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Briefcase

UMass Report Details Costs of Reporting Sexual Harassment

AMHERST — Employees who file sexual harassment complaints often face harsh outcomes, with 65% losing their jobs within a year, and 68% reporting some form of retaliation by their employer, according to new research from the UMass Amherst Center for Employment Equity (CEE). In their report, “Employer’s Responses to Sexual Harassment,” co-authors Carly McCann, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, and M.V. Lee Badgett analyzed more than 46,000 harassment claims sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) from 2012 to 2016. These cases represent only a small amount (0.2%) of the estimated 25.6 million experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace that occurred over this same five-year window. “Since the legal standards are high, it is not surprising that only a very few file a charge,” said McCann, a UMass Amherst doctoral student and CEE research assistant. “The good news in the report is that the EEOC clearly takes sexual-harassment discrimination charges seriously. These charges are more likely to be found legally plausible, and the charging party is more likely to receive benefits, than other discrimination charges. At the same time, only a minority receive any benefit, and a majority lose their job and experience employer retaliation, so not filing a charge may also make economic and social sense. There are often severe negative consequences to filing a charge, and most people who do file a charge receive no benefits.” Even among the 27% of cases that did result in a benefit, redress was typically unsubstantial. The most common benefit — and the result of 23% of total charges that proceed through the agencies’ processed cases — was financial compensation; however, the average settlement of $24,700 (with a median amount of $10,000) is unlikely to make up for the economic cost of job loss. The discrepancy between the average and median amounts is due in large part to a handful of high-profile cases. Large monetary settlements are very rare, with only 1% of those who received monetary compensation exceeding $100,000. Just 12% of the total charges led to managerial agreements to change workplace practices. As the report notes, this lack of accountability often engenders further incidents of harassment. “Most employer responses tend to be harsh both via retaliation and firing employees who complain,” said Tomaskovic-Devey, professor of Sociology at UMass Amherst and CEE founding director. “The very low proportion of employees who file sexual-harassment complaints is very likely to be related to employers’ typically punitive responses.” While these numbers represent averages across all cases filed with the EEOC or FEPAs, gender and race influenced both the number and outcome of cases. “Although they comprise 47% of the labor force, women file 81% of sexual-harassment charges,” McCann said. “Black women, in particular, report a disproportionality large percentage of workplace sexual-harassment charges; they account for 7% of the labor force but file 27% of sexual-harassment charges.” Following recommendations given by the EEOC, the authors advocate having workplaces address sexual harassment internally through better managerial training and programs that train employees to identify and address harassment incidents.

Employer Confidence Ticks Up in November

BOSTON — Business confidence in Massachusetts recovered slightly during November amid a swirl of contradictory economic indicators ranging from agitated financial markets to international trade tensions to steady-but-slowing growth in the Bay State. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index gained 0.6 points to 61.6 in November, ending a three-month slide that brought confidence to its lowest level in more than a year. The November reading was one point lower than in November 2017 and 2.5 points lower than at the beginning of the year. Increased optimism about the state and national economies balanced employer concerns about their own operations and hiring plans during November. The reading remained well within optimistic territory, but employers also clearly see risk on the horizon. The constituent indicators that make up the overall Business Confidence Index were mixed during November. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth rose 2.4 points to 67.1, leaving it 1.9 points higher than in November 2017. The U.S. Index gained 2.1 points to 63.7, up 1.5 points from a year earlier. The Company Index measuring employer assessments of their own operations dropped 0.4 points to 59.2, down 3.1 points year-to-year. The Employment Index slid 3.8 points for the month while the Sales Index was up 2.3 points. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, fell 0.7 points last month to 62.6 and 0.8 points for the year. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, gained 2.1 points for the month and lost 1.1 points for the year.

Nexamp Expands Access to Solar Power in Western Mass.

BOSTON — Nexamp Inc. and HCG are working together to promote community solar projects totaling more than 21 megawatts across Western Mass., enough to power approximately 4,000 homes. The solar arrays provide the opportunity for residents, businesses, and municipalities to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on their annual electricity bills while supporting local, renewable electricity. The collaborative effort is known as Hampshire Renewables. Hundreds of local residents, nonprofits, and small businesses have already signed up through the Hampshire Renewables website or with HCG or Nexamp representatives. Customers who subscribe to Nexamp’s community solar projects through Hampshire Renewables will realize a guaranteed 15% discount on electricity from the solar projects delivered to their National Grid or Eversource utility bills. In Eversource/WMECo territory, projects are located in Amherst, Whately, Plainfield, and Hadley (Nexamp’s third project in Hadley). In National Grid territory, project locations include Palmer, Wales, Granby, Oakham, Winchendon, and Charlton (Nexamp’s third project in Charlton). Anyone interested in participating should visit hcg-ma.org/hampshire-renewables.

Florence Bank Asks Customers to Vote for Their Favorite Nonprofits

FLORENCE — Florence Bank customers have until Monday, Dec. 31 to vote in the Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program for one area nonprofit in Western Mass. they want the bank to support with grant funds. The program is a year-long initiative. To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 customer votes before the year ends. Customers can vote online at www.florencebank.com/vote, or they can cast a ballot in person in one of the bank’s 10 branches in Amherst, Belchertown, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Hadley, Northampton, Williamsburg and West Springfield. When Florence Bank presents the awards for the Customers’ Choice program next spring, it will be the 17th year the grant initiative has been helping local nonprofits make an impact in Western Mass. communities. Each year, the bank donates a share of $100,000 to more than 50 local organizations, and in 2019, the bank will surpass the $1.1 million mark in terms of grants made to community nonprofits. The program is unique, as the bank empowers its customers to decide which organizations will receive a portion of the grant funds. The grants program provides funds to a wide spectrum of organizations doing transformative work in the Pioneer Valley, including food pantries, therapy-dog organizations, elementary schools, and health support networks.

JA of Western Massachusetts Receives $5,000 Grant from Webster Bank

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, a local nonprofit organization that provides financial-literacy, entrepreneurship, and career-readiness education, was awarded a $5,000 grant from Webster Bank to support the JA: A Valued Added Authentic Learning Project, providing students with the tools to develop the 21st-century skills needed to become highly skilled, autonomous employees. Through its charitable-giving programs, Webster Bank focuses on helping a broad set of organizations build a strong and self-reliant community. Webster has a long history of supporting Junior Achievement and its efforts to deliver K-12 programs that foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy skills. Webster Bank employees volunteer to teach the JA curriculum at a variety of schools throughout the area. JA: A Valued Added Authentic Learning Project leverages the skills, talent, and educational and career opportunities of this region to create a cadre of role models from the community to weave multiple intersecting pathways for middle-grade and high-school students to engage with JA’s relevant curriculum and instructional materials, supplemental technology-driven simulations, job-shadow experiences, and competitions. The project’s goals are to improve students’ knowledge of financial literacy in order for them to make sound financial judgments in the future; boost students’ entrepreneurial skills; increase students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and raise awareness of career and post-secondary education and career opportunities in Western Mass.

Gaming Revenue Drops at MGM Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Gambling revenues dropped at MGM Springfield in the third month of operation, the Associated Press reported. The state Gaming Commission said the casino generated $21.2 million in revenues from gambling in November, down from October’s $22 million and September’s $27 million. The exact breakdown was $13,371,904 from slots and $7,876,010 from table games. MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said the company is pleased with the casino’s overall performance, and that November represented “another solid month” for the property, which also generates revenues from restaurants, bars, a hotel, and other attractions.

Company Notebook

Hazen Paper Recognized at Manufacturing Award Ceremony

HOLYOKE — The state’s third annual Manufacturing Award Ceremony, sponsored by the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus, was recently held at the State House in Boston. Hazen Paper was one of 58 manufacturers recognized for their success. Hazen is known worldwide for its holographic paper and manufacturing in Holyoke. Well-known examples its work include the Stadium Edition Super Bowl Program and the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Yearbook. Hazen started an apprentice program in 2007 to train the expert workers required for this high-tech factory. Hazen has hired and trained more than 50 apprentices in the last 10 years. In 2010, Hazen started an internship program with engineering students from Western New England University, several of whom now work full-time on the Hazen management team. Hazen has been proactive in helping to build the future workforce via the World Is Our Classroom program, whereby every fifth-grader in Holyoke public schools visits Hazen for a full day of teaching and tours. Hazen started the program in 2004, and an estimated 4,000 fifth-graders have participated since that time.

Big Y Foods, COCC Receive Employer of Choice Recognition

AGAWAM — Big Y Foods Inc. of Springfield and COCC of Southington, Conn. have been selected by the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) as Employer of Choice Award recipients for 2018. Employer of Choice awards recognize companies and organizations for developing workplaces that value employees, foster engagement, invest in employee development, and reward performance. Doing business for over 80 years, Big Y Foods is a family-owned supermarket chain with more than 11,000 employees throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. The chain prides itself on a culture of caring, which manifests itself in the form of workplace ‘huddles’ to celebrate employees who have gone above and beyond, and through the organization’s strong commitment to retain employees. Big Y stands out for its overall benefits, employee satisfaction, training and development, and recognition and rewards. One novel program, called Building Firm Foundations, is a collaboration in which employees help other employees with home-repair needs by utilizing their skills, expertise, and time. Projects have included building ramps, fixing decks and windows, landscaping, and more. Another initiative, called the 10 Foot Rule, combines a user-friendly customer-service model with a fun graphic reinforcing how to treat customers. The Big Y University and Big Y LIFE, an internal communication portal, are among the other employee-centric engagement offerings.

