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The Class of 2013

40 Under 40 Events The Class of 2013
Celebrating the Class of 2013

IMG_0121More than 650 people flocked to the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House on June 20 to celebrate BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty Class of 2013 and the many accomplishments of its members. Attendees enjoyed picture perfect weather, fine food, and perhaps the best networking event of the year. On the pages that follow, we offer a photographic look back at a memorable evening for all those in attendance, but especially those who walked out with the 40 Under Forty plaques, seen at left, just prior to the start of the gala.

The event was sponsored by:

Check out the intro video from Viz-Bang!

untitled-17From left, Robert Hogan, quality control supervisor for U.S. Tsubaki, and his wife Samalid Hogan, senior project manager for the City of Springfield, with her fellow Class of 2013 honoree, Annamarie Golden, manager of Community Relations and Community Benefits, Baystate Health, and husband Hunter Golden, owner of Write Stuff Copywriting.

Elizabeth Beaudry, senior commercial credit analyst and information technology administrator, and Shonda Pettiford, assistant director of Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst, two members of the Class of 201,3 share a moment before the awards ceremony.

untitled-26Xiaolei Hua, credit analyst at PeoplesBank and fellow Class of 2013 honoree Geoffrey Croteau, financial advisor and managing associate sales manager at MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services network during the VIP hour in the Grand Edna Ballroom.

untitled-28Representing one of the evening’s sponsors, Hampden Bank, is Nora Braska, assistant vice president and training officer; Peg Daoust, branch manager; and Amy Scribner, assistant vice president and senior marketing administrator.

untitled-35From left, Jose Hernandez, machine operator for Rockbestos-Suprenant Cable Corporation; Alejandro Cameron, John Rivas, and Zydalis Zayas, WGBY-TV community engagement associates; Class of 2013 honoree, Vanessa Pabon, director of community engagement for WGBY-TV; Pabon’s daughter, Shayla Burge, and mother, Milta Franco, a case manager for Brightwood Health Center; and Veronica Garcia, WGBY community engagement assistant.

untitled-30Emily McArdle, left, physical therapist and Jeanne Coburn, audiologist, both of Baystate Rehabilitation Care, one of the evening’s sponsors.

untitled-37From left, Danielle Nicklas, an attorney with Cooley Shrair, and Jim Tinker, senior tax accountant, Burgess, Shultz & Robb, network with Amy Scott, president of Wild Apple Design Group, and Jennifer Schimmel Stanley, executive director of Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, both members of the 40 Under Forty Class of 2011.

untitled-36From left, Patrick Leary, Class of 2007, shareholder and vice president of Moriarity & Primack, P.C., an event sponsor, networks with Gwen Burke, senior advertising consultant with BusinessWest, her husband Chuck Burke, president of Action Marine and Water Sports, and Damon Cartelli, member of the Class of 2010, and president and general manager of Fathers & Sons, also an event sponsor.

untitled-38The team at UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management, an event sponsor, gathers before the awards ceremony. From left, Trista Hevey, program information specialist; Michelle Rup, office manager; Jennifer Meunier, director of Business Development; Kyle Bate, academic advisor and program developer; Melissa Garrett-Preston, academic advisor; Allison Furkey, media PR liaison; and Rachel Trafford, director of Organizational Metrix.

untitled-39The NUVO Bank & Trust Company team supported Class of 2013 honoree, Elizabeth Beaudry (fifth from left), senior commercial credit analyst and information technology administrator. Front row, from left, Michael Buckmaster, vice president, commercial lending; Leslie Ross Lawrence, senior vice president/CCO and SOO; Beaudry; Jackalyn Guenette, loan deposit operations agent; Sue Fearn, assistant vice president, client sales and service; back row; Jay Caron, president and CEO, Bee-Line Corp., and NUVO board of director; Jeff Sattler, president and senior loan officer; Denise Perkins, corporate secretary; Dale Janes, CEO; Jay Seyler, vice president, commercial loan division; and Eric Jalbert, credit analyst.

