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“I think that ship has sailed.”

That’s what JD Chesloff, CEO of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, said in response to a question from the Boston Globe recently about why companies, even those like Google, Meta, and Amazon, who have made headlines with stringent return-to-the-office policies, are not asking employees to come in five days a week.

He’s right: it has sailed. The hybrid work schedules that so many companies have adopted, not out of choice, but more because they don’t really have a choice, are now the new norm and, from all accounts, will be the norm for at least the foreseeable future.

Indeed, it appears to be time to stop asking when everyone is going to return to the office and realize that not everyone is going to return to the office. And for many reasons.

Most of them have to do with the current labor market and the fact companies remain far too desperate in their efforts to attract and retain talent to make demands on where people can work. In some cases, employees are simply more productive working at home. And in still other cases, companies have been able to dramatically reduce their square footage (and, therefore, their annual costs) by having some or most of their employees working remotely.

Add it all up, and what we’re seeing in the workplace now is what we’re going to be seeing, unless some of those factors above change dramatically in the near term, and we just don’t see that happening. In short, employees who have been given a taste of remote work, like what they’ve tasted, will not want to go back to the office five days a week. And if employers try to force them to, they’ll find a new employer that won’t. Meanwhile, business owners will continue to be reasonable and cost-conscious, traits that, at this moment, don’t lend themselves to forcing people back to the office.

So instead of asking when workers will return the office, employers, managers, property owners, and leasing agents alike need to adjust.

Employers and managers need to find new and creative new ways to build teamwork and employee engagement, such as by requiring all employees to be in certain days of the week and then maximizing that time together.

As for property owners, the adjustment is more difficult. They may have to find other uses for their square footage other than office, a real challenge at a time when retail is also in retreat and conversion to residential is expensive and, in some cases, not realistic.

But adjustment, on the part of all those concerned, is necessary, because Chesloff is right.

That ship has sailed.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University will host its annual Government, Criminal Justice and Nonprofit Career Fair on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the Woodward Center, 395 Western Ave.

The fair offers a convenient opportunity for Westfield students and residents to network with employers and learn what it would be like to work for area nonprofits and government agencies.

Representatives from police departments throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire will be available to answer questions and showcase their agencies to prospective employees. Some of the registered city and town agencies include Amherst, Holyoke, Northampton, and Westfield, as well as Enfield, Conn. Registered state police agencies include Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

Registered nonprofits and government agencies include May Institute, Center for Human Development, Gándara Center, Match Education, Peace Corps, ServiceNet, Wellpath, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

The job fair is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the South Lot off Western Avenue. Shuttle service will run continually throughout the event.

Daily News

EASTHAMPTON — Hometown Mortgage will host a first-time-homebuyer workshop on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. via Zoom.

Experienced lending professional Deborah O’Rourke will lead this certified course organized by NeighborWorks Housing Solutions. The workshop will help attendees qualify for special mortgage products, provide tips to improve their credit, and prepare them as they approach this important life decision.

This hybrid workshop (four online hours and four class hours via Zoom) costs $45 per person or household (two people). Click here for more information and to register.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Do you know someone who is truly making a difference in the Western Mass. region? BusinessWest invites you to nominate an individual or group for its 16th annual Difference Makers program. Nominations for the class of 2024 must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

Difference Makers was launched in 2009 as a way to recognize the contributions of agencies and individuals who are contributing to quality of life in this region. Past honorees have come from dozens of business and nonprofit sectors, proving there’s no limit to the ways people can impact their communities.

So, let us know who you think deserves to be recognized as a Difference Maker in our upcoming class by visiting businesswest.com/difference-makers-nomination-form to complete the nomination form. Honorees will be profiled in an upcoming issue of BusinessWest and celebrated at a gala in the spring.

Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

Go HERE to view all episodes

Episode 180: September 25, 2023

Joe Interviews Diana Szynal president and CEO of the Springfield Regional Chamber

After several years leading the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Diana Szynal took the reins as president and CEO of the Springfield Regional Chamber last summer, and in the year-plus since, she has listened to — and learned from — hundreds of business, government, and economic-development leaders in an effort to ensure the chamber is playing an effective role in the growth and vibrancy of the Greater Springfield economy. On the next episode of BusinessTalk, Szynal talks with BusinessWest Editor Joe Bednar about all this and much more, including some exciting upcoming events, including a reimagined Super 60 that has expanded its categories to recognize a wider variety of businesses and nonprofits. It’s must listening, so tune in to BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest and sponsored by PeoplesBank.


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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union recently welcomed Mortgage Loan Originator Michael Laga to its Loan Production Office at 115 Elm St. in Enfield, Conn. In this role, Laga works with homebuyers to assess their financial status and credit, recommend the best loan products, and guide members through the homebuying process.

“We are delighted to bring Michael’s nearly three decades of experience to bear for the benefit of our members in Connecticut as well as the greater Northampton area in Massachusetts,” Freedom Credit Union President Glenn Welch said. “He is quickly proving to be a valuable and adept addition to our team of exceptional mortgage loan originators.”

Laga graduated from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and played professional baseball for 14 years on teams including the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants.

Freedom’s Loan Production Office opened in Enfield in November 2022. It is dedicated exclusively to mortgage and business lending. John Santaniello, assistant vice president of Member Business Lending, also works from this office, helping businesses that are seeking loans, including term, Small Business Administration, commercial real estate, and commercial vehicle loans.

Freedom membership is available to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Hartford or Tolland counties in Connecticut, in addition to Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, or Berkshire counties in Massachusetts.

Daily News

TURNERS FALLS — Mayhew Tools in Turners Falls received an award for Outstanding Leadership Skills in the Manufacturing Industry at the eighth annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony. This ceremony is part of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Mash-Up held in Polar Park in Worcester, hosted by the Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus and other partners.

State Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Natalie Blais nominated Mayhew for this award. Mayhew Tools, the oldest punch and chisel manufacturer in the country, has expanded over 160-plus years without losing sight of its heritage. This includes keeping its headquarters in Western Mass., home to its corporate office and 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

“Mayhew Tools is a family-owned hand-tool manufacturer operating in Franklin County since 1856,” said John and Bill Lawless, owners and presidents of Mayhew Tools. “We are proud of our rich heritage, manufacturing capabilities, and our innovative and dedicated team. We are extremely thankful to all our team members who strive to make high-quality USA-made tools every day. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. Receiving this award is a true testament to their dedication and hard work.”

