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Sudha Setty

Sudha Setty

Western New England University School of Law Dean Sudha Setty has been named 2021 Human Relations Award winner by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), a human-relations organization whose mission is to champion social justice for all; fight bias, bigotry, and racism in all forms; and work toward building strong and inclusive communities. Each year, the NCCJ presents the Human Relations Award to individuals or corporations that have actualized in their daily lives the values and mission of the organization. These individuals and companies have demonstrated their commitment to fostering social justice and cooperation among all races, religions, cultures, genders, abilities, and sexual orientations. Setty became dean of the School of Law in 2018 and has served on the faculty since 2006. She is the author of National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law and the editor of Constitutions, Security, and the Rule of Law, and has written dozens of articles on national-security law and policy. In July 2018, she was elected to membership in the American Law Institute. Her leadership of the School of Law has been characterized by a commitment to social justice; diversity, equity, and inclusion work; and supporting excellence in teaching, learning, and research. In May 2019, the School of Law founded the Center for Social Justice, which has quickly grown to be a regional hub of research, advocacy, education, and activism. In April 2021, the faculty of the School of Law adopted an anti-racism and cultural-competency graduation requirement, making it the first law school in the region to do so. Setty is also a founder of the Workshop for Asian-American Women in the Legal Academy, with its inaugural workshop being held in 2021, an effort to support current and aspiring members of the legal academy and to diversify its ranks. She was recognized on the Lawyers of Color Power List in 2020; was recognized as part of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s Top Women in the Law in 2019; was awarded Western New England Law School’s Catherine J. Jones Professor of Year Award in 2009, 2016, and 2018; received the 2017 Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award from the Connecticut Bar Assoc.; and was recognized in 2015 as a Trailblazer by the South Asian Bar Assoc. of Connecticut.

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Elms College announced the retirement of Kathleen Scoble, dean of the college’s School of Nursing, effective Sept. 10. The college has been conducting a national search for Scoble’s successor since she notified the college of her retirement this past January. When Scoble joined Elms College in 2003, the Division of Nursing consisted of one baccalaureate program with 100 students. In the 2020-21 academic year, there were nearly 500 nursing students enrolled in the 12 programs that now comprise the School of Nursing. Scoble established several forward-looking programs, such as the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Master of Science in Nursing programs, as well as the Accelerated Second Degree program. In March 2019, she helped create a unique partnership with the Episcopalian University of Haiti to offer a continuing-education certificate program that prepares the future Haitian nursing workforce to deliver competent, patient-centered care within their communities. In recognition of her stewardship of the School of Nursing, Scoble has been named dean emerita of the School of Nursing, becoming the first Elms College dean to receive this distinguished title. The college has also created the Kathleen B. Scoble Leadership in Nursing Award, which will be presented each year to the nursing student who best exemplifies the ideals of servant leadership, as demonstrated by Scoble, through academic excellence and the individual’s impact on the School of Nursing, Elms College, and the greater community. On Sept. 13, Teresa Kuta Reske — associate dean of Graduate and Doctoral Studies for the School of Nursing and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program — became interim dean of the School of Nursing and will remain in that role until a new dean is hired.

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Christopher Myhrum

Christopher Myhrum

Best Lawyers in America recognized attorney Christopher Myhrum in the categories of environmental law and litigation – environmental. He has received this prestigious recognition every year since 1991. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers in America has become universally regarded as a definitive guide to legal excellence. The nationwide list of attorneys included in the upcoming 28th edition is based on more than 4.3 million confidential and detailed evaluations from more than 41,000 leading attorneys on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Myhrum works with environmental consultants; federal, state, and municipal officials; and other lawyers seeking opportunities for learning and collaboration rather than acrimony and contention. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School and a cum laude graduate of New York University. He is a board member of Westmass Area Development Corp., where he serves as a director and land inventory committee member.

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Ariel Clemmer, director of the Western New England University School of Law Center for Social Justice, was named a 2021 Emerging Women Leader in Law by the Women’s Bar Assoc. (WBA). The award honors women attorneys who have demonstrated professional excellence or had a significant professional achievement in their first 12 years in the legal profession, and promote the status of women in the legal profession or contribute meaningfully to the equal participation of women in a just society. The university’s Center for Social Justice works toward advancing social justice through research, advocacy, education, innovation, and public engagement. It is designed to strengthen collaborative efforts between the School of Law and the region to work toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive society. In addition to providing services like a Consumer Debt Initiative and a Sealing and Expungement initiative to the community, the center has conducted Know Your Rights trainings, provided financial support for initiatives that seek to measure and mitigate the legal fallout from COVID-19, and hosted nationally recognized speakers like Evan Wolfson, the legal architect of the marriage-equality movement. Clemmer is among six to receive this prestigious award. The 2021 awardees will be celebrated and honored at the WBA’s annual gala on Monday, Oct. 25.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Caroline Cay Adams, education director for The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center, received the Janet McCoy Excellence in Public Education Award from the American Association of Zookeepers during a virtual presentation held Aug. 31.

 

Adams was honored for her work creating Kids Go Wild, a multi-week, hands-on education program that is delivered to children in schools and after school programs throughout Western Mass., specifically targeting at-risk youth.

 

“We are so proud of the work Caroline is doing to bring these important resources to youth in our community,” said Sarah Tsitso, executive director of the the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center. “While she certainly deserves recognition for this incredible program she created — from scratch, I might add — it’s only one of the many wonderful educational opportunities she provides for children across our region. We are so fortunate to have her as a key member of our team.”

 

Kids Go Wild provides a fun, interactive way for children to learn about different animal species through cross-hatched science, literacy and art lessons, with each lesson meeting educational standards set by the Mass. Board of Education. During the pandemic, Adams adapted Kids Go Wild into a virtual program, showcasing the flexibility and versatility of the program.

 

“It has been such a rewarding experience to visit classrooms with the Kids Go Wild program,” said Adams. “I have seen the children engage with the lessons while showing compassion and care for the animal ambassadors that accompany me.”

 

“I am honored to be the recipient of this year’s Janet McCoy Excellence in Public Education Award,” Adams added. “Janet McCoy served the zookeeper community as a leader for over 30 years in various roles, focusing much of her time on public education. I have known for most of my life that I wanted to work closely with animals and children, and I am so lucky that I am able to do that in my current role.”

People on the Move
Lynn Gray

Lynn Gray

Holyoke Mall recently welcomed Lynn Gray back to the shopping center as its new general manager. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the shopping-center industry. She has held various roles over her combined tenure with Pyramid Management Group, including customer service representative, receptionist, Marketing assistant, assistant Marketing director, Marketing director, and, most recently, general manager of Hampshire Mall. In addition to her numerous years of experience with Pyramid Management Group, Gray held various roles over the span of 10 years with General Growth Properties, now Brookfield Properties, including director of Field Marketing for the East Region. Gray is a graduate of Holyoke Community College with an associate degree in business administration. A lifelong resident of Western Mass., she is actively involved with several community and nonprofit organizations. She serves as president of the board of directors for the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors for the Amherst Boys and Girls Club. She is also a CDH International Massachusetts ambassador and volunteers for CHERUBS, the support division of CDHi. Bill Rogalski, outgoing general manager of Holyoke Mall, retired on June 30 after 19 years in the position.

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Elizabeth Wambui

Elizabeth Wambui

Increasing diversity in the construction workforce is an important topic and has become a measure of each project’s success, just like schedule, budget, and safety. To that end, Fontaine Bros. Inc. has named Elizabeth Wambui to serve as the company’s director of Diversity, Inclusion & Impact. Wambui will play a critical role in leading the company’s projects and project teams to maximize opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises as well as attracting a more diverse workforce. Fontaine Bros. will be partnering with unions, trade schools, and other community partners to more actively promote and provide opportunities for diverse and local residents. She will immediately step in and support Fontaine’s work across the Commonwealth, including the new $242 million Doherty Memorial High School project and the new $75 million DeBerry-Homer Elementary School in Springfield. Before joining Fontaine, Wambui served as director of Advancement at Nativity School of Worcester (a longtime Fontaine community partner). A graduate of North High School and the College of the Holy Cross, she is passionate about engaging with the community. She currently serves as a board member at the Bancroft School, Shine Initiative, Women in Development of Central Massachusetts, Worcester Historical Museum, and YWCA. She is also a Mechanics Hall Modern Mechanics Guild member, a Worcester Art Museum corporator, and has served as a Greater Worcester Community Foundation early childhood committee member and scholarship community reviewer. She was part of the Leadership Worcester class of 2016-17 and has been recognized in the Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty.

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Dr. Ann Errichetti

Dr. Ann Errichetti

Bay Path University announced that Dr. Ann Errichetti has been appointed associate provost and dean of the School of Education, Human and Health Services, and will begin her role on Aug. 23. Errichetti returned to New England in the summer of 2018 after successful careers in healthcare management and in cardiology. Most recently, she served as the chief operations and academic officer at Presence Health, a $2.6 billion Catholic health system in Chicago with 12 acute-care hospitals, more than 25 senior-living facilities, and 16,000 employees. She was a core member of the turnaround team that improved operating performance by $200 million and led to a successful acquisition by Ascension Health in 2018. Prior to joining Presence Health, Errichetti served as CEO of St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Memorial Hospital in Albany, N.Y.; president of Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.; and president of Advocate South Suburban in Hazel Crest, Ill. In addition to her role as president, she held the position of chief academic officer for Advocate Health Care, serving as the liaison between three medical-school affiliates and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. She was also an associate dean at Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago Medical School. Errichetti graduated from Fordham University, received her M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School, and earned an MBA from Clark University. Her husband, Dr. Mark Keroack, was a medical-school classmate and currently serves as president and CEO of Baystate Health in Springfield.

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Harmony Cross

Harmony Cross

Holyoke Community College has named Harmony Cross its first dean of Student Development, Engagement and Inclusion. This new position combines the responsibilities of two previous jobs at the college — dean of students and director of Retention and Student Success — with an increased emphasis on education equity. Before coming to HCC, Cross served as director of the New York State Education Department’s Higher Education Opportunity Program at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she managed and developed holistic services and high-impact practices for students who might not have considered attending college because of their academic and economic backgrounds. Prior to that, she worked as program director for the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx and area coordinator for 15 coed residential facilities at Widener University in Chester, Pa. She has also taught college-level, first-year transition courses and leadership classes and coached students on conflict resolution and mediation techniques. Cross earned her master’s degree in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education at Temple University and holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University, where she was a Division I collegiate athlete in track and field. She is currently working on her Ed.D. in higher education administration at Bradley University.

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Tony Ieraci

Tony Ieraci

Excel Dryer Inc., manufacturer of the XLERATOR Hand Dryer, has added a new director of Marketing to the team. A seasoned professional with 24 years of experience, Tony Ieraci will be responsible for helping Excel Dryer create and execute long-term marketing strategies that will help grow the brand. Ieraci has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in marketing from Western New England University. He has spent the last two decades working in marketing and communications for leading manufacturers like Scapa North America and Dymax Corp. Ieraci will now head up the marketing team at Excel Dryer to develop and implement effective global communication plans that advance the company’s business goals and objectives.

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Adam Baldwin

Adam Baldwin

Arrha Credit Union announced the Adam Baldwin has been named Springfield branch manager. Baldwin has more than seven years of banking experience and been recognized throughout his banking-industry career as a rising star with superior service awards. He is also a Rotarian with the Springfield Rotary Club. “I am excited to be part of the Arrha Credit Union family and serving the Springfield community and its members,” Baldwin said. “I look forward to providing caring service, offering rewarding membership benefits to existing and new members, and growing these relationships.”

