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Company Notebook

Company Notebook

Gaming at MGM Springfield Generates $9.45M in August
SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that MGM Springfield generated $9,456,976.90 in gross gaming revenue between Aug. 23 and Aug. 31, its first week of operation. Slot machines generated $7,347,491.15 in revenues, while table games generated $2,109,485.75. Of that, or $2,364,244.23, will go to the state in taxes. MGM Springfield is taxed by the state on 25% of its gross gaming revenue. Under its host-community agreement, MGM pays the city of Springfield $17.6 million annually in lieu of taxes.

USI Insurance Services Acquires Gaudreau Group
WILBRAHAM — USI Insurance Services (USI), a world leader in insurance brokerage and risk management, announced the acquisition of the Gaudreau Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 1921, the Gaudreau Group is a commercial-insurance, employee-benefits, personal-risk, and financial-services firm insuring more than 6,000 businesses and families across 14 states. Jules Gaudreau, company president, represents the third generation of the Gaudreau family to lead the company. He will join USI’s New England regional management team as president of the company’s Springfield office.

Baystate Wing Opens New Emergency Department
PALMER — On Sept. 18, Baystate Wing Hospital opened its new, $17.2 million Emergency Department to patients. The new facility includes separate ambulance and public entryways and features 20 patient rooms, including critical care, behavioral health, and other dedicated specialty-care areas. Private rooms have replaced curtained bays to enhance patient privacy, along with dedicated space for behavioral-health patients. The new 17,800-square-foot facility will include sophisticated medical technology, including CT scan and radiology (X-ray) services. The Baystate Wing Emergency Department campaign has raised over $2.9 million to date. The overall cost of building and equipping the new emergency department at Baystate Wing Hospital is $17.2 million, with Baystate Health committing funding through capital investment and bonds. 

Polish National Credit Union Wins CFS/SPF Impact Award
CHICOPEE — Polish National Credit Union (PCNU) was recently awarded the Bronze CFS/SPF 2017 Impact Award at annual conference of CUSO Financial Services, LP and Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC in San Diego. The conference is an opportunity for businesses to come together to share and discuss best practices as well as hear from industry experts. This award is given to a financial institution that demonstrates an excellent job of building awareness through branch marketing efforts. “As the investment industry becomes more competitive, financial institutions must be increasingly creative and resourceful when it comes to the promotion of their investment-services program,” said James Kelly, president and CEO of Polish National Credit Union. “Not only is our team receptive to our ideas, they are eager to participate and shed light on all the fantastic options there are for our members to reach their financial goals through PNCU Financial Services.”

Elms College Wins Grant for Project to Spark Girls’ Interest in STEM Fields
CHICOPEE — Elms College announced that its Computer Science department has been awarded more than $188,000 through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to fund a project designed to spark interest in computer science and related fields among middle-school girls in Holyoke. The project — which will include participants from UMass Amherst, Holyoke Codes, Girls Inc. of Holyoke, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke — will combine robotics, coding, and a simulated natural-disaster situation. The project, titled Girls Involved in Robotics Learning Simulations (GIRLS), was born after Beryl Hoffman, associate professor of Computer Science at Elms College, met Florence Sullivan, professor at UMass Amherst College of Education, at Holyoke Codes, an organization that provides opportunities for kids to get involved in coding, robotics, and technology. Hoffman and Sullivan aim to learn more about the role of immersive simulation scenarios in encouraging girls to take interest in and learn about computer science and robotics. In year one of the project, the team will finalize all materials and curricula, and test them in single-day workshops. In year two, the educational program will be implemented in partnership with Girls Inc. of Holyoke and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, with 40 to 60 female students expected to participate. In year three, the team will open the program to middle-school-aged boys, too, and analyze the outcomes of coed learning. As part of the grant project, Elms will offer three paid internships, one per year, to junior or senior computer science or CITS (computer information technology and security) majors.

Baystate Health, VertitechIT Partner to Launch baytechIT
HOLYOKE — Baystate Health and VertitechIT announced the formation of a new company to meet the increasingly complex IT needs of medical practices, clinics, and healthcare social-service organizations in the Western Mass. and Northern Conn. regions. BaytechIT is a first-of-its-kind independent joint venture, providing monitoring and management of information-technology networks, telephony, clinical engineering support, and other IT-related consulting and engineering expertise previously unaffordable to the local healthcare community. Already serving Baystate Health, its operating medical practices, and several large and mid-sized offices and clinics, baytechIT currently has 150 clients and manages/monitors more than 16,000 endpoint devices. BaytechIT will be headquartered in Holyoke with additional offices throughout Western Mass.

TWO Helps Enhance Skills of Medical Assistants
SPRINGFIELD — When Holyoke Medical Center and Western Mass Physician Associates (WMPA) needed help enhancing the skills of their medical assistants, they partnered with Training & Workforce Options (TWO), which developed a curriculum and taught a 10-week class to 15 medical assistants from WMPA. The training was designed to prepare the workers for a national credentialing exam. The TWO course at Holyoke Community College (HCC) was a hybrid of classroom work and online learning taught by a medical assistant. An additional 25 medical assistants from Holyoke Medical Center Specialty Practices enrolled in a second round of training. TWO, a collaboration between HCC and Springfield Technical Community College, is designed to deliver high-quality, custom training solutions to the business community to boost bottom-line performance and productivity. In addition to classroom learning, Holyoke Medical Center and Western Mass Physician Associates developed and staffed a full-scale skills day for all trainees. The session included 10 hands-on stations covering clinical and administrative tasks such as checking vital signs, administering injections and medication, taking EKG measurements, and other competency tests.

Tighe & Bond Climbs in National Ranking of Environmental Firms
WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond climbed six spots this year to 148th on Engineering News Record’s (ENR) 2018 Top 200 Environmental Firms ranking. ENR ranks its list of top 200 environmental firms nationally based on the percentage of their 2017 gross revenue from environmental services. Earlier this year, Tighe & Bond moved up 19 spots to 241st on ENR’s 2018 Top 500 Design Firms ranking, up 34 spots in the past two years. ENR ranks its list of top 500 design firms nationally based on design-specific revenue from the previous year.

Country Bank Sponsors Habitat for Humanity Build
WARE — Country Bank staff recently volunteered their time to assist the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity build a home for a local Springfield family. “Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity is blessed to have wonderful community partners like Country Bank who contribute the time, talent, and treasure needed to help families build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter,” said Jennifer Schimmel, executive director for Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity. Added Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations at Country Bank, “when asked to support such a meaningful cause, the staff at Country Bank was eager to help with this project. The staff was truly grateful to be a part of making the dream of home ownership a reality for Joseph and Lakery and their family.”

