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The Forces of Change

“People don’t change unless the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of change.” That was one of many observations made by those presenting the latest installment of BusinessWest’s Future Tense series late last month. The more important point made: by the time companies get to that point, it might just be too late to change.

‘Burn the boats.’

That’s supposedly what the Vikings did before entering into battle — a bold indication that there would be absolutely no turning back from a particular course of action — and the phrase has become heard with increasing frequency in boardrooms across this country and in many others.

And Mark Borsari, president of Palmer-based wire-brush manufacturer Sanderson MacLeod, made it one of many phrases (and takeaway strategies) he offered as co-presenter of the latest installment in BusinessWest’s ongoing and appropriately titled Future Tense series.

Borsari shared the podium with Jim Barrett, managing partner at Holyoke-based Meyers Brothers Kalicka, and advice not to be afraid to burn the boats was among the many messages they passed along to audience members during a program titled “Change Considerations: An Examination of Lean Process, Market Disruption, and the Future of Your Business.”

The two focused on every phrase within that long title, but especially that one word ‘change.’ Like others who presented in this series before them, they noted that change is coming at business owners at an unprecedented pace and scale. And while there are some changes that cannot be foreseen or remotely planned for — Barrett summoned the example of the city of Westfield, a buggy-whip manufacturing hub that was one of few communities worldwide economically devastated by the invention of the automobile — there are things business owners can and must do.

Over the course of their talk, Barrett and Borsari listed several — from embracing new technology to being ultra-diligent when it comes to investing in it; from watching the horizon for imminent changes to recognizing emerging new trends in workforce skill sets; from embracing lean practices (whatever your business sector), to, yes, being fully prepared to burn the boats when it comes to all or most of the above.

Mark Borsari says his parents used the wet-facecloth method to get him up in the morning

Mark Borsari says his parents used the wet-facecloth method to get him up in the morning, and now he manages his company with the same mindset.

“You need to have confidence in what you’re doing,” said Borsari, noting that many lean initiatives and investments in new technology fail because leadership lacked the confidence to ride out the inevitable early questions and problems that accompany change. “If you’re a leader, stick with it; you have to burn the boats.”

One also has to keep his head out of the sand, he went on, referencing a business he was once in — the making of dentures — to get his points across.

“If you’re a leader, stick with it; you have to burn the boats.”

“That technology had not changed, until about 2004, in 150 years,” he explained. “You’d go to the dentist, the guy would put that big plastic thing with a bunch of goop in your mouth, make an impression, and send it off to a dental laboratory to a dental technician who would, by hand, make teeth; they were getting $120 to $130 a unit on average.”

By 2006 or so, intra-oral scanning had completely changed the landscape, he said, adding that a milling center in a dentist’s office can now make a tooth in hours instead of days and for a fraction of the cost.

“That is technology that is absolutely disruptive; if people in that industry were watching, they would have seen what was coming, but they missed it,” he noted. “Now these technicians have milling centers in their laboratories, and they’re making $40 a unit. You go from $120 to $40 with inflation — that’s the stuff that scares you to death.”

Barrett agreed, and for another example of not recognizing what in hindsight, or even careful foresight, seems obvious, he recalled Jim Keyes’ now-infamous quote from a decade ago: “Neither Redbox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition; it’s all Walmart and Apple.”

“Two years later, Blockbuster files for bankruptcy, and today, Netflix is worth about $62 billion. That’s how fast change can happen, and if you don’t anticipate the disruption, chances are you’re not going to make it,” said Barrett, adding that the business landscape is littered with similar examples of companies moving too slowly, or not moving at all, to anticipate change and get ahead of it.

How and why does that continue to happen?

“People don’t change unless the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of change,” said Barrett, adding that companies and business sectors are going to keep doing what has made them successful until it becomes more than obvious that they can no longer do that.

But at the rate change is happening, that won’t be possible in the near future. By the time the pain of not changing exceeds that of changing, it may be too late to change.

For this issue, BusinessWest recaps the third segment in its Future Tense series, a presentation that brought home the need for business owners and managers to prepare for and be able to withstand what can possibly come at them in the months and years to come, rather than be a buggy-whip maker in the age of the automobile.

Brush with Fame

Rosie Noble worked at Sanderson McLeod for a half-century, Borsari told those gathered at Tech Foundry for this installment of Future Tense. Her job — no, make that her domain — was a specific wire brush, or stylus, made for the healthcare sector.

“Rosie walked seven miles a day, 14 feet at a time, for 50 years — she has 2% body fat,” said Borsari as he attempted to draw a picture of how these brushes were made. “You are not going to find another Rosie Noble working for Sanderson MacLeod, walking seven miles a day, making brushes for the rate we were paying. And Rosie wants to retire; what do you do?”

The answer was the Rosie 2, built with her input. It’s the world’s first (and only) fully automatic twisted-wire stylus machine — technology that does essentially what its namesake did starting when Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. Ultimately, Borsari said, the company didn’t build this machine because it wanted to, but because it had to to remain competitive.

“People don’t change unless the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of change.”

The Rosie 2 is a great example of a company adapting to change, embracing and utilizing technology, and finding better and more efficient ways to do things, he noted, adding that, moving forward, it’s incumbent on all business owners and managers to write their own Rosie stories.

Jim Barrett

Jim Barrett says that, while lean practices are most commonly associated with the factory floor, this is a strategy, and mindset, that all business sectors must embrace.

There are many factors involved in this equation, said the presenters, starting with the world of work and the rapid pace of change of pace in that realm, most of it driven by technology.

To sum it all up, Barrett talked about this country’s new Lockheed-Martin F-35 fighter jet, a plane that uses artificial intelligence to self-diagnose its needs in term of fuel, parts, maintenance, ammunition, and more. Those servicing the plane don’t have to accumulate that data, as they did with past models, because the plane provides it for them.

Emerging technology does essentially the same for business owners across virtually all sectors, he went on, adding that, in the future (and even today, for that matter), employees, especially those involved in finance, won’t be needed to gather or even analyze information — again, because technology, like Blockchain, will do that for them.

“Today, a large part of the financial function is data analysis; 60% to 80% of the time is spent gathering data and making that sure that data is compatible, either between years or sets or whatever metric you’re trying to measure to: ‘do we have the right data? Is it good data? Is it compatible?’ — 60% to 80% of the time!” he said. “Moving forward, that’s largely going to be automated out of existence, all that time is going to be freed up, and that’s going to be a huge disruption to the financial function of industries.”

Instead, one of employees’ primary functions is to take the information available to them and help management decide what to do from a strategic standpoint. And to do that, they’ll probably need different skill sets than they have now, said Barrett, adding that they’ll need to do everything from “help the company make smart bets,” as he called them, to making sure the business is using the right data and the right metrics.

Instead of counting money in the cash drawer and figuring out where it came from, the retail finance employee of the future (or today) will need to be able to help answer questions like, ‘should we open a new store or close a store?’ ‘Do we go online?’ ‘How much does that cost?,’ said Barrett.

“And that’s a whole different skill set than the finance function of the past,” he went on, adding that employers and human-resources professionals need to be aware of these changes as they create their workforces.

“What people in the finance function need to understand is they need to adapt to this information, because what made them successful in the past is not going to make them successful or, like the buggy whip, relevant in the future,” Barrett noted. “If you’re still counting cash, your competition is way ahead of you.”

Investments in the Future

Borsari agreed, and said that knowing what to do with both data and emerging technology is the biggest challenge facing business owners and managers today.

With that, he clicked to a PowerPoint slide with two images — one of a palm tree, the other of an iceberg — and kept it there for a few moments as he talked about the immensely difficult and far-reaching decisions business owners face when it comes to investing in technology.

“Those of you who run businesses or run companies or organizations and have to make these decisions know that it’s exhausting — absolutely exhausting,” he said. “Our job, when you get right down to it, is to be on the bow of a ship looking out and seeing what’s on the horizon long before it gets there. It’s either an iceberg that’s going to put a hole in the side of the ship and sink you, or a pretty place you might want to take the company and go sailing.

“What people in the finance function need to understand is they need to adapt to this information, because what made them successful in the past is not going to make them successful or, like the buggy whip, relevant in the future. If you’re still counting cash, your competition is way ahead of you.”

“And it’s exhausting because you’re getting bombarded from all sides,” he went on. “Our challenge is, ‘how do we look at the palm trees and the icebergs and sort out what is the technology we think is relevant, what we think works for us, and what doesn’t?’”

Elaborating, he said the place companies must start is with a basic question: what is the technology for? And until it’s answered, the checkbook should certainly stay in the drawer. The goal, he went on, is to embrace and choose technology that enhances that which already separates you in the marketplace.

“Understand what the value-driver is for your customer,” he told his audience. “What do they come to you for? Then determine if technology is going to help you, neutralize you, or put you at a disadvantage. Once you buy it, you own it.”

Borsari noted that Palmer-based Sanderson MacLeod is not going to make wire brushes less expensively than companies in China, or almost anywhere else, given the high cost of doing business in this state.

