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Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — State Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian and state Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz recently joined legislators and local workforce-development officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open a worker-assistance center inside North Adams City Hall.

The center is the latest effort to marshal state resources in helping 530 area residents who lost their jobs when North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH) and its affiliates closed in March.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to making sure no worker or region is left behind as the state’s economy continues to improve and enjoys record job growth,” said Kaprielian. “This center and the skills-training opportunities the state is allocating will help get these residents back to work.”

The Mass. Department of Public Health has been instrumental in helping the hospital reopen as a healthcare facility and restore regional healthcare services. Three months ago, Berkshire Health Systems opened an emergency room in the facility and hired approximately 150 former NARH employees.

“Massachusetts is committed to ensuring that quality healthcare is accessible in every region across the Commonwealth,” said Polanowicz. “This worker assistance center in North Adams reinforces the administration’s commitment to the region’s healthcare community, and to supporting workers, patients, and families.”

Added North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, “a huge ‘thank you’ to our state partners at the Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development, and our local partners at Berkshire County Regional Employment Board and BerkshireWorks, for providing this wonderful opportunity to the residents of our Greater Northern Berkshire region. This center will provide significant resources to the unemployed and underemployed that will help them seek out opportunities and provide training for the skills necessary to attain employment. What is also very exciting is that this center will be located right next to our Veteran’s Services Office, providing an on-the-spot resource for our local veterans seeking employment.”

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, a civil and environmental engineering consultant, has appointed Robert Belitz its chief financial officer this week. In this role, he will direct Tighe & Bond’s financial operations and priorities, as well as contribute to growth strategies consistent with the firm’s continued expansion in the marketplace.

Belitz, who will provide financial management from the firm’s Westfield office, is a certified public accountant and executive with more than 25 years of corporate finance and accounting experience in professional services. He previously has served as the chief financial officer, corporate controller, and vice president of Finance for firms such as Malcolm Pirnie, Arcadis U.S., and the Hunter Roberts Construction Group. He also provided senior management for the public accounting firms of Ernst and Young LLP and KPMG LLP in New York. His prior responsibilities have included oversight and management of all financial functions, as well as developing and implementing financial plans and processes to achieve strategic and operational objectives.

“Bob’s wealth of experience in our industry, and his proven ability to successfully direct financial operations, is instrumental to Tighe & Bond’s accelerating growth,” said David Pinsky, president and CEO of Tighe & Bond. “We’re thrilled that he has joined us as Tighe & Bond’s first chief financial officer.”

Belitz, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Muhlenberg College, is a member of the New York State Society of CPAs and the Construction Financial Management Assoc. He also has participated in various finance forums with the Environmental Financial Consulting Group, Ernst and Young, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the Design Finance Officers Group.

Founded in 1911, Tighe & Bond is one of the most experienced engineering firms in New England, with offices in Pocasset, Westfield, and Worcester, Mass.; Middletown and Shelton, Conn.; and Portsmouth, N.H. With a team of more than 250 employees, Tighe & Bond provides engineering and environmental services for clients in government, industry, healthcare, education, real-estate, energy, and water/wastewater markets.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank and its foundation challenged bank employees to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Aug. 14. The Berkshire Bank Foundation donated $50 for each of the first 50 employees that took part in the challenge and shared their videos on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/berkshirebank.

More than 50 bank employees completed the challenge within the first three days, including Berkshire Bank President and CEO Michael Daly; Executive Vice President, Retail Banking Sean Gray; Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Linda Johnston; Executive Vice President, Chief Risk and Administrative Officer Richard Marotta; Executive Vice President and CFO Josephine Iannelli; and Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking George Bacigalupo. To date, more than 150 bank employees throughout Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont have participated in the challenge, in addition to several of Berkshire’s vendors and business partners.

The Berkshire Bank Foundation will make a $2,500 contribution to the ALS Assoc. as a result of employee participation in the challenge. As of Aug. 25, the ALS Assoc. has raised $79.7 million through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, compared to just $2.5 million during the same period last year.

The association’s mission includes providing care services to assist people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation, and a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease. In addition, the association’s public-policy efforts empower people to advance policies in the nation’s capital that respond to the needs of people with ALS.

“We have been inspired by the overwhelming response of our employees to both participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and support the important cause behind it,” said Lori Gazzillo vice president and foundation director. “We are proud to take part in this initiative, provide financial support, and share in the hope that one day we will find a cure for ALS.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, president of Springfield College, will address the Springfield Rotary Club’s luncheon meeting on Friday, Sept. 5. Her topic will be “Getting to Know the College and the Community.”