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Bulkley Richardson recently welcomed Dr. Lisa Harty as an associate in the firm’s litigation and professional malpractice groups. Harty earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in 2001, an M.D. degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in 2009, and a juris doctor degree from Western New England University School of Law in 2020. “As an attorney who has earned degrees in both medicine and law, Lisa brings a unique perspective to our healthcare and medical professional clients,” said Mike Burke, chair of Bulkley Richardson’s professional malpractice group. “She will add tremendous value to our team.”

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Sharale Mathis

Sharale Mathis

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed Sharale Mathis as its vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. Mathis was most recently the dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut, where she was previously a tenured professor of Biology, course coordinator, department chair, and STEM Division director. At Middlesex, she taught both lab and non-lab science classes on campus, online, and in hybrid formats. She was an early adopter of open educational resources, utilizing online resources for supplemental instruction, designating that course as no cost to students. Mathis earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Eastern Connecticut State University, a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Quinnipiac University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Hartford.

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The Hitchcock Center for the Environment announced William “Billy” Spitzer as its new executive director. He brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership experience in the areas of science education, climate communication, and network building along with a vast network of national and international connections. Spitzer will be influential in the continued growth and impact that the center has seen in recent years as it continues on its mission to educate and inspire action for a healthy planet. Spitzer comes to the center as the former vice president for Learning and Community at the New England Aquarium, where he was responsible for applying learning and social-science research across education programs, exhibits, visitor experience, and community outreach for more than 20 years. Working with organizations such as the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation, Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, and North American Assoc. for Environmental Education, he has been involved in many successful collaborative projects with a focus on environmental education and awareness along with the promotion of public engagement in climate change. In 2014, Spitzer was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change for Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders. In 2016, he received a Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council for innovation, creativity, and commitment to marine protection. He holds a Ph.D. in oceanography from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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Matthew Sosik

Matthew Sosik

Matthew Sosik was recently elected to the 20-member board of directors of the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc., the only association representing FDIC-insured community, regional, and nationwide banks serving consumer and business clients across the Commonwealth. Sosik is the CEO of Hometown Financial Group Inc., a $3.4 billion mutual multi-bank holding company based in Easthampton. He also serves as president and CEO of bankESB, a subsidiary of Hometown Financial Group. Sosik joined Hometown Bank, now bankHometown, in 1996 after five years as a bank examiner with the FDIC. In 2013, he became the president and CEO at bankESB and began to build Hometown Financial Group through a combination of organic growth strategies and merger-and-acquisition transactions. He is also a board member for the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, whose mission is to work with communities to create innovative policy and financing solutions that provide affordable homes and better lives for the people of Massachusetts. He also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council and is a member of the board of directors of COCC Inc., a technology company headquartered in Southington, Conn., that serves the financial industry.

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Daniel Burger

Daniel Burger

Christina Gonzalez

Christina Gonzalez

Daniel Burger has joined OMG Roofing Products as a product engineer for the company’s solar business. In his newly created position, Burger is responsible for creating and managing technical support for rooftop solar and pipe-support products, including product design, testing, and voice-of-customer feedback. He will also support product-certification efforts with the International Code Council, Factory Mutual Global, and others, as well as support application engineering at engineering, procurement, and construction firms. Burger brings solid environmental-related engineering experience to OMG. For the past few years, he was with the Dennis Group as a site civil engineer. He holds an engineering degree from the University of Hartford. Meanwhile, OMG Roofing Products also announced it has hired Christina Gonzalez as a product manager. She is responsible for developing sales and marketing opportunities for new and existing OMG discretionary products throughout the company’s extensive network of independent roofing distributors across the U.S. For the past four years, Gonzalez has been an associate product manager with the FastenMaster Division of OMG Inc., where she led cross-functional teams to help commercialize several new products annually. Earlier, she was in a management-training program with Sherwin Williams. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Connecticut State University.

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East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Grace Barone as its executive director. Barone is an experienced business-development leader in senior living as well as a past small business owner of a successful bridal boutique for 17 years. She said she is always struck by the power of community and what can be achieved when working together, and she looks forward to unlocking opportunities to bring people together, share ideas, and learn from one another to promote business environments that foster economic growth. The chamber serves the communities of East Longmeadow, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, and Wilbraham.

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Country Bank recently announced the recipients of the 2020 President’s Platinum Award. The bank’s recognition program, CB Shines, encourages staff members to be on the lookout for co-workers who embody the bank’s corporate values of integrity, service, teamwork, excellence, and prosperity. Within this program, an employee can receive different levels of recognition: Silver Spotlight (awarded anytime), Gold Star (awarded quarterly), and President’s Platinum (awarded annually). The 2020 President’s Platinum award was presented to both Dianna Lussier, Risk Management officer, and Nicholas Thompson, assistant manager, Customer Care Center.

People on the Move
Nadzeya Shkoda

Nadzeya Shkoda

Jonathan Cohen-Gorczyca

Jonathan Cohen-Gorczyca

Melanson announced the promotion of two of its newest managers: Nadzeya Shkoda, CPA, and Jonathan Cohen-Gorczyca, CPA. Shkoda has been in the accounting profession for almost a decade and is a part of the Governmental Services team out of the Greenfield office. She joined Melanson in 2014 and works on approximately 15 municipal audits annually. She enjoys participating in the Governmental Accounting Standards Board group and how auditing presents new challenges each day. She received a master of science in accountancy degree at Westfield State University in 2011. She holds memberships with the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Cohen-Gorczyca has been working at Melanson for more than nine years. As part of its Commercial Services team in Greenfield, he advises businesses and individuals on tax, management, compliance, and other accounting and planning matters. Over the last year, he has been particularly focused on helping clients with their Paycheck Protection Program loans. He received his master of science in accountancy degree from Western New England University in 2013 and is a member of MSCPA and AICPA. He also serves on the board of trustees for the Greenfield Public Library as well as his condo association.

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Alan Tabin

Alan Tabin

Local home builder and developer Alan Tabin, announced he has joined B & B Real Estate in Holyoke as a licensed real-estate agent. Tabin has been active in the real-estate industry throughout his adult life. As co-owner of Home Improvement Associates, LLC, he grew a successful construction business over three decades. His expertise as a builder includes custom homes, investment property, rehabbing, and residential and commercial renovations. His experience in real-estate development includes a residential subdivision of new homes and a 25-unit condominium project in South Hadley known as Jacob’s Edge. “I am excited to offer my unique expertise as a builder to home buyers, sellers, and potential investors,” Tabin said. “My knowledge of construction, local building resources and contacts, and the real-estate market can be valuable to anyone wanting to buy, sell, or invest in real estate.”

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Nicole Stuart

Nicole Stuart

Deliso Financial and Insurance Services announced that Nicole Stuart has joined the firm as practice coordinator. She will be responsible for providing service to Deliso’s clients as well as performing day-to-day administration and operational functions for the firm. “I am excited and proud to join the Deliso Financial & Insurance Services team,” Stuart said. “Their reputation demonstrates the level of quality resources and service standards that align with my goals to execute the most advantageous and expedient financial solutions for our clients’ needs.” Stuart attended Bay Path University, where she received an MBA in entrepreneurship and innovative practices. She brings more than 20 years of professional experience in finance, banking, and bookkeeping. “Nicole’s background and experience will complement our core service offerings,” said Jean Deliso, CFP, president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services. “She is client-focused, and her enthusiastic personality and strong organizational skills are a perfect fit with the rest of our team. We look forward to her support in our efforts to expand our capabilities and becoming an integral part of Deliso Financial & Insurance Services.”

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Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly

Brent Fournier

Brent Fournier

Elli-Ann Oskar

Elli-Ann Oskar

OMG Inc. recently promoted Josh Kelly to senior vice president for Business Development and Brent Fournier to director of Procurement. Meanwhile, OMG Roofing Products hired Elli-Ann Oskar as Sales and Marketing assistant. In his new role, Kelly will focus on strategic growth opportunities, including mergers and acquisitions, product development, licensing, as well as strategies to expand OMG’s business. He started with OMG in 1991 as a project coordinator and has held several positions within the roofing division, including key account manager, vice president of Marketing, general manager, and, most recently, vice president of Product Development and Innovation. Kelly is a member of the Single Ply Roofing Industry trade association, a past president of the Roofing Industry Alliance, and a current member of the board of directors for the National Roofing Contractors Assoc. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and an MBA from Western New England University. In his new role, Fournier will develop and implement procurement strategies that meet OMG’s customer demands by focusing on customer service, reduced supply-chain risk, as well as stronger supply partnerships across the value chain. Fournier started with OMG as part of the Tiger Claw acquisition in 2011, as a service delivery manager, and was promoted to manager of Purchasing in January 2014. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. In her new role, Oskar is responsible for a wide assortment of administrative functions to support the sales and marketing teams, as well as the company’s key account managers and Customer Service department. Prior to joining OMG, she was a Business Development assistant at Teracode. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Westfield State University.

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The Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts (GSCWM) elected eight new members to board of directors at its virtual annual meeting on June 23. The new board members, all of whom will serve a two-year term, include Carla Carten, executive director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy for Mass General Brigham Health Care; Ella Grant, senior Girl Scout and student at Tantasqua Regional High School; Lisa Greene, director of Patient Accounts/HIM for AdCare Hospital of Worcester; Kate Kane, Wealth Management advisor for Northwestern Mutual; Shirley Konneh, assistant director at the Center for Career Development at the College of the Holy Cross; Laura Marotta, co-founder and executive director of Creative Hub Worcester; Roberta McCullough-Dews, director of Administrative Services within the Office of the Pittsfield Mayor and Public Information officer for the City of Pittsfield; and Addison Witkes, senior Girl Scout and student at Wachusett Regional High School. “I am pleased to welcome, and thrilled to have the privilege to serve on the board with, these new members,” said Joan Bertrand, GSCWM board president. “They are dynamic individuals with diverse talents and experiences to help oversee the operations of the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts and further our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

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Lisa Cohen

Lisa Cohen

Health New England announced the recent appointment of Lisa Cohen to the role of vice president of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. In this position, Cohen is responsible for leading Health New England’s financial strategy, accounting, actuarial, underwriting, and financial reporting, ensuring its ability to provide cost-effective healthcare coverage while maintaining high-quality member care. Cohen joins Health New England’s executive leadership team and reports directly to Richard Swift, president and CEO. Cohen comes to Health New England from Fallon Health in Worcester, where she was vice president of Financial Planning and Accounting Operations, and served as interim chief financial officer in 2019. Prior to Fallon Health, Cohen was chief financial officer for Ascentria Care Alliance. She also served as chief financial officer at the PACE Organization of Rhode Island. Cohen earned her bachelor of science in accounting and MBA degrees from the UMass Dartmouth. She has been a member of the American Institute of CPAs for more than 20 years, and maintains active certification as a certified public accountant and certified global management accountant.

