Home Archive by category Daily News

Daily News

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Eric Lesser introduced a bill Friday that will reinvest the incentive funds returned to the state from General Electric into the state’s vocational schools, following the company’s announcement Thursday that it will be reducing its footprint in Boston.

General Electric said Thursday that it plans to sell the property of its planned headquarters in Boston and reimburse the state for $87 million in incentives the company received to move its headquarters to the city. Instead of building a new office tower, the company will move its new headquarters into two brick buildings on the same site that are currently being renovated.

The company also expects to hire only 250 workers at its reduced headquarters, down from the 800 it had originally promised in order to receive the incentives to move to Boston.

Lesser’s bill, which has yet to be given a docket number, is titled “An Act to invest more in middle class jobs and less in the relocation of out-of-state corporations.”

The bill directs any grants of more than $20 million that have been issued to municipalities or other public agencies to incentivize corporations to relocate to Massachusetts — but have since been rescinded — toward vocational schools and school districts that include one or more vocational schools.

The grants will be used to fund the design, construction and renovation of vocational-technical education programs, as well as equipment purchases and installation that will enable the schools to expand capacity and reduce student waitlists.

“Let’s do what it actually takes to create middle class jobs,” Lesser said. “We have long waiting lists at our vocational schools across the Commonwealth to train young people in high-need fields like advanced manufacturing, 3-D printing and building trades. We have thousands of available positions in high-paying fields in every corner of our state that are going unfilled because of the backlog at our career and technical training centers. Instead of giving massive tax breaks and incentives to corporations, which will likely park those payments on Wall Street, let’s invest that money in our local workforce and support the families and businesses that are already here and are looking for work.”

The Boston property that would have been GE’s new 12-story office tower on Boston’s waterfront is partly owned by MassDevelopment, the quasi-public development agency which had purchased the two brick buildings there, and invested in construction and financing to prepare the property.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The city of Springfield and the Springfield Regional Chamber will co-host “The New Wave,” on March 19, at 4 p.m. at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature an overview of the new wave of economic development, including updates on projects in progress, and an introduction to upcoming initiatives in Springfield.

A reception with light fare and a cash bar at 5 p.m., following the presentation.

The presentation will be led by the city’s chief development officer, Kevin Kennedy.

“We hope this gives an opportunity for the business community to engage with both the city and the chamber on the immense activity in Springfield,” said Kennedy. “Now is the time to invest in Springfield and become part of this positive wave of development.”

The Springfield Regional Chamber is serving as sponsor and co-host of the event. The chamber’s core mission has remained constant in its history — to promote, support and enhance the economic health of the business community and the region.

Admission to the event is complimentary, but reservations are required. Reservations may be made at springfieldregionalchamber.com or by emailing [email protected].

Daily News

SAN DIEGOThe National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) recently recognized GreatHorse, the golf and lifestyle club in Hampden, as Regional Golf Course of the Year for the Northeast Region.

“NGCOA is pleased to announce GreatHorse among our many worthy winners of the association’s annual awards,” said Jay Karen, NGCOA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Each year, the NGCOA recognizes the most outstanding members of the past year, and the individuals and organizations that have helped preserve the tradition of the game while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the golf business.”

The award recognizes those courses that epitomize exceptional course quality and management excellence, make important contributions to their communities and the game, and serve as models of operations to their peers. The award was presented at Golf Business Conference 2019’s Celebration & Awards Dinner in the Grand Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

“We’re honored to receive such a prestigious award from the NGCOA,” said Guy Antonacci, Owner of GreatHorse. “This national recognition is a testament to how far we have come in the four short years since we opened our doors, and we are excited to continue our growth in the years ahead.”

Daily News

AMHERST — A UMass Amherst economic impact study released today estimates that the two-day Great New England Air Show (GNEAS) held at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee in July 2018 generated $4.3 million in direct and induced local spending.

The findings confirm increased per-group spending and their impacts on the local economy even though attendance was significantly down; 2018 attendance was estimated to be around 63,475, down from the 375,500 estimated in 2015.

The study was undertaken to understand the economic impact and to benchmark the findings of the 2008 and 2015 air shows for the Galaxy Community Council, a charitable corporation of veterans, local business people and other citizens who work to support the Westover base.

The project was completed by the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. 