“So why do people buy from us?” he asked rhetorically before answering that question for the audience.

“Our feeling is that our customers have to think that they’re either with us or that not being with us is a competitive disadvantage,” he said, adding that the company is known for its innovation and making products that stand out in the marketplace.

“These are the things that we think about when we consider technology,” he explained. “Is it going to help us with this, or does it make us more of a commodity?”

This discussion of technology and investments in it led naturally to another of those phrases in the program’s title — lean process.

Lean, the science of taking waste out of the process, can help drive decisions on technology investments, said Borsari, who cited the ‘5 Ms’ of waste — man, machine, method, materials, and money — and the need to identify which one (or ones) are the target of new technology.

“What are you buying the machine for?” he said. “Sometimes you think you’re chasing something, and you realize that’s not what you’re really chasing.”

What all companies are chasing are greater efficiencies and better ways of doing things, said Barrett, adding that a great misconception in business today is that lean is just for the manufacturing floor.

That’s a very limiting attitude, said Barrett, adding that Meyers Brothers, and the financial-services sector as a whole, is starting to embrace lean — out of necessity more than desire. But there are hurdles to be overcome, he said, primarily because these businesses are “dealing with people, not machines, and people are resistant to change.”

“We’re great at analyzing data — we made a career analyzing data — and people love to sit at their desks and play with spreadsheets,” he explained. “But that’s not valuable anymore; people are going to continue doing what made them successful over the past 30 years, even though times are changing.”

That’s why, said both Barrett and Borsari, what a company ultimately needs to change through lean isn’t equipment, technology, or even processes — but the culture.

The Naked Truth

Borsari called it ‘wet-facecloth management.’

And, obviously, he needed to explain that.

“When I was a kid, my parents didn’t like me sleeping in,” he noted. “They’d come in the first time and say, ‘you’ve got 10 minutes to get up.’ If I didn’t get up in 10, they’d say, ‘you’ve got five minutes, then we’re coming up with a wet facecloth.’

“It is impossible to not deal with reality when you’re facing a cold facecloth in the morning,” he went on, adding that the tactic almost always worked, and today, he more or less runs Sanderson MacLeod the same way. Reality, in this case, isn’t having to get out of bed, but to operate with the full knowledge that a few mistakes, or even one big one, can make your company the next Blockbuster or the next Kodak, a venerable institution that just didn’t position itself for the advent of digital photography.

With that, he said ‘wet-facecloth management’ means avoiding certain attitudes, including putting a company’s collective heads in the sand, as the dental technicians obviously did at the start of this century.

“Their heads were in the sand; there’s no question that there was technology coming up that would make a tooth faster than layering porcelain by hand,” he said. “You have to question yourself, and you have to have people in your organization who are empowered to challenge you on that.

“You want them reading, and you want them not feeling that if they come to you with an idea that’s a little out of whack, they’re not going to have your ear,” he went on. “But you have to make sure you don’t get your heads in the sand when it comes to technology, because if you do miss a major one, that will shut the doors.”

Another mindset to avoid is ‘magic-bullet thinking,’ he went on.

“This is where someone goes to a presentation, comes back, and says, ‘we have to buy this thing; it’s unbelievable,’” he said. “That’s dangerous; there are no magic bullets. There are things that will help you, but there are no magic bullets. I’ve bought magic bullets. They don’t work.”

Still another mindset to avoid, said both Borsari and Barrett, is the thinking that all the answers have to come from inside the company.

The proper mentality is to ‘get naked,’ as Borsari called it.

“I encourage people to get out and see other companies, and to have people come and pull you apart,” he explained. “Bare what you have; you want an idea that can come through and change things, but don’t get into thinking that you have everything covered, because you don’t.”

Barrett agreed, and said one of the bigger challenges facing businesses in all sectors is changing the culture of an organization and inspiring people to think lean, avoid magic bullets, and get their heads out of the sand.

What’s needed is a compelling message, he told BusinessWest.

“To stand in front of people and tell people they need to be more efficient because if we’re not more efficient and we’re not doing it better, we’re going to be out of business — that’s not really motivational to a lot of people,” he explained. “You need to find some way to engage them.

“In our business,” he said, “that might be to say, ‘yes, you might lose 60% to 80% of what you used to do, but if you understand that, you can now spend your time going out to customers and trying to help them with their business, and you can do better stuff that, A, they value, and, B, they’re going to pay more for, and you can have a better feeling when you leave that you helped somebody, as opposed to reading spreadsheets.’

“The message can’t be, ‘we have to be lean because we don’t we to be the next Blockbuster,’” he went on. “The message has to be, ‘we have to be lean so we can do better, higher-value stuff that’s more rewarding for us and more valuable for our customers.”

Bottom Line

‘Wet-facecloth management?’ ‘Burning the boats?’

These are not phrases you would probably hear in the boardroom 20 years ago, or even a few years ago.

But you hear them now, because the times (maybe you’ve heard this) are changing. And change is coming quickly and profoundly, and companies need to be aware that they have to change attitudes and change the way they do things.

As Barrett so aptly put it, businesses, and especially those who lead, simply can’t wait around until the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of change.

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

Departments People on the Move
Moira Maguire

Moira Maguire

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Moira Maguire as its new dean of Social Sciences. Maguire most recently served as dean of Liberal Arts at Schenectady County Community College in New York. Before that, she spent 12 years as a professor of history at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, where she was a tenured faculty member and served as a department chair and course coordinator. She holds a Ph.D. in history from American University, a master’s degree in history from Northeastern University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from George Washington University. As a teacher and scholar specializing in 20th-century Irish history, Maguire spent more than 10 years at the University of Ireland Maynooth, where her research on infanticide and the Irish government’s care of unwed mothers and their children led to many articles and a book, Cherished Equally? Precarious Childhood in Independent Ireland. She has also worked as a consultant for the BBC on documentaries related to her research. As dean of Social Science, she will oversee six academic departments: Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services, Critical Cultural Studies (Economics, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Women’s Studies), Psychology, and Sociology/Anthropology.

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Sonya Stephens, the acting president of Mount Holyoke College, has been named the college’s 19th president, effective July 1. The Mount Holyoke College board of trustees announced its decision to appoint Stephens on April 23 after an extensive presidential selection process that began in January. A formal inauguration will be held in September. The decision was unanimous. Stephens was made acting president in July 2016. During her tenure, she has overseen the implementation of the Plan for Mount Holyoke 2021 and been focused on ensuring the college’s long-term financial stability. Other key efforts include the creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative, which led to the annual BOOM! (Building on Our Momentum) learning conference and to the hiring of the college’s first chief diversity officer. Stephens led the development of the college’s comprehensive self-study for re-accreditation by the New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges, and launched the Community Center construction and the opening of the Dining Commons. She is also overseeing the college’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by its bicentennial in 2037.

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Elissa Langevin

Elissa Langevin

Lee McCarthy

Lee McCarthy

Shelley Daughdrill

Shelley Daughdrill

Lori Jarrett

Lori Jarrett

Celia Alvarado

Celia Alvarado

Alicia Pare

Alicia Pare

Florence Bank has promoted three employees to oversee the management of branches within their designated regions. Elissa Langevin has been named vice president and area manager for the bank’s main office in Florence, Lee McCarthy will serve as vice president and area manager for the King Street office in Northampton, Shelley Daughdrill and will hold the role of vice president and area manager for the Belchertown branch. Langevin is a 10-year employee of Florence Bank. Formerly, she was vice president and branch manager of the main office in Florence. During her tenure at the bank, Langevin has been the recipient of Florence Bank’s Community Service Award, which provides recognition to employees who are actively involved in community organizations. She serves as the current treasurer of the Belchertown Day School and has served as a board member for Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts. She has also served as board member and president of the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce. McCarthy is a 15-year employee of Florence Bank. Formerly, she was vice president and branch manager of the King Street office. During her tenure at the bank, McCarthy has served as consumer lending officer and branch manager. She is a volunteer for the United Way of Hampshire County and serves on its Community Allocation Committee. In 2015, she was recognized by the United Way as an honoree for the Community Champion Award, presented to a community member who has made a significant contribution to the organization’s mission of creating positive and lasting change in Hampshire County. Daughdrill is a 12-year employee of Florence Bank. Formerly, she served as vice president and branch manager of the Amherst and Belchertown offices. She has been the recipient of the bank’s President’s Award and Community Service Award. She is a board member, attendance chair, and auction committee member for the Amherst Rotary Club, and she also serves on the development committee for the Amherst Survival Center. Meanwhile, Florence Bank has also hired three new employees to serve in various positions. Lori Jarrett will serve as assistant controller in the Finance Department in the main office in Florence, Celia Alvarado was named portfolio officer/commercial loan origination, and Alicia Pare was named to the position of cash management relationship officer. Jarrett holds a master’s degree in accounting from Western New England University. She volunteers for area nonprofits, including Riverside Industries, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, and Safe Passage, and she runs in the Apple-a-Day 5K, which benefits the elementary schools of Easthampton. Alvarado joined Florence Bank in February with nearly 10 years of banking experience. She currently studies at the New England College of Business, where she’s working on a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. She volunteers for Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts and has served on its board in the past. Pare earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Assumption College in Worcester. In 2014, she received Florence Bank’s prestigious President’s Club Award, an annual tradition that recognizes outstanding performance, customer service, and overall contribution to Florence Bank.

