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The Class of 2019

40 Under 40 Cover Story The Class of 2019

Announcing the Honorees of the 13th Annual 40 Under Forty

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A panel of judges was kept quite busy over the past few weeks, reading, evaluating, and eventually scoring nearly 200 nominations for the 40 Under Forty Class of 2019.

Yes, that’s a record, and it’s a clear indication of how coveted that designation ‘BusinessWest 40 Under Forty honoree’ has become within the 413 — and how much young talent this region boasts.

2019 Event Information:

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Time: 5:30  p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Where: The Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040
Ticket Price: $75 Standing-Room Only Tickets


40 Under Forty Class of 2019

Photography for this special section by Leah Martin Photography

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The Class of 2019

Project Planner, Tighe & Bond; Age 27
Education: UMass Amherst (BS, MRP)

Sarah Adams

Sarah Adams

What did you want to be when you grew up? Definitely not a planner! I’ve always loved animals, so I wanted to be a veterinarian. I didn’t know what planning was until I got to college, but I immediately connected with the idea that the built environment should balance impacts to economy, environment, and social justice. I get to do work every day that helps animals (and humans) on a more macro scale by protecting important habitats and reducing GHG emissions.

How do you define success? One of my favorite quotes is “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” The most successful people I know can meet adversity head-on with no forfeiture of passion or energy.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? David Bowie. I grew up listening to Bowie with my dad, and I’ve always been fascinated by how incomparably influential he was in music, fashion, and art in general. Bowie is a testament to the virtues of strangeness, and I’d like to tell him how grateful I am for the mark he left on the world. Although, instead of lunch, I’d rather take advantage of his discerning yet adventurous eye for style and go shopping!

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Matilda is an embodiment of the authority that girls have to control their education, and a reminder that knowledge truly is a superpower. Books and characters like Matilda taught me, when I was a little girl, that I should crave knowledge. Now, as an adult, I try to teach that message to my Girls on the Run team and remind students at NEWIEE (New England Women in Energy and the Environment) on Campus events that their education doesn’t stop when they graduate.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I try to find time every day to run, stretch, or get outside with my dogs. My workouts are often the only time I fully give my attention to myself and how I’m feeling, and I find that I feel more focused in the afternoon on the days I get out for a few miles at lunch. I also feel my strongest when I’m running, so I try to carry that confidence into my next meeting or whatever else I have going on that day.

 

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Senior Vice President, PeoplesBank; Age 38
Education: Westfield State University (BS), Western New England University (MBA)

Aleda Amistadi

Aleda Amistadi

How do you define success? Being proud of my achievements, both personally and professionally, and being able to learn something about myself when there are shortcomings. In my professional life, success can create lasting change for our customers, our associates, and our communities, which motivates me every day.

What are you passionate about? First, I am passionate about being a mom to my 5-year-old daughter, who is incredibly smart and makes me laugh every day, even if she doesn’t intend to. She keeps me grounded and brings me back to reality when I need it the most. I am also passionate about my work, and I feel incredibly blessed to love what I do every day. I am so fortunate to have a career in which I can constantly grow and challenge myself on many levels.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? I am very lucky to have a solid support network of family, close friends, and constructive co-workers. They help guide me when I need it, correct my path when I’m going in a direction that isn’t true to who I am, and offer amazing and honest guidance when I ask — or even sometimes when I don’t ask. I know it all comes from a place of love and respect, and together, they make a strong (and often comical) advisory group.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I wake up every morning and set out to do my best. If I look back on the day and can think of one or more accomplishments — personally or professionally — that I put my heart into, then I know I have had a good day.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? As a huge Duke basketball fan, I would love to have lunch with Mike Krzyzewski. I would love to ask Coach K why he feels he has been successful in his field and how he has been able to command respect from his players, fans, and peers, all from a variety of backgrounds and talents. His ability to lead and be a role model in such a diverse environment is inspiring.

What actress would play you in a movie about your life? Gal Gadot, because my daughter adores Wonder Woman, and I would get cool parent points if Wonder Woman pretended to be mommy.

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Founder and Director, Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop; Age 33
Education: Bard College (BA), the New School (MFA)

Joy Baglio

Joy Baglio

What did you want to be when you grew up? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My sister and I grew up surrounded by the most magical collection of children’s books, all curated and read to us on a daily basis by my mother. Before I could write, I’d dictate stories to her, and later on I’d make my own ‘books’ with illustrations. One was called “Horse of the Mountains,” about a horse who goes rogue and forms a community of woodland animals.

