Home Posts tagged Business announcements
Company Notebook

TMGC LLC Acquires Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club

TURNERS FALLS — On April 3, Kyle and Kelly Snow, as well as Kyle’s father, Edward Snow Jr., acting as TMGC LLC, purchased the Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club in Turners Falls. The Snow family, who own and operate Northfield Golf Course and Snow & Sons Landscaping in Greenfield, purchased the 55-acre property from the Thomas family with assets acquired from the Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club board of directors. The acquisition also includes two private residences, an event space, a clubhouse, and a maintenance building. While membership rates will stay level with the 2023 season, the Snows plan to make immediate improvements to the grounds and clubhouse, including a facelift of the common areas and restrooms. These updates are part of a comprehensive three- to five-year improvement plan the Snow family developed to ensure that Thomas Memorial Golf remains a leading local course and offers a unique Franklin County experience for golfers at all levels of play. The Snow family plans to create a synergy between Northfield Golf Club and Thomas Memorial Golf that will benefit both courses.

 

Excel Dryer Pioneers Blueprint for Healthy, Sustainable Workplaces

EAST LONGMEADOW — Excel Dryer recently unveiled a comprehensive office expansion and renovation project. This initiative, rooted in the company’s mission to lead through innovation, aimed to merge beauty, health, wellness, and sustainability into its workplace. The project’s insights and methodologies are set to educate through a unique continuing education unit (CEU) course offered by Architectural Record magazine in its Continuing Education Center, serving as a detailed roadmap of Excel Dryer’s innovative journey. Guided by the WELL Building Standard as a principal framework, the renovation serves as a case study showcasing Excel’s commitment to integrating the latest and most effective products in support of occupant well-being, productivity, and environmental sustainability. This initiative aims to inspire and educate not just architects, designers, and the construction community, but also owners and facility managers, offering insights into the practical application of sustainability and health-focused principles in commercial interiors and demonstrating Excel Dryer’s leading role in the movement toward more responsible workplace design. The Architectural Record’s CEU course provides a focused overview on the intersection of modern design, health standards, and sustainability in commercial architecture. It provides information on the multiple innovative products used to achieve WELL certification and explores the evolution of hygiene and sustainability post-pandemic, highlighting the importance of touchless technologies in public restrooms to prevent illness. Ultimately, the course showcases how integrated design solutions can promote health, efficiency, and environmental stewardship in commercial spaces.

 

YWCA Awarded $111,111 Grant for Violence-prevention Program

SPRINGFIELD — The YWCA of Western Massachusetts recently received $111,111.11 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for its youth violence-prevention program, called the H.E.R.E. (Healthy Empowering Relationships and Education) Project. This evidence-based project has been successfully embedded in many Springfield middle and high schools for about 18 months. With this new grant funding, the YWCA intends to hire additional staff to reach more youth within area schools beyond Springfield. The H.E.R.E. Project’s curriculum is specifically developed for teens, inclusive of all genders, and designed for applicability across gender, ethnicity, sexual identities, and socio-economic backgrounds. It specifically targets Springfield youth ages 12-18 and aims to educate youth at risk for teen dating violence, sex trafficking of minors, and gang violence. During these classes, YWCA employees use varied teaching methods such as games, small and large group work, and role playing. YWCA staff visit the participating middle and high schools once per week for eight weeks, and since the start of the program more than 18 months ago, the H.E.R.E. Project has served about 600 students.

Company Notebook

Sublime Systems Awarded $87 Million in Federal Funds

SPRINGFIELD — As part of a $6.3 billion initiative funding 33 projects across 20 states, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that Sublime Systems in Holyoke will receive $87 million in federal funding from its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and its Industrial Demonstrations Program. Sublime Systems plans to build a new, ultra-low-carbon cement manufacturing facility in Holyoke. The company’s new method to make cement replaces carbon-intensive limestone with abundant calcium-silicate-based feedstocks, resulting in industry-standard cement that is produced electrochemically instead of using high heat. By demonstrating this transformational process that was previously supported by ARPA-E, Sublime aims to strengthen American supply chains for low-carbon products, increase transparency for product environmental impact and performance, and catalyze industry-wide change. The Sublime project expects to create 70 to 90 permanent manufacturing jobs in a community that once produced nearly all of the country’s writing paper but has seen a decline in industry over the 20th century.

 

Bay Path Cybersecurity Program Ranked in Top Five by Forbes

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that its master of science (MS) in cybersecurity program has been recognized as one of the top five such programs in the nation by Forbes in its Best Online Master’s in Cybersecurity rankings for 2024. Forbes’ ranking of Bay Path’s MS in cybersecurity online program reflects the university’s dedication to providing students with a comprehensive, cutting-edge education that prepares them to address the complex challenges of cybersecurity in today’s digital landscape. With a curriculum designed by industry experts and taught by experienced faculty members, the program equips students with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience needed to succeed in this critical field. Bay Path is also a partner in the federally funded, $1.5 million Union Station cyber range project in Springfield. This state-of-the-art cyber range will mirror IT environments and allow students to gain experience through live-fire attacks, blue-team-red-team events, training modules, labs, assessments, and more. In addition, Bay Path is a member of MassCyber’s training and education working group, giving students access to internships and real-world opportunities, the latest research, professional networks, and insight into best practices.

 

Nonotuck Resource Associates Honored Among Top Workplaces

NORTHAMPTON — Nonotuck Resource Associates Inc. was recently named a recipient of a USA Today 2024 Top Workplaces USA award, issued by Energage. The Top Workplaces program has a 15-year history of surveying more than 20 million employees and recognizing the top organizations across 60 regional markets. Top Workplaces USA celebrates organizations with 150 or more employees that have built great cultures. More than 42,000 organizations were invited to participate in the Top Workplaces USA survey. Winners of the Top Workplaces USA list are chosen based solely on employee feedback gathered through an employee-engagement survey, issued by Energage. This news comes on the heels of Nonotuck being selected as a Boston Globe Top Workplace.

 

Modern Workspace Opening in East Longmeadow

EAST LONGMEADOW — Bill Laplante of Laplante Construction announced that Modern Workspace, a co-working facility he is developing with partners Chris Orszulak and Jason Pananos, should be open for business by May at 7 Purves St. in East Longmeadow. The modern, net-zero building will feature 25 individual spaces available on a membership basis for businesspeople who work remotely. The modern, luxury building will be heated and cooled by electricity produced from solar panels on the roof, which will also provide hot water and a charge for tenants’ vehicles. The building will be accessible to tenants 24-7. In addition to high-speed internet, amenities will include conference rooms and office equipment such as standing desks. Laplante and his partners said Modern Workspace is the third in a model that also extends to the historic Brewer Young Mansion in Longmeadow, with 17 offices; and Chatham, on Cape Cod, in a location with nine offices. Various levels of membership will be offered, including an address-only membership, a 10-day pass, or a private office with all amenities.

 

AIC Earns 2024-25 Designation as Military Friendly School

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) announced it has earned the 2024-2025 Military Friendly School and Military Spouse Friendly School designations. Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2024-25 survey, with 537 earning special awards for going above the standard. The 2024-25 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May and October issues of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found online at www.militaryfriendly.com. Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher-education and military-recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer), and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

 

Bulkley Richardson Honors Jeff Poindexter with YMCA Gift

SPRINGFIELD — In continuing Jeff Poindexter’s legacy, Bulkley Richardson has partnered with the Greater Springfield YMCA to help area boys and girls attend summer camp. The firm will send 16 youth campers to a YMCA-run camp this summer for one week. Poindexter was a partner at Bulkley Richardson and the former chairman of the Greater Springfield YMCA board of directors. “Jeff knew summer camp was a privilege not all kids had access to, and he was a huge advocate of advancing equity in our Springfield neighborhoods,” said Dan Finnegan, Bulkley Richardson’s managing partner. “We felt that honoring Jeff’s longtime commitment to the YMCA and its efforts to provide opportunities to youth in the community was something he would be proud of.”

Company Notebook

Bay Path University to Acquire Cambridge College

LONGMEADOW — The boards of Bay Path University and Cambridge College announced today that Bay Path has entered into a formal agreement to acquire Cambridge College. This move reflects a strategic focus by both institutions on planning for future success providing career-focused education models to a diverse student population. Each based its decision to join together on the shared mission of the two institutions. The two institutions have shared their plans and the greater opportunity created by a combined organization with both the Commonwealth’s Department of Higher Education, which has regulatory purview over both Bay Path and Cambridge, and the New England Commission of Higher Education, which accredits both institutions. Both organizations will be working with Bay Path and Cambridge to ensure the process to combine the institutions meets their respective standards and regulatory requirements. The acquisition of Cambridge College will nearly double the number of students served by Bay Path and bring total enrollment to more than 5,000, including a growing number of international students. The geographies served by Bay Path will expand to include Cambridge’s Eastern Mass. location as well as its growing Puerto Rico location. Opened in downtown San Juan more than 20 years ago, the campus provides graduate programs in business and technology as well as education and counseling to working professionals. Bay Path currently operates two locations: its Longmeadow campus, which serves women at the undergraduate level, and the state-of-the-art Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center in East Longmeadow, which provides graduate degrees in education, healthcare, and psychology. The university also grants undergraduate degrees online through the American Women’s College. Bay Path’s acquisition of Cambridge College is likely to be complete in June. Full integration of Cambridge College into Bay Path will take 18 to 24 months, pending a series of approvals by accreditors and appropriate state and federal regulators.

 

Florence Bank Supports West Springfield’s 250th

FLORENCE — Florence Bank has donated $4,000 to the city of West Springfield to help support four events the city has planned in 2024 as part of a year packed with 250th-anniversary festivities. Florence Bank’s backing of the West Springfield 250th celebration specifically offers support for three 5K races, happening in March, July, and November; a block party on June 22 and 23, when Elm and Central streets will be closed for activities from dancing to vendors and food trucks; family photo sessions at historic town locations; and a golf tournament in July. Also part of the 250th events in West Springfield are a birthday celebration in Clark Field today, Feb. 23, the same day West Springfield was incorporated in 1774; a black-tie ball in May; various ongoing public art projects; and a Bright Nights display next winter. In addition to the financial support, a team of bank staff will volunteer at some of the events in town. Since 2007, Florence Bank has had a presence in West Springfield, which was enhanced five years ago when the current full-service branch opened at 1010 Union St.

 

Second Chance Composting Program Comes to Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD — Second Chance Composting recently brought its residential community composting program to Pittsfield. Memberships are open and ongoing for the 9 South Atlantic Ave. dropoff location. The program runs continuously all year, through all four seasons. Memberships start at $9.99 per month, offering unlimited dropoff of household food scraps to the location each month. Members simply save their food scraps at home and, at their convenience, bring them to 9 South Atlantic Ave. and drop their material into the tote. Members can come as little or as often as needed each month. All food and food scraps are accepted, including meat, fish, dairy, bones, and shells. Other membership pricing options are available for those who wish to receive finished compost back. In addition to the new Pittsfield location, Second Chance Composting currently has dropoff locations in North Adams, Williamstown, and Adams, which have continuous and ongoing membership signups. Every week, Second Chance Composting picks up the material, which is brought to its MassDEP-certified facility in Cheshire to process the food scraps into compost, which is then distributed back to the community to grow more food, flowers, plants, and trees. Those interested in learning more or signing up for a membership can do so by visiting www.secondchancecomposting.com.

Company Notebook

Point32Health to Acquire Health New England

SPRINGFIELD — Point32Health, the not-for-profit parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, announced it has signed a definitive agreement with Baystate Health to acquire its subsidiary, Health New England. Health New England, a not-for-profit health plan in Springfield, offers a range of plans in the commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare markets and serves approximately 180,000 members concentrated in Western Mass. Canton-based Point32Health offers employer-sponsored plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans, plans on the state exchange, and plans for those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. It serves 1.9 million members in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. The acquisition is expected to improve product offerings and expand access to a broader network with wider geographic reach. Among both organizations’ shared priorities is expanding high-quality programs and services, particularly those that cover underserved populations and seniors, as well as maximizing the benefits that not-for-profit health plans provide to communities. Point32Health aims to harness the strengths of both organizations and bring value to Health New England members and the broader community by providing greater value to consumers by combining complementary strengths, administrative efficiencies, and a broader product offering; expanding access to care for underserved populations and preserving not-for-profit options through extensive experience in serving these populations; and advancing the quality of healthcare members receive through a commitment to addressing behavioral health, health equity, and social determinants of health. The agreement, which was unanimously approved by the board of directors of Point32Health and the board of trustees of Baystate Health, is subject to regulatory approvals.

 

UMass Amherst to Create Center Focused on Offshore Wind

AMHERST — UMass Amherst has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish and lead the Academic Center for Reliability and Resilience of Offshore Wind (ARROW), a new, multi-million-dollar national center of excellence to accelerate reliable and equitable offshore wind-energy deployment across the nation and produce a well-educated domestic offshore wind workforce. Led by UMass Amherst with approximately 40 partners, ARROW will receive $4.75 million over five years from the the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and has also received a matching commitment of $4.75 million from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The state of Maryland, the second center of gravity of the proposal with participation from Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University, is contributing $1 million from the Maryland Energy Administration. Other universities are contributing $1.4 million for a total budget of $11.9 million. Sanjay Arwade, professor of Civil Engineering at UMass Amherst, is director of the new center, with faculty in the university’s Wind Energy Center serving as co-principal investigators and senior personnel of the research team. The center will be a university-led education, research, and outreach program for offshore wind that prioritizes energy equity and principles of workforce diversity, equity, inclusion, and access

 

MountainOne Insurance Acquires G.W. Morisi Insurance Agency

LONGMEADOW — MountainOne Insurance Agency, a subsidiary of MountainOne Bank, announced the acquisition of G.W. Morisi Insurance Agency Inc., a third-generation, family-owned agency that has served Longmeadow and neighboring communities for more than 75 years. The G.W. Morisi staff of four, including President Rory Sullivan, will remain with the agency at its 473 Longmeadow Street location. In time, additional staff will come on board to further support customers’ insurance needs. G.W. Morisi Insurance Agency will now offer customers many enhanced services, including the addition of group employee benefits, life insurance, long-term-care Insurance, Medicare products, and in-house claims services. Customers also have access to many new insurance carriers, widening their options for coverage at competitive rates. MountainOne Insurance is born from the combination of several small, family-owned agencies that have served Berkshire communities for generations. The acquisition of the G.W. Morisi marks MountainOne’s first physical office outside of Berkshire County, expanding its footprint into Longmeadow and neighboring communities.

 

Westfield Bank Donates $12,500 to Shriners Children’s New England

WESTFIELD — Westfield Bank is pleased to announce a $12,500 donation to Shriners Children’s New England in partnership with the Elan Credit Card Charitable Giving Program. Shriners Children’s is dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing high-quality pediatric specialty care for children up to age 18, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. “We are proud to continue our support of this wonderful organization,” said James Hagan, president and CEO. “For close to 100 years, Shriners Children’s has done incredible work providing pediatric care, innovative research, and offering educational programs for medical professionals. Westfield Bank is proud to be a long-time partner with Shriners Children’s.”

 

Monson Savings Bank Announces $15,000 in Community Donations

MONSON — The people have voted, and the results are in. In late 2023, Monson Savings Bank asked community members to cast their votes for their favorite local nonprofits. The bank is now announcing the Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative recipients for 2024. This was the 14th year Monson Savings Bank has run its Community Giving Initiative poll. The public’s excitement to cast their vote has grown throughout the years. This year, nearly 7,000 votes were received. Now that the votes have been calculated, Monson Savings Bank is preparing to donate a total of $15,000 among the top 10 recipients, which include I Found Light Against All Odds (Springfield), Shriners Children’s New England (Springfield), Friends of Hampden Seniors (Hampden), Women’s Empowerment Scholarship (Greater Springfield), Whip City Animal Sanctuary (Westfield), Monson Free Library (Monson), Miracle League of Western Massachusetts (Springfield), Halfway Home Cat Rescue (Chicopee), Scantic Valley YMCA (Wilbraham), and ClubOh! (Springfield).

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Receives $50,000 Grant

SPRINGFIELD — Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services (MLFKS) received a $50,000 grant from the MassMutual Foundation as part of MassMutual’s inaugural Economic Equity Grant program, a collaboration of the MassMutual Foundation with MassMutual’s employee business resource groups (BRGs), which serve as an integral component of the organization’s DEI strategy. MLKFS is one of eight organizations to receive a grant. MassMutual’s employee BRGs support initiatives that drive organizational results; increase employee engagement; and foster awareness, respect, and inclusion within the workplace. More than one-third of MassMutual’s employees participate in its eight BRGs, representing Black/African-American, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino/Latinx communities; members of the LGBTQ+ community; individuals with disabilities and their caregivers; members of the armed forces, veterans, and military family members; young professionals; and women.

 

Big Y Donates 1.5 Million Meals to Food Banks

SPRINGFIELD — Big Y’s annual Sack Hunger campaign provides funds for the four food banks within its two-state marketing area. In turn, these food banks support local soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, day-care centers, and many others of the 2,100-member agencies that they help every day. Their goal is to maximize access to nutritious food and other resources that support food security for those at risk of hunger. The four regional food banks are the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the Worcester County Food Bank, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and the Connecticut Foodshare. For $5, customers supported Sack Hunger at Big Y’s supermarkets or Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors. Every $5 donation brings 10 meals to those in need of support. Additionally, Big Y has added even more ways to boost this year’s efforts, with specific proceeds from produce, floral, Smart Chicken, USDA choice angus beef, along with a portion of every one of Big Y’s family of brands. Big Y’s Sack Hunger campaign started in 2010, when 740 meals were donated. With this year’s 1.5 million meals, the program continues to grow in support of those in need. Big Y’s Sack Hunger donation is part of its ongoing support of food banks throughout the year, including almost daily donations of meat, fresh produce, and bakery, along with grocery, frozen food, and dairy items.

 

Eversource Submits Roadmap to Achieve Clean-energy Goals

SPRINGFIELD — With a focus on energy equity, environmental-justice communities, and transparency, Eversource submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) its final Electric Sector Modernization Plan (ESMP) to modernize the electric distribution system and help meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization goals after incorporating feedback from the Grid Mod Advisory Council (GMAC) and dozens of stakeholders. The energy company’s ESMP is a comprehensive roadmap to transform the region’s power grid, enhance its resiliency, and strengthen reliability for customers by increasing renewable-energy production and electrifying the heating and transportation sectors. Focused on achieving both equity and clean-energy objectives, the ESMP also establishes a Community Engagement Stakeholder Advisory Group (CESAG) and expands efforts for proposed clean-energy infrastructure projects to engage all potentially impacted stakeholders. Eversource’s 10-year plan helps meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization milestones through 2040 by achieving a 180% increase in electrification hosting capacity, which will provide additional capacity to enable 2.5 million electric vehicles statewide, 1 million residential heat pumps within the company’s territory, and an incremental 2.2 GW of additional solar hosting capacity, bringing the total distributed energy resource hosting capacity systemwide to 5.8 GW.

