School Volunteers, but he’s always been a force in her life. Or people like Jill Monson, who says she learned from the death of her mother that one never knows how much time they have, so they have to make the most of each day. She does, and she named the business she started after her mother — sort of. It’s called Inspired Marketing & Promotions because her mother inspired her to start it.

    So here are the stories of the class of 2010, and, in many cases, their dogs as well. Read, and become inspired along with us. — George O’Brien

    2010
    40 Under Forty Winners:
    Nancy Bazanchuk David Beturne Raymond Berry Jr.
    Maegan Brooks Karen Buell Shanna Burke
    Damon Cartelli Daniel Finn Natasha Clark
    Julie Cowan Karen Curran Adam Epstein
    James
    Krupienski
    Susan Mielnikowski Owen Freeman-Daniels
    Lorenzo Gaines Thomas Galanis Anthony Gleason II
    Allen Harris Meghan Hibner Amanda Huston
    Kimberly Klimczuk Mary Fallon David Kutcher
    James Leahy Kristin Leutz Meghan Lynch
    Brady Chianciola Jill Monson Kevin Perrier
    Lindsay Porter Brandon Reed Boris Revsin
    Aaron Vega Ian Vukovich Thomas Walsh
    Sean Wandrei Byron White Chester Wojcik
    Peter Zurlino

    Meet Our Judges

    This year’s nominations were scored by a panel of five judges, who took on the daunting task of reviewing more than 100 nomination forms and choosing 40 winners from that impressive pool.

    BusinessWest would like to thank these outstanding members of the Western Mass. business community for volunteering their time to the fourth annual 40 Under Forty competition. They are:

    Denise Dukette, associate director of the Western Mass. Enterprise Fund, who serves as director of lending and head of operations for that organization, a nonprofit community-loan fund that works with banks and other lenders to enable financing for businesses that would otherwise not qualify.

    Ronn Johnson, president of R.D. Johnson Consulting in Springfield, which specializes in strategic planning and organizational development. Formerly, he served as director of Community Responsibility for MassMutual.

    Kathy LeMay, owner and founder of Raising Change, a Florence-based company focused on building bridges between philanthropists and nonprofits. The highest scorer among the 40 Under Forty Class of 2009, she recently completed a book titled The Generosity Plan.

    Jeff McCormick, a partner with the Springfield-based law firm Robinson Donovan, and one of the region’s preeminent trial lawyers. He specializes in business litigation, personal-injury law, federal litigation, professional-malpractice law, and legal ethics.

    Marla Michel, executive director of Strategic Communications and Outreach at UMass Amherst. In this recently created role, she will help lead efforts to build awareness and understanding of research and scholarly accomplishments among internal and external constituents and to expand the university’s role in local and regional innovation. Previously, she served as director of Research Liaison and Development.

    Features
    This Local Banker Makes Several Points of Interest
    Tom Creed

    Tom Creed, senior vice president and commercial regional executive, Berkshire Bank

    Tom Creed recalls having a number of intriguing summer jobs while growing up in Longmeadow.

    He caddied and worked in the bag room for several years at Longmeadow Country Club — “I think I probably learned as much about business from being a caddy as I did from being in business” — and spent a few memorable summers at what was then Riverside Park, now Six Flags, as an operator of the iconic wooden roller coaster called the Thunderbolt. Maybe his lasting memory was from one night when the ride was shut down for repairs.

    “We were thinking that maybe we would get to go home early,” said Creed, senior vice president and commercial regional executive for Berkshire Bank. “But it was Saturday, and the park was pretty crowded. Our supervisor came over to me and said, ‘I need you to go out the parking lot and drive one of our double-decker buses for the rest of the night.’

    “I told him I’d never driven a double-decker bus before and that I didn’t even know how to drive a standard transmission … but if he wanted me to give it a shot, I’d give a shot,” he continued. “I pull the bus out of its parking spot, and in the process, I take out about six feet of fence with the mirror. I thought for sure the guy was going to throw me out, but instead he looks at me and says, ‘that’s better than the last guy … keep going.’”

    But it was one of Creed’s later employment opportunities, or what he called his first real summer job, that would ultimately shape his career path — sort of. It was as a teller at the Forest Park branch of Springfield Institution for Savings (SIS), now TD Bank. He said it taught him a little about banking, but much more about customer service, especially on what he called ‘Social Security day,’ when the place was packed.

    “I say this to people all the time: that teller job is still the hardest job in banking,” he told BusinessWest. “You have no idea what you’re going to be presented with; you have no idea what customer is going to come to you, when they’re going to come to you, or what they’re going to ask of you. And whatever it is, they’re going to want it right then, and they’re going to want it perfectly. That’s the pressure a teller is under; it’s a tough job.

    “The worst part of the day was the end of the day when you had to balance your drawer,” he continued, “and you had to hit that ‘enter’ button and hope that the number that came up was the one that was supposed to come up.”

    Creed has gone on to have to have a number of jobs in banking, as well as a six-year stint away from the industry working for a local manufacturer (more on that later), during which he said he learned more about the financial-services sector than he did in the previous 15 years when he was in it.

