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HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank will present $75,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley at its annual Business Leaders Reception on Thursday, Jan. 30 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Cubit Coworks, 164 Race St., Holyoke.

Girls Inc. of the Valley is in the early stages of a $5 million comprehensive campaign with three primary goals: to build a permanent home in downtown Holyoke; expand school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and extend the Eureka! STEM education program.

As a result of the campaign, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls each year with intensive, research-based programming designed to empower girls and provide opportunities to succeed in school and beyond. This partnership will help Girls Inc. of the Valley to expand its program offerings and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve, and contributes to the bank’s goals of community vibrancy and academic excellence.

PeoplesBank President and CEO Tom Senecal will be in attendance at Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual Business Leaders Reception to present the comprehensive campaign gift in the form of a large check.

“We have chosen to support Girls Inc. of the Valley with this sizable grant because they consistently demonstrate the actual outcomes of their programs, and because they have shown such a strong and unwavering commitment to the communities they serve,” he said. “The future of our region depends upon an active and engaged workforce, and Girls Inc. of the Valley is helping to prepare many of these future leaders. We applaud their efforts and encourage others in the business community to join us in building up and developing these exceptional girls.”

The need for qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals in the workforce continues to grow, and women — particularly women of color — continue to be underrepresented in these fields. Girls Inc. of the Valley programs like Eureka! expose girls to the STEM fields and support them with mentors and guidance, specialized curricula, internships, and other hands-on opportunities to nurture their curiosity and interests. The “Her Future, Our Future” comprehensive campaign is designed to significantly move the needle on breaking the cycle of poverty and providing tangible opportunities for Pioneer Valley girls to achieve academic and personal success.

“PeoplesBank has been investing in the Girls Inc. of the Valley Experience for years, long before I became the executive director,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “They are a company that truly walks the talk when it comes to community care and involvement. The banks employees have volunteered for events and hosted girls on field trips, and bank leaders have lent their expertise as board and committee members. Most recently, the bank has wowed us with this $75,000 commitment for ‘Her Future, Our Future.’ We are so thankful for PeoplesBank’s loyal support.”

Daily News

MONSON — The 2020 Monson Savings Bank scholarship application is now available to graduating high-school seniors residing in Hampden and Wilbraham. Applications are available at 15 Somers Road, Hampden, and 100 Post Office Park, Wilbraham.

The purpose of the Monson Savings Bank scholarship is to promote the attainment of higher education for graduating seniors who reside within the bank’s footprint. Three $2,000 scholarships will awarded to graduating seniors who reside in Hampden or Wilbraham.

Graduating seniors must be planning to attend an accredited college, technical school, or certification program. Scholarship awards will be based on the applicant’s financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities during and after school, work experience, and music, arts, and sports programs.

A candidate for this scholarship should also demonstrate a commitment to his or her community, and include an essay outlining that service and its impact.

The deadline for application acceptance is April 6. The completed application and required supporting documents will be accepted by mail or electronically. Any questions should be directed to Donna Easton-Vicalvi at (413) 725-4560 or [email protected].

Daily News

EASTHAMPTON — Five Hampshire County residents have joined the board of the Treehouse Foundation, the nonprofit that supports children and youth who have experienced foster care, their foster adoptive families, and older adults who live at the intergenerational Treehouse Community.

The Treehouse Foundation, celebrating 14 years of breaking ground on its planned neighborhood in Easthampton, announced that Dr. Estevan Garcia, who joined the board last year, will serve as board president. He is an adoptive foster parent with experience in the New York and Washington child-welfare systems. Additionally, four of his own siblings were adopted, three from the foster care system.

“I’m especially inspired by the intergenerational approach to raising a family,” he said. “Children in foster care are at significant risk at underachieving, as I’ve seen in my own family. The supportive environment at Treehouse is so important to both groups.”

Pete Crisafulli, a Realtor with Taylor Realty, also joins the board. Prior to joining the real-estate firm, he spent many years working to protect children. He was the Western Mass. director of MSPCC KidsNet and later worked in the Frontier Regional School district, becoming the assistant principal of Deerfield Elementary School and later the principal at Whately Elementary School for nine years.

“I’m honored to serve on the board of Treehouse because it will allow me to join a group of like-minded advocates,” he noted.