IMG_0139Gary Popovich, left, and Daniel Duncan, accounting associates, chat with Rebecca Connolly, audit manager, all of Moriarty & Primack, one of the event sponsors.

untitled-22Brenna Murphy McGee, Holyoke city councilor and member of the Class of 2013, with her husband, Todd McGee, Class of 2011, director, E&B Planning at Mass Mutual, and fellow Holyoke city councilor.

untitled-45Delcie Bean, Class of 2008 and founder and CEO of event sponsor Paragus IT, spoke to the audience of more than 650 people about the need for a computer technology-mentoring program that will benefit local youths, create jobs, and attract businesses to the Pioneer Valley through the reorganization of Valley Technology Outreach. Here, Bean is assisted by children from the Westfield Boys and Girls Club, who demonstrated the national numbers that underscore the need for more educational support through computer technology.

untitled-7Caitlin Casey, occupational therapist with Hartford Healthcare, and husband Jeremy Casey, assistant vice president and commercial service officer, Westfield Bank, celebrate his standing as a member of the Class of 2013.

IMG_0122From left, Darren Couture, painting contractor; Erin Couture, Class of 2013, vice president and commercial loan officer, Florence Savings Bank; Jeremy Leap, Class of 2013, vice president of commercial lending for Country Bank; and Andy Robb, Class of 2013, president, Burgess, Schultz & Robb, P.C.

untitled-19Timothy Brunelle, employee of L-3 KEO, and wife Erin Fontaine Brunelle, realtor, Century 21 Hometown Associates, founder, co-chair of Buy Holyoke and a member of the Class of 2013.

IMG_0145From left, Evan Alberts, practice manager and financial services professional, MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services; Ian Vukovich, Class of 2010, director of product delivery, MassMutual-USIG; Erin Kates, Baystate Health; Matt Geffin, Class of 2011, vice president of business development, Webber and Grinnell Insurance; and Danny Kates, Class of 2013, managing associate, MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services.

IMG_0154From left, Michael Hayden, owner, Springfield Motors; Ashley Bernard, speech pathologist, Springfield Public Schools, Nick Zajac, loan officer, Top Flight Financial; Carla Cosenzi, Class of 2012, and Tommy Cosenzi, Class of 2013, co-owners of TommyCar Auto Group; Amanda Douglas, esthetician at Puffers Day Spa and Salon; and Trevor Wood, engineer, City of Westfield.

IMG_0146From left, Melissa Mattison, clinical assistant professor, Western New England University (WNEU); Kim Gallo, staff Assistant, WNEU College of Pharmacy; Kam Capoccia, Class of 2013, associate professor of pharmacy practice, WNEU; and Jill Popp, Department of Research, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, network in the Southampton Room.

IMG_0155Chris Thompson, left, Class of 2009, vice president, business development, Springfield Falcons Hockey, networks with Jill Monson, Class of 2010, CEO, Inspired Marketing; and Alex Morse, mayor of Holyoke.

IMG_0160From left, John Roberson, vice president, Children & Family Services; Ja’net Smith, program director, Juvenile Programs, both with the Center for Human Development; Jennifer Root, Class of 2013, clinical director for the Center for Human Development; and Kate Blachfield, manager, HP Hood.

IMG_0171From left, Joe Bednar, senior writer, and Elizabeth Taras, staff writer at BusinessWest, co-introducers of the Class of 2013, and George O’Brien, the magazine’s editor, await the next winner’s walk to the stage to receive their plaque.