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Mark Fuller, current dean and Thomas O’Brien Endowed Chair at Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, has been appointed the new vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations by UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. Fuller will succeed Michael Leto, who announced his upcoming retirement last fall. As the university’s chief advancement officer, Fuller will serve on the chancellor’s leadership team and be responsible for short- and long-term plans to improve private support as well as cultivate strong relationships with UMass alumni and supporters. UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, has more than 200,000 living alumni. Fuller has led UMass’s Isenberg School of Management since 2009. Under Fuller’s leadership, Isenberg has generated a four-fold increase in annual gift performance since 2010; received a $10 million endowment to create the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship; increased student giving ten-fold; secured private support for the new, $62 million Business Innovation Wing; and created 12 new endowed faculty positions. Prior to coming to UMass Amherst, Fuller was a professor and chair of the Department of Information Systems and holder of the Philip L. Kays Distinguished Professorship in Management Information Systems at Washington State University. He received his master’s degree in management and his Ph.D. in management information systems from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. His research focuses on virtual teamwork, technology-supported learning, and trust and efficacy in technology-mediated environments. Prior to Washington State, Fuller was an associate professor at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.

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Maureen “Maura” Guzik

Maureen “Maura” Guzik

Casey Cusson

Casey Cusson

Erin Tautznik

Erin Tautznik

Janet Rosenkranz

Janet Rosenkranz

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, announced one new hire as well as three promotions. Maureen “Maura” Guzik joined Greenfield Cooperative Bank as vice president, Commercial Loans. She will be responsible for developing new commercial business in Hampshire County with the Northampton Cooperative division of the bank. She will be based in the bank’s Triangle Street branch in Amherst. She has more than 34 years of commercial banking experience. Guzik is a board member of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Children Advocacy Center and chairperson of the Belchertown Council on Aging. She is also active with the Amherst Area and Greater Northampton chambers of commerce. She earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Anselm’s College and her MBA from American International College. Casey Cusson has been promoted to assistant vice president and branch manager of the bank’s Shelburne Falls location. He has more than 15 years of management experience and joined Greenfield Cooperative Bank in June 2017. He is a board member on the Shelburne Falls Area Business Assoc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from UMass Amherst and will attend the New England School of Banking at Babson College beginning in May. Erin Tautznik was promoted to branch officer. With more than 13 years of banking experience, she is responsible for managing the bank’s 67 King St., Northampton office. She joined Northampton Cooperative Bank in 2004 and has attended Holyoke Community College and numerous banking seminars and courses. She is also a volunteer with the JFK Middle School’s after-school program. Janet Rosenkranz, credit officer, has additionally been named the Credit Department manager, and is now responsible for the bank’s Credit Department staff and coordinating its activities. She joined the bank in 2016 and has more than 18 years of experience in banking. She is a volunteer with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. She received her bachelor’s degree at UMass Amherst and will attend the National School of Banking at the Wharton School beginning in June.

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Brian Kapitulik has accepted the position of dean of Business, Information Technology, Professional Studies, and Social Sciences at Greenfield Community College (GCC). “After a thorough search, we were excited to offer the position of dean to Brian,” said Catherine Seaver, chief Academic Affairs officer. Kapitulik has 18 years of professional experience in the Massachusetts public higher-education system and, in particular, during the last decade, in community college. Before his current role, he was chair of the Department of Social Sciences and professor of Sociology at GCC. He has also taught at UMass Amherst and Quinsigamond Community College. During this time, he evaluated and developed curriculum, assessed and reviewed programs, created new courses, and hired and mentored new faculty, all while teaching students, publishing papers, organizing professional-development workshops in his field, and serving the college in a number of leadership capacities ranging from search committees to faculty mentor for online pedagogy.

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The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ newly launched arts initiative, ValleyCreates, announced the appointment of five community advisors to support the initiative’s core mission to address underserved communities’ access to arts and culture funding and resources. Gina Beavers, Arts and Culture editor for the Valley Advocate, will serve as a liaison to arts and culture organizations in Hampshire and Hampden counties. Vanessa Pabón-Hernandez, director of Community Engagement and Education for WGBY, will serve as the initiative’s liaison to arts organizations in Hampden County. Matthew Glassman, co-artistic director ensemble of Double Edge Theater in Ashfield, will serve as a liaison to rural arts and culture organizations with a focus on Franklin County. Rosemary Tracy Woods, executive director and chief curator of the nonprofit Art for the Soul Gallery in Springfield, will serve as the ValleyCreates events curator. Finally, Kent Alexander will serve as the initiative’s diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitator. He brings with him years of experience conducting anti-racism and social-justice-focused workshops for various local organizations. Each community advisor will contribute up to eight hours per month for one year and will receive a stipend. ValleyCreates is supported by the Barr Foundation, through the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ participation in the Creative Commonwealth Initiative.

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Jeanne Hardy, associate professor of Chemistry, whose research focuses on a key protein linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, is being recognized with the inaugural Mahoney Life Sciences Prize at UMass Amherst. A panel of expert judges from the life-sciences sector observed that the “biomedical implications are significant” and “this could turn out to be one of ‘the’ pivotal studies in the effort to combat Alzheimer’s.” Hardy will receive the prize and present her research with life-sciences experts and UMass officials and scientists at a breakfast ceremony on Tuesday, June 19 at the UMass Club in Boston. Established by UMass Amherst alumni Richard, Robert, and William Mahoney, the $10,000 prize is intended to recognize scientists from the university’s College of Natural Sciences whose work significantly advances connections between research and industry. The prize will be awarded annually to one faculty member who is the principal author of a peer-reviewed paper about original research. Eligible papers can be on any topic in the life sciences that focuses on new research with translatable applications to industry and society. Hardy’s research paper, “Multiple Proteolytic Events in Caspase-6 Self-activation Impacts Conformations of Discrete Structural Regions,” was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in September 2017.

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Baystate Franklin Medical Center announced that two interim leaders have accepted permanent positions at the community hospital. Ron Bryant has been named president, Baystate Franklin Medical Center/Northern Region, in addition to his continued role as president, Baystate Noble Hospital. Deb Provost has been named chief nursing officer and chief administrative officer, Baystate Franklin Medical Center/Northern Region, in addition to her continued role as chief regulatory officer, Baystate Health. Both have been serving in these roles in an interim capacity. Since Bryant’s interim appointment in January, he has held many open forums focusing on employee engagement and the need for a strong collaborative culture, advancing system integration and re-emphasizing the health system’s mission from a patient and employee perspective. Provost has been serving in the interim role of vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Baystate Franklin since November. Since her appointment, she has worked collaboratively with Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s leaders and team members to help ensure safe, high-quality care to the residents of Franklin County. Provost has been with Baystate Health for 41 years and has served as vice president, Surgery and Anesthesia and as interim chief nursing officer at Baystate Medical Center.

Daily News

FLORENCE — Florence Bank has hired three new employees to serve in various positions. Lori Jarrett will serve as assistant controller in the Finance Department in the main office in Florence, Celia Alvarado was named portfolio officer/commercial loan origination, and Alicia Pare was named to the position of cash management relationship officer.

Jarrett holds a master’s degree in accounting from Western New England University. She volunteers for area nonprofits, including Riverside Industries, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, and Safe Passage, and she runs in the Apple-a-Day 5K, which benefits the elementary schools of Easthampton.

Alvarado joined Florence Bank in February with nearly 10 years of banking experience. She currently studies at the New England College of Business, where she’s working on a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. She volunteers for Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts and has served on its board in the past.

Pare earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Assumption College in Worcester. In 2014, she received Florence Bank’s prestigious President’s Club Award, an annual tradition that recognizes outstanding performance, customer service, and overall contribution to Florence Bank.

Departments People on the Move
Christine Devin

Christine Devin

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the promotion of Christine Devin, CPA, to manager in its Audit and Accounting department. In her new position, Devin will be responsible for the management of audit and review engagements for the firm’s not-for-profit, commercial, and pension clients. In addition, she will assist with the management of the not-for-profit niche, which encompasses the supervision and training of staff, client relations, firm protocol, and regulatory updates. She rejoined MBK in 2015 as a senior associate. With nine years of experience as a controller of a closely held business and more than eight years of public accounting experience, Devin combines a deep understanding of the operations, financial reporting, and regulatory requirements of the private sector with the technical expertise of a CPA. Devin received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elms College. She is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Katie Longley

Katie Longley

Elms College appointed accomplished higher-education finance executive Katie Longley the college’s new vice president of Finance and Administration. Reporting to the president, Longley, who will join Elms on March 26, will be responsible for the strategic oversight and management of the college’s financial resources and operations. She comes to Elms from Abilene Christian University in Texas, where she currently serves as associate vice president of Finance. She held successive positions as controller, tax director, payroll manager, and senior accountant during her tenure with ACU. Prior to her work in higher education, Longley was in public accounting, working as an associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, and then becoming a senior auditor for Davis, Kinard & Co. She holds a master’s degree in accountancy and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, both from Abilene Christian University. Longley fills the position vacated by Brian Doherty, who retired from the college earlier this year.

