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An official ribbon cutting marked the opening of the new, 27,000-square-foot Balise Ford of Wilbraham on the corner of Boston Road and Stony Hill Road, pictured below. After an eight-month construction effort, the dealership moved from its temporary setting a quarter-mile east. The new facility will offer a state-of-the-art sales and service department. Top, Jeb Balise (fourth from the left), president and CEO of Balise Motor Sales, officially cuts the ribbon, flanked on the left by Eric Fuller, member of Wilbraham Planning Board; Phil Podgorny, regional manager of New England for Ford; and Bob Russell, Wilbraham selectman; and on the right by Jason Perez, general manager of Balise Ford of Wilbraham; and Dick Butler, member of the Wilbraham Planning Board. Bottom, the Balise marketing team poses on the back of a 2013 Ford F-150. From left are Kristin Garini, digital marketing manager; Megan Boshuyzen, graphic designer; Dale MacDonald, media manager; and Crystal Childs, social media specialist.
Who Done It?
Nine area ‘celebrities’ recently volunteered their time and talent to portray various suspects in a second annual murder mystery dinner titled Quicker Than The Eye. The interactive evening benefited the Gray House Inc., a nonprofit that provides food, clothing, and educational services to nearly 8,000 Springfield-area residents each year. Featured players included (from left) Chris Buendo, co-publisher, Reminder Publications; Ellen Freyman, attorney, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C.; Korri Piper, development and communications director, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity; Karen Boyd, the Zito & Karen Morning Show, Mix 93.1; Anthony Cignoli, president of A.L. Cignoli Co.; Jill Monson, owner, Inspired Marketing; Brady Chianciola, assistant vice president and regional manager, PeoplesBank; Elizabeth Taras, staff writer, BusinessWest and the Healthcare News; and Kimberly Robinson William, diversity consultant, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Baystate Health.
Airing His Opinions
Denis Gagnon, president of Excel Dryer in East Longmeadow, and inventor of the XLERATOR hand dryer, spoke to members of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield for the May CEO Luncheon. After a tour of the manufacturing facility, Gagnon and son Bill, vice president of Marketing and Key Accounts, explained how the family’s investments in new products, especially the XLERATOR, which is now the industry standard, has enabled the company to grow exponentially since it was purchased in 1997. Pictured in the Excel plant, bottom, with Denis Gagnon (third from left), are YPS board members (from left) Jeremy Casey, assistant vice president and commercial service officer, Westfield Bank; Jack Toner, sales, Sumner & Toner Insurance Agency; Nick Gelfand, owner, NRG Real Estate Inc.; Sharon Czarnecki, assistant vice president and commercial loan officer/Small Business Development, Westfield Bank; and Bill Gagnon.
Dave and Dinosaurs
David Ratner, CEO of Dave’s Soda and Pet City of Agawam and Hadley, recently read to students at the James Clark School in Agawam as part of the Link to Libraries Business Book Link program. Ratner shared a story about dinosaurs with the first-grade class of teacher Kathy Planzo, at right.