People on the Move

People on the Move

Russ Fontaine

Russ Fontaine

Country Bank announced that Russ Fontaine has been promoted to senior vice president, Customer Experience. He is a seasoned banking professional with 30 years of experience in key management and leadership roles in consumer sales and service. Fontaine previously held the position of first vice president, Sales and Market Management with Country Bank, where he oversaw sales and service. One example of a new program introduced by the bank, as a result of Fontaine’s recommendation, was the deployment of a “Voice of the Customer” program that enables the bank to measure and better understand the overall customer experience through various survey metrics. In his newly created role, Fontaine is tasked with leading a bankwide collaborative effort to view things from the customer’s perspective; this applies to both the bank’s external customer and its internal customer. Fontaine is active within the community, serving on the board of directors for the Central/Western Massachusetts March of Dimes and as a 2021 co-chair for the March for Babies fundraising event in Massachusetts. He has also served on the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity board of directors, including holding the chair role for the organization’s Restore committee. Additionally, he has been an avid supporter of the United Way and the Western Massachusetts Special Olympics.

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Anita Sedlak

Florence Bank promoted Anita Sedlak to the position of vice president, branch manager of the Easthampton office. Sedlak brings extensive knowledge and skill to her new role. Prior to her recent promotion, she was the senior assistant branch manager at the Easthampton office. During her tenure at the bank, she has been the recipient of the Florence Bank Community Support Award, which is granted to employees who demonstrate superior levels of involvement in the community. She is a graduate of the New England School of Financial Studies. She serves her community as treasurer of Easthampton Dollars for Scholars, finance committee member for the Easthampton Helping Hand Society and a board member of the Florence Bank Easthampton Branch Charitable Foundation.

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The Western Mass Business Show, the WHMP radio program showcasing business leaders of the Pioneer Valley, will have a new host, Tara Brewster, beginning May 1. The show explores the experiences and perspectives of entrepreneurs, delving into their aspirations, strategies, and evolution in friendly but probing conversations. It is intended to be both entertaining and instructive, whether the listener runs a company or not. The show airs on WHMP on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Brewster is vice president for Business Development at Greenfield Savings Bank (GSB). It is her mission to form many trusted relationships with business and organizational leaders and help guide them toward how GSB can be a resource and solution for what ails them. She serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including Double Edge Theater, the Downtown Northampton Assoc., the David Ruggles Center, Hampshire Regional YMCA, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board, and North Star Self-Directed Learning for Teens. The Smith College alumna is also the co-founder and former co-owner of Jackson & Connor, the upscale menswear store in Thornes, in downtown Northampton. Brewster takes the microphone from Ira Bryck, who started the show in 2014. Bryck ran the Family Business Center for 25 years and now consults with the leadership-coaching firm Giombetti Associates. Interested prospective guests can reach out to Brewster at [email protected]

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Annalise Eak

Annalise Eak

The Westfield Starfires announced the addition of Annalise Eak to the staff as coordinator of Group Sales & Fan Experiences. Eak, a Westfield native and graduate of Westfield State University, is pursuing a graduate degree at Bay Path University. For the last seven years, she has served as a marketing supervisor at Six Flags New England. She was a Starfires Game Day Operations volunteer at Bullens Field in both 2019 and 2020. She is vice president of the Westfield Babe Ruth board of directors and served on the World Series executive committee in 2019. She is a Westfield Centennial Lions Club member and Westfield Technical Academy sports volunteer. The Westfield Starfires are part of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, which offers collegiate summer baseball to fans in seven New England cities. The Starfires joined the league as an expansion franchise for the summer of 2019 and play in historic Billy Bullens Field in Westfield. The 2021 schedule will be released in the coming weeks.

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Comcast announced the appointment of Colleen Cone as vice president of Human Resources for the company’s Western New England region, which is headquartered in Berlin, Conn. and includes more than 300 communities in Connecticut, Western Mass., New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Cone will oversee the region’s human-resource functions, including talent management, career development, and training; benefits, with a focus on employee wellness; and employee engagement and recognition. Prior to joining the Western New England region, Cone was the senior director of Human Resources for Comcast’s Greater Boston region, where she was responsible for employee engagement and other initiatives that addressed compliance and supported a strong and healthy workplace culture. She also previously served as vice president of Talent and Culture for Skillsoft, where she was the senior leader responsible for employee engagement, internal communications, U.S. talent acquisition, and performance-management processes and recognition for a global workforce. Cone holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. and a juris doctor degree from Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law. Named by New Hampshire magazine to its 2016 list of Exceptional Women in Business, she also serves on the board of directors of New Hampshire Tech Alliance and Families in Transition.

