Home 2011 October
DBA Certificates Departments

The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of October 2011.

AGAWAM

Alex Zmaczynski
604 North Westfield St.
Alex Zmaczynski

Joan M. Luchini
299 Walnut St.
Joan M. Luchini

Sullivan Property Preserve, LLC
146 Adams St.
Alexander Sullivan

CHICOPEE

KNT Computer
1880 Memorial Dr.
Tue A. Bui

New England Blend
192 Montgomery St.
Richard F. Freitag Jr.

New Image Construction & Remodeling
17 High St.
Jeremy Dion

LUDLOW

Bernard Cabinetry
330 Ventura St.
James Bernard

Hair West Designs
322 West Ave.
Christine Peacey

Ludlow Travel Agency
176 Wenson St.
Maria Malaguias

NORTHAMPTON

360 Background Solutions
209 Cardinal Way
David Reinhart

Dan Gough Painting
69 Bridge Road
Daniel McGough

J.D. Powers Property Management, LLC
92 Glendale Road
David Powers

Pawjamas
557 Easthampton Road
Debra Wysock

Shiva Shakti Power Vinyasa Yoga
17 Strong Ave.
Brandon Compagnone

Silver Impressions
98 Pleasant St.
Anna King

The Taxi Inc.
One Roundhouse Plaza
Chester Krusiewski

SPRINGFIELD

5th Avenue Jewelry
1655 Boston Road
Hyun C. Kim

Adam Beshara Inc.
479 Breckwood Blvd.
Adam J. Beshara

Alice McGrath
52 Canterbury Road
Alice J. McGrath

BWF Inc.
354 Main St.
Joseph M. Pafumi

Byte Bak Computers
20 Dartmouth St.
Kimberly J. Gavin

Christian Brothers Builders
195 Arcadia Blvd.
Gary W. Pippin

Cotto’s Power Washing Inc.
16 Tyler St.
Alexander Cotto

Defy Dravity
1655 Main St.
Raul Roman

East Coast Advertising
106 Pasco Road
Jason Avezzie

Ebony Hill Web Design
111 Florida St.
Derrick A. Hill

El Mariachi Loco
607-609 Page Blvd.
Reyna Farnham

Envy Nails
1777 Boston Road
Loan Nguyen

Gamers Galaxy, LLC
494 Central St.
Otto W. Anthony

Le’Buddies Helping Hands
62 Whittier St.
Althea Carter

Lucky 7 Cleaner
1003 St. James Ave.
Young Y. Choi

WEST SPRINGFIELD

BCS Performance
161 Wayside Ave.
Jason Brazee

Bertera Flat
657 Riverdale St.
Bertera Foreign Motors Corporation

Debron’s Full Service Salon
242 Westfield St.
Deborah L. Scharmann

Law Office of Gerard B. Matthews
1252 Elm St.
Gerard B. Matthews

Montessori Children’s House
118 Riverdale St.
David Ruggiera

New England Estate Sales and Service
38 Neptune Ave.
Peter Zaitz

Online Fabric Store
333 Park St.
Mayer A. Kahan

Ralph’s Express
1900 Westfield St.
Ralph E. Figueroa

Red’s Towing and Service Center
1528 Riverdale St.
Gary B. Sheehan

Wag’n Tails Doggy Daycare
91 Westwood Dr.
Marylynn C. Murray

Building Permits Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of October 2011.

AGAWAM

Coopers Commons, LLC
159 Main St.
$77,500 — Interior and exterior renovations

Southgate Properties, LLC
830 Suffield St.
$200,000 — New roof and steel decking

Suffield Street Partners, LLP
62-64 Gold St.
$32,000 — Interior upgrade for warehouse use

CHICOPEE

Curry Realty, LLC
765 Memorial Dr.
$3,819,000 — Construction of a 12,454-square-foot addition and renovation of existing

Jeffrey J. Campbell, Inc.
649 Meadow St.
$21,000 — Storage addition

John Salema
751 Meadow St.
$85,000 — Renovate interior of sales area and restrooms

Main Street Property
340 McKinstry Ave.
$13,500 — Interior renovation for new tenant

LUDLOW

Oak Tree Inn
782 Center St.
$5,000 — New deck

NORTHAMPTON

Billmar Corporation
330 North King St.
$104,000 — Addition and renovations

Leachate Treatment Facility
170 Glendale Road
$30,000 — Mount radiator and reinstall engine

SPRINGFIELD

Diocese of Springfield
405 Boston Road
$148,500 — New roof

Humra Nseem
806 Main St.
$3,000 — Exterior repairs

Robert Flanagan
67 Allen St.
$42,000 — New roof

Mark Patel
154 Island Pond Road
$15,000 — New roof

Phoenix House of New England
15 Mulberry St.
$54,000 — Install replacement windows

SHA
20 Lafrance St.
$100,000 — Renovate community room at Moxon Apartments

Tom McCarthy
357 Cottage St.
$20,000 — Install 35 replacement windows and roof repairs

WEST

Aldo Bertera F.L.P.
40 Larone Ave.
$625,000 — Erect a 7,140-square-foot auto detailing shop

380 Union Street Inc.
380 Union St.
$105,000 — New roof

United Methodist Church
802 Main St.
$150,000 — Repair tornado damage

Chamber Corners Departments

ACCGS
www.myonlinechamber.com
(413) 787-1555

• Nov. 2: Business @ Breakfast, 7:15 to 9 a.m., The Cedars, Springfield. The monthly breakfast pays tribute to individuals, businesses, and organizations for major contributions to civic and economic growth and for actions which reflect honor on the region. The breakfast gives your company exposure to business owners, upper management, and salespeople. To register, contact Cecile Larose at [email protected]

• Nov. 9: ACCGS After 5, 5 to 7 p.m., Fran Johnson’s, 1050 Riverdale St., West Springfield. Network, build relationships, and forge strategic partnerships. The After 5 offers business professionals from diverse industries an opportunity to exchange business leads while socializing in a casual atmosphere. To register, contact Cecile Larose at [email protected]

• Nov. 9: PWC November Meeting, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield. Speaker: Jamie Williamson, MCAD Commissioner, presenting “Up the Ladder, The Public Sector.” To register, contact Lynn Johnson at (413) 755-1310 or [email protected]

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700

• Nov. 16: After 5, 5 to 7 p.m., Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield. Cost: $5 for members, $10 for non-members. Register online at www.amherstarea.com

Chicopee Chamber of Commerce
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

• Nov. 16: November Salute Breakfast, 7:15 to 9 a.m., Summit View Banquet & Meeting House. Cost: $19 for members, $26 for non-members. Register online at www.chicopeechamber.org

Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• Nov. 2: Taming the Social Media Beast, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., UMass Amherst Campus Center, Room 1011. To register, contact Heidi at [email protected] or (888) 865-1244.

