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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Armory National Historic Site will host Bryan Farr for his program, “Historic Route 20: America’s Longest Road” on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Guests will hear how an early Native American path became the earliest postal roads to westward expansion routes, which presidents called Route 20 home and how Lincoln made history along the highway, and more. The program will take place in the museum theater. Admission is free.

Farr, president of the Historic Route 20 Assoc., is often referred to as the ‘Route 20 guy.’ He will share a 3,000-mile adventure across 12 states connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, including many stories and scenic photos of his journeys that include 19 National Park sites.

“This is one of the last great highways that you can still drive in its entirety that has not been lost to history, cut up, or rerouted to the interstates,” Farr said. “There was nothing out there to preserve and promote its significance and history as a whole in American culture.”

Farr grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Every summer, his family would take a trip to Buffalo via Route 20. Upon moving to New England in 2004, he noticed the numerous exits on the Mass Pike, and a curiosity was piqued. A conversation with another historic route organization spurred him to create an organization promoting small towns, historical sites, and more on the original 1926 alignment of U.S. Route 20.

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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will again offer a hands-on program for individuals who want to become FAA-licensed drone pilots. “Flying Drones for Profit, Public Safety, and Commercial Applications” will run on four consecutive Saturdays, Sept. 29 through Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the main campus of HCC, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke.

The course will prepare individuals to take the Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot in Charge exam, which they must pass to become licensed drone operators. All classes will be taught by Larry Harmon, co-director of the GeoGraphics Laboratory at Bridgewater State University and an industry consultant on small, unmanned aircraft systems.

“Larry is the expert in New England on this,” said Ken White, HCC’s dean of Community Services.

The lecture portion of the course will meet in the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on the main campus. Students will fly drones outside on the college sports fields.

The course focuses on all content required to pass the FAA test, including regulations, national airspace system rules, weather, aircraft loading, aircraft performance, and flight operations.

“You have to understand everything the FAA needs you to know about flying a drone, what the rules are, how you fly legally, and how you fly safely,” Harmon said.  

The cost for the four-week, non-credit course is $315. Space is limited. Drones will be provided for use in class. Participants can bring their own, but that is not necessary.

This is the second time HCC has offered the drone pilot course. In the spring, HCC became the first college in Western Mass. to offer a drone pilot course to the general public.  

The course should appeal to professionals in a wide range of industries, White said, including engineering, construction, insurance, agriculture, emergency services, public safety, security, environmental management, transportation, and retail, as well as those involved in more artistic pursuits like movies, video, and photography.  

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CLEVELAND — KeyBank recently announced the acquisition of a digital lending platform for small businesses created by Bolstr. The software, expected to be implemented in 2018, will enable KeyBank to provide faster and easier access both to SBA loans and to traditional capital for business owners.

This move accelerates KeyBank’s ability to serve small businesses by expanding their access to capital and quickly delivering credit solutions through an online application process and enhanced digital capabilities. 

“KeyBank is deeply committed to helping small businesses thrive and to providing them with the funding they need to grow,” said Jamie Warder, head of KeyBank Business Banking. “Bolstr’s technology transforms the small-business lending process and allows us to more efficiently serve small businesses for their SBA and traditional lending needs.”

Founded in 2010, Bolstr was designed to provide flexible loans that are specially tailored to small-business owners. With Bolstr’s technology, KeyBank will be able to digitally accept and process loan applications significantly faster, greatly reducing the time and paperwork it takes to process these requests.

“We are excited to work with an organization that is dedicated to helping communities and small businesses prosper,” said Charlie Tribbett, co-founder of Bolstr. “By combining our digital expertise and KeyBank’s industry knowledge, business owners will receive exceptional service and the efficient lending experience they need to be successful.”

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SPRINGFIELD — BusinessWest magazine is currently accepting nominations for a new recognition program to honor a specific segment of the local population: women who are making an impact in and on this region. Nominees who score the highest in the eyes and minds of a panel of three independent judges will be honored at a luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Sheraton Springfield.

“We decided to create a special program recognizing women because, after careful consideration, we decided that this region needed one and that BusinessWest was the right organization to do it,” Kate Campiti, associate publisher and sales manager for BusinessWest, explained. “While women have certainly made great strides over the past several decades, and many women have made great achievements and broken through that proverbial glass ceiling, doing so remains a stern challenge for many.”

‘Women of Impact’ was chosen as the name for the program because, while nominees can be from the world of business, they can also be from other realms, such as the nonprofit community, healthcare, public service, law enforcement, education, social work, the mentorship community, a combination of all these — any inspirational women on any level.

