Home Posts tagged announcements
Company Notebook

HCC Named One of State’s Top Women-led Businesses

HOLYOKE — For the second year in a row, Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been named one of the top women-led businesses in Massachusetts by Boston Globe Magazine and the Women’s Edge, formerly the Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit that supports top female executives. Taken together, the 100 companies on the list represent a total revenue and operating budget of $75.9 billion. HCC and its president, Christina Royal, were ranked 61st. The full list was published Oct. 30 in the annual “Women & Power” edition of the magazine. Royal was also one of 11 executives from the list featured in a separate article, “‘Resist the Temptation to Fit the Mold: Eleven Leaders Share Insights on Cultivating Diverse, Dynamic Teams in Challenging Times.” Royal has been the president of HCC since January 2017. She is the fourth president in HCC’s 75-year history and the first woman to hold that office. In August, she announced that she will retire from HCC after the 2022-23 academic year. Also making the Top 100 list at number 59 was 1983 HCC alumna and Westfield native Linda Markham, president of Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines, based in Hyannis.

 

UMass Amherst Named a Bike Friendly University

AMHERST — UMass Amherst has been designated as a Bike Friendly University (BFU) by the League of American Bicyclists, a grassroots advocacy organization encouraging better bicycling and protecting the rights of people who bike. UMass Amherst is one of only eight universities in Massachusetts to receive the commendation for providing safe, accessible biking on campus. Providing bike-friendly accommodations is a vital part of the university’s Sustainable UMass initiative. In recent years, four-foot-wide bicycle lanes have been constructed on the primary campus roadways of Massachusetts Avenue, North Pleasant Street, and Commonwealth Avenue to promote safe bike travel. In 2016, the university expanded its bike access for students, faculty, and staff by becoming a founding member of ValleyBike Share, and six bike-share stations are now spread across campus to allow students, faculty, and staff to easily rent and return bikes. The UMass Bicycle Commuter Program coordinates the Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee to help the university prioritize bike-related goals on campus, and the UMass Amherst Bike Library rental program, operated by the Student Government Assoc. and the Physical Plant, lets students, faculty, and staff borrow bikes for free, for as long as an entire academic year. UMass joins Harvard, MIT, UMass Lowell, Bentley University, Tufts University, and Boston University’s Charles River and medical-school campuses as Bike Friendly Universities. Since the program launched in 2011, such designations have been certified at 222 U.S. colleges and universities in 47 states.

 

V-One Earns Top Honors at Warsaw Spirits Competition

HADLEY — From its distillery in Kamien, Poland and its headquarters in Hadley, Valley Vodka Inc. recently announced that its original V-One Vodka earned its third Double Gold medal at the Warsaw Spirits Competition in Poland. The Warsaw Spirits Competition is in its fifth year, and this was the third time V-One has competed. This year, the number of entries and producers was record-breaking, with hundreds of alcoholic beverages from more than 32 countries. In the most competitive category, unflavored vodka (in the wheat/spelt/barley category), V-One earned the Double Gold with a score of 93.14.

 

Bulkley Richardson Named Best Law Firm in 12 Areas

Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, ranked Bulkley Richardson as 2023’s Best Law Firm in the Springfield region in the following 12 practice areas: banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, business organizations (including LLCs and partnerships), commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense – general practice, criminal defense – white collar, litigation – labor and employment, medical-malpractice law – defendants, personal-injury litigation – defendants, tax law, and trusts and estates law. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer included in the year’s list of Best Lawyers. Bulkley Richardson had 16 lawyers included on the 2023 Best Lawyers list, and two of the firm’s partners, Mark Cress and John Pucci, were named 2023 Springfield-area Lawyers of the Year. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field.

 

GCAi’s Video for Harvard Tours Middle East

SPRINGFIELD — Harvard Graduate School of Education tapped GCAi’s New England Corporate Video (NECV) division over the summer to produce a series of videos (click here to view) on the Middle East Professional Learning Initiative (MEPLI). MEPLI aims to develop the capacity of teachers in the region. The fellowship is job-embedded and lasts for one year, providing scholarships for professional-education courses (online and/or residential) and support for incorporating learning into existing work. Fellows receive a certificate in professional education upon successful completion of the program. The NECV-produced videos, now being shown at presentations on the program in the Middle East, were shot on campus at Harvard University and produced at NECV’s edit suite in Springfield. Three separate videos were produced, including English, English and Arabic, and all-Arabic language versions. Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP3aBOEQqz0 to view the videos.

 

Liberty Bank Supports Habitat for Humanity

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Liberty Bank recently selected Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) to receive one of its community grants. The foundation aims to help low- and moderate-income families improve their economic situation and quality of life. Through Liberty Bank Foundation, Liberty Bank supports nonprofit organizations that its neighbors depend on to build strong families and communities. Grant making is focused on organizations that serve people within Liberty Bank’s market area. GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through home-ownership and home-repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing.

Agenda

Fall Workshop Series to Support Small Businesses

Nov. 7, 14, 21: The North Adams Chamber of Commerce (NAC) will host a series of fall workshops to assist small businesses in the Northern Berkshires. In November, the NAC will start a technology-makeover series that will dive into online commerce, effective software options, and digital marketing. Each class costs $15 to attend, or $30 for all three. The Monday sessions run from 6 to 8 p.m. and will be held in the NAC office at 85 Main St., Suite 200A, North Adams. The sessions include “Get Organized: Digital Management Tools for Workflow Efficiency,” Nov. 7; “Get Found: Digital Marketing Basics to Get Your Business Found,” Nov. 14; and “Get Social: Social Media Marketing Strategies and Content Planning,” Nov. 21. This workshop series is the result of two years of recognizing the technology needs of local businesses through the chamber’s Business Assistance program. In 2019, the organization received grant funding through the Franklin County CDC to launch this one-on-one consulting program and has since helped the business community grow and maintain jobs, get access to legal and financial help, and grow their social-media presence. After an event the NAC hosted in June called “Reimagine the Chamber,” two dozen business owners expressed their everyday challenges. Many of those challenges were related to implementing technology to run their businesses more efficiently and learn how to use digital marketing tools more effectively. All businesses throughout Northern Berkshire County interested in improving their digital marketing or learning how to make their business more efficient using the latest tech tools are encouraged to attend one or all of the upcoming workshops. Learn more about the workshops and register at nachamber.org.

 

Free Line-cook Training Course

Nov. 8 to Dec. 16: Holyoke Community College (HCC) will be running a free, six-week line-cook training course. The course runs Tuesdays to Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute at 164 Race St. in Holyoke. The program is designed for those already in the restaurant industry who want to upgrade their skills as well as unemployed or underemployed individuals interested in starting a new career. The program is taught both online and in person at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Participants will learn all the essential competencies they need to become successful line cooks: knife skills; how to prepare stocks, soups, sauces, desserts, poultry, fish, and meat; culinary math and measurements; moist and dry-heat cooking methods; as well as workplace soft skills, such as building a résumé and searching for jobs. Offered as part of HCC’s Business & Workforce Development division, the line-cook course is free to qualifying applicants. For more information, contact Laura Smith, HCC job-placement assistant and career-development counselor, at [email protected] or (413) 552-2833, or fill out the inquiry form at hcc.edu/job-ready.

 

A+ Awards

Nov. 17: The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce will present its 2022 A+ Awards from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the UMass Student Ballroom at UMass Amherst, with returning presenting sponsor Peoples Bank and major supporting sponsor UMass Amherst. Each year, the Amherst Area Chamber bestows A+ Awards to individuals and organizations that enrich the life of the community through their work in business, education, and civic engagement across the area that the chamber serves: Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, Sunderland, and the Pioneer Valley as a whole. This year’s awardees include United Way Franklin & Hampshire Region (Legacy Award), Angelina Ramirez , CEO of Stavros Center for Independent Living (Lifetime Achievement Award), Joshua Rousseau, CEO of Amherst Intelligent Security (Leader in Innovation Award), Taylor Robbins of UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (Young Professional Award), Sean Barry of Four Seasons Wines & Liquors (Community Service Award), and Kyle Dumas of Greenfield Savings Bank (Chamber MVP Award). The chamber will also honor its 2022 Cooley Dickinson Health Care & Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce $1,000 Scholarship Award recipients — four deserving seniors from Amherst Regional High School, Hopkins Academy, Belchertown High School, and Frontier Regional School pursuing business- and/or healthcare-related studies at an institution of higher education. Tickets to the A+ Awards event cost $90 per person and $700 for a table of eight, and registration is open at amherstarea.com.

 

LumiNAMA Holiday Lights

Nov. 23 to Jan. 1: The North Adams Chamber of Commerce announced the first citywide LumiNAMA holiday lights initiative. LumiNAMA is intended to brighten up the city, give residents and visitors a memorable experience, and encourage foot traffic during the holiday season. All businesses, not just downtown businesses, in North Adams are encouraged to create a window display and illuminate their windows with holiday lights from 4 to 8 p.m. daily, coinciding with the city’s tree-lighting ceremony on the evening of Nov. 23. The LumiNAMA downtown holiday lights route will run along Marshall, Holden, Main, and Eagle streets, and Route 2 between Big Y and behind 85 Main St. Many downtown businesses have already committed to participating in the initiative, including MASS MoCA, MCLA, and Gallery 51. The city of North Adams will also assist in installing lights along Route 2. Additionally, the chamber is connecting commercial real-estate owners with local artists and community groups to activate unoccupied storefronts. Businesses interested in participating in LumiNAMA are encouraged to register their display by Nov. 18 at nachamber.org/luminama. Those who register will be considered for the following awards: Brightest Lights, Best Window Display, and Best Art Installation. Voting begins on Nov. 23 and ends on Dec. 14. Winners will be announced on Dec. 16.

 

Women of Impact Gala

Dec. 8: BusinessWest has long recognized the contributions of women within the business community and created the Women of Impact awards in 2018 to further honor women who have the authority and power to move the needle in their business, are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought out as respected advisors and mentors within their field of influence. The class of 2022 features Latoya Bosworth, program officer at Mass Humanities; Sr. Mary Caritas of the Sisters of Providence; Jodi Falk, executive director of Rachel’s Table; Anika Lopes, Amherst town councilor and president of Ancestral Bridges; Laurie Raymaakers, president of J.L. Raymaakers & Sons Inc.; Hilda Roqué, executive director of Nuestras Raíces Inc.; Ashley Sullivan, president of O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun; and Aelan Tierney, president of Kuhn Riddle Architects. Their stories are told in the Oct. 31 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com. The fifth annual Women of Impact Gala will take place at the Sheraton Springfield, One Monarch Place. Tickets cost $85 per person, and tables of 10 are available. Visit businesswest.com/blog/women-of-impact-event-tickets to purchase tickets. The event’s presenting sponsors are Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group, and the supporting sponsors are Comcast Business, Granite State Development Corp., and Smith Executive Education.

Company Notebook

Collins Electric Wins Project Excellence Award in Education

CHICOPEE — Collins Electric Co. Inc., an electrical contractor based in Chicopee, was recently recognized by the National Electrical Contractors Assoc. with a NECA Project Excellence Award in Education in the over $1 million category for Smith College Neilson Library. NECA established the Project Excellence Award to showcase the exceptional work that its members perform throughout the country. Collins Electric was recognized along with this year’s other winners during NECA’s 2022 convention in Austin, Texas on Oct. 17. The renovation gutted the historic building with a new focus on the future. Additions to the library in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1980s were demolished along with the entire interior of the original 1909 library. The front and rear brick brownstone façades were the only remaining parts. The project involved 150,000 square feet with 5,000 LED, energy-efficient light fixtures; glass skylights; dimming; and windo- shade controls to deliver the best-quality energy-efficient lighting possible. Strict attention was paid to controlling temperature and humidity, as well as tight security, for the library’s rare-books collection.

 

Breeze Airways to Expand Flights at Bradley in 2023

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority announced that Breeze Airways is launching four new destinations from Bradley International Airport, including non-stop service to Vero Beach, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz., starting from $79 and $99 one-way, respectively; and one-stop/no-plane-change ‘BreezeThru’ flights to Provo, Utah, and San Bernardino, Calif, starting from $99. The new routes will operate on an A220 aircraft as follows: Vero Beach daily, starting Feb 2; Phoenix and Provo Thursday and Sunday, starting Feb. 9; and San Bernardino Thursday and Sunday, starting Feb. 16. “Partnering with Breeze on their expansion has been transformative for Bradley International Airport,” said Kevin Dillon, Connecticut Airport Authority’s executive director. “Their national growth, ongoing innovation, and expanding local network offer our passengers more opportunities to travel conveniently and affordably. We thank Breeze for their partnership in bringing these exciting new routes to this key market and for their continued commitment to our community.”

 

bankESB Supports Food Pantries with Annual Fundraising Drive

EASTHAMPTON — Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced the kickoff of the bank’s 2022 Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraising drive to help support local food pantries. This marks the second year of the bank’s annual appeal, inviting bank customers, employees, and members of the community to donate money toward food pantries throughout the month of November. All donations (up to $2,500 per customer) will be matched dollar for dollar by bankESB, and the total raised will be divided among participating food pantries across Western Mass. in communities the bank serves. In 2021, a total of more than $39,000 was raised, which equated to $3,000 for each participating pantry. Donations of any amount are encouraged, and as an added incentive to give, the bank will offer those who donate the opportunity to win a $25 gift card at each of its locations. Those who wish to participate have until Nov. 30 to make their donations. Checks should be made payable to “bankESB Neighbors” and can be dropped off at any bankESB branch or mailed to Margaret Prendergast, bankESB, 36 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027. The food pantries to be supported include Amherst Survival Center Food Pantry; Best Life Food Ministry, Agawam; BUCC Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry, Belchertown; Chicopee Cupboard; Easthampton Community Center Food Pantry; Easthampton Congregational Church Food Cupboard & Oasis Kitchen; Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Hatfield; Hadley Food Pantry; Hilltown Food Pantry, Goshen; Margaret’s Pantry, Holyoke; Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Inc., South Hadley; Northampton Survival Center; Southampton Community Cupboard; and Westfield Food Pantry.

 

Lee Bank Foundation Distributes $48,600 in Year’s Third Grant Round

LEE — Lee Bank Foundation awarded $48,600 to 16 Berkshire-area organizations in its third round of 2022 community funding. Recipients were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,600 to support local programming. Included in the awards are a series of Arts Access Grants for arts and culture organizations to expand access to programming for underserved audiences and Food Security Grants for organizations with programs focused on providing food to community members in need. The following organizations received funding from Lee Bank Foundation: Berkshire Innovation Center, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Center for Peace Through Culture, Chabad of the Berkshires, CDCSB, the Christian Center, Dalton CRA, EforAll, Good Work Institute (Alliance for a Viable Future), Housatonic Heritage (the Mastheads), Lee Historical Society, Life Needs Co-Op (Stanton Home), the People’s Pantry, Second Street Second Chances, Volunteers in Medicine, and WAM Theatre. Lee Bank Foundation was established in 2021 to support Lee Bank’s long-standing mission of community reinvestment. In its first year, 2021, the foundation awarded a total of $228,610 in grants, and the bank contributed an additional $84,000 in sponsorships.

 

Berkshire Bank’s Foundation Supports 160 Nonprofits During Q3

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank announced more than $660,000 in philanthropic investments from its foundation during the third quarter of 2022. The grants awarded cover a wide range of projects that help foster community DEI-focused programs, support education and youth, and enhance opportunities for individual success in the communities the bank serves. These investments also support the company’s BEST Community Comeback, which includes a planned $15 million in community contributions by the end of 2024. “We are so pleased to support nonprofit organizations once again with philanthropy to sustain vital community services in all the regions that Berkshire Bank serves during challenging economic times,” said Lori Gazzillo Kiely, foundation director. “Since January 2022, the Berkshire Bank Foundation has provided nearly $2 million to support the needs of the community.”

 

 

JimBuddy’s Rec Shop Hosts Grand Opening

CHICOPEE — The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce celebrated the grand opening of JimBuddy’s Rec Shop at 1269 Memorial Dr. with a ribbon cutting on Nov. 2. It officially opened to the public on Oct. 1. JimBuddy’s Rec Shop is owned by Jim and Lisa Robinson, who opened JimBuddy’s Glass Gallery & Vape Shop next door at 1271 Memorial Dr. in 2015. When the space next door at 1269 became available in 2018 — the year cannabis was legalized by Massachusetts voters — the Robinsons rented the space with hopes to open a dispensary. JimBuddy’s received a special permit from the city of Chicopee in April 2021, making it the third recreational cannabis dispensary approved in the city. As a small family business, JimBuddy’s focus is offering quality products from small, local businesses in the cannabis industry like those based Florence, Whately, and Pittsfield. JimBuddy’s Rec Shop is open to customers who are age 21+ with valid ID.

 

Girl Scouts Receive $10,000 from TD Charitable Foundation

HOLYOKE — The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts announced that it has received a $10,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation in support of On Your Own: Financial Literary for Girls. The grant will provide a free badge program to all Girl Scouts designed to empower them to control their financial futures. All participants complete age-appropriate activities to gain real-world money-management skills. Girl Scouts develop leadership skills and self-esteem as they build a greater understanding of becoming responsible consumers, creating and living by a budget, building and managing credit, increasing their income, and saving and investing for whatever’s next. With the support of contributors such as the TD Charitable Foundation, Girl Scouts is able to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. On Your Own: Financial Literacy for Girls is available to all members in grades K through 12. Learn more and sign up to be a member at www.gscwm.org.

 

Chariot Payments Network Emerges from Reorganization

BOSTON — Chariot Payments has emerged from reorganization with a reconstructed board, a new CEO, and an experienced team poised to launch its bank-compliant, hybrid-payment network to introduce a new way to connect traditional finance and banking to the emerging digital economies burgeoning in the world of decentralized finance. Chariot’s hybrid network is configured for bank and regulatory compliance, enabling trusted, secure transactions between traditional finance and banking and instant settlement across digital currency protocols at a fraction of the cost imposed by the current payment networks. Chariot’s CEO, Benjamin Cavallari, along with Chief Technology Officer Mariana Jbantova, resuscitated the startup. After a long rebuild, Chariot Payments announced that Glenn Hanson, CEO of Colony Hills Capital and co-founder of River Valley Investors, and Jay Como, chief data officer of Silicon Valley Bank, are joining Cavallari on the new board of directors. Chariot also announced the reformation of its board of advisors, which includes prominent compliance leaders Angela Ratliff and Kevin Troxell (both with US Bank) and Brandon Oliver (previously with JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and the DCU Fintech Center).

 

 

Liberty Bank Supports Habitat for Humanity

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Liberty Bank recently selected Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) to receive one of its community grants. The foundation aims to help low- and moderate-income families improve their economic situation and quality of life. “We are very grateful to have been selected to receive this grant. It will help us to continue to provide home-ownership and home-repair services in Hampden County,” GSHFH Executive Director Aimee Giroux said. Through Liberty Bank Foundation, Liberty Bank supports nonprofit organizations that its neighbors depend on to build strong families and communities. Grant making is focused on organizations that serve people within Liberty Bank’s market area. GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through home-ownership and home-repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing.

Company Notebook

New Valley Bank & Trust Opens West Springfield Branch

SPRINGFIELD — New Valley Bank & Trust cut the ribbon on its newest full-service branch at 333 Elm St., West Springfield, on Oct. 7. Joining the bank’s board chair, Frank Fitzgerald, was West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, state Sen. John Velis, and state Rep. Michael Finn. “Our customers and prospects have been asking us to open a branch on the west side of the Connecticut River for some time,” New Valley President Jeff Sullivan said. “We have recognized the need to increase the convenience of doing business with the bank, and we are proud to be able to offer our services in West Springfield. I spent 11 years of my career working on Elm Street, and many members of the New Valley team have had similar past experiences. We are thrilled to be back in the neighborhood with friendly, familiar faces. As a gesture of good will, the bank recently donated to the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club, the first of many new community partnerships to come.”

 

Country Bank Pledges $10 Million to Support Affordable Housing

WARE — Country Bank has introduced a new affordable-housing program featuring no down payment for first-time homebuyers. The first-of-its-kind program will assist low- to moderate-income families in purchasing a home. Country Bank has pledged $10 million to the program to help make a difference for these first-time homebuyers. This program is designed to help those who need it most by offering 100% financing for single-family homes or condominiums and 95% financing for two-family properties, with no down payment. In addition, the bank will cover 100% of the private mortgage insurance (PMI) that traditionally adds to the monthly payment, saving the borrower hundreds of dollars each month. This feature also gives the borrower more purchasing power by not having to pay the cost of mortgage insurance. Certain restrictions and locations apply for this program. “Buying your first home can be very stressful, and not having the ability to save for a down payment prohibits many from purchasing a home, even when they can afford the monthly payment. Country Bank’s mortgage experts can assist those interested in learning more about the program or who may be ready to purchase a home. The no-down-payment, first-time homebuyer program is available until the $10 million commitment has been allocated. To learn more, visit www.countrybank.com/mortgages or a banking center, or call the Customer Care Center at (800) 322-8233.

 

Arts Integration Studio Opens

HOLYOKE — Priscilla Kane Hellweg announced the launch of a new consulting firm, the Arts Integration Studio. Hellweg, who retired in December 2021 after 40 years as the executive/artistic director of Enchanted Circle Theater in Holyoke, said the Arts Integration Studio is a creative makerspace designed to address critical needs in education, community health, and the environment. The studio incorporates creativity, the arts, and cultural engagement, and collaborates with others to promote positive outcomes and sustainable solutions to pressing educational and social concerns. This fall, the studio announced four partnerships: with Pittsfield Public Schools and Berkshire Educational Resources on comprehensive professional development in arts integration, open to all K-12 teachers and specialists in Berkshire county; with Mount Holyoke College and its Professional and Graduate Education Department on a graduate fellowship focused on producing research and publications on arts and learning; with the town of Longmeadow, Bay Path University, and Deza Studios to produce a public art exhibit that illuminates community-wide perspectives around climate despair, resilience, and action as the town embarks on updating its master municipal plan with a focus on equity and climate change; and with the Treehouse Foundation, an intergenerational community in Easthampton designed to support families with children who have experienced foster care. The Arts Integration Studio is also developing ARTS CORPS, a work/study/professional training program for college students and emerging teaching artists interested in the intersectionality of arts, education, social justice, and community well-being.

 

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield Celebrates Five Years

CHICOPEE — Mercedes-Benz of Springfield is celebrating five years since opening its doors on Oct. 16, 2017. Mercedes-Benz of Springfield’s early and sustained success continues to validate the brand’s decision to put a site in the Pioneer Valley, despite the 11-year hiatus in having a local Mercedes-Benz dealership. Since opening five years ago, the dealership has serviced 53,795 cars, conducted 68,000 car washes, sold and delivered more than 6,400 vehicles, partnered with more than 350 organizations, and increased its team from 30 employees on opening day to 55 today. It has been honored with two BusinessWest 40 Under Forty awards, three Mercedes-Benz Best of the Best Awards, and an Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Award, and was an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.

 

Rocky’s Ace Hardware Reopens Agawam Store

SPRINGFIELD — Rocky’s Ace Hardware, one of the country’s largest family-owned Ace Hardware dealers, celebrated the reopening of its Agawam location on Oct. 22. “This renovation has allowed us to expand options for our customers and offer a more well-rounded shopping experience,” Rocky’s Ace Hardware President Rocco Falcone said. “Aside from a complete indoor and outdoor remodel, we have added full fishing and Carhartt departments to the store, as well as expanded tool and grill departments. We are really excited to show off these renovations to our new and returning customers.”

 

Hometown Financial Group Welcomes Envision Bank

EASTHAMPTON — Hometown Financial Group Inc., the multi-bank mutual holding company for bankESB, bankHometown, and Abington Bank, has completed its acquisition of Randolph Bancorp Inc, the bank holding company for Envision Bank. Under the agreement, the acquired Envision Bank branches have been rebranded as Abington Bank. Abington Bank now has $1.4 billion in assets and 10 branches located throughout the South Shore and South Coast, adding offices in Braintree, Randolph, and two in Stoughton to its existing network of offices in Abington, Avon, Holbrook, Marion, and two in Cohasset. The transaction expands Hometown Financial Group’s market presence in Eastern Mass., bringing consolidated assets to $4.5 billion with 37 branches located throughout Massachusetts and Northeastern Connecticut. In addition, Envision Mortgage, with offices in Braintree, North Attleboro, and Westport, will join Hometown Financial Group within the newly formed Hometown Mortgage. This transaction is the sixth strategic merger for Hometown in the last seven years. In 2015, Hometown acquired Citizens National Bancorp. Inc., based in Putnam, Connecticut, then merged with Hometown Community Bancorp. MHC, the holding company for Hometown Bank, in 2016. It then acquired Pilgrim Bancshares Inc. and Abington Bank in 2019, and later that year acquired Millbury Savings Bank.

 

Chariot Payments Network Emerges from Reorganization

BOSTON — Chariot Payments has emerged from reorganization with a reconstructed board, a new CEO, and an experienced team poised to launch its bank-compliant, hybrid-payment network to introduce a new way to connect traditional finance and banking to the emerging digital economies burgeoning in the world of decentralized finance. Chariot’s hybrid network is configured for bank and regulatory compliance, enabling trusted, secure transactions between traditional finance and banking and instant settlement across digital currency protocols at a fraction of the cost imposed by the current payment networks. Chariot’s CEO, Benjamin Cavallari, along with Chief Technology Officer Mariana Jbantova, resuscitated the startup. After a long rebuild, Chariot Payments announced that Glenn Hanson, CEO of Colony Hills Capital and co-founder of River Valley Investors, and Jay Como, chief data officer of Silicon Valley Bank, are joining Cavallari on the new board of directors. Chariot also announced the reformation of its board of advisors, which includes prominent compliance leaders Angela Ratliff and Kevin Troxell (both with US Bank) and Brandon Oliver (previously with JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and the DCU Fintech Center).

 

Liberty Bank Supports Habitat for Humanity

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Liberty Bank recently selected Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) to receive one of its community grants. The foundation aims to help low- and moderate-income families improve their economic situation and quality of life.

“We are very grateful to have been selected to receive this grant. It will help us to continue to provide home-ownership and home-repair services in Hampden County,” GSHFH Executive Director Aimee Giroux said. Through Liberty Bank Foundation, Liberty Bank supports nonprofit organizations that its neighbors depend on to build strong families and communities. Grant making is focused on organizations that serve people within Liberty Bank’s market area. GSHFH is a housing ministry dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through home-ownership and home-repair opportunities. This is accomplished by working in partnership with diverse people, from all walks of life, to build and repair simple, decent, affordable housing.

Chamber Corners

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 594-2101; chicopeechamber.org

 

Oct. 29: Chicopee Thriller 5K Road Race & Walk. 10 a.m. registration, 11 a.m. start. Start and finish at Grise Funeral Home, 280 Springfield St., Chicopee. Wear your spookiest costume. Awards for best costume and fastest runners at the afterparty at Rumbleseat Bar and Grille. Half of all proceeds go to benefit Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry. Presented by N. Riley Construction. Cost: $35, which includes lunch, beverage ticket, and T-shirt. Registration coming soon at chicopeechamber.org. Sponsorships available now.

 

GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 534-3376; holyokechamber.com

 

Oct. 12: Meet the Candidates, 5-8 p.m., hosted by Holyoke Country Club, 2 Country Club Road, Holyoke. Mingle and hear from Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia, the City Council, and officials who will be on the ballot for the November election. This is an informal opportunity to get your voice heard and make an informative vote this election season. Register at business.holyokechamber.com/events or by calling (413) 534-3376.

 

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 568-1618; westfieldbiz.org

 

Oct. 12: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by East Mountain Country Club, 1458 East Mountain Road, Westfield. Join us for our Octoberfest-themed After 5 networking event. Cost: free to chamber members, $5 for non-members. For more information, visit westfieldbiz.org.

 

Oct. 21: Legislative Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Tucker’s Restaurant, 625 College Highway, Southwick. Don’t miss this opportunity for your voice to be heard on issues that impact your business, whether it’s employment taxes, east-west rail, healthcare and energy costs, or other issues. Cost: $45 for chamber members, $55 for the general public. For more information, visit westfieldbiz.org.

 

Oct. 27: Morning Brew, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club, 866 Shaker Road, Westfield. Introduce your business to the group and take advantage of this networking opportunity. Cost: free. For more information, visit westfieldbiz.org.

 

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

(413) 787-1555; www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

 

Oct. 12: Rise & Shine Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by MGM Springfield. As they celebrate a decade of commitment to the chamber and investing in Greater Springfield, executives from MGM Springfield will speak at the first Springfield Regional Chamber Rise & Shine Business Breakfast of the 2022-23! The breakfast begins with networking at 7:30 a.m. Arlen Carballo, MGM Springfield’s executive director of Finance, and Beth Ward, director of Community Affairs, will address the transformative economic impact the casino continues to have on the region following the pandemic, the recent passage of sports betting that will lead to the opening of the new MGM Sports Lounge, upcoming entertainment, and more. Cost: $30 for members ($35 at the door), $40 general admission ($45 at the door).

 

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 426-3880; www.ourwrc.com

 

Oct. 19: Food Fest West, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern/Carriage House, West Springfield. Local restaurants will show off their cuisine at this popular event. Vote for your favorite restaurant. A raffle, silent auction, and entertainment will round out this event. Proceeds raised by Food Fest West will go toward the WRC Educational Fund, which provides grants to businesses for on-the-job training and continuing-education needs. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, visit www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

Company Notebook

UMass Amherst Breaks Ground on New Computer Sciences Building

AMHERST — UMass Amherst and state officials broke ground on Thursday for the new, $125 million Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences building, designed to respond to enormous growth in the college’s enrollment over the past five years and provide talent to fuel business growth and research collaborations that benefit the entire Commonwealth. The new facility is substantially funded by a $75 million state capital commitment from the Baker-Polito administration. The building will expand facilities by creating approximately 90,000 gross square feet in new space devoted to the college’s community-building, research, and teaching missions. Speakers at the groundbreaking included UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, UMass President Marty Meehan, board of trustees Chair Robert Manning, trustees Steve Karam and Mary Burns, Provost Tricia Serio, Manning CICS Dean Laura Haas, and Distinguished Professor Prashant Shenoy.

 

The Big E Sets Single-day Attendance Records

WEST SPRINGFIELD — A total of 1,603,354 visitors attended the 2022 Big E in West Springfield. During the fair’s 17-day run, an all-time single-day attendance record was set when 177,789 visitors arrived on Saturday, Sept. 24. Five additional daily attendance records were also set. The event featured a diverse concert lineup of more than 80 individual performances, plenty of fair foods, rides, and unique shopping experiences. The tradition continues next fall from Sept. 15 through Oct. 1, 2023.

 

Whittlesey Named a 2022 Best of the Best Firm

HARTFORD, Conn. — Whittlesey, an accounting, advisory, and technology firm, has been named a Best of the Best Firm by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), an award-winning newsletter for the public-accounting profession. It is one of only 50 firms in the nation to receive this accolade. IPA’s annual Best of the Best list ranks top accounting firms that have delivered superior financial and operational performance in the most recent fiscal year. The firms are selected from nearly 600 firms across the U.S. and Canada. Selections for the list are based on more than 50 metrics related to firm growth, productivity, staff development, and more. Along with being named a Best of the Best Firm, Whittlesey was also named a 2022 Top 200 Accounting Firm in the nation. There are more than 46,000 public accounting firms in the U.S.

 

Endowed Professorship Established to Honor UMass Amherst Chancellor

AMHERST — Massachusetts businessman and philanthropist Robert Epstein has made a commitment of $1.5 million to establish the Robert L. Epstein Endowed Professorship in UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management. The gift honors Epstein’s friendship with UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and the chancellor’s decade of service to the university. The Epstein Endowed Professorship will help attract or retain an outstanding faculty member, with a preference for faculty in hospitality and tourism management, who will strengthen the academic excellence of the Isenberg School of Management and advance industry knowledge through research, scholarship, and inspired teaching. The fund will cover costs such as salary supplementation, education and travel expenses, graduate assistantships, research expenses, and support services for the faculty member’s program. Epstein, who earned a degree in marketing from the Isenberg School of Management in 1967, has been an ambassador for the university and an ardent supporter of Isenberg faculty and students. He has served as a member of the UMass Amherst Foundation board since 2010 and was appointed to the UMass board of trustees in 2015. In addition, he co-chaired UMass Rising, the largest fundraising campaign in UMass Amherst history; served as a guest lecturer at Isenberg; established the Robert L. Epstein Endowed Scholarship; and supported Isenberg’s Business Innovation Hub, among other university priorities. For years, Epstein has been a leader in the beverage and alcohol industry. As co-owner and president of the Horizon Beverage Group and former chairman of Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, he has worked with producers, unions, legislators, and more than 15,000 retail and restaurant customers. With his gift, he aims to enhance the reputation of UMass Amherst and Isenberg within the hospitality industry and provide the university with the resources it needs to retain world-class faculty to mold the next generation of industry leaders. The university hopes to appoint a faculty member to the Epstein Endowed Chair by July 1, 2025, when the fund will have been invested with the endowment for a full year.

 

UPS Stores Accepting Donations for JA of Western Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) will be the recipient of donations made through the UPS Store’s “Start Small, Grow Big” initiative. Customers who shop at one of the UPS Store’s more than 5,100 locations will have the opportunity to donate to their local Junior Achievement chapter at checkout now through the end of the year. At UPS Stores here in Western Mass. and Vermont, donations will go directly to benefit JAWM’s efforts in the community. JAWM is dedicated to providing economic-education and financial-literacy programs to the youth of Western Mass. and Vermont, opening their minds to their potential and preparing them for life after graduation. The organizaion’s age‐appropriate, academically challenging programs are offered to local schools and community groups free of charge because of the financial support they receive from hundreds of local businesses, individuals, and foundations, in addition to special events.

