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HOLYOKE — Ross Webber and Grinnell Insurance and Webber and Grinnell Employee Benefits are moving their offices down the street from 150 Lower Westfield Road to 98 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke. The third-floor office suite located above Pier One has recently been remodeled to accommodate the transition.

“Our team is very excited about our new space,” said Bill Grinnell, president of the agency. “It has wonderful natural light and a very contemporary feel. It also gives us enough space to continue to grow the agency, and, being at the crossroads of I-91 and I-90, it’s an easily accessible location for our clients. We’ll continue our office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.”

Webber and Grinnell purchased Ross Insurance in May 2018 and moved its employee-benefits company to the Holyoke location last November.

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WESTFIELD — The Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 60th anniversary on Thursday, June 13 at the Ranch Golf Club in Southwick.

The chamber, which was incorporated in 1959, will begin the celebration at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour, then enjoy specialty food and carving stations. After dinner, a program will include a quick journey down memory lane, as well as a look at where the chamber is now and what the future holds. The chief greeter will be Barbara Braem-Jensen, who holds a lifetime, honorary membership with the chamber. She will be greeting all guests with a special commemorative gift.

While the office has many old records and scrapbooks, if anyone has the infamous Spark Plug jacket or any other chamber memorabilia and/or photos, they are asked to call the office at (413) 568-1618. To preserve history, a keepsake program booklet is being published to give businesses an opportunity to showcase their companies with an ad. Call (413) 568-1618 to place an ad.

The sponsors for the event include diamond event sponsor Mestek Inc.; gold sponsors Berkshire Bank and United Bank; bronze sponsors Arrha Credit Union and Rehab Resolutions; dessert sponsor G.I.L.T.E. Bakery Service; and pin sponsors Adform Interiors and Andrew Grant Diamond Center.

For sponsorships and tickets, visit www.westfieldbiz.org or call the chamber at (413) 568-1618. The chamber is giving a $100 gift certificate to Andrew Grant Diamond Center for every two tickets purchased.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) takes pride in celebrating leaders in the LGBTQ movement. Whether revered for their artistic talents, athletic prowess, political activism and public service, medicine, the sciences, education, or other fields of endeavor, they have all contributed to championing equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

Beginning June 1, AIC will recognize many of the pioneers, activists, and role models who have advanced the LGBTQ movement each day on the college’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. 

The month of June has long been associated with LGBTQ pride celebrations in the U.S. and other parts of the world. In 2009, President Obama issued a proclamation establishing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and promote equal justice for all. A decade earlier, President Clinton recognized the 30th anniversary of this social uprising.

“A hallmark of American International College is the value we place on diversity. It is one of our greatest strengths,” said President Vince Maniaci. “While a college education includes academic and intellectual growth, it must also foster the development of personal and emotional intelligence. Being culturally diverse leads to deeper discussions and increased awareness. The college is proud of our LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners and commend them for making AIC an integral part of the ever-evolving educational fabric of higher education.”

Visit AIC online at www.aic.edu, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/americaninternationalcollege, or on Twitter @aiconcampus throughout the month of June to celebrate those who have helped to shape the world.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Dress for Success Western Massachusetts will host a clothing tag sale this weekend at the Eastfield Mall to raise funds and awareness of its mission of helping women achieve their goal of creating a better life. Women may choose from an extensive array of work-suitable clothing, shoes, accessories, and more.

These new and gently used items include selections from name-brand fashion houses such as Anne Klein, Evan Picone, Ellen Tracy, and many more. Customers can fill a shopping bag for only $25.

There is an abundance of clothing, so items in the tag sale will be restocked throughout the three days. The dates and times are: Friday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event will be held near the food court in the Eastfield Mall at 1655 Boston Road, Springfield, where Dress for Success maintains a boutique managed by Sally Rueli. All proceeds will benefit Dress for Success Western Massachusetts. Volunteers are needed for the event. If you are interested, e-mail [email protected].

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SPRINGFIELD — In the spring of 2017, BusinessWest and its sister publication, HCN, created a new and exciting recognition program called Healthcare Heroes.

It was launched with the theory that there are heroes working all across this region’s wide, deep, and all-important healthcare sector, and that there was no shortage of fascinating stories to tell and individuals and groups to honor. Two years later, that theory has been validated, and stories that needed to be told have been told.

But there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of heroes who stories we still need to tell. And that’s where you come in.

Nominations for the class of 2019 are due July 12, and we encourage you to get involved and help recognize someone you consider to be a hero in the community we call Western Mass. in one (or more) of these seven categories: Patient/Resident/Client Care Provider, Health/Wellness Administrator/Administration, Emerging Leader, Community Health, Innovation in Health/Wellness, Collaboration in Health/Wellness, and Lifetime Achievement.

