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Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that Matthew Smith has been promoted to the position of director, Computer Science & Cybersecurity Programs.

Smith has been with Bay Path University’s American Women’s College for nearly two years, first serving as an adjunct faculty member and later being named full-time academic director, Cybersecurity and Applied Technology. In June, he was promoted to academic director, Technology, Security & Justice.

Smith brings more than 20 years of experience in technology and information-security leadership across the government, financial-services, and technology sectors to his teaching, most recently as a subject-matter expert in digital forensics and incident response at MassMutual Financial in Springfield. He has also held related positions with other Fortune 500 companies, such as General Dynamics and Dell-EMC Corp. He also holds a federal security clearance and is classified within U.S. federal courts for testimony as an expert witness.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Smith received his MBA from Norwich University, his master’s degree from San Diego State University, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — The three-year-old Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund (PVGIF), a program that provides financing and technical assistance to farm and food businesses through community investments, has marked a major milestone — $1.25 million raised and financing provided to more than 25 local farm and food entrepreneurs primarily located in Western Mass. The fund is actively seeking more investors to raise an additional $1.25 million to continue this work.

Administered by the Franklin County Community Development Corp. (FCCDC), the PVGrows Investment Fund offers an innovative, mission-driven way for community members to invest in their values by supporting and sustaining businesses that can make real changes to how people grow, distribute, and buy food.

“It takes the local movement to a whole new level. It’s beyond eating local — it’s investing locally,” said John Waite, executive director of the FCCDC.

The fund was started in October 2015, and to date has nearly 50 investors, including individuals, businesses, and foundations. Open to investors located in New England and New York, the PVGrows Investment Fund has a minimum investment of just $1,000, with interest paid annually. These community investments are pooled together to provide the financing that farm and food entrepreneurs need to grow their businesses. Food and farm businesses applying for financing and business support are vetted for mission fit by a consortium of community-lending institutions and food and agriculture specialists.

Terry and Susan Ragasa, owners of Sutter Meats in Northampton, came to the PVGrows Investment Fund early on. ”From start-up funds to get us open to facilitating a business consultation to get us to the next level, the PVGrows Investment Fund has been an incredibly supportive asset for Sutter Meats,” Terry said.

The PVGIF community of investors and borrowers from across the Pioneer Valley will gather on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 5 to 7 pm at Raven Hollow Winery at Kosinski Farms in Westfield to celebrate its third anniversary and look ahead to the next phase of the fund’s operation. The event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the PVGrows Investment Fund, hear from investors and entrepreneurs, sample food from PVGIF borrowers, and find out how to get involved. To RSVP, click here.

Daily News

STOCKBRIDGE — Morgan Russell has joined the Main Street Hospitality team as the manager of Guest Experiences across four Main Street Hospitality Group properties.

Originally from Boston and having grown up in the Berkshires, Russell brings 10 years of luxury hospitality concierge experience to this new position. Prior to joining Main Street Hospitality, he specialized in building guest-engagement programs for various high-end boutique hotels in Colorado, including the Arrabelle at Vail Square, the Sebastian Hotel, and the Christiana.

Russell will work collaboratively with partners throughout the region to expand the guest-experience program at all of Main Street’s hotels and provide visitors an added layer of connectivity to the Berkshires experience.

“Morgan is the ideal fit for this role, and we are so excited to welcome him back to the Berkshires and to the team,” said Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality Group. “His deep knowledge of experiential programming has allowed him to hit the ground running, forging partnerships with several local businesses from museums and golf courses to outdoor adventure parks and more, all with the goal of enriching each guest’s visit to the Berkshires.”

Russell will build out the guest-experience program at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Porches Inn at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Hotel on North in Pittsfield, and Briarcliff in Great Barrington.

Russell graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs. In his early career, he worked at the Red Lion Inn, filling various positions from busboy and bellhop to the sales office. 

Daily News

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — On Saturday, Sept. 29, Bradley International Airport will hold a mass-casualty drill designed to simulate an aircraft accident. Bradley administration, operations, Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF), security, and maintenance personnel will coordinate the practice drill along with the assistance of local, state, and federal emergency-services agencies and other partners.

With safety a priority at Bradley, exercises like this one are an important part of ensuring that personnel are properly trained to handle different emergency situations. The Federal Aviation Administration requires this particular exercise to be performed every three years. 

The drill will involve the active participation of as many as 25 different emergency-response agencies, and approximately 100 individuals are expected to participate in the exercise.

Local residents and visitors to Bradley International Airport should be aware that there will be an influx of emergency vehicles on site and increased activity in conjunction with the drill. Motorists are advised that Light Lane, between Firehouse Road and Citation Lane, will be closed during the exercise.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, announced that Melissa Tetreault has re-joined Greenfield Cooperative Bank as a mortgage loan originator in its Northampton Cooperative division.

She will work out of the Florence office for Northampton Cooperative, but is available to meet customers in any of the bank’s 10 offices throughout Hampshire and Franklin County.

“We are thrilled that Ms. Tetreault came back to help us provide our brand of banking to the local community,” Tucker said.

Tetreault has more than 30 years of experience in banking and mortgage lending, including 16 years with Greenfield Cooperative Bank. She holds a mortgage originator license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in education. She is also a graduate of the New England School for Financial Studies at Babson College. She is active with the United Way Women’s Way, an affiliate member of the Realtors’ Assoc. of Pioneer Valley, active with the Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club, and a former director of the YMCA and the United Way.