Kuhn Riddle Architects Certified as Woman Business Enterprise

AMHERST — Kuhn Riddle Architects announced that the firm was recently certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts grants the designation of WBE to businesses that demonstrate majority ownership and control of daily management and operations by women. Aelan Tierney, president of Kuhn Riddle Architects, sought the business designation after she became majority owner of the firm in January. She joined Jonathan Salvon and Charles Roberts, who became principals in 2010 when Chris Riddle retired. John Kuhn passed the torch of leadership and ownership to these three architects and will continue to work on selected projects at Kuhn Riddle Architects. Tierney will work on architectural project design while also focusing on new business growth and opportunities. “I see this designation as the continuing evolution of architecture — and of our society as a whole — as professions become more diverse and inclusive,” said Tierney, who has been an architect at Kuhn Riddle since 2005. “This is also as an opportunity for further growth of our firm. We have an immensely talented and capable staff; we are interested in partnering with other firms to take on much larger projects than we have to date. I am hopeful that this designation will open doors and break ceilings for us.”

Comcast Unveils New Xfinity Store at Holyoke Mall

HOLYOKE — Comcast recently staged a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its newest Xfinity Store, which is located on the upper level of the Holyoke Mall. The 4,691-square-foot space is the first Xfinity Store in the region to open in a mall setting. Consumers will have the opportunity to explore, learn about, and interact directly with the latest Xfinity products and services, including Xfinity Mobile. In addition, the store offers a dedicated space where Comcast Business customers and prospects can discover cutting-edge business solutions and get connected with a local expert to discuss their business technology needs. Local officials and community leaders, including Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, state Rep. Aaron Vega, City Council President Todd McGee, Ward 3 City Councilor David Bartley, Ward 2 City Councilor Nelson Roman, and Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce President Barry Feingold, came out to celebrate the grand opening and tour the new store.

American Women’s College at Bay Path University Recognized

LONGMEADOW — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations will add more new jobs than any other occupational group in the next decade, projecting overall growth of 18% by 2026. The American Women’s College at Bay Path University prepares graduates to help meet that growing demand with its online bachelor of science in health service administration program, which has just been recognized on a list of the 30 best in the nation by TheBestSchools.org. The site formulates rankings based on six informational categories: academic excellence, strength of faculty scholarship, reputation, financial aid, range of degree programs, and strength of online instruction methodology. The university’s degree program ranked 18th on the list. The American Women’s College’s digitally enhanced learning model, SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning), uses data-driven intervention strategies to help mitigate achievement gaps, and has been recognized with more than $5 million in support from industry thought leaders and organizations, as well as awards from national foundations, the federal government, and awarding agencies.

Burkhart Pizzanelli Delivers New Coats to More Than 250 Square One Children

SPRINGFIELD — The team at Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C. is doing its part to spread warmth to more than 250 children in need of winter coats this season. The local accounting firm organized a campaign through Operation Warm to purchase the new coats for children served by Square One. They were delivered to Square One on Dec. 4. “Being a strong community partner is an intergral part of our culture at the firm,” said Julie Quink, managing principal at Burkhart Pizzanelli. “As part of our commitment to the community that we work and live in, we believe giving back is important. Many of our clients share the same philosophy and joined our efforts, for which we are very appreciative. Partnering with Operation Warm to provide brand-new winter coats for the families served by Square One is one way for us to make a small difference in our community. We believe that all children should have opportunities to grow without worry.” Added Kristine Allard, chief Development & Communications officer for Square One, “to be able to provide our children with beautiful, brand-new winter coats does wonders for them. Not only does it help to protect them from the elements, but having a new coat of their own builds confidence and self-esteem.” Operation Warm is a national organization that provides new winter coats to children in need, helping to improve self-confidence, peer acceptance, school attendance, and overall wellness. Funding support comes from businesses and individuals within the communities they serve.

Bridgestone Retail Operations Presents Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke with New Van

HOLYOKE — Parents at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke agree that having reliable transportation is the biggest challenge to their children’s participation in after-school activities in Holyoke. Lack of reliable transportation is even more of a stressor for low-income families in need. With that in mind, Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) surprised youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke with a brand-new, eight-passenger Toyota Sienna van, valued at $35,000. The van was recently presented by Joe DeAngelis, New England Region manager, and Scott Zimmerman, area manager for Bridgestone Retail Operations, to Eileen Cavanaugh, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club. The club will utilize the van to engage in experiential learning opportunities, take youth on field trips, visit colleges, increase volunteer opportunities for teens, and participate in more career-readiness activities. In addition to these benefits, the four satellite units located within Holyoke Housing Authority communities will now have more access to the main club. The van allows transportation to nearly 1,400 club members to and from the club.

TommyCar Auto Group Supports Unify Against Bullying

SOUTH DEERFIELD — TommyCar Auto Group was the official partner for Unify Against Bullying for October in support of National Bullying Prevention Month. During the entire month of October, each dealership in the group — including Country Nissan, Country Hyundai, Northampton Volkswagen, and the new Volvo Cars Pioneer Valley — donated $20 for every car sold. Thanks to customer involvement, TommyCar Auto Group was able to donate $4,200. “Bullying happens way more than it should, but we have the power to make a difference,” said Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Auto Group. “We need to continue to talk about bullying openly and freely, and not be scared to address the issues that happen to us, our family, our friends, or our co-workers. Unify is changing the culture within our communities and the way people are addressing bullying, and I knew we had to be a part of that.”

Company Notebook

Big Y Works to Sack Hunger

SPRINGFIELD — For the ninth year, all Big Y supermarkets are working to help feed the hungry within their local communities through Care to Share Sack Hunger, a large, reusable grocery bag filled with staple non-perishable food items for local food banks. Customers purchase a Sack Hunger bag of groceries for $10, and Big Y distributes the food to that region’s local food bank. In turn, the food banks distribute the filled sacks to area soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, day-care centers, as well as many of its other member agencies. All of the donated sacks are distributed within the supermarket’s marketing area, so every donation stays within the local community. Since its inception nine years ago, more than 133,000 bags of food have been donated to area needy via Big Y’s Care to Share Sack Hunger Program. This year’s campaign runs through Wednesday, Dec. 26. As an additional option, customers may choose to purchase and donate a $10 ‘virtual bag’ at the register that will be used by the agencies to purchase turkeys or whatever is most needed. Online donations will also be accepted. Visit www.bigy.com/rs/giftcards for more information. As an added bonus, any customer donations made on Saturday, Nov. 17 will be matched by Big Y. All five food banks within Big Y’s marketing area are participating in Sack Hunger. These food banks, representing more than 2,100 member agencies throughout the region, include the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Worcester County Food Bank, Foodshare of Greater Hartford, and the Connecticut Food Bank. Last year, Big Y customers donated nearly 22,000 bags of food to those in need, and the company hopes to beat that figure this year.

American Women’s College at Bay Path University Named Among Best Online Colleges

LONGMEADOW — Women have been completing their bachelor’s degrees at rates significantly higher than the national average since the inception of the American Women’s College at Bay Path University in 2013, thanks to its digitally enhanced learning model, SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning). This innovative approach to education has earned it recognition among the 2019 Best Online Colleges in America, as ranked by Niche.com, which ranked colleges based on the following categories: academic excellence, overall value, strength of faculty scholarship, campus quality, diversity, student life, student surveys on overall experience, safety, and location. The university placed 20th on a list of nearly 500 colleges and universities, and is the only New England-based institution to place in the top 20. The SOUL model uses data-driven intervention strategies to help mitigate achievement gaps, and has been recognized with more than $5 million in support from industry thought leaders and organizations. SOUL was developed after the American Women’s College was awarded a grant through the First in the World competition administered through the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. The four-year, $3.5 million award was used to develop and continually hone the program by improving educator access to learning data, allowing for targeted feedback and personalized guidance. SOUL has been recognized with several other grants and awards from national foundations, the federal government, and awarding agencies.

Bay Path Recognized Among Top MS in Accounting Programs

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s master of science (MS) in accounting program has been named seventh on a list of the top 50 best in the nation, as ranked by OnlineMasters.com. In addition to this placement, Bay Path’s program was also recognized as the “Most Accelerated Program.” This is the program’s second placement on a national best-of list this year alone. According to the site, the review assessed academic quality, student success, and affordability. Researchers devoted more than 90 hours to analyzing every online master’s in accounting program in the U.S., and consulted 35 industry experts, hiring managers, current students, and alumni.

Veterans at Corps Logistics Build, Maintain ValleyBike Share System

SPRINGFIELD — As ValleyBike Share started taking shape in several municipalities in the Pioneer Valley this year, veteran-owned and operated service contractor Corps Logistics was tasked with building and maintaining the 48 stations and more than 200 bikes. Corps Logistics provides a military-grade approach to bike-share system implementation and operations. It works to find talented veterans that care about their community and the mission at hand. Many of its veteran employees come home with physical and emotional limitations, and Corps Logistics offers them the opportunity to continue the utilization of their talents and skills to better the lives of the community around them. Launched this past June, the ValleyBike Share system offers electric-assist bicycles to users. The service is available 24/7 and is ideal for errands, commuting, or recreation.

Ten Practice Areas at Bulkley Richardson Ranked Among ‘Best Law Firms’

SPRINGFIELD — Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, has included Bulkley Richardson in its 2019 “Best Law Firms” list, ranking the firm in the top tier for 10 practice areas, the most of any Springfield law firm. They include bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense: general practice, criminal defense: white-collar, litigation: labor and employment, medical-malpractice law: defendants, personal-injury litigation: defendants, tax law, and trusts and estates law. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included in Best Lawyers. Bulkley Richardson has 13 of its lawyers included on the 2019 Best Lawyers list, the most from any Springfield law firm. Two of the firm’s partners, John Pucci and Liz Sillin, were also named 2019 Springfield Lawyer of the Year. The rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field.