 

Berkshire Bank Foundation Reports on 2023 Philanthropy

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced that nearly $2.5 million in philanthropic investments were provided from its foundation in 2023 to support more than 500 nonprofit organizations. During the fourth quarter, more than $642,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to foster upward economic mobility, support overall well-being, and enhance opportunities for individual success in the communities the bank serves. During 2023, more than 500 local nonprofits received grants to assist with a range of critical projects in the areas of health and wellness, housing, food insecurity, and economic enrichment. The Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to supporting programs that work toward providing equitable opportunities for economic prosperity. In addition, it supports programs that align with Berkshire Bank’s Center for Women, Wellness, and Wealth.

 

MassDevelopment Issues Bond for MHA Headquarters Project

CHICOPEE — MassDevelopment has issued a $6,543,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Mental Health Assoc. Inc. (MHA), which will use the proceeds to buy and renovate a 78,378-square-foot building at 350 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee, where it will relocate its headquarters from Springfield and house its mental-health programs and residential and support services. The building originally housed the Charles River West Psychiatric Hospital and most recently served as the MassMutual Learning and Conference Center. The move will allow MHA to keep pace with growth and locate its staff in one office. Renovations to the building will include interior wall reconfiguration, office construction, HVAC and sprinkler-system updates, added reception-area security, and painting, flooring, and information systems improvements. Construction began in November and is expected to be complete by February 2024. MHA expects to create 45 full-time jobs and 20 part-time jobs over the next three years. Florence Bank purchased the tax-exempt bond, which helped MHA achieve a lower cost of capital. Founded in 1960, MHA provides access to therapies for emotional health and wellness; services for substance use recovery, developmental disabilities, and acquired brain injury; services for housing and residential programming; and more. MHA serves more than 3,000 people, from ages 5 to 90, each year.

 

Local Credit Unions Commit to Solar Financing

PIONEER VALLEY — As local leaders in renewable-energy financing, Franklin First Federal Credit Union and UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced unprecedented success in solar lending volume in 2023. Reflecting upon a record-setting year for both credit unions, during which UMassFive financed 1,272 installations totaling $50,923,810 and Franklin First financed 86 installations totaling $2,746,489, both organizations are reaffirming their dedication to facilitating sustainable futures through access to affordable financing options for solar-energy projects. Continuing a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and community development, both Franklin First and UMassFive have been at the forefront of financing both local and regional solar projects for more than eight years. Offering competitive rates with flexible terms, no loan-origination fees, and personalized service, these financial institutions have empowered individuals and businesses to embrace clean-energy solutions and reduce their carbon footprint. While solar energy continues to gain momentum nationwide, both Franklin First and UMassFive look to remain synonymous with accessible financing options for solar projects of all sizes. In addition to lending solutions, both credit unions are dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of renewable energy and promoting sustainable practices within their communities. Offering educational initiatives, outreach programs, and community partnerships, the credit unions are working to inspire adoption of clean-energy solutions and take meaningful steps toward a greener future, all while knowing their collective efforts have helped individuals and businesses save on energy costs and contributed to a cleaner, healthier planet.

 

Second Chance Residential Community Composting Program Comes to Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD — Second Chance Composting recently brought its residential community composting program to Pittsfield. Memberships are open and ongoing for the 9 South Atlantic Ave. dropoff location. The program runs continuously all year, through all four seasons. Memberships start at $9.99 per month, offering unlimited dropoff of household food scraps to the location each month. Members simply save their food scraps at home and, at their convenience, bring them to 9 South Atlantic Ave. and drop their material into the tote. Members can come as little or as often as needed each month. All food and food scraps are accepted, including meat, fish, dairy, bones, and shells. Other membership pricing options are available for those who wish to receive finished compost back. In addition to the new Pittsfield location, Second Chance Composting currently has dropoff locations in North Adams, Williamstown, and Adams, which have continuous and ongoing membership signups. Every week, Second Chance Composting picks up the material, which is brought to its MassDEP-certified facility in Cheshire to process the food scraps into compost, which is then distributed back to the community to grow more food, flowers, plants, and trees. Those interested in learning more or signing up for a membership can do so by visiting www.secondchancecomposting.com.

Company Notebook

The Markens Group Certified by Great Place to Work

SPRINGFIELD — The Markens Group Inc. (TMG) has been certfied by Great Place to Work for the ninth consecutive year. The award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience working at TMG. This year, 95% of employees said it’s a great place to work — 50% higher than the average U.S. company. Great Place to Work is a global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue, employee retention, and increased innovation. According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are four and a half times more likely to find a great boss at a certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits, and have a fair chance at promotion. According to the Trust Index survey taken by the staff, many noted the company ‘fundamentals’ — a set of valued behaviors within TMG — are one of the biggest reasons employees enjoy working at the Markens Group.

 

Bay Path Recognized Among Top Online Women’s Colleges

LONGMEADOW — The American Women’s College (TAWC), Bay Path University’s online college for adult women, has been recognized by the business-media outlet Forbes as one of the top three online women’s colleges in the nation. The ranking cited TAWC’s strong retention rate and called out Bay Path’s WELL (We Empower Learners and Leaders) program, a three-course leadership curriculum unique to the college, designed to equip women with the leadership skills and experience to excel in any career path. Forbes uses 16 data points to evaluate colleges in the categories of credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience, and application process. Bay Path, along with Simmons College and Brenau University, made the top three.

 

Rotary Club Supports Revitalize CDC Project

SPRINGFIELD — Revitalize Community Development Corp. (CDC) announced it has received a $2,000 grant from the Springfield Rotary Club to support development of a new warehouse and distribution center at its 240 Cadwell Dr., Springfield location, where it moved in early 2023. Springfield Rotary Club funding will be allocated toward construction supplies for the warehouse and distribution center. The center is essential to supporting Revitalize CDC’s program expansion so it may meet the growing demand for healthier, safer homes and neighborhoods for low-income residents throughout the Greater Springfield area. The 3,200-square-foot center will have two bays for vehicles and provide sufficient space to store program materials and supplies and refrigerated units to store food for Revitalize CDC’s Nutrition Rx program that provides nutrition and diabetes education and helps to address food insecurity. LaPlante Construction of East Longmeadow is the contractor for the project, expected to be completed by Dec. 31. Since 1992, Revitalize CDC has repaired and rehabilitated more than 1,500 homes in Greater Springfield with the help of 10,000 volunteers, investing $54 million into Western Mass. In 2022-23, Revitalize CDC served 826 households (more than 2,300 individuals) consisting of low-income families with children, older adults, military veterans, and individuals living with disabilities.

 

Rotary Club Awards Grant to the Zoo in Forest Park

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center has received a $3,000 community grant from the Springfield Rotary Club to upgrade its website. While the new website will include advanced booking capabilities, more intuitive registration forms, and the addition of an online store, the upgrade is also designed to enhance the guest experience at the zoo. With the money awarded through the community grant, the zoo plans to expand the educational material available on its website through the addition of interactive webpages for each animal. QR codes will be available at each exhibit, linking guests to a corresponding page for the animal they are viewing. Visitors will have access to photos and videos as well as more in-depth information about the species, including its conservation status, threats in the wild, and coexistence efforts.

The Zoo in Forest Park has been a part of the Springfield community for 130 years. With 225 animals in its care, it is dedicated to inspiring the community to respect and value the natural world through education, conservation, and rehabilitation.

 

Eversource Submits Roadmap to Achieve Clean-energy Goals

SPRINGFIELD — With a focus on energy equity, environmental-justice communities, and transparency, Eversource submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) its final Electric Sector Modernization Plan (ESMP) to modernize the electric distribution system and help meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization goals after incorporating feedback from the Grid Mod Advisory Council (GMAC) and dozens of stakeholders. The energy company’s ESMP is a comprehensive roadmap to transform the region’s power grid, enhance its resiliency, and strengthen reliability for customers by increasing renewable-energy production and electrifying the heating and transportation sectors. Focused on achieving both equity and clean-energy objectives, the ESMP also establishes a Community Engagement Stakeholder Advisory Group (CESAG) and expands efforts for proposed clean-energy infrastructure projects to engage all potentially impacted stakeholders. Eversource’s 10-year plan helps meet the Commonwealth’s decarbonization milestones through 2040 by achieving a 180% increase in electrification hosting capacity, which will provide additional capacity to enable 2.5 million electric vehicles statewide, 1 million residential heat pumps within the company’s territory, and an incremental 2.2 GW of additional solar hosting capacity, bringing the total distributed energy resource hosting capacity systemwide to 5.8 GW.

 

Berkshire Bank Foundation Reports on 2023 Philanthropy

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced that nearly $2.5 million in philanthropic investments were provided from its foundation in 2023 to support more than 500 nonprofit organizations. During the fourth quarter, more than $642,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to foster upward economic mobility, support overall well-being, and enhance opportunities for individual success in the communities the bank serves. During 2023, more than 500 local nonprofits received grants to assist with a range of critical projects in the areas of health and wellness, housing, food insecurity, and economic enrichment. The Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to supporting programs that work toward providing equitable opportunities for economic prosperity. In addition, it supports programs that align with Berkshire Bank’s Center for Women, Wellness, and Wealth.

 

MassDevelopment Issues Bond for MHA Headquarters Project

CHICOPEE — MassDevelopment has issued a $6,543,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Mental Health Assoc. Inc. (MHA), which will use the proceeds to buy and renovate a 78,378-square-foot building at 350 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee, where it will relocate its headquarters from Springfield and house its mental-health programs and residential and support services. The building originally housed the Charles River West Psychiatric Hospital and most recently served as the MassMutual Learning and Conference Center. The move will allow MHA to keep pace with growth and locate its staff in one office. Renovations to the building will include interior wall reconfiguration, office construction, HVAC and sprinkler-system updates, added reception-area security, and painting, flooring, and information systems improvements. Construction began in November and is expected to be complete by February 2024. MHA expects to create 45 full-time jobs and 20 part-time jobs over the next three years. Florence Bank purchased the tax-exempt bond, which helped MHA achieve a lower cost of capital. Founded in 1960, MHA provides access to therapies for emotional health and wellness; services for substance use recovery, developmental disabilities, and acquired brain injury; services for housing and residential programming; and more. MHA serves more than 3,000 people, from ages 5 to 90, each year.

Company Notebook

Fuss & O’Neill Announces Partnership with Trilon Group

SPRINGFIELD — Civil and environmental engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill announced a strategic partnership with Trilon Group, a family of infrastructure consulting businesses. The partnership gives Fuss & O’Neill additional capital and resources to expand its services and markets in the Northeast, while better serving its clients. Founded in 1924, Fuss & O’Neill is a leading provider of engineering services, with offices in each New England state and New York. Fuss & O’Neill was selected by Trilon Group to be a part of the company’s vision to build the next top-10 design firm in North America. Trilon will support Fuss & O’Neill to accelerate the growth and careers of its employees with additional investment in talent, technology, and targeted mergers and acquisitions.

 

Easthampton Announces Business Grant Winners

EASTHAMPTON — The City of Easthampton announced that five local businesses have been awarded business grants as part of the 2023 Business Census, launched earlier this year. The five winners were randomly selected out of the 66 survey respondents. The $1,000 business grant winner is Yarn Dragon’s Basket. The $500 business grant winners are Beautiful Gardens, Jude Ribisi, Klituscope Films, and Staying in Balance Acupuncture. In partnership with both the Chamber of Greater Easthampton and Blueprint Easthampton, the city launched the 2023 Business Census, a comprehensive survey for business owners, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the community. This effort was made possible by participation in the National League of Cities’ City Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE) program, the fourth that Easthampton has been a part of. Through support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the CIE program is a National League of Cities initiative that asks city leaders to commit to an inclusive economic-development policy, program, or practice over the course of one year.

 

Hyundai Hope on Wheels Gives $20,000 to Two Nonprofits

HOLYOKE — During a check presentation on Jan. 25 at Gary Rome Hyundai, Hyundai Hope on Wheels made two donations: $10,000 to LukeStronger Inc. of South Hadley and $10,000 to Each Moment We’re Alive of West Springfield. Launched in 1998, Hyundai Hope on Wheels is one of the longest-running corporate social-responsibility efforts in the automotive industry. In honor of its 25th anniversary, it announced plans to award $25 million in research grants this year, its largest donation in a single year, bringing its total giving to $225 million since its inception. Each Moment We’re Alive was launched by Sheridan Murphy in 2015 after her second bout with breast cancer. She then realized that reaching out, rather than blocking out, was the best chance for survival. Since then, she has helped organize support groups and workshops with a focus on emotional and spiritual health. Sheridan has since expanded her network to help families with all types of cancer, including pediatric cancer. LukeStronger Inc. is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing assistance to local families dealing with pediatric cancer so that parents can spend time with their children. LukeStronger originated when Luke Bradley, a then 10-year-old boy from South Hadley, relapsed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Local residents rallied to support his family with, among other things, a benefit golf tournament. Complications and another unforeseen relapse kept Luke at Boston Children’s Hospital for 15 months. He underwent a bone-marrow transplant in December 2017 and is doing well today. Bradley’s family created a nonprofit to help other families by continuing the golf-tournament tradition. In its short history, LukeStronger has helped seven local families fill the income gap caused by pediatric cancer.

 

Dietz Supports Nonprofits with ‘Spread the Cheer’ Campaign

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Dietz & Company Architects recently held its annual “Spread the Cheer” holiday campaign with a $2,500 top prize donation. Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) won it with nearly 25% of the total votes. The “Spread the Cheer” holiday campaign began in 2017 in an effort to be more environmentally conscious by not sending out paper holiday cards, but rather raise awareness for all the work local nonprofits do. During the nine-day campaign, 18 local organizations were selected to be included in the event. Voters used a SurveyMonkey link to access the poll and choose an organization they felt was deserving of a share of a $5,000 prize. The organization that received the most votes received $2,500. Second place won $1,500, and third place received $1,000. The International Language Institute of Massachusetts won second place with 22% of the votes, and Dakin Humane Society came in third with 19% of the votes. The remaining 15 organizations received $100 each.

 

Breeze Airways Launches Service to Cincinnati, San Diego

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority announced that low-cost carrier Breeze Airways will be launching non-stop summer seasonal service between Bradley International Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The flight will operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, starting May 2. Additionally, Breeze will offer daily summer seasonal service between Bradley and San Diego International Airport, starting May 1. The flight will be part of the airline’s BreezeThru service, which includes one stop, but passengers do not have to change planes. The announcement follows recent news of the airline’s plans to launch service between BDL and Orlando, Fla. and Santa Ana, Calif. in May. Breeze currently flies nonstop between Bradley and Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Myers, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Las Vegas; New Orleans; Phoenix; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Sarasota, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Vero Beach, Fla.

 

Greenfield Cooperative Bank Supports Empty Arms Bereavement

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Cooperative Bank announced that its nomination of Empty Arms Bereavement, an organization offering compassionate support to families experiencing pregnancy or infant loss, has resulted in a $5,000 grant from the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA) Community Service Grant Program. “Empty Arms’ dedication to supporting families during some of life’s most difficult moments resonates deeply with our commitment to community service,” said Tony Worden, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank. This year, the MBA Charitable Foundation awarded 41 grants, totaling $152,500, to nonprofit organizations across the state. Empty Arms’ dedication to grieving families stood out among the many nominations, earning it this vital funding.

Company Notebook

UMass Amherst Rises to Top 20 for Sustainability

AMHERST — UMass Amherst rose to the top 20 among higher-education institutions in the nation for its social and environmental sustainability development efforts, education, and practices, according to QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 edition. In the expanded second edition, published by global higher-education analyst firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), UMass Amherst rose to 16th out of 210 colleges and universities in the U.S., up from 28th in last year’s ranking that highlighted 135 U.S. institutions. In the overall global sustainability rankings, UMass Amherst rose to the top 10% (136th) among 1,403 institutions across 95 countries and territories, which is more than double the number of institutions featured in last year’s inaugural edition. The ranking provides a unique, detailed framework to assess how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing global challenges through evaluation of universities based on three areas: social impact, environmental impact, and governance. UMass Amherst also scored well above the global median in each of these areas. This latest QS Sustainability Ranking adds to UMass Amherst’s sustainability accolades this year. In November, UMass Amherst moved up 10 spots to 18th in Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges.

 

Tighe & Bond Acquires Coastal Engineering

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, a Northeast leader in engineering, design, and environmental consulting, announced it has acquired Cape Cod-based Coastal Engineering Co. Inc., a civil, structural, and waterfront/marine engineering firm that specializes in projects located in environmentally sensitive areas. This strategic acquisition aligns with Tighe & Bond’s vision of being a trusted advisor by offering clients a comprehensive, single-source solution to their engineering, design, and environmental-science needs. The addition of Coastal Engineering’s staff bolsters the breadth and depth of services that Tighe & Bond currently offers to clients, particularly those located in Cape Cod, the islands, and coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island. John Bologna, Coastal’s former president and CEO, will now serve as vice president within the firm’s Building Services business line. Tighe & Bond’s current offices are now augmented by Coastal Engineering’s Eastern Mass. offices, further strengthening the firm’s presence across Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Maine.

 

UMassFive Recognized for Investment Services

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union and its team of CUSO Financial Services (CFS) financial advisors have been recognized with the Gold Keystone Award in the medium-sized financial-institution category for 2022. This annual award recognizes CFS programs with the highest ratio of GDC per $1 million of total deposits. This is the second year in a row that UMassFive has received this honor. In addition, UMassFive Financial Advisor Aimee Marden has also been recognized for her contributions to this GDC ratio with a CFS Bronze Pacesetter Award for 2022. UMassFive has offered retirement planning and investment services as a complimentary benefit to its members and the local community for more than 15 years. The department is spearheaded by three financial advisors: Aimee Marden, Dana Graham, and Sam Einzig, and supported by Senior Investment Advisor Assistant Emi Lee. UMassFive’s financial advisors are available to meet in person as well as remotely to discuss the retirement-planning and investing needs of any local person or business. The team also offers complimentary remote seminars throughout the year to educate clients on an array of retirement-planning and investment-related topics.

