Company Notebook

Company Notebook

The Markens Group Certified by Great Place to Work

SPRINGFIELD — The Markens Group Inc. (TMG) has been certfied by Great Place to Work for the ninth consecutive year. The award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience working at TMG. This year, 95% of employees said it’s a great place to work — 50% higher than the average U.S. company. Great Place to Work is a global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue, employee retention, and increased innovation. According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are four and a half times more likely to find a great boss at a certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits, and have a fair chance at promotion. According to the Trust Index survey taken by the staff, many noted the company ‘fundamentals’ — a set of valued behaviors within TMG — are one of the biggest reasons employees enjoy working at the Markens Group.


Bay Path Recognized Among Top Online Women’s Colleges

LONGMEADOW — The American Women’s College (TAWC), Bay Path University’s online college for adult women, has been recognized by the business-media outlet Forbes as one of the top three online women’s colleges in the nation. The ranking cited TAWC’s strong retention rate and called out Bay Path’s WELL (We Empower Learners and Leaders) program, a three-course leadership curriculum unique to the college, designed to equip women with the leadership skills and experience to excel in any career path. Forbes uses 16 data points to evaluate colleges in the categories of credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience, and application process. Bay Path, along with Simmons College and Brenau University, made the top three.


Rotary Club Supports Revitalize CDC Project

SPRINGFIELD — Revitalize Community Development Corp. (CDC) announced it has received a $2,000 grant from the Springfield Rotary Club to support development of a new warehouse and distribution center at its 240 Cadwell Dr., Springfield location, where it moved in early 2023. Springfield Rotary Club funding will be allocated toward construction supplies for the warehouse and distribution center. The center is essential to supporting Revitalize CDC’s program expansion so it may meet the growing demand for healthier, safer homes and neighborhoods for low-income residents throughout the Greater Springfield area. The 3,200-square-foot center will have two bays for vehicles and provide sufficient space to store program materials and supplies and refrigerated units to store food for Revitalize CDC’s Nutrition Rx program that provides nutrition and diabetes education and helps to address food insecurity. LaPlante Construction of East Longmeadow is the contractor for the project, expected to be completed by Dec. 31. Since 1992, Revitalize CDC has repaired and rehabilitated more than 1,500 homes in Greater Springfield with the help of 10,000 volunteers, investing $54 million into Western Mass. In 2022-23, Revitalize CDC served 826 households (more than 2,300 individuals) consisting of low-income families with children, older adults, military veterans, and individuals living with disabilities.


Rotary Club Awards Grant to the Zoo in Forest Park

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center has received a $3,000 community grant from the Springfield Rotary Club to upgrade its website. While the new website will include advanced booking capabilities, more intuitive registration forms, and the addition of an online store, the upgrade is also designed to enhance the guest experience at the zoo. With the money awarded through the community grant, the zoo plans to expand the educational material available on its website through the addition of interactive webpages for each animal. QR codes will be available at each exhibit, linking guests to a corresponding page for the animal they are viewing. Visitors will have access to photos and videos as well as more in-depth information about the species, including its conservation status, threats in the wild, and coexistence efforts.

The Zoo in Forest Park has been a part of the Springfield community for 130 years. With 225 animals in its care, it is dedicated to inspiring the community to respect and value the natural world through education, conservation, and rehabilitation.


Eversource Submits Roadmap to Achieve Clean-energy Goals

SPRINGFIELD — With a focus on energy equity, environmental-justice communities, and transparency, Eversource submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) its final Electric Sector Modernization Plan (ESMP) to modernize the electric distribution system and help meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization goals after incorporating feedback from the Grid Mod Advisory Council (GMAC) and dozens of stakeholders. The energy company’s ESMP is a comprehensive roadmap to transform the region’s power grid, enhance its resiliency, and strengthen reliability for customers by increasing renewable-energy production and electrifying the heating and transportation sectors. Focused on achieving both equity and clean-energy objectives, the ESMP also establishes a Community Engagement Stakeholder Advisory Group (CESAG) and expands efforts for proposed clean-energy infrastructure projects to engage all potentially impacted stakeholders. Eversource’s 10-year plan helps meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization milestones through 2040 by achieving a 180% increase in electrification hosting capacity, which will provide additional capacity to enable 2.5 million electric vehicles statewide, 1 million residential heat pumps within the company’s territory, and an incremental 2.2 GW of additional solar hosting capacity, bringing the total distributed energy resource hosting capacity systemwide to 5.8 GW.


Berkshire Bank Foundation Reports on 2023 Philanthropy

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced that nearly $2.5 million in philanthropic investments were provided from its foundation in 2023 to support more than 500 nonprofit organizations. During the fourth quarter, more than $642,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to foster upward economic mobility, support overall well-being, and enhance opportunities for individual success in the communities the bank serves. During 2023, more than 500 local nonprofits received grants to assist with a range of critical projects in the areas of health and wellness, housing, food insecurity, and economic enrichment. The Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to supporting programs that work toward providing equitable opportunities for economic prosperity. In addition, it supports programs that align with Berkshire Bank’s Center for Women, Wellness, and Wealth.


MassDevelopment Issues Bond for MHA Headquarters Project

CHICOPEE — MassDevelopment has issued a $6,543,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Mental Health Assoc. Inc. (MHA), which will use the proceeds to buy and renovate a 78,378-square-foot building at 350 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee, where it will relocate its headquarters from Springfield and house its mental-health programs and residential and support services. The building originally housed the Charles River West Psychiatric Hospital and most recently served as the MassMutual Learning and Conference Center. The move will allow MHA to keep pace with growth and locate its staff in one office. Renovations to the building will include interior wall reconfiguration, office construction, HVAC and sprinkler-system updates, added reception-area security, and painting, flooring, and information systems improvements. Construction began in November and is expected to be complete by February 2024. MHA expects to create 45 full-time jobs and 20 part-time jobs over the next three years. Florence Bank purchased the tax-exempt bond, which helped MHA achieve a lower cost of capital. Founded in 1960, MHA provides access to therapies for emotional health and wellness; services for substance use recovery, developmental disabilities, and acquired brain injury; services for housing and residential programming; and more. MHA serves more than 3,000 people, from ages 5 to 90, each year.