CBS Xerox Supports MHA’s Good to Go Program

SPRINGFIELD — CBS Xerox, an integrated provider of office-productivity systems, organized a donation drive to benefit Good to Go, a new initiative of MHA to supply every individual who arrives for emergency respite care with basic personal-care items, such as soap, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, undergarments, and socks. According to Patrick Roberts, nonprofit specialist and GEM representative for CBS Xerox, his company had been working with MHA as a business partner for about a year when the opportunity to do more presented itself. “We handle their printers and copiers and developed a way to manage that part of their business,” Roberts explained. “In coming up with the solution, we met a lot of their staff, and every time we had an interaction with someone at MHA, it was so positive. They invited us to their annual meeting, and I heard this incredible story from a client who at one time felt suicidal, but through counseling and the efforts of MHA, this person now feels like they are worth something. Now this person is doing so well. What a story. The experience cemented our desire to do more for MHA, and organizing a Good to Go drive was a good place to start.” The 25 staff members at the CBS Xerox office in West Springfield were joined by 100 staff at the company’s headquarters in Wethersfield, Conn., to collect donations. A truck with donations from Wethersfield drove to West Springfield to pick up donations collected there, then delivered it all to MHA in Springfield.

DiGrigoli School Honored by Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center

SPRINGFIELD — On the morning of Oct. 5, during the Western Mass Stand Down at the Greek Culture Center in Springfield, Paul DiGrigoli accepted an award from the Western Mass. Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center on behalf of DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology for its continued support of homeless and needy veterans in the community. The school, located on Riverdale Street in West Springfield, offers free haircuts to all veterans and active service members year-round, and has participated in several veteran-honoring events since opening its doors in 2002. The Western Mass. Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, headquartered on Franklin Street in Springfield, operates with the mission of serving veterans once out of uniform, regardless of race, gender, or nationality. Most recently, it built 20 apartments for homeless veterans in Springfield and has continually offered financial and job services, healthcare, clothing, and other support.

Briefcase

Gaming Commission Releases October Revenue Figures for MGM Springfield, Plainridge

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that the month of October at Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) and MGM Springfield generated approximately $35.8 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR). MGM Springfield generated $14.623 million in revenue from slots and $7.6 million from table games. PPC, an all-slots facility, generated $13.5 million in revenue. MGM Springfield paid a total of $5.56 million in taxes on that revenue, while PPC paid $6.6 million, for a total of more than $12.2 million. PPC, a category-2 slots facility, is taxed on 49% of GGR. Of that total taxed amount, 82% is paid to local aid, and 18% is allotted to the Race Horse Development Fund. MGM Springfield, a category-1 resort casino, is taxed on 25% of GGR; those monies are allocated to several specific state funds as determined by the gaming statute. To date, the Commonwealth has collected approximately $285.5 million in total taxes and assessments from PPC and MGM since the respective openings of each gaming facility, the commission said.
 

Employer Confidence Drops During October

BOSTON — Business confidence in Massachusetts declined to its lowest level in 17 months during October as the uncertainties that roiled global financial markets seeped into employer outlooks. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index lost 1.6 points to 61.0 last month, the fourth decline in the last five months. The reading remains well within optimistic territory, but the BCI now sits 1.7 points lower than its level of a year ago and at its lowest point since May 2017. Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design, said the October decline is noteworthy because of large declines in employer confidence in their own operations, and among manufacturers. “Fears about slowing growth, trade wars, and rising interest rates buffeted financial markets this month, and some of those same fears, combined with an increasingly acrimonious midterm election, affected employers as well,” Torto said. “The good news is that the fundamentals of the economy remain strong. MassBenchmarks reports that the Massachusetts economy grew at a 3.3% annual rate during the third quarter, and the national economy added 250,000 jobs last month.” The constituent indicators that make up the overall Business Confidence Index were almost all lower during October. The one exception was the Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth, which rose 0.2 points to 64.7. Confidence in the state economy has declined 0.4 points since October 2017. The U.S. Index lost 2.0 points to 61.6, leaving it 0.9 points lower than a year ago. The Company Index, measuring employer assessments of their own operations, dropped 2.0 points to 59.6, down 2.4 points year-to-year. The Employment Index lost 0.3 points during October, while the Sales Index tumbled 3.1 points to 57.4. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, fell 1.0 point last month to 63.3 and 0.3 points for the year. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, lost 2.1 points for the month and 3.2 points for the year. AIM President and CEO Richard Lord, also a BEA member, agreed that international trade friction and uncertainty about the duration and scope of new tariffs are clouding employer views of an otherwise solid economy. “Concerns about trade and tariffs are likely to influence employer decisions as we move toward the end of 2018 and into the New Year. Hopefully, the results of the midterm elections will shed some light on the direction of trade policy moving forward.”

 

UMass Study: Pedal Desks Could Improve Health of Workplace

AMHERST — A recent pilot study by kinesiologists at UMass Amherst found that pedaling while conducting work tasks improved insulin responses to a test meal. Investigators led by Dr. Stuart Chipkin found that insulin levels following the meal were lower when sedentary workers used a pedal desk compared to a standard desk. In addition, work skills were not decreased in the pedaling condition. Chipkin and colleagues concluded that pedal desks “could have the potential to achieve public and occupational health goals in sedentary work environments.” They pointed out that physical inactivity and sedentary work environments have been linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease through insulin resistance and other mechanisms. Results appear in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Chipkin, an endocrinologist who studies the impact of physical activity and medications on insulin sensitivity and skeletal muscle metabolism at UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences, explained that, instead of approaching the problem by trying to squeeze intermittent activity into a largely sedentary work routine, “we chose to consider integrating physical activity into the workday.” He and colleagues felt that the alternatives now available for office workers — standing desks and treadmill desks — are not feasible to use for whole shifts and may even pose some barriers, such as standing too long. By contrast, a pedal desk can be used in a seated position at the user’s own pace for as little or as much time as the worker chooses. Though there are currently no commercial pedal desks on the market, Chipkin and colleagues were able to use a prototype Pennington Pedal Desk co-invented by UMass Amherst kinesiology researcher Catrine Tudor-Locke, a co-author who did not determine study design or have any contact with participants or study data. For this work, the researchers recruited 12 overweight or obese full-time sedentary office workers — six men and six women — and tested them in two conditions, pedaling at self-selected light-intensity pace for two hours, and working while seated for two hours at a conventional desk. In both conditions, participants performed computer-based tasks and were tested on mouse proficiency, typing speed and accuracy, reading comprehension, and concentration/attention. The participants also provided blood samples after eating a light meal for analysis of metabolic responses of glucose, insulin, and free fatty acids, a link between obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Chipkin and colleagues reported that pedal-desk use required significantly less insulin to maintain glucose concentrations compared with using the standard desk.

 

Travelers Aid Begins Service at Bradley International Airport

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) and Travelers Aid announced that Travelers Aid International has begun serving the passengers of Bradley International Airport as the operator of the guest-service volunteer program at the airport. Travelers Aid now operates the Information Center in Terminal A on the lower level, which is the baggage-claim level. There are currently 45 volunteers, and Travelers Aid will be recruiting additional volunteers in order to better serve the airport’s passengers. The center’s current hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Mary Kate Doherty, an experienced volunteer manager, has been retained by Travelers Aid to manage and expand the program. Bradley International Airport will be the 18th airport in the Travelers Aid Transportation Network, which also includes four North American railroad stations and a cruise terminal. In the coming months, Travelers Aid will be reaching out to the residents of the region seeking additional volunteers. Doherty said Travelers Aid will be seeking anyone, both students and adults, interested in assisting a traveler with their questions. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities should contact Doherty at (860) 500-8582 or [email protected].

Agenda

Hartley Economic Forum

Nov. 13: The South Hadley & Granby Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Hartley Economic Forum at 7:45 a.m. at the Willits-Hallowell Center at Mount Holyoke College. A hot breakfast will be served, followed by James Hartley’s annual analysis of the economic picture. Hartley chairs the Department of Economics at Mount Holyoke, and his economic forum is a perennial favorite of the South Hadley & Granby Chamber. It will be an interactive presentation, with Hartley speaking briefly about the state of the economy as he sees it, followed by questions and answers. Attendees are asked to pre-register to ensure adequate space. The cost is $15 for chamber members and $20 for non-members. To register, click on the event link at www.shgchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 532-6451.

Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself

Nov. 13: Bay Path University’s Center of Excellence for Women in STEM is hosting a discussion on personal branding and marketing yourself with expert executive coach Rita Allen at 5:30 p.m. in Breck Suite at Wright Hall located on Bay Path’s Longmeadow campus. Allen wants to know: are you comfortable talking about your own accomplishments, talents, and the value you have to offer to your employers? Most women aren’t — yet, personal branding and marketing are vital ingredients when seeking a new job, promotion, or career change. Allen, an executive coach, trainer, consultant, and author of Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself, will share her “Three Ps Marketing Technique” as a key to empowering oneself and building a successful career. A reception and book signing will follow her presentation. One attendee may win a signed copy of her book. This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, visit www.baypath.edu and click on ‘Events.’

