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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — FIT Staffing, an information-technology staffing and recruiting company based in Springfield and Enfield, Conn., announced that Emily Doucette has joined the team as a technical recruiter.

Doucette has extensive recruiting and HR experience in the information-technology and aerospace-engineering industries. At FIT, she is responsible for sourcing and screening technical talent for Massachusetts and Connecticut clients. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and an MBA from Springfield College. She is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Springfield College and teaches business management to undergraduate students.

Departments People on the Move
Anne Thomas

Anne Thomas

Paul Nicholson, chair of the board of directors for Glenmeadow, announced that Anne Thomas has accepted the position of President and CEO, and will begin work with the nonprofit on Nov. 1. Thomas most recently served as vice president of residential health at JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, and she has over 25 years of experience working with seniors. “She has strong operational, interpersonal, team-building, and financial-management skills,” Nicholson said. “Most importantly, though, her career has been devoted solely to older adults, and she is passionate about the people she serves, including the staff members she leads. She has demonstrated that she is a driven leader.” Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Providence College in Rhode Island and a master’s in social work from Hunter College in New York. “I’m truly excited about the opportunity to lead Glenmeadow as its next CEO,” Thomas said. “Glenmeadow has earned its stellar reputation by its deep dedication to improving the lives of older adults. As a core value, I have always believed later life should be the best part of life. This philosophy is embedded in the Glenmeadow community, so I was immediately attracted.”

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Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts recently joined the Gaudreau Group Insurance and Financial Services Agency of Wilbraham as a Business Insurance Service & Sales Assistant. He specializes in helping identify gaps in commercial insurance coverage, as well as areas in which a business may have been overinsured, which results in better control over costs while achieving more solid coverage. “Matt delivers real value to our clients by helping them understand their insurance cost drivers, especially workers’ compensation. He utilizes our industry-leading technology, including forecasting tools and predictive budget analysis, to help our clients stay proactive and have better control over their insurance dollars,” said Jules Gaudreau, president of the Gaudreau Group. Roberts has been in the insurance industry since 2011, when he started his career with a large national carrier. He is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, with bachelor’s degrees in both accounting and business management.

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Daniel O’Connell

Daniel O’Connell

Sarah Ornelas

Sarah Ornelas

Springfield-based law firm O’Connell & Plumb, P.C., announced that attorney Daniel O’Connell was named to the 2016 New England Super Lawyers list in the area of Plaintiff Employment Litigation, and attorney Sarah Ornelas has been named to the 2016 New England Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list in the area of Plaintiff Employment Litigation. This is the second consecutive year that both O’Connell and Ornelas have been included on these lists. According to the webpage for Super Lawyers, it is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. O’Connell and Ornelas both focus their practice in the areas of employment-based discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.

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Jennifer Bujnevicie

Jennifer Bujnevicie

Laura Dennis

Laura Dennis

Country Bank announced that Jennifer Bujnevicie and Laura Dennis have been promoted to the position of Regional Managers of the bank’s Retail Banking division. Bujnevicie has been in the banking industry since 2004 and has held several positions during her tenure at Country Bank, beginning as a teller, and just prior to this promotion as operations manager. “I have a passion for customer service and a great love for helping people,” she said. Bujnevicie holds a human resources certificate from the Center for Financial Training, and is currently enrolled in the New England College of Business & Finance, pursuing a degree in business administration. She is a self-proclaimed animal lover and often volunteers her time at the Second Chance Animal Shelter. Dennis joined Country Bank while still in high school as a part-time file clerk in 2000, and became a full-time staff member upon her graduation. She began her career in the Collections department, but then moved to retail banking to be with the customers, and has been there ever since. “I am passionate about working with my team and helping them develop in their positions. The greatest reward for me personally is seeing them reach their professional goals,” she said. Dennis graduated from the New England School for Financial Studies in 2015 and serves as the treasurer for both the Palmer and Belchertown units of the Salvation Army. “I’m very excited to work closely with Jenn and Laura as they lead our branch staff to continued success focused on excellence in customer service and product delivery,” said Brady Chianciola, first vice president of Retail Banking. “They bring with them a wealth of knowledge from the retail aspect of banking as well as a true sense of community, which is so important to Country Bank.”

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Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that three of its attorneys were honored by Super Lawyers for 2016. Each year, no more than 5% of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor:

Ralph Abbott Jr.

Ralph Abbott Jr.

• Ralph Abbott Jr. was listed in Super Lawyers in the categories of employment and labor law. A partner since 1975, Abbott is known throughout the legal community for his work representing management in labor relations and employment-related matters, providing employment-related advice to employers, assisting clients in remaining union-free, and representing employers before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He also has numerous credits as an author, editor, and teacher, and a record of civic and community involvement. Since 2010, he has been ranked as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in the state of Massachusetts by the prestigious Chambers USA rating firm;

• Susan Fentin

• Susan Fentin

• Susan Fentin was listed in Super Lawyers in the categories of employment and labor law. She has been a partner at the firm since 2004. Her practice concentrates on labor and employment counseling, advising large and small employers on their responsibilities and obligations under state and federal employment laws and representing employers before state and federal agencies and in court. She speaks frequently to employer groups, conducts training on avoiding problems in employment law, and teaches master classes on both the FMLA and ADA. She has also been ranked as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in the state of Massachusetts by the prestigious Chambers USA and was named one of the Top 50 Women in the Law in 2015; and

Jay Presser

Jay Presser

Jay Presser was listed in Super Lawyers in the categories of employment and labor law. Presser has more than 35 years of experience litigating employment cases. He has successfully defended employers in civil actions and jury trials and handled cases in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, wage hour, FMLA, ERISA, and defamation. He has won appeals before the Supreme Judicial Court and the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals, and represented employers in hundreds of arbitration cases arising under collective-bargaining agreements.

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Judi Real

Judi Real

The DiGrigoli Companies (which includes DiGrigoli Salon, DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology, and DiGrigoli Seminars) announced that Judi Real has been promoted to Creative Director. Real started with the company in February 2015 as executive assistant to the CEO, Paul DiGrigoli. From the beginning, her passion for marketing and advertising stood out, and she has been instrumental in many social-media and printed marketing campaigns for all three branches of the company. With her previous position successfully filled, she is now able to devote all of her time to marketing, brand development, and advertising.

Daily News

WILBRAHAM — Matt Roberts recently joined the Gaudreau Group Insurance and Financial Services Agency of Wilbraham as a business insurance service & sales assistant. He specializes in helping identify gaps in commercial insurance coverage, as well as areas in which a business may have been overinsured, which results in better control over costs while achieving more solid coverage.

“Matt delivers real value to our clients by helping them understand their insurance cost drivers, especially workers’ compensation. He utilizes our industry-leading technology, including forecasting tools and predictive budget analysis, to help our clients stay proactive and have better control over their insurance dollars,” said Jules Gaudreau, president of the Gaudreau Group.

Roberts has been in the insurance industry since 2011, when he started his career with a large national carrier. He is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, with bachelor’s degrees in both accounting and business management.

Departments People on the Move
Jay Presser

Jay Presser

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that, after 40 years of practicing law, Attorney Jay Presser has retired. “It has truly been an honor for me to be a part of the firm,” said Presser. “My career at Skoler Abbott has afforded me the distinct opportunity of working alongside some of the best lawyers in our region, and I know the firm’s legal reputation will continue on for many years.” Presser, who started with the firm in 1977, has more than 40 years of experience litigating employment cases in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination, and the State Labor Relations Commission. He has successfully defended employers in civil actions and jury trials and has handled cases in all areas of employment law. He has won appeals before the Supreme Judicial Court and the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals, and has represented employers in hundreds of arbitration cases arising under collective-bargaining agreements. In addition to his consistent track record in the courtroom, he has received numerous honors, along with more than 20 consecutive years on the Best Lawyers in America list. “As we reflect on Jay’s retirement, we look forward to the future of the firm,” said attorney Timothy Murphy. “With his help, we have assembled an excellent team of legal professionals — a legacy that Jay will leave behind for years to come.”
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The Gaudreau Group Insurance and Financial Services Agency of Wilbraham welcomed Tracy Goodman, Personal Risk Specialist, to its personal insurance team. Using the agency’s access to dozens of carriers to ensure a customized experience for each client, Goodman designs personal risk-management plans for individuals and employer groups, helping protect what’s important to them. She specializes in coverages including life, home, auto, renters, and umbrella. “Tracy takes pride in completing a thorough coverage analysis with each client, helping them to understand their coverage, feel financially comfortable, and know what to expect if they ever have a loss. She’s a valuable addition to our remarkable personal insurance team, and our clients will benefit from her unique skillset and perspective,” said Jules Gaudreau, president of the Gaudreau Group. Goodman has been in the insurance industry since 2008, with prior experience in human resources and recruiting. She is co-chair of programs for the Women Business Owners Alliance, is a volunteer and mentor with Girls Inc., conducts community outreach for the Springfield JCC’s J-Art program, and is a member of the Professional Women’s Chamber. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware and completed a semester abroad at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel. She is continuing her insurance education in the prestigious Certified Insurance Counselor program.
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Kate Phelon, executive director of the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Mass. Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC) in September. This appointment is one of three by the governor; the other two are representatives of advanced-manufacturing companies. Phelon will be part of a commission looking at the future of manufacturing in Massachusetts. “I am very honored and excited about this appointment and appreciate the state’s leadership in recognizing the role a chamber of commerce representative can have in not only formulating agenda’s for particular industries, but the outreach we have with our membership,” Phelon said. The purpose of the AMC will be to develop and implement the Commonwealth’s manufacturing agenda with the goal to foster and strengthen the necessary conditions to promote growth and innovation of manufacturing within Massachusetts. The AMC will focus on four areas: workforce development and education; technical assistance, innovation, and access to capital; enhancement of competitiveness, easing cost of doing business, and regulatory review of SMEs; and promoting manufacturing, which will include attracting a talented workforce, and expansion of in-state marketing of the supply chain. In addition, the AMC works in conjunction with President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, as well as with seven additional states through the National Governors Assoc. Center of Best Practices Policy Academy on Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation. Phelon attended her first full meeting of the collaborative in mid-September and learned first-hand what the subcommittees have been working on. “Right now, the subcommittees are working on a five-year strategic-planning process to develop a strategy to keep manufacturing growing, exciting, inclusive, and innovative,” she said. “I was amazed at the work that has been done by these subcommittees and am very excited to work with stakeholders in the public and private sectors.” As she gets more involved and acclimated to the work this collaborative is conducting, Phelon will share information as it becomes available and will be in contact with local manufacturers as necessary.
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Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. recently welcomed Emily Klassanos and Brian Benson to the firm as part of its next generation of talent.

Emily Klassanos

Emily Klassanos

• Klassanos comes to the firm from Elms College, with previous experience as an accounting intern with a local public accounting firm. She earned a dual bachelor’s degree in accounting and marketing from Elms, where she graduated magna cum laude, with a foundation in both technical work and the creative and strategic applications of marketing and market development. Additionally, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting and financial planning, also at Elms. She is a member of Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In May 2015, she was the recipient of the William Donovan Award in Accounting Excellence at Elms College.

Brian Benson

Brian Benson

• Benson began his career at MBK as an audit and accounting intern and has also earned a position as an audit and accounting associate. He also graduated from Elms College, with degrees in accounting and business management. He will begin his journey to an MBA at Elms this fall with a concentration in financial planning, followed by a graduate certificate in public accounting. His goal in pursuing a diversified graduate education is to position himself to offer a broad range of expertise to his clients as he progresses through his career. He is a member of the AICPA and MSCPA. “The culture of the firm grows and evolves with each new addition of talented young people such as Emily and Brian,” said MBK Partner Howard Cheney. “They bring vital energy to a staff that is on the precipice of evolution. As a partner, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing our next generation come into their own.”
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At the recent 2016 Mid-Year Mortgage Conference, the Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman magazine, released its annual report on the top mortgage originators in Massachusetts. Beverly Orloski, Vice President and Mortgage Consultant at PeoplesBank, finished first among all Western Mass. loan originators in the report. She was also listed as the top loan originator in the market in 2015. “What makes Bev the number-one consultant in Western Massachusetts is her ability to get the customers comfortable with the process and work with the team in the background to make it all happen seamlessly,” said James Sherbo, PeoplesBank’s senior vice president, commercial lending. Orloski said the thing she likes most about her job is working with people. “You get a certain satisfaction because you take them all the way through the process, from the time they first sit with you through their closing. That can be typically 30 to 60 days, and you’re interacting with them the whole time.” Orloski has more than 30 years of financial and banking experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Elms College and is a graduate of the American Bankers Assoc. Residential and Commercial Lending School. She is a member of the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley.
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Lee Dawn Daniel

Lee Dawn Daniel

Bacon Wilson announced that Attorney Lee Dawn Daniel has been selected to join the executive committee of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA). She is currently serving her second term on MATA’s board of governors, having been appointed by MATA’s president for 2015-16, and then nominated and elected by former MATA officers to continue on the board of governors for another two-year term. “It is my privilege to continue my service to MATA by joining the executive committee,” Daniel said. “I am thrilled to be able to help promote the mission of this tremendous organization, which allows trial attorneys to gather together to share cutting-edge techniques, discuss the latest trends in the law, and improve skills so that we can continue to serve our clients and the justice system of the Commonwealth to the best of our abilities. It’s my honor to serve.” Daniel recently joined Bacon Wilson as of counsel. She is a litigator with more than 30 years of experience representing clients in matters of personal injury. She is a graduate of the Boston University School of Law and the State University of New York at Binghamton with honors, and has secured multiple million-dollar-plus settlements and verdicts throughout her career. She is based in Bacon Wilson’s Northampton location. MATA has operated since 1975, with its membership working to uphold and defend the Constitutions of the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to assure that the right to trial by jury will be secure to all, to help people whose rights may be in jeopardy, to protect the independence of the judiciary, to promote public safety and welfare while protecting individual liberties, and to uphold the honor of the profession of law.
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Tara Cruz

Tara Cruz

DiGrigoli Salon announced that Tara Cruz has been promoted from a junior stylist to a senior stylist. She graduated from DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology in October 2014 and joined the DiGrigoli Salon Artistic Team as a junior stylist immediately after obtaining her cosmetology license. DiGrigoli Salon, located at 1578 Riverdale St. in West Springfield, has been offering professional beauty services to the public since 1987, is the official styling team for on-air personalities at WWLP-22News and 94.7 WMAS, and is a sponsor of Link to Libraries.
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Ning Jia has joined the faculty of Bay Path University, School of Science and Management, as Director of the MS in Applied Data Science program. Prior to accepting this position, she was a statistician at Affinion Group based in Stamford, Conn., and has also worked at the Hartford Financial Group and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She has also been an assistant professor at Virginia Tech and a teaching fellow at Harvard University. Jia received her bachelor’s degree in business from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, and a Ph.D. in pure mathematics from the University of Minnesota. Her specialties are in combinatorics, biostatistics, statistical modeling, and big-data analysis.
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Timothy Cotz

Timothy Cotz

On Oct. 5, the Glenmeadow community bid farewell to Timothy Cotz, who has served as president and CEO for the past 23 years. This week, in advance of the celebration, Cotz learned that $16,000 has been raised in his honor by staff, residents, and community members for the Glenmeadow Staff Education Fund, which makes scholarship funds available for employees returning to school. In addition, the largest gathering room, formerly known as Great Hall, has been renamed Timothy V. Cotz Hall. Reflecting on his time at Glenmeadow, Cotz said much has changed in the industry since he began, noting that residents are coming to the life plan community later in life, they expect more in terms of quality, and they are healthier and more active. Cotz also noted that the nonprofit itself, known for its holistic mission and innovative programs and outreach to the wider community, has greatly expanded. Once offering services only to residents, the organization now provides services to people living across the Greater Springfield area. Through such innovations as Glenmeadow at Home, the Lifestyle Pass, and Glenmeadow Learning — all programs Cotz helped found — area residents have access to services from transportation and care management to education.
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Sara Bonakdar

Sara Bonakdar

Sara Bonakdar has been hired as group sales manager for Pioneer Valley Hotel Group. Her primary focus is the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Springfield and Holiday Inn Express in Ludlow. She brings three years of hospitality experience to the position, having previously worked at Homewood Suites in Holyoke and Residence Inn in Manchester, Conn. “I am excited to take on a new challenge by stepping away from hotel operations and entering into direct sales,” Bonakdar said. “I feel I understand what it takes to offer a group a successful stay, and that’s what they will experience with us. Our properties offer guests an excellent value and great quality. That’s a winning combination and should make my job easy.” Connie Foster, director of Sales for Pioneer Valley Hotel Group, added that “Sara’s energy and enthusiasm makes her an excellent addition to our stellar sales team. So far, she’s shown an unending willingness to jump in and tackle new projects and revitalize some older accounts, and she’s only been in the job a month.” Pioneer Valley Hotel Group is a private, local, family-run company that owns and operates La Quinta Hotel in Springfield, Holiday Inn Express in Ludlow, Hampton Inn in Hadley, Comfort Inn in Hadley, and Hadley Farms Meeting House.
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John McClellan, Vice President of Tighe & Bond, received the 2016 Past Presidents’ Award from the New England Water Works Assoc. (NEWWA), the region’s largest and oldest not-for-profit organization of water-works professionals. The Past Presidents’ Award is presented to members of the association who authored the second-most-meritorious paper that appeared in the Journal of the New England Water Works Association during the previous year. McClellan was presented with this award for his article, “Biological Iron and Manganese Treatment: Five Years of Operating Experience in Cavendish, VT,” published December 2015. McClellan is responsible for overseeing projects for Tighe & Bond’s water-supplier clients. He is an active volunteer with NEWWA, serving on the scholarship and filtration committees. He is a member of the American Water Works Assoc. (AWWA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a former member of the AWWA academic achievement awards committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, his master’s degree in environmental engineering, and his Ph.D. from UMass Amherst. He is a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
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Mark Batiste

Mark Batiste

Northstar Recycling announced the appointment of Mark Batiste to its new BDR (business development representative) team in East Longmeadow. His primary objective will be to secure qualified appointments for the sales team by identifying and reaching out to potential prospects throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Batiste holds a bachelor’ degree in marketing from Bentley University in Waltham, Mass.

He spent the majority of his professional career working in the pharmaceutical industry in New York City and the past several years in Western Mass. in new-business development for a national advertising agency.
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Holyoke Mall recently welcomed Kyle Hopkins as Assistant General Manager. Hopkins previously worked as a financial analyst at Pyramid Management Group’s Corporate Office in Syracuse, N.Y. before joining the Holyoke Mall team. He also served as an intern with the Finance/Revenue Department at Pyramid Management Group before graduating from St. Joseph’s University in 2014 with a BSBA degree in finance. “We are fortunate to have Kyle join our team at Holyoke Mall to help with our continued growth and commitment to providing an enjoyable shopping experience to our customers” said Bill Rogalski, the mall’s general manager.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. recently welcomed Emily Klassanos and Brian Benson to the firm as part of its next generation of talent.

Klassanos comes to the firm from Elms College, with previous experience as an accounting intern with a local public accounting firm. She earned a dual bachelor’s degree in accounting and marketing from Elms, where she graduated magna cum laude, with a foundation in both technical work and the creative and strategic applications of marketing and market development. Additionally, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting and financial planning, also at Elms. She is a member of Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In May 2015, she was the recipient of the William Donovan Award in Accounting Excellence at Elms College.

Benson began his career at MBK as an audit and accounting intern and has also earned a position as an audit and accounting associate. He also graduated from Elms College, with degrees in accounting and business management. He will begin his journey to an MBA at Elms this fall with a concentration in financial planning, followed by a graduate certificate in public accounting. His goal in pursuing a diversified graduate education is to position himself to offer a broad range of expertise to his clients as he progresses through his career. He is a member of the AICPA and MSCPA.

“The culture of the firm grows and evolves with each new addition of talented young people such as Emily and Brian,” said MBK Partner Howard Cheney. “They bring vital energy to a staff that is on the precipice of evolution. As a partner, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing our next generation come into their own.”

Daily News

WARE — Justin Calheno has joined Country Bank as its retail lending business development officer. He brings 14 years of industry experience, most recently with Luso Federal Credit Union, where he held the position of lending sales manager.

Calheno earned his bachelor’s degree from Westfield State College in Business Management and is actively involved in the Michael J. Dias Foundation.

“We are extremely excited to have someone with Justin’s experience and in-depth knowledge of the local market join our staff,” said Denise Walker, senior vice president of retail lending. “He brings with him a great understanding of the needs of our communities and a well-established foundation of relationships within the industry.”

Business Management Sections

Anatomy of an ESOP

Delcie Bean recalls that he was advised — by more than one individual and on more than one occasion — that it might not be wise to initiate an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) while the company was still very much in a strong growth mode. But he decided this self-described gamble was certainly worth taking — and for many reasons.

Delcie Bean

Delcie Bean

Delcie Bean likened an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, as one is commonly called, to an onion.

By that, he obviously meant that it has many layers of intrigue and complexity, as he found out while researching, planning, and eventually executing one for the company, Paragus Strategic IT, that he founded 17 years ago, when he was just 16.

“My initial understanding of an ESOP amounted to this 30,000-foot view,” he explained. “Over the past 2 ½ years, we kept peeling back the layers. I’ve learned more about this over the past few years than I could ever have imagined.”

Despite all these layers, Bean, as he explained why and how he went down this path, said there are two basic truths that he started with and that were still there when he peeled away all those layers: That this is, at least in his mind, the proper and fair course to take, and it is also (and this is in nearly everyone’s mind) a gamble.

“There’s a big part of me that believes that it’s the right thing to do — the fair and equitable thing to do,” he explained. “It’s not like I work that much harder than anyone else here, and there are people here who I’m sure work much harder than I do some days.