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

• Nov. 2: Arrive @5, 5 to 7 p.m., Northampton Brewery, 11 Brewster Court, Northampton. A casual mix and mingle with colleagues and friends. Register online at www.explorenorthampton.com

Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

• Nov. 2: WestNet After 5 networking event, 5 to 7 p.m., Westfield Bank, 300 Southampton Road, Westfield. Great networking opportunity, so bring business cards. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

• Nov. 7: Coffee Hour with Mayor Daniel Knapik, 8 to 9 a.m., Tiger’s Pride, Westfield Vocational & Technical High School, 33 Smith Ave., Westfield.

• Nov. 17: Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, 6 p.m. cocktail hour followed by dinner and award presentations from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., School Street Bistro, 10 School St., Westfield. Awards include: Large Business of the Year, Westfield State University; Small Business of the Year, Pioneer Valley Railroad; Businesswoman of the Year, Cathy Gendreau, owner of Peppermill Catering, LLC; Businessman of the Year, Bruce Turcotte, CFO of Columbia Manufacturing, Inc.; Don Blair Community Service Award, John Whalley III. Cost: $45 for members, $50 for non-members.

Departments People on the Move

Yuki Cohen

Yuki Cohen

Yuki Cohen has been named Vice President and Wealth Advisor for the Wealth Management Division of Berkshire Bank in Pittsfield. Cohen will work with a variety of clients and institutions throughout the Berkshire County and Pioneer Valley markets, providing trust-administration and asset-allocation services to wealth-management clients.
•••••
Attorney Karina L. Schrengohst has joined Royal LLP, based in Northampton, focusing her practice in labor law. She will represent unionized employers in court, defending them against unfair labor practice charges, and before administrative agencies, such as the National Labor Relations Board. Also, she will assist clients at arbitrations in matters involving contract interpretation and employee discipline or discharge and advise non-union clients on developing the best practices for maintaining a union-free workplace.
•••••
Shefali Desai has been appointed National Sales Leader of Emerging Markets for MassMutual’s Retirement Services division, based in Springfield. Desai is responsible for leading the division’s 15 sales directors, as well as third-party administrator channel managers targeting small-market retirement plans.
•••••
Ralph F. Abbott Jr.

Ralph F. Abbott Jr.

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., with offices in Springfield, Worcester, and Meriden, Conn., has announced that Ralph F. Abbott Jr. has been named the 2012 Springfield Employment Law-Management Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers, a peer-review publication in the legal profession. Abbott has been a member of the firm since 1975. In addition to providing employment-related advice to employers, he assists clients in remaining union-free and represents employers before the National Labor Relations Board.
•••••
Heather Bosworth has joined Park Square Realty’s Westfield office as a Sales Associate.
•••••
Johanna M. LaClair has joined the Insurance Center of New England as a Personal Lines Sales Representative.
•••••
James E. Vinick has been named Treasurer of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.
•••••
Chicopee Savings Bank announced the following:
• Martha M. Rickson has been named Branch Officer of the West Springfield branch office; and
• Maribel Torres has been named Assistant Vice President of Retail Lending.
•••••
Western New England College in Springfield announced the following:
• Nuno C. Alves has been named Instructor of Electrical and Computer Engineering;
• Anthony E. English has been named Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering;
• Joe A. Riofrio has been named Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and
• Brian K. Smith has been named Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering.
•••••
Joseph DaSilva has been named Vice President of Administration at Springfield Technical Community College.
•••••
Florence Savings Bank announced the following promotions:
• Susan A. Pepin-Phillips has been named Vice President of Marketing;
• Shelley M. Daughdrill has been elected Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager;
• Michele Z. Lawrence-Bennett has been named Assistant Vice President and Security Officer;
• Sharon C. Malouin has been elected Audit Officer; and
• Robert E. Teto has been elected Virtual Branch Manager.
•••••
Western New England University in Springfield recently appointed new members of the faculty at the College of Arts and Sciences:
• Eric L. Clark has been named Assistant Professor of Mathematics;
• William R. Force has been named Assistant Professor of Sociology;
• Jacob L. Krans has been named Assistant Professor of Neuroscience;
• Sean P. McClintock has been named Assistant Professor of Chemistry;
• Alexander S. Rosas has been named Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the Law and Society program; and
• Heather Stassen-Ferrara has been named Assistant Professor of Communication.

Features
New UMass President Says That’s a Big Part of His Job Description

UMass President Robert Caret

UMass President Robert Caret at the site of the high-performance computing center in Holyoke.

“On the Road Together.” That’s the name new UMass President Robert Caret and his staff gave to a four-day, 400-mile bus tour he took of the state and the university’s five campuses. It was called that to drive home the point that the state and university must travel together if they intend to get where they both want to go, said Caret. He emphasized repeatedly in an interview with BusinessWest that more support from the Commonwealth is needed to reverse an alarming trend that has seen the public institution increasingly take the look and feel of a private university, with possible limits on access.

