People on the Move

People on the Move

Cinda Jones

Cinda Jones

Cinda Jones, president of W.D. Cowls Inc., was awarded BusinessWest’s Continued Excellence Award at the annual 40 Under 40 Gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House on Thursday night. Chosen by three independent judges from among 60 nominations, Jones was honored for her exceptional achievements, including her leadership in growing Cowls’ timberland base by 1,000 acres and being an advocate for conservation. She has also led development of the company’s ambitious project in North Amherst called the Mill District. BusinessWest’s Continued Excellence Award goes to a previous 40 Under Forty honoree who has continued to build his or her résumé of achievement in both business and within the community. Jones was one of five finalists for the 2019 award. The others were Michael Fenton, Anthony Gleason II, Eric Lesser, and Meghan Rothschild. Presentation of the Continued Excellence Award was the opening act of the 40 Under Forty celebration, which saw the class of 2019 join what has become a very prestigious club. Jones held positions in several nonprofits for 10 years in Washington, D.C. before she came home to manage the family business. She was marketing director for the Cato Institute, Wood Marketing director for the American Forest & Paper Assoc., vice president of the National Forest Foundation, and Northeast regional director of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Jones’ focus on increasing acreage of timberland and creating diverse forest-based opportunities with a focus on solar energy have been demonstrated through her actions as president of W.D. Cowls. When she saw the sawmill had potential for better economic use, she rebuilt it as the North Square, acting as a vibrant commerce center for community members, families, and visitors. She sold the largest conservation restriction in state history, raising $8.8 million through the 3,486-acre Paul C. Jones Working Forest, named for her father. In 2019, she will add 2,000 more acres, continuing her goal of making Cowls a national conservation leader.

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Jaime Margolis

Jaime Margolis

Bacon Wilson announced that attorney Jaime Margolis has joined the firm. Margolis is an associate and a member of Bacon Wilson’s domestic-relations and family-law team. Prior to joining Bacon Wilson, she worked in the Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, and as a clerk for the Justices of the Western Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts.

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The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts’ trustees of the Order of William Pynchon have announced their selection of three local residents as recipients of this year’s Pynchon medal. Slated to receive medals at an Oct. 10 event are Charles Casartello Jr., an attorney at the Springfield-based firm of Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan and Blakesley, and a long-time advocate for the Open Pantry Community Service and Griffin’s Friends, nominated by Dr. Ronald Berger; Robert Charland, a man committed to providing working bicycles and other services to children in need, nominated by Marsha Montori; and Heriberto Flores, founding member of Partners for Community and advocate for the underserved, nominated by Ed Cohen. In his role as an attorney, Cassartelo has provided countless hours of pro bono services to those who couldn’t otherwise afford legal help. Counted among this number are four cases in which he represented first responders and families who suffered the loss of a loved one in the 9/11 tragedy. After years of involvement with Springfield’s Bright Nights Road Race, Casartello developed a new fundraising event for Open Pantry Community Services: the Stuffing the Pantry Thanksgiving Day Road Race. Through his leadership, the event has raised more than $200,000 and approximately 15,000 pounds of food over its first seven years, becoming the single largest fundraiser for Open Pantry. In 1994, Jim and Michelle Kelleher founded Griffin’s Friends in memory of their son. This organization is dedicated to bringing moments of joy to courageous children facing cancer and to raise funds for the Griffin’s Friends Children’s Cancer Fund at Baystate Health Foundation. Casartello was an early supporter of Griffin’s Friends and continues to be a connector for volunteers. During his time as a bouncer in one of his many jobs, Charland was assaulted with a baseball bat and sustained a brain injury that led to a cerebral cyst, giving him the cognition of a man decades his senior. His first thought was to put his affairs in order and contact Death with Dignity to avoid becoming a burden to others. But when a Springfield school counselor called him to ask whether he could refurbish some old bikes for underprivileged children, his mindset changed. Answering that request was the first step on a journey that he calls, simply, “the bike thing” — a venture that has grown into a prolific nonprofit called Pedal Thru Youth, giving more than 1,200 underprivileged children a bike of their own. Recently, Charland has included modified toy cars, or powerwheels, in his repertoire. These child-size vehicles allow young people with disabilities to become mobile and ease their fear as they drive themselves from hospital rooms to treatment. Despite the substantial time and financial commitment Charland has invested in Pedal Thru Youth (a year ago, he estimated he had spent more than $10,000 on bikes), he has created another venture delivering what he calls “safety bags” for the homeless and others in need. The Springfield Police Department has dubbed the project Operation Basic Necessities. Each bag contains items such as gloves, scarves, hats, toothbrushes and toothpaste, protein shakes, granola bars, and more. He began with the State Police, who gave them to those in need, and has since outfitted each Springfield police cruiser with two gender-specific bags, which he replaces for free as they’re needed. He has also donated bags through the Connecticut State Police Department and the Hampden County Sheriff’s department, where he serves as a sheriff’s deputy. In 1971, Flores launched the New England Farm Workers’ Council (NEFWC), a human-service agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farm workers doing the work he knew so well. Over time, the organization provided education and skills training to thousands of low-income people living in Western and North Central Mass., Central Connecticut, Rhode Island, Southern New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico. In particular, the Farm Workers’ Council is a champion for the Hispanic communities in these regions. Flores’ early years were marked by poverty and the struggle for basic daily needs that plague too many Americans. His cumulative response to that experience was Partners for Community, a network of five nonprofit social-service agencies throughout New England, of which the Farm Workers’ Council is one. Together, these agencies provide employment, family assistance, adult education, youth development, and other services to populations with special needs. The presentation of the Pynchon Medal and celebration will take place on Oct. 10 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Event details and ticket information can be found at adclubwm.org or by calling (413) 342-0533.