Daily News

BOSTON — Local unemployment rates decreased in 24 labor-market areas in Massachusetts during the month of August, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported. Compared to August 2017, the rates dropped in 19 labor market areas, remained the same in four areas, and increased in one labor-market area.

Three of the 15 areas for which job estimates are published recorded a seasonal job gain in August. The gains occurred in the Springfield, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, and Taunton-Middleborough-Norton areas. The Leominster-Gardner area had no change in its job level over the month.

From August 2017 to August 2018, 13 of the 15 areas added jobs, with the largest percentage gains in the Lynn-Saugus-Marblehead, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, Worcester, Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury, and Taunton-Middleborough-Norton areas. The Peabody-Salem-Beverly and Framingham areas lost jobs.

In order to compare the statewide rate to local unemployment rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for August was 3.5%.

Last week, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the month of August remained at 3.6%. The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate showed a 6,100-job gain in August, and an over-the-year gain of 68,100 jobs.

The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor-market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

The estimates for labor force, unemployment rates, and jobs for Massachusetts are based on different statistical methodology specified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Medical Center provider affiliate, Western Mass Physician Associates announced it is changing the name to Holyoke Medical Group as of Oct. 1.

Four years after launching a new organization-wide logo and rebranding campaign, the Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems leadership recognize the disconnect still perceived by patients between Holyoke Medical Center and Western Mass Physician Associates.

“The name change will allow for the organization to have stronger brand awareness in the community,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems. “The new name also releases the belief that all clinicians are doctors. The future success of healthcare relies not only on our excellent physicians, but on the growing number of mid-level providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, expertly qualified to care for our community.”  

Holyoke Medical Group consists of two primary-care provider offices, a family medicine office, a pediatric office, and three women’s services offices with ob/gyn and certified nurse midwife care. Each office location is accepting new patients.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The second annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden on Thursday, Oct. 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched last spring by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care.

This year’s honorees include Mary Paquette, director of Health Services and nurse practitioner, American International College; Celeste Surreira, assistant director of Nursing, the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke; Peter DePergola II, director of Clinical Ethics, Baystate Health; Dr. Matthew Sadof, pediatrician, Baystate Children’s Hospital; TechSpring; the Consortium and the Opioid Task Force; and Robert Fazzi, founder, Fazzi Associates. The seven winners were profiled in the Sept. 4 issue of BusinessWest and the September issue of HCN, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala.

Tickets cost $90, and tables of 10 are available. To order tickets, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or visit www.businesswest.com. call Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsor), National Grid (partner), and supporting sponsors Renew.Calm, the Elms College MBA program, Bay Path University, and Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield will be home to the 24th Educare early-education school to be built in the U.S., and the only one in Massachusetts, following a recent groundbreaking at 100 Hickory St., adjacent to Brookings School, on land provided by Springfield College.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was joined by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; Educare officials; Janis Santos, executive director of Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start; local leaders in philanthropy and project funders; representatives of Springfield College and the Old Hill Neighborhood Council; elected officials; and other community members for the official groundbreaking of the nearly $14 million facility, which is expected to open in late 2019.

Educare offers an early-education model designed to help narrow the achievement gap for children living in poverty and represents a national collaboration between the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and hundreds of other public-private partners across America.

Funding for the project comes from a variety of local, state, and national sources, including the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation; the Gage Olmstead Fund and Albert Steiger Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; the MassMutual Foundation; Berkshire Bank; MassDevelopment; the MassWorks Infrastructure Program at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; the Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Grant Fund through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care in collaboration with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. and their affiliate, the Children’s Investment Fund; the George Kaiser Family Foundation; Florence Bank; Capital One Commercial Banking; and anonymous donors.

The Educare model incorporates embedded and ongoing professional development of teachers, intensive family engagement, and high-quality teaching practices, and utilizes data to advance outcomes for students in the program. 

Educare Springfield will offer a full-day, full-year program for up to 141 children from birth to age 5, under licensure by the state Department of Early Education and Care. Educare Springfield will also serve as a resource in the early-education community for training and providing professional development for future teachers, social workers, evaluation, and research.

Educare Springfield will pursue opportunities for local partnerships and collaborations.

O’Connell Development Group is providing project management, and Western Builders is responsible for construction. The building was designed by RDg Planning & Design.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Decorti Rodgers-Tonge, chair of the Undergraduate Accounting department and assistant professor of Accounting at Bay Path University, has been selected to receive an African American Female Professor Award (AAFPAA).

This award will be presented to Rodgers-Tonge at the African American Female Professor Awards (AAFPA) Celebration on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Griswold Theater at American International College in Springfield. She will be honored along with two other African-American female college professors.

“We are so proud of Dee for this well-deserved recognition,” said Thomas Loper, associate provost and dean for the university’s School of Science and Management, said. “This award is a wonderful tribute to all that she is doing for her students each day.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of the fall of 2015, among full-time professors, 58% were white males, 26% were white females, 2% percent were black males, and 1% were black females.

Rodgers-Tonge is the second Bay Path professor to receive the AAFPAA. Janine Fondon, assistant professor and chair of Undergraduate Communications, was honored at the inaugural event in 2017.

The goal of the AAFPA is to recognize African-American female faculty who are full-time, part-time, or adjunct, with the hope that this recognition will help institutions recruit and retain African-American female professors, as well as inspire African-American female educators to continue their work in the classroom and pursue post-secondary assignments.