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Class of 2018

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Owner, Gleason Johndrow Landscaping, Gleason Johndrow Rentals; Age 39; Education: Springfield College

David Johndrow

David Johndrow

Johndrow has lived in Western Mass. his whole life, so naturally, it’s where he decided to lay roots for his business and family. He started landscaping in 2005, and in 2012 D. Johndrow Landscaping and Gleason Landscaping joined forces to take their lawn-care and snow capabilities to the next level. Also, 2014 saw the start of Gleason Johndrow Rentals. Johndrow prides himself on supporting the community where he lives and works, through the Spirit of Springfield, local school improvements, and community athletics. When he is not managing properties or running the day-to-day operations of the landscaping business, he spends his time chasing his two young daughters and sharing his love of skiing, golf, and lacrosse with them.

What did you want to be when you grew up? An entrepreneur.

What three words best describe you? Patient, level-headed, humble (or, in other words, cool, calm, and collected).

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? We see all four seasons.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? To better both Gleason Johndrow Landscaping and Gleason Johndrow Rentals any way I can each day.

What actor would play you in a movie about your life? Matthew McConaughey, because my wife really loves him.

What are you passionate about? Providing the best life for my family and those I care about, while doing right by my employees and tenants.

What goals have you set for yourself? To keep reaching further. Whenever I hit a milestone, I reach for the next bigger move.

Whom do you look up to, and why? My mother. She’s the rock of our family and always my voice of reason. She keeps me humble.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? I’m not sure what they would say, but they know well enough I’ll be late for it.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? Marcus Lemonis (The Profit), because he provides incredible insight on being successful in the business world.


Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Youth Counselor and Operations Coordinator, CareerPoint; Age 25; Education: BSW, Westfield State University

Saul Caban

Saul Caban

Caban grew up in a tough section of Holyoke, and early on knew he wanted to be a role model for at-risk youth and others like himself. He is passionate about service and excited to be back working in the Youth Department at CareerPoint, where he continues to deliver intensive counseling to young people in his community, helping them gain awareness of their skills and interests and guiding them on a path to success in the workforce and beyond. The second youngest of six siblings in a first-generation family, Caban was the first to graduate high school, the first to graduate from college, and the first to be admitted to graduate school. He is now working on the completion of an MPA in nonprofit management at Westfield State University.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer, but now I’m still working on my plan to pursue a leadership career in higher education and/or workforce development.

How do you define success? To me, success is when I am performing well and satisfied with my position. It is knowing that my work and efforts are adding value to my company, but also to my overall life and the lives of other people.

What three words best describe you? Outgoing, witty, efficient.

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? I love the people.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? I’ve had several amazing mentors come into my life, including my current supervisor, Gladys Lebron-Martinez (pictured); Steve Leiblum, former director of the NEARI Jump Start after-school program; and Holyoke legend Steve Dubilo, who left his legacy behind, and I’m proud to have been his ‘son’ for many years before his death. These three have introduced me to amazing people and the resources that I need to be successful in an ever-evolving world.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? To bring out the best in someone, so that they, in turn, bring out the best in the next person.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? Saul brought a lot of energy and positive spirit, and he could always be counted on.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? My mom. Because I don’t get to see her as much as I want to.

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Marketing Director, Peter Pan Bus Lines; Age 37; Education: Holyoke Community College

Danielle Veronesi-Polastry

Danielle Veronesi-Polastry

While in college, Veronesi-Polastry began her marketing career at iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), as a on-air radio producer and personality with MIX 93.1. She then became director of Marketing and remained with iHeartMedia for 15 years. In 2015, she joined Peter Pan Bus Lines as director of Marketing, promoting motorcoach transportation throughout the company’s route system, encompassing Boston/Cape Cod, Providence, and intermediate cities and towns throughout the Northeast to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. She is married to Police Sergeant Adam Polastry and mother to an 8-year-old son, Chace.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Wonder Woman.

What three words best describe you? Motivated, reliable, team player.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Adam Wright of Advertus Media in Westfield. As a student, I was involved with group sales at Six Flags, and became acquainted with Adam, a major influence on my career in the marketing field. When he joined Clear Channel, I moved to that company to pursue marketing in mass media under his guidance. When the opportunity arose to join Peter Pan Bus Lines as its director of Marketing, Adam encouraged me to apply for that position, and continues to mentor me to this day.

