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Company Notebook

VizConnect Opens Headquarters in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD —  Mobile marketing technology and communications firm VizConnect Inc. recently announced the opening of its headquarters in Springfield, and the official launch of its North American operations. Recently named one of the five top technology start-ups to watch by the Boston Business Journal (June 4, 2013), VizConnect was founded in 2011 by a team of partners, including 20-year media veteran and Associated Press and Emmy award winning on-air personality Edward Carroll. VizConnect is a video-management service that will allow businesses of all sizes to easily incorporate high-definition video into print advertising and their existing social media. Businesses of all size can use VizConnect’s platform to easily leverage the power of video and a call-to-action screen to market their products and services while also interacting and engaging their target customers. “We’re thrilled to call Springfield our home,” said Carroll of the decision to keep the business in Western Mass. “We could have launched this effort from Cambridge or even Los Angeles, but it’s important to us to be part of building this community that has been so instrumental in our development.” The team of founding partners includes Paul Cooleen, president of VizConnect, a former bond trader with deep ties to Wall Street; Jim Henderson, chief information officer, chief counsel and Boston-based attorney; and Brian Dee, director of Business Development. With subscribers located around the country, VizConnect currently serves a diverse group of businesses in a wide variety of industries, including real estate, restaurants, automobile sales, sports franchises and general contracting vendors. VizConnect also counts several non-profit organizations as customers. VizConnect’s online tools are sold through a network marketing structure, further offering immense opportunities to business people interested in building their own companies. The company offers its distributors — independent business associates — an opportunity to sell and distribute this web-based program as the foundation for their own independent businesses.

Big Y Debuts Solar Array
SPRINGFIELD — Big Y Foods Inc. recently announced the completion of its new solar array at 151 Cottage St. at its Store Support Center in Springfield. This new array spreads across three acres and includes 2,178 solar panels with a 643kw DC array. Annual electrical production yield is expected to be 750,000 kilowatt hours, which will offset the company’s electrical consumption by 15% or 1 ½ months at Big Y’s corporate offices and distribution center. Real Goods Solar Energy, Western Mass Electric Company, and local contractors such as Cotton Tree Service and L&D Construction, installed the panels over the past five months. Employees and visitors can view the array’s electrical generation via a monitor in the company’s café. It is Big Y’s third solar installation in Massachusetts; at the Big Y World Class Markets in Lee and Franklin, rooftop solar arrays have been helping to offset electrical consumption since June 2012. An opening event was staged June 27 at Big Y’s headquarters, at which state and local representatives helped inaugurate the new panels. State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Center for Eco-Technology executive director John Majercak and their Green Business Services director Lorenzo Macaluso shared the podium in recognition of Big Y. The company has long been recognized as a leader in innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. In collaboration with the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), a non-profit environmental organization that helps businesses improve environmental performance, Big Y began diverting food waste from landfills across the state. It began diverting food waste from disposal in the mid 1990s and today, all 61 stores recycle cardboard, paper and film plastics. More than 80% of its Massachusetts markets utilize active composting programs. In 2011, Big Y diverted more than 16,000 tons of materials from landfills. Last year, Big Y was recognized by the state for its significant accomplishments. In addition, it passed the 80% certification rate statewide to earn regulatory relief from the MassDEP Waste Ban Enforcement and earned Supermarket Recycling Program Certification. Big Y is also an inaugural participant in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Other renewable-energy solutions implemented by Big Y include full building- management systems in each store to control lighting, refrigeration, and other HVAC units to insure optimal performance. This system also reduces lighting and temperatures at nighttime when the stores are closed. Other initiatives include the installation of glass doors in all dairy and frozen food cases along with electronically commutated motors to lower energy consumption. Variable speed drives on rooftop air handling units and cooking exhaust hoods, advanced refrigeration systems with reduced refrigerant charges, rooftop dehumidification units, and highly energy efficient case motors all contribute to reducing Big Y’s energy footprint. Additionally, LED lighting with occupancy sensors, pull down covers for open multideck cases and efficient lighting design continue to help the chain save over 800,000 kwh per year in energy consumption. Before the installation of their new solar array, these savings are equivalent to 1283 barrels of oil, 61,844 gallons of gasoline or 108 cars being taken off of the road. Big Y is also one of the first retailers to install electric-car-charging stations, which are currently active at four of their Massachusetts  locations — Northampton, Lee, Franklin, and Walpole.  Customers can conveniently use the chargers for free while they shop. Since installation, 482 cars have charged more than 461 hours saving more than 1,879 (kg) of greenhouse  gases and 223 gallons of gasoline. According to Gary Kuchyt, Big Y’s manager of energy and sustainability, “Saving resources is important to us as a company — not only is it good business, but it’s simply the right thing to do. I am proud to say that Big Y has been committed to conserving energy and reducing waste for over 40 years.”