    He said it took him a long time to figure out what he wanted to do with his professional life, but he eventually came to the conclusion that it is banking, or at least that aspect of it that enables him to work with people to help them achieve goals and solve problems, that he enjoys most.

    “I missed the client relationships — that’s why I wanted to get back into banking,” he said. “I like being in the position where you’re always exposed to different people and different businesses. I enjoy being able to spend part of my day on a real-estate transaction and another part helping a manufacturer with a working-capital challenge. It’s the fun part of banking.”

    For this, the latest installment of its Profiles in Business series, BusinessWest talks at length with Creed about banking, the recession, those business relationships he mentioned, and the fact that he’s quite sure it’s a question of when, not if, he and his wife, Nancy, will retire to Key West.

    Points of Interest

    “And as far as she’s concerned, the sooner the better,” he said, adding that both of them love the laid-back lifestyle in the place where they now spend just one week a year. “I’ve spent a lot of money on suits in my life; I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t have to spend on one again.”

    That day is still a ways off, though, and Creed must still pull a suit from the closet each morning and also contend with a recession that may be officially over, according to some economists, but is still having quite an impact on Western Mass. and its business community.

    “The challenge we’re still going to have is that there are a lot of people who have just been hanging on,” he explained. “Even the little bits of improvement we’re seeing in the economy are not enough to get them through 2010. This is still going to be a tough year for a lot of people, not to mention the 15% unemployment that continues to exist in Springfield.

    “But there are signs of improvement,” he continued. “I have one customer in HVAC; he tells of how, in 2008, he installed 70 furnaces, and in 2009, he installed seven. But in 2010, his phone is starting to ring again, and not just because someone’s furnace is busted.”

    Creed speaks from experience when it comes to banking and economic downturns. He’s been through several in a career that started with Shawmut in Springfield soon after graduating from the University of Vermont in 1985. The economy was quite sound then, Creed recalled, and jobs were plentiful, “even for a political science major whose grades were pretty average.”

    Still not at all sure what he wanted to do when he grew up, he sought out bank training programs, thinking one would give him exposure to many different industry groups and help him choose a career path. “I suppose you can say I still haven’t figured it out, because 25 years later, I’m still in banking.”

    Creed eventually chose Shawmut’s training program, and began as a commercial credit analyst. He later ascended to vice president and team leader, with other stops as commercial loan officer, assistant vice president, and vice president.

    During that 10-year tenure, Creed saw the financial-services sector get turned upside down as the recession of the early ’90s and real-estate collapse forced some to banks to close, others to fight for survival, and all of them to call in loans, pare staff, and change how they did business.

    “It was pretty awful back then,” he recalled. “It was tense; you spent most of your day nervous because even the best of customers were having trouble paying their bills, not unlike the environment we’re going through today. Especially as a younger lender, you take a lot of that personally because you think you’ve done something wrong when loans start going sideways, and it makes you nervous. The better lenders are the ones who are more nervous, because they take their job seriously.

    “That was a dreadful time, and at the peak of that recession, I could never imagine us ever seeing it happen again,” he continued. “But I remember a colleague of mine, who’s still lending today … he and I were working together at Shawmut and standing on the platform on State Street, and he said, ‘Thomas, trust me, there will come a time when everyone forgets all this and we’ll go through it all over again.’ And sure enough, he was right.”

    Indeed, while times are not as bad as they were 20 years ago, especially in this market where banks did not participate in subprime lending, many institutions are forced to again look at how they do business, and make changes. These days, said Creed, banks of all shapes and sizes are simply being more careful when it comes to lending. When asked what that meant, he said banks are always careful, but in this climate, they’re paying even more attention to the fundamentals.

    “You assume nothing, you check, you double-check, and you triple-check,” he explained. “You’d like to think that you do that all the time, but you’re reminded to do it more in these times than you would in others.”

    After a 10-year stint at Shawmut, Creed moved on to First National Bank in Springfield and then to Citizens Bank in Boston, where he served as vice president. He was there only a year, because quality-of-life issues were pulling him and Nancy back to the Pioneer Valley, and a job offer from West Springfield-based Omniglow sealed the deal.

    “I had a good job at Citizens and was working with good people, but it’s expensive to live out there,” he recalled. “When we started to think about how we wanted to live and how far outside Boston we were going to live to afford it, we were already halfway home.”

    So they came all the way back, to work, but also to become quite involved in the community.

    At Omniglow, Creed was vice president of corporate development, a job that took him to China for a few weeks every quarter, and also gave him invaluable insight into the banking industry from “the other side of the table,” as he put it.

    Within the community, Creed is currently president of the board of directors for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and has been a supporter of the SSO for many years. He’s also on the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, set to become vice chair in May. He’s also been involved with the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield for some time (he was chairman of its legislative steering committee for five years), and is active with the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County and the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority.

    The Bottom Line

    Creed says he has a number of attractive options for the time when he’s not working on the job or in the community. They include the SSO (and classical music in general), the Red Sox, Jimmy Buffett concerts, golf (although he says he’s not very good), and more.

    And then, there are vacations, and especially that week at the timeshare in Key West. Ultimately, he’s longing for the day when, as he says Nancy puts it, that’s the first of 52 weeks — and when he can thankfully stop spending money on suits.