Sparkle! Springfield

Nov. 14: Mercy Medical Center’s Spirit of Women network will present its inaugural Sparkle! Springfield event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Chez Josef in Agawam. Sparkle! is a health and wellness event designed especially for women and offers a wide array of resources to support mind, body, and spirit. The Spirit of Women network provides educational opportunities for women to learn more about their health in fun and inspiring ways. Through events, podcasts, and a dynamic website, women of all ages have access to resources to help educate and empower them to take ownership of their health and well-being. Sparkle! Springfield will feature dozens of Mercy Medical Center physicians and service providers, as well as community partners and vendors. The program will also feature interactive sessions such as complimentary chair massages, energy therapy, and an art project. Providers representing many specialties will be available to engage with women one-on-one during “Dessert with the Docs.” Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Admission is $15 and includes dinner and signature sparkling cupcakes and other desserts. For more information or to register, visit www.mercycares.com or call (877) 783-7262.

Peter V. Karpovich Lecture

Nov. 14: The Springfield College School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation will present the Peter V. Karpovich Lecture featuring Army reservist Bradley Nindl, professor in the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Cleveland E. and Phyllis B. Dodge Room inside the Flynn Campus Union. The event is free and open to the public. Nindl, who received his master’s degree in physiology of exercise from Springfield College in 1993, is the current director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and Warrior Human Performance Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He will discuss how leveraging scientific and technological advances and evidence-based best practices in physical education and exercise science will yield a fit, ready, and injury-free military. Nindl has a strong focus on exploring science and strategies to help bolster military readiness and national security. If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to fully participate in this event, call (413) 748-3413 to discuss your accessibility needs.

Cancer House Of Hope Luminaria Fundraiser

Nov. 15: A Night of Light, the CHD Cancer House of Hope’s annual luminaria fundraising event, returns to the Green at Storrowton Village on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition from 6 to 8 p.m. Storrowton Tavern will serve hot chocolate, cider, and snacks. The event features hundreds of luminary bags that are lit and placed on the Storrowton Village Green to honor and remember those lost to cancer and those who are survivors. This evening of music, remembrance, and hope honors friends and loved ones and supports the many programs and services of Cancer House of Hope. Luminary bags cost $5 each and can be personally inscribed in honor of a friend or loved one. To dedicate a luminaria bag, visit www.chd.org/luminaria. Advanced Restoration Group in Easthampton is the presenting sponsor for the event, with other major sponsors including Westfield Bank, Spherion Staffing, Liberty Mutual, Bearingstar Insurance, Northwestern Mutual, Comcast Business, and Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Lawyer on the Line

Nov. 19: The Hampden County Bar Assoc., in conjunction with WGGB Channel 40, will present a Lawyer on the Line event from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Volunteers will provide legal advice on a variety of topics from callers during the evening news broadcast. Individuals needing advice should call (413) 846-0240 to speak to a volunteer.

Company Notebook

Bay Path Partners with Google for Applied Computing Series

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced a new collaboration with Google to offer computer science, data science, and machine-learning courses to its undergraduate students. Bay Path is one of only four colleges and universities and the only women’s college selected nationally to collaborate with Google to pilot all three offerings in its new Applied Computing Series. These courses aim to increase undergraduate access to quality data science and machine-learning education by leveraging new technologies and teaching styles. The Applied Computing Series teaches the foundations of computer and data science through hands-on, project-based course content, topically designed to attract students who might not consider themselves destined for a technology career. The most advanced of these offerings, the Applied Machine Learning Intensive, will be a 10-week summer program designed to offer non-computer science majors a crash course in data engineering and machine learning. All the courses leverage tools and techniques used at Google and in the wider tech industry, while also teaching the non-tech skills needed for success in every industry, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, collaboration, and the ability to communicate and network.

NSF Selects UMass Amherst as Innovation Corps Site

AMHERST — The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it has selected UMass Amherst to be one of its national network of Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Sites. The program is intended to increase research commercialization and campus startups while enriching existing innovation infrastructure. Organizers hope to help new ventures bring economic development and jobs to the region. Kenneth Carter, professor of Polymer Science and Engineering and a faculty inventor, leads the site as its principal investigator. His co-principal investigators are Robert MacWright, director of the campus’s Technology Transfer Office, and Nilanjana Dasgupta, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. NSF funds I-Corps Sites to nurture and support mixed teams of students, faculty, and mentors who learn together and explore translation of their tech concepts into the marketplace. The award will provide training and funding to 24 teams per year beginning with a cohort of 12 in the spring of 2019. The I-Corps organizers expect most participants to be graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, or recent graduates, but the program is open to undergraduate participation as well.

Comcast Now Largest Provider of Gigabit Internet in U.S.

SPRINGFIELD — Comcast announced it is the nation’s largest provider of gigabit broadband, with the ultra-fast Xfinity Gigabit Internet and Comcast Business Gigabit services now available to nearly all of the company’s 58 million homes and businesses in 39 states and the District of Columbia. This availability includes nearly 100% of Comcast Internet serviceable households in Western Mass., including the communities of Agawam, Amherst, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Granby, Granville, Greenfield, Hatfield, Hardwick, Holyoke, Huntington, Longmeadow, Monson, Montague, Northfield, Northampton, Palmer, Pelham, Shelburne, South Hadley, Southwick, Springfield, Sunderland, Ware, West Springfield, Westfield, Westhampton, Whately, and Williamsburg. This national deployment represents the fastest rollout of gigabit speeds to the most homes in the country. Comcast has increased speeds 17 times in 17 years and doubles the capacity of its broadband network every 18 to 24 months.

Springfield College to Deliver Fully Online Programs in 2019

SPRINGFIELD — The New England Commission on Higher Education has granted Springfield College approval to offer distance-education programming. Springfield College will launch its first fully online programs in January 2019. Fully accredited online programs will be available to students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with programs including a bachelor of Science in human services, with concentrations in criminal justice, early childhood education, substance-use disorder counseling (addictions), as well as community youth development; and a leadership MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management. The online courses are offered via the learning management system Brightspace by D2L, a state-of-art network that makes online learning highly interactive, social, and engaging.

$1.6M Grant to Benefit HCC, Community Health Centers

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) is the lead partner in a project that will bring $1.6 million in federal grant money to the Pioneer Valley to train community health workers in the battle against opioid addiction. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded HCC $400,000 over two years to add as many as 36 seats per year to its existing community health worker program. In addition to core studies in community health, students in the program will receive specific instruction and training in addiction and substance-abuse disorders. Also, HCC’s three regional partners — Holyoke Health Center, Community Health Center of Franklin County, and the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services — will each receive separate $400,000 grants to support on-site practical training of those students. The course of study will include three classes, free to all participants. The first cohort will begin in spring 2019 with “Core Competencies for Community Health Workers,” followed by “Introduction to Addiction Studies” in the summer of 2019, and concluding with a 125-hour practicum at one of the three health centers in the fall of 2019.

Elms Students Mentor Ninth-graders at JA Event

SPRINGFIELD — More than 50 students from Elms College volunteered to serve as mentors at a JA Economics for Success event hosted by Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts on Oct. 10. The event was held at Putnam High School in Springfield. The JA Economics for Success event offered ninth-grade students practical information about personal finance, as well as the importance of identifying education and career goals based on a student’s skills, interests, and values. Through a series of six 45-minute sessions, students learned how to explore their skills, interests, values, and the world of work to make informed education, career, and life decisions. They also developed their knowledge of personal finance so they can apply strong financial-management skills regardless of their income. The program was designed to correlate with state social studies, English, and math standards, as well as to the Common Core state standards in English/language arts and mathematics. The Elms College students were on hand to act as mentors, guiding the ninth-graders through the sessions and helping them learn important life skills, including decision making, planning, spending, and more.

Chicopee Businesses Step Up for School Trip

CHICOPEE — Students at Fairview Veterans Memorial Elementary School were not happy when they learned their field trip to the New England Aquarium in Boston was going to be cancelled due to lack of funding. In fact, many of them were crying. That’s when Marty Topor, owner of Central Oil, decided to step in and see what he could do. Over the course of an afternoon, he reached out to Bob Pion Buick/GMC and E.J. O’Neill Insurance Agency to enlist them in a fundraising effort to put the field trip back on track. Within a few hours, the three businesses had pooled together enough money to pay for the two buses needed to transport the 100 students to Boston for a day at the aquarium on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Berkshire Bank Wins Award for Employee Volunteerism

BOSTON — Berkshire Bank was recently named a winner of PR Daily’s 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in the Employee Volunteer Program category. Berkshire Bank was chosen from a wide pool of entries to receive first prize in the category for the ingenuity and impact of its XTEAM volunteer program. Berkshire’s nationally acclaimed employee volunteer program provides employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours. Last year, 100% of Berkshire’s employees nationally donated 40,000 hours of service to benefit community organizations. Berkshire also closes down its offices each June for its Xtraordinary Day of Service, providing all employees with an opportunity to go out in the community and volunteer as a team. In 2018, Berkshire employees completed 74 service projects that ultimately benefited more than 500,000 individuals.

PV Squared Named Cooperative of the Year for Principle 7 Leadership

GREENFIELD — PV Squared, a worker-owned cooperative helping Western Mass. and Southern Vermont go solar since 2002, was recently named Cooperative of the Year for Principle 7 – Leadership in Community at the 2018 U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) annual conference. The award was given to PV Squared “for receiving national recognition in their field with company accreditation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, an accreditation awarded to companies that meet a rigorous set of standards regarding installation, employee training and qualification, safe work practices, and customer accountability, as well as their work to provide solar power to communities in Puerto Rico through their work with Amicus Solar Cooperative.” Each year, USFWC recognizes standout cooperatives and cooperators that are making a difference and leading the way toward workplace democracy.