Event sponsors include presenting sponsor American International College, partnering sponsors Development Associates and Comcast Business, and supporting sponsor Elms College. To nominate a Healthcare Hero, click here.

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GREENFIELD — Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank (GCB), announced that the board of directors has approved the promotions of Brandon Lively to executive vice president, Information Systems, and Anthony Worden to executive vice president and senior commercial loan officer.

Lively has more than 22 years of banking experience and joined GCB in 1999. He is responsible for the bank’s electronic banking department, information systems, and online security, as well as managing the staff that handle these areas. He received his associate degree in information systems from Greenfield Community College and is a graduate of numerous systems-related programs and certificates. He has been active with the United Way allocations panels and several other groups.

Worden has more than 20 years of experience in commercial lending and has been with GCB since 2008. His focus is managing the bank’s commercial lending arm. GCB provides financing for equipment, working capital, and commercial mortgages for small to mid-sized businesses primarily in Franklin and Hampshire counties. Worden earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and his MBA from UMass Amherst, and also graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. He is active with the town of Greenfield Cable Advisory Committee and the Turners Falls Downtown Working Group.

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EAST LONGMEADOW — For many professionals, retirement is the golden carrot that looms at the end of a long career. But what happens next? On Monday, June 3, Bay Path University will host “Your Third Act: What’s Next?”

This three-hour interactive session, presented by Carla Oleska of Carla Oleska & Co., and Laurie Cirillo, executive director of Career Services at Bay Path University, will focus on how to share your experience, wisdom, and joy as you craft your next purposeful life adventure.

This session, presented by Strategic Alliances at Bay Path University and Johnson & Hill Staffing, in partnership with the Bay Path University Advisory Council, begins at 6 p.m. at Bay Path University’s Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center, 1 Denslow Road, East Longmeadow.

Tickets to this session include dinner and are available now. To sign up for this session or to learn more, visit baypath.edu/careertransitionseries.

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SPRINGFIELD — Bulkley Richardson announced a new series consisting of events, written alerts, and related resources from professionals for professionals within Massachusetts’ cannabis industry.

The launch event will be held on Tuesday, June 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Bulkley Richardson’s offices located at 1500 Main St., Springfield. The firm will welcome Tina Sbrega, president and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union, the first financial institution in the state to serve recreational marijuana companies. She will cover the regulatory hurdles to banking in the cannabis industry, what services are available, how to apply for an account, and how to be a compliant ‘bank customer.’

Restricted by federal laws from opening bank accounts in federally insured financial institutions, legal cannabis businesses are forced to conduct all transactions in cash. Recognizing the risks a cash-based business poses for public safety, Sbrega and the GFA Federal Credit Union board created a subsidiary to bring a turnkey banking service to the Massachusetts and New Hampshire cannabis industry.

“We envision a forum where stakeholders in the cannabis industry, including lawyers, accountants, bankers, investors, insurance agents, consultants, and other professionals, can discuss the evolving cannabis landscape, share information, and work in unison to assist business growth,” said Kathy Bernardo, partner at Bulkley Richardson.

Added Scott Foster, another partner at Bulkley Richardson, “our cannabis team continued to see the need for a resource like this, where professionals within the industry can get accurate information, share lessons learned, and collaborate. Having significant clients in the cannabis space, we are on top of the legal considerations of doing business in Massachusetts, and it made good sense to bring in other business professionals to share their expertise. Tina Sbrega is the perfect example. She is helping to blaze a trail for cannabis companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and I expect her perspective from the banking industry to be quite insightful.”

Lunch will be served. Registration is required. To sign up, e-mail [email protected].

Daily News

HOLYOKE — During her lifetime, Elaine Marieb donated more than $1.5 million to Holyoke Community College (HCC) in large and small amounts she once described as “tokens of gratitude” to the institution where she earned her nursing degree and taught biology for 24 years.

Even after her death in December, Marieb’s generosity continues. HCC is the beneficiary of a $1 million legacy gift Marieb set up as part of her estate plan, money earmarked for HCC programs that support non-traditional-age students.

The gift was officially announced on May 28 at HCC’s monthly board of trustees meeting, followed by the presentation of a $1 million ceremonial check.

“This is incredible. We are so thrilled and grateful,” said Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation, the college’s nonprofit fundraising corporation, which will invest and administer the funds. “This gift will significantly enhance our efforts to support adult students and adult women at HCC.”

This was Marieb’s second $1 million donation to HCC. The first came in 2014 to support construction of the college’s Center for Health Education and Center for Life Sciences. Over the years, her other donations helped establish scholarships, science labs, an endowed faculty chair, and the Elaine Marieb New Pathways Center, a computer room and study area for students in New Directions and Pathways, two support programs that were particularly meaningful to Marieb that will benefit from this new $1 million gift.