Check below for all photos from the event:

40 Under 40 Cover Story The Class of 2013
The Young Business and Community Leaders of Western Massachusetts

In 2007, BusinessWest introduced a new recognition program called 40 Under Forty. It was intended as a vehicle for showcasing young talent in the four counties of Western Mass. and, in turn, inspire others to reach higher and do more in their community.
Six years later, it has accomplished all that and much more. The program has become a brand, the awards gala has become one of the most anticipated events of the year, and the 40 Under Forty plaque that sits on one’s desk has become both a coveted prize and symbol of excellence, recognized by all.
On June 20 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke, 40 more plaques will be handed out, to members of a class that is both distinguished and diverse. It includes bankers, lawyers, and accountants, but also a Holyoke city councilor, a contractor who specializes in blitz building, and Springfield’s senior project manager. And it represents virtually every business sector, from healthcare to education; from technology to the nonprofit realm.
With that, we introduce the Class of 2013 with words (enough to explain why they’re an honoree) and pictures that tell a big part of each story, whether the winner is captured with his or her children, dog, company mascot, or even a giant corpuscle. The stories are all different, but the common denominator is that these young individuals possess that most important of qualities: leadership.

Sponsored by:
2013 40 Under Forty Winners:

Timothy Allen
Meaghan Arena
Adrian Bailey Dion
Jason Barroso
Elizabeth Beaudry
Melyssa Brown
Kam Capoccia
Jeremy Casey
Tommy Cosenzi
Erin Couture
Geoffrey Croteau
William Davila
Ralph DiVito Jr.
Shaun Dwyer
Erin Fontaine Brunelle
William Gagnon
Allison Garriss
Annamarie Golden
Lina Alexandra Hogan
Samalid Hogan
Xiaolei Hua
Mark Jardim
Danny Kates
Jeremy Leap
Danielle Letourneau-Therrien
Isaac Mass
Kelvin Molina
Brenna Murphy McGee
Vanessa Pabon
John Pantera
Justin Pelis
Shonda Pettiford
Shannon Reichelt
N. Andrew Robb
Stacy Robison
Rachel Romano
Jennifer Root
Jonathan Stolpinski
Walter Tomala Jr.
Mark Zatyrka


Meet the Judges — Click Here

Photography for this special section by Denise Smith Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Vice President of Marketing, Excel Dryer Inc., age 36

Gagnon-WilliamWilliam Gagnon was schooled in professional and personal values by his father, Denis Gagnon. “We have a family business, and he taught me to have strong business morals and ethics, do the right thing, be honorable, and be a person of my word, not only in business but in life,” he said, adding, “I have a strong belief that it’s important to be involved in the community and give back once you become successful.”
Which is exactly what he does in both arenas. Gagnon was involved in the development and marketing of the XLERATOR hand dryer, which has had a positive impact on the environment in addition to leading to a large expansion of Excel Dryer, allowing it to double its staff. “It uses 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers and lowers the carbon footprint of hand drying by 70%, versus even 100% recycled paper towels,” he said.
He is working with the U.S. Building Council on its Green Apple Program through its Center for Green Schools, an initiative to help build healthy and environmentally friendly learning environments for the nation’s students. “I have a passion for sustainability,” Gagnon said.
He is also involved in the local community and is a member of the board of directors for the Children’s Study Home. “It’s a great program that gives children in troubled families an opportunity to succeed in life and school and move on,” he explained. He is also a member of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield and coaches football and basketball teams at Minnechaug Regional High School.
Gagnon also helped organize and market a golf tournament sponsored by the Anero Sports Agency to benefit victims of 9/11. Closer to home, he helped the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation raise money for families in Western Mass. after the June 2011 tornado. “I wanted to get involved,” he said. “We have family members who lived on the streets of Springfield that were most affected, so it really hit home, and I wanted to help in any way I could.”