Nominations are due by Monday, Aug. 13. For guidlelines to consider when nominating, visit www.businesswest.com/women-of-impact. Nominations may be submitted at businesswest.com/women-of-impact-nomination-information-criteria.

Country Bank is a supporting sponsor of the event, and additional sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, call Bevin Peters, Marketing and Events director, at (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected].

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HOLYOKE — Evelyn Humphries, a Girls Inc. of Holyoke Eureka! scholar, joined nine girls from six states for a four-day trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of girls across the country. After a year of meeting virtually, this was the first time the girls from the Girls Action Network (GAN) came together in person.

In addition to participating in leadership and public-speaking training, the girls held meetings with several senators. The girls, all 14 to 18 years old, didn’t shy away from tough conversations — they discussed issues important to them, including immigration, gun safety, and student anti-discrimination policies. Highlights included visiting with U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Dianne Feinstein. They also met Melyssa Guerrero, a Girls Inc. alumna who works in U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s office, and Carla Hayden, the first female librarian of Congress.

“I was truly inspired to see Evie and the other teen girls advocate for positive change,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director at Girls Inc. of Holyoke. “It’s important for all of us to hear the voices of young people, especially when it comes to things that impact their lives.”

GAN helped to develop the Girls Inc. national policy agenda and to mobilize grassroots action across the Girls Inc. network. Throughout the year, the girls received practical resources, training, and hands-on experience so they were ready to enact change in their local communities. The Girls Inc. Public Policy Office organized the trip to Washington, D.C.

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AGAWAM — OMG Inc. announced four promotions in supply-chain management and operations. Brad Bedard was promoted to director of Supply Chain Management, Wayne Ringenbach was promoted to director of Manufacturing, Chris Mowatt was promoted to director of Manufacturing Engineering, and Geri McCarthy was promoted to director of Operations.

Bedard is responsible for overall management of the company’s global supply chain and distribution logistics. In this new role, he will work with his organization to develop and implement short- and long-term strategies that maximize the company’s supply and distribution performance. He has been with OMG since August 2007, most recently as director of Distribution & Sales Inventory Operations Planning, where he was instrumental in developing and implementing the company’s forecasting and operations planning process. Prior to joining OMG, he held various distribution and logistics roles for Bose Corp. and Timex Corp. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University.

Ringenbach is responsible for all facets of manufacturing in Agawam, including post-manufacturing processes of heat treating, coating, product packing, and ongoing maintenance activities. He started with OMG in 1992 and has held several positions throughout his career, including maintenance manager and, most recently, manufacturing manager. He is a master electrician and attended Springfield Technical Community College.

Mowatt will develop and implement a strategic roadmap to improve company manufacturing performance across the business units using the Steel Business System as well as best practices and specialized modeling, analysis, simulation, and computation tools. He has been with OMG since 2011 and is responsible for several significant functional and efficiency advances in the company’s Agawam manufacturing facility. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Western New England College and a master’s degree in engineering management from Western New England University.

McCarthy will manage the company’s production planning teams, as well as continuous improvement, quality, and manufacturing training. She was hired in 2012 to oversee the company’s finishing process, including the coating and packing functions. Most recently, she was in an operations role in the company’s FastenMaster division. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from American International College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

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BOSTON — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. announced that Gary Levante was appointed vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) officer, a newly created position within the Berkshire Bank Foundation. 

In this role, Levante will work to expand the foundation’s community-engagement efforts to implement an all-encompassing CSR strategy. In doing so, he will lead Berkshire’s efforts to integrate corporate social responsibility into all of the company’s and foundation’s activities, supporting key objectives, such as strengthening communities and engaging employees. Levante will oversee the development of CSR goals, policies, and programs, with a strong focus on establishing a framework of standards and tools for advancing social responsibility. 

“Giving back to our communities and focusing on how we impact the world around us are important components of Berkshire’s culture and future,” said Lori Gazzillo, Berkshire Bank Foundation’s senior vice president and director. “Gary’s deep understanding of Berkshire’s core values, as well as his experience, knowledge, and professional networks in the community, will be invaluable as we formalize and enhance our CSR strategies and programs.”

An employee of Berkshire since 2010, Levante previously held the position of assistant vice president, Community Engagement officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. He serves on the Pittsfield Community Development Board and the boards of Downtown Pittsfield Inc. and America’s Charities, and is a member of the Corporate Volunteer Council of Greater Boston. He was named the New England Regional Lead for United Nations IMPACT2030.