“This is very exciting for us, and it’s wonderful going into the next academic year knowing we’ve got new dollars to support some of the initiatives we’ve highlighted as growth opportunities in our strategic plan,” said HCC President Christina Royal.

Marieb was herself a non-traditional college student. A native of Northampton, Marieb earned a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State College in 1964 when she was 28 years old. After that, she received a master’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in zoology from UMass. She was hired as a professor of biology at HCC in 1969.

She started writing textbooks on anatomy and physiology to address complaints from her nursing students that the materials then available were ineffective. She enrolled in HCC’s Nursing program to inform her writing, graduating with her associate degree in 1980. She retired in 1983 to devote herself to writing, becoming the author or co-author of more than 10 best-selling textbooks and laboratory manuals in anatomy and physiology.

Though she moved to Sarasota, Fla., she made annual trips to HCC and always visited the Marieb Center to talk to students.

“I can’t believe how fortunate I am to be part of something like this,” said Irma Medina, coordinator of HCC’s Pathways Program, which helps non-traditional students prepare for and transfer to selective four-year colleges. “For her to bestow that kind of generosity … I just hope we can reach more and do more.”

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AMHERST — UMass Amherst alumnus Paul Manning and his wife, Diane Manning, have committed $1 million through their family foundation to establish the Manning Innovation Program, which provides three years of support in advancing a robust and sustainable pipeline of applied and translational research projects from UMass Amherst. It will allow the university’s College of Natural Sciences (CNS) to support bold, promising researchers, providing resources for them to innovate in new directions and to develop real-world applications for their discoveries.

The initiative will provide assistance to researchers and business students across campus through the critical early stages on the path to commercialization, such as ideation, proof of concept, and business development. Faculty will receive seed funding and engage in business training and mentorship from a number of campus units, including the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, the College of Natural Sciences, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Isenberg School of Management. 

“UMass Amherst researchers are working on some of the most important issues of our day,” said Paul Manning, who earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 1977. “I couldn’t think of a better place to invest in a cutting-edge model — bringing science and business together — that can bring solutions to more people, faster.”

Added CNS Dean Tricia Serio, “we are deeply grateful to the Mannings for their generous support of our mission to move the great science accomplished at UMass Amherst into the real world. By cultivating and mentoring high-achieving scientists and pairing them with business-minded collaborators, this program has the potential to change industries — and lives.”

The first grant to be awarded from the Manning Innovation Program will support research on a topic that hits close to home for the Manning family, Stargardt disease. Both of the Mannings’ sons, Bradford and Bryan, have the disease, which causes loss of central vision. Currently, there is no treatment to delay or cure the disease. The two Manning brothers now run a clothing line called Two Blind Brothers, and they donate all of its proceeds directly to blindness research.

Abigail Jensen, associate professor of Biology, will use a $40,000 grant to support her research on Stargardt disease and possible therapies using zebrafish. Her research seeks to identify how the disease works on a molecular level. Development of zebrafish with therapeutic mutations subverting Stargardt disease at the genetic level provides the first opportunity to discover the molecular mechanism of cone-photoreceptor degeneration and potential pathways for translation of research to therapeutic applications.

In keeping with the university’s core values, the Manning Innovation Program will stimulate, recognize, and reward innovation. It will foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the college and enhance the spirit of collaboration among Isenberg School of Management advisors, science and technology researchers, and industry experts. Further, the Manning Foundation’s gift provides vital investment to support UMass as a partner of choice in advancing and applying knowledge and innovation for the betterment of society.

“The Manning Innovation Program provides much-needed support to enable the development of groundbreaking research from UMass towards product candidates, prototypes, and translational technology,” said Peter Reinhart, founding director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences. “It will allow CNS to provide a revolutionary educational opportunity for the next generation of scientists and business leaders to experience the power of interdisciplinary applied research.”

Tom Moliterno, interim dean of Isenberg School of Management, added that the program “creates a new way of harnessing great ideas and cultivating them into applicable solutions. By bringing together the greatest minds in science and business, we will be able to tackle larger challenges. I’m excited to see what this new program yields — and I’m hopeful for the patents, products, and solutions that will be born out of it.”

The next wave in the application process for the Manning Innovation Program will result in a new round of applications being submitted by July 15. The review committee will notify recipients at the end of August, and the next round of projects could begin in September.

Paul Manning, an entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, most recently founded PBM Capital Group in 2010. PBM Capital is a healthcare-focused private investment group that looks for opportunities to use its entrepreneurial and operational experience to make high-growth pharmaceutical, molecular-diagnostic, gene-therapy, life-science, health/wellness, and consumer product investments. He was the anchor investor in Maroon Venture Partners, the first venture-capital fund at UMass Amherst. Created in 2017, the fund is a $6 million, for-profit investment vehicle created to support alumni, faculty, and student businesses in their early stages.