What are you passionate about? My family, friends, and donating my time to the Jimmy Fund (I am the Western Mass. Council secretary).

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? Peter L. Picknelly. I would love to be able to hear his stories of Peter Pan firsthand, as well as share our marketing initiatives, all while celebrating our recent split from Greyhound Bus. Peter Pan recently opened a ticket counter at the New York City Port Authority — the first time in 35 years Peter Pan was able to sell our own tickets in NYC! The stories are surely an adventure that he would have loved to hear about.


Photography by Leah Martin Photography

 

 

 

 

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Director of Marketing, MachineMetrics; Age 30; Education: BA, Wesleyan University

Graham Immerman

Graham Immerman

Immerman is an accomplished leader and experienced startup veteran with an integrated background in digital, social, traditional, and account-based marketing, growth strategies, and business development. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a double major in psychology and music, he spent his early career working on Madison Avenue at global and boutique marketing firms to help craft successful digital-marketing strategies for brands like Adidas, Reebok, H&R Block, and Starbucks. The youngest member of the Forbes Communications Council, Immerman is now director of Marketing for MachineMetrics, and has quickly become an industry expert in digital manufacturing transformation and industrial IoT applications. He currently lives in Northampton with his wife, Jessica Dupuis (a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2017), and their two loving, frisky cats.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? After I outgrew my first career aspiration of becoming the next Superman, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer like my father. He took great pride in helping people when they needed someone to stand up for them. In retrospect, I guess it was a logical next step from my initial superhero ambitions. He was not only my idol, but my inspiration, and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without his mentorship.

How do you define success? Success is a satisfaction with how one answers the following questions: how happy am I with the person I’ve become, the efforts I’ve shared with the world, and the impact I’ve had on others? Thus, success is peace of mind, a self-satisfaction in knowing that you did everything you could do to become the best person you are capable of becoming.

What four words best describe you? Persistent, honest, loving, leader.

What are you passionate about? I’m most passionate about people. More than anything else, I love human interaction, communication, and connection. From the profession I work in to the friends I keep to the technologies I’ve built, it all comes from a desire to bring people together and connect us in some way. It’s what drives me and what I’m most dedicated to.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? I’ve actually been waiting for someone to ask me this, and I prefer to approach it as my ideal tombstone quote instead. Option 1: “It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.” —Herman Hesse, Siddhartha. Option 2: “He left this world as he came into it: terrified that there wouldn’t be enough food.” —Me. I like Option 2.


Photography by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer, Greenfield Savings Bank; Age 37; Education: BA, Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst

Andrew Bresciano

Andrew Bresciano

Bresciano was born and raised in Greenfield. Growing up, he worked alongside his father in a family catering business. Being involved in the family business for more than 20 years instilled a strong work ethic and an understanding of the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community. In 2005, he joined Greenfield Savings Bank, and in 2013 was promoted to vice president of Commercial Lending. Bresciano currently serves as a director and officer of the Rotary Club of Franklin County, the Franklin County Community Development Corp., and Greenfield YMCA. He lives in Turners Falls with his wife and two children.

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? The fact that we are home to so many small businesses owned by individuals who have unrivaled passion for what they do. Also, the fact that this community has the ability to support so many nonprofit organizations seeking to make an impact in the lives of our community members.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? My mother, who taught me how to be a compassionate and caring individual, and my father, who taught me that hard work is rewarding and worth every minute.

What are you passionate about? Continuing to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

What goals have you set for yourself? Instilling strong values in my children and teaching them the importance of giving back to their community, wherever they live.

Whom do you look up to, and why? My wife, Kathy. She is a smart, strong, and loving person who has extraordinary passion for our family. Kathy is always eager to support me, even in times when I knowingly take on too much. Without her, I would not be able to give the time and effort it takes to make a difference in our community.

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Partner, Cofab Design and Brick Coworkshop; Age 27; Education: BS, Boston University

Mike Stone

Mike Stone

Stone is a mechanical engineer and designer who’s into multi-disciplinary projects, moving parts, products, machines, prototypes, and hammer swinging. He’s a partner at Cofab Design, a product design and development studio, and a cofounder of Brick Coworkshop, a shared workspace, both located in Holyoke. He’s also part of the team at AF, a national pop-up event series.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A scientist — science rules. Biology and physics had my attention for a while. Unfortunately, that same attention span disposes me to detailed, focused research work, so I ended up in the design world.

