Briefcase Departments

Briefcase

Denver Stepping Down as Chamber President
SPRINGFIELD — After 14 years as president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, Russell F. Denver recently announced he is leaving that post in the coming weeks to pursue other professional opportunities. Denver, an attorney, noted that he feels now is the opportune time to step down and bring in someone else with a fresh perspective. Citing his accomplishments, Denver noted in particular the Urban Land Institute’s work that has been done in the city. Before leaving his post, Denver plans to complete work on zoning revisions for the city, as well as the new “Make It Happen” marketing campaign for Springfield. Jeffrey S. Ciuffreda, vice president of government affairs for the Affiliated Chambers, will serve as interim president. Currently, the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce have approximately 1,200 members and an annual budget of $300,000. The Affiliated Chambers include the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the West of the River Chamber of Commerce, the East of the River Chamber of Commerce, and the Professional Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Springfield Leadership Institute Registration Underway
SPRINGFIELD — Registration is underway for this year’s Springfield Leadership Institute (SLI), which represents a 37-plus-year collaboration between the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield and the Western New England College School of Business. Institute alumni represent many accomplished and distinguished leaders in business, education, government, and nonprofit communities. The 2011 Springfield Leadership Institute, which begins on Feb. 17, will challenge participants to think in new ways and to analyze their own strengths and organizational challenges within a dynamic economy. SLI is taught by Western New England College faculty, who will introduce participants to emerging leadership theory and best practices. A segment on ‘Leadership Presence’ is being added this year along with the institute’s continued emphasis on problem-solving at the executive level. Case studies have also been updated for the 2011 program. The program meets every Thursday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St. Participants in SLI learn how to be more effective leaders and how to have the power to make an important difference both in the workplace and in the community. Contact Lynn Johnson at (413) 755-1310 or at [email protected] for more information.

2011 Woman of the Year Nominations Sought
SPRINGFIELD — The Professional Women’s Chamber of Commerce, a division of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, is seeking nominations for the 2011 Woman of the Year Award. The award has been presented annually since 1954 to a woman in the Western Mass. area who exemplifies outstanding leadership, professional accomplishment, and service to the community. The nominee’s achievements can be representative of a lifetime’s work or for more recent successes. Any woman in the Pioneer Valley is eligible for nomination, and a chamber affiliation is not required. To obtain a nomination form, visit www.professionalwomenschamber.com or e-mail committee chair Michelle Cayo at [email protected] The deadline for nominations is Feb. 11.

Call for ADDY Award Submissions
SPRINGFIELD — The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts (ACWM) welcomes submissions for its 2011 ADDY Awards from individuals and organizations throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. The annual competition recognizes creative excellence in all media, including print, broadcast, interactive, out-of-home, and public-service advertising. The ADDY Awards competition is a three-tier (local, regional, and national) competition conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). ACWM is the only AAF-member club in the New England district. A panel of advertising experts will select winners in Springfield on Feb. 11. All entries must be registered online. For information on submission guidelines and a direct link to commence the submission process, visit www.submitandrepresent.com. The deadline for mail submission is Jan. 31. In-person submissions will be accepted on Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Berkshire Bank community room, 1259 East Columbus Ave., Springfield. For more information, call the Ad Club at (413) 736-2582.