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Lara Sharp

Lara Sharp

Lara Sharp has been named dean of the School of STEM at Springfield Technical Community College. Sharp’s professional experience includes six years at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Fla., as the program director for Engineering, Manufacturing and Building Arts, and also serving as the acting dean of Natural Sciences, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts. From 2013 to 2015, she was at the Corporate College of Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla., managing National Science Foundation and Department of Labor grants in advanced manufacturing and engineering technology. Sharp spent more than 11 years teaching chemistry, natural science, and engineering to high-school students at various locations. Sharp also brings industry experience, having worked at Specialty Minerals Inc. as a process engineer and an operator technician as well as an educational consultant for PASCO Scientific. She has been recognized for her outstanding teaching as well as her community engagement, including a STEM Woman of the Year Award from Girls Inc. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

People on the Move

Seth Stratton

Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law and MGM Springfield announced that attorney Seth Stratton will be leaving his position as vice president and legal counsel of MGM Resorts’ Northeast Group by mid-June to rejoin Fitzgerald as the firm’s managing shareholder. In this leadership role, he will assist the firm’s clients on a wide range of business-related matters, including corporate governance, commercial development, regulatory matters, and dispute resolution. During his time with MGM Springfield, Stratton oversaw legal affairs, regulatory compliance, and government relations in connection with the development, construction, and opening of the $950 million MGM Springfield destination resort casino in downtown Springfield. In 2019, his role expanded to serve as property general counsel and officer for two operating MGM casinos: MGM Springfield and Empire City Casino in Yonkers, N.Y. In that capacity, Stratton provided strategic oversight, management, and direction for legal, regulatory, compliance, risk, and government-affairs functions for both casino complexes and served as an officer and executive committee member for each property. He will now bring this business, development, and management experience to his work with Fitzgerald.

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Crystal Neuhauser

Crystal Neuhauser

Bay Path University announced that Crystal Neuhauser has been named vice president of Institutional Advancement, effective June 21. Neuhauser comes to Bay Path after serving as the associate vice president of Advancement at Franklin Pierce University, where she increased overall giving by 41% in 2020. Prior to Franklin Pierce, she directed advancement and development initiatives at Yale University, Quinnipiac University, and Mitchell College, and also worked within the nonprofit community sector. Her career experience spans fundraising, donor relations, alumni engagement, grants, and corporate contributions. She also served on a strategic planning subcommittee at Franklin Pierce. Neuhauser is currently working toward a doctorate of education in educational leadership at New England College. She earned her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Quinnipiac College and her bachelor’s degree in business management from Albertus Magnus College. At Bay Path, Neuhauser will serve as a member of the executive staff. In this role, she will provide strategic leadership for fundraising, including responsibility for annual giving; corporate, major and planned gifts; endowment; capital campaigns; alumni and constituent-relations efforts; stewardship; and advancement services. As a nonprofit higher-education institution, Bay Path depends on the generosity of donors to fund scholarships and important initiatives that make a difference in students’ lives.

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Rachel Rubinstein

Rachel Rubinstein

Springfield College announced that Rachel Rubinstein has been named dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, effective July 12. Rubinstein was professor of American Literature and Jewish Studies at Hampshire College for 16 years, where she also served as the dean of Academic Support and Advising for six years. She subsequently became Holyoke Community College’s inaugural vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, a position that combined two previously separate divisions. Most recently, she has been serving as senior advisor to the deputy commissioner of Academic Affairs and Student Success at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, where she has focused on supporting initiatives in the state’s equity agenda. The child of immigrants from Mexico, Rubinstein’s scholarship focuses on migration, multi-lingualism, racial formation, and literary nationalism, as well as on pedagogies in the fields of ethnic and race studies. She is the author of Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination, as well as the co-editor of Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon and, most recently, Teaching Jewish American Literature, a volume in the MLA’s Options for Teaching series. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and her PhD in English and American literature from Harvard University.

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Nicole Domnarski

Nicole Domnarski

FSB Financial Group, the investment division of Florence Bank, announced that Nicole Domnarski, after working two years as an assistant financial advisor, has transitioned to financial advisor. She began her career in the financial-services industry 24 years ago and has been employed by FSB Financial Group for the past 10 years, helping advisors protect and preserve clients’ wealth. As a financial advisor, she will work directly with individuals and business owners to develop strategic, long-term financial plans to help customers achieve their financial goals and objectives. Domnarski is a graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and is a chartered retirement planning counselor certified by the College for Financial Planning. She is an investment advisor representative with Commonwealth Financial Network, and holds Series 6, 7, 31, 63, and 65 registrations. She is also licensed to sell both life and health insurance.

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The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) announced the appointment of Denise Hurst as vice president for Community Impact and Partnerships. In this redesigned role meant to deepen community engagement and drive program efficacy and representation, Hurst will oversee community investments, including grants, scholarships, and new efforts to strengthen advocacy, technical assistance, data and research, and evaluation in regional projects and initiatives. This appointment is the latest example of CFWM’s ongoing commitment to advance equity in the region by elevating community voices, cultivating new coalitions and partnerships, and advancing the organizational effectiveness of nonprofits. Hurst joins the Foundation after serving Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) as vice president of Advancement & External Affairs, where she led development for the college as the executive director of the STCC Foundation, and later oversaw marketing, communications, and government affairs. Prior to that, she was appointed regional manager of the Massachusetts State Lottery in Western Mass. by state Treasurer Deb Goldberg and has worked as site director for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, as well as an adjunct professor at Cambridge College. She comes to CFWM with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and established networks across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. For more than a decade, Hurst served as an elected member of the Springfield School Committee. She led the charge to establish the Minority Caucus for the Massachusetts Assoc. of School Committees (MASC) and served as the former chair of the caucus, as well as the former vice president of MASC. Hurst has been honored with several awards, including BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty class of 2014, 2015 100 Women of Color in New England, and 2015 Top 25 Women to Watch in Western Mass., and most recently as the 2019 Woman of the Year by the Professional Women’s Chamber.

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Nancy Creed

Nancy Creed

Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber, has been elected president of the Massachusetts Assoc. of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) through 2022. MACCE is a Massachusetts-based organization that offers resources and networking opportunities to its member chamber of commerce professionals across the Commonwealth. Creed has amassed more than 25 years of strategic alliance building, communications, public relations, media relations, and government and community outreach experience. She has served as president of the Springfield Regional Chamber since 2016. Prior to becoming chamber president, she served as vice president of Marketing and Communications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, is certified in nonprofit organization management through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, and is a 2000 graduate of the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Leadership Institute. Creed has served in a variety of capacities on the MACCE board, including Region 1 vice president, secretary, and vice president.

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Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan

Julius Lewis

Julius Lewis

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced the retirement of Michael Sullivan, longtime board director and original founding member of the credit union, at its 54th annual meeting in March. New director Julius Lewis was also elected to the open position at the virtual event. Sullivan’s legacy extends well beyond UMassFive in the world of credit unions. While he served originally as a UMassFive board member beginning in 1982, and as the credit union board chair at UMassFive from 1986 to 1993, he concurrently held the titles of director, vice chair, and chair of Mass CUNA (1986-1998). During this time, he was instrumental in the merger of the two state credit-union leagues that eventually became the Cooperative Credit Union Assoc. (CCUA). As a thank you for his many contributions, UMassFive has dedicated the board room in its Hadley executive area as the Michael Sullivan Board Room in his honor. Newly elected board member Julius Lewis has been a member of the credit union since 2010 and, throughout the years, has helped promote UMassFive’s products and services within the local community. He is a graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, which played a major role in launching his professional career in the financial industry. He has worked as an independent financial consultant, specializing in insurance products since 2003. In 2006, Lewis created and began hosting The Lewis & Morrow Financial Hour, a weekly financial radio talk show broadcasted throughout the region and online. In 2017, he started his company, JDL Financial, and has received several awards and achievements within his profession. UMassFive welcomes his new perspectives and ideas to the board.

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Mill Town announced it has hired Dennis Robinson as the company’s chief operating officer and president of Bousquet Enterprises, a group of recreational and hospitality businesses based in the Berkshires. Beginning immediately, Robinson will be responsible for the management, operations, and financial performance of the company’s operating business portfolio. He will also oversee major capital projects related to these sites, which include Bousquet Mountain Ski Area, Bousquet Sport (formerly Berkshire West Athletic Club), the Camp by Bousquet (formerly the Lakeside Christian Camp), the Gateways Inn, and Mission Bar & Tapas. Robinson brings more than three decades of management experience to the team. Following an MBA from Harvard Business School, he spent nine years with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, the ownership entity of the Meadowlands and MetLife Stadium. From 1999 to 2007, he was the senior vice president of Business Operations for the NBA in New York. Upon returning to the New Jersey Sports & Expo Authority in 2008, he led facility management of Giants Stadium, Meadowlands Racetrack, Monmouth Park Racetrack, and the IZOD Center. More recently, Robinson held leadership roles at Formula 1 and was the chief of staff and acting secretary of State for the state of New Jersey from 2015 to 2017. Robinson has an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, where he was a varsity football player; a master’s degree in sport management from UMass Amherst; and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Kate Keiderling

Kate Keiderling

OMG Inc. appointed Kate Keiderling to the position of director of Human Resources and Environmental Health and Safety (HR/EHS). In her new position, she is responsible for developing and executing strategies that continue to provide a culture that is safe, healthy, supportive, inclusive, open, and creative. In her new role, she will work closely with the senior management team to plan and execute business strategies that address corporate safety, as well as effective personnel management. She is also responsible for improving the company’s current HR/EHS structure, programs, and processes as necessary to support OMG employees and business goals. She reports to Hubert McGovern, president and CEO of OMG. Keiderling joined OMG Inc. from Paradigm Precision in Manchester, Conn., where she was director of Human Resources for North America. Earlier, she spent 16 years in various HR positions with Pratt & Whitney, most recently as associate director of Human Resources for military engines. She also worked for the Travelers Insurance. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Elms College and a master’s degree in human resource development from American International College.

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Fred Mills

Fred Mills

New England’s largest healthcare-centric managed service provider and value-added reseller is positioning itself for national growth with the addition of Fred Mills as its new vice president of Sales. Mills joins baytechIT after stints as senior director of Worldwide Healthcare Alliances and Business Development for data-management provider Commvault, and director and general manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise for Healthcare in the Americas. The effort is also part of a national sales strategy for the entire Pixel Health portfolio of companies under the direction of newly appointed Chief Revenue Officer Barbara Casey. BaytechIT was founded in 2018 as a partnership between Pixel Health and Baystate Health System. The company’s U.S.-based call center and field-services staff supports more than 150 hospitals, clinics, and independent medical practices, with more than 16,000 devices under management. The company maintains sales partnerships with Microsoft, HPE, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Dell, and Lenovo, among others. Mills will support clients throughout the U.S. and will be based in Raleigh, N.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance from the Boston College Carroll School of Management.

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Emma Redman

Emma Redman

SkinCatering Salon & Spa, located inside Tower Square in downtown Springfield, announced the promotion of its spa coordinator, Emma Redman, to its leadership team as the new salon & spa manager. Redman will oversee daily operations and social-media coordination, while leading a growing unit of nine employees. After several years in customer service at Six Flags New England, acting in local theatre productions, and working as a special-effects and bridal makeup artist, Redman began as a part-time front-desk employee at SkinCatering in 2019 and was quickly promoted to full-time spa coordinator just a few months later. In 2020, Redman’s support during the spa’s temporary closure during the COVID-19 pandemic was invaluable as she adeptly navigated the unknown to help preserve SkinCatering’s extensive client base for their return. As SkinCatering Spa evolved into SkinCatering Salon & Spa in December with its expansion in its new location on the first floor of Tower Square, Redman’s responsibilities increased, and she continued to show great leadership promise, SkinCatering owners Leanne Sedlak and Kim Brunton Auger said.