— Kathleen Mitchell

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Assistant Director of Communication, Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst, age 38

Pettiford-ShondaShonda Pettiford believes everyone has potential, and she takes pride in using her writing skills to tell the stories of students at Commonwealth Honors College. “I really enjoy being in the educational environment,” she noted. “It’s amazing to see students grow and develop over the years, and I enjoy giving voice to other people’s stories and accomplishments in the Honors College.”
But the mother of two daughters is especially vested in helping women realize their potential. “I think everyone should be treated equally and have equal access to opportunities,” she said. “And I’m passionate about supporting women and helping them to build their leadership skills, because historically, culturally, and socially, women have not always been valued for their gifts. So I do everything I can to make sure that every girl and woman recognizes exactly how powerful she is.”
Pettiford funnels much of that effort through the Women’s Fund of Western Mass. She has been involved with the organization since 2001 and has served in many roles there, including board member, vice president, and president. In fact, when her two-year tenure as president ended, she was asked to serve an additional year. “It’s been a significant part of my life,” she said.
Pettiford was recognized as the youngest board president in the organization’s international network, and says the fund offers grants and strategic initiatives that help girls and women, such as programs aimed at developing leadership skills.
She was one of 20 women selected for membership in the international Women’s Funding Network Bridge Builders Cohort, and was chosen to be the group’s spokesperson at one of the plenary sessions during its international conference in New York.
Pettiford has also served on the statewide advisory board for the Massachusetts Women’s Pipeline for Change. In addition, she was selected to be part of the Women’s Professional Fellowship Program, funded by the U.S. State Department, that focuses on women’s health and leadership.
As part of the exchange, she went to Brazil in January, and plans to continue her personal mission of helping women to succeed, because, as she said, “everyone deserves a voice.”

— Kathleen Mitchell

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Principal, South End Middle School, age 34

Allen-TimothyTim Allen says he has a very basic approach to education and the students he serves.
“I feel that all students need to be valued,” said the man given the reins at Springfield’s new South End Middle School, which opened its doors in 2011. “And all students can achieve if they’re given the right environment in school, and if they’re given the tools they need to succeed.”
And he takes that same basic approach with the teachers in the classrooms.
“I believe in creating a family environment where people can work collaboratively,” Allen explained. “I believe in sharing leadership as much as possible, and I believe that teachers need to be supported, since what they’re doing is the most important thing in the building.”
To say that this philosophy is generating results would be a huge understatement. Indeed, the 300 students at the school — more than a third of whom are English Language Learners, or ELL — showed more improvement on the English portion of the MCAS tests in the school’s first year than any of the other six neighborhood middle schools in Springfield.
Meanwhile, 95% of the teachers who generated those results stayed at their positions for the 2012-13 school year, bucking a trend for extremely high turnover rates within urban schools.
Allen’s immediate goal is to continually improve on those results, a reflection of his habit of setting the bar high after he made that intriguing and often-difficult career decision to move from the classroom to the administrative wing in 2007.
“I like the challenge of leadership — I like leading adults,” he said in explaining that choice. “And I just felt that I could give a lot back by trying to help an entire school improve, as opposed to just one classroom; I really like that challenge.”
And while taking it on, he’s finding other ways to give back, especially through his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters. He’s been mentoring the same Springfield youth for eight years now, and says the relationship has been mutually beneficial.
“It’s been a real bright spot in my life,” he said. “He’s a very bright young man, and he’s come a long way, and I think the relationship has influenced both lives in a very positive way.”

— George O’Brien

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Program Director, Clinical & Support Options Inc., age 33

Garriss-AllisonAllison Garriss studied political science in college with the goal of becoming a political consultant, but eventually decided her heart wasn’t in that arena. “I always knew I wanted to help people; I just didn’t know how,” she said.
So she changed her major to sociology and discovered the world of human services. Today, she works at Clinical & Support Options in Northampton, where she developed and now directs RECOVERe, a program that utilizes technology to help women stay sober during substance-abuse recovery.
“Basically, we provide support via text messaging and cell phones, web-based support, and videoconferencing support. It’s very innovative,” she said of the federally funded program.
“Part of what we do is working with people where they’re at,” she explained. “If someone can’t get to therapy on a regular basis, if someone can’t get to a group, when you remove those barriers to treatment and use technology to support them, you can have a major impact on people’s lives.
“It’s exciting,” she added. “Helping guide people on their journey is without a doubt the most gratifying thing about what I do.”
Garriss has also devoted free time to a number of organizations, from the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society to the Women’s Fund of Western Mass. to the Northampton Post 28 American Legion baseball team.
“Each of the organizations I volunteer with holds a very special and unique place in my heart. I don’t volunteer out of obligation or just to sit on a bunch of boards or committees because I think it’s the right thing to do. I like getting in there, contributing … even getting my hands dirty when required.”
It’s just one more way to, as she said, help people.
“Working in human services is not just what I do to pay the bills, but it is my passion. Well, really, people are my passion. I’m not at all ignorant to the life challenges that keep people from being the best possible version of themselves,” Garriss said, noting that every person has faced times of struggle — and she is no different — but making mistakes can be an opportunity to grow.
“Everyone,” she said, “deserves to have someone in their corner.”