How do you define success? My definition is a bit of a contradiction. I’m working on finishing a novel and short-story collection and have big plans for both, yet I also try to steer myself away from the world’s definition of success — however loud. I think real success — regardless of what concrete and external goals we may and should have — is about living in a way that’s truest to ourselves: discovering what that is, and learning to hear and trust that inner guidance.

What are you passionate about? Writing. Stories. Studying and teaching craft. Sentences that feel alive. Voice-driven fiction. Speculative fiction. Creating literary community. Animals. Birds. Veganism. Adventure.

Whom do you look up to, and why? As both a writer and literary entrepreneur, I’m inspired by authors who simultaneously write while also creating literary community. My former mentor, Rebecca Makkai, is inspirational as an award-winning author, writing instructor, and director of Chicago’s StoryStudio. Julia Fierro of Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop — a wonderful writer, instructor, and savvy business leader — is also someone I admire.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? One of my favorite (deceased) writers, Angela Carter, who wrote deliciously ornate fabulist stories and fairytale retellings about beasts and vampire countesses in prose that feels electric.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Throughout my journey as a writer, I’ve studied with some amazing authors: Aimee Bender, Rebecca Makkai, Mary Gaitskill, Brad Morrow, Julia Fierro, Caitlin Horrocks, Laura Van Den Berg, and Mary Caponegro, just to name a few. Most writers’ paths are filled with all kinds of discouragements, rejections, and loneliness, and having mentors who helped me focus on the work itself — how I could best develop both concrete craft skills and a trust in my own creativity and vision — has been life-changing. I feel immensely grateful for their generosity and brilliance.

 

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Director of Bands, Springfield High School of Science and Technology; Age 36
Education: UMass Amherst (BM, MM)

Gary Bernice

Gary Bernice

How do you define success? “Seek to serve, not to be served” is our SciTech Band commandment. My students and I post this motto on the entrance of our classroom door, write it on our chalkboard, print it on our band handbooks, embroider it on our band jackets, and flash it on our band website. Most importantly, we try to live out this commandment as a band family. We define true success as an action, not a status — the commitment to consistently and willingly put the needs of other people before ourselves in all that we do.

With 500 students, we are the largest band in the state of Massachusetts. Despite the challenges of an urban school district like ours, and the fact that 99% of our students have never played an instrument before, they are still able to inspire audiences throughout the region. Our students are three times more likely to stay in school and were the recipients of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Award, the state’s highest honor given for achievement in the arts. Our band even received a personal letter from President Obama praising them for dreaming big dreams and improving our community.

Most people would describe these accomplishments as our success story. However, our real success story is about who we are and who we strive to be — a band family that serves each other and our school, shares the joy of music with our city, cares for the people around us, takes a stand for justice, and empowers students to become leaders and make a lasting difference in our community.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? Never give up and always believe in my students.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? Jesus. I would love to hear his guidance in person. As of 2019, deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide — so-called ‘deaths of despair’ — are destroying people and contributing to our nation’s declining life expectancy. As a teacher, I see these symptoms of despair and hopelessness every day in my classroom. It breaks my heart to see people (especially my students) believe they are not loved or valued. I know that Jesus, in his compassion, would share some insightful words to give me strength and encouragement as I try to build up the people around me.

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Construction Manager and Healthy Homes Assessor, Revitalize CDC; Owner, K&M Enterprises; Age 29
Education: Springfield College (BS)

Myles Callender

Myles Callender

What did you want to be when you grew up? I know it’s one of the classic cliché answers, but I wanted to be a firefighter when I grew up. But not just any firefighter — the one who steered the back of the rig. I know it’s an outdated position nowadays with modern fire trucks, but I remember being a kid and seeing that guy back there in his own little booth steering the truck, and I really looked forward to having that job one day. It also probably helped that the elementary school I attended had firemen visit every year and give us a tour of their fire engines and equipment.

How do you define success? The concept of success is relative, so for me, it’s being content. It’s knowing that my hard work has led to the happiness of myself and my family. I also feel that success is being able to contribute to society in a way that helps others who may be less fortunate attain their goals and reach what they consider to be success.

Whom do you look up to, and why? For me, it’s my family. My parents did an awesome job of instilling core values and being a crucial example of what hard work can lead to. Also, all of my brothers are successful in their respective fields, so it is quite easy to look up to them and be inspired by what they do.

What actor would play you in a movie about your life? Is there any other answer besides Denzel Washington?

