BWx2: A Positive Sign for Springfield

Welcome to the first bi-weekly issue of BusinessWest.

From now on, the region’s business journal of record will be arriving every other week, bringing with it more local business news, profiles, and commentary.

We’re excited about this change, and think the business community should be, as well.

Many in that community have asked why we’re taking this step. In answering, we might be tempted to borrow from Bill Clinton and say, "because we could." The more accurate answer, however, is because we need to.

Despite all the negative things we read and hear about Springfield and the region that surrounds it, the fact remains that the area is growing — to the point where a monthly business publication cannot effectively cover all the activity. For the past several years, we have watched this publication grow steadily, and as the page count climbed, we came to the conclusion that we needed to make a change.

And that’s why a bi-weekly BusinessWest is not only a business expansion endeavor — like so many others that we write about — but a positive development for the region as well.

February was a particularly tough month for Greater Springfield. (We use that collective phrase because when the City of Homes is having problems, the entire region suffers). There was the macabre story about federal agents finding four fetuses preserved in jars buried behind a Springfield Housing Authority complex, a bizarre twist to the corruption investigation that has been going on for nearly five years.

Then, there was the shooting death of mayoral aide Stephen Pegram, the fifth murder in Springfield already this year. And as the month closed, guilty verdicts came down for four individuals involved in a no-show job scheme at the Mass. Career Development Institute, including former Police Commission Chairman Gerald Phillips.

The news that the local business publication will be appearing twice monthly certainly doesn’t obscure the headlines that have made Springfield an embarrassment in the Bay State; one local political consultant recently told The Boston Globe that Springfield is like a John Grisham or Tom Clancy novel — "you never know what’s going to happen next." But it is a sign that positive things are happening here.

And as you look over this first bi-weekly issue, you’ll notice that all of the popular features in this magazine have been left unchanged. The publication is still dominated by news and insight about local companies — many of them small businesses of the variety that defines this region — and individuals who are shaping our region and its business community.

Our main cover piece, for example, is a profile of Philip Puccia, who has been handed the daunting task of directing the finance control board now managing the finances for Springfield. The business profiles range from a Chicopee-based company specializing in communications systems for companies and local public safety departments to an entrepreneur who has created an unique ’hotel and spa’ for dogs. You’ll see more of the same every two weeks.

We have made some changes. The biggest is to our cover, which has been redesigned to showcase more of the articles to be found inside the magazine and spotlight more of the people and companies making news.

Overall, the steps we have taken are designed to make BusinessWest even more informative and entertaining. We hope you enjoy the changes, and appreciate that our expansion is a clear sign that, while Springfield is going through a very challenging time, there are many positive developments happening.

And now, you can read about them twice as often.