 

Big Y’s Online Ordering Marks One Year of Growth

SPRINGFIELD — This fall marks the one-year anniversary for myPicks Online Ordering, Big Y’s e-commerce platform. In recent years, Big Y has seen an explosion of online ordering and an increased customer demand for another way to shop. These factors led Big Y to enter the e-commerce realm and launch its myPicks Online Ordering platform. The chain is continuing to gather valuable feedback from customers and is working hard to develop new ways to improve customers’ online experience. Recently, myPicks launched an upgraded website with improved functionality that will make possible services like home delivery powered by Instacart and the ability to accept payments via EBT and SNAP benefits. It has expanded pick-up windows to include same-day order and pick up, and continuew to expand its offerings of fresh and local products. Currently, Big Y offers myPicks in 11 store locations: Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, South Hadley, West Springfield, Wilbraham, two in Springfield, and two in Westfield.

 

Country Bank Recognized for Charitable Giving

WARE — Country Bank, a full-service financial institution serving Central and Western Mass., announced that the Boston Business Journal has once again named Country Bank an honoree in its annual 2022 Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing the region’s top corporate charitable contributors. The magazine annually publishes this list to highlight companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities — a feat that is even more important during times of turmoil and crisis. During this year’s celebration held on Sept. 8, 95 companies were honored for qualifying for the distinction by reporting at least $100,000 in cash contributions to Massachusetts-based charities and social-service nonprofits last year. This year, the honorees include companies from healthcare, technology, financial and professional services, retail, professional sports, and more. Country Bank, which ranked 44th, employs 215 staff members within Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties. Staff members actively promoted the bank’s mission of giving back to the communities they serve by volunteering to a variety of nonprofits.

 

HCC Joins Pickleball Craze by Opening Seven Indoor Courts

HOLYOKE — The Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation at Holyoke Community College (HCC) is now open five days a week for pickleball after the college recently installed seven indoor courts. Now, for a $5 per visit fee, any member of the general public can come to HCC to play what has been touted as the fastest-growing sport in America. The pickleball courts at the Bartley Center are available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Courts cannot be reserved in advance but instead are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no fee for HCC students and other Bartley Center members. Pickleball, which is like a hybrid of tennis, table tennis, and badminton, became possible at HCC after the floor in the Bartley Center gym was redone over the summer. Inserts for existing indoor tennis nets were removed, and inserts for pickleball nets were installed along with permanent pickleball court lines.

 

Yankee Mattress Factory Raising Funds for American Cancer Society

AGAWAM — Yankee Mattress Factory, a manufacturer of handcrafted mattresses locally in its Agawam factory, with showrooms in Agawam, Springfield, Northampton, and Greenfield, is raising money to benefit the American Cancer Society now through Oct. 31. In the past three years, the wives of two employee-owners were diagnosed with breast cancer. Both women are now in remission, and in their honor, Yankee Mattress Factory has set a goal to raise $10,000 for cancer research and support for patients going through treatment in the Western Mass. region. Through Oct. 31, Yankee Mattress Factory will donate $25 for every Silver Collection mattress and $50 for every Gold or Black Collection mattress purchased at its four stores. The company is also accepting donations from customers; anyone who donates $20 or more will be entered into a raffle to win one of 10 Malpaca queen pillows valued at $240 each. A team from Yankee Mattress Factory will also participate in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, Oct. 16 in Hartford, Conn. Stores will be closed that day to allow all employee-owners and their families to participate. To learn more about the event or join the Yankee Mattress Factory team, visit yankeemattressfactory.com/acs.

 

PeoplesBank Named an Adoption-Friendly Workplace by Dave Thomas Foundation

HOLYOKE — More than 25 years ago, Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, began advocating for better adoption benefits in the workplace. Today, the Dave Thomas Foundation has continued his work through the Adoption-Friendly Workplace program, which recognizes organizations that strive to make adoption a supported option for every working parent. The foundation recently named PeoplesBank to the Adoption-Friendly Workplace 100 Best 2022 list (54th overall and eighth with 100 to 1,000 employees). As the only bank in Massachusetts and Connecticut to receive the honor, PeoplesBank joins other leading national corporations such as American Express, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Paramount, Yale University, Microsoft Corp., 3M Co., and Johnson & Johnson on the list. Along with a number of measures meant to ensure a family-friendly workplace, PeoplesBank provides a $5,000 grant to employees for each adoption.

 

Pure Life Soaps Hosts Grand Opening of New Store

WEST SPRINGFIELD — After handcrafting all-natural organic soaps from a workshop in her home and selling them online and at farmers’ markets, Kay Hernandez, owner of Pure Life Soaps, opened her first retail store at 80 Windsor St. in West Springfield, hosting a grand-opening celebration on Oct. 8. “We are excited to offer Western Massachusetts a soap shop offering quality, unique bath products that are free of chemicals and harmful ingredients and made with exotic and healing essential oils,” she said. Hernandez began making soaps after becoming ill from a hormone imbalance caused by chemicals in the commercial soaps she had been using. Some of Pure Life’s featured soaps include Oatmeal Scrub, Wildflower, Grapefruit Tea Tree, Moringa Mango, Turmeric Orange Oatmeal, Lavender Oatmeal, as well as unscented soaps. The Pure Life Soaps shop will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be found online at www.purelifeshop.co.

Company Notebook

Cisco’s Café to Open This Fall in the Mill District

AMHERST — Francisco Perez, owner of Amherst House of Pizza (AHOP) at Riverside Park, is opening a second restaurant in the Mill District in North Amherst this fall. Cisco’s Café will feature Latino and American breakfast and lunch. “We will have several types of breakfast burritos and sandwiches. Vegan and vegetarian options will be offered along with several meat and fish choices at breakfast and lunch,” said Perez, a native of El Salvador and 10-year owner of AHOP. The Mill District in North Amherst was created to invigorate community connections in the internet age, providing experiential retail, food, and fun for all ages. North Square is becoming a gourmet food corridor with Provisions (wine, beer, and fine foods) moving across the square and joining Futura Coffee Roasters and the Carefree Cakery, which are coming soon. Riverside Park recently welcomed Big Basket Market, an international grocery store. Seven thousand square feet of retail space remains available for lease in the Mill District. Other existing tenants include Balanced Birch Pilates, the Closet, GrazeCraze, the Mill District General Store and Local Art Gallery, the Lift Salon, Cowls Building Supply, and the Riverside Park Shops, including Amherst House of Pizza, Shine Laundry, and Big Guy Liquors.

 

U.S. News Ranks Bay Path Fourth for Social Mobility

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been ranked fourth in the 2022-23 Social Mobility category by U.S. News & World Report. Now in its 38th year, the rankings evaluate more than 1,450 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality. U.S. News publishes the Best Colleges rankings each year to provide prospective students and their families with helpful data and information on factors such as graduation rates, social mobility, and graduate indebtedness. The social-mobility rankings are calculated by assessing the six-year graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants compared with the graduation rate of other students. Those grant recipients generally come from households with annual incomes under $50,000. Bay Path has long been committed to fostering an environment that is supportive and inclusive, reflecting the diversity of its students. For the 2022 incoming fall class of traditional students, 50% were the first in their family to attend college, and 47% were diverse. The university offers numerous scholarship opportunities, as well as academic assistance and other supports, such as the ALLI program, which helps young women transition from high school to their first year as a university student, and an extensive peer-tutoring support system.

 

MCLA Earns Multiple Spots on U.S. News College Rankings

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) continued commitment to an excellent, affordable education is reflected in the 2022-23 U.S. News & World Report rankings. The college now ranks seventh on the list of Top Public Liberal Arts Colleges for the second year in a row, 33rd as a Top Performer on Social Mobility among national liberal-arts colleges, and first among all Massachusetts liberal-arts schools. MCLA also continues to appear on the list of Top National Liberal Arts Colleges. MCLA has appeared on U.S. News’ list of Top Public Colleges for 10 of the past 12 years. The college has also been acknowledged in the list of National Liberal Arts Colleges for Social Mobility since the organization adopted this ranking in 2019. This list measures how well institutions graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, typically awarded to students whose families make less than $50,000, though most Pell Grant money goes to families with income below $20,000. Slightly more than 42% of MCLA undergraduate students receive Pell Grants, and 51.4% are the first in their families to go to college. Overall, 93.1% of students receive some kind of financial aid. U.S. News ranks colleges based on indicators that reflect a school’s student body, its faculty, and its financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution achieves its mission of educating students.

 

bankESB Named Among State’s Most Charitable Companies

EASTHAMPTON — The Boston Business Journal has named bankESB an honoree in its annual 2022 Corporate Citizenship Awards, a recognition of the region’s top corporate charitable contributors. The journal annually publishes this list to showcase companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities. Through its sponsorship and charitable giving program, the Giving Tree, bankESB and the Easthampton Savings Bank Charitable Foundation support nonprofit organizations and causes throughout Hampden and Hampshire counties. In 2021, the Giving Tree donated nearly $352,000 and over the past decade has donated more than $3.1 million. This year, 95 companies qualified for the distinction by reporting at least $100,000 in cash contributions to Massachusetts-based charities last year. The honorees this year include companies from such industry sectors as financial and professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, and professional sports.

 

PeoplesBank Named to List of Top Corporate Charitable Contributors

HOLYOKE — A record $1.3 million in contributions in 2021 marks a new level of charitable support for PeoplesBank, earning recognition from the Boston Business Journal and its Corporate Citizenship Awards for the 15th year in a row. With a focus on food insecurity, housing, and literacy, PeoplesBank announced record donations reaching $1,315,000 in 2021, with a total of close to $11 million donated since 2011. This marks a new level of contributions, making PeoplesBank the leading community bank for charitable donations in Western and Central Mass. The bank has doubled its donations in the last five years. Headquartered in Holyoke, PeoplesBank increased its donations across its whole market of Massachusetts and Connecticut to assist the customers and communities it serves. Meanwhile, PeoplesBank’s associates donate 10,000 volunteer hours per year, and 74 of them have served on 54 nonprofit boards.

 

Elms College Wins $1.5 Million Grant from National Science Foundation

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced that it has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through the six-year grant, “Growing STEM Student Success Through Scholarship and Community Building with Experiential Learning and Data Science,” Elms College will provide need-based scholarships to at least 40 high-achieving first-year and community-college transfer students who want to pursue careers in science, technology, and mathematics. The scholarship amount will be up to $10,000 per year. Scholarships will be available to community-college transfer students in the spring 2023 semester and to first-year Elms students beginning in the fall 2023 semester. In addition to scholarship funding, all STEM scholars will be provided community-engaged experiential learning activities and opportunities to build data-science skills in each year of their studies, culminating in an internship or research experience. For more information on the S-STEM scholarships at Elms and eligibility requirements, visit www.elms.edu/academics/nsmt/elmsstem.

 

Country Bank Supports Ride to Remember

WARE — Country Bank, a full-service financial institution serving Central and Western Mass., recently supported the Ride to Remember, a 50-mile bicycle ride in tribute to fallen police officers and firefighters, with a $10,000 donation. This year’s ride, “The Tour of Western Massachusetts,” celebrated its 10th anniversary, honoring those who have died in the line of duty. “Country Bank’s support of this meaningful event is a great way for us to show our gratitude and support for all the frontline workers,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. “We deeply appreciate the work they do throughout our communities, and we know that it truly makes a difference to the people and businesses they serve.”

 

Gaming Commission Releases Gross Gaming Revenue for August

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that the month of August at MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park Casino, and Encore Boston Harbor generated approximately $92 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR). MGM Springfield generated $4,474,746.40 from table games and $17,518,085.09 from slots for a total of $21,992,831.49, generating $5,498,207.87 in taxes. MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, category-1 resort casinos, are taxed on 25% of GGR; those monies are allocated to several specific state funds as determined by the gaming statute. Plainridge Park, a category-2 slots facility, is taxed on 49% of GGR. Of that total taxed amount, 82% is paid to local aid and 18% is allotted to the Race Horse Development Fund. To date, the Commonwealth has collected approximately $1.181 billion in total taxes and assessments from MGM, Plainridge Park, and Encore since the respective openings of each gaming facility.

Agenda

Second Installation of

‘Voices of Resilience’ Exhibit

Sept. 18 to Oct. 15: With a team of collaborators and scholars, the second installation of “Voices of Resilience: The Intersection of Women on the Move” will be presented by South Hadley’s Center Church. The opening event will be held Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. Taking an inclusive look at local and national women’s history while exploring the pursuit of a more complete narrative of American history, the exhibition celebrates the intersecting lives of women — and women of color — in Massachusetts and beyond who changed the course of history. The exhibit launched at the Springfield Museums during the pandemic. The new installation will open at Center Church and reflect on local history and political shifts in our culture. The exhibit is free and open to the public Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesdays 4 to 7 p.m. Group visits at other times are available by appointment. “Voices of Resilience” showcases a range of voices from early Black feminists such as Barbara Smith to longtime columnist Barbara Bernard. The exhibit celebrates both spiritual and lay leaders, artists, musicians, and educators such as Amy Hughes, formerly of the MacDuffie School, as well as Lucie Lewis, who traces her story to the Salem witch trials. Many voices from Springfield, South Hadley, Amherst, and beyond are featured. To learn more about the exhibit, visit centerchurchsouthhadley.org/voices. For questions or to schedule a tour, call (413) 532-2262 or email [email protected]

 

United Way Day of Caring

Sept. 23: United Way of Pioneer Valley announced the 2022 Day of Caring. Anyone interested in local volunteer opportunities can visit volunteer.uwpv.org to register as a volunteer. Day of Caring opportunities will be posted as the details are finalized, and other opportunities year-round are hosted on this site as well. Agencies who are interested in hosting a Day of Caring location, or corporations interested in sponsorships and/or bringing a group of volunteers, can contact Jennifer Kinsman, director of Community Impact, at [email protected] or (413) 693-0212.

 

HCC Women’s Leadership Series

Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Dec. 21: Holyoke Community College (HCC) will begin its fall 2022 Women’s Leadership Series on Wednesday, Sept. 21 with presenter Trayce Whitfield, executive director of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, leading a discussion titled “Leaning Into the Positive.” Whitfield will be followed in subsequent months by Michelle Lemoi, chief operating officer of Zora Builders in Newton (“How Claiming ‘I Don’t Know’ Opens Up Opportunities to Bolster Confidence”); Christina Royal, president of HCC (“Growth Mindset”); and Suzanne Blake, a career coach and consultant based in Medfield (“Ask for It and Get It”). All sessions run from noon to 1 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month over Zoom. During each session, participants will join prominent women leaders for discussions on relevant topics and ideas to help their leadership development. They will also have the opportunity to form a supportive network to help navigate their own careers. The cost of each session is $25. The full four-session series can be purchased for $75. Email Lanre Ajayi, HCC’s executive director of Education & Corporate Learning, at [email protected] if pricing is an issue. Registration will open soon at hcc.edu/womens-leadership. Space is limited, so advance registration is required.

 

MOSSO Chamber Concert

Sept. 22: Bing Productions will present MOSSO’s “Mix and Match: A Chamber Music Medley” at 7 p.m. in Asbury Hall at Trinity United Methodist Church, 361 Sumner Ave., Springfield. This performance by the MOSSO Chamber Players features violinists Robert Lawrence and Miho Matsuno, violist Masako Yanagita, cellist Patricia Edens, double bassist Boots Maleson, clarinetist Christopher Cullen, horn player Robert Hoyle, and bassoonist Shotaro Mori. According to Lawrence, the program — including the music of Mozart, Brahms, Dvoák, and Schubert — will be family-friendly and last approximately 75 minutes. General-admission tickets, $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/mosso-chamber-ensemble-tickets-408920240447.

 

Free Shred Days

Sept. 24, Oct. 29: bankESB invites customers and members of the community to two free Shred Days at local offices. No appointment is necessary. Events will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the 253 Triangle St. office in Amherst, and on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the 241 Northampton St. office in Easthampton. Local residents can reduce their risk of identity theft by bringing old mail, receipts, statements or bills, canceled checks, pay stubs, medical records, or any other unwanted paper documents containing personal or confidential information and shredding them safely and securely for free. Valley Green Shredding, a professional document-destruction company, will be on site in the bank’s parking lot and can accept up to two boxes of documents per person.

 

World Affairs Council Talk

on Indo-Pacific Developments

Sept. 28: The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts will present its first Instant Issues brown bag lunchtime discussion of the 2022-23 program year at noon at 1350 Main St. in downtown Springfield. Dennis Yasutomo, Esther Cloudman Dunn professor emeritus of Government at Smith College, will speak on “Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific: Evolution of a Eurasian Century?” A longtime member and friend of the Council, Yasutomo’s field of research is contemporary Japanese foreign policy, and he is the author of numerous books and articles on Japanese politics and diplomacy. He will look at the impact of the crisis in Ukraine on the emerging Euro-Asian geopolitical dynamics involving China, the U.S., Japan, Australia, and Europe’s enhanced involvement in the Indo-Pacific region. Advance registration is required at www.eventbrite.com/e/instant-issues-ukraine-and-the-indo-pacific-tickets-399638689077. No walk-ins will be allowed. Admission to the event is $5 for council members without a lunch provided, $20 with a box lunch. Non-members’ admission cost is $10 without a lunch and $25 with lunch.

 

Free Fall Community Shred Day

Oct. 15: Freedom Credit Union is again offering the opportunity for Western Mass. residents to securely purge unwanted paperwork. In cooperation with PROSHRED Springfield, Freedom is offering a free Community Shred Day at two branches. Shredding will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. at 226 King St., Northampton, and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at 74 Main St., Greenfield. The public is invited to bring old bills, bank statements, tax returns, and other sensitive documents for quick, secure on-site shredding. Credit union members and non-members alike may bring up to five file boxes or paper bags per vehicle to the events. There is no charge for this service.

 

Asnuntuck 50th Anniversary Event

Oct. 18: Asnuntuck Community College’s 50th-anniversary celebration will take flight from 5 to 8 p.m. at Broad Brook Brewery at 915 South St. in Suffield. The Fifty and Flights event ticket of $50 will provide guests with a tasting flight of beer, bar bites, and live music, and include donations to the scholarship fund. Sam Chevalier and Acoustic Thunder will perform live music for the event. The evening will also include a drawing featuring gift baskets, specialty items, and gift cards. Proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships and mini-grants for the college. Sponsorship and donation opportunities are available. Individuals and businesses are being asked to consider donating a prize for the drawing or making a financial commitment with a sponsorship, which includes tickets to the event and providing textbook vouchers or a scholarship to an Asnuntuck student. To learn more about the event and giving opportunities, contact Keith Madore, executive director of the Asnuntuck Foundation, at (860) 253-3041 or [email protected]

 

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 27: BusinessWest and the Healthcare News will honor eight individuals and groups as Healthcare Heroes for 2022 at a celebration dinner at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke. The Healthcare Heroes class of 2022, profiled in this issue of BusinessWest, and the categories they represent are: Helen Caulton-Harris, director of Health and Human Services, city of Springfield (Lifetime Achievement); Mark Paglia, chief operating officer, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center (Administrator); Dr. Philip Glynn, director of Medical Oncology, Mercy Medical Center (Provider); Dr. Paul Pirraglia, division chief, General Medicine and Community Health, Baystate Health (Collaboration); ServiceNet’s Enrichment Center & Strive Clinic and its partners at Springfield College and UMass Amherst (Collaboration); the Addiction Consult Service at Holyoke Medical Center (Community Health); Dr. Sundeep Shukla, chief, Department of Emergency Medicine, Baystate Noble Hospital (Emerging Leader); and the Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation (Innovation). The Healthcare Heroes program is being sponsored by presenting sponsors Elms College and Baystate Health/Health New England, and partner sponsors Trinity Health Of New England/Mercy Medical Center, American International College, and MiraVista Behavioral Health Center. Tickets cost $85 each, and tables of 10 or 12 are available. Visit businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes/healthcare-heroes-tickets to reserve a spot.

Company Notebook

Cooper’s Corner, State Street Fruit Store Change Hands

NORTHAMPTON — Richard ‘Rich’ Cooper, whose family built and nurtured the Cooper’s Corner and State Street Fruit Store markets, announced that he is selling the businesses to a dedicated, longtime employee who is committed to honoring the legacy. Cooper will retire this fall and sell the markets to Michael Natale, who has worked at State Street and Cooper’s since 2006 in various roles, steadily rising into management and most recently serving as general manager. His father, five siblings, a niece, and a nephew have also worked at the popular, hometown convenience stores. “Mike is a clone of me. He sees what I see. He knows what customer service really means, and he understands the importance of community,” Cooper said. “Mike has a great way with the employees and customers. He is enthusiastic, dedicated and has long-term commitment.” Cooper will work part-time alongside Natale for a few months after the sale as Natale takes over full ownership. “Mike is the ideal buyer. This choice feels right to me,” Cooper added. “It meets the obligation I feel toward employees and to the community to keep the stores locally owned and locally committed, the way we’ve been from day one. I didn’t want to sell to a chain or the highest bidder or someone from outside the community.” Between the two stores, there are 104 employees, most of whom live locally and work part time; roughly 40 work full time.

 

Hitchcock Center Receives Grant for SEEDS Program

AMHERST — The Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst was recently awarded a $222,076 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) FY2022 Museums for America grant for its SEEDS (Schools Exploring Engineering, Design, and Sustainability) program in partnership with Springfield Public Schools. This grant requires a 1:1 match in funding and will rely upon community support to fully fund this new initiative. SEEDS is a new Hitchcock Center program that focuses on using an engineering design-challenge approach to build STEM capacity in third-grade classrooms in the Springfield school system. Project activities will include developing and implementing experiential learning in classrooms through school-based design challenges and creating professional training and mentoring support for each teacher participating in the program. The center will schedule field trips for participating classrooms to its certified Living Building, a net-zero energy facility that harvests and recycles its own water, uses composting toilets, and was constructed with responsibly sourced, non-toxic materials. The project will enhance materials and curriculum for participating schools and encourage students and teachers to explore the intersections of engineering, technology, and design and their role in addressing environmental challenges that confront society. “The Springfield Public Schools are very happy to be able to partner with the Hitchcock Center, who will work with our teachers to get our kids excited and inspired about science and nature,” said Ronald St. Amand, director of Science for Springfield Public Schools, adding that SEEDS “will provide our students with opportunities to learn about STEM careers and to see themselves in STEM. Through the program, kids will come to understand that climate change is urgent, but that we are not powerless against it. Our students can be hopeful about and be part of climate-change solutions.” The mission of the Hitchcock Center is to educate and to inspire action for a healthy planet. Instead of simply teaching about climate change, the Hitchcock Center is helping people develop the skills needed to create climate solutions and foster climate resilience by helping them reconnect to and learn from nature’s efficient and sustainable systems, develop a problem-solving mindset, and share a positive vision for the future.

 

Eversource Named Among State’s Most Charitable Companies

BOSTON — For the fifth year in a row, the Boston Business Journal has named Eversource an honoree in its annual 2022 Corporate Citizenship Awards, a recognition of the region’s top corporate charitable contributors. “Having the chance to make a positive difference in the lives of our customers is a privilege,” said Theresa Hopkins-Staten, Eversource Foundation president and vice president for Corporate Citizenship and Equity. “We have a responsibility to invest in organizations, initiatives, and services that provide broad, meaningful, and sustainable change in the communities we serve that are most at-risk, overburdened, and under-resourced. We look forward to that continued spirit of partnership as we all work together to create conditions for all of our communities to thrive.” The Boston Business Journal annually publishes this list to showcase companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities, a feat that is even more important during times of turmoil and crisis, such as those collectively experienced throughout 2021. In addition to financial support, Eversource also empowers employees to volunteer and give back to local organizations by providing regular volunteer opportunities and a program to match charitable contributions by individual employees. In 2021, Eversource’s volunteer programs engaged more than 4,900 employees and their families, who volunteered more than 23,700 hours at company-sponsored events.

 

Monson Savings Donates $5,000 to Healing Racism Institute

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank recently made a $5,000 donation to the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley, headquartered in Springfield, in support of its work in the region. The Healing Racism Institute aims to help create a better understanding of the root causes and effects of racism, while also explaining the institutional nature of racism. Its hallmark program is its two-day Healing Racism sessions, which provide a safe environment to learn about the impact of racism on our nation and community in an engaging and transformative process. “Monson Savings Bank supports the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley and the important work that they are doing for our communities,” said Dan Moriarty, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank. “We commend them for all of the work that they do to make the world a better place, specifically working to make the communities we live in a better place. Monson Savings is a local bank, meaning everyone who works at the bank lives here. We are working, raising our families, and living in the communities that the Healing Racism Institute serves. The organization holds a special place in our hearts because they are making the places we live a better, more equitable place.” A contribution from Monson Savings Bank will support Healing Racism Institute’s campaign to be self-sustaining within three years by building infrastructure and building capacity. Funds will be used to hire staff, create a training center, increase the number of trained facilitators, and provide scholarship support. “On behalf of the Healing Racism Institute, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Monson Savings Bank for their generous donation,” said Vanessa Otero, Healing Racism executive director. “This donation will help us in our mission to help build racism-free communities.”

 

bankESB Donates $5,000 to Easthampton Neighbors

EASTHAMPTON — bankESB recently made a $5,000 donation to Easthampton Neighbors to help provide services and programs to assist Easthampton seniors and to support the organization’s participation in the Pioneer Valley Memory Care Initiative. Easthampton Neighbors is a member-driven, nonprofit organization that provides volunteer services and programs to seniors who strive to live independent, engaged lives at home. Its ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ approach creates a local support network for area seniors. It are a partnering organization of the Pioneer Valley Memory Care Initiative, which is a coalition of healthcare and community providers, based out of the Cooley Dickinson Geriatrics program, dedicated to empowering and supporting older adults living with dementia and their family caregivers to improve their quality of life. “Seniors are the backbone of our community,” said Matthew Sosik, the bank’s president and CEO. “bankESB is proud to support Easthampton Neighbors as they work to keep seniors in our area engaged, connected, and thriving.” The donation was made as part of the bank’s charitable-giving program, the Giving Tree, which reflects the roots the bank has in its communities, its commitment to making a real difference in the neighborhoods it serves, and the belief that everyone’s quality of life is enhanced when parties work together to solve their communities’ biggest problems.

 

UMassFive Featured on ‘World’s Greatest!’ TV Series

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union was featured in episode 326 of World’s Greatest!, a television series produced by How2Media. World’s Greatest! is a 30-minute show dedicated to highlighting the world’s greatest companies, products, places, and people. Each show is a fast-paced tour around the world featuring behind-the-scenes footage, informative interviews, and exciting visuals. The episode featuring UMassFive premiered on Bloomberg TV on Sept. 3 and re-ran on Sept. 10. In recent years, credit unions have become more and more popular as people transition away from for-profit banks and toward more customer and member-oriented institutions. With a history dating back to 1967, a focus on sustainability, and a commitment to keeping the local economy strong, UMassFive has continued to grow and innovate. “We think their story will be meaningful as well as educational to our viewers,” said Kyle Freeman, executive producer of World’s Greatest! As part of the show, How2Media sent a film crew to spend time at UMassFive’s headquarters in Hadley to discover the company’s story and to show viewers why the credit union was selected as the best in its category, and therefore featured on the show. “We are immensely thankful to How2Media for providing us this opportunity to amplify the mission of the credit union,” said Craig Boivin, vice president of Marketing at UMassFive.

Chamber Corners

1BERKSHIRE

(413) 499-1600; 1berkshire.com

 

Sept. 20: Virtual Dulye Leadership Experience Workshop: “Demystify Digital Currency,” 5-6 p.m. With its dramatic swings, the world of cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and blockchains has been volatile and perplexing. Sort through the confusion with nationally recognized experts Paul Farella and Alexandra Renders of Berkshire-based Willow Investments, who will provide a balanced take on the current landscape, how it works, and where they see digital currency heading. This interactive program features a question-and-answer exchange with the speakers. Register for this virtual event at 1berkshirestrategicalliancemacoc.weblinkconnect.com/events.

 

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 253-0700; amherstarea.com

 

Sept. 8: Amherst Area Internship Fair, 12-2 p.m., hosted by UMass Amherst, Goodell Bernie Dallas Room. Is your business looking for an intern? Meet with UMass students from all majors who can support you in a variety of areas: communications and marketing, data, analytics, statistics, research, technology, security, websites, databases, creative arts, design, finance and accounting, writing, editing, content management, sales, lead creation, database cleanup, metrics evaluation, lab and environmental data collection, and/or analysis. For more information, visit amherstarea.com.

 

Sept. 14: Grillin’ & Chillin’ Under the Pavillion, 4:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet. Join us for a multi-chamber event with the Amherst Area, Greater Holyoke, Greater Chicopee, and South Hadley Granby chambers of commerce at Summit View Banquet and Pavilion with a BBQ buffet, games, a photo booth, door prizes, and featuring DJ Jay Entertainment, Totally Hitched Photo Booth Camper, and Loophole and Leadfoot breweries. Sponsored by Keiter, Polish National Credit Union, Superior Plus Energy Services, Holyoke Gas & Electric, and the Plan. Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Register at amherstarea.com.

 

BRADLEY REGIONAL CHAMBER

(860) 653-3833; bradleyregionalchamber.org

 

Sept. 21: Bradley Regional Chamber of Commerce Lunch & Learn, 12-1 p.m., hosted by Bobby V’s in Windsor Locks, Conn. Join us as Wayne Lerario, vice president of Sales at Nutmeg Technologies, helps chamber members answer the question, do you have the right tech company for your business? We all rely on technology for our businesses, both for our staff and our customers. Lerario will help us consider the benefits of choosing the right IT partner as he talks about the many important things to consider with this critical partnership. Attendees will pay for their own lunch. To register, email Bob Brawders at [email protected].

 

EAST OF THE RIVER FIVE TOWN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 575-7230; www.erc5.com

 

Sept. 7: Coffee Hour Connections with ERC5, 8:30-9:30 a.m., hosted by the Yoga Shop, 185 Miller St., Ludlow. Grab a coffee, energize, and flow into a morning of connecting with colleagues and growing your brand. Sponsored by Community Bank. Register online at www.erc5.com.

 

Sept. 23: 20th Annual Golf Classic, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., hosted by Country Club of Wilbraham. Throughout the day, there will be food, raffles, awards, contests of skill, networking, and spirited competition. To purchase a sponsorship or register for the Classic, visit bit.ly/ERC520thGolfClassic.

 

FRANKLIN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 773-5463; franklincc.org

 

Sept. 23: Chamber Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., hosted by Franklin County Tech School, in the gymnasium, located at 82 Industrial Blvd. in the Turners Falls Industrial Park. Our first breakfast of the season will be the United Way of Franklin and Hampshire Region campaign kickoff. Cost: $20 for members, $22 general admission. Register at franklincc.org.

 

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 594-2101; chicopeechamber.org

 

Sept. 14: Grillin’ & Chillin’ Under the Pavillion, 4:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet. Join us for a multi-chamber event with the Amherst Area, Greater Holyoke, Greater Chicopee, and South Hadley Granby chambers of commerce at Summit View Banquet and Pavilion with a BBQ buffet, games, a photo booth, door prizes, and featuring DJ Jay Entertainment, Totally Hitched Photo Booth Camper, and Loophole and Leadfoot breweries. Sponsored by Keiter, Polish National Credit Union, Superior Plus Energy Services, Holyoke Gas & Electric, and the Plan. Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Register at chicopeechamber.org.

 

GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 534-3376; holyokechamber.com

 

Sept. 12: 2022 Chamber Cup Golf Tournament, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., hosted by Wyckoff Country Club, Holyoke. Mingle and network, win prizes, make new connections, and enjoy a fun day of golf. Each registration includes lunch, golf, and dinner for four people, and a chance to win prizes. On-course activities include beer and spirit tastings; hole-in-one contests for a car, an all-expenses-paid vacation, and an alcohol-filled YETI cooler; a long-drive contest; and food tastings from local restaurants. Inside are silent auctions on one-of-a-kind sports prizes, with a memorabilia auction before dinner. The dinner will be open to membership and the public and will include a brief annual meeting and the awards ceremony, Register at business.holyokechamber.com/events or by calling (413) 534-3376.

 

Sept. 14: Grillin’ & Chillin’ Under the Pavillion, 4:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet. Join us for a multi-chamber event with the Amherst Area, Greater Holyoke, Greater Chicopee, and South Hadley Granby chambers of commerce at Summit View Banquet and Pavilion with a BBQ buffet, games, a photo booth, door prizes, and featuring DJ Jay Entertainment, Totally Hitched Photo Booth Camper, and Loophole and Leadfoot breweries. Sponsored by Keiter, Polish National Credit Union, Superior Plus Energy Services, Holyoke Gas & Electric, and the Plan. Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Register at business.holyokechamber.com/events or call (413) 534-3376.

 

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 584-1900; northamptonchamber.com

 

Sept. 14: [email protected] Networking Event, hosted by the Academy of Music, Northampton. Connect with community and the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce at the next [email protected] Sponsored by United Way of Franklin and Hampshire Region, Kuhn Riddle Architects, and Hampshire Hearing and Speech Services. For more information, visit northamptonchamber.com.

 

Sept. 23: netWORK at ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Join us for our netWORK series, where we partner with a local nonprofit and invite our Greater Northampton Chamber community to participate in a project to benefit that organization. For this netWORK event, we’ll team up with ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm, the first therapeutic farming community in the Pioneer Valley, providing meaningful agricultural employment for people with developmental disabilities, autism, or mental-health challenges. Volunteer work for the day will be broken up into two shifts, and tasks will include field work (weeding and harvesting), mushroom work, and animal work. Volunteers should arrive dressed for farm work, with appropriate clothes and shoes. For more information, visit northamptonchamber.com.