Comerford and Blais will visit and tour Mayhew’s facility in Turners Falls and congratulate John and Bill Lawless and their team later this fall.

“For more than 160 years, Mayhew Tools has been doing business in Franklin County and on the cutting edge of steel-product manufacturing,” Comerford said. “Not only that, but they have offered good jobs and steady employment for many years to those who need it most. I’m proud to represent Mayhew Tools in the Senate.”

Added Blais, “our region has a history of manufacturing built proudly on a dedicated and highly skilled workforce. I am honored to join Senator Jo Comerford in recognizing Mayhew Manufacturing’s exceptional contributions to the local economy.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Job seekers across Western Mass. will head to Holyoke Mall to advance their careers during the Get Hired Job Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. on the lower level in Macy’s Court.

This accessible, multi-employer job fair features employers across more than 10 industries seeking candidates at all skill levels to fill both full-time and part-time positions. Candidates will connect with employers one-on-one for on-the-spot interviews and hiring.

More than three dozen Western Mass. businesses are attending this fall’s job fair, including

Aveanna Healthcare, Baystate Health, Berkshire Arc, CareOne at Northampton, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Florence Bank, Furnari Jewelers, Gap Factory, Golden Years, Griswold Home Care, Guidewire, Hannoush Jewelers, Head Start, Holyoke Fire Department, Holyoke Gas & Electric, Holyoke Medical Center, H&R Block Holyoke, KeyBank, the Literacy Lab, MassHire Holyoke, MetroCare of Springfield, MGM Springfield, O’Connell Care at Home, Pathlight, PeoplesBank, Round1, ServiceNet, Soto Home Care, Springfield Public Schools, TD Bank, US Army Recruiting – Springfield, Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital, Westfield Bank, Western Massachusetts Training Consortium,Westover Job Corps Center, Yankee Candle, and YMCA of Greater Springfield.

The Get Hired Job Fair is free for all job seekers and is sponsored by Springfield Public Schools, KeyBank, PeoplesBank, ServiceNet, Guidewire, and Rock 102.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — OneHolyoke CDC will lead its final Citywide Trash Cleanup Day of 2023 on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers and Holyoke residents are encouraged to participate in the cleanup, and supplies will be provided by OneHolyoke CDC.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the OneHolyoke CDC Flats Community Building at 43 North Canal St. at 10 a.m. Supplies, tools, and guidelines for picking up trash will be available. Volunteers will follow a route down Northbridge Street to McNally Field for the cleanup.

Individuals who would like to participate in the cleanup can reach out to Nayroby Rosa-Soriano at (413) 409-2004. The trash cleanup day is for the entire city of Holyoke. Residents and homeowners throughout the city are encouraged to clean up their yards, alleys, and lots on Saturday.

OneHolyoke CDC has taken a leadership position in cleaning Holyoke streets for the past five years by organizing weekly cleanups from spring to the end of summer. The organization encourages volunteers who participate in cleaning the streets of Holyoke to use the hashtag #KeepItClean2K23 on social media as a way of keeping the community connected throughout the initiative.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bacon Wilson, P.C. announced that attorney Conor Carey has joined the firm as an associate in the Litigation department.

Carey earned his juris doctorate, cum laude, from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis in 2018 and his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Westfield State University in 2015. Prior to joining Bacon Wilson, he spent a year as a judicial law clerk for Associate Justice Sabita Singh of the Massachusetts Appeals Court and also previously served as a research attorney to the justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court in Worcester.

At Bacon Wilson, he will be assisting clients with their litigation needs in both civil and criminal law. He is a member of both the Hampden and Hampshire county bar associations and will be working primarily out of the firm’s Northampton office. He is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

“Bacon Wilson is thrilled for Conor to join the firm as we continue to grow and expand our ability to serve the diverse needs of our clients,” Managing Shareholder Jeffrey Fialky said. “Conor, a native of Easthampton, is yet another example of a talented individual returning to Western Massachusetts for his career path. Conor has robust experience working with the judiciary, and particularly the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, and this expertise is an exciting addition to Bacon Wilson’s distinguished litigation department.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Dietz & Company Architects Inc. recently welcomed Soniha Nuzrat to the firm in the role of architectural associate, in which she will assist project teams throughout all phases of design.

Nuzrat recently received her master of architecture degree from Miami University in Ohio, where she completed her thesis on evaluating cross-cultural courtyard housing for social well-being in Manhattan. As evidenced by her thesis, she has a particular interest and specializes in community-based design. This past spring, she received the AIA Medal for Academic Excellence, which is awarded annually to the top graduating students in National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited degree programs.

Prior to pursuing her master of architecture degree, Nuzrat earned her bachelor of architecture degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. She also worked on a variety of projects for architecture firms in Bangladesh.

Daily News

WARE — Country Bank announced that the Boston Business Journal has once again named it an honoree in its annual 2023 Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing the region’s top corporate charitable contributors.

The magazine annually publishes this list to highlight companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities.

“It is with honor that we present our list of the Top Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts — companies who gave $100,000 or more to Massachusetts-based charities in 2022,” Boston Business Journal Market President and Publisher Carolyn Jones said. “Collectively, they gave $423 million in cash contributions, a true example of the business community coming together to help those in need. We are proud to celebrate these organizations who give both money and time to make our communities a stronger and better place for all.”

During this year’s celebration on Sept. 7, 100 companies qualified for the distinction by reporting at least $100,000 in cash contributions to Massachusetts-based charities last year, as noted above. This year’s honorees include companies from such industry sectors as financial and professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, and professional sports.

Country Bank, ranked 44th, employs 220 staff members within Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties, many of whom volunteer for various nonprofits throughout the year.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Boston Business Journal for Country Bank’s philanthropic efforts,” bank President and CEO Paul Scully said. “As a community bank, it is our mission to help make a difference in the lives of others.”