The overall economic significance including respondents’ expenditures both within and outside the region of the air show for 2018 was estimated to be $4.02 million. However, when local attendees were removed, the direct economic expenditures from non-locals was estimated to be $2.67 million and the direct and induced sales multiplier impact overall was estimated to be $4.3 million. This compares to an economic significance in 2015 that was $11.6 million and the local direct economic impact (including the sales multiplier) of $14.9 million. In 2008, economic significance was $8.2 million and the direct economic impact of $12.3 million. 

The 2018 measures included 10 major spending categories with the overall average group expenditure of $193.33 or $62.16 per individual with an average group size of 3.11 individuals. These measures are up considerably from 2015, although the sample for 2018 was much smaller (281 groups in 2018 compared to 522 groups interviewed in 2015). In 2015, the overall group expenditures were $104.56 or $30.05 per person and up from $98 per group or $26 per person in 2008. Locals’ expenditures per group (average group size of 3.36) in 2018 were estimated to be $112.38 per group or $33.45 per person while non-locals’ expenditures (average group size 3.01) were estimated to be $226.34 per group or $75.20 per person. Locals’ expenditures per group in 2015 (average group size of 3.32) were estimated to be $74.19 per group or $22.35 per person while non-locals’ expenditures (average group size 3.52) were estimated to be $118.77 per group or $33.71 per person. 

The distribution of attendees between locals and non-locals remained about the same from 2015 to 2018. In 2018, locals were estimated to account for 30.2% of all attendees and non-locals 69.8%, and compared to the distribution in 2015 where locals were estimated to account for 29.9% of attendees and non-locals totaled 70.1% of attendees.

Overall satisfaction with the event has improved since the 2008 event, although down slightly from 2015 to 2018. In 2018, the overall satisfaction was 80.1% of the attendees indicated they were either satisfied or very satisfied and compared to GNEAS 2015 survey at 84%. Of the attendees polled, 81.1% indicated a high level of certainty to return to an air show in two years, down slightly from 86% of attendees in 2015. Improvements in traffic management and comments of the wide array of static group displays were noted as important features for the attendees. Security clearance, lack of variety in aerial jets, lack of modern jets and aerial performances, and vendor pricing continue to be an on-going concern and challenges for the event.

This year’s study also examined in more detail why those who expressed interest in the event, but did not attend. The survey captured 578 groups of the non-attendees who completed detailed information about why they did not attend. Of these individual responding groups, the average distance one-way from Westover was 111.69 miles and 81.1% of these groups were non-locals. Seventy-one percent were married and the average age was 51. These individuals were also profiled to understand how they may have been a “missed economic impact opportunity” for the promoters of the event to consider in the future.

A team of faculty members and graduate students conducted the study using data collected through an online survey sent to a random sample of registered event attendees. The sample consisted of approximately 1,928 responses of which 281 responding groups were assigned to the economic impact assessment study. In addition, 628 responding groups (32.6 percent) did not attend the show for various reasons and their reasons and profiles were also documented.

The Hospitality and Tourism Management Department is an accredited program housed in the Isenberg School of Management with an enrollment of approximately 541 undergraduates and 12 graduate doctoral students. Students in the graduate program may complete a Ph.D. in Management in the ISOM School with a hospitality concentration

Daily News

HARTFORD — United Bank, headquartered in Hartford, today announced that Greenwich Associates, the leading global provider of data, analytics and insights to the financial services industry, honored United with its 2018 Greenwich Excellence Awards for Middle Market Banking and Small Business Banking.

Specifically, United Bank earned the 2018 Greenwich Excellence Awards for “Overall Satisfaction” in Middle Market Banking and “Overall Satisfaction” and “Branch Satisfaction” in Small Business Banking. Greenwich Associates, after evaluating more than 600 banks, determined that United Bank was among a select number of banks performing at a differentiated level relative to its peers.

To qualify for consideration for these prestigious national awards, each winning bank had to have a minimum of 50 clients that responded to the survey.

In addition, the Small Business Banking accolade was based on more than14,400 interviews with businesses with sales of $1 million to $10 million across the country. For Middle Market Banking, the ranking was derived from more than 14,400 interviews with businesses with sales of $10 million to $500 million across the country.