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Marcie Zimmerman

Marcie Zimmerman

Greenfield Savings Bank (GSB) promoted Marcie Zimmerman to Human Resources officer. In this role, she is responsible for the day-to-day management of HR, including benefits administration, employee relations, payroll, affirmative-action plan, recruiting, orientation, performance management, policy implementation, and employment-law compliance. Zimmerman joined GSB in 2009 and has worked in the field of human resources for more than 12 years. She holds a number of HR certifications, including Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), and Certified Compensation Analyst (CCA).

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Jeanne Kosakowski

Jeanne Kosakowski

The Dowd Insurance Agencies announced that Jeanne Kosakowski has been hired as claims director. In this role, she handles some of the personal-lines claims, all of the commercial-lines claims, and oversees all claims. “Jeanne joins us with over three decades of insurance experience and demonstrated customer relations that will benefit our customers,” said John E. Dowd Jr., president and CEO. Kosakowski came to the Dowd Agencies from Hanover Insurance, where she was a commercial-lines product analyst. She received her bachelor’s degree from Russell Sage College in New York, where she was a Kellas Scholar. She is an Associate in Claims (AIC), a Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR), and a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and is currently working on her Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation. Kosakowski, who was named an “outstanding instructor” for the Worcester County Insurance Institute, will be based in the Dowd Agencies’ home office in Holyoke.

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Elizabeth Dineen

Elizabeth Dineen

The board of trustees at Elms College appointed Elizabeth Dineen, executive director of the YWCA of Western Mass. in Springfield, as a new board member. Dineen has had a long career of community service, first serving as an assistant district attorney for 25 years prosecuting child sexual abuse and rape cases, then entering an academic career as the director of the Criminal Justice program at Bay Path University, and now at the YWCA, whose mission — “eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all” — is consistent with that of Elms College. Her legal career focused on helping the most vulnerable in the community, especially women and children who were the victims of sexually based and personal violence, and that focus has carried over into her work at the YWCA, which serves women and families at critical times in their lives. Dineen has served on the board of directors of Square One of Springfield, which provides early-education programs for children, since 2013. She previously served on the board of Mont Marie Child Care Center in Holyoke, and on the appropriations committee in East Longmeadow. Honors Dineen has earned throughout her career include the Governor’s Award for Service to the Commonwealth, the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award, Top Women of Law from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the first Justice Kent B. Smith Award from the Hampden County Bar Assoc., the City of Holyoke Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition, the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. Access to Justice Award as Prosecutor of the Year, and the Elms College Alumni Assoc. Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Nicholas D’Agostino

Nicholas D’Agostino

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Nicholas D’Agostino as its new Affirmative Action officer and Title IX coordinator. D’Agostino comes to HCC after working for nearly 12 years as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action professional in Connecticut, most recently as the associate in Diversity and Equity at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) and before that as an EEO specialist with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. He started at HCC on Jan. 29. A longtime advocate for equity and social justice with a focus on LGBTQ issues, D’Agostino has been an Anti-Defamation League anti-bullying trainer for more than 10 years and has a long association with True Colors, a support and advocacy group in Hartford for LGBTQ youth, which he has served as board president. He has either led or participated in hundreds of affirmative-action and discrimination investigations during his career. At CCSU, D’Agostino conducted awareness and advocacy programs, promoted social-justice initiatives, engaged the college community in sexual-harassment and assault prevention, and led training sessions on diversity, Title IX compliance, anti-racism, and LGBTQ awareness. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in federally funded education programs. D’Agostino holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Quinnipiac University and a master’s degree in counselor education with a specialization in student development in higher education from CCSU.

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Elizabeth Oleksak-Sposito

Elizabeth Oleksak-Sposito

Jeffrey Sattler

Jeffrey Sattler

The Springfield Technical Community College board of trustees recently welcomed two new members. Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Elizabeth Oleksak-Sposito and Jeffrey Sattler to serve on the board, an 11-member body that governs STCC. Oleksak-Sposito worked as a clinical care manager at Boston Medical Center Health Plan from 2012 until her retirement in 2016. She provided holistic medical-care-management services for plan members with chronic conditions and complex care needs. Prior to joining Boston Medical Center Health Plan, she worked as a medical case manager for Broadspire, a division of Crawford & Co. and provider of claims-management solutions to the risk-management and insurance industry. She previously worked as a sales specialist and account manager at Hill-Rom Home Care in Charleston, S.C. A certified case manager prior to her retirement, Oleksak-Sposito holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from American International College in Springfield and a diploma in nursing from the Cooley Dickinson Hospital School of Nursing in Northampton. Her term ends March 1, 2022. Sattler is senior vice president, Commercial Lending, at Savings Institute Bank & Trust. He is responsible for managing and growing the bank’s commercial-banking business, including lending, leasing, and deposit accounts throughout the Greater Springfield and Enfield, Conn. areas. He has more than 35 years of experience in commercial banking at various institutions in the region. Prior to joining Savings Institute Bank & Trust, Sattler served as president of NUVO Bank & Trust Co. (now known as Community Bank N.A.) He serves on the board of directors of Mason Wright Senior Living Community, Rotary Club of Chicopee, and the Western Massachusetts Boy Scouts of America. He is an associate member of the National Tool & Die Assoc. Sattler graduated from Springfield College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history, with a minor in business administration. He also graduated from the ABA Commercial Lending Banking School at the University of New Hampshire. His term ends March 1, 2021.

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William Sharp

William Sharp

Freedom Credit Union (FCU), headquartered on Main Street in Springfield and serving members throughout Western Mass. through nine additional branches, announced the recent appointment of William Sharp as the new branch officer in Chicopee. Sharp has worked with financial institutions for 40 years, having held management positions within the banking industry prior to joining Freedom Credit Union in 2013. He is active within his community and has received several recognitions. He currently serves as board chair for the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, which awarded him the Dr. Edward Ryan Award for board service in 2016. That same year, the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, which he had served as treasurer, named him Ambassador of the Year. He also has served as board chair for the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board and, in 2003, was named Volunteer of the Year by the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce.

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Mary Russell

Mary Russell

The Dowd Agencies, LLC announced that Mary Russell has been hired as commercial lines account manager. “With nearly a decade of insurance experience, Mary’s expertise and commitment to customer service will benefit our customers,” said John E. Dowd Jr., president and CEO. As commercial lines account manager, Russell manages a roster of insurance clients and supports producers with a variety of initiatives. She came to the Dowd Agencies from a local agency, where she was a personal lines account manager. She received her associate degree in psychology from Holyoke Community College.

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Margaret (Meg) Beturne

Margaret (Meg) Beturne

Ruben Arroyo

Ruben Arroyo

The Gray House recently inducted two new board members to a three-year term. They were welcomed at the January board meeting by the president and officers of the board. The new board members are Margaret (Meg) Beturne and Ruben Arroyo. Remaining board officers are Kathleen Lingenberg, president; Susan Mastroianni, vice president; Janet Rodriguez Denney, clerk; and Candace Pereira, treasurer. Beturne is a professional nurse with extensive experience in perianesthesia, surgical, ambulatory and critical-care nursing and is the assistant nurse manager at the Baystate Orthopedic Surgery Center in Springfield. Previous positions include Nursing Clinical Operations manager of the Post Anesthesia Care Unit and staff nurse in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. She has served on several boards of directors, including the Children’s Study Home, the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield, the Elms College board of trustees, and the American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses. Arroyo is the Code Enforcement inspector for the Holyoke Board of Health and president of Arroyo Inc., an HVAC and home-improvement business. He is a deacon at his church, Iglesia Casa de Misericordia, and also involved with Iglesia Apostolica Cristiana Betzaida and the Christian radio broadcast station La Hora Zero 1490 AM.

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Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

LUSO Federal Credit Union announced the appointment of Jennifer Lopez as its new Marketing manager. She will oversee the credit union’s Marketing Department staff and daily operations, including brand and product promotions, advertising, online activity, and other marketing efforts. Lopez is a seasoned marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience in media and marketing management in Western Mass. Most recently, she spearheaded the marketing and communications initiatives at Pope Francis High School in Chicopee. Prior to that, she was a reporter and editor for Turley Publications in Palmer, and worked as a content writer for Market Mentors in West Springfield. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Western New England University.