Daily News

GREENFIELD — MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center and Workforce Board, the leading workforce-development agencies providing employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Franklin and Hampshire counties and the North Quabbin area, are celebrating the grand opening of their new location.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the Greenfield Corporate Center, 101 Munson St., Suite 210 on Friday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to noon. State Sen. Jo Comerford and state Reps. Lindsay Sabadosa and Natalie Blais will provide welcoming remarks. Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra will perform the ceremony.

The new MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center features 13,000 square feet of modern space with state-of-the-art resources to provide in-person, virtual, and hybrid services, allowing MassHire Franklin Hampshire to provide better service to more customers.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) named Christopher Thuot vice president for Academic Affairs.

Following a comprehensive national search, Thuot assumed the role on July 17. As the chief academic officer, he provides leadership for implementation of the college’s academic mission and priorities. He plays a key role in supporting the alignment of academic programs with the region’s employment needs while helping develop and sustain partnerships with transfer institutions, local schools, and government agencies.

“Dr. Thuot brings to STCC a unique set of skills, a strategic outlook, and over a decade of community-college experience,” said John Cook, STCC president. “Chris began as a community-college student and deeply understands the transformative mission we so value at STCC.”

Thuot comes to STCC from Onondaga Community College (OCC) in Syracuse, N.Y., one of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system. He served as assistant provost, providing academic leadership to eight schools, adult college programs, and the Office of Registration and Records. He helped lead development of all new degree programs, led a comprehensive program revitalization process, and served as OCC’s accreditation liaison officer. He served as project director on a number of grants.

Thuot began his career at OCC as a full-time faculty member while serving as the Honors College chair, vice president of the Faculty Senate, and coordinator of General Education.

Thuot noted the dedication of STCC’s faculty and staff and their focus on student success, and he expressed his gratitude to Cook and the search committee. “I am truly thrilled to now be a part of the STCC community. I look forward to working collaboratively to serve our students while meeting STCC’s mission.”

Thuot was first introduced to community colleges as a student at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina Asheville and a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — D.A. Sullivan & Sons Inc. (DAS) announced the arrival of Ryan Gagne, Cicely Hislop, and Andrew Fleming into its leadership group, marking a significant milestone in the 125-year-old construction company’s history.

Gagne is valued for his innovative approaches and collaborative project management and will assume the role of vice president of Construction. His master’s degree in construction management and years of industry involvement will enrich the project experience offered by DAS.

Hislop is currently pursuing her MBA at UMass Amherst. She is set to play a pivotal role in enhancing DAS’s operational efficiency and project execution as chief operating officer.

Fleming will undertake the role of vice president of Pre-construction. His ability to foresee potential challenges and devise effective solutions is expected to ensure the smooth execution of projects from the initial stages.

Gagne, Hislop, and Fleming will join Mark and Dennis Sullivan to reinforce DAS’s position as a leading construction company in Western and Central Mass.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — Elms College greatly improved its ranking on two listings in the U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Colleges rankings and was listed as a Best Value School in the North Region for the first time.

The college jumped 33 places to 60th on the list of Best Regional Universities (North) and rose 22 slots to 12th in the Top Performers on Social Mobility, Regional Universities (North) category. This list ranks schools for enrolling and graduating large proportions of students who have received federal Pell Grants.

New this year, Elms College was ranked 33rd on the Best Value Schools, Regional Universities (North) list. This category examines a school’s academic quality and the cost of its programs. The higher the quality of programs and the lower the cost, the better the value a school provides.

“It gives all of us at Elms College immense pride and satisfaction that the Elms value is recognized in rankings such as the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. We are pleased that Elms improved its ranking on two lists this year and entered the list of Best Value Schools (North),” Elms College President Harry Dumay said. “In addition to the high-quality education we provide, I thank the Elms community for their efforts that empower our students to make a difference in the lives of the people around them.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR and many restaurant partners throughout Berkshire County will host Dine for Disabilities on Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 8 to 9 p.m.

Dine for Disabilities is an event to benefit BFAIR’s programs and services for people with developmental disabilities, autism, and acquired brain injury. On Oct. 4, restaurants around Berkshire County will choose to donate a portion of their proceeds to support BFAIR. Diners will make a positive impact just by visiting one of the restaurant partners to enjoy a favorite meal or even try a new restaurant.

Click here for more information about the event and a full list of restaurant partners.

“We are excited to collaborate with amazing and generous restaurants around Berkshire County to further the BFAIR mission of providing high-quality services to people of all abilities,” said Tara Jacobsen, director of Development at BFAIR. “On October 4th, when people choose to dine at a partner restaurant, they are making a positive impact for BFAIR clients and services, and they are supporting a local business.”

She added that “proceeds from this event will promote independence, create accessibility, and enhance organizational resources at BFAIR. We are very grateful to all our generous restaurant partners, and we hope the community comes out for Dine for Disabilities to show love to our local businesses and support for people of all abilities.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Do you know someone who is truly making a difference in the Western Mass. region? BusinessWest invites you to nominate an individual or group for its 16th annual Difference Makers program. Nominations for the class of 2024 must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

Difference Makers was launched in 2009 as a way to recognize the contributions of agencies and individuals who are contributing to quality of life in this region. Past honorees have come from dozens of business and nonprofit sectors, proving there’s no limit to the ways people can impact their communities.

So, let us know who you think deserves to be recognized as a Difference Maker in our upcoming class by visiting businesswest.com/difference-makers-nomination-form to complete the nomination form. Honorees will be profiled in an upcoming issue of BusinessWest and celebrated at a gala in the spring.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC) and Economic Development Partners (EDP) announced that the 2023 Western Massachusetts Developers Conference is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at MGM Springfield.

This regional conference will bring together an array of industry leaders, developers, real-estate professionals, site selectors, economic-development experts, and public officials hailing from Western Mass. and beyond. The event promises to shine a spotlight on the region’s numerous strengths and development prospects, elucidating why it stands out as an ideal destination for investment, business launches, and growth.