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Maureen Freniere

Maureen Freniere

Eastern States Exposition announced that Maureen Freniere has joined ESE and will serve as one of the organization’s Event Sales coordinators. Freniere comes to ESE from her position at FarmTek in South Windsor, Conn., where she served as a commercial trust specialist. Freniere has spent much of her career in the agriculture field. Previously, she served as the Livestock director for Hampshire College, where she trained students to raise livestock that in turn ended up supporting 40% of the meat that was served through campus dining services. Prior to that, she was manager of ID Services for Holstein Assoc. USA in Battleboro, Vt. For nearly a decade, she supported a nationwide radio-frequency-identification program that assisted farmers in keeping track of the health and well-being of their livestock. Her career also took her to Farm Credit East as Career Development trainer, as well as the Farm Service Agency as program technician. Freniere earned an associate degree in dairy production and management from SUNY Cobleskill and a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agricultural finance from Cornell University.

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Beryl Hoffman

Beryl Hoffman

A professor at Elms College has received a Google computer science research grant for $145,400 to lead research designed to broaden high-school students’ participation in computer science and programming courses, especially among underrepresented populations in the field, such as women and minorities. Beryl Hoffman, associate professor of Computer Science and co-chair of the Natural Science, Mathematics, and Technology Division at Elms College, is leading the one-year project, titled “Transitioning from AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) to AP CSA Java: Learning from CSP Successes.” Advanced-placement (AP) courses prepare high-school students for college by offering challenges and stimulation beyond the standard curriculum, allowing them to demonstrate advanced knowledge of a subject and even earn college credit by taking AP exams. AP CSP provides a broad overview of computer science, including an introduction to programming with a focus on creative, collaborative, and engaging projects. Students who are introduced to computer science in a CSP course often want to continue to text-based programming in AP CSA Java, which focuses on Java programming, as found in introductory college programming courses. Hoffman’s research project will investigate how to adapt approaches used to broaden participation in AP CSP for use with the AP CSA Java course, and how to prepare and support teachers who are new to computer science as they transition from teaching the AP CSP course to the AP CSA Java course. The researchers will adapt the CSP curriculum design to CSA Java and strive to improve the retention and success of traditionally underrepresented students as they transition from CSP to CSA courses.

