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Daily News

HOLYOKE — Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. recently welcomed Lisa White, CPA as its newest tax manager.

White comes to MBK with nearly 20 years of public accounting experience with a focus in taxation. She has worked for large and regional firms throughout the Eastern U.S. and carries significant technical knowledge and best practices from a variety of firms and industries. At MBK, she focuses primarily on federal and state income-tax compliance and planning within the construction and real-estate industries.

As a tax manager, White will have the opportunity to coach and mentor staff as well as manage the delivery of services directly to many clients. “I believe in developing partnerships with clients, ensuring they have access to the materials, information, and business acumen they need to make and implement the best financial decisions on a short- and long-term basis,” she noted.

White holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University and is a member of the American Institute of Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Public Accountants. She is a certified public accountant licensed to practice in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. In 2011, she was named among the 40 Under 40: Members to Watch by the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs.

“We’re very happy that talented individuals like Lisa are being drawn to our firm and to the quality of life and business culture in Western Massachusetts,” said MBK Partner James Barrett. “She brings a high level of expertise and a strong technical tax background while maintaining energy and passion for the profession. We’re very excited to welcome her here at MBK.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) will host Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at its fall Governmental Affairs Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Wherehouse?, located at 109 Lyman St. in Holyoke. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

Polito plans to speak to the Greater Holyoke business community on what the administration’s plans are to promote economic and commercial growth in this area. Additionally, she will touch on the topics of manufacturing and STEM education, both of which are relevant to Holyoke and Western Mass.

GHCC President Barry Feingold will welcome guests and then turn it over to Vice Chairman Michael Filomeno, general manager of Marcotte Ford, who will introduce Polito. The chamber will recognize the Dowd Agencies on 120 years of service to Greater Holyoke, and Polito will honor Dowd’s President and CEO John Dowd with a citation marking this milestone.

The luncheon is sponsored by Checkwriters Payroll, Marcotte Ford, Health New England, and Holyoke Community College. Admission is $40 for chamber members and Holyoke Taxpayers Assoc. members, and $55 for all other guests. Tables of eight cost $275 for members and $375 for non-members. Reservations can be made  at holyokechamer.com or by calling (413) 534-3376.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Johnson & Hill Staffing received the top honor in the 2018 American Staffing Assoc. (ASA) Genius Grand Award program, which recognizes the best and most innovative communications and marketing campaigns among ASA staffing agency members across the U.S.

Johnson & Hill Staffing was honored for its innovative new website, marketing video, and social-media endeavors.

“Johnson & Hill has always prided itself on staying ahead of the curve not only with recruitment methods but also with branding and marketing,” said Andrea Hill-Cataldo, president. “When it came to this project, we partnered with only the best to make sure the end result was what we needed. We’re excited and proud to be recognized for these wonderful outcomes.”

A panel of communications and marketing experts selected the honorees based on the overall quality of their campaigns’ messaging, design and visual appeal, originality of approach, and outcomes.

Daily News

AMHERST — The College of Engineering at UMass Amherst has established a new department of Biomedical Engineering, which will offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is the fifth department within the college.

Biomedical engineering (BME) integrates engineering science, biology, and medicine into a cross-disciplinary field focused on improving human health and solving problems in the delivery of healthcare. Its key principle is that, by looking at the human body through the lens of engineering, one can apply the concepts of design, optimization, and programming to complex biological systems in order to detect, repair, and treat disease and to create diagnostic and therapeutic tools. 

The new program will be the core of biomedical-engineering research and teaching at UMass Amherst working within the College of Engineering and with the Institute of Applied Life Sciences. The institute was established in 2014 with $150 million from the Massachusetts Life Science Center and the university.

An example of current research in the new department has the potential to revolutionize new materials. The skulls and horns of male bighorn sheep undergo massive impact loads during ramming, suggesting their structure and material constituents have been evolutionarily adapted to sustain very large impact forces while preventing catastrophic failure and brain injury. In fact, it has been suggested that similar impacts in humans would be severely traumatic if not lethal.

The micro-architecture of the bighorn sheep skull and horns is being used to develop novel bio-inspired material designs for creating new lightweight, high-energy-absorbing materials. It is anticipated that the new materials could be used to fabricate a broad range of products, including athletic and military footwear, helmets and other protective gear, packaging and other protective devices such as cell-phone cases, and crashworthy military and civilian vehicle panels and components.

Timothy Anderson, dean of the College of Engineering, noted that adding the new department strengthens the college and promotes collaborative research and teaching across other disciplines on campus. “The close proximity to the biomedical and life-sciences industry in Boston makes the UMass Amherst BME program attractive to students across the nation. Additionally, the BME program is expected to draw a large number of female students into the College of Engineering. Close connections with the UMass Medical School in Worcester will provide excellent translational activities for both graduate and undergraduate students in the program.”

Professor Tammy Haut Donahue, the founding department head, will lead the emerging program. Her research work is in the area of analytical and experimental biomechanics with a focus on the musculoskeletal system. She comes to UMass Amherst from Colorado State University (CSU), where she was a professor and associate department head for undergraduate studies in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Haut Donahue was also a core faculty member in CSU’s School of Biomedical Engineering.

Also joining the department is professor Seth Donahue, whose research focuses on evolutionary biomechanics, tissue regeneration, and physiology. He taught previously at Colorado State University and Michigan Technological University. In 2007-08, he was an honorary research fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons and a visiting academic at Trinity College, both in Dublin, Ireland.