The conference agenda is full of informative sessions offering attendees an opportunity to gain valuable insights and foster collaborative connections, including a CEO Panel featuring insights from top CEOs as they discuss how the region actively supports business growth, a Community Lightning Round that showcases the vitality of local communities in Western Mass. and their role in fostering economic development, and the Incentives in Action Workshop, a hands-on session that delves into the tangible benefits of various incentives available to businesses in the region.

A key highlight of the conference is the Luncheon Keynote address, featuring Gov. Maura Healey and Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao. Their participation underscores the state’s commitment to fostering innovation and catalyzing growth within the Western Mass. region.

This conference aims to serve as a robust networking platform, offering attendees the opportunity to connect with exhibitors and resource vendors, facilitating meaningful collaborations in the regional development arena. Click here for more information and to register.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health announced a $70 million comprehensive fundraising effort. “Healthier Tomorrows: The Campaign for Baystate Health” is the largest fundraising goal in Baystate Health’s history and focuses on raising money for three critical areas: capital needs, program support, and endowment development.

“This campaign changes the face of healthcare in our region,” Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack said. “Our vision is to improve the health of everyone in our community by recruiting top-tier medical providers, building cutting-edge spaces for them to practice in, enhancing our services to meet the changing needs of the people we serve, and ensuring Baystate Health is here to stay for the long haul.”

The $70 million goal aims to fund several initiatives, including a state-of-the-art surgical facility and a Center for Nursing Excellence at Baystate Medical Center, a renovated Family Medicine practice and teaching space at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and support for the endowment, with the purpose of increasing fiscal resilience for the organization.

Community members and Baystate Health providers and staff gathered on Sept. 18 to celebrate the campaign’s launch. The event, originally planned to be held in the Bolduc Family Courtyard at Baystate Medical Center, was moved inside due to inclement weather. The courtyard was made possible by a recent gift from the Bolduc family and its Hope for Youth & Families Foundation.

Lead donors have already contributed generously toward the $70 million goal. In addition to funds for the Bolduc Family Courtyard, campaign support includes a grant from the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation in support of the new operating and interventional procedural rooms at Baystate Medical Center, two named endowed clinical chairs, program contributions toward the Family Medicine residency program and mobile health, and support of annual giving and events that reach system-wide.

“Baystate Health has been providing high-quality, compassionate healthcare to this community since the 1880s,” said Dr. Andrew Artenstein, chief physician executive and chief academic officer at Baystate Health and president of Baystate Medical Practices. “It is our sincere hope that our promise to advance care and enhance lives will continue for the next century and beyond. This campaign helps us secure our mission well into the future.”

Baystate Health’s last campaign concluded in 2012. The $23 million raised supported building the shell of the Hospital of the Future wing, including space for a new Emergency Department and the Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center. The new campaign will help complete much of the shell space as intended to accommodate new technology and meet the growing needs of the community.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Each year, Accounting Today conducts a comprehensive assessment of the largest practices in tax and accounting across 10 major geographic regions in the U.S. Leveraging a wide range of benchmarking data, it meticulously evaluates firms’ growth strategies, service offerings, and specialized client niches. Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. earned distinction as a top-tier firm within the New England region.

“MBK remains unwaveringly dedicated to unlocking the full potential of Western Massachusetts,” said James Krupienski, CPA, a partner at the firm. “We take immense pride in seeing our local dedication acknowledged on a national level. Our devoted team consistently excels in delivering exceptional service to our clients, all the while offering invaluable resources and invaluable insights to local business leaders and decision makers. Our connection to the local community is important to us; it holds significant value, making us even better at what we do for our clients.”

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. is the largest independently owned and operated CPA firm in Western Mass. As a member of CPAmerica, one of the world’s largest networks of independent CPA and consulting firms, it offers a spectrum of services encompassing business strategy expertise, tax services, and accounting services. Its primary focus lies in serving closely held businesses and high-net-worth individuals, with notable concentrations in sectors such as healthcare, employee benefits, real estate, construction, manufacturing, and not-for-profit organizations.

Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

Go HERE to view all episodes

Episode 179: September 18, 2023

Joe Interviews Dave Wisseman, the tenth-generation leader of this venerable family farm

What started out as an artistic inspiration more than 20 years ago has become one of the region’s most anticipated fall attractions: Mike’s Maze, a massive, visually striking (at least from above) corn maze at Warner Farm in Sunderland. (This year’s edition is a thoughtful reflection on the growing role of artificial intelligence in society.) The maze has become a significant revenue driver for the farm, a welcome benefit in a year when farmers have faced unusually harsh challenges. On the next episode of BusinessTalk, Dave Wisseman, the tenth-generation leader of this venerable family farm, talks with BusinessWest Editor Joe Bednar about the farm’s rich history, how the mazes are created, how the annual attraction has evolved, and much more. It’s must listening, so tune in to BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest and sponsored by PeoplesBank.


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Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) President George Timmons received a warm community welcome during a reception on Sept. 12 at the Gary Rome Hyundai dealership on Whiting Farms Road in Holyoke.

It was the first public reception for Timmons, who began his tenure as HCC’s fifth president on July 13.

“As a business leader in the community, it is an honor to host President Timmons and introduce him at our dealership,” Rome said. “Together, we can join forces and accomplish great things for the future of HCC.”

The reception followed the quarterly meeting of the HCC Foundation board of directors, on which Rome and Timmons both sit.

“We are excited to work with President Timmons,” said HCC Foundation board chair Corey Murphy, president of First American Insurance Agency. “He is clear about wanting HCC to be acknowledged nationally for its efforts to support and inspire students, and he is eager to connect with donors to help us get there.”

The reception included the presentation of a $5,000 check from Rome to the HCC Foundation for the benefit of HCC’s Thrive Student Resource Center, which provides essential resources and support to students dealing with challenges such as food and housing insecurity.

“Mr. Rome has clearly shown his dedication to HCC and to the work the college is doing to help students achieve their academic and career goals, and we are very grateful for his donation,” Timmons said.

Those in attendance included members of the 27-member HCC Foundation board, as well as members of the HCC board of trustees and others from the community.

In addition to being on the HCC Foundation board, Rome is a regular donor, vocal advocate for HCC, and partner in HCC’s annual April “Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives” 24-hour fundraising campaign.