 

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 568-1618; westfieldbiz.org

 

Sept. 14: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Results in Wellness LLC at 93 Springfield Road, Suite B, Westfield. Join us again or for the first time to discuss the concerns you may have as a business owner and how we may help each other through these challenging times. You will meet fellow business people from this community, exchange business cards, and discuss what’s happening in your business. Cost: free to chamber members; $5 for non-members. For more information, visit westfieldbiz.org.

 

Sept. 22: September Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by 104th Fighter Wing, 175 Falcon Dr., Westfield. This is one of our most popular events. Platinum sponsor is Baystate Health. Silver sponsors include A Plus HVAC and ProAmpac. Bronze sponsors include Westfield Public Schools, Armbrook Village, Fly Lugu, Northeast Paving, and BHN/Carson Center. Coffee-bar sponsor is the Westfield Starfires. Cost: $35 to chamber members; $40 for the general public. For more information, visit westfieldbiz.org.

 

Sept. 29: Morning Brew, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club, Westfield. Introduce your business to the group and take advantage of this networking opportunity. Cost: free. For more information, visit westfieldbiz.org.

 

SOUTH HADLEY & GRANBY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 532-6451; shgchamber.com

 

Sept. 14: Grillin’ & Chillin’ Under the Pavillion, 4:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet. Join us for a multi-chamber event with the Amherst Area, Greater Holyoke, Greater Chicopee, and South Hadley Granby chambers of commerce at Summit View Banquet and Pavilion with a BBQ buffet, games, a photo booth, door prizes, and featuring DJ Jay Entertainment, Totally Hitched Photo Booth Camper, and Loophole and Leadfoot breweries. Sponsored by Keiter, Polish National Credit Union, Superior Plus Energy Services, Holyoke Gas & Electric, and the Plan. Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members. Register at shgchamber.com.

 

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 426-3880; www.ourwrc.com

 

Sept. 8: Job Fair 2022, 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern/Carriage House, West Springfield. West Springfield and Agawam businesses, along with other employment opportunities from around Western Mass., will be showcased for the public. High-school students, college students, and adults will be attending this event looking to begin or advance their careers. This event is free and open to the public. To be a participating vendor, register online: at www.ourwrc.com.

 

Sept. 13: September Social & Celebrity Cornhole Tournament, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Trinity Pub/Irish Cultural Center of New England, West Springfield. Join us for a night of networking as you cheer on the mayors, state senator, state representatives, and police and fire chiefs as they battle it out to be the cornhole champs of 2022. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To register to attend or sponsor, visit www.ourwrc.com.

Company Notebook

Marcella Named to 2022 Inc. 5000

NORTHAMPTON — Marcella, a mission-driven, ethically made direct-to-consumer designer fashion brand committed to advancing women and girls globally, experienced a 909% jump in revenue from 2018 to 2021 and has been listed on the annual Inc. 5000 list as the fastest-growing company in the retail sector in New England, 35th in retail nationally, and 689th overall. The Inc. 5000 is a ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. In addition to impressive growth, the companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 have also demonstrated resilience amid supply-chain woes, labor shortages, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Headquartered in Northampton and founded by husband and wife duo Siyana and Andy Huszar, Marcella’s edgy, affordable women’s minimalist basics are designed in New York and handcrafted in Europe. Core to the brand’s DNA is a commitment to benefiting women and girls around the world: for every design Marcella sells, the company supports three days of school for a marginalized girl around the world, with the goal of supporting 8.5 million school days by the end of 2024. In pursuit of this mission, Marcella partners with CAMFED, the global NGO revolutionizing how girls’ education is delivered. Since April 2021, Marcella has already supported more than 600,000 school days for girls in need. Marcella takes a holistic approach to sustainability that respects both people and the planet. Its original designer apparel and accessories are priced accessibly. Every individual involved in the production of any Marcella product enjoys a truly living wage, generous benefits, and free healthcare. Additionally, the brand’s innovative ‘just in time’ production cycle minimizes the global fashion industry’s typical inventory overproduction and waste, enabling Marcella to sell more than 99% of what it makes and dramatically reducing its ecological footprint. “Marcella began as an Etsy shop and quickly transformed into a successful global e-commerce business fueled by our ‘design that matters’ philosophy of accessible prices, ethical production, sustainability, and social impact,” added Andy Huszar, co-founder and CEO of Marcella. “We moved Marcella’s headquarters from New York City to Western Massachusetts in 2017 because we saw unlimited potential in the region for supporting the growth of a global e-commerce brand. We’re honored to be recognized by Inc. and excited to continue to deliver on our mission to create sustainable fashion that reflects our brand values.”

 

Community Action Pioneer Valley Receives Workforce-training Funds for Formerly Incarcerated Citizens

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced $1.68 million in Re-Entry Workforce Development Demonstration Program grants awarded to 14 organizations, including one in Western Mass., Community Action Pioneer Valley in Greenfield. Funds will place formerly incarcerated citizens re-entering the workforce into new occupations, where they will receive on-the-job training. “The efforts of these community organizations, which includes their ability to locally connect individuals and employers, helps improve workforce readiness for those re-entering society,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “These re-entry grants are focused on evidence-based outcomes that best prepare those who have served their time to find employment that helps support themselves and their families.” Community Action Pioneer Valley will receive $160,000 to work with both the Franklin and Hampshire county sheriff’s offices to implement a training program focused on the manufacturing industry. Successful program graduates will be placed into production-occupation roles at Deerfield Packaging, Hillside Plastics, Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, or Quabbin Wire & Cable Company Inc. The Re-Entry Workforce Development Demonstration Program is an outcome of the Baker-Polito administration’s Task Force on Economic Opportunity for Populations Facing Chronically High Rates of Unemployment, chaired by Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta. The Task Force found that individuals within prison populations experienced complex needs that require intensive interventions for them to be successful in securing and maintaining employment. Access to adequate re-entry services was identified as a barrier to employment that disproportionally impacts the target populations and leads to greater recidivism. “Providing the formerly incarcerated with opportunities for on-the-job-training is an important way to address inequities in the Commonwealth’s workforce,” Acosta said. “Partnering with community organizations through these grants helps those with chronic high rates of unemployment find meaningful career pathways in Massachusetts.”

 

 

Chicopee Cupboard Food Pantry Moves to New Location

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) hosted a ‘new home’ celebration for the Chicopee Cupboard Food Pantry on Aug. 16 at 226 Exchange St. in Chicopee. The Chicopee Cupboard, powered by the United Way of Pioneer Valley, provides shelf-stable food, fresh produce and dairy items, and frozen food to anyone in need. These items are available thanks to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, grants, and donations. “We are honored to be able to battle any and all food insecurity in the great city of Chicopee,” said Paul Mina, president and CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley. “Our team is eager to provide our clients the best services possible.” To make an appointment, call Lee Drewitz at (413) 693-0213.

 

Joe Andruzzi Foundation Marks One-Year Anniversary of Food Security Assistance Program

NORTH ATTLEBORO — The Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF), providing help and hope to New England cancer patients and their families through financial support when it is needed most, announced that its Food Security Assistance Program is entering its second year of helping cancer patients across New England access healthy and nutritious foods to sustain them during treatment. Since its inception in 2021, the program has raised $436,850 for 1,867 cancer patients across New England. In December 2020, JAF conducted a pilot Food Security Program, which provided aid outside the financial-assistance grants already provided to cancer patients throughout New England, with the support of a $50,000 grant from Stop & Shop. The program pilot funded 199 households to support 478 patients from December 2020 through March 2021. Overall, nearly half (47%) of the grants distributed during the pilot program helped families who reported annual household income losses between 50% to 100% due to a cancer diagnosis. After a successful pilot, JAF formally launched its Food Security Assistance support for patients on August 11, 2021, with ROI Communications as its presenting sponsor. Additional support was received from Oncopeptides, Bearingstar Insurance, and the Dunkin’ Joy Foundation. Through the program, JAF sends grocery-store gift cards directly to the patient to be redeemed at Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Big Y, Hannaford, or Market Basket. Donations to assist New England cancer patients and their families can be made online at joeandruzzifoundation.org/ways-to-give/donate.

 

Agenda

MOSSO Brass Quintet

Aug. 20: Bing Productions will present the Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MOSSO) Brass Quintet in a free concert from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Camp STAR Angelina, 300 Trafton Road, in Springfield’s Forest Park. The rain date is Aug. 21. The MOSSO Brass Quintet features Gerald Serfass and John Charles Thomas on trumpet, Lauren Winter on horn, Scott Cranston on trombone, and Stephen Perry on tuba. According to Perry, the family-friendly program, which will be announced from the stage, will include classics by Bach, Brahms, and Copland; pops and jazz by Ellington, Strayhorn, and Lennon/McCartney, and marches by John Philip Sousa. The Amphitheater at Camp STAR Angelina is outdoors, and people should either bring blankets and cushions or lawn chairs.

 

ONEHolyoke Community Walk

Aug. 27: OneHolyoke CDC has partnered with Holyoke community organizations, including HG&E, to host the ONEHolyoke Community Walk at 10 a.m., with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. The 5K will bring the community together safely outdoors for a walk and roll (wheelchair, bicycle, stroller) along a Holyoke route featuring family activities and to raise awareness of continued safe practices to keep the community healthy. This is the second annual community walk organized by OneHolyoke CDC. Last year’s inaugural event focused on COVID safety, the importance of getting the community vaccinated, and remembering those lost to the virus. This year’s event will be broadened to emphasize the importance of community and will provide resources, giveaways, and activities for families. The 5K route will begin at the intersection of Race Street, Main Street, and Canal Street (near Lawler’s Insurance) and will end on Race Street at Middle Street, where participants can view the HyggeHaus home donated to OneHolyoke CDC by the UMass Building Construction and Technology Program. The Holyoke Farmers’ Market will be in progress at the end of the route. The event will also feature giveaways and resources by partnering organizations at five water stations along the route, a Holyoke history and local business scavenger hunt along the route, a story walk at the end of the route with an opportunity to bring home a copy of the book, a vaccine clinic at the end of the route (near the Farmer’s Market); and a celebration at the end of the walk. Registration costs $10 for adults and $15 per couple, and children are free. Registration is open at go.rallyup.com/c/participar5k2022, and those who don’t pre-register can also sign up on-site.

 

Housatonic Heritage Walks

Weekends from Sept. 3 to Oct. 2: The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area announced the 20th annual autumn Housatonic Heritage Walks on five weekends: Sept. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25; and Oct. 1-2. More than 80 free, guided walks will be offered throughout Berkshire County, Mass., and Litchfield County, Conn. The public is invited to participate in these family-friendly, informative walks, offered in partnership with our region’s historic, cultural, and outdoor recreational organizations. The Heritage Walks are an ideal opportunity to experience and learn about this region’s rich and varied local heritage. Historians, naturalists, and environmentalists will lead participants on explorations through historic estate gardens and town districts, behind-the-scenes cultural-site tours, nature walks, trail hikes, and tours of many of the industrial-site ruins that were once thriving local industries. There will be Native American and African-American history walks, a canoe paddling trip on the Housatonic River and a bike tour on scenic country roads. Detailed Heritage Walks brochures will be available at libraries, post offices, restaurants, and grocery stores in the region. The schedule is also available at housatonicheritage.org/events/heritage-walks. To request a brochure by mail, email [email protected].

 

Sip & Slide FUNd-raiser

Sept. 8: In support of the Eastern States Exposition’s (ESE) youth agriculture programs, the ESE Foundation Sip & Slide FUNd-raiser will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Giant Slide. Attendees can ride down the slide and enjoy craft beer, wine, hors d’oeuvres, live music, raffles, and more. Partners Restaurant and Catering will provide a range of appetizers such as pulled-pork, veggie, and grilled-chicken sliders; potato-skin bites; assorted kabobs; and more. Live music will be provided by Ric & Amy Acoustic. Guests will receive welcome bags stuffed with three event drink tickets, Big E swag, a cream- puff voucher to be used during the Big E (Sept. 16 through Oct. 2), and other surprises. Presented by PeoplesBank, Sip & Slide tickets are available for purchase at thebige.com/sipandslide. Tickets cost $50 per person if purchased in advance and $60 at the door. You must be 21 or over to attend this event.

 

Annual HCC Golf Benefit

Sept. 12: Registration is now open for the Holyoke Community College (HCC) Foundation’s 35th annual golf tournament at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield. Money raised from this year’s tournament will support student scholarships managed by the HCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College. The golf outing begins with an 11 a.m. buffet lunch followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. After golf, participants can enjoy cocktails on the clubhouse porch with scenic views of the Pioneer Valley, followed by dinner. Participants can arrange their own foursomes or sign up as singles. The $185 individual fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments on the course. The cost per foursome is $740. Dinner only is $40 per person. Sponsorships are also available in various increments from $100 to $10,000. To register or sponsor the golf tournament, visit www.hcc.edu/golf.

 

United Way Day of Caring

Sept. 23: United Way of Pioneer Valley announced the 2022 Day of Caring. Anyone interested in local volunteer opportunities can visit volunteer.uwpv.org to register as a volunteer. Day of Caring opportunities will be posted as the details are finalized, and other opportunities year-round are hosted on this site as well. Agencies who are interested in hosting a Day of Caring location, or corporations interested in sponsorships and/or bringing a group of volunteers, can contact Jennifer Kinsman, director of Community Impact, at [email protected] or (413) 693-0212.

 

Cruise for Critters

Sept. 24: Cruise for Critters returns to Westview Farms Creamery for the 10th annual car show to benefit pets in need at Second Chance Animal Services. The fundraiser, sponsored by Service Connection of Monson, has been helping Massachusetts pets since 2012. This year’s event will have fall fun for everyone, including a vendor fair and the popular Halloween Barktacular kids’ games. Second Chance volunteers are excited to break out the Halloween Barktacular kids’ games. After COVID forced the nonprofit to cancel both the 2020 and 2021 Halloween Barktacular, a group of volunteers brought a few of the games to last year’s Cruise for Critters. This year, volunteers are planning even more fun for kids. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will also feature all the fall fun that Westview Farms Creamery has to offer, including pumpkin picking and a corn maze. Spare Parts will be on hand to provide entertainment, and visitors can take a chance to win some raffle prizes. Event organizers are appealing to local businesses and vendors to join the fight for pets in need. For more information on sponsorships or to become a vendor, visit secondchanceanimals.org/events/cruise. The event will be free to spectators, and there’s a $20 car-show entry fee, with every dollar supporting pets in need. In case of bad weather, the rain date is Saturday, Oct. 1.

 

World Affairs Council Talk on Indo-Pacific Developments

Sept. 28: The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts will present its first Instant Issues brown bag lunchtime discussion of the 2022-23 program year at noon at 1350 Main St. in downtown Springfield. Dennis Yasutomo, Esther Cloudman Dunn professor emeritus of Government at Smith College, will speak on “Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific: Evolution of a Eurasian Century?” A longtime member and friend of the Council, Yasutomo’s field of research is contemporary Japanese foreign policy, and he is the author of numerous books and articles on Japanese politics and diplomacy. He will look at the impact of the crisis in Ukraine on the emerging Euro-Asian geopolitical dynamics involving China, the U.S., Japan, Australia, and Europe’s enhanced involvement in the Indo-Pacific region. Advance registration is required at www.eventbrite.com/e/instant-issues-ukraine-and-the-indo-pacific-tickets-399638689077. No walk-ins will be allowed. Admission to the event is $5 for council members without a lunch provided, $20 with a box lunch. Non-members’ admission cost is $10 without a lunch and $25 with lunch.

 

Hooplandia

June 23-25, 2023: After nearly three years of pandemic-era scheduling hurdles, Springfield and West Springfield will host Hooplandia, the largest 3×3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, next spring. The event, which will be hosted by the Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, OGs, wheelchair, Wounded Warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. The event will feature more than 70 outdoor blacktop courts placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield; slam-dunk, three-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions; themed state courts for all six New England states; featured ‘showcase games’ held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; and a festival environment throughout the weekend with food, music, entertainment, and family activities. A year-long community-outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2023.

Company Notebook

Trader Joe’s Employees in Hadley Approve Chain’s First Labor Union

HADLEY — Employees at Trader Joe’s in Hadley have become the chain’s first store to approve a labor union. The union vote passed 45-31. “This victory is historic, but not a surprise. Since the moment we announced our campaign, a majority of the crew have enthusiastically supported our union, and despite the company’s best efforts to bust us, our majority has never wavered,” Trader Joe’s United said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of the work we have done together to win this union election, but winning is just the beginning. We now begin the difficult work of sitting down at the negotiating table as equals with our employer and securing a contract that will benefit and protect us, the crew, instead of the company’s bottom line.”

 

Tech Foundry Awarded $72,547 Tech Talent Diversity Grant

BOSTON — Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy recently announced three new grants from the Commonwealth’s Tech Talent Diversity Initiative, an effort aimed at boosting diversity hiring and training opportunities for diverse candidates. The three grants, totaling $494,947, were awarded to Tech Foundry in Springfield, Hack.Diversity in Boston, and Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology in Boston. Tech Foundry was founded in 2014 by Pioneer Valley tech employers and other workforce, business, education, and economic-development stakeholders to address the regional skills gap in information technology and drive regional economic growth. The organization offers training programs aimed at filling entry-level IT roles and provides training that is tailored to the needs of partner employers, including a work-experience component where students are placed in a position at a local employer. Tech Foundry’s $72,547 grant award will be used to assist employer partners’ ability to host students, primarily in the Pioneer Valley, for hands-on training, by creating a new platform called Tech Foundry Ventures to host two new programs, including the development of a virtual IT technician-training environment, working with employer partners to create a tool where students will face similar scenarios to those seen on the job, allowing them to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom without the stakes of serving real-world clients; and the launch of a service-learning initiative where students will work with community organizations that cannot afford to utilize commercial services, providing similar IT services to those provided by employer partners. The expanded tools will allow Tech Foundry to train as many as 150 additional students per year, three times its existing number.

 

Chase Bank to Open First Springfield Branch

SPRINGFIELD — Chase Bank plans to open its first Springfield branch next year at 1391 Main St. in downtown Springfield. There are plans to add at least three more locations in the Greater Springfield area over the next few years. The expansion is part of the bank’s recently announced plans to more than double its presence in Massachusetts by 2025. The firm opened its first Massachusetts branch in Boston in 2018 and now has 36 statewide. Beyond Springfield, Chase will open its first branch in Worcester next month. “Springfield is a great city with a rich economic, cultural, and educational environment, which makes it an ideal place for Chase to grow,” said Ali Zaidi, Chase’s market director for Springfield and Worcester. “Our goal is to help the community and support our customers during their most important moments.” This first branch will be about 3,000 square feet in size and feature modern, bright designs with comfortable meeting areas and state-of-the-art banking technology. A dedicated Chase Private Client team will provide premium banking services, personalized attention, and access to the expertise and investment capabilities of J.P. Morgan to help families reach their goals. Customers may also meet with financial and home-lending advisors and business-banking relationship managers. “Branches are critically important to our customers, but our mission goes beyond service and convenience,” said Jennifer Piepszak, co-CEO of Chase Consumer & Community Banking for JPMorgan Chase. “We’re hiring locally, investing in the community, and bringing all the benefits our firm has to offer to drive economic growth.”

 

Baystate Medical Center, Roca Create Violence-intervention Program

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center and Roca Springfield are launching a first-in-the-region hospital-based violence-intervention program called Better Tomorrow to serve as a vital public-health response to violence in local communities. Funded with a $1 million U.S. Department of Justice grant through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, the joint effort will combine medical staff and community-based service providers to intervene with victims of violence in hospital settings, connect them with community services, and reduce further victimization and violent behaviors. Hospital-based violence-intervention programs are multi-disciplinary teams designed to identify patients who are at risk of repeat violent injury and connect them with hospital- and community-based resources to help address underlying risk factors for violence. Research shows that these programs reduce repeat victimization and criminal-justice involvement while also decreasing healthcare and other costs associated with violence. They improve quality of life for patients by addressing disparities in access to healthcare, transportation, case management, and a range of other social determinants of health.

 

Elm Electrical Creates Program to Educate Teens on Electrical Careers

WESTFIELD — Elm Electrical has created a new program for high-school students interested in the electrical field. The students, in grades 10-12, were recommended by their teachers or Elm employees to attend this free, four-day training seminar. These prospective co-op students, or Elm Futures, were then invited to join Elm educators learn new skills as well as showcase their own talents at the First Steps Training Seminar. Monday through Wednesday, students receive instruction and training in the state-of-the-art Elm University multi-media classrooms and hands-on lab. Thursday, the final day, is Challenge Day, when students apply what they’ve learned and complete a project board challenge. Elm project managers are invited to evaluate their work, offer feedback, and get to know the students. Three sessions have been held this summer. The Elm University classrooms and lab are used year-round as Elm’s in-house training facility. Employees who want to become licensed electricians can opt into the company’s four-year apprentice program. They can work their jobs Monday through Thursday and then, every other Friday, attend school at Elm University for free.

 

Rocky’s Ace Hardware Named Presale Ticket Partner for Eastern States Exposition

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Eastern States Exposition (ESE), home of the Big E, announced a new partnership, naming Rocky’s Ace Hardware an official presale partner of the Big E. Through this partnership, Rocky’s and ESE have joined together to utilize a locally owned platform in selling tickets to the 2022 Big E. ESE and Rocky’s have developed a ticketing initiative that will allow fairgoers to purchase 2022 advance discount tickets, advance pay-one-price Midway Magic passes, value passes, and Big E Arena concert tickets through the Rocky’s mobile circular digital app and at www.rockys.com.

Company Notebook

UMass Amherst Forges Partnership with Kyiv School of Economics

AMHERST — UMass Amherst has signed a series of memoranda of agreement with the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) to assist students and scholars affected by Russia’s war with Ukraine. UMass Amherst’s new multi-level partnership with KSE will establish several modalities for Ukrainian students and scholars to be part of the UMass academic community. An academic exchange program for students will enable undergraduate and graduate students from Ukraine to study at UMass for a semester or academic year with nearly all costs waived.

In conjunction with the academic exchange program for students, a non-resident, virtual Scholar in Residence program will be created for scholars affiliated with KSE. Selected Ukrainian scholars will collaborate with centers, departments, and faculty at UMass Amherst on relevant research topics virtually and will receive a stipend through the KSE Foundation.

The agreements were finalized between March and July 2022 by KSE President Tymofiy Mylovanov and Rector Tymofii Brik and John McCarthy, now emeritus provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs for UMass Amherst. Anna Nagurney, professor and the Eugene M. Isenberg Chair in Integrative Studies in the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, played a central role in driving these collaborative efforts. As a longstanding member of the International Academic Board at KSE, and now also co-chair of the board of directors at KSE, Nagurney was instrumental in nurturing the relationship between the two institutions. Most recently, Nagurney has been a leading expert in providing insights on Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

 

Arrha Credit Union Opens New Branch in Enfield

ENFIELD, Conn. — Arrha Credit Union announced the opening of a new branch at 231 Hazard Ave. in Enfield, Conn. “Arrha Credit Union will bring hometown banking back,” said Michael Ostrowski, president and CEO. “This location is perfect to make that happen. Rockville Bank, also known as the Savings Bank of Rockville, once held this location, and they had the same style of hometown, superior customer-service banking. We are excited to welcome these customers back and become members, part of the Arrha financial family. This means offering home-style banking to meet the personal and business needs for families, individuals, and businesses.” Amanda Howie, the branch manager, is sought after for her advice on vehicle lending, low-interest credit cards, free checking with convenient app downloads, online banking, and virtual deposits, Ostrowski noted. Adam Baldwin is the assistant vice president, regional branch and Business Development manager. With more than eight years of banking experience, he has been recognized throughout his career as a rising star with superior service awards. He is a Rotarian, on the board of the Enfield Food Bank, and actively involved in the community. Anthony (Tony) Franco is the vice president of Commercial Lending. With more than 25 years in the financial-services and commercial-lending industry, he has been helping area businesses achieve their goals and direct them to what commercial deposits and lending services work best for them.

 

Springfield Thunderbirds Named AHL’s Team of the Year

SPRINGFIELD — The American Hockey League (AHL) announced the Springfield Thunderbirds as the winner of the President’s Award for the 2021-22 season during the Board of Governors’ annual meeting in Hilton Head Island, S.C. Bestowed upon the team that demonstrates overall excellence both on and off the ice, the Thunderbirds captured Team of the Year honors following a historic season that set team records across a wide range of business categories, including average attendance (5,375), season tickets sold, overall ticket revenue, and corporate sales revenue. The T-Birds achieved these milestones while winning the AHL’s Eastern Conference Championship. This marked the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance and Springfield’s first trip to the Calder Cup Finals since 1991. See page 4 for much more about the Thunderbirds’ recent success.

 

Hazen Paper Wins Gold Leaf Award for 2021 Hall of Fame Yearbook

HOLYOKE — Hazen Paper Co. was presented a Gold Leaf Award by the Foil and Specialty Effects Assoc. (FSEA) at Amplify: the Print, Finishing, and Embellishment Event, held recently by FSEA and the Assoc. for PRINT Technologies in Minneapolis. Hazen garnered recognition in the category “best use of overprinting foil” for the 2021 enshrinement yearbook produced for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Hazen used custom holography to replicate the brilliant LED lighting of the iconic Hall of Fame dome, employing edgeless Hazen-Lens technology to create a pulsating play of light in front of a brilliant radial burst of two-channel holography. Treatment of the Basketball Hall of Fame logo also utilized holography to emphasize the basketball’s pebbled texture against the smooth reflective sphere of the dome. The holography was registered to a tolerance of 1/16” for near-perfect alignment during printing. Hazen originated the holography for the yearbook completely within its vertically integrated Holyoke facility. The custom holograms were created in Hazen’s holographic laser lab, then micro-embossed and transfer-metallized onto smooth, 12-point WestRock Crescendo C2S using Hazen’s environmentally friendly Envirofoil process. Agency GO of Hartford, Conn. designed the limited-edition yearbook cover, which was printed and individually numbered for authenticity on an HP Indigo digital press by Starburst Printing of Holliston. Hazen also received a Silver Leaf Award from FSEA for “best use of foil/embossing in a calendar (industry)” on the holographic Hazen 2022 calendar “Here Comes the Sun.

 

Berkshire Bank’s Foundation Gives $205,000 to Nonprofits

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank recently presented a total of $205,000 in funding to Springfield non-profit organizations during Berkshire’s BEST Community Comeback Tour. The grants aim to help power the financial potential of the local communities the bank serves through organizations impacting the areas of gender equality, small-business technical assistance, housing, neighborhood stabilization, and education. The grants included $75,000 to the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, $25,000 to Revitalize CDC, $5,000 to Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence, and $100,000 to Common Capital, a subsidiary of Way Finders.

 

Berkshire United Way Renews Funding to 40 Programs

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire United Way (BUW) announced renewal funding of $1,029,500 for 40 programs across 24 community partner organizations, providing a much-needed additional year of support. This funding will be for a one-year period, from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, and will continue to stabilize BUW’s three main community-impact areas: early childhood development, positive youth development, and economic prosperity. Visit www.berkshireunitedway.org/our-impact to learn more about the 40 programs. BUW’s investments in these programs support family well-being and address gaps in services in the community. Programs generate a whole-family, integrated approach focusing on educational advancement and economic mobility. A new round of funding requests will be announced in early 2023. To donate to BUW’s fundraising campaign, visit www.berkshireunitedway.org/donate.

 

Beauty Batlles Lounge Successfully Hosts Comedy Fundraising Event

CHICOPEE — Beauty Batlles recently welcomed the community to its lounge, hosting a successful fundraising event, Beauty Batlles Moving Forward. About 60 guests were in attendance, and all had the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, raffles, and 50/50 drawing, all while enjoying a cash bar and food at the comedy show. With support from clients, family, local business owners, and others in the community, the event raised about $4,000 that will assist Beauty Batlles in its move. The facility will now be able to offer a larger scale of services to its clients and offer new job opportunities at the new location. Beauty Batlles Lounge offers microblading, waxing, lash lift tint, facials, brow lamination, BB glow, and body-sculpting services. It uses cutting-edge technology and medical-grade products to customize treatment to each client’s specific needs. The goal is to deliver self-confidence to individuals who have been struggling with different insecurities, and the support the community has continued to show will help the facility expand to its new location, allowing it to service the community more effectively.

 

PeoplesBank Named Top Charitable Contributor by Boston Business Journal

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank’s record-setting charitable contributions in 2021 earned recognition from the Boston Business Journal, as the bank secured a spot on the region’s Top Corporate Charitable Contributors list for the 15th year in a row. In 2021, while focusing on food insecurity, housing, and literacy, PeoplesBank announced record donations reaching $1,315,000, with a total of close to $11 million donated since 2011. The bank has doubled its donations in the last five years. “It is a big part of who we are as an organization, our employees, and how they volunteer in the community,” said Tom Senecal, president and CEO of PeoplesBank. “I see 2022 as a tremendous opportunity for us to give back and be committed to the communities that we serve.” PeoplesBank’s associates donate 10,000 volunteer hours per year, and 74 of them have served on 54 nonprofit boards. The region’s top charitable companies will be honored at the Boston Business Journal’s Corporate Citizenship Awards on the Sept. 8 at Revere Hotel in Boston.

 

Agenda

Woodstock Tribute Band

July 9: The Rotary Club of West Springfield will stage a concert appearance by Back to the Garden 1969, a Woodstock tribute band at the Morgan Road Pavilion.

Doors open at 4 p.m. at the pavilion, located behind the Irish Cultural Center, 429 Morgan Road, West Springfield. Opening band Great Acoustics will appear from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by Back to the Garden 1969 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The playlist will include as many of the original tracks as time allows. Food and drink will be sold. Outside beverages or food may not be brought into the venue; ’60s inspired attire is highly encouraged. RotaryRocks is a rain or shine event. Seating is available under the pavilion, or guests may bring folding chairs for the lawn. There are only 350 tickets available for this show and patrons are encouraged to order theirs early through www.WestSpringfieldRotaryClub.com. RotaryRocks is the club’s main fundraiser. All Rotary Club fundraising proceeds fund scholarships, community grants and other local projects for the betterment of the community.

 

Celebrity Bartending Fundraiser

July 14: The Hampden County Bar Association Legal Clinic will stage its Celebrity Bartending Tip-Off event at Kaptain Jimmy’s restaurant. The event will start at 4 p.m. and will include celebrity bartenders, a DJ, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the event go toward the agency’s legal clinic programs. The legal clinic is still seeking sponsorships for the event from local businesses. Sponsors will be recognized as supporting the mission of providing legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney. For further information, contact the Hampden County Bar Association Legal Clinic at (413) 733-6500.

 

Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour

Ongoing: Starting with the recent Juneteenth weekend, a new walking tour of local historic homes and museums will showcase the unique history and contributions of generations of Black families in Amherst that ranged from music to manufacturing. Ancestral Bridges, a local nonprofit organization, collaborated with the Amherst Historical Society & Museum, local organizations, and the descendants of local Black families to produce the Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour, a 1.5-mile story-filled tour that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the day-to-day experiences of Black Amherst residents from 200 years ago to more modern times. “There is so much important Black history in Amherst that has been hidden from view for too many years,” said Anika Lopes, founder of Ancestral Bridges. “With this walking tour, we are pulling back the curtain, highlighting the way that my family and other Black and indigenous historic residents of Amherst lived and worked, what they hoped and fought for, so that Black youth and others can understand this part of our history and use it to grow.” The Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour is the first descendant-led and curated walking tour of its kind in the area. A family-friendly event on June 18 will serve as a kick-off of the walking tour and encourage local residents and visitors to explore exhibits featuring historic photographs, artifacts, and millinery that bring to life the essence of Black neighborhoods in Amherst. The tour begins at the historic West Cemetery to honor the lives and contributions of the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the famed 5th Cavalry, the soldiers who alerted Texas residents that the Civil War and slavery had ended. This event is the origin of the holiday celebrated as Juneteenth. Additional tour stops include special exhibits at the Amherst History Museum with artwork and images from the mid-18th century and on; The Emily Dickinson Museum, where stories of Charles Thompson and other Black residents familiar with the Dickinson Family are featured; Hope Church, the first Black church in Amherst; and Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church. The event to be emceed by descendant William Harris, Jr., president and CEO of Space Center Houston. Neighborhoods featured on the tour include the Westside District (Hazel Avenue, Baker Street, Snell Street, Northampton Road), which was designated a National Historic District in 2000 thanks to the efforts of Dudley J. Bridges, Sr.; and the neighborhood of McCellan, Beston, and Paige Streets. Also featured on the walking tour will be a special art installation by local artist Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker that will highlight the Tote2Vote campaign, launched recently to raise awareness of voter suppression. Learn more at ancestral-bridges.org.

 

Art with Heart

July 20: Community members are invited to attend a free art exhibit and reception for the debut of Art with Heart, a collaboration between local grieving youth and caregivers and area artists. The exhibit will run the month of July with the reception on July 20 at 6 p.m. at the BOMBYX Center for Arts and Equity. Art with Heart, the vision of Shelly Bathe Lenn, program coordinator at The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens, paired local grieving youth and caregivers with artists to create art as an expression of grief. Children ages 5 to 17 participated in workshops that were held in May. “We believe in reinforcing the connection between the head, heart, and hand to help one express their feelings around grief that may have previously been unspoken,” Lenn said. “Grieving youth can use art to help them further understand their experience and gain a sense of mastery and confidence while serving as a ‘container’ for the intense feelings associated with grief.” Artists Barbara Neulinger, Christine Southworth, Frankie Borrero, and Omarthan Clarke each worked with one of four small groups of grieving youth and caregivers. In each of the groups, the participants learned the artist’s medium and made an art piece. The art piece that was created was designed to help participants express their feelings and/or remember those in their life who have died. The artwork will be on display throughout the Pioneer Valley each month through June 2023 and a culminating event will be timed with the 25th anniversary of The Garden in 2023. To learn more about the Art with Heart program, contact Shelly Bathe Lenn at (413) 727-5749.