— Joseph Bednar

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Certified Public Accountant, age 33

Reichelt-ShannonOne of those who nominated Shannon Reichelt for this year’s 40 Under Forty competition described her as a “new-age CPA.”
It’s a portrayal she didn’t disagree with. In fact, when presented with that phrase, she took the ball and ran with it.
“With the new-age CPA, it’s not just about doing the tax return — send me in your stuff, and we get it out like a factory type of thing. I like to help people be successful,” she said.
“I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty — I’ll go into people’s businesses and help them on the ground level,” she continued when pressed for a deeper explanation. “And I think that stems from the fact that I started as a bookkeeper, and I also run my own firm, so I know the pain points that business owners go through with their finances, their accounting, and their record keeping.”
Reichelt, whose company — S. Reichelt & Company LLC — has offices in West Springfield and Greenfield, describes herself as an entrepreneur first and a CPA second. That’s because she’s proud of the risk she took in 2006, when she left Springfield-based J.M. O’Brien and put her own name over the door and on the letterhead.
“I had reached a point eight or nine years into my career … and I just knew,” she said of her desire to go out on her own. “I wanted to be able to sit down and work with business owners at the ground level and have that be OK. I like big firms, but I had a different vision of how I wanted to help people.”
It was after she considered her business venture firmly established — and when it no longer consumed nearly all of her time — that Reichelt made a firm commitment to get involved in the community. This has been manifested by work with the Community Foundation, but especially her many contributions to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.
A self-described animal lover (she has an English bulldog named Daisy, pictured, and a boxer named Katie), she now sits on the Dakin board of directors and stages a fund-raiser for the organization each tax season — just another way that passion for helping others shines through.

— George O’Brien

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Associate Dean, Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, Westfield State University, age 33

Arena-MeaghanMeaghan Arena’s career has gone to the dogs. And plenty of other places.
“I enjoy coming here every day,” Arena said of her role developing a host of Westfield State University’s continuing-education initiatives, many of them involving young people (and, occasionally, canines; more on that later). “I work with a really great staff, and no day is the same. I’ve been fortunate to be able to have a job that’s this flexible.”
Arena oversees a staff of 11, as well as seasonal and temporary employees, in maintaining programs such as College for Kids, a summer outreach for children ages 5-16, and Teen-U, a residential summer program for high-school students.
“In the kids’ program, they come to campus and take courses that are fun, but also learning-oriented,” she said. “There might be classes like Lego Engineering or Forensics Fun — and they are fun, of course, but they also have a science component to them.
“Teen U is similar, but for older students; they actually live on campus,” she said before listing a few of the offerings in that program. “This year, we’re running Westfield CSI, which is similar to Forensics Fun but more involved, teaching students about policing, fingerprints, and crime-scene investigation.” Other classes delve into subjects ranging from health to music.
“Meaghan helps serve the community by getting children and teenagers involved in college at an early age,” wrote Kelly Koch, a local attorney and former 40 Under Forty honoree, who nominated Arena. “She has taught them that college is within their reach and that it should be attainable for everyone.”
But Arena has other passions as well, including her work volunteering for the Dakin Pioneer Valley Animal Shelter; last year, she even involved Dakin staff and animals in College for Kids to teach children about kindness to animals.
“My master’s degree is in Humane Education, so animals and the environment have been part of my life for a long time. When I started working at the college, it was a wonderful opportunity to educate children about animals and about appropriate behavior with animals — again, in a fun way,” she said. “There’s a lot of flexibility here to do the things that mean something to you.”