Robert Caret said he was repeating a joke, and while his comments drew many laughs, overall, he finds little humor in what he was saying.
He was talking with business leaders in Greater Springfield about the medical school in Worcester, how it carries the name UMass in front of those two words, and wondering, sort of, why that’s the case.
“The medical school’s budget is almost $1 billion, and only 4% is state-supported,” Caret, the recently installed president of the five-campus University of Massachusetts, told his audience over breakfast at the Springfield Sheraton. “I joked to the governor’s team that I could get more than 4% if I sold the name to Gillette or EMC or Peter Pan. Why do we have Massachusetts on the label if Massachusetts isn’t paying for it?”
Obtaining better support from the Commonwealth is just one of the many goals and aspirations Caret brings with him to his office in Boston as he takes the helm at a public institution ranked as the 19th-best university in the world in the Times of London 2011 World Reputation Rankings, but one that has historically received much less respect (in the form of funding) from the state in which it plays such a key role in economic development and job creation — $5 billion annually, by his estimates.
Overall, only 23% of the roughly $2.6 billion for the system comes from the state, he went on, adding that options for the rest are few, with tuition being the primary source. And as tuition rises, which it has steadily over the past few decades, public schools must devote more resources to student aid, said Caret, while also contributing more to new capital projects and relying more on endowments to meet the bottom line.
“We’re becoming a private institution,” he explained, adding a pause for effect. “That’s the model of a private university — high tuition, high aid, build your own buildings, raise your own money, 70% of your revenue comes from tuition. That’s a private university, and that’s where we’re all going.
“And the problem if we all go private is we’ll all provide high quality,” he continued, “but a lot of people aren’t going to get in, because you can’t run a 70,000-student enterprise using that model. You can run Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Amherst using that model, but not a school this large.”
Efforts to change that equation and improve such numbers are part of a complex job description that Caret attempted to simplify down to a few overriding tasks, with “telling and selling” being perhaps the most important. “That’s a big part of what I do,” he explained. “It’s all about getting out and telling the story.”
He would add another action verb to that list — listening, which he says is an important attribute and a big part of the process of making the university more of the force that economic-development officials statewide, and especially in the regions near the five campuses, want and need it to be.
Caret did copious amounts of telling, selling, and listening on a recent four-day, 400-mile bus tour of the state that took him from Adams to Buzzards Bay. Called “On the Road Together,” so-named to drive home the point that the state and university must travel together if they intend to get where they both want to go, the bus tour made stops locally in Pittsfield, downtown Springfield, the Smith & Wesson facility on Roosevelt Avenue, the high-performance computing center and intermodal transportation center, both in Holyoke, and the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) on the Amherst campus.
BusinessWest rode on the bus for several legs of the junket, seizing an opportunity to talk with Caret about this latest stop on a 30-year career in higher education (all of it spent in the public arena), his vision for the university, and the strategic plan he’s creating to better tell the university’s story and drive home his points about the ominous trends unfolding.
“We need society to understand that they’re closing the doors to education,” he said. “If government doesn’t step up, we’ll continue to build quality, but as we build quality, we’ll become more privatized, and as we become more privatized, access becomes the thing that suffers, and we just don’t want that to happen.”

Back to His Routes
Caret calls it the “Rodney Dangerfield effect.”
That’s the phrase he summoned to describe the situations he’s found himself in at the three stops on his résumé, including the latest.
Elaborating, he said that, at Towson University in Maryland, which he served in many capacities and lastly as president for eight years, the school operated in the very large shadow of Johns Hopkins University, just 20 miles away. And at San Jose State University in California, which he served as president from 1995 to 2003, Stanford was just down the road.
In Massachusetts, Harvard is the iconic private institution, but there are more than a dozen other major private colleges vying for students, media coverage, research money, and the attention of the public.
At Towson and San Jose, Caret said he learned early on that the best strategy wasn’t to try to compete with those institutions, but to complement them. And he intends to take the same approach in the Bay State.
“We want to be in a state of complementation; society needs public, private, two-year, four-year, state universities, community colleges, and universities to handle all its economic and social needs,” he explained. “What we all need to do is decide what piece we do, and how we can do it with high quality.
“And if you look at schools like Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, only about 20% or less of their graduates stay in the state in which those schools reside, because they’re playing largely to an international audience; they take people from all over the world, and they go back all over the world,” he continued. “The University of Massachusetts takes 80% of its students from the state of Massachusetts and 80% of them stay here; we graduate 13,000 or 14,000 new citizens a year who go into the workforce and pay taxes. And all those campuses I’ve been involved with … you may get more startups out of Hopkins, MIT, and Stanford, but 20 years from now, UMass graduates are going to be running those companies because we’re going to permeate the ranks of those companies.”
Beyond these complementation efforts, Claret presided over periods of significant growth at both of his previous stops, career-wise, and gained national acclaim for eliminating race-based graduation disparity at Towson.
Indeed, under his leadership, the six-year graduation rate for all Towson students rose from 60% in 2003 to 75% in 2010. What’s more, the six-year graduation rate for African-American students rose from 48% in 2003 to 76% in 2010.
Caret wasn’t necessarily looking for a new job — although he’s always been receptive to new challenges — when UMass commenced its search for a successor to Jack Wilson last fall. He said he was lured by the opportunity to lead a system, and especially one with a strong research component, something he hadn’t experienced previously. Meanwhile, Boston was also an attraction; he did his undergraduate work there and grew up in New England.

Road Map for Progress
Starting back in the interviewing process, Caret said he’s been doing a lot of “reading, Googling, and learning” about the university, its five campuses — Amherst, Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Dartmouth — and specific initiatives at those campuses and the communities that surround them. That process has only accelerated since he was hired in July.
“I was given three briefing books on an iPad that were probably a total of 450 pages of briefings on every piece of the UMass system — from campuses to budgets to the high-performance computing center, the stem-cell bank, everything we were doing,” he said. After he was hired, he complemented this reading and learning with roundtable meetings on the various campuses with faculty senates, unions, vice chancellors, deans, student groups, and other constituencies.
The bus trip, which included 24 stops, was, in many ways, a continuation of those research efforts, while also serving as a vehicle — literally and figuratively — for doing more of that telling and selling.
At Smith & Wesson, for example, he learned not only about that company’s expansion initiative and the adding of more than 200 jobs, but also about the many challenges facing area manufacturers — recruitment of talent topping the list — and the university’s efforts to address them while also spurring innovation.
In Holyoke, he spent time with city leaders at the high-performance computing center — a prime example of the university partnering with both private colleges (MIT and Boston University) and the business community — and also learned of that community’s efforts to create an Innovation District and use public transportation to help achieve growth.
Other stops on the tour included the Emerging Energy Technology & Innovation Center at UMass Lowell, a biomanufacturing facility in Fall River, Venture Development Center at UMass Boston, and the medical school itself.
What has he learned?
“There are a lot of similarities in what people are looking for from UMass,” he explained, referring to just the first few legs of his trip in Western Mass. “In North Adams, Pittsfield, Lee, and Springfield, they want more help with economic development, especially with technology transfer; if they have startup companies, they want a workforce to continue to feed those ventures, especially in the new technologies areas like biotech, life sciences, IT, and clean energy. But the further you are away from the main campuses, the harder it is to maintain those relationships.
“The other piece we see is the educational piece itself, which also feeds into workforce,” he continued. “But it also feeds into advanced manufacturing. And the third one is basic quality of life; Springfield, for example, would like to have much more of a cultural linkage with Amherst, and have more of the kinds of things that happen on the campus — like plays and other kinds of performances — in Springfield.”