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Country Bank President and CEO Paul Scully announced the promotions of Mark Phillips, Andrew Sullivan, Sarah Yurkunas, and Christine Witz. Phillips has been appointed to first vice president of Internal Audit. He has been with the bank for 23 years and is a certified internal auditor and certified bank auditor. He has more than 40 years in the financial-services industry in various positions, most recently director of Internal Audit. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Nichols College, and is also a graduate of the National School of Banking. He and his wife, Lisa, actively support the Epilepsy Foundation and the Worcester County Food Bank. Sullivan has been promoted to small-business lending officer and has been with the bank for four years. He began his career as a staff auditor at Wolf & Co. in Springfield, where he worked for two years before joining Country Bank as a credit analyst. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management along with an MBA with a concentration in accounting from Elms College. In 2015, he started a charity golf tournament, Andrew Sullivan’s Swing for a Cure, to bring awareness to cystic fibrosis. Over the past three years, this event has raised more than $30,000. Sullivan is also a member of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield and was recently selected to receive the Best in Bank award from Country Bank. Yurkunas has been promoted to commercial portfolio manager and has been with the bank for 11 years. She began her career at Country Bank in the loan-servicing area and then moved to a loan coordinator position, which inspired her to pursue her career in the commercial-lending area. Yurkunas has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Bay Path University. She has also taken classes from the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. and received a certification in Fundamentals of Credit Analysis: Intro to Commercial Lending. She volunteers many hours of her personal time to support the bank’s community programs and enjoys giving back to her community. Witz has been promoted to retail lending officer. She has been with the bank for seven years, most recently as the assistant branch manager in the Charlton office. She serves on the Buy Ware Committee.

Cover Story Employment Sections

Team-building Exercise

From left, Courtney Wenleder, CFO; Alex Dixon, general manager; and Mike Mathis, president and COO. Photo by MGM/Springfield Mark Murray

From left, Courtney Wenleder, CFO; Alex Dixon, general manager; and Mike Mathis, president and COO.
Photo by MGM/Springfield Mark Murray

Mike Mathis said he doesn’t use any of those ‘gotcha’ questions, as he calls them, when he’s interviewing job candidates.

He said he’s been on the other end of a few of these, like ‘describe your greatest weakness’ or ‘how well do you get along with your current boss?’ He didn’t particularly enjoy those experiences and, more to the point, doesn’t believe they were particularly effective in providing real insight to those asking those questions.

But Mathis, president and COO of MGM Springfield, said he does have some favorite — and effective — go-to questions (he wasn’t too revealing) that he likes to ask in an effort to get beyond the words printed on a résumé and determine if the candidate across the table would make a good fit.

And he’s had plenty of opportunities to put them to use in recent months as he’s interviewed finalists for the positions that make up the executive team that will open and then operate the $950 million resort casino complex taking shape in Springfield’s South End.

“The résumé gives me good insight into what their technical experience is,” he explained. “But I’m looking for personality and cultural fit, and you can usually get to that through them talking about their experiences.”

As he talked about his team members, or department heads, or ‘number ones,’ as he also called them, collectively, Mathis made early and frequent use of the word ‘diverse,’ and said it takes on the quality in many different respects. These include gender, age, race, geography (where they’re from), casino experience, and MGM experience.

As for those last two, some have it, and others, like Mathis himself when he was named to lead MGM Springfield, don’t.

“We have some who are internal MGM and others who are external to our company but in the industry,” Mathis explained. “We have a combination of young and those not as young, as I like to say, those with a little more experience. And we have a few from outside the industry; the company took a chance on me, and we’ve continued to take some of those chances on others.”

Anthony Caratozzolo: Vice President, Food & Beverage

Anthony Caratozzolo: Vice President, Food & Beverage

Anika Gaskins: Vice President, National Marketing

Anika Gaskins: Vice President, National Marketing

Brian Jordan: Director, Surveillance

Brian Jordan: Director, Surveillance

Monique Messier: Executive Director, Sales

Monique Messier: Executive Director, Sales

It is this team, featuring individuals with titles ranging from CFO to vice president, Table Games, to executive director, Arena Operations, that will lead the ambitious casino project through the most critical stage in this six-year process — the completion of construction, finalization of specific components such as dining options and other facilities, the assemblage of a team of roughly 3,000 people, and, finally, opening the doors (early September is the projected ‘go’ date).

At present, that team-building assignment is priority 1, said Mathis, adding that the members of the executive team will soon be, and in many cases already are, adding members to their own specific leadership teams, and soon these individuals will begin to assemble the larger teams they will lead.

“The number ones hire number twos, and the number twos hire number threes,” he explained. “And then, from there, you start building out your business plan and prepare for mass hiring.”

For this issue and its focus on employment, BusinessWest looks at the team Mathis has assembled and how it came together. Also, we’ll look at the daunting challenge this “dream team,” as Mathis called it, will face over the next six months and how it will go about making MGM Springfield ready for prime time.

A Strong Hand

Mathis told BusinessWest that he’s been a part of a few casino executive teams during his career “around but not in on a day-to-day basis” the casino industry, as he chose to phrase it.

Indeed, he was legal counsel for the Venetian Las Vegas, which opened in 1999, and also for a start-up operation, Echelon Place, also in Las Vegas.

Being the one on the other side of this equation, the one putting the team together, the one able to joke during meetings (and he’s already done this a few times) that ‘none of you would be here without me’ — well, that’s a completely different and quite rewarding experience.

“I have a great sense of pride when it comes to the group we’ve pulled together,” he said, emphasizing that this was a team effort. “What’s really nice is how, organically, this team reflects the personality of the community and our original vision. For me, as a day-one employee, I feel I’m a steward of the original vision of our president, Bill Hornbuckle, and of the mayor and the different community-group stakeholders I originally met with. And I want to reflect all that in the team we put together.”

Sarah Moore: Vice President, Marketing, Advertising & Brand

Sarah Moore: Vice President, Marketing, Advertising & Brand

Marikate Murren: Vice President, Human Resources

Marikate Murren: Vice President, Human Resources

Jason Rosewell: Vice President, Facilities

Jason Rosewell: Vice President, Facilities

Jason Rucker: Executive Director, Security

Jason Rucker: Executive Director, Security

Elaborating, he said this team is non-traditional in some respects, and, as noted, diverse in every sense of that word.

‘Non-traditional’ in that, in many cases within this industry, executive units travel as a team, Mathis explained. That was not the case here.

“Someone would come to my role already thinking about who their number two and number three would be,” he explained. “Some of those executive teams travel in groups. There’s nothing wrong with that … these people are used to working with one another, and there’s something to be said for that.

“But because I was new to the role, I came at it without some of those preconceived notions about who the team members should be,” he went on, adding that he actually worked with very few members of this executive team before MGM Springfield. “The group is really eclectic, and we make each other better.”

In total, there were hundreds of applicants for the 16 positions, Mathis went on, adding that, because the pools of candidates were strong and diverse, it was that much easier to create a very diverse team.

“One of things we believe in at MGM is that, if you have a diverse applicant pool, you’ll get great employees, and the diversity will be reflected in the hires,” he said. “So our focus has always been on making sure we’re getting great people in front of us before we make decisions.”

Elaborating, he explained that, for each of the positions, the company tried to have, as finalists, an internal (MGM) candidate, an external candidate, and a diverse candidate, and in most cases met that goal.

Overall, nine of the 16 members of the executive team are diverse or female, which, he said, makes it one of the most diverse teams not only within the MGM company, but within the industry.

Why is diversity important? “Within the hospitality industry and particularly with MGM Resorts, we’re a host to a wider range of customers than any industry I can think of,” said Mathis as he answered that question. “We’re the Disneyland for adults. We have international guests, local visitors, those who are interested in gaming, those who are interested in food and beverage, families … with that range of customers that we invite to our resort, we need our employees to reflect that diversity of customers. That’s a big part of our success, and diversity is one of our pillars — not only ethnically, but diversity in all respects.”

Great Odds ‘Relaxed.’

That’s the adjective Mathis summoned to describe not only how he wants those taking his interview questions to be, but also the kind of corporate environment, for lack of a better term, that he’s been trying to create at MGM Springfield.

Lynn Segars: Vice President, Slot Operations

Lynn Segars: Vice President, Slot Operations

Gregg Skowronski: Executive Director, Hotel Operations

Gregg Skowronski: Executive Director, Hotel Operations

Talia Spera: Executive Director, Arena Operations

Talia Spera: Executive Director, Arena Operations

That certainly sounds illogical given the nature of the casino industry in general and, more specifically, the ultra-challenging six months ahead for the team at MGM Springfield. But hear him out.

“I mean relaxed in terms of the collegiality between the team members,” he explained. “We’re all working hard, but time is going by quickly, and the work is hard enough without the environment being overly formal or not having that collegiality.

“People perform best when they’re happy; we believe in our business in the service-profit-chain model,” he went on, referring to the theory in business management that links employee satisfaction to customer loyalty and, therefore, profitability.

It was an unofficial goal, or milestone, to have this team in place, in this relaxed environment, at the start of 2018, and it has been met, said Mathis, adding that, while some team members still have some logistics to work out, such as finding homes and moving families, they are all at work now at MGM’s nerve center in at a renovated 95 State St.