 

Monsoon Bistro Now Open at Holyoke Mall

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Mall announced the addition of the shopping center’s fourth full-service restaurant, Monsoon Bistro, located on the upper level near Macy’s. The locally owned and operated bistro combines traditional Chinese and Thai dishes to showcase the culinary landscape and region. The menu, designed to celebrate Southeast Asian cuisine, features dim sum, drunken noodles, mango chicken, red curry fish, and more.

 

Joe’s Cafe Launches Katie’s Fund to Support Friends of Children Inc.

NORTHAMPTON — Friends of Children Inc. recently accepted a donation of over $7,500 to establish Katie’s Fund, a program established through a fundraiser spearheaded by Joe’s Pizza in honor of former employee Katie Lyons. Katie’s Fund will be used to provide essentials for children and young adults who are affected by foster care. Katie’s Fund was created by Meaghan Sullivan, owner of Joe’s Pizza. Sullivan hosted a Katie’s Fund fundraising event at Joe’s Pizza on the evening of Dec. 13, where 25% of all sales benefited the fund. Those sales, combined with private donations, have already added up to more than $7,500 to honor Katie, who passed away in January. Friends of Children is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults impacted by foster care or juvenile-justice involvement. Katie’s Fund will be used to purchase essential items to support the children and young adults enrolled in Friends of Children’s programming.

 

Eversource Recognized for Corporate Responsibility

BOSTON — Newsweek magazine, in partnership with global research and data firm Statista, publishes an annual list of America’s Most Responsible Companies. Eversource Energy has again been named among the top-scoring utilities on the 2024 list, and was also named a 5 Year Champion by Newsweek for being recognized among the nation’s most responsible companies every year since its list was introduced. In the 2024 list, Eversource ranked fifth in the nation among 59 companies in the Energy & Utilities category, and 154th overall on the top-600 list among the leading 2,000 public companies by revenue with headquarters in the U.S. The company earned the highest environmental score in the utility industry and the highest overall ranking of any utility in the Northeast and the Eastern Seaboard. The annual list determines the most responsible companies based on their corporate social sustainability performance and reputation. Eversource and the other recognized companies were featured in the Dec. 15 issue of the newsmagazine.

 

State Awards HCC $1.46 Million for Nursing Workforce Training Program

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and its partners have been awarded a state grant worth nearly $1.46 million to create a CNA (certified nursing assistant) to LPN (licensed practical nurse) training program to help area hospitals meet their workforce needs. Last month, the Healey-Driscoll administration announced a total of $3.9 million in Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly Workforce Success Grants for six initiatives representing employers and collaborative organizations across the Commonwealth. The lion’s share of that money — $1,457,143 — will go to an HCC-led training program to assist 86 unemployed or underemployed individuals transition from jobs as nursing aides to positions as licensed practical nurses. The grants, funded through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund and distributed by the Commonwealth Corporation, aim to increase sustainable wage career pathways for Massachusetts residents facing employment barriers and improve the competitiveness of Massachusetts businesses by enhancing worker skills and productivity. HCC’s partners in the grant include Baystate Medical Center, Baystate Wing Hospital, MassHire Hampden County, Springfield Works, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. The multi-stage program will first train individuals as nursing aides, then help them obtain jobs at area hospitals while they continue their training in HCC’s LPN program, all the while providing them with wrap-around support services. HCC already has an existing framework for CNA training through its Jump Start program, which is designed for individuals receiving public assistance.

 

Smash Hits Cannabis Wins Budtenders’ Choice Award

HOLYOKE — Smash Hits Cannabis, the exclusive cannabis line grown for and by Canna Provisions, is announced that its Chem D strain has been named the 2023 Budtenders’ Choice winner in Massachusetts by Leafly, one of the world’s largest and most influential online cannabis information resources. This recognition, voted on by the state’s budtenders naming their favorite strains available on the legal market, highlights the outstanding quality of Smash Hits Cannabis and cements its status as a frontrunner in the Northeast’s premium, small-batch craft cannabis market. The accolade underscores the expertise and dedication of Smash Hits’ cultivation director, Greg “Chemdog” Krzanowski, whose commitment to cultivating exceptional cannabis aligns with Canna Provisions’ mission to offer the best craft cannabis products, reflecting the company’s dedication to quality and innovation, Canna CEO Meg Sanders said.

 

T-Birds Generate $26,000 at Hockey Fights Cancer Night

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds recently announced a donation of $26,000 as a result of the funds raised from the postgame jersey auction on Nov. 25, which served as the club’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night. The night held extra meaning to T-Birds forwards Will and Sam Bitten, who once again were at the forefront of the efforts through Bitsy’s Army, the charity the brothers established in honor and memory of their cousin, Martin Piche, who passed away in 2021 at age 31 following a lengthy battle with a cancerous brain tumor. Not only did the T-Birds shut out the Utica Comets by a 7-0 score, but the Bitten brothers were front and center in the scoring. Will tallied two goals and an assist, while younger brother Sam recorded his first career AHL point with more than a dozen family and friends in attendance. In Piche’s honor, the T-Birds Foundation made a contribution (via Bitsy’s Army) to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, based out of the Bittens’ home province of Ontario. A host of Springfield-area cancer charities were also benefactors from Hockey Fights Cancer Night, including: Cancer House of Hope (CHD), Griffin’s Friends (Baystate Health Foundation), Sister Caritas Cancer Center (Mercy Medical Center), and Survivor Journeys. The T-Birds also presented a check to the National Hockey League’s official Hockey Fights Cancer charity. A joint initiative of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Assoc. powered by the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Hockey Fights Cancer unites the hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families.

 

 

Company Notebook

Liberty Bank Opens First Branch in Massachusetts

EAST LONGMEADOW — On Dec. 5, Liberty Bank officially opened its first bank branch in Massachusetts, located at 94 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow. As part of the grand opening, teammates from Liberty Bank, which is headquartered in Middletown, Conn., presented two grants totaling $10,000 to representatives from the East Longmeadow Food Pantry and Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity. As part of Liberty’s growth strategy to build its presence along the I-91 corridor from New Haven to Hartford and now into Greater Springfield, it established a commercial loan production office in East Longmeadow in 2021. The relationship managers and support teams based in this market have been successful in maintaining and building new relationships within East Longmeadow and Greater Springfield, attracting new customers to the bank, networking with prospects, and building a strong community presence. This nearly 3,000-square-foot, full-service branch includes a drive-up banking lane, ATM, and night drop. The branch team, led by Teresa Parker, have been entrenched in the Western Mass. and Greater Springfield communities for many years, working, volunteering, and residing in the area.

 

Thunderbirds Contribute $15,000 to Mayflower Marathon

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds announced, in collaboration with Rock 102 and the Mayflower Marathon, that the team successfully generated more than $15,000 for this year’s Marathon. A contribution of $10,000 in cash was made by the Thunderbirds to Open Pantry, a result of generous donations throughout November and the funds raised during the T-Birds’ celebrity bartending event at White Lion Brewing earlier this month. Additionally, Ray Berry, founder of White Lion Brewing, will contribute an extra $800 from the proceeds of Thunderboom beers and burgers sold at White Lion. The Mayflower Marathon achieved another historic milestone, amassing a record-breaking total of $234,733.71 in food and monetary contributions. The non-perishable food donations filled four full-size Mayflower trailers and an additional one-and-a-half box trucks, marking a remarkable increase of more than $55,000 from the 2022 Marathon. Throughout November, the Thunderbirds actively collected donations at the team office and during home games inside the MassMutual Center. Leading up to Mayflower Marathon Night on Nov. 22, fans making contributions were rewarded with tickets to the T-Birds game.

 

Merged Agency to Be Called Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western Massachusetts

WESTERN MASS. — The mentorship agencies of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Franklin County and BBBS of Hampden County, both founded in 1967, announced they will merge into one organization. The combined agencies, operating under the name Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western Massachusetts (BBBSWM), will become the largest mentorship organization in the region. David Beturne, executive director of BBBS of Hampden County, who has been acting as interim executive director in Franklin County since April, will lead the new agency. Beturne brings 23 years of experience with BBBS and plans to maintain all staff at both locations. Both agencies have a long history of fostering connections in their respective counties, and plan to grow to serve areas without an established BBBS office. The merger does not include the Center for Human Development’s BBBS program, which will continue to serve the Hampshire County area. BBBS creates connections between children (Littles) with qualified and vetted mentors (Bigs) in the community to create fulfilling relationships. BBBS monitors all matches to ensure safety standards are upheld and that the relationship is positive and empowering for the children involved.

 

UMassFive Employees Support Local Nonprofits

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced that its employees have raised more than $18,000 for two local nonprofits during the fall of 2023: $13,677 in support of the UMass Cancer Center via participation in the UMass Cancer Walk and Run, and $4,800 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts via participation in Will Bike 4 Food. A longstanding and top supporter of the UMass Cancer Walk and Run event for more than 20 years, UMassFive employees join together annually as Team UMassFive to raise funds for the cause, both personally and in branch locations. In 2023, fundraising efforts included raffle baskets, bake sales, candy sales, and art and jewelry sales. Donations were also sought from credit union corporate partners, whose support helps bolster efforts each year. Including the $13,677 raised in 2023, Team UMassFive has raised over $186,600 in donations to the UMass Cancer Center over the lifetime of its participation. Since 2020, UMassFive employees have also jumped on their bicycles in support of Will Bike 4 Food, a major fundraising event for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. In 2023, seven riders teamed up to raise $4,800 in support of their cumulative 300-mile ride. Including the 2023 efforts, Team UMassFive has raised $17,500 in just four years of participation, which equates to providing 70,332 meals to neighbors in need.

 

Smith Brothers Insurance Merges with the Quintal Agency

NORTHAMPTON — The Quintal Agency, an independent insurance agency led by Lynne Quintal-Hill and located in Plainfield, Conn., has merged its operations with Smith Brothers Insurance. Smith Brothers has offices across Connecticut, Massachusetts (including Northampton), New Jersey, and New York. Quintal-Hill will be fully engaged in client service and business development, and will continue to serve clients as she and her team members join Smith Brothers. The team will continue to work from their office in Plainfield while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers.

 

Westfield Bank Donates Food to Local Communities

WESTFIELD — Westfield Bank invited its customers and community members across Western Mass. and Northern Conn. to help fight hunger in local communities as part of its 2023 food drive. From Oct. 25 through Nov. 18, all Westfield Bank branches collected non-perishable food items and monetary donations. Food items included items for Thanksgiving meals, including canned fruit, boxed stuffing and potatoes, gravy, jelly, cranberry sauce, and more. Each branch donated to a food pantry or community kitchen local to their service area. Some branch managers also gathered to cook for a local soup kitchen with the donated food items, donating a total of 126 pounds of food, which would be able to feed about 100 people that day.

 

Freedom Credit Union Supports Unify Against Bullying

SPRINGFIELD — Throughout the month of October, Freedom Credit Union and its members raised more than $1,000 for Unify Against Bullying. “Unify Against Bullying is an organization we are very proud to support,” said Debra Mainolfi, the credit union’s West Springfield branch officer and a member of the Unify Against Bullying executive board. “Every year in the U.S., over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying, and Western Massachusetts is no exception. Most children who experience bullying don’t report it. Unify Against Bullying makes a positive impact in our schools and communities to bring people together to speak out against bullying in a unified voice.” Unify Against Bullying pledges to bring an end to bullying through the celebration of true diversity. The organization works to ensure that victims of bullying know they are not alone — that they are, in fact, supported by a loving, caring community of fellow students, teachers, parents, siblings, business leaders, and many others.

 

Easthampton Learning Foundation Invests in STEAM Program at Mountain View School

EASTHAMPTON — The Easthampton Learning Foundation is investing significantly in enhancing the STEAM program at Mountain View School. Priscilla Kane Hellweg, founder of the Arts Integration Studio, and Megan Kelley-Bagg, Easthampton Public Schools STEAM teacher, are collaborating to expand STEAM opportunities for K-5 students. STEAM, an educational approach integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, fosters 21st-century skills like creative thinking and collaboration. Hellweg and Kelley-Bagg aim to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration, elevate arts education within STEAM, and develop replicable content for teachers. A dedicated STEAM cohort has been formed, starting with fifth-grade teachers engaging in collaborative professional development. The focus is on weather, climate, and earth systems, with two hands-on curriculum units created for fifth grade. New STEAM content units will be developed monthly during the pilot year. With the success of the fifth-grade team, the program aims to inspire more teachers to embrace creative arts integration in the coming years. The STEAM program, launched last year, aims to promote collaboration among educators and introduce captivating, project-based learning opportunities into the academic day.

 

MCLA Receives $306,000 Grant to Fund Mental-health Support

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced it has received the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Suicide Prevention Grant for $306,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Over the next three years, this funding will launch the MCLA Cares Project, an initiative to build campus-wide infrastructure to support student mental health. The MCLA Cares Project will utilize a multi-pronged approach to address mental-health support deficits across campus. This project will engage a health promotion coordinator, a new position designed to plan and implement the grant’s activities as well as produce additional mental-health and wellness programming. Grant funds will contribute significantly to training the student-facing faculty and staff in suicide awareness and prevention. The MCLA Cares Project was developed in accordance with MCLA’s mission to provide an accessible liberal-arts education to students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, such as first-generation students, students of color, and LGBTQIA+ students. The health promotion coordinator will collaborate with these groups to identify their specific needs and challenges in order to create responsive programming.

 

 

Springfield College Awarded $240,000 for Mental-health Needs

SPRINGFIELD — In partnership with the city of Springfield, Springfield College was awarded $240,000 to help assist in combating the growing mental-health needs among college students and the local community. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan announced the partnership as part of the Sarno administration’s Higher Education ARPA Fund at City Hall on Dec. 6. Sarno had previously announced the creation of the $750,000 Higher Education ARPA Fund as part of his 13th round of ARPA awards in July, as Springfield College was joined by American International College and Western New England University as recipients of the funding. The $240,000 allocation that Springfield College received will create additional opportunities to further support youth and families in the city of Springfield and provide collaboration between Springfield College students and Springfield Public Schools to enhance their learning and simultaneously support the community. With the funding, Springfield College intends to hire case managers to provide support and advocacy for both college students and children and families in Springfield Public Schools who have difficulty navigating the often-complex web of available resources, hire a psychiatric nurse practitioner to support critical needs within area colleges and the community, and strengthen relationships between school counseling and clinical mental-health counseling student interns at Springfield College and Springfield Public Schools to provide additional community-based mental-health services and support.

 

Company Notebook

UMass System Generates $8.3 Billion in Economic Activity

AMHERST — The five-campus University of Massachusetts system generated a record $8.3 billion in economic activity and supported nearly 40,000 external jobs across Massachusetts, according to a new Donahue Institute report. The analysis found that the economic impact generated by the five-campus UMass system translates into a 9-to-1 return on the state investment in the university. According to the report, each of the five university campuses generated a significant economic impact for its region and the state. The major drivers of economic impact are student, faculty, and staff spending; construction projects; and the university’s purchase of goods and services required for university operations. Besides the spending captured in the economic-impact formula, the report highlights several other UMass contributions to the Massachusetts economy. For example, more than 330,000 of the university’s alumni live in Massachusetts, contributing skills and knowledge to the economy, purchasing goods and services from Massachusetts businesses, and paying local and state taxes. Each year, the university’s five campuses award approximately 20,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees, and nearly three-quarters of its undergraduates are working in Massachusetts five years after graduation. Furthermore, the university’s five campuses house more than 90 core research facilities that are made available to small and medium-sized Massachusetts companies to accelerate their job-creating research and development activity; users of the core facilities make a $364 million contribution to the Massachusetts’ economy, beyond the $8.3 billion cited in the report. The university’s $813 million research enterprise — the third-largest behind Harvard and MIT in Massachusetts — results in patents and technology licensing that creates jobs in established companies and forms the basis for startup companies. In FY 2022, UMass inventions generated $41 million in licensing revenue for the university and 242 patent applications. Finally, UMass campuses attract thousands of people for campus tours, conferences, performances, and sporting events, generating significant economic benefits through spending for transportation, restaurants, lodging, cultural attractions, and retail shops.

 

Girls Inc. of the Valley Receives $2 Million Earmark

HOLYOKE — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal recently joined Girls Inc. of the Valley Executive Director Suzanne Parker to announce a $2 million earmark to support the renovation of the Girls Inc. of the Valley headquarters and program center. The allocation was made possible through congressionally directed spending from the Department of Education. Neal included funding for this project in the FY 2023 spending bill that was signed into law on Dec. 29, 2022. With this funding, Girls Inc. of the Valley will be able to complete the $7 million renovation of its 16,000-square-foot facility at 480 Hampden St. in Holyoke. Their new location will serve as their permanent headquarters and program center where it will serve more than 1,000 girls from underserved communities. Students in the organization range from ages 5 to 18 and participate in programs offered year-round to help them make better decisions about their health and lifestyles, set and achieve higher academic goals, and put themselves on track to lead independent, successful lives.

 

Longtime Listener Bequeaths $3 Million to NEPM

SPRINGFIELD — The late Walter Wolnik of Amherst has bequeathed New England Public Media $3 million, the largest gift in NEPM’s history. The transformational gift will support NEPM’s ongoing commitment to presenting classical music on the radio in Western Mass., with a specific focus on access to classical music overnight. Wolnik passed away on Sept. 20, 2022 at the age of 76. He was born and raised in Indian Orchard, where he attended a local high school before graduating from Harvard University in 1969. Wolnik then studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a systems programming consultant for labs at several hospitals in the Boston area and spent a significant portion of time researching and managing his investments. He lived in Newton before moving to Amherst in 2000, where he was active in local politics and enjoyed gardening. He was a longtime listener to NEPM and was especially fond of classical music in the overnight hours.

 

Berkshire Bank Foundation Donates $426,000 in Third Quarter

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced more than $426,000 in Berkshire Bank Foundation philanthropic investments during the third quarter of 2023 in communities Berkshire Bank serves. According to foundation Director Lori Gazzillo Kiely, “the Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to supporting programs that provide equitable opportunities for economic prosperity. During the third quarter of 2023, we assisted 124 nonprofit organizations with funding to support community needs. In addition, we supported programs that align with Berkshire Bank’s Center for Women, Wellness, and Wealth that provides opportunities for women to build a future enriched with financial stability, balance, and growth.”

 

Freedom Credit Union Raises More Than $2,700 for Food Bank

SPRINGFIELD — Throughout the months of July and August, Freedom Credit Union raised more than $2,700 through its annual summer food drive for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. In addition to cash donations, Freedom also collected non-perishable food items. Since 1982, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has helped provide much-needed food to area residents in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. It sources its products from donations, which it distributes to participating pantries, meal sites, and shelters throughout the region.