 

People on the Move
Beth Zapatka

Beth Zapatka

Springfield College announced that Beth Zapatka has been hired as the new vice president for Institutional Advancement, following a national and competitive search. Zapatka comes to Springfield College from Yale University, where she served as associate dean for Development and Alumni Affairs for the Yale School of Nursing. She will join the President’s Leadership Team on July 1 and oversee all institutional-advancement efforts, including the departments of Advancement Services, Alumni Relations, and Development. In a nine-year career at Yale, Zapatka held numerous roles that created a well-rounded set of experiences in institutional advancement that are directly transferable to Springfield College. In her most recent role in the School of Nursing, her accomplishments include securing significant new resources — nearly tripling contributions to the school — overseeing a rebranding campaign, building university-wide collaborations, broadening the use of social-media platforms, and reinvigorating the alumni and advisory boards.

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Slandie Dieujuste

Slandie Dieujuste

Springfield College announced that Slandie Dieujuste has been hired as vice president for Student Affairs. She is currently vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students at Massasoit Community College, a position she has held since 2018. She will start her new role at Springfield College on July 1. Dieujuste will join the Springfield College President’s Leadership Team and play a key leadership role in fostering a sense of inclusion and engagement in a diverse and vibrant community. Working with students, faculty, and staff, she will be responsible for developing a comprehensive co-curricular vision for life on campus. Prior to her current role at Massasoit Community College, Dieujuste was associate vice provost for Residence and Greek Life at Illinois Institute of Technology. She also held student-affairs leadership positions at Governors State University, Jackson College, Saint Mary’s College, and Northeastern University. She received her PhD in higher education administration from Andrews University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston College. Dieujuste will lead the Springfield College Division of Student Affairs, which includes the following offices and programs: Spiritual Life, Community Standards, Alcohol and Other Drug Education, Dean of Students, Student Orientation Programs, Career Center, Counseling Center, Housing and Residence Life, Student Activities and Campus Union, Campus Recreation, Center for Service and Leadership, and the Health Center.

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Western New England University announced the appointment of Basil Andrew Stewart as vice president for Finance and Administration after a comprehensive national search. Currently, he is vice president for Finance and chief financial officer for Lasell University and assistant treasurer and chief financial officer of Lasell Village in Newton. At Western New England, Stewart will serve as the chief financial officer for the university. Stewart will be responsible for the university’s finance and budgeting, internal audits, facilities management and construction, campus police, risk management, information technology, and auxiliary services. As CFO, he will serve as chief advisor to the president on financial and administrative matters and will have administrative responsibility to the board of trustees by providing administrative support to its finance, audit, and investment committees. Prior to his current post, Stewart served as chief financial officer and senior vice president for Finance and Administration at Merrimack College and held controller posts at such prestigious institutions as MIT, Northeastern, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Smith College, and Wentworth Institute of Technology. He held auditing posts for the Gillette Co. and Coopers & Lybrand. He earned his MBA and a BBA in accounting from UMass Amherst. He is a board member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education and Boston Senior Home Care Inc. and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Inc. and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants Inc. He holds designations as a chartered global management accountant and certified public accountant. Stewart, who joins Western New England University in June, succeeds retiring Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard Wagner, who also served as director of Institutional Leadership and Planning for 18 years.

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Alex Fullerton

Alex Fullerton

Kristina Smith

Kristina Smith

Christina Reynolds

Christina Reynolds

Tara Sanderson

Tara Sanderson

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced four recent promotions. Alex Fullerton has been promoted to assistant vice president of Loan Operations. In this new role, he is responsible for providing leadership, oversight, and direction for all consumer-lending activities. Fullerton has been with the credit union for nine years and has held numerous roles, beginning as a teller, and most recently a supervisor of the Debt Solutions department. Kristina Smith has been promoted to assistant vice president of Retail Administration. Transitioning from overseeing retail branches, she now supports frontline teams to help plan and implement organizational growth projects; manage retail policies, procedures, and training; as well as assist with retail programs to ensure operational efficiencies are maintained. Beginning as a part-time teller after graduating from UMass Amherst, her assorted roles at the credit union over the past 12 years have prepared her for this new position. Smith’s UMassFive career includes working as the assistant to the former president/CEO manager of the Mercy Medical Center branch and senior branch manager in Hadley. Christina Reynolds has been promoted to Card Services manager. She began her career at UMassFive 10 years ago as a part-time online banking specialist in the Contact Center, eventually taking on other various branch assignments, including most recently the Northampton branch manager position. In her new role, she oversees the Card Services department, ensuring debit- and credit-card quality control and audit processes are in place while also maintaining policies to maximize efficiency and service to members. Tara Sanderson has been promoted to loan servicing manager. She began her career at UMassFive in December of 2017 as a loan servicing specialist. She was promoted to senior loan servicing specialist in mid-2019, shortly followed by a promotion to loan servicing supervisor. In her new position as loan servicing manager, Sanderson oversees both the loan-processing and loan-servicing aspects of lending to ensure compliance and maximize efficiency and service internally as well as for UMassFive members.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso of the Connecticut Valley General Office of New York Life, an agent since 1995, has received the Agent of the Year Award for 2020. This award recognizes the agent who has achieved the top production among all agents at the company’s Connecticut Valley General Office. Deliso has developed an expertise in helping business owners and individuals protect and secure their own and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. She is a Nautilus Group member agent, an exclusive advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. Her access to this exclusive resource enables her clients to benefit from the group’s collective experience and insightful solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country. Deliso has also been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Active in her community, she currently serves on the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and is the immediate past chairman. She also serves on and is the past chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield and is the past chairman of the board of YMCA of Greater Springfield. She is a graduate of Bentley College.

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Cynthia Malinowski

Cynthia Malinowski

Florence Bank named Cynthia Malinowski as this year’s Community Support Award winner. Malinowski, vice president and branch manager of the downtown Northampton office, joined Florence Bank in October 1999 and has 33 years of banking experience. The Community Support Award was established by the bank in 1997 as a means of formally recognizing employees who are active participants in community events and donate their personal and professional time to local not-for-profit organizations. Each year, the award recipient can select a nonprofit organization of his or her choice, and the bank will donate to that organization. At Malinowski’s recommendation, Florence Bank will donate $500 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The mission of the Food Bank is to feed neighbors in need and lead the community in ending hunger. Malinowski serves as an active member of the Greater Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce. She is also involved with the Easthampton Helping Hand Society and occasionally volunteers at the Easthampton Community Center.

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Kelly Partridge, founder of the philanthropic clothing boutique Contribution Clothing, recently published her first children’s book. How Owls Become Wise, a story that focuses on bullying and self-correction, is available for purchase online on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart, with 10% of the book’s proceeds to benefit Unify Against Bullying. Contribution Clothing empowers women and supports the community through monetary donations to Western Mass. nonprofit organizations. Partridge has worked with Unify Against Bullying since the inception of Contribution Clothing and, when she decided to write a book about bullying, knew she wanted to use it as a way to show her support for the Unify mission. “Bullying is a topic that everyone has experienced one time or another in their lives, and I really wanted to bring awareness to it,” Partridge said, adding that she understands how victims of bullying feel, and she hopes her book can help both those who have experienced bullying and those who have inflicted it. To bring her story to life, the first-time author teamed up with illustrator Stephanie Hider, whom she met through a children’s book networking group.

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Greg Landry

Greg Landry

Freedom Credit Union recently welcomed Greg Landry as a mortgage loan originator in its West Springfield branch. “We’re delighted to have Greg on our lending team,” Vice President and Chief Loan Officer Jeffrey Smith said. “In a way, it’s like he’s coming home, as he previously worked at West Springfield Federal Credit Union before it merged with Freedom in 2019. He has a long history in this community and is the perfect person to help our members in the area become homeowners.” A graduate of Framingham State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Landry has worked as a mortgage and home-equity loan originator for more than 24 years.

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All States Transport Inc. recently welcomed Bill Shibley, former president of Zip Carriers in Westfield. He comes to AST with 41 years of experience, including 26 years at Zip Carriers. When the owner of Zip Carriers announced his retirement early this year, Shibley was looking to merge the firm’s longtime client base with a local transportation broker, and AST was his first choice. “We’ve been friendly competitors for years, and AST has always had a great reputation,” Shibley said. “They’re very well-established, and it’s a similar culture to Zip Carriers — family-run, with a focus on excellent customer service. I’ve had some of my clients for almost 30 years. I couldn’t drop the ball. I knew I could count on AST to provide the same level of support, service, and expertise that I’ve always delivered. At 66, it’s a little funny to be starting out at a new place, but so far, so good.” All States Transport Inc. is a domestic freight broker and international freight forwarder offering customized shipping solutions across road, rail, ocean, and air.

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Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris

VHB recently welcomed Andrew Harris as senior project manager and senior geologist for its Connecticut Site Investigation & Remediation (SI&R) practice and the Southern New England markets. Harris brings extensive experience working with industrial and commercial clients to assess and remediate brownfield and legacy properties across the Upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England. His environmental and redevelopment projects span the full project life cycle from initial due diligence and hazardous-building materials assessments, decommissioning, and demolition to remedial design, construction, and site closure. He has vast knowledge in assessing and remediating asbestos, lead, PCBs, petroleum, VOCs, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. In 2014, Harris was a member of the active working group for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to develop the department’s Guidance Document on Calculating the 95% Upper Confidence Level. In addition to being a licensed environmental professional (LEP) in Connecticut, a professional geologist (PG) in New Hampshire, and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design 2.0 accredited professional (LEED 2.0 AP), Harris is also adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut, teaching a class on how to conduct ASTM phase I and II environmental site assessments in Connecticut. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in geology from Ohio Wesleyan University and his master’s degree in geoscience from the University of Connecticut.

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Dennis Shockro

Dennis Shockro

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown

Continuing a period of unprecedented growth, Pixel Health, a five-company, national healthcare-consulting ecosystem, appointed two seasoned IT professionals to fill new brand-level operations manager roles. Former Yankee Candle Chief Information Officer Dennis Shockro assumes the role of director of Operations at engineering consultancy VertitechIT. IT managed-services industry manager Jennifer Brown joins baytechIT as senior director of Operations. In addition to Yankee Candle, Shockro held senior operational roles at Brookstone and Northern Tool and Equipment. Brown has more than 20 years of customer-focused and technical experience, both in the human-services and IT managed-services industries. Pixel Health companies VertitechIT, baytechIT, Nectar Strategic Consulting, akiro, and Liberty Fox Technologies work with health systems, hospitals, clinics, and medical practices across North America. VertitechIT is the leading certified HIMSS Analytics INFRAM consultant in the world. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, Pixel Health has expanded its overall workforce by approximately 40% across its U.S. operations.

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Kayombo Kamawu

Kayombo Kamawu

Kayombo Kamawu, a longtime administrator and advocate in the human-services field, was recently tapped by Pathlight to join its leadership team as vice president of Residential Supports. Prior to joining Pathlight, Kamawu served as vice president of Adult Services at the Kennedy-Donovan Center, where he was responsible for residential, day, and community Services, including shared living, family-support centers, and individual/supported living. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer and management information systems. Kamawu has also served in various leadership capacities in community-based day supports, employment, and day habilitation service lines. He prides himself in developing strong teams and enjoys the hands-on experience gathered while working with those teams. Pathlight, established in 1952, is a pioneer in services for children, teens, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the four counties of Western Mass.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — When BusinessWest launched its 40 Under Forty program in 2007, it did so to identify rising stars across our region — individuals who were excelling in business and through involvement within the community — and celebrate their accomplishments.

In 2015, BusinessWest announced a new award, one that builds on the foundation upon which 40 Under Forty was created. It’s called the Alumni Achievement Award (formerly the Continued Excellence Award). As the name suggests, it is presented to the 40 Under Forty honoree who, in the eyes of an independent panel of judges, has most impressively continued and built upon his or her track record of accomplishment.