They will meet collectively twice a week, said Mathis, adding that one of these sessions is an executive-team meeting at which specific information will be communicated about project status, timelines, and other matters, and decisions will be made that involve multiple departments. The second session is a weekly staff meeting, a 90-minute to two-hour roundtable with no set agenda.

Seth Stratton: Vice President and General Counsel

Seth Stratton: Vice President and General Counsel

Courtney Wenleder: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Courtney Wenleder: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Robert Westerfield: Vice President, Table Games

Robert Westerfield: Vice President, Table Games

“What we’ve learned is that meeting [the roundtable] is as productive as any other meeting we have,” he explained, adding that there are a host of smaller meetings involving some but not all of the executive staff members.

And as you might expect, there is quite a bit to meet about with the countdown now at or just under 200 days.

The biggest priority is building the individual departments, Mathis went on, adding that, while the casino is taking shape in a highly visible way on and around Main Street, the task of interviewing, hiring, and training 3,000 employees is already going on behind the scenes.

The top levels of each team will be filled out over the next few months, he continued, and mass hiring will commence in the early summer and hit high gear in the weeks just prior to opening.

Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of other tasks to be carried out, he said, listing everything from building the reservation system to creating training manuals; from interviewing vendors to detailing what will be needed in the warehouse.

“It’s a pretty incredible undertaking, and we’ve got a great team in place to carry it out,” noted Mathis, adding that this team will has borrowed heavily from the playbook created by another MGM casino that opened just over a year ago, National Harbor in Maryland.

“I don’t envy anyone that’s doing one of these as a one-off,” he told BusinessWest. “National Harbor is one of the most successful operations in the country, and we’ve taken their best practices, as well as lessons learned, and incorporated them into this project.”

Teaming with Excitement

Meanwhile, MGM Springfield will provide the playbook for the next MGM project, whenever it moves off the drawing board, said Mathis.

“Each time, the process gets better,” he noted. “One day, there will be a perfect opening; unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be it. But with each one of these, you get a little closer to that standard.”

A perfect opening might be beyond the reach of Mathis’ executive team, but it will likely move the bar higher. In the meantime, by most accounts, it is already setting a higher standard for diversity.

It’s been an intriguing team-building exercise in every sense of that phrase.

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

Departments People on the Move
Eric Polep

Eric Polep

J. Polep Distribution Services announced the promotion of Eric Polep to president and CEO, reporting to Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Polep. “Eric has proven time and again he understands how to grow with the industry and as the business dictates. He represents J. Polep with pride, and his everyday goal is to make sure each customer and vendor sees the outcome of long-term success, which is the foundation to our business,” said Jeffrey Polep, also Eric’s father. J. Polep Distribution Service is the fifth-largest convenience wholesaler in the U.S., exceeding $1.5 billion in sales. The locally owned and operated business posted a 30.1% increase in overall sales, rising from ninth place to fifth place in the 2017 CSNEWS Top Wholesalers report. Eric will continue to work closely with Jeffrey and all of the company’s support staff to ensure effective execution of strategies and operational services. “I am very excited for this opportunity that lies ahead of me and look forward to the continuing growth of the business,” Eric said. “Upon graduating college, I knew I wanted to go right into the family business and absorb everything I could from my father. Working beside him has always been a dream of mine, and it’s an honor to be named president of J. Polep Distribution Services by him and our board.”

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Christopher Scott

Christopher Scott

Michael Pike

Michael Pike

PeoplesBank announced appointments of two key associates. Christopher Scott was appointed assistant vice president, portfolio manager, while Michael Pike was appointed Hadley branch manager. Scott has more than six years of banking experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in corporate finance, from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. He is also a graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute. Pike has more than 12 years of banking and financial-services experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Notre Dame College.

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Dr. Neil Kudler, former chief medical information officer for Baystate Health, has joined Holyoke-based healthcare consultancy VertitechIT as chief medical officer. “IT consultants focused primarily on bits and bytes are doing their clients a disservice,” said Kudler, who has held other senior executive and strategist positions at Baystate Health, one of New England’s largest healthcare systems. “As CMO of VertitechIT, I’m in a position to bridge that all-important technology gap between clinicians and the IT departments that must support them.” VertitechIT is among the fastest-growing healthcare IT consultancies in the country, focused on helping senior IT leaders to strategically and tactically transform the role of IT in the hospital setting. “Any consultant worth their fee can design and implement a new cloud strategy or infrastructure platform,” said VertitechIT CEO Michael Feld. “Dr. Kudler gives us immense credibility on the clinical side of the house, providing guidance on things like diversified health-system operations, population health, and data analytics.” Before joining VertitechIT, Kudler served as senior healthcare innovation strategist for TechSpring Technology Innovation Center, and as chief operating officer for Baycare Health Partners. He is a graduate of Colgate University and received his master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. He received his doctor of medicine degree from New York University and trained in internal medicine at UC San Francisco.

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Jonathan Howell

Jonathan Howell

Springfield College named Jonathan Howell as its new director of Human Resources, effective March 5. He brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources, with the last 15 years working in higher education. As the college’s lead human-resources officer, Howell will be responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction surrounding all human-resources initiatives and priorities for Springfield College. Howell comes to Springfield College from Mitchell College in New London, Conn., where he served as vice president for Human Resources starting in 2015. Prior to his most recent position, Howell also served as director of Human Resources at Mitchell College from 2012 to 2015. Prior to his time there, Howell was employed for eight years at the University of Illinois in multiple human-resources positions. Howell received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Augustana College and will complete a master’s program in human resources from Ft. Hays State University this spring.

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Carol Anne McGowan

Carol Anne McGowan

The UMass Donahue Institute, an outreach and economic-development arm of the UMass President’s Office, promoted Carol Anne McGowan to associate director. In this position, McGowan works closely with the executive director to develop and implement management strategies, systems, and practices across the Donahue Institute. She is also directly responsible for overseeing all fiscal and human-resource functions. Previously, she served as the institute’s director of Administration and Finance. She first joined the institute in 2000 as a member of the Financial Management, Education and Training (FMET) team. She spent more than 10 years with FMET, developing curriculum and instructing in the areas of government finance and accounting for the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to her role as associate director, McGowan has developed a credited course on post-award management of grants and contracts, which she will teach through UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management. Earlier in her career, she served as director of Onslow Community Health Improvement Process, a community nonprofit organization in Onslow County, N.C. She has a master’s degree in human resources and organizational development from Webster University and an MBA from the UMass Isenberg School of Management.

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Miriam Siegel

Miriam Siegel

Country Bank announced that Miriam Siegel has joined its team as senior vice president of Human Resources. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in business, Siegel boasts 26 years in the financial-services industry. She is also a certified compensation professional and certified benefits professional from WorldatWork. For 21 years, Siegel worked at United Bank. She began her career as a payroll clerk and worked her way through the ranks until she found her passion within the human-resources department. Her time at United Bank made a significant impact on her approach to human resources. “I live and work by the philosophy that your most valuable assets are your people,” she said. “I am very excited to be back at a local community bank where employees and customers come first.” Siegel owned and operated the Village Store Café in Wilbraham with her husband. During that time, they began a run/walk event, the Cup to Pint Fun Run, to support local charities. The Children’s Museum in Wilbraham, the Livestrong Program at the Scantic Valley YMCA, and the Wilbraham Hampden Academic Trust, have all received donations from this annual fund-raiser. Siegel is a member of the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc., WorldatWork, and the New England Human Resources Assoc., and serves on the board of directors for Behavioral Health Network in Springfield. “Miriam’s extensive expertise in human resources within the financial-services industry makes her a perfect fit for Country Bank,” said Paul Scully, the bank’s CEO and president. “We are thrilled to have her join our team; we know that Miriam will be an esteemed resource for Country Bank and its employees.”

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Bulkley Richardson announced that Seunghee Cha and Jodi Miller have been promoted to partner, and Mary Bonzagni has joined the firm as partner as well. In her comprehensive estate-planning practice, Cha assists individuals and families from all walks of life, with a particular focus on special-needs planning for individuals living with intellectual, developmental, and age-related disabilities; conservatorship and alternatives; estate settlement; and trust administration. Miller focuses her practice on commercial and other civil litigation, including class actions, as well as regulatory matters. She has a particular expertise in the area of health law and also represents public and privately held corporations, financial institutions, schools and universities, nonprofits, and individuals in a range of litigation matters. Bonzagni has an established reputation in the field of intellectual property. Her work involves prosecuting, defending, and licensing patents for a wide variety of inventions, as well as challenging the patentability of both pre-grant and post-grant patents in a number of countries and regions. In-depth experience as a chemist has equipped her with a unique perspective and allows her to provide clients with both legal and scientific strategies. She also advises businesses on strategic aspects of trademark, copyright, and trade-secret protection.