HMC Physician Affiliate Changes Name
HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Medical Center provider affiliate, Western Mass Physician Associates, announced it is changing the name to Holyoke Medical Group as of Oct. 1. Four years after launching a new organization-wide logo and rebranding campaign, the Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems leadership recognize the disconnect still perceived by patients between Holyoke Medical Center and Western Mass Physician Associates. “The name change will allow for the organization to have stronger brand awareness in the community,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems. “The new name also releases the belief that all clinicians are doctors. The future success of healthcare relies not only on our excellent physicians, but on the growing number of mid-level providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, expertly qualified to care for our community.” Holyoke Medical Group consists of two primary-care provider offices, a family medicine office, a pediatric office, and three women’s services offices with ob/gyn and certified nurse midwife care. Each office location is accepting new patients.

Company Notebook

Blue Sox Sweep Waves to Repeat as NECBL Champions

HOLYOKE — The Valley Blue Sox are hoisting the NECBL championship trophy for a second straight season after pounding the Ocean State Waves 19-6 to sweep the two-game series. The Blue Sox pounded out 20 hits in the victory, failing to score in just two out of the nine innings. They jumped off to a 5-0 lead before the Waves even batted in the first inning, and never looked back. The Blue Sox were paced by Simon Whiteman of Yale University, who went six for seven, scored five runs, and added four RBIs. Connor Pauly of Morehead State University went four for six on the night with one run and four RBIs. The Blue Sox have now won back-to-back championships under head coach John Raiola. First-year owner Fred Ciaglo hoisted the Fay Vincent Sr. cup for the first time as owner of the Valley Blue Sox.

MGM Guest Experience to Include White Lion Brewing

SPRINGFIELD — True to its promise, MGM Springfield has established strong relationships with Springfield-based businesses in preparation for the casino’s Aug. 24 launch. Specially brewed lager from White Lion Brewing Co. will be served on MGM’s casino floor. The bottled lager is appropriately named King of Hearts. According to White Lion brew master Mike Yates, “this lager is brewed exclusively for MGM Springfield. It’s a classic German style lager, light amber in color with an ABV of 4.7%. It’s crisp and drinkable with subtle flavors, thanks to both German and American hops with a touch of sweetness from German malts.” Several months ago, White Lion owner Berry and Yates were invited to talk specifics with MGM’s food and beverage team. The decision was made to develop a distinctive lager, and Yates went to work. MGM notes that, in addition to King of Hearts, White Lion’s signature brews will be available at TAP Sports Bar.

MS in Forensic Accounting at Bay Path Earns High Marks

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s master of science (MS) program in forensic accounting has been named third in a list of the top five best in the nation, as ranked by BestColleges.com. According to the site, graduate-degree programs in forensic accounting were ranked on a 100-point scale based on academic quality, affordability, and online programming. The editor’s review of Bay Path University highlights the flexibility of the program, offered 100% online with dedicated on-ground support from staff and faculty. In addition to forensic accounting, Bay Path University also offers concentrations including public and private accounting under the umbrella of its MS in accounting. The MS in forensic accounting, open to men and women, offers a unique schedule with no classes during the accounting ‘busy season’ (January to mid-April). The flexible, 30-credit program includes individualized advisement and career coaching from full-time, academically and professionally (CPA) certified faculty. Classes start every April, May, July, September, and November, and some students are able to complete the program in just eight or nine months.

HMC Opens Center to Address Opioid Dependence

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center recently opened the Comprehensive Care Center to address opioid dependence. This program provides comprehensive, confidential treatment options for people looking to quit prescription painkillers, heroin, and other opioids. Board-certified physician and Medical Director Dr. Amy Jaworek manages the use of prescription medication to treat opioid dependency, while licensed mental-health counselors with River Valley Counseling Center provide psychological treatment and substance-abuse counseling. Patients are prescribed buprenorphine-naloxone (trade name Suboxone) to help break their addiction so they can focus on healing. Eligible patients must be diagnosed with substance-use disorder, complete an initial medical evaluation, and be screened for associated illnesses. The program treats patients who are age 18 and older, are self-referred or referred by a healthcare provider, and have a desire to stop opioid use. The Comprehensive Care Center is located 575 Beech St., Suite 404, Holyoke, and can be reached at (413) 535-4889.

Berkshire Bank Recognized for Corporate Philanthropy

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank has been selected as one of three national finalists for the Corporate Philanthropy Award in the Financial Institutions category as part of the 12th annual Invest in Others Awards, a program that recognizes the charitable work of financial advisors and financial-services firms in communities around the globe. Invest in Others launched the Corporate Philanthropy Award in 2015 to recognize the importance of encouraging philanthropy at a corporate level. The awards will be presented on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Boston. Berkshire Bank was selected as a finalist for its commitment to philanthropy, volunteerism, and broader social corporate-responsibility activities. Annually, Berkshire Bank and Berkshire Bank Foundation provide more than $2 million in financial contributions, as well as scholarships to high-school seniors. The company also provides every employee with $500 in matching gift funds to amplify their own individual giving. In addition to financial support, the XTEAM, the company’s employee volunteer program, provides employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours.

Springfield College, NEBA Introduce Project SEARCH

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College, along with New England Business Associates (NEBA), recently introduced the first cohort of interns participating in the Project SEARCH program. Springfield College is the first college or university in Western Mass. to lead the Project SEARCH program on the campus. Project SEARCH’s mission is to help young adults with disabilities transition from school to work through a community-agency partnership while gaining employability skills. The program is dedicated to workforce development that benefits the individual, community, and workplace. The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovation adaptations, and long-term job coaching, and continues feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers. New England Business Associates’ mission is to enable individuals, who may face barriers, to be fully included in community life through employment, and to become economically empowered in a way that incorporates and creates best practices, creates valued typical societal roles, and offers individualized opportunities.