Agenda

‘Cold Cases and the Politics of Murder’

Nov. 1: The Center for Law & Justice at Elms College will host a lecture by Sarah Stein of the Center for the Resolution of Unresolved Crime from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Alumnae Library Theater. Stein, a forensic and behavioral analyst who works with law-enforcement agencies as a consultant and investigator on cold cases and death investigations, will give a talk titled “Cold Cases and the Politics of Murder.” She has been involved in the case of Joanne Ringer of Clarksburg, who had been missing for over a year before her remains were found in Hatfield earlier this year. She also was involved in the case of Molly Bish, who had been missing for three years before her remains were found in Hampden County in 2003. Stein began consulting on cold cases during her studies at the University of New Haven, under the direction of the Henry C. Lee Institute. Since that time, she has consulted independently for numerous law-enforcement agencies and families on cold-case homicides, missing-persons cases, and child-abduction homicides. Currently, she provides both training and case-consultation services to law enforcement.

‘Facilitating Difficult Conversations’

Nov. 2, 3: Holyoke Community College (HCC) is offering two one-day seminars aimed at teaching people how to better manage difficult conversations, both in their professional and personal lives. “Facilitating Difficult Conversations” will run on Friday, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and again on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in HCC’s Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on the main HCC campus at 303 Homestead Ave. The seminars, led by Debbie Lynangale, director of the Mediation & Training Collaborative in Greenfield, are appropriate for managers, public officials, educators, parents, customer-service personnel, law-enforcement professionals, or anyone else who wants to learn techniques for setting up and preparing for difficult conversations, conveying tough messages, receiving challenging feedback, and harnessing the creative energy that conflict can bring. Participants will practice de-escalation techniques and ways to develop better listening skills to support problem solving. The cost of each one-day seminar is $125. For more information or to register, visit hcc.edu/bce or call HCC Community Services at (413) 552-2123.

Film Screening of ‘Living While Dying’

Nov. 3: Harmony House of Western Massachusetts, a home for the terminally ill, will sponsor a showing of the film Living While Dying at 10 a.m. at South Hadley’s Tower Theaters. A $10 donation is suggested to attend. After the film, a question-and-answer session and panel discussion will be held with the filmmaker, Cathy Zheutlin, and representatives from Harmony House. The 45-minute documentary film, currently on tour throughout the country, tells the stories of four friends with terminal illnesses who chose to live out their final days at home with creativity, humor, and courage. In a world that sees death as something to vanquish, this film presents an alternative. Though the subject is difficult, the film is surprisingly uplifting. Dispelling traditional fears and expectations about death, Living While Dying allows viewers to reimagine and set the stage for their own inevitable ending. It offers profound opportunities to uncover value, grace, and meaning in all stages of life. For more information or tickets, call Karen Buscemi, a member of the Harmony House boaerd of directors, at (413) 531-7640. Tickets are also available on the Harmony House website at www.harmonyhousewma.org or at the theater the day of the film showing.

Real-estate Licensing Course

Nov. 5 to Dec. 12: The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley will sponsor a 40-hour, 14-class sales licensing course to help individuals prepare for the Massachusetts real-estate salesperson license exam. Tuition is $379 and includes the book and materials. For more information and an application, call the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley at (413) 785-1328.

Briefcase

Invesco, MassMutual Announce Strategic Partnership of Invesco, OppenheimerFunds

SPRINGFIELD — Invesco Ltd. and MassMutual announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement, whereby Invesco will acquire MassMutual asset-management affiliate OppenheimerFunds Inc. In turn, MassMutual and OppenheimerFunds employee shareholders will receive a combination of common and preferred equity consideration, and MassMutual will become a significant shareholder in Invesco, with an approximate 15.5% stake. This strategic transaction will bring Invesco’s total assets under management to more than $1.2 trillion, making it the 13th-largest global investment manager and sixth- largest U.S. retail investment manager, further enhancing the company’s ability to meet client needs through its comprehensive range of high-conviction active, passive, and alternative capabilities. “The combination with OppenheimerFunds and the strategic partnership with MassMutual will meaningfully enhance our ability to meet client needs, accelerate growth, and strengthen our business over the long term,” said Martin Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco. “This is a compelling, highly strategic and accretive transaction for Invesco that will help us achieve a number of objectives: enhance our leadership in the U.S. and global markets, deliver the outcomes clients seek, broaden our relevance among top clients, deliver strong financial results, and continue attracting the best talent in the industry.” “We have long held OppenheimerFunds’ people and strong investment performance track record in high regard,” Flanagan continued. “OppenheimerFunds’ culture and commitment to high-conviction investing complement our own, and the combination will create significant opportunities for the talented professionals of both companies.” MassMutual Chairman, President, and CEO Roger Crandall added that “MassMutual is excited for the next chapter in our successful asset-management strategy. Invesco is a highly regarded asset manager, and OppenheimerFunds has been an incredibly successful affiliate of MassMutual for the past 28 years. We look forward to participating in the future growth of the combined entity as a long-term partner and shareholder. This strategic combination positions us well to continue to benefit from a strong, diversified, global asset-management business, which will further strengthen our financial position and support our ability to invest in the long term, provide increased value to our policy owners and customers, and help us deliver on our purpose to help people secure their future and protect the ones they love.”

Report Evaluates Potential of New Water Technologies to Boost Jobs, Environment

AMHERST — The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has released a comprehensive study that evaluates the potential of developing a network of water-testing demonstration centers in the Commonwealth, including one at UMass Amherst. The centers would pilot new water technologies to position Massachusetts as a global leader in the water-innovation and energy-efficiency sector, providing significant business and employment opportunities. The report was released at the Innovations and Opportunities in Water Technologies Conference held at the Life Sciences Laboratories at UMass Amherst. The conference was sponsored by MassCEC and the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Western Massachusetts. Speakers included Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection; Stephen Pike, CEO of MassCEC; Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Mass. EDC; and Kumble Subbaswamy, chancellor of UMass Amherst. The report calls for creating a network of three demonstration centers around the state. They would be located at the Wastewater Pilot Plant at UMass Amherst, the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center in Barnstable, and a pilot plant located at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Deer Island Treatment Plant in Boston Harbor. Establishing this network of water-technology demonstration centers could create jobs, lower energy costs, and optimize municipal operations in addition to supporting water-technology research, the study says. A successfully established test-bed network could serve existing Massachusetts-based water-technology companies, help attract new companies to the Commonwealth, advance new solutions to both local and global water challenges, and provide a strong foundation for innovation. The Amherst site is ideal for this work, Sullivan said. “UMass Amherst is already a leader in this sector. The campus is positioned to undertake further research and development that will support industry growth and help grow a talented workforce for related industries.” Authorization for an investment in water technologies was approved as part of the state’s 2014 environmental bond bill. Release of state capital funds for such an investment must be evaluated and approved by the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker.

Agenda

Family Business Center Events

Oct. 16, 19: On Oct. 16 at the Delaney House in Holyoke, the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley will host Sheila Heen, best-selling author of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well. Heen teaches at Harvard Law School and in the Harvard Negotiation Project. Also, Ross Giombetti of Giombetti Associates will explain why and how companies would benefit from a “users manual of YOU.” The Family Business Center will also present a morning event on Oct. 19 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the MassMutual Learning and Conference Center in Chicopee. This spirited conversation between Delcie Bean of Paragus IT and Charlie Epstein of Epstein Financial Services will delve into how future technologies will be disruptive in a way that cannot be ignored, now or then. To register for either event, contact Ira Bryck at [email protected] or (413) 835-0810.

HCC Foundation Golf Classic

Oct. 16: Postponed from an earlier date because of rain, the 31st annual Holyoke Community College Foundation Golf Classic will be played at Springfield County Club in West Springfield. Proceeds from the tournament will support the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, the home for culinary-arts and hospitality-management training programs. The HCC Foundation, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College. Over 30 years, the annual HCC Foundation Golf Classic has raised more than $500,000 for HCC scholarships and educational technology for HCC classrooms. As before, the program begins with buffet lunch followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The $185 fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments on the course. After an afternoon of golf, participants can enjoy cocktails on the clubhouse porch and dinner, and will have the opportunity to enter raffles and bid on dozens of items, including restaurant gift certificates, Red Sox memorabilia, wine baskets, and more. Participants can arrange their own foursomes or sign up as singles. To register or sponsor the golf tournament, visit www.hcc.edu/golf.

Bartender Classes

Oct. 16: As part of a continuing series of non-credit hospitality courses at the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, Holyoke Community College is offering classes this fall for anyone interested in becoming a professional bartender or just looking to perfect classic cocktails at home. The interactive class runs for seven consecutive Tuesdays, Oct. 16 through Nov. 27, from 6:15 to 9:15 p.m. at the culinary institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke. The course will cover all the skills necessary to launch a career as a professional bartender. Students will learn how to handle various types of alcohol and how to prepare cocktails from the classics to the trendy, including pouring techniques, glassware, garnishes, legal liability, and customer service. Quincy McCray, the course instructor, has 23 years of experience in the mixology industry. His company, Liquid Solutions, consults with businesses and trains bar staff, ensuring compliance with liability laws, liquor-inventory management, and TIPS certification. The course costs $269 plus textbook. For more information or to register, visit hcc.edu/bce or call (413) 552-2324.

