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The Class of 2016

40 Under 40 Cover Story The Class of 2016

Announcing the 10th Annual Top Young Business and Community Leaders in Western Massachusetts

You might call this a breakthrough year when it comes to the 40 Under Forty program.

Indeed, for the first time, there are more women than men gracing the cover of the magazine that introduces them. What that means is … well, we’ll let you decide what it means, ultimately. What it means to the region, we believe, is that an ongoing trend toward greater diversification — in the workplace and in the communities that comprise the four western counties — is accelerating.

Contributions range from serving as co-chair of the annual campaign for the Hampshire County United Way to finding new and different ways to give back to Link to Libraries, the group that puts books in the hands of area schoolchildren, to using one’s talents in public relations to bring more exposure to the work of the Salvation Army.

The class of 2016, its diversity, and its individual and collective accomplishments will be celebrated at the annual 40 Under Forty Gala on June 16 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. Tables for this event have been sold out, but a small number of individual seats and standing-room-only tickets are still available, although they will go quickly. Download the flipbook of this year’s 40 Under Forty HERE. Tickets can be ordered by calling (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, for more information go HERE.

The gala will also feature the announcement of the winner of the second annual Continued Excellence Award, a recognition program that salutes the 40 Under Forty honoree who has most impressively added to their résumé of accomplishments in the workplace and within the community, as chosen by a panel of judges (see the profiles of the five judge’s HERE).

40 Under Forty Class of 2016


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Photography for this special section by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Executive Director, Hampden Senior Center; Age 38

Rebecca Moriarty

Rebecca Moriarty

Becky Moriarty was always close to her grandparents, and it hit her hard when she lost a grandfather in 1994. But it also altered her future.

“He had gotten really sick, and there were people who came in and provided care for him. At the same time, they were there for my mom and her sister while they were going through the process of losing their dad. I thought, ‘if I can be a person who helps someone the way they helped my family, that’s what I want to do.’

And that’s how a 15-year-old girl decided she wanted a career helping the elderly.

She started out after college working with an elder-services agency, but the work did not provide the face-to-face interaction with older adults she craved. That changed when the Hampden Senior Center came calling in 2002.

There, she’s responsible for day-to-day operations like budget, payroll, staff supervision, and grant writing. But she most enjoys the daily interactions with the folks who show up to participate in myriad programs.

“Every morning, one woman comes in, sits in my office, and tells me about her night or her weekend; it’s one of the best parts of my day,” Moriarty said. “It’s the interaction with the people I love the most — people who come in and say, ‘this is my home away from home,’ or ‘I wouldn’t have eaten a meal today if I hadn’t come here for lunch.’ We provide transportation for people if they don’t have family members close by. If someone goes to the hospital, we send cards and check on them. We’re an extension of their family.”

It’s the type of service, she said, that will only become more important as the over-60 population in America soars. “This is one of the most important resources we can offer older adults. We’re not just playing bingo and cards, that stereotypical image.”

No, seniors also partake in health and wellness programs, get help navigating the maze of Medicare issues, and, for lower-income participants, receive fuel assistance and meals. “This is a place where people come to socialize, which is really, really important, but we’re also getting to the heart of what people need to stay home and independent longer.”

‘Heart,’ in fact, is a good word for someone who’s had a heart for the elderly since she was a young teenager.

“I love it here,” she said. “I still wake up every day wanting to come to work.”

— Joseph Bednar

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Executive Vice President, S-Cel-O Painting; Senior Vice President of Commercial Energy Sales, Proton Energy Group; Age 38

Lamont Clemons

Lamont Clemons

Lamont Clemons was born and raised in Springfield. At this particular time in its history, he’s glad to be back.

“I think about my humble beginnings here, and watching the transformation of Springfield has made me passionate about the city,” he said.

His role at Agawam-based Proton Energy Group — which brokers deals with energy suppliers to reduce the costs of commercial customers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York — follows positions with Dominion Power, Wachovia Securities, and Capital One in Richmond, Va.; American Express in Greensboro, N.C.; and Northrop Grumman in Elkridge, Md., jobs that gave him an appreciation for cities in other regions. “I felt that there were a few things I could take back to my hometown.”

At the same time, Clemons plays a role at his family’s 30-year-old business, S-Cel-O Painting. “There’s definitely not a dull moment. We’re dealing with high-end clients who are used to getting excellent customer service, and they want you to pick up the phone and respond to them immediately. So excellent customer service, building relationships, is a main focus.”

Besides his dual career, Clemons is involved in a host of community organizations, serving as president of the McKnight Neighborhood Council, assistant treasurer of the Greater Springfield YMCA, and second vice president of the Springfield Rotary Club.

“Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of role models in the minority community, especially here in Springfield, and I wanted to add that value, to give back to the community,” he went on.