“Customer service, competitive products and services and our relationship bankers are cornerstones of our bank’s success. So anytime we earn a designation of this importance, it’s a true testament to our hard-working employees and our laser-focus on taking care of our customers’ personal and business banking needs,” said William H.W. Crawford IV, CEO and president of United Bank. 



Daily News

In the wake of momentous, and almost simultaneous, decisions by Amazon and GE to essentially back out of huge deals they had struck with New York and Boston, respectively, there came waves of commentary hinting that the era of huge corporate location, or re-location, subsidies might finally be coming to an end because evidence was mounting that they’re just not working.


Alas, this is probably, if not almost certainly, wishful thinking. Instead of ushering in an end to this habit of cities, states, and regions handing out billions to billionaires on the promise that they will bring tens of thousands of jobs, the events in Boston, and especially New York, only demonstrate why they won’t be ending anytime soon.

Indeed, while many are praising New Yorkers for standing up to Amazon and saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to these corporate handouts ($3 billion in this case), many, many more are lamenting a lost opportunity, criticizing the critics for letting a very big fish work its way off the line. And for the record, New York didn’t really stand up to Amazon. Instead, the corporate giant simply decided it didn’t want to take the heat and the criticism and would much rather go where it was not just welcome, but entirely and unabashedly welcome.

And why not? Seemingly within minutes after it was announced that Amazon would not be building in Queens, elected officials in New Jersey, who finished out of the running in the huge sweepstakes to land Amazon’s second headquarters, said, in essence, ‘our offer is still on the table; take another look at us.’ Please. Please!

No, New York’s loss wasn’t in any way a victory for anyone. It didn’t change the equation, and New York is out roughly 25,000 jobs. Amazon just changed the rules slightly but importantly by saying, ‘give us a huge re-location subsidy and don’t criticize us in any way about taking it.’

And the reality is that it’s on seemingly very safe ground as it says that.

Why? Because as we’ve said many times, jobs are now — and will continue to be for decades to come — the most precious commodity on the planet, and cities and states will do whatever it takes to land them.

Even cities like New York and Boston, which shouldn’t have to compete for them. Indeed, in a perfect world, giant corporations should be paying huge subsidies to come to those cities, which have the skilled workers and the vitality and quality of life to attract more of them. They should be paying subsidies to help those cities battle homelessness, feed the poor, and help the have nots join the haves.

But this isn’t a perfect world. When Seattle’s City Council passed a tax on large employers to fund an initiative to combat homelessness, Amazon threatened to stop major expansion plans, putting 7,000 jobs at risk. Not surprisingly, the tax was rescinded.

Not surprisingly, because City Councils don’t hold the real power in such matters; major corporations like Amazon do.

In the wake of the company’s decision to scuttle its plans for Queens, many are calling what happened a victory for New York and other cities like it. Call us skeptical, but we’re not sure what, if anything, was won unless cities and states are willing to stop playing this game. And we just don’t see that happening.

Daily News

AGAWAM — The Employers Association of the NorthEast (EANE) will stage its Annual Leadership Conference on April 4 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place with a focus on measuring success as you motivate and inspire your team to improve performance.

“Great leadership is genuine. It’s developed through perseverance and learning from experience, all while boosting those around you to new heights.”, says Meredith Wise, President of the Employers Association of the NorthEast.  “In a time which we know that employees won’t stay with weak leaders, it’s more critical than ever to make sure that managers and supervisors know how to lead.”

The program will feature Jim McPartlin, vice president of Leadership Development for Forbes Travel Guide. McPartlin’s keynote will challenge attendees to bring integrity to their leadership responsibilities, even when times get tough.

He has held several leadership positions in the hospitality industry with companies such as W Hotels Worldwide, Walt Disney Company and Lowes Hotels & Resorts. McPartlin has more than 20 years of experience as a certified teacher in the Enneagram, which is a powerful gateway to self-awareness and understanding of others.

A second keynote will be presented by Tim Hebert, a perennial entrepreneur, innovator, author, speaker, and adventurer. Hebert will ignite the leadership spark in attendees in a keynote focused on the choices of leadership and techniques to help live your life by design, not by default.

Between keynote presentations the Leadership Conference attendees will have access to dozens of breakout session topics ranging from performance management, to diversity and inclusion, to perfecting “C-Suite speak,” and more.