“To me, I always just felt uncomfortable with the fact that this young company was growing so fast and amassing a decent evaluation,” he went on, “but, for the most part, that was predominantly just to benefit me; I didn’t really like that.”

As for that second basic truth, Bean said he’s gambling that if he fast-forwards 10 years … 60% of the valuation of the business (as an employee-owned company) will be roughly the same or more as 100% of the valuation if he had remained the sole share holder in the venture.

“And I’ll never really know the answer to that, because we won’t be able to see both, obviously,” he told BusinessWest. “But it is something I really believe is possible. However, it takes a lot more than just forming an ESOP — there’s a lot of cultivation, education, and motivation needed. But if we get it right, then I think we can leverage the ESOP to grow the company, not only faster, but better, making it healthier, more stable, and more resilient than it could have been had I owned it and just had a bunch of employees.”

Referencing this ‘gamble’ part of the equation, Bean noted that he was actually advised — very early and quite often — against taking this step now, when the company is still very much in a growth mode, as opposed to full maturity or something approaching it, when ESOPs are a far more attractive option.

“They told me I might be leaving a lot of money on the table,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to wait 10 years or even 10 more months, because he thinks this gamble is well worth taking, and one he believes other business owners should take as well.

Paragus owners

Delcie Bean, third from right, joins other Paragus owners at a recent reception to mark the closing on the company’s ESOP.

Why? Primarily because giving employees an ownership stake in the company can — that’s the operative word here — bring advantages ranging from greater ability to recruit and retain talented workers, to improved morale, to an even sharper focus on growth and strategies to enable a company to function more effectively and more profitably.

And as one small, yet hopefully effective example, Bean pointed to … the company’s postage machine, or, to be more, precise, to the fact it’s been retired in favor of simply placing stamps on envelopes (no one has to lick them anymore).

“One of the employees pointed out that the cost of our postage machine we were renting, for the amount of postage we were using, just didn’t make sense,” he explained. “We thought ‘we’re a business, we’re supposed to have a postage machine; no one puts stamps on envelopes anymore.’ But she ran the math and figured out it would save us $1,800 a year to just pay for stamps and put them on, even with the labor added in.”

But overall, ESOPs are undertaken for more far-reaching, and more long-term, strategic thinking and implementation, he went on, noting that with ownership of the company comes what amounts to a greater stake in its success.

For this issue and its focus on business management, BusinessWest uses the Paragus ESOP as a window into this complex and often misunderstood business tool, and also at what Bean believes it will mean for his already-highly-visible company.

Taking Stock

To help explain just how onion-like and complicated an ESOP is, Bean said the plan to initiate one was actually announced to staff at a company retreat nearly three years ago, and he had undertaken preliminary research and calculations long before that.

Then, as now, the company was defined by strong growth (roughly 24% per year has been the average), as well as physical expansion — the company is already starting to feel snug in new quarters opened in Hadley just two years ago — a constantly growing staff, and the mounting challenge of finding and keeping talented help in that climate.

In all ways, the arrow was pointing decidedly up.

And this is not the time, as noted earlier, when business consultants advise ownership to go the ESOP route.

But Bean, who has generated headlines in recent years for all kinds of reasons — from almost-permanent residence on Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies list, to BusinessWest’s Top Entrepreneur award for 2014, to the opening of new businesses and a unique training facility to prepare people for careers in IT — decided it was time to generate one of a different kind.

And, again, he said there were many motivations, and primarily a desire to share the wealth — in part because it should be shared, in his thinking, but also because doing so would benefit the company.

Seeking to feel more comfortable with the manner in which the pie would be divided, Bean started doing some research.

It involved books, articles, case studies, and some recent examples, locally and nationally. As noted with the onion reference, he learned that ESOPs are quite involved and require planning, execution, and a large team to handle both.

As part of the exercise, Bean became closely acquainted with the ESOP undertaken by a Springfield, Ill.-based company that remanufactures and resells engines. That case was considerably different — the venture had been bought, the buyer announced its intention to sell it or shut it down, and the employees, fearing the loss of their jobs, secured the capital to buy it — but the machinations were similar enough to make it a learning experience.

There were others, including the ones at Harpoon Brewery and Chibone Yogurt, Bean went on, adding that his research revealed that in most cases, ESOPs are initiated by companies looking to raise capital for equipment purchases and other reasons, or by owners looking for an effective exit strategy.

“As Baby Boomers look to retire, if they don’t have a succession plan already created they may use ESOPs to help them with that challenge,” he said, adding that given current demographic trends and the lack of succession plans at companies large and small, it’s likely that there will be an uptick in ESOPs in the years to come.

Despite his aggressive research, though, Bean found it very difficult to find an ESOP quite like the one he was planning, for all those reasons stated earlier.

“I’m not looking to go anywhere,” he said, adding that this was a point he had to drive home to his employees over the course of the nearly three years it took to bring the plan to fruition. “Rather, it’s a commitment that I’m all in.”

ESOP’s Fable

And as he explained ‘all in,’ Bean offered some specifics as to how this ESOP works, and, more importantly, how he expects the company to leverage it in the years and decades to come.

He started by saying that unlike those cases where an ESOP is an exit strategy, no funding was raised by employees and no cash changed hands. In essence, 40% of Paragus (roughly $1.4 million) was gifted to the 40 or so employees in the form of a trust that is wholly owned by the employees of the company. And this share of the company becomes a type of retirement plan, or another retirement plan as the case may be (there’s a 401(k) program already in place).

“Once a year, employees will get a statement showing how many shares they have in their account, and what the valuation (of the company) is, and therefore what those shares are worth and what their account is worth,” he explained, adding that the ESOP becomes a perc — in his mind, a very attractive one.

We need to help the employees understand, from the context of their job, the things they can do to have an impact that matters and that can change the bottom line. We have an obligation to simplify the business down so that every position has a metric that they can understand, that is tracked, is clear, and that ties into our profitability, so they know what they can do.”

Indeed, the company has a 10-year goal for growth and valuation ($40 million to be specific), and if it is hit, he projects that the average ESOP account, governed by ERISSA, will be worth “in the low six figures.”

As for leveraging the ESOP, which closed June 8, Bean said the company had already generated a culture of ownership — reinforced with rewards — throughout its ranks, but the ESOP will hopefully take it to a higher level.

“In order for this gamble to work, there is an obligation on the part of the employee, but there’s also an obligation on us,” he explained, meaning company leadership. “We need to provide education, training, and motivation.

“We need to help the employees understand, from the context of their job, the things they can do to have an impact that matters and that can change the bottom line,” he went on. “We have an obligation to simplify the business down so that every position has a metric that they can understand, that is tracked, is clear, and that ties into our profitability, so they know what they can do.”

Elaborating, he said that each position has such a metric, and, therefore, steps, or operating strategies, that can improve profitability. Examples include everything from purchasing policies, to the level of customer service provided by service techs, to that postage machine.

At present, the company is looking at every position from the vantage point of creating a metric and providing employees with the tools, and motivation, to know where and how to work harder and better.

“If they don’t know where to invest the effort, then even if they want to, they won’t do it,” he explained, adding that one key through all of us is to take steps that improve profitability while not negatively impacting quality of service.

The Bottom Line

When asked if and how the company would begin to know if this gamble was paying off, Bean said a look at the numbers about 16 months from now would provide some clues.

“We’ve been averaging about 24% growth over the past seven years; if we can increase that number, I think we can be fairly confident that it’s because of the ESOP as the biggest factor,” he explained. “We’ll know at the end of 2017, when we’ve had a full year with this; we’ll see if we beat that 24% number.”

But the company is looking well beyond the end of next year, he added quickly, noting that the key isn’t achieving more-profound growth, it’s sustaining it.

“It’s not about a short-term bump, it’s about a long-term sustainable approach,” he said in conclusion, adding that he firmly believes an ESOP can help attain all that, and that’s why he took this gamble.

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

Departments People on the Move

Health New England announced the recent appointment of Michael Marrone as Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he will lead all aspects of financial strategy for the organization. Marrone is also responsible for accounting and financial reporting and also oversees provider operations. He joins Health New England’s executive leadership team and reports directly to president and CEO Maura McCaffrey. Prior to joining Health New England, Marrone was chief financial officer, New England market at Aetna Inc. in Hartford, Conn. In this role, he was responsible for the profit and loss for all commercial and Medicare health, group, and dental businesses across health plans in six states. His career also includes more than nine years at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where he served in various leadership roles in financial management, including medical economics, trend-management analytics, and informatics. Marrone holds a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in economics from the University of Maine, Farmington, as well as an MBA from the University of Southern Maine Graduate School of Business. Based in Springfield, Health New England is a nonprofit health plan serving members in Massachusetts and Connecticut. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Baystate Health, Health New England offers a range of healthcare plans in the commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare markets.

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Carmine DiCenso

Carmine DiCenso

Dakin Humane Society has named Carmine DiCenso Executive Director of its organization. The appointment comes following a national search after the departure of former Executive Director Leslie Harris. DiCenso has extensive experience in animal-welfare program management and innovative project development, most recently as executive director for the Providence (R.I.) Animal Rescue League. Prior to that, he was a program director at the Mass. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a manager at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. A former board member of the New England Federation of Humane Societies, he previously served as a board member for the Ocean State Animal Coalition, and as the Rhode Island state representative for the Humane Society of the United States Companion Animal Advisory Council. As the executive director at Dakin Humane Society, DiCenso will oversee all aspects of the organization’s work at its two locations in Springfield and Leverett. Dakin has more than 50 employees and nearly 800 volunteers who shelter, treat, and foster more than 20,000 animals annually. Dakin’s adoption centers find homes for more than 4,000 homeless pets each year. In addition, the Dakin Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, located in Springfield, recently conducted its 69,000th surgery since opening in 2009, making it New England’s largest spay/neuter provider. The organization also provides a pet-food bank, dog-training classes and pet-related workshops, plus humane learning programs. According to Nancy Creed, president of Dakin’s board of directors, “Carmine will be a terrific executive director. We’re thrilled to have him here to lead Dakin and inspire this organization’s future growth and achievements. He has significant experience in both human services and animal welfare, and understands the need to serve the human — as well as the animal — population of our community. His career has been devoted to making and keeping that connection.”

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Berkshire Bank announced the expansion of its Wealth Management Group with the appointments of Elizabeth Gore to Senior Vice President, Trust Operations and Compliance, and Janice Ward to Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor and Senior Fiduciary Officer. Gore is a graduate of New England School of Banking at Williams College with a degree in trust banking. She has more than 35 years of banking experience, 28 at Berkshire Bank. In her new role, she will oversee all aspects of operations and compliance for the Wealth Management team and the department’s trust accounting system. She is also responsible for fiduciary and tax work, preparation of annual probate accountings, implementing disaster-recovery policies, and assisting auditors. She currently manages the Lenox Wealth Management Office, assisting clients on a daily basis. Ward received her juris doctor from Western New England University and is licensed to practice law in both Massachusetts and New York. She also obtained her designation as a certified financial planner in 2011. She began her career with Berkshire Bank in 2012 as a wealth advisor and senior fiduciary officer. In her new role, she will oversee various fiduciary activities, including executor and trustee services and financial-planning activities throughout the Berkshire Bank Wealth Management footprint. She will also continue to serve as wealth advisor to a select group of clients, and now serves as president of the newly formed Berkshire County Estate Planning Council Inc., which took the place of the previous Estate Planning Council.

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Ruth Banta

Ruth Banta

The Association for Community Living, which provides residential and community services for people with intellectual disabilities, has named Ruth Banta the new Executive Director, effective Aug. 22. Banta, who has served as the vice president for administration at the association since 2003, will oversee the $30 million organization, headquartered in Springfield. The association provides a variety of services to people with disabilities through its programs throughout Western Mass., including Community Resources for People with Autism, Specialized Home Care, Whole Children, an extensive residential division, and Valley Tees. Banta has more than 30 years of management, including positions at J.P. Morgan and Aetna. “I’m honored and humbled to be selected as the association’s next executive director,” Banta said. “I’m looking forward to working with all our constituents to meet the challenges we face to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are able to build the lives they seek and deserve.” Banta has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and an MBA from Yale University. She became interested in the human-services field when one of her sons was diagnosed with autism. She previously served on the board of Community Resources for People with Autism, a program of the Assoc. for Community Living. The Assoc. for Community Living, which is set to change its name to Pathlight in September, has been providing programs and services to people with developmental disabilities since 1952. Its programs include residential homes, supports for independent living, family-based living, recreation, enrichment, employment supports, family resources, autism supports, and more. Banta is an amateur photographer whose photographs have been exhibited in Western Mass. She has volunteered with the Special Olympics and coached the unified basketball team for five medal-winning seasons.

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American International College (AIC) board of trustees member Peter Vogian made a gift to name a conference room in the new dining commons complex on campus. At a recent ceremony, Vogian was acknowledged for his many years of generous support to the college. AIC President Vincent Maniaci praised Vogian for his leadership as a trustee and for giving the college a space that provides an ideal venue for professional and academic meetings. “We know this room will be used by our students for both social occasions and networking opportunities. In this room, our students will learn leadership and presentation skills, they will collaborate and cooperate,” Maniaci said during the dedication ceremony. “Our students will leave this room better than when they walked in. The Peter J. Vogian Conference Room is but one manifestation of your generous spirit and your belief in our students’ potential.” Vogian has served as a member of the college’s board of trustees since 2001. Graduating from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, Vogian began his career with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. in 1960, retiring in 1993 as senior vice president of Pension Management Sales. In addition to his years of dedicated service to AIC, Vogian has donated his time and talent to serving on numerous boards, including Goodwill Industries of Springfield and Hartford and with professional and social affiliations including Chartered Life Underwriters of Pioneer Valley and the Melha Temple Shrine.

•••••

Christopher Buono has joined Anteris Solutions Inc. as Chief Information Officer. As CIO, he joins the executive team and also helps clients navigate the critical process of aligning technology decisions with organizational goals by identifying current needs while targeting a vision for the future. Buono has worked in the information-technology field for more than 20 years, including 12 years in leadership roles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University at Albany Business School and attended the MBA program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management. He holds numerous legacy technical certifications, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Certified Novell Engineer, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and Cisco Certified Network Administration. He serves on the board of directors for WAM Theatre. Anteris Solutions was founded in 2002 to serve a variety of nationwide businesses by providing them complete IT solutions, including strategic planning, proactive management, security and hardware monitoring, and ensuring software and regulation compliance.

•••••

Karla Callahan

Karla Callahan

HUB International New England, a division of HUB International Limited, a global insurance-brokerage, risk-advisory, and employee-benefits firm, announced the hiring of Karla Callahan as an Employee Benefits Client Relationship Manager in the East Longmeadow office. Callahan has an extensive background in employee benefits and was previously employed by Health New England for more than 12 years, specializing in sales, underwriting, and member services. As part of the HUB employee benefits team, she will be responsible for assisting staff with client relations, service, sales, and administrative activities of new and existing group benefit accounts. Working closely with employers to maintain and better understand their employee-benefits packages and staying abreast of compliance restrictions and guidelines will be her other areas of focus.

•••••

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor and employment law firm serving employers in the Greater Springfield area, announced that attorney Amelia Holstrom earned the Community Service Award presented by the Mass. Bar Assoc. and subsequently through its affiliate association, the Hampden County Bar Assoc. It is awarded to worthy attorneys who are members of both their local and state bar associations, and who have demonstrated excellence in community service. “The Western Massachusetts community has given so much to me throughout the years,” Holstrom said. “That is why I think it is so important to give back to my community. I am honored to have been presented with this Community Service Award. The award truly speaks volumes about the atmosphere that I work in. Everyone at Skoler Abbott is extremely supportive of community-service initiatives and understands the value of extending a helping hand to others.” Holstrom joined Skoler, Abbott, & Presser after serving as a judicial law clerk to the judges of the Connecticut Superior Court, where she assisted with complex matters at all stages of litigation. Her practice is focused in labor law and employment litigation. Since joining the firm in 2012, Holstrom has provided legal advice to employers who want to remain union-free and defended employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, and actions arising under the Family Medical Leave Act and wage-and-hour law. Additionally, she frequently provides counsel to management regarding litigation-avoidance strategies. Holstrom is a 2011 graduate of Western New England University School of Law, where she was the managing editor of the Western New England Law Review. She is a 2015 recipient of the 40 Under Forty award from BusinessWest, which honors individuals under age 40 who have achieved professional success and are active in civic organizations. In addition to her legal résumé, Holstrom is very active in the community. She is an ad hoc member of the personnel committee for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, a member of the board and executive committee for Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, and board clerk at Friends of the Homeless.

•••••

Attorney Carol Cioe Klyman and Attorney Ann Weber have been recognized for their work on the 2016 Massachusetts Elder Law Sourcebook & Citator. Published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), the sourcebook is an important reference source in the growing fields of elder law and special-needs planning in Massachusetts. The sourcebook represents the editors’ selections of key reference materials from state and federal sources. It contains primary sources that are called upon daily in the representation of the Massachusetts elder and disabled populations, including statutes, regulations, case decisions, and community resources. The sourcebook would not have been possible without the editorial leadership of Klyman and Weber, said Maryanne Jensen, MCLE’s director of Publications. “They share MCLE’s goal to educate practitioners and others who advocate for, represent, and advise individuals facing the vicissitudes of aging and incapacity.” Klyman and Weber are shareholders at Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C., with offices in Springfield, Northampton, and Albany, N.Y. Klyman concentrates her practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning, special-needs-trust planning, estate settlement, guardianships, trust and estates litigation, and MassHealth appeals. Weber concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, probate, and elder law. She has a particular interest in creative estate planning for authors, artists, farmers, and landowners, as well as federal and Massachusetts estate-tax planning. Attorneys may purchase the 2016 Massachusetts Elder Law Sourcebook & Citator in print version or as an e-book or e-article through the MCLE website, www.mcle.org.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College board of trustees recently announced its 2016-17 board elections during its annual meeting on the campus.

Gregory Toczydlowski has been re-elected as board chair. He is the executive vice president and president of small commercial and business insurance technology and operations for the Travelers Companies Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Springfield College in 1989, and has been on the college’s board of trustees since 2011.

James Ross III has also been re-elected as vice chair of the board. Ross is principal officer of the Hollenbach Group, LLC, of Springfield, and has been a trustee at the college since 2012.

The following individuals have been re-elected to serve a three-year term on the Springfield College board of trustees:

• Denise Alleyne, former vice president for student services at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hills. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1973 and a graduate degree in 1974.

• Douglass Coupe, retired vice president of State Street Global Investor Services of Boston. He has been a trustee for more than 20 years, serving as chair from 2011 to 2015. He earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certificate of advanced studies at Springfield College, and an honorary doctor of humanics degree from the college in 2016.

• Charisse Duroure, spa director of G-Spa at Foxwoods Resort and G. Group Consulting of Mashantucket, Conn. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1980.

• Harold Smith, retired president, CEO, and CIO of the YMCA Retirement Fund. He has served on the board since 1984, and has chaired the investment committee. He received an honorary doctor of humanics degree from the college in 1998.

New to the board of trustees will be:

• Kurt Aschermann, a marketing and resource development professional who operates a nonprofit consulting practice called Ka6consulting. Previously, he was the president and chief operating officer of Charity Partners LLC, and senior vice president of Resource Development and Marketing for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He is a 1971 graduate of Springfield College.

• Suzanne Robotti, former owner and publisher of Baby Publishing LLC, and the founder and president of Medshadow Foundation, an independent nonprofit website that gathers useful information on medicine side effects. She is the co-founder of the Family Advisory Council at Springfield College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Maryland.

• Cheryl Suzio, elected as a trustee ex officio per her role as president of the alumni council at the college. Suzio is a 1977 graduate of Springfield College.

• Troy Ward, elected as student trustee. He is a business management major entering his senior year this fall.

• Donavin Andrews, student trustee-elect. She is an athletic training major entering her junior year in the fall.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England announced the recent appointment of Michael Marrone as chief financial officer. In this role, he will lead all aspects of financial strategy for the organization, aiming to provide cost-effective healthcare coverage while maintaining high-quality member care.

Marrone is also responsible for accounting and financial reporting and also oversees provider operations. He joins Health New England’s executive leadership team and reports directly to President and CEO Maura McCaffrey.

“Mike’s broad healthcare-industry experience and financial acumen make him a great asset to the company and a valuable addition to our executive team. We’re thrilled to welcome him to our organization,” McCaffrey said.

Prior to joining Health New England, Marrone was chief financial officer, New England market at Aetna Inc. in Hartford, Conn. In this role, he was responsible for the profit and loss for all commercial and Medicare health, group, and dental businesses across health plans in six states. His career also includes more than nine years at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where he served in various leadership roles in financial management, including medical economics, trend-management analytics, and informatics.

Marrone holds a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in economics from the University of Maine, Farmington, as well as an MBA from the University of Southern Maine Graduate School of Business.

Based in Springfield, Health New England is a nonprofit health plan serving members in Massachusetts and Connecticut. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Baystate Health, Health New England offers a range of healthcare plans in the commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare markets.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Cambridge College Springfield Regional Center announced a new Alcohol and Drug Counseling Certificate Program for individuals seeking professional training in substance-abuse and addiction treatment, education, and prevention, leading to certification or licensure.

The one-year, 19-credit certificate program comes at a critical time as the region battles the opioid epidemic and other increasing substance-abuse issues.

“The need for credentialed individuals in this field is at a crisis level,” said Teresa Forte, director of the Springfield Regional Center. “By offering this certificate program, Cambridge College will help provide a direct response to that need while supporting our community.”

An open house for individuals interested in the program will be held on Wednesday, July 27 at 6 p.m. at the college’s Tower Square location, 1500 Main St. in downtown Springfield.

