Balise Ford in Wilbraham to Expand
WILBRAHAM — Balise Ford in Wilbraham has relocated temporarily just down Boston Road to the former Medieros Chevrolet location, the company announced. Construction for the all-new Balise Ford of Wilbraham is underway on its permanent site at the corner of Boston Road and Stony Hill Road. The new dealership will include 27,000 square feet. The state-of-the-art building will feature a large, customer-friendly showroom and a customer lounge with flatscreen TV and free wi-fi. The construction will also implement many green features, such as LED lighting, throughout. “This new Ford store has been a long time coming,” said company President Jeb Balise. “Our customers need and deserve a more spacious building. The new dealership will give our customers a bigger selection of new and used vehicles, as well as some customer amenities that we have long wanted to include. We’re excited about what this new dealership means to our customers and the communities it serves.” The service area will be improved by an indoor service drive and write-up area, 16 service bays, and the area’s largest Ford truck-service facility. A new Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center will offer full service and everyday low prices for all makes and models. Construction of the new site will be handled by Associated Builders of South Hadley. The new dealership will open for business before Memorial Day 2013.
Bay Path Receives
$3 Million in Grants
LONGMEADOW — In recent weeks, Bay Path College has college has received nearly $3 million in federal funding for two programs. School officials and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced first that the college has been awarded a five-year grant for $999,841 by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Physician Assistant Training in Primary Care Program. A few weeks later, it was announced that the school would receive $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education for several initiatives, including further development of its Women as Empowered Learners and Leaders program, which all undergraduate students must complete. Money will also be directed toward efforts to help students make it to graduation, and for new technology as well. In 2012, only 12 grants were distributed nationwide by HRSA in a highly competitive process, and Bay Path’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies was the only program in New England to receive this award. The focus of the grant is to increase the number of primary-care practitioners, particularly for underserved areas; provide opportunities for physician assistants in community partnerships with the program to have a dual role as clinical faculty; and facilitate the recruitment and retention of minorities and veterans. Currently, Hampden County is ranked last among the 14 counties in Massachusetts for its poor health statistics and outcomes. A similar trend in poor health outcomes is also evident in nearby Berkshire County. Bay Path’s Physician Assistant Studies Program was selected in part because of its partnerships with area healthcare providers, including Baystate Health Center, Caring Health Center, Hampden County Physician Associates, Tapestry Health, and Berkshire Health Systems, in their collaborative efforts to focus on providing accessible and quality healthcare for the underserved in these regions. “The master of science in Physician Assistant Studies is a direct result of the college’s Vision 2013 master plan,” said Bay Path President Carol Leary. “There is a tremendous need for physician assistants. This demand, combined with our investment in our science facilities and academic initiatives over the past several years, led us to launch this highly successful program. We are honored to have been recognized by HRSA, and it is a strong endorsement of the good work of our board of trustees, faculty, and staff.”
Bradley Airport Opens
Cell-phone Waiting Lot
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) and Bradley International Airport (BDL) have announced the opening of a cell-phone waiting lot at the airport. This waiting area is equipped with a sign with a QR (quick response) code that allows customers to use their smartphones to scan the code and be connected directly to Bradley’s latest flight-arrival information. It is located on Light Lane, which runs parallel to Route 75 (Ella T. Grasso Turnpike), near the intersection of Route 75 and Schoephoester Road. This secure, lighted location is a two- to three-minute drive to the BDL arrivals area. Motorists should follow the posted signs on Schoephoester Road, which will direct them to the cell-phone waiting lot. “The opening of this cell-phone waiting lot is in direct response to our customers’ requests,” said CAA Chair Mary Ellen Jones. “We are committed to enhancing our stakeholders’ total travel experience at Bradley International Airport.” Said CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon, “over the next few months, airport staff will be closely monitoring this new customer amenity here at Bradley; we have heard and will continue to respond to the traveling public in order to fulfill the state of Connecticut’s commitment to total quality customer satisfaction at BDL.”
Liberty Mutual Employees Pitch In for Square One
SPRINGFIELD — Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Springfield Customer Response Center staged a recent school-supply drive to assist Square One’s afterschool and out-of-school programming. More than 700 items were collected. “During a recent meeting with the good folks at Liberty Mutual Insurance, we were describing the needs of the many children and families who are living in area hotels,” said Kimberley Lee, vice president of Advancement for Square One. “The company responded immediately by organizing a school-supply drive, and the outpouring of employee support was overwhelming. More than 700 items were donated, including notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, colored markers, writing paper, rulers, folders, binders, staplers and more. To think that there are children unable to do their schoolwork or participate in class because they are without the necessary school supplies was both unacceptable and unimaginable. These employees really came through, as they always do, and have made an immediate impact in the lives of so many school-age children.”
High-performing Culture Earns PeoplesBank Honors
HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank recently was named an Employer of Choice by the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and a Top Corporate Charitable Contributor by the Boston Business Journal. The designation came after a rigorous evaluation that analyzed the bank’s culture, training and development, communication, employee-recognition programs and rewards, as well as life-work balance. According to Janice Mazzallo, senior vice president of Human Resources, PeoplesBank has been implementing a culture shift for several years. “Studies have shown that employers who focus on creating a strong culture and a high level of employee engagement also have strong financial performance. It is sort of a win-win.” Mazzallo noted that the management-development program, in-house learning center, employee-led think tanks, and efforts at creating an optimal life-work balance are just a few of the efforts that PeoplesBank has put into place to enable and support that culture shift. A record-setting $1 million in annual charitable contributions set the stage for the Boston Business Journal naming PeoplesBank a Top Corporate Charitable Contributor for the fifth year in a row. The bank’s employees have also been historically ranked in the top 10 by the publication for volunteer hours and individual charitable contributions. During the past year, PeoplesBank made substantial contributions toward tornado relief and regreening in impacted areas of Western Mass., supported the construction of a greenhouse at an elementary school so students could learn about growing their own healthy food, and helped fund new library construction in several communities.