Moving in the Right Direction
At most of the stops on the tour there was at least one meeting with the local business community, which Caret described as one of the constituencies with which the university must build relationships — and draw support.
Indeed, as he wrapped up his remarks at the Springfield Sheraton, Caret asked those assembled for advocacy in several different forms.
“We’d like some financial advocacy,” he said, meaning monetary support. “But we also need political advocacy, which can be almost as important as financial advocacy. And we’d also like a little emotional advocacy; every once in while, give us a pat on the back or a hug — we’d like to feel good every day about what we’re doing.”
When asked to elaborate on what he wants to accomplish at UMass, Caret listed several of the things he’s achieved at Towson and San Jose State, everything from higher graduation rates to stronger partnerships with business, other colleges (public and private), and the state itself. He also listed stronger linkages between the individual campuses, the regions surrounding them, and individual cities.
Which brought the conversation to the link between the flagship campus in Amherst and Springfield, and efforts in recent years to bolster that relationship and leverage the university’s many assets in a city trying to revitalize and reinvent itself.
“I will be a strong advocate for all of our campuses being aggressive with their local regions — but then you have to define ‘region,’ which becomes more complex,” he explained. “But I do think Amherst and Springfield are a logical pairing.
“If you look at studies from the Brookings Institute and other groups, you’ll find that, in most instances, for a vibrant city, you need a university at the core of its economic focus,” he continued. “And we want to play that role.”
And when asked how he would measure his success rate with his many goals, he again referenced his previous stops and said, “when I’m done here, I want to be able to say the same things I’ve said at the other two campuses.”
Elaborating, he said that, at both Towson and San Jose State, he presided over a number of capital projects that changed the faces of both schools. “I’ve probably done $2 billion worth of infrastructure at the two schools, and more than $1 billion at the last one (Towson), and they hadn’t had a new building in 30 years; it was a transformational change.”
But he is more proud of his success with improving the image of both schools, both in their respective regions and globally.
“At both schools, I raised the image of the campus, I raised the sense of pride among the people working there and graduating from there, and got the world excited about those campuses again; these were schools that were among the best of their breed, but they just weren’t getting the recognition they deserved.
“The biggest thing I’ve done is to revitalize a school, make people feel good about it, and energize the campus,” he continued. “And I’d like to say that about UMass, because if I can do that, then all those other things will happen; the rankings will improve, the funding will improve, the political advocacy will improve, and all the rest will happen.”

Next Stop?
There is no simple strategy for energizing a campus, he told BusinessWest as the bus was pulling into downtown Holyoke for its next stop. But a big part of that equation is that ‘telling-and-selling’ component of his job description.
But it’s also the next step in that process — delivering.
“After the telling and selling, you come back and you produce something and you get people excited,” he said. “You do put your money where your mouth is.”
That’s something both the university and state need to do, adding that sometime soon he’d like to be able to stop making jokes — if that’s what they are — about selling the name on the medical school in Worcester.

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

Commercial Real Estate Sections
Springfield’s Rebuilding Effort Comes at Intriguing Time for Urban Centers

Dave Dixon

Dave Dixon says there is a surge in interest in urban living, which presents huge opportunities for cities like Springfield.

As local officials, hired consulting firms, and city residents combine forces to craft a rebuilding plan for Springfield in the wake of the June 1 tornado, they do so at a time of change and opportunity for many urban centers. Officials with the firms contracted to lead efforts to blueprint a revitalization strategy say there is a rise in the popularity of urban living, a trend that could facilitate the recovery process in many ways.

Dave Dixon was understandably wary about incorporating the phrase ‘silver lining’ into any statements he made concerning the June 1 tornado and its aftermath.
But he nonetheless put it to use as he talked about the efforts to rebuild Springfield and, more specifically, the work to revitalize the downtown and South End sections of the city. And that silver lining is all about timing and emerging trends in urban centers, he explained.
“If this tornado had struck 10 years earlier, let’s say, I think this would be a much grimmer task, because we’d be rebuilding in the face of continuing disinvestment in the city,” said Dixon.
He’s the principal in charge of planning and urban design at Goody Clancy, the Boston-based architecture, planning, and preservation firm now co-leading the efforts to blueprint a rebuilding plan for Springfield with New Orleans-based Concordia (see related story, page 62).
Elaborating, Dixon said that, over the past several years, there has been a discernable upswing in the popularity of urban living. Spawned by a number of factors, including a desire among aging Baby Boomers to live in places where they can walk rather than drive to most required destinations, the trend has helped transform a number of urban centers, many with the same social and economic challenges as Springfield’s central business district and South End.
“Ten years ago, the world didn’t look like this,” said Dixon, who has seen or helped orchestrate revivals in cities ranging from Baltimore to New Orleans to Wichita, Kan. “This disaster in Springfield, like the one in New Orleans, happened at a time when cities are changing and have opportunities that they haven’t had for 40 or 50 years.
“What has gone on, particularly over the past decade, has been a profound transition in demographics, in the way real-estate markets work, in the values that the folks who bring investment with them because they attract employers, have all undergone,” he continued, adding that there are more single individuals or couples (as opposed to families) than was the case a decade ago, and income levels for such people are higher. “There are simply more people that could decide they want to live in an urban environment. They may have wanted to in the past, but it didn’t work for them. And now they’re looking to make it work.”
Indeed, the real silver lining for Springfield, said Dixon, is an apparent, and growing, pent-up demand for downtown mailing addresses. To illustrate, he took out a piece of paper and sketched a simple chart showing the rising popularity of urban living.
The line moves upward at a steady clip, he explained while drawing, but the recession of the past several years has restricted the angle of ascent because, among other factors, homeowners looking to relocate to urban centers are still having trouble selling their homes, and market-rate housing builders are still being challenged in their efforts to finance such endeavors.
Like a dam holding back water, these factors are effectively bottling up demand, he continued, adding that, when conditions improve and that figurative dam breaks, cities properly positioned to capitalize on the trend could benefit significantly.
And in many ways, the tornado has helped put Springfield in such a position, he went on, acknowledging that the city still faces a number of challenges in this regard — including crime, the perception of same, and a concentration of subsidized-housing projects in both the downtown and South End — and that progress certainly won’t occur overnight.
But the city has many of the key ingredients to join the list of other success stories, he said, listing a decent “walkability index” — more on that later — a solid existing inventory of buildings that can be converted into market-rate housing, and, thanks to the tornado, some vacant acreage on which to build such housing, as well as businesses to sustain an urban population.
Dixon acknowledged that many are skeptical that such urban living could help transform Springfield’s downtown area, but he’s seen enough evidence of the trend in other parts of the country to believe it could certainly happen here.