He’s particularly proud of programs he’s helped launch at the Dunbar Community Center, including one where teenagers run a concession stand at basketball games and learn about supply and demand, revenue and expenses, in order to make decisions on what to stock and how to maximize profits.

“We show them the value of running a business, and along the way, they learn about workforce management and process improvement,” he said. “To give those kids that skill set is a huge value to add. Sometimes decisions don’t go well, and that’s life — they make adjustments. When you see the light go off in their head, it’s really phenomenal.”

And hugely gratifying, he went on.

“These kids are really the future of the city. We’re at a tipping point into a really good era for Springfield, and I’m very interested in contributing something to this city that built me.”

—Joseph Bednar

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

President, Rediker Software Inc.; Age 32

Andrew Anderlonis

Andrew Anderlonis

Andrew Anderlonis spent six years in the U.S. Navy — his obligation in exchange for the scholarship awarded him to attend George Washington University — and admits to occasionally thinking about making the Navy a career.

But he majored in international business and management information systems at GW, and admitted that this was where his passion really lay. And he wound up putting those talents to work in a setting he probably wasn’t thinking about while helping to put the USS George H.W. Bush, a Nimitz-class supercarrier, through its paces several years ago.

That would be Rediker Software, the venture started by the man who would become his father-in-law, Rich Rediker.

Indeed, while the founder is still quite active in the business, which specializes in creation of software programs for school systems, Anderlonis now serves as president, a broad role that involves everything from long-range strategic planning to new-product development, and to finding new and different ways for the company and its employees to make a difference within the community.

“I really act as COO, CTO, and CIO,” he said, using all those letters — the ‘t’ stands for technology, and the ‘i’ for innovation — to convey the message that he does a little bit of everything. (His wife, Amy, serves the company as marketing director.)

And he enjoys all aspects of that job description, particularly the community-involvement element.

Within that realm, he conceptualized the company’s internship program, which gives local high-school and college students the opportunity to develop, launch, and distribute new educational technology products to schools locally. He also launched the company’s volunteer initiative known as Rediker Cares, which gives employees the ability to give back to the local community.

Through that program, Anderlonis has ramped up the company’s already-considerable commitment to Link to Libraries (LTL), which, since its creation nearly a decade ago, has donated more than 500,000 books to area schools and nonprofits.

Rediker has for some time donated space at its Hampden headquarters for LTL’s warehouse, but Anderlonis has become directly involved by joining the agency’s board.

And while he’s serious about all that, he says he’s most passionate about what he calls a “full-time dad.”

“One of the big reasons I left the Navy was that I wanted to be around to see my child grow up and be there for him,” he explained, referring to 2-year-old Tyler.

In short, his life story has already had some intriguing plot twists, but some of the best chapters are still to be written.

— George O’Brien

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Mathematics Teacher, Student Council Advisor, Greenfield Public Schools; Age 38

Angela Mass

Angela Mass

In her own words, Angela Mass “bleeds green.”

“I grew up in Greenfield, I went to college, I graduated, and I came right back,” she said proudly.

Mass, a teacher and student council advisor with Greenfield Public Schools, has spent the last 17 years passing that hometown pride on to her students, along with plenty of knowledge in a wide range of subjects. She primarily teaches math, but Mass has also taken on psychology and social justice teaching duties, putting her college minor to use and discovering a passion in “teaching students how to be good humans.”

There’s a big crossover for Mass between her social justice class and her student council members as well, both of whom benefit from statewide exposure to community-service opportunities through her roles as executive director for the Western Mass. Assoc. of Student Councils and member of the state board of the Mass. Assoc. of Student Councils.

“We expose them to community service in a classroom setting, so students can learn to appreciate and understand its importance,” she said, noting that this has included partnering with nonprofit organizations such as Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to think outside of the Greenfield bubble.”

Mass has helped burst that bubble for others outside of Greenfield too, putting the town on the map in an unlikely way — as host of a state-level unified bocce tournament.

“To see that happen — the partnering with athletes, the kids from all over Massachusetts who’d never ventured out here before, and so many people coming out to be fans … because of all of that, this is one project I’m most proud of,” she said.

It’s the all-are-welcome nature of bocce that helps create a strong feeling of community, she added, noting that she finds her own tribe in a similar place, as an avid Zumba practitioner.

“It lets me dance myself happy, it’s high-energy, and if you’re not following just the right steps, no one cares,” she said.

And while the entire Commonwealth has a place in Mass’ heart — it’s her last name, after all, and her children, Chelsea, Aquinnah, and Auburn, share their names with places in the Bay State — when it comes to Greenfield, there’s no place she’d rather be.

— Jaclyn Stevenson

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Chief of Staff, Office of State Sen. Eric Lesser; Age 26

Michael Clark

Michael Clark

When asked about everything that goes into his job description and how he carries out that broad assignment, Michael Clark summoned some phrases and analogies straight from one of his boss’s top priorities at the moment — gaining expanded rail service for the Greater Springfield area.