Since 2006, Treehouse Easthampton has been home to more than 100 community members, ranging in age from newborns to age 92. This neighborhood, where families adopting children from foster care live next door to seniors, is a hub of foster care, adoption, housing, and aging innovation for the region and the nation. In addition to serving children, youth, families, and elders throughout the region, Treehouse is replicating its affordable, intentional neighboring model in MetroWest Boston and Northern California. Treehouse was named nonprofit of the year last year by the Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, and has won numerous national awards.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College is running a two-day program next month designed to teach children how to protect themselves from violence and harm in their daily lives.

The two-session program, called radKIDS, is for children 6 to 12 years old and will run over two consecutive Saturdays, Feb. 15 and Feb. 22, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at HCC’s Bartley Center for Athletics and Recreation.

The sessions will be led by Kellie Cournoyer-Cronk and Maggie Brown, two area law-enforcement veterans and trainers certified by the radKIDS national nonprofit network.

According to its website, radKIDS is a “fun, activity-based program” whose curriculum includes home, school, and vehicle safety; bullying prevention; abduction defense; and personal space/personal touch safety with a goal of “replacing fear with knowledge, skills, and power by enhancing a child’s critical-thinking abilities and physical-resistance skills.”

The $75 program fee includes snacks, water, and a T-shirt. To register, visit hcc.edu/bce and search for ‘radKIDS’ or call HCC Community Services at (413) 552-2123.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Sue Drumm was installed as the 2020 president of the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley (RAPV), a nonprofit trade association with more than 1,800 members. More than 140 people were in attendance at the 105th annual installation of officers and directors held on Jan. 9 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.

Drumm is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Longmeadow. She has been active in real estate since 2009 and has served on the RAPV board of directors since 2013. She is involved in several committees at the association, including the community service, education fair and expo, finance, government affairs, and member engagement committees.

In addition to the president, the 2020 RAPV officers installed include Elias Acuña as president-elect, Shawn Bowman as treasurer, Cheryl Malandrinos as secretary, and Kelly Page as immediate past president. Directors include Arlene Castellano, Luci Giguere, Lori Grant, Sharyn Jones, Peter Davies, Janise Fitzpatrick, Sara Gasparrini, Cheryl Malandrinos, and Clinton Stone.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Interested in working as a legal interpreter? Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer training beginning Feb. 25.

The course runs through April, with classes meeting Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Offered as a certificate program through the Workforce Development Center at STCC, this class is open to Spanish-, Portuguese-, Arabic-, and Russian-speaking students who would like to expand their interpreting skills in legal settings. Interpreting is a high-demand field, with jobs expected to grow by 19% through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the U.S. will drive growth, the bureau reports.

The course will cover the most in-demand types of hearings, such as due-process hearings, unemployment hearings, and depositions. Students will learn legal terminology and procedural protocols needed to interpret for these various types of hearings.

In addition, students will have the opportunity for intense practice through mock hearings, which will give them the experience and comfort level needed to apply for work in the field. Trained legal interpreters are in demand throughout Massachusetts and nationwide in law offices, schools, state agencies, and contracting agencies.

For more information and to enroll online, visit stcc.edu/wdc/descriptions/legal-interpreting. To contact the Workforce Development Center office, call (413) 755-4225.

Daily News

EAST WINDSOR, Conn. — The Collins Companies, one of the largest industrial distributors of pipe, valves, fittings, and engineered specialties serving the Northeast, announced a change in executive management roles effective Jan. 1. Brian Tuohey, owner and president of Collins, will be assuming the role of CEO and has promoted Vice President of Sales Paul Andruszkiewicz to president.

“My decision was prompted by how quickly things are changing today, in both our world and our industry. It has become clear to me that we have to be aggressively embracing and pursuing the changes that are occurring every day in our industry while still running a highly successful day-to-day business,” Tuohey said. “Paul has over 30 years of service with Collins and truly understands what it takes to run a successful business day in and day out. This will free me up to be able to think big and pursue larger initiatives that will propel our business into the next decade.”

Added Andruszkiewicz, “I am honored to be trusted with the role as president and look forward to the challenges ahead. We have always been lucky to have high employee retention, which only means that I have an amazingly talented team of professionals to help me.”

