Departments People on the Move

People on the Move

Alex Dixon

Alex Dixon

Courtney Wenleder

Courtney Wenleder

Marikate Murren

Marikate Murren

MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis announced the appointments of Alex Dixon as general manager and Courtney Wenleder as vice president of Finance and chief financial officer. Dixon assumes responsibility for the resort’s day-to-day leadership and direction, including overseeing all operational aspects of MGM Springfield. Wenleder will direct and oversee the strategic financial planning, operational performance, and financial management of MGM Springfield. Other personnel announcements include Marikate Murren’s promotion to vice president of Human Resources, and several additional senior management hires. Together, these positions will focus on strategic direction, workforce planning and development, and financial planning and oversight to help prepare for the resort’s September 2018 opening. With 10 years of industry experience, Dixon was most recently the vice president and assistant general manager of the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore. There, he helped to open the Horseshoe property both ahead of schedule and under budget. “We are delighted to welcome Alex to the team at MGM Springfield,” Mathis said. “He brings broad industry experience and a passion for delivering hospitality on the East Coast, which will be incredibly valuable to the leadership and operations at MGM Springfield. He has a proven track record for success that will be instrumental in planning, opening, and initiating activities that will undoubtedly further strengthen the performance of MGM Springfield.” Wenleder most recently held the CFO position at New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where she served for nine years and oversaw significant capital investments and property enhancements, including the introduction of the new retail esplanade. Prior to that she was the vice president of Finance and chief financial officer at Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss., where she oversaw the reconstruction of the resort following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. “Courtney’s extensive experience with our resort operations at two of our company’s signature resorts will be a tremendous asset as our team prepares MGM Springfield to join our expanding regional portfolio,” Mathis said. “She will be instrumental in ensuring MGM Springfield achieves our financial and business goals.” In her new role as Vice President of Human Resources, Murren assumes responsibility for planning and directing all aspects of the talent and human resources functions, including ensuring adherence to labor laws, regulations, and HR corporate policies and procedures for MGM Springfield. She will design and oversee the property’s execution of comprehensive strategies, initiatives, action plans, and processes to improve critical organizational performance in the areas of employee engagement and guest service. She was most recently the director of Human Resources for the property, a role she assumed last June. The MGM Springfield team also has welcomed several additional senior managers, both new to MGM and relocating from other MGM facilities: Michael Custodio has been named director of Property Initiatives, Arlen Carballo is director of Financial Planning & Analysis, and Meagan Lippmann is Learning & Development partner. Rounding out the newest senior-management hires is Jason Randall as director, Talent Acquisition & Development. “I’m excited to have all these talented individuals join the MGM Springfield team,” Mathis said. “The breadth of experience, the leadership qualities, and values of this team gives me a high degree of confidence in our ability to lead MGM Springfield through and past the next phase of our strategic journey of delivering on our enlivened vision for the South End.”

•••••

Christina Royal

Christina Royal

Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal has been appointed to the board of directors of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a nonprofit public agency that seeks to advance economic development through technological innovation, particularly in key industries such as healthcare, life sciences, information technology, nanotechnology, broadband deployment, and marine sciences. “Through its major divisions — the Innovation Institute, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute, and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute —Mass Tech brings together leaders from industry, government, and higher education to advance technology-based solutions that strengthen regional economies, improve the healthcare system, expand broadband access, and stimulate economic growth throughout the Commonwealth,” according to the Mass Tech website, www.masstech.org. Royal has a strong background in information technology, both in higher education and in the private sector. She was formerly the executive director of Distance Learning and assistant vice president of eLearning and Innovation at Cuyahoga Community College, and the director of Technology-Assisted Learning at Marist College. Before she made the switch to higher education, she worked as a project manager in research and development at CompUSA, and as the director of curriculum at the Beacon Institute for Learning. Royal’s term on the Mass Tech board runs until Nov. 20, 2020. She was sworn in on June 1.