The Springfield campus offers undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs in education, human services, counseling psychology, and business management to a diverse population of adult learners from Western Mass. and Connecticut. Its students are adults in career transition, busy parents who require flexible schedules, community leaders, and others seeking professional development.

For more information about Cambridge College Springfield or to RSVP for the open house, visit www.cambridgecollege.edu.

Features

Meetings of  the Minds

The team at AnyCafé

The team at AnyCafé: from left, Evan Choquette, chief information officer; Logan Carlson, CEO; Chris Urciuoli, president; and Ryan Noon, chief technical officer.

‘Community’ and ‘network.’ Those were the two terms used time and again by members of the second cohort of Valley Venture Mentors’ accelerator program to describe the program — and they speak volumes. While those involved with the 36 ventures are competing against each other for prize money, they are also staring down the same challenges of entrepreneurship, thus making that journey a little less daunting for their colleagues.

Jas Maggu was relating some personal sentiments. But she was also speaking for every member of Valley Venture Mentors’ second accelerator cohort — and also anyone who’s tried to turn an idea into a business.

Jas Maggu

Jas Maggu, founder of AuthenFOOD

“As an entrepreneur, it can get really lonely, and you have huge ups and downs,” said Maggu, who has launched a venture called AuthenFOOD, which will bring gourmet, healthy foods right to one’s doorstep. Through her participation in the four-month accelerator program, which wrapped up a week or so ago, she finds she is far less lonely.

And also more enlightened, more confident, better connected, and, in her mind, better able to stare down the many challenges standing between her and success.

She is not alone in these sentiments. Indeed, as BusinessWest talked with several members of the 36-member cohort — some of whom had already given final presentations before their peers, while others were going to have to sleep on it another night and stand at the podium the next day — many common sentiments were expressed.

Individually and collectively, they spoke of camaraderie and shared learning experiences; gaining a firmer grasp of their specific concept, the market for it, and what it will take to advance it; making important connections; and simply being able to share common challenges and emotions that explain what Maggu meant when she spoke of loneliness.

These sentiments came from a diverse audience trying to advance a seriously eclectic mix of business concepts. For example:

• Joe Salvador is on the verge of bringing to the market a new silencer, or noise suppressor, for firearms, a product he believes will resonate with shooters trying to not only improve their accuracy but save their hearing;

• Chris Urciuoli heads a team of fellow Western New England University engineering students trying to seize what they consider a huge opportunity with a product that will enable the user to brew a cup of coffee anytime and anywhere — hence the corporate name AnyCafé. They’ve already heard from the CEO of Keurig, who told them he believes they have the next logical entrepreneurial step in the ongoing saga of the K-Cup;

• Dr. Alex Louizos is a vascular surgeon and co-founder and CEO of Nanotech Galaxy, which is working to produce software that will enable surgeons to operate more efficiently and healthcare providers to reduce their expenses;

• Lora Fischer-DeWitt has developed a line of jewelry called Scout Curated Wears that is already in a number of gift stores in the region, including Cedar Chest in Northampton;

• Angela Lussier has launched a venture called Speaking School for Women, which, as that name suggests, was conceptualized to help women become better public speakers and, overall, more effective communicators;

Lora Fischer-DeWitt

Lora Fischer-DeWitt, founder of Scout Curated Wears

• Tom Skypek is co-founder of an online networking tool he bills as a “Match.com for government contracting professionals”; and

• Terra Missildine, already a serial entrepreneur — she has a ‘green’ cleaning company — has launched a family-friendly co-working space called Cultivate. She jokingly notes that she wishes she was in the accelerator before she opened the doors (more on that in a bit), but she nonetheless credits the experience with helping her attain early success.

Vastly different people with a wide range of ideas and a common dream (actually, several of them) — that’s what the cohort is. As for what it’s about … we’ll let the entrepreneurs do the talking.

In the course of doing so, they go a long way toward validating the optimism expressed by those who believe the intense accelerator regimen will help steel its participants for the rigors they will face and create a host of new employers for the region.


2016 VVM Accelerator Finalists (in alphabetical order)

AnyCafé: Developer of hot beverage solutions for the future, including the Travel Brewer
Celia Grace: Fair-trade, ethical wedding dresses that give back and empower women around the world
DaVinci Arms: Designer and manufacturer of firearms suppressors and accessories for mission-critical applications
Homebody Holistics: Maker of all-natural, hand-crafted, herbal cleaning solutions using no harsh chemicals or additives
iRollie: Niche-market phone-case manufacturer and online retailer featuring the rolling tray phone case
Livingua: An app that connects travelers to locals who know the language and culture wherever and whenever they want
Name Net Worth: Connective platform that leverages trusted relationships to measure and strengthen a user’s personal and professional networks
Need/Done Inc.: Instant help for kids at home from people your parent network trusts
Prophit Insight: Software company that helps healthcare providers identify and acquire unique sources of physician referrals
Scout Curated Wears: Designer, curator, and producer of thoughtful women’s accessories
Sumu: Works with property managers and landlords to post fee-free apartments to help users find their next home
Treaty: Nanotechnology company whose flagship product is FogKicker, a biodegradable anti-fog solution made from nanocellulose


Getting Down to Business

“Joe’s the man.”

That opinion was expressed loudly by someone in the conference room at VVM headquarters in Tower Square — exactly whom wasn’t entirely clear to BusinessWest — but there were several heads nodding at the suggestion.

‘Joe’ is the aforementioned Joe Salvador, and the commentary about him was not simply in reference to his suppressor concept — although that’s part of it. It’s clear that, over the past four months, he’s been able to help several of his cohorts, through everything from valuable connections to words of wisdom.

“Joe has put me in touch with someone I’m courting to be an advisor,” said Skypek. “And I know a lot of that has happened across the board; there’s a nice community of people here who are all in this together.”

Joe Salvador

Joe Salvador says the accelerator process has helped him better articulate his suppressor concept and identify target audiences.

Such reflections cut right to the chase when it comes to explaining the accelerator and its inherent value — to those taking part and the region as a whole. Indeed, while the 36 participants are competing against each other for bigger shares of the $250,000 in prize money that will be awarded at the Accelerator Awards on May 26 — everyone will get at least $1,000, and the top prize last year was $35,000 — they are, as Skypek said, in this together.

‘This,’ specifically, being the struggle — because that’s exactly what it is — to turn an idea into a viable business. So, in many ways, the accelerator is a type of support network.

The cohort members are in various stages of development — Missildine and Fisher-DeWitt, as mentioned, were already in business, while those at AnyCafé entered the program with simply a concept — but they all have the common goal of accelerating their progression.

The program they were chosen to be part of helps in that regard in several ways, from rugged weekend boot camps focusing on specific aspects of business management to back-and-forth between participants, to interaction with mentors who can help the entrepreneurs with the issues right in front of them while also assisting them with seeing around the corner and anticipating what will come next.

Much of this support could be described as a form of tough love, or challenging the participants, said Missildine, among others, noting that friends and family members, while they mean well, will often tell entrepreneurs what they think they want to hear.

“Here, you’re confronted on your assumptions, and you have to essentially prove things,” she explained. “And that’s important, because as an entrepreneur, you don’t always have someone pushing back on you regarding the assumptions you make about your business.”

Salvador said the various efforts to challenge his team to identify a market for its product and outline a course for moving forward have certainly helped in the progression of DaVinci Arms, which he described as a spinoff from Wilbraham-based FloDesign, which has developed noise-suppression equipment for several applications, including the military.

“When we started this, we had a really strong product that we had developed, but we really didn’t have the business side locked down — you had two engineers running the company,” he explained. “Through VVM, we’ve been able to gain a laser focus on every aspect of what was needed to grow our startup.

“We needed to have our financials really well-addressed, what our customers and market segment were, how we were going to engage that customer segment, what we were looking at for funding, how we were going to raise that funding, and much more,” he went on. “Basically, all the minutiae that builds up the business, that’s what we needed help with: the details of financing, marketing, and sales, all coming together.”

Dr. Alex Louizos

Dr. Alex Louizos credits the accelerator with helping him create more effective presentations for his software concept.

Through all of that, VVM and its accelerator program helped DaVinci hone its presentation and target it to a specific audience, he explained, adding that, before, the team was giving highly technical presentations that effectively went over the collective heads in the audience.

“At the start, I knew that suppressors were selling like crazy, but I didn’t know who they were selling to,” he explained, adding that, through the accelerator experience, the venture has gained key contacts, identified its primary audiences, and drawn a road map for moving forward, starting with product demonstrations and putting the suppressors in the hands of distributors in gun-friendly states like Florida, Texas, and Utah.

Missildine said the accelerator process has also helped her with the audience-identification process and other aspects of her business. She’s grateful for the help, but wishes it had come earlier; if it did, she might have done some things differently.

“I’m a lifelong entrepreneur, and I’m extremely impulsive,” she explained. “I opened the doors to my business in the second month of the accelerator, and already see what I would have done differently if I had gone through the whole experience prior to launch.”

Elaborating, she said she would have shopped, and negotiated, more effectively for a space for the co-working venture — she joked that she has the highest overhead of any venture in the Valley — and she would have expanded her team and not tried to do everything herself.

Through the experience, though, she’s proven what she’s believed all along — that her concept is scalable. And along the way, she’s found “camaraderie and community” on a scale she couldn’t have imagined.

“The accelerator plugs you into so many more resources than the homework that you do,” she explained. “By going through this, I feel that my company’s in a much better place.”

In Good Company

Louizos feels much the same way about his venture, which centers around using artificial intelligence — what he calls “smart software” — that empowers doctors to diagnose patients more quickly and also enables hospitals to analyze data in a way that saves both time and money. He credits the accelerator experience with helping him sharpen his business focus and better articulate complex subject matter.

“When I started the accelerator, I couldn’t describe what I was doing in a way that a 5-year-old would understand,” he noted. “I received lots of critical feedback in a way that helped me explain my idea in a way that makes sense to everyone and also creates some enthusiasm about it.”

Summing up the experience, he said it helped him identify and understand the weakest aspect of his business — because, as the saying goes, it’s only as strong as that point — and improve upon it.

Meanwhile, the team at AnyCafé didn’t exactly have a business when this accelerator session started. Instead, they had a concept, and a bold one at that — to bring to the market a device that would brew a single cup of coffee anywhere the consumer chooses.

The key to this concept — and what has apparently kept others from bringing something like it to store shelves — is battery technology that fuels the heater in the thermos-like device, team members noted, adding that they have perfected this technology and are ready to scale up this operation.

But the science was and is only a part of the equation, as the accelerator experience has shown them.

“We didn’t have much entrepreneurial experience, but we knew we wanted to do this,” said Urciuoli. “Over the past four months, VVM has taught us the way you have to think to succeed as a startup company; they’ve given us the spirit and the knowledge to go out and create our product and a plan to get it to the market and millions of individuals.”

Logan Carlson, another of the AnyCafé partners, agreed, and, echoing Salvador, said the accelerator experience has provided insight not available in the college classroom — especially the engineering classroom.

Tom Skypeck

Tom Skypeck was one of many who used the term ‘community’ to describe the 36 accelerator participants.

“It’s been a tremendous teaching experience,” he said. “Our knowledge has increased exponentially, just because of all the amazing people who are here.”

Maggu has been part of this teaching experience from many sides — she was a venture capitalist “in another life,” as she put it, and has been involved with VVM as a mentor. Now in the role of entrepreneur, she understands, even more than she did before, the importance of connections and learning from others going through similar experiences.

The accelerator process has given her both. Indeed, through her involvement with the program and connections made, she’s been able to forge a partnership with Fitness Together, one of several health clubs she works with to help individuals lose weight by eating better.

And she’s also learned by listening to and interacting with the other 35 participants.

“It’s been great to be part of this tremendous community,” she said, “where everyone you know is going through the same phases that you are.”

Like Maggu, Fischer-DeWitt said the prospect of starting a business can be very isolating. She then added another adjective: scary.

Things are somewhat less so than four months ago, she said, making frequent use of the words ‘network’ and ‘community,’ as so many others did, to describe what VVM, and especially the accelerator, creates.

“The connections have been amazing,” she said, adding that her business is growing rapidly — she’s now in 130 stores and has sales representatives in more than 20 states — and her experience in the accelerator will help her manage that growth and continue the expansion process in a smart fashion, literally and also figuratively.

Only the Lonely

The four AnyCafé partners now have matching dark brown golf shirts with their company’s logo. They had them on as they made their final presentation that Friday evening.

But they have much more than this wardrobe option, thanks to the accelerator. They have, as Urciuoli, said, much more of an ability to think as businesspeople, and not simply engineers with an idea.

Their learning curve, similar to that of other participants, but also unique in some ways, is what the creators of the accelerator program had in mind when they conceptualized it.

That, and making entrepreneurship just a little less lonely.

And in that mission, they have succeeded beyond all expectations.

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

Departments People on the Move
Attorney Kenneth Albano

Attorney Kenneth Albano

Bacon Wilson announced that Attorney Kenneth Albano will assume the role of Managing Shareholder, effective Jan. 1, 2017. For the remainder of 2016, he will share the role with Bacon Wilson’s current managing shareholder, Stephen Krevalin, who has led the firm for the past 15 years, during which time Bacon Wilson has become one of the largest regional, full-service law firms in Hampden and Hampshire counties. “I am thrilled at the choice of attorney Albano as my successor,” Krevalin said. “Ken was the unanimous choice among the shareholders, and I have every confidence that he will do a phenomenal job as the firm’s next managing shareholder.” Albano is a senior partner and a member of the firm’s corporate, commercial, and municipal practice groups. In addition to his legal practice, he is active in the community, chairing the board of the March of Dimes Western Mass Division and serving on the board of the New England Chapter of the March of Dimes. He is a board member with Behavioral Health Network, where he has served for over 20 years. He also works with the American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish, and the ALS Assoc. Last June, Albano was honored with the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. Community Service Award in recognition of his volunteer work. Bacon Wilson, P.C. boasts total of 43 lawyers and approximately 60 paralegals, administrative assistants, and support staff. The firm’s offices are located in Springfield, Northampton, Amherst, Holyoke, and Westfield. For more information, visit www.baconwilson.com.

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Elyse Merrigan

Elyse Merrigan

Sevane Khatchadourian

Sevane Khatchadourian

Mila Renkas

Mila Renkas

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. (MBK) announced the hiring of three new associates: Elyse Merrigan, MSA, Sevane Khatchadourian, and Mila Renkas.
Merrigan is an Associate in the Tax department. She previously held a career as a trial paralegal with a regional law firm. However, based on her strong aptitude with numbers, she decided to pursue the necessary advanced education that would allow her to transition into the field of public accounting. She is a graduate of the Commonwealth College at UMass Amherst and recently earned her master’s degree in accounting from Western New England University. She joined the Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as a student during her graduate studies and is currently a candidate to sit for the CPA exam.
Khatchadourian is beginning her career in public accounting in the Audit and Accounting (A&A) practice at MBK. As an A&A Associate, she will help service a wide variety of A&A clients throughout the year. She graduated from Westfield State University in 2015 with a bachelor’degree in business management with a concentration in accounting, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting at the same school. As a current graduate student, Sevane is a student member of the MSCPA and AICPA.
Renkas, who is also an A&A Associate, brings five years of bookkeeping experience and fluency in three languages to her new position. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elms College in 2015 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting at Westfield State University. She has been recognized for her significant academic achievements though her membership with various honors societies and scholarships, including the Western Mass Women magazine scholarship.

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Stuart Jones

Stuart Jones

Springfield College announced the hiring of Stuart Jones as Vice President for Enrollment Management, effective April 1. An enrollment-management professional in higher education for more than 20 years, Jones was vice president for Enrollment Management at Trine University in Angola, Ind. since 2013. Prior to that role, he was vice president for Enrollment Management at Averett University in Danville, Va. and dean of Enrollment and executive director of the Student Success Center at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. At Springfield College, Jones will work to further strengthen the college’s competitive position through enrollment growth in traditional undergraduate and graduate programs. He has a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal and public communications from Purdue University, a master’s degree in divinity and theology from the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

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Toby Grader

Toby Grader

Bob Pion Buick GMC recently welcomed Toby Grader to the team. Grader has worked in the auto industry for more than 25 years and is a GM certified service manager. He took time off to open his own restaurant, but is now excited to start a new chapter at Bob Pion Buick GMC. “I enjoy the challenge of working in the auto industry. Helping people find the car of their dreams and making them happy is very rewarding,” he said. “Being in the auto industry for over 25 years, you make a lot of friendships. It makes the hard work worthwhile.”

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Jennifer Butler

Jennifer Butler

Attorney Jennifer Butler has joined Royal, P.C., the management-side only labor and employment law firm, and will focus her practice in labor law and complex employment litigation. With her experience, Butler counsels companies on the multitude of state and federal employment laws impacting them, including employment discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour law, disability and leave law, workplace safety, OSHA, affirmative action, and contract negotiations. Her other preventive work includes drafting employee manuals; preparing non-disclosure, non-solicitation, and non-compete agreements; and conducting management training. Butler is a graduate of Norwich University and Western New England University School of Law.

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Monson Savings Bank (MSB) announced the following:
Kylie LaPlante has been promoted to branch manager of the bank’s Ware office. She began her career at Monson Savings in 2011 as a customer service associate in Wilbraham and quickly rose to customer service associate supervisor. In 2015, she moved to the Ware branch as assistant branch manager and now to branch manager. She is a graduate of Assumption College with a bachelor’s degree in business management;
Clare Ladue has been promoted to Commercial Loan Officer. Ladue, formerly one of MSB’s retail banking officers, has more than 20 years of experience in banking. She is a graduate of the Mass Bankers New England School of Financial Studies, holds numerous professional certifications, and is active in several community organizations.

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Keith Nesbitt

Keith Nesbitt

Keith Nesbitt has joined the Springfield office of NUVO Bank as Regional Commercial Credit Officer. Nesbitt, joins NUVO, a division of Merchants, bringing a vast wealth of knowledge with 11 years of experience in commercial lending, portfolio management, and credit administration in regional and community banking institutions. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, his master’s degree from Georgia State University, and his MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He is also a candidate for the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation and will sit for the CFA Level III exam in June. Nesbitt is a high-school and college football official and a member of the Western Massachusetts Football Officials Assoc. and the Eastern Assoc. of Intercollegiate Football Officials.

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Margo Jones

Margo Jones

The 2016 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) elevated 149 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to their profession. Margo Jones, principal of Jones Whitsett Architects (formerly Margo Jones Architects), was nominated and elected to the College of Fellows in recognition of her leadership in the field and her service to the communities of Western Mass. Jones, who holds a master’s degree in architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has practiced architecture in Greenfield for more than 30 years. As principal of her own design firm since 1984, she has designed numerous award-winning schools, public projects, and significant historic-preservation projects, including Sanderson Academy in Ashfield, several projects at the Bement School in Old Deerfield, renovations to the Ted Shawn Dance Theater at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, and, most recently, the renovation of Colegrove Park Elementary School in North Adams, a project currently being considered for a Massachusetts Historic Commission Preservation Award. Jones has also served on the board of directors of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Architects, and the board of directors of the Western Mass. chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Out of a total AIA membership of nearly 88,000, fewer than 3,200 members are distinguished with the honor of fellowship. Jones will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA convention in Philadelphia in May.

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J. Polep Distribution Services announced the promotion of Eric Polep to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Polep has been with the company since 2002, most recently as director of sales. Over the past 14 years, he has worked his way up through the company, working in warehouse-control positions, cutting and stamping cigarettes, warehouse inventory, and as equipment delivery representative, field sales representative, and district manager. He has also played a key role in building and transforming J. Polep’s technology marketing and sales capabilities, in the process simplifying store managers’ everyday duties.

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Name Net Worth announced the hiring of Pam Thornton as Chief Operating Officer. Thornton has had an extensive career in the human-resources field, beginning in 1996 with LEGO Systems Inc. in Enfield, Conn. There, she was able to acquire hands-on experience with recruitment, interviewing, and training of year-round and part-time field personnel. Additionally, she was responsible for employee relations, benefits administration, and staff performance management. She also served in a management role with K2 Sports, where she hired a field merchandising staff of 100 employees. She was also business development manager for United Personnel, a woman-owned staffing firm in Springfield, and most recently served as a member of the HR legal team with the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast. Name Net Worth, a startup app launched by Jeremy Casey and currently in beta testing, is a connective platform that leverages trusted relationships to measure and strengthen personal and professional networks, allowing the ability to measure the success of connections and easily manage follow-ups. The company was accepted to the Valley Venture Mentors accelerator program and has received investment capital.  Thornton serves on the board of directors for the Human Resources Management Assoc. of Western New England and leads its membership effort. She is a past president and served on the board of directors for the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield. She has also held her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the Society for Human Resource Management since 2003.

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Cumulus Springfield announced that Bridget Lynott is back in radio and on 94.7 WMAS weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She is also the promotion director for 94.7 WMAS and 1450 WHLL. “I’ve been in love with music for as long as I can remember … that love of music brought me to radio,” said Lynott, whose previous stints on the region’s airwaves include time at 1250 WARE, 560 WHYN, and 97.9 WPKX. “Growing up a shy kid, it was a shock for others to hear me on the air … but like an actor that delivers lines every night without fear, radio is my stage, and I love it. It is such an exciting time to be back on the air in the Springfield market and working with an incredible team.”

Daily News

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank (MSB) announced promotions of Kylie LaPlante to branch manager of the bank’s Ware office and Clare Ladue to commercial loan officer.

LaPlante began her career at Monson Savings in 2011 as a customer service associate in Wilbraham and quickly rose to customer service associate supervisor. In 2015, she moved to the Ware branch as assistant branch manager and now to branch manager. She is a graduate of Assumption College with a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Ladue, formerly one of MSB’s retail banking officers, has more than 20 years of experience in banking. She is a graduate of the Mass Bankers New England School of Financial Studies, holds numerous professional certifications, and is active in several community organizations.