“The money we raised that day goes to the President’s Student Emergency Fund and Thrive Center to help students facing food insecurity and housing insecurity,” Rome said. “It’s very important that we give everybody the tools to go to school, and it’s important to bring awareness to Holyoke Community College because it is a hidden jewel right here in our community.”

Daily News

BOSTON — The state’s August total unemployment rate was 2.6%, up 0.1 percentage point from the revised July estimate of 2.5%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 15,400 jobs in August, following July’s revised gain of 4,600 jobs. The largest over-the-month private-sector job gains were in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and other services. Employment now stands at 3,788,700.

From August 2022 to August 2023, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 90,500 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in education and health services; professional, scientific, and business services; and leisure and hospitality.

The state’s August unemployment rate of 2.6% was 1.2% below the national rate of 3.8% reported by BLS.

The labor force grew by an estimated 2,000 from the revised estimate of 3,715,300 in July, as 4,300 fewer residents were employed and 6,300 more residents were unemployed over-the-month.

Over-the-year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 1.3%

The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — remained unchanged at 64.5% over-the-month. Compared to August 2022, the labor-force participation rate was down 0.6%.

Daily News

WARE — Country Bank announced its support of the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund with a $10,000 donation.

Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, in partnership with the community and the United Way of Central Massachusetts (UWCM), established the fund to respond to the recent storm impact in Western and Central Mass. This initiative aims to provide assistance to farms affected by the recent flooding and heavy rains that impacted an estimated 2,700 acres, across 100 farms, resulting in $15 million in losses.

“The relief provided by the farm fund is going to be life-changing for so many Massachusetts farmers,” Healey said. “The lieutenant governor and I spent time over the last several weeks traveling around the state to visit with farmers that have been affected so severely by these rains. We saw the damage, and we know how much of their livelihoods are at stake. That’s why I’m thankful to all of the organizations and foundations who have donated to the fund. It’s because of their support that Massachusetts farmers will be able to start fresh for the new season.”

Tim Garvin, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, added that “our goal with the fund is to support farmers and communities by raising and distributing funds with urgency, as they are facing challenges right now. We are so grateful to Country Bank for immediately stepping up and joining us to address the losses for farms, food pantries, and the rural communities who rely on a vibrant agricultural economy.”

Daily News

WILBRAHAM — Rice Fruit Farm is named after original owner, Jesse Rice who established, back in the late 1800s, what is now described as an historic New England farmstand owned by the Maloni family. The operation features an in-house bakery, homemade ice cream, and fresh breakfast items year-round, in addition to seasonal local and organic vegetables.

It also supports events promoting mental health, including during last week’s National Suicide Prevention Week. In partnership with Holyoke-based MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, beverages sold throughout that week at Rice’s carried the sticker: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support 24/7 to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress who dial or text 988.

“Doing this with MiraVista is a no brainer,” Anthony Maloni said. “You hear stories around mental health, whether they involve people you know or who are known, and yet, mental illness is not as widely understood as other illness. Treatment for it is half the battle. If we can help with that in any way — even just with one person — that would be an incredible outcome of this effort.

“Simply raising awareness of the 988 number and the services of MiraVista is an undertaking we are more than eager to be a part of,” he added. “We have many young people from area colleges frequenting our location, a population we will target with this messaging.

Maloni said Rice’s sells about 12,000 beverages monthly with cider from native apples particularly popular this time of year.

Kimberley Lee, chief of Creative Strategy and Development at MiraVista, called the 988 labels on Rice’s cups “mini-billboards.”

“Suicide prevention, as well as recovery from mental illness and substance use, are all about the importance of intervention, the earlier the better, and public support for intervention,” Lee said. “We are extremely thankful for the Maloni family partnership and their willingness to use Rice’s as a platform for a conversation about suicide prevention.”

For more information on the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which routes calls to the center nearest the individual’s area code, visit 988lifeline.org.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community College announced that President Michelle Schutt has appointed April Parsons as the next vice president of Academic Affairs at GCC.

Parsons brings more than a decade of leading academic teams, as well as more than 20 years of experience in teaching in classrooms, including in high schools, community colleges, and universities.

“Dr. Parsons clearly understands the unique challenges facing GCC as we work toward diversifying our enrollment streams while meeting the needs of our region,” Schutt said. “April has the knowledge and passion for the essential work of community college, including credited courses, workforce programs, and community education.”

Parsons joins GCC during a time of growth and programmatic expansion at the institution. She will be a key part in the GCC’s Guided Pathways work, which will help improve the educational pathways students take to ensure their success while also reducing the amount of credits they take but can’t use in their education, saving students both time and money.

In addition, GCC has improved its wraparound support services for students to help them succeed, which include access to student emergency funds, career and internship services, tutoring, disability services, a food pantry, a fitness center and a technology lending library that will be outfitted with laptops for students who need one thanks to a $100,000 gift from the GCC Foundation.

“I am honored to have been chosen by President Schutt and the GCC community to become the new vice president of Academic Affairs,” Parsons said. “GCC’s vision to create ‘a more equitable, just, vibrant, and resilient world through education’ resonates with me as an educational leader, and I am excited to be part of a college so deeply rooted in service to our local community here in Franklin and Hampshire counties.”

Parsons holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature with a certificate in women’s and gender studies, as well as an master of education degree in language education. Most recently, she taught as a professor of English at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) and chaired the Department of Arts and Humanities. She also led a redesign of NCCC’s English curriculum and was a faculty lead through the NECHE regional accreditation process.

Beyond Parsons’ professional roles, she’s also active in the community. She volunteers time at her local library working to expand literacy programs, and has helped the institution acquire and implement National Endowment for the Arts grant funding to conduct these efforts.

She also works closely with incarcerated individuals, both in a professional and volunteer capacity. She recently served as the lead faculty member on a partnership between NCCC and the Connecticut Department of Corrections that helped bring college education to incarcerated individuals. She is a volunteer for the Prison Yoga Project, which brings yoga lessons into the prison community.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Michael “Mick” Corduff announced that he is stepping into the role of chief operator and executive chef of the Log Cabin, Delaney House, and D. Hotel & Spa, all in Holyoke. He is replacing Peter Rosskothen, who has sold all his shares in the company to Corduff and his new business partner, Frank DeMarinis.