Company Notebook

PeoplesBank Again Named Among Top Corporate Charitable Contributors

HOLYOKE — The Boston Business Journal has announced the region’s Top Corporate Charitable Contributors, and, for the 11th year in a row, PeoplesBank is among the companies included. The region’s top charitable companies, which include, in many instances, the companies’ corporate foundations, will be honored at the Boston Business Journal’s 13th annual Corporate Citizenship Awards on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 6 at Fenway Park in Boston. “We have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through the considerable volunteer efforts of our associates and the millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes we have made over recent years,” said Matthew Bannister, first vice president, Marketing & Innovation at PeoplesBank. The Boston Business Journal’s Top Corporate Charitable Contributors list is composed of companies that gave at least $100,000 to Massachusetts-based charities in 2017. 

PV Squared Recognized as a Top Solar Contractor

GREENFIELD — Solar Power World, a publication covering solar technology, development, and installation, published its annual Top Solar Contractors list in July. Local solar-installation company and worker-owned cooperative PV Squared was listed prominently among other top solar contractors and developers across the country.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for what we do on a national scale, putting Western Massachusetts solar companies on the map,” said PV Squared General Manager Stacy Metzger. “While our focus remains local, the national ranking offers more insight into how we’re performing on a broader scale. It’s deeply rewarding to know that our business and installation practices are leading by example.”

United Financial Bancorp Announces Q2 Earnings

HARTFORD, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018. The company reported net income of $15.6 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $15.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $16.2 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. “In the second quarter of 2018, United Financial Bancorp, Inc.’s earnings results reflected solid linked quarter net interest margin expansion and net interest income growth. Our company continues to grow loans, deposits, particularly checking accounts, and tangible book value while maintaining strong asset quality, capital, and liquidity,” said William Crawford IV, CEO and president of the company and the bank. “I want to thank our United Bank employees for their steadfast support of our customers and communities.” Assets totaled $7.21 billion at June 30, 2018 and increased $139.9 million, or 2.0%, from $7.07 billion at March 31, 2018. At June 30, 2018, total loans were $5.48 billion, representing an increase of $93.2 million, or 1.7%, from the linked quarter. Deposits totaled $5.39 billion at June 30, 2018 and increased by $110.9 million, or 2.1%, from $5.28 billion at March 31, 2018.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp Reports Increase in Earnings

BOSTON — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. reported 2018 second-quarter net income of $34 million, which was a 73% increase over 2017 second-quarter net income of $20 million. This primarily reflected the benefit of Berkshire’s Greater Boston expansion through acquisition and business development, resulting in higher market share, increased efficiency, and record profitability. “We achieved record quarterly return on assets, with income increasing by 35% over the prior quarter,” said CEO Michael Daly. “Commercial loans grew strongly, and our new Boston corporate headquarters teams are receiving good response to our expanded presence in Greater Boston. Our revenue growth and disciplined expense management produced record quarterly earnings per share, positive operating leverage, and improved returns on equity.” Meanwhile, Daly added, “the integration of acquired operations was completed within plan in the second quarter, and several company-wide initiatives have been accelerated to support the expansion of our deposit product set and delivery channels. Our annual Xtraordinary Day of Service in June tackled 74 community projects across our markets, totaling nearly 7,000 volunteer hours and 92% of our workforce. Our foundation announced the appointment of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) officer to expand our multiple community-engagement activities and implement an all-encompassing CSR strategy.”

First Connecticut Bancorp Reports Net-income Increase

FARMINGTON, Conn. — First Connecticut Bancorp Inc. (FCB), the holding company for Farmington Bank, reported a 35% increase in net income of $6.7 million, or $0.42 diluted earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to net income of $5.0 million, or $0.32 diluted earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. Net income on a core earnings basis was $7.4 million, or $0.46 diluted core earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to $5.0 million, or $0.31 diluted core earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. Core earnings exclude non-recurring items. On June 19, 2018, First Connecticut Bancorp Inc. announced its entry into a definitive agreement and plan of merger with People’s United Financial Inc., pursuant to which FCB will merge with and into People’s United. “I am pleased to report solid core second-quarter earnings for the company,” said John Patrick Jr., chairman, president, and CEO of First Connecticut Bancorp. “As indicated, earnings were impacted by certain one-time charges related to our acquisition by Peoples United Financial Inc. The board of directors and senior management have always focused on shareholder value, and we believe this acquisition maximized shareholder value at a time when, we believe, the operating paradigm is changing for smaller community banks. I would also like to thank our dedicated employees who executed our strategy, which maximized our results for shareholders.”

Work Opportunity Center Receives Grant from Westfield Bank Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Work Opportunity Center Inc. announced it is a recipient of a $5,000 grant donation from the Westfield Bank Foundation. The money will be put toward the purchase of a vehicle for the Community Based Day Services (CBDS) program. The CBDS program of supports enables individuals with developmental disabilities to enrich their life and enjoy a full range of community activities by providing opportunities for developing, enhancing, and maintaining competency in personal, social, and community activities. The program has been set up with five core fundamentals: education, social and recreational, health and wellness, life skills, and employment and volunteerism. Options that are given to individuals who participate in CBDS include career exploration, community-integration experiences to support fuller participation in community life, skills development and training, volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits, health and fitness classes, socialization experiences, and support to enhance interpersonal skills, as well as the pursuit of personal interests and hobbies. The program currently serves 84 individuals.

Thornes Refurbishes Window Assemblage

NORTHAMPTON — In late July, Thornes Marketplace refurbished and expanded an historic window assemblage, installing six new stained-glass window panels designed by a local artist on the Chestnut Staircase behind Share coffee shop. Heather McLean, owner of Dragonfly Stained Glass Studio in Easthampton, was commissioned to design the panels, which are part of an elaborate, two-and-a-half-story window grouping. Each new arts-and-crafts-style panel created by McLean is identical, measuring four feet high by two feet wide. They combine bold orange squares with deep blue edging and long, vertical, pale-yellow highlights, and all six windows together will fill a space that is roughly eight feet high by six feet wide. Above McLean’s stained-glass windows, three tiers of windows original to the building — one overarching transom window and two tiers of oblong windows — were cleaned, painted, and reinstalled to further refresh the entire collection. McLean’s panels replace three original stained-glass windows that could not be restored; they will be cleaned, refurbished, and hung in the building at a later date as an art sculpture, said Jon McGee, Thornes facilities manager. Over the past 10 years, Thornes has taken on a series of major renovations to improve and enhance the eclectic shopping center.