“I am extremely pleased to announce these promotions,” said Steve Lowell, president of Monson Savings Bank. “Kylie and Clare are both very talented and impressive young professionals who have already made significant contributions to the success of Monson Savings.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. (MBK) announced the hiring of three new associates: Elyse Merrigan, MSA, Sevane Khatchadourian, and Mila Renkas.

Merrigan is an associate in the Tax department. She previously held a career as a trial paralegal with a regional law firm. However, based on her strong aptitude with numbers, she decided to pursue the necessary advanced education that would allow her to transition into the field of public accounting. She is a graduate of the Commonwealth College at UMass Amherst and recently earned her master’s degree in accounting from Western New England University. She joined the Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as a student during her graduate studies and is currently a candidate to sit for the CPA exam.

Khatchadourian is beginning her career in public accounting in the Audit and Accounting (A&A) practice at MBK. As an A&A associate, she will help service a wide variety of A&A clients throughout the year. She graduated from Westfield State University in 2015 with a bachelor’degree in business management with a concentration in accounting, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting at the same school. As a current graduate student, Sevane is a student member of the MSCPA and AICPA.

Renkas, who is also an A&A associate, brings five years of bookkeeping experience and fluency in three languages to her new position. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elms College in 2015 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting at Westfield State University. She has been recognized for her significant academic achievements though her membership with various honors societies and scholarships, including the Western Mass Women magazine scholarship.

“MBK is excited to have the opportunity to welcome such a diverse and academically achieved group of women to our firm,” said MBK Partner Howard Cheney. “We work hard to find and attract the best and brightest to our firm because we know that the key to sustained, quality service for our clients is having great people at every level in our organization. We are proud that Elyse, Sevane, and Mila have chosen to pursue their careers in public accounting with MBK.”

Departments People on the Move
Brandon Mitchell

Brandon Mitchell

Chris Marini

Chris Marini

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. (MBK) announced the promotion of Brandon Mitchell, CPA, MSA and Chris Marini, MSA, MOS to Senior Associate positions. Mitchell has been with MBK since 2013 and brings a strong technical skill set to his work, as well as a background in sales. “Brandon has demonstrated a strong understanding of our clients and their industries in his time with our firm,” said MBK partner Howard Cheney. “He is resourceful and often takes the initiative to educate himself on his clients beyond the scope of his technical work, allowing him to enhance his relationship with our client base and deliver an even higher level of client service.” Mitchell earned his MSA from Westfield State University. He is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. For more than two years, Marini has demonstrated a dedicated work ethic to both clients and the firm. He is a team leader within the not-for-profit, HUD, and pension-audit niches. “Since the very beginning, Chris has worked hard and demonstrated a commitment to growth and education,” Cheney said. “He is also an instrumental resource for computer and technology matters here at the firm, helping to spearhead a number of projects and initiatives as we continue to take our cloud-based computer environment to the next level. This has resulted in efficiencies which we are able to pass on to our clients.” Marini holds a BBA with a concentration in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and earned his MSA from the University of Connecticut. He is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants and the board of trustees for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and serves as a mentor for the Westfield State University Accounting Club.

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PeoplesBank announced the following:

Beverly Farnham

Beverly Farnham

Amos McLeod III

Amos McLeod III

Nancy Robinson

Nancy Robinson

• Beverly Farnham has been promoted to Loan Service Officer. She possesses close to two decades of financial and banking experience. She first joined the bank in 1996 and previously served as loan service specialist. She has earned diplomas for financial services operations and consumer lending from the Center of Financial Training. She has been volunteering for the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Road Race for more than a decade;
• Amos McLeod III has been appointed Senior Credit Analyst Officer. He brings more than a decade of banking experience to his new position. He will be responsible for understanding and managing the credit risk and loan quality of the bank’s commercial real-estate and loan portfolios. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Springfield College and is a graduate of the School of Commercial Lending Program at Babson College. He serves as treasurer of Friends of the Huntington Public Library and volunteers for the United Way of Pioneer Valley; and
• Nancy Robinson has been promoted to Internal Audit Officer. She possesses more than a decade of banking and financial experience. She first joined the bank in 2012 and previously served as financial analyst. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western New England University. She serves on the board of the Connecticut River Valley Golden Retriever Club. She also volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and Children’s Study Home.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP, from the Connecticut Valley General Office of New York Life, is now authorized to offer AARP-branded life insurance and lifetime-income annuity products to AARP members. It is the first time these group-life-insurance products are offered by authorized-to-offer agents. Deliso is among a select group of New York Life agents who became authorized to offer her clients AARP Guaranteed Acceptance Life, AARP Level Benefit Term, and AARP Permanent Life Insurance, all from New York Life and New York Life’s Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity. She is a licensed insurance agent and passed courses specific to AARP. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University. Since 1994, AARP group-life products from New York Life have been available via direct mail to AARP members. The company has also been the provider of group lifetime-income annuities to AARP members since 2006.

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The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts announced that Liz Feeley was named Director of Philanthropy. She brings a wealth of blended experience in education and philanthropy to the organization. Feeley received her bachelor’s degree in English from Lehigh University. After spending 21 years coaching intercollegiate women’s basketball at institutions such as Smith College, Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame, and Holy Cross College, Feeley took her penchant for building relationships into the field of philanthropy. She brings a background in strategic planning, team building, volunteer management, and designing sustainable programs to the Women’s Fund. Feeley’s work at both Smith College and Stoneleigh-Burnham School, a day-boarding school for girls in Greenfield, brought to the forefront of her consciousness issues that girls and women face each day. She looks forward to building relationships around the Women’s Fund’s mission of creating economic and social equality for women and girls in Western Mass. through philanthropy. Prior to arriving at the Women’s Fund, Feeley served as director of Development at Amherst Montessori School. Previously, as director of Development and Alumnae Relations at Stoneleigh-Burnham, she led a team that increased fund-raising by 133% and alumni participation in the annual fund by 50% in three years. As director of Development, she also launched an initiative that increased the number of major-gift donors by 35% in two years. In five years, her team took fund-raising at the school to an unprecedented level by implementing a strategy based on stewardship, cultivating relationships, brand identity, creating sustainable programs, social media, and in-person visits across the country and in Asia. While at Stoneleigh-Burnham, Feeley was instrumental in the planning and implementation of a $1.2 million two-year campaign. Her team coordinated and hosted a Leadership Symposium and Gala to launch the campaign that successfully raised money for a new student-center complex. She partnered with volunteer groups of parents, alumni, faculty, students, trustees, and others in an effort to advance the mission of the institution.

•••••

Keith G. Roy Construction Inc., a construction and contracting company serving Massachusetts and Connecticut since 1946, announced that Joshua David Roy has been appointed Vice President. “Joshua is continuing a legacy of leadership at a local family-owned and -operated company,” said President Keith G. Roy. Joshua developed his expertise by working side-by-side with both his grandfather, David, and his father, Keith, since his teenage years. He oversees and personally works on projects that include roofing; exterior builds, including decks and siding; as well as interior construction, including kitchens and baths. “I take particular pride in training our crew, project supervision, and customer service,” he said. For more information about the company, visit kgroyconstruction.com.

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The Gove Law Office announced that attorney Jaclyn Packard has joined the firm, focusing her practice on civil and criminal litigation and trials, real-estate transactions, and estate planning. “Jaclyn Packard is a wonderful addition to our growing law firm of professionals who represent the diverse practice areas Gove Law offers clients within the firm’s Litigation, Real Estate, and Estate Planning departments,” said Michael Gove, founding partner of Gove Law Office. Having graduated cum laude from the Florida Coastal School of Law, Packard holds a license to practice law in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. In addition to being a practicing attorney, she is an active supporter of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event and a volunteer with the Lawyer for a Day program. The Gove Law Office, with offices in Ludlow and Northampton, is a bilingual firm with attorneys who provide guidance to clients in the areas of business representation, criminal and civil litigation, personal-injury law, commercial lending, residential and commercial real estate, estate planning, immigration, and bankruptcy.

•••••

Rob Poole

Rob Poole

Rob Poole has been named Director of Business Programs at American International College. He will oversee the undergraduate and graduate business administration programs. As part of his responsibilities, Poole will lead the faculty in upgrading the curriculum and managing internship opportunities. The internship program will integrate with the business community to create placements that are mutually beneficial to the industry, students, and the college. In addition, he will focus the MBA program for the non-business major. “Acquiring a technical area of knowledge as an undergraduate, while layering and applying business experience, significantly expands career opportunities,” he said. Poole’s areas of expertise include accreditation, assessment, and internship programs. In addition to working as a private consultant, he has served as an assistant professor at Richard Stockton College and Bellarmine University. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, then received his master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in production operations management from the University of North Texas.

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Milly Parzychowski

Milly Parzychowski

United Bank announced the winners of its 2015 Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) Sales Contest, the bank’s second annual internal awards program that recognizes its bankers for achieving excellence in mortgage production, and a local mortgage loan originator, Milly Parzychowski, is among the honorees. The final standings are based on the number of units and volume closed in 2015. Depending on an MLO’s production for a given year, they can be recognized in three categories: Chairman’s Club (including Chairman’s Club Champion), President’s Club, or Vice President’s Club. Parzychowski was named to the Vice President’s Club. Parzychowski, who joined United Bank in 2011, is based at the Westfield branch and covers Western Mass. Her more than 40 years in banking and mortgage origination included loan officer roles at Mortgage Master Inc. and Family Choice Mortgage Corp. Parzychowski was also a branch manager at American Home Mortgage and at CNI National Mortgage, a loan originator with National City and Source One, and started her banking career as a teller at Valley Bank in Springfield. She is currently an MBA candidate at Bay Path University.

Departments People on the Move

PeoplesBank announced the promotions and appointments of nine associates.
• Matthew Bannister has been appointed to Vice President, Corporate Responsibility. He possesses more than 30 years of brand management and corporate social-responsibility experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from UMass Amherst. His prior experience includes advertising, public relations, and event marketing for top advertising agencies and major nonprofit organizations;
• Paul Hillsburg has been promoted to Vice President, PeoplesFinancial and Insurance Services. With more than three decades of financial, sales, and business-development experience, he first joined the bank in 2008 and previously served as assistant vice president, PeoplesFinancial and Insurance Services. He holds an associate degree in business management from Springfield Technical Community College. He holds Series 7 and Series 66 licenses.
• Kristen Hua has been promoted to Vice President, Secondary Market. She possesses more than a decade of banking experience. She first joined the bank in May 2001 and previously served as assistant vice president, secondary market. She holds an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and a bachelor’s degree from Providence College. She also is a graduate of the New England School for Financial Studies;
• Craig Kaylor has been appointed to Vice President, Compliance. He brings more than a decade of banking and financial experience to his new position, where he will be responsible for overseeing all compliance regulations and policies. He holds a juris doctor degree from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and a bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany, SUNY;
• Denise Lamory has been promoted to Vice President, Commercial Loan Administration. She possesses close to four decades of banking experience. She first joined the bank in August 1976 and previously served as assistant vice president, commercial loan administration. She holds several business and financial certificates from the Western Massachusetts Institute of Management Education Inc. and Holyoke Community College;
• Trisha Leary has been promoted to Vice President, Internal Control. She possesses more than a decade of financial experience. She first joined the bank in 2013 and previously served as risk oversight officer. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.
• Karen Sinopoli has been appointed to Vice President, Controller. She brings a decade of banking and audit experience to her new position, where she will be responsible for maintaining and supervising the financial record of the bank in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at the UMass Amherst and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University;
• Donna Wiley has been promoted to Vice President, Regional Manager. She possesses close to four decades of banking experience. She first joined the bank in 1979 and previously served as assistant vice president, regional manager. She holds an associate degree in business administration from Holyoke Community College and graduated with honors from the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. School for Financial Studies; and
• Brian Rheaume has been promoted to assistant vice president, information technology. He possesses more than a decade of information-technology experience. He first joined the bank in 2002 and previously served as information technology officer supervisor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Westfield State University and is an A+ certified professional IT technician.
•••••
Kathleen McCormick and Peter Mirante have been appointed to the Berkshire Community College board of trustees. McCormick is a partner with McCormick, Murtagh & Marcus, a law firm in Great Barrington. She joined the firm in 2004 and was named partner in 2009. Her focus is on residential and commercial real estate, land use and permitting, construction law, business law, and estate planning. She previously clerked for First Justice David Kopleman in the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court and later served as an associate with the litigation firm Herlihy, Thursby & Herlihy in Boston. She has worked for well-known companies such as the Boston Celtics, the Jane Blalock Co., and Reebok International. McCormick holds a juris doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Assoc., the Berkshire County Bar Assoc., and the Real Estate Bar Assoc. of Massachusetts. She is dedicated to enriching the lives of disadvantaged youth and is an active community member serving on boards of numerous charitable organizations. Mirante, who has worked in the banking industry for more than 20 years, is senior vice president of Branch Administration at Greylock Federal Credit Union in Pittsfield. He joined Greylock in 1998 and has served in numerous management positions. Prior to joining Greylock, he worked for Patten Corp. and then Berkshire Bank.
Mirante holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the former North Adams State College. He has a long history of community service and currently serves on the boards of the Northern Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Family & Individual Resources, Berkshire Compact for Education, and North Adams Parks & Recreation. Darlene Rodowicz, who was recently reappointed board chair by Gov. Charlie Baker, noted that “the new board members bring a wealth of knowledge from their respective roles in the community. We are happy to have them join the BCC board of trustees as we continue to advance the mission of the college.”
•••••
Local law firm Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. announced that attorney Steven Schwartz is the recipient of the Distinguished Advisor in Philanthropy Award. The award is presented annually by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County and the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council. Each year, the award’s recipient may recommend a Hampden, Hampshire, or Franklin county charity of their choice to receive a $1,000 grant. This year, Schwartz has decided to recommend the grant be made to the Children’s Study Home in recognition of its 150 anniversary. Schwartz concentrates his practice in the areas of family-business planning, mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, and estate planning. His practice involves representation of principals in family-business planning (including exit planning for business owners), representation of individuals and corporations in the purchase and sale of business enterprises, strategic planning for the future of clients’ businesses, and providing advice on alternatives in financing through loans and venture capital.
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Pope Francis High School announced that John Goda, Athletic Director for Holyoke Catholic High School, has been appointed to the Athletic Director position for Pope Francis High School. The creation of Pope Francis High School was announced in 2015 when Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski revealed that Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School would merge into a new school, named in honor of the current Pope. While the official merger will take place to coincide with the next academic year, 2016-17, there has already been a joining together of the athletic programs. Goda, a 1987 graduate of Cathedral, started his career with Holyoke Catholic as a teacher in 1994, and took over as athletic director in 2003. Since the merger of Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic was announced, Goda has worked alongside Cathedral Athletic Director Joe Hegarty to oversee the combined athletic programs for Pope Francis High School. Hegarty recently vacated his position at Cathedral, and Goda will assume the role.
•••••
Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) announced the appointment of Phillip Candito to the position of Vice President of Business Development, where he is leading marketing and development efforts and focused on growing the organization. Candito worked as director of Business Development at the Eastern Connecticut Health Network in Manchester, Conn. for 10 years before coming to HMC. Previously, he served St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn. as director of Rehabilitation Services and Occupational Medicine, and as a physical therapist. Earlier, he earned a degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut; worked in television, video, and stage production for 10 years in Connecticut and New York City; re-enrolled at UConn and earned a degree in physical therapy, which he practiced for 10 years; then attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to earn his graduate degree.
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TD Bank has named Karl Mirke assistant vice president, store manager of the location at 90 Main St. in North Adams. He is responsible for new-business development, consumer and business lending, managing personnel, and overseeing the day-to-day operations at the store, serving customers in Berkshire County, including North Adams, Clarksburg, Adams, Cheshire, Stamford, and Readsboro. Mirke has 11 years of retail banking experience. Prior to joining TD Bank, he served as assistant branch manager at Citizens Bank in Pittsfield. He is a 2003 graduate of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.
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Aaron Smith, P.C., a certified public accounting firm, announced that certified public accountant Bernard “Buzz” Travers III will assume the role of managing director. In that role, Travers will provide leadership and direction to achieve the goals of the firm. He will oversee day-to-day management and will continue to cultivate the talents of all accountants and staff at Aaron Smith. Travers joined the firm in 1999 as a tax specialist. He is a certified public accountant in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. His areas of expertise include corporate, individual and fiduciary income tax; state and local income and sales and use taxation; federal and state tax audits; mergers and acquisitions; estate and gift taxation; nonprofit taxes; and bankruptcy taxation. In addition, he has assisted numerous business owners in the sale and purchase of businesses. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bentley University and his juris doctor from Western New England University School of Law. He is past president of the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County Inc., past president of the Field Club of Longmeadow Inc., an officer and director of the Sportsmen’s National Land Trust Inc., and past treasurer of the Longmeadow High School hockey and lacrosse booster clubs.
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Bob Barna has joined Whalley Computer Associates (WCA) as a consulting architect. Barna was employed by VMWare as a senior consultant for the last 16 months and has 19 years of experience in the IT industry. He spent 17 of those years as the senior systems engineer at Competitive Computing. He has earned numerous VMware certifications and has extensive experience in design enablement, developing business requirements and identifying use cases, architecture design, environment build, product pilot, documentations and knowledge transfer, and more. Barna joins a team at WCA that also includes another former VMWare employee, Dan Sullivan, who joined VMWare shortly after it was founded and, in his seven years there, served customers all over New England and New York as a VMware systems engineer, VMware account executive, and partner business manager. Sullivan, who now holds the role of senior solution architect at WCA, is a 39-year veteran of the IT industry, with a background that combines technical expertise and sales skills.
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EMA Dental announced that Dr. Colleen Chambers has joined the practice as its newest associate. Chambers completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Connecticut and went on to earn her DMD at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. She was awarded the School of Dental Medicine Alumni Research Fellowship for her research with alveolar bone and implant integration using rh-PDGF-BB. She completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she focused on esthetics, general dentistry, and complex implant dental treatment. Chambers is proud to have had the opportunity to provide dental care to underserved communities at the CT Mission of Mercy, Remote Area Medical Services in Wise County, Va., and as part of a dental service trip to Honduras. She is a member of the American Dental Assoc., the Massachusetts Dental Society, and the Valley District Society.
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Caroline Gear has been named executive director of the International Language Institute (ILI) of Massachusetts, located in Northampton. Gear joined ILI in 1986 as a Spanish and ESOL instructor, and in 1989, she became the school’s director of programs. In that capacity, she has been ILI’s primary coordinator with numerous partners, including area businesses, partner colleges and universities, the U.S. State Department, the Fulbright Scholars program, and the U.S. Commercial Service. She has written several articles on assessment and evaluation and regularly presents on teacher training and supervision, both regionally and nationally. Gear earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from State University of New York at Potsdam and her masters’ degree in Spanish literature from Michigan State University. In addition to her years at ILI, she has worked in Peru, Mexico, and Spain.
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Lee Bank announced that Wendy Healey has been named to the position of Senior Vice President, Community Banking, and David Harrington has been named to the position of Vice President, Commercial Lending. Healey joins Lee Bank with experience in both the retail-banking and financial-technology sectors. She most recently served as senior vice president in charge of retail, sales, and marketing at Torrington Savings Bank. Prior to that, she was an independent financial services consultant while pursuing an MBA, and has held senior management roles at COCC Inc., a lead provider in core technology to the financial industry; Sovereign/Santander Bank; and People’s United Bank in Connecticut. As senior vice president in charge of community banking, Healey’s focus will be on existing and new customer relationships, as well as the design and fulfillment of new products and packages of services to meet customer needs. She will oversee policies, future business planning, and long-range strategic goals for her department and is responsible for the overall administration of compliance, including policy and procedures, monitoring, review, training, and board reporting. Harrington brings more than 18 years of experience in product and operations management. He most recently served as multi-life new business operations manager at Guardian Life Insurance Co. in Pittsfield. Prior to that, he was employed as product and project manager, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual Financial Group, and senior product line manager, disability and long-term-care insurance at Berkshire Life Insurance Co. As vice president of commercial lending, Harrington is responsible for developing and maintaining Lee Bank’s commercial-lending activities and expanding existing customer relationships in conjunction with the bank’s strategic goals.
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Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) recently welcomed three new members to its board of trustees: Steven Grande, Franklin Quigley, and Macarthur Starks Jr. Grande is president of Meridian Industrial Group, LLC in Holyoke and Springfield. He also serves on the Holyoke Taxpayers Assoc. is vice chair of the advisory committee at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, chairs the Mayor’s Industrial Development Advisory Council, serves on board of directors for the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Massachusetts, is a member of the advisory board for William J. Dean Technical High School; and is president of the board of directors for the Western Massachusetts National Tooling and Machining Assoc. Grande holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice from American International College. Quigley, an STCC alumnus, serves on the STCC foundation board and is a member of the presidential search committee. He is the president of FD Quigley and Associates, an organization specializing in providing project-management services to commercial retail developers; is a member of the state board of directors for Special Olympics; and is a retired referee of the American Hockey League. Starks, a senior finance and leadership professional, is an assistant vice president/change agent at MassMutual Way Center of Excellence, at MassMutual Life Insurance Company. Starks also serves as board chair and treasurer of FutureWorks Career Center in Springfield. A graduate of STCC (‘88), Starks received a master’s in management information systems and a bachelor of arts in accounting from Western New England University.

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HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank announced the promotions and appointments of three officers: Beverly Farnham, Amos McLeod III, and Nancy Robinson.

Farnham has been promoted to loan service officer. She possesses close to two decades of financial and banking experience. She first joined the bank in 1996 and previously served as loan service specialist. She has earned diplomas for financial services operations and consumer lending from the Center of Financial Training. She has been volunteering for the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Road Race for more than a decade.