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Charlie Epstein

Charlie Epstein

Charlie Epstein, an investment adviser and author who specializes in retirement consulting, has been appointed to the Holyoke Community College board of trustees by Gov. Charlie Baker. He was sworn in Feb. 2, and is expected to join the board for its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Epstein is principal of the Holyoke-based Epstein Financial Group LLC and Epstein Financial Services, a registered, investment advisory firm providing corporate retirement-plan consulting as well as wealth-management and financial-planning services for business owners, professionals, and individual plan participants. He is also owner of the 401K Coach Program, which offers financial-adviser education services and training; the author of two books: Paychecks for Life: How to Turn Your 401(k) into a Paycheck Manufacturing Company and Save America, Save! The Secrets of a Successful 401(k) Plan; and an industry conference speaker and commentator who has appeared on the Fox Business Network. In 1994, he founded the Family Business Center of the Pioneer Valley in Amherst and remains on its board of directors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colgate University.

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David W. Griffin Sr.

David W. Griffin Sr.

David W. Griffin Sr., executive vice president and treasurer of the Dowd Agencies, LLC, is the 2018 recipient of the Daniel J. Gallivan award from the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. “We are honored that one of our own has received this well-deserved honor,” said John E. Dowd Jr., president and CEO. “David has provided tireless effort for Holyoke, fulfilling various leadership capacities that have benefitted our clients and the citizens of Western Massachusetts alike.” Griffin is an active member of the Holyoke community, serving as president of the West Springfield Chamber of Commerce, West Springfield Rotary, Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, Springfield Country Club, Hampden County Insurance Agents, and chair of Mont Marie Health Care Center. He remains active with the CYO of Western Massachusetts as well. Griffin has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, beginning his career in 1978 as a surety underwriter for Aetna Casualty. Since then, he has served as a broker specializing in large commercial and contracting accounts. He is a licensed insurance advisor as well as a certified insurance counselor. Since 1972, the Daniel J. Gallivan award, named after the South Hadley resident and longtime member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, has been awarded to long-standing members of the association who have made significant contributions to the overall success of the parade and committee.

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Meaghan Murphy

Meaghan Murphy

Bacon Wilson announced that Meaghan Murphy has joined the firm as an associate attorney. A member of the firm’s litigation department, her practice is focused on labor and employment law. Murphy is a graduate of Western New England University School of Law, and received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. She works primarily from Bacon Wilson’s Springfield location, and is licensed to practice in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. Founded in 1895, Bacon Wilson, P.C. is one of the largest firms in the Pioneer Valley, with 44 lawyers and approximately 60 paralegals, administrative assistants, and support staff. The firm’s offices are located in Springfield, Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, and Westfield.

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Berkshire Bank promoted Lori Gazzillo to senior vice president and director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. She was previously the foundation’s vice president. In her new position, Gazzillo is responsible for the development, planning, and implementation of strategies to support the Berkshire Bank Foundation, improving quality of life, cultivating partnerships, and fostering community relationships across the Bank’s six-state footprint. Gazzillo joined Berkshire Bank in 2011 from Legacy Banks, where she was the Community Relations officer since 2006. “Lori has more than 20 years of communications and community-relations experience and has shown exceptional leadership in improving and developing strong relationships in our existing and new markets. We look forward to continuing to foster these relationships as we grow,” said Linda Johnston, senior executive vice president and chief Human Resources officer. Gazzillo serves on the board of directors of 1Berkshire, the Brien Center, and Associated Grant Makers, is a member of the newly formed Berkshire Leadership Impact Council, and was recently appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Berkshire Community College board of trustees. She has a bachelor’s degree from Keene State College and a master’s degree in education from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She is also a graduate of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management.

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Michelle Theroux of Berkshire Hills Music Academy was installed as president of the South Hadley & Granby Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 23. The election of officers and directors took place at the Willits-Hallowell Center. The other officers elected were Dina Mead, vice president; Jessica Bodon, clerk; and Alexandra Wern-LaFlamme, treasurer. New or returning directors elected that evening were Carol Constant, Mead, Darren Thomas, and Wearn-Laflamme.

Daily News

WARECountry Bank President and CEO Paul Scully today announced several promotions:

 

  • Mark Phillips has been appointed to first vice president of Internal Audit. He has been with the bank for 23 years and is a certified internal auditor and certified bank auditor. He has more than 40 years in the financial services industry in various positions, most recently, the director of Internal Audit. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from Nichols College; he is also a graduate of the National School of Banking. Phillips and his wife, Lisa, actively support the Epilepsy Foundation and the Worcester County Food Bank.

 

  • Andrew Sullivan has been promoted to small business lending officer and has been with the bank for four years. He began his career as a staff auditor at Wolf & Company in Springfield, where he worked for two years before joining Country Bank as a credit analyst.He has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Management along with an MBA with a concentration in Accounting from Elms College. In 2015, he started a charity golf tournament “Andrew Sullivan’s Swing for a Cure” to support Cystic Fibrosis and bring awareness to the disease. Over the past three years this event has raised more than $30,000. Sullivan is also a member of the Young Professional Society and was recently selected to receive the Best in Bank award from Country Bank.

 

  • Sarah Yurkunas has been promoted to commercial portfolio manager and has been with the bank for 11 years. She began her career at Country Bank in the loan-servicing area and then moved to a Loan Coordinator position, which inspired her to pursue her career in the commercial lending area. Yurkunas has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from Bay Path University. She has also taken classes from Mass. Bankers Assoc. and received a certification in Fundamentals of Credit Analysis: Intro to Commercial Lending. She volunteers many hours of her personal time to support the bank’s community programs and enjoys giving back to her community.
  • Christine Witz has been promoted to retail lending officer. She has been with the bank for seven years, most recently as the assistant branch manager in the Charlton office. She serves on the Buy Ware Committee.
Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College named Jonathan Howell as its new director of Human Resources, effective March 5. He brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources, with the last 15 years working in higher education.



As the college’s lead human-resources officer, Howell will be responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction surrounding all human-resources initiatives and priorities for Springfield College.



Howell comes to Springfield College from Mitchell College in New London, Conn., where he served as vice president for Human Resources starting in 2015. Prior to his most recent position, Howell also served as director of Human Resources at Mitchell College from 2012 to 2015. Prior to his time there, Howell was employed for eight years at the University of Illinois in multiple human-resources positions.



Howell received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Augustana College and will complete a master’s program in human resources from Ft. Hays State University this spring.


Daily News

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank announced appointments of two key associates. Christopher Scott was appointed assistant vice president, portfolio manager, while Michael Pike was appointed Hadley branch manager.

Scott has more than six years of banking experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in corporate finance, from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. He is also a graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute.

Pike has more than 12 years of banking and financial-services experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Notre Dame College.

Departments People on the Move
Michelle Chase

Michelle Chase

United Bank announced the hiring of Michelle Chase, a local banker with 16 years of banking and financial experience throughout Western Mass. and North Central Conn., as its new vice president/branch manager of the Ludlow branch at 528 Center St. Chase brings extensive banking experience and financial expertise to United Bank, holding key roles throughout her career in commercial lending, consumer lending, operations, loan servicing, and retail banking. Most recently, Chase spent more than six years with PeoplesBank, where she managed its Westfield branch and led a team that turned it into one of the bank’s top-producing banking offices. Prior to PeoplesBank, Chase was a small-business lender with the Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund from 2008 to 2011 and a Loan Operations manager with New England Bank, formerly Enfield Savings Bank. Her 16-year career in banking started in 2001 as a lending specialist with Southbridge Savings Bank. Chase earned a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and went on to receive an MBA from Bay Path University. She also studied at the Center for Financial Training. Her reputation in the banking industry spans beyond her professional and educational successes. In addition to winning internal company awards, Chase was selected to BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty class of 2017, which recognizes young civic leaders in Western Mass. She also received the Young Professional Society’s (YPS) Excellence in Leadership Award in 2014 for excellence in leadership skills and initiative and for her mentorship of other YPS members.

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Jennifer Plassmann

Jennifer Plassmann

North Brookfield Savings Bank (NBSB) announced the recent promotion of Jennifer Plassmann to the role of branch manager at the 1051 Thorndike St. branch in Palmer. In her new role, she will supervise and oversee all aspect of banking within the Palmer branch, including managing the teller line, scheduling, opening accounts, taking loan applications, and assisting customers with their banking needs. “Jennifer’s promotion is very well-deserved. She has proven herself to be a very valuable asset to the community and customers of Palmer, to the staff at her branch, and to the entire team at North Brookfield Savings Bank,” said Donna Boulanger, NBSB President and CEO. “We are confident she will continue to deliver many great benefits by sharing her experience, product knowledge, excellent customer-service skills, and her dedication to the community.” Plassmann most recently served as assistant branch manager and acting branch manager at North Brookfield Savings Bank’s Palmer location, where she excelled at being a leader for the branch staff and providing customers with exceptional care and attention, Boulanger said. In addition, she is a strong community supporter, often volunteering her time and efforts for various local community events, including but not limited to the Palmer 300th Anniversary Parade, the Palmer Historical and Cultural Center Tree and Wreath Festival, the Ware Flair Parade, the West Brookfield Asparagus Festival, and annual financial-aid nights at local high schools. “I am so pleased to continue my banking career with North Brookfield Savings Bank and within the community of Palmer,” Plassmann said. “I know and appreciate this neighborhood and all of the wonderful people and businesses who call this home. I am very excited to develop my existing relationships, expand to make some new relationships, and to increase my community involvement.”