Company Notebook

Nominations Sought for Super 60 Program

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber (SRC) is seeking nominations for its annual Super 60 awards program. Super 60 recognizes the success of the fastest-growing and privately owned businesses in the region. Nominations must be submitted by August 5. Each year, Super 60 identifies the top-performing companies in this region, based on revenue growth and total revenue. In 2019, one-quarter of the Total Revenue winners exceeded $30 million, with all the winners combining for more than $720 million in revenue. In the Revenue Growth category, all winners had growth above 21%, and 50% of the top 30 companies grew by more than 50%. To be considered, companies must be independently and privately owned; based in Hampden or Hampshire counties or be a member of the Springfield Regional Chamber; have revenues of at least $1 million in the past fiscal year; and have been in business for at least three full years. Companies are selected based on their percentage of revenue growth over a full three-year period or total revenues for the latest fiscal year. Companies may be nominated by financial institutions, attorneys, or accountants, or they can self-nominate. Along with an application, nominators must provide net operating revenue figures for the last three full fiscal years, signed and verified by an independent auditor. All financial information must be reported under generally accepted accounting principles and will be considered confidential. Nomination forms can be found on the Chamber’s website and can be submitted by faxing to SUPER 60, Springfield Regional Chamber, (413) 755-1322. Nomination forms must be submitted no later than August 5. The Super 60 awards will be presented at the annual luncheon and recognition program on Oct. 28, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The Super 60 award luncheon attracts more than 500 business leaders each year. Super 60 sponsorships are now available. For information, call (413) 755-1309 or e-mail Szynal at [email protected]

 

Greenfield Co-op Reports Solid FY 2022

GREENFIELD — Anthony Worden, president & CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank and its parent company, Greenfield Bancorp, MHC recently announced the operating results of the bank’s latest fiscal year as announced at the 117th annual meeting of the bank on June 21. Worden reported that FY 2022, which ended March 31, was very successful and the assets of the bank grew by $41.4 million (5%) over the prior year.

Other results include:

• In FY 2022, GCB originated more than $166 million in loans of all types, including $61.3 million in residential mortgages, $92.0 million in commercial loans,

$45.6 million in municipal lending, $9.2 million in home equity loans and lines, and

$1.2 million in MassSave® ‘’zero-interest” energy loans.

• GCB had an increase of $50.5 million in deposits (7.4%) over the past year;

• The pre-tax operating income for Greenfield Cooperative Bank was $4.416 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 and the net income after taxes was $3.454 million;

• GCB’s Tier 1 Capital to average assets is 10.5%. The bank is considered “well capitalized” by all regulatory definitions.

• As a result of these solid earnings, the bank and its employees were able to contribute more than $180,000 to 200 community groups and charities throughout both Hampshire and Franklin County during the past fiscal year.

 

AIC Partners with HCC with Signing of Articulation Agreement

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has signed an articulation agreement with Holyoke Community College (HCC), formally establishing a close academic relationship between the two-year college and the four-year institution. The accord between AIC and HCC aligns academic programs that enhance the seamless transition of HCC graduates and qualified candidates from HCC, and promotes a smooth, successful transfer to AIC. This articulation agreement offers time and cost savings for students by recognizing the coursework pursued at the community college and demonstrates the ongoing commitment of both AIC and HCC to the community and its students, by ensuring that educational pathways are created for all those who wish to consider a degree in higher education. At AIC, the program is referred to as Direct Connect. Direct Connect, transfer students automatically receive a $4,000 scholarship in addition to their earned merit scholarship, before any need-based aid is awarded. This means Direct Connect students can earn up to $18,000 in financial gift aid, not loans, before being evaluated for additional need-based aid. And, unlike some other transfer articulation agreements, the Direct Connect program at AIC allows students to study and major in their area of interest while attending their community college.

 

Westfield Bank Supports Camp Atwater Capital Campaign

WESTFIELD — Westfield Bank President and CEO James C. Hagan recently presented Springfield Urban League CEO Henry M. Thomas III with a $100,000 contribution to help launch a $7.5 million capital campaign to ensure the future of historic Camp Atwater. The Urban League has owned and operated Camp Atwater, located in North Brookfield, since 1921, making it the longest operating Black-owned summer camp in the nation. In its many years of service, Camp Atwater has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives and careers of the vast majority of the camp’s more than 55,000 alumni. Galvanized by the needs of the Black community in Massachusetts and beyond, the Urban League is embarking on the $7.5 million Centennial Campaign to reimagine and reconfigure Camp Atwater so that it may continue as a foundational experience for campers for the next hundred years. Already recognized for its significance by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Urban League is seeking to capitalize on the opportunity for Atwater to provide the preeminent camp experience for the African American community, and to develop ongoing generations of leaders by providing a unique blend of enriching programs and activities within a setting that is at once nurturing and challenging, while fostering self-discovery and growth. With Westfield Bank’s support, as well as that of other early donors, significant work on the Camp’s buildings and grounds is scheduled to begin this summer and continue onward so that Atwater can welcome overnight campers back in the summer of 2023.

 

Funders Reach Million-dollar Milestone in Awards to Local Farms

AGAWAM — The Local Farmer Awards, a funding initiative launched in 2015 by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) and Big Y Foods, reached the million-dollar milestone in May. Over the past eight years, more than 470 grants have been made to farmers in Western Mass. and the Berkshires. Along with the Big Y and HGCF are 25 generous community and individual donors including Ann and Steve Davis, Charles and Elizabeth D’Amour, PeoplesBank, DeNucci Group at Merrill Lynch, Farm Credit East, HP Hood LLC, Audrey & Chick Taylor, Baystate Health, Country Bank and others. Last month, 74 farmers primarily located in Western Massachusetts received the 2022 awards — checks of up to $2,500 for infrastructure improvements. Totaling $165,500, these grants help sustain robust projects related to growing, harvesting, and processing. Program director Cari Carpenter said that the publicity generated by the Local Farmer Awards draws much needed attention to the productivity of all farms in the region, whether or not they have been award recipients. “We want to celebrate and encourage every farm in Western Mass and the Berkshires, not only our winners. The program returned in March to an in-person appreciation party, including all 120 farms within our applicant reach this year. Donors were able to grasp the impact of what they are doing — and the potential to do even more!”

 

W.F. Young Receives Visionary and Visibility Awards

EAST LONGMEADOW — W.F. Young, a global leader in animal health products such as Absorbine® and The Missing Link®, received two awards at the 2022National Animal Supplement Council Annual Conference, the NASC Visionary Award, acknowledging the animal wellness company as an originating/founding member, and the Visibility Award, for Outstanding Promotion of the NASC Quality Seal. The National Animal Supplement Council is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals and horses throughout the United States. Founded in 2001, NASC is an all-industry association of stakeholders concerned with the issues surrounding the supply of health supplements for animals not intended for human consumption, such as dogs, cats, and horses. The 2022 NASC Annual Conference took place recently in St. Louis, Mo. at the Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel. The event featured networking opportunities for all the attendees, breakout sessions for science, compliance, business, and marketing, as well as exhibiting from sponsors, and a dinner and awards gala. Audra Mulligan, director of Regulatory Affairs and Development, was present at the ceremony and accepted the awards on behalf of W.F. Young.

 

Bella Foodie, Fogbuster Coffee Launch Bella Foodie’s Private Label

SPRINGFIELD — Bella Foodie LLC, in partnership with Fogbusters Coffee, celebrated the launch of its custom private label coffee blend with a special coffee tasting event at Open Square in Holyoke. “Let’s face it, anyone that knows me knows how much I love my coffee! I am so truly happy that Bella Foodie will be having its own custom blend under Fogbuster Coffee,” said Ashley Tresoline, Owner of Bella Foodie LLC. “This partnership has been a dream come true for me and the Pierce brothers are so wonderful to work with. We all understand the value of what we put in our bodies and that it should be only of the highest quality. Their organic, air-roasted coffee is one of a kind and I am so excited for everyone to try it.” Said Sean Pierce, owner of Fogbuster Coffee Works, “we here at Fogbuster Coffee Works are very excited to partner up with Bella Foodie. We have worked closely with Ashley, to develop a special Bella Foodie Blend. One that encompasses both Bella Foodie and Fogbuster Coffee Works philosophies around all foods.”

 

Whittlesey Celebrates Community Day

HARTFORD — More than 90 Whittlesey team members across Connecticut and Western Mass. celebrated Community Day on June 17, an annual day of service representing the firm’s year-round commitment to giving back to local communities. For the past 12 years, hundreds of Whittlesey volunteers have put aside their daily work to partake in various projects ranging from painting classrooms to building homes. This year, the firm focused on efforts related to environmental sustainability. Alongside ReGreen Springfield, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, and Springfield Forestry, team members planted a pollinator garden in Forest Park. Also, teams joined the Bushnell Park Foundation and the United Way of Greater New Haven to plant community gardens, weed, and lay mulch.

 

EforAll Berkshire County Awards Prizes to Accelerator Companies

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County awarded nearly $10,000 in prizes to the Spring 2022 Business Accelerator Cohort at a recent awards ceremony held on Zoom. The celebration and gala began with remarks from state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, who emphasized the robust public-private partnership that supports EforAll’s regional efforts and lauded the efforts of the 12 businesses that completed the program. The class speaker, Rachel Hailey of DEI Outdoors was chosen by her colleagues and shared many of the lessons of the program for future EforAll participants.

The awards were granted as follows:

• Jenny Gitlitz of Berkshire Family Advocates received the Paula Buxbaum Award, established in honor of a member of the Fall 2021 cohort who died in a car crash in October 2021. The award is granted to an individual making a career pivot and incorporating a social mission into their business;

• $1,000 to Rachel Hailey for DEI Outdoors;

• $2,300 to Deirdre Horan (Great Barrington) of Dri Ocean Products;

• $2,500 to Jackye Stoddard (Hudson, NY) for Hierba Buena Foods; and

• $3,500 to Elizabeth Heller (Pittsfield) for The Kids Super Journal.

The virtual event was also simulcast on Pittsfield Community Television. The recording is available to view here: https://youtu.be/yTeFMsVcB-4

EforAll’s next accelerator class will begin in September; applications are due at www.eforall.org before August 25.

 

Pare Corporation Opens Facility in Holyoke

HOLYOKE — Pare Corporation, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, recently staged a well-attended grand opening for its facility in Holyoke, its third office in the region. “The Pioneer Valley is very community-focused and I appreciate the warm welcome the leaders of the Holyoke community have given us,” said Pare Vice President David Loring. “Because Holyoke is a hub point to the region, it is a perfect location for our new office. We look forward to meeting additional members of the community now that the office is open.” As part of the ceremony, a proclamation was presented by the office of Senator John Velis, who grew up in Holyoke and maintains strong ties to the region. Established in 1970, Pare Corporation has more than 130 staff serving the eastern United States. In addition to Holyoke, Pare has offices in Rhode Island and Foxboro, Mass. Pare has experience designing public and private facilities and the infrastructure that supports them. Clients and markets include state transportation departments, water and wastewater authorities, K-12 and higher education facilities, biotechnology and life science companies, and dams and marine facilities ranging to a wide variety of municipal, industrial, institutional, and commercial developments.

Agenda

Labor and Employment Law Briefing

June 29: Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor and employment law firm serving employers in the greater Springfield and Worcester areas, will stage a breakfast briefing on June 29 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, One Monarch Place, Springfield. Attorneys John Gannon and Meaghan Murphy will discuss important decisions from the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court involving payment of wages and a new type of employment claim related to personnel files. They will also talk about several significant labor and employment law cases including:

• Cases that address mandatory vaccination and other COVID-related issues;

• Amazon and Starbucks unionization cases; and

• A few (not-so) fun cases that involve strange and unusual discrimination claims

“Due to the pandemic, it’s been two years since we last held one of our live breakfast briefings,” said Gannon, a partner at Skoler Abbott. “We are happy to be able to return to our regular format for this popular event designed to help business owners, managers and human resources professionals stay up-to-date with employment and labor law mandates.” The cost for the briefing is $35 per person, which includes a continental breakfast and parking. For more information or to register, email [email protected] with the attendee’s name and company, or register online at bit.ly/SAPJuneBreakfastBriefing.

 

Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour

Ongoing: Starting this past Juneteenth weekend, a new walking tour of local historic homes and museums will showcase the unique history and contributions of generations of Black families in Amherst that ranged from music to manufacturing.

Ancestral Bridges, a local nonprofit organization, collaborated with the Amherst Historical Society & Museum, local organizations, and the descendants of local Black families to produce the Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour, a 1.5-mile story-filled tour that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the day-to-day experiences of Black Amherst residents from 200 years ago to more modern times. “There is so much important Black history in Amherst that has been hidden from view for too many years,” said Anika Lopes, founder of Ancestral Bridges. “With this walking tour, we are pulling back the curtain, highlighting the way that my family and other Black and indigenous historic residents of Amherst lived and worked, what they hoped and fought for, so that Black youth and others can understand this part of our history and use it to grow.” The Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour is the first descendant-led and curated walking tour of its kind in the area. A family-friendly event on June 18 will serve as a kick-off of the walking tour and encourage local residents and visitors to explore exhibits featuring historic photographs, artifacts, and millinery that bring to life the essence of Black neighborhoods in Amherst. The tour begins at the historic West Cemetery to honor the lives and contributions of the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the famed 5th Cavalry, the soldiers who alerted Texas residents that the Civil War and slavery had ended. This event is the origin of the holiday celebrated as Juneteenth. Additional tour stops include special exhibits at the Amherst History Museum with artwork and images from the mid-18th century and on; The Emily Dickinson Museum, where stories of Charles Thompson and other Black residents familiar with the Dickinson Family are featured; Hope Church, the first Black church in Amherst; and Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church. The event to be emceed by descendant William Harris, Jr., president and CEO of Space Center Houston. Neighborhoods featured on the tour include the Westside District (Hazel Avenue, Baker Street, Snell Street, Northampton Road), which was designated a National Historic District in 2000 thanks to the efforts of Dudley J. Bridges, Sr.; and the neighborhood of McCellan, Beston, and Paige Streets. Also featured on the walking tour will be a special art installation by local artist Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker that will highlight the Tote2Vote campaign, launched recently to raise awareness of voter suppression. Learn more at ancestral-bridges.org.

 

Art with Heart

July 20: Community members are invited to attend a free art exhibit and reception for the debut of Art with Heart, a collaboration between local grieving youth and caregivers and area artists. The exhibit will run the month of July with the reception on July 20 at 6 p.m. at the BOMBYX Center for Arts and Equity. Art with Heart, the vision of Shelly Bathe Lenn, program coordinator at The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens, paired local grieving youth and caregivers with artists to create art as an expression of grief. Children ages 5 to 17 participated in workshops that were held in May. Artists Barbara Neulinger, Christine Southworth, Frankie Borrero, and Omarthan Clarke each worked with one of four small groups of grieving youth and caregivers. In each of the groups, the participants learned the artist’s medium and made an art piece. The art piece that was created was designed to help participants express their feelings and/or remember those in their life who have died. The artwork will be on display throughout the Pioneer Valley each month through June 2023 and a culminating event will be timed with the 25th anniversary of The Garden in 2023. To learn more about the Art with Heart program, contact Shelly Bathe Lenn at (413) 727-5749.

Company Notebook

HNE, Peoplesbank Donate $20,000 to Gardening the Community

SPRINGFIELD — PeoplesBank and Health New England have partnered to donate $20,000 to Gardening the Community (GTC) of Springfield. The money will support the non-profit’s urban garden, farm store, youth leadership program, and other programs. The companies’ collaborative donation came about as representatives from each were discussing needs in the Springfield community and the non-profit organizations each supports. Both support GTC and, knowing that more than 15% percent of children in Hampden County are food insecure, the two companies agreed to help. “We believe that this donation from two of our most valued corporate partners is an investment in our organization, economically and spiritually. It is especially appreciated during this time of rising food costs, as we work to bring forth a just food system that works for all,” said Liz O’Gilvie of GTC. “We will use the funds to support our efforts to grow food that’s affordable while we help our young people to understand the inequities in our food. system.” Said Matthew Bannister, senior vice president of marketing and corporate responsibility for PeoplesBank, “PeoplesBank and Health New England are like-minded in our belief that companies have a responsibility to improve the communities in which they do business. In working with Health New England as our health plan, we found that we both supported several of the same area non-profits, including Gardening the Community. We decided to demonstrate our partnership with this combined donation.” Keith Ledoux, vice president Commercial Line of Business and Business Development for Health New England, agreed. “Both Health New England and PeoplesBank know that our companies are part of a larger ecosystem – our community – and when it thrives, we thrive. Together, our support of Gardening the Community will not only fight hunger and promote good health but will bring opportunity to the Mason Square neighborhood.” Gardening the Community (GTC) grows organic food on formerly empty lots increasing access to healthy food in food-insecure areas. They emphasize youth leadership development, racial justice, and intergenerational relationship building in all their work. GTC serves Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood, a low income, predominantly Black and Latinx community as well as residents from across the city.

 

Florence Bank Donates $5,000 to Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield

Florence Bank has donated $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield to help bolster the nonprofit’s 2022 Change a Child’s Future campaign. The club serves members ranging in age from 2.9 months to 18 years. This year’s $50,000 campaign goal will raise funds for financial aid to families in need and allow the club to enhance programming for before- and after-school programs, expand the Little Futures Preschool, purchase art and S.T.E.M. materials, and offer a variety of sports clinics. To learn more visit www.wsbgclub.org. “Florence Bank is committed to ensuring our local youth have the opportunity to become productive, caring, responsible citizens,” said Michael Moriarty, Florence Bank senior vice president, commercial team leader and chairman of the Boys & Girls Club. “The funds we provide to the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club help support a variety of programs as well as families in need of financial assistance.” Sarah G. Calabrese, the club’s resource development director, said, “Florence Bank’s support of our mission will help to enable all youth to reach their full potential. We are proud to call Florence Bank a partner in supporting us so that we can ensure all children and teens have the opportunity for a great future.”

 

Big Y Implements Pay Increases

SPRINGFIELD — Big Y Foods Inc. is investing in its store teams in order to show appreciation for their hard work, and customer service. This multi-million dollar investment will increase starting pay rates for all clerks, customer service, fresh food and center store specialists, and assistant department managers as of June 26. Almost three fourths of the company’s retail workforce will receive a pay increase which will assist them with the rising cost of living. These hourly store operations teams work in the Big Y Markets, Table & Vine, and Big Y Express Gas and Convenience Stores. Once implemented, all retail Big Y employees will be paid above minimum wage in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. Members of upper management are not included in this increase. “We are proud to be investing in our store teams who have been on the front lines these past two years to support our customers and our community,” said Charles L. D’Amour, Big Y president and CEO. “We know that household budgets are being squeezed by inflation- we hope that by boosting their hourly rates, we will help them to weather these tough times as we recognize and appreciate their efforts and their loyalty.”

 

TRE Olive Wins Gold at Competition

EAST LONGMEADOW — TRE Olive, located in East Longmeadow, is a Gold Award winner for a second time at this year’s 2022 New York International Olive Oil Competition. TRE Olive won the Gold Award for its TRE Olive Select. In 2020 TRE Olive won a gold and silver award for both its TRE Select & Campo Dieci brands. “It’s very humbling and rewarding to receive such a prestigious award from some of the top olive oil experts in the world. Our team in Italy and here in the U.S. are committed to producing a premium extra virgin olive oil for our customers and this validates all the hard work and commitment it takes.” said Joe Maruca, co-owner of TRE Olive. In addition to its award-winning extra virgin olive oil, TRE Olive also offers corporate gifts and a tree-adoption program. When an olive tree is adopted, the recipient will receive an adoption certificate, a gift box, a photo of their tree, a welcome brochure, and three tins of olive oil to get started. The tree is also tagged with the adoptee’s name for one year. TRE Olive has been featured on the TODAY Show, as well as in the Real Simple and Eating Well magazines as top gifts for the foodies in your life.

 

GCAi/New England Corporate Video Helps Nativity School Fund Free Tuition

Darcy Young and Mary Cate Mannion, producers for New England Corporate Video (NECV), recently completed a pro bono video series for the Nativity School of Worcester. The feature video was shown at a fundraising event that raised a record-setting $340,000 which will ensure that the school can continue to provide a tuition-free education. The Nativity School is an accredited, independent, Jesuit middle school that provides an education to underserved boys of all faiths. Young and Mannion are two of the most experienced female video producers in New England and experts in brand journalism and corporate video production. Young is an award-winning video producer and Mannion is a former award-winning news anchor and reporter. Their pro bono video work includes videos for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Willie Ross School for the Deaf, where Mary Cate serves on the board of directors, The Children’s Study Home, where Darcy serves on the executive board, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Services. ECV is a recently launched division of Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi), which was co-founded by Young and Mannion. The NECV Nativity School video can be viewed at https://bit.ly/nativityvideo22.

 

Founders of Park Square Realty Celebrate 35th Anniversary

Carolyn Coughlen and Kate Cheever, two of the three founders of Park Square Realty are celebrating 35 years with the company. The two were recognized at the recent Park Square Realty Awards and Recognition Event held at Tucker’s Restaurant in Southwick. They are still actively practicing real estate. Natives of Westfield, the founding brokers desired to use their real estate experience to open what many called a “boutique” real estate firm in 1987, to serve the area with excellent service to clients and a local connection. Over the years Park Square Realty has stayed true to the vision that the founders had and has grown with 56 agents and two offices in Westfield and West Springfield.

 

United Way of Pioneer Valley Partners with Stop & Shop for Fundraiser

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley is partnering with local Stop & Shop stores to fight food insecurity by hosting a fundraiser the entire month of June in support of the Chicopee Community Cupboard (CCC). Stop & Shop shoppers can purchase a Bloomin’ for Good Bouquet at the local Stop & Shop. From the purchase price of each bouquet, $1 will go directly to the Chicopee Community Cupboard, a United Way owned and operated food pantry located at 32 Center Street in Chicopee. The Chicopee Community Cupboard opened in the spring of 2021 to help create food security for the residents of Chicopee and all those in need throughout Western Mass. Extensive community research into gaps of services in basic needs was done prior to its establishment to support impoverished persons. “We cannot thank Stop & Shop of Chicopee enough for their generous time and support of our Chicopee Community Cupboard,” said Paul Mina, president and CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley. “We service over 300 families in the City of Chicopee alone and these donations will greatly help combat the need.” Anyone facing food insecurity can visit the Chicopee Community Cupboard between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays or 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Currently clients are requested to fill out an application and schedule a monthly appointment, but all those in need will be served.

 

Whittlesey Celebrates Community Day

HARTFORD — More than 90 Whittlesey team members across Connecticut and Western Mass. celebrated Community Day on June 17, an annual day of service representing the firm’s year-round commitment to giving back to local communities. For the past 12 years, hundreds of Whittlesey volunteers have put aside their daily work to partake in various projects ranging from painting classrooms to building homes.

This year, the firm focused on efforts related to environmental sustainability. Alongside ReGreen Springfield, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, and Springfield Forestry, team members planted a pollinator garden in Forest Park. Also, teams joined the Bushnell Park Foundation and the United Way of Greater New Haven to plant community gardens, weed, and lay mulch.

“As community members for more than 60 years, we care deeply about our neighbors and the environment where we live and work,” said Drew Andrews, CEO and managing partner at Whittlesey. “Our commitment to service is rooted deeply in the fabric of our firm, which is why we sponsor several community-driven events throughout the year. Working with many incredible nonprofit organizations across the region for the past several decades has been a privilege. I am proud of the impact our team has continued to make by working collectively to give back.”

 

Company Notebook

Monson Savings Bank Elects New Corporators

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank announced the election of five new corporators. At the bank’s recent annual meeting, it was announced that Nikki Burnett, Cesar Ruiz, John Zienowicz, Ciara Speller, and Christian D’Amour had been elected by existing corporators. Burnett is the executive director of Educare Springfield. She also sits on national committees for the Educare Learning Network, such as the Educare Policy Work Group, the Collaborative Fundraising Advisory Board, and the Red Nose Day Advisory Board. Additionally, she is a trustee for the Community Foundation of Western Mass., and serves on the Distribution Committee as co‐chair; the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee; and the Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Baystate Community Benefits Advisory Council. Ruiz is the founder, president and CEO of Golden Years Home Services. He was the first Hispanic popularly elected official in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving on the Springfield School Committee from 1980-1986. Prior to founding Golden Years, he worked in banking at Region’s Bank. He was recently recognized as one of business’s most influential Latinos by Hispanic Executive magazine. Zienowicz is the executive director of the Ware Council on Aging. Furthermore, he sits on the board of directors for the Quaboag Hills Community Coalition, the Ware Cable Access Television, and the Advisory Board for BHN Carson Center. He is a member of the Bay State Eastern Region Community Benefits Advisory Board, the Quaboag Region Coordinating Council, and the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance. Speller is a weeknight news anchor for Channel 22 WWLP. She serves as a board member for local nonprofit I Found Light Against All Odds, is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, volunteers for the Miss Western Massachusetts Scholarship Assoc., and is a panelist for Girls Inc. of the Valley. Additionally, she was the recipient of the “Leadership in Broadcasting Award” from Bay Path University in 2019 and a 2021 Boston/New England Regional Emmy Winner. D’Amour is the director of E-Commerce at Big Y World Class Market and a third-generation member of Big Y Foods’ founding D’Amour family. Prior to working at Big Y, he worked at Delta Dental of Rhode Island as a sales and marketing representative. Additionally, he holds a B.A. from Saint Michael College.

 

HNE Offers $100,000 in Grants for DEIB in Maternal/Infant Health

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England is offering $100,000 in grants for non-profit organizations that address inequities to improve maternal and infant health. The company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) grants will award up to $10,000 per organization. The DEIB grants will fund non-profits whose programs address health equity and focus on engaging at least one social determinant of health (SDOH). SDOHs are conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that affect health, quality of life, and life expectancy. These may include socioeconomic status, food insecurity, education, access to health care, safe housing, discrimination, violence, and trauma, etc. Registered 501(c)(3) non-profits focused on communities in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties are eligible. Eligible organizations can find out more and apply for the grant here. Submissions are due by midnight on May 30.

Mercy Medical Center Earns Fourth Consecutive ‘A’ Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center has received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for spring 2022. This national distinction recognizes Mercy Medical Center’s achievements in protecting patients from preventable harm and error in the hospital. This latest recognition marks Mercy’s fourth consecutive “A” safety grade. The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on over thirty national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

 

Lee Bank Foundation Distributes $83,750 in First Grant Funding Round of 2022

LEE — Lee Bank Foundation has awarded $83,750 to 12 Berkshire area organizations and an additional grant to Pittsfield Public Schools in its first-round of 2022 community funding. Recipients were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 to support their local programming. Included in the awards are a series of Arts Access Grants for arts and culture organizations to expand access to programming for underserved audiences.

The following organizations received funding:

• Berkshire Center for Justice;
• Berkshire Community Diaper Project;
• Berkshire Concert Choir;
• Berkshire County Arc;
• Berkshire Historical Society;
• Berkshire Family YMCA;
• Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity;
• Community Access to the Arts;
• Great Barrington Public Theater;
• Greenagers;
• Roots Rising; and
• The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Arts Access Grants of $1,000 each were awarded to Berkshire Concert Choir, Berkshire Historical Society, and Great Barrington Public Theater. Additionally, Lee Bank Foundation announced a $16,000 grant to the Pittsfield Public Schools — $1,000 for each school serving children and adults in Pittsfield, to coincide with the groundbreaking of the new Lee Bank branch on South Street. The deadline for the next round of 2022 Foundation funding is June 1. The application and more information can be found on the Community Impact section of Lee Bank’s website (https://www.leebank.com/community-impact/donations-sponsorships.html). To be considered for grant awards, applicants must be a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Foundation is focused on funding programs that work to bridge income and opportunity gaps in our region. Funding requests should reflect one or more of Lee Bank Foundation’s primary focus areas: education and literacy; food security and nutrition; economic growth and development; health and human services; mentorship, internship and “school to work” initiatives; and arts and culture

 

Marriott Brand Restored on Downtown Springfield Hotel

SPRINGFIELD — The Marriott brand has been restored to a downtown Springfield hotel in preparation for a planned September opening. The Marriott ‘M’ logo was attached to the Tower Square Hotel recently, a milestone in a nearly four-year-long effort to restore a brand name that was lost in 2017. Extensive renovations of the property, projected to cost $40 million, are ongoing, with a grand reopening planned for this fall. The new Marriott will have 266 rooms.

 

North Brookfield Savings Named Among ‘Top Extraordinary Banks’

NORTH BROOKFIELD — North Brookfield Savings Bank, was recently named among the top extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking. This award comes on the heels of the Community Choice Central Mass. Best Bank Award it received for 2021. North Brookfield Savings Bank was recognized with the institute’s Banky Award for its commitment to strong community banking. This recognition is given to top community banks across the country to help people find the best banks in their communities.

 

Massage Clinic to Open at Asnuntuck Community College

ENFIELD, Conn. — The public is invited to make a reservation for a massage through Asnuntuck Community College’s massage clinic. Massages can provide physical and mental benefits. Massage can loosen tight muscles, lower blood pressure, and assist in recovery from injuries and illness. Students enrolled in ACC’s Massage Therapy program provide the massages for the clinic. The appointments begin May 23, and run until August 16 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Appointment times are 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Rates are $30 for 50 minutes, and $60 for 100 minutes. Gift certificates are available. Tipping is not allowed by state law. Reservations are required. Visit https://asnuntuck.edu/massage/ to learn more about the clinic.

 

Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care Named to ‘Elite List’

LONGMEADOW — JGS Lifecare, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving seniors and their families in Western Mass. for more than 110 years, announced that Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care, one of its subsidiary organizations, has made the 2022 Hospice Honors Elite list. Hospice Honors is a prestigious annual national program from HEALTHCAREfirst that recognized hospices that continuously provide the highest level of quality care as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. HEALTHCAREfirst is a leading provider of billing and coding services, CAHPS surveys, and advanced analytics. It acknowledges the highest performing agencies by analyzing the performance of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) hospice survey satisfaction measures. Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2020 through September 2021. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all hospices contained in the HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS database. Hospice Honors recipients include those hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst national performance score on 20 of the 24 evaluated questions. HEALTHCAREfirst holds a special recognition, Hospice Honors Elite, to honor hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on all 24 of the evaluated questions.

 

‘Together HCC’ Raises $192,000 for Scholarships, Student Aid

HOLYOKE — Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Holyoke Community College led a historic day of giving last month, raising more than $192,000 for student support programs during its one-day ‘Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives’ campaign. Organizers had set a goal of 300 donors for the 24-hour, April 26, fund drive. The final tally was 418, a 41% increase from 2021. Auto dealer Gary Rome, an HCC Foundation board member, led the way with a $5,000 challenge when the campaign met its goals of securing 300 donors. Another alumni donor was Dylan Pilon, ’12, of Springfield, a former scholarship recipient who graduated from HCC debt free, which allowed him to start his own company, Cloud 9 Marketing in East Longmeadow. In addition to Rome and Pilon, Peg, ’58, and Gary Wendlandt, Jim Izatt, ’59, trustee Robert Gilbert, Foundation board member Carl Eger, ’56, and Shirley Eger, and HCC President Christina Royal all posed matching and challenge gifts for the campaign.

 

‘Parklets’ Come to Downtown Amherst

AMHERST — The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) has received an $80,750 grant from the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) for outdoor seating accommodations on Amity Street and South Pleasant Street that have been dubbed ‘parklets.’

The grant is funded through the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and is being administered through the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council. It will cover the materials, labor, and insurance costs.

Each parklet will be located in front of a designated food-and-drink establishment for that establishment’s use, and the sidewalk next to each parklet location will be maintained as a pedestrian pathway. These ‘parklets’ will also be accessible to those with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design.

The Amherst BID is managing this project with support from the Amherst Planning Department staff. The parklets are being constructed by Keiter Corporation, a Florence-based construction company. Additionally, Evan Jones from Cowls Building Supply, located in Amherst, worked with the BID to procure the materials at a reduced cost.

“The main goal of this project is to help activate the downtown streetscape by providing extended sidewalks to serve as outdoor dining spaces, to attract residents and visitors and support local businesses. As the town explores urban design standards and streetscape designs for the downtown, this pilot project is an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to learn from and enjoy,” said Maureen Pollock, Amherst planner.

The parklets are expected to be fully constructed by Saturday.

Company Notebook

PeoplesBank Announces New Banking Center in South Windsor, Conn.

Fresh off its successful launch in the center of West Hartford and the renovation of its Suffield Banking Center, PeoplesBank has announced that it will add to its Connecticut footprint by building a new 2,000-square-foot banking center at 50 Cedar Ave. in South Windsor. The banking center is expected to be the anchor for other adjacent development that may include a restaurant, coffee and retail shops, and a medical office building.Designed by Tecton Architects of Hartford, the banking center will feature many of the innovative technologies that PeoplesBank has rolled out at its other new and renovated locations, including two VideoBankerITMs and two EV charging stations. The new banking center will also utilize the bank’s Universal Banker approach, which allows its associates to provide a wide range of banking services to customers. The new South Windsor Banking Center is expected to be open in early December, 2022.