“I am very excited to lead our amazing team, a team that has the best proven hospitality track record in the market,” said Corduff, who is also excited about the opportunity to work with his wife, Dana Corduff, who is joining the D. Hotel management.

Both Peter and Linda Rosskothen will step down from their day-to-day activities within the company. The business focus for Peter will be Delaney’s Market, an independent company with stores in South Hadley, Westfield, Longmeadow, and Wilbraham.

“Both Linda and I have lived an unbelievable dream with this great group of employees and this amazing business, but the time has come to let it flourish further without us,” Rosskothen said. “We consider Mick a brother, and we know that, under his management, the business will only get better.”

Linda and Peter Rosskothen will stay involved in supporting Mick and Dana Corduff, as well as their new partner, in any way needed.

DeMarinis is the president of Sage Engineering & Contracting Inc. in Westfield, and is a local developer, builder, owner, and manager of more than 25 commercial real-estate properties in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He is also the founder and owner of Roots Sports complexes in Westfield and East Longmeadow and Roots Learning Centers.

Corduff and DeMarinis plan to combine their skills to develop and grow the business to new locations.

“Our hotel and spa, restaurant, and event venue are uniquely positioned to continue benefiting from each other, synergies that no other locally owned and run company has in the area,” Corduff said. “I am proud of our brilliant team and look forward to further growing with them.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park invites guests on a trip around the world at Wine Safari on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The fundraiser, which supports the care of the 225-plus animals that live at the zoo, pairs wines from around the world with animals from the same region, allowing guests to ‘travel’ from country to country, sampling the wine and meeting the animals that hail from that area.

While the Zoo is known as a family-friendly institution, this one is just for the adults.

“Wine Safari provides a unique experience for adults and allows them to explore the zoo in a different way than when they visit with their family,” said Gabry Tyson, Development manager at the Zoo in Forest Park. “It’s the perfect excuse to hire a babysitter and enjoy a Thursday night out.”

Guests must be age 21 or older to attend. The $50 ticket includes wine samples from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (while supplies last), hors d’oeuvres, and coffee; animal encounters; and keeper talks from members of the zoo’s animal care and education teams. There will also be a raffle with prizes from the Boston Bruins, Spirit of Springfield, Max Hospitality, and other local businesses and organizations.

“Wine Safari is always so much fun, and is a great way to spend time with your favorite animals while drinking some phenomenal wines from around the world,” said Sarah Tsitso, executive director of the Zoo in Forest Park. “All of the money we raise at Wine Safari supports our animal residents over the winter months, helping us provide food, bedding, heat, vet care, and everything else our animals need while our gates are closed to the public.”

Advance tickets are required to attend, and IDs will be checked at the door. Tickets are limited and are on sale now at www.forestparkzoo.org/winesafari.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Wealth Transition Collective (TWTC) recently announced two additions to its firm. Ashley Hopkins has joined the firm as director of Client Services & Operations. In her role, she will be responsible for new business implementation and five-star concierge service to firm clients. She has more than six years of experience in the financial-services industry.

“Ashley has already had a profound impact on the firm and our clients,” TWTC CEO Greg Sheehan said.

Jennifer Cooke joined the Wealth Transition Collective as a retirement-plan advisor. In her role, she is responsible for all 401(k), 403(b), cash-balance and defined-benefit plan business, including employee education. She helps her clients stay in compliance with ERISA standards for employer-sponsored retirement plans. With more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of the retirement-plan business, she acts as a co-fiduciary on retirement plans for business owners throughout New England.

Cooke is a certified retirement-plan specialist, a certified plan fiduciary advisor, and an accredited investment fiduciary.

“The depth of knowledge and experience that Jennifer brings with her to the firm in this niche market is unparalleled,” Sheehan said. “To add this suite of services to the firm offerings certainly gives us a differential advantage in the marketplace.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — On Friday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m., Springfield-based Renaissance Development LLC will commence redevelopment of the Kavanagh Building at 443 State St. across from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). The 28,000-square-foot building, vacant for 15 years, will be the future home of 35 one- and two-bedroom apartment units and approximately 10,000 square feet of rentable office and retail space.

Redevelopment will take place in two phases, with the first involving the demolition of the unstable rear portion of the building and renovation of the façade and front lower and street levels. Once completed (slated for summer 2024), phase one will comprise 10,000 square feet of retail space for several commercial tenants ranging in size and use, coupled with 15 units of housing and 43 parking spaces.

Phase two (slated to commence in winter 2024) will complete 20 additional one- and two-bedroom units throughout the entire second floor. These units will be set aside as permanent supportive housing units for people who have experienced homelessness. Through partnership with the nonprofit Mental Health Assoc., tenants who qualify will receive a variety of support and wraparound services.

Donald Mitchell of Renaissance Development expressed his excitement for this revitalization of a now-vacant, historic commercial property. “We’re moving beyond the successes of the downtown area and are bringing exciting new opportunities to another underserved Springfield neighborhood,” he said, also highlighting job creation, both temporary during construction and longer-term; development of quality housing and support services; and the establishment of an incubator for small business, particularly women- and minority-owned.

Funding for this project was made possible by the financial support of the city of Springfield (ARPA), the Massachusetts Alliance for Supportive Housing (ARPA), the Springfield Community Preservation Committee, MassHousing, the Life Initiative Inc., and New Valley Bank & Trust.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) selected Elms College to participate in the inaugural cohort of the CIC’s Work-based Learning (WBL) Consortium.

Elms College is one of 25 member colleges from across the country to participate in the first-ever WBL Consortium. For its participation, Elms has been awarded a three-year grant of approximately $65,000 from CIC, effective starting in the spring of 2024.

The WBL Consortium will provide a national community of practice to support institutions in easing student barriers to internship access and job-market preparation, particularly for students from underrepresented groups. This experiential learning platform, in partnership with Riipen, will integrate real-world, employer-designed projects into existing courses to equip students with skills, real-world experiences, and professional connections to support their future careers.