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John Gannon

John Gannon

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that attorney John Gannon was named a partner in the firm on Jan. 1. Gannon, who has been with the firm since 2011, focuses his practice on employment litigation, workplace-safety laws and OSHA compliance, enforcing non-competition and confidentiality agreements, and wage-and-hour compliance. He also provides day-to-day advice to businesses with questions about workplace-related issues. “We are thrilled that John has accepted partnership in the firm,” said attorney Marylou Fabbo, a partner at Skoler Abbott. “John has demonstrated the expertise and leadership necessary to provide our clients with the best possible legal service, whether that means taking a case to trial or helping businesses protect their rights and assets.” Gannon is a frequent speaker on employment-related legal topics for a wide variety of associations and organizations, and was selected by BusinessWest as a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2016. He is a member of the Massachusetts, Hampden County, Connecticut, and American bar associations. He also sits on the board of directors for Riverside Industries, a not-for-profit human-services agency that serves people with perceived limitations and disabilities, and Educational Resources for Children, an Enfield nonprofit that provides out-of-school-time programs for children. “I am excited to enter this next phase in my career, and am honored to be a partner in one of the leading labor and employment law firms in the country,” Gannon said. “I look forward to helping the firm further expand its expertise on behalf of our current and future clients, and I’m privileged to be a contributing member to the Pioneer Valley business community for the foreseeable future.”

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Susan Hillis

Susan Hillis

Susan Hillis has been promoted from treatment director to vice president of Clinical Services at AdCare Hospital. “Ms. Hillis has been a vital component of the clinical team at AdCare Hospital for many years,” said Patrice Muchowski, senior vice president of Clinical Services. “As vice president of Clinical Services, Ms. Hillis will be able to redesign existing treatment programming and develop new modalities to ensure that AdCare remains a leader in substance-use treatment.” A licensed independent clinical social worker, Hillis has served as treatment director since 2006. Prior positions include director of Rehabilitation Services at AdCare Hospital and director of AdCare Outpatient Services offices in Worcester and Boston. She received the 2015 Massachusetts Assoc. of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors’ Robert Logue President’s Award for her long-standing support of membership and her dedication to substance-use treatment, recovery, and professional credentialing in Massachusetts. A former board member and chair of the Massachusetts Professional Recovery System, she currently oversees clinical practicums for students in the Addiction Counselor Education program at AdCare, and provides clinical supervision for students in MSW programs at a number of schools. Hillis presents frequently on substance-use related topics such as “Addiction 101,” “Co-occurring Disorders,” “Motivational Interviewing,” and “Designer Drugs” to community, school, and professional organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Boston College and an undergraduate degree in music therapy from Anna Maria College in Paxton.

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Kailee Wilson

Kailee Wilson

Robinson Donovan, P.C. promoted former law clerk Kailee Wilson to the role of associate attorney following her admission to both the Massachusetts and Connecticut bars. Wilson is a 2017 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. While attending law school, she also interned with the school’s Tax Clinic, gaining skills and insights that have proven invaluable to her current business practice. In addition, she is now a member of the Massachusetts Bar Assoc., the Hampden County Bar Assoc., and the Connecticut Bar Assoc. “Kailee had a very successful year at Robinson Donovan, P.C., and we are thrilled that she is expanding her role at our firm,” said Partner James Martin. “Kailee has been a real asset to our firm, and we look forward to her having a successful career here.” Wilson assists clients in the areas of business and corporate counseling, commercial real estate, and estate planning. Outside of work, she channels her passion for advocacy into her role as a volunteer coach with the Special Olympics and in the Alumni in Admissions program for her alma mater, Bates College.

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Tara Brewster

Tara Brewster

Greenfield Savings Bank promoted Tara Brewster to vice president of Business Development. Her position includes developing long-term strategies for business development and outreach to perspective customers, including small businesses and individuals for lending and account services. She joined GSB as a Business Development specialist in late 2016. “Tara’s efforts to expand the bank’s portfolio of small-business customers and individuals have been very successful,” said John Howland, president and CEO of Greenfield Savings Bank. “Her more than 20 years of experience in small-business management has given her great insight into the needs of local businesses.” In addition to her duties at the bank, Brewster is active in volunteering on the committees and boards of a wide range of community organizations, including Northampton Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Hampshire Regional YMCA board, Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Downtown Northampton Assoc. board, Northampton Redevelopment Authority committee, North Star Self Directed Learning for Teens development committee, Community Health Center of Franklin County marketing committee, as a Northampton Chamber of Commerce ambassador, and as chair of the Pedalmotion for Locomotion Look Park fund-raising event. Before joining the Bank, Brewster worked for independent small businesses and multi-million-dollar companies, including seven years as owner of Jackson & Connor in downtown Northampton and in a wide range of management positions including manager, promotions director, buyer, regional sales manager, and East Coast account executive. She is a graduate of Smith College.

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Theresa Curry has been named executive director of Planned Giving at UMass Amherst. Curry, an attorney, has extensive experience in business and organizational development, nonprofit giving, and gift administration. “We are delighted that Theresa Curry will be joining UMass Amherst’s development team,” said Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations Mike Leto. “She brings deep expertise in estate planning to this role, as well as her considerable impact and success in fund-raising for higher education.” Curry comes to UMass Amherst from the University of New Hampshire Foundation, where she held several senior management positions in gift planning since 2012. Most recently, she served as assistant vice president for Gift Planning and Administration at UNH. She established UNH’s gift-planning program and played a major role in its recent $275 million fund-raising campaign. Previously, Curry established gift-planning programs as regional director of Philanthropy at the ALS Assoc. and as the capital campaign manager for Merrimack College. She has worked as an employee, consultant, volunteer, and lawyer in gift planning since 1998. She holds a juris doctor degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul, Minn., and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Minnesota. She is also a triathlete and distance runner.

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Packaging prepress provider CSW Inc. announced a strategic re-shaping of company leadership. Longtime company President Laura Wright has transitioned to a new role as CEO. “My grandfather founded CSW in 1937, and I’m proud to continue moving us forward,” she said. “Although I will continue to actively manage all aspects of the company, I decided to share the day-to-day decision making with someone I trust. This lets me address long-term strategies for company growth.” That trusted advisor is new company President Scott Ellison, formerly CSW’s vice president of Sales. Ellison brings more than 15 years of executive leadership experience, including five years in the packaging industry, to CSW. He will manage sales, marketing, customer service, operations, IT, and R&D. According to Wright, “Scott comes to us with new ideas developed from both inside and outside our industry, and has already identified and pursued new growth opportunities for CSW.” Rounding out the organizational shift is former director of Graphics Marek Skrzynski’s new position as technical director. CSW has a long-standing reputation for producing creative solutions to package printing challenges, Wright said. Ellison noted that “Marek has been instrumental to the development of innovations such as WhiteFX ink transfer, X-Color EG separations, and 3D visualization services. This new role allows him to focus on expanding new initiatives such as Web2Plate, an automated prepress workflow for narrow to wide web flexo printers.” Added Wright, “CSW has thrived for over 80 years, thanks to our ability to creatively adapt to our client’s changing needs. These changes are realigning us once again so we can continue to succeed for another 80 — or longer.”

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Springfield College announced that Brooke Hallowell has been named dean of the School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies. As dean, Hallowell will collaborate with leadership of other divisions and units of Springfield College to participate in strategic planning and implementation activities that further the overall mission of the institution. She will oversee academic areas within her school, including physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant, health science, emergency medical services management, communication disorders, and rehabilitation counseling and disability studies. She will be responsible for assurance of quality of programming in line with student needs, institutional mission, and the requirements of applicable accreditation bodies. According to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Martha Potvin, “Dr. Hallowell will play a pivotal role in working with faculty to advance education across a broad array of health sciences and professions and to extend the college’s impact on global healthcare issues that we face both in our local and regional communities as well as abroad.” Hallowell has held several academic leadership positions and has a global reputation in advancing research and scholarship and fostering successful interdisciplinary initiatives. Most recently, she served as the founding executive director of the Collaborative on Aging and the coordinator of graduate and undergraduate gerontology certificate programs at Ohio University. She also held several other positions at Ohio University, including associate dean for research and sponsored programs in the College of Health and Human Services; director of the School of Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences; and coordinator of Ph.D. programs for the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences. She also served as director of the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Northern California. Hallowell received a Ph.D in neuropathologies of language and speech from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in speech language pathology and audiology from Lamar University, and a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science/psycholinguistics from Brown University. She also studied at the Conservatoire National de France in Paris and Rouen.