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I actually don’t set goals at the start of my day. The goals I set for myself tend to come the night before. I often go through my day completing each goal I set for myself the previous night. I understand there are some goals that may rely upon external forces to be completed; however, I always seek to ensure that whatever goals are solely dependent upon myself are fully achieved before the end of the day. Then, usually on my drive home or just before I go to sleep, I’ll think of everything I want to accomplish the next day, then wake up and do it all over again.

 

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

The following business certificates and trade names were issued or renewed during the month of April 2019.

AMHERST

MillBrook Farm
1730 South East St.
Jason Edwards

Northeast Environmental Solutions
577 West St.
Karen Davis

BELCHERTOWN

A & E Partnership
10 Meadow Pond Road
Olena Boryssenko, Anatoliy Boryssenko

Alix & Son’s Computer Center
40 Daniel Shays Highway
John Alix

AVS
424 Springfield Road
Matthew Fillmore

Belmont Driving School
1 Main St., Suite E
Michael O’Rourke

Equine Ky Chiropractic
22 South Main St.
Bethany Bowman

Events Near Here
413 Allen St.
Brian Page

Hampshire Myotherapy
145 Old Amherst Road
Robert Andersen

J & J Services
114 North Washington St.
Justin White Sr.

JM Cleaning Service
37 Jucket Road
Joseph Moreau

Magic Catering
25 Cedar Glen Dr.
Gary Majka, Mary Majka

CHICOPEE

Bullseye Property Management and Maintenance
42 Gelinas Dr.
Steven Bull

Frank’s General Service
25 Baril Lane
Frank LaFlamme

Fran’s Lyft Service
884 Prospect St.
Francis Deschaine

New England Landscaping
345 Casey Dr.
Jason Batrano

Pizza Express #2
557 East St.
Sabri Bajrami

Plum Island Jams
18 Curtis St.
Ruth Adams

DEERFIELD

Dave Nunez Building
70 North Main St.
Dave Nunez, Ty Townsend

EASTHAMPTON

Apex Network Promotions
219 East St., Apt. B
Polina Bulgakova

V Financial Safety Education
247 Northampton St.
Michelle Mulea

EAST LONGMEADOW

Dutko Electric, LLC
50 Heatherstone Dr.
Andrew Dutko

Eugina Bshara at Obsessions
10 Center Square
Gina Bshara

Forastiere Smith Funeral & Cremation
220 North Main St.
Frank Forastiere

HOLYOKE

Abe Mart
679 Main St.
Abbas Younes

A. Rex DPT
4 Open Square Way, Suite 204
April Rex

Cano Used Tire
640 South Bridge St.
Carmen Garcia

InHome Remodeling
215 Madison Ave.
Richard Ahlstrom

Racing Mart
582 South St.
Abbas Younes

Rack Room Shoes
50 Holyoke St.
Rack Room Shoes Inc.

LONGMEADOW

Arbormax Tree Care
186 Cooley Dr.
Philip Schafer

Challenge Diabetes Program
47 Pleasantview Ave.
C. William Galaska

Clearview Health & Wellness Group
167 Dwight Road
Ramon Lorenzi

Couloute Renovations Group
66 Dwight Road
April Couloute

Dave’s Creative
54 Wild Grove Lane
David Brinnel

MM Applications & Software Consulting
14 Ferncroft St.
Moissei Mekler

PS Salon and Spa
770 Converse St.
John Polatz

NORTHAMPTON

CleanSlate Centers Inc.
244 Main St.
Greg Marotta

Garden Paving and Landscaping
49 Country Way
Nhamodzangu Magadza

Get Lost
58 Belmont Ave.
Brian Foote

Pioneer Valley Education Press Inc.
155 Industrial Dr.
Matt Dufresne, Robert Dufresne, Michele Dufresne

Seth Gregory Design
18 Northern Ave.
Seth Gregory

Top DJ
49 Country Way
Nhamodzangu Magadza

Treasures on Main MA
6 Conz St.
Seth Fischer

PALMER

New England Patent Prints
37 Smith St.
Gail Sterner

Rick’s Handcrafted Cornhole Boards
21 Wilbraham St.
Richard Lafley

Rx Massage
19 Linda St.
Kristine Gustafson

SOUTHWICK

Jameson R’s Farm and Freight
1 Laro Road
Jameson Ball

Nick’s Handyman Service
6 Bungalow St.
Nicholas Buss

North Pond Guitars
20 Castle St.
William Storozuk

Your CBD Store Southwick, LLC
549 College Highway, Unit C
Lorraine Denoncourt

SPRINGFIELD

APC Computer Consulting
141 Winterset Dr.
Aaron Curto

Artisan Finish Carpentry
30 Brandon Ave.
Lukas Grincavitch

Atwater Associates
140 Atwater Terrace
Scott Balfour

Baiyee Healthcare Solutions
78 Chauncey Dr.
Alice Baiyee

Bamboo House Restaurant
676 Belmont Ave.
Tuyen Le

Changework Hypnosis
43 Harvard St.
Kimberly Miner

Chellyboo Chique
52 Patton St.
Michelle Miller

Chino’s Landscaping
28 Florida St.
Alexis Del Valle

City Smoke
115 State St.
Nilkant 115 Inc.