To nominate someone for this award, visit HERE. Only nominations submitted to BusinessWest on this form will be considered. The deadline is today at 5 p.m., no exceptions. The 2020 honoree will be announced at the 40 Under Forty gala in June.

Candidates must be from 40 Under Forty classes prior to the year of the award — in this case, classes 2007 to 2020. For your convenience, a list of 40 Under Forty Alumni can be found at the bottom of this page.

Past winners include: 2020: Carla Cosenzi, president, TommyCar Auto Group (40 Under Forty class of 2012), and Peter DePergola, director of Clinical Ethics, Baystate Health (class of 2015); 2019: Cinda Jones, president, W.D. Cowls Inc. (class of 2007); 2018: Samalid Hogan, regional director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (class of 2013); 2017: Scott Foster, attorney, Bulkley Richardson (class of 2011), and Nicole Griffin, owner, ManeHire (class of 2014); 2016: Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, president, Allergy & Immunology Associates of New England (class of 2008); 2015: Delcie Bean, president, Paragus Strategic IT (class of 2008).

People on the Move
Briana Wales

Briana Wales

Emma Mesa-Melendez

Emma Mesa-Melendez

Keith McKittrick

Keith McKittrick

Ullapi Shrestha

Ullapi Shrestha

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) announced the appointments of Briana Wales as vice president for People and Culture, Emma Mesa-Melendez as director of Communications, Keith McKittrick as Development coordinator, and Ullapi Shrestha as program assistant. These appointments are the latest example of CFWM’s ongoing commitment to expand its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts internally and within the nonprofit sector. Wales will focus on a wide scope of DEI initiatives to guide both the foundation’s external and internal DEI work, training, and development of best practices. She has an extensive career in workforce development for youth and adults and has provided leadership in both nonprofit and quasi-public settings. In her efforts to serve communities, she has fostered partnerships and programming to increase equity and access for underrepresented or marginalized groups. She received her bachelor’s degree in social justice education from UMass Amherst and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College. Mesa-Melendez will be responsible for CFWM’s communications strategy and will assist with DEI initiatives. In recent work, she has consulted in marketing and graphic design, and previously served as vice president for Community Relations, Human Resources, and Marketing Management for New Valley Bank & Trust. She received her MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and her bachelor’s degree in critical social thought from Mount Holyoke College. She has worked with several nonprofits as both a board member and volunteer, including the Minority Inclusion Project, Farmington Valley YMCA, Vet Air, and the Performance Project. McKittrick comes to the foundation with 25 years of experience in philanthropy. He has held positions at UMass Amherst, Western New England University, and Holyoke Community College, where he has worked with donors to establish scholarships and fundraise for educational initiatives. He received his master’s degree in public administration from Framingham State University and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Westfield State University. Shrestha has worked as an interpreter at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and as an intern at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. She has volunteered with the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. She received her master’s degree in management from Saint Joseph College and her bachelor’s degree in business marketing from the Institute of Technology in Carlow, Ireland.

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Marianna Roy

Marianna Roy

Jodi Giustina

Jodi Giustina

OMG Roofing Products has hired Marianna Roy as a customer service representative and Jodi Giustina as a sales and marketing assistant. Roy is responsible for assisting customers in placing orders and in funneling customer inquiries to the organization. She is initially responsible for handling the Firestone account, the company’s Northeast Region, and a portion of the Mid-Atlantic Region. She began her career at OMG Roofing Products as a temporary customer service representative in July 2020. Prior to joining OMG, she was with the Law Offices of John E. Miller. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westfield State University. Giustina is responsible for a wide assortment of administrative duties to support the company’s sales and marketing team, customer service department, as well as key account managers. She joined OMG Roofing Products from PNC Business Credit, where she was a senior business development associate. Earlier, she held several positions with BKM, most recently as a project coordinator. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Simmons College in Boston.

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The Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce has named Jordan Hart its new executive director. Hart will replace Andréa Marion, who recently announced her departure to pursue other opportunities. Hart has served in a variety of roles in the past eight years at the chamber, most recently as program coordinator. She is a board member at Enchanted Circle Theater and was a leader of the “Have a Ball in Holyoke” public art effort through Leadership Holyoke. She holds an associate degree from Holyoke Community College and is currently taking courses at Greenfield Community College. Among the top priorities for the 131-year-old chamber moving forward are re-establishing a solid suite of programming and seminars to support local businesses in their success, continuing to serve as a cheerleader for economic development and job growth in the city, and working with leaders throughout the area to bolster civic pride and quality of life in Holyoke and surrounding communities. Key to Hart’s responsibilities will be collaborating closely with partners throughout the region, including leaders at City Hall.

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Michele Snizek

Michele Snizek

River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) named Michele Snizek its senior program director. Snizek will oversee RVCC’s school-based health centers and HIV/AIDS Project to ensure that these grant-funded programs are responsive to funder terms and conditions and compliant with grant rules and regulations. Snizek received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Elms College and a master’s degree in public administration from Westfield State University. She has extensive experience managing federal and state grants in the Greater Holyoke community, development and writing of grant proposals, managing grant compliance, and reporting and budget management for both federal and state applications. She is also a licensed social worker. Prior to joining RVCC, Snizek was the director of Retention at Holyoke Community College. A key focus of her work was closing HCC’s equity gaps, which were further widened during remote operations this year. This put a spotlight on the need for enhanced mental-health services for students. She started her career at HCC as a Title III activity director, managing a five-year, $1.8 million Department of Education grant focused on first-year students. For more than 20 years, she held two different positions, director of Planning and Development and director of Program Operations, at Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield Head Start Inc.

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Michelle Baity

Michelle Baity

BFAIR announced the promotion of Michelle Baity to the position of senior vice president of Human Resources. Baity joined BFAIR’s senior-management team three years ago and brought with her numerous years of experience in human resources as well as the human-services field. Since joining the team, she has formed a strong Human Resources department that has been invaluable with assisting the agency to manage the enormous challenges it has faced over the past year. According to Ethel Altiery, BFAIR’s executive director, “Michelle has been with BFAIR for three years, and working closely with her has been a wonderful experience for me. She has brought my level of knowledge and experience in the world of human resources to a new level. I look forward to working with Michelle for many more years to come.” Baity is directly responsible for crafting employee-benefit offerings and developing an educational-assistance policy to support skill development in pursuit of an organization focused on creating opportunities for advancement.

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Melissa Blissett

Melissa Blissett

Square One announced the promotion of Melissa Blissett to vice president of Family Support Services. A native of Springfield, Blissett joined Square One in 2014 as a Springfield College School of Social Work intern. Upon graduation in 2015, she joined the agency’s Healthy Families and Supervised Visitation programs. In 2017, she went to work as a Child and Family Law Division social worker for the Committee for Public Council Services in Springfield. In 2018, she returned to Square One as assistant vice president of Family Services. Blissett graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in psychology and developmental disabilities. She earned her master of social work degree from Springfield College, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and actively volunteers for the Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative.

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Thomas Hull, associate professor of Mathematics at Western New England University (WNEU), recently published his latest book, Origametry: Mathematical Methods in Paper Folding. In his book, Hull takes a deep dive into the math behind origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. His research uses graph theory, combinatorics, geometry, and other areas of math, with applications in engineering, materials science, art, and education. He is a leading expert on the mathematics of origami, having given talks on this topic all over the world. Hull has been practicing origami since he was 8 years old and studying the mathematics behind origami for the past 30 years. He holds both a PhD and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Hampshire College. Several of the origami models he has invented are well-known among origami artists, including his ‘five intersecting tetrahedra’ model, a star-like structure, featured on the cover of his new book, which the British Origami Society voted as being one of the top 10 origami models of all time.

People on the Move
Richard Swift

Richard Swift

Dr. Ira Klein

Dr. Ira Klein

Richard Swift, who has served as Health New England’s (HNE) interim chief financial officer since April, has been appointed president and CEO, effective immediately. HNE also announced the appointment of Dr. Ira Klein to the role of vice president and chief medical officer. Swift is an experienced chief executive officer and chief financial officer for provider- owned health plans, and a senior healthcare executive with over 30 years of leadership with integrated delivery systems, health plans, and provider groups throughout the country. He has served as president of Medwise Partners, a health-insurance consulting company he founded in 1996. In that capacity, he has served in numerous interim executive roles for regional health plans throughout the U.S. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University and an MBA in healthcare administration from the University of Miami in Florida. In this new position, Klein is responsible for ensuring the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare services for Health New England members, and will focus on clinical excellence, innovation, and technology to improve health outcomes. Before joining Health New England, Klein served as senior director and lead, Healthcare Quality Strategy at Janssen for Johnson and Johnson Inc. in New Brunswick, N.J. Previously, he held various positions at Aetna Inc. in Hartford, Conn., including medical director, Patient Management, Northeast Region; senior medical director and analyst, National Accounts; and chief of staff and national medical director, Clinical Thought Leadership. Klein holds an MBA degree from Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Management, a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University’s College of Pharmacy.

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Lt. John Vanasse

Lt. John Vanasse

American International College (AIC) recently welcomed Lt. John Vanasse to lead the campus police department. Vanasse is an employee of G4S Secure Solutions North America, a leading international security-solutions group and the provider of campus-security services for American International College for more than five years. Vanasse’s background and experience lend well to his new role at the college. Most recently, he was an instructor of Criminal Justice at Westfield High School. He has also served as a corrections officer and deputy sheriff at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections. Additionally, while working in safety and security for the Springfield public schools, he managed a million-dollar budget, supervised security staff at schools throughout the district, developed safety and security training programs, and conducted investigations into major security infractions. Prior to relocating to Western Mass. 15 years ago, he was deputy director for Safety and Security at the Massachusetts State House and other state facilities throughout Government Center in Boston. Vanasse received his undergraduate degree in criminology and law from Suffolk University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College.

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Michael Bartoszek

Michael Bartoszek

Aegis Energy, EDF Group, a leading provider of co-generation technology, hired experienced energy-sector professional Michael Bartoszek to the role of business development manager. Bartoszek’s hire comes during an extended period of growth; Aegis recently added 12 team members and has plans to add four more. Although new to Aegis, Michael is no stranger to the company or its affiliates, having previously held the position of regional manager for the Eastern U.S. for Citelum North America, a unit of the EDF Group. With his knowledge of EDF offerings and more than two decades of industry experience, he is well-equipped to suggest energy solutions in his current role of business development manager.

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Michael Bartoszek

Florence Bank promoted Shelley Moreau to the position of vice president, mortgage compliance specialist in the Residential Lending department at the main office in Florence. Moreau has been an employee of Florence Bank for 37 years. Prior to her recent promotion, she served as the assistant vice president, mortgage compliance specialist. She is a graduate of the American Bankers’ Assoc. Compliance School for Lending. During her tenure at the bank, she has been the recipient of the President’s Award, which is awarded to employees who demonstrate superior levels of performance, customer service, and overall contribution to the bank. Moreau serves her community as treasurer and board member of the Hilltown Community Development Corp. in Chesterfield.

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Bruce Dixon

Tech Foundry, a nonprofit 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, has named Bruce Dixon its new CEO. Dixon will work alongside an 11-member board, lead a five-member staff, and drive strategic business partnerships and curriculum development to propel the already-thriving organization forward. Dixon previously served as CEO of the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program, a social venture that inspires and prepares underrepresented students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s this background that generated interest among Tech Foundry board members, but it’s his well-rounded background and personal philosophy that solidified his candidacy. Dixon is an award-winning innovator, social entrepreneur, adventurer, storyteller, and self-proclaimed “human-performance geek.” He has held a variety of leadership roles with the Hartford Financial Services Group and the Chubb group of insurance companies; was honored with numerous awards, including the Connecticut Science Center Award for Achievement in STEM Innovation and Education and Wesleyan University’s Social Entrepreneurship Award; and was invited as an honored guest to the 2014 inaugural White House Maker Faire.

