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Company Notebook

UMass Amherst Receives $1.1 Million Grant for Large Battery Project

AMHERST — UMass Amherst has been awarded a $1.1 million state grant from the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) project to work with Tesla Energy to construct a large battery at the Central Heating Plant on the west side of campus. The project involves a 1-megawatt/4-megawatt-hour lithium ion battery storage system that will be designed and constructed by Tesla Energy adjacent to the campus power plant. Working with Tesla and the UMass Clean Energy Extension (CEE), the goal is to reduce peak energy demand on the Amherst campus and related costs. The battery storage system will provide power at times when it is purchased from the power grid, help optimize how the campus integrates its current mix of power generation, and provide a research site for clean-energy experts, researchers, and students. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the award of 26 grants totaling $20 million at an event in Marlborough. “The development and deployment of energy-storage projects will be vital to the Commonwealth’s ability to continue leading the nation in energy efficiency,” he said. “Funding these storage projects is an investment in our energy portfolio that will reduce costs for ratepayers and help create a clean and resilient energy future.” Shane Conklin, associate vice chancellor for Facilities and Campus Services at UMass Amherst, noted that “not only will we see utility budget savings, our project will provide on-campus data to support research, and Tesla will provide $80,000 of educational initiatives for our students.” To meet the research goals, Tesla is contributing the funding for educational initiatives during the life of the 15-year project to pay for a range of educational opportunities for UMass Amherst staff and students, including paid internships, career mentorships, lectures, and curriculum development related to solar and energy storage. CEE will also study the operations and maximize learning from the battery-system operations. The campus currently gets 15 megawatts of power from co-generation at the Central Heating Plant and about 5 megawatts from solar voltaic generation as part of one of the most sophisticated power microgrids in the state. The battery storage capacity will be used to balance constraints on those sources and reduce instances when power is purchased from the outside power grid, campus officials say. It will also demonstrate the role that energy storage can plan within a system that has multiple sources of power. The battery system will also bring a new level of resiliency to the campus power grid that can operate independent of the electrical power system in the event of a large-scale power outage. The campus power system hosts the Mullins Center, a regional emergency shelter for Hampshire County and its population of 160,000 citizens. By charging the battery system during off-peak periods and discharging at times peak demand, such as early evening hours during winter months and middle to late afternoon during the summer months, it will help replace less efficient generators, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower costs. The UMass Amherst physical plant will operate the battery system, and Tesla will manage the design, permitting, construction, and maintenance of the battery system. UMass CEE will provide operations analysis and support as part of its research.

The Yoga Shop Opens First Massachusetts Location

LUDLOW — A pair of local women entrepreneurs opened the Yoga Shop in Massachusetts on Dec. 23 at 185 Miller St. in Ludlow. Allison Gomes and Liz Salvador, who found a love for yoga and endeavor to share it with the local community, are partnering with Annie Simard and Kim Charbonneau to open the Yoga Shop’s fourth studio in its first Massachusetts location. Located just off the Mass Pike, the Yoga Shop will offer Vinyasa-style yoga classes for all levels as well as teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats under the LivFree Power Yoga brand. LivFree Power Yoga classes utilize heat and a dynamic sequence of Vinyasa poses, one of the most popular styles of yoga in the U.S., to teach fun, creative classes that leave participants feeling energized. “The Yoga Shop already has three great locations in Connecticut, and we couldn’t be more excited to grow our family and community in Ludlow,” said Simard, one of the the Yoga Shop’s founders. The Ludlow location is home to two spacious yoga studios and features a range of amenities including private changing rooms, yoga-mat storage, and a full retail boutique, Grace+GRIT, showcasing men’s and women’s activewear and a variety of accessories. A range of class package options are available.

Bradley Airport Recognized in Condé Nast Traveler

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that Condé Nast Traveler has released the results of its 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, and Bradley International Airport has been recognized as the fifth-best airport in the U.S. with a score of 82.35. “We are very proud to have earned this prestigious recognition, and we thank not only the many travelers who voted for us, but all of the millions of passengers who choose Bradley for their travel needs on an annual basis,” said CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon. “This distinguished award from the travel community is a testament to our continuous growth and commitment to top-quality customer service at Bradley Airport. It motivates us to keep up the momentum and continue finding creative and innovative ways to meet and exceed our travelers’ expectations.” More than 300,000 readers submitted millions of ratings and tens of thousands of comments, voting on a record-breaking 7,320 hotels and resorts, 610 cities, 225 islands, 468 cruise ships, 158 airlines, and 195 airports. The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running recognition of excellence in the travel industry. They were announced in the magazine’s November issue and are available online at