Mediware Acquires Fazzi Associates

LENEXA, Kan. — Mediware Information Systems Inc., a portfolio company of TPG Capital and a leading supplier of software solutions for healthcare and human-service providers and payers, recently acquired Northampton-based Fazzi Associates, one of the largest companies serving home health and hospice. The acquisition creates a unique alignment between two healthcare industry leaders — one in innovative software, the other in outsourced services, consultation, and education. The combined company will have a greater capacity to help post-acute and community-based providers increase efficiency and improve clinical, financial, and operational performance to advance patient care. The addition of Fazzi Associates enables Mediware to offer new, comprehensive, and best-in-class services and solutions — including medical coding, revenue-cycle management, education, CAHPS, consulting, and ancillary solutions that address key challenges and evolving complexities affecting the post-acute care sectors. Mediware plans to maintain Fazzi Associates’ brand and Western Mass. headquarters; the firm’s leadership team will continue to lead Fazzi Associates’ lines of business. Dr. Bob Fazzi will serve in a strategic advisory role with Mediware, consulting on industry relations, home-health advocacy, growth opportunities, and innovation.

Company Notebook

Bulkley Richardson Opens Office in Hadley

SPRINGFIELD — Due to expanding needs, Bulkley Richardson has moved from its Amherst location into a more spacious office at 380 Russell St. in Hadley. “This move supports the growing needs of our clients and offers a more centralized location in Hampshire County,” said Peter Barry, managing partner of the 35-attorney firm. Seunghee Cha, partner, will be located primarily in Hadley, where she has a comprehensive estate-planning and administration practice, including special-needs planning for individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Scott Foster, chair of the firm’s business and finance group, noted that “our client base continues to grow, especially as we expand our services to meet the evolving changes to legal needs. Among other areas, a Hampshire County office is relevant to the unique needs of startups, reality of cybersecurity threats, and emergence of cannabis facilities. Our clients range from large hospitals and medical practices to small brewery startups, and nationwide manufactures to local farmers and artists — and a whole lot in between. By having a local office, it just brings us closer to these clients.”

Thunderbirds Honored with Two Awards from AHL

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds were honored by the American Hockey League with four Team Business Service awards at a gala reception during the board of governors’ annual meeting at Hilton Head Island, S.C. As part of its Team Business Services program, the AHL honored one club from each conference for top revenue growth in four areas during this past season: overall ticket sales, season-ticket sales, group-ticket sales, and corporate sponsorship sales. For the 2017-18 season, the Thunderbirds took home two Awards of Excellence in the areas of season-ticket sales growth and corporate sponsorship sales growth. This marked the second consecutive season that Springfield captured these awards. These awards came just weeks after the Thunderbirds received numerous honors at the 2018 AHL Marketing Meeting presented by ExteNet Systems in Des Moines, Iowa. At that meeting,the Thunderbirds received the AHL award for Most Unique Community Relations Promotion. This past March, Thunderbirds player Eddie Wittchow approached team management with the idea of presenting loyal season ticket holder Katrina King with specialty glasses that would allow Katrina, a legally blind fan, to have the ability to see the action — through her own eyes — for the first time in her life. Springfield was also recognized for achieving a greater-than-15% increase in per-game full-season equivalents, a statistic that tracks the combined sales of all ticket packages. The Thunderbirds’ corporate sales team also was recognized for having a greater-than-15% growth in corporate cash sponsorships generated in the market. The organization also was honored for reaching the benchmark of a greater-than-15% growth in per-game group-ticket-sales revenue for a second straight season. On an individual level, Thunderbirds Senior Account Executive Matthew McRobbie beame the first Thunderbirds sales representative to be recognized as the Eastern Conference’s Top New Season Ticket Sales Executive.

PeoplesBank Announces Acquisition of First National Bank of Suffield

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBancorp, MHC, the parent company of PeoplesBank, both of Holyoke, and First Suffield Financial Inc., the parent company of the First National Bank of Suffield, both of Suffield, Conn., jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement for PeoplesBancorp to acquire First Suffield Financial and PeoplesBank to acquire the First National Bank of Suffield. The parties anticipate the transaction will close in the fourth quarter of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019. Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of First Suffield Financial Inc. will receive $12,001.85 in cash per share, representing a total transaction value of approximately $60 million. The merger consideration represents approximately 202% of the First National Bank of Suffield’s tangible book value at March 31, 2018. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of state and federal regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of First Suffield Financial Inc. In 2017, PeoplesBank donated almost $1 million to area nonprofits. Its employees devoted more than 15,000 hours to volunteer work over the past two years, and 48 of the bank’s officers serve on the boards of directors and committees of 115 nonprofit organizations in the area. Upon completion of the transaction, PeoplesBank will expand its community-development efforts in Suffield and the surrounding Connecticut communities. The combined organization will have approximately $2.8 billion in assets and $1.9 billion in deposits. Upon completion of the transaction, one current member of the board of directors of First Suffield Financial will be appointed to serve as a member of the board of trustees of PeoplesBancorp and the board of directors of PeoplesBank. Following completion of the merger, the current branches of the First National Bank of Suffield will remain open and will conduct business under the trade name First Suffield Bank, a Division of PeoplesBank.

Berkshire Community College to Receive $5.5M for Student Success Center

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College (BCC) has been awarded $5.5 million for a major project that will transform the first floor of the Field Administration building into a One Stop Student Success Center, transforming the student experience by making the entire admissions and enrollment process easier. The project will renovate the first floor of the Field Administration building, which currently houses Enrollment Management, Advising, Career and Transfer services, Financial Aid and Student Accounts, and Admission and the college registrar. BCC is currently completing $34 million in campus projects for the renovation of Hawthorne and Melville halls, including a connector with upper and lower courtyards, paving of the parking lots and access roads, and installing a community turf field for football, soccer and lacrosse.

Valley Steel Stamp Expands with $1.9M MassDevelopment Bond

GREENFIELD — MassDevelopment has issued a $1.9 million bond for CJBW Stamp, LLC, the real-estate arm of Valley Steel Stamp, which will use bond proceeds to construct a 17,500-square-foot building in the Greenfield Industrial Park that the company will then lease. The new building will be next to an existing 27,500-square-foot building that Valley Steel Stamp also leases and has reached full capacity. When completed, the new building will accommodate additional equipment needed to fulfill customer orders. The project is expected to create nine jobs and support 13 construction jobs. GSB Securities Corp., an affiliate of Greenfield Savings Bank, purchased the bond. Valley Steel Stamp was founded in 1971 by William Capshaw as a two-man operation that produced custom-made steel-marking stamps. Over the years, William’s son, Steven, has expanded and diversified the company’s product line to now include general machining and tooling for customers in the aerospace, defense, and firearm industries. Valley Steel Stamp’s facility in Greenfield is a world headquarters for more than 50 highly skilled precision machinists serving over 300 companies in 10 countries. MassDevelopment previously issued bonds to support the purchase and expansion of this facility in 2008 and 2012.