 

United Way Opens Holyoke Community Cupboard

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) opened its Holyoke Community Cupboard on Nov. 2 at 164 Race St. in Holyoke. The result of a partnership among Holyoke Community College (HCC), the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, and United Way of Pioneer Valley, this new food pantry will have the capacity to serve many Holyoke residents, as well as neighbors in nearby towns. The Holyoke Community Cupboard is located within the Culinary Arts Institute building on Race Street, an area identified as a food desert in the city. UWPV and HCC are excited to use the Culinary Arts Institute space to build collaborative solutions to food insecurity.

 

Happier Valley Comedy Awards ‘Free Happiness’ to Nonprofits

HADLEY — The Happier Valley Comedy board of directors announced their selection of two Western Mass. nonprofits as the fall 2023 recipients of its Free Happiness Program: Community Health Center of Franklin County (CHCFC) and Transhealth. The Free Happiness Program offers a free Happier Valley Comedy private event, such as a professional-development event or private improv show, to local nonprofit organizations that benefit underrepresented, underserved, and/or BIPOC individuals and communities. Community Health Center of Franklin County is a nonprofit agency operating medical clinics in Greenfield and Orange to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. It will use its award to bring a professional-development event called “An Improviser’s Guide to Building Resilience & Connection” to its fall retreat. Transhealth is a trans-led Northampton medical center that provides affirming and empowering healthcare services to transgender and gender-diverse individuals and their families. It will use its award to help support the staff’s continued work in healthcare, advocacy, and education in the local trans community. Applications for the Free Happiness Program are accepted on a rolling basis and awarded twice a year. Any organization who would like to be considered for future awards must be a registered 501(c)(3) and can apply at www.happiervalley.com/free-happiness. The next round of awards will be presented in the spring of 2024.

 

Bulkley Richardson Named 2024 Best Law Firm in 14 Practice Areas

SPRINGFIELD — Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, ranks Bulkley Richardson as 2024 Best Law Firm in the Springfield region in the following 14 practice areas: banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, business organizations (including LLCs and partnerships), commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense – general practice, criminal defense – white collar, employment law, litigation – labor and employment, medical-malpractice law – defendants, personal-injury litigation – defendants, real-estate law, tax law, and trusts and estates law. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer included in the list of Best Lawyers. Bulkley Richardson has 15 lawyers included on the 2024 Best Lawyers list, and two of the firm’s partners, Michael Burke and John Pucci, were named 2024 Springfield-area Lawyers of the Year. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field.

Company Notebook

Liberty Bank Opens New Loan Production Office

SPRINGFIELD — Liberty Bank, headquartered in Middletown, Conn., cut the ribbon to its new loan production office (LPO) on the 22nd floor of One Monarch Place in downtown Springfield on Sept. 28. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno joined Liberty Bank President and CEO David Glidden, Western Mass. Market President Tony Liberopoulos, and Liberty Bank teammates, customers, and community stakeholders in officially opening the new office. The Western Mass. banking team originally opened an LPO at 94 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow in 2021. However, they wanted further penetration and exposure in the Western Mass. market, which precipitated the move to downtown Springfield. Among the amenities of the new Springfield LPO includes a reception area that leads to 15 offices, eight workstations, and hoteling workspace. The new office also includes a large conference room with additional team collaboration areas and a complete kitchen. Liberty’s ‘Be Community Kind’ brand and colors are displayed throughout the space. Underscoring its commitment to the Western Mass. community, the Liberty Bank Foundation granted donations totaling $20,000 to three area nonprofits at the ribbon cutting: Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield, Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Liberty has also identified a strong demand to establish a branch to support customers’ needs and the bank’s continued growth in Western Mass. Therefore, Liberty will be opening a full-service banking branch at 94 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow later this fall.

 

Baystate Health Launches $70 Million Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health announced a $70 million comprehensive fundraising effort. “Healthier Tomorrows: The Campaign for Baystate Health” is the largest fundraising goal in Baystate Health’s history and focuses on raising money for three critical areas: capital needs, program support, and endowment development. The $70 million goal aims to fund several initiatives, including a state-of-the-art surgical facility and a Center for Nursing Excellence at Baystate Medical Center, a renovated Family Medicine practice and teaching space at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and support for the endowment, with the purpose of increasing fiscal resilience for the organization. Baystate Health’s last campaign concluded in 2012. The $23 million raised supported building the shell of the Hospital of the Future wing, including space for a new Emergency Department and the Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center. The new campaign will help complete much of the shell space as intended to accommodate new technology and meet the growing needs of the community.

 

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. Recognized by Accounting Today

HOLYOKE — Each year, Accounting Today conducts a comprehensive assessment of the largest practices in tax and accounting across 10 major geographic regions in the U.S. Leveraging a wide range of benchmarking data, it meticulously evaluates firms’ growth strategies, service offerings, and specialized client niches. Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. earned distinction as a top-tier firm within the New England region. Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. is the largest independently owned and operated CPA firm in Western Mass. As a member of CPAmerica, one of the world’s largest networks of independent CPA and consulting firms, it offers a spectrum of services encompassing business strategy expertise, tax services, and accounting services. Its primary focus lies in serving closely held businesses and high-net-worth individuals, with notable concentrations in sectors such as healthcare, employee benefits, real estate, construction, manufacturing, and not-for-profit organizations.

 

Big E Sets Five Daily Attendance Records

WEST SPRINGFIELD — A total of 1,427,234 fairgoers attended the 2023 Big E in West Springfield, down from 2022’s tally of more than 1.6 million, due largely to several days of rain over the fair’s 17-day run. Still, when the weather did cooperate, five daily attendance records were set during the 2023 Big E: the first Tuesday, Sept. 19, 57,802; the second Friday, Sept. 22, 97,477; the second Wednesday, Sept. 27, 95,689; the second Thursday, Sept. 28, 108,962; and the third Sunday, Oct. 1, 170,471. The 2024 edition of the fair is scheduled for Sept. 13-29.

 

Elms College Surges Up Best Colleges Rankings

CHICOPEE — Elms College greatly improved its ranking on two listings in the U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Colleges rankings and was listed as a Best Value School in the North Region for the first time. The college jumped 33 places to 60th on the list of Best Regional Universities (North) and rose 22 slots to 12th in the Top Performers on Social Mobility, Regional Universities (North) category. This list ranks schools for enrolling and graduating large proportions of students who have received federal Pell Grants. New this year, Elms College was ranked 33rd on the Best Value Schools, Regional Universities (North) list. This category examines a school’s academic quality and the cost of its programs. The higher the quality of programs and the lower the cost, the better the value a school provides.

 

Bay Path University Ranked as Safest Campus in Massachusetts

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University is the safest college in Massachusetts and the third-safest in America, according to a recent list compiled by niche.com, which reviewed 1,400 schools and ranked the safest campuses in America for 2024. The website’s 2024 Safest College Campuses ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using U.S. Department of Education data. The site states that these top-ranked colleges offer a safe and healthy environment with little or no campus crime, drugs, or alcohol usage. Specific factors considered include campus crime rate, local crime grade, student surveys on safety, residence-hall date violence rate, residence-hall rape rate, alcohol-related arrests, and drug-related arrests.

 

U.S. News Ranks MCLA Seventh Among Public Liberal-arts Schools

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has earned the #7 spot on the list of Top Public Liberal Arts Schools in the nation for a third year in a row. U.S. News and World Report also ranked MCLA first for Top Performer on Social Mobility in the state, second in the country, and 22nd for National Liberal Arts Colleges. MCLA has appeared on U.S. News’ list of Top Ten Public Colleges for nine consecutive years. The college has also been acknowledged in the publication’s list of National Liberal Arts Colleges for Social Mobility since the organization adopted this ranking in 2019. This list measures how well institutions graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, typically awarded to students whose families make less than $50,000, though most Pell Grant money goes to families with income below $20,000. More than 42% of MCLA undergraduate students receive Pell Grants, and 51% are the first in their families to go to college. Overall, 93% of students receive some kind of financial aid.

 

Mayhew Steel Products Wins Manufacturing Leadership Award

TURNERS FALLS — Mayhew Tools in Turners Falls received an award for Outstanding Leadership Skills in the Manufacturing Industry at the eighth annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony. This ceremony is part of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Mash-Up held in Polar Park in Worcester, hosted by the Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus and other partners. State Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Natalie Blais nominated Mayhew for this award. Mayhew Tools, the oldest punch and chisel manufacturer in the country, has expanded over 160-plus years without losing sight of its heritage. This includes keeping its headquarters in Western Mass., home to its corporate office and 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

 

Country Bank Recognized for Charitable Giving

WARE — Country Bank announced that the Boston Business Journal has once again named it an honoree in its annual 2023 Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing the region’s top corporate charitable contributors. The magazine annually publishes this list to highlight companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities. During this year’s celebration on Sept. 7, 100 companies qualified for the distinction by reporting at least $100,000 in cash contributions to Massachusetts-based charities last year, as noted above. This year’s honorees include companies from such industry sectors as financial and professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, and professional sports. Country Bank, ranked 44th, employs 220 staff members within Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties, many of whom volunteer for various nonprofits throughout the year.

 

Hazen Paper Unveils 11th Cover for Basketball Hall of Fame Yearbook

HOLYOKE — Hazen Paper’s 11th enshrinement yearbook cover for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, created with Hazen HoloJet paper, projects an amplified refractive three-dimensional image of a basketball symbolizing the Hall of Fame dome. For 2023, this includes Fresnel Lens technology and a new holographic element called “Metal-Morphosis,” utilizing a new deep-groove system for sharper images and greater dimensionality. Appearing to move and change with the angle of light, the holographic treatment induces engagement and interaction with the book. Hazen originated the holography completely within its vertically integrated Holyoke facility. The custom holograms were created in Hazen’s holographic laser lab, then micro-embossed and transfer-metallized onto smooth, 12-point WestRock Tango C2S using Hazen’s environmentally friendly Envirofoil and HoloJet process. The holography is created with an optical structure that is imparted on the surface of the paper (underneath the printed graphics) with an ultra-thin polymer layer that is less than 2 microns in thickness. Envirofoil is a non-plastic paper that is as recyclable as paper.

Company Notebook

Prominent Holyoke Venues Announce Ownership Change

HOLYOKE — Michael “Mick” Corduff announced that he is stepping into the role of chief operator and executive chef of the Log Cabin, Delaney House, and D. Hotel & Spa, all in Holyoke. He is replacing Peter Rosskothen, who has sold all his shares in the company to Corduff and his new business partner, Frank DeMarinis. Both Peter and Linda Rosskothen will step down from their day-to-day activities within the company. The business focus for Peter will be Delaney’s Market, an independent company with stores in South Hadley, Westfield, Longmeadow, and Wilbraham. The couple will stay involved in supporting Mick and Dana Corduff, as well as their new partner, in any way needed. DeMarinis is the president of Sage Engineering & Contracting Inc. in Westfield, and is a local developer, builder, owner, and manager of more than 25 commercial real-estate properties in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He is also the founder and owner of Roots Sports complexes in Westfield and East Longmeadow and Roots Learning Centers. Corduff and DeMarinis plan to combine their skills to develop and grow the business to new locations.

 

Whittlesey Named a 2023 Best of the Best Firm

HARTFORD, Conn. — Whittlesey, an accounting, advisory, and technology firm, has been named a Best of the Best Firm by INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), an award-winning newsletter for the public-accounting profession. Whittlesey is the only Connecticut- and Western Mass.-based firm to make this list. IPA’s annual Best of the Best list ranks top accounting firms with superior financial and operational performance in the most recent fiscal year. The firms are selected from nearly 600 firms across the U.S. and Canada. Selections for the list are based on more than 50 metrics related to firm growth, productivity, staff development, and more. Along with being named a Best of the Best Firm, Whittlesey was also named a 2023 Top 200 Accounting Firm in the nation. There are more than 46,000 public accounting firms in the U.S. Founded in Hartford in 1961, Whittlesey is one of the largest regional CPA and consulting firms in New England. With offices in Connecticut and Massachusetts, it provides a comprehensive array of advisory, assurance, tax, and technology services to a broad range of businesses and individuals.

 

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. Recognized by Accounting Today

HOLYOKE — Each year, Accounting Today conducts a comprehensive assessment of the largest practices in tax and accounting across 10 major geographic regions in the U.S. Leveraging a wide range of benchmarking data, it meticulously evaluates firms’ growth strategies, service offerings, and specialized client niches. Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. earned distinction as a top-tier firm within the New England region. MBK is the largest independently owned and operated CPA firm in Western Mass. As a member of CPAmerica, one of the world’s largest networks of independent CPA and consulting firms, it offers a spectrum of services encompassing business strategy expertise, tax services, and accounting services. Its primary focus lies in serving closely held businesses and high-net-worth individuals, with notable concentrations in sectors such as healthcare, employee benefits, real estate, construction, manufacturing, and not-for-profit organizations.

 

Berkshire Named Among Most Charitable Companies

BOSTON — The Boston Business Journal named Berkshire Bank an honoree at its annual Corporate Citizenship Awards reception in Boston that recognizes the region’s top corporate charitable contributors. The publication annually celebrates companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities. Berkshire Bank was listed 43rd of 100 on the top charitable contributor list with $1,419,322 in 2022 Massachusetts charitable giving.

 

Renaissance Development Begins State Street Revitalization Project

SPRINGFIELD — On Sept. 15, Springfield-based Renaissance Development LLC commenced redevelopment of the Kavanagh Building at 443 State St. across from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). The 28,000-square-foot building, vacant for 15 years, will be the future home of 35 one- and two-bedroom apartment units and approximately 10,000 square feet of rentable office and retail space. Redevelopment will take place in two phases, with the first involving the demolition of the unstable rear portion of the building and renovation of the façade and front lower and street levels. Once completed (slated for summer 2024), phase one will comprise 10,000 square feet of retail space for several commercial tenants ranging in size and use, coupled with 15 units of housing and 43 parking spaces. Phase two (slated to commence in winter 2024) will complete 20 additional one- and two-bedroom units throughout the entire second floor. These units will be set aside as permanent supportive housing units for people who have experienced homelessness. Through partnership with the nonprofit Mental Health Assoc., tenants who qualify will receive a variety of support and wraparound services.

 

Elms College Receives Work-based Learning Grant

CHICOPEE — The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) selected Elms College to participate in the inaugural cohort of the CIC’s Work-based Learning (WBL) Consortium. Elms College is one of 25 member colleges from across the country to participate in the first-ever WBL Consortium. For its participation, Elms has been awarded a three-year grant of approximately $65,000 from CIC, effective starting in the spring of 2024. The WBL Consortium will provide a national community of practice to support institutions in easing student barriers to internship access and job-market preparation, particularly for students from underrepresented groups. This experiential learning platform, in partnership with Riipen, will integrate real-world, employer-designed projects into existing courses to equip students with skills, real-world experiences, and professional connections to support their future careers. This CIC initiative is made possible thanks to funding from Ascendium Education Group and Strada Education Foundation.

 

Rice Fruit Farm Supports Suicide Awareness, Prevention

WILBRAHAM — In partnership with Holyoke-based MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, Rice Fruit Farm in Wilbraham supported National Suicide Prevention Week last month by selling beverages with a sticker reading 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support 24/7 to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress who dial or text 988. Farm owner Anthony Maloni said Rice’s sells about 12,000 beverages monthly, with cider from native apples particularly popular this time of year. For more information on the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which routes calls to the center nearest the individual’s area code, visit 988lifeline.org.

 

The Mount to Host Residency for Emerging Writers

LENOX — The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, is once again collaborating with the Western Mass. Straw Dog Writers Guild to offer a unique residency experience for nine emerging writers. Genres include poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and plays. Residencies will be for one week and include lodging at a neighboring inn, a workspace at the Mount, breakfast, lunch, and a $500 stipend. The residencies begin on March 3, 10, and 17, and three writers will be selected for each week. Applications are now open and are limited to the first 270 submissions. Visit edithwharton.org for more information and to access the application form. This will be the tenth year the Mount has offered writers an opportunity to create at the Mount, and its third year partnering with Straw Dog Writers Guild. The revamped residency now focuses on writers who are developing their craft. There is no prerequisite of being published. Submissions are reviewed anonymously and ranked based on the following criteria: quality of writing, originality of voice, the potential for growth as a writer, and strength of the statement of purpose. The $25 application fee will be waived for financial hardship and for Mount and Straw Dog members.

Company Notebook

Thunderbirds Recognized for Record-setting Season

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds were recognized for hitting milestone thresholds across a variety of business categories during the American Hockey League’s team business meetings in Tucson, Ariz. The annual event features representatives from all 32 member clubs for sessions discussing best practices and innovative ideas across multiple departments. On the heels of another record-setting year for the Thunderbirds business that saw new regular-season records in attendance per game (6,162), sellout games (15, including every Saturday from Dec. 30 onward), season-ticket members, and group-sales revenue, the team’s ticket sales department achieved a number of milestones for a second straight season. Among them were 600 new full-season equivalents (FSE), a metric that tracks full-season and partial-season ticket sales. The department also saw a greater than 85% renewal rate among its full-season ticket members. Individual game ticket sales also provided the Thunderbirds with two more threshold recognitions, as the business saw a greater than 15% increase in both FSE revenue per game and group ticket revenue per game. In what was also a record-setting year for the club’s corporate sales department, that area of the business was recognized for also seeing a greater than 85% renewal rate in corporate cash accounts en route to a single-season record in corporate revenue. The Thunderbirds also had a prolific season in the Springfield community, with more than 250 appearances by mascot Boomer and team players combined, ranging from youth hockey practice sessions to charitable affairs like the Rays of Hope walk, annual Teddy Bear Toss deliveries, and corporate partnership events.

 

National Grid Awards $800,000 to Eight Chambers of Commerce

NORTHAMPTON — National Grid announced it will donate $800,000 to eight chambers of commerce in Massachusetts to support local small businesses. The Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce has been named one of the recipients of a $100,000 award. Other chambers receiving the funds include the Cape Cod Chamber, Merrimack Valley Chamber, North Central Chamber of Leominster, North Shore Chamber, OneSouthCoast Chamber, South Shore Chamber, and Waltham Chamber. Each chamber will receive $100,000, which they will then distribute in grants of $1,000 to National Grid small-business customers with fewer than 150 employees. The Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce looks forward to distributing these grant awards to give local small business community a boost during the coming months. This pledge follows a similar donation by National Grid in January, when the company distributed $1 million to four small-business organizations to help with energy bills. The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, the Retailers Assoc. of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Restaurant Assoc., and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce each received $250,000 to distribute to their small business members.