Panel Discussion on Question 1

Oct. 18: The School of Nursing at Elms College, in partnership with Baystate Medical Center Nursing, will host a discussion about the upcoming Massachusetts ballot question regarding nurse-staffing ratios from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Elms College’s Veritas Auditorium. Amanda Stefancyk Oberlies, CEO of the Organization of Nurse Leaders in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont, will introduce the issues surrounding Question 1, and then a panel of practicing nurses will speak and take audience questions. Baystate nurses Karissa Gorman, Brittany Foley, and Tara Budriewicz will appear on the panel. The Elms College School of Nursing has joined with Massachusetts nurses, hospitals, and prominent healthcare organizations in opposing Question 1, which which would institute government-mandated nurse staffing levels at all hospitals statewide. “If approved, the law would require every hospital to adopt rigid registered-nurse-to-patient ratios at all times — without consideration of a hospital’s size or location, and regardless of individual patients’ specific care needs,” said Kathleen Scoble, dean of the School of Nursing at Elms College. This event will allow the public to hear directly from nurses and healthcare experts about the issues surrounding Question 1 and how it would affect the day-to-day practice of nursing in Massachusetts, as well as the long-term effects of such legislation on patient care and the nursing profession as a whole.

‘Come Roar’ with STCC at MGM Springfield

Oct. 19: Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will join forces with its partner in education, MGM Springfield, to raise money for student scholarships and support services. The “Come Roar” event, to be held at MGM Springfield from 7 to 10 p.m., will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live music, gift bags, and prizes, said Frank Quigley, president of the STCC Foundation board of directors. Admission is $150 per person and includes food, music, and gifts. Cocktails can be purchased at the bar. A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible. The MGM Springfield fundraiser supports the mission of the STCC Foundation to help the college meet its goals and commitment to provide superior educational opportunities in the community. Each year, STCC and its foundation give more than $1 million in scholarships to students. The foundation relies on donations and has held fundraising events similar to the one planned at MGM Springfield. Proceeds will go toward scholarships and services for students. STCC has collaborated with MGM Springfield to provide education through the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute. The gaming school at 95 State St., Springfield, was created to help people acquire skills to work at MGM Springfield, which opened on Aug. 24. Ticket buyers will be invited to sign up for MGM Springfield’s M life Rewards loyalty-card program, which grants access to discounted room rates, pre-sale show tickets, priority reservations, and invitations to members-only events at MGM Resorts properties across the country. Businesses that would like to sponsor the event should call Michael Buckley, interim director of Operations and Donor Relations, at (413) 755-4529. To purchase tickets, visit www.stcc.edu/mgmevent.

Seminar on Social Media in the Workplace

Oct. 25: One of the many challenges employers face in today’s business world is the ever-present impact of technology. Tim Netkovick, an attorney with Royal, P.C., will discuss the impact of employees’ social-media accounts on the workplace, and employees’ right to privacy in e-mail and internet communications. The seminar, slated for 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Royal, P.C., 270 Pleasant St., Northampton, will cover topics such as using social media during hiring, conducting an effective interview, dealing with confidentiality issues, and taking action on potentially harassing posts on social media. Human-resources professionals, CFOs, CEOs, and anyone in a management position, responsible for overseeing and/or hiring employees, may be interested in attending. The cost is $30. For more information and to register, call Heather Loges at (413) 586-2288.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 25: The second annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched last spring by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. This year’s honorees by category are: Mary Paquette, director of Health Services and nurse practitioner, American International College; Celeste Surreira, assistant director of Nursing, the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke; Peter DePergola II, director of Clinical Ethics, Baystate Health; Dr. Matthew Sadof, pediatrician, Baystate Children’s Hospital; TechSpring; the Consortium and the Opioid Task Force; and Robert Fazzi, founder, Fazzi Associates. The seven winners were profiled in the Sept. 4 issue of BusinessWest and the September issue of HCN, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets cost $90, and tables of 10 are available. To order tickets, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or go HERE. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsor), National Grid (partner), and supporting sponsors Renew.Calm, the Elms College MBA program, Bay Path University, and Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England.

Sparkle! Springfield

Nov. 14: Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health will present the inaugural Sparkle! Springfield at Chez Josef in Agawam, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Described by organizers as a “fabulous and engaging girls’ night out,” this unique event has been designed by Mercy’s Spirit of Women network to support women — mind, body, and spirit — and encourage them to take action for their health. They can do this through a number of special programs and presentations that night, including visits to a wide range of health and wellness experts from Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates; indulging in complementary treats and one-on-one time with physicians, who will answer questions over “Dessert with the Docs”; free chair massages; opportunities to meet community resources and vendors; door prizes; tote bags; and more. Admission to Sparkle Springfield is $15. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. To register, visit www.mercycares.com, or call (877) 783-7262 and press 1.

Agenda

Future Tense Lecture

Sept. 20: The third installment of the BusinessWest lecture series Future Tense, titled “Change Considerations: An Examination of Lean Process, Market Disruption, and the Future of Your Business,” will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Tech Foundry, 1391 Main St., ninth floor, Springfield. The lecture, open exclusively to CEOs and business owners, will be delivered by Mark Borsari, president of Sanderson MacLeod. The cost is a $25 donation to Tech Foundry. Event sponsors include Paragus IT, the Jamrog Group, and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. With increasingly automated business processes, AI, and machine manufacturing, lean concepts are becoming more important than ever in terms of staying competitive.  Borsari will discuss change and innovation through lean concepts and focus on resulting cultural considerations. The presentation will also address already-active market disrupters that will affect business processes in various industries. To register, visit businesswest.com/lecture-series.

Free Legal Help Hotline

Sept. 20: The Hampden County Bar Assoc. will hold a Legal Help Hotline in conjunction with Western New England University School of Law from 4 to 7 p.m. at the law school, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield. The volunteers will provide legal advice on a variety of topics, including divorce and family law, bankruptcy, business, landlord/tenant, and real estate. Spanish-speaking attorneys will be available. Individuals needing advice should call (413) 796-2057 to speak to a volunteer.

‘Hacks for Your Hindrances’

Sept. 21: The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley (FBCPV) will present a workshop by business coach Julia Mines, called “Mindset: Hacks for Your Hindrances.” Attendees will learn how to gain some control over their amygdala, set better boundaries, be more courageous, stop procrastinating, and increase their self-esteem and happiness. Attendance is free for members and strategic partners of the FBCPV and $30 per person for others, who are owners and key managers of Western Mass. closely held and family owned companies. Contact Ira Bryck at [email protected] to register or for more information.

‘Paradigm Shifting in Healthcare’

Sept. 28: Bay Path University will host its first-ever healthcare summit, aimed at addressing current trends and best practices across the many disciplines of the field. The summit, “Paradigm Shifting in Healthcare,” will be held at the Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center, 1 Denslow Road, East Longmeadow, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event’s keynote speaker is Steve Walsh, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Assoc. (MHA). A member of the American College of Health Care Executives, he has extensive career experience in working with executives from Massachusetts healthcare institutions to promote and drive innovative change in healthcare delivery, policy, and regulation, and is credited with overseeing the drafting and passage of the Commonwealth’s 2012 landmark healthcare payment-reform law, Chapter 224. At the Summit, he will discuss what is driving and influencing the transitions in healthcare delivery models. Other sessions include: “Telemedicine and Its Effect in the Field of Genetic Counseling,” presented by Susan Capasso; “Assessing and Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” by Mark Benander; “Best Practices for Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias,” by Cheryl Boucakis; “The Social Determinants of Health and How They Impact Healthcare,” by Marie Meckel; and “Self-Care for the Healthcare Practitioner,” by Kristina Hallett. This event is free to the public, but registration is required. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Learn more at www.baypath.edu/healthcaresummit.

Source to Sea Cleanup

Sept. 28-29: Registration is now open for the Connecticut River Conservancy’s (CRC) Source to Sea Cleanup. This annual event, now in its 22nd year, has grown into New England’s largest river cleanup, winning an American Rivers award for most miles cleaned in 2017. There are three ways for volunteers to get involved in the Source to Sea Cleanup this year: report a trash site in need of cleaning, find a cleanup group near you to join, or organize and register your own local cleanup group. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.ctriver.org/cleanup. The annual Source to Sea Cleanup is a two-day river cleanup coordinated by CRC in all four states of the 410-mile Connecticut River basin. Each fall, thousands of volunteers of all ages and abilities clean the Connecticut River and its tributaries on foot or by boat. Volunteers remove trash along rivers, streams, parks, boat launches, trails, and more. In 2017, more than 2,500 volunteers hauled more than 46 tons of trash from riverbanks and waterways in the four river states. Volunteers remove everything from recyclables, fishing equipment, and food waste to tires, televisions, and refrigerators. To date, volunteers have removed more than 1,043 tons of trash from our rivers. If your group wants to get involved but needs a cleanup site, if you have questions, or if you know of a trash site in need of cleaning, contact CRC Cleanup Coordinator Stacey Lennard at [email protected] Learn more about the event at www.ctriver.org/cleanup.

HCC 24-hour Theater Festival

Sept. 29: Holyoke Community College theater alumni, together with students from the HCC Theater Department, will gather once again this fall to put on an evening of one-act plays written in just 24 hours. The 24-hour theater festival, renamed the HCC Phillips Festival this year in memory of Leslie Phillips, the late HCC drama teacher who inspired the festival’s creation, will be presented at 8 p.m. in the Leslie Phillips Theater in HCC’s Fine & Performing Arts Building. Like the previous two festivals, the third is a benefit show, and all proceeds will go toward the Leslie Phillips Fund for Theater Arts and Education at Holyoke Community College. HCC alumni along with current HCC students will meet on Friday, Sept. 28 to begin writing and rehearsing the one-act plays they will perform the following night. Anyone who would like to participate in this year’s festival can contact the HCC Alumni Players at [email protected] or on the group’s Facebook page. Tickets for the show are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors, HCC faculty, and staff.  To order tickets, call (413) 552-2485 or visit hcc.edu/alumnievents.