Cooper became the 13th president of Springfield College in August 2013. Choosing to work in education administration because of its vibrant atmosphere, Cooper said the guiding forces in her career have been her passion for learning, her yearning for intellectual stimulation, and her vision for human potential. She firmly believes that education can be the answer to creating a prosperous, successful community of thinkers and doers. In addition to her administrative leadership, she takes seriously her role as a mentor to and advocate for students, women, and athletes. Prior to coming to Springfield College, Cooper served as senior vice president for Student Affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

The Springfield Rotary Club meets every Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the MassMutual Room at the Basketball Hall of Fame, West Columbus Avenue, Springfield. The luncheon is $17 per person and is open to the public.
For more information on the Springfield Rotary or becoming a member, contact 
Springfield Club Membership Chair Mike Healy at (860) 796-1435 or visit www.springfieldmarotary.org.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Northeast IT Systems Inc. announced the addition of Paul Fortin to its team. Fortin will be joining Joel Mollison and Brian Sullivan as a desktop support specialist.

In that role, Fortin is able to implement cloud-based backup systems, reduce downtime of equipment, and increase speed of repairs for clients. With this new addition, Northeast IT Systems will be able to continue its pattern of steady growth and provide solutions to a broad range of clients.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — With the change of Wing Memorial Hospital’s parent company from UMass Memorial Health Care to Baystate Health expected to take place on Sept. 1, Baystate Health announced leadership appointments for its Eastern Region and a new name for the Palmer hospital: Baystate Wing Hospital.

As of Sept. 1, Dr. Charles Cavagnaro III, now president and CEO of Wing Memorial Hospital, will be appointed president of Baystate Health’s Eastern Region, which is comprised of Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, Baystate Wing Hospital, and the employed medical practices and medical centers in that region. As he assumes this leadership position, Cavagnaro has appointed Dr. Shafeeq Ahmed chief operating officer of Baystate Health’s Eastern Region. Ahmed will also continue in his role as chief medical officer of Baystate Mary Lane Hospital and Baystate Medical Practices Eastern Region.

As president of the region, Cavagnaro will provide strategic, executive, and operational leadership for the two hospitals there, which provide inpatient medical, surgical, gynecological, and behavioral-health services; emergency services; as well as a range of primary-care and other outpatient services for about 80,000 people in that region. He will report to Dennis Chalke, senior vice president of Baystate Health Community Hospitals and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Baystate Health.

Cavagnaro has served as president and CEO of Wing Memorial Hospital and Medical Centers for the past 15 years. Before that, he was Wing’s vice president of Medical Affairs. In 2013, he served as interim president of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. Amid a challenging financial environment, Cavagnaro and his team have led Wing to serve a greater number of patients, add hospital beds, and increase the depth and breadth of services in its health centers and outpatient practices.

The hallmark of his leadership is a focus on quality and safety that led to an ‘A’ safety rating for Wing from Leapfrog Group and Top Performer status from the Joint Commission on core accountability measures. Cavagnaro is a board-certified primary-care internist in Belchertown and sees patients on a weekly basis. He is a Six Sigma and Lean Green Belt in healthcare quality-improvement processes.

Cavagnaro completed his residency in internal medicine at UMass Medical Center and is a graduate of Cornell University Medicine College in New York City. He is a member of the American College of Physician Executives and the American College of Healthcare Executives, and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He was a founding member of the American Academy of Hospice Physicians, which is now known as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He has served as a medical examiner for District IV of Hampshire County, and as a member of the board of directors of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Red Cross. He presently serves on the American Hospital Assoc. Regional Policy Board for the New England Region.

Ahmed was recently named one of ‘100 Hospital and Health System Chief Medical Officers to Know’ by Becker’s Hospital Review. Prior to his arrival at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, Ahmed had served as president of the medical staff, chief of Ob/Gyn, and a member of the hospital board of directors at the Naval Hospital in Cherry Point in North Carolina. Ahmed is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist at Baystate Medical Practices – Mary Lane Ob/Gyn in Ware, and sees patients on a weekly basis.
 Over the next several months, Cavagnaro and Ahmed will be working together as part of a larger, broadly experienced team to develop the integration strategy for Baystate Health’s Eastern Region.

The name Baystate Wing Hospital aspires to honor the hospital’s more-than-100-year history, and recognize the vision and contributions of the Wing family and the countless others who have contributed their time, talents, and money to making Wing the strong community health provider it is today, while also celebrating Wing’s new affiliation with Baystate Health.

Daily News

EASTHAMPTON — The Women’s Fund of Western Mass. announced a total of $240,000 in grant commitments in Berkshire, Franklin, Hamden, and Hampshire counties. Working within its focus areas of educational access and success, economic justice, and safety and freedom from violence, partners in these communities will each receive $60,000 over three years to deploy innovative programs that will help shift the landscape for women and girls.