Normandeau Technologies Attends NASRO Show

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Normandeau Technologies Inc. (NTI) attended the National Assoc. of School Resource Officers in Reno, Nevada in June. The annual, one-week NASRO conference brings together SROs from throughout the U.S. and international locations to meet, discuss the current state of school safety, and receive updates and training on the latest issues surrounding school-safety policy and procedures for school-based law-enforcement officers. NTI has undertaken a program to introduce the StaffAlerter Emergency Notification System (ENS) to school districts throughout the New England area. In association with this endeavor, Brett Normandeau, president and owner of NTI, is positioning the StaffAlerter with organizations associated with K-12 education, including NASRO. StaffAlerter is an ENS and cloud-based systems control. Any teacher or staff can press a button on a wi-fi personal access device and send a notification to thousands of people, lock doors, sound alarms, and page over loudspeakers. NASRO national leadership spent time with NTI to see and hear about StaffAlerter and were impressed and positive with their feedback, he added. NTI is looking to attend future SRO regional and national meetings as both exhibitor and presenter.

Bradley International Airport Receives A+ Revenue Bond Rating

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that the credit-rating agency S & P Global Ratings has raised Bradley International Airport’s rating on its general airport revenue refunding bonds from ‘A’ to ‘A+’ with a stable outlook. S & P Global Ratings assigns a credit rating for Bradley International Airport’s public debt obligations. Some of the factors taken into account during the rating process include the airport’s strong financial and risk-management practices, steadily improving liquidity, low and declining debt burden, strong origin and destination base, diverse service-area economy, airline diversity, and increasing number of enplanements and positive trends.

Company Notebook

Florence Bank Breaks Ground on New Springfield Branch

SPRINGFIELD — Florence Bank broke ground recently on its second Hampden County branch, at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield, and leaders said the full-service location will open later this year. “We’re coming to Springfield,” John Heaps Jr., Florence Bank’s president and CEO, told a crowd of roughly 50 people who gathered for the celebratory event. “Our focus is on our customers and on helping to reinvigorate the community.” Last September, Florence Bank opened its first branch in Hampden County at 1010 Union St. in West Springfield. The Springfield branch marks the second of an anticipated four branches in the region. Like the West Springfield banking center, Heaps said, the Allen Street branch will have an open floor plan with a full-service teller pod and innovative technology for quick cash handling. The location will also feature a drive-up ATM with SMART technology for easy depositing and a comfortable waiting area inside with a coffee bar and free internet. Florence Bank has nearly 3,800 customers living in Hampden County, including 700 business customers.

People’s United Financial to Acquire First Connecticut Bancorp

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — People’s United Financial, Inc., the holding company for People’s United Bank N.A., announced an agreement to acquire First Connecticut Bancorp Inc., the holding company for Farmington Bank, in a 100% stock transaction valued at approximately $544 million. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and the approval of First Connecticut Bancorp shareholders. Established in 1851, Farmington Bank is a community bank with 28 branches throughout Central Conn. and Western Mass. With $3.1 billion in assets, the bank has built a strong balance sheet by focusing on commercial and retail banking. “People’s United Bank is a premier brand with a rich, 176-year history in the state of Connecticut,” said John Patrick, chairman, president, and CEO of Farmington Bank. “Our customers will benefit from their broader array of products, enhanced access to technology and digital capabilities, as well as the bank’s seven-day-a-week Stop & Shop branch locations.” The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2018. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors, First Connecticut Bancorp shareholders will receive 1.725 shares of People’s United Financial stock for each First Connecticut Bancorp share. The transaction is valued at $32.33 per First Connecticut Bancorp share.

State’s First Solar Cooperative to Be Built in Wendell

WENDELL — Northeast Solar, in cooperation with the Wendell Energy Committee, is offering residents of Wendell and surrounding communities the opportunity to become owners of the state’s first solar cooperative. The co-op will be owned by community members who become member-owners of the site by purchasing part of the community solar array. Owners will receive all of the solar benefits generated at the site, located at 97 Wendell Depot Road. Solar panels are typically mounted on rooftops, but close to 60% of residential buildings are not suitable sites for solar due to shading or roof condition. The solar cooperative will allow any resident to purchase solar power for their homes by buying into the centralized array.  Owners in this system will receive a lower purchase price than standard residential installations. The Wendell Solar Cooperative will return more than $1.3 million back into the local economy over the life of the array. The site is expected to take between six and eight weeks to build. The co-op will accept 50 members, but Northeast Solar is planning more solar cooperatives in other communities to allow more residents the chance to go solar.

Greenfield Cooperative Bank Announces 2018 Performance

GREENFIELD — Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank and its parent company, Greenfield Bancorp, MHC, announced the operating results of the bank’s latest fiscal year as reported at the 113th annual meeting of the bank on June 19. Tucker reported that FY 2018, which ended March 31, was successful, with and the assets of the bank growing by $24.9 million (up 4.3%) over the prior year. In addition, GCB originated more than $124 million in loans of all types, and saw an increase of $28.4 million in deposits over the past year. Total equity grew to $67.4 million. The pre-tax operating income for Greenfield Cooperative Bank was up to $5,078,000 for the year ended March 31, 2018, and the net income after taxes was $2,773,000. The bank also paid its fair share of federal and Massachusetts income taxes ($1.5 million) and local property taxes (more than $129,000) in the cities and towns where it has offices. As a result of these earnings and the fact that Greenfield Cooperative Bank targets its charitable and civic giving at 5% of the prior year’s pre-tax operating income, the bank and its employees were able to contribute more than $200,000 to more than 200 charities, community groups, school events, youth teams, and cultural events throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties during the past fiscal year.