Eva Beauty Salon
9 Dorset St.
Ashley Martinez

Eversource Energy
300 Cadwell Dr.
NSTAR Electric

Koi Home and Office Cleaning
181 State St.
Maria Sombe-Baraka

The Label Group
580 St. James Ave.
Jack Beaudry Jr.

LMP Trucking
319 Main St.
Robert Parker

Mitchell Home Improvement
189 Essex St.
Michael Mitchell

The Money Stop
445 Main St.
Jeffrey Fiske

Pioneer Valley Auto Transport
22 Warner St.
Jack Cruz

Pognali Motors
128 Pine Grove St.
Mykhailo Grytsenko

Primo’s Pizza
824 Worthington St.
David Larochelle

Prudhomme Home Improvement
106 Washington Road
Rafael Perdomo

R & R Lawn Sprinklers
11 Baird Trace
Richard Hutchinson

Spiritual Woman Press
135 Odion St.
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

St. Pierre Pools
79 Merida St.
Nicholas Goggin

Suluna Boutique
85 William St., Apt. 411
Joanna Ojeda

Supreme Mart
1295 Worcester St.
Santiago Mejia

Tenares Grocery Store
261 Locust St.
Jose Almanzar Duran

Two Brothers Towing
193 Taylor St.
Emanuela Hernandez

Two Brothers Transport
145 Colton St.
Gabriel Gomez

Urban Gear Inc.
1640 Main St.
Jim Woo

WARE

The Blue Valentine Shop
51 Pulaski St.
Amy Hall

Lost Towns Apiary
96 Coffey Hill Road
Joshua Kusnierz

Matzak & Associates
14 Williston Dr.
Michael Barbiasz

Steve and Sons Auto Detailing Inc.
187 Gilbertville Road
Steven Mansfield

WESTFIELD

Devco Design & Development
130 Elizabeth Ave.
David Deveau

Fast Lane Towing
22 Hickory Ave.
Fast Lane Towing

GenSwiss
6 Old Stage Road
Genevieve Swiss Industries Inc.
GS Microtech
6 Old Stage Road
Genevieve Swiss Industries Inc.

J.J.L. Landscape Services
Joshua Lesko
91 Russell Road

Running Shoe Productions
273 Paper Mill Road
Benjamin Quackenbush

Westfield Flight Academy
111 Airport Road
Five Star Flight Inc.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

East Market
1111 Elm St.
Cortez Percy-Clay

El Safi
532 Main St.
Doaa Madi

Griffin Real Estate
1349 Piper Road
Zed Griffin

Quality Renovations
74 Elm St.
Craig McCarthy

Taco Bell 29245
298 Memorial Ave.
Amy Kim

WILBRAHAM

The Fabulous 50’s Diner
2650 Boston Road
John Wrona

Filomena’s Gifts
10 Brentwood Dr.
Donna Gregoire, Michael Gregoire

Green Square Realty
260 Crane Hill Road
Richard Lewenczuk

Old Boston Hollow
68 Old Boston Road
Jacquelynne Korzeniowski

Team Giroux Health Coaching
603 Glendale Road
Steven Giroux, Jodee Giroux

Verdon’s Restoration
65 Main St.
Real Verdon

Wilbraham Tanning
2341 Boston Road
Brett Cloud

The Class of 2019

Assistant Provost for Academic Programs, Online Education, UMass Amherst; Age 39
Education: UMass Amherst (BA, MBA)

Nicole Carlson

Nicole Carlson

What did you want to be when you grew up? A flight attendant. I remember pronouncing stewardess as ‘hewardess’ when I was young. I think it was because I wanted to travel. Ironically, I haven’t traveled much, but hope to in my retirement, only now I’d rather take an RV across the country and make stops along the way and camp outside.

What three words best describe you? Trustworthy, respectful, adaptable.