Unemployment Hits 20.7% in Construction Sector
WASHINGTON — Despite a slight drop in the nation’s unemployment rate, the construction industry ended 2010 with a jobless rate of 20.7%, according to the Jan. 7 report by the U.S. Labor Department. The construction industry lost 16,000 jobs last month and 93,000 jobs, or 1.6%, compared to December 2009. While the unemployment rate was up from 18.8% last November, it is down from 22.7% in December 2009. The average annual unemployment rate for the construction industry in 2010 was 20.6%, compared to 19.0% in 2009 and 10.6% in 2008. The non-residential building construction sector lost 400 jobs in December, but was up by 5,700 jobs, or 0.8%, from the same time one year ago — the first year-over-year growth since August 2008. Employment in that sector was 688,300 in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. Employment in heavy and civil engineering construction decreased for the second straight month, down 12,700 in December. However, employment in that sector was up by 18,100 jobs, or 2.3%, from December 2009. Specialty trade contractors gained 3,300 jobs last month, but the segment is down 79,000 jobs, or 2.2%, from the same time last year. The residential-building construction sector shed 5,900 jobs for the month and 37,000, or 6.2%, for the year. The nation gained 103,000 jobs in all industries in December, with the bulk of job growth in leisure and hospitality, up 47,000 jobs; education and health services, up 44,000 jobs; and trade, transportation, and utilities, up 31,000 jobs. Year-over-year, the nation has gained 1,124,000 jobs, or 0.9%. The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.4% in December from 9.8% the previous month. “The nation’s construction industry should be glad to see 2010 in the rearview mirror, as the sector ended the year on a dismal note,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu in a prepared statement. “It is noteworthy that heavy and civil engineering has lost jobs for two consecutive months, which may be a reflection of the steadily slowing impact of federal stimulus spending. For much of the past year, that segment had been adding jobs. The expectation is that the nation will continue to add jobs. However, the construction sector is poised to underperform in the year ahead due to a number of factors, including dwindling direct impact from stimulus spending and the ongoing malaise in commercial real estate. With a national unemployment rate now at 9.4% — the lowest rate since May 2009 — this is an indication that the labor market is improving reasonably quickly. However, this does not seem to be the case with the construction industry, as today’s numbers may be a reflection of numerous factors in the economy, including still-subdued confidence among business owners and decision-makers.”

Uptick in Car Sales Sends Optimistic Sign
DETROIT — U.S. automakers will take a victory lap at the Detroit auto show this month after a measurable recovery from years of losses, a shrinking of market share to Asian rivals, and the bankruptcy troubles of Chrysler and General Motors (GM), according to Edmunds.com. GM posted a $2 billion third-quarter profit and then launched a public stock offering in November, while Chrysler increased its market share in 2010 and will introduce two new models this month at the auto show. Also, Ford was able to regain the number-two spot in the U.S. market from Toyota in 2010 when it saw its share grow for the second consecutive year. Overall, U.S. auto sales rose 11% last year to 11.6 million vehicles. Sales forecasts predict sales of 12.5 to 13.5 million units in 2011, and Toyota hopes its prospects are good for big gains despite its recent recalls. “If [the Detroit Three] can make money at depression-level sales, it tells you something dramatic has changed,” said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., in a prepared statement. “If we get back to 13, 14, 15 million units, this is going to be an astonishingly profitable business.” In the coming months, automakers are also expected to revamp their lineups with ‘green’ cars that will meet new emissions standards. Toyota will be expanding its Prius hybrid with the introduction of a new wagon, Tesla will be showing a luxury electric sedan, and GM launches its subcompact, the Chevy Sonic, as well as a compact Buick and the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt. However, “the risk to the marketplace is that consumers aren’t asking for these,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive. Hybrid auto sales fell last year to 2.4% of the U.S. market from 2.8% in 2009, according to Autodata. The North American International Auto Show is open to the public Jan. 15-23.

Link to Libraries Receives Grant
EAST LONGMEADOW — The Service League of Springfield (Philanthropic Management–Bank of America) has made a $1,000 grant to Link to Libraries Inc. The organization will use the grant to offer Senior Connections, a Link to Libraries read-aloud program for children in the Holyoke and Springfield areas who are enrolled in preschool programs. The program is conducted in collaboration with Loomis Communities and Reeds Landing residents. The residents will team up with Link to Libraries educators and volunteers to offer preschool-age children reading programs locally during the spring and fall. Susan Jaye-Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries, noted in a statement, “this collaboration is yet another partnership with local residents and agencies to enhance the reading skills of children of all ages and to make a connection with talented adults who reside in our community and want to remain active.” The Link to Libraries Senior Connection will be managed by Roberta Hillenberg-Gang of Longmeadow, who serves on the organization’s advisory committee. For more information, visit www.linktolibraries.org or call (413) 224-1031.

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