HCC, Holyoke Schools Receive Grant for Early College Program

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Holyoke public schools have been awarded a $131,600 state grant to establish a new program to help high-school students get an early start on their college educations. The program was one of only five such partnerships — and the only one outside the Greater Boston area — to receive an official  “Early College” designation from the state. The Early College Program will enable participating Holyoke students to earn a minimum of 12 college credits before they graduate from high school. Beginning in their sophomore years, students enrolled in the program will complete college courses in fields of study that align with academic majors at HCC and transfer pathways to four-year colleges and universities in Massachusetts. There is no cost to participating students. Like other dual-enrollment classes, the Early College courses will be taught by HCC faculty at Holyoke High School or on the HCC campus. The program is designed for 100 students each academic year, beginning in the sophomore year. At full capacity, in fall 2020, up to 300 students in grades 10-12 will be part of the program. Sophomore students will take their first college courses at Holyoke High School. In their junior and senior years, they will take courses on the main HCC campus on Homestead Avenue. According to studies, dual-enrollment courses and early-college programs boost college-completion rates for low-income students, minorities, and first-generation college students.

Colony Care at Home Donates $500 to Rotary Club’s Cambodia Project

SPRINGFIELD — Alan Popp, president of Colony Care at Home, a home-care agency in Springfield serving Western Mass. and North Central Conn., recently presented Dr. MaryAnne Herron of the Rotary Club of Springfield a check for $500. The donation was to kick off a fundraiser for the Springfield Rotary Club’s participation in an international water project for the Lvea Em District in Cambodia. “The villagers presently use the very polluted river water that surrounds their six small communities,” Herron said. “The Springfield Rotary Club has a goal to raise $600,000 to build a generator for 10,000 families who have no clean water to drink. We are applying for grants to Rotary International but need to raise some of the funds ourselves. This check is very much appreciated and a great start to our cause.” Added Popp, also a Springfield Rotarian, “I have always been especially drawn to the international service aspect of Rotary and have a particularly high regard for MaryAnne’s passion, energy, and personal sacrifice on behalf of villagers in Cambodia. As a Vietnam veteran, I also appreciate having this opportunity to give something back to Southeast Asia.”

Community Bank N.A. Donates $2,500 to MSBDCN

SPRINGFIELD — Community Bank N.A. recently presented the Western Regional Office of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDCN) with a $2,500 donation to support the organization’s various programs for 2019. MSBDCN’s Western Regional Office provides free and confidential one-to-one business advice to prospective and existing small businesses in Western Mass. The office provides a variety of services to startups and existing businesses in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Areas of assistance include business-plan development, preventure feasibility, conventional and non-conventional financing, cash-flow analysis, organizational and personnel issues, and marketing. In its last fiscal year, MSBDCN conducted 36 events and workshops, which were attended by more than 300 participants. Throughout the first six months of this year, MSBDCN has met with 261 small-business clients seeking to start and grow their businesses and helped secure close to $2 million in funds for those clients.

Berkshire Bank Named 2018 Halo Award Winner

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced it was awarded the 2018 Gold Halo Award for its XTEAM corporate volunteer program. The award recognizes the top corporate social-responsibility efforts in North America across multiple categories, including education, cause marketing, and employee engagement. Berkshire received the award in the Employee Engagement (Group Volunteering) category, which recognizes initiatives that meaningfully and measurably engage its employees in a cause-focused initiative to achieve both a social and a business impact. Berkshire’s Xtraordinary Day of Service, held in June 2017, mobilized 92% of its workforce across the country and impacted more than 400,000 individuals. In 2017, the XTEAM logged 306 projects benefiting 203 organizations and contributed 40,000 hours of service. This corporate employee-volunteer program boasts a 100% employee-participation rate, earning it the highest recognition in the Employee Engagement category.

Company Notebook

Webber & Grinnell Acquires Ross Insurance

NORTHAMPTON — Ross Insurance agency of Holyoke has been acquired by Webber and Grinnell Insurance Agency of Northampton. Maureen Ross O’Connell will continue to manage the Holyoke operation at 150 Lower Westfield Road in Holyoke under the name of Ross, Webber and Grinnell Insurance. Kevin Ross plans on retiring sometime over the next 18 months. “Ross Insurance is synonymous with community and trust,” said Bill Grinnell, president of Webber and Grinnell. “We are thrilled to have their staff joining our team and enabling us to serve clients across the entire Pioneer Valley. Kevin and Maureen are incredible insurance professionals, and I look forward to Maureen joining our ownership group.” Added Ross O’Connell, “we feel that we found the perfect partner to continue the Ross family legacy. Webber and Grinnell has a long history of generous community support and exceptional customer service.”

Westfield Bank to Open Liberty Street Office

SPRINGFIELD — Westfield Bank announced it will open a full-service branch office at 1342 Liberty St. in Springfield in July. When it opens, the Liberty Street office, which currently has a 24-hour ATM, will be operated as a full-service branch featuring lobby and drive-up banking, a drive-up ATM, and banking specialists trained to assist customers with business banking, residential mortgages, and investment and insurance services (via Westfield Financial Management Services). Construction is already underway, with renovations expected to be completed in late June or early July. Roberta Lussier, who currently oversees the bank’s Tower Square office, will also manage the Liberty Street office. Westfield Bank plans to celebrate the opening of the Liberty Street office with special events and promotions, which will be announced at a later date.

Spacelabs Invests $720,000 in UMass Center Nursing Program

SPRINGFIELD — Spacelabs Healthcare, a Snoqualmie, Wash.-based medical-equipment manufacturer, recently unveiled a $720,000 investment in the UMass Center at Springfield’s nursing laboratory. The state-of-the-art Spacelabs equipment includes two Sonicaid fetal/maternal monitors, ambulatory blood-pressure monitors, multiple nursing monitors, and invasive cardiac outputs that will benefit the UMass Amherst College of Nursing’s accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program, which serves as a pipeline for rained nurses into the region’s healthcare sector. The equipment will be primarily used by UMass Amherst nursing students in the accelerated program, which is based in Springfield.

Tighe & Bond Climbs in National Ranking

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, a full-service engineering and environmental consulting firm, climbed 19 spots this year to No. 241 on Engineering News Record’s “2018 Top 500 Design Firms” ranking. In the past two years, Tighe & Bond climbed 34 spots as the firm continues to grow its regional market. The publication ranks its list of top 500 design firms nationally based on design-specific revenue from the previous year.