McLeod has been appointed to senior credit analyst officer. He brings more than a decade of banking experience to his new position. He will be responsible for understanding and managing the credit risk and loan quality of the bank’s commercial real-estate and loan portfolios. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Springfield College and is a graduate of the School of Commercial Lending Program at Babson College. He serves as treasurer of Friends of the Huntington Public Library and volunteers for the United Way of Pioneer Valley.

Robinson has been promoted to internal audit officer. She possesses more than a decade of banking and financial experience. She first joined the bank in 2012 and previously served as financial analyst. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western New England University. She serves on the board of the Connecticut River Valley Golden Retriever Club. She also volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and Children’s Study Home.

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HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank announced the promotions and appointments of nine associates.

Matthew Bannister has been appointed to vice president, corporate responsibility. He possesses more than 30 years of brand management and corporate social-responsibility experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from UMass Amherst. His prior experience includes advertising, public relations, and event marketing for top advertising agencies and major nonprofit organizations.

Paul Hillsburg has been promoted to vice president, PeoplesFinancial and Insurance Services. With more than three decades of financial, sales, and business-development experience, he first joined the bank in 2008 and previously served as assistant vice president, PeoplesFinancial and Insurance Services. He holds an associate degree in business management from Springfield Technical Community College. He holds Series 7 and Series 66 licenses.

Kristen Hua has been promoted to vice president, secondary market. She possesses more than a decade of banking experience. She first joined the bank in May 2001 and previously served as assistant vice president, secondary market. She holds an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and a bachelor’s degree from Providence College. She also is a graduate of the New England School for Financial Studies.

Craig Kaylor has been appointed to vice president, compliance. He brings more than a decade of banking and financial experience to his new position, where he will be responsible for overseeing all compliance regulations and policies. He holds a juris doctor degree from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and a bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany, SUNY.

Denise Lamory has been promoted to vice president, commercial loan administration. She possesses close to four decades of banking experience. She first joined the bank in August 1976 and previously served as assistant vice president, commercial loan administration. She holds several business and financial certificates from the Western Massachusetts Institute of Management Education Inc. and Holyoke Community College.

Trisha Leary has been promoted to vice president, internal control. She possesses more than a decade of financial experience. She first joined the bank in 2013 and previously served as risk oversight officer. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

Karen Sinopoli has been appointed to vice president, controller. She brings a decade of banking and audit experience to her new position, where she will be responsible for maintaining and supervising the financial record of the bank in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at the UMass Amherst and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University.

Donna Wiley has been promoted to vice president, regional manager. She possesses close to four decades of banking experience. She first joined the bank in 1979 and previously served as assistant vice president, regional manager. She holds an associate degree in business administration from Holyoke Community College and graduated with honors from the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. School for Financial Studies.

Brian Rheaume has been promoted to assistant vice president, information technology. He possesses more than a decade of information-technology experience. He first joined the bank in 2002 and previously served as information technology officer supervisor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Westfield State University and is an A+ certified professional IT technician.

Departments People on the Move

Baystate Health recently announced changes and consolidations in leadership positions in its Eastern Region:
• Effective Jan. 29, Michael Moran will become the interim president and chief administrative officer for the Baystate Health Eastern Region. Moran has been at Baystate Health for 14 years and currently serves as the organization’s Vice President for Clinical, Facilities and Guest Services. Moran’s new role combines the responsibilities of two current positions in the region, the president and the chief operating officer;
• The region’s current president, Dr. Charles Cavagnaro III, will depart Baystate Health to pursue other opportunities. Before joining Baystate Health, Cavagnaro served as president and CEO of Wing Memorial Hospital and Medical Centers for 15 years;
• The region’s current chief operating officer, Dr. M. Shafeeq Ahmed, will return to practicing medicine full-time at Baystate Health. Ahmed has been a physician-leader at Baystate Health since 2003;
• Dr. David McGuire will become the region’s chief medical officer.
“Our goal, in considering these changes, is to ensure that our Eastern Region can successfully deliver care that matters to the community in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Nancy Shendell-Falik, Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations for Baystate Health. “To survive and thrive in the contemporary world of healthcare, we continue to make changes that ensure long-term stabilization, system integration, and a consistent model for delivering quality, safety, patient experience, and value.”
Added Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, “Drs. Cavagnaro and Ahmed have made major contributions to the integration of Wing into Baystate Health and to our organization as a whole. We thank them for their leadership, and we wish them the very best.” Three other management positions in the region are being eliminated and their work consolidated into other positions. At Baystate Health, Moran has been responsible for a broad spectrum of services including cancer, behavioral health, neurosciences and rehabilitation, food and nutrition, facilities, and more. Moran is known for building high-performing teams, fostering engagement, and serving as executive leader for Baystate Medical Center’s complex heart and vascular and emergency-room expansion projects. He led the building of the orthopedic surgery and cancer centers in Springfield and the surgical center under construction at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. He has co-led the health system’s largest and most complex Lean project, which saved more than $5 million and improved patient flow at Baystate Medical Center.

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PeoplesBank has announced the promotions and appointments of four associates:

Brian Canina

Brian Canina

• Brian Canina has been promoted to senior vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer. He possesses more than 16 years of financial experience and first joined PeoplesBank in 2009. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bryant College and is a certified public accountant. He is also a graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking and is a recipient of the Wharton Leadership Certificate. Canina is president of the Finance and Accounting Society of New England and an officer of the Financial Managers Society, Boston Chapter. He serves on the boards of directors for the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and the Children’s Study Home;

Stacy Sutton

Stacy Sutton

• Stacy Sutton has been promoted to senior vice president, retail administration. Boasting more than two decades of banking experience, she joined the bank in 1992 and previously served as first vice president, retail administration. She holds an associate degree in accounting from Springfield Technical Community College and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. School for Financial Studies. She serves on the board of directors for Springfield Partners;

Joseph Zazzaro

Joseph Zazzaro

• Joseph Zazzaro has been promoted to senior vice president and chief information officer. He possesses more than three decades of information technology experience with a focus in financial services. He joined the bank in 2006 and previously served as first vice president, information technology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Phoenix and an associate degree in management information systems from Holyoke Community College. He also is a graduate of the New England School of Financial Studies. Zazzaro was a 14-year member of the Greater Westfield Boys and Girls Club board of directors and continues to volunteer to provide technical support for the club. He has also volunteered his technical and leadership skills at other local organizations, such as the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Red Cross, and the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club; and

Russell Fontaine

Russell Fontaine

• Russell Fontaine has been promoted to first vice president, retail sales. Boasting more than a decade of financial experience, he first joined the bank in 2009 and previously served as vice president, sales and service manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Westfield State University and a certificate from the Wharton School of Business Leadership at the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He serves on the board of the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity.

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John Dowd Jr

John Dowd Jr

The Dowd Insurance Agencies announced that John Dowd Jr., president and CEO of the Dowd Insurance Agencies, was selected to serve on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Assoc. of Insurance Agents (MAIA). Membership in the MAIA is open to independent, licensed insurance agencies doing business as individuals, partnerships, corporations, or other forms of business organizations in Massachusetts. With 1,300 agency members, MAIA is one of the largest state and regional associations of independent insurance agents in the country. The new board of directors began their term on Jan. 1. The board as a whole establishes positions on various industry issues and advocates for the agency community before government bodies. Individual members of the board of directors are the official representatives of the MAIA members in their geographical areas. “The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents has a long track record for consistent support for the insurance-agency community,” Dowd said. “I am very pleased to serve among this group of dedicated insurance professionals.” A 1980 graduate of St. Michael’s College, Dowd is an accredited advisor in insurance (AAI) and a licensed insurance advisor (LIA). He began his career as an underwriter for the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. and joined Dowd Insurance Agency in 1982.

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L. Alexandra Hogan

L. Alexandra Hogan

Local law firm, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. announced that attorney L. Alexandra Hogan was selected to serve on the emerging insolvency professionals subcommittee of the American Bankruptcy Institute. “Alex has quickly become a rising star in our bankruptcy department. She is dedicated and is already helping other professionals establish themselves in the insolvency field,” said attorney Steve Weiss, supervisor of the firm’s bankruptcy division. As a new member of the emerging insolvency professionals subcommittee, Hogan will help bankruptcy professionals find different avenues to network and develop as experts. The mission of this new subcommittee is to create a forum for developing leaders to exchange ideas to better aid clients and further cultivate the insolvency field. Hogan graduated in 2008 with cum laude honors from Western New England University School of Law, where she was also appointed assistant editor and became a published author of the Western New England Law Review. She graduated from Bay Path University with summa cum laude honors in 1996. She has been selected by Super Lawyers to the Rising Stars list and as a Top Women Attorney (2011-15). Hogan concentrates her practice primarily in business, litigation, and bankruptcy law. She has an extensive bankruptcy practice that includes both debtor and creditor representation in individual and business cases, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 11. Additionally, she acts as counsel to Chapter 7 trustee Steven Weiss in bankruptcy litigation advanced in adversary proceedings. “I am honored to be a member of this new committee,” Hogan said. “It is very important for developing professionals to find ways to network with insolvency experts and to discuss emerging trends in the bankruptcy field.”

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Richard Venne, president and CEO of Community Enterprises Inc., announced the election of new officers to one-year terms at the recent board of directors meeting. Elected to officer positions for one-year terms are William Donohue, Chair, Children and Family Law, Springfield; Donald Miner, Vice Chair, Loomis Communities, South Hadley; Joanne Carlisle, Clerk/Secretary, Stop & Shop Inc., Springfield; and Brittney Kelleher, Treasurer, Westfield Bank, Springfield. Deborah Omasta-Mokrzecki, Amherst College, was elected as a new member for a three-year term. Existing members elected to additional three-year terms include Donohue; Carlisle; Miner; Mary Beth Davidson, Travelers, Hartford, Conn.; Kate LaMay-Miller, Multi-Media Impact, Hadley; and Albert Lognin, HARC, Hartford, Conn. Community Enterprises is a human-service organization that provides employment, education, housing supports, and day supports for people with disabilities. It is headquartered in Northampton and maintains 27 service locations throughout the U.S.

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Lou Mayo has been installed as president of the 1,700-member Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. Mayo, a Realtor since 1997, is the office manager with Real Living Realty Professionals, LLC in Wilbraham. As president, he will oversee the association’s activities and operations, including meetings of the board of directors, and act as a liaison to the association’s various committees. He is the official spokesperson of the association on issues related to the real-estate industry and the regional housing market. The other 2016 officers are Richard Sawicki Jr., president-elect; Edward Alford, treasurer; Susan Drumm, secretary; and Dawn Henry, immediate past president. Directors include Elias Acuna, Kelly Bowman, Shawn Bowman, Suzi Buzzee, Janise Fitzpatrick, Raymond Hoess-Brooks, Susan Rheaume, and Russell Sabadosa.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame presented the fourth annual Hoophall Classic Leadership Award to Springfield College sport management students Brooke Fairman and Gregory Weigert.

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper and Hall President and CEO John Doleva made the formal presentation during the 2016 Spalding Hoophall Classic at Blake Arena.

Both Fairman and Weigert were key contributors during the 2016 Spalding Hoophall Classic, the leading high-school basketball tournament in the country, showcasing the nation’s top recruits. As part of their responsibilities, Fairman and Weigert helped lead more than 75 student event-staff workers and more than 30 student liaisons during the event. They created and conducted training sessions for volunteers of the event; collaborated with Springfield College Office of Conferences & Special Events, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and ESPN to ensure schedules of events; and supervised all event operations during the five-day tournament.

Fairman is the current president of the Springfield College Sport Management Club. She served as one of the main student leaders for the Springfield College Department of Sport Management and Recreation at this year’s Hoophall Classic, the third consecutive year she assisted at the event. She has earned dean’s-list status on a regular basis during her academic career at Springfield College, which includes a double minor in business management and coaching. She graduated from nearby Gateway Regional High School before enrolling at Springfield College, and currently works as a camp counselor for the Huntington Recreation Committee during the summer.

Weigert has participated in the Hoophall Classic for three consecutive years, working as a supervisor, team liaison, and member of the event-management and operations staff. Currently a dean’s-list student, he has served as a Springfield College student ambassador for both the Team IMPACT organization and St. Baldrick’s Foundation. He remains active in his hometown of Windsor Locks, Conn., volunteering as an assistant varsity baseball coach for Windsor Locks High School and as a youth basketball supervisor for the Windsor Locks Parks and Recreation Department.

The Hoophall Classic Leadership Award is presented annually to both a male and female junior majoring in sport management who have maintained a successful grade point average and demonstrated a combination of service to Springfield College and the Hoophall Classic. The recipients are each awarded a $2,500 scholarship to be used during their senior year at the college.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank has announced the promotions and appointments of four associates.

Brian Canina has been promoted to senior vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer. He possesses more than 16 years of financial experience and first joined the bank in 2009. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bryant College and is a certified public accountant. He is also a graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking and is a recipient of the Wharton Leadership Certificate. Canina is president of the Finance and Accounting Society of New England and an officer of the Financial Managers Society, Boston Chapter. He serves on the boards of directors for the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and the Children’s Study Home.

Stacy Sutton has been promoted to senior vice president, retail administration. Boasting more than two decades of banking experience, she joined the bank in 1992 and previously served as first vice president, retail administration. She holds an associate degree in accounting from Springfield Technical Community College and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. School for Financial Studies. She serves on the board of directors for Springfield Partners.

Joseph Zazzaro has been promoted to senior vice president and chief information officer. He possesses over three decades of information technology experience with a focus in financial services. He joined the bank in 2006 and previously served as first vice president, information technology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Phoenix and an associate degree in management information systems from Holyoke Community College. He also is a graduate of the New England School of Financial Studies. Zazzaro was a 14-year member of the Greater Westfield Boys and Girls Club board of directors and continues to volunteer to provide technical support for the club. He has also volunteered his technical and leadership skills at other local organizations, such as the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Red Cross, and the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club.

Russell Fontaine has been promoted to first vice president, retail sales. Boasting more than a decade of financial experience, he first joined the bank in 2009 and previously served as vice president, sales and service manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Westfield State University and a certificate from the Wharton School of Business Leadership at the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He serves on the board of the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity.

Departments People on the Move
Robert Kolb

Robert Kolb

Country Bank President and CEO Paul Scully announced that Robert Kolb has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial & Retail banking officer. A banking professional with 33 years of industry experience, Kolb has been with Country Bank since 2012 as senior vice president, chief commercial banking officer. Before coming to Country Bank, Kolb worked at TD Bank as its Rhode Island market president. Prior to that, he held the same position the bank’s Central and Western Mass. divisions. “Since joining our team, Bob has brought an outstanding level of leadership to the bank,” said Scully. “He has completely embraced the unique mission of community banking, while helping us benefit from the insights he gained while working at a respected, larger institution. His contributions have helped both our employees and our customers, and his proven approach has become the cornerstone of our commercial-lending success.” Kolb serves on the Ware Business and Civic Board.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso has been named a member of the 2015 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement after 30 years in the financial-services industry. Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995, and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

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William H.W. Crawford, IV, CEO of United Financial Bancorp Inc. and United Bank of Glastonbury, Conn., announced that Rick Renaud, private mortgage banker for United Bank, has been elected to the 2016 Board of Directors of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Central Massachusetts (HBRACM).
The HBRACM Board of Directors is made up of various leaders from the area’s homebuilding and remodeling industry, including building contractors, suppliers and subcontractors. It also includes those who provide professional services to the home building industry such as designers, engineers, legal professionals and lenders. Renaud is part of United’s greater Boston-based loan production office led by Jim Picciotto, vice president and Eastern Mass. Sales Manager. Renaud, who has 15 years of experience in the banking industry, joined United Bank in April 2012 and is based at the bank’s Chadwick Square branch in Worcester.

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Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. announced the following:
• Shawn Howard will lead investment strategies for the bank as its new Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Officer, Senior Portfolio Manager. Howard has more than 20 years of financial experience, with nearly 16 years in the asset-management space as a portfolio manager; he was most recently at TD Bank in the Private Client Group in Springfield, where he managed investment portfolios for high-net-worth individuals, nonprofit organizations, and institutional clients. He served in a similar capacity at Evergreen Investments and Mellon Private Asset Management Companies. Barney, a certified financial planner for more than 30 years, has rejoined the Berkshire Bank Wealth Management team after retiring in 2011. Prior to his retirement, he led the team for 17 years, growing the division to almost $700 million in assets;
• Tom Barney, First Vice President, Wealth Advisor, has joined the Wealth Management team. Barney previously served as vice president for Fleet Investment Services in Hartford, Conn., as well as vice president and private banker for Bank of Boston in Pittsfield, Springfield, and Hartford. He was on the board and served as president of the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County; and
• Colleen Lussier, Vice President and Wealth Advisor, has also joined the Wealth Management team. Lussier also joins the bank from TD Bank, where she was a wealth advisor for more than 16 years. Her expertise is concentrated in areas of trust and estate planning, business succession, and contract law. She is a certified trust and financial advisor and a registered financial consultant. She will assist in developing client relationships as well as trust and estate administration.

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Christopher Nadeau

Christopher Nadeau

The independent accounting firm Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., announced that Christopher Nadeau, CPA, has been appointed manager, joining the firm’s Holyoke office. Nadeau brings more than 10 years of experience in private and public accounting with a practice concentration in assurance, compliance, tax and advisory services to closely held businesses, professional/medical practices and the nonprofit sector —the firm’s largest niche focus. Most recently, he served as assistant controller for Worcester Envelope Company. Nadeau received his master of science in accountancy and Bachelor of Science in business management and accounting from Westfield State University, where he is currently an adjunct professor and member of the university’s Accounting Mentoring Program. He currently holds memberships with the Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Springfield/Hartford Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.

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Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts


Ayre Real Estate Co. Inc. announced the following:
• Chris Martin recently joined as a Licensed Sales Associate. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Western New England University, served in active duty for eight years in the Army, and is now a current member of the U.S. Army Reserve. He has a strong background in investment properties, formerly working as a senior partner in a real-estate investment group in Memphis;
• Tom Roberts has joined Ayre as a full-time real-estate sales associate. An Agawam native who started his real-estate career in 2003, he moved to the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area before returning to Western Mass.

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Amy Royal

Amy Royal

Royal LLP, a woman-owned, boutique, management-side labor and employment law firm, announced that Amy Royal, principal and founding partner of the firm, has been honored as one of New England’s Super Lawyers and has been included in the 2015 issue of New England Super Lawyers magazine. Super Lawyers consists of attorneys throughout New England who are nominated by their peers as outstanding lawyers, and each nomination undergoes an extensive selection process. With nearly 15 years experience, Royal has successfully defended employers in both federal and state courts as well as before administrative agencies in a variety of areas of employment law, including employment discrimination and sexual harassment, unfair competition, breach of contract and wrongful discharge claims, workers’ compensation, and Family and Medical Leave Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act violations, with a special emphasis on wage-and-hour class actions. Royal regularly advises non-union clients on maintaining a union-free workplace and performs other preventive work such as wage-and-hour-law compliance, record-keeping audits, drafting of employee manuals and affirmative-action plans, and management training. In addition, she assists unionized clients during contract negotiations, at arbitrations, and with respect to employee grievances and unfair-labor-practices charges. Royal’s accolades also include Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s 2012 Top Women of Law award recognizing her as a top woman lawyer in Massachusetts, as well as BusinessWest’s prestigious 40 Under Forty award recognizing her for outstanding leadership in the Pioneer Valley business community.

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Drew DiGiorgio

Drew DiGiorgio

Drew DiGiorgio was appointed President/CEO of Consolidated Health Plans Inc. (CHP), effective Sept. 9, by the Berkshire Hathaway Board of Directors, including CHP founder Kevin Saremi. DiGiorgio has served as CHP’s president since 2013, and was previously director of Sales and Marketing. He began his career at CHP in 1995, shortly after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business from Framingham State University. In his new role as CEO, DiGiorgio will provide oversight of the company, reporting to the Board of Directors. He will continue expanding CHP’s business services to best meet the needs of clients and customers, with a focus on quality service. CHP is an industry-leading claim administrator providing affordable health insurance and special risk solutions for thousands of policyholders worldwide. CHP offers student health and accident plans; employee health and dental plans; FSA and HRA administration; and participant accident insurance and back-room claim administration for carriers.

Daily News

HARTFORD, Conn. — The independent accounting firm Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., announced that Christopher Nadeau, CPA, has been appointed manager, joining the firm’s Holyoke office.

Nadeau brings more than 10 years of experience in private and public accounting with a practice concentration in assurance, compliance, tax and advisory services to closely held businesses, professional/medical practices and the nonprofit sector —the firm’s largest niche focus. Most recently, he served as assistant controller for Worcester Envelope Company.

Nadeau received his master of science in accountancy and Bachelor of Science in business management and accounting from Westfield State University, where he is currently an adjunct professor and member of the university’s Accounting Mentoring Program. He currently holds memberships with the Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Springfield/Hartford Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.

The firm’s managing partner, Drew Andrews said, “Chris’ accomplishments as a practitioner of accounting in the areas of nonprofit, medical and closely held business will benefit our clients and the firm’s position as the leading provider of professional services in Western Massachusetts and throughout Southern New England. We are proud to add Chris to our team of professionals.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Gilded Lily Florist, a Sixteen Acres business for more than 30 years, announced a new owner, Springfield resident Brian Grisel.

Grisel began working in a flower shop during his teens and is currently a floral designer with more than three decades of experience. Having attended the University of Connecticut where he obtained a degree in horticulture and business management, he aims to bring a sense of style and sophistication to floral arrangements and has previously worked with florists in Farmington and West Hartford, Conn.; Westerly/Watch Hill, R.I.; and, most recently, Springfield.