 

Lee Bank Foundation Distributes $50,000 in Grant Funding Round

LEE — Lee Bank Foundation awarded $50,000 to 12 Berkshire area organizations for its second round of 2023 community funding. Recipients were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to support their local programming. The following organizations received funding from Lee Bank Foundation: Becket Athenaeum, Berkshire Bounty, Berkshire Center for Justice, Berkshire Children’s Chorus, Berkshire Community Diaper Project, Berkshire County Arc, Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Community Access to the Arts, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Greenagers, Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley, and Roots Rising. The deadline to apply for the next round of 2023 foundation funding is Sept. 1. To be considered for grant awards, applicants must be a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The foundation is focused on funding programs that work to bridge income and opportunity gaps in the region. Funding requests should reflect one or more of Lee Bank Foundation’s primary focus areas: education and literacy; food security and nutrition; economic growth and development; health and human services; or mentorship, internship, and school-to-work initiatives.

 

Mandati Jewelers Opens at Holyoke Mall

HOLYOKE — Family-owned Mandati Jewelers celebrated its grand opening at Holyoke Mall on June 28 on the shopping center’s lower level near Center Court. The 2,423-square-foot space is the custom jeweler’s first Massachusetts location. Mandati specializes in certified diamonds, watch and timepiece brands, necklaces, charms, and other fine jewelry. The store is offering 30% to 50% off gold and diamonds and 25% off watches through July 31. The New York jeweler’s custom jewelry clientele includes Buffalo Bills defensive end Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. and rappers Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, and Benny the Butcher. Holyoke Mall is Mandati’s fourth store and joins locations in Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse.

 

The Dowd Agencies Supports Area Charities as Part of 125th-anniversary Celebration

HOLYOKE — The Dowd Insurance Agencies, LLC, a leading insurance provider serving New England since 1898, has donated a total of $3,250 to five charities since the beginning of the year as it celebrates its 125th anniversary. Charities were determined by polling employees. So far in 2023, the Dowd Agencies donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children diagnosed with critical illnesses; Community Music School of Springfield, which provides arts education to local students; Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Holyoke, which provides horseback riding to children and adults with disabilities; Shriners Children’s, which provides critical medical care to children; and Homework House Inc., in Holyoke, which provides free tutoring and mentoring for children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The Dowd Agencies will continue to donate to charities selected by its employees throughout the remainder of the year.

 

Liberty Bank Supports Nonprofits

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — David Glidden, president and CEO of Liberty Bank and president of the Liberty Bank Foundation, announced that the foundation recently awarded five nonprofits with $5,000 each in recognition of the bank’s 198th birthday. As part of Liberty’s birthday celebration on May 4, the team came up with a creative idea to provide ‘birthday gifts’ in the aggregate amount of $25,000 to five community organizations on behalf of the Liberty Bank Foundation. Liberty teammates had the opportunity to vote on their favorite charity from a list of three nonprofits in each of the regions the bank serves: Central North, Central South, Eastern, Western, and Massachusetts. Based on the final vote count, the following five nonprofits received a $5,000 donation from the Liberty Bank Foundation: House of Heroes (Hamden, Conn.), the Boys and Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley, Middlesex Habitat for Humanity, New London Community Meal Center, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

 

Smith Brothers Insurance Acquires Rawson & Sons

NORTHAMPTON — Smith Brothers Insurance, with an office on Main Street in Northampton, has acquired Rawson & Sons Insurance Group, an independent insurance agency located in Worcester. The acquisition expands the Smith Brothers Insurance footprint in Massachusetts, with Rawson & Sons maintaining a local presence while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers Insurance, one of the nation’s top 100 independent brokers. Rich Rawson, founder of Rawson & Sons, will stay fully engaged in business development, sales, and client service, alongside the same team of insurance professionals. All Rawson & Sons team members will be joining Smith Brothers. Smith Brothers Insurance has more than 200 team members in locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Agenda

Motor Maids Convention

July 11-13: Motor Maids Inc. will host its annual convention in Springfield. The Motor Maids were formed in 1940 when founders Linda Dugeau and Dot Robinson composed a list of 51 female motorcyclists who would become the charter members of an all-female club. In 1941, the American Motorcycle Assoc. issued the Motor Maids a charter. Membership has grown to a diverse group of 1,300 members across Canada and the U.S. The common threads that bind them are a passion for riding, promoting safe riding habits, and presenting the world with a positive image of women on motorcycles. Highlights of the convention include a Red Ribbon event, at which the club recognizes first-time conventioneers; the signature Dot Robinson Road Run, a timed road race with secret checkpoints; a parade in full uniform; and a closing banquet on Thursday, July 13. The parade will take place on Tuesday, July 11 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. It will start at Springfield Technical Community College Student Lot #1 at the corner of Pearl and Federal streets. It will proceed left on Federal Street out of the parking lot, going through the city and into Chicopee briefly, then back into Springfield. The route will wind through Forest Park and come out on Longhill Street. From there, it turns left on Main Street, right on East Columbus Avenue, right on State Street, and left on Federal Street, back to STCC Student Lot #1.

 

MOSSO Summer Concerts

July 23, Aug. 3: MOSSO (Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra) will present two chamber-music concerts this summer, one at the prestigious Sevenars Music Festival in Worthington on Sunday, July 23, and the second at the Longmeadow Adult Center on Thursday, Aug. 3. At Sevenars, the MOSSO Horn Trio (Beth Welty, violin; Sarah Sutherland, horn; and Elizabeth Skavish, piano) will perform the world premiere of “Triptych” for Piano, Violin, and Horn, a commissioned work by Max Mueller, in a program that also includes: Frédéric Duvernoy’s Trio No. 1 for Violin, Horn, and Piano; Trygve Madsen’s Trio, Op. 110 for Violin, Horn, and Piano; and Johannes Brahms’ Trio in Eb Major for Violin, Horn, and Piano. The Sevenars concert begins at 4 p.m. and is free, with donations requested at the door. For details, visit www.sevenars.org. The Keep It Fresh Quartet, an ensemble including MOSSO musicians Beth Welty, violin; Dani Rimoni, viola; Joel Wolfe, cello; and Jill Dreeben, flute, will perform on the lawn at the Longmeadow Adult Center, 211 Maple Road, Longmeadow, on Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. The program includes Gordon Jacob’s Four Fancies for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello; Mozart’s Duo for Violin and Viola in G, K. 423; Reger’s Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola, Op 141a; selected movements from Mozart’s Divertimento for Violin, Viola, and Cello, K. 563; Mozart’s Quartet in D for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello; and additional pieces to be announced from the stage. The concert will be performed rain or shine, and will be moved indoors at the Adult Center if there is inclement weather. Tickets are free, but advance reservations are required. For details, call (413) 565-4150 (option 1), or visit www.longmeadowma.gov/149/adult-center.

 

Brew at the Zoo

Aug. 5: The Zoo in Forest Park will host its fifth annual Brew at The Zoo fundraising event from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event is ideal for both beer fanatics and animal lovers, combining craft-beer samples from local breweries with animal interactions. Attendees can also vote for their favorite home brews in a home-brew competition, listen to live music, play games, and enjoy food from various food trucks. VIP tickets are available for guests wanting an extra hour of sampling and more interactive encounters with animal ambassadors. The VIP hour runs from noon to 1 p.m. The zoo is focused on education, conservation, and rehabilitation and provides homes to animals that may not otherwise survive in the wild. All money raised goes toward the daily care of the 225-plus animals that call the Zoo their home. The zoo will be closed to the public on Aug. 5. Advanced tickets are required, and IDs will be checked at the door. Limited tickets are available. For a list of participating breweries and to purchase tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org/brew.

 

Jack Rome Memorial 5K

Oct. 7: Local canine celebrity Jack Rome, official greeter of Gary Rome Auto Group, who peacefully passed away last year, will now be memorialized with an annual 5K run/walk to benefit the Foundation for Thomas J. O’Connor (TJO) Animals. Sponsored by Gary Rome Hyundai and Western Mass News, the first annual Jack Rome Memorial 5K will take place at 10 a.m. at Forest Park in Springfield, and will be a family- and dog-friendly event. Visit runsignup.com/race/ma/springfield/jackromememorial5k to register. All funds raised will be donated directly to the Foundation for TJO Animals and will be used specifically for medical and veterinary care, emergency surgery, and rehabilitation services to help the animals find new, loving homes. To inquire about sponsorship opportunities or for more information, contact Dara Davignon, executive assistant to Gary Rome, at [email protected] or (413) 420-8049.

Company Notebook

Tighe & Bond Named Employer of the Year

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, a Northeast leader in engineering, design, and environmental consulting, received the 2023 Employer of the Year Award from the Boston chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS Boston). The award honors an organization within the field of architecture, engineering, and construction for creating a supportive and engaging company culture and prioritizing the well-being of its employees. The award specifically recognizes commitment to inclusion and diversity in the workplace; initiatives and programs supporting the organization’s culture and community; outreach efforts to support the local communities, such as volunteering or fundraising activities; and support of marketing, business development, and communications staff. Prioritizing mental and physical wellness led to the creation of Tighe & Bond’s wellness incentive program, which offers staff the chance to participate in firm-organized activities. The company encourages employees to further their education through incentives like student-loan repayment and tuition reimbursement. The firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion plan outlines goals, strategies to achieve those goals, and a plan for action through its DE&I committee. The Make a Difference program encourages employees to volunteer their time and talents for the benefit of local communities. Since its inception in 2017, Tighe & Bond employees have logged more than 15,000 volunteer hours.

 

UMass Amherst Takes Silver in Collegiate Culinary Competition

AMHERST — A team of chefs from UMass Amherst brought home silver at the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) collegiate competition on June 16 during the 29th annual Chef Culinary Conference held on the UMass Amherst campus. The UMass Dining team featured chefs Anthony Jung, Jeff MacDonald, Max Melendez, and Kyle Bigelow. The chefs tested their skills against 12 other four-person college and university culinary teams from across the U.S., including Cornell University, the University of North Texas, Rice University, and Penn State University. Each team was required to prepare a four-course meal including a buffet-style item to be served to the judges and competing teams. Teams had two hours to prepare and serve the first three courses and one hour for the buffet item.

 

Florence Bank Pledges $50,000 to Grow Food Northampton

FLORENCE — Florence Bank announced it has made a $50,000 sponsorship pledge to Grow Food Northampton to help provide healthy, local food to area residents who are food-insecure at a time when federal food benefits are scaling back to pre-pandemic levels. Helen Kahn, manager of the Grow Food Northampton Tuesday and winter farmers markets, said the sponsorship will help residents who receive federally sponsored food support through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) double their purchases of local food through Grow Food’s SNAP Match program year-round. The summer and winter farmers markets are an important source of locally grown, healthy food for low-income families. When SNAP customers purchase tokens at the market, Grow Food Northampton provides an extra $10 of tokens free through SNAP Match. Because these tokens can be spent only at the markets, the program directly benefits the farmers as well. The outdoor Tuesday markets are held every Tuesday behind Thornes Marketplace from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. from April 18 to Nov. 7. From November through March, the market moves inside to the Northampton Senior Center and is held biweekly.

 

Smith Brothers Insurance Selected for the Hanover’s President’s Club

NORTHAMPTON — Smith Brothers Insurance, which has an office on Main Street in Northampton, was named to the Hanover Insurance Group’s President’s Club, an elite group of independent insurance agencies from across the country. Smith Brothers also has offices in Milford and Oxford. The Hanover partners with a select group of 2,100 independent agents nationwide, and only 5% are recognized with this distinction. This is the ninth consecutive year Smith Brothers Insurance has been selected as a participant of the Hanover’s President Club. The Hanover’s President’s Club agencies are recognized for delivering meaningful value to their customers with enhanced service and deep industry knowledge.

 

MCLA Receives $1 Million to Fund New BSN Program

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) awarded Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) $1 million to fund the college’s new bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. The grant will support the first two years of the program by supplementing its curriculum development and funding the cost of a simulation lab coordinator; nursing journals, textbooks, and testing software; and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing fees. MCLA’s BSN program received approval from the Board of Registration in Nursing in January and approval from the Board of Higher Education in March. The program will launch in the fall of 2024 and graduate its first class in 2027. It is the first BSN program in Berkshire County and the only four-year nursing program in the rural tri-state area of Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. The curriculum will integrate MCLA’s liberal-arts foundation with required courses in the humanities and natural and social sciences to complement theoretical and clinical courses in professional nursing. Nursing faculty will utilize a simulation lab to provide hands-on learning experiences for students in a controlled environment.

 

Country Bank Pledges $30,000 to Junior Achievement

WARE — As part of its support for Junior Achievement (JA) of Western Massachusetts, Country Bank has pledged $30,000 to the organization. For more than 100 years, JA of Western Massachusetts has provided economic education and financial-literacy programs to the youth of Western Mass. and Vermont, impacting thousands of young people each year, opening their minds to their potential, and preparing them for life after graduation. Beginning in fall 2021, JA will offer a 21st-century environment for young people to engage with JA programs, including career exploration, helping students identify fulfilling career options and make wise decisions pertaining to post-secondary education; innovation and leadership, helping students expand their thinking and skill development and preparing future leaders, entrepreneurial thinkers, and innovators; and financial education, providing students with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to make informed and effective decisions with all their financial resources.

 

Polish National Credit Union Opens in East Longmeadow

CHICOPEE — Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) hosted a grand reopening celebration for its East Longmeadow Office, 232 North Main St., on June 16. In December 2021, PNCU acquired Premier Source Federal Credit Union (PSFCU) and expanded into the East Longmeadow market. Founded in 1921, Polish National Credit Union provides a full range of financial services to individuals, families, and businesses. The organization operates eight Western Mass. branches, plus a satellite office at Chicopee Comprehensive High School; PNCU Insurance Services; PNCU Financial Services; and a Commercial Loan Office located at 94 Main St., Westfield.

 

Whittlesey Employees Volunteer During Annual Community Day

HARTFORD, Conn. — Whittlesey continued its long-standing tradition of community service through a range of projects across Western Mass. and Connecticut during its annual Community Day. For more than a decade, Whittlesey volunteers have stepped away from their desks to participate in various projects that directly affect the communities where they live and work. This year, more than 100 Whittlesey team members collaborated with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, the Bushnell Park Foundation, and the Diaper Bank of Connecticut in a day dedicated to creating positive and tangible impacts within local communities. At the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, teams engaged in general park clean-up efforts, including spreading mulch, planting new flower beds, and repairing and painting fences. Whittlesey’s Community Day is part of a series of initiatives the firm undertakes throughout the year, emphasizing its core belief in the power of community engagement. The firm takes pride in its enduring partnerships with diverse nonprofit organizations and the real-world impacts they create together.

 

Market Mentors Celebrates 20 Years, Opens Florida Location

SPRINGFIELD — Market Mentors, LLC, the region’s largest marketing, advertising, and public-relations agency, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary with refreshed branding, a streamlined website (marketmentors.com), and a second location in Jupiter, Fla. A woman-owned business, the agency was established in 2003 by Longmeadow resident Michelle Abdow, who initially focused on media buying for clients throughout New England. After two decades of growth and expansion, Market Mentors is now a fully integrated marketing agency serving clients with global reach. It represents regional, national, and international brands and offers all the services its clients need in-house, thanks to a team of generalists and specialists who possess a depth and breadth of experience across the marketing spectrum, providing communications solutions via strategic marketing and public-relations plans, integrated advertising campaigns, content creation, data-based media buys, creative execution, and website design and development.

 

Cedar Chest Partners with Grow Food Northampton

NORTHAMPTON — For the second year in a row, Cedar Chest, the anchor store in Thornes Marketplace on Main Street in downtown Northampton, will partner with food-justice organization Grow Food Northampton to ensure that community members grappling with food insecurity and hunger are able to access healthy, local farm foods all year long at Grow Food Northampton’s farmers markets, Tuesday Market, and Winter market. The Grow Food Northampton SNAP Match program allows community members who use SNAP (formerly called food stamps) to more than double their purchase of nutritious local produce and other farm products at the weekly Tuesday Market farmers market behind Thornes Marketplace, and in the winter at the Winter Market at the Northampton Senior Center. The ‘give $10, get $10’ promotion allows Cedar Chest customers to donate $10 to Grow Food Northampton’s SNAP Match program and, in turn, receive a $10 gift card to spend at Cedar Chest.

 

 

STCC, Western New England Strengthen Partnerships

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Western New England University (WNE) continue to work together to offer access from a two-year degree to baccalaureate and graduate education. According to a renewed joint admissions agreement signed by leadership of the two institutions on June 13, students enrolled at STCC will continue to have an opportunity to transfer to Western New England upon completion of their two-year associate-degree program. The joint admissions program is open to students who are enrolled in an STCC program that meets requirements for transfer to WNE. The programs listed on the Western New England website include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, criminal justice, cybersecurity, engineering, mathematics, and programmer.

Company Notebook

Thornes Shops Cedar Chest, Stay Golden Change Hands

NORTHAMPTON — Two longtime downtown businesspeople, Lauren Gunther and Alex Feinstein, have together purchased two stores in Thornes Marketplace: Cedar Chest, which is in its 75th year, and Stay Golden, a new business on the first floor. Gunther, previously the merchandise manager for both businesses, and Feinstein, the former owner of GoBerry in Northampton and Amherst, purchased the stores in mid-April from Rich Madowitz, who is also a co-owner of Thornes. Gunther and Feinstein are both natives of Hampshire County. Feinstein closed his Amherst shop early in the pandemic, and the GoBerry in Northampton closed in January 2022. He has been doing pandemic-related financial consulting in the region and had been actively looking for his next challenge when Madowitz connected the two new co-owners late last year because he thought their skillsets were a great fit for joint ownership. Gunther has been with Cedar Chest for 13 years. Feinstein came into the mix in early December 2022 in a consultant role. Cedar Chest, an eclectic gift store, carries everything from home décor to stationery, loungewear, bath and body products, and holiday items. Its new sister store, Stay Golden, which opened in October 2022, offers primarily casual and business clothing for women along with jewelry and other accessories. About 30 associates work at the shops, with a half-dozen dedicated to Stay Golden. Gunther and Feinstein said they do not have plans to make changes to merchandise in the stores, but they will be looking at creating efficiencies that will allow them to make their staff team stronger.