Valley Blue Sox Announce New Ownership

SPRINGFIELD — The Valley Blue Sox announced that Hadley native Fred Ciaglo has taken over the reins as team owner and president from the departing Clark Eckhoff. Ciaglo has been a long-time part of the Valley Blue Sox, hosting players for the past seven years and as a bench coach for the last four years. He has been involved with baseball in the Valley since he was able to throw a ball, playing at Hopkins Academy in Hadley and then at Springfield College, helping pitch the Pride to the 1986 Northeast-10 championship when the school competed in Division II athletics. Ciaglo was a staple of the Tri-County Baseball League for more than 20 years, twice winning the league’s Wes Carr Trophy for best pitcher. He has taught and coached at Hopkins Academy since graduating from Springfield, coaching boys and girls basketball as well as baseball over that time; in addition, he spent a decade as Hadley Youth Baseball’s coaching coordinator and on the board of directors for the Cal Ripken level. Vice President and General Manager Hunter Golden will stay on with the team and remain in his role. Also returning this season will be Manager John Raiola, who will return for his fourth season as head coach, as well as pitching coach Jim Woods. Joining the coaching staff, former Blue Sox player Hezekiah Randolph will serve as hitting coach for the team.

Country Bank Donates $15,000 to Domestic Violence Task Force

WARE — Country Bank announced that it recently donated $15,000 to the Ware River Valley Domestic Violence Task Force to support its continued commitment to helping those in need in the Quaboag Hills Region. “Country Bank’s donation has been the foundation of all local domestic-violence services at Valley Human Services of BHN Inc. in the Quaboag Hills,” said Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services. “Their funds have been the seed money and remain the match for programs now supported by municipal, state, and federal dollars. We literally would not have our team preventing and responding to domestic violence in our region without Country Bank.”

Berkshire Hills Bancorp Reports 63% Increase in Q1 Earnings

BOSTON — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. reported first-quarter 2018 net income of $25 million, a 63% increase over the 2017 first-quarter results of $15 million. This reflected the ongoing benefit of the company’s growth and expansion, together with the benefit of a lower federal tax rate resulting from federal tax reform. “We had a solid start to the year, delivering ongoing growth while integrating our new commerce operations,” CEO Michael Daly said. “With the benefit of greater efficiency, GAAP return on assets improved to 0.88%, and core return on assets improved to 1.04%. We expect continued momentum in the second quarter, where GAAP return on assets will improve to over 1.00% and core return on assets will improve to over 1.10%.” The board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.22 per common share to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 10, payable on May 24. The dividend equates to a 2.3% annualized yield based on the $37.88 average closing price of Berkshire Hills Bancorp common stock during the first quarter. The board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.44 per share for the preferred stock issued in conjunction with the Commerce acquisition, with the same record and payment dates as above. The quarterly common and preferred dividends were increased in the prior quarter by 5%.

Girls on the Run Nominated for Award

NORTHAMPTON — The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) announced that Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts has been selected a finalist for the 2018 Nonprofit Excellence Award in the Small Nonprofit category. The Excellence Awards will be presented at the Massachusetts State House on Monday, June 4. The Small Nonprofit Excellence Award recognizes an organization making an outsized impact in its community despite limited resources. Girls on the Run inspires girls to be healthy, joyful, and confident, using an experiential, social-emotional curriculum that integrates running. In its third year of operation, Girls on the Run has 180 volunteer coaches, including teachers, parents, and community members operating at 54 school sites serving over 740 girls. To date, Girls on the Run has served more than 1,200 girls around Western Mass.

Chili Chocolate Chip Wins UMass Ice Cream Competition

AMHERST — The winning flavor in this year’s UMass Amherst student ice-cream competition is chili chocolate chip, as selected by judges in the fourth annual food-science event held on campus April 30. It will become the latest UMass student-created ice cream produced by Maple Valley Creamery of Hadley over the coming weeks, said owner Bruce Jenks. For the event, creamery staff, local chefs, and guest judges sampled original ice creams created by four teams of senior food-science majors vying for the honor of developing a new flavor for the UMass label. The three other entries in this spring’s competition were a butternut squash flavor with lemon zest, ginger, turmeric, and semi-sweet chocolate bits; a chocolate banana graham-cracker flavor; and a strawberry-basil flavor with dark chocolate pieces. The strawberry-basil, dubbed ‘summer blush’ by its creators, won the audience’s vote for best flavor, and Jenks said he may make a seasonal batch of it in the summer. Members of the winning chili chocolate chip team are Marina Gela, Gina Grimaldi, Rachael Montigny, Joshua Liao, Erica Snyder, and Jozxelle Tongson.

ESE Donates $240,000 to Big E/West Springfield Trust Fund

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Eastern States Exposition President and CEO Eugene Cassidy presented a donation of $240,198 to the Big E/West Springfield Trust Fund in a ceremony held at Town Hall on April 18. The amount, the largest to date since the fund’s inception in 1994, represents 1% of the Exposition’s gross revenues for 2017. Including this year’s gift, exposition contributions now total $3,999,669. During the presentation of this year’s check, Cassidy pledged a personal donation of $331 to bring the total to an even $4 million. Trustees of the fund are West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, Cassidy, and Attorney Mary Paier Powers. Grants in 2017 totaled more than $63,209 for 15 town organizations, schools, sports teams, and more.

Arrha Credit Union Awards Five Scholarships

SPRINGFIELD — Arrha Credit Union recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships to area students based on scholastic merit and civic achievement. To be eligible for the Anthony J. Serafino Scholarship, recipients must demonstrate scholastic achievement, be a high-school senior, be a member of Arrha or a student whose parent is a member, be active in extracurricular activities and community endeavors, and intend to attend a two-year or four-year degree-granting college or university. The 2018 recipients are A’Shaela Chaires from Williston Northampton School, Kimberly McLeod from Longmeadow High School, Patricia Moriarty from Phillips Exeter Academy, Owen Serafino from West Springfield High School, and Tamra Zippin from Minnechaug Regional High School. In addition to the scholarships, each student was given $100 to open an account with a debit card to jump-start their financial future on a positive note. “We wish each of our recipients the best of luck with their educational endeavors,” said Michael Ostrowski, president and CEO of Arrha Credit Union.

Company Notebook

CHI Insurance Opens Downtown Springfield Office

SPRINGFIELD — CHI Insurance Agency Inc. announced the opening of an additional office location in downtown Springfield. The office, located at 1684 Main St., is the former Joseph Chernaik Insurance Agency. The Springfield location is the fourth CHI office, with other locations in Holyoke, Westfield, and South Hadley. Auto insurance will continue to be offered, and additional insurance products have been added and are available out of 1684 Main St. In addition to new staff and updated systems, customers now have the opportunity to purchase coverages for home, business, life, and specialty lines. All locations are bilingual and offer complete insurance products. CHI services clients throughout the Pioneer Valley with all of their insurance needs, and represents most major insurance carriers.