Drone Pilot Certification

Sept. 29 to Oct. 20: Holyoke Community College (HCC) will again offer a hands-on program for individuals who want to become FAA-licensed drone pilots. “Flying Drones for Profit, Public Safety, and Commercial Applications” will run on four consecutive Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the main campus of HCC, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke. The course will prepare individuals to take the Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot in Charge exam, which they must pass to become licensed drone operators. All classes will be taught by Larry Harmon, co-director of the GeoGraphics Laboratory at Bridgewater State University and an industry consultant on small, unmanned aircraft systems. The lecture portion of the course will meet in the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on the main campus. Students will fly drones outside on the college sports fields. The course focuses on all content required to pass the FAA test, including regulations, national airspace system rules, weather, aircraft loading, aircraft performance, and flight operations. The cost for the four-week, non-credit course is $315. Space is limited. Drones will be provided for use in class. Participants can bring their own, but that is not necessary.

HCC Foundation Golf Classic

Oct. 16: Postponed from an earlier date by rain, the 31st annual Holyoke Community College Foundation Golf Classic will be held at Springfield County Club in West Springfield.Proceeds from the tournament will support the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, the home for culinary-arts and hospitality-management training programs. The HCC Foundation, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College. Over 30 years, the annual HCC Foundation Golf Classic has raised more than $500,000 for HCC scholarships and educational technology for HCC classrooms. As before, the program begins with buffet lunch followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The $185 fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments on the course. After an afternoon of golf, participants can enjoy cocktails on the clubhouse porch and dinner, and will have the opportunity to enter raffles and bid on dozens of items, including restaurant gift certificates, Red Sox memorabilia, wine baskets, and more. Participants can arrange their own foursomes or sign up as singles. To register or sponsor the golf tournament, visit www.hcc.edu/golf.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 25: The second annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched last spring by BusinessWest and HCN. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The seven winners were profiled in the Sept. 4 issue of BusinessWest and the September issue of HCN, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets cost $90, and tables of 10 are available. To order tickets, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or visit www.businesswest.com. call Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsor), National Grid (partner), and supporting sponsors Renew.Calm, the Elms College MBA program, Bay Path University, and Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England.

Chamber Corners

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

• Oct. 17: Chamber Nite, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Hillcrest Commons, 169 Valentine Road, Pittsfield. Chamber networking event. Free for members.

• Oct. 24: Good News Business Salute, featuring Women in Business Month, 5-7 p.m, hosted by Seven Hills Inn, 40 Plunkett St., Lenox.

• Oct. 28: Berkshire Young Professionals Event, 4-8 p.m., hosted by St. James Place, 352 Main St., Great Barrington.

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700

• Oct. 4: A+ Awards Banquet, 5-9 p.m., hosted by UMass Student Ballroom, 280 Hicks Way, Amherst. Each year, the chamber takes a moment to collectively celebrate the outstanding achievements of community members and entities that contribute to the growth and well-being of the place we choose to work and live. Cost: $80, $75 for a table of 10. Register at amherstarea.com.

• Oct. 24: Multi-chamber Oktoberfest, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley. Register at amherstarea.com.

• Oct. 25: Legislative Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 a.m., hosted by Lord Jeffery Inn, 30 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. The annual legislative breakfast brings together legislators, local officials, and business leaders to network and discuss current and upcoming policy issues. Cost: $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Register at amherstarea.com.

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

• Sept. 19: Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Tru By Hilton, 440 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Chief greeter: Tony Cignoli. Keynote speaker: state Rep. Joseph Wagner. Series sponsored by United Personnel, Westfield Bank, Holyoke Medical Center, Polish National Credit Union, Gaudreau Group, Spherion Staffing Services, PeoplesBank, and Interstate Towing Inc. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org/events or call (413) 594-2101.

• Sept. 28: Chamber Seminar: “Authenticity in Leadership,” 9-11 a.m., hosted by Residence Inn, 500 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presenter: Lora Wondolowski of Leadership Pioneer Valley. Presented by Westfield Bank. Cost: $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org/events or call (413) 594-2101.

• Oct. 2: Multi-chamber Business Table Top Expo, 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Sponsored by LaQuinta Inns & Suites, Holyoke Medical Center, Westfield Bank, BusinessWest, and Polish National Credit Union. The Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, South Hadley & Granby, Springfield Regional, and Quaboag Hills chambers of commerce will host more than 100 vendors in this networking event. Vendor tables are booking now at $125, with a $25 charge for electricity. Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available. Sponsorship packages are still available. Free to the public to attend. Register a vendor table online at chicopeechamber.org/events, and ask about the new-member discount.

• Oct. 17: Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by MassMutual Learning & Conference Center. Featuring a community planning update. Chief greeter: Lee Pouliot, city of Chicopee. Keynote speaker: Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Sponsored by United Personnel, Westfield Bank, Holyoke Medical Center, Polish National Credit Union, Gaudreau Group, Spherion Staffing Services, PeoplesBank, Lisa Vachon, CPA, and FutureWorks. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members. Sign up online at chicopeechamber.org/events.

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• Sept. 23: Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. The Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce joins with other area chambers to provide information concerning the nursing ballot initiative. There will be a continental breakfast and networking beginning at 7:30 a.m., folllowed by a panel discussion beginning at 8 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Sept. 28: Women & the Art of Risk, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., hosted by the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. A women’s leadership event featuring workshops, discussions, and career-development opportunities, all led by distinguished women from the Pioneer Valley. Hear personal and professional stories of how taking calculated risks led these women to new adventures and made them stronger leaders. The keynote speaker is Dr. Valerie Young, an internationally recognized expert on impostor syndrome. Cost: $119, or $875 for a table of 10. Pre-registration is a must. For more information, a schedule of the day’s events, and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Oct. 2: “The Story Behind the Grand Bargain,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. A joint event with the Springfield Regional Chamber and 1Berkshire. Lunch will be 11:30 a.m. to noon, and the program will follow from noon to 1 p.m. Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber, and John Regan, executive vice president of Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, will explain the details of the compromise bill and what it means for businesses. You will learn how they negotiated the compromise with a grassroots coalition and what that process could mean for future hot-button issues and how they affect business. Cost: $30 for members, $40n for non-members. Register at www.springfieldregionalchamber.com. Greater Easthampton Chamber members register with code GBE18.

• Oct. 11: Networking by Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Abandoned Building Brewery, 142 Pleasant St., Unit 103A, Easthampton. Sponsored by Tunnel 7 and Fran’s Fine Editing. Food and door prizes will be available, along with a cash bar. Cost: $10 fir members, $15 for non-members. Pre-registration is suggested. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.holyokechamber.com
(413) 534-3376

• Sept. 19: Chamber After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Gateway City Arts, 92 Race St., Holyoke. Join us for our first After Hours of this fiscal season. The team down at Gateway City Arts is excited to host this networking event in its Biergarten and Bistro. Cost: free to members who register in advance, $10 at the door and for non-members.

• Sept. 21: Now in its 30th season, the chamber and Holyoke Community College present Leadership Holyoke, to be held over a series of eight days. Faculty members from HCC will participate as instructors and facilitators, and community leaders will participate as speakers and discussion leaders. Cost: $600 for all eight sessions. Sign up at holyokechamber.com.

• Sept. 28: Women and the Art of Risk, hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. A women’s leadership event, in conjunction with the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, featuring workshops, discussions, and career-development opportunities, all led by distinguished woman from the Pioneer Valley. Hear personal and professional stories of how taking calculated risks led these women to new adventures and made them stronger leaders. Sign up at easthamptonchamber.org.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

• Oct. 2: October Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., a networking event and chamber open house hosted by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by Pioneer Training. Cost: $10 for members.

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

• Sept. 20: Workshop: “Cybersecurity for Cloud-based Solutions: Emphasis on Endpoints in the Data Center,” 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted by Tekoa Country Club, 459 Russell Road, Westfield. Presented by Norhals Group LLC, Carbon Black, and VMWare’s Cloud Force Security. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Cost: $45. For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

• Sept. 21: September Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by 104th Fighter Wing ANG, 175 Falcon Dr., Westfield. Platinum event sponsor: Baystate Noble Hospital; gold sponsors: Savage Arms, United Bank, and Westfield Gas & Electric; silver sponsor: A Plus HVAC Inc; bronze sponsors: Armbrook Village, Governor’s Center, Micro Abrasives Corp., and Rehab Resolutions. Join us to hear from keynote speaker Tim Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Immediately following breakfast, we will take the 2019-20 directory centerfold photo, and those who have the time can take a tour of the base. Cost: $25 for members, $40 for non-members. For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

• Sept. 28: Workshop: “Social Media in the Workplace,” 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Presented by attorney Timothy Netkovick of Royal P.C. Cost: free for mmembers; $30/non-members (Paid in Advance). For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

• Oct. 1: Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Armbrook Village, 51 North Road, Westfield. Free and open to the public. Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events or call the chamber at (413) 568-1618 to register so we may give our host a head count.

• Oct. 4: Multi-Chamber Lunch & Learn, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern Carriage House, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Rick Lord, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, will offer a barometer of the regional business climate and the historic ‘grand bargain’ legislation that promises to have profound effects on businesses and employees. Cost: $30 for members, $40 for non-members (cash or credit paid at the door). Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events. For sponsorships or more information, call the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• Oct. 4: Ticket to Ride, hosted by the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round, 221 Appleton St., Holyoke. In honor of Manufacturing Month, manufacturers are invited to don casual business attire for a ride down the rails to the Merry-Go-Round in Holyoke. Aboard, you will be treated as a VIP, with an open bar and free hors-d’oeuvres. Non-manufacturers welcome as well. Space is limited. This event is free and open to the public. Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events or call the chamber at (413) 568-1618 to register.