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Darcy (Fortune) Young

Darcy (Fortune) Young

The Children’s Study Home recently appointed board of directors member Darcy (Fortune) Young to its executive committee. Young has been a member of the board since 2018, serving on the communications committee. She has consulted on everything from fundraising to digital marketing and, most recently, was part of the board effort to transition to a new executive director for the 155-year old agency. One of her first acts as a member of the communications committee was to film and produced a promotional video for the nonprofit agency. In the video, professionals from Baystate Orthopedic Surgery Center; PeoplesBank; Gomes, DaCruz, & Tracy P.C.; and Sullivan, Hayes & Quinn explain not only the critical impact the Children’s Study Home has on youth, but also the community. Founded in 1865, the Children’s Study Home serves children, adolescents, and families with special needs throughout the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires, and Cape Cod, who are often struggling to cope with behavioral, psychiatric, and cognitive issues related to the experiences they have survived. The staff of the Children’s Study Home assesses their needs and develops individualized service plans that foster recovery, growth, and wellness. As a digital public relations analyst for Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi), Young has developed and implemented numerous public-relations campaigns for some of the market’s leading brands. She is also one of the only female video producers in the region. In 2018, she produced “Innovation Series,” which won an award from the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts. Prior to joining GCAi, she was a field producer, assignment desk editor, and production assistant for FOX News and ABC News affiliates. Young is a cum laude graduate of Westfield State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication, journalism, and public & corporate communication.

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Andrea Kunst

Andrea Kunst

CitySpace announced that Andrea Kunst will fill the role of capital campaign manager for the organization, and will guide the Transformation Campaign, a project to restore and create a flexible performing-arts and community space in Easthampton’s Old Town Hall. Kunst brings 20 years of advancement experience, raising close to $30 million in funding for schools and mission-driven nonprofits. After being introduced to the field of development at a Jesuit middle school in Jamaica Plain, Kunst found her calling and has continued to support organizations with strong missions of meeting community needs. Prior to retiring from Boston public schools, she spent a decade as the director of Advancement for a competency-based alternative high school in Roxbury. She has worked extensively in many creative fields, including writing columns for Boston magazine, teaching technical writing at Boston Architectural Center, managing a jazz club in Cambridge, and serving as board chair for Dorchester Arts Collaborative during its successful opening of Dorchester’s first community art gallery. In 2016, Kunst began Cushing Mill, a contracting company for schools and nonprofits in need of advancement services. In that role, she has worked for the Center for Health and Food Law Policy at Harvard University, Fields Corner Main Street in Dorchester, All Dorchester Sports and Leadership; Boston Green Academy in Brighton, and Boston Farms Community Land Trust. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications from Emerson College.

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OMG Roofing Products promoted Adam Cincotta to the position of vice president of the company’s Adhesives and Solar Business unit, one of three business units within OMG Roofing Products. In this role, he is responsible for developing and executing the overall business-unit strategy, including product and market development, as well as managing the business unit’s profit and loss. He reports to Peter Coyne, senior vice president and general manager of OMG Roofing Products. Cincotta joined OMG Roofing Products in 2014 as a product manager for the OlyBond Adhesives product line. Most recently, he was director of the Adhesives and Solar Business unit. Under his leadership, the business unit has experienced strong growth driven by several successful new products for which he was responsible, including OlyBond500 Canisters, PaceCarts, and the PowerGrip solar-mount portfolio. Prior to joining OMG, Cincotta served in product-management and marketing roles at Newell Rubbermaid, ITW, and Danaher. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and management from Cornell University, and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.

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Aesha Mu’min

Aesha Mu’min, a 2019 American International College (AIC) alumna of the clinical psychology graduate-degree program, and current doctoral student in the mental health counseling program, was recently named a 100 Women of Color class of 2020 award recipient. The gala and awards event recognizes the contributions that women in business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment, and service have made to impact the lives of people throughout their communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Mu’min was selected to the 2020 cohort of awardees because of her dedication to and innovative work as a deputy warden in the Connecticut Department of Corrections. In November 2019, she was integral in piloting the equine-assisted psychotherapy sessions offered by Operation Warrior Horse, a 10-week program housed in the 110-bed unit for military veterans at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield, Conn. The program offered inmates an opportunity to meet with therapists and interact with horses in the prison yard for two hours each week. Operating at no cost to the state, the program was sponsored by Healing Hoofbeats of Connecticut. While similar correctional programs utilize equine therapy, this was the first such program to be tailored to the needs of incarcerated military veterans.

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Kyle Sullivan

Kyle Sullivan

Kyle Sullivan, assistant vice president at John M. Glover Insurance Agency, recently celebrated his 10th anniversary at the firm. Sullivan sells home, auto, and business insurance and became assistant vice president in 2016. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nichols College. To better assist his commercial customers, he also holds a commercial-lines coverage specialist certification through the Hartford School of Insurance. Sullivan previously worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years, which gave him customer-service experience along with a unique perspective on insuring restauranteurs. He works with commercial clients who range from contractors, real-estate investors, and restauranteurs to the owners of car dealerships and auto-body shops.

Alumni Achievement Award Special Coverage

Class Acts

As they came together via Zoom to decide who would take home the coveted Alumni Achievement Award for 2020, the three judges who scored the nominations kept talking about how hard their final assignment was. Indeed, they admitted that all five finalists — Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Auto Group, Peter DePergola, director of Clinical Ethics at Baystate Health; Mike Fenton, attorney with Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin and a Springfield city councilor; Paul Kozub, founder of V-One Vodka; and James Leahy, assistant director of Business Development and Promotion Sales for the Massachusetts State Lottery and a Holyoke city councilor — were more than worthy of the honor, formerly known as the Continued Excellence Award. As they debated the merits of each finalist, the judges had a difficult time settling on one winner of this award, sponsored again this year by Health New England. So they instead decided to honor two.
Carla Cosenzi

Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Auto Group, with her children, Niko and Talia.

• Cosenzi, who adds this honor to two others from BusinessWest (40 Under Forty in 2012 and Women of Impact in 2019), was chosen both for what she’s done in business — expanding the auto group started by her father with several new dealerships — and for what’s she’s done in the community. Chief among her accomplishments in that latter category has been the creation of the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, staged each year to raise funds to battle brain cancer, which claimed her father when he was just 52 years old.
Peter DePergola

Peter DePergola, director of Clinical Ethics at Baystate Health.

• DePergola, who has emerged as not only a regional, but national and even international leader in the emerging field of bioethics, also now has three plaques from BusinessWest on his desk. Indeed, in addition to 40 Under Forty (class of 2015), he was also named a Healthcare Hero in the Emerging Leader category in 2018. The first, and still the only, bioethicist in this region, he recently wrote a white paper titled “Ethical Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Novel Coronovirus Disease,” published in the Online Journal of Health Ethics, and also served on the state’s Crisis Standards of Care Advisory Committee. BusinessWest congratulates these two deserving winners, who continue to raise the bar for professional and personal achievement in Western Mass.
Opinion

Editorial

Twenty-three years ago, BusinessWest launched a new recognition initiative called our ‘Top Entrepreneur’ award.

We would have called it ‘Entrepreneur of the Year,’ but that phrase was, and still is, copyrighted. Besides, most of the people we’ve honored over the years weren’t recognized only for accomplishments in a given year, but instead for what they’ve done over a lifetime — or at least to that point in their career. And, in many cases, we also honored their compelling vision for what might be, and their ongoing work to achieve it. Past, present, and future.

Cinda Jones, our Top Entrepreneur for 2019, falls into all three categories.

Indeed, she has already spearheaded a transformation of the North Amherst neighborhood her family business, W.D. Cowls Inc., calls home, moving on from an unprofitable sawmill a decade ago and cultivating a period of both significant land conservation — like the 3,486-acre Paul C. Jones Working Forest in Leverett and Shutesbury and an adjacent, 2,000-acre conservation project in Leverett, Shutesbury, and Pelham — and community-development initiatives.

The latter is best represented these days by North Square at the Mill District, a still-evolving mixed-use project that’s attracting residents, eclectic retailers, eateries, and what she calls ‘experiences’ (fun ones — she’s not soliciting dentists or accountants).

But perhaps the most intriguing element of this project is the vision that sustains it. It’s a vision of how people, especially young people, want to live in the 21st century — their longing for more face-to-face contact, their growing awareness of climate change, and their general desire to live in a hive of activity, not a long drive from it.

Any developer can invest in modern, well-appointed buildings and sign up whatever tenants show interest; Jones and her team aren’t settling for anyone, though. They want North Square to be an economic success, but also a rich way of life for those who choose to live and work there.

Western Mass. has been home to plenty of entrepreneurial vision over the decades and centuries, from legends like Milton Bradley and gunmakers Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson to the names BusinessWest has profiled as Top Entrepreneurs for the past quarter-century. Those range from Pride CEO Bob Bolduc, V-One Vodka President Paul Kozub, and Paragus Strategic IT President Delcie Bean — people who started companies from scratch and brought them to regional prominence — to Big Y’s D’Amour family and Balise Motor Sales President Jeb Balise, who built significantly on the work of multiple generations before them.

Again, Cinda Jones represents both models in some ways, stewarding a nine-generation family business but doing it in completely different ways, and with totally new enterprises, than in the past.

What all 24 years of honorees share, despite their vastly different achievements, is vision — to see opportunities that others had not — as well as the work ethic to act on that vision and a desire to see people’s lives improved in some way by the end result.

That sort of vision and energy is what much of the Pioneer Valley’s economy is built on, and, from our perspective, it’s not in short supply. v

Alumni Achievement Award

Nominate your choice for an outstanding BusinessWest 40 Under Forty Alum!

Click for Past Honorees

When BusinessWest launched its 40 Under Forty program in 2007, it did so to identify rising stars across our region – individuals who were excelling in business and through
involvement within the community –and celebrate their accomplishments. In 2015, BusinessWest announced a new award, one that builds on the foundation upon which 40 Under Forty was created. It’s called the Continued Excellence Award. as the name suggests, will be presented to the 40 Under Forty honoree who, in the eyes of an independent panel of judges,
has most impressively continued and built upon their track record
of accomplishment.

For your convenience, a list of 40 Under Forty Alumni can be found HERE.

About the nomination form:
• Candidates must be from 40 Under Forty classes prior to the year of the award, in this case, classes 2007-2018.
• Only nominations submitted to BusinessWest on this form will be considered.

Deadline is May 3, 2019 at 5 p.m. No exceptions.

Presenting Sponsor:

Continued Excellence Award Past Winners:

2018
Samalid Hogan
Regional Director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
Class of 2013

2017
Scott Foster
Attorney, Bulkley Richardson
Class of 2011

Nicole Griffin
Owner, ManeHire
Class of 2014

2016
 Dr. Jonathan Bayuk
President of Allergy and Immunology Associates of Western Mass. &
Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Baystate Medical Center
Class of 2008

2015
Delcie Bean
President, Paragus Strategic IT
Class of 2008

40 Under Forty Alumni Achievement Award Nomination Form

Please fill out the nomination form completely.
  • Nominee's Information:

  • Nominated by (your information):

 

Sales and Marketing

The Art and Science of Story Telling

The team at BRIGADE

The team at BRIGADE shows off the many honors garnered at the recent Ad Club of Western Mass. award show.    Photo by Stephanie Craig Photography

It was just a few weeks after Kirsten Modestow and her husband relocated to Western Mass. from San Francisco that she got the phone call that would ultimately change her life. The person at the other end was looking for someone to do some freelance work for a fledgling vodka brand called Svedka. As many people know, Svedka has gone on to become the top-selling imported vodka in the U.S. What they may not know is that, with that notable first client, Modestow created the marketing firm BRIGADE, one that has certainly built on that solid foundation in every way.