“Elms is honored to be a part of CIC’s WBL Consortium, which will provide our students an enhanced learning experience since the internships will be integrated within their course curricula,” said Jennifer Granger Sullivan, director of Experiential Learning at Elms.

CIC and Riipen will work with a team of seven faculty and staff members at Elms to update curricula and integrate experiential learning into course materials starting with the spring 2024 semester.

This CIC initiative is made possible thanks to funding from Ascendium Education Group and Strada Education Foundation.

Daily News

AMHERST — Researchers at UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) and Embr Labs have created a machine-learning algorithm to predict a hot flash before a person perceives it. When combined with Embr Labs’ patented wearable device, Embr Wave, immediate cooling is delivered to mitigate or fully alleviate the event.

This first-of-its-kind predictive algorithm is the result of machine learning being applied to the largest data set of digital biomarkers for hot flashes ever collected, which was generated by researchers at UMass Amherst’s Center for Human Health and Performance.

“Hot flashes occur in 75% of women and can persist for up to a decade,” said Matt Smith, co-founder and chief technology officer of Embr Labs. “We are proud to be developing effective tools for menopause, which has lacked new solutions for too long. By delivering automatic cooling for hot-flash relief, we are realizing the holy grail for natural hot-flash management.”

Unlike previous attempts to combat hot flashes, this is a non-pharmaceutical approach. The current generation of the Embr Wave is worn on the inside of the wearer’s wrist and heats or cools at the touch of a button to elicit a brain and body response that can help with resolving hot flashes, improving sleep, and relieving stress. The new predictive sensor technology will be commercialized in an upcoming generation of Embr Wave.

“Seeking immediate cooling relief is a person’s natural reaction when they are having a hot flash,” Smith said. “We now have the know-how and technology to bring this solution into the 21st century: personalized and automatic hot-flash management from a small, AI-powered, wearable device.”

The technology is fundamentally different from most other wearable health technologies, such as activity trackers, added Mike Busa, director of the IALS Center for Human Health and Performance. “This concept of automatic intervention based on real-time physiological symptoms is relatively unexplored. What has dominated the landscape up to this point is only tracking — letting you know the status of something or letting a care team know that a certain phenomenon has occurred. That technology most certainly has its strengths, but a major limitation is that it does not provide real-time, automated intervention to the person who is dealing with impactful symptoms.”

Instead, Busa describes the new system as a “reactive digital drug” for hot-flash symptoms. “The solution is not quite so simple as hot plus cold equals neutral. In this case, we leverage early physiological changes that precede a person’s perception of an oncoming hot flash and provide early relief that aims to automatically deploy an intervention tailored to minimize the disturbance of the hot-flash symptoms.”

It all happens in real time, he noted. “The device is communicating the data to servers and back to the device in a fraction of a second. That’s the power of data and cloud computing combined with the immediate cooling made possible by Embr Labs’ thermal technology.”

The technology was made possible by grants from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the National Science Foundation.

Embr Labs was recently awarded a patent for the utilization of biomarkers to activate cooling for hot flashes, and an additional patent has been filed for features powering the corresponding predictive algorithms. A manuscript is in preparation that will benchmark the performance of the predictive algorithms and reveal the science behind hot-flash prediction. Embr Labs recently announced a $35 million financing round to support market expansion and new product development.

This is the second collaboration between Embr Labs and UMass Amherst. Previously, Rebecca Spencer from the Sleep Monitoring Core at IALS and Department of Psychology conducted a pilot study, and the results were presented at the 2022 North American Menopause Society. That study found that use of the Embr Wave was associated with improved sleep, reduction in self-reported frequency and intensity of hot flashes, and improvement in the impact of stress.

Daily News

LEEDS — On Friday, Sept. 22, artwork by local veterans will be on display to the public at the VA Central Western Massachusetts Recreation Auditorium from 1 to 4 p.m. More than 70 pieces of art from among 14 different categories will be exhibited.

VA medical facilities incorporate creative arts into their therapy programs to further rehabilitation for both inpatients and outpatients. This annual competition recognizes the progress and recovery made through that therapy and raises the visibility of the creative achievements of U.S. veterans.

Finalists will advance to the national level, where they will compete with entries submitted by veterans from other VA facilities from across the country. The competition is an annual event that provides veterans receiving treatment at VA facilities the opportunity to participate in creative self-expression in art, creative writing, dance, drama, and music as part of their therapy, and to gain recognition for these artistic accomplishments.

First-place winners from the national competition will be invited to attend the 43rd National Veterans Creative Arts Festival held in the spring of 2024 in Denver.

Cover Story Healthcare Heroes

Since BusinessWest and its sister publication, the Healthcare News, launched the recognition program known as Healthcare Heroes in 2017, the initiative has more than succeeded in its quest to identify true leaders — not to mention inspiring stories — within this region’s large and vitally important healthcare sector.
The award was created to recognize those whose contributions to the health and well-being of this region, while known to some, needed to become known to all. And that is certainly true this year.
These nine individuals are leaders, and also innovators, collaborators, and, perhaps most important, inspirations. They have devoted their careers to improving the quality of individual lives and the health of entire communities. We find these stories to be compelling and inspirational, and we’re sure you will as well.

Overall, everyone who was nominated this year is a hero, but in the minds of our judges — the editors and management at BusinessWest — eight of these stories stood out among the others. The Healthcare Heroes for 2023 are

(click on each name to read their story):

Lifetime Achievement:

Jody O’Brien,
Urology Group of
Western New England

Health Education:

Kristina Hallett,
Bay Path University

Emerging Leader:

Ashley LeBlanc,
Mercy Medical Center

Emerging Leader:

Ellen Ingraham-Shaw,
Baystate Medical Center

Patient Care Provider:

Julie Lefer Quick,
VA of Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

Innovation in

Gabriel Mokwuah
and Joel Brito,
Holyoke Medical Center

Community Health:

Cindy Senk,

Movement for All

Tickets on Sale Now!

Healthcare Heroes Awards:

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 5:30 P.M.

Marriott Springfield Downtown,

2 Boland Way, Springfield MA 01115

Tickets $90 per person, reserved tables of 10 are available.