In addition to these changes, Dave Shepard, branch manager of the Haverhill sales office, will lead the Collins sales team as director of Sales. He has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, first purchasing for Atwood and Morrill and then in sales for Power House Supply before Collins acquired Power House in 2015.

Headquartered in East Windsor, Conn., the Collins Companies is comprised of Collins Pipe & Supply Co., Collins Controls, Niagara Controls, Collins Niagara, Power House Supply Co., and International Valve and Instrument, with nine locations throughout New England and Upstate New York.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELDBusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 14.

Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be detailed in nature, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed online at businesswest.com/40-under-forty-nomination-form.

Nominations will be weighed by a panel of judges. The selected individuals will be profiled in the April 27 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The event’s presenting sponsor is PeoplesBank, WWLP-22News is the media sponsor, and the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield is a partner. Other sponsorship opportunities are available.

Daily News

Mike Mathis, the individual who guided MGM Springfield through the permitting and construction phases and then the first 17 months of operation, is out at the South End resort casino. MGM has chosen to go in another direction, leadership-wise, and probably also with regard to how the casino operates.

Mathis’s ouster was announced Tuesday, and it was immediately linked to December’s record-low monthly performance for the Springfield casino when it comes to gross gaming revenues — under $19 million. That same month, Encore Boston had its best month since it opened last summer (with $54 million), and the juxtaposition of the numbers is telling.

What they show, at least from a gaming revenues standpoint, is that MGM is not attracting enough gamblers — it’s not bringing enough people to its doors. Chris Kelley, who ran MGM’s operation in Northfield Park in Ohio and took over in Springfield on Tuesday, will be charged with changing that equation. Mathis will assume a new role as senior vice president of Business Development at MGM, working on various company initiatives.

“We are excited to have Chris lead the MGM Springfield team,” said Jorge Perez, regional portfolio president of MGM Resorts International. “Chris’ experience in Ohio, rebranding and integrating a property and introducing MGM to the community, will be an asset for Springfield as we continue to work closely with the community and strive to not only be a world-class entertainment destination but also a good corporate neighbor.”

That won’t be an easy assignment. Indeed, while MGM Springfield has succeeded in bringing jobs, additional vibrancy, and opportunities for a number of small businesses, it hasn’t really succeeded in its primary mission — bringing people to Springfield.

This has been clear since the day it opened in August 2018, when visitation was well below what was expected. For roughly a year, Mathis repeatedly used the phrase ‘ramping up’ to describe what was happening, with the expectation — based on previous experience at other casinos — that the numbers would improve.

There have been some good months since, but the numbers haven’t improved significantly, if at all. And now that Encore Boston seems to be hitting its stride, it will that much more difficult to improve those gaming revenues.

From the start, the question has always been ‘will people come to Springfield?’ But there have been variations on that query, including ‘will people come to Springfield now that Encore Boston is open?’ and ‘will people come to Springfield instead of Boston, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and all the other places where there’s casino gambling?’

Roughly 17 months after the casino opened, the answer to the question is the proverbial ‘yes, but…’ And the ‘but’ is followed by ‘not enough of them.’

It’s clear that MGM will have to create more draws — like the highly successful Red Sox weekend that brought an estimated 10,000 people to Main Street — to bring individuals and groups to the City of Homes.

In short, people need more reasons to come to the Springfield casino, and it will be Chris Kelley’s assignment to create them.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Whittlesey announced the promotions of Tom Dowling and Chris Nadeau to director.

Dowling joined the firm in 2017 and has more than 10 years of experience in assurance, tax, and advisory services. His primary focus is on assurance and advisory services for closely held businesses and nonprofit organizations. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s degree in taxation from Bentley University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA), as well as the Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Chris Nadeau joined the firm in 2015 and has more than 13 years of experience in public and private industry accounting. His primary focus is on business valuations for closely held businesses and professional service and medical practices. He is a member of the firm’s strategic leadership group. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in accounting, from Westfield State University and is a member of AICPA, MSCPA, and the Institute of Management Accountants. He is a certified valuation analyst, a credential issued by the National Assoc. for Certified Valuators and Analysts, as well as a certified management accountant and a certified information technology professional.