How do you define success? I feel successful if I am always learning and reading, always supporting and listening to my collaborators and community, and continually working to realize or facilitate new and energizing projects.

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? I love the fact that our region is a crossroads of sorts. Being from the area, I’m excited to see positive energy and projects in many towns and cities. I think the relative size of the region lends itself to a higher likelihood that we can have conversations and initiatives that make this a better place to live for everyone — as well as a hub for art, design, entrepreneurship, and other pursuits.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? If I’m feeling ‘on’ for a given day, my goal is to get through a good swath of substantive to-do list items. If I’m feeling ‘off,’ my goal is to make it through to the next day.

What actor would play you in a movie about your life? Andy Samberg circa 2005.

What are you passionate about? I’m a chronic generalist (terminal generalist may be more appropriate), so I like to dabble with lots of things. I’m passionate about the design world (product, graphic, architecture, planning, etc.). I love to build things. I read fiction and nonfiction as constantly as I can and love print publications. I’ve been trying to play music more often lately, and have a long list of projects to complete and things to learn. Being involved with Brick has turned me on to the general process of community building, and I’m interested to learn and apply more in that discipline.

 

Photography  by Leah Martin Photography

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

CEO/Founder, Jeneyus; Age 29; Education: BS, Syracuse University

Rehan Hussain

Rehan Hussain

Hussain is the CEO and founder of Jeneyus, a software-development firm. When not hard at work, he devotes his free time to volunteering locally with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. He also enjoys challenging himself with new activities like acting, videography, working on new ventures, and coding new languages.

How do you define success? Success is subjective. To some it could be a monetary goal, while to others success could be as simple as having a family. For me, success is getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things, while genuinely not caring what people think if I fail. Persistence in the face of failure leads to learning, improving, and, ultimately, success.

What three words best describe you? Tall, dark, and a little bit handsome. Actually, I strive for ambitious, generous, and motivated.

What actor would play you in a movie about your life? Denzel Washington.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Without a doubt, my father. Talk about success — he came to America from a third-world country, with little to no money. He failed, was cheated in business, but never gave up. He worked non-stop to provide for his family, putting three kids through college, and buying a home in Longmeadow. To this day, my dad works 12-hour days, six days a week. I can only aspire to that level of work ethic and success.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I try to meditate for 10 minutes, work out, and practice yoga. Mindfulness is very important to me. I see myself as a work in progress.

What are you passionate about? Sports, videography, acting, technology, and movies.

Whom do you look up to? Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates.

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Director, Annual Giving & Grants, Cooley Dickinson Health Care; Age 33; Education: BS, Westfield State University; UMass Dartmouth

Nathan Bazinet

Nathan Bazinet

Bazinet’s background includes work in healthcare philanthropy, nonprofit management, and small-business operations. He is an active volunteer for the Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center, where he served as interim executive director for the 2017 season, before transitioning into president of the Forest Park Zoological Society, the zoo’s managing board. He also serves as president of his condo association. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with Orion and Aurora (the Zoo’s timber wolves), road trips, running, and Neil Diamond concerts.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to own Jurassic Park, be a government agent (James Bond), and have a side job as an architect. The first two are still life goals.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Diane Dukette has played the greatest role in helping to define and shape my career path. She is a patient teacher, a model for acting with integrity, and the definition of a strong support system — always reminding me to never change who I am, professionally or personally. Her support as a mentor, and the opportunity to work under her leadership at both Mercy Medical Center and Cooley Dickinson, has been critical to many of my career successes.

What are you passionate about? Giving back. The zoo is my current volunteer priority, and has been for several years. Having the chance to work with an amazing team and board to completely restructure and reinvigorate this Springfield icon was both challenging and incredibly fulfilling. Bonus: who wouldn’t love hanging out with timber wolves on the weekend?