Among the grantees, Berkshire United Way will spearhead a coalition effort titled Face the Facts Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition; in Franklin County, Greenfield Community College will launch the Franklin County Women’s GARDEN Project Collaborative; in Hampden County, the Prison Birth Project will continue its social- and reproductive-justice efforts for incarcerated and post-incarcerated mothers; and in Hampshire County, funding will go to the Treehouse Foundation’s project titled Re-envisioning Foster Care Together.

“We have incredible partnerships with our grantees,” said Elizabeth Barajas-Román, who joined the Women’s Fund as its new CEO earlier this month. “By investing in these organizations, the fund is deepening our impact and strengthening our reach.”

In addition to the financial award, the Women’s Fund is investing an additional $12,000 into the partnership by giving each organization the opportunity to select two of their staff, constituents, or board members as participants of the Women’s Fund’s Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI). LIPPI, a program of the Women’s Fund, has equipped 200 women from across the four western counties to become civic leaders in their communities; impact policy on the local, state, and national levels; and seek and retain elected positions.

Collectively, these four grantees will help leverage the Women’s Fund’s impact on the lives of women and girls in Western Mass. The Women’s Fund will also continue to convene skill-building sessions and support the programming of organizations that work on issues that impact women and girls.

The Women’s Fund advances social-change philanthropy to create economic and social equality for women and girls in Western Mass. through grant-making and strategic initiatives. Since 1997, the WFWM has awarded more than $2 million in grants to more than 100 programs in the four counties of Western Mass. The WFWM is building its capacity to be the go-to organization for all issues related to improving the lives of women and girls.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Hampden Bank President and CEO Glenn Welch accepted the challenge presented by Bill Trudeau of the Insurance Center of New England to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in the Hampden Bank parking lot, and instead of nominating three other individuals, as is customary, he nominated his Hampden Bank associates to do the same or donate to the ALS Assoc.

On Tuesday, the employees gathered in front of the West Springfield branch at 5:30 p.m. to accept Welch’s challenge. The company needed 100 pounds of ice to fill everyone’s buckets. Before everyone got soaked, Welch spoke and nominated all the other local banks to take the challenge within 24 hours. In addition to participating in the challenge, Hampden Bank as a company will be matching the $1,000 donation made by the employee dress-down fund to support continued research of Lou Gehrig’s disease and help find a cure for the fatal illness that affects over 30,000 Americans.

“I think it’s really great that we were able to do this and get other companies involved to support such a great cause. We at Hampden Bank are always looking for ways to give back,” said Welch.
“Hampden Bank takes great pride in giving back to the community and supports many nonprofit organizations and charities throughout the year. In the past, Hampden Bank has held coat drives for children during the holidays as well as food drives to help feed the hungry, among other charitable contributions.”

Daily News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Construction employment expanded in 223 metro areas, declined in 72, and was stagnant in 44 between July 2013 and July 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by Associated General Contractors of America.

As employment grows, 25% of firms report that labor shortages are forcing them to turn down work, according to a new survey conducted by SmartBrief, an industry leader in curated business news and custom content, in partnership with the association. “Many construction firms looking to expand their payrolls are finding a surprisingly tight labor market,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “These expanding labor shortages threaten to impact construction schedules as firms struggle to find enough qualified workers.” These labor shortages are also having an impact on construction salaries, with 70% of firms reporting they are paying more for skilled labor than they did last year.

Daily News

NORTH BROOKFIELD — North Brookfield Savings Bank recently held ribbon-cutting events at its Ware, West Brookfield, and Three Rivers Village of Palmer branches. The events took place following the bank’s merger with FamilyFirst Bank in June.

“North Brookfield Savings Bank is honored to be a part of these great communities and hopes to make a positive impact for businesses and individuals for years to come,” said NBSB President and CEO Donna Boulanger. “We look forward to being ‘where it’s at’ for specially tailored financial products and services, the best customer service, community support, and fun community events.”

The ribbon cuttings drew current and prospective members of the Massachusetts Legislature. State Rep. Todd Smola attended the event at the Three Rivers Village branch, state Senate candidate Mike Valanzola attended the event at the Ware branch, and state Sen. Stephen Brewer and state Rep. Anne Gobi attended the East Brookfield branch ribbon cutting.

In addition to carrying the North Brookfield Savings Bank name, the three new NBSB branches feature state-of-the-art banking for residents and businesses alike, while renovations to the 40-44 Main St., Ware branch will begin shortly to provide more cutting-edge banking services and access to the business bankers at the NBSB Business Center.