Walking the Walk
As he talked with BusinessWest, Ron Mallis, a senior planner with Goody Clancy, was using his iPhone to see how well several downtown Springfield addresses fared on a Web site called walkscore.com. The site essentially assesses a location based on one’s ability to walk to amenities ranging from coffee shops to entertainment venues to banks, and gives it a score from 1 to 100, with the latter being the best.
The DevelopSpringfield office at 1182 Main St. earned an 89, while the Red Rose restaurant just a few blocks south notched an 82. Those statistics are not to be discounted, said Mallis, because many constituencies, from young artists to aging Boomers to business owners, are looking at such numbers with greater interest.
“People are more health-conscious than they were years ago,” he explained. “People have woken up to the fact that walking and health have a direct correlation, and that certainly plays a part in the decisions people are making about where they want to live.
Dixon agreed. “If you look at surveys about how much people want to drive, it used to be that, the younger you were, the more you liked getting in the car and driving; now it’s the reverse, and some of it is health-driven; it’s viewed as unhealthy to be in a car a lot.”
But there’s more to this trend than exercise, he continued, adding that many individuals within different age groups, when queried about what they want from a residential address, put that intangible ‘community’ high on their list. “And people think of urban areas as offering much more opportunity for community — to run into each other and meet each other.
“When you look at the top-10 criteria that people listed for where they wanted to live, from the ’60s up until probably 2003, or at least through the ’90s, it was golf courses, near golf courses, on a golf course, and as far away from work as possible,” he went on. “None of those are on the list in 2011. Surveys now show it’s proximity to Main Street, diversity, the ability to walk to work … and even telecommuters are much more interested in living in denser, walkable areas, perhaps because they spend the day by themselves.”
Dixon and Mallis have seen such trends emerge as they’ve helped Goody Clancy compile an extensive portfolio of work in older urban areas. The firm has taken part in a number of downtown projects, from guiding 12 million square feet of mixed-use development around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to revitalization plans for communities as such as Baltimore, Akron, Ohio, Jamestown, N.Y., and, locally, Greenfield.
To illustrate his point on urban living and add a measure of credibility to the argument, Dixon pointed to Wichita, a city of about 900,000 and a downtown still fighting its way back from decades of disinvestment and an out-migration of people and businesses.
“Even the lawyers moved out of the downtown, which is unusual,” he said. “Compared to many parts of downtown Wichita, Springfield’s South End would look cool — it would look like an arts district. But downtown is beginning to take off; there are several hundred units of new, cool lofts — they’re rentals right now because the condo market isn’t there yet; one was rented out before it was finished, and another, more expensive building is almost rented out.
“Meanwhile, there’s another, more conventional project with larger, more expensive units that’s just sitting there because that’s not what the market’s going to come back to,” he went on. “The market’s about cool, urban, walkable living spaces. It’s more about living near a cool bakery than it is about giving a view.”
In Springfield, the firm has been assigned the task of coordinating efforts to develop strategic initiatives focused on the downtown and South End, one of three areas, or districts, of concentration involving neighborhoods impacted by the tornado. Since being hired in September, the firm’s representatives have undertaken a general inventory of this sector’s assets and liabilities, said Dixon, adding that there are more of the former than many people might think, and some could help the city take advantage of the pendulum moving back toward urban living.
And in many ways, the city is already making some strides, said Mallis, noting efforts to attract artists to the Morgan Square apartment complex (see BusinessWest, Aug. 29), and other initiatives to create more market-rate housing at several downtown-area properties.
As for the South End, Dixon said it has the potential to be “a hip place,” given its diversity, solid walk scores, proximity to many restaurants and cultural attractions, and decent inventory of properties that could, with some imagination, entrepreneurial flair, and requisite demand, be retrofitted into housing units.
As he walked with BusinessWest down Main Street, Dixon pointed out several such buildings near an already-thriving market-rate complex, the Willows, created from the former Milton Bradley manufacturing complex off Union Street. He gestured to everything from office and retail properties with large vacancy rates to abandoned or underutilized manufacturing and warehouse structures.
“You can just look at those properties and see that, if the market is there a half-block away,” he said, “it can be at those sites as well.”
There are also several currently vacant parcels, including the former Gemini site and some others created by the tornado, which provide opportunities for developers with vision.
Beyond vacant lots, though, the tornado has provided a spark for the city, said Dixon, when pressed about why market-rate housing and related developments haven’t happened sooner.
“As horrible and painful as the tornado has been for many people,” he said, “it has sort of galvanized the moment; it has the community focused, the city focused, everybody focused on how to rebuild better.”

Building Momentum
This combination of focus and determination has arrived at the intersection of rising interest in urban living and pent-up demand. It’s an intriguing situation that could make Springfield’s downtown the right place at the right time.
“Put all these things together, and Springfield, like many cities, has opportunities that it hasn’t had for a very long time,” said Dixon. “They don’t happen automatically, though. Cities have all these problems — fragmented land ownership, zoning, tax structures — which are not necessarily geared to the kind of development you want, and crime and the perception of crime.
“But there are lot of cities that have been very patient over the past 10 years, looking at what’s happening, removing the obstacles, investing in downtowns, and getting tremendous payoffs. Springfield has that opportunity; something like the tornado is a kind of wakeup call that it’s not just time to change, but to take stock. And when you take stock, you can take advantage of these opportunities.”
In other words, this could a silver lining that makes Springfield a shining example of how urban centers can be revitalized.