“I’m excited and honored to be able to evolve Berkshire’s CSR efforts,” Levante said. “The company has a culture of engagement and a commitment to advance our socially responsible practices, which is a win-win for our communities, customers, employees, and shareholders. I look forward to playing a key role in advancing and communicating our CSR accomplishments.”

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SPRINGFIELD  The third installment of the BusinessWest lecture series Future Tense, titled “Change Considerations: An Examination of Lean Process, Market Disruption, and the Future of Your Business,” will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Tech Foundry, 1391 Main St., ninth floor, Springfield.

The lecture, open exclusively to CEOs and business owners, will be delivered by Mark Borsari, president of Sanderson MacLeod. The cost is a $25 donation to Tech Foundry. Event sponsors include Paragus IT, the Jamrog Group, and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.

With increasingly automated business processes, AI, and machine manufacturing, lean concepts are becoming more important than ever in terms of staying competitive. Borsari will discuss change and innovation through lean concepts and focus on resulting cultural considerations. The presentation will also address already-active market disrupters that will affect business processes in various industries.

Metered street parking is available near the venue, and there are several parking-garage options nearby as well. To register, visit businesswest.com/lecture-series-2.

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AMHERST — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County (BBBSHC), a program of CHD, announced the appointment of Claudia Pazmany as its new advisory board president.

Pazmany, the new executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, joined BBBSHC as an advisory board member in May 2016. She served on the development committee and led the efforts to celebrate outgoing Executive Director Renee Moss, while simultaneously serving on the search committee to hire her replacement, current Executive Director Jessie Cooley. 

“Claudia’s successful 17-year history in professional fundraising has made her a true steward of her craft in philanthropy, and this is part of what drew her to us,” said Cooley. “Claudia is also passionate about the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters, with contagious enthusiasm and innovative ideas, and she will help lead us into the next phase of our program’s growth.”

Pazmany embraces the goal of empowering youth through mentoring relationships. “Our program is unique and maintains high-quality match support, which ultimately yields greater impact for both mentee and mentor,” she said. “Participants in our program gain a renewed sense of community, and mentees emerge stronger, more confident, and ready to be our new community leaders. I am thrilled to be a part of this organization and to take on this new role, leading a stellar advisory board.”

Erin Couture, vice president at Florence Bank, has served as BBBSHC board president for four years, overseeing the transition in agency leadership, leading the effort to grow annual events like the successful Daffodil Run, and earning the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Person of the Year Award in 2018.

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AMHERST — Krish Thiagarajan, an expert on marine renewable energy and energy-producing offshore structures, has been appointed to the endowed chair in Renewable Energy in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

The chair was established in 2014 with $2.5 million in funding from the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to attract a preeminent scholar in the field to provide leadership in positioning both the university and the Commonwealth to take advantage of opportunities in emerging areas of renewable energy. Thiagarajan will collaborate with DOER staff on renewable-energy research and projects.

Thiagarajan’s studies focus on harvesting energy from waves in marine environments. His expertise will broaden and strengthen the research program in renewable energy at UMass Amherst, which has long been a national leader in wind energy. His appointments as endowed chair and professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with tenure were approved June 20 by the university’s board of trustees.

Thiagarajan came to UMass Amherst last spring after serving six years as the presidential chair in Energy at the University of Maine, where his research attracted more than $22 million in funding. At Maine, he also led the Marine Ocean and Offshore Research (MOOR) Group, which studied how human-made structures interact with the complex ocean environment. MOOR’s focus spanned offshore wind and wave energy systems, coastal infrastructure, and naval architecture.

From 1997 to 2011, Thiagarajan taught at the University of Western Australia in Perth, where he was on the faculty of the Centre for Oil and Gas Engineering, which became a school in 2003. He was a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore in 2011 and at the University of Michigan in 2005, a visiting associate professor at the University of Houston in 2001, and a lecturer at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania in 1995-97.

Thiagarajan is a fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He is the author or co-author of a book, a book chapter, nearly 40 journal articles, and more than 80 conference papers.

Thiagarajan completed his bachelor’s degree in naval architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras in 1986. He earned a master’s degree in ocean engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1989 before pursuing further graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and naval architecture and marine engineering, both in 1992, and a Ph.D. in naval architecture and marine engineering in 1993. He was a research fellow in marine hydrodynamics at the University of Michigan in 1993-95.