“I keep the train on the tracks,” said Clark, who works with other members of state Sen. Eric Lesser’s staff on everything from drafting legislation to crafting press releases; from meeting with constituents to handling questions from the press. “You might say I’m the conductor.”

Putting aside the railroad terminology for a moment, Clark, who worked on Lesser’s campaign for the Senate in 2014 and eventually led that effort, said that perhaps his most important function — and it’s not written down anywhere — is to act as the senator’s sounding board.

“I spend a lot of time with him myself, and we do a lot of strategic planning,” he said, adding that there are many issues to contend with in Lesser’s extremely diverse 1st Hampden and Hampshire Senate district, one that includes Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, and other affluent suburbs, but also roughly half of Springfield and two-thirds of Chicopee, the region’s largest urban centers.

Some issues are specific to one city or town, he said, but most, like the opioid crisis, rail service, and boosting the manufacturing sector, cross all border lines.

When asked what he likes most about his broad role, Clark paused and said, in essence, everything.

Indeed, he told BusinessWest that he very much enjoys the challenge of running a political campaign — and he’s been involved with several beyond Lesser’s — but also likes the hard work that follows a race, especially the part about listening to constituents and working to address their concerns.

He does this not only in his role as Lesser’s chief of staff, but also as a member of Longmeadow’s School Committee, which is tasked with maintaining one of the state’s best school systems and serving an extremely demanding constituency.

When asked about the 2016 presidential race, shaping up as one of the most intriguing in the nation’s history, Clark, who can look at it from several angles, summoned just a single word to describe it all: crazy.

That adjective would also apply to his schedule, workload, and the sum of those efforts to keep the train on the tracks.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

— George O’Brien

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Co-owner and Director of Curriculum, InspireWorks Enrichment; Talent Data and Strategy Analyst, Brooks Brothers; Age 31

Elizabeth Angelos

Elizabeth Angelos

There’s a lot going on in Beth Angelos’ life, but she sees connections everywhere: between her two career paths (now happening concurrently), between having fun and learning, and among the people she meets as a business owner, corporate professional, volunteer, and civic leader.

Angelos is co-owner and director of Curriculum for InspireWorks Enrichment Inc., which offers after-school and summer-camp programs to school-aged children with an emphasis on learning. Campers might be building rockets and robots, for instance, but they’re learning programming code in the process. The same goes for programs focused on art, science, cooking, athletics, and more.

The business began while Angelos was still in college. She was working on a business plan for a class in entrepreneurship, and her boyfriend — now her husband, InspireWorks Executive Director and past 40 Under Forty honoree James Angelos — encouraged her to take the plan out of the classroom and into real practice.

Nine years later, InspireWorks is thriving, and Angelos has added another facet to her professional life as a talent data and strategy analyst with Brooks Brothers, a position that allows her to work on the leading edge of human-resources practices.

“It started three years ago, when I wanted to understand more about HR as a small-business owner,” she explained. “I wanted a better education, and at the time, the company was taking on big changes that created opportunities to get involved with different projects. I hopped on for experience, and was put on the talent data and development team.”

That team led the first successful implementation of Talent Central, the first human-resources information system platform ever used by Brooks Brothers in North America. A promotion and a new title followed for Angelos, along with the opportunity to continue implementing that new platform globally.

Angelos’ heart is always in community endeavors, however, and she devotes much of her time to volunteering — as a 13-year radKIDS personal empowerment and safety education instructor, for one, and a board member and events committee chair with the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield. She also organizes opportunities for co-workers to volunteer in the Springfield area through Brooks Brothers’ Suited for Service program.

“That’s all part of what has made me, me,” she said. “Part of the reason I started the company was because my mother always exposed us to programs; whether they were sports, art, or volunteering, we were always exposed to a variety of things. When I grew up, I realized that not everyone gets that exposure.”

— Jaclyn Stevenson

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Employee Benefits Strategy Advisor, The Gaudreau Group Inc.; Age 27

Jenny MacKay

Jenny MacKay

Jenny MacKay is a numbers person who believes everyone has a chance at being number one.

That’s the attitude she brings to her position as employee benefits strategy advisor with the Gaudreau Group Inc. in Wilbraham, and a lesson she often teaches as head cheerleading coach at Central High School in Springfield.

The worlds of finance and coaching are two MacKay has been balancing since her senior year in college at Western New England University, first as a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual, and later with the Gaudreau Group, where she works with management teams at businesses of varying sizes to design benefit-package plans for their employees.

“I work with them over the years to keep costs down, increase employee engagement, and make sure they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck in terms of benefits plans,” she explained, noting that she often talks about her other professional life with the student-athletes she works with at Central. These include her educational endeavors of a different sort, such as consulting with companies on changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, serving with the Professional Women’s Chamber board of directors, and serving on various committees with the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club, and other organizations.