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

Involvement, Strong Leadership Called Keys to Rebuilding Effort

Bobbie Hill

Bobbie Hill says plans and process are important, but involvement and leadership are the keys to revitalizing a city.

Bobbie Hill was asked about process, plans, and potential projects.
And she said there will be all three when it comes to the task of rebuilding Springfield in the wake of the June 1 tornado. However, none will be the real key to a successful effort.
Instead, the most vital component — and she says she’s learned this from considerable experience — is getting the residents of the community in question to take a real ownership stake in the recovery initiatives.
“It’s the relationship-building, the community-capacity-building, the taking-ownership piece,” said Hill, a consultant with the New Orleans-based planning and architecture firm Concordia, which is heading the team of companies coordinating Springfield’s rebuilding-plan process. “Those are the keys; it’s ownership, and holding yourself, your neighbors, elected officials, and developers accountable to doing it and doing it right.
“That engagement component, that people component, is as important if not more important than individual concepts,” she continued. “This can’t just be about development projects; that’s not what transforms a community.”
What does, she stressed again, is a willingness on the part of residents to get involved and stay involved, and not give in to the theory, or temptation, that government will take care of things. And it comes through leadership, she went on, noting that, in most every community where the 11-person firm has lent its disaster-response, planning, and design expertise, leaders from the community have emerged.
The process of getting the community involved in the rebuilding effort began earlier this month with neighborhood meetings in the three identified sectors involving areas of the city damaged by the tornado. Sector 1 is the metro center (downtown) and the South End, while Sector 2 is composed of Six Corners, Upper Hill, Old Hill, and Forest Park, and Sector 3 includes Sixteen Acres and East Forest Park.
Those neighborhood meetings were followed up with a city-wide gathering a few days later, and two more sessions of neighborhood meetings and another city-wide session are scheduled for November and December, said Hill, adding that the four firms collaborating on the endeavor will present an implementation and financing plan to a community congress on Jan. 5.
That’s the process, in simple terms, she said, adding that it’s too early to discuss specific potential redevelopment projects, although plenty of suggestions — from a supermarket to market-rate housing projects to reforestation proposals — have come forth at the neighborhood sessions.
In subsequent neighborhood meetings, the suggestions will be discussed at greater length, and eventually priorities will be established, and consultants will “put numbers” to potential recommendations in an effort to determine which ones make sense and which ones don’t.
More importantly, though, the initial sessions have yielded evidence of the requisite level of involvement, leadership, and community spirit that will be necessary for a successful recovery effort.
“I was really encouraged by what I saw and heard the other night,” she referring to the neighborhood meeting in Sector 2. “There was definitely a strong sense of community, people really caring for other and celebrating diversity — that really came across.”
There are four firms involved in the process of coordinating the neighborhood meetings and compiling the report to be completed Jan. 5. They are:

• Corcordia, which, among other projects in its portfolio, led coordination for the Unified New Orleans Plan after Hurricane Katrina that included selection and management of 12 national, regional, and local planning firms that created plans for 14 planning districts and an overall city-wide recovery plan;

• Goody Clancy, a Boston-based urban planning and design firm that has coordinated revitalization efforts in a number of major cities (see related story, page 60);

• Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Inc. (BNIM), considered the most experienced firm in the country when it comes to helping tornado-impacted communities engage in a transformative recovery planning process; and

• The Project for Public Spaces (PPS), a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build stronger communities.
For more information on the process or to submit ideas online, visit www.rebuildspringfield.com. The schedule for future neighborhood and citywide meetings is as follows:

• Six Corners, Upper Hill, Old Hill, and Forest Park: Nov. 15, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the J.C. Williams Center, Florence Street;

• Sixteen Acres, East Forest Park: Nov. 16, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Holy Cross gymnasium, Plumtree Road;

• Metro Center, South End: Nov. 17, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Gentile Apartments Community Room, Williams Street;

• Metro Center, South End: Dec. 6, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Gentile Apartments Community Room, Williams Street;

• Sixteen Acres, East Forest Park: Dec. 7, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Holy Cross gymnasium, Plumtree Road;

• Six Corners, Upper Hill, Old Hill, and Forest Park: Dec. 8, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the J.C. Williams Center, Florence Street;

• City-wide: Dec. 10, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the MassMutual Center; and

• Community Congress: Jan. 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.

— George O’Brien

Departments Picture This

Send photos with a caption and contact information to:  ‘Picture This’ c/o BusinessWest Magazine, 1441 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103 or to [email protected]

Spreading the Word

ReadAloud1

ReadAloud1

At top, Doug Bowen, right, president of Holyoke-based PeoplesBank, was the featured reader at the Link to Libraries Celebrity Read Aloud 2011-12 academic year program. Bowen read at Sullivan Elementary School in Holyoke to a most attentive and excited group of fifth-graders. Having grown up in the city, his presentation included a discussion with the students on the importance of being good readers and students, and what living and working in the community means to him both personally and professionally. Bowen is seen here with John Breish, principal of the Sullivan School, and several fifth-grade students.
ReadAloudGOB

ReadAloudGOB

Below, BusinessWest editor George O’Brien, left, was a guest reader earlier this month at the White Street School in Springfield. He’s seen here with fourth-grade teacher Jay Brunt and his class. For more information on the initiative, visit www.linktolibraries.org.

Briefcase Departments

Colleges Form Partnership on Workforce Training
SPRINGFIELD — Businesses throughout Hampden and Hampshire counties can now access custom-designed workforce training through a partnership between Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). TWO — Training & Workforce Options — is a joint endeavor that provides a single source for customized workforce development and training in the region. HCC President Bill Messner noted that the colleges have offered extensive workforce training and development for decades, but now there is one telephone number and easy Web access for this business resource. STCC President Ira Rubenzahl added that TWO will offer a wide range of training, from computer software and certification preparation to manufacturing; from management skills to ESL in the workplace. “Our goal is to make Western Mass. a more desirable place to grow your business,” said Rubenzahl. Messner added that “both colleges have a long-term track record; it makes sense for us to combine and offer greater efficiency.” Classes will be scheduled at the need and desire of the customer, whether immediately or at some preferred time in the future. TWO can also provide distance classes online if that’s more convenient for the individual employees, or provide an instructor at the business address. Debbie Bellucci, dean of the STCC School of Continuing Education and Distance Learning, noted that contract training can be designed based on an individual company’s specific needs and desired outcomes. For more information on TWO, call (413) 755-6100.