•••••

United Way of Hampshire County (UWHC) announced the appointment of Renee Moss as interim executive director. Moss replaces Jim Ayres, who resigned his position as executive director to serve as president and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley. Julie Cowan, UWHC board chair, announced that Moss will serve as interim executive director while the board conducts a search to permanently fill the position. Moss, a UWHC board member, recently retired as longtime executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County. “Renee is well-respected in the community and will bring strong leadership skills to our United Way as we make the transition to a new director. We are grateful that she is willing to give her time and talents to United Way just as she was starting her retirement,” said Cowan. Added Kate Glynn, UWHC board vice chair, “Renee brings impressive experience to the interim director role at UWHC, where she will work with the staff and board on a number of fronts, including the search for a permanent executive. The board of directors is extremely excited to have someone with such a strong nonprofit background and so well-known in the community.” According to Cowan, “Renee was willing to step forward and serve in this capacity. She has been a tremendous board member and volunteer. Our organization is very fortunate to have her step in at this critical time as we prepare for the 2018 Community Campaign.” Moss said she was approached by some United Way officers to see if she would be interested, and she was. “United Way is a great organization, and I’m looking forward to working with the incredible staff.” Moss was with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County for 32 years. Her passion for community collaboration and creating new partnerships is what she enjoyed most about leading that organization. Before moving to Amherst in 1985, Moss taught in the New York City public schools for 10 years. Moss will assume the executive director position on June 26 and is expected to stay until Sept. 22.

•••••

Mike Vedovelli

Mike Vedovelli

With more than 19 years of community and economic-development experience in Western Mass., Mike Vedovelli joined Eversource as its newest community relations specialist. Vedovelli will serve as the company’s liaison for communities in Hampden and Hampshire counties. His focus is supporting Eversource’s electric service business. He is a past board member of DevelopSpringfield and the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, and a graduate of St. Anselm College. Most recently, Vedovelli served as Chicopee’s director of Community and Economic Development. Prior to that, he served more than seven years as the senior regional director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. He’s successfully worked on a number of projects involving site location, expansion and technical assistance generating private investment, economic opportunities, and jobs. He has worked with all of the Western Mass. communities and has strong relationships with municipal officials and business leaders.

•••••

Bay Path University President Carol Leary recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership. The HSAAC provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Homeland Security and its leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. Since its formation, the HSAAC has delivered more than 120 recommendations resulting in new and expanded programs, resources, and initiatives to support the academic community. “I am excited to see that the department is focused on engaging with colleges and universities across the nation,” Leary said. “I am proud to be a member of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, which has been an invaluable asset to the Department.” During the meeting, the HSAAC Academic Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism presented its report to council members. The report offered a number of recommendations for department consideration that were established through a joint effort of academic leaders and subject-matter experts. DHS leadership also outlined the 2017 National Seminar and Tabletop Exercise (NTTX) event, which will take place Oct. 10-11 at the University of Utah. The two-day event will include workshop sessions, a tabletop exercise, and an after-action review session on preparing participants to respond to a campus emergency. This year’s tabletop event will focus on a failure in campus infrastructure caused by cyberattack. This recurring NTTX series is part of the DHS Campus Resilience Program. The program engages colleges and universities in an effort to foster resilience and bolster campus emergency-preparedness efforts. Following the meeting, Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security Elaine Duke met with HSAAC members for an informational session on the department’s key priorities and challenges.

•••••

Tracey Egloff

Tracey Egloff

James Kelly, president and CEO, announced that Tracey Egloff has joined Polish National Credit Union as vice president of residential lending. Egloff has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of residential lending, including loan origination, processing, underwriting, compliance, secondary market sales, and loan servicing. She began her career in banking at Northampton Cooperative Bank in 1992 and held various positions in the loan department. She was most recently the vice president of residential lending with successor institution Greenfield Cooperative Bank. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and is also a graduate of the New England School for Financial Studies at Babson College. “Tracey’s strong background in all aspects of residential lending makes her a perfect choice for helping our members achieve their housing goals and objectives,” said Kelly. “We are extremely pleased to welcome her to the Polish National Credit Union family.”