 

Florence Bank to Celebrate 20th Annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program

FLORENCE — For 20 years, Florence Bank has awarded grants of up to $5,000 each to dozens of nonprofits chosen by its customers, and at its annual gathering this year, it will once again offer up $100,000 to organizations that support young and old in the community. At its 20th Annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants gala, to be staged May 19 at 5 p.m. at Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park, the bank will offer awards to 45 nonprofits and celebrate a total of $1.4 million in community giving through this one channel. Organizations like Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield and the Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Holyoke will receive awards for the first time this year thanks to customer voting. In addition to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield, the Therapeutic Equestrian Center and Dakin, the following organizations received enough votes to qualify for a grant and will receive an award at the celebration: Amherst Neighbors, Amherst Survival Center, Belchertown Animal Relief Committee Inc. (BARC), Belchertown K-9, Cancer Connection, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Hospital VNA & Hospice, Easthampton Community Center, Easthampton Elementary Schools PTO, Edward Hopkins Educational Foundation, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Friends of Forbes Library, Friends of Lilly Library, Friends of M.N. Spear Memorial Library, Friends of Northampton Legion Baseball, Friends of the Williamsburg Library, Goshen Firefighters Assoc., Grow Food Northampton, Granby Senior Center, Habitat for Humanity Pioneer Valley, Historic Northampton, Hitchcock Center for the Environment, It Takes a Village, J.F.K. Middle School, Kestrel Land Trust, Leeds Elementary School PTO, Ludlow Boys & Girls Club, Manna Community Kitchen, Northampton Community Music Center, Northampton High School PTO, Northampton Neighbors, Northampton Survival Center, Our Lady of the Hills Parish, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, Revitalize CDC, Riverside Industries, R.K. Finn Ryan Road School, Safe Passage, Smith Vocational High School PTO, The Parish Cupboard, Whole Children, and Williamsburg Firefighters Association.

 

Greater Springfield CVB Names 2022 Howdy Award Finalists

The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) has announced 50 Finalists for the upcoming 2022 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence. The Howdy Awards, as they are also known, celebrate workers in visitor-facing roles across Western Mass who deliver outstanding guest service, create loyal customers for their businesses and help make a positive impact upon the region’s hospitality economy.The 2022 Howdy Awards will be celebrated on May 16 at 6 p.m. at the MassMutual Center, and will also include the presentation of the Spotlight Award to Nate Costa and the Springfield Thunderbirds ownership group for keeping professional hockey in Western Mass.

The 50 finalists are:

Accommodations
FeliciaFernandez, front desk clerk, Hampton Inn and Suites, Hadley;
AustinGinman, front desk agent, MGM Hotel, Springfield;
GenesisRamos, front desk clerk, Residence Inn, Chicopee; and
FeliciaLaurin, housekeeping supervisor, The Inn on Boltwood,Amherst.

Attractions
David Dunston, show staff, Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield;
Laura Litterer, owner,Full of Grace Farm, Hadley;
Steve Ferraro, director of Operations, Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield;
Sabrina Brizzolari, director of Event Services, Mass Mutual Center, Springfield;
Gary Laprade, tour host,Sports Travel and Tours, Hatfield;
Pearl Wesley, ranger, Springfield Armory, Springfield;and
Sharon Ferrara, Welcome Center manager,Springfield Museums, Springfield.

Banquets
Shanique Fair, catering sales manager,MGM Springfield;
Will Diaz, event planner, Log Cabin, Holyoke; and
Brenda Lee Glanville, director of Sales & Marketing, Summit View Banquet House, Holyoke.

Beverage
Terry Ryan, bartender, Collins Tavern, West Springfield;
Rob Dullea, bar manager,Fitzwilly’s, Northampton;
Jessica Santinello, bartender, Maple Leaf, Westfield;
Matthew Jerzyk, bartender,Max’s Tavern, Springfield; and
Amanda Reed, bartender,the Ranch Pub House, Southwick

Food Casual
June Leduc, general manager, Delaney’s Market, Longmeadow;
Silvana Cardaropoli, customer service, Palazzo’s, Springfield;
Humberto Caro, manager, Starbuck’s, Monarch Place, Springfield; and
Erica Rosado, breakfast attendant, Tru by Hilton, Chicopee.

Food Tableside
Kelsi Donohue, server, Bnapoli Italian, West Springfield;
Donna Nardi, server,Cal’s Restaurant, West Springfield;
Matthew Canata, counter clerk,EB’s, Agawam;
Darlene Robinson, server,Gregory’s Pizza, Wilbraham;
Bernadette Beaudry, server,Johnny’s Roadside Diner, Hadley;
Benny Beans, server,Lattitude, West Springfield;
Amy Silvestri,general manager,UNO’s Pizzeria & Grill,Springfield; and
Michael Moriarty, server,Villa Napoletana, East Longmeadow.

Public Service
Serena Curley, concierge,Baystate Medical Center, Springfield;
Latrina Haynie, phlebotomist, Baystate Lab, Springfield;
January Russell, insurance agent,Bluestone Insurance/Horace Mann, Agawam;
Heather Wyman, office manager,Cordes Orthodontics, Westfield;
Paul Barden, Meals on Wheels,Greater Springfield Senior Services, Springfield;
Tricia Zoly, nurse, Holyoke Council on Aging, Holyoke; and
Harold Anderson, program director, Valley Eye Radio, Springfield.

Retail
Yates Greenhalgh, cashier, Big Y, Wilbraham;
Kerri O’Connor, manager,Athleta, Longmeadow;
Patrick Hamel, service advisor, Gary Rome Hyundai, Holyoke;
Tiarra Henderson, framing specialist, Michael’s, West Springfield;
Maria Lepage, sales and leasing consultant,Gary Rome Hyundai, Holyoke;
Sabrina Pretti, customer service,Insa Inc., Easthampton;
Carolyn Owens, cashier,Walgreen’s, Springfield;
Janet Graves, retail sales associate, Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield;and
Stephen Ross, sales associate, Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield

Transportation
Jose Guzman, valet parker,Baystate Medical Center, Springfield;
Barbara Eckert, booth attendant, Civic Center Garage, Springfield; and
Tom McLeer, PVTA bus driver,PVTA, Springfield

The Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence are sponsored by Eastern States Exposition, Aladco Linen Services, Mass. Convention Center Authority, Freedom Credit Union, Performance Foodservice, People’s United Bank, MGM Springfield, MassMutual Center, Baystate Health, Yankee Candle Village, Modelo Especial, The Republican, MassLive, WWLP TV-22 and IHeart Media.

The GSCVB, an affiliate of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass, is a private non-profit destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting Western Mass for meetings and conventions, group tours, sports and leisure travel.

 

Whalley Computer Associates Named One of The 2022 Tech Elite 250

SOUTHWICK — Whalley Computer Associates (WCA) has again been named to the Tech Elite 250 list comprised of solution providers in the U.S. and Canada that have made the investments necessary to earn the highest level of certifications from the largest and most prestigious manufacturers of technology products and services. CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, named WCA to the Tech Elite 250 in 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021 as well. WCA’s engineering team has earned about 125 certifications with nearly 30 different manufacturers by numerous dedicated engineers. Founded in 1979, WCA has been providing IT solutions and services to customers throughout New England and upstate New York for 43 years.

 

UMass Amherst Dining to Measure Carbon Footprint for Individual Dishes

AMHERST — Bolstering UMass Amherst’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2032, UMass Amherst Dining Services has made the commitment to measure the carbon impact of their menu. In doing so they will be the first college or university dining program in the country to include carbon footprint for individual dishes.

The initiative will help students reduce their carbon footprint with their everyday food choices by including a carbon rating on the menu identifiers. In a fall survey of over 800 people, 88% of students indicated the climate crisis informs their decisions at least some of the time. In addition, 75% indicated they believe their food choices impact the environment and 76% said reducing their carbon footprint is important to them. Launching during Earth Week, the first phase of this project will feature an A-E carbon rating for all menu items at Hampshire Dining Commons on the menu identifiers, online and on the UMass Dining App. Determining the carbon footprint of a dish is a multi-faceted process that incorporates things like water consumption as well as storage and transport. To create a clear,concise way to communicate thesevalues fortheir customers, UMass Dining is working withMy Emissions, a leading provider of food carbon labelling. My Emissions’ standardized process makes it easy to calculate the carbon footprint from a recipe and demonstrates the impact of a customer’s food choices using a rating scale.Factoring in all the contributing elements, My Emissions has developed an A-E rating scale based on the carbon intensity (“A” signals Low impact and “E” signals Very High).

 

Big Y Donates $100,000 to Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Relief

SPRINGFIELD — Big Y World Class Markets added to the collected donations from customers and employees from March 17 to March 30 through their traditional registers, online and myExpress check out for Ukraine Humanitarian Relief. Community and employee donations along with additional support from Big Y resulted in a donation of $100,000, which will be donated to the global Red Cross network response to provide humanitarian relief to people affected by the crisis in Ukraine. As the conflict continues, the Red Cross continues to help families impacted by this devastating conflict. International Red Cross teams are currently on the ground in the region distributing food, delivering medicine and medical supplies, assisting with evacuations, and providing shelter.

 

JGS Lifecare Welcomes Northeast Rehab Associates

LONGMEADOW — JGS Lifecare, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving seniors and their families in Western Mass. for more than 110 years, announced the addition of Northeast Rehab Associates Inc. to services offered at its Longmeadow campus. Northeast Rehab, a specialized sub-acute rehab service operated by Registered Physical Therapist Cherie Stack for the past 25 years, most of those years spent in Agawam, will operate out of The Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, located at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home at 770 Converse Street in Longmeadow. “JGS Lifecare, an affiliate of Legacy Lifecare since 2018, is always seeking ways to enhance the services we offer to our residents, families and the local community,” said Mary-Anne Schelb, director of Business Development for Legacy Lifecare’s Western Mass. market. “We have a full continuum of eldercare services located on 23 acres on Converse Street that the community knows well and has confidence in. The addition of Northeast Rehab to our family of services is a mutually enhancing partnership that will benefit not only our residents, but their families as well as our local community.” Northeast Rehab has specialized in orthopedic rehab for more than two decades. Over the past five years, care has expanded to include cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Stack’s longtime staff will come with her, offering continuity of care and a seamless recovery for all of their patients. “We’re very excited to welcome Northeast Rehab Associates Inc. to our campus of care,” said Rob Whitten, LHNA, administrator of the Leavitt Family Jewish Home at JGS Lifecare. “It was clear from the start that we share a similar commitment to providing the highest quality of rehab services, and that our environment and how we deliver care is a great match.

Company Notebook

State Awards $30 Million to STCC to Relocate Health Programs

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College has received $30 million in state funding to move healthcare programs out of an aging building on campus that has outlived its usefulness. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the award on Wednesday. College officials in December asked the state for the maximum amount of $30 million to vacate Building 20, which houses 18 degree and certificate allied health programs as well as the acclaimedSIMS Medical Center. STCC has secured $11.5 million from other sources for the $41.5 million project. The award announced by the governor comes from the state Division of Capital Management and Maintenance (DCAMM). Constructed in 1941, Building 20 is past its useful life and has a history of expensive emergency repairs. The healthcare programs in the School of Health and Patient Simulation educate more than 700 students per semester and employ more than 120 faculty and staff. The STCC Board of Trustees committed $6 million from the college’s budget to the project. Trustees Chair Marikate Murren said, “We’re thrilled and grateful to Gov. Baker and DCAMM for their support to make this move possible. The relocation of the programs in the School of Health and Patient Simulation will allow STCC to continue to prepare students for healthcare careers. The investment in this project represents an investment in the City of Springfield and the region. To best summarize the outlook for the College, Cook said, “I am delighted for our students and faculty as this ensures that STCC stays on the leading edge of healthcare education; the future of STCC is bright.”

 

Monson Savings Launches 150 Build-a-Bike Campaign

MONSON — The celebratory planning for Monson Savings Bank’s 150thanniversary continues, with the bank pledging to show extra support to nonprofits and have an extra level of community participation throughout the year. A large and very fun part of that support comes in the form of theMonson Savings Bank 150 Build-a-Bike Campaign. For this campaign, MSB will be purchasing more than $20,000 worth of children’s bicycles and helmets from the Family Bicycle Shop in East Longmeadow, with guidance from the shop’s owner Ray Plouffe. To gear up for the campaign, Monson Savings Bank has also teamed up with five local non-profits to identify children who are in need of a bicycle: the YMCA of Greater Springfield; the YWCAof Western Massachusetts; I Found Light Against All Odds; Educare Springfield; and the South End Community Center. Beginning this spring, MSB will be planning events hosted with each nonprofit. The bank’s team members will assemble the bikes, when possible alongside the very children who will be receiving them. Nonprofit employees will be welcomed to join the activity, and representatives from the Family Bicycle Shop will be on site to assist and ensure children are properly fitted with helmets and training wheels. Monson Savings Bank will provide and share a meal for attendees. “When exploring the various ways we could celebrate Monson Savings Bank’s 150thAnniversary, there were so many ideas,” said Dan Moriarty, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank.“We wanted to be sure to do something that would make a difference on many fronts and spread some joy. With the 150 Build-a-Bike campaign, we are able to connect with the vital community nonprofits and their leaders. Our team gets to work together on hands-on projects to further foster our culture of teamwork and community support. Plus, we are able to provide the children with the experience of building and riding a bike, a joy-filled activity, and something they otherwise might not have had the opportunity to experience. I could not think of a better way to commemorate our 150thAnniversary.” To see a full schedule of events for MSB’s 150th anniversary, visit www.monsonsavings.bank/anniversary.

 

Big Y Express Launches New Downtown Format

SPRINGFIELD — Big Y has announced plans to build a new concept Big Y Express Fresh Market at 1500 Main St. as part of Tower Square in Springfield. The new, 10,000-square-foot Big Y Express Fresh Market will be tailored to fit the needs of the city’s downtown community. Currently, there are workers and area residents who are eager to have access to delicious, nutritious and affordable offerings that are not currently available in a convenient way, said Colin D’Amour, senior director of Big Y Express. “Between the UMass classrooms, YMCA daycare, area office workers and downtown residents, many are looking for an option to meet their food needs.” While not a complete supermarket due to its size, this location will have a full assortment of items from each department, he said. The offerings will include prepared meals and sandwiches along with natural and organic products and everyday necessities. In addition, there will be an inhouse sushi chef preparing fresh sushi daily. “We are excited to bring an entirely new concept to downtown Springfield,” said D’Amour. “We know that there has been an appetite for Big Y’s fresh and local foods for many years now. We are confident that customers will enjoy our many offerings. We are working diligently with our contractors to establish a timeline for opening and are excited to be a part of the downtown community.”

 

Rocky’s Ace Hardware Purchases Nine New Stores in Ohio

SPRINGFIELD –Rocky’s Ace Hardware, one of the country’s largest family-owned Ace Hardware dealers, has purchased the nine Ohio-based Handyman Ace Hardware stores, which have been family-owned and operated since 1939. The new Ohio stores are located in Dayton, Fairborn, Xenia, Centerville, New Carlisle, Kettering, Springfield, and Miamisburg. Rocky’s Ace Hardware now has 47 locations in nine states. “It is very exciting for us to be expanding into a new state and continuing the family-owned values and service Handyman customers have come to expect,” said Rocky’s Ace Hardware President Rocco Falcone. “We are also family-owned and share many of the same values as Handyman, including putting the customer first in all business actions.”alcone noted that customers will see the same faces from Handyman at Rocky’s, and former owner David Grimes, who is retiring, will be integral in the transition. Falcone also said customers will benefit from some exciting changes over the next few months including expanded Ace Rewards features, product selection and online capabilities. “We plant roots in each of our neighborhood locations and intend to maintain this community focus in our Ohio stores,” he said. “We’re excited to be a part of the greater Dayton community.”

 

Baystate Health Awards $1 Million in Better Together Grants

SPRINGFIELD —Baystate Healthhas awarded $1 million in Better Together Grants to five community initiatives with partner organizations as part of itsCommunity Benefits Program. “Baystate Health is proud to invest our Determination of Need (DoN) Community Health Initiative (CHI) funding in the communities served by our four hospitals. It is an honor to partner with these very deserving local non-profit organizations over the next three years,” said Annamarie Golden, director, Community Relations for Baystate Health

This year’s recipients, who submitted requests for proposals in January 2022 include: Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation in partnership with the Town of Ware, The Care Center in partnership with Greenfield Technical Community College, Westfield State University in partnership with Springfield Technical Community College, Montague Catholic Social Ministries in partnership with The Brick House Community Resource Center, and the Western Mass. Training Consortium in partnership with the Bridge Program community organizations — The Recover Project, The Salasin Project and The Wildflower Alliance. “Baystate’s Community Benefits Program, in partnership with our hospital Community Benefits Advisory Councils (CBACs) and Grant Review Teams, is making investments through Better Together grants that will have lasting and meaningful impacts on health outcomes, health equity, and social determinants of health throughout the Pioneer Valley,” said Golden. Funding for the Better Together grants is made possible through the Mass. Department of Public Health’s (MDPH) Determination of Need (DoN) requirements related to the replacement of Baystate Medical Center’s Operating Rooms approved in November 2020. Although this project was unique to the hospital, Baystate Health’s goal is to equitably distribute the Community Health Initiative funds for grant making to all four Baystate Health hospitals. This was an intentional step toward health equity, recognizing that Baystate’s community hospitals historically have lower likelihood of accessing DoN CHI funds. The aim of the Better Together grant opportunity is to develop approaches that by targeting the social determinants of health, will improve people’s overall well-being and make our communities healthier places to live in, while complementing the health care system’s current offerings. In addition to funding the grantees, Baystate Health has also contracted with the Public Health Institute of Western Mass. to provide technical assistance and evaluation support to the grantee cohort over the next three years.

 

OneZo Opens in the Holyoke Mall

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Mall has welcomed, OneZo, with its unique house-made boba, to the shopping center. Boba tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink with sweet balls or “pearls,” made from tapioca starch and can be made from milk tea, green tea or fruit tea. Established in Taiwan in 2015, OneZo was the first café in the world to make their own boba in-store.Their goal is to serve the freshest boba drinks and use their creativity to develop new boba flavors. Some of the more popular flavors include Brown Sugar Bubble Latte, Hong Kong Style Milk Tea, Strawberry Slush Milk Tea, Grapefruit Green Tea, and Thai Tea.

OneZo tea can be found in 17 countries and has several locations in Massachusetts including Quincy and Worcester.Holyoke Mall guests can experience freshly made bubble tea in their new location in Café Square.

 

CDK Global Named Presenting Sponsor for Tom Cosenzi Driving for The Cure Golf Tournament

HADLEY — The 14th Annual Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament will take place Sept. 27 at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow, and will be joined by presenting sponsor, CDK Global. The 14th Annual Driving for the Cure Charity Golf supports neuro-oncology research in honor of Tom Cosenzi, a successful businessman and father of four who succumbed to brain cancer in 2009 at 52. Since its inception, this annual golf tournament has raised more than $1.3 million with its partnership with the Jimmy Fund, one of the largest organized golf programs in the U.S. All proceeds support Dr. Patrick Wen and his team of researchers in the Neuro-Oncology Department at Dana Farber Cancer Institute “My brother Tom and I started this charity golf tournament to honor the legacy of our dad,” said TommyCar co-owner, Carla Cosenzi. “His vision was that no other family would experience the pain that he and his family endured. It was Tom’s wish that his family and friends continue to raise money for Neuro Oncology Research so the burden of Cancer can be eliminated for patients and their families. We’re so thankful to CDK Global for their partnership and we are proud to be able to support the world class research that is ongoing at Dana-Farber.” The scramble style tournament features a “Tee off against Cancer” shotgun start. Players will enjoy 18 holes of golf at one of the area’s top private golf courses, lunch, on-course activities, an evening cocktail reception with live entertainment, a gourmet dinner, raffle prizes, and silent and live auctions. For more information on the Tom Cosenzi Driving For The Cure Charity Golf Tournament visit www.TomCosenziDrivingForTheCure.com.

 

Leadership Pioneer Valley Accepting Applications for LEAP Class of 2023

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) is now accepting applications for enrollment in the LEAP class of 2023, a regional leadership-development program. This year’s class is expected to have a fully in-person experience. Applicants are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The LEAP program engages the Pioneer Valley’s most promising emerging leaders through learning, exploration, and connecting. Participants are trained in applied leadership skills by experts. They also explore critical community issues by connecting with local leaders and visiting businesses and local towns across the region. The upcoming program runs from September through May. In its 12th year, more than 350 individuals representing more than 125 companies, organizations, and municipalities have participated. The program has filled a critical need for a leadership program that builds a network of emerging leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the region. Fifty-three percent of alumni have a new leadership role at work, 64% have joined a new board of directors, and 99% made new, meaningful connections. LPV is seeking applicants from all over the Pioneer Valley, including Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties, representing different employment sectors. The program is made for those in nonprofits, businesses, and government who are eager to increase their leadership skills and take action to better the region. Applicants are considered in a competitive application process that prioritizes diversity by employment sector, geography, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Emerging leaders, mid-career professionals with leadership potential, and those looking to better the Pioneer Valley should consider applying. The deadline for LPV class of 2023 applications is July 1. Applications and further information can be found at www.leadershippv.org.

 

Veritas Prep Charter School Establishes Teacher Diversification Fellowship Fund

SPRINGFIELD — Veritas Prep Charter School(VPCS) has been awarded $53,883from theMass. Teacher Diversification Pilot Program, a state-funded grant program that provides approximately $2 million in competitive funding to support local school and district efforts to strengthen and diversify existing teacher recruitment and retention programs. VPCS is using this grant to establish the Veritas Prep Teacher Diversification Fellowship Fund to help educators and aspiring educators who identify as people of color enter or remain in education by removing common financial barriers. Candidates can apply for access to funding for education, MTEL test fees, relocation assistance and tuition and loan reimbursement. New and current associate teachers and lead teachers are eligible to apply, and Teach Western Mass (TWM) residents can also apply for TWM tuition coverage. Recipients must commit to working at Veritas Prep middle or high school for three years. All recipients will receive access to free MTEL test preparation, if applicable. Launched in April 2019, the Massachusetts Teacher Diversification Pilot Program provides tuition assistance to support enrollment into an approved-educator preparation program and MTEL preparation and examination. Schools and districts may also use grant funds to enhance teacher recruitment and retention efforts. Educators and aspiring educators who identify as people of color can learn more about the Veritas Teacher Diversification Fellowship Fund and apply for support here: veritasprepma.org/teacher-diversification-fund/.

 

Former Landsdowne Dormitories Renovated into Apartments

WESTFIELD — Shawna Gutowski and Maritza Zavala, of the Slope to Shore Team of William Raveis Real Estate, announced that the former Landsdowne Dorms in Westfield have been fully renovated and are officially on the market for lease under the name Landsdowne Place. “We’re excited to make these beautifully-renovated apartments available in downtown Westfield, where residents can shop, experience downtown events, and enjoy quick access to the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail right outside their door,” said Project Manager Anthony Leroux. The newly renovated apartments are a mixture of one bedroom/one bath and two bedroom/two bath units, which were formerly used as housing for Westfield State College students. The complex also features gym and laundry facilities on-site, as well as access to the bike trail. Apartment leases start at $1,400 per month and will require first, last, security, and credit check.

Agenda

Free Community Shred Day

April 16: Monson Savings Bank’s Monson branch will host a free Community Shred Day from 9 a.m. to noon. As in past years, Monson Savings Bank is partnering with PROSHRED of Wilbraham for this event. The bank will welcome the public to safely and securely dispose of their private documents on site. Storing documents that contain personal information in the home can pose a serious security risk. Monson Savings Bank is encouraging local residents to shred any documents they no longer need, especially those that contain private information. The bank’s free Community Shred Day is a chance to do some spring cleaning and properly discard unwanted documents, such as tax returns, bank or credit-card statements, bills, medical records, and more. Prepackaged refreshments and giveaways will be available at the event, while supplies last.

 

Eggstravaganza at the Zoo in Forest Park

April 16: The Zoo in Forest Park will host its annual Eggstravaganza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will include grab-and-go stations for children with take-and-make activities, prize-filled Easter eggs, books, and candy while supplies last. There will also be animal encounters and enrichment to allow guests an up-close look at some of the animals, as well as free face painting and visits from Felix the Fox and Andy the Armadillo. Pre-registration is required to attend. No additional tickets will be sold at the door. Registration closes April 11 or when all tickets are sold. To purchase tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org/eggs.

 

Program on Building Resilience for Self-care and Caregivers

April 18: From 11:45 to 12:45 p.m., Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts will present mindfulness educator and trauma-informed coach Reina Goldberg, who will discuss simple and enjoyable ways to shift habituated patterns of holding stress in one’s body while also practicing tuning into one’s innate body wisdom. Attendees of the virtual session will engage in a fluid unfolding of body-based practices to allow for deeper unwinding and integration. Some practices include mindful body scans, body-led movement, gentle-release practices, brain and body balancing and strengthening exercises, Qigong, and tapping to boost the immune system. Attendees will learn new patterns of resilience, rejuvenation, and relaxation while walking away with new practices and perspectives. All ages are welcome, and all exercises can be done seated or standing. The program is free and open to the public and will be held on Zoom. Registration is required. RSVP online at www.jfswm.org or call (413) 737-2601.

 

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Spring Concerts

April 22, May 13: The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) Board announced two spring concerts will be hosted at Springfield Symphony Hall with former SSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith serving as guest conductor. Smith is music director and conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as music director for the SSO from 1995 through 2000. He has worked as director of New Music Projects for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and artistic director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota, and has also served as music director for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. Details about the concerts, program, and availability of tickets will be forthcoming and available at springfieldsymphony.org.

 

Social Justice Awards

April 23: Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services (MLKFS) announced that this year’s Social Justice Awards will honor the organization’s former President and CEO Ronn Johnson, who passed away in January. The organization also announced that the Justice Resource Institute has stepped forward as the first event sponsor. The 2022 Social Justice Awards will continue to be a virtual event this year and will begin at 11 a.m. Michael Weeks, president and CEO of the Providers Council, will be the keynote speaker. This year’s honorees are Barbara Gresham (education), Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr. (lifetime achievement), Bishop Talbert Swan II (race relations), CMSS and Eileen McCaffery (arts and culture), Doris Harris (health advocacy), First Church of Christ in Longmeadow UCC (faith-based initiative), MassHire Springfield and Kevin Lynn (economic development), and Thomas Morrow and Julius Lewis (entrepreneurship). Individuals and organizations interested in supporting Johnson’s work at MLKFS through sponsorship or a donation should contact Lenise Williams at (413) 736-3655 or [email protected], or visit mlkjrfamilyservices.org/donate.

 

Great Golf Escape

April 25: The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) will host its annual Great Golf Escape tournament at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. YPS aims to engage the younger demographic in career development, networking, community involvement, recreational and social activities, and more. The cost for this event is $125 for YPS members, $500 for a YPS member foursome team captain, $135 for non-members, and $540 for a non-member foursome team captain. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. There will be prizes and a poker challenge throughout the event. The first-place team will also be able to select a charitable organization to receive a donation from YPS. Registration includes lunch, post-golf dinner, and giveaways. Members can register for the event at www.springfieldyps.com/events. This event is open to the public. However, YPS members will receive a free mulligan, entry into the door-prize raffle, and more. They’ll be offering golfers on-course hospitality, including ice-cream samples from Batch Ice Cream, sponsored by LiftTruck Parts & Service, and craft beer samples from Leadfoot Brewing. Foursomes and sponsorships are still available by visiting springfieldyps.com/golf or e-mailing [email protected].

 

‘Rewire: Finding Purpose and Fulfillment After Retirement’

April 27: Holyoke Community College (HCC) will present a three-hour, in-person workshop focusing on life after retirement. “Rewire: Finding Purpose and Fulfillment After Retirement” will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on HCC’s main campus, 303 Homestead Ave. The workshop will be facilitated by former career counselor Barbara Foster. The workshop will offer a series of exercises and self-assessments, as well as time to reflect, brainstorm with others, and develop goals and a vision for this new chapter of life. Participants will also leave with an extensive list of resources to explore. Space is limited, so advance registration is required. To register, visit hcc.edu/rewire, or call (413) 552-2500 for more information. The cost is $39. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all workshop participants, and masks must be worn in all HCC campus buildings.

 

Homework House Adult Spelling Bee

April 28: Homework House announced that its annual Adult Spelling Bee is back in person this year. Teams of three will gather at Open Square at 5:30 p.m. to demonstrate their spelling aptitude in this entertaining, and often comical, community event. Former state Rep. Aaron Vega will once again emcee the evening’s activities. Homework House, a not-for-profit, after-school program, offers free tutoring and mentoring services to children in kindergarten through grade 6. Homework House sites are located in Holyoke’s most economically challenged neighborhoods, and more than 98% of its budget comes from charitable contributions. Popular radio announcer Monte Belmonte will once again serve as the word reader. Virginia Dillon, executive director of Homework House, announced that this year’s judges will include Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia and City Councilor Tessa Murphy-Romboletti. Team registrations can be completed online. Tickets to the event cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door and can be purchased online or from any board member or staff member of Homework House. For more information, to register a team, or to purchase tickets, visit www.homeworkhousebee.com.

Get Hired Job Fair

May 5: Holyoke Mall will host an in-person job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. on the lower level near Macy’s. Sponsored by Valley Opportunity Council, the Get Hired Job Fair is a convenient opportunity for Western Mass. employers to interview and hire workers, and to help job seekers connect with businesses who need their skills. Employers from a variety of industries will be in attendance looking for candidates at all skill levels. Several stores and venues at Holyoke Mall will also be in attendance to fill open positions. The event is free to attend for all job seekers. Employers that have already signed up to staff a table include MGM Springfield, Holyoke Medical Center, Springfield College, Trinity Senior Communities, and Valley Opportunity Council. Employers interested in participating in the upcoming job fair should contact Jim Geraghty, advertising representative for Holyoke Mall, at (617) 840-2998 or [email protected]. For full details regarding the job fair, visit www.holyokemall.com/event/get-hired-job-fair.

Annual Shred Day

May 7: The Wealth Transition Collective of Holyoke is partnering with Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice for their annual shred day. Anyone who has financial or sensitive documents that need shredding may bring them to the VNA & Hospice of Cooley Dickinson, 168 Industrial Dr., Northampton from 9 to 11 a.m. A donation of $5 per paper box will directly benefit the VNA & Hospice. Shredding will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis until the truck is full or 11 a.m., whichever comes first. Only paper items will be accepted. For more information, visit www.twealthtc.com.

sheLEADS Conference

May 20: The Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce will host sheLEADS, a woman’s conference aimed at building a bold, brave community of women in the 413 with an eye on professional development and beyond. The day begins at the Boylston Room in Easthampton at noon and ends with networking at Abandoned Building Brewery. In between, attendees can look forward to “Activating Your Leadership Strengths,” facilitated by Colleen DelVecchio of Colleen DelVecchio Consultants; “The Language of Leadership,” a panel discussion featuring Pia Kumar, chief strategy officer at Universal Plastics, Lynnette Watkins, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care, and Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, CEO of Inclusive Strategies; and “Be Great Where Your Feet Are,” featuring keynote speaker Robyn Glaser Sr., vice president, Business Affairs for the Kraft Group. For tickets and details, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org.

 

Chamber Corners

1BERKSHIRE
(413) 499-1600; 1berkshire.com

• April 19: Berkshire Economic Recovery Project Kickoff Workshop: “Get Ready to Get Funded,” 4-6 p.m. Robin Helfand is a small-business owner and consultant and an alumna of Mckinsey & Co. and Procter & Gamble, with more than 20 years experience developing strategies to successfully help client businesses receive funding approval, whether seeking first-time loans, increasing existing funding, or applying for grants, micro-loans, debt modification, inventory, or equity financing. She will share some proprietary ‘hacks’ to get your specific application moved to the top of the pile … and likely to be approved. If you have been turned down in the past, don’t miss this opportunity. Register at https://bit.ly/3qZPhJz.

• April 26: 1Berkshire Entrepreneurial Meetup, 9-10:30 a.m., hosted by Juice N’ Java, 661 Main St., Dalton. Enjoy coffee and conversation with your fellow innovators and hear from Isa Ali about his journey as a third-generation entrepreneur. 1Berkshire Entrepreneurial Meetups are free to attend and made possible through the support of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. Registration is required. To register, visit 1berkshirestrategicalliancemacoc.weblinkconnect.com/events.

FRANKLIN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
(413) 773-5463; franklincc.org

• April 22: Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m. Join us for a “The Economic Impact of Tourism on Franklin County,” with speakers Keiko Orrall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, and Tony D’Agostino, research director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.Visit franklincc.org for registration and location.

• April 28: Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., Deerfield Inn. Join us for networking, refreshments, and a chance to visit and preview our new Visitor Information Center right next door. Visit franklincc.org for registration details.

GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER
(413) 534-3376; holyokechamber.com

• May 18: Spring Fling at Westfield Bank, 4:30-7 p.m. Join us for an lawn party at Westfield Bank, enjoy the feel of spring, and make new connections. Hearty hors d’oeuvres, open bar, raffles, and more. Cost: $10 for members, $20 for non-members. Registration to open April 1.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
(413) 568-1618; westfieldbiz.org

• April 28: Morning Brew, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club. Visit www.westfieldbiz.org for details.

• May 11: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m.., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club. Visit www.westfieldbiz.org for details.

• May 16: 61st annual Golf Tournament, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club, sponsored by Westfield Gas & Electric and Whip City Fiber. Visit www.westfieldbiz.org for details.

• May 26: Morning Brew, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club. Visit www.westfieldbiz.org for details.

People on the Move

Lora Wondolowski, the founding executive director of Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV), and the organization’s leader since 2011, will leave her post on April 1. Her leadership has been integral to all aspects of LPV’s operations, with notable successes including the growth of the core LEAP program, the Leaders on Board initiative, building strategic partnerships, and improving and stabilizing operations and organizational processes. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first graduating class. Upon her departure, the board plans to appoint an interim executive director until finding a permanent executive director. Wondolowski and the LPV board of directors are working with staff and stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition for LEAP participants, partners, and supporters.