Kirsten Modestow says the branding company she would call BRIGADE (yes, all caps) was started on her kitchen table.

Which doesn’t exactly make it unique; many startups are blueprinted in such a setting. Which makes this one different is what happened after it was conceived.

For starters, that kitchen table would later become an official work station for one of the first hires, and soon other parts of the house were absorbed by additional team members as they came on board.

“The first person was in the living room, the second person was at the dining-room table, the next one was in the spare bedroom … then we all moved into the garage,” she explained. “When there was no room in the refrigerator for people’s lunches, we knew it was time to go.”

By that, she meant move into larger quarters, which the company has done a few times, but we’ll get back to that later.

The other thing that separates BRIGADE from other ventures hatched on the kitchen table is the pace of growth. Indeed, over the past 13 years, the company has expanded to 35 employees, most of them artists and designers who commute to the current home on Route 9 in Hadley from across Western Mass. and well beyond.

And their client list includes a number of prominent national brands, including Svedka vodka, the Wyndham Hotel Group, Black Box Wines, and Vertical Water, as well as some local businesses, such as Esselon Café, just a few hundred yards down Route 9.

Actually, Svedka wasn’t a national brand when Modestow was hired as a freelancer to help with a branding campaign. It was a fledgling vodka label looking to break out — and it did, big time; a few years ago, it surpassed Smirnoff as the top-selling imported vodka in the U.S.

The team at BRIGADE designed packaging for Svedka strawberry seltzer.

The team at BRIGADE designed packaging for Svedka strawberry seltzer.

“We’ve been along for the ride,” Modestow said, noting how the growth of Svedka and BRIGADE have mirrored one another. “Over the past 13 years, we’ve grown with them.”

But BRIGADE hasn’t outgrown Modestow’s kitchen table, then a space on University Drive, and then a totally renovated foreign-car sales and service shop further down Route 9 because of one client — although Svedka certainly has played a huge role in that transformation.

Instead, it’s been the company’s ability to work with clients to create branding that resonates, builds name recognition, and drives sales, Modestow explained, adding that this is what branding, the company’s specialty, is all about.

Elaborating, she said BRIGADE focuses on helping clients tell their story, and to do that, she and her team must first understand what that story is and then develop effective ways to communicate it.

“We get to know a client by doing an audit of their existing brand,” she explained. “We always see it as the client being the expert in what they do in their industry, and we bring in the branding piece, so it’s crucial to work with them as a partner.”

That was certainly the case with the new coffee bags the company created for Esselon Café. Coffee had long been a key ingredient in the restaurant’s recipe for success, said Modestow, but a while back, its leaders decided a new look was needed.

“People are more open to working with remote agencies. Before, it was a case where you went to an agency in one of the larger cities. Around 2006, when we started, there was a willingness to work with people who weren’t down the street, and that had a lot to do with our success.”

“We worked with them to determine how to capture the heart of Esselon and capture who and what Esselon is,” she explained, adding that BRIGADE came up with new packaging that drew on the Western Mass. landscape — specifically the Seven Sisters portion of the Holyoke Range — as well as new language: “All roads, bike paths, and quests for the best cup of coffee lead to Esselon Café.”

Kirsten Modestow

Kirsten Modestow

“The whole idea is that they’re on the bike path and everyone comes to Esselon; the place is packed, and you have to park illegally,” she explained. “We decided to embrace all that — we have these bike paths and roads that wrap around the bag, and we told this café story, and it’s been awesome for them; the bag is loved by Whole Foods, and retail sales have tripled because of it.”

For this issue, BusinessWest takes an in-depth look at how BRIGADE has moved well beyond that kitchen table and grown its own brand by delivering services that tell a story and generate results.

Seeking an Ad-vantage

Modestow told BusinessWest that the BRIGADE story really starts in Boston, where she worked for the acclaimed marketing agency Hill Holiday Advertising and such clients as Dunkin’ Donuts.

When the dot-com sector was at its pinnacle, however, the place to be was San Francisco, and Modestow went there and had the opportunity to join a firm and work with brands such as Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), the video-game maker.

Her firm eventually closed its doors, however, after losing one of its mainstay clients, and Modestow and her husband were at a crossroads.

“I could afford to live in San Francisco for about four and half minutes after that,” she joked. “I think we sold our house within seven days and left.”

The two then made a pact of sorts. They would relocate to wherever one of them found a job first.

“He beat me by a day; he got a job in Western Massachusetts — he’s originally from Worthington — and we came here,” she explained.

And it wasn’t long after they landed that she got that life-altering phone call.

“Someone called and said, ‘I have a freelance opportunity for you on this startup vodka brand called Svedka,’” she recalled. “Over the past 13 years, we’ve grown with them and helped them along the way; they’ve been really wonderful to us.”

As noted earlier, the company quickly outgrew Modestow’s kitchen table, refrigerator, and garage, and settled into that space on University Drive, above the popular Hangar restaurant. It wasn’t exactly a long stay, though, because the company continued to grow at a rapid rate, doubling in size from five to nine employees in a few years.

It then relocated to the foreign-car shop — a site that required a massive renovation effort — but outgrew that in just over a year, as Modestow recalled, adding that the next home is intriguing on many levels.

A portion of the 8,500-square-foot facility was home to a Registry of Motor Vehicles office, and even though it’s been closed for quite some time, people still walk in the front door looking to renew their driver’s licenses, said David Bosch, the company’s operations manager.

Another portion of the facility has home to Zoe’s Fish House, he went on, adding that, while BRIGADE renovated all the spaces into work areas, including a banquet facility that never became reality, it kept the bar intact.

The company doesn’t have a liquor license, obviously, but it does use the bar for company functions, said Bosch. Meanwhile, it’s an unusual decorative touch, and it give the company a chance to showcase many of the brands it has helped develop in what would be described as a natural setting.

The space is wide open, said Modestow, adding that this the desired environment for a marketing firm where people work together to create solutions for clients.

“We work in branding, and a lot of that is people coming together to solve a problem,” she explained. “So being in a very open space, one that’s conducive to gathering, is important.”

BRIGADE should be in this home for quite some time, because there is not only ample room to grow, but plenty of business coming through the door as the company continues to build strong word-of-mouth referrals.

The new coffee bag that BRIGADE created for Esselon Café has helped spark a surge in retail sales.

The new coffee bag that BRIGADE created for Esselon Café has helped spark a surge in retail sales.

Indeed, as noted earlier, Svedka has been a dream first client and solid foundation for BRIGADE. But the company has been able to build on that foundation, said Modestow, and for several reasons.

One is the large number of contacts she made from her previous career stops, and the experience she gained working for national and global clients, a tremendous asset in this business, as in any other.

“Having the exposure in Boston and San Francisco enabled me to work on some high-caliber clients and hone my skill set that I could then pass on to people here,” she explained. “We started off with an ability to work on those high-caliber clients; we’re really good at it, so we’ve attracted through our work the attention of others.”

Another factor is a growing willingness among corporations to work with agencies not based in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles, or whatever major metropolis the corporation was based in or near.

“People are more open to working with remote agencies,” she noted. “Before, it was a case where you went to an agency in one of the larger cities. Around 2006, when we started, there was a willingness to work with people who weren’t down the street, and that had a lot to do with our success.”

Getting the Message Across

But easily the best reason for the company’s success is the results it has garnered for its clients, said Modestow, adding that more important than the awards the company has gained for its work — and it has won many — are the gains registered by the companies looking for help with their brand.

Which bring us back to Esselon Café.

That new packaging has won a number of awards for BRIGADE, said Modestow, but the bigger story is that dramatic rise in retail sales at Whole Foods and other locations.

It came about through that art and science of storytelling and creating a brand that speaks to who they are.

When asked about the methods for gaining such results, Modestow returned to the subject of effectively partnering with the client to solve a problem or revitalize a brand.

The client knows their industry, their product or service, and their story, she went on. BRIGADE essentially takes that insight and uses it to create a brand that conveys the story in a way that resonates.

Steps include the brand audit she described earlier, and also creation of brand strategy.

“We would work through positioning statements with the client, help them figure out their key messages, how they’re different, how they talk about themselves, what their voice is, and more,” she explained. “And once we have that platform, then we would go into the visual component of all this — bringing it all to life visually through some kind of toolkit, which might be a refresh logo or packaging or a new website. We’re helping them see how this language and this new positioning can visually come to life.”

As the company creates these strategies and brings them to life, it does so not with a hard focus on targeting specific demographic groups — a mistake some companies make when marketing and branding — but building a brand that’s “authentic.”

“I don’t think you build a brand to speak to a specific group of people,” she told BusinessWest. “You build a brand that’s true to who the brand should be, and then it resonates with the right people.

“A mistake you see is when companies think the key to their success is going out and capturing the Millennials,” she went on. “Well, the Millennial doesn’t want to be captured — you have to find them because you have something compelling that made them want to believe in you. It’s about consumer experience and storytelling; people want an authentic experience with a company.”

As an example of how the firm partners with its clients, Modestow referenced the Wyndham Hotel Group and some of its specific brands, including one in particular — Travelodge.

“It was kind of an old brand with old, tired signage,” she explained, noting that, at the time, Wyndham hadn’t put much emphasis on branding, but has since changed that attitude. “We helped refresh the Travelodge brand, we helped them with an ad campaign, and we helped them with a new way to talk about themselves.”

Another example is work with Svedka to launch a new line of spiked seltzers. The company designed the cans in a way that were true to the Svedka brand but also resonated within the growing spiked-seltzer product category, said Don Magri, the company’s chief financial officer.

“They came to us with a good amount of research that they had already done on their consumer and who they were really trying to target,” he explained. “You go through iterations, but you’re really trying to creating a design that is true to the brand going into a new category, but also hitting the demographic they’re trying to reach.”

Looking down the road, those at BRIGADE said they look to continue providing clients with what they call ‘responsive branding,’ so that they are ready for the future and their brands are as well.

In short, they aim to do what the company’s done from the beginning — grow with its clients.

“We want to grow and create new opportunities for our employees and then for the people who don’t work here yet,” said Magri. “Growth for the sake of growth is not something we’re interested in, but growth for the sake of growing our skills and growing our client base and securing our client mix is our plan.”

Bottom Line

In other words, the company is going to continue doing what it’s been doing from the start, back when work was being done on Modestow’s kitchen table and her refrigerator was getting filled with employees’ lunches.

The company has come a long way since then — a quick tour of the facilities at 195 Russell St. make that clear — but the guiding principles remain the same.

