Company Notebook Departments

Company Notebook

Newman’s Own Foundation Donates to Link to Libraries

EAST LONGMEADOW — Link to Libraries Inc., which has donated a half-million new books to children in New England, just booked a donation of its own — a $15,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation. The grant was initiated through Big Y  World Class Markets. “For all of us at Big Y, we are proud to continue to link the Newman’s Own Foundation with Link to Libraries in order to further the language and literacy skills of students within our marketing area,” said Claire D’Amour-Daley, Big Y’s vice president of Corporate Communications. “Our customers have also enjoyed being part of this yearly initiative.” An all-volunteer nonprofit with no paid staff, Link to Libraries serves 25,000 children in 400 sites in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Newman’s Own Foundation grant will fund the purchase and distribution of thousands of books in the coming months. “Over 92 cents per dollar is used to buy books,” said Susan Jaye-Kaplan, president and co-founder of  Link to Libraries, which is based in East Longmeadow. “Thanks to this generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation and our network of 209 volunteers, ranging in age from 5 to 81 years old, we’re well-positioned to deliver on our mission to to enhance the language and literacy skills of children of all cultural backgrounds.” Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own food and beverage products into charitable donations. To date, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given more than $470 million to thousands of charities around the world. Since its inception in 2008, Link to Libraries has donated nearly 500,000 new books, including more than 75,000 this fiscal year, said Jaye-Kaplan.

Berkshire Hills to Acquire First Choice Bank

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. and First Choice Bank announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which First Choice Bank will merge into Berkshire Bank, and its subsidiary, First Choice Loan Services Inc., will become a subsidiary of Berkshire Bank in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $111.7 million.
Berkshire’s total assets will increase to $8.9 billion, including the $1.1 billion in acquired First Choice assets.  This market-expanding merger provides entry into attractive markets with strong demographics, and includes six branches near Princeton, N.J., and two in the greater Philadelphia area. First Choice reported $436 million in net loans (excluding loans held for sale) and $906 million in deposits as of March 31, 2016. First Choice Bank is the second-largest community bank by deposit market share in Mercer County, N.J., an area with per-capita income well above national and regional averages. First Choice Loan Services is a leading residential retail and consumer direct mortgage originator serving borrowers across the U.S. Total mortgage production in 2015 was $2.5 billion. Berkshire will have a pro forma market cap of approximately $905 million and 101 branches, serving customers and communities across the Northeast. “We’re pleased to welcome First Choice customers and employees to America’s most exciting bank,” said Michael Daly, CEO of Berkshire Bank. “This partnership builds on Berkshire’s commitment to create a strong regional platform for serving our customers, while diversifying our revenue streams, improving profitability, and increasing shareholder value.  The First Choice franchise builds on markets where we presently manage commercial relationships, and adds a well-positioned deposit base, a best-in-class home-lending operation, and enthusiastic new teams that complement our current culture. After integration, the transaction is expected to be accretive to Berkshire’s earnings per share, return on equity and return on assets, liquidity, and capital. We have a strong track record of execution, and our collective teams are positioned to complete this integration flawlessly.”
Martin Tuchman, First Choice’s chairman of the board, commented, “we’re pleased to announce this combination with Berkshire and believe our customers, community, and employees will benefit greatly from this transaction. We believe Berkshire fits both the culture of our bank and our expanding mortgage operation. Their product suite and commitment to service will enable the combined company to better compete in this growing marketplace. With Berkshire’s attractive stock, I’m pleased to be a shareholder going forward, and our bank employees and mortgage-lending group look forward to joining the Berkshire team.”