•••••

Tech Foundry, with a mission to support the region’s growing need for a qualified technology workforce and elevate underrepresented groups into sustainable careers in information technology, announced the appointment of Tricia Canavan as its CEO effective March 21. Canavan will succeed Bruce Dixon, who resigned to pursue new opportunities. Founded in 2014, Tech Foundry has offered internships, networking opportunities, and instruction to traditionally low-income, underserved populations, preparing graduates for entry-level IT work in the Pioneer Valley. These programs are offered free of charge to participants through donations from area businesses and members of the local community. With a background in nonprofit and business management, workforce development, and adult education, Canavan currently serves as executive vice president of corporate relations and advocacy for Masis Staffing Solutions. Previously, she served as CEO of United Personnel, which was acquired by Masis in May 2021. She chairs the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, co-chairs Springfield Business Leaders for Education, and serves on the boards of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, MassHire Hampden County, and the Springfield Public Forum.

•••••

Mount Holyoke College President Sonya Stephens announced that she will step down in August to become president of the American University of Paris. Stephens joined Mount Holyoke in 2013 and served as vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of faculty before being appointed acting president in 2016 to replace Lynn Pasquerella. In 2018, the board of trustees voted to remove the ‘acting’ title. In a letter to the Mount Holyoke community, Stephens said her new role in Paris is a “unique opportunity to advance a contemporary expression of the liberal arts in France — one that brings together so many of my intellectual and administrative interests and commitments.” She added that “it has been an extraordinary honor and a privilege to serve you and Mount Holyoke since 2013 and to work in concert with brilliant and exacting students, with a faculty that is as devoted to outstanding scholarship as it is to cultivating inquiry in others and with a leadership team and staff so exceedingly devoted to our mission. It has been inspiring and motivating to work with such an engaged, thoughtful, generous, and dedicated board of trustees, and to come to know, admire, and deeply appreciate the wider alum community. While I have held different roles over these nine years, I see our work together as a continuum — one focused resolutely on the future strength of the college, on enhancing the exceptional educational experience it offers, and on the community that makes this possible, here on campus, across the nation, and worldwide.”

•••••

Jaclyn Stevenson

Jaclyn Stevenson

Jaclyn Stevenson has been appointed director of Marketing and Communications at Shakespeare & Company, a nonprofit theater performance, education, and actor-training organization based in Lenox. In her position, Stevenson directs all marketing and communications efforts for the company and supervises the Graphic Design and Patron Services departments, including in the areas of audience engagement, retail operations, and concessions. She also serves as co-chair of the communications subcommittee of the IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) committee, and as liaison to the Lenox Cultural District steering committee. Stevenson brings more than 20 years of communications experience to the position, having worked with a wide range of clients, including Toyota Motor Corp., CIGNA Healthcare, Disney World Sports, Spalding, and many others. Most recently, she served as director of Marketing and Communications for Columbia-Greene Community College, part of the State University of New York system. A BusinessWest 40 Under Forty honoree in 2012, she holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Bridgewater State University and a master’s degree in organization development from American International College, as well as several certifications relative to web accessibility, social-media management, and risk management.

•••••

Susan Henrichon

Susan Henrichon

American International College (AIC) has appointed Susan Henrichon dean of the School of Education. Henrichon joined American International College in 2018, bringing more than 30 years of experience in PK-12 public education, with more than 15 years spent in senior leadership roles. Most recently, she served as the associate dean of academic programs while teaching extensively in the School of Education, and additionally serving as a senior instructor and program supervisor for graduate students. Prior to coming to AIC, Henrichon was an assistant superintendent of schools in Oxford and director of Special Education and Student Services for the Oxford Public Schools system. Before that, she was the director of Pupil Personnel Services in Monson, director of Special Education in Easthampton, director of Student Services for the Southwick-Tolland-Granville school district; special-education team leader in the Holyoke Public Schools; and assistant department head of Quality Assurance at the Monson Developmental Center. Henrichon has been recognized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for her work. Her professional affiliations include the Massachusetts Assoc. of School Superintendents, the Worcester County Superintendents Assoc., Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education, the Western Massachusetts Special Education Directors Assoc., the Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Council for Exceptional Children. She received a doctor of education degree in educational administration at Northcentral University in Phoenix; her certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational administration from the University of Massachusetts; a master’s degree in education, special education, from Westfield State University; and a bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H.

•••••

Michelle Jarvis-Lettman joined Elms College as director of Financial Aid in January. She has 15 years of experience within student financial services with positions at Worcester State University, Springfield Technical Community College, Wesleyan University, University of Hartford, and Ironbridge Resources, LLC. She has presented on the topic of financial aid to many audiences, including the Massachusetts Assoc. of Student Financial Aid Administrators in 2019. Jarvis-Lettman received her master’s degree in higher education administration from Bay Path University after completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Worcester State. She was recently appointed to Worcester State’s Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. She also coaches basketball. In addition, the Elms College Graduate Admission Office recently announced the promotion of Stefany Scliopou to director of Graduate and Continuing Education Admission. She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. After working in the hotel industry for nine years, she transitioned into higher education, where she completed her MBA degree with Elms College. For the last six years, Scliopou has worked in a graduate admission role helping non-traditional adult students embrace their next-level education endeavors. She has worked alongside students and program directors to ensure exceptional student support. In addition, she is the academic coordinator for the Elms-HCC business-degree-completion programs as well as a part-time adjunct. She serves on the board of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, the Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce events committee, and the parish council board for St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Springfield.

•••••

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud

The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR Massachusetts) announced that Tahirah Amatul-Wadud has been chosen to serve as its new executive director. Amatul-Wadud is an attorney based in Springfield with more than 16 years of experience in corporate, family, and civil-rights law. A former staff attorney with Western Massachusetts Community Legal Aid before entering private practice, she served as a commissioner with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women from 2014 to 2020. In 2016, she rose to national prominence serving as the principal attorney on behalf of the residents of Islamberg, N.Y. against Robert Doggart, an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who had planned a violent attack against the community. In 2018, she ran for Congress in Massachusetts’ first district, securing 30% of the vote. She served as vice president of the board of directors at CAIR Massachusetts from 2016 to 2018 and its president since 2018, and during her tenure has overseen the organization’s restructuring and rapid growth. CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

•••••

Darcy Young

Darcy Young

The Irish Echo, the premier news title in Irish America since 1928, presented Darcy Young with a Top 40 Under 40 award at its 15th annual event at Rosie O’Grady’s in New York City on Feb. 25. The popular event is a celebration of the Irish and Irish Americans who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of work before reaching age 40. Young was selected for her service to Irish community. A former Colleen, she currently serves as the communications chair for the Springfield St. Patrick’s Parade Committee and has served on the board and many of the subcommittees. The Springfield St. Patrick’s Parade Committee promotes and celebrates Irish heritage in Western Mass. through enriching experiences for its members, yearly honorees, and scholarships for students. One of her favorite volunteer efforts is chaperoning the Colleen and her court every year as they travel to a variety of public presentations to share their Irish heritage. She is also a member of the John Boyle O’Reilly Club. Young has served as a media professional for more than a decade, first at ABC and FOX news affiliates and most recently as director of Digital Public Relations at Garvey Communication Associates Inc. and a video producer at New England Corporate Video. She also serves on the executive board of the Children’s Study Home.

•••••

ArchitectureEL Inc. (AEL) recently welcomed a new member, Marco Crescentini, to its team as senior project architect. ArchitectureEL Inc. provides professional design services on a wide range of projects, including both new buildings and renovations to existing structures. The firm boasts significant experience in accessibility, historic preservation, educational and commercial design, as well as extensive experience in both private and multi-family residential development. “I am thrilled to hold a position on the AEL team, as they are a group of creative and hardworking individuals,” Crescentini said. “I hope to contribute to the success of the company and to collaborate on some of the intriguing and influential jobs we have before us.”

•••••

Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced new campaign co-chairs for the LEAP 2023 campaign, Jason Randall and Ayanna Crawford. Both are alumni of the class of 2013. They will be leading the effort to connect with businesses and potential applicants about the benefits of LPV’s LEAP program. Randall is director of Human Resources at MGM Springfield and a current LPV board member. He is involved with Springfield Works and Springfield Business Leaders for Education. Crawford is president of AC Consulting and Media Services and specializes in communications workshops in the New England area. She currently leads an after-school program for girls, positions herself as an educator in the Springfield Public Schools, and works for state Rep. Orlando Ramos. In its 11 years, more than 300 individuals representing more than 100 companies, organizations, and municipalities have participated in LEAP. The program has filled a critical need for a leadership program that builds a network of emerging leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the region. LPV will begin accepting LEAP applications in April, with an application deadline of July 1.

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]

 


 

 

211 Day

 

The United Way of Pioneer Valley hosted the grand opening of its new Springfield Community Service Center, sponsored by Balise Auto Group, on Feb. 11, a day declared as ‘211 Day’ in the Commonwealth. Municipal and business leaders gathered at ceremonies at 1441 Main St., the location of the new center, for a ribbon cutting that followed comments from several speakers on the services provided by Mass211 and the importance of this program to the region. Ceremonies were held simultaneously in Framingham and the Mass211 headquarters there. Among those speaking were Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno (pictured at the podium); Paul Mina, president and CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley; and many others.

 


 

Recognizing Support for Community Colleges

 

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal was awarded the 2022 National Education Service Award during the Assoc. of Community College Trustees’ (ACCT) Community College National Legislative Summit. Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal was on hand to make the presentation. Pictured, from left: Richard Rhodes, American Assoc. of Community Colleges board chair; Neal; Royal; James Cooksey, ACCT board chair; and Jee Hang Lee, ACCT president and CEO.

 


 

Home Sweeter Home

 

In September, Purple Heart Homes (PHH), a veterans-services agency that focuses on housing solutions, and Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity collaborated on a home-preservation project for Peter, a retired Army National Guard staff sergeant, and his wife, Beth. They purchased a duplex in Monson three years ago and live in one unit, while Beth’s daughter and young son live in the other residence. The project fixed a moss-spotted roof, a broken water heater in the daughter’s unit, and damaged exterior doors at both dwellings.

 

 


 

Chamber Corners

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 253-0700; www.amherstarea.com

 

March 9: Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce 2022 Annual Meeting, noon to 2 p.m., hosted by the Red Barn at Hampshire College. Join us for lunch as we reflect on our impact, salute our outgoing board members, welcome our new board members, elect a slate of officers, and launch our New Year, New Vision for 2022. Presented by Encharter Insurance, supported by bankESB, and honoring the work of Amherst Cinema, our featured nonprofit. See COVID guidelines and register at business.amherstarea.com/events.

 

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

(413) 787-1555; www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

 

March 11: Outlook 2022, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hear from top policymakers and influencers on the outlook for 2022, hosted by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. This virtual event is presented by Baystate Health and MassMutual, with sponsorship support from Comcast, Eversource, the Republican, and WWLP-TV22. Cost: $24.95 for SRC members; $110, enterprise-level SRC members (six seats); $29.95 for future members; $140, enterprise-level future members (six seats).

 

March 24: Fire & Ice, 5:30-8 p.m., Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Join us for our annual craft cocktail competition featuring area establishments mixing up creative fire- and ice-themed cocktails. Sample the concoctions and vote for your favorite. Cost: $50 for SRC members ($60 at the door); $60 for future members ($70 at the door).

 

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

(413) 426-3880; www.ourwrc.com

 

March 3: Networking Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m. Join us as we meet fellow members, non-members, and local business people to network virtually on Zoom. Introductions will be followed by breakout rooms to learn about your business peers and network. Register at business.ourwrc.com/events.

 

March 23: Job Fair 2022, 4:30-7:30 p.m., Storrowton Tavern/Carriage House, West Springfield. The West of the River Chamber will be hosting a local job fair. West Springfield and Agawam businesses, along with other employment opportunities from around Western Mass., will be showcased for the public. High-school students, college students, and adults will be attending this event looking to begin or advance their careers. This event is free and open to the public. To be a participating vendor, register at business.ourwrc.com/events.

Agenda

Horace Smith Fund Scholarship, Fellowship Applications

Through March 15: The Horace Smith Fund has scholarship and fellowship money available for residents of Hampden County graduating from eligible public and private high schools. This year, a total of $247,000 will be awarded in the form of 16 scholarships given to students working toward an undergraduate degree, three fellowships given to students enrolled in a graduate-degree program, and one award given to a high-school senior with special needs who is about to enter college. Scholarship awards of $12,000 are distributed as $3,000 annually, renewable each year until graduation. Fellowship awards of $15,000 are distributed as $5,000 annually, renewable for two additional years. All recipients must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 each semester. Recipients are selected on a variety of criteria, including merit, financial need, recommendations, and community involvement. Of greatest importance is the applicant’s personal written account of why they feel deserving of the award. All recipients must be full-time students and residents of Hampden County. Completed applications must be received no later than Tuesday, March 15, either electronically or by mail to the Horace Smith Fund, 16 Union Ave., Suite 2K, Westfield, MA 01085. Applications are available at local high-school guidance offices, college financial-aid offices, online at www.horacesmithfund.org, or by calling (413) 739-4222.

 

Pynchon Award Nominations

Through March 31: The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts is seeking nominations from throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties for the Pynchon Award, which recognizes Western Mass. citizens who have rendered outstanding service to the community. To nominate an individual, submit a letter explaining why the nominee should be considered, including biographical information, outstanding accomplishments, examples of service to the community, organizations he or she is or has been active in, and the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of at least three people who can further attest to the nominee’s eligibility for induction into the Order of William Pynchon. The Pynchon trustees reserve the right to eliminate nominations from consideration due to insufficient information. Qualifying nominees will be considered and researched by the Pynchon trustees, composed of the current and five past presidents of the Advertising Club. Nominations must be submitted by March 31 to William Pynchon Trustees, Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, P.O. Box 1022, West Springfield, MA 01090-1022 or by e-mail to [email protected] Pynchon medalists are chosen by unanimous decision of the Pynchon trustees. The 2022 recipients will be announced in June, with an awards ceremony tentatively scheduled for the fall.

 

Nominations for 2022 Ubora and Ahadi Awards

Through March 31: The Springfield Museums announced a call for nominations for the 31th annual Ubora Award and the 12th annual Ahadi Youth Award. These prestigious awards, conferred by the African Hall Subcommittee, honor African-American people from Greater Springfield who have — above and beyond — demonstrated commitment to the fields of community service, education, science, humanities, and/or the arts. The African Hall Subcommittee is a volunteer group comprised of educators, business people, and community leaders from the African-American community. The nomination deadline for both awards is Thursday, March 31. True to the Swahili word that comprises its name, the Ubora Award recognizes an adult of African heritage who exemplifies excellence in their commitment to creating a better community through service. Named for the Swahili word for promise, the Ahadi Youth Award is presented to a young African-American who excels in academics and performs admirable service to the Greater Springfield community. Eligible candidates must be age 19 or younger, live in or have strong ties to the Greater Springfield area, and be currently enrolled in grades 10, 11, or 12. The Ubora and Ahadi awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Springfield Museums in September. Nominations forms can be downloaded by visiting springfieldmuseums.org/ubora. Nominations may be e-mailed to [email protected] or mailed to African Hall Subcommittee, c/o Karen Fisk, Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield, MA 01103.

 

Monson Savings Bank Scholarship Applications

Through April 5: Monson Savings Bank provides $28,000 in scholarships to local graduating high-school seniors annually. The bank’s 2022 scholarships are now available to graduating seniors in the Monson, Ware, Hampden-Wilbraham, and East Longmeadow school districts. The purpose of the Monson Savings Bank scholarship is to promote the attainment of higher education for graduating seniors who reside within the communities the bank serves. To qualify, graduating seniors must be planning to attend an accredited college, technical school, or certification program. Scholarship awards will be based on the applicant’s financial need, academic performance, and extracurricular activities. A candidate for this scholarship should have also demonstrated a commitment to their community. In addition to an application, applicants should include an essay outlining the service that they have generously given to their community and the impact achieved through this contribution. If students are interested in applying for the Monson Savings Bank scholarship, they should contact their high-school guidance department for an application. The deadline for application acceptance is April 5.

 

Western Massachusetts Baseball Hall of Fame Banquet

March 10: The Valley Blue Sox will host the ninth annual Western Massachusetts Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, presented by Westfield Bank at Twin Hills Country Club, 700 Wolf Swamp Road, Longmeadow. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the program beginning at 6:30 p.m. The class of 2022 inductees include William Bathel, Western MA High School Fall Baseball League co-founder (2004); Brian Collins, who revived the Springfield Post 21 baseball program (2010) and was Hampden County commissioner of Legion Baseball from 2016 to 2018; Mark DiFranco, Western MA High School Fall Baseball League co-founder (2004); Charles Roys, baseball coach at Springfield College (1979-96); Patrick Strange, MLB pitcher, New York Mets (2002-03); Mark Wohlers, MLB relief pitcher, Atlanta Braves (1991-99), Cincinnati Reds (2000-01), New York Yankees (2001), and Cleveland Indians (2002); and Westfield High School’s 1967 state champion baseball team. The Ryan Doyle Courage Award will be presented by the Doyle family to Jake Goodreau. Each year, this award honors an athlete who has displayed similar courage and perseverance as Ryan Doyle did as they face a difficult time in their lives. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno will serve as master of ceremonies for the night’s event. Individual tickets are $55 per person, or a table of eight can be purchased for $400. Dinner, coffee, and dessert will be served at the banquet. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets to this year’s event can be purchased at valley-blue-sox.ticketleap.com/2022-western-ma-baseball-hall-of-fame-induction-ceremony.

 

94.7 WMAS Radiothon to Benefit Baystate Children’s Hospital

March 8-9: Hattie Avigliano spent the first months of her life in the NICU at Baystate Children’s Hospital, arriving in the world three and a half months early and fighting for her life. Seven-year-old Zachary Roy was admitted to Baystate Children’s Hospital to treat multi-system inflammatory syndrome after battling COVID-19. Four-month-old triplets Paul, Brandon, and Jackson Dube entered the world 10 and a half weeks before they were expected. These children and their families will share their miraculous stories of surviving and thriving during the 21st annual 94.7 WMAS Radiothon to benefit Baystate Children’s Hospital. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will not be held at the hospital this year, but broadcast live from the WMAS studios for two days from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. WMAS on-air personalities, led by the Kellogg Krew of Chris, Dina, and Lopez, will fill both days with encouraging stories, and listeners will get to know the professional team from Baystate Children’s Hospital who care for their kids, their grandkids, and their neighbors’ kids. The public is encouraged to call, text, or go online to donate. Listeners can call to donate via the Lia Auto Group Phone Bank at (413) 794-1111, visit wmaskids.com, or text WMASKIDS to 36413.

 

Difference Makers

March 24: Since 2009, BusinessWest has been recognizing the work of individuals, groups, businesses, and institutions through a program called Difference Makers. The 14th annual Difference Makers celebration will be held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $75 and can be ordered at BusinessWest.com/difference-makers/difference-makers-tickets. The 2022 Difference Makers include Tara Brewster, vice president of Business Development at Greenfield Savings Bank; the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; Heriberto Flores, president of the New England Farm Workers’ Council; John Greaney, retired State Supreme Court justice and senior counsel at Bulkley Richardson; Ruth Griggs, president of the Northampton Jazz Festival and principal at RC Communications; Ted Hebert, owner of Teddy Bear Pools and Spas; I Found Light Against All Odds and Its Founder and CEO, Stefan Davis; and Roca Holyoke and Springfield. Their stories are told in the Feb. 16 issue of BusinessWest and HERE. The sponsors for this year’s program are Burkhart Pizzanelli, the New England Farm Workers’ Council, the Royal Law Firm, TommyCar Auto Group, and Westfield Bank.

 

 

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Spring Concerts

April 22, May 13: The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) Board announced two spring concerts will be hosted at Springfield Symphony Hall with former SSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith serving as guest conductor. Smith is music director and conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as music director for the SSO from 1995 through 2000. He has worked as director of New Music Projects for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and artistic director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota, and has also served as music director for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. Details about the concerts, program, and availability of tickets will be forthcoming and available at springfieldsymphony.org.

 

Company Notebook

Valley Venture Mentors Joins Forces with Western Massachusetts EDC

SPRINGFIELD — The Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC) announced it has welcomed Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) into the EDC ranks as a regional leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. With a shared vision in stimulating and facilitating a vigorous regional economy, the EDC is committed to supporting local entrepreneurship, which ultimately leads to the acceleration of economic development and community vitalization. EDC and VVM leadership have been in discussion on the future of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and have decided to join forces. “The leadership at the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts recognizes the unique value of VVM, its impactful programming, and diverse pool of mentors,” the VVM board of directors noted in a statement. “We are excited to hand over the reins to the EDC and watch VVM and the EDC work more closely together to fulfill the mission of helping all entrepreneurs in Western Mass. not just succeed, but thrive.” With this new transition, the EDC has appointed Hope Ross Gibaldi as executive director of VVM.

 

Mellon Foundation Awards Five Colleges $1.6 Million Faculty-development Grant

AMHERST — The Five College Consortium has been awarded a $1.6 million grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create programming that will develop faculty members’ administrative leadership skills. Titled “Building Academic Leaders in the Humanities,” the grant will fund a three-and-a-half-year program to prepare humanities faculty to take on leadership roles at Five Colleges’ member institutions — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges and UMass Amherst — and elsewhere. The program builds on a seminar one held at Amherst College in 2020 for 24 faculty members interested in taking on or already occupying administrative roles. The success of the Amherst model led the chief academic officers of the Five College campuses to propose a collaborative leadership-development effort across all five institutions. Amherst College Associate Provost and Associate Dean of Faculty Pawan Dhingra will lead the grant team, along with UMass Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Sociology Michelle Budig, Mount Holyoke College Associate Dean of Faculty Elizabeth Markovits, Smith College Dean for Academic Development Hélène Visentin, and Hampshire College Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Yaniris Fernandez. The Mellon Foundation funding will support two annual institutes, one designed for early- to mid-career faculty who are planning to take on their first administrative responsibilities, and another for current faculty administrators looking to move into higher leadership roles. Facilitated by experienced campus leaders, these institutes will cover subjects ranging from managing budgets to maintaining work-life balance. Developing participants’ capacity to support diversity, equity, and inclusion will be an overall theme of both institutes.

 

 

Manning Family Foundation Gives $3 Million to UMass Amherst

AMHERST — Alumnus Paul Manning and his wife, Diane, have committed $3 million through their family foundation to expand the Manning Innovation Program at UMass Amherst. The gift provides three years of support in advancing a robust and sustainable commercialization pipeline of applied and translational research projects from the university. The Manning Innovation Program, based in the university’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), provides grants to advance applied research and development efforts in the sciences and engineering through the creation of startup companies and the licensing of intellectual property. Since its inception, 14 faculty members have received a Manning Innovation Award, including one research professor who has used these new funds to make strides toward new, life-saving liver-disease treatments. The program has also fostered a stronger culture of entrepreneurship in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and greater collaboration among Isenberg School of Management advisors, science and technology researchers, and industry experts as they work to translate research into field-disrupting products. The Manning Innovation Program was originally established in 2019 with $1 million in seed funding from the Mannings and was initially open only to CNS faculty. “When we established the Manning Innovation Program almost three years ago, our goal was to fund brilliant minds as they tackled some of the world’s biggest problems,” Paul Manning said. “But the program’s success has surpassed our expectations, which is why we are investing in its expansion. We look forward to seeing many more innovative solutions that are sure to make a global impact.”

 

Upright Education Partners with GCC on Technology Career Training

GREENFIELD — Upright Education and Greenfield Community College (GCC) are partnering to provide award-winning career-enhancement programs in technology in Western Mass. and beyond. The new partnership is being provided through GCC’s Workforce Development Office and will give learners a unique chance to participate in boot camps that help them quickly learn marketable skills in technology, including software development and user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. Participants will be able to attend the programs virtually and can complete them in as few as 10 weeks. With Upright’s national partner network and suite of curriculum offerings and GCC’s access to the area’s working population and robust higher-education system, this partnership aims to significantly augment efforts to develop the technology workforce in the region. All courses are fully accessible to online participants and offered with a variety of pricing models. For more information on available Upright offerings, visit bootcamp.gcc.mass.edu, or attend an upcoming information session on Wednesday, March 9.

 

WNE College of Engineering to Offer Hands-on Integrated Photonics Training

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University’s (WNE) College of Engineering Laboratory for Education and Application Prototypes ([email protected]) in Springfield is the first to offer the latest hands-on integrated photonics training in collaboration with Spark Photonics to enhance the Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Department’s optics/photonics bachelor of science in electrical engineering degree sequence. Spark Photonics, an independent commercial photonic integrated circuit-design house based in Waltham, recently delivered its first commercially available education and workforce development (EWD) photonic integrated circuit (PIC) kit to the Western New England University College of Engineering Laboratory for Education and Application Prototypes. [email protected] is a state-of-the-art optics/photonics training center established through the Massachusetts Center for Advanced Manufacturing to advance innovation and job growth throughout the state. Steve Adamshick, associate professor and director of [email protected], said there will definitely be a shift in the program as a result of the EWD PIC kit. Unlike other established industries, few education and workforce-development programs focus specifically on the integrated photonics industry in the U.S., and only a handful of those offer students the type of hands-on experience that they will face in a real-world manufacturing environment. The hands-on difference at WNE has resulted in the ECE department placing 99% of its students in jobs with a median salary of $103,390 or full-tuition scholarships at prestigious R1 institutions (those with very high research activity).

 

Berkshire Bank Earns Gold Community Champion Award

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank was recently presented the Gold Community Champion Award from Banking Northeast magazine in the economic-development category. This award recognized the bank’s comprehensive efforts to foster economic resilience in its communities. Banking Northeast established the Community Champion Awards to honor the banks and credit unions who went beyond the call to aid their community in a special time of need or whose cumulative effort has made a substantial, positive impact. Winners were presented at the magazine’s Gala Awards last month at Mohegan Sun. Berkshire Bank’s Gold Community Champion Award recognized its efforts to harness its core business activities, pandemic response, community involvement, philanthropic programs, and innovative financial solutions such as MyFreedom Checking and the Futures Fund to strengthen its neighborhoods. Berkshire helped deploy nearly $1 billion in PPP funding to assist small businesses during the pandemic and helped more than 180,000 individuals with financial-wellness programming. According to an independent third party, Berkshire reinvests at a rate nearly 70% higher than the industry average. Through its BEST Community Comeback program, the company expects to lend and invest $5 billion over the next three years to lift up its communities across four key areas: fueling small businesses, community financing and philanthropy, financial access and empowerment, and funding environmental sustainability. The plan is expected to result in more businesses and jobs being created, more families achieving the dream of owning a home, more quality housing in neighborhoods, and investments in activities that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

Company Notebook

Pride Stores Sold to ArcLight Capital Partners

SPRINGFIELD — Eight months after announcing plans to sell the chain, Pride Stores CEO Bob Bolduc announced a sale to ArcLight Capital Partners. The 31 stores — with several more in development — will keep the Pride name, and the company’s customers and 525 employees will see little change in day-to-day operations, Bolduc told local news outlets, which is one of the reasons ArcLight won out over several other interested parties. In 1976, Bolduc bought a self-serve gas station in Indian Orchard and gradually expanded his business over the years, creating the chain of stores known today as Pride. He also developed a reputation as an industry innovator by marrying the self-service station with another emerging phenomenon, the convenience store. Other innovations would follow; Pride would eventually become the first chain in Western Mass. to put a Dunkin’ Donuts in the stores, and the first to incorporate a Subway. But where the company has really made a name, in recent years, is with its own fresh-food production, supported by the Pride Kitchen, located at the company’s headquarters on Cottage Street in Springfield.

 

TD Bank Center Sold to New Real-estate Partnership

SPRINGFIELD — The 240,000-square-foot, class-A office complex located at 1441 Main St. in Springfield, known as the TD Bank Center, has been sold. The property, located at the corner of Main Street and Harrison Avenue, was sold by an affiliate of TD Bank to a limited-liability company comprised of the principals of Colebrook Realty Services and a company controlled by Jeb Balise, CEO of Balise Auto Group. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Originally known as Center Square, the property was developed in the early 1980s by a subsidiary of SIS Bank in a project led by Colebrook CEO Jack Dill. Colebrook has managed and leased the building since its opening in January 1982. Most recently, Colebrook partners Mitch Bolotin and Kevin Morin have had responsibility for leasing and managing TD Bank Center. Balise and Colebrook have worked together for nearly two decades on Balise real-estate projects, represented by Bolotin.

 

 

Western New England University Cited Among Top Online Programs

SPRINGFIELD — In newly released rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Western New England University (WNE) was again recognized among the 2022 Best Online Programs. Among online MBA Programs, WNE made significant gains, jumping 71 places and ranking 153rd (up from 224th in 2021); among Online Graduate Business Programs (Non-MBA), the university ranked 110th (up from 129th in 2021); and among Online Master’s in Engineering Programs, it ranked 79th, up from 104th. The rankings place Western New England University in the top 10 in Massachusetts for accredited online MBA and graduate business programs and in the top three in Massachusetts for accredited master’s in engineering programs. For the 2022 edition, U.S. News & World Report assessed 1,728 online degree programs and ranked 1,646, both all-time highs. Best Online Programs rankings credit schools for long-term investments in designing and scaling their student services, technologies, curricula, and instructor training toward distance learners. The Western New England University College of Engineering continues to be top-ranked in the Online Master’s in Engineering Programs category. For the 2022 Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs rankings, U.S. News ranked ABET-accredited schools using five categories: engagement, faculty credentials, and training; expert opinion, services, and technologies; and student excellence. The College of Engineering offers several full master’s programs online: MS in industrial engineering, MS in engineering management, and MS in electrical engineering. The colleges of Engineering and Business offer a dual-degree master of science in engineering management and an MBA that can be completed entirely online.

 

Holyoke Community College to Introduce Free Child-watch Service

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will soon introduce a free, drop-in child-watch program for parents who need safe and affordable supervision for their children while they tend to their college studies. When the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch opens in March, HCC will be just the second community college in the state — and the only one in Western Mass. — to offer a child-watch service for its students. The Itsy Bitsy Child Watch will offer free, short-term care to children 6 weeks to 12 years old, provided their parents sign up in advance and remain inside on the Homestead Avenue campus. Parents will be given a restaurant-style pager to alert them to return if necessary. The pilot phase is being funded through a $100,000 allocation in the 2022 Massachusetts budget secured by state Sen. John Velis. HCC is in the process of hiring an interim director to get the child-watch program up and running. Many of the details still need to be worked out, such as days and hours of operation.

 

Forest Park Zoo Again Honored for Education Programming

SPRINGFIELD — For the second time in six months, the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is being recognized for its innovative education programming. Most recently, the zoo received the 2021 Educational Award of Excellence, presented by the Zoological Assoc. of America for its Kids Go Wild programming. Kids Go Wild provides a fun, interactive way for school-aged children to learn about various animal species while exploring diets, habitats, adaptations, daily zoo life, and more through cross-hatched science, literacy, and art lessons. Each lesson also meets state education standards set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in at least one or more of the aforementioned disciplines. These lessons were created, developed, and ultimately implemented by the zoo’s director of education, Caroline Cay Adams. The one-on-one, hands-on interactions offered as part of Kids Go Wild bring the typical textbook science lessons right off the page. Kids Go Wild goes beyond single-program learning objectives by encouraging groups to book multiple programs that are implemented over a longer period of time. This ensures that the educator can scaffold lessons to incorporate themes, vocabulary, and topics from previous lesson plans, as well as offer plenty of opportunities for participants to engage with ambassador animals. Examples of lessons include Animal Adaptations; the Food Web; Living Dinosaurs; and Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores. In August 2021, Adams also received the Janet McCoy Excellence in Public Education Award from the American Assoc. of Zookeepers for her work on Kids Go Wild.

 

Berkshire Bank Earns Top Marks in Corporate Equality Index

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced that it received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality. Berkshire joins the ranks of more than 840 major U.S. businesses that also earned top marks this year. “We are honored to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” said Gary Levante, senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility. “Our goal at Berkshire is always to be a shining example of how a purpose-driven organization can be successful while lifting up everyone in our community. Our Pride Employee Resource Group has been steadfast in their work to create a more equitable workplace, and this honor is a testament to their tireless efforts. We hope that this recognition and our culture will inspire more members of our LGBTQIA+ family to join the Berkshire team as customers and employees.”

 

MCLA, Habitat for Humanity Partner to Offer Free Tax Assistance

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and its Department of Business Administration will once again partner with Habitat for Humanity to offer free tax-preparation services to local residents in need through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Habitat for Humanity administers VITA, a program of the IRS, to assist taxpayers with disabilities or limited English-speaking skills, those 60 years of age or older, and individuals who make $57,000 or less per year. MCLA students will be available to complete both basic and advanced returns, including those with itemized deductions. The students who participate in this program undergo a rigorous training, become IRS-certified, and will work under the supervision of MCLA Professor of Accounting Tara Barboza, an enrolled agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and a certified public accountant (CPA). In addition to meeting a significant need in Northern Berkshire County, participating in the VITA program is an opportunity for students to gain valuable, hands-on preparation experience. They will earn college credit, and accounting students can use this credit toward the requirements for the CPA exam. Interested individuals should call Habitat for Humanity offices at (413) 442-0002 or (413) 442-3181 to find out if they qualify and schedule an appointment. Hours will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. in Murdock Hall on the MCLA campus in North Adams. The program will continue through April 13.

 

Company Notebook

Webber & Grinnell Insurance Joins Alera Group

NORTHAMPTON — Webber & Grinnell Insurance announced that it has joined a national network of insurance agencies called the Alera Group. The Alera Group was formed by 24 agencies similar to Webber & Grinnell in 2017. Since then, it has added many others across the country and is now one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the U.S. Joining Alera allows Webber & Grinnell to tap into a wealth of best practices and insurance resources, enabling the company to better serve its diverse clientele. Examples include more insurance-carrier choices, the ability to converse with subject-matter experts, and having more resources to help hire and train employees. Joining Alera also provides a perpetuation plan for the agency. The agency’s staff and their roles are staying exactly the same, so clients will continue being serviced the same way they have been all along. Grinnell will also continue to lead the agency at the local level.