— Joseph Bednar

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
Manager of Community Relations and Community Benefits, Baystate Health, age 32

Golden-AnnaMarieIt’s called the Pioneer Valley Community Health Needs Assessment Coalition.
That’s the name given to an initiative involving a number of area hospitals — Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, Baystate Medical Center, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Holyoke Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, and Shriners Hospital for Children — that constitutes an imaginative response to state and federal directives requiring such facilities to compile comprehensive needs assessments involving the cities and towns they serve every three years.
And it was Annamarie Golden, in her capacity as manager of Community Relations and Community Benefits at Baystate Health, who saw the need for, and the benefits to be derived from, such a coalition, and actively engaged administrators at partnering institutions to make it reality.
“Many hospitals do not have dedicated community-benefits staff, and we don’t have a lot of resources lying around for this,” she said. “I looked at the region as a whole and said, ‘we have a lot of hospitals, and our service areas overlap, so let’s come together for the benefit of the community and the patients we serve and do a regional needs assessment.’”
Creation of the coalition is one of many undertakings Golden has led in her position at Baystate, which involves ensuring that federal and state community-benefit regulations and guidelines are met, and that community members are engaged and included in such efforts.
In addition to her professional duties, Golden is also involved in the community through work with the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, which she serves as clerk and executive committee member, and as a strong supporter of the Western Mass. transgender and gay community.
And she’s passionate about another issue — the matter of work/life balance.
As the mother of two, including a 6-month-old, she said she’s keenly aware of the challenges facing people as they try to manage both a family and a career. At Baystate, she’s one of a group of employees working to create a support network that would assist such individuals.
“I’m working with HR to start a group right now, and hopefully we can create a model that can be replicated throughout the organization,” she explained. “There is a definite need for such a program — there are many working mothers who need some support.”

— George O’Brien

40 Under 40 The Class of 2013
President, Burgess, Schultz & Robb, P.C., age 39

Robb-Andrew-NAndy Robb can almost understand why some people would consider accounting work to be monotonous and perhaps not as rewarding as some other lines of work.
That’s almost understand.
He told BusinessWest that many of those not in his profession are of the mistaken belief that accounting is about numbers and taxes. Instead, it’s about people, Robb said, and because each individual and each company is different, there is a great amount of variety in this field — and rewards as well.
At a recent presentation he gave before the Berkshire Brewing Co. stockholders meeting, the rewards were immediate and refreshing. “At what other job can you get a draught beer, any type you want, and talk financials?” he joked, adding that his goals are usually far more substantial and involve helping business owners achieve their ambitions, aim higher, and, overall, take their businesses where they want them to go.
He’s been reaping such rewards since joining the profession after graduating from Quinnipiac College with a degree in Accounting, and especially since forming what has become Burgess, Schultz & Robb, an East Longmeadow-based firm that specializes in corporate tax work.
Robb also strives to create a balance between his business, his family (his wife, Amy, and four children), his multi-faceted work within the community, and, yes, his golf game. And sometimes he gets to mix these passions — using time on the course to talk with clients and network with potential new ones, and work as a member of the Ronald McDonald House Golf Committee.
He is also a member of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce and the Chicopee Rotary Club, serves as treasurer for the Chicopee Visiting Nurses Assoc., and holds that same post with the Chicopee Fest of All Inc.
Doing all that wouldn’t be possible, he said, without considerable support from Amy, a stay-at-home mother.
“Amy allows me to do what I need to do to be out there networking, marketing, growing the firm the way I need to,” Robb said. “Thanks to her for all that she does, because she helps make me what I am.”

— Elizabeth Taras