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HARTFORD, Conn. — Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., one of the area’s largest independent accounting, audit, tax, and business-advisory firms, ranks ninth in the 2015 Accounting Today annual survey of regional leaders in New England. The firm’s expansion into Western Mass. in August 2014 helped precipitate a growth in revenue of 10%. The average firm growth for top firms in New England was 6.8%.

“From our early beginnings in 1961, our firm has continued to focus on achieving steady growth through unmatched service to our clients and the retention of a highly skilled and committed team of professionals,” said Managing Partner Drew Andrews. “Today, we are embracing a more aggressive growth plan that combines the acquisition of professional service firms throughout New England with a similar culture and philosophy as Whittlesey & Hadley, where our unwavering commitment to exceed client expectations every day, in every way possible, will prevail.”

The annual survey is published in Accounting Today’s March issue and is based on total revenue.

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WEST SPRINGFIELD — Normandeau Technologies (NTI) announced it has been awarded the 2014 Ericsson-LG Enterprise North American Partner of the Year Award at the Ericsson-LG Global Partner Conference held in Cancun, Mexico.

The award celebrates the excellence Normandeau Technologies has achieved in helping to build the North American distribution channel for the iPECS communications platform and for its success in bringing IP telephony, unified communications, mobility, and call-center solutions to SMBs in industries such as manufacturing, insurance, realty, medical, education, government, and financial.

Bob Rankin, general manager of Presence Management, the largest distributor of Ericsson-LG iPECS products in North America, noted, “NTI continues to expand sales of our award-winning iPECS LIK VoIP platform with the iPECS Unified Communications Solution (iPECS UCS) and iPECS Contact Center Suite Solution (iPECS CCS). We recognize and appreciate the continuous hard work NTI performs in their region, and we applaud their continued success with iPECS.”

Successfully marketed worldwide with a dominant market share in South Korea, Australia, and South Africa, and significant market share in many other countries, the iPECS is a highly scalable and fault-tolerant platform that connects up to 1,200 endpoints per system and up to 300,000 endpoints with networking. It’s a versatile, premise-based IP phone platform with a competitive entry cost, five-year warranty, and one of the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).

The Ericsson-LG UCS is a collaboration platform for organizations of virtually any size that integrates voice, presence, video conferencing, and instant messaging on the IPECS platform. The Ericsson-LG CCS is a multi-channel call-center solution providing intelligent management of multiple communication mediums.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition for our sales success with the Ericsson LG line of advanced communication applications in the Massachusetts area and for our success in bringing these new technologies to our clients,” said Brett Normandeau, president of NTI. “Solutions like the iPECS UCS and iPECS CCS offer a tightly integrated, next-generation communications environment for telecom resellers at a very compelling price point.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The Friends of the Springfield Library invite you to join them in celebrating National Library Week and Springfield’s first Poet Laureate, Maria Luisa Arroyo, on Friday, April 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Central Library Rotunda, 220 State St., Springfield. Come check out the historic rotunda in a poetic atmosphere with hors d’oeuvres, drinks, mingling with friends, and a mix of musical selections by Joel Meginsky.

The Friends of the Springfield Library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the work of the Springfield City Library. The group works to promote awareness of library resources, raise funds for special programming, and advocate on behalf of library interests.

Free parking is available in the lot directly across from the Central Library, as well as the museum lot on Edwards Street. Tickets are $35 per person, and are available at all library branches. All proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Springfield Library. Payment can be made with cash or a personal check. You can also purchase tickets and find more information at www.springfieldlibrary.org/library.

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SPRINGFIELD — The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) has announced that Eastfield Mall and Auburn Crossing General Manager Melinda Graulau has been chosen as its 2015 recipient of the Leadership Community Service Award. The award will be presented at the Leadership 2015 graduation ceremonies on April 16 at the Springfield Sheraton.

Leadership 2015 is a unique collaboration between the ACCGS and Western New England University (WNEU) to teach middle- and upper-level managers the crucial thinking and problem-solving skills needed to prepare participants to be effective leaders in service to the community and their workplaces. Since 1990, the award has been presented annually to a citizen or organization that exemplifies the program’s values of leadership in the workplace and in the world and a commitment to community service.

A 2012 graduate of the program, Graulau moved to Western Mass. in 2009 to take on the role of general manager at the two shopping malls for Mountain Development Corp. She leads a team of 40 and is responsible for temporary and permanent leasing, expense control, personnel development, contract negotiations, and community relations.

“Since moving to the region, Mel has immersed herself in our community, including serving a key role on our affiliate board of directors, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce,” said ACCGS President Jeffrey Ciuffreda. “She recognizes the value of public and private partnerships and worked closely with the city of Springfield to secure funding for an $8 million rehabilitation of Boston Road,” he added.