The cost for the program is $360 per person with discounts for three or more. Register at www.EANE.org/leadership-2019 or via phone at (877) 662-6444. The program will offer 5.75 credits by the HR Certification Institute and SHRM. Sponsoring the program are the HR Certification Institute and Constellation.                                .


Daily News

SPRINGFIELDWestern New England University’s Center for International Sport Business (CISB) will host a talk by former Madison Square Garden Company executive Bob Lynn on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Sleith Hall, Wood Auditorium. Lynn will speak on sport and corporate finance as part of the Center’s “For the Love of the Games” speaker series. The event is free and open to the public. 

Lynn has a long and distinguished career managing the financial affairs of iconic brands, including Andersen Consulting, PepsiCo, Merrill Lynch, and International Paper. At Western New England, he will address his work as senior vice president and treasurer of The Madison Square Garden Company, the parent of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty, and the famed arena the teams call home. 

Established in 2007, the CISB is a forum for the study of the business of sport with an international focus. In addition to bringing to campus more than 40 influential personalities from sport and business, the Center organizes a summer Seminar Abroad Program that has led six student trips to three Olympic Games and three FIFA World Cups.

This event, part of the “For the Love of the Games” speaker series, is hosted by the Center for International Sport Business and sponsored by the Western New England University Alumni Association. For more information, contact CISB Director, Curt Hamakawa at (413) 782-1786 or [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Join historian and author Dan Bullen for his presentation, “Captain Daniel Shays & America’s First Nonviolent Protest” at the Springfield Armory Museum on March 9 at 2 p.m.

The program will take place in the museum theater. Admission is free. Reservations are required due to limited seating.

On Jan. 25, 1787, Daniel Shays marched 1,200 farmers and veterans to Springfield to seize the federal arsenal’s stockpiles of weapons, to keep them from falling into the hands of the Governor’s army, which was coming to impose martial law in the Connecticut River Valley.  

For five months, Shays and the farmers of Massachusetts had peacefully protested the state’s economic policies, which explicitly favored the merchant elites, but the governor and other leaders saw the people’s opposition as a threat to the state’s authority. Bullen writes that he found this story deeply engaging “not just as a local history, but as an ongoing story of Americans banding together to protect the liberties they’d won in the Revolution.”

On March 9 Bullen will tell the story of the economic, social, and political factors that brought thousands of men in arms to Springfield in 1787, and ultimately led to reforms in Massachusetts and then to the drafting of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site it is the location of the nation’s first armory (1794 – 1968) and was established by George Washington. The site includes historic grounds, buildings, and the world’s largest historic American military firearms collection. For further information call (413) 734-8551, or visit  www.nps.gov/spar.

Daily News

WESTBOROUGH — Columbia Gas of Massachusetts today announced that Mark Kempic will assume the role of president and chief operating officer, effective May 1.

“Mark will continue to focus on working with our customers, state and local leaders, and community stakeholders as he leads our gas business in Massachusetts,” said Pablo Vegas, executive vice president and president, gas utilities at NiSource, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ parent company. “This includes the next phase of the recovery effort in the Greater Lawrence area and continuing to meet our customer and community needs across the state.”

Steve Bryant, who has been serving as president of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, announced his retirement, effective May 1.

Vegas went on to say, “Steve dedicated his career to the important work of providing gas service to his home state of Massachusetts. We thank Steve for his many years of service and wish him all the best in retirement.”

Since January 2019, Kempic has served as chief operating officer for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. From September 2018 to January 2019 he was a key part of the leadership team for the Greater Lawrence area restoration efforts.

He has more than 35 years of experience in the energy industry and has served in a broad range of functions, including information technology, engineering, gas supply, corporate planning and regulatory policy.

Most recently he served as NiSource Chief Transformation Officer (CTO), responsible for enhancing NiSource’s efforts to integrate processes and technology across the company’s seven-state footprint. He also previously served as president of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Columbia Gas of Maryland, responsible for ensuring safe, reliable, high-quality service to customers and delivering value for stakeholders through our programs.

He holds a law degree from Capital University School of Law, a bachelor’s degree in computer and information science from the University of Pittsburgh and an associate’s degree in solar heating and cooling engineering from Pennsylvania State University.