• Oct. 10: October After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Chester Railway Station, 10 Prospect St., Chester. Refreshments will be served, and a 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber’s scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Cost: free for members, $10 for non-members (cash or credit paid at the door). Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events. For sponsorships or more information, call the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

FRANKLIN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.franklincc.org
(413) 773-5463
 
• Sept. 28: Monthly Breakfast Series, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Franklin County Technical High School, 82 Industrial Blvd., Turners Falls. Full breakfast will be served during the program, which will feature the kickoff of the United Way of Franklin County’s fundraising campaign. Register at franklincc.org or e-mail [email protected]
 
SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER
www.springfieldregionalchamber.com
(413) 787-1555

• Oct. 2: “The Story Behind the Grand Bargain,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Cost: $30 for members, $40 for non-members, $45 at the door. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

• Oct. 2: Multi-chamber Business Table Top Expo, 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented in collaboration with the Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, Holyoke, Greater Westfield, and Quaboag Hills chambers. Cost: $125 for exhibitors. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

• Oct. 17: Deadline for Super 60 reservations. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

• Oct. 26: Super 60 Awards Celebration, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. Join us as we celebrate the success of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the region. Cost: $60 for members, $75 for non-members, $100 at the door. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.ourwrc.com
(413) 426-3880

• Sept. 18: September Legislative Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. Join us as we listen to an informative panel discussion with our elected officials. State senators, state representatives, and local mayors will update guests on all things politics. The presenting sponsor is Horizon Services; premier sponsors include the Insurance Center of New England, Health New England, Polish National Credit Union, and Republic Services; and preferred sponsors include Reliable Temps, Spherion Staffing, Westfield Bank, and Partners Restaurant & Catering. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• Oct. 4: Multi-chamber Lunch & Learn, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Enjoy lunch while learning about the future of our business climate with guest speaker Richard Lord, CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Cost: $30. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com. For more information, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or [email protected]

• Oct. 18: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Crestview Country Club, Agawam. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. Enjoy a sit-down lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief introduction and company overview. The only cost to attend is the cost of your lunch. Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately the day of the event. We cannot invoice you for these events. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• Oct. 25: Food Fest West, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, West Springfield. Local restaurants show off their cuisine at this well-attended event, which also features a DJ, raffle, and entertainment. Vote for your favorite restaurant. Proceeds raised by Food Fest West will go toward the Partnership for Education and the WRC Educational Fund, which provides grants to businesses for on-the-job training and continuing-education needs. Cost: $35 in advance, $45 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com. For more information about this event, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or [email protected]

Company Notebook

Elms College Launches Student Leadership Institute

CHICOPEE — To expand its offering of leadership-development opportunities to all students, the Elms College will launch the Elms College Student Leadership Institute (SLI) at the start of the fall 2018 semester. SLI — run by the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership — encourages leadership development by hosting dynamic workshops and seminars; establishing mentoring relationships with faculty, staff, and students within the campus community; creating opportunities for community service by partnering with local organizations; and sparking discussions with peers about important personal and social issues. Fall 2018 SLI sessions include offerings centered around the college’s core values of faith, community, justice, and excellence. Participants may choose to attend individual sessions for personal enrichment, or take part in a series of sessions to earn a certificate in values-based leadership. This certificate is awarded to students who complete all eight of the SLI programs offered each year. The new institute is an extension of Elms College’s existing Sophomore Leadership Program, which will continue to be offered this year as a part of SLI to encourage second-year students to engage in deep development of their leadership qualities and potential. Through leadership programming, workshops, and activities, sophomores will self-reflect, develop skills, and make changes through action.

Colony Hills Capital Sells Mobile Five Portfolio for $134.3M

WILBRAHAM — Colony Hills Capital announced that it recently sold the 2,013-unit Mobile Five portfolio for $134,300,000. The sale of the multi-family apartment portfolio, purchased for $98 million in May 2013, produced a healthy, double-digit return for the firm’s investors. This sale is the latest example of Colony Hills’ ability to source investment opportunities to which it can add substantial value through strategic capital investments and optimizing on-site management. This profitable investment also highlights how Colony Hills can enter various markets and capitalize on opportunities that others may overlook. Colony Hills recognized that Mobile, Ala. was an underappreciated market for multi-family investments and purchased the portfolio prior to the arrival of major employers like Airbus, Whole Foods, SSAB, and Amazon, as well as the major expansion of Austal, USA. Colony Hills Capital is a real-estate investment company specializing in the acquisition and management of value-add multi-family properties. The investment targets are typically sourced ‘off-market,’ and at the time Colony Hills acquires them, they are underperforming relative to their peers in the marketplace. The Mobile Five portfolio was identified as an ideal investment by President David Kaufman, due to it being mismanaged, undercapitalized, and lacking a clear business plan. The portfolio consists of five separate communities comprising a variety of vintages and styles, which catered to a wide spectrum of renters. The properties are Yester Oaks (587 units), Crossings at Pinebrook (545 units), Windsor Place (384 units), Sandpiper Townhomes (253 units), and Pathways Apartments (244 units). The portfolio is also geographically diversified, from east of Interstate 65 to the western suburbs, and further diversified in product quality ranging from class-A to class-C apartments, demonstrating that Colony Hills has the capability to manage assets of varying classes and in diverse locations. While under Colony Hills’ ownership, the properties benefited from a $4 million capital-improvement program which focused on upgrading unit interiors, modernizing outdated clubhouses, adding resident amenities such as fitness centers and dog parks, and enhancing existing resort-size pools with new furniture and grilling centers. Colony Hills also rebranded the communities with new signage and landscaping, and added management systems to optimize the marketing and sales execution. As a result of these improvements, average rents rose considerably. The neighborhoods surrounding the communities improved as well. A new Whole Foods market moved in a short distance from Crossings at Pinebrook. The city of Mobile garnered a number of awards for the business climate created by the addition of Whole Foods, Airbus, Amazon, and SSAB.

Bay Path’s Online Liberal Studies Program Earns National Accolades

LONGMEADOW — The American Women’s College at Bay Path University has been helping women complete their bachelor’s degrees at twice the rate of the national average since its inception in 2013, thanks to its digitally enhanced learning model, SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning). This innovative approach to education has placed its bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies among the 50 best in the nation, as ranked by TheBestSchools.org, which ranked colleges based on six major categories: academic excellence, strength of faculty scholarship, reputation, financial aid, range of degree programs, and strength of online instruction methodology. The university’s program placed 21st on the list, in which the editor highlighted the freedom it provides to students, particularly adult women who have other responsibilities, including family and work obligations, to design an academic program to suit their needs and schedule. The SOUL model uses data-driven intervention strategies to help mitigate achievement gaps, and has been recognized with more than $5 million in support from industry thought leaders and organizations. SOUL was developed after the American Women’s College was awarded a grant through the First in the World competition administered through the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The four-year, $3.5 million award was used to develop — and continually hone — the program by improving educator access to learning data, allowing for targeted feedback and personalized guidance. SOUL has been recognized with several other grants and awards from national foundations, the federal government, and awarding agencies.

PV Financial Group Makes $5,000 Donation to MHA

SPRINGFIELD — Ed Sokolowski, managing partner of PV Financial Group in Ludlow, presented a $5,000 donation to MHA on Sept. 6. “At PV Financial Group, we are committed to giving back to our community and demonstrating leadership through philanthropy,” said Sokolowski. “Instead of spending money on traditional marketing efforts, we choose instead to invest dollars directly into organizations that support the future growth of our community. MHA is close to our hearts because the organization’s ideals of integrity, respect, and compassion are directly aligned with our values at PV Financial Group. While our organizations may have different clients, we believe they all deserve to be treated with the same level of care.” Cheryl Fasano, president and CEO of MHA, noted that the funds will be directed to the agency’s efforts to launch a new outpatient behavioral-health clinic in Springfield this January.

First Connecticut Bancorp Issues Quarterly Dividend

FARMINGTON, Conn. — First Connecticut Bancorp Inc. announced that its board of directors has voted to pay its quarterly dividend of $0.17 per share. Dividends will be payable on Sept. 17 to all shareholders of record as of Sept. 7. First Connecticut Bancorp is the holding company for Farmington Bank, a full-service community bank with 25 branch locations throughout Central Conn. and Western Mass., offering commercial and residential lending as well as wealth-management services. Farmington Bank has assets of $3.3 billion.

Bay Path Recognizes Springfield JCC with Award

LONGMEADOW — Springfield Jewish Community Center was recognized with Bay Path University’s first-ever Community Partnership Spirit Award, which is bestowed upon an individual, team, or organization that has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the Bay Path community, students, and mission by playing an integral role in student success through mentorship, leadership, and fostering career development. The Springfield JCC was selected as this year’s award recipient from a pool of nominations submitted by faculty and staff at Bay Path throughout the spring. The process was thorough, requiring that nominations include a narrative explaining the impact of the partner on Bay Path’s mission and students. A selection committee reviewed submissions and made the final decision. “Students from our occupational therapy, psychology, and education programs have held internships, volunteered, and engaged in service learning projects with the organization,” Bay Path President Carol Leary said. “Most recently, our master’s in occupational therapy faculty and students collaborated with the JCC Kehillah program for individuals with special needs to develop a ‘SensiPlay’ program for children with various disabilities.”

Bulkley Richardson Launches Cannabis Practice

SPRINGFIELD — As the legalization of marijuana continues to roll out in Massachusetts, attorneys at Bulkley Richardson saw an opportunity to meet the unique needs of businesses within the cannabis industry. The firm assembled a group of cross-disciplinary lawyers to form a cannabis practice group. To help launch this new practice, Bulkley Richardson recently sponsored a conference, “That Cannabis Show,” at the MassMutual Center