What are you passionate about? Learning. Every day is an opportunity for learning. Every interaction, experience, and conversation we have is an opportunity for learning.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? Reflection. I remember to reflect on who I am and what I’ve done. We are not perfect, and I am not perfect, as a mother, wife, employee, daughter, friend, or sister. Reflection allows us to recognize our deficiencies, but reflection also helps us realize and be proud of what we have overcome and accomplished.

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Not only because it is my favorite movie, but because Dorothy, while initially seen as meek, is actually strong, direct, and ready to take on a challenge with everything she’s got. She is also generous and loyal to her friends and family.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? It is hard to pick just one. I would want to have lunch with each of my grandparents and my husband’s grandparents. I want to hear about their lives as young children, the struggles our families had to overcome, the successes they achieved — all the things that make up our family history and our families today. I would then tell these stories to my son.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? “She had a calm confidence, worked hard, but didn’t take work too seriously. She was a problem solver, a good listener, dependable, realistic about what to expect, and had an ‘it’s all going to be fine’ mentality.”

How do you define success? By trying. It doesn’t matter whether the outcome is positive or not, the fact that you tried is a success. We learn more from our failures than our successes.

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Chief of Staff, American International College; Age 39
Education: Mount Holyoke College (BA), University of West Florida (MA)

Nicolle Cestero

Nicolle Cestero

What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher. While in college, I worked two jobs, as a nanny and in the offices of a nonprofit organization. Both of these experiences made me realize my skill set was more focused on organization and coordination. Of course, as my career developed, I was able to add to this base skill set in other ways.

What three words best describe you? High emotional intelligence.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? Stay positive, focus on what’s really important, and work hard. It’s easy to let the day-to-day minutiae bring you down or have the focus shift to the non-essentials. At the end of the day, your outlook on life and your focus can really make a difference. When I’m contemplating an issue or problem, I try to find a silver lining around it while looking for a solution. That helps me and those around me move forward in a more positive manner. Derek Jeter said, “there may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” If I start each day staying positive, focusing on what’s important, and working hard, then I feel a sense of accomplishment at day’s end despite the challenges that may have occurred throughout the day.

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Wonder Woman, for her intelligence, inner strength, confidence, lack of ego, sense of right and wrong, strong work ethic, and kindness.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? This question intrigued me, so I asked a few colleagues. Highlights included: “She laughed easily. She had an instinctive sense for right, wrong, and how to treat people. She could talk with anyone. She had a self-assurance far beyond her years. She had all the soft and hard skills — she read people well, developed and grew them, worked well with others, could think big, and could also manage details. She was organized, managed time well, and held people and herself accountable. She was someone you wanted on your team because she would ensure the work got done, but also that everyone had fun doing it. She is a spirit animal. She likes to eat. She is raising her children to be strong and courageous and to treat people properly.”

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Senior Engineer, Tighe & Bond Inc.; Age 39
Education: UMass Amherst (BS)

Jean Christy

Jean Christy

What did you want to be when you grew up? An architect — so, not too far off. I have always been a very technical person with a tendency toward drawing and design, and math and science always came easy to me. I started my college career in architecture, but quickly changed to civil engineering. It’s been a rewarding field for me; I have the opportunity to explore my creativity in design work while having the tried and true engineering principles and practices as my foundation.

What are you passionate about? Type 1 diabetes awareness and our nonprofit, Three’s Company T1D Support. Having three children with type 1 diabetes is a daily challenge. The kids feel ostracized, as they have different needs than their peers, and we often hear them say they hate diabetes (we all do!). Our goal is to allow kids with type 1 diabetes feel equal and not labeled ‘the diabetic kid.’ While we are still in our infancy, our mission is to assist with sending kids to diabetes camp and raising awareness in local sports programs so diabetes is less of an identifier. The type 1 diabetes population is ever-growing, and, while it is a serious disease with potential deadly repercussions, it is manageable with education.

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? This may sound silly, but it’s Hermione Granger. We’re big Harry Potter fans in our house, and even though she’s young when we meet her, we can imagine that she becomes a strong-willed and motivated woman who is confident in her abilities but understands there are times when you need help from your friends. She’s an advocate for those without a voice or social status to elevate a cause. She’s a perfectionist and a pleaser, but fearless in the face of adversity when forced to make a choice between right and wrong.

Whom do you look up to, and why? It’s a pretty standard answer, but my parents. It’s because of them I have my work ethic and integrity. I saw my parents balance careers, higher education, community involvement, and active children. I learn by example, and both my parents, and their parents before them, set excellent examples for me, which I am trying to pass on to my children.

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography