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Company Notebook

Jerry Rome Nissan Becomes Balise Nissan

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Jerry Rome Nissan, located at 500 Riverdale St. in West Springfield, has officially become Balise Nissan of West Springfield. The current facility and parking area will undergo expansion in the coming months. Pending approval from the town of West Springfield, the dealership will be renovated to align more closely with Nissan’s latest dealership image. “Our team is thrilled for the all-new Balise Nissan of West Springfield,” says Bill Peffer, president & COO of Balise Motor Sales. “We look forward to exceeding customers’ expectations in areas of sales, service, and overall customer experience.” Balise Nissan is the sixth Balise dealership on Riverdale Street in West Springfield and the ninth Balise dealership in Western Mass.

Berkshire Bank Named Among Top 10 Best Banks in Massachusetts

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank has been recognized by AdvisoryHQ News as one of the Top 10 Best Banks in Massachusetts. “We are honored to be recognized by AdvisoryHQ News on their list of the best banks in Massachusetts,” said Tami Gunsch, executive vice president of Retail Banking. “We look forward to continuing to provide solutions to meet the financial needs of those within our communities and help our customers thrive and achieve what’s most exciting in their lives.” AdvisoryHQ News based its rankings on a number of factors, including advantages, benefits, and value-creating products and services provided by these financial institutions that benefit the consumers they serve. It delves deeper than the obvious fees, ratios, and metrics, also looking at the quality and value of products and services, creating a more personal examination. The products listed by Advisory HQ News as particularly beneficial to consumers are the NOW Checking, Pure Excitement Money Market, mobile banking, and MyBanker programs. AdvisoryHQ News is an online news outlet that provides research, reviews, and ranking of firms and products across the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

PFHS Accredited by New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges

SPRINGFIELD — Pope Francis High School, a faith-based, college-preparatory school serving grades 9-12, announced its accreditation by the New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges Inc. (NEASC). The school was formed by the recent merger of Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School. “This accreditation provides assurance to our prospective families that Pope Francis High School meets and upholds the standards that are outlined by the NEASC, and we will continue to work to meet those standards in the future,” said interim Head of School Dr. Thomas McDowell. “Accreditation by the NEASC is voluntary; it shows our willingness to abide by their standards and open ourselves regularly to examination by outside evaluators familiar with higher education.” According to a letter dated July 19 from Jay Stroud, NEASC interim director of the commission, Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic have been members of the association since 1993 and were last evaluated in 2013. By commission policy, their accreditation is extended to cover Pope Francis High School, which will be reevaluated for continued accreditation in 2023. “The effective date of accreditation for Pope Francis High School is Nov. 5, 2013, and the expiration date is Dec. 31, 2023,” Stroud wrote, adding that “Pope Francis High School is in good standing with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.” NEASC was founded in 1885 and works to establish and maintain high standards for all levels of education, from pre-kindergarten to the doctoral level.

Garvey Communication Associates Feted in Newspaper Poll

SPRINGFIELD — Readers of the Daily Hampshire Gazette voted Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi) “Best Marketing – Advertising Agency” in the 2016 Reader’s Choice poll. GCAi is a digital-marketing agency and independent Google Certified Partner agency which recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary. “The award certainly comes as a surprise and is a nice 25th-anniversary present,” said Mary Shea, vice president of Digital Strategy at GCAi. “We have worked hard for years to introduce new digital-marketing strategies to the market, and our volunteer work with startups, here and around the world, is unparalleled. We see the award as validation of both.” For several years, GCAi was the pro bono agency of record for local startup accelerator Valley Venture Mentors, and the GCAi digital-marketing team regularly presents and mentors entrepreneurs from around the world through the global accelerator MassChallenge.

Florence Bank Employees Recognized Among Top Loan Originators

FLORENCE — Florence Bank announced that Toby Daniels, vice president and branch manager at the bank’s Hadley location, and Susan Seaver, vice president and mortgage loan officer, have both been recognized by the Warren Group as among the top loan originators for the Central and Western Mass. regions. The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, compiled the list and rankings for the top loan originators statewide for the period between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. The originators were ranked by number of loans and volume of loans, statewide and by region. Seaver was listed eighth in mortgage volume and seventh in number of loans. Daniels was listed ninth in mortgage volume. The comprehensive list, based on public records, is the compilation of data on hundreds of licensed loan originators in the state, as well as their lending institutions. The list was published in the June 20 edition of Banker & Tradesman and also distributed to attendees at the 2016 Mid-Year Mortgage Conference, held June 23 in Natick. In its report, the Warren Group stated that the Massachusetts housing recovery is one of the fastest in the nation and still going strong in most areas of the state. “All over the state,” the publishers noted, “loan originators have worked hard in the face of increased demand and increased regulatory burden. They are to be commended for their well-deserved success and their contributions to helping families achieve their dreams of home ownership.” Seaver said, “I’m thankful to have the opportunity to work with so many great customers. It’s very rewarding to help people purchase their dream home. I’m also thankful for the underwriters and processors at Florence Bank who work as a team with the loan officers to ensure the borrower gets the highest level of personal service, which makes my job easy.” Added Daniels, “I’m very happy to have been recognized. We have a great network of realtors who provide referrals, as well as a strong back office and streamlined approval process. And the lending rates have been great. We’re very pleased to have been able to help so many of our neighbors and friends here with their housing needs.” John Heaps Jr., president and CEO of Florence Bank, said the bank is honored to have the pair recognized among the region’s top lenders. “This speaks volumes about their commitment and good work. At Florence Bank, we are fortunate to have such a dedicated team of people focused on helping our friends and neighbors achieve their dreams of buying a home. I am proud of them all.”

AIC Named Among Top 50 Nursing Schools in New England

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has been named one of the top 50 nursing schools in New England by a research team at Nursing Schools Almanac, which collected data on more than 3,200 nursing schools and campuses throughout the U.S., with just 10% making the final list.
Each nursing school in the six-state region was evaluated on three dimensions: the institution’s academic prestige and perceived value, the breadth and depth of nursing programs offered, and student success, particularly on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
According to Nursing Schools Almanac, “AIC ranked number 36 in New England. American International College opened in 1885 as a school for international immigrants. The institution became coed in 1892, making it one of the first colleges in the region to educate women. AIC offers BSN and RN-to-BSN courses for undergraduate students. The college introduced its MSN program in 2005, which offers a hybrid of classroom and online modules. In fact, two-thirds of the content is available online, providing much-needed flexibility for working nurses.”
Cesarina Thompson, dean of the School of Health Sciences, is pleased that AIC is being recognized. “Over the past five years, AIC’s average pass rate on the NCLEX exam has been at or above state and national averages. The college’s diverse nursing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels offer a breadth and depth of courses and degrees that address current shortages of skilled healthcare professionals and an ever-increasing need for the future.”

Olde Holyoke Development Corp. Is Now OneHolyoke CDC

HOLYOKE — Olde Holyoke Development Corporation will now be called OneHolyoke CDC (Community Development Corporation) to better reflect its service to the most challenged neighborhoods in Holyoke and its commitment to best practices in the field of community development.
“It’s ‘Out with the Olde’ at Olde Holyoke Development Corporation,” according to OneHolyoke CDC Executive Director Michael Moriarty. “Our new name reflects the changes we have made to be a Community Development Corporation that represents a 21st century catalyst for change in Holyoke.”
Founded in 1971, the newly-named OneHolyoke CDC has created more than 160 new homes in the Flats, Churchill, and South Holyoke neighborhoods, rehabilitated hundreds of apartments, and provided thousands of home-improvement grants to homeowners through the Neighborhood Improvement Program. Olde Holyoke Development Corporation was formed originally as a Model Cities Community Development Corporation serving only the Flats neighborhood and continuing the work of a discontinued federal Great Society program.

In 2014, Olde Holyoke Development Corporation became the only certified Community Development Corporation based in the City of Holyoke. “OneHolyoke is a name that reflects the unifying, flexible and responsive CDC we strive to be,” Moriarty noted. “We’re doing what it takes to build communities, make improvements and transform lives.”
In recent years the housing development agency has diversified its board of directors, expanded its community service outreach, and launched efforts to collaborate with many city agencies and nonprofits that go beyond brick and mortar projects. Moriarty said the new name reflects the company’s evolution.
“The ‘Olde’ has served its purpose and outlived its time; we have a legacy of service and success we are proud of as ‘Olde Holyoke,’ but it is not our original name,” he said. “In the early ‘80s we adopted Olde Holyoke because the Flats is the oldest densely-populated section of Holyoke, which was the only area of focus. Now in 2016, we have been working throughout the city for years, not only in the Flats.

 OneHolyoke speaks to our service to the whole City, and our hope is to be a unifying and positive voice for Holyoke.”Jerry Rome Nissan Becomes Balise Nissan
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Jerry Rome Nissan, located at 500 Riverdale St. in West Springfield, has officially become Balise Nissan of West Springfield. The current facility and parking area will undergo expansion in the coming months. Pending approval from the town of West Springfield, the dealership will be renovated to align more closely with Nissan’s latest dealership image. “Our team is thrilled for the all-new Balise Nissan of West Springfield,” says Bill Peffer, president & COO of Balise Motor Sales. “We look forward to exceeding customers’ expectations in areas of sales, service, and overall customer experience.” Balise Nissan is the sixth Balise dealership on Riverdale Street in West Springfield and the ninth Balise dealership in Western Mass.

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