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Company Notebook

Florence Bank Opens New Hadley Branch
HADLEY — Florence Bank, a mutually owned savings bank serving the Pioneer Valley through nine branch locations, celebrated the opening of its new Hadley location at 377 Russell St. last month, with local and state officials, as well as more than 100 well-wishers. Florence Bank CEO John Heaps Jr. and bank officials were joined by State Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg, state Rep. John Scibak, Hadley Town Administrator David Nixon, and Amherst Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Don Courtemanche, along with customers, friends, and supporters who turned out to welcome the bank to its new home. In addition to the ribbon cutting, bank officials officially dedicated a new tractor weathervane, which sits atop the new building, to the Devine family of Hadley. John Devine, who was a lifelong farmer and a member of Hadley’s Planning Board, was instrumental in recommending that the bank consider a cupola and weathervane as part of the new building’s design. Bank officials wanted to do something to honor the memory of Devine, who passed away unexpectedly a year ago. Florence Bank Senior Vice President Sharon Rogalski presented a replica of the weathervane to John Devine Jr., who accepted the gift on behalf of his family. Toby Daniels, vice president and  branch manager of the Hadley Branch, will continue in that role in the new location. “Hadley has been our home for nearly 20 years,” said Heaps. “We are especially pleased to renew our commitment to this community with our new location. We thank our many customers and friends for their ongoing support and look forward to serving everyone for years to come.”

PeoplesBank Named a ‘Top Place To Work’
HOLYOKE — Recently, the Boston Globe recognized PeoplesBank as a “Top Place to Work” for the third year in a row. Massachusetts-based companies that are eligible for Top Place to Work consideration undergo a rigorous evaluation by survey firm WorkplaceDynamics. More than 76,000 individuals’ responses were submitted by the companies regarding key factors related to employee happiness, company direction, execution, employee connection, work load and responsibility, management, and pay and benefits. 
“While there is definite value in these indicators, many signs of recovery cannot be boiled down to pure economics,” said Boston Globe Business Editor Mark Pothier. “The companies on our Top Places to Work list foster productivity and innovation by investing in the happiness of their employees, which cannot solely be measured in dollars and cents.” Said Douglas Bowen, president and CEO of PeoplesBank, “our intent was to establish the values and culture necessary to support a great organization. Over time, we learned that those values and that culture would improve our bottom line and make PeoplesBank a top place to work.” Employee engagement is critical to a high-performance culture, according to Janice Mazzallo, executive vice president and chief human resource officer at PeoplesBank. “Associates become engaged when they know we care about them,” she said. “We want to know their ideas, so we have associate think tanks. We want them to grow, so we have innovative development programs, mentoring, and learning centers. And we want to encourage life-work balance because our values are abou more than just work. We need to have fun, too.” As part of the Top Place to Work award to PeoplesBank, the Boston Globe highlighted two efforts by bank associates. The first, called the Smoothie Patrol, started at an associates’ organized wellness fair and was so well-received that associates decided to take it on the road and make surprise visits to each of the bank’s 17 offices. Xiaolei Hua, an assistant vice president and credit officer at PeoplesBank and Habitat for Humanity volunteer, was interviewed by the Boston Globe regarding the bank’s support of volunteerism. “I know that the bank cares about more than just getting the work done,” Hua told the paper. “They care about me, my family, and the community.”

Polish National Credit Union Donates $15,000 to Westfield Senior Center
WESTFIELD — At a check-presentation ceremony last month, Polish National Credit Union made a $15,000 donation to the capital campaign of Friends of the Westfield Senior Center Inc. The donation was made at the Westfield River Branch of the PNCU by Branch Manager Cynthia Houle to Friends of the Westfield Senior Center’s board of directors. PNCU President and CEO James Kelly commented on the credit union’s commitment to the Westfield community. “Our branch in Westfield is one of our largest and most vibrant locations, and we enjoy being involved in supporting the community in any way we can. The new senior center is going to be a wonderful asset to the community, and PNCU is thrilled to be a part of it.” The donation will be used for furnishings at the new senior center, currently under construction on Noble Street in Westfield. “The Polish National donation will enable us to provide comfortable furniture and accessories for the new senior center that Westfield’s seniors will benefit from for years to come,” said board member Tom Keenan. “Polish National is genuinely concerned about the community and making Westfield a better place to live.” Founded in 1921, Polish National Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the Pioneer Valley. Headquartered on Main Street in Chicopee, the credit union operates full-service branches in Chicopee, Granby, Westfield, Southampton, Hampden, and Wilbraham.

Grainger Foundation Supports STCC Foundation
SPRINGFIELD — The Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation located in Lake Forest, Ill., has donated $5,000 to the Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) Foundation in support of its Foundation Innovation Grant program. “This grant will be used to help us continue to support faculty and staff innovation here at STCC,” said President Ira Rubenzahl. “The Foundation Innovation Grant program helps us to improve excellence in the delivery of academic or student retention services at STCC. We are grateful to the Grainger Foundation for its generosity and in helping us to continue our mission.” In addition to the contribution from the Grainger Foundation, the STCC Foundation will match Grainger’s $5,000 contribution this year. Foundation Innovation Grants are awarded in the spring. “We want to thank the Grainger Foundation for its generous support,” said STCC Foundation President Kevin Sweeney. “With their assistance, the STCC Foundation will continue its commitment to support innovative projects at the college that promote community impact, economic growth, workforce development, and quality of life in our region.” The donation to the STCC Foundation was recommended by John Duffy, market manager of W.W. Grainger Inc.’s Springfield location. Grainger has been a part of the Western Mass. business community for nearly 40 years as the leading broad-line supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products. “We are proud to recommend the programs offered by STCC,” said Duffy. “We understand the need for active engagement and partnership between our technical education providers, businesses, and the community.” The Grainger Foundation was established in 1949 by William Grainger, founder of W.W. Grainger Inc.

Mercy Hosts Topping-off Event for Cancer Center
SPRINGFIELD — The construction project to expand the Sr. Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center is on schedule, and a topping-off ceremony was held Nov. 20 to mark the completion of the project’s main structure with the placement of the top steel beam. A topping-off ceremony is a tradition within the construction industry and is held when the highest structural point in the building construction is attained. To celebrate this event, the last steel girder is signed, lifted into place, and welded to the structure. A small evergreen tree and the American flag are also secured to the girder as it is hoisted to the top of the structure. The tree is meant to represent the strength of the new building and the desire for the construction project to remain injury-free. The $15 million expansion of the Sr. Caritas Cancer Center, which will add an additional 26,000 square feet of space on two levels, is designed to provide more comprehensive care delivery and added convenience for patients. In addition to radiation-oncology services, medical-oncology offices, physician offices, and exam rooms will be located on the first floor. Medical-oncology treatment and infusion space, an oncology pharmacy, and laboratory space will be located on the second floor.

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