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Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly, vice president of New Product Development and Innovation at OMG Roofing Products, has been named the 2019-20 president of the Roofing Alliance (formerly the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress). Established in 1996 under the National Roofing Foundation, the Roofing Alliance is a not-for-profit group of roofing contractors, manufacturers, distributors, service providers, and industry professionals working to shape, improve, and advance the roofing industry. Through its programs, the Roofing Alliance has committed more than $13 million to help preserve and advance the U.S. roofing industry, and more than $5.5 million for research, education, and technical programs and projects. In his full-time position at OMG, Kelly is responsible for leading product innovation and managing OMG’s team of project managers, product engineers, and testing technicians. He has over 25 years of experience in the commercial roofing industry, and was instrumental in commercializing the RhinoBond induction welding system. He has held several positions at OMG, including marketing director, vice president of Marketing, and vice president/general manager. In addition to being president of the Roofing Alliance, Kelly is a member of the Single Ply Roofing Industry and the National Roofing Contractors Assoc.

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One of the missions of the nonprofit agency Historic Classical Inc. is to educate the general public about the history and culture of Classical High School and its rich background, as well as the history of Springfield. The newly elected officers of the board of directors are lifelong residents of Springfield, and many officers and board members have graduated from Classical High School. The incoming president is Rhonda Brace, a Classical graduate who now works for the Conn. Department of Revenue Services. Vice President Greg Metzidokis has been a resident of Classical Condominium for many years, and is a teacher in Springfield. Treasurer Carol Costa, one of the first residents of Classical Condominium since 1989, also taught at Classical when it was a school. She is now a retiree from Springfield Public Schools. Daniel Battisti, who continues his role as secretary, was an educator in Springfield Public Schools for 23 years and is a retired national world English consultant for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publications. When the new board officers were questioned about their goals for this relatively young nonprofit, their responses echoed each other. Populations served will be those interested in the city and its history, the general public, and Classical alumni. Costa, one of the founders of Historic Classical, also noted that this is an organization that preserves the past through programs and exhibits on Springfield and Classical’s history. Each used the term “public awareness” in their description of the goals of Historic Classical Inc.

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The Springfield College board of trustees recently announced the outcome of its 2019-20 board election results during its annual meeting on the campus. James Ross III, principal officer of the Hollenbach Group, LLC, enters his second year of a three-year term as chair for the board. Ross has been on the board since 2012. Also, Michele Megas-Ditomassi, a retired educator who earned her bachelor’s degree and certificate of advanced graduate study from Springfield College, returns for her second year of a three-year term serving as vice chair. The following individuals have been re-elected to serve a three-year term on the board: Denise Alleyne, a retired vice president for Student Services at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill; Kurt Aschermann, a marketing and resource-development professional who operates a nonprofit consulting practice called KA6 Consulting; Douglass Coupe, retired vice president of State Street Global Investor Services of Boston; Charisse Duroure, spa director of G-Spa at Foxwoods Resort and G. Group Consulting of Mashantucket, Conn.; Peter Pappas, currently a senior vice president of Morgan Stanley in Springfield; and Suzanne Benson Robotti, founder and president of Medshadow Foundation, an independent nonprofit website that gathers useful information on medicine side effects. New to the board of trustees (class of 2022) are: Pia Flanagan, chief of staff for the president and CEO of MassMutual, who works with the CEO on top priorities and is a key consultant to the company’s board of directors; Mark Elgart, founding president and CEO for Advance Education, a leader in achieving educational quality and driving education improvement through research, innovation, policy and advocacy, technology, and accreditation, serving more than 32,000 institutions and 20 million students worldwide; Alexandra Goslin, a math and secondary education major who will be entering her senior year in the fall, elected as the student trustee; and Kristian Rhim, a communications/sports journalism major who will be entering his junior year in the fall, elected as the student trustee-elect.