 

Dietz & Co. Architects Designated as Emerging Professional Friendly Firm

SPRINGFIELD — Dietz & Co. Architects Inc. has been designated by AIA New England as a 2021 Emerging Professional (EP) Friendly Firm. This program recognizes architecture firms that promote the advancement of emerging professionals through professional development and personal-growth opportunities. “Here at Dietz & Company, investing in the professional growth of our staff is the foundation of our firm culture,” Principal Jason Newman said. “We want our people to achieve their personal and professional goals, and we want them to feel supported and encouraged as they pursue them. This philosophy not only builds the confidence and the skills of our team, it helps us keep them as well.” Dietz & Co. Architects has been awarded this designation each year since 2019.

 

Hoops Star Marcus Camby Partners with White Lion

SPRINGFIELD — UMass and NBA star Marcus Camby has joined White Lion Brewing Co. in a strategic partnership. White Lion currently distributes a small independent portfolio of artisan brands in Massachusetts, primarily in the western part of the state. Camby’s goal is to help open new markets throughout New England and beyond, as well as release his own portfolio of beer brewed by White Lion. “White Lion continues to expand its community reach,” President Ray Berry said. “We have a proven track record and incredible community partners like the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds, and MGM Springfield, to name a few. I remember when Marcus electrified the region — just thinking about it brings back so many great memories. He loves our brand and what it represents. We are very excited and think we have a game winner.” Added Camby, “I am extremely impressed by the brewery’s commitment to the community and its approach to diversifying the craft-beer trade. I look forward to being a part of expanding the brand throughout the New England and Tri-State region. This is my home, and to be able to have a quality beer named after me, and be able to tell its story, is something I’m truly excited about.”

 

MassDevelopment Bond Boosts Springfield College Projects

SPRINGFIELD — MassDevelopment has issued a $106,675,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Springfield College, which will use proceeds to fund several capital projects.

The college will use $45,095,000 to build and equip a new environmentally friendly and sustainable, 76,000-square-foot health sciences building; this portion of the financing received the Green Bond designation by Kestrel Verifiers, which are approved verifiers accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative. The college will use the remaining proceeds to build an academic quad and campus pavilion; renovate classrooms, residence halls, administrative buildings, and the existing health sciences building; improve a steam-plant facility; upgrade walking and running paths and outdoor seating; and refinance previously issued debt. The bond was sold through a public offering underwritten by Hilltop Securities Inc. “This major investment represents Springfield College’s commitment to its students, staff, and the entire Greater Springfield community,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said. “MassDevelopment is proud to lend a helping hand to support construction of a new health sciences building and significant upgrades to the college’s campus and academic facilities.”

 

Bradley International Airport Earns COVID-19 Health Reaccreditation

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — In recognition of its continued health and safety response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bradley International Airport has achieved reaccreditation from the Airports Council International (ACI) World Health Accreditation program. During the extensive accreditation process, ACI assesses the airport’s response and safety measures throughout the entire passenger journey in line with industry best practices. This includes evaluation of the airport’s cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing (where feasible and practical), staff protection, physical-layout modifications, passenger communications, and passenger-facility enhancements. The Connecticut Airport Authority voluntary initiated the reassessment after receiving its initial health accreditation from ACI in December 2020. In addition to surpassing these high industry safety standards, Bradley International Airport offers contactless access to the parking garage and surfaces lots through the airport’s free parking-rewards program; an opportunity to apply for TSA PreCheck at the airport’s enrollment site, which speeds up the screening process and also helps reduce touchpoints; and contactless meal ordering, allowing passengers to easily purchase food online for pickup on their journey through the airport. Additionally, the airport is continuing to offer voluntary COVID testing for passengers and airport employees in the main terminal’s baggage claim. Free COVID vaccinations and boosters are also available on certain days in the same location. A federal face-covering mandate is also in place for everyone, regardless of their vaccination status.

 

NIH Grant Will Support Research in UMass Amherst Lab

AMHERST — Jianhan Chen, a UMass Amherst chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology professor, has received a five-year, $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to support research in his computational biophysics lab aimed at better understanding the role of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) in biology and human disease. The grant falls under the National Institute of General Medical Sciences MIRA program, which stands for Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award. It’s designed to give highly talented researchers more flexibility and stability to achieve important scientific advances in their labs. “The MIRA award enables us to continue working on several central problems regarding the study of disordered proteins and dynamic interactions. The flexibility of this funding mechanism also allows us to follow new research directions as they emerge,” Chen said. Until relatively recently, it was thought that proteins needed to adopt a well-defined structure to perform their biological function. But about two decades ago, he explained, IDPs were recognized as a new class of proteins that rely on a lack of stable structures to function. They make up about one-third of proteins that human bodies make, and two-thirds of cancer-associated proteins contain large, disordered segments or domains. “This disorder seems to provide some unique functional advantage, and that’s why we have so much disorder in certain kinds of proteins,” Chen said. “These IDPs play really important roles in biology, and when something breaks down, they lead to very serious diseases, like cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.”

 

Happier Valley Comedy Offering Free Events to Local Nonprofits

HADLEY — After the year nonprofit organizations have had, who couldn’t use more happiness? Happier Valley Comedy offers the Free Happiness Program, through which nonprofits serving underrepresented, marginalized communities can apply for a free Happier Valley Comedy event, such as an improv show, a personal- or professional-development training session, a keynote, or a workplace-wellness event to be held either online or in person at a venue selected by the organization or Happier Valley Comedy’s theater and lounge in Hadley. The Free Happiness Program is one part of the comedy theater and training program’s ‘green-lining’ efforts, which aim to provide some balance for the historic, grossly unjust ‘red-lining’ of BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) communities in the greater worlds of comedy, personal and professional development, wellness, and beyond. Preference is given to local organizations serving underrepresented, marginalized, and/or BIPOC individuals and communities. Organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to qualify. The next round of applications are being awarded by Happier Valley Comedy’s board of directors in late February. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis at www.happiervalley.com/free-happiness.html.

Company Notebook

Legacy Counsellors, P.C., Gove Law Office Merge

EASTHAMPTON — Legacy Counsellors, P.C. and Gove Law Office announced the merger of their firms in order to expand the estate- and tax-planning and real-estate services they offer to clients. The Gove Law Office team will complete the transition to join the existing Legacy Counsellors, P.C. firm in January. This merger also creates the new division of Legacy Title & Escrow, to handle residential and commercial real-estate transactions. Legacy Counsellors, P.C., founded in 1994, focuses on helping clients protect and perpetuate their savings and assets. Its mission is to empower clients to preserve their legacy through services including trust, estate, and asset-protection planning, elder law and Medicaid planning, and probate administration. Gove Law Office has provided practical, solutions-oriented guidance to clients in the areas of residential and commercial real estate, estate planning, business representation, and family law since 2013. The expanded firm of Legacy Counsellors, P.C. and Legacy Title & Escrow includes four attorneys, along with paralegals and client-services coordinators. Attorney and Legacy founder Kevin Quinn will remain president, with attorney and Gove Law Office founder Michael Gove joining as vice president and partner. The merged firm has five office locations throughout Hampshire, Hampden, Worcester, and Hartford counties.

 

Original Car Detailing Open for Business in Agawam

AGAWAM — Original Car Detailing and its mobile auto-detailing operation recently pulled into shop space at 71 South Ramah Circle in Agawam. The move has allowed owner Nick Riccitelli and his team to expand their operation and provide more services this winter. Original Car Detailing (OCD) has an expanded menu that includes ceramic coatings, remote starters, heated seats, winter prep packages, and vehicle cleaning and sanitizing, along with its continued mobile detailing services. A shortage of new cars and trucks has put an emphasis on vehicle maintenance, as people are now keeping their cars longer than ever. Protecting and enhancing the appearance of customers’ vehicles, including commercial fleets and equipment, allows for a much longer service life, reducing overall costs to the owner substantially, Riccitelli noted. Original Car Detailing offers trade-in reconditioning packages to provide more leverage for its customers when selling or trading in their cars or trucks. The packages also minimize any additional condition fees when turning in leased vehicles.

 

Boston Bud Factory Questions Springfield’s Cannabis Process

SPRINGFIELD — Boston Bud Factory has filed a Freedom of Information request with the city of Springfield Procurement Department, specifically requesting documents related to phase 2 of adult-use applications and Cannabis RFP/Q No. 21-107. Boston Bud Factory submitted a proposal for a retail store in East Forest Park, along with all the required documentation related to RFP/Q No. 21-107. Boston Bud Factory would like to better understand the ranking process and the scoring system for each submission, as well as which proposal was improperly scored. Boston Bud Factory is a participant in the state’s social-equity program and was the first social-equity establishment to open in Western Mass. Boston Bud Factory co-owners Frank Dailey and Carlo Sarno live in Western Mass., and the business has no outside investors or startup financing. Dailey was born in Springfield, is an economic-empowerment applicant, and previously served on the East Forest Park Civic Assoc. board. He is also an active volunteer at several local charities, including the Springfield Rescue Mission. In addition, Boston Bud Factory has been very active educating the community and the city of Springfield, holding the first cannabis educational event in East Forest Park in 2017 and then going on to host four local and successful Pioneer Valley Cannabis Industry Summits.

 

Hazen Paper Captures International Holography Award

HOLYOKE — The International Hologram Manufacturers Assoc. (IHMA) honored Hazen Paper for the second year in a row for Best Applied Decorative/Packaging Product at the 2021 Excellence in Holography Awards. The awards, presented at the Holography Conference Online, recognize “outstanding achievement … in holographic products or techniques which represent the best in the industry for innovation and commercial potential.” Hazen captured the judge’s attention with the 2020 enshrinement yearbook produced for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. The award-winning yearbook employed holography to create a dynamic, three-dimensional image of the Hall of Fame’s iconic dome and spire and its panoramic interior, which was overprinted with a collage of the year’s inductees in action. The combination of two contrasting yet complementary techniques served to amplify the engaging power of holography, as well as to draw attention to the honorees in the foreground. The back cover featured eye-catching holographic treatment of Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun, the location of the enshrinement ceremony. Hazen produced the unique cover holography wholly within its vertically integrated facility. The custom hologram was originated in Hazen’s holographic laser lab, micro-embossed and transfer-metallized onto 12-point WestRock Tango C2S using Hazen’s environmentally friendly Envirofoil process. Envirofoil is manufactured with less than 1% of the aluminum of traditional foil laminate, reuses the film carrier multiple times, and is recyclable as paper. Agency GO of Hartford, Conn. designed the limited-edition yearbook cover, which was printed and individually numbered for authenticity on an HP Indigo 5500 digital press by Starburst Printing of Holliston.

 

Bousquet Mountain Opens First Floor of New Base Lodge

PITTSFIELD — Bousquet Mountain is opening the first floor of its new base lodge today, Jan. 7, for ski operations. Tickets, rentals, bootup and warmup areas, and restrooms will be available in the lodge from noon to 9 p.m. today. Food trucks will be available at the mountain until food and beverage service in the building launches. The 17,500-square-foot building features a multi-purpose area for comfortable breaks from the slopes, a quick-service dining option in addition to the full-service restaurant, a rental shop with full-service ski-tuning operation, and retail space. Multiple high-definition screens are featured throughout the lodge, enabling live streaming of on-mountain races along with viewing of high-profile sporting events. Heated walkways, firepits, and a large patio area provide numerous options for outdoor enjoyment of the base area in addition to the second-floor outdoor deck. Bousquet will launch Lift Bistropub, a full-service bar and restaurant, on the second floor of the lodge in early February. Open year-round, Lift Bistropub expects to provide service to both indoor and outdoor seating, with the second-floor deck providing panoramic views of the mountain. The lodge is part of a substantial investment in the nearly 100-year-old ski area by Mill Town, the owner of the mountain. Other new features this year include new terrain, added tubing lanes, upgraded lighting, and a full overhaul to the mountain’s snow-making system.

 

Thunderbirds, Peoples United Bank Continue Community Partnership

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds, AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, have carried on their mission of being pillars of the Springfield community, with continued support from People’s United Bank. Since the start of the 2021-22 regular season, the Thunderbirds have made more than 60 appearances in the community, in addition to charitable initiatives such as Hockey Fights Cancer, Toys for Tots toy drives, and Teddy Bear Toss donations. Many of these events have featured interaction in the community from the team mascot, Boomer. In the month of November, the Thunderbirds went lavender across their platforms to spotlight the NHL and AHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. Proceeds raised throughout the month went on to benefit a wide array of local cancer-based charities, including the Sister Caritas Cancer Center, CHD’s Cancer House of Hope, Baystate Children’s Hospital, and the Hockey Fights Cancer charity itself. Highlighting a busy month of December, the Thunderbirds collected more than 5,000 stuffed animals in the club’s annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 11. In a showing of holiday spirit, Thunderbirds staff and Boomer delivered donations of those bears to a wide range of area charities, including the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House, YMCA of Greater Springfield, CHD, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, and the Boys & Girls Club Family Center. Furthering the team’s heartfelt gestures, Thunderbirds captain Tommy Cross, together with teammates Michael Kim and Drew Callin, also provided a meaningful gesture at holiday time when the trio purchased a plethora of presents for three local families who were recently displaced from their homes. This marked the second time in his two Thunderbirds seasons that Cross has led such a mission. Boomer and the team were active in numerous other charitable affairs throughout the fall and early winter. The T-Birds partnered with local elementary schools for yet another successful kickoff to the team’s Stick to Reading program, with support from MassMutual. The initiative promotes literacy among elementary-school students in the Western Mass. community. Schools participate in a six-week reading program during the Thunderbirds’ regular season, with a reward of tickets to a game for students who complete their reading goals.

 

Greater Northampton Chamber Announces New Gift-card Kiosk

NORTHAMPTON — The Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce has installed a new, state-of-the-art gift-card kiosk on the second floor of Thornes Marketplace in downtown Northampton. The kiosk allows shoppers to buy a Northampton Gift Card or check the balance on an existing card any time Thornes is open to the public. The Northampton Gift Card program, which has been celebrating its 15th anniversary all year long, enables card holders to redeem their cards at more than 70 participating restaurants, retailers, salons, and other services throughout the Great Northampton area. Since its inception, the program has infused almost $5 million into the local economy. The new self-service kiosk at Thornes is the latest investment and replaced the previous machine, which was at least 12 years old. Another big investment in the program earlier this year was Keiter Corporation’s $10,000 donation and the ‘Keiter Card’ promotion that allowed shoppers to buy a $50 gift card for just $25.

 

Jewish Family Service, Yad Chessed Partner to Help Jewish Households

SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) is partnering with Yad Chessed to expand its offerings to Jewish individuals and families in Western Mass. struggling with financial insecurity. As a social-services agency rooted in the Jewish values of kindness (chessed) and charity (tzedakah), Yad Chessed is committed to helping those in need navigate a path toward financial stability while preserving their privacy and dignity. This partnership will bring new resources to the Western Mass. community, including emergency financial aid, monthly food cards, and ongoing support. In 2020, JFS was the recipient of a Jewish Poverty Challenge grant from the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, and has been working to build a sustainable response to Jewish poverty in Western Mass., including food insecurity, unemployment, childcare and health crises. With the goal of raising awareness and building partnerships, JFS is excited to be partnering with Yad Chessed. Individuals or families in need of assistance should contact Rosalind Torrey at [email protected] or (413) 737-2601.

 

Agenda

Wintersession Classes at HCC

Jan. 3-14: Registration is open for Wintersession classes at Holyoke Community College (HCC), offering new and returning students — as well as students from other colleges home on holiday break — the opportunity to earn a semester’s worth of credits for one class in just 10 days. Students can earn up to four credits by taking Wintersession classes in a wide variety of academic areas: anthropology, communication, criminal justice, economics, engineering, environmental science, geography, law, management, marketing, mathematics, radiology, social science, and sociology. Courses are being offered both on campus and online. Starting Jan. 3, students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes on campus. Students must submit proof of their vaccination status before being allowed to register for on-campus classes. Students who plan to register only for online or remote classes do not have to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination. To enroll for a Wintersession class, visit hcc.edu/wintersession. The registration deadline is Dec. 31.

 

ArtsHub Virtual Summit

Jan. 10-14: The ArtsHub Virtual Summit: “How to Recover and Thrive” welcomes emerging and established artists, performers, arts managers, and those in creative fields to join in a week-long series of virtual interactive workshops, training, and networking sessions. The summit, designed to provide tools to help those working in creative fields recover from the disruption created by the pandemic and learn how to position their business to thrive as the economy recovers, will present daily sessions with guest speakers at 10 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. A full schedule of events, session descriptions, presenter bios, and links to register can be found at www.umass.edu/aes/artshub. The fee for the ArtsHub Virtual Summit is $35 for the early-bird registration (before Jan. 4), and $55 thereafter. The fee provides access to all sessions and online access through January. The ArtsHub was made possible by an initial grant from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and additional support from the Community Foundation of Western Mass.

 

‘Addressing Conflict in Schools Using Non-violent Strategies’

Jan. 17: Western New England University (WNE) School of Law’s Center for Social Justice will present “Addressing Conflict in Schools Using Non-violent Strategies” in conjunction with the Greater Springfield Campaign at 7 p.m. Executive Director of Nonviolent Schools RI Robin Wildman will lead this discussion. Visit bit.ly/WNEMLKDAY2021 to register for this virtual Zoom event. Wildman has been a senior-level Kingian Nonviolence practitioner and teacher for 20 years and a public-school teacher for 28 years (recently retired). Her current role with Nonviolent Schools RI is a result of her desire to train those who work in the field of education in Kingian Nonviolence so that they can work towards institutionalizing the philosophy and conflict-reconciliation strategies, thus transforming the climate and culture of their schools. She has conducted workshops, given lectures, and trained hundreds of adults and children in methods to address and reconcile conflict used by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She is the author of a Kingian Nonviolence curriculum used nationally and internationally, as well as a post-training reflection journal. Wildman has worked closely for 20 years with her mentor and the honorary board chair of Nonviolent Schools RI, noted civil-rights leader Bernard LaFayette Jr., who worked with King. She believes giving students and school staff the tools to understand and address conflict will significantly reduce school violence in all its forms and lead to a more just environment in which students can thrive and achieve their full potential.

 

YPS, Ad Club Mix & Mingle

Jan. 20: The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) and the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts will host an annual Mix & Mingle membership event to support young professionals and encourage them to become more involved and invested in their local communities. The Mix & Mingle membership event will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Paper City Bar & Grill, 241 Whiting Farms Road, Holyoke. The Springfield YPS is an organization built to exchange ideas, share common interests, and cultivate its membership to serve as the Pioneer Valley’s leaders of tomorrow. YPS aims to engage the younger demographic in distinct areas such as business and career development, networking, cultural involvement, community involvement, educational opportunities, volunteerism, recreational and social activities, and more. The Ad Club of Western Massachusetts is the premier organization for all marketing and communications professionals in Western Mass. and Northern Connecticut. The club offers its members the ability to advance and enrich the advertising community by acting as a catalyst for idea exchange, professional development, and creative energy. Members can register for the event at www.eventbrite.com/e/mix-mingle-registration-219246591457.

People on the Move

Kevin DeRosa

Greenfield Savings Bank (GSB) announced the hiring of Kevin DeRosa as vice president for its Retail Distribution Network. He will be responsible for overseeing the retail operations of all GSB offices and the bank’s contact center, which includes teller and customer service in the lobbies, the call center, and the teller services offered through the bank’s network of Teller Connect ATMs, which provide GSB teller service via video. DeRosa earned a bachelor’s degree in business finance and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire. He graduated from the CUNA Management School as a certified credit union executive and has also earned the designation of credit union compliance expert. He has recently received a National Excellence Award from the Credit Union National Assoc. for developing a solutions-based sales program. He is also an adjunct professor at Vermont State Colleges and at the Community College System of New Hampshire, where he has taught since 2014. He is very active volunteering in the Claremont, N.H. area at Riverstone Church and has been a past board member and treasurer of the Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past member of the Norwich, Vt. Business Council.

•••••

Collins Electric announced a change in leadership, with Larry Eagan taking the reins as company president and CEO, Patrick Egan assuming the role of vice president of Finance, and Andrew Collins, the son of the company’s recently retired co-president, assuming the role of vice president of Operations and beginning the fifth generation of family company ownership. Established in 1906, Collins Electric serves commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities across Western Mass. Eagan was co-president with Joseph Collins until Collins’ retirement in late 2020. Eagan has been with the company for more than 30 years, representing the fourth generation of family ownership. He and Joseph are the great-grandsons of the company co-founder, Timothy Collins. Another great-grandson, Egan, joined the company in 2019, previously serving as the CFO and COO of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Andrew Collins first joined Collins Electric in 2011. He is a graduate of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 7 apprenticeship program and Johnson & Wales University. He has been working as an estimator and project manager for the company for the last several years. He is a great-great-grandson of Timothy Collins.

•••••

Sue Drumm

April Healey

The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley (RAPV) announced its annual award winners at the association’s Holiday Celebration meeting on Dec. 8 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. The Realtor of the Year is Sue Drumm of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The Affiliate of the Year is April Healey of Norcom Mortgage. The Realtor of the Year Award is the highest form of recognition the association can bestow on a Realtor member. It is given to a member based on association activity, community activity outside the association, and business activity. A Realtor since 2009, Drumm has served on the RAPV board of directors since 2013. She has also served on the community service, education fair and expo, finance, government affairs, and member engagement committees. Drumm has given back to the community through her active involvement with the community service committee, including conducting toy drives and assisting with the Shriners Hospitals for Children blanket drive to benefit the committee’s effort. She has also coordinated RAPV new-member orientation and participated in the Mayoral Minute with Agawam Mayor William Sapelli. The Affiliate of the Year Award is the highest form of recognition the association can bestow on an affiliate member. It is given based on affiliate membership activities related to the association, community service in activities outside the association, and business activity. A member of RAPV since 2002, Healey is the loan officer at Norcom Mortgage and has served on the community service and affiliate-Realtor committees. She has demonstrated a tremendous amount of support to the association and community outreach and volunteered in RAPV’s community-service efforts by helping and taking the lead in serving neighbors in the Franklin County Community Meals Program and getting involved with her local Rotary Club. She has also conducted financial-management workshops for teens and single moms in Franklin County.

•••••

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) board announced that interim Executive Director John Anz, who formerly served as Development director, will be accepting another position outside of the SSO. Concurrently, the board has begun the process of identifying and hiring a new interim leader for the organization. The SSO management committee will serve as the committee to conduct the search process. Anz said the announcement about his new position will be shared at a later date in order to allow the hiring organization to inform internal staff and related constituencies. “It has been my great pleasure and privilege to be a part of this important cultural partner in our community these past few years,” he said. “Despite the many recent challenges we have faced, I have complete confidence in the current leadership of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. I look forward to the SSO’s triumphant return to the concert stage and continuing to be a patron and supporter now and in the years to come.”

•••••

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) announced the promotion of Colleen Kucinski to director of Education Impact and Partnerships, and the appointments of Meredith Lewis as director of Community Impact and Partnerships and Bandhana Sinha as business analyst. Kucinski, who celebrated her sixth anniversary at CFWM in September, will now direct post-secondary programs, Western Mass Completes, and other initiatives, including a forthcoming focus on supporting a strong start for all children. Prior to administering CFWM’s $2 million scholarship and interest-free loan program as a senior program officer at the foundation, Kucinski spent more than 20 years working directly with students at area colleges, including Greenfield Community College, where she served as director of Career Services and later as director of Admission. She earned a master of education degree at Springfield College. In her new role, Lewis has oversight of all aspects of community investments, including the design, implementation, and monitoring of grant-making activities to direct the foundation’s community-impact goals. She previously served as director of Content, Education, and Family Experience for PJ Library, a global literacy program, as well as in a variety of roles, including managing editor and chief operating officer, at 70 Faces Media. She received her master of public administration degree and a master’s degree in Hebrew and Judaic studies from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. In a newly developed position, Sinha is responsible for leveraging technology and data to drive productivity and innovation. In recent work, she served as an IT business analyst for Equinix and a business initiatives consultant for Wells Fargo in the San Francisco Bay area. Sinha received her post-graduate diploma in management from New Delhi Institute of Management and her bachelor’s degree in business management from Bangalore University.

•••••

Zhaojun ‘Steven’ Li of the Western New England University (WNE) College of Engineering has been elected to serve as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Reliability Society’s 2022 president. Li is an associate professor with the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at WNE. He currently serves on the editorial board for IEEE Transactions on Reliability and is the lead editor of IEEE Access Reliability Society Section. He served as the vice president for publications of the IEEE Reliability Society in 2019 and has been the treasurer since 2020. He also served as a board member of the IISE Quality Control and Reliability Engineering Division. He is an ASQ-certified reliability engineer and Caterpillar Six Sigma Black Belt. His research interests include data analytics, applied statistics, operations research, and reliability engineering. He is a senior member of IEEE and IISE. Li was named Engineer of the Year by IEEE Reliability Society in 2020. He received his PhD in industrial engineering from the University of Washington. Established in 1884, the IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE Reliability Society promotes recognition of the reliability profession, develops and disseminates reliability best practices, and is a resource for collaboration among reliability professionals.

•••••

Care Coordinate, a statewide network that provides access to high-quality and cost-effective home- and community-based services, of which LifePath is a partner, named Sean Rogers its managing director. A senior-level executive with extensive home-care and community-based experience, Rogers most recently served as vice president of Strategy and Development at Amedisys, a leading provider of in-home healthcare for older adults. Additionally, he has held state government leadership positions at the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, where he served as director of Operations, and with the Department of Mental Health as director of Budget and Core Services for the metro-suburban region. In this new position, Rogers will leverage the strength of Care Coordinate’s network of aging-services access points (ASAPs) to offer a single, statewide entity for insurance plans, accountable-care organizations, and other providers and payers to manage and administer long-term services and supports that drive quality care and improved outcomes for its partners. Services offered include in-home case management, care transitions, provider-network management, third-party billing and claim operations, and consultative solutions. Rogers received his education and training in human-resource management, financial systems, administration, and leadership from the U.S. Coast Guard. He is currently on the board of directors of the Home Care Aide Council and serves as president of the board of the Home Care Aide Foundation.

•••••

Valley Community Development announced Alexis Breiteneicher has been named executive director. She comes to Valley after almost eight years at Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), where she served as director of Development. Before that, she was the Development manager for the Trustees of Reservations and worked for the Melville Charitable Trust in Boston. She also has considerable experience working with nonprofit organizations that support low-income communities, with an emphasis on finding solutions to homelessness. Board President Peter Jessop had been serving as interim executive director prior to Breiteneicher’s hire.

•••••

HCC Foundation Inc., the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College, has added four new members to its board of directors, including three alumni. Wendy Fox (’16) is director of Curriculum Development for Onramp Invest, a crypto-asset management company. A graduate of HCC and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Fox worked with the UMass Foundation board and UMass alumni board as an administrative fellow for corporate engagement at the university. Maura Greaney (’93) is director of Philanthropy, Development Communications, and Special Events for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Greaney has an extensive background in nonprofit fundraising, grant writing, event planning, and development. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from UMass Boston. Erin Godfrey is director of Odyssey House, a program of Viability, a Holyoke nonprofit that supports individuals with disabilities and other societal advantages. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College whose husband, Chris Godfrey, attended HCC through the support of the college’s veterans programs, and both were involved with the HCC Military Club while he was a student. Camille Theriaque (’12) is a licensed clinical social worker with MiraVista Behavioral Health Center in Holyoke. As a student at HCC searching for a second career, Theriaque, a retired Holyoke firefighter, received a 29 Who Shine award from the state Department of Higher Education as well as a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree at Smith College.

Company Notebook

The Big E Ranked Third-largest Fair of 2021

WEST SPRINGFIELD — The 2021 numbers are in, and the Big E is officially the third-largest fair in North America, based on attendance measured during the 17-day fair and compared with that of hundreds of fairs in the U.S. and Canada. “Astoundingly, we beat Minnesota this year,” Eastern States Exposition President and CEO Gene Cassidy said. “The Minnesota State Fair is a benchmark in our industry and attracts visitors from all over the state and beyond. We have waited 105 years for this.” The Big E’s ranking among the largest fairs in the nation is surpassed only by the State Fair of Texas, located in Dallas; and the Arizona State Fair, located in Phoenix. A total of 1,498,774 people visited the 2021 Big E, held Sept. 17 to Oct. 3 in West Springfield, establishing the ranking, according to Carnival Warehouse’s annual Top 50 Fairs list. The 2019 Big E ranked fifth. The Big E set four daily attendance records over the course of 2021’s 17-day event, including an all-time single-day attendance of 177,238 on the final Saturday. The 2022 Big E takes place Sept. 16 to Oct. 2.

 

Girls Inc. of the Valley Receives $1 Million Pledge

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has received a generous $1 million gift from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation in support of its Eureka! program and as part of the Girls Inc. of the Valley campaign, “Her Future, Our Future.” This $1 million commitment will provide approximately two-thirds of the total cost of Eureka! programming over the next five years. The next five years are important for Eureka! because the program will be taken from its pilot status into a full-fledged model with strong longitudinal outcome data and long-term professional evaluation. With this data and evaluation, the program will have opportunities to attract national-level institutional support, including through the national Girls Inc. network and Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Eureka! partner, UMass Amherst. In order to continue to build opportunities for girls in the region, Girls Inc. is conducting its first major capital campaign. The “Her Future, Our Future” campaign is a bold initiative designed to significantly increase tangible opportunities for girls to develop confidence and interest in achieving academic and personal success. With STEM careers from nursing to engineering to lab sciences to computer programming playing an ever-more important role in the workforce, Eureka! provides a major opportunity to open up those career pathways to more than 120 girls per year and to position those girls for success in gaining access to higher education. Overall, “Her Future, Our Future” will support significant expansion at Girls Inc., to the point that it will serve approximately 5% of all girls in the Holyoke, Springfield, and Chicopee public-school systems. The campaign seeks to raise $5 million to accomplish three critical strategic goals: building a permanent home in downtown Holyoke; expanding school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and advancing and sustaining Eureka! by securing the program and solidifying its role as an important regional pipeline to higher education and STEM careers.

 

PeoplesBank Commits $125,000 to Behavioral Health Network

SPRINGFIELD — Behavioral Health Network Inc. (BHN) announced it has received a $25,000 donation from PeoplesBank to benefit the Katherine B. Wilson Staff Excellence Fund. It is the first installment of a $125,000 commitment over the next five years. BHN established the Katherine B. Wilson Staff Excellence Fund to support the career and professional development of the organization’s workforce and assist in achieving social-justice objectives. Through community partnerships, valuable in-kind services, and generous donations, BHN seeks to address a variety of staff professional-development opportunities. The fund will provide support for scholarship funds and forgivable loans for staff to further their education at local colleges, along with licensure support.

 

UMass Decarbonization Collaboration Wins Award

AMHERST — A collaboration among UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, and Salem State University to work together to decarbonize each campus has been recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources with a Leading by Example (LBE) Award, which was presented to representatives from each campus at a ceremony last month. The LBE Awards recognize Commonwealth agencies, public colleges and universities and municipalities, and public-sector staff and volunteers for outstanding efforts related to clean energy and the environment that have resulted in measurable impacts. The four-campus collaboration began during fiscal year 2020-21, when all four campuses decided to undertake a collaborative strategic planning process to decarbonize their campuses. Representatives from each campus held a series of meetings to allow for a free exchange of ideas, challenges, and lessons learned so that others might get a better result. The group kept various state agencies abreast of their discussions and how the work may affect formulating new policy. The group is also committed to sharing their information with similar institutions and agencies across the commonwealth. To qualify for the award, the campuses had to meet various criteria, including sustainable practices, environmental benefits, cost savings, and education and outreach efforts.

 

Springfield College Earns Green Bond Designation

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College announced it has partnered with MassDevelopment to issue $106,675,000 in bonds, of which $50 million has received the Green Bond designation by Kestrel Verifiers, approved verifiers accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative. Sustainability remains a key strategic focus for Springfield College, and pursuing a Green Bond was an intentional decision to demonstrate that commitment. The bond offerings highlight a commitment to both climate and sustainability designations, and will be used to finance campus construction and renovation projects, including the new Springfield College Health Sciences Center, which will empower transformative approaches to education, career enhancement, service, research, and leadership in healthcare. The new Health Sciences Center will be architecturally designed by SLAM, based in Glastonbury, Conn., and constructed by Consigli Construction, based in Hartford, Conn.

 

Food Bank Receives $5 Million for Food-distribution Center

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Eric Lesser recently joined Chicopee Mayor John Vieau, members of Chicopee’s legislative delegation, and Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, to announce $5 million in funding secured to build a food-distribution center and headquarters in the city of Chicopee. Lesser acted as lead sponsor in the Senate, securing this state funding in the ARPA spending bill signed into law on Dec. 13. “The Food Bank of Western Mass. provides vital services to those in need in our region. With this funding, we have put them in striking distance of their new building capital campaign, which will be located at the heart of the need,” Lesser said. “There has never been a time where the work of the Food Bank has been more important, and we remain committed to working with them to address food insecurity in Western Mass. until it exists no more.” Morehouse expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Food Bank’s board of directors and employees, as well as households across the four counties of Western Mass. who struggle to put food on the table. “This tremendous investment in the Food Bank’s future food-distribution center and headquarters in Chicopee will enable us to carry out our mission for decades to come,” he said. “I would like to thank Senator Lesser for leading the charge with his fellow Chicopee state legislators and for the support of the entire Western Massachusetts legislative delegation and Governor Baker. Together, this public-private partnership will achieve our vision of a Western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry and everyone has access to healthy food.”