Prior to joining Eastfield Mall and moving to Springfield, Graulau spent more than 20 years in shopping-center management and marketing with a variety of shopping-center developers, including CBL & Associates, General Growth Properties, Ramco-Gershenson Properties Inc., Horizon Group, and the Pyramid Companies.

Born and raised in Alma, Michigan, Graulau came to Massachusetts for the first time in 1988 upon graduating from college to pursue a career in retail, which eventually launched her career into the shopping-center industry in 1991.

She is a member of various Springfield ad hoc committees, including the city’s new revenue committee, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and the Dakin Humane Society board of directors and finance committee. She is a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past chair of its LiveSTRONG event, and currently serves on its finance committee.

Graulau also served as co-president of the Boston Road Business Assoc. and a participant with City2City Pioneer Valley and the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield’s Washington symposium.

Graulau’s other past leadership positions include former chairperson of the state operations committee for the Michigan chapter of the International Council of Shopping Centers; a former member and treasurer of Zonta Club of Farmington/Novi, Mich.; former treasurer of the Livonia (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce; and former board member for the Battle Creek (Mich.) Area Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

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PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) and Kate Maguire, its CEO and artistic director, announced the addition of Tony Simotes as managing director and artistic associate.

“I have known Tony Simotes for over 25 years,” Maguire said. “He is a respected theatre artist, administrator, and educator. Tony is regarded in the Berkshires as one of our caretakers, an individual who has helped transform the cultural landscape. For as long as I have known him, he has brought integrity, joy, and curiosity to whatever position he has held — whether it be as fund-raiser, director, stage combat teacher, actor, or artistic leader.”

She added, “I am looking forward to partnering with Tony to continue strengthening our beloved theatre through our endeavors to bring the highest quality of work and entertainment to our stages, and to enrich local students’ lives through transformative arts in education programs. Tony Simotes and I have long shared the belief that the arts open doorways of growth, and I am proud to begin this new and exciting chapter in the story of these renowned theatres now merged as Berkshire Theatre Group.”

Ruth Blodgett, BTG board president, noted that, “when Kate approached the board about hiring Tony to add to our BTG team, we were thrilled. He has already made many contributions to the Berkshires, and we are excited to have him support Kate as she leads BTG to put on great shows that we can all enjoy and also contribute to our critical education and community-development mission. Tony has an impressive track record, and we are so pleased to have him stay in the Berkshires and become an integral part of our work.”

Simotes is the former artistic director and president of Shakespeare & Co., a professional company he helped found in 1978. Tony was also an actor, director, and master teacher of fight and movement for the company. He was instrumental in helping manage the company through its recent financial stress to greater stability. Simotes also spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a full professor and director of University Theatre.

“It is such an honor to be a part of Berkshire Theater Group,” he said. “When Kate called me, I immediately said yes. I’ve known her from my earliest days working here in the Berkshires, and over the years we’ve had the opportunity to share our passion for the theatre as colleagues and, most importantly, as friends. To be able to continue the work I started here in the Berkshires, and to be able to assist one of America’s most celebrated theaters, is a true blessing. I share Kate’s vision of what BTG has meant and will continue to mean to the American theatre. Her trust and confidence in what we can achieve together is the very stuff of what makes this adventure of a life in the theatre worthwhile.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) will travel to Boston for the annual ACCGS Beacon Hill Summit on Wednesday, April 29.

Sponsored by Baystate Health, Comcast, and WWLP-TV22, and presented in partnership with the ACCGS’s member chambers, the largest regional business summit at the State House provides an unencumbered opportunity for business and community leaders to hear from and speak with members of the Baker-Polito administration and members of the local legislative delegation.

Attendees will have an opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas during the day’s formal sessions and social events. Hosted by state Sen. James Welch, Senate Chair of the Healthcare Financing Committee, the event will include addresses from Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and state Rep. Joseph Wagner, chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. Topics to be discussed include the state’s budget, infrastructure, healthcare, and energy.

The day’s agenda will also include lunch at the Omni Parker House with members of the region’s delegation and a wrap-up reception at the 21st Amendment. Buses will depart the Plantation Inn, off Exit 6 of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Chicopee, at 7 a.m. and will return by 7 p.m.

The all-inclusive cost is $180 and includes transportation, continental breakfast, lunch, reception, and all materials. Reservations are required by April 22 and can be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com or by contacting ACCGS Member Services Director Sarah Mazzaferro at (413) 755-1313 or [email protected].