Whom do you look up to, and why? My mom, for teaching me about life, and the importance of wearing sunglasses indoors; Christopher, for showing me safety, trust, and love (never give up); and my best friend, Peter. If I had to embarrass one of them with detail, it’s Peter. He’s a super-smart doctor, an author, and a world-renowned ethicist. More than that, as I’m an only child, he’s the closest I’ve had to a brother for longer than I can remember. Thanks for always having my back (and for putting up with my innumerable shenanigans).

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? Probably my mantra — “every day’s a great day!”

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Senior Marketing Associate, Firm Recruiter, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; Age 31; Education: BBA, Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst

John Veit

John Veit

Veit is a marketing and recruiting professional with Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. He has served as a thought leader in the Pioneer Valley and beyond, facilitating events and roundtables on marketing and recruiting topics at venues such as the Employer’s Assoc. of the NorthEast Finance Roundtable, the Pioneer Valley Family Business Center, and the national conference for the Assoc. of Accounting Marketing. In addition, he has authored content for BusinessWest and HCN. Veit is also an auxiliary police officer, a working musician, a martial-arts practitioner, and serves as a Jimmy Fund Rally Against Cancer team captain.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A police officer or a rock star.

What three words best describe you? Persistent, creative, passionate.

What do you like most about Western Massachusetts? The diverse mix of people, entertainment, history, education, and the availability and accessibility of nature and hiking.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? My grandmother. Her life story is one of the most heartbreaking and challenging you will ever hear, but through pure willpower and determination, she has led a humble life of success, service, and commitment to her family and community. She has always been an inspiration to me, and always knows how to give a life lesson without preaching.

What actor would play you in a movie about your life? Paul Rudd.

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? I love the fated noble hero archetype. I think people relate to this type of character because, at the end of the day, a call to service resonates with most, if not all of us. Having that manifest and distilled into a character with a single purpose provides a sense of clarity that is much harder to find in real life.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? Martin Luther King Jr. and the Founding Fathers. With the advent of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, I feel as though meaningful conversation between diverse groups devolves too often into stereotyping, judgment, and finger pointing. I would love to speak with the minds who created and shaped our country, as they all had a way of creating conversation and meaningful discourse, focusing not on who is right, but what is right. I would love to know how they might approach today’s issues and encourage people to speak with one another, rather than at one another.


Photography by Leah Martin Photography

 

 

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Instructional Leadership Specialist, Springfield Public Schools; Age 34; Education: BS, Wheelock College; MA, Harvard University; Simmons College (CAGS); UMass Amherst

Howard is dedicated to increasing access to education and the arts. Locally, she builds literacy in Springfield Public Schools and volunteers with foundations to provide Springfield children with access to books. In 2018, she was awarded the Pioneer Valley Teacher of Excellence Award for her work in literacy education. She is president of the board of Hilltown Families, a community-based education network, and on the boar

Chrissy Howard

Chrissy Howard

d of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts. She mentors young women earning their highest award in Girl Scouts. She is also the co-founder of the new, hyper-local Young Patrons groups with the Springfield Museums and Springfield Symphony, and is currently fundraising for the new East Forest Park Library branch. Howard, who is currently pursuing her PhD at UMass Amherst, lives in Springfield with her husband, Geoff, her two daughters, Cadence and Danica, and their dog, Birdie.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? From a young age, my mother developed my drive and put the wind in my sails. She always pushed me to work hard and be my best. Every time I felt like giving up, she reminded me about commitment. When I needed a fan or cheerleader, she was always there for me. She taught me determination.

My husband, Geoff, is my compass. When I feel myself drifting about my many projects and committees, he pulls me back in the direction we set for ourselves. I have learned to say “no” and stay focused on a few priorities. It was so important to have someone to say, “why are you doing this? What makes this important to you?” before making a time and energy commitment. I could honestly say “yes” to everything without this guidance in mind.

My two girls are my anchors. Every day, my daughter comes up with some new and curious wondering of the world. She makes me stop and think about everyday occurrences with a new, grounded perspective. My new baby girl reminds me how important each individual moment is. They are both growing so quickly, I have to remember to stop, take a breath, and live in the current moment.

My best friend, Meg, has been my first mate since we met! She is incredibly intelligent and able to offer keen insight to current issues and help strategically plan for our next endeavors.

Without these people in my life, I could never have the perfect balance of my work, volunteering, and family that I currently enjoy.


Photography by Leah Martin Photography