 

Florence Bank Awards $150,000 in Customers’ Choice Grants

FLORENCE — In its 21st year, Florence Bank’s Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program awarded $150,000 to 46 area nonprofits in honor of the bank’s 150th anniversary. Thirteen organizations received $5,000 grants: Dakin Humane Society, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Amherst Survival Center, Friends of the Williamsburg Library, Northampton Survival Center, Goshen Firefighter’s Assoc. Inc., Cancer Connection, Manna Soup Kitchen, It Takes a Village, Friends of Forbes Library, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Our Lady of the Hills Parish, and Friends of Lilly Library. These 23 organizations also received an award: Williamsburg Firefighter Assoc., $4,701; Bernese Auction Rescue Coalition Inc., $4,652; Easthampton Community Center, $4,309; Friends of M.N. Spear Memorial Library, $4,064; Northampton Neighbors, $4,064; Springfield Shriners Hospitals for Children, $3,917; Grow Food Northampton Inc., $3,819; Amherst Neighbors, $3,721; Smith Vocational High School PTO, $3,721; Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, $3,624; Performing Arts Charter School, $3,575; Therapeutic Equestrian Center, $3,575; Kestrel Land Trust, $3,427; Edward Hopkins Educational Foundation, $3,330; Northampton Community Music Center, $3,232; Safe Passage, $3,134; Empty Arms Bereavement Support, $2,987; New Hingham Elementary School PTO, $2,987; R.K. Finn Ryan Road School, $2,889; Whole Children, $2,693; Belchertown K-9, $2,595; Northampton Football League, $2,545; and Tapestry, $2,448.

Voting takes place all year long, online at www.florencebank.com/vote and in bank branches, and each customer has only one vote. To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes. In 2022, roughly 7,000 votes were cast, making 36 nonprofits eligible for a grant; the other 10 funded organizations were invited to attend the event and were surprised with their $500 award. They are: the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hampshire County, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Gray House, Holyoke Community College Foundation, Mental Health Assoc. Inc., Springfield Rescue Mission, the Parish Cupboard, and Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center. Over the past 21 years, Florence Bank has donated a total of $1.5 million to 165 organizations.

 

Delaney’s Market Store Opens in South Hadley

SOUTH HADLEY — The fourth Delaney’s Market store, located at 459 Granby Road, South Hadley, opened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on May 25. Delaney’s Market is a retail store that features chef-inspired, ready-made meals that are fresh and ready to serve with no real effort. Delaney’s Market strives to assist the busy individual or family that wants to eat a quality lunch or dinner at their home or office without the hassle of long prep times or high costs. The South Hadley location is unique because it is the new home of Delaney Market’s production kitchen. The first Delaney’s Market store, located at the Longmeadow Shops in Longmeadow, has been open since 2016. The Wilbraham and Westfield locations have been open since 2019.

 

Keiter Corp. Spins Off Site-work Division into Wholly Owned Subsidiary

FLORENCE — Keiter Corp. has formally spun off its excavation and site-work division, Hatfield Construction Inc., into a wholly owned subsidiary in a move that President Scott Keiter said poises the new organization for growth. Historically, the division served only Keiter clients, but it will now scale up to serve many other clients in the industry. Key leaders in the firm will be Bill Moynihan, director of Operations, in charge of project management and field operations; and Dylan Courtney, director of Pre-construction, who will oversee project development, estimating, and sales. Hatfield Construction offers services including trucking and hauling, excavation, demolition, sewer and water, septic systems, land clearing, stormwater systems and trenching for underground utilities. Keiter said the business also works closely with solar companies, assisting them with trenching and ground-mount systems. Hatfield Construction has approximately 20 employees in roles ranging from equipment operator and laborer to site foreman and management.

 

HCC Lands $1.28M Grant to Create Free Program

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has landed a $1.28 million grant to launch a new, free certificate and internship program intended to help address a shortage of workers in the human-services industry. The grant, from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health & Human Services, will cover the full cost of tuition, fees, books, and supplies for students who want to earn a certificate in human services coupled with a paid internship at one of four local social-service agencies. Partnering with HCC on the grant are Gándara Center, ServiceNet, Mental Health Assoc., and Jewish Family Services. The two-semester Social Service Internship Program will begin in the 2023-24 academic year, with up to 30 students starting this fall and another 30 next spring. Recruiting for those two classes is now underway. The human-services industry presents a wide variety of career options for people who are interested in providing care to children, seniors, adolescents, the homeless, or individuals dealing with substance abuse or mental-health issues. The total savings on attendance is estimated to be $5,384 per semester for full-time students. During their second-semester internship, students will receive a stipend of $2,500, which equates to roughly $20 per hour for 10 hours per week. Additionally, the grant provides for the creation of two new full-time positions: a human-services certificate coordinator to focus on recruiting, planning, and academic support; and a social-services coordinator to coordinate the internships and help students with any non-academic issues that might interfere with their education. The 24-credit human-services certificate students earn can also be ‘stacked’ or applied toward an associate degree in human services, which could then lead to a bachelor’s degree in social work. For more information or to complete a general-interest form, visit hcc.edu/hsv-grant.

 

Yiddish Book Center Receives $100,000 Capital Grant

AMHERST — The Yiddish Book Center announced it has been awarded a capital grant in the amount of $100,000 from MassDevelopment and Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural Facilities Fund. This grant will support the center’s crucial infrastructure project to replace its aging boilers and heating system. Founded in 1980, the Yiddish Book Center has been preserving and promoting Yiddish language and culture for more than four decades. Located on a picturesque, 10-acre apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus in Amherst, the center opened its current facility in 1997. The replacement of the original boilers, which have been in service since 1996, is essential to ensure the ongoing safety and functioning of the facility. The project will involve installing high-condensing, low-fire, energy-efficient boilers; updating piping, valves, and controls; and integrating the system with the existing geothermal HVAC controls. Additionally, the project will include the replacement of circulating pumps and pneumatic control systems with more efficient Ecocirc pumps, as well as the elimination of the compressor, reducing the need for regular service and inspections. The replacement of the boilers will significantly enhance energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and support the center’s ongoing efforts to maintain an environmentally responsible facility. Funded annually through the governor’s capital spending plan, this round of cultural facilities grants is supported by a $10 million capital bond appropriation approved in 2022. The Healey-Driscoll administration has also proposed a $10 million appropriation in its second supplemental budget to support an additional round of the program.

 

 

Greenfield Cooperative Bank Supports RiverCulture Events

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Cooperative Bank announced its sponsorship of the 2023 Summer Event Series organized by RiverCulture, the creative-economy program of the town of Montague. The series features a variety of cultural events happening in the five villages of Montague and the Turners Falls Cultural District, including live music, outdoor movies, theater, family activities, and festivals. The series aims to showcase the rich and diverse cultural offerings of the region and to foster community engagement and enjoyment. As a community bank, Greenfield Cooperative Bank is committed to supporting local arts and culture and to enhancing quality of life for its customers and neighbors. Paper copies of the calendar of events are available at local retail stores and restaurants, or can be downloaded at www.riverculture.org.

 

LightHouse Signs Agreement for Possible New Home

HOLYOKE — LightHouse Personalized Education for Teens in Holyoke announced it has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for the historic Congregation of the Sons of Zion building at 378 Maple St. in downtown Holyoke. The agreement establishes a 120-day inspection and planning period to determine the viability of the move. LightHouse is a personalized, competency-based middle and high school now in its eighth year in its current location in the STEAM Building at 208 Race Street in Holyoke. LightHouse’s tagline is “changing what school can be.” Current renovation estimates are being drawn up and are expected to run well into the millions of dollars, so LightHouse is in the beginning stages of applying for grants and preparing for a capital campaign to fund all the work that needs to be done. LightHouse has grown strategically during its eight years, from a program serving 36 students in its first year, 2015, to its current enrollment of 75 students. Students come from towns and cities across the Pioneer Valley, including Holyoke, and as far away as New Haven, Conn. Almost half of the student body are Holyoke public-school students who attend LightHouse full-time through a public-private partnership, a model for innovation for school districts everywhere.

 

Food Bank Honored with Lauren Arms Ledwith Award

BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll administration announced that the Lauren Arms Ledwith Award for 2023 has been awarded to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and its outstanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach team. The Food Bank was awarded this honor at the Department of Transitional Assistance’s (DTA) annual meeting with more than 100 local SNAP community-outreach partners. The award was presented to Christina Maxwell, Beth Ziemba, Megan Schuck, Stephanie Gibbs, and Luis Perez Jr. for continuously demonstrating a commitment to creating a better tomorrow for their communities by helping to eliminate hunger. At the meeting, acting DTA Commissioner Mary Sheehan recognized the outstanding work done during the past year to connect residents with SNAP. Currently, almost 656,000 households receive SNAP benefits, a 45% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Since 1982, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has been a pioneer in the community by providing food to individuals and families located in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. It has addressed food insecurity by meeting people where they are, conducting outreach at food pantries, meal sites, shelters, colleges, senior centers, correctional facilities, libraries, and veteran-serving agencies.

Uncategorized

UMass Amherst Awarded $15 Million to Lead Regional Transportation Center

AMHERST — UMass Amherst will lead the New England Region 1 consortium — one of 10 regional university transportation centers (UTCs) — for the U.S. Department of Transportation under a five-year, $15 million grant. The goal of the centers is to advance state-of-the-art transportation research, technology, and safety. The colleges and universities comprising New England’s Region 1 consortium led by UMass Amherst include the University of Connecticut, MIT, the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island, and Norwich University, as well as Bunker Hill and Holyoke community colleges. The UTC program has been congressionally mandated since 1987, and each consortium includes two- and four-year colleges and universities that form a unique center of transportation excellence on a specific research topic. There are five national centers, 20 Tier 1 centers, and 10 regional centers in the U.S. President Biden’s infrastructure package included $90 million in funding per year for the competitively selected UTC program grants. The DOT received 230 grant applications, which represents the largest number of applications ever submitted in the 35-year history of the UTC program.

 

AIC Launches Graduate Criminal Justice Program

SPRINGFIELD — Law-enforcement professionals looking to further their education can now get a master of science degree in criminal justice through American International College (AIC). The fully online program is designed to appeal to criminal-justice professionals looking to enhance their skills and credentials, as well as provide the next step for students completing their undergraduate degrees at AIC. The program is now accepting students for the summer 2023 semester, which starts Monday, May 22. The MS in criminal justice provides specialized knowledge of public policy, organizational management, and administrative processes, along with advanced graduate leadership and research training. In addition to foundational theories of criminology and criminal justice, students will explore policy design and implementation alongside emerging trends in the field. The program will provide the skills, knowledge, and practical experience needed to protect and serve the public through a wide range of careers, enabling students to develop as ethical and skilled decision makers in the various branches of criminal justice. The program offers students specializations including social justice and public policy, victim studies, executive leadership, homeland security, and intelligence studies. These specializations allow students to focus on an area of interest unique to their career goals. They can also serve as stand-alone certificates for those interested in enhancing their educational goals and learning activities that overlap across disciplines but remain connected by a single shared subject.

 

Hooplandia Partners with Local Boys & Girls Clubs

SPRINGFIELD — Hooplandia, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and festival making its debut at the Eastern States Exposition (ESE) in June, announced on Thursday that its philanthropic partner will be Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Western Mass. Hooplandia takes place June 23-25 and will be hosted by the Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Games will take place across more than 70 courts at ESE, and showcase games will be held at the Hall of Fame. As a community-forward, all-inclusive event, Hooplandia has vowed to donate $10 of every team registration to local Boys & Girls Clubs in support of the program’s mission and enrichment of the region’s youths. Additionally, Hooplandia has begun a partnership program with regional businesses to underwrite the cost of team registrations for young players from clubs throughout the region. Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide a fun, safe, and constructive environment for kids and teens during after-school hours. Community-based and led by professional staff, these programs offer students opportunities that allow them to succeed in school, develop leadership skills, and maintain healthy lifestyles.

 

LightHouse Holyoke Celebrates Transformational Youth Outcomes

HOLYOKE — LightHouse Holyoke, Personalized Education for Teens, recently celebrated its annual Raise Your Glass event at Mill One at Open Square in Holyoke. LightHouse is a personalized middle- and high-school alternative now in its eighth year in downtown Holyoke. LightHouse maintains an innovative collaboration with Holyoke Public Schools through Opportunity Academy, where students earn credit toward a Holyoke High School diploma in a program modeled after University Without Walls at UMass Amherst. The partnership allows a limited number of Holyoke Public School students to attend LightHouse along with privately enrolled students. LightHouse is accredited through the New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges. At the annual Raise Your Glass event, speakers included musician, performer, and LightHouse graduate Nehemiah Caradwyn; Liam Russell, a current privately enrolled student and graduating senior; and Damasco Santiago, father of Jhaydon Santiago, also graduating this year, who is enrolled through the LightHouse partnership with Holyoke Public Schools.

 

Citizens Gives Nonprofits $397,000 in Financial-empowerment Grants

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Fifteen nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts will receive a total of $397,000 from Citizens through the bank’s Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money program. The initiative helps strengthen communities by supporting programs, through direct funding as well as volunteerism, that give people the resources they need to be financially healthy and inspire them to pursue their goals. The announcement comes during Financial Literacy Month, a nationally recognized campaign that raises awareness of the need for more financial-literacy education. Through Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money, the bank will provide $2 million in contributions to 150 nonprofits across the communities it serves. This years’ recipients in Massachusetts include two in Western Mass.: Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts and Way Finders Inc. Other recipients include ACT Lawrence Inc., Camp Harbor View Foundation Inc., Centro de Apoyo Familiar, Council for Economic Education, Economic Empowerment Trust Fund, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción Inc., Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership Inc., Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Children’s Museum, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing Inc., Urban Edge Housing Corporation, and Dress for Success Boston Inc.

 

Girl Scouts Receive $10,000 Grant from Davis Foundation

EAST LONGMEADOW — Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts (GSCWM) announced it received a $10,000 grant from the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation in support of It’s a Girls World, one of the community-based programs it offers. The afterschool program engages Hampden County girls in grades K-6 in STEM, financial literacy, and health and personal-wellness topics. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities for girls to develop a strong sense of self, display positive values, seek challenges, learn from setbacks, form and maintain healthy relationships, and learn to identify and solve problems in their community. The support of contributors such as the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation makes this possible. The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation supports a variety of nonprofit organizations seeking to improve quality of life for those living in Hampden County.

 

Revitalize CDC Seeks Volunteers to Help Rebuild 12 Homes

SPRINGFIELD — Revitalize CDC’s #GreenNFit Neighborhood Rebuild is back after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19. This year, a total of 12 homes in Springfield’s Memorial Square neighborhood — owned by low-income families with children, aging adults, military veterans, and people with special needs — will be worked on by 1,000 volunteers and more than 100 supporters. In addition, vacant lots will be cleaned up and Calhoun Park improved. Volunteers return each year from Maine to Virginia and work alongside the residents of Springfield. Families who benefited from past #GreenNFit events volunteer to help their neighbors on the next block. Revitalize CDC focuses on making meaningful improvements on homes to help reduce energy use, save money, and create a safe, healthy, and sustainable living environment for residents and the community. Improvements include installing or retrofitting HVAC systems to allow for a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy, such as solar conversions; new roofs; energy-efficient windows, doors, and appliances; water-saving plumbing fixtures; electrical upgrades; mold remediation, lead abatement, and pest control; interior and exterior painting; and modifying homes for aging or disabled homeowners, such as building exterior access ramps. Revitalize CDC is still seeking donations, sponsors, and volunteers. Visit www.revitalizecdc.com for more information, the current list of supports, and to register.

Agenda

Empty Bowls Fundraiser

April 1: The Amherst Survival Center will host its 15th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser from noon to 4 p.m. at the center’s site at 138 Sunderland Road, North Amherst. Empty Bowls will offer in-person dining at the center, with service from state legislators, town leaders, and other special guests. Attendees may also take their soup to go. Guests select a unique, handcrafted bowl made by a local artist and choose between a dozen soups donated by local restaurants and freshly baked bread. Meat, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free soup options will be available. The keepsake bowl is theirs to keep as a reminder of all the other bowls they have helped to fill. Soft drinks are included, and wine and hard cider are available for purchase (cash only). Tickets cost $50 and are available online at www.amherstsurvival.org/emptybowls or by calling the Amherst Survival Center at (413) 549-3968, ext. 108. Guests who don’t want a handmade bowl may also choose soup-only tickets for adults ($30) or for children ($10). Children 2 and under are free. Tickets can also be purchased in person on the day of at the event.

 

SSO Chamber Concert

April 2: The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will host its second chamber concert of the season at 3 p.m. at First Church of Christ, 763 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. The concert will feature the Casey String Quartet, which is made up of Springfield Symphony Orchestra musicians. Four Springfield Symphony Orchestra string musicians that make up the Casey String Quartet will perform, including cellist Patricia (Tish) Edens, violinist Miho Matsuno, violinist Robert Lawrence, and violist Martha McAdams. The chamber concert will feature works by Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Benjamin Britten, three composers whose works the Springfield Symphony Orchestra will be performing at its next concert at Symphony Hall on Saturday, April 15. The quartet will also perform a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Tickets can be purchased by calling the SSO box office at (413) 733-2291. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $10 for youth ages 4-18.

 

Best of Valley Voices Story Slam

April 8: The Best of Valley Voices Story Slam collaboration between the Academy of Music Theatre and New England Public Media will stage its eighth competition at the Academy of Music at 7:30 p.m. Audience members selected the top three storytellers from four slams performed at a variety of venues in the Valley between December and March, and now they will compete for the best of the best. Both novice and experienced storytellers will be sharing their five-minute, first-person narratives live on stage, and the audience will select the winner. Co-producers Lyrical Faith and Vanessa Cerillo, along with singer and songwriter Adam McElreath, will lead the audience along with the rules and voting tips. For further information or to purchase tickets, visit www.aomtheatre.com or call (413) 584-9032, ext. 105, Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.

 

Free Shred Days

April 15, May 13: bankESB invites customers and members of the community to two free shred days at local offices. The events will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on the following dates and locations: April 15, bankESB, 241 Northampton St., Easthampton; and May 13, Home Depot parking lot, 350 Russell St., Hadley. No appointment is necessary. Local residents can reduce their risk of identity theft by bringing old mail, receipts, statements or bills, canceled checks, pay stubs, medical records, or any other unwanted paper documents containing personal or confidential information and shredding them safely and securely for free. Valley Green Shredding, a professional document-destruction company, will be on site and can accept up to two boxes of documents per person.

 

Harmonia V Concert

April 20: The Westfield Athenaeum and MOSSO (Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra) will present the third of a three-concert chamber music series, with Harmonia V performing at 7 p.m. Guy McLain, executive director of the Westfield Athenaeum, will offer a pre-performance talk at 6 p.m., which is free to ticket holders. The Connecticut-based Harmonia V, an innovative woodwind quintet, performs standard literature, seldom-heard treasures, and dynamic contemporary music. Members of the quintet include Springfield Symphony Orchestra and MOSSO horn player Robert Hoyle; Jennifer Berman, flute; Janet Rosen, oboe; Jim Forgey, clarinet; and Jackie Sifford Joyner, bassoon. The Harmonia V program, “April in Paris,” includes music by Fauré, Ravel, and Debussy. For information on Harmonia V, visit www.harmoniav.com. Tickets for the concert cost $25 and must be purchased in advance at the Westfield Athenaeum during business hours, or online at www.westath.org.