Presenting Sponsors

Partner Sponsors

DBA Certificates

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


Haerer Services Corp., 1453 Hawley Road, Ashfield, MA 01330. Drew Haerer, same. Consulting services.


Braid Club Inc., 1981 Memorial Dr., #265, Chicopee, MA 01020. Lauren Blair, 15 Jared Lane, Southwick, MA 01077. Booster club committed to providing opportunities for family engagement and fundraising that support the Black Rose Academy of Irish Dance.


The Empowerment Project Inc., 200 North Main St., Suite 11, East Longmeadow, MA 01028. Cheryl Przezdziecki, same. Nonprofit organization committed to providing women in underserved communities with opportunities for personal and professional advancement through education, sponsorship, and social support.


Pool Water and More Inc., 309 South Lane, Granville, MA 01034. Casey Placek, same. Delivering water and servicing pools.


BCC Adonai Elohim Christian Ministries, 1 Beacon Ave., Holyoke, MA 01040. Natanael Lopez Ozuna, same. Christian ministry to spread the message of hope and compassion of Jesus Christ by forming, training and sending ministers, clergy, Bible teachers, Bible educators, and Christian missions teams to assist people in need.


Friends of the Ludlow 250th Celebration Inc., 355 East St., Ludlow, MA 01056. John Diotalevi, 181 Cislak Dr., Ludlow, MA 01056. Nonprofit corporation to support the events involved in the recognition of the 250th anniversary of the town of Ludlow.


Nice Tea Inc., 211 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060. Jia Ni, same. Café business.


Berkshire Running Foundation Inc., 5 Cheshire Road, Suite 119, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Shiobbean Lemme, same. Corporation established to raise money for local non-for-profit charities through running events while promoting and educating health and wellness throughout the community where there is little or no access to fitness and wellness activities and events.

Nantucket Venture Partners Inc., 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Shawn Green, 20 Mill Lane, Hingham, MA 02043. A funding arm by investors to enrich the island of Nantucket with strong potential growth opportunities with a capital fund raised from private and institutional investors.

Structure Works Construction Inc., 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Leland Wood, same. Home building, home improvement, and construction services.


All Things Beauty Lounge Inc., 73 Francis St., Springfield, MA 01104. Mariaah Martinez, same. Minority- and woman-owned salon based on eyelash-extension services.

The Bridge Christian Church, 700 Berkshire Ave., Springfield, MA 01109. Luis Otero, same. Helping the community maintain a healthy spiritual lifestyle by giving them the opportunity to congregate in a place where they can be motivated to pursue a well-established life.

Deshaciendo las Obras de las Tinieblas Inc., 32-34 Hampden St., Springfield, MA 01103. Thomas Peralta, same. Helping the community in times of darkness during a tragedy through volunteerism.


Cha Inc., 26 Alexander Dr., West Springfield, MA 01089. Todd Thibodeau, same. Appliance sales.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and City Councilor Justin Hurst emerged from a preliminary mayoral election on Tuesday as the top two vote getters and will advance to the Nov. 7 final election.

Sarno received nearly 48% of the votes (7,120), while Hurst picked up nearly 29% (4,292), easily outpacing the other candidates: state Rep. Orlando Ramos (2,032), City Councilor Jesse Lederman (1,344), and therapist David Ciampi (93).

Also on Tuesday, 10 candidates (from a field of 21) advanced to the Nov. 7 election for five Springfield City Council at-large seats: Juan Caraballo III, Nicole Coakley, Sean Curran, Jose Delgado, Juan Francisco Latorre III, Gerry Martin, Willie Naylor, Brian Santaniello, Kateri Walsh, and Tracye Whitfield.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) is launching a series of wine-tasting classes this month for would-be connoisseurs who want to explore the vast complexities of wine while sampling select foods.

Starting Sept. 28, classes meet monthly on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke. All are taught by gastronomy professional Hannah Morrow, a travel food educator and cheese specialist at Formaggio Kitchen in Boston.

Each wine-tasting class has a different theme and food pairing: “Biodynamic Wines” (cheese and charcuterie) on Sept. 28, “Oaked Wines” (BBQ) on Oct. 19, “Skin Contact: Maceration and Beyond” (Thanksgiving and chocolate) on Nov. 16, and “Table Wines” (holiday leftovers and hand pies) on Dec. 14.

The cost for each session is $59. Seats are limited. To register, visit hcc.edu/cookingfa23 or call (413) 552-2500.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield Cooperative Bank announced the hiring of Eric Padelford as senior vice president and chief technology officer. In this role, he will oversee the Information Technology department and work closely with leadership on modernizing technology and platforms to increase efficiency and better serve the institution’s customers.

Padelford joins the bank after serving as vice president, integration architect, and developer at Berkshire Bank for the last six years. He has more than 22 years of systems-architecture and development expertise, serving in IT and development roles at McGlinchey Stafford and Tech Valley DataPro LLC.

“The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank is delighted to welcome Eric to our team,” said J. Jay Anderson, the bank’s president and CEO. “Eric brings years of IT experience aligning business and technology, with much of it rooted in the financial industry.”

Padelford received his associate of applied science degree from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y. and a bachelor’s degree in IT from SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga, N.Y.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — TommyCar Collision Center announced a collaboration with Hampshire County TRIAD seniors and law enforcement to provide a customized Jeep Wrangler for the organization’s community-outreach efforts.

TRIAD is dedicated to improving  quality of life for seniors in Hampshire County by fostering collaboration between law-enforcement agencies and senior organizations. This unique partnership ensures that senior citizens are safe, engaged, and well-informed about issues affecting their well-being.

Recognizing the significance of this collaboration, TommyCar Collision Center performed expert bodywork and skillfully applied graphics to transform the Jeep Wrangler into a visually striking vehicle that embodies the TRIAD mission. More than just a symbol, this Jeep will serve as a valuable asset for TRIAD’s outreach endeavors.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this meaningful project in collaboration with Hampshire County TRIAD,” said Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Collision Center. “Our team worked diligently to ensure that the Jeep Wrangler becomes a visible and impactful symbol in the community.”