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Robbin Vipond-Lauzon

Robbin Vipond-Lauzon

Rediker Software announced that Robbin Vipond-Lauzon has been hired as the company’s new director of Finance. She brings nearly 20 years of experience as a financial analyst and project manager with extensive experience in operations, process improvement, analysis, budgeting and forecasting. Before joining Rediker Software, she was vice president of Finance at Healthy Living Market and Café. In her new role, she will be responsible for managing the company’s finances, tracking cash flow and financial planning, as well as analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and proposing corrective actions. Vipond-Lauzon holds a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from Framingham State University and a master’s degree in Finance from Georgia State University. She is also an actively licensed CPA with the state of Massachusetts.

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Nefertiti Walker, a faculty member in the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst who also serves as its associate dean for an inclusive organization, has been named interim associate chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UMass Amherst by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. She succeeds Enobong “Anna” Branch, who recently became the vice chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. A national search to select a permanent appointment will commence soon. Walker has served in her current position at Isenberg since January, after holding the position of director of Diversity and Inclusion at Isenberg from 2017 to 2018. She joined the UMass Amherst community in 2011. Serving as a member of Isenberg’s senior leadership team, she focused on developing a culture of inclusion through a new diversity and inclusion curriculum, a school-wide inclusion committee, student organizations focused on diversity, and the development of an Inclusive Leadership Summit.

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A prominent business owner from Holyoke and the chancellor of UMass Amherst are among 13 business leaders to join the board of directors of Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM). Pia Sareen Kumar, co-owner and chief Strategy officer of Universal Plastics Group, and Kumble Subbaswamy, chancellor at UMass Amherst, were elected to the board of the statewide business association at AIM’s annual meeting in May. AIM represents the interests of more than 3,500 employers on public policy issues affecting the Massachusetts economy.Tricia Canavan, president of United Personnel in Springfield and an incumbent director at AIM, was elected to the organization’s executive committee. Canavan is a 2018 winner of the AIM Next Century award for contributions to economic opportunity and serves as a member of AIM’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. Kumar leads a family of five plastics-manufacturing businesses located in the Northeast and Midwest, including Universal Plastics in Holyoke. The companies specialize in a range of processes including injection molding, gas-assist molding, heavy-gauge thermoforming, blow molding, and structural foam molding. Kumar started her career as an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase and was a global director of strategic partnerships at American Express. She holds an MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. Subbaswamy became the 30th leader of UMass Amherst in 2012. He has emerged as a popular and well-regarded chancellor for his pursuit of academic excellence, promotion of research and outreach, and initiatives aimed at addressing campus climate, diversity, and culture. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Bangalore University, a master’s in physics from Delhi University, and a Ph.D. in physics from Indiana University. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989. Canavan is a respected business leader throughout Western Mass. She leads a second-generation family company that connects more than 700 people each day to jobs throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. Headquartered in Springfield, the company operates additional offices in Northampton, Pittsfield, and Chelmsford, along with Hartford and New Haven, Conn. Canavan serves as on the boards of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., the Springfield Public Forum, the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Business Leaders for Education, and the Massachusetts Workforce Development Board.

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Ann Manchino

Ann Manchino

Freedom Credit Union announced that Ann Manchino will manage its new West Springfield branch, following Freedom’s recent merger with West Springfield Federal Credit Union (WSFCU). Manchino manages a staff of seven and previously worked for 18 years at WSFCU, serving as its manager for six years. She has a long history of local community involvement, having volunteered with Credit for Life, St. Patrick’s Committee of West Springfield, West Springfield Park and Recreation, and the American Red Cross.

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Karin Jeffers, president and CEO of behavioral-health agency Clinical & Support Options, announced the appointment of Geoffrey Oldmixon as the nonprofit’s associate vice president of Marketing & Development. Previously, Oldmixon served as director of Marketing for public television station WGBY and director of Communications and Online Services for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. He holds a master’s degree in interactive communications from Quinnipiac University, a bachelor’s degree in writing and public relations from Bridgewater State University, and a career certificate in grant writing from Fort Hays State University.

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