ESB to Receive ‘Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’ Award
EASTHAMPTON —  Easthampton Savings Bank announced that on July 9, it will receive the ‘Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve” award. The presentation will take place at the bank’s main office at 36 Main St. in Easthampton. The nomination was made by Darci Furr, assistant manager at the bank’s Westfield Office. Furr is a master sergeant in the Mass. Air National Guard, and has been deployed to Saudi Arabia from 2001 to 2002, and to Qatar in 2005 and 2010. Furr, whose current unit of assignment is the Force Support Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, has served for 15 years. In her nomination Furr called Easthampton Savings Bank a “pillar of the Pioneer Valley business community, that is fully deserving of recognition due to exceptional support of military service members.” She talked about the Veteran’s Day drives that the bank has done for the past six years to collect items from employees to send to a military unit who has a member with a direct relationship to the bank. Furr also talked about her personal experience with the bank’s support of military service members. She commented that during the entire 15 years as an employee of ESB and as a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard her managers have been very accommodating to her military duty needs; including last-minute scheduling changes, extended temporary duty periods, and monthly drill weekends.  In addition, the bank voluntarily provides a pay differential for service members whose military salaries are less than that of their bank income. Furr also commented that her direct supervisor also took the time to keep in touch with Furr’s husband, who remained state side. She also added that the bank’s culture is a direct reflection of the leadership and caring guidance of Bill Hogan, the long-time president and CEO of ESB; a former Guardsman himself. Furr concluded her nomination by saying “ESB is a model employer in many ways, not the least of which is its exceptional support of military service members. Selection for the Above and Beyond Award would recognize ESB publicly for something I have known for my 15 years of employment there.”

Polish National Credit Union pledges $50,000 for new Chicopee Senior Center
CHICOPEE — In a check presentation ceremony recently at The Polish National Credit Union’s Main Street, Chicopee headquarters, PNCU pledged the second of two $25,000 donations to support the construction of the new Chicopee Senior Center on Main Street. PNCU previously donated $25,000 in 2012 for the Senior Center. PNCU President and CEO James P. Kelly made the presentation to Richard J. Kos and Ernest N. Laflamme, Jr., co-chairs of the senior center fund raising committee, and Marie Laflamme, a member of the capital campaign. “This is an effort that goes right to the heart of what the Polish National Credit Union is all about,” said Kelly. “These are our members, and this is our community, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Nejaime’s Wine Cellar Unveils Renovated Stores in Lenox, Stockbridge
LENOX/ STOCKBRIDGE — Nejaime’s Wine Cellars recently completed extensive expansion-and-remodeling projects at its Lenox and Stockbridge locations. Owner Joe Nejaime said ongoing grand reopenings are an opportunity for patrons to see and taste new selections the stores can now offer. “Our goal in both stores was to create a brighter and more spacious shopping experience,” he said. “The Lenox store has expanded by approximately 1,900 square feet, nearly doubling its size, and the Stockbridge store has been remodeled and rearranged to make better use of the space.” Both stores received new deli cases, freezers, and flooring, and the Lenox location will also benefit from a rehabbed parking lot. Nejaime noted that the stores’ selection of picnic items and accessories — popular among Tanglewood attendees — have been expanded as a result, as have their beer selection, high-end wines, fine whiskey, prepared foods, and specialty groceries including cheese, crackers, gluten-free items, gourmet chocolates, cookies, and other snacks, as well as gifts and accessories.