OMG Hosts Students for Junior Achievement Job Shadow Program

AGAWAM — OMG Inc. hosted students from three Springfield Middle Schools recently as part of the Junior Achievement Job Shadow Program. OMG has served as a host for the job-shadow program for the past 10 years, and this year’s visits included 48 students from Balliet Middle School, Springfield Public Day Middle School, and M. Marcus Kiley Middle School. The premise behind JA Job Shadow is that, while in school, students don’t often have the opportunity to develop realistic expectations of their future career and lifestyle options. The job-shadow experience lets them see what professionals do in on a daily basis, and is meant to give the students perspectives on a professional and diverse work environment. “During their time at OMG, we introduce them to a few senior managers, take them on a tour, and let them know about our basic hiring requirements, such as the need for a high-school diploma or GED, and characteristics we look for, such as strong communications and time-management skills, and the ability to work well on a team,” said Sarah Corrigan, director of Human Resources at OMG. “We also make it fun and engaging by having the students complete a scavenger hunt of fun facts about OMG during their visit.” Hubert McGovern, president and CEO of OMG, agreed. “The most recent group from Kiley asked great questions,” he said. “They asked about the company’s success record, whether OMG offered benefits like life and health insurance, what percentage of the work force was represented by women, and what we do to help make our employees better. We were really impressed by their level of interest and the way they conducted themselves during the visit.” Headquartered in Agawam, OMG Inc. is North America’s largest supplier of specialty fasteners and products for commercial and residential construction applications. The company operates two business units: OMG Roofing Products and FastenMaster.

Academy of Music Installs New Audio System

NORTHAMPTON — The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton recently acquired a new, state-of-the-art audio system, designed and installed by Jason Raboin. The hall had become increasingly busy with a variety of programming, from rock concerts to theatrical productions, literary arts to dance, youth programs to indie music, which would all benefit from an enhanced system, said a spokesperson for the Academy. Two challenges were identified for the project. First, the speakers needed to provide consistent coverage throughout the entire theater without interfering with sightlines to the stage opening or distracting from the architectural beauty of the 125-year old opera house, and second, the limited rigging options within the historic performing-arts center demanded compact, lightweight loudspeakers as part of a visually unobtrusive sound system. The installation centered around four Fulcrum Acoustic CX1595 speakers powered by Ashly nXp amplifiers. The speaker’s lightweight, compact, visually unobtrusive design provides consistent coverage throughout the entire theater without interfering with sightlines to the stage opening or distracting from the architectural beauty of the 125-year old opera house. Two compact, portable Fulcrum Acoustic Sub215 subwoofers provide concert-level low frequency for the historic theater while minimizing visual intrusion. Raboin, as a touring sound engineer (Joan Baez, Modest Mouse, Lake Street Dive) who had worked on a variety of audio systems in the field, said, “I have not heard anything that sounds better than Fulcrum Acoustics speakers. When you combine their fidelity with their lightweight and compact size, they really were the only choice for this installation. It was hard to believe that such a compact system would be able to cover the venue at the desired SPL, but the system exceeded our expectations and the theater’s design goals.” At mix position, a Yamaha Ql1 mixing console was chosen for its compact footprint as well as its ability to handle the wide variety of programming offered year-round in the theater.

Florence Bank Donates $25,000 to Cancer Center

FLORENCE — Florence Bank recently contributed $25,000 for use over a five-year period to the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS)to assist in the expansion of the Sister Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center.
Springfield-based SPHS is a not-for-profit entity providing a range of special benefits to the community, such as programs to manage care for people with chronic diseases, health-education and disease-prevention initiatives, outreach for the elderly, and care for the poor and uninsured. Mercy Medical Center is conducting a capital campaign to support the $15 million expansion of the Sister Caritas Cancer Center at the hospital. Specifically, the funds will be used to consolidate all cancer services into a single unified space and meet the increased demand for outpatient cancer services. In the past two years, the number of patients receiving chemotherapy at the Sister Caritas Cancer Center has increased by more than 200%. By 2022, the need for outpatient cancer services is expected to grow by 26%. Gifts to the capital campaign will support the addition of new treatment spaces, including 32 new infusion bays, whose design will increase privacy for patients, as well as for family members and friends. The campaign will also support the consolidation of all cancer services, enhancing communications between oncology staff and facilitating ease of access to existing services for patients. “Florence Bank has steadily supported our programs for years,” said Diane Dukette, vice president, Fund Development, Sisters of Providence Health System. “We are grateful for their ongoing generosity and commitment to the people we serve. This significant pledge to the capital campaign will help further our efforts to create a unified area for patients to receive their cancer treatment in a truly collaborative clinical environment.” Florence Bank, a longtime supporter of Sisters of Providence Health System, is known for its many charitable contributions, including its annual $100,000 Customer’s Choice Community Grants program.

Related Posts

buy ivermectin for humans buy ivermectin online buy generic cialis buy cialis payday loans online same day deposit 1 hour payday loans no credit check