Bay Path Reports on Recent Charitable Activities

LONGMEADOW — In the spirit of the season, the students, staff, and faculty of Bay Path University have been hard at work giving back to the community. The university kicked off its charitable activities this fall with its 2017 Charitable Fund drive in support of the United Way of Pioneer Valley and Community Health Charities. The university’s partnership with these organizations dates back at least 14 years, and in that time, a total of nearly $200,000 was donated by Bay Path faculty and staff. For 2017, the most substantial sum to date was raised: $20,634. “The Bay Path community never ceases to amaze me with their generosity,” said Keith Sbriscia, associate director of Human Resources, who runs the United Way and Community Health Charities fund-raiser. Both Community Health Charities and the United Way are umbrella organizations that represent other nonprofits through partnerships and raise funds on their behalf through workplace giving campaigns and engagement opportunities. Partner charities also have the opportunity to receive funding through grants. Community Health Charities raises awareness and resources for health and wellness by connecting more than 2,000 of the most trusted health charities across the U.S., reaching 17 million donors every year, through workplace giving campaigns, causes, wellness programs, employee engagement, and strategic partnerships. United Way of Pioneer Valley creates opportunities and improves lives in 25 cities and towns through the United Way Community Fund, and mobilizes people and resources to strengthen area communities by tackling complex issues and driving sustainable change. The Bay Path students are equally committed to supporting the community and have coordinated many student-driven efforts this fall, including, but not limited to, book, diaper, toy, and food drives and several other donations to meet the needs of local organizations. The annual book drive, which benefits a different charity each year, generated close to 1,000 book donations for the Homework House. The university’s annual Giving Tree hosted by the Education Club to make the holiday season merrier for children from the Greater Springfield area just wrapped up collecting gifts for families in need this holiday season. The canned-food drive to assist in restocking local food pantries that run out of goods during the holiday season, hosted by the university’s Student Government Alliance, is also underway. Further, Bay Path University has selected New North Citizens Council of Springfield as its holiday charity. “The devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is overwhelming, and many of the families and loved ones of students, faculty, and staff have been impacted by the catastrophic damage caused by the storm,” said Kathleen Halpin-Robbins, assistant vice president and director of Human Resources. As more and more families are leaving Puerto Rico to find shelter with family and friends in the continental U.S., many cities in New England are welcoming these families. New North Citizens Council (NNCC) has been designated by Western Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico as a welcome center for Puerto Rican evacuees in Springfield.

Valley Health Systems Supports 13 Families over the Holidays

HOLYOKE — Employees of Valley Health Systems, which includes Holyoke Medical Center, the Holyoke Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice Life Care, Western Mass Physician Associates, and River Valley Counseling Center, have joined together to help support 13 families in need of assistance this holiday season. The families consist of 40 children and 12 adults and are affiliated with the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club and WIC.

OMG Roofing Products Introduces RhinoBond Plate Marking Tool

AGAWAM — OMG Roofing Products has introduced a plate-marking tool designed to help roofers improve rooftop productivity by quickly locating and marking RhinoBond Plates installed under thermoplastic membranes. The new RhinoBond Plate Marking Tool is lightweight, simple-to-use, and easy-to-maneuver. Simply roll the marking tool over a row of installed RhinoBond Plates. Every time it passes over a properly installed plate, the tool leaves a temporary mark on the surface of the membrane to identify the plate location. Plate marks are made with standard blue construction crayons and typically fade away within a few weeks. The plate-marking tool is compatible with all thermoplastic membranes regardless of type or thickness. In addition, the tool’s handle is reversible for quick direction changes, and lies flat for rolling under rooftop pipes and raised equipment such as air-handling units. Other benefits of the new system include powerful sweeper magnets mounted on the front and back of the chassis that pick up any metal debris on the roof. The tool is provided in a protective carrying case for easy handling and storage. “Many roofers understand the tremendous productivity and performance benefits that RhinoBond offers,” said Web Shaffer, vice president of marketing for OMG. “In fact, some roofers have reported productivity-rate improvements of up to 30%. To enhance the systems’ overall productivity offering, we wanted to make it even easier for roofers not only to find, but also to clearly ‘see’ the installed RhinoBond Plates beneath the membrane. The new RhinoBond Plate Marking Tool makes this possible.” The RhinoBond System is designed for use with TPO and PVC roofing membranes. The system uses advanced induction-welding technology to bond roofing membranes directly to specially coated plates that secure the insulation to the deck. The result is a roofing system with improved wind performance that requires fewer fasteners, plates, and seams, and zero penetrations of the new membrane.

Jean Kelley, Joe Malmborg Attend National Conference

NORTHAMPTON — Jean Kelley and Joe Malmborg, advisors of Kelley and Malmborg Investment Consulting Group in Northampton, recently attended a national educational conference for independent financial advisors. Hosted by Commonwealth Financial Network, the nation’s largest privately held registered investment advisor – independent broker/dealer, the October event drew 1,641 affiliated advisors, staff, guests, and sponsors from across the nation. Participants gathered in San Diego, where they connected and collaborated with peers, colleagues, and industry partners to strengthen their leadership skills and enhance the high-end service they provide to clients. With the theme, “Personal Currency: Human Connections/Patterns for Success,” the conference encouraged attendees to explore how the relationships that they build, nurture, and sustain — both professionally and personally — influence their success. Keynote speakers offered topical remarks tailored specifically to an advisor audience. In an informal ‘fireside chat,’ former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, joined by Commonwealth’s Joni Youngwirth, managing principal, Practice Management, offered insights about effective diplomacy. Albright outlined the real keys to diplomacy as the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes and to have a clear understanding of what the other person wants. Ken Blanchard, author, leadership expert, and co-founder of international management training/consulting firm the Ken Blanchard Companies, spoke about the innate leader in everyone. International portrait photographer Platon brought the conference theme to life, sharing powerful personal stories about connecting on a human level with his subjects, including Marissa Mayer and Mark Zuckerberg. The conference concluded on a continued high note, with a closing event held at Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. The attendees were treated to live entertainment, a grand tour of the facility, a BBQ, and practicing their batting skills at batting cages placed throughout the park.