Previous clients include Katherine Hepburn, Andy Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, Barbara Bush, Conan O’Brien, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolph Nureyev, Lee Radziwill (sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Princess Maria Trubetskaya, Princess Irina Bagration, Countess Sophia Cheremteff, the Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, as well as several previous governors of Connecticut and other local politicians and corporate heads.

Regarding his floral style, Griesel said he is most influenced by the European Garden style but also displays contemporary, Japanese influences. “Our motto at the Gilded Lily is affordable elegance. We strive for unique design and great value in our floral arrangements,” he added. “The Gilded Lily uses Pioneer Valley-grown flowers when possible and has sourced with local farmers, which also give our arrangements a very unique look.”

The Gilded Lily is a full-service florist working with both fresh and silk floral arrangements and specializes in weddings, events, bar/bat mitzvahs, home decorating, and holiday decor. It serves the communities of Springfield, Wilbraham, Ludlow, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Hampden, Chicopee, Holyoke, West Springfield, Agawam, as well as Enfield and Somers, Conn.

Departments People on the Move

Local news hires, promotions, awards, and appointments October 6, 2015

 

Nancy Shendell-Falik

Nancy Shendell-Falik

Nancy Shendell-Falik, who for the past two years has served in a dual position at Baystate Health as senior vice president/chief operating officer and chief nursing officer for Baystate Medical Center, has been promoted to president of Baystate Medical Center and senior vice president for hospital operations at Baystate Health. Her appointment becomes effective Oct. 1. “During her two years at Baystate, Nancy has propelled the organization as both a system leader and COO/CNO of Baystate Medical Center. Her new role is an important step in our journey toward becoming a fully integrated health system, ensuring that we deliver care most effectively and efficiently,” said Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health. “As Baystate Health continues to develop a regional model of care, an important new directive for Nancy will be to help us to achieve a greater alignment between our five hospitals, physicians, and other community providers.” Baystate Health consists of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, and its newest members, Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer and Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield. In Shendell-Falik’s new role, the presidents of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Baystate Health’s Northern Region, Baystate Noble Hospital, and Baystate Health’s Eastern Region will report to her. Before coming to Baystate, Shendell-Falik — an experienced healthcare and nurse leader with years of success improving the quality of patient care, hospital efficiency, and patient satisfaction — served as senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children in Boston. During her tenure there, she demonstrated a collaborative style of leadership in championing numerous initiatives to improve clinical quality, patient safety, and patient experience. She implemented a system of performance scorecards across all departments, served as executive sponsor of Tufts’ Patient and Family Advisory Council, and sponsored a novel leadership-education program. Prior to her work in Boston, Shendell-Falik served as senior vice president, Patient Care Services, at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey. While at the 673-bed, regional-care teaching hospital, she led similar successful initiatives to improve quality and safety, implemented a nurse-residency program, and reduced nursing vacancy rates. Since joining Baystate in July 2013, Shendell-Falilk has encouraged new interdisciplinary collaborations as a way to further improve patient experience, and served as the architect behind developing standard attire for various caregivers to help patients identify who is providing their care. Also, under her leadership, Baystate Medical Center was named to an elite group of High Performing Hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for 2015-16. Shendell-Falik holds a master’s degree in nursing from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rutgers College of Nursing. She was a fellow of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Program. She holds membership in numerous professional societies and organizations, including the Mass. Organization of Nurse Executives, the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Alumni Assoc., the National Assoc. for Female Executives, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives. She has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles in national journals on topics such as team-based care, achieving Magnet status, and implementing clinical practice guidelines. Keroack noted that Shendell-Falik’s appointment is a milestone in the history of Baystate Health, marking both the first female president and first nurse as president of Baystate Medical Center. “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to guide our nationally recognized hospital into the future,” she said. “I look forward to working collaboratively with staff and leaders of all Baystate facilities to deliver care that is compassionate, of the highest quality, and affordable. As I prepare to assume my new role, I am honored and humbled to be the first woman and nurse to hold this position at Baystate.” For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/bmc.

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Jason Curtis

Jason Curtis

Tighe & Bond, a New England leader in civil engineering and environmental consulting, recently hired mechanical engineer Jason Curtis to bolster its growing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) team. He has experience designing a range of institutional, educational, residential, healthcare, commercial, and combined heat and power projects throughout the region. He will work primarily out of the firm’s corporate office in Westfield. Curtis has managed projects from the conceptual design phase through construction administration. He has completed HVAC system designs and overseen the production of MEP and fire-protection construction documents. Known for working closely with owners and architects in design-coordination efforts, he also has performed energy models and life-cycle cost analyses to evaluate various prospective energy-conservation measures for renovation projects. “Jason is a welcome addition to our MEP team,” said David Pinsky, president and CEO of Tighe & Bond. “As the demand for our mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services has grown, we have expanded our staff to better serve our clients and provide more integrated services. We now have a robust MEP team of 10 that quickly respond to our clients’ needs.” Curtis earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Union College. He is licensed in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, and is registered in Accredited LEED AP Building Design + Construction. In addition, he is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.

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Regional accounting firm Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C. announced the following promotions to senior audit associate: Timothy Bessette, Nicholas Deets, Patrick Kelly, Caitlin Main, Alex McCabe, James Mercadante, Steve Norris, Andrew Pires, Michael Ray, and Kyle Rounseville. In addition, Rachel Hahn has been promoted to senior tax associate. In the firm’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Technology Group, LLC, Hadas Davis was promoted to senior network engineer, and Kenneth Blain was promoted to network engineer. “I am pleased to see our team’s dedication to accounting and technology excellence,” said Drew Andrews, the frm’s managing partner. “These promotions are the result of our clients’ continued satisfaction in all that we do for them.”

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Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Joseph LeMay

Joseph LeMay

Robert Spano

Robert Spano

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the hiring of three new associates: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Joseph LeMay, and Robert Spano. Fitzgerald graduated summa cum laude from Elms College with two bachelor’s degrees, in accounting and information systems and in business management and marketing. She is currently enrolled in the MSA program at Elms. As an undergraduate student, she earned the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, the Margaret & Agnes O’Donnell Scholarship, and the Donald A. & Dorothy F. Axtell Grant Scholarship. Before pursuing accounting, Fitzgerald worked as a customer-service professional at a local bank. In her current position, she works closely with clients to meet their engagement needs and supports the lead accountant in matters including compliance testing and financial analysis. LeMay comes to MBK from Westfield State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and an MSA. He brings a background in bookkeeping, cost-accounting analytical research, and public-accounting experience to his position through various internships in both public accounting and private industry, including an internship with Meyers Brothers Kalicka. As an associate, his responsibilities include performing audit testing for various industries as well as tax returns for individuals and businesses. Spano holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from American International College, where he is currently enrolled in the MSAT graduate program. He specializes in field work and compliance testing. Before joining the firm, he completed an internship at a local firm, where he gained experience in taxation and fraud examination. “Elizabeth, Joseph, and Robert represent the next generation of accountants in our profession,” said Howard Cheney, partner and director of the firm’s Audit and Accounting practice. “They are young, vital, and motivated to provide quality service to our clients. At MBK, we believe strongly in the development of our next generation to ensure the continuity of the service we provide to our clients. We couldn’t have asked for better candidates.”

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HUB International New England, a division of HUB International Limited, a global insurance-brokerage, risk-advisory and employee-benefits firm, announced multiple new hires in its East Longmeadow office to meet the needs of its expanding products, services, and customer demand:

Eileen Maxwell

Eileen Maxwell

• Appointed as an employee benefits client relationship manager, Eileen Maxwell will be responsible for assisting staff with client relations, service, sales, and administrative activities of new and existing group benefit accounts. With almost 30 years of experience, she has an extensive background in planning, evaluating, implementing, relationship building, and managing all aspects of employee benefits; and

Marayda Pagan

Marayda Pagan

Marayda Pagan joins the Personal Lines department as an account manager and will be responsible for assisting clients with their home, auto, and personal-liability umbrella coverages. She has held various positions in the insurance industry, starting out as an office assistant before being promoted to processor. She also held the position of Personal Lines manager. Cynthia Squires has been hired as the manager of Select Business for small to medium-sized business accounts in the Commercial Lines department. She has been in the insurance industry for almost 30 years and brings an extensive amount of knowledge and leadership skills to the agency. She will be responsible for the day-to-day management and servicing of small-business accounts, providing oversight and direction to commercial-lines staff, leading quality-control and product-analysis processes, managing departmental retention, acquiring new business goals, and staying on top of the latest industry changes and trends. “We’re thrilled to welcome Eileen, Marayda, and Cynthia on board during this exciting period of growth for the company,” said Timm Marini, president of HUB International New England, formerly FieldEddy Insurance. “Their respective experience will be an essential part in helping to further the agency’s goals of expanding our products and services while maintaining the highest level of service standards and best value to our clients.”

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After 20 years at Dakin Humane Society, Executive Director Leslie Harris announced her resignation effective Oct. 2 to pursue a new opportunity at Quonquont Farm & Orchard in Whately. “Leslie’s vision and leadership has given Dakin incredible momentum and untold success stories,” said Charlotte Cathro, Dakin’s board treasurer. “Since joining the organization in 1995, Leslie grew Dakin from an all-volunteer, foster-based network to one with more than 60 employees between its two locations in Springfield and Leverett, a full-time spay/neuter clinic that has performed more than 60,000 surgeries, and a multi-million-dollar budget. I know I speak for the entire board in expressing my appreciation for Leslie’s stewardship of Dakin and wish her great success in her new role.” Under Harris’s leadership, Dakin Humane Society grew from serving 300 animals in its first year to more than 20,000 in 2014. She led the charge to merge operations with Greenfield’s Pioneer Valley Humane Society in 2006 and the expansion of operations to Springfield in 2009. Today, Dakin encompasses two adoption centers and the Community Spay/Neuter Clinic. Due to Dakin’s affordable, wide-reaching spay/neuter programs, intake of local homeless kittens has declined 46% in the past six years. Dakin has met its dual goals of eliminating euthanasia as a means of controlling pet overpopulation in the Pioneer Valley and guaranteeing the placement of every adoptable animal that arrives at its front doors. Harris currently oversees the organization’s $3.7 million budget. “It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as Dakin’s executive director,” Harris said. “This was a hard decision to make, given my love for animals and Dakin, but I know the organization will continue to thrive and evolve thanks to its dedicated staff and volunteers. I will continue to be an enthusiastic supporter of Dakin’s work.” Dakin’s board voted to appoint its recent president, Nancy Creed, to the position of interim executive director. The board will now conduct a search for a permanent replacement who, according to Cathro, “exemplifies our guiding principles, is committed to our mission, and can lead the organization into the next phase of its development, expand community goodwill, and challenge the Dakin nation to bigger and better things.”  Dakin Humane Society is a local, nonprofit organization that relies solely on contributions from individuals and businesses that care about animals to bring its services to the community. For more information, visit www.dakinhumane.org.

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Facial Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery, P.C. announced the hiring of surgeon Justin Clemow. Clemow earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, then attended the UConn School of Dental Medicine from 2003 to 2007, where he was awarded the Student Oral Surgery Award. In 2007, Clemow was accepted into the oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) residency at the University of Florida Jacksonville. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 2011, completed an internship in general surgery at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, and completed his OMFS training as the administrative chief resident in 2013. He was decorated with multiple awards during residency, including the Resident Advocate Award, Best Teaching Resident Award, and SICU Resident Award. After residency, Clemow worked for two years in private practice with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Cleveland. He served as assistant clinical professor for the Case Western Reserve OMFS residency, provided level-1 trauma coverage at MetroHealth Medical Center, and also provided trauma and OMFS call coverage at Fairview Hospital, part of the Cleveland Clinic system. Clemow’s specific surgical interests include facial trauma and reconstruction, general anesthesia, corrective jaw surgery, obstructive sleep apnea surgery, and complex dental implant procedures, including bone grafting. He is a fellow of the American Assoc. of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and a diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (board-certified). He maintains certification in BLS, ACLS, PALS, and ATLS.

•••••

Dress for Success (DFS) announced that it has appointed Gina Golash Kos to its board of directors. Golash Kos brings vast nonprofit leadership experience to the table — both in her role as CEO at Sunshine Village and in leadership positions in the region’s nonprofits. She is currently a trustee of Elms College and a member of the executive committee of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. She previously served on the board of trustees of Westfield State University and is a past chairperson of the boards of the Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce.

•••••

The board of directors of the newly-formed Springfield Regional Chamber has elected officers to lead the organization: Daniel Keenan, chair; Patricia Canavan, vice chair; Barbara-Jean Deloria, treasurer; and David Parke, clerk. “The leadership of our new organization is incredibly strong,” said chamber President Jeffrey Ciuffreda. “With their breadth of knowledge and experience, combined with the talent, commitment, and capabilities from the entire board, the Springfield Regional Chamber is poised for continued growth and to maximize the investment our members place in us.” Keenan is senior vice president of government and community relations for the Sisters of Providence Health System. He has been a member of the chamber’s legislative steering committee since 2006, previously serving as its chair. He had served on the board of directors of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) since 2010, most recently as its vice chair. Prior to joining SPHS, he served six terms as a Massachusetts state representative, holding several key committee assignments, including vice chair of Insurance, Ways and Means, and Taxation. Canavan is president of United Personnel. A member of the board of directors of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, she most recently served as its vice chair. Canavan also served on the ACCGS board for the past two years. Canavan lends her leadership to other boards of directors, including the Baystate Health Foundation, Springfield Public Forum, and the Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Deloria is a senior vice president at Florence Bank. She was a member of the ACCGS board of directors since 2005 and served as its board treasurer since that time. She is a past president of the West Springfield Chamber of Commerce and Dress for Success Western Massachusetts and serves on the Mass. Small Business Review Board. Parke is a partner with Bulkley Richardson and a member of its business and finance department, focusing on general corporate and business matters, mergers and acquisitions, and other transactional work. He served on the ACCGS board for the past nine years and, according to Ciuffreda, was instrumental in the formation of the Springfield Regional Chamber. He serves on Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Inc. and is past chair and current member of the Friends of the Homeless board of directors.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the hiring of three new associates: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Joseph LeMay, and Robert Spano.

Fitzgerald graduated summa cum laude from Elms College with two bachelor’s degrees, in accounting and information systems and in business management and marketing. She is currently enrolled in the MSA program at Elms. As an undergraduate student, she earned the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, the Margaret & Agnes O’Donnell Scholarship, and the Donald A. & Dorothy F. Axtell Grant Scholarship.

Before pursuing accounting, Fitzgerald worked as a customer-service professional at a local bank. In her current position, she works closely with clients to meet their engagement needs and supports the lead accountant in matters including compliance testing and financial analysis.

LeMay comes to MBK from Westfield State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and an MSA. He brings a background in bookkeeping, cost-accounting analytical research, and public-accounting experience to his position through various internships in both public accounting and private industry, including an internship with Meyers Brothers Kalicka. As an associate, his responsibilities include performing audit testing for various industries as well as tax returns for individuals and businesses.

Spano holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from American International College, where he is currently enrolled in the MSAT graduate program. He specializes in field work and compliance testing. Before joining the firm, he completed an internship at a local firm, where he gained experience in taxation and fraud examination.

“Elizabeth, Joseph, and Robert represent the next generation of accountants in our profession,” said Howard Cheney, partner and director of the firm’s Audit and Accounting practice. “They are young, vital, and motivated to provide quality service to our clients. At MBK, we believe strongly in the development of our next generation to ensure the continuity of the service we provide to our clients. We couldn’t have asked for better candidates.”

Health Care Sections

Roundtable Refinements

David Cruise

David Cruise says employers consider the partnership a good way to find quality workers, among other benefits.

Anticipating the workforce needs of healthcare providers five, 10, or 20 years down the road doesn’t require a crystal ball. It does require forward thinking, initiative, and effective partnerships between the many players involved with creating a large, effective workforce. And these are the ingredients that go into the Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Mass., an arm of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County.

Dramatic changes are expected to take place in the field of healthcare and the way it is delivered over the next five years. But graduates from local colleges should be well prepared to fill the needs of regional employers, thanks to the Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Mass., an arm of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, or REB.

“Our partners come together to think through strategies to respond to ever-changing workforce needs,” said David Cruise, the REB’s president and CEO. “Part of the challenge is to be forward-thinking, innovative, and able to anticipate and balance supply versus demand within the healthcare workforce sector.”

The partnership has two divisions: the Western Mass. Nursing Collaborative, composed of employers and nursing school deans, directors, and faculty members; and the Allied Health Committee, which includes employers, educators, training providers, one-stop career centers, and project managers and personnel. They have each collaborated on a number of new programs and initiatives that Cruise believes are making a difference in educating, attracting, and retaining qualified healthcare professionals.

One of the workforce partnership’s current projects is an on-the-job training program that allows new hires to earn while they learn, and provides them with the knowledge or skills needed to succeed in their specific position. It’s funded through a two-year grant, and reimburses employers 50% of the workers’ salaries during a pre-set training period that cannot exceed 20 weeks.

Cruise said the first year was spent developing the program with employers. And although the wage reimbursement offsets the cost of the additional training the program provides, employers say it’s a secondary benefit.

“They believe it’s an efficient way to find good candidates and regard the reimbursement simply as a value added,” Cruise told BusinessWest as he talked about the process of selecting and presenting employers with a pool of qualified job applicants.

They come from a variety of venues, and a significant number are referred by local colleges. Others come from the one-stop career centers (FutureWorks and Career Point) which conduct assessments before choosing candidates, while the remainder apply directly for advertised positions in a traditional manner.

However, a large percentage have some clinical experience, because the grant can only be used to fund training for nurses or people in allied healthcare fields, and each employer has to provide the REB with a monthly progress report on their new hires.

Although the grant limits what professions are eligible for reimbursement, the program was enhanced in late June by a $25,000 grant from Bank of America that does not specify what jobs it can be used for.

“It will offer us greater flexibility and can be cobbled with other grants,” Cruise explained. “The REB is matching the $25,000, and the money will provide reimbursements for 10 new employees in nursing, medical assisting, health information technology, medical billing/coding, and other positions that include pharmacy technicians and community health workers.

“We’re trying to shorten the recruitment period for employers with this program,” he went on. “They have complete authority over the final hires, and this is putting people to work and giving them opportunities.”

Targeting Young People

The Healthcare Workforce Partnership works on many fronts, but has prioritized its goals, said Cruise.

They include creating more workforce diversity in Hampden, Franklin, and Hampshire counties; educating more advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants; the formation of a Career Pathways Initiative that brings together high schools and community colleges to create industry-specific programs that align education, training, and employment opportunities for today’s youth; support for new graduates as they transition into jobs; and education that promotes team-based healthcare.

Cruise said Chicopee Comprehensive High School and Holyoke Community College are piloting a Pathways to Prosperity Health Sciences program that is similar to a grade-9-to-14 career path model that was launched several years ago at West Springfield High School to fill jobs in the precision manufacturing sector.

The impetus began after Cruise contacted Kenneth Widelo, Comp’s career and technical education director, and explained the grade-9-to-14 model, then met with officials from Holyoke Community College (HCC) and set up a meeting between the two schools.

“It quickly became obvious that a program could be mutually beneficial, and although there wasn’t any funding to create a healthcare model, they felt it was so important that they cobbled resources to make it work,” said Cruise.

Widelo said they had several meetings with representatives from HCC to create an appropriate curriculum before the program was launched. “We had researched healthcare-delivery systems used by other vocational technical schools, but they all put students into one very specific track, such as working as a certified nursing assistant,” he told BusinessWest, adding that their goal was to offer a broader range of options.

The pilot program kicked off two years ago with 10th graders, which allowed the high school to make refinements to the curriculum. It has been highly successful, and allows students to earn 21 credits at HCC before they graduate high school.

“After they matriculate, they can transfer to the community college or attend a four-year college and go into nursing, work to become a doctor, or pursue a degree in healthcare business management,” Widelo said, noting that internships are part of the curriculum.

However, both schools are looking forward to the fall semester, which will mark the first class of incoming freshmen in their newly created Medical Science Academy, which is in line with the grades-9-to-14 career pathway they set out to establish.

Wideo said recruitment efforts for participants involved a variety of measures. Students from the city’s two middle schools completed a career-assessment survey, and two career counselors talked with them, then worked with the middle school guidance departments to identify interested candidates. They were interviewed, and a group of 40 graduating eighth-graders was selected and will begin their course of study this month in HCC’s science laboratory.

“We’re really excited about the program,” said Widelo, adding that students had expressed interest in healthcare careers in the past before the track was created.

Cruise said the students are enthusiastic and understand that the program will help them jumpstart a career.

“The academy has a rigorous academic program that has been aligned with the demands students need to satisfy in order to move seamlessly into an associate-degree program,” he told BusinessWest, noting that the five college courses they take in high school will save each student approximately $3,000 in tuition.

“It’s a model we think could be used by other schools, and once we get the template down, there is no doubt that it could be replicated,” he went on. However, it will require willing partners and involvement by the private sector, which could include summer jobs that bring the students’ academic studies to life.

Filling a Critical Need

The Western Mass. Nursing Collaborative, meanwhile, is also doing its best to guarantee there will be enough well-educated nurses to fill a growing need in Western Mass., which is especially important because registered nurses represent the largest segment of the healthcare workforce.

“They’re working from a set of priorities and updating their strategic plan by setting specific goals,” Cruise noted. “We have more than 40 very active educational institutions and employers who are members, and it’s important to provide a forum for them because the healthcare landscape is changing rapidly. The needs are so dramatic that they have to be innovative and responsive as they make plans to move forward and meet the workforce needs of the future.”

Their priorities include increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce, ensuring that nurses have the competencies and full scope of practice needed to meet the changing health needs of the community; increasing the number of nurses with a bachelor’s degree or higher; increasing the supply and diversity of nursing faculty in area programs and the retention of new nurses in all care settings; and sustaining the partnership.