 

Difference Makers Gala

April 27: The 15th annual Difference Makers Gala will be held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Since 2009, BusinessWest has been recognizing the work of individuals, groups, businesses, and institutions through this recognition program. The 2023 Difference Makers was announced, and their stories told, in the Feb. 20 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com. Tickets cost $85 each, and tables of 10-12 are available. To purchase tickets, visit businesswest.com/difference-makers. Partner sponsors for this year’s program include Burkhart Pizzanelli P.C., the Royal Law Firm, TommyCar Auto Group, and Westfield Bank.

 

Pioneer Valley Conference for Women

May 4: The Pioneer Valley Conference for Women will host its first in-person event at the Marriott in downtown Springfield. The theme of the conference is “Let Go.” Leading the speaker lineup are Paulette Piñero, social entrepreneur, writer, and leadership coach, and Yvonne Williams, author of Tested Faith and It’s All About the Shoes. Each will provide a keynote address to an expected audience of more than 300 attendees. The conference highlights topics that were chosen by the women of Western Mass., based on current trends and interests. Alison Maloni, owner of Alison May Public Relations, news anchor for a national network, and bestselling author of Breaking in the News: Build Buzz for Your Brand, will emcee the conference. Local comedian Jess Miller will entertain attendees during a VIP Comedy Kick-off the evening before the conference; tickets cost $35. The cost to attend the Pioneer Valley Conference is $52, which includes breakfast, lunch, a swag bag, and an afternoon celebration with a female DJ and complementary wine and hors d’oeuvres following the full-day conference. The lunch sponsor is M&T Bank. The panel sponsor is Westfield Bank. The network sponsors are Smith Executive Education and USI Insurance. The small-business sponsors are Lovelace Design and Rooted Flowers. Keeping with the goal of accessibility, the conference will also be available virtually for those who are more comfortable watching through a screen. Sessions will be taped for future viewing. For more information on keynote speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and panelists, visit sheslocal.org/pioneer-valley-conference-for-women.

 

Hooplandia

June 23-25: Registration for Hooplandia, a 3×3 basketball tournament and festival, is now open at www.hooplandia.com and includes levels of play for all ages and divisions. The tournament, presented by the Eastern States Exposition (ESE) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will take place on the grounds of ESE in West Springfield June 23-25, with special games at the Hall of Fame in Springfield. The event is expected to attract thousands of fans and players as hundreds of games take place across more than 70 courts. Divisions of play have been created to provide an all-inclusive environment for players of all ages and playing abilities. With brackets that include veterans, first responders, youth, wheelchair athletes, college elites, and many more, there’s a spot on the court for everyone. Players are invited to build teams of four, create their own unique team name and uniforms, and register at www.hooplandia.com. Team fees range from $75 to $190, with children under 8 and participants in the Special Olympics category being free of charge. Hooplandia has teamed up with Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the region as its designated philanthropic partner, providing $10 from every team registration to support the mission and programs of the clubs. Partnership opportunities for Hooplandia are available at a variety of levels to help underwrite all areas of play, including Boys & Girls Club youth, active military, veterans divisions, and more. Anyone interested should email [email protected]. Hooplandia welcomes participation from youth team referees, scorekeepers, Fan Village contest facilitators, and volunteers for myriad duties to help make this inaugural year a success. Those interested in participating in this groundbreaking event can fill out the volunteer form at www.hooplandia.com.

 

MOSSO Concert

July 23: MOSSO (Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra) will make its Sevenars Concerts debut in Worthington at 4 p.m. MOSSO and Friends, which opened the Westfield Athenaeum series, features violinist Beth Welty, horn player Sarah Sutherland, and pianist Elizabeth Skavish. They will perform Frédéric Duvernoy’s Trio No. 1 for Violin, Horn, and Piano; Trygve Madsen’s Trio, Op. 110 for Violin, Horn, and Piano; and Johannes Brahms’ Trio in E-flat Major for Violin, Horn, and Piano. Sevenars performances are held at the Academy, South Ireland Street and Route 112, South Worthington. There is no charge for admission to the performance, and no tickets are needed, although donations at the door are welcome ($20 or more per person is suggested to help defray expenses). For program details and information on Sevenars, visit www.sevenars.org.

Company Notebook

MSB Announces $15,000 in Donations in 2023 Community Giving Initiative

MONSON — The people have voted, and the results are in for the Monson Savings Bank (MSB) 2023 Community Giving Initiative. In late 2022, MSB asked its community members to cast a vote for their nonprofit organizations of choice, and nearly 6,000 votes were submitted. This was the 13th year of the Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative, and the public’s excitement to cast their vote has grown throughout the years. In total, 400 organizations were nominated to receive a donation. Monson Savings Bank is donating a total of $15,000 among the top 10 vote recipients. Monetary donations are one of the many ways the local bank stays true to its longstanding mission of supporting local communities. The 2023 Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative recipients are I Found Light Against All Odds, Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Alex Cotton Memorial Fund, and Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, Springfield; Wilbraham United Players, Wilbraham Friends of Recreation, Rick’s Place, and Scantic Valley YMCA, Wilbraham; Link to Libraries Inc., Hampden; and Monson Free Library, Monson.

 

Berkshire Bank Named Among Best Midsize Employers by Forbes

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank was recognized on the Forbes magazine list of America’s Best Midsize Employers 2023. This award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., a statistics portal and industry-ranking provider. The awards list was announced on Feb. 15 and can be viewed at forbes.com. Berkshire Bank is the only Massachusetts-based bank, and one of four banks in New England and New York, on the midsized employer banking and financial services list. Forbes and Statista selected the America’s Best Employers 2023 through an independent survey applied to a sample of approximately 45,000 American employees working for companies with more than 1,000 employees in America. Across 25 industry sectors, 1,000 employers have been awarded: 500 large employers and 500 midsize employers. The evaluation was based on direct and indirect recommendations from employees that were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Employee evaluations also included other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively.

 

Ocean State Job Lot Partners with Customers on Earthquake Relief

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL), a leading discount closeout retailer headquartered in Rhode Island with stores throughout New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, recently donated and coordinated the shipment of essential supplies to help those impacted by the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. More than 40,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured. OSJL partnered with its customers to donate more than $1 million in supplies, sending more than 35 types of items, including tents, blankets, coats, sweaters, socks, and health and hygiene products such as sanitizers, soap, and alcohol wipes. The items were shipped to Syria and Turkey, leveraging OSJL’s broad transportation network. All of the donated supplies were purchased at cost, in part through donations made by customers at each OSJL store to the 501(c)(3) Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation to support the relief efforts. Monetary donations are still being accepted in-store and online at www.oceanstatejoblot.com/crisis-and-natural-disaster-relief-program.

Company Notebook

Bay Path Gets High Marks for Online Master’s in Cybersecurity

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been ranked as one of the top online cybersecurity master’s degree programs by Fortune magazine. Fortune, which covers global business topics, ranked Bay Path 11th in the nation for its online master’s program in cybersecurity. Rankings were determined by a program’s selectivity score, which measures the undergraduate GPAs and years of work experience of its students, along with the program’s acceptance rate. In addition, Fortune evaluated retention and graduation rates, as well as the size of each graduating class. In addition to its cybersecurity graduate program for men and women, Bay Path offers a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity to undergraduate women. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow by 33% over the next decade, more than four times faster than the average for all occupations. In 2020, the median annual salary for cybersecurity analysts in the U.S. was approximately $104,000.

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Expands with New Location

EAST LONGMEADOW — Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a global residential real-estate brokerage franchise network, announced its further expansion in the state of Massachusetts with the addition of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Realty Professionals. This addition marks the brand’s continued growth in the region with its 48th franchisee, led by President Robert Molta, who has been an industry leader in the market for more than 30 years. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Realty Professionals is a full-service real-estate brokerage serving Western Mass. and Northern Conn. By joining the network, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Realty Professionals agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ active referral and relocation networks and its FOREVER Cloud technology suite, a powerful source for lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production and distribution, and more. The brand also provides an exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings. Its Prestige magazine showcases network members’ premium listings with a strong lineup of feature stories covering topics that appeal to high-end real-estate clients.

 

Tighe & Bond Earns Two Awards for Coonamessett River Restoration

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, Inter-Fluve, the town of Falmouth, and project partners have been recognized with two awards for the Coonamessett River Restoration and John Parker Road Bridge project. The project team received the Bronze Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts and the Nicholas Humber Outstanding Collaboration Award from the Environmental Business Council of New England. The awards recognize the successful transformation of 56 acres of abandoned cranberry bogs, which established a thriving, self-sustaining ecosystem supporting wildlife, increasing coastal resiliency, and providing educational opportunities. Numerous barriers to fish passage were removed, and 5,560 feet of the river were reestablished to closely match the historic natural flow of the river. Project partners spanning local, state, and federal organizations collaborated with the technical engineering and construction teams to successfully complete this project. The restoration serves as an example for other Cape Cod communities transforming former cranberry bogs across the region into thriving wildlife habitats and educational and recreational opportunities.

 

MassDevelopment Puts 1550 Main St. on Market

SPRINGFIELD — Colliers Capital Markets announced that it has been retained by MassDevelopment to sell 1550 Main St., the 128,900-square-foot office building in Springfield’s downtown corridor. Colliers Executive Vice President Jeanne Pinado will lead marketing efforts of 1550 Main, with Vice President Rob Schlesinger providing additional support, and the firm will issue a call for offers in mid-July. The five-story office building is 97% leased and underwent a complete $9 million renovation in 2010. Capital improvements included creating a high-quality building entrance with an open atrium with 70-foot ceilings, as well as building an outdoor plaza and improving landscaping, elevators, restrooms, and more. Formerly a federal courthouse, 1550 Main St. is home to tenants such as the administrative offices for Springfield Public Schools, the U.S. General Services Administration, and Baystate Health. The building has a 103-space below-grade garage and connects via a pedestrian skywalk to the 28-story Tower Square. MassDevelopment purchased 1550 Main from the federal government in 2009 and revitalized the campus to position it as a Class A office building with an expansive public plaza as part of an economic-development initiative.

 

BankESB Commits $30,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley

EASTHAMPTON — Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that the bank has pledged $30,000 over three years to Girls Inc. of the Valley. The money will be used to help support the organization’s “Her Future, Our Future” campaign, a $5 million fundraising effort designed to help the organization better meet the needs of girls from under-resourced communities in Hampden County and beyond. Through this campaign, Girls Inc. seeks to triple the number of elementary and teen girls served, reaching more than 1,000 girls annually. Efforts include renovating a state-of-the-art headquarters and program center in Holyoke; expanding geographic reach in public schools in Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond; and supporting the innovative Eureka! STEM program that prepares girls for college and career. The donation was made as part of the bank’s charitable giving program, the Giving Tree, which reflects the roots the bank has in its communities, its commitment to making a real difference in the neighborhoods it serves, and the belief that everyone’s quality of life is enhanced by working together to solve communities’ biggest problems.

 

Lee Bank Foundation Distributes $70,700 in Second Grant Round

LEE — Lee Bank Foundation has awarded $70,700 to 13 Berkshire-area organizations in its second round of 2022 community funding. Recipients were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $12,500 to support local programming. Included in the awards are a series of Arts Access Grants for arts and culture organizations to expand access to programming for underserved audiences. Organizations receiving funding from Lee Bank Foundation include Berkshire Black Economic Council, Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Berkshire Bounty, Community Health Programs, Construct, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Flying Cloud Institute, Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont, Link to Libraries, and South Community Food Pantry. Additionally, Arts Access Grants of $1,000 each were awarded to Berkshire Theatre Group, BODYSONNET, and Norman Rockwell Museum. The deadline for the next round of 2022 foundation funding is Sept. 1. The application and more information can be found at www.leebank.com/community-impact/donations-sponsorships.html. To be considered for grant awards, an applicant must be a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The foundation is focused on funding programs that work to bridge income and opportunity gaps.

 

T-Birds Earn Award for #WeAre413 Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds were recognized for their business excellence in a variety of departments at last month’s AHL team business meetings. For their season-long #WeAre413 campaign, the Thunderbirds organization took home the league award for Marketing Campaign of the Year. The Thunderbirds returned to the ice in 2021 after opting out of the 2020-21 shortened season. This campaign’s messaging goal was to speak to the pride felt by every resident of the Greater Western Mass. region, as well as the longstanding hockey history of the city. The club also received the award following the 2018-19 season for its #RiseUp campaign. In addition to Marketing Campaign of the Year, the Thunderbirds achieved a pair of milestones in both ticket sales and corporate sales. As part of the award recognition at the team business meetings, AHL member clubs that hit benchmarks pertaining to tickets sold and corporate sponsorship revenue were honored.

 

Six Flags New England Fulfills Bet Against Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

AGAWAM — Six Flags New England and its sister park Six Flags Discovery Kingdom located in San Francisco set a friendly wager for the recent NBA Finals series. While both parks are proud of their local Celtics and Warriors going head to head, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship game series. Six Flags New England begrudgingly fulfilled its wager against its sister park, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom this past weekend, renaming its iconic New England SkyScreamer to the Golden State SkyScreamer. “We tip our hats to our friends and colleagues at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the recent win of their beloved Warriors,” said Park President, Pete Carmichael. “We New Englanders are all too familiar with being crowned champions (17 titles) and welcome a rematch between the two coasts very soon.”

 

Monson Savings Donates $2,250 to Shriners Hospitals for Children

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank recently presented a $2,250 donation to Shiners Hospitals for Children – Springfield as a part of the 2022 Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative, in which the public casts votes to support their favorite local charitable organizations. “Monson Savings Bank is extremely proud to donate to the Springfield Shriners Hospital for Children,” President and CEO Dan Moriarty said. “We know that our donation will support the patient care, medical research, and education that directly benefits children living in local communities. It is essential to have a nearby hospital that parents and guardians can turn to when their child needs specialty care.”

Agenda

Annual Golf Tournament

June 3: The Hospice of the Fisher Home will present its sixth annual par 3 event at Amherst Golf Club’s nine-hole course at 1 p.m. Beer tastings and seafood slider samples will be available on the course as well as a chance to win a pair of Putnam Club seats on the 45-yard-line to a New England Patriots game. This prize has been donated by Manny’s Appliance of Hadley. Participants can get a free swing analysis, a chance at winning a new Ford Bronco, and other raffle items. They will also be invited to stop by and drop off unwanted, lightly used housewares and clothing to donate to the Fisher Home’s thrift shop. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit Hospice of the Fisher Home. Hospice staff are grateful to the contributors of this event, including donors, sponsors, and friends at the Amherst Golf Club. They make it possible to a compassionate, comprehensive, and supportive end-of-life care to patients and their loved ones in their own homes or in the hospice residence. Visit https://www.fisherhome.org/2022-golf-tournament learn more, donate, sponsor, and register. For more information, contact Ashleigh Towse: [email protected], (413) 992-2544.

Benefit Bike Ride

June 11: Area residents are invited to pedal for a great cause and help raise donations for Cancer House of Hope. A ride is scheduled on the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail (rain date is June 12). In addition to a small registration fee, ride participants are asked to raise donations from family, friends, and colleagues, with an individual fundraising goal of $100, and a family fundraising goal of $150. The ride encourages and welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels. Participants can bike five, 10, or 20 miles. Support stations will be available at all turn-around points and the start/finish location — the Stop & Shop at 57 Main St. in Westfield. To register, visit chd.org/chainofhope. For more information, call Margaret Toomey, (413) 733-1858.

40 Under Forty

June 16: BusinessWest will host the annual 40 Under Forty Gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. One of the most anticipated events of the year, the gala will celebrate the Class of 2022, which was announced in the May 2 issue of BusinessWest. The gala will feature a VIP hour for the honorees and sponsors, networking, the presentation of the Alumni Achievement Award, and introduction of members of the Class of 2022. Event tickets are sold out. Please join us for the livestream. Visit BusinessWest.com for more information. Forty Under 40 is sponsored this year by: Presenting Sponsor PeoplesBank; Alumni Achievement Award Presenting Sponsor Health New England; and supporting sponsors Comcast Business, Live Nation, Mercedes Benz of Springfield, The Mill District, Stand Out Truck, and the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Business. The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) is an event partner.

 

MOSSO Concerts

June 23/July 21: MOSSO, the Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, have announced details of their upcoming summer concerts at Symphony Hall. MOSSO will celebrate the music of Stephen Sondheim and John Williams. These concerts mark the first time in almost 20 years that the musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra have performed summer concerts in Springfield. On June 23, MOSSO celebrates the music of the late, legendary Broadway composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, who penned the words and music to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, and Into the Woods. Conductor Tim Stella will lead the program, joined by Broadway stars Hugh Panaro and Lisa Vroman. Also appearing are Ray Hardman and Kathleen Callahan-Hardman. Stella conducted The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and before that, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella, Hello Dolly!, and Legs Diamond. He served as vocal coach to Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, who portrayed Christine and the Phantom respectively, in the movie version of Phantom. Stella is former resident music director of Goodspeed Musicals, and a conductor at Radio City Music Hall. Panaro is best known for having played the role of the Phantom in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera more than 2,000 times. On July 21, Maestro Kevin Rhodes returns to Springfield to conduct a MOSSO benefit concert, with a program of light classics and music of renowned composer John Williams, whose works include Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Schindler’s List. Rhodes will be joined by guest soloist, violinist Yevgeny Kutik, whose two prior solo appearances in Springfield were met with great acclaim. Rhodes served as music director and conductor of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for 20 seasons, until the SSO paused performances in 2020. He continues to serve as music director and conductor of the Traverse Symphony in Michigan, and as principal conductor of Boston’s Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. In March 2021, Maestro Rhodes made his debut with the Orchestra of the Rome Opera in Italy, recording a live radio broadcast of Maurice Jarre’s score to Roland Petit’s ballet, Notre Dame de Paris. He will conduct productions of Giselle and La Bayadère for their 2022-23 season. Kutik, a native of Minsk, Belarus, immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of five, with the help of the Jewish Federations of North America. His 2014 album, Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures (Marquis Classics), features music he found in his family’s suitcase after immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1990. In 2021, Kutik launched Finding Home: Music from the Suitcase in Concert. Kutik’s additional releases on Marquis include his most recent album, The Death of Juliet and Other Tales. Tickets for both concerts, priced $60, $45, $25, and $10, will go on sale on May 9. For details, visit: SpringfieldSymphonyMusicians.com. MOSSO sponsors (to date) include: The Republican/MassLive, BusinessWest and Healthcare News, WWLP-22News & The CW Springfield, the Sheraton Springfield at Monarch Place, New England Public Media, the Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Bolduc Schuster Foundation.