UMass Wins Grant to Host $7.5 Million Northeast Climate Science Center
AMHERST — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that UMass Amherst has been chosen to lead a consortium of seven universities and host a major new endeavor, the Northeast Climate Science Center, through a five-year, $7.5 million grant. It will support federal, state, and other agencies by studying the effects of climate change on ecosystems, wildlife, water, and other resources in the region. UMass Amherst and partner institutions in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, and Massachusetts will together receive $1.5 million core funding each year for five years, with more project-specific funds available. The Northeast CSC is one of eight established by the Interior Department since Salazar founded the program in 2009. The region includes New England and states west to Minnesota and south to Maryland. “Selecting the locations for the final three of our eight climate science centers is a major milestone in our efforts to implement our department-wide climate-change strategy,” Salazar said. “The nationwide network of climate science centers will provide the scientific talent and commitment necessary for understanding how climate change and other landscape stressors will change the face of the U.S., and how the Department of the Interior, as our nation’s chief steward of natural and cultural resources, can prepare and respond.” Specific challenges could include climate impacts on water resources, agriculture and grazing, fish and wildlife responses to climate change, forest resilience, invasive species, protecting migratory fish and waterfowl, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, flood management, and water quality. Funded research is only one benefit of being named a CSC. The designation also positions the university for a future leadership role in regional and national climate research, according to Michael Malone, UMass Amherst vice chancellor for research and engagement. Principal investigator of the new CSC at UMass Amherst is Richard Palmer, head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with co-principal investigators Raymond Bradley, distinguished university professor and director of the Climate System Research Center; Curt Griffin, professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and co-director of the Environmental Sciences Program; and Keith Nislow, wildlife and fish team leader of the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. Bradley noted there is a pressing need for information on how climate change will affect conditions at the local level, which requires studies using high-resolution climate models. “Most studies so far provide broad-scale assessments at the national level,” he said, “but resource managers need more detailed information that is relevant to their specific problems. One of our goals for the new center is to develop this capability.” Palmer said that, to win this major federal recognition, UMass Amherst and its partner institutions demonstrated that they offer unparalleled research strengths and established multi-disciplinary collaborations spanning the Northeast region needed to carry out research on specific regional climate-change effects. Graduate students from many UMass Amherst departments and undergraduates in the Commonwealth Honors College will be involved in the Northeast CSC, including a possible exchange program with other regional centers. In addition to UMass Amherst, other Northeast CSC members are the University of Wisconsin Madison, the University of Missouri Columbia, the University of Minnesota, the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wis., the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., and Columbia University in New York City. According to the Department of the Interior, the eight regional climate science centers extend from a hub at the National Climate Change and Wildlife Center at the U.S. Geological Survey national headquarters. In addition to Interior Department bureaus such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service, other federal cooperating agencies taking part in the CSC program are the U.S. Forest Service and NOAA. State, tribal, landowner, and non-governmental organization interests also will be engaged in identifying science priorities for the CSCs. Other climate science centers are located in Alaska, the Pacific Islands, and the Northwest, Southwest, North Central, South Central, and Southeast regions of the U.S.

UMass Amherst Cops $3M Grant for Science, Math Teacher Development
AMHERST — The School of Education at the UMass Amherst has received a six-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create a network that helps train and retain science and mathematics teachers for middle and high schools in Western Mass. The project addresses the critical need for middle- and high-school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers through collaboration between UMass Amherst educators — and researchers from the School of Education and the colleges of Natural Sciences and Engineering — and mathematics and science administrators from regional school districts. The participating schools include the Springfield, Holyoke, and Greenfield public schools and the Mahar Regional School District in Orange. The Amherst-based Hitchcock Center for the Environment, a nonprofit organization focused on the professional development of teachers and the education of young people in the sciences, is a key partner in this project. The program is designed to encourage talented students and professionals to pursue teaching careers and develop long-term commitments to teaching students in high-needs secondary schools. This grant was accompanied by $1.5 million in matching contributions from the university and project partners. UMass Amherst faculty involved in the grant are Kathleen Davis, Sandra Madden, and Barbara Madeloni, all of the School of Education’s department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies; Stephen Schneider, head of the department of Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences; and Paula Sturdevant Rees, from the Water Resources Research Center and the College of Engineering. The six-year project supports an engaged community of 20 master teacher fellows — teachers with master’s degrees and demonstrated excellence in teaching currently working in the partner districts — and 20 teaching fellows who are post-baccalaureate students and professionals holding STEM degrees who will earn a teaching credential and teach in a high-needs district. It provides these science and mathematics teachers with community support, licensure, graduate degrees and certificates, and salary supplements while they teach.

Massachusetts Public Higher Ed Enrollment Hits All-time High
BOSTON — The Mass. Department of Higher Education recently released data showing that the state’s public colleges and universities continue to experience substantial enrollment growth, hitting a 10-year record high in 2011. The 2011 Early Enrollment and Long-term Trend Comparisons, presented to the Mass. Board of Higher Education this morning, show a 23% increase in undergraduate enrollment at the state’s community colleges, state universities and University of Massachusetts campuses between fall, 2001 and fall, 2011. The report also shows that selected colleges and universities have witnessed dramatic fall-to-fall enrollment increases in the past year. Framingham State University’s enrollment increased 15%, while Worcester State University’s enrollment grew by 9%. These increases occurred despite a smaller pool of high school graduates across the state due to various demographic changes. “The data tell an important story, namely that our public colleges and universities continue to play a decidedly more important role in educating the future citizens and workforce of the Commonwealth,” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts. “While the numbers are not as dramatic as in recent years, this new analysis shows that our enrollment growth remains consistent and our role in educating the state’s future citizenry and workforce continues to expand.” While the greatest growth in enrollment over the past few years has been at the community college level, this past year saw the highest enrollment increases in the state university segment. Framingham State University President Timothy Flanagan attributes the increase to the university’s own growth plan, accommodation of transfer students, and current economic realities. “Families are seeking value, which they define as high quality academic programs and world class faculty to prepare students for careers and further study,” said Flanagan.