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Ann-Marie Simao

Ann-Marie Simao

Joshua Carreiro

Joshua Carreiro

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) honored two faculty members as this year’s 2021 Endowed Chairs, awards named for two of the college’s founders. In a video sent to the STCC campus community, President John Cook congratulated this year’s recipients, Professors Ann-Marie Simao and Joshua Carreiro. Carreiro received the Anthony M. Scibelli Endowed Chair, and Simao received the Joseph J. Deliso Sr. Endowed Chair. They received a monetary award — $3,000 each — and wooden chairs with plaques inscribed with their names. They can apply $1,500 to professional development and $1,500 to their academic department. In announcing the Deliso recipient, Barbara Washburn, interim dean of the School of STEM, said Simao, a mathematics professor, is known for her early adoption of open education resources (OER), which allows students to access textbooks and other resources for free. She uses OER for all of her math courses. Simao earned a master’s degree in education from Fitchburg State University and in math from Central Connecticut State University. She received a bachelor’s degree from Providence College. Richard Greco, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, said Carreiro, who has been teaching at STCC since 2012 and serves as chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has shown strong leadership in online education, and has helped faculty transition to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Carreiro earned his PhD in sociology from UMass Amherst. He started his college pathway at Manchester Community College in Connecticut, where he earned an associate degree. He then transferred to University of Connecticut in Storrs, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and philosophy.

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Maria Toyoda, currently the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Political Science & Legal Studies at Boston’s Suffolk University, has been appointed senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at Western New England University, effective July 12. President Robert Johnson announced the appointment, citing Toyoda’s successes in cross-disciplinary collaboration, commitment to student success, procurement of grant funding, modernization of processes, and mobilization of faculty as partners in the recruitment process at her prior institution. Toyoda will be the university’s chief academic officer and oversee the academic integrity of all colleges, schools, and institutes on campus. The position is responsible for working with the deans and faculty to maintain the quality of current programs, develop new programs, and oversee the academic-appointment process. In her current role at Suffolk University, Toyoda oversees 18 departments with 200 full-time faculty and staff with responsibility for an undergraduate population of 5,000 students. On March 30, she was honored as one of Get Konnected’s 50 Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education. She received her PhD and master’s degree in government at Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University with honors in values, technology, science, and society. Toyoda succeeds interim Provost Curt Hamakawa, who will return to his previous position as professor of Sport Management. Hamakawa is also the director of the Business Study Abroad program, the Business Honors program, and the Center for International Sport Business in the university’s College of Business.

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The Connecticut Bar Assoc. (CBA) announced that Jennifer Levi, professor of Law at Western New England University (WNEU) School of Law, is the 2021 Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award winner. The award is presented to legal educators who have made significant contributions to the cause of legal education over a period of years and have distinguished themselves as legal educators of the highest quality. Levi has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of women, children, the poor, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered clients, and was a founder of the law school’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies, which is now part of the School of Law’s Center for Social Justice. In addition, she is a nationally recognized expert on transgender legal issues and the director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project litigating precedent-setting cases establishing basic rights for LGBTQ people. Established in 2012, the Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award is presented to a member of the Connecticut Bar Assoc. who is a member of the faculty, a clinical instructor, or an adjunct instructor at UConn, Quinnipiac, Yale, or Western New England University law schools, or a member of the CBA who has contributed greatly to the legal education of his or her colleagues. The recipient must have demonstrated sustained commitment and made significant contributions to the cause of legal education in the state and have distinguished himself or herself as a legal educator of the highest quality as a teacher, scholarly writer, or both.

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Dan Dodge

Dan Dodge

Associated Builders Inc. of South Hadley recently welcomed Dan Dodge, whose role will encompass business development, pre-construction planning and logistics, and project coordination. Dodge’s career spans more than 30 years of demonstrated achievements in commercial real-estate development and construction for major retailers and Fortune 500 companies. Previously, he served in progressive roles as manager of Land Planning, construction project manager, and director of Development at Berkshire Development LLC, followed by the role of managing director of Development at NAI Plotkin. He has evaluated and conducted due diligence on more than 200 real-estate development projects, ranging from a 50,000-square-foot single tenant property valued at $5 million to a 300,000-square-foot, multi-tenant property valued at $40 million. His experience includes project coordination for national brand anchor stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s, HHGregg Electronics, Staples, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Dodge holds an unrestricted Massachusetts construction supervisor license, a certificate in construction project management and contracting, a certificate in AutoCAD, an OSHA 30-hour certificate, and a certificate in architectural and civil drafting and design. He is a Massachusetts-licensed real-estate salesperson and an FAA-certified drone pilot. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and a former South Hadley Planning Board member.

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Janice Beetle, a longtime writer and editor from Western Mass., has released her second book, Willful Evolution: Because Healing the Heart Takes Strength, through her own publishing imprint, Janice Beetle Books LLC. In 2010, Beetle was laid off from her full-time job in the Valley, and her late husband, Ed Godleski, died four days later. Beetle tells the story of her grief journey in her first memoir, Divine Renovations, published in 2011. Her new book, Willful Evolution, is a sequel that tells the story of the past decade and how Beetle reinvented herself; revitalized her PR and communications business, Beetle Press; and also created Janice Beetle Books in 2019. On more personal notes, the book shows how traveling, family, a series of adventures and bad turns, and exercise helped Beetle gain physical and emotional strength and survive online dating. She compares her book to Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle, and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Through Janice Beetle Books, Beetle also helps authors of all skill levels — as well as non-writers — carry a book idea through to publication. She also offers writing coaching services. Beetle’s books are available at janicebeetlebooks.com, www.levellerspress.com/off-the-common-books, and on Amazon.

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