Company Notebook

UMass Amherst College of Engineering Receives $10 Million Gift

AMHERST — The UMass Amherst College of Engineering (COE) has received a $10 million gift from Jerome and Linda Paros aimed at accelerating its cutting-edge work in atmospheric research and hazard mitigation by enabling a new center of excellence. The gift is the largest ever received by the college. The gift will support the translation of ongoing and future research into improved hazardous weather predictions, alert systems, and policies that will save lives as the world continues to experience increases in the intensity and frequency of storms and other extreme weather events that stem from climate change. The $10 million gift will provide discretionary support for the new Paros Center for Atmospheric Research, funding for the Paros Fellows/Scholars Endowed Fund for graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships, and to establish the Paros Chair of Atmospheric Research and Hazard Mitigation. Building upon UMass Amherst’s leadership in the field through the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) — an engineering research center housed at UMass and established through prior National Science Foundation funds — this new funding will enable UMass researchers to expand CASA’s original mission to explore new frontiers in atmospheric measurement, science, and technology. Jerome Paros, a 1960 UMass Amherst alumnus, is a leader in the field of geophysical measurements. He holds more than 50 patents and is the founder, president, and chairman of Paroscientific Inc., Quartz Seismic Sensors Inc., and related companies based in Redmond, Wash. These companies use the quartz crystal resonator technology he developed to measure pressure, acceleration, temperature, weight, and other parameters. His work has improved the measurements of geophysical phenomena such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and severe weather, and enhanced knowledge about the complex earth, air, and ocean processes that produce climate change. In the mid-2000s, Jerome and Linda Paros endowed a fund in measurement science at UMass Amherst, with the goal of creating synergy in this field of study between the COE and the College of Natural Sciences.

 

HCC Lands $147,000 Grant to Buy Mobile Culinary-arts Lab

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been awarded a $147,000 Skills Capital Grant to purchase a truck for its culinary-arts program that will be used as a mobile kitchen for community outreach and education. The funds, from Gov. Charlie Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, are part of a new, $3.3 million package of grants to 20 educational organizations in Massachusetts for updating equipment and expanding student enrollment in career education programs. According to the award letter, HCC will use the $147,000 to purchase and outfit a mobile food lab that will support both credit and non-credit culinary-arts programs and also incorporate other areas of study, including nutrition, health, business, and entrepreneurship. HCC’s grant application notes that residents of Holyoke face a high level of food insecurity and that downtown Holyoke has been identified as a ‘food desert.’ The mobile food lab will be used to engage community partners such as the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club and area food pantries. Students will meet with representatives from area organizations to create menus based on ingredients of their choice or what might be seasonally available. Once the truck arrives — sometime later this year — food-truck operations will be worked into the current culinary-arts curriculum in both credit and non-credit courses such as event planning and line-cook training. Students will have to learn to cook in a much smaller space than they are used to in the kitchens at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute; they’ll also have to learn food-truck logistics, such as how to dispose of dirty ‘grey’ water, replenish the kitchen with fresh water, and maintain a stable power source.

 

McGovern Auto Group Opens McGovern Chevrolet of Greenfield

GREENFIELD — McGovern Auto Group, which operates 19 dealerships across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, announced the opening of McGovern Chevrolet of Greenfield. The new dealership, which replaces Dillon Chevrolet, employs 25 people across its sales, leasing, and maintenance teams, with plans to increase headcount to at least 40 by the end of 2022. The opening was enabled by McGovern Auto Group’s acquisition of Dillon Chevrolet, located at 54 Main St., from longtime owners Tom and Jay Dillon. Under the McGovern brand, the new dealership will feature a lot with more than 125 new and used cars, plus a completely reimagined customer experience including comfortable, clean, and modern waiting areas with free coffee and high-speed WiFi. To mark the transition to new ownership after 60 years in the Greenfield area, McGovern Chevrolet is also offering all Greenfield area residents an express detail — a $100 value — with any service. Founded in 2016, McGovern Auto Group is a full-service dealer group with four collision centers in addition to a commercial and municipal division. Known for luxury vehicles such as Ferrari and Porsche, the company also brings deep expertise working with brands including Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota.

 

Bulkley Richardson Supports Baystate Children’s Hospital

SPRINGFIELD — Throughout the course of a year, the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Baystate Children’s Hospital cares for more than 800 newborns. These babies are fighters, but they require essential care. Many have come into the world too early; others emerge with medical challenges that need to be addressed in the moments after birth. All of them deserve the best chance for a healthy life. Bulkley Richardson, a Springfield-based law firm, recently made a $10,000 gift to support that essential care through the purchase of a transcutaneous CO2 monitor. This device provides a non-invasive and efficient way to monitor newborns’ exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) when they require a ventilator to assist their breathing. It also allows the team to review and respond to important health details in real time instead of through multiple painful blood draws. With one in 10 families needing the NICU in their lifetime, this type of equipment will be used by many and provide a more comfortable experience for Baystate’s youngest patients.

 

DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology Adding Nail & Esthetics Programs

WEST SPRINGFIELD — DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology is getting a makeover. The school, which opened its doors in 2002, will be renovating and expanding this spring to add a nail program and an esthetics program. Paul DiGrigoli, owner and CEO of the DiGrigoli Companies, first opened DiGrigoli Salon in 2000 on Riverdale Street in West Springfield. A couple years later, he added the fully accredited and award-winning DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology, which has produced hundreds of cosmetologists in the Western Mass. area and beyond. Due to the expansion of the school, DiGrigoli Salon officially came to an end on Feb. 26. The extra space from the salon will allow for larger facilities and amenities for both students and clients of the new DiGrigoli School. Renovations will begin in spring, and details of the new programs and enrollments will be available by fall 2022. The currently running cosmetology program will continue uninterrupted, with its next class starting on May 3. Former clients of DiGrigoli Salon are welcome to visit the school’s student salon, which offers a variety of hair and basic manicure services. Appointments can be made by calling (413) 827-0037 or on a walk-in basis.

 

AIC Named to 2022-23 Military Friendly Schools List

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) announced it has earned the 2022-23 Military Friendly School designation. Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2022-23 survey, with 665 recognized for going above the standard. The 2022-23 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May and October issue of GI Jobs magazine and can be found at www.militaryfriendly.com. Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher-education and military-recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer), and loan-default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

 

Home City Development Signs Land Disposition Agreement for South End Townhouses

SPRINGFIELD — Home City Development Inc. (HCDI) has signed a land disposition agreement with the city of Springfield to develop up to 40 for-sale residential units on the former Gemini site in the South End of Springfield. This townhouse development will serve low- to moderate-income households earning between 70% and 100% of adjusted median income. The residential zoning change was approved in October, and Mayor Domenic Sarno signed the land disposition agreement in January. The team is working closely with funders to make sure the project is developed and managed appropriately to serve the community. The HCDI team continues to meet with the South End Citizens Council, receiving valuable input. HCDI has received a preliminary commitment from MassHousing for the majority of the public financing necessary and has applied to the city of Springfield for the remaining funds. Once these funds are in hand, construction could start as early as the fall of 2022. Designs are being finalized by Architecture Environment Life of East Longmeadow and Torres Engineering of Wethersfield, Conn.

 

Pioneer Moving Launches Program to Turn Food Waste into Donations

SOUTH HADLEY — When people move residences, they typically do a lot of purging before moving day. One common area to clean out is the pantry, resulting in large amounts of wasted food. Pioneer Moving is on a mission to use this practice to benefit to those in need though the company’s newly launched Pioneer Program. The Pioneer Program collects non-perishable food from residents who are getting rid of items they don’t need and distributes it to shelters and food banks. The program is 100% free to everyone involved and is simple to participate in. Consumers can obtain a Pioneer Program box from a real-estate agent, rental office, or another local business. The participants fill up their box with non-perishable, non-expired food. Then they can call the Pioneer Program to promptly pick up the box from them. The Pioneer Program team will distribute the food to a local food pantry or homeless shelter. Pioneer Moving donates the boxes and labor time collecting and delivering the food. Brian Clark, owner of Pioneer Moving, founded the Pioneer Program when he noticed a large amount of food being tossed in the trash by residents on moving day that could be donated. Knowing that people who are moving are typically rushed for time to get everything ready for the movers, Clark immediately recognized that residents would be more than happy to have someone help them easily get rid of items they no longer want or need.

 

KeyBank Announces Support for Humanitarian Efforts for Ukraine

CLEVELAND — KeyBank announced several steps it is taking to support humanitarian efforts currently underway for the people of Ukraine. In a message to employees, Chris Gorman, KeyCorp chairman and CEO, announced $150,000 in grants from KeyBank Foundation and a 1:1 employee matching-gift program. KeyBank Foundation will give a $100,000 grant to the American Red Cross to support its efforts to provide food, water, and other essential items and services to the people of Ukraine. The Red Cross has teams on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries helping families and working to repair vital infrastructure, support health facilities with medicines and equipment, and support families with food and hygiene items. KeyBank Foundation will also make a $50,000 grant to UNICEF for its work supporting children and families impacted by the war in Ukraine. In addition, KeyBank is launching a 1:1 employee matching-gift program through KeyBank Foundation that will help amplify and raise the collective voice of teammates in support of Ukraine. As part of this program, KeyBank Foundation will prove a dollar-for-dollar match for all employees up to $5,000, for several organizations supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, including Americares, CARE, Project Hope, Save the Children, and World Central Kitchen.

 

Pioneer Valley Credit Union Donates to Friends of the Homeless Shelter

SPRINGFIELD — Pioneer Valley Credit Union donated $100 worth of thermal layers, hats, socks, sweaters, and sweatpants and an additional monetary donation of $500 for a grand total of $600 to Clinical & Support Option’s (CSO) Friends of the Homeless Shelter in Springfield. The warm-clothing collection efforts were made at the Sixteen Acres and East Springfield branches throughout the month of February in addition to the option to donate over the phone. CSO’s Friends of the Homeless program is more than an emergency shelter. In addition to offering more than 1,000 individuals with a warm bed and hot shower each year, the program also assigns case workers to each guest. It also serves three community meals each day, offers a robust resource center, and operates low-income housing units for those in need.

Agenda

Difference Makers

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

 

Drive-thru Food Drive

March 26: The Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Agricultural Society, the nonprofit organization that manages the Three County Fair, the oldest ongoing agricultural fair in the country, will conduct a drive-thru food drive outside its main office at 54 Fair St. in Northampton. The fair held its last food drive in the spring of 2020 during the onset of the pandemic and delivered more than 2,000 pounds of food to area pantries. The fair is seeking non-perishable foods such as canned fruit, soup, tuna, and vegetables, plus cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, and peanut butter for area food pantries that have partnered with the fair, including the Easthampton Community Center, the Franklin County Meals Program, the Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry at BOCC in Belchertown, and the Westhampton Congregational United Church of Christ food pantry. Each vehicle that donates will be supplied with a pair of complimentary tickets to the 2022 Three County Fair, scheduled for Sept. 2-5. Donations can be dropped off at the fair’s main office at 54 Fair St. in Northampton between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The fair requests that donations be compiled in disposable bags or boxes for volunteers to easily accept them from vehicles.

 

UMass 5K Dash and Dine

April 9: After a two-year hiatus, UMass Dining Services will host its 11th annual UMass 5K Dash and Dine on campus starting at 9 a.m. The goal of the event is to promote health and wellness at the university while raising funds for the Amherst Survival Center. In total, UMass dining has been able to raise more than $50,000 for the Amherst Survival Center. The 5K features a USA Track and Field certified course to runners, walkers, and wheelchair participants. When race participants are finished, all are welcomed to have lunch at the award-winning dining commons on campus. The race fee is $10 for all UMass and Five College students, $15 for UMass Amherst faculty and staff, and $20 for the general public. Children age 8 and under may participate for free. This race fee includes registration and the complimentary meal. Online registration ends at midnight on Wednesday, April 6. Walk-up registration is available on race day. To register for the event or make a donation, visit runumass.com.

 

MOSSO Chamber Music Series

April 14: The Westfield Athenaeum continues its three-concert chamber music series at 7 p.m., with musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, known as MOSSO, providing the music. A woodwind quintet of MOSSO musicians will be showcased, and Guy McLain, executive director of the Westfield Athenaeum, will offer a pre-performance talk at 6 p.m., which is free to ticket holders. Ann Bobo, principal flute, and Nancy Dimock, principal oboe, will be joined by their colleagues Ian Greitzer, clarinetist, Ron Haroutunian, bassoonist, and horn player Robert Marlatt. The MOSSO season at the Westfield Athenaeum opened on March 10, and will conclude with a concert on May 19, with a program to be announced soon. Tickets for the concert cost $20 and must be purchased in advance at the Westfield Athenaeum during business hours, or online at www.westath.org. Audience members will be required to wear masks.

 

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Spring Concerts

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

 

sheLEADS Conference

May 20: The Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce will host sheLEADS, a woman’s conference aimed at building a bold, brave community of women in the 413 with an eye on professional development and beyond. “This is a high-energy day filled with professional development, relationship- and leadership-building opportunities. Our focus is on providing attendees tools and connections that they didn’t have when they walked in,” said Moe Belliveau, the chamber’s executive director. The day begins at the Boylston Room in Easthampton at noon and ends with networking at Abandoned Building Brewery. In between, attendees can look forward to “Activating Your Leadership Strengths,” facilitated by Colleen DelVecchio of Colleen DelVecchio Consultants; “The Language of Leadership,” a panel discussion featuring Pia Kumar, chief strategy officer at Universal Plastics, Lynnette Watkins, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care, and Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, CEO of Inclusive Strategies; and “Be Great Where Your Feet Are,” featuring keynote speaker Robyn Glaser Sr., vice president, Business Affairs for the Kraft Group. For tickets and details, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org.

Briefcase

Employer Confidence Flat During July

BOSTON — Confidence levels among Massachusetts employers were virtually unchanged during July as strong economic growth balanced persistent concerns about tariffs and escalating international trade tensions. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index dropped 0.1 point to 61.2 last month after tumbling more than five points in June. The drop left the BCI three-tenths of a point lower than a year ago, though still comfortably within optimistic territory. The constituent indicators that make up the overall Business Confidence Index were mixed during July. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth gained 2.3 points to 65.1, leaving it 1.9 points ahead of July 2017. The U.S. Index ended the month at 61.9, rising 1.9 points after sliding 9.3 points the previous month. The US Index was 4 points better than a year ago. July marked the 101st consecutive month in which employers have been more optimistic about the Massachusetts economy than the national economy. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, rose 0.1 point to 63.6. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, fell 0.4 point. The Current Index gained 2.4 points during the year, while the Future Index lost 3.1 points. Employer views of their own companies weakened. The Company Index declined 1.5 points to 59.7, down 2.5 points for 12 months. The Employment Index ended the month at 54.5, a 0.5-point decrease for the month and 1.2 points lower than a year ago. The Sales Index lost 0.6 point for the month and 2.3 points for the year.

Bradley Launches Daily, Non-stop Service to St. Louis

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — This week, the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) launched its inaugural Southwest Airlines flight from Bradley International Airport to St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The new daily, non-stop service departs from Bradley at 11:10 a.m. (EST) and arrives at St. Louis Lambert International Airport at 12:45 p.m. (CST). The inbound flight leaves St. Louis at 4:25 p.m. (CST) and arrives at Bradley at 7:50 p.m. (EST). The service utilizes a Boeing 737. Southwest Airlines currently offers non-stop service from Bradley International Airport to Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa, St. Louis, and West Palm Beach. The airline first started flying out of Bradley in 1999.

Greater Holyoke Chamber, HCC Announce Leadership Holyoke 2018-19

HOLYOKE — Leadership Holyoke — a comprehensive community leadership and board-development program of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce — is back again. Leadership Holyoke utilizes a combination of classes and practical experiences to help local business people develop their leadership skills, increase their knowledge of the community, and acquire the skills needed to serve as board members and community leaders. The series is made possible by PeoplesBank and the Republican. The 2018-19 leadership series begins on Sept. 21, consists of eight seven-hour sessions, and concludes on May 8 with a graduation ceremony at Holyoke Community College with a specialty luncheon prepared by the college’s culinary program students. All sessions will be held on Fridays (except for the Boston State House trip) and take place at Holyoke Community College and other locations throughout the city. Each session will include a segment on organization and leadership skills and a segment on community needs and resources. Faculty members from Holyoke Community College will participate as instructors and facilitators, and community leaders will participate as speakers and discussion leaders in their areas of their expertise. Tuition of $600 per participant is due at the start of the course and includes the fee for a continental breakfast each week, a bus trip to Boston, and the graduation luncheon. Sign up online at holyokechamber.com or call the chamber with any questions at (413) 534-3376.

DPH: Job-related Injuries Often Lead to Opioid Misuse

BOSTON — The rate of fatal opioid overdoses varied significantly by industry and occupation from 2011 to 2015, with construction workers dying from opioid overdoses at six times the average rate for all Massachusetts workers, according to a report released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Using available death-certificate data, DPH analyzed 4,302 opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts from 2011 to 2015 by industry and occupation to understand whether work, and specifically work-related injuries, might have contributed to opioid-use disorders. Overall, workers employed in occupations known to have high rates of work-related injuries had higher rates of fatal opioid overdoses. In addition, workers in occupations with lower rates of paid sick leave and higher job insecurity had higher rates of opioid overdoses. Construction and extraction workers (quarrying and mining) accounted for more than 24% of all opioid-related deaths among the working population. This occupation group had a high death rate — 150.6 deaths per 100,000 workers — and a high number of opioid-related deaths — 1,096 — during this time period. Despite the small number of workers employed in the farming, fishing, and forestry occupations, these jobs also had a high opioid death rate. While there were fewer deaths among this group (61) than in the construction occupations, the rate of opioid-related deaths — 143.9 per 100,000 workers — was more than five times the average rate of 25.1 per 100,000 for Massachusetts workers. Several other occupations also had rates of opioid-related overdose deaths that were significantly higher than the average rate for all Massachusetts workers. These included jobs in material moving; installation, maintenance, and repair; transportation; production; food preparation and serving; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; and healthcare support. Similar to findings for all opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts, the majority — 77.3% — of deaths in this study were among males. However, there were several occupation groups where females had significantly elevated rates of opioid-related overdose deaths, particularly healthcare support and food preparation and serving.