School of Public Health Wins $2.5M Grant, National Recognition
AMHERST — Training to improve the nation’s public health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, managerial, and leadership competence of current and future public-health workers will soon be under way in Springfield, Holyoke, Pittsfield, and the Berkshires, supported by a four-year, $2.5 million grant to the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) at UMass Amherst. Dean Marjorie Aelion, with lead faculty investigators Dan Gerber and Stuart Chipkin, recently announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services award to the SPHHS at UMass Amherst, which creates a Public Health Training Center on the campus. Similar awards were also given to Yale, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins universities. Through the center, training will be available to 30 current community health workers in Springfield, Holyoke, Pittsfield, and the Berkshires each year over the next four years. Concurrently, 30 UMass Amherst SPHHS undergraduate student interns will be placed in some of the communities to help administer new programs each year.

Company Notebook Departments

Mercy Joins HNE’s Medicare Advantage Provider Network
SPRINGFIELD — Health New England (HNE) recently announced that Mercy Medical Center has become a part of its Medicare Advantage provider network. Any HNE member, regardless of product, can now access the services available at Mercy Medical Center. The hospital and physicians of the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS), which Mercy is a part of, have been in HNE’s commercial and Mass Health product networks for several years, and HNE is the health-insurance provider for the employees of SPHS. “HNE is excited about the extension of our partnership with SPHS,” said Peter Straley, HNE president and CEO. “We know that one of the most important components of any health-insurance product is the network of hospitals and physicians available to the members. This addition to our Medicare Advantage provider network enables us to be a viable option for all Medicare beneficiaries in our region.” Daniel Moen, SPHS president and CEO, echoed those sentiments. “Mercy Medical Center welcomes this opportunity to further our relationship with HNE,” he said. “Mercy’s participation as a member of the HNE Medicare Advantage provider network ensures that Medicare beneficiaries in our region are able to access the high-quality, high-value care at Mercy, no matter which Medicare plan they choose for health care coverage.”

Hampden Bank Offers Second Chance Mortgage
SPRINGFIELD — Hampden Bank has announced the availability of a new mortgage product specifically designed for those whose credit has been adversely affected by the recession. Robert Michel, senior vice president of retail lending, noted that the Second Chance Mortgage is a viable solution for those deemed ‘not bankable’ during these difficult economic times but who are working conscientiously to rebuild their credit. “Whether it’s directly due to the recession, job loss, bankruptcy, reduction of income, or other life events, such as divorce or illness, we know there are many good, hardworking people out there who, for one reason or another, have taken a serious hit in recent times,” he said. “We also know that many of these same people have been working hard to re-establish their credit, and we feel they at least deserve a second look and perhaps a second chance.” Michel added that the Second Chance Mortgage “could be the solution to get them back into home ownership.” Specific underwriting criteria must be met, and qualification will be determined on a case-by-case basis, with previous strong credit history and current ability to repay being major considerations.

Monson Savings Bank Wins SBA Award
MONSON — The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that Monson Savings Bank has won the Lender of the Quarter Award for the third quarter of fiscal year 2011. The award was given to the bank in recognition of its “excellent” SBA activity for the quarter, according to Steven Lowell, president of Monson Savings. The bank had six SBA loan approvals from April 1 through June 30, which ranked it in the ‘Top 15 SBA Lenders in the State’ category. Additionally, the bank tripled its overall SBA activity since 2010 with 18 loans through the first three quarters of the SBA fiscal year. “We are very pleased to be able to help so many customers by leveraging the SBA lending programs,” said Lowell. “I’m not surprised we are ahead of so many larger banks statewide in this arena, because we specialize in working with small and mid-sized businesses.”

Companies Partner to Provide Cobiax Product for Miami Art Museum
LUDLOW — Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc. recently announced its partnership with Barker Steel, LLC to provide high-tech materials for the new, $220 million Miami Art Museum (MAM). Meredith-Springfield is a plastic-extrusion blow-molding manufacturing and engineering company that manufactured thousands of spheres from recycled plastic which were set into steel wire cages for Barker Steel, the licensed distributor for the Cobiax voided concrete system, headquartered in Milford. The wire cages and spheres were shipped in tower-crane-ready bundles for use in concrete slabs in the construction of the MAM. With Cobiax building units, the building slabs are up to 35% lighter than solid flat concrete slabs, and present up to 15% less load on foundations, which allows increased freedom for structural conception. “This type of building system also allows for up to 20-meter spans with no obstructing beams, which amounts to 40% fewer columns,” said Mel O’Leary, president and CEO of Meredith-Springfield. “By using spherical-resin products, strategically encased in concrete with reinforcing steel, one can leave out as much concrete as possible while maintaining the full flexural strength of the slab and allowing a biaxial load transfer. The result is overall weight reduction, increased seismic performance, cost reduction, and environmental sustainability.” The MAM design involves large spans of floor and ceiling without the typical number of columns so that the view from sea to land or vice versa is not completely obstructed. The museum building itself, totaling 120,000 square feet at the core, includes a wide stair connecting the platform to the sea and a promenade. The hanging gardens from ceiling to floor are not interrupted by numerous columns, and the building becomes part of the shoreline and helps visitors gradually transition from Miami’s tropical climate to the museum’s more regulated interior.

Study Rates MassMutual #1in Satisfaction
SPRINGFIELD — In Boston Research Group’s 2011 Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) Retirement Advisor Satisfaction and Loyalty Study, MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division earned the number-one overall satisfaction rating from retirement-plan advisors among all 17 record keepers in the study. MassMutual scored 13 points higher than its nearest competitor and 28 points above the industry average overall. MassMutual placed in the top quartile in every category ranking and garnered the most number-one ratings among all record keepers in the study, clinching the top rating in each of the following: overall satisfaction, wholesaler accessibility/availability, wholesaler expertise in the retirement services industry, thought leader in the 401(k) industry, partners with you (advisor) for success, marketing assistance (proposals, presentations, seminars), internal wholesaler ability to resolve problems, and making it easy to do business with them. The nationwide survey of retirement advisors was conducted from February to April 2011, and the results of the recordkeeping portion represent 17 leading defined-contribution retirement-plan providers. Findings are based on the percentage of advisors who were ‘very satisfied’ with the record keeper.