The college will eventually hire 12 full-time, tenure-track faculty members for the department by fall 2022.

Graduates of the Biomedical Engineering undergraduate-degree program will be prepared for a broad range of careers, including medical equipment design and manufacturing, scientific research and development services, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, and work with medical professionals.

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. 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

AMHERST — The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has released a comprehensive study that evaluates the potential of developing a network of water-testing demonstration centers in the Commonwealth, including one at UMass Amherst. The centers would pilot new water technologies to position Massachusetts as a global leader in the water-innovation and energy-efficiency sector, providing significant business and employment opportunities. 

The report was released at the Innovations and Opportunities in Water Technologies Conference held at the Life Sciences Laboratories at UMass Amherst. The conference was sponsored by MassCEC and the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Western Massachusetts. Speakers included Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection; Stephen Pike, CEO of MassCEC; Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Mass. EDC; and Kumble Subbaswamy, chancellor of UMass Amherst. 

The report calls for creating a network of three demonstration centers around the state. They would be located at the Wastewater Pilot Plant at UMass Amherst, the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center in Barnstable, and a pilot plant located at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Deer Island Treatment Plant in Boston Harbor.

Establishing this network of water-technology demonstration centers could create jobs, lower energy costs, and optimize municipal operations in addition to supporting water-technology research, the study says. A successfully established test-bed network could serve existing Massachusetts-based water-technology companies, help attract new companies to the Commonwealth, advance new solutions to both local and global water challenges, and provide a strong foundation for innovation.

The Amherst site is ideal for this work, Sullivan said. “UMass Amherst is already a leader in this sector. The campus is positioned to undertake further research and development that will support industry growth and help grow a talented workforce for related industries.”

Authorization for an investment in water technologies was approved as part of the state’s 2014 environmental bond bill. Release of state capital funds for such an investment must be evaluated and approved by the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — Curran and Keegan Financial has added a new client service associate, Heather Cahill. She joins with a focus on helping clients and advisors during the financial-planning and investment process. 

Cahill joined Curran & Keegan after nearly two decades of executive-level roles at a multi-million-dollar international corporation located in the Pioneer Valley. Passionate about community, education, and environment, she serves as vice chair of the Hatfield District School Committee and is a founding member of the Hatfield Community Garden.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — Joe Phillips, president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman, president of Joseph Freedman Co., for the seventh annual Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-Thon being held Wednesday, Nov. 7 at AMF Lanes in Chicopee. The proceeds go to Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live together and work together, caring for each other.

Phillips Insurance Agency was established in 1953 and is a full-service risk-management firm with a staff of 27 professionals. The agency handles the personal and commercial insurance needs for thousands of individuals and businesses throughout New England.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Western Mass Employment Collaborative (WMEC), which partners with employers and various agencies to help individuals with disabilities find jobs, will sponsor its annual Job EXPO on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Holyoke Community College’s Kittredge Center, Rooms 301 and 303. The purpose of the event is for businesses to meet qualified candidates for their hiring needs and for job seekers to have multiple opportunities to speak to employers about job openings.

Employers attending the event include Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst, Balise, Baystate Health, Big Y, Cartamundi, CVS Health, Elite Logistics, FedEx Ground, MGM Springfield, MHA, Pelican, and United Personnel.

WMEC community partners attending the job fair include Dress for Success, Holyoke Community College, HCC Career Closet, MassHire Holyoke (formerly CareerPoint), MassHire Springfield (formerly Futureworks), ServiceNet, Sunshine Village, and Viability Inc.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser will be the featured speakers at a ribbon cutting and grand-opening celebration for the new $4.55 million Center for Life Sciences at Holyoke Community College (HCC) on Wednesday, Oct. 24, during Mass STEM Week. 

The celebration will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Center for Life Sciences, located on the lower level of HCC’s Marieb Building. Refreshments will be served, and the public is welcome to attend.

The 13,000-square-foot facility features a suite of biotechnology labs and classrooms and what is believed to be the only ISO-certified cleanroom at any Massachusetts community college and one of very few at any college or university in Western Mass.

“These state-of-the-art facilities and new equipment will allow us to train our students in laboratory settings similar to what they will experience in industry, making them more competitive for the biotech job market,” said HCC professor Emily Rabinsky, biotechnology program coordinator.

The Oct. 24 celebration will include tours of the facility, lab demonstrations by Rabinsky and her students, refreshments, and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at 10:45 a.m. Also expected to attend are state Reps. Aaron Vega, Brian Ashe, and Angelo Puppolo, as well as representatives from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which awarded HCC a $3.8 million grant for the project.

The new labs will be used primarily for biotechnology, genetics, and microbiology classes, and as needed for other biology courses. 

Once it’s fully operational, the cleanroom in the Center for Life Sciences will have a certification rating of ISO 8 (air quality of no more than 100,000 particles per cubic foot). Inside the cleanroom will be a hooded biosafety cabinet where the sterility will increase to ISO 7 (no more than 10,000 particles per cubic foot). 

Cleanroom operations are being incorporated into biotechnology classes for degree-seeking students, and HCC also plans to offer a non-credit, professional-development course called “Introduction to Cleanroom Technology” for people who want to learn cleanroom operations.  

Grant funds and donations also paid for new equipment, including a high-end, research-grade fluorescent microscope, like those used in the pharmaceutical industry; a micro volume spectrophotometer (used to measure small amounts of genetic material); and an electroporator (for genetic engineering).