“I hope I’m inspiring them to do something productive and be successful because they see through me that it can be done — every single day,” she said. “They get to see that women can do all kinds of things.”

It’s a message MacKay has been able to pass on to an ever-increasing number of young women; since she took over coaching responsibilities at Central, participation has more than doubled.

The team has started to experience its own successes, too, winning the Western Mass. League Championship for the first time in the school’s history in 2015, and making its first-ever appearance at the state tournament just this year.

“It’s inspiring to me because I want to be successful in my career, but I’m also passionate to help the city grow,” she said, noting that her husband, Jim, shares a similar outlook as a teacher and football coach at Central High School. “We’re helping kids become participating members of the community, and they’re accomplishing such wonderful things.”

— Jaclyn Stevenson

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Cash Management Officer, Berkshire Bank; Age 29

Ashley Clark

Ashley Clark

Ashley Clark wanted a challenge.

She entered the banking world after college with a part-time teller position at Westfield Bank. From there, she moved to a full-time role, but after a year of that, she approached her superiors and said she was bored and needed more of a challenge. Because they wanted to grow their cash-management department, they moved her there.

“I’ve been in the cash-management world since then,” she said, although now with Berkshire Bank. “I’m responsible for payments and collections for business customers — anything from how they handle their deposits and their payments to wire transfers, online banking, things like that.”

The good news is, she’s far from bored.

“It’s always different, never the same day twice. I get to meet a lot of people, go out and see a lot of business, and I learn a lot. I cover Springfield and the Berkshires, and going up and down, you see totally different markets and get to learn about these different businesses you normally wouldn’t know about.”

With those opportunities, Clark has become acquainted with a vibrant business community in Greater Springfield, and has become heavily involved in organizations like the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield — where she chairs the YP Cup dodgeball tournament that draws close to 400 participants annually — and Valley Venture Mentors, where she helps mentor startup companies trying to reach their dreams of successful business ownership.

“I grew up in Westfield, on the other side of the river, where all you knew about Springfield was what you saw on the news,” she said. “But when I got involved in groups like YPS, their passion for the city rubbed off on me, and I came to realize that, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

That’s not to say cities don’t have problems, she added.

“The people I grew up with constantly talked down about Springfield. But that’s not making a difference. All cities have challenges, but you’ll never see any change until you put your money where your mouth is. So, instead of pointing out the negatives, I’ve submerged myself in the Springfield culture. It’s a shame there’s so much focus on the bad when so much good is happening. That should make news. I want to share that news with people in different communities.”

In other words, this finance professional is bullish on Springfield.

“The city will change,” Clark said. “What will you do to help it get there?”

— Joseph Bednar

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Project Manager, Springfield Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management; Age 37

Laura Walsh

Laura Walsh

“Recreation is such a huge part of our lives,” said Laura Walsh, “but sometimes we overlook how important it is.”

Walsh, on the other hand, appreciates the value of recreation more than most. As a project manager with the Springfield Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, she oversees park renovations from the grant-application process through final construction. Her career is also a striking example of coming full circle in life.

Born and raised in the Forest Park neighborhood, Walsh studied recreation administration and outdoor therapeutic recreation at Aurora University in Illinois, then brought those skills to camp programs throughout the U.S. and Ireland. But she had an itch to come home — right around the time Springfield was looking to hire someone to oversee the renovation of Forest Park’s Camp STAR Angelina into an accessible park for people of all abilities.

“That’s the reason I came to the Parks Department,” she said. “I fell in love with the campground and what it does for kids with disabilities; it gives them an outlet to be a kid and play and have fun in a world that’s inclusive and meets their needs. That really is a passion of mine — to make our parks and open spaces more accessible to everyone.”

The new Camp STAR Angelina was dedicated last June, but is only one of a growing number of projects Walsh has overseen, including redevelopment efforts at North Riverfront Park, Nathan Bill Park, Mary Troy Park, and Balliet Park. Her next construction-management job will be the development of South Branch Park — to be renamed Sgt. Thomas Sullivan Park — which will include an accessible kayak launch, reflecting yet another of her passions.

“I love kayaking,” she said. “You’re on the water, surrounded by nature. It’s a great way to escape the business of life.”

More often, though, Walsh is fully engaged with her community, as a Forest Park Civic Assoc. board member and a volunteer with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, the Read-a-Loud program in Forest Park schools, the Red Cross, and several other organizations. She said her civic involvement comes naturally, having grown up with two parents on Springfield’s City Council (her mother, Kateri Walsh, still serves).

“It’s something ingrained in us,” she said. “If you want to see positive change, you should take an active part in your community and try to make things better.”

— Joseph Bednar

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

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