Griffin Staffing Network Announces Expansion, Rebrand to ManeHire

EAST LONGMEADOW — Griffin Staffing Network, a certified woman- and minority-owned business, has undergone a company rebrand to ManeHire and unveiled its new logo, tagline — “connecting great companies with great talent” — and website, manehire.com, to support its expansion from a local boutique staffing agency to a full-service regional staffing agency serving the Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Washington, D.C. markets. Since 2013, Griffin Staffing Network has served a wide-range of local and regional clients operating in industries such as healthcare, financial services, insurance, manufacturing, and nonprofit, filling roles from entry-level to C-suite and everything in between.

PeoplesBank Issues 2018 Corporate Green Report

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank issued its 2018 annual Corporate Green Report in recognition of Earth Day 2018. During the past year, the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Massachusetts named PeoplesBank a winner of the Sustainable Business of the Year award. For the fourth year in a row, voters throughout Hampshire County named PeoplesBank the Best Local Green Business in the 2017 Daily Hampshire Gazette Readers’ Choice poll. The bank also continued a multi-year commitment of more than $65,000 in funding for green initiatives in Western Mass, and is a longtime leader in sustainable-energy financing. The bank boasts three LEED-certified branches in Northampton, West Springfield, and Springfield; and it has installed electric-vehicle charging stations at its Northampton, West Springfield, and Holyoke offices.

L&A Fine Men’s Shop Cuts Ribbon in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — L&A Fine Men’s Shop, located at 159 State St., Springfield, hosted a ribbon cutting and open house April 19. Audrin Desardouin and Lillian Ortiz, husband-and-wife co-owners, opened the store in December and have been investing in inventory and undergoing training to become an official minority-owned business. Desardouin came to the U.S. from Haiti when he was 21 years old. A U.S. citizen, he has lived in New England for the past 30-plus years. Ortiz, who was born in Connecticut, is Puerto Rican. She works at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester as vice president of Enrollment and Student Engagement and Community Connections. Desardouin owned a men’s clothing store in Norwich, Conn. for 15 years. The new shop is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Pioneer Valley Credit Union Awards Four Scholarships

SPRINGFIELD — Pioneer Valley Credit Union announced the recipients of its 2018 college scholarship program. Each year, PVCU selects four students to receive a $1,000 scholarship to help with college expenses; over the years, it has awarded $70,000 in all. The scholarships are named in honor of board of directors members who have dedicated their time and service to Pioneer Valley Credit Union and to the credit-union movement. Miya Walto of Smith Academy received the Maurice O’Shea Scholarship, John Fiester of Monson High School received the Richard Borden Memorial Scholarship, Janiya Dixon of Longmeadow High School received the Ignatius Collura Scholarship, and Fiona Cioch of Westfield High School received the Ted Klekotka Memorial Scholarship.

United Financial Bancorp Announces Q1 Earnings

HARTFORD — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018. The company reported net income of $15.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $9.5 million, or $0.19 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $13.7 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Assets totaled $7.07 billion at March 31, 2018 and decreased $45.5 million, or 0.6%, from $7.11 billion at December 31, 2017. At March 31, 2018, total loans were $5.38 billion, representing an increase of $42.3 million, or 0.8%, from the linked quarter.

JA of Western Mass. Wins Grant from Wells Fargo

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts announced it was awarded a $7,500 grant from Wells Fargo. Funding from Wells Fargo will support the Pathways to 21st Century Skills Project to provide students with the tools to develop the 21st-century skills needed to become autonomous employees. The project’s goals are to improve students’ knowledge of financial literacy in order for them to make sound financial judgments in the future, increase students’ entrepreneurial skills, increase students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and increase awareness of career and post-secondary education and career opportunities in Western Mass.

Fuss & O’Neill Opens Downtown Springfield Office

SPRINGFIELD — Engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, which has locations throughout New England, recently held an open house at its new downtown Springfield office, 1550 Main St. The company’s move from its West Springfield office to downtown Springfield officially happened in January. “We are thrilled to be here in Springfield,” said Eric Bernardin, vice president at Fuss & O’Neill. “As an engineering firm, our job is to help create an environment that promotes and provides the groundwork for economic opportunity, civic involvement, and arts and entertainment. We are excited to be part of helping Springfield grow, and we look forward to the future.” The office space is owned by MassDevelopment, the public finance and economic-development authority of Massachussetts.

Smith Brothers Insurance Acquires Bailey Agencies

EASTHAMPTON — Smith Brothers Insurance, LLC has purchased the assets of Bailey Agencies Insurance of Groton, Conn. Owned and operated by the Scott family since 1980, Bailey has been a long-term fixture on the Connecticut shoreline. Bailey Agencies Insurance has moved to the Smith Brothers office in Niantic, Conn., at 377 Main St. With headquarters in Glastonbury, Conn., Smith Brothers has offices throughout Connecticut as well as Massachusetts — including a branch in Easthampton — and New Jersey. John Scott IV, former Bailey Agencies Insurance principal, will continue his role as commercial-lines producer and, along with two other insurance professionals, will work from Smith Brothers’ Niantic office.

Berkshire Bank Honored for Social Responsibility

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank announced that it received the 2017 Communitas Award for Leadership in Community Service & Corporate Social Responsibility. The Communitas Awards, administered by the Assoc. of Marketing and Communication Professionals, recognize businesses that give of themselves and their resources to their communities. The award recognized Berkshire Bank’s comprehensive corporate social-responsibility activities, including volunteer, philanthropy, and sustainability efforts, as well as responsiveness to community needs through products, services, and engagement activities. Annually, Berkshire Bank and the Berkshire Bank Foundation provide more than $2 million in financial contributions as well as scholarships to high-school seniors. In addition to financial support, the XTEAM, the bank’s employee volunteer program, provides employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours.

Florence Bank Presents Customers’ Choice Grants

FLORENCE — Florence Bank recently presented $100,000 in awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 to 57 area nonprofits through its 16th annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program during an event at the Garden House at Look Memorial Park. The funds will support libraries, schools, police, fire departments, hospitals, hospices, and other organizations that benefit people of all ages, as well as animals and the environment. The bank reached the $1.05 million mark in terms of grants made over nearly two decades to 144 community nonprofits. The Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program is an annual offering founded in 2002, through which Florence Bank customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit in hopes it will receive a share of grant funding.