 

Bova, Harrington & Associates Welcomed into Whittlesey

HARTFORD, Conn. — Whittlesey, one of New England’s largest accounting, advisory, and technology firms, announced that Bova, Harrington & Associates has joined the firm. The merger expands Whittlesey’s footprint in Western Mass. “Our shared values and common industries, services, and culture will bring outstanding value to our clients and community,” said Drew Andrews, Whittlesey’s CEO and managing partner. “The addition of Bova, Harrington & Associates will reinforce our growth strategy and extend our region’s reach. Together, we look forward to expanding our New England presence and new partnership.” Bova, Harrington & Associates is a full-service CPA firm that provides tax, assurance, and business-advisory services. “Joining the Whittlesey team is a perfect blend of common values and a commitment to the highest standards of client service,” said Joe Bova and Steve Harrington of Bova, Harrington & Associates. “Whittlesey’s extensive resources offer an opportunity to greatly expand our offerings to serve our clients better and create opportunities for our team. We are excited about our next chapter.”

 

Holyoke Community College Delivers $3.77 Million in Relief Aid to Students

HOLYOKE — Just when they might need it most, students at Holyoke Community College (HCC) are getting a holiday gift from the college totaling $3.77 million. The money is part of CARES Act pandemic-relief funds provided by the federal government. More than 3,500 eligible HCC students have each received, or will soon receive, block grants of $600 to $2,500, depending on their enrollment status and expected family contribution as determined by their financial-aid eligibility. The average grant is about $1,000. The cash grants are unrestricted, meaning students can use them however they want, and the money does not need to be repaid. Accepting the money also will not reduce a student’s financial-aid award. This is the fourth semester in a row that HCC has provided pandemic-relief funds directly to students. The federal CARES (Conavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act provides funding to students to offset the expenses they might have incurred when colleges switched from face-to-face to remote learning. That could mean having to buy a computer, buying or upgrading internet access, or paying increased utility costs from being home, among other expenses.

 

Upscale Socks Donates Socks to Friends of the Homeless

SPRINGFIELD — As winter began, Upscale Socks made a presentation of warm socks to Friends of the Homeless on Dec. 23. For every pair of socks purchased between Nov. 23 and Dec. 19, Upscale Socks owner Lenny Underwood made a sock donation to the organization. “As a nonprofit behavioral-health agency, we very much value our local community partnerships,” Clinical & Support Options President and CEO Karin Jeffers said. “Upscale Socks is helping our Friends of the Homeless shelter guests stay warm and cared for this winter — and helping them do it with style and dignity.” Underwood added that “we are thrilled to partner with Friends of the Homeless. Hopefully our socks will bring warmth and happiness to those in need.”

 

Frontier Launches Non-stop Service From Bradley to Cancun, San Juan

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced the debut of new, non-stop service from Bradley International Airport to Cancun, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico on Frontier Airlines. The service to Cancun International Airport will commence on Feb. 17 and will operate seasonally, three times a week. The service to San Juan Airport will commence on Feb. 18 and will operate year-round, three times a week. To view flight times and booking options, visit www.flyfrontier.com. In addition to the service to Cancun and San Juan, Frontier offers non-stop service from Bradley to Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Orlando, and Raleigh-Durham. The airline has been operating at Bradley since 2018.

 

Agenda

Winter Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday: Hampshire Mall has welcomed back the Winter Farmers’ Market this season. It will run every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Target wing, through April 2. The market will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. All winter long, fresh vegetables and fruit, meat, cheese, bread, crafts, and more will be available from local farmers and artisans. Some of the vendors participating this season include Atlas Farm, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Chase Hill Farm, Quabbin Hill Farm, and many more. EBT/SNAP and HIP benefits are accepted. A list of participating vendors will be updated at wfmhm.com/our-vendors.

 

 

The Fort Carolers

Through Dec. 24: The famous Fort Carolers have returned to the Student Prince and the Fort Restaurant, where Christmas caroling will take place every night in the dining area through Christmas Eve. For more than eight decades, Christmas caroling has been part of the holiday festivities at 8 Fort St. For many families, friends, and companies, it has become an annual tradition to visit the Student Prince and the Fort this time of year to hear the Fort Carolers sing the classics while enjoying the restaurant’s authentic German and American fare, along with lots of good cheer. This year they are back with ‘snow’ bubbles and lights. The Student Prince and the Fort Restaurant has hosted Christmas caroling for more than 80 years. What once started out as a few carolers at the door has turned into an annual nightly performance of Christmas caroling for the many generations of customers who visit Springfield’s landmark restaurant for the holidays. Reservations are necessary, and can be made by calling (413) 734-7475.

 

Asnuntuck Wintersession

Dec. 27 to Jan. 14: Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) is once again offering a three-week wintersession. Registration is currently underway for 15 online accelerated courses that will be taught during the college’s winter break. The courses include Art Appreciation, Art History II, Introduction to Nutrition, Principles of Genetics, Principles of Management, Introduction to Software Applications, Spreadsheet Applications, Leadership in Early Childhood Programs, Introduction to Human Services, Massage Theory & Practice, Medical Terminology, Law and Ethics for Health Careers, General Psychology I, General Psychology II, and Principles of Sociology. Art History II and Principles of Sociology require either no or a low-cost ($40 or less) textbook. Phlebotomy Externship is also being offered. Visit the website www.asnuntuck.edu for more information. Current non-students can click ‘Become a Student’ at the top of the page to begin. The session provides a way for students at other colleges to earn credit to be transferred back to their home institution. Students are advised to check with their college regarding transferability of courses.

 

Company Notebook

STCC Receives $55,000 from Community Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received two grants worth $55,000 from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. A $30,000 Flexible Funding Grant awarded to the STCC Foundation will be used to boost the student-empowerment fund, which was created as a resource for students facing a variety of barriers standing in the way of their ability to complete their education. Students in need of support for short-term housing, transportation, childcare, academic program resources, and nutritious meals can apply for the help they need through the empowerment fund, freeing them to focus on their studies and complete their programs. A separate $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation will be used to fund the STCC’s COVID-19 vaccine video. STCC has created a video to promote vaccinations. All community colleges in the Commonwealth are requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated by the start of the spring semester in January. This vaccine requirement is aimed at ensuring the safest learning and working environment possible for all members of the STCC community. The STCC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, helps STCC meet its goals and commitment to provide superior educational opportunities to the community.

 

U.S. Tsubaki Supports Innovation, Entrepreneurship at WNE

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNE) announced that Chicopee-based U.S. Tsubaki Automotive (USTA) made a gift of $12,500 to support the university’s colleges of Business and Engineering’s Product Development and Innovation (PDI) course over the next five years. Taught in the fall semester, PDI is comprised of business and engineering students who develop an idea at the onset of class and grow the concept into a limited, functional prototype supported by a business plan. Student teams demonstrate their project innovations at the annual PDI Showcase held the first week of December. Attending the event are members of the university’s board of trustees and several area economic-development leaders and investors. The attendees invest ‘Golden Bear investment dollars’ into the innovations they believe have the most commercial potential. Some of the innovations continue as senior design projects, while others compete in the Grinspoon Spirit Awards and the Draper Competition. The university patents select innovations that have the most potential.

 

Springfield WORKS Wins $100,000 Grant in Partnership with Home City Development

SPRINGFIELD — A $100,000 Urban Agenda Grant was recently awarded to Springfield WORKS, the lead applicant in a team including Home City Development Inc. as the primary partner. The funds will be used to facilitate a community-wide collaboration, with the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council to manage, coordinate, and support the work of numerous participating program partner organizations, in efforts to help families in Springfield achieve economic stability. The funds will go toward the 2Generation/Whole Family Approach to Pathways to Careers and Home Ownership Program, which is a holistic, creative, and collaborative approach that helps low-income families access career-development tools and training to successfully position individuals on a positive career trajectory. This program will focus on adults and children, addressing the gaps and barriers within multiple systems, including the ‘cliff effect,’ which makes transitioning out of state assistance programs challenging. This project also brings a gender- and racial-equity lens to workforce strategies. Home City Development is the main partner in this project, which means all program participants are Home City Development residents. The program will incorporate the Springfield WORKS’ 2Generation/Whole Family Approach with Home City Development’s HUD Family Self Sufficiency program. Other partners include Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts, HCS Head Start, EforAll, Families First, Springfield Partners for Community Action, and MassHire Springfield. Springfield WORKS leverages employer partners including Baystate Health, MGM Springfield, United Personnel/Masis, Springfield Public Schools, and others for career pathway opportunities.

 

MCLA Department of Business Administration Earns ACBSP Accreditation

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Department of Business Administration has earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This accreditation covers all the department’s business-degree paths, as well as the college’s MBA program. A global accreditation agency, ACBSP focuses on recognizing teaching excellence, determining student learning outcomes, and a continuous improvement model. ACBSP’s student-centered teaching and learning approach, which is measured and analyzed for quality, ensures that students gain the right skills from their educational investment. Institutions with programs accredited by ACBSP are committed to continuous improvement that ensures their business program will give students the skills employers want. MCLA’s Department of Business Administration already has an excellent track record for job placement. Recent graduates have secured full-time work at major national companies like BDO Consulting, General Dynamics, and Google. MCLA accounting majors who sit for the certified public accountant exam currently have a 100% pass rate.

 

Hancock Associates Acquires Sherman & Frydryk

DANVERS — Hancock Associates, a leading provider of land-surveying, civil-engineering, and wetland-science services, recently announced it has acquired Sherman & Frydryk, LLC, a land-surveying and civil-engineering firm located in Palmer. With roots dating back to 1950, Sherman & Frydryk’s long list of clients includes residential and commercial developers, municipalities, service utilities, MassDOT, hospitals, and more throughout Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties and the surrounding areas. Sherman & Frydryk will operate as a division of Hancock Associates. Don Frydryk will serve as regional office manager, and the current staff will continue to be part of the Sherman & Frydryk team. The acquisition assists Hancock in expanding services to Central and Western Massachusetts. It also adds historical survey records from W.H. and H.W. Brainerd, John Casey, Nathaniel Clapp, Charles Dingman, R.O. and G.F. Dingman, Kenneth Sherman, Sherman and Woods, Sherman & Frydryk, Richard Stowe, and Arthur Sullivan to Hancock’s collection of land-surveying and civil-engineering resources.

 

Junior Achievement Gets Support from Balise Auto Group

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is getting assistance from a local auto dealer for one of its educational programs about car ownership. Balise Auto Group volunteers will present JA All About Cars, a Junior Achievement program that explores the personal-finance considerations that go into purchasing a vehicle, to nearly 200 students in six area high schools during December. JA All About Cars programs are funded by a grant from American Honda Finance Corp. Through the program, students make a real-world connection to the car-buying experience, motivating them to make good financial decisions when buying or leasing. Following participation in the program, students will be able to consider whether a dream car is a realistic purchase for most people, explore their driving needs and things to consider when choosing a car, identify a car that meets their needs, and research the cost and understand the pros and cons of financing or leasing a car.

 

Frontier Launches Non-stop Service From Bradley to Cancun, San Juan

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced the debut of new, non-stop service from Bradley International Airport to Cancun, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico on Frontier Airlines. The service to Cancun International Airport will commence on Feb. 17 and will operate seasonally, three times a week. The service to San Juan Airport will commence on Feb. 18 and will operate year-round, three times a week. To view flight times and booking options, visit www.flyfrontier.com. In addition to the service to Cancun and San Juan, Frontier offers non-stop service from Bradley to Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Orlando, and Raleigh-Durham. The airline has been operating at Bradley since 2018.

 

Company Notebook

HCC Culinary Arts Program Ranked Among Best in U.S.

HOLYOKE — The Culinary Arts program at Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been ranked among the best in the U.S., according to Best Choice Schools, an online college resource guide. HCC placed 50th among the Best Culinary Schools in America for 2021, a list that also includes such esteemed institutions as the Culinary Institute of America, which has branches in New York, California, and Texas. HCC’s culinary program ranked third in New England after Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., and Southern Maine Community College in Portland. In particular, HCC was cited for the quality of its one-year certificate and two-year associate-degree programs in culinary arts, as well as its 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which opened in downtown Holyoke in 2018. The program summary notes that the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute is equipped with four modern kitchens, a bakery, a hotel lab, and a student-run dining room. Since it opened, the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street has become a favorite host site for college, community, and regional events. Best Choice Schools also notes that HCC is the only public college or university in Massachusetts with a culinary-arts program accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

 

Polish National Credit Union to Merge with Premier Source Credit Union

CHICOPEE — Polish National Credit Union (PNCU), headquartered in Chicopee, and Premier Source Federal Credit Union (PSFCU), headquartered in East Longmeadow, have signed a definitive merger agreement. PNCU will be the continuing credit union and acquire PSFCU’s 4,526 members and nearly $70 million in assets. The PSFCU headquarters will become the East Longmeadow branch of PNCU. This year, PNCU celebrates 100 years of service and has approximately $700 million in assets. Upon completion of the merger, PSFCU members will enjoy full use of PNCU’s seven full-service branches and access to business banking services, investment services, and insurance products. Having negotiated a definitive merger agreement, both credit unions will now seek regulatory approval from the Massachusetts Division of Banks, the National Credit Union Administration, the Mass. Credit Union Share Insurance Corp., and their memberships. The merger is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.

 

UMass Dining Services Awarded $319,000 to Support Use of Kelp

AMHERST — UMass Dining Services has been awarded $319,000 by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation for its “Strategies to Onboard Kelp into College Dining Programs” project. Between 2013 and 2020, the Kendall Foundation’s gift of $1,395,000 supported UMass Dining’s commitment to local, healthy and sustainable sourcing. As an example, the Real Food Challenge initiative of 20% ‘real food’ by 2020 — a goal UMass Dining exceeded, achieving 29% — was supported by this funding. In addition, the grant supported infrastructure improvements, relationship building, promotional campaigns, local partnerships, innovative programs, and regional convening for key stakeholders. This two-year project will introduce nutrient-dense, regeneratively grown New England kelp into the UMass Dining program as a choice for students and an opportunity for climate action. UMass Dining is partnering with New England-based Atlantic Sea Farms on the project as an innovative leader in the kelp industry on the East Coast. Atlantic Sea Farms offers not only kelp products, but expertise in the climate impact of growing and eating kelp, as well as the volume necessary for a large campus dining program. This partnership with Atlantic Sea Farms will drive normalization and inclusion of kelp on university menus. Along with recipe and concept development, UMass Dining plans to engage students by integrating kelp into its Low Carbon Dining campaign and its Diet for a Cooler Planet campaign. This project aims to lay the path for replication so that kelp can be introduced to menus in college and university dining programs across the country.

 

WNEU Offers New MS Program in Pharmacogenomics

SPRINGFIELD — The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Western New England University (WNE) announced a new master of science degree in pharmacogenomics degree starting in the fall of 2022. Pharmacogenomics is a fast-growing field that helps medical practitioners prescribe personalized treatment plans to patients based on how they may respond to medications due to their DNA sequence. Pharmacogenomics supports personalized or precision medicine, which explores a patient’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle as a way to craft a treatment plan that will best suit the patient. The goal of this modern approach to medication therapy is to limit adverse effects while optimizing response and beneficial outcomes. The master of science in pharmacogenomics degree from WNE — the only degree of this type in New England — prepares graduates for careers that will revolutionize the delivery of healthcare and make the most of emerging opportunities from basic laboratory research to clinical implementation of personalized healthcare.

 

HCC Jump Start Program Earns National Recognition

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been named a finalist for a national Bellwether Award in recognition of Jump Start, the college’s job-training and placement program for people who receive public assistance. HCC was one of 10 U.S. colleges selected as a finalist by the Bellwether College Consortium in its Workforce Development category, which identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development. Bellwether finalists represent leading community colleges whose programs and practices are considered outstanding and innovative. The Bellwether Awards are widely regarded as one of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious recognitions for community colleges. HCC was the only community college in Massachusetts selected as a 2022 Bellwether finalist. This is the second year in a row HCC has been named a Bellwether finalist. HCC’s “Together HCC” fundraising and social-media campaign was selected as a finalist for 2021. For more than 20 years, HCC’s Jump Start program has been creating sustainable career pathways for individuals who were previously unemployed or had limited education and work experience. Jump Start offers workforce training for jobs as culinary workers, nursing assistants, pharmacy technicians, customer-service representatives, preschool workers, production technicians, and bus and truck drivers. Finalists for Bellwether Awards are invited to join the consortium and take part in workshops, events, and other activities. Award finalists will undergo a rigorous second and final round of review before the winners are announced in January.

 

Comcast Acquires Russell Municipal Cable TV

RUSSELL — The town of Russell has a new broadband, video, and voice services provider, as Comcast announced it has acquired Russell Municipal Cable TV. Comcast plans to transition residents and businesses to its Xfinity and Comcast Business suite of services through the end of the year. Comcast is now available in 248 communities across Massachusetts and employs local residents at its Xfinity Stores in Springfield and Holyoke, and in several business and technical operations centers across the state, which serve residential customers and businesses.

Agenda

Women of Impact

Dec. 9: BusinessWest will honor its fourth annual class of Women of Impact at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. This year’s class, like the first three, demonstrates the sheer diversity of the ways women leaders in our region are making an impact on the worlds of business, nonprofits, health, and the community. Profiled the Oct. 27 issue of BusinessWest, they are: Jessica Collins, executive director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts; Elizabeth Dineen, CEO of the YWCA of Western Masachusetts; Charlene Elvers, director of the Center for Service and Leadership at Springfield College; Karin Jeffers, president and CEO of Clinical and Support Options; Elizabeth Keen, owner of Indian Line Farm; Madeline Landrau, Program Engagement manager at MassMutual; Shannon Mumblo, executive director of Christina’s House; and Tracye Whitfield, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer for the town of West Springfield and Springfield city councilor. The event is sponsored by Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors) and Comcast Business and Health New England (supporting sponsors). Tickets cost $65 per person (tables of 10 are available). For more information, visit www.businesswest.com or call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

 

Difference Makers Nominations

Through Dec. 9: Do you know someone who is truly making a difference in the Western Mass. region? BusinessWest invites you to nominate an individual or group for its 14th annual Difference Makers program. Nominations for the class of 2022 must be received by the end of the business day (5 p.m.) on Thursday, Dec. 9. Difference Makers was launched in 2009 as a way to recognize the contributions of agencies and individuals who are contributing to quality of life in this region. Past honorees have come from dozens of business and nonprofit sectors, proving there’s no limit to the ways people can impact their communities. So, let us know who you think deserves to be recognized as a Difference Maker in our upcoming class by visiting businesswest.com/difference-makers-nomination-form to complete the nomination form. Honorees will be profiled in an upcoming issue of BusinessWest and celebrated at a gala in the spring.

 

Holiday Brass Concert

Dec. 14: The Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MOSSO) will present a family-friendly performance, “MOSSO and Friends Holiday Brass Concert,” at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church on 335 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. According to Stephen Perry, MOSSO’s co-founder and concert organizer, the program will include the “Carol of the Bells,” traditional holiday songs from Russia and France, holiday music from Hollywood to Springfield, the “Hanukkah Suite,” and jazz interpretations of traditional holiday songs. The concert will feature the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s principal trombonist Brian Diehl, French hornist Robert Hoyle, and principal tubist Stephen Perry. They also happen to be members of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO), and will be joined by their HSO colleagues, trumpeters John Charles Thomas and Scott McIntosh, in this performance. General-admission tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children of high-school age and younger. Tickets must be purchased in advance at springfieldsymphonymusicians.com. No door sales will be available. Only a limited number of tickets will be sold to permit social distancing. All ticket holders will be required to wear masks, and all ticket holders over age 12 must show proof of vaccination.

Agenda

Art Pop-up Shop

Nov. 29 to Dec. 4: Laura Bundesen, an artist-entrepreneur from Huntington, will exhibit and sell her mixed-media ‘brain artwork’ at a one-of-a-kind, neuro-themed pop-up shop at ReevX Labs in Springfield. Bundesen is one of 10 entrepreneurs chosen for the inaugural experience at the community hub at 270 Bridge St., which is funded by Berkshire Bank and supported by Valley Venture Mentors. She is excited to have the opportunity to use the space for her solo display and sale. Her neuro-art pop-up shop will be open Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community members are invited. Bundesen calls herself a ‘neuro-artist,’ and said her work, which ranges from $14 enamel lapel pins to $3,600 embroidered paintings, especially resonates with people with neurological disorders, their loved ones, and with scientists, neurologists, psychologists, and others in healthcare. At the heart of most of her work is painstaking hand embroidery. A canvas might feature a whimsical rendering of a brain, in handiwork at the center, with paint on a work’s periphery. Each piece is unique and colorful and offers what Bundesen calls “fantastical, imaginary brains.” Her work includes mixed-media originals, prints, earrings, coloring books, and brain-shaped lapel pins. A large selection will be available at the pop-up shop for in-person shopping. Anyone interested in learning more about her wares can visit her website and shop at www.laurabundesen.com.

 

OnBoard Matching Event

Dec. 7: United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) has merged with the Springfield-based nonprofit OnBoard. Continuing under the same name as a UWPV program, OnBoard will continue hosting biennial conferences to increase diversity on the boards of local and regional nonprofits, and work more closely with nonprofits to build diversity through trainings and other tools. Leadership Pioneer Valley, which provides training and support for rising nonprofit professionals in the region, will work with UWPV to support the program. An OnBoard matching event is scheduled for Dec. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Valley Venture Mentors, 276 Bridge St., Springfield. Registration information can be found at uwpv.org/onboard, and donations can be made at uwpv.org/donate.

 

Women of Impact

Dec. 9: BusinessWest will honor its fourth annual class of Women of Impact at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. This year’s class, like the first three, demonstrates the sheer diversity of the ways women leaders in our region are making an impact on the worlds of business, nonprofits, health, and the community. Profiled the Oct. 27 issue of BusinessWest, they are: Jessica Collins, executive director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts; Elizabeth Dineen, CEO of the YWCA of Western Masachusetts; Charlene Elvers, director of the Center for Service and Leadership at Springfield College; Karin Jeffers, president and CEO of Clinical and Support Options; Elizabeth Keen, owner of Indian Line Farm; Madeline Landrau, Program Engagement manager at MassMutual; Shannon Mumblo, executive director of Christina’s House; and Tracye Whitfield, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer for the town of West Springfield and Springfield city councilor. The event is sponsored by Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors) and Comcast Business and Health New England (supporting sponsors). Tickets cost $65 per person (tables of 10 are available). For more information, visit www.businesswest.com or call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

 

Difference Makers Nominations

Through Dec. 9: Do you know someone who is truly making a difference in the Western Mass. region? BusinessWest invites you to nominate an individual or group for its 14th annual Difference Makers program. Nominations for the class of 2022 must be received by the end of the business day (5 p.m.) on Thursday, Dec. 9. Difference Makers was launched in 2009 as a way to recognize the contributions of agencies and individuals who are contributing to quality of life in this region. Past honorees have come from dozens of business and nonprofit sectors, proving there’s no limit to the ways people can impact their communities. So, let us know who you think deserves to be recognized as a Difference Maker in our upcoming class by visiting businesswest.com/difference-makers-nomination-form to complete the nomination form. Honorees will be profiled in an upcoming issue of BusinessWest and celebrated at a gala in the spring.

 

Company Notebook

UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences Nets $93 Million

AMHERST — UMass Amherst announced that, as part of Robert and Donna Manning’s recent historic $50 million gift to the University of Massachusetts, $18 million will endow the newly named Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences. At the same time, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a $75 million commitment that will enhance and expand the college’s facilities. The state grant, which will be allocated over the course of multiple future capital plans, is backed by a $30 million commitment from the campus for the expanded physical footprint of the college. These combined investments will allow the college to continue to grow and fuel new discoveries in computing research. It will attract top faculty, increase access to its nationally ranked program, and offer scholarships, bridge programs, and peer mentoring to foster a diverse and ethical future workforce. Since 2018, the college has committed to doubling the amount of undergraduate and graduate students, and the gift and grant will help accelerate that goal. The Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences ranks among the top 20 computer science programs in North America and boasts the 11th-ranked artificial intelligence (AI) program. United around a revolutionary vision for computing research and education, known as Computing for the Common Good, the college is driving scientific discovery in key areas such as healthcare, sustainability, cybersecurity, quantum information systems, and human-centered technology. Its research is focused on some of the most demanding challenges of today, including ensuring that AI is equitable, safe, and applied in positive ways, creating technologies that protect personal privacy and safeguard children from online predators.

 

Eastern States Exposition Receives Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Eastern States Exposition (ESE) President and CEO Eugene Cassidy was joined by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Robert Nelson, director of the Small Business Assoc. (SBA) Massachusetts District Office, on Oct. 25 to announce that ESE is the recipient of a Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG). These federal grants are given to venues in the entertainment realm such as concert halls, theaters, and other attractions that suffered significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big E, North America’s fifth-largest fair in 2019, did not take place in 2020. “For more than 100 years, the Eastern States Exposition, home of The Big E, has welcomed millions of visitors to enjoy exhibits, entertainment, and agriculture,” said Neal, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “Due to the pandemic, the Big E was forced to close its gates for the 2020 season, resulting in extensive loss. I advocated fiercely on their behalf to the Small Business Administration for swift approval of the Big E’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application. Today, just weeks after almost 1.5 million people visited the 2021 fair, we celebrate the authorization of $9 million to the Big E. Congratulations to Gene Cassidy and his team for this tremendous award.”

 

Country Bank Opens New Office in Tower Square

SPRINGFIELD — Country Bank opened a business office on the 17th floor of Tower Square in Springfield at the end of October to support its continued growth in the markets it serves. The new business office will support local businesses and allow the Country Bank team to become ingrained with the companies and nonprofits in Springfield. Bringing more than 20 years of commercial banking experience, Senior Vice President Ben Leonard will lead the Springfield team. He has spent more than a decade fostering relationships in Western Mass. with both community and business leaders while he was with Wells Fargo. Leonard serves on the board for Revitalize CDC in Springfield. In 2018, he was a BusinessWest 40 Under Forty honoree and is a graduate of Wells Fargo’s Credit Management Training Program. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Texas.

 

Level Two Studios, LLC Opens in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Level Two Studios, LLC a new all-inclusive production facility, recently opened in Springfield, offering an optimal environment for professional, full-scale video production and photography. Located on the second level of 155 Brookdale Dr., the studio’s expansive, 2,000-square-foot space accommodates creative media production with numerous amenities. The many features of Level Two Studios include a 25-by-11-foot white or green screen corner cyclorama wall — the only one available in the region — as well as blackout walls for seamless filming. The studio also boasts flexible standing sets that provide endless customization options, sound suppression, full lighting, a state-of-the-art video-editing suite and audio studio for post-production, a green room, and ample accommodations for private wardrobe, makeup, meetings, and other preparation. The facility can accommodate production crews of all sizes and is available for both full- and half-day rentals.

 

Barron & Jacobs to Move Office Location

NORTHAMPTON — Barron & Jacobs Associates will move its offices in November from Old South Street in Northampton to 420 North Main St. in Leeds. After 17 years in its current location, the company has decided to move to a new spot. The existing building was purchased by the company’s prior owner from Historic Northampton, and Barron & Jacobs restored the home to its original glory. Company owner Chris Jacobs said the new site offers a great location, is well-suited for the business, and is more energy-efficient. Barron & Jacobs is a full-service design/build remodeler. In business since 1986, the company’s projects include kitchens, baths, porches and decks, attic and basement conversions, whole-house renovations, exterior work, and more. For more information or to schedule a design consultation, visit barronandjacobs.com.

 

Angels in Adoption Honors Friends of Children

HADLEY — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is celebrating Friends of Children as a 2021 Angels in Adoption honoree for its outstanding advocacy for foster-care issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which coordinates the Angels in Adoption program, honored Friends of Children on Oct. 20 in a virtual gala. According to Markey, Friends of Children was nominated as an honoree this year due to its relentless advocacy for children despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic. “Even in our nation’s darkest hour, as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, you have fought tirelessly for the children and families impacted by foster care and involvement in the juvenile justice system and have shown great fortitude in the face of adversity,” Markey said. Jane Lyons, executive director of Friends of Children, said accepting the nomination shines an important light on the invaluable work the organization provides. “To be recognized by the CCAI with this award is really exciting and underscores the value placed on our independent child advocacy for kids in the foster-care system.”

 

Lesser Presents $1,000 Earmark to Springfield Science Museum

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums welcomed state Sen. Eric Lesser on Oct. 25 to announce a $100,000 earmark from the Commonwealth to help fund the International Space Station exhibit in the Springfield Science Museum. The Springfield Museums is constructing a fully immersive representation of the International Space Station module Destiny. The gallery will have an ‘airlock’ entrance and dynamic view of Earth from the exhibit’s bay-window cupola. The vestibule is nearing completion and will include a facsimile astronaut suit as well as interactive features that help visitors better understand the science of space exploration. Plans are also underway for a facilitated, roving ‘space cart,’ which will include items from an astronaut’s gear that visitors can touch. A facilitator will be available to answer questions and share information about space travel. Currently on view outside the gallery is an interactive screen donated by NASA. Visitors can touch the image of the International Space Station to find out more information about its function.

 

Country Bank Supports Ride to Remember

WARE — Country Bank recently supported the Ride to Remember, the 100-mile bicycle ride in tribute to fallen police officers and firefighters. This year, the event was rerouted to include a round-trip ride from Springfield to Worcester to pay tribute to the lives lost by the Worcester Police and Fire departments. Country Bank President and CEO Paul Scully, who previously participated in the ride, presented a $10,000 donation to the Ride to Remember with funds directed to the Manny 267 Foundation in Worcester. The Manny 267 Foundation was established after the city of Worcester suffered the loss of officer Manny Familia, a five-year veteran who responded to the 911 call of a 14-year-old boy in distress at Green Hill Pond. Unfortunately, neither Familia nor the boy survived. The goal of the foundation is to raise funds to provide rescue tubes for every police cruiser and, with the collaboration of the YMCA, provide proper training for police to perform water rescues. In addition, they want to offer swimming lessons and water-survival skills for kids and teenagers in the Worcester community. Finally, their goal is to donate a ‘Manny tube’ to every police department in the U.S. and to prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again.

 

Excel Dryer Renews Support for Square One Program

SPRINGFIELD — For the fifth consecutive year, Excel Dryer is lending its support to Square One’s Adopt-a-Classroom initiative, donating $5,000 to provide supplies and meals to the agency’s preschoolers. “We are proud to support Square One and their ongoing efforts to provide early-education services to children in our area,” said Denis Gagnon, president of Excel Dryer. “This organization is a vital part of our community, providing a safe and educational space for young children. We hope our donation can help provide much-needed meals and resources for these students.” Square One’s Adopt-a-Classroom program is part of the agency’s Campaign for Healthy Kids, a multi-year fund-development initiative focused on the agency’s commitment to providing healthy meals, physical fitness, social-emotional well-being, and a healthy learning environment.

MSB Asks Community to Vote for Their Favorite Nonprofits

MONSON — With the season of giving right around the corner, Monson Savings Bank (MSB) is reaching out to the public and requesting they submit their votes for the bank’s 2022 Community Giving Initiative. For more than a decade, MSB has been seeking the help of the community to plan the bank’s community-giving activities by inviting members of the community to vote for the organizations they would like the bank to support during the upcoming year. Everyone is welcome to participate and can cast their vote at www.monsonsavings.bank/connect/community-giving.html. Voters may provide the names of up to three organizations they would like the bank to donate to in 2022. The only requirements are that the organizations be designated a nonprofit and that the organizations provide services within the bank’s geography. Voting ends on Friday, Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. Monson Savings Bank pledges to support the top 10 organizations that receive the most votes. The 10 organizations will be announced by mid-January, and donations will then be distributed.

American Eagle Supports Asnuntuck Food Pantry

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — American Eagle Financial Credit Union (AEFCU) revealed the recipients of $25,842 in total donations from the latest round of the credit union’s popular Cash Back to the Community program. The third quarter’s winners — three nonprofit organizations from AEFCU’s service area that earned the most community votes — will each receive $8,614 from American Eagle. The latest winners are the Asnuntuck Community College Food Pantry in Enfield, the Southington Girls Softball League, and Our Piece of the Pie in Hartford. Through the Cash Back to the Community program, American Eagle has donated $76,571 to local organizations in 2021 alone, and $162,996 since the program first launched in January 2020. AEFCU donates 1% of its credit- and debit-card interchange income to three nonprofit and/or 501(c)(3) organizations each quarter through the Cash Back to the Community program. In addition to American Eagle’s donations through the Cash Back to the Community program, AEFCU employees donated $3,461 to the United Way and $8,339 to the American Eagle Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. AEFCU employees have provided $33,827 in total donations in 2021. Funds are generated through voluntary payroll deductions throughout the year and distributed to local organizations that American Eagle and its employees support on a quarterly basis.

 

BHN’s Kamp for Kids Receives $5,000 Grant from Westfield Bank

WESTFIELD — Behavioral Health Network Inc. (BHN) announced it has received a grant of $5,000 from Westfield Bank’s Future Fund Program to benefit Kamp for Kids, the organization’s summer day camp for children and young adults with and without disabilities. Westfield Bank, a longtime supporter of BHN’s Kamp for Kids, established the Future Fund in 2002 as a response to overwhelming community needs and the shrinking sources of corporate philanthropy. It prioritizes funding to 501(c)(3) educational, recreational, cultural, and social-service programs that serve Westfield Bank’s market area. Grants made to Kamp for Kids provide camperships to youth with or without disabilities to ensure that all children, regardless of family income, are able to attend camp.

 

buy ivermectin for humans buy ivermectin online
buy generic cialis buy cialis