Patricia Samra, a registered nurse and director of Clinical Workforce Planning and Finance for Baystate Health, said the Western Mass Nursing Collaborative was formed in 2006, thanks to a three-year grant, and was initially called Partners Invested in Nursing. “It focused on workforce initiatives and marked the first time that major healthcare providers and educators in the region convened,” she said, explaining that they included all area schools of nursing along with employers that ranged from hospitals to long-term care providers, who have been working steadily to make sure there is a pipeline of qualified nursing students who are supported after they graduate and get jobs.

The support is imperative, because approximately 30% of nurses leave the profession less than two years after they begin working.

“They burn out due to a lack of confidence,” said Samra, adding that Baystate has created a program to lower that rate.

It brings newly hired nurses together monthly to share emotions as well as clinical challenges, and they are given a case study to analyze, which involves discussing best practices and allows them to reflect on their own experiences.

“They may go into our simulation lab and practice techniques, but the goal is not to gain clinical experience, it’s about critical thinking at the bedside centered around quality care and patient safety,” said Samra, noting that their retention rate has risen significantly since the program began.

Karen Rousseau, director of the Division of Nursing at American International College, says the school works closely with Baystate, and some of its staff members are clinical instructors.

The school also has alliances with other employers, because nursing students have to complete a designated number of clinical hours, which is done in a variety of settings.

“One of the biggest projects our students have been involved with in the past two years is helping patients transition from an acute-care setting to their homes,” said Rousseau, noting that they have shadowed nurses from visiting nurse associations, then worked with the nurses to identify gaps to improve care.

AIC is also a partner in the Health Inter-professional Educators of Pioneer Valley, which seeks to promote communication between students in areas such as ethical dilemmas.

Baystate’s Patricia Samura (left) and AIC’s Karen Rousseau

Baystate’s Patricia Samura (left) and AIC’s Karen Rousseau say the Western Mass. Nursing Collaborative has forged strong bonds between hospitals and nursing schools.

“It grew out of the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield, and encompasses AIC, Western New England University, Elms College, Springfield Technical Community College, HCC, Baypath University, Springfield College, Westfield State University, UMass Amherst, and members from Baystate Medical Center who are interested in supporting interprofessional education and collaboration in health care,” Rousseau said.

Keeping Pace

The programs created by the Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Mass under REB’s umbrella ensure that communication takes place between schools, training facilities, and employers. “It’s a challenge to meet the headwinds we are facing, but there is a growing demand for healthcare professionals both at the patient level and away from the bedside,” Cruise noted.

As a result, the collaborations that are formed are taken seriously by members.

“We all believe the partnership is very valuable,” said Samra. “The REB helps get organizations to the table for two to four hours each month, and even though we are all busy, full-time working professionals, it’s worthwhile because it adds value to all of our programs.”

And it also helps ensure a steady flow of workers in the pipeline to meet the growing healthcare needs of this region for years to come.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Organizers of the 2015 Western Mass. Business Expo, presented by Comcast Business, have extended the deadline for submitting proposals for educational seminars to be presented at the annual show. Proposals will now be accepted through Friday, July 31.

This year’s event, set for Nov. 4 at the MassMutual Center, is expected to attract more than 2,000 business professionals. The show will feature a number of seminars to be presented during the course of the day in three tracks: Sales & Marketing, Business Management, and Hottest Trends. Presentations should be 45 minutes in length, be interactive, and give business owners and managers insight and actionable ideas to take back to their office or plant. Proposals may be sent to [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Organizers of the 2015 Western Mass. Business Expo, presented by Comcast Business, have extended the deadline for submitting proposals for educational seminars to be presented at the annual show. Proposals will now be accepted until July 31.This year’s event, set for Nov. 4 at the MassMutual Center, is expected to attract more than 2,000 business professionals. The show will feature a number of seminars to be presented during the course of the day in three tracks: Sales & Marketing; Business Management; and ‘Hottest Trends.’ Presentations should be 45 minutes in length, be interactive, and give business owners and managers insight and actionable ideas to take back to their office or plant. Proposals may be sent to [email protected]

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College board of trustees recently announced its 2015-16 board elections during its annual meeting on the campus.

Gregory Toczydlowski has been elected board chair. He is the president for personal insurance for the Travelers Companies Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Springfield College in 1989, and has been on the college’s board of trustees since 2011.

Toczydlowski takes over for Douglass Coupe, who served as chair for four years. Coupe is the retired vice president of State Street Global Investor Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certificate of advanced studies at Springfield College, and has been a trustee more than 20 years.

James Ross III will serve as vice chair of the board of trustees. He is the former chief development officer for Grupo TorreSur in Southboro.

The following individuals have been re-elected to serve a three-year term on the Springfield College board of trustees:

• Bridget Belgiovine, the current Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics Department chair at Wellesley College. She earned a master’s degree from Springfield College in 1987;

• William Burke III, chief operating officer for Newell Rubbermaid in East Longmeadow;

• Lisa Emirzian, co-owner of Emirzian, Mariano & Associates in East Longmeadow, and a dentist focusing on esthetic and restorative dentistry. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1979;

• Jeni Ellis Halliday, owner of Wellness at Work;

• MaryLynn Jacobs, founder and partner of Attain Therapy + Fitness in East Longmeadow. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1981;

• Stephen McCarthy, director of Real Estate and Facilities for Shields Health Care Group in Quincy. He received a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1986;

• Michele Megas-Ditomassi, a community volunteer and retired teacher who earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1979, and a certificate of advanced study from the college in 1989;

• Linda Moffat, a retired media consultant for Moffat Communications. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1973;

• John Odierna, an attorney at law for the Law Offices of John A. Odierna in Springfield. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1964; and

• Robert Sullivan Jr., president and owner of the Sullivan Companies in Springfield.

New to the board of trustees will be:

• Kevin Washington, elected to serve a three-year term. Washington is president and CEO of YMCA of the USA; and

• Jonathan Reidy, elected Springfield College student trustee. Reidy is an athletic training major and will be entering his senior year this fall.

Business Management Sections
Local Consultants Stress the Need for Succession Planning

George Miller was explaining how he came to be the owner and operator of the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield.

He said he would try to make a long story short, but acknowledged that this was probably not possible, and then proved his point.

Kevin, left, and Michael Vann

Kevin, left, and Michael Vann say too many business owners make the mistake of putting off key decisions on succession.

Indeed, it took some time to explain how Miller went from being the construction-company owner originally hired by a team of nine principals to build the unique facility in Deerfield, to eventually becoming one of two partners to create and open the tourist attraction in 1999, and then become sole owner a few years later.

In short, there was obviously a good deal of attrition concerning that original ownership team, Miller told BusinessWest, adding that some of them developed cold feet when they learned the actual price tag for this facility — “I gave them some numbers and then had to perform CPR on a few of them.” Others dropped out during what became a protracted battle with the town for the permits needed to make the concept reality.

“They thought the butterflies were going to eat Deerfield,” said Miller with a chuckle, adding that he was asked to come on as a partner, and eventually, he and the lone remaining original investor prevailed and opened the doors to the facility. But this was to be a short-lived partnership.

“We had different philosophies — I liked making money, and he liked spending it,” Miller said. So he bought him out and continued to operate Magic Wings as a family operation, with daughter Kathy Fiore and son George Jr. eventually taking leadership positions.

Fast-forward to early this year, and Miller decided it was time to move on from the enterprise. Actually, his wife provided much of the motivation.

“She said, ‘when is it going to be my turn?’” he told BusinessWest, a reference to how the venture had come to consume most of his time and attention and how she would like some of both.

So Magic Wings is now for sale, thus becoming one of myriad businesses across this region and around the country now dealing with the complex, often thorny issue of succession.

In many ways, Magic Wings is atypical, said Michael Vann, who, with his father, Kevin, manages the Vann Group, a Springfield-based consulting company now handling the sale, and a company that specializes in such transactions and the larger issue of succession.

Magic Wings is certainly unique — a butterfly conservatory is an unsual business and one that commands a distinct brand of passion from its owner, said Mike Vann, adding that, in this case, there were few, if any, options concerning succession; the next generation has no interest in taking over the venture, and a sale to other employees is not a possibility, leaving Miller to sell.

But in many ways, Magic Wings is typical in that it presents lessons in how succession is something owners must be thinking about and planning for; otherwise, the process can become more tedious and difficult.

It also demonstrates how there are many moving parts to succession planning and the many other issues — from estate planning to retirement savings — that older business owners face as they come to grips with deciding the fate of what many describe simply as “my baby.”

Kevin Vann likened the process to putting together a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces.

“I tell new clients to picture it this way: you take a puzzle box that has 500 pieces in it, and you dump them out on the table,” he explained. “And you try to fit all those pieces to the puzzle — their personal life, their business life, and all those offshoots like the retirement plan — together. And when we get started, we don’t know what it’s going to look like.”

These days, the Vanns are helping many business owners with their figurative jigsaw puzzles — Mike estimates that maybe 40% of the company’s revenues are succession-plan-related — and the numbers will only move higher as the Baby Boomer generation ages and business owners confront something they probably don’t want to confront — succession.

They have forged an alliance with the consulting firm ROCG, a multi-national corporation that specializes in business consulting and especially succession issues, and are thus adjusting their own business plans to acknowledge succession planning as a major growth opportunity.

For this issue and its focus on business management, BusinessWest looks at that opportunity and the many issues involved with succession planning.

Getting the Bugs Out

Mike Vann says the numbers tell the story when it comes to the issue of succession planning, why it’s important for business owners to start thinking and doing something about it, and also why it represents a strong growth opportunity for his company.

“Statistics from a study that MassMutual conducted show that 26% of businesses have done some kind of succession planing, and 74% haven’t done anything,” he explained, adding quickly that many, if not most, of the companies in the former category would be considered larger, more sophisticated enterprises, with dozens or hundreds of employees.

Thus, the number of small and mid-size businesses — the kind of ventures that dominate the Western Mass. economy — with a plan of any kind is much smaller, perhaps as low as 10%.

There are a number of factors contributing to those statistics, said the Vanns, including a reluctance to face the issue of succession (there are several reasons why), preoccupation with other matters, especially the day-to-day operations of the business in question, and the general attitude that there will be time to do succession planning ‘later.’

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield is a unique business, but shares many of the common issues involved with succession.

While that’s true, later can sometimes be too late, said the consultants, adding that, ideally, business owners should be thinking about succession from the day they start their venture, but more realistically, they should give it strong consideration starting no later than 10 years before their projected exit from the stage.

Put another way, said Kevin Vann, business owners should put as much energy into how they’re going to exit their business as they do with how they’re going to start it.

Helping clients with these issues has become a steadily larger potion of the business portfolio for the Vanns, who also assist clients with sales of businesses (work that is often related to succession planning), mergers and acquisitions, organic growth opportunities, and strategic planning.

“We carry an inventory of six to a dozen succession-planning cases in different stages at any given time,” said Kevin. “It’s a part of our business that’s growing rapidly.”

When asked about those stages, he said there are several, starting with creation of an actual plan itself. This is followed by diligent updating of this document as time moves on and circumstances change. And then, there’s execution of the plan.

In many cases, companies will have a plan, but it will sit on a shelf neglected, said Mike, adding that this is a common mistake business owners make.

He cited the example of a local manufacturing company operated by two brothers who put a buy-sell agreement together.

“One of them’s 68, the other’s 63, and they have a buy-sell agreement in place,” he explained. “At that age, [the younger partner] doesn’t want to have to deal with buying out his brother, and there are no family members to take over. So it’s great that you have a buy-sell agreement, but it’s bad news if you’re the one who doesn’t die.”

Kevin agreed. “Succession and the many issues involved with it are a big problem today,” he told BusinessWest. “Over the past 20 years, the population has been conditioned to think, ‘let’s get our retirement planning done; let’s get our elder-care planning and our estate planning done.’ If you’re in business, succession planning has often been pushed off, and it’s catching a lot of people off guard. And we’re all living longer, so it’s easier to put it off.”

Flight Plans

Returning to the example of Magic Wings, Mike Vann said George Miller was not exactly caught off guard — he’s known for some time that neither of his children had an interest in taking over the business when he decided it was time.

But that time came up sooner than he might have anticipated several years ago, and he is now tasked with selling — with assistance from the Vanns — a business that requires a certain kind of owner, one with the requisite passion for its unique purpose, the ability to thrive in what is definitely a ‘people business,’ and one that can see past the many challenges to what Miller believes are solid opportunities.

And it may take some time to find such an investor.

For other business owners, there are different issues to be dealt with. And the list is even longer for those in family businesses, where succession-planning issues and estate-planning issues often collide at high speeds. In those cases, matters include which children will take over the business, on what terms, and with consideration to those children who are not involved in the business.

This crowded intersection of planning issues brings Kevin Vann back to that notion of a jigsaw puzzle. And what business owners need to keep in mind is that a succession is like a will in that it can’t sit on a shelf or in a safe as years and decades go by.

“Succession plans are constantly evolving because people are constantly evolving,” he said. “Someone gets sick, they suffer a health crisis, there’s a domestic problem, an issue with children, divorce … all these kinds of things.

“It’s not just about ‘gee, I’m getting old, I might die,’” he went on, referring to the thought pattern that often spurs one to action on a succession plan. “It’s about all those other things that are going on in your life all day long.”

And succession planning is not just about money — although that is a big part of it, he continued, adding that lifestyle issues often come into play.

“Many people want to stay active, stay productive — they don’t want to let go of their business,” said Kevin. “They have nowhere else to go, have no other vocations, no other hobbies. This is their baby, and they don’t want to let go. And they don’t want to be home with their spouse. These issues are all part of the planning process.”

Overall, succession plans are like snowflakes in that no two are alike, said Mike Vann. Therefore, each situation — meaning each business and the people involved with it — is unique. And there are many moving parts to each plan.

“There’s a big evaluation component to the business,” he noted while referencing where and how the process starts. “There’s a lot of analysis with the company and the people involved with it. We spend a lot of time coming to understand not only the business, but the personalities and the expectations of those individuals. You’re dealing with some very interesting nuances with business owners’ spouses; there’s a lot of discussion as to what’s next.

“There’s a recommendation component that addresses various options,” he went on. “You look at the estate plan that’s in place and what the individuals are doing from a financial-services component. It’s a holistic piece, and it needs to be, because, for many business owners, the company is the largest and most valuable asset they own.”

As for the execution phase, well, that comes complete with its own set of issues, said the Vanns, adding that it’s one thing to have a plan, but another thing altogether to carry it out — and the latter is often more difficult than the former.

“It’s not uncommon for us to get to a situation where we’ve completed a plan, there’s agreement on the plan, and no one wants to execute,” said Mike. “That’s because there are some hard conversations that have to come, probably some decisions on a family member that an individual doesn’t want to make, and many other things. It can get difficult.”

The Vann Group’s affiliation with ROCG will help in the process of helping clients navigate all that whitewater, said Kevin, adding that company has several offices in North America and provides access to resources and knowledge.

“If we want someone to look at an employee stock-ownership program, they have people who are experts on those,” he said. “The same with valuations and the many types of situations we encounter. There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience that we can tap into.”

Happy Landings

Looking ahead and at their own venture, the Vanns acknowledge that succession planning will soon become a huge source of business for a wide range of companies and individuals involved in consulting.

They believe they will have a leg up (or six legs up, in the case of Magic Wings) on all that competition thanks to their experience, affiliation with ROCG, and work putting together hundreds of those proverbial jigsaw puzzles.

Indeed, succession planning, like running a butterfly conservatory, involves hard work and, well, making sure things take off and land properly.

And they believe they have the perfect flight plan.


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

Daily News

HARTFORD, Conn. — Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., the ninth-largest New England-based accounting firm, announced that Lisa Wills, a certified public accountant, has been appointed audit director, providing professional services to the Connecticut and Western Mass. market as well as to the firm’s nonprofit niche group.

Wills has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, audit, and tax, with a practice focus in nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and employee-benefit plans. She recently served as an audit director at a national accounting firm, and throughout her career has worked for both national and regional firms. Wills received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from Elms College. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences on the topic of accounting, nonprofit, and governance issues.

“Lisa is highly regarded by our industry as an accomplished leader and practitioner of accounting and consulting services, key factors that will serve to benefit our clients and the firm’s position as a leading provider of professional services in the region and beyond,” said Drew Andrews, the firm’s managing partner. “We are proud to add Lisa to our team of professionals.”

Daily News

CHICOPEE — The College of Our Lady of the Elms and Greenfield Community College (GCC) have signed an agreement to expand baccalaureate opportunities for GCC students with a new full-time business degree program with established moderate tuition rates for each year of study. The new degree offering expands the choice of bachelor’s degrees available through Elms College on the Greenfield Community College campus. Starting this fall, current and first-year GCC students can enroll in a fully accredited Elms College bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing, taught onsite at the community college campus. A key benefit of this new degree track is helping students avoid high post-graduation debt loads. “Expanding the partnership between Elms College and GCC directly benefits the citizens of our communities,” said Elms College President Mary Reap, IHM, Ph.D. “Over the past two years, we have enjoyed a strong and collaborative relationship with our GCC partners in developing and implementing degree-completion programs for working adults. We’re delighted that this new degree program for day classes will provide an affordable, high-quality bachelor’s degree in business on a traditional schedule.” Applauding the new program, GCC President Bob Pura said, “access to the baccalaureate degree here on our campus is essential to many in our community. President Reap and all at Elms College are wonderful partners toward that end. This bachelor’s degree in business is especially exciting given the commitment to both excellence and affordability.” Students will first complete a GCC Business Administration Transfer-Elms Intent associate’s degree before completing the final four semesters of the Elms bachelor’s degree on the campus at GCC. Each semester in the four-year program is a traditional 15-week term, taught weekdays by Elms and GCC faculty. “The program, developed jointly by Elms and GCC, is a unique degree-completion model for students in Western Massachusetts,” said Elizabeth Hukowicz, Ph.D., dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Elms. “Students are closely advised by GCC advisors as they enter and complete their associate’s degrees at GCC, and then advised by Elms advisors as they transition into the bachelor’s degree program. We have developed programs that will advance the professional and personal lives of our students and our students’ families, and impact their communities.”

40 Under 40 The Class of 2015
Chief Financial Officer, Polish National Credit Union; Age 39

Jennifer Gallant

Jennifer Gallant

Jennifer Gallant’s interest in finance was sparked by a memorable business teacher in high school. The class was in accounting, however, and she didn’t see herself as the numbers-crunching type.

“I did two years of accounting in college, but I switched it up to do finance,” she said. “I like the analytical side; I have a lot of accounting experience, but I prefer analyzing numbers versus crunching them, and that’s what got me into finance.”

Gallant started her career as a teller at a local credit union before working her way up to CFO, later joining Polish National Credit Union in the same capacity. “I do asset and liability analysis, I oversee the budget, I approve and monitor all expenses, I do investing, I analyze the rates, and I supervise the accounting department,” she explained. “I’m a member of the executive management team; we all work together to run the credit union.”

She said she enjoys the challenge of analyzing the budget and making sure the credit union is operating within it — and, if not, determining why and taking steps to fix it. But she also enjoys mentoring high-school and college students who are interested in finance — in effect, paying forward what that business teacher did for her.

“We have a branch at Chicopee Comprehensive High School, and the tellers are high-school students, so we interact with a lot of students already,” she explained. “If we see potential there, or if someone expresses an interest in some area of the credit union, we’ll bring them on as a summer intern. It really helps show them the big picture of the credit-union industry.

“We’ve had some enthusiastic candidates go on to college to study finance, accounting, or business management,” she added. “I enjoy sharing my experiences with the interns, helping them figure out what they want to do. If that future is here, locally, that’s fantastic.”

Along with her full-time job, mentoring roles, and raising three children, Gallant also finds time to give back to the community through such organizations as Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen, where she serves as board member, finance committee member, and HR committee chair.

“I love the feeling I get from helping people,” she said. “I understand everyone leads a busy life these days, and it’s easy to let those things fall by the wayside, because you don’t have to do them. But if everyone had that mentality, who would do those things? I just think it’s important.”

— Joseph Bednar

Photo by Denise Smith Photography

Daily News

BERLIN, Conn. — Comcast announced that Ineshia Proctor has been appointed director of Customer Care for the company’s Western New England Region, which includes more than 300 communities in Western Mass., Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Western New Hampshire. In this role, Proctor is responsible for overseeing Comcast’s customer-care operations for the region, including managing the day-to-day operations of the company’s local regional call centers located in Enfield, Conn. and South Burlington, Vt.

“Ineshia brings a wealth of experience and passion to her new position,” said Troy Griffin, vice president of Customer Care for Comcast’s Western New England Region. “Her strong leadership, combined with her proven track record of effective personnel management, make her the ideal leader to oversee our customer-care operations in the region.”

Proctor has more than 15 years of experience with Comcast, having started out as a customer-care representative for the company in Maryland in 1999 and quickly rising through the ranks to become a supervisor and manager. In her last role, Proctor served as customer service manager for Advanced Services based in Newark, Del. for the company’s Freedom Region, where she oversaw 80 employees responsible for all facets of customer-service strategy, including product repair, billing, and collections.

Proctor attended the University of Maryland’s University College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in human resources management. She has relocated to Connecticut and works out of the company’s Enfield, Conn. call center.