40 Under 40 40 Under Forty Continued Excellence Award

Delcie Bean IV

Delcie Bean IV

HOLYOKE — Serial entrepreneur Delcie Bean IV took home BusinessWest’s inaugural Continued Excellence Award at last night’s ninth annual 40 Under Forty gala.

It was yet another honor for the owner of Paragus Strategic IT, who was named BusinessWest’s Top Entrepreneur for 2014. For the Continued Excellence Award, which will be awarded annually to a former 40 Under Forty honoree who has continued to expand his or her business accomplishments and community impact, Bean was among about 40 individuals nominated by their peers and judged by an independent panel (nomination form is HERE).

“Nothing I have done has not been without the help of at least 100 other people,” Bean said to more than 650 attendees of the 40 Under Forty event at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. He cited, as one example, the 24 high-school students who graduated this week from Tech Foundry, a nonprofit he started to provide IT workforce training and job skills to young people.

A member of the 40 Under Forty Class of 2008 when he was just 21, Bean has since seen Paragus grow 450% and earn status as one of Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies on several occasions, and recently earn the Top Employer of Choice Award from the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast. He’s also started a second business venture, Waterdog Technologies, a technology-distribution company.

Meanwhile, within the community, he has been active with Valley Venture Mentors, River Valley Investors, and DevelopSpringfield; is a board member for Up Academy Springfield; and serves as a board member for the Mass. Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards Panel.

In his short acceptance speech last night, Bean put the focus not on himself, but on the promise of the Pioneer Valley.

“I’m just one of many people who helped me get to where I am,” he said. “I’m so incredibly grateful to be here, to be part of the Valley. And you know what? I think there’s so much more we can do. I really, really think this Valley has a huge story ahead of it. I’m excited to be a part of that, and I hope you guys will join me. And, with that challenge, let’s see what’s next.”

The other four finalists for the Continued Excellence Award were Kamari Collins (40 Under Forty class of 2009), dean of Academic Advising and Student Success at Springfield Technical Community College; Jeff Fialky (class of 2008), partner at Bacon Wilson, P.C.; Cinda Jones (class of 2007), president of Cowls Lumber Co.; and Kristin Leutz (class of 2010), vice president of Philanthropic Services for the Community Foundation of Western Mass.

The judges for the inaugural award were Carol Campbell, president of Chicopee Industrial Contractors; Eric Gouvin, dean of the Western New England School of Law; and Kirk Smith, former director of the YMCA of Greater Springfield.

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GREENFIELD — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County will host Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the mentoring organization’s biggest annual fund-raiser, on Saturday, April 25 at the French King Entertainment Center in Erving from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ]

The 45 year-old, donor-funded organization challenges everyone — mentors and mentees, their friends and families, business people, community leaders, and others who may not have time to mentor, but still support Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission — to join Bowl for Kids’ Sake help change the life of a child forever. For more than 40 years, Bowl for Kids’ Sake has supported Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country, becoming its premiere fund-raising event and raising $20 million nationwide each year.

People interested in forming a team should contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County directly, via [email protected] or (413) 772-0915. Once a team is formed, each team member should starting soliciting donations from friends, colleagues, or family members. The minimum total pledge amount, per team member, is $75. In addition, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County is still accepting corporate sponsors for this event.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake 2015 challenges bowlers to dress like a superhero — either a known character or one from the participant’s own imagination. Prizes will be awarded to teams and individuals for creativity and team unity. In addition, all bowlers can qualify for gift certificates to area restaurants by raising $100 or more; all bowlers who raise $75 or more automatically receive a free T-shirt. The day will also include 50/50 raffles, a photo booth provided by Base Camp Photo, music, food, drink, and more.

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SPRINGFIELD — The East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce (ERC5), an affiliate of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, will celebrate its members with a Member Appreciation Night on April 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Europa Black Rock Bar & Grill, 782 Center St., Ludlow.

Attendees will enjoy beer and wine tastings and complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and have opportunities to participate in games of chance and raffles. Sponsored by HealthSouth Rehabilitation, Life Care Center of Wilbraham, Reminder Publications, CMD Technology Group, the Republican, the Gaudreau Group, and Go Graphix, the event is open to ERC5 members and their non-member guests.

The cost is $5 for ERC5 members and complimentary for their guests. Reservations may be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com or by contacting Amanda Brodkin at [email protected].

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HOLYOKE — The Easter Bunny has arrived at Holyoke Mall to kick off the spring season. The Easter Bunny is located on the lower level of the JCPenney court for greetings and pictures. The bunny patch will be open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., until Easter.

Children of all ages love visiting the Easter Bunny, so bring the whole family to capture the moment, and choose from an assortment of photo packages. For more upcoming events with the Easter Bunny, visit www.holyokemall.com.