•••••

Lou Mayo, office manager with Real Living Realty Professionals in Wilbraham, was named the 2017 Realtor of the Year by the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley (RAPV). The announcement was made during the association’s annual awards banquet held June 8 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. As the highest honor given to a member, the Realtor of the Year award is bestowed upon the one person who has shown outstanding service and devotion to the 1,650-member organization during the past 17 months in the areas of Realtor activity, community service, and business activity. A Realtor since 1997, Mayo has been a member of the RAPV board of directors since 2012. He was RAPV president in 2016 and also served on the professional standards, strategic planning, and finance committees, as well as the forms and building task forces. At the state level, Mayo is a member of the board of directors of the Mass. Assoc. of Realtors (MAR). He is the chairman of the Mass. Assoc. of Realtors professional standards committee, a forms committee member, as well as a former member the MAR young professionals network committee. He is a MAR Leadership Academy graduate, and is currently a member of the MAR website task force. At the national level, Mayo has attended many National Assoc. of Realtors (NAR) conferences and trade shows and holds the professional designations of Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI), and Certified Buyer Representative (CBR). Mayo’s community involvement includes providing support through charitable giving to Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Salvation Army, as well as serving as a member of the Granby Bow & Gun Club. In conjuction with the RAPV community service committee, he also contrubuted to the development and construction of four playhouses that were donated to local Boys and Girls Clubs. “I believe strongly in the code of ethics and strive daily to achieve its highest ideals as a Realtor,” Mayo said. “In both my personal and professional life, I desire to uplift the image of the Realtor by embodying the knowledge, character, and wisdom of a top professional.”

•••••

The Springfield Thunderbirds announced the addition of Charles Venezia to the front-office staff as an account executive. Venezia joined the Thunderbirds upon graduation from Western New England University, where he played football and was named an All-Academic team member for his conference three years in a row. On the field, he helped lead the Golden Bears to two conference titles. En route to graduating with his degree in sport management, Venezia spent the 2016-17 academic year interning with the Thunderbirds during the club’s inaugural season.

•••••

Berkshire Bank announced that Sharon Blanchette, first vice president, BSA/AML officer, moderated the cybersecurity panel at the Assoc. of Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) Connecticut chapter’s third annual conference on May 19. This year’s ACAMS conference focused on the theme “Anti Money Laundering in a Changing World,” which took place at Mohegan Sun. Blanchette attended this event, moderating the cybersecurity panel for the audience and serving as a panelist on the Bank Secrecy Act audit panel. “Cybersecurity is an important and ever-growing topic of discussion in the financial industry, particularly as we continuously adhere to the Bank Secrecy Act,” said Blanchette. “We are constantly defining and redefining compliance and regulations to stay current in a technologically advanced world, so to be able to serve on a panel to discuss this topic and bring further awareness to our community was an exciting opportunity.”

•••••

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray

American International College (AIC) graduate Rebecca Gray, class of 2017, won first place and a $500 cash prize at Springfield Technical Community College’s (STCC) recent Shark Tank competition. Gray delivered one of seven two-minute pitches to a panel of four judges from the local business community. Gray’s idea for her company, Coastline Industries, focuses on efficient, eco-friendly, and renewable energy in the form of underwater turbines. “Solar energy loses 7% of its efficiency in the first year and, if not maintained, can lose up to 40% efficiency in that first year,” she noted. “Wind turbines add to an increase in noise and stress level of birds and interrupt their migration patterns, all contributing to a high environmental impact.” Gray’s proposed underwater turbines would be built 500 yards from the shoreline in New Hampshire and 100 yards below sea level, producing low environmental impact with little disruption to marine life. “The judges provided five minutes of feedback and very intense questioning about the contestants’ business proposals,” Gray said. While Gray’s idea is not a new one — Scotland already uses underwater turbines and is on track to build the world’s largest field this fall with 270 turbines — it is a new concept for the U.S., Gray said. “The United States is far behind in introducing renewable energy due to bureaucracy and other considerations. Eight turbines could power 5,200 homes, and 39% of the nation’s homes are within a thousand-mile reach of a shoreline.” As part of the competition, presenters had to develop a business model, including startup costs. “While the initial project for Coastline Industries will cost approximately $23.6 million to complete, this venture is eligible for $7 million in federal grants and up to $15 million in low-interest federal loans,” Gray said. “The venture seeks $1.6 million in private funding. The starting energy mill of eight turbines, powering 5,200 homes, would bring in $5.72 million in revenue the first year alone. The entire investment will be made back within five years.” Gray’s idea resonated with the panel, and she was granted the top prize of $500. “They said I did a really good job of answering questions on the spot, had confidence in my answers, and knew what I was talking about.” The newly minted AIC graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, is a New Hampshire native who now resides in Springfield. She will begin a full-time job in finance this July with plans to enter a master’s program in the fall.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In these times, many people will be working remotely. In addition to accessing BusinessWest online, readers may wish to add their home address. To do this, e-mail [email protected], visit  https://businesswest.com/contact-us/subscribe/, or call 413.781.8600.