Departments People on the Move

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the following:
• Kayla Helitzer, MSA, has been hired as an Associate. Helitzer began her career at MBK as an intern before acquiring her current position. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. In her free time, she participates in the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, volunteers at the Knesset Israel synagogue, and enjoys skiing and snowboarding;
• Joseph Vreedenburgh, MSA, has been hired as an Associate. Vreedenburgh comes to MBK with a background as a corporate accountant and experience with small to medium-sized businesses, as well as government entities. This experience provides him with a unique perspective as an auditor at the firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in accounting from UMass Amherst. He is a member of Northampton Area Young Professionals and enjoys hiking and mountain biking; and
• Brandon Mitchell, MSA, CPA, has been hired as an Associate. Mitchell specializes in audits of commercial and not-for-profit entities, reviews and compilations of financial statements for small businesses and individuals, and tax-return preparations. Before joining the firm, he worked as a business manager for a locally owned business. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in accountancy from Westfield State University and devotes much of his spare time to his alma mater’s Mentoring Program.
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Christine Phillips

Christine Phillips

PeoplesBank announced the appointment of Christine Phillips as vice president, Human Resources. In her new position, Phillips will monitor and administer the bank’s human-resources policies and recruitment plan, oversee employee relations, administer employee benefits, and serve as the bank’s EEO/AAP officer. Phillips brings more than 15 years of human-resources experience including recruiting, performance analysis, and compliance. She not only helped a variety of organizations recruit top talent, she also helped operate a successful human-resources company. A member of the AIM Human Resources Group, Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst. She is a member of the South Hadley School Committee, the PTA president of Plains School, and a board member of St. Patrick’s CYO Basketball.
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Elizabeth Hukowicz

Elizabeth Hukowicz

Elms College has appointed Elizabeth Hukowicz dean of the newly established School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Hukowicz has been the associate academic dean of the Division of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education since 2005. Under her leadership, the number, scope, and complexity of programs in her department has increased tremendously. In recognition of this growth, the division has been restructured into a school, with Hukowicz appointed as the first dean. “The new school will serve our non-traditional and adult learners, and also highlight the importance of these programs to the strength and vitality of the institution,” said Walter Breau, vice president of academic affairs. Added Hukowicz, “this restructuring will allow the school to offer a broader array of degree options and services for adult learners on and off campus. The adult learner is at the core of what we do, and we will provide increased opportunities to better serve the adult learner in and out of the classroom, wherever and however that may be. We will continue to find new and better ways to make students successful.” Elms College offers graduate-degree programs in accounting, applied theology, autism-spectrum disorders, education, healthcare leadership, management, and nursing. The college also offers certificates of advanced graduate study in autism-spectrum disorders, communication sciences and disorders, and education.
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Mike Harsh

Mike Harsh

FloDesign Sonics Inc. announced it has added Mike Harsh to its board of directors. Harsh served as vice president and chief technology officer for GE Healthcare until December 2014 and led its Global Science and Technology Organization. “The addition of Mike to our board will have a profound impact on our company,” said founder and CEO Stanley Kowalski III. “Mike has personally been involved with the research and development of acoustic-based products in life sciences. He has the ability to get into the details while envisioning our global strategy. We are delighted to have him join our team.” Added Harsh, “I am really excited to be part of FloDesign Sonics. Their entrepreneurial sprit is contagious, and the convergence of this unique and innovative application of acoustics to filtration will unleash a new tool in healthcare that can also be leveraged into other industries.” Harsh led the global Science and Technology Organization for GE Healthcare, a $18 billion business unit of General Electric focusing its research on the development of innovative diagnostics, healthcare IT, medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient-monitoring systems, biopharmaceutical-manufacturing technologies, and technologies that facilitate new drug discovery. Harsh began his career at GE in 1979 as an electrical design engineer in nuclear imaging, and subsequently held numerous design and engineering management positions with X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, patient monitoring, and information technologies. He was also the global technology leader of the Imaging Technologies Lab at the GE Global Research Center, where he led the research for imaging technologies across the company, as well as the research associated with computer visualization/image analysis and superconducting systems. He was named an officer of General Electric Co. in November 2006. Harsh earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University, and he holds numerous U.S. patents in the field of medical imaging and instrumentation.
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Luis Santamaria

Luis Santamaria

Luis Santamaria has been chosen as Greenfield Community College’s new director of Campus Public Safety. He will oversee GCC’s Campus Public Safety department and serve as GCC’s chief of police. Santamaria leaves his position as associate director of Public Safety for Curry College in Milton. Prior to his work at Curry College, he served as a sergeant for Tufts University for nine years and as a campus police officer at Simmons College and officer in charge at Western New England University. Santamaria graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Western New England University. He served as vice president of his class at the Special State Police Academy. He holds EMT certification and has certification as a MCJTC sexual assault investigator, defensive tactics instructor, and rape aggression defense instructor. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.
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Kate Bechtold

Kate Bechtold

Anthony Scibelli

Anthony Scibelli

Following nationwide searches, Cooley Dickinson Hospital President and CEO Joanne Marqusee announced that two healthcare executives, Katherine Bechtold and Anthony Scibelli, have joined the organization’s senior leadership team. Bechtold has been selected as Cooley Dickinson Health Care’s vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “I am very excited to have someone with Kate’s depth of experience, clear commitment to quality care and service excellence, collaborative style, and ability to inspire staff at all levels join the senior leadership team,” Marqusee said. Added Bechtold, “I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to lead nursing and patient-care services at Cooley Dickinson. I was impressed with the commitment to patient care that I heard from staff and medical staff alike and look forward to being part of the new leadership team that Joanne Marqusee is building.” Most recently, Bechtold served as the senior vice president and chief nurse executive for MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash., where she oversaw system-wide nursing and clinical policies, case management, social work, and quality care for the five-hospital system and its primary-care, urgent-care, and specialty clinics. She also served for eight years as chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care at Centura Health Systems in Englewood, Colo., and Saint Anthony Hospital System. She counts among her accomplishments leading Saint Anthony Central Hospital to one of the highest scores in the nation for nursing quality indicators and significantly reducing nursing-management turnover rates. Scibelli has joined Cooley Dickinson Health Care as vice president, operations and chief administrative officer. He will supervise a number of departments, including Facilities, Housekeeping, Transport, Security, Nutrition, Lab, Imaging, and Human Resources. “I am very excited that a leader with Tony’s range of experience, dedication to service excellence, and ability to lead teams and promote teamwork has accepted this important position. He will add much to the new senior leader team we are building,” Marqusee said. Scibelli has most recently served as senior vice president, Human Resources, Support Services, and Post Acute Operations at Mohawk Valley Health System in Utica, N.Y., which resulted from the affiliation of Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center. He oversaw a range of functions, including Human Resources, Facilities Management, Support Services, Home Care, and Long-term Care. Scibelli joined Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare in 2004 as vice president, Human Resources and was promoted several times there. Scibelli earned a bachelor’s degree at Worcester State College and master’s degrees from Lesley College in Cambridge and SUNY Albany.
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Patrick McCarthy, Sodexo Dining Services general manager for the Loomis Communities, has been selected for the Sodexo National Emerging Leaders program, joining 29 of his peers who have been identified as leaders in their field. The Sodexo Emerging Leaders program consists of an intensive, nine-month leadership-development course focusing on leadership at a strategic level. The course study includes trainings at the Sodexo North American headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., as well as peer project assignments and online interactive trainings. Prior to working for Sodexo and the Loomis Communities, McCarthy attended classes at the Culinary Institute of America and owned restaurants in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the hiring of three new associates — Kayla Helitzer, MSA, Joseph Vreedenburgh, MSA, and Brandon Mitchell, MSA, CPA.

Helitzer began her career at MBK as an intern before acquiring her current position. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. In her free time, she participates in the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, volunteers at the Knesset Israel synagogue, and enjoys skiing and snowboarding.

Vreedenburgh comes to MBK with a background as a corporate accountant and experience with small to medium-sized businesses, as well as government entities. This experience provides him with a unique perspective as an auditor at the firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in accounting from UMass Amherst. He is a member of Northampton Area Young Professionals and enjoys hiking and mountain biking.

Mitchell specializes in audits of commercial and not-for-profit entities, reviews and compilations of financial statements for small businesses and individuals, and tax-return preparations. Before joining the firm, he worked as a business manager for a locally owned business. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in accountancy from Westfield State University and devotes much of his spare time to his alma mater’s Mentoring Program.

“Kayla, Joseph, and Brandon each bring unique experience and expertise to their positions at the firm,” said MBK partner Howard Cheney. “But among the things they have in common are integrity, professionalism, and a strong dedication to customer service.”

Company Notebook Departments

Doctors Express Forges Partnership with Large Practice Group
WORCESTER — Doctors Express, the largest independent urgent-care provider in the Commonwealth, announced a partnership with one of the largest independent cooperative physician groups, the Central Massachusetts Independent Physicians Assoc. (CMIPA). This first-of-its-kind partnership will offer more resources for patients, better communication between providers and patients, as well as continuity of care. Doctors Express operates under parent company Medvest, LLC, which serves as the master developer of the urgent-care franchise throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In particular, this will be an opportunity for patients in Worcester to find accessible and affordable care. Doctors Express and CMIPA plan to launch their first site in Worcester (115 Stafford St., late spring) and another Worcester location (address and date to be announced shortly). This announcement comes on the heels of a successful partnership between Doctors Express and the Steward Health Care System, based in the Greater Boston area. Through the partnership, urgent care provided by Doctors Express is now available to all Steward patients. As Doctors Express continues to grow with more locations, affiliations between urgent-care providers and major medical systems is the way of the future, said Jim Brennan and Rick Crews, CEO and president, respectively, of Medvest, LLC. “Our partnership with CMIPA continues the objective at Medvest to redefine how patient care is delivered,” said Brennan. “We are partnered with Steward Health Care System, the largest fully integrated community care organization and community hospital network in Eastern Massachusetts, and now CMIPA, one of the largest physician cooperative groups in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Existing urgent-care locations have not completely satisfied the need for affordable and accessible care, said Gail Sillman, CEO of CMIPA. “We thought about setting up our own urgent-care center while evaluating our options. We even hired a consultant and became familiar with all the urgent-care providers nationally and locally.” With the help of a consultant, Sillman identified Doctors Express as the most viable option. “Together we saw the benefits of a true partnership where other urgent-care providers did not,” she said. “Doctors Express will honor our patient relationships and extend patient care on nights and weekends for a true, mutually beneficial partnership. Furthermore, Doctors Express has the name brand and market recognition that we were looking for, largely due to the quality of their patient care.” Doctors Express currently has Massachusetts locations in Braintree, Burlington, Dedham, Malden, Marlboro, Natick, North Andover, Saugus, Springfield, Waltham, Watertown, and West Springfield, with several new locations in development. In addition to the two Worcester locations to be opened this year, the company plans to open a location in New Bedford later this month. The Marlboro location is the most recent addition to the Massachusetts-based operations of Doctors Express, having opened on Dec. 5 under the leadership of Managing Director Bing Yeo.

UMass Amherst, Amazon.com Create Virtual Bookstore
AMHERST — UMass Amherst has contracted with Amazon.com to replace its traditional on-campus textbook store with a virtual bookstore expected to save students about 30% compared with current prices on course materials and provide free, one-day shipping to the campus and nearby communities. This will be Amazon’s first online university store in the Northeast and its third nationwide, with potential annual savings of $380 per student. “We know students struggle with the high cost of textbooks and other course materials, and they have been moving to online purchasing. We are delighted to help them get the most competitive prices and first-rate service,” said James Sheehan, UMass Amherst’s vice chancellor of administration and finance. “By seamlessly linking our online campus information system to Amazon, we will make it convenient as well as economical for students to get the items they need for their classes, delivered in one day with no shipping charge to campus and nearby addresses.” Beginning in May, students will be able to order new, used, rental, and digital textbooks and other course materials through Amazon or through personalized links in SPIRE, the university’s online student-information system. To make finding UMass textbooks easier for students, Amazon will integrate relevant course and section information on customized Amazon product pages. In June, Amazon will also open a staffed customer pick-up and drop-off location in the Lincoln Campus Center. For several years, students have been turning from traditional textbook stores to online sources to save money. The university’s five-year contract with Amazon will accelerate the online-purchasing trend and save UMass Amherst students money, particularly through free shipping either to campus or to addresses in Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, Pelham, South Deerfield, and Sunderland. UMass Amherst officials said Amazon was chosen from six companies that submitted proposals because of its low prices and its ability to deliver superior customer service. Based on a sample of more than 1,500 course materials used in UMass Amherst classes during the 2014 spring semester, Amazon estimates it can offer UMass students a savings of 31% versus current bookstore prices, or around $1.4 million based on sales of textbooks at the existing UMass Bookstore. The College Board estimates that a student at a four-year state university spends $1,225 per year on textbooks and supplies, but that number varies across courses of study. Based on this rough estimate, UMass Amherst students could save about $380 annually.

Atlantic Fasteners Moves to Larger Facility
AGAWAM — Atlantic Fasteners has moved to a 44,500-square-foot facility in Agawam, bringing all employees under one roof. The 100%-employee-owned company, which sells industrial and aerospace fasteners and supplies nationwide, previously operated out of three locations in neighboring West Springfield. The new facility has the capacity to hold four times the company’s current inventory and accommodate 25% more office employees. It includes a 22-foot pickup counter, complete with 17 technical fastener wall charts to help customers with measuring fasteners, identifying head styles, and other important information. The ISO 9001:2008 and AS9120-certified firm was founded by Western Mass. businessman Patrick O’Toole in 1981. He sold the company to his employees in 2005.

WSU Online Programs Lauded by U.S. News
WESTFIELD — Westfield State University led Massachusetts’ state universities and placed in the top 30% out of 214 schools in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 “Best Online Education Programs” rankings. Westfield State’s official ranking was 58 out of 214 in the category of online-education bachelor’s programs. “We are committed to finding new ways to expand access to a high-quality college education,” said Elizabeth Preston, president of Westfield State University. “Offering online access to our academic programming allows us to support the needs of students who might not otherwise be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities we offer.” Westfield State has offered online classes since 2002 and currently offers six online bachelor’s-degree-completion programs, in business management, criminal justice, liberal studies, history, sociology, and psychology. Evolving the program has been key to its success and expansion. Last year, Westfield State signed the MassTransfer Plus agreement that allows students who have completed an online associate’s degree at Holyoke Community College (HCC) to transfer to the university’s online bachelor’s-degree program, making it possible for them to complete a four-year degree fully online. The MassTransfer Plus agreement builds on the growing number of fully online degree programs available at HCC and Westfield State, as well as the institutions’ determination to make it easier for Massachusetts residents to obtain an education and move into higher-paying, in-demand career fields.

VertitechIT Launches New, Interactive Website
HOLYOKE — With sales at an all-time high, a modern headquarters, and a new, national business alliance focused on IT network infrastructure and unified communications, VertitechIT is celebrating with the launch of its new, interactive website, www.vertitechit.com. The site uses humorous, black-and-white photography and poignant headlines to draw in visitors, poking light fun at what can be a very staid and highly technical profession. “IT industry websites tend to be rather formulaic,” said VertitechIT Principal Partner Greg Pellerin. “It was important for our new site to reflect our corporate culture, one that promotes fun and creativity along with cutting-edge technical expertise.” The privately held company, which caters to the business and healthcare industries, just concluded its most successful year ever and recently moved into its new national headquarters in a converted 19th-century paper mill in Holyoke. VertitechIT also recently announced the formation of a national IT-solutions coalition with Microsoft platform provider Software Logic and unified communications expert Partner Consulting. The new Stability Alliance (www.stabilityalliance.com) is focused on building IT network infrastructures that allow businesses and healthcare systems to increase capacity, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.

SC Recognized for Community Engagement
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as one of a select group of colleges and universities throughout the country to earn its community-engagement classification. This classification recognizes Springfield College for its curriculum, which involves students and faculty addressing community needs, as well as outreach and partnerships that benefit the external community and the campus community. “This classification is highly respected and valued by the higher-education community,” said Springfield College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jean Wyld. “The essence of a Springfield College education is preparing students for careers and personal lives that improve the lives of other people, and this classification attests to that mission.” Springfield College is one of 361 institutions that now hold the community-engagement classification. This honor represents a higher-education institution’s excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.

Springfield JCC Receives Grant for Wellness Project
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield JCC Kehillah Special Needs Department’s Fitness Buddies Program is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut & Western Mass. for a wellness project that will significantly improve quality of life for young people with special needs. Recognizing the need in the Greater Springfield area for a fitness center with adapted equipment for teens with special needs, the JCC established a Fitness Buddies program with seed money from the Doug Flutie Foundation in 2013. As the popularity of the program increased, additional specialized equipment was needed to accommodate individuals with Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and autism-spectrum disorders. Ronald McDonald House Charities stepped in to underwrite the cost of two Expresso S3Y youth bikes, which are safer than a conventional treadmill or elliptical machine. This type of bike is also being used in a pilot program with Harvard School of Public Health. Adding modified equipment puts special-needs individuals on a par with their friends and gives them access to aerobic and fitness equipment that otherwise would be excluded from their workout. “Innovations such as these accessible bikes for teens and young adults with special needs opens up yet another opportunity for profound self-development — in this case, exercising in a typical fitness center,” said Stocky Clark, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut & Western Mass. “RMHC is honored to partner with the JCC to bring this innovation to individuals with a range of special needs participating in the Kehillah Special Needs Department of the JCC.” Increased social interaction between the special-needs community and general members helps create healthy relationships and empowers individuals with special needs. Best Buddies matches teens and young adults who have social challenges with teens and adults in the community. Together, they work out at the Springfield JCC, and participants make new friends while learning healthy habits. Research shows that exercise yields a range of physical and mental-health benefits for children. The Springfield JCC serves the Greater Springfield and Northern Conn. communities, offering hundreds of programs for all ages with a strong commitment to individuals with special needs.

WMECo to Rebrand as Eversource Energy
SPRINGFIELD — Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo) announced it will undergo a corporate rebranding, complete with a new name, Eversource Energy. The change will become official on Feb. 2. All subsidiaries of Hartford-based Northeast Utilities will take the new name, including WMECo, NSTAR, Connecticut Light and Power Co., Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, and Yankee Gas Services Co. Tom May, chairman, president, and CEO of Northeast Utilities, stated in a press release that “consolidating our brand was the obvious next step for us as we continually strive to improve energy delivery and customer service to our 3.6 million electricity and natural-gas customers across the region.”

Real Pickles Wins Good Food Award
GREENFIELD — Dan Rosenberg and Addie Rose Holland of Greenfield-based Real Pickles joined top artisan food producers from around the country on Thursday for the Good Food Awards ceremony at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Real Pickles was awarded a top honor at the event for its organic beet kvass, a fermented beverage traditional to Eastern Europe. “One of our goals at Real Pickles has always been to promote the flavor and health benefits of fermented foods,” said Rosenberg. “Receiving a national honor like the Good Food Award helps us get this message out.” Real Pickles uses the traditional pickling process — without vinegar — to make its line of fermented vegetables. The organic beet kvass is made with certified organic vegetables from northeast family farms, as are all of the company’s products. The kvass is available by the bottle from area retailers, including Green Fields Co-op Market in Greenfield, River Valley Co-op Market in Northampton, and Whole Foods Market in Hadley. The Good Food Awards are given to artisan producers in five regions of the U.S. in 11 categories — beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, honey, oil, pickles, preserves, and spirits — and highlight outstanding American food producers who are making food that is exceptionally delicious and supports sustainability and social good.

MassMutual to Continue Sponsorship of Hampden County Legal Clinic
SPRINGFIELD — The Hampden County Bar Assoc. announced that MassMutual will be continuing its sponsorship of the Hampden County Legal Clinic for 2015 with a grant of $20,000. The grant will help carry on the expansion of pro bono activities as well as the promotion of the clinic. MassMutual has been the Hampden County Legal Clinic’s exclusive sponsor since 2012, not only providing financial support but also taking a leadership role in developing new pro bono opportunities and encouraging its in-house lawyers, paralegals, and staff to participate in the clinic’s programs. “Sponsoring the Hampden County Legal Clinic enhances access to justice for a significant number of local residents, ultimately benefiting the Greater Springfield community as well,” said Mark Roellig, executive vice president and general counsel. “We are proud to continue this relationship and hope to see growing numbers of legal volunteers donating their time through the clinic’s programs.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD —Springfield College and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recently presented the third annual Hoophall Classic Leadership Award to Springfield College sport management students Eric Pouliot and Emily Vance. Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame President and Chief Executive Officer John Doleva made the formal presentation during the 2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic at Blake Arena. Both Pouliot and Vance served as head supervisors for the 2015 Hoophall Classic, the leading high school basketball tournament in the country showcasing the nation’s top recruits. As part of their responsibilities, Pouliot and Vance created and developed work schedules for more than 75 student event staff workers and more than 30 student liaisons; created and conducted training sessions for volunteers of the event; collaborated with Springfield College Office of Conferences & Special Events, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and ESPN to ensure schedules of events; and supervised all event operations during the five-day tournament. Pouliot is a member of the Springfield College Sport Management Club. In 2014, he worked as a supervisor during the Hoophall Classic, helping to direct in-game operations and operational procedures. Along with working toward a degree in sport management, Pouliot also has a double minor in business management and economics. He is a member of the Springfield College Business Club, and also works on the campus as a student assistant for the Springfield College Office of Conferences & Special Events. Currently a dean’s list student, Pouliot continues to volunteer for the Special Olympics assisting basketball teams with scheduling and coaching. Vance is the president of the Springfield College Sport Management Club. She recently served as the club’s director of social media and marketing preparing agendas for all executive board meetings, and ensuring that on-campus events were being promoted using all social media outlets. In 2014, Vance worked as a supervisor for the Hoophall Classic, and served as head supervisor for the Junior Hoophall Classic. Currently a dean’s list student, Vance remains an office assistant in the Sport Management and Recreation Department, assisting faculty members with marketing tools for prospective students. Vance maintains a minor in business management and has volunteered at events for the Special Olympics and the Doug Flutie Foundation. The Hoophall Classic Leadership Award is presented annually to both a male and female junior majoring in sport management who has demonstrated a combination of service to Springfield College, the Hoophall Classic, and who has maintained a successful grade point average. Each recipient is awarded a $2,500 scholarship to be used during their senior year at Springfield College.

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