And those are to tell the client’s story and create an authentic experience that resonates. When you that, it’s a lot easier to do what BRIGADE has done with and for Svedka and all its other clients — be along for the ride.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

People on the Move
Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral, a former accounting professor and interim dean of Business and Technology at Holyoke Community College, has been appointed the new director of Training & Workforce Options, a workforce-development partnership between HCC and Springfield Technical Community College. Cabral succeeds Jeffrey Hayden, who maintains his position as HCC’s vice president of Business and Community Services. As director of TWO, she will also continue in her position as director of the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute (MCCTI), the gaming school HCC runs jointly with STCC and MGM Springfield at 95 State St. in Springfield. Before being named director of MCCTI last fall, Cabral served as interim dean of Business and Technology at HCC, where she was a member of the project team that helped bring the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute to life. Cabral holds a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University and an MBA from Elms College. She joined the faculty of HCC in 2014 as a full-time professor of accounting.

•••••

Kevin Bramlett

Kevin Bramlett

Adam Cincotta

Adam Cincotta

As part of the previously announced organizational change to position the company for future growth, OMG Inc. promoted Kevin Bramlett and Adam Cincotta into new business-unit leadership positions for the Roofing Products Division. Each will oversee all facets of their respective business unit, including strategic sales and marketing activities, planning, forecasting, and manufacturing, as well as business-unit profit and loss. Bramlett was named director of the metal accessories business unit, which is predominantly OMG EdgeSystems, the company’s line of fascia, coping, and water-control products. Bramlett has been with the company since July 2012, most recently as the manufacturing manager for the OMG edge business. Before joining OMG, he was a mechanical engineer with Thermo-Fisher Scientific. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Cincotta was named director of the adhesives/solar business unit, which includes OlyBond Adhesives, the industry’s popular line of insulation and fleece membrane adhesive, as well as its OMG PowerGrip line of solar anchors. He joined OMG Roofing Products as a product manager in 2014, and was promoted to group product manager in 2017. Before joining OMG, he was with Lenox Tools/Newell Rubbermaid, where he worked as a senior product manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and management from Cornell University and an MBA from UMass.

•••••

Kelly Marcroft

Kelly Marcroft

Kelly Marcroft, Holyoke Medical Center’s director of Emergency Services, has been selected to join an expert panel to improve patient safety in emergency medicine. The panel was convened by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety, a Massachusetts state agency that catalyzes the efforts of providers, patients, and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of healthcare. The goal of this expert panel is to develop, aggregate, and disseminate practical recommendations and tools to support the efforts of Massachusetts acute-care hospitals to advance the safe delivery of emergency care in their facilities. The panel will deliberate on and endorse a set of core safety competencies that all Massachusetts emergency departments should foster, as well as create a set of best-practice standards, tools, and resources to share throughout the greater emergency-medicine community in Massachusetts. The expert panel consists of nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors from several hospitals throughout the state, including Baystate Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and UMass Memorial Medical Center. The group first met on June 26 in Boston and will continue to meet monthly over the next year.

•••••

Angela Barahona

Angela Barahona

Country Bank announced that Angela Barahona has joined its Commercial Banking division as vice president of Business Development and Cash Management. She brings 17 years of experience in the industry, having held various positions over the years in customer service, management, municipal and government banking, business development, and corporate cash management. She is currently working toward her associate degree from the New England College of Business and Finance with a concentration in business adminstration. Barahona began her financial-services career at Country Bank in 2001 in its retail banking area. A relocation in 2006 to the eastern part of Massachusetts brought her to State Street Bank Corp. in its wire division and later to Century Bank. For the last 13 years at Century, she held various positions working her way through the ranks, where she found her passion in helping business customers.

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Clare Lamontagne

Clare Lamontagne

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Clare Lamontagne as its new dean of Health Sciences. Lamontagne, a registered nurse who holds a Ph.D. in nursing, brings 40 years of experience to HCC as a nursing educator, administrator, clinician, and consultant. For the past seven years, she has been a member of the full-time nursing faculty at UMass Amherst, having also served there as director of the undergraduate nursing program. She began her career in 1978 as a charge nurse at Ludlow Hospital after earning her associate degree in nursing from Springfield Technical Community College, where she worked as a member of the nursing faculty from 1988 to 2011. Lamontagne holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from American International College, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in nursing from UMass Amherst. She has also worked as a nurse at Baystate Medical Center and as a volunteer at the Pioneer Valley Free Health Clinic in East Longmeadow, and has taught in the nursing programs at UConn, Elms College, and Baystate Health.

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Alta Stark has been named director of Communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield. She is responsible for developing, writing, and producing various printed and electronic publications, providing printed materials and signs, publicity for events, advertising, and technical support. She will also work to cultivate and maintain relationships with local, regional, and national media, as well as Catholic media, and produce content for the Sisters of St. Joseph social-media sites. Stark is a communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations, and the news media. Most recently, she taught graduate-level online courses in public relations for Western New England University. Previously, she served as the director of Marketing & Public Relations for JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, successfully rebranding the 106-year organization and helping launch the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation. Stark has also served as senior Communications specialist for Baystate Health and Communications director for the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (now the Springfield Regional Chamber) and the Western Mass. Economic Development Council. She also spent nearly a decade producing award-winning broadcast news in several markets in the Northeast, including WWLP 22News. Stark holds a master’s degree in television, radio, and film with a concentration in broadcast news from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and graduated cum laude from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts with a bachelor’s degree in advertising design.

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Claudia Pazmany

Claudia Pazmany

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County (BBBSHC), a program of CHD, announced the appointment of Claudia Pazmany as its new advisory board president. Pazmany, the new executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, joined BBBSHC as an advisory board member in May 2016. She served on the development committee and led the efforts to celebrate outgoing Executive Director Renee Moss, while simultaneously serving on the search committee to hire her replacement, current Executive Director Jessie Cooley. “Claudia’s successful 17-year history in professional fundraising has made her a true steward of her craft in philanthropy, and this is part of what drew her to us,” said Cooley. “Claudia is also passionate about the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters, with contagious enthusiasm and innovative ideas, and she will help lead us into the next phase of our program’s growth.”

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Krish Thiagarajan, an expert on marine renewable energy and energy-producing offshore structures, has been appointed to the endowed chair in Renewable Energy in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. Thiagarajan will collaborate with state Department of Energy Resources staff on renewable-energy research and projects. His studies focus on harvesting energy from waves in marine environments, and his expertise will broaden and strengthen the research program in renewable energy at UMass Amherst, which has long been a national leader in wind energy. Thiagarajan came to UMass Amherst last spring after serving six years as the presidential chair in Energy at the University of Maine, where his research attracted more than $22 million in funding. At Maine, he also led the Marine Ocean and Offshore Research (MOOR) Group, which studied how human-made structures interact with the complex ocean environment. Thiagarajan completed his bachelor’s degree in naval architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. He earned a master’s degree in ocean engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland before pursuing further graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and naval architecture and marine engineering, as well as a Ph.D. in naval architecture and marine engineering.

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Mika Nash has joined American International College (AIC) as executive vice president for Academic Affairs. She comes to AIC from Champlain College in Vermont, where she served as dean of Continuing Professional Studies. Nash has more than 20 years of experience in the field of higher education, with the majority of her career spent in senior leadership. In her most recent role, she was tasked with the development and administration of all academic and operational responsibilities associated with running the Continuing Professional Studies academic unit with management oversight for all curricula, academic programs, academic policies, articulation agreements, eLearning, faculty recruiting, training and development, and building student, family, and academic support services. A particular area of interest and scholarship for Nash continues to be technology innovation to expand the student experience and engagement in course content. Prior to joining Champlain College in 2007, Nash served as dean for the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management at the New England Culinary Institute. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Vermont. She has a doctorate in higher educational leadership and policy studies.

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Scott Higgins

Scott Higgins

Erin Wilde

Erin Wilde

HUB International New England, LLC, a division of HUB International Limited, a global insurance brokerage, recently announced that Scott Higgins joined the agency as an account executive for Commercial Lines, and Erin Wilde has come on board as a client relationship manager. Both will work in the East Longmeadow office. Higgins will be responsible for servicing medium- to large-sized businesses with a focus on property and casualty products. Having first started his career as a collision repair manager with GM for more than 20 years, he has a vast background in providing settlements for collision repairs. From there, he held various positions with MetLife and MetLife Financial. Wilde will work closely with the HUB New England Employee Benefits team to service existing clients with marketing, benefits communications, regulatory requirements, cost-saving measures, and enrollment, as well as assisting with new prospects. Having worked in the employee-benefits field, including stops at Bank of Tampa and Sullivan Benefits, she has a background servicing nonprofits.

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Springfield Technical Community College announced that Erica Eynouf was named dean of Library, Matthew Gravel was named dean of Academic Initiatives, and Inder Singh was named assistant vice president/chief Information officer. Eynouf joined the college in September 2012 as a reference library, and had served as interim dean of Library Services since August 2017. She holds a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. She received her bachelor’s degree in critical social theory from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. Gravel was most recently dean of Enrollment Management. He joined STCC in August 2001 as the director of Academic Advising, became registrar in March 2005, and was promoted to dean of Curriculum in January 2012. Among his job responsibilities, he will plan and manage academic initiatives and program review efforts. He earned a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in English from UMass Dartmouth. Singh had served as interim AVP/CIO since January. Previously, he served as CIO at Union County College in New Jersey and worked in IT leadership positions for 28 years at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He holds an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Delhi University, India.

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Kathleen Anderson

Kathleen Anderson

Holyoke Medical Center announced the appointment of Kathleen Anderson as the hospital’s director of Community Benefits. She begins her new role on Aug. 27, providing programs and services to improve health in communities and helping to increase access to healthcare. She will succeed Helen Arnold following her retirement after a 42-year career with Holyoke Medical Center. Anderson most recently served as president of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and its affiliated Centennial Foundation. Prior to that, she served as Holyoke’s Planning and Economic Development director, as well as chief of staff for two Holyoke mayors. She serves on the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council, and chairs both the Holyoke Salvation Army and Economic Development Partners of the Western Mass. Economic Development Council.

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The duMONT Co. and Hassay Savage Co. announced the promotion of Cynthia Cote to president of both companies. Cote joined duMONT with new ownership in 2016 as the company’s chief financial officer. Both duMONT and Hassay Savage companies are leaders in linear industrial broaching technology. In 2018, the companies will break ground on a new manufacturing facility to prepare for additional growth through research and development as well as acquisition. In addition to her accomplishments in manufacturing, Cote and her husband own and run a construction company and a real-estate management company in Shelburne Falls.

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HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts recently named Kathy Casagrande as director of Case Management and Mary-Anne Schelb as Business Development director. These leadership-team members will support initiatives to uphold high-quality patient care at the 53-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital located at 222 State St., Ludlow. Casagrande has been a social worker and case manager in a hospital setting for more than 30 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Western New England College in 1985 and began her career at HealthSouth Western Massachusetts in March 1996 in the capacity of discharge planner. She was promoted to case manager in 1997. Schelb serves as director of Marketing Operations at HealthSouth Western Massachusetts. She began her career with an accounting certification from St. John’s School of Business and found herself drawn to a more health- and wellness-based path as a holistic health practitioner holding master/teacher certifications from the International Center for Reiki Training. In addition, she is a certified cranial sacral therapist in Profound Neutral from the Neurovascular Institute.

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Zoar Outdoor recently trained five new guides to lead its canopy-tour experience in a 40-hour process that covered topics from safety to assessing the guest’s state of mind. All five guide candidates aced written exams and technical drills on June 15, the last day of the training. Hired for the remainder of the season, which ends in November, were Brian Schempf, Matt Drazek, Haley Rode, Abby Schlinger, and Tynan Hewes. All of the trainees had previous experience riding a zipline, and they all also had outdoor experience ranging from hiking to mountain climbing. Zoar currently has 43 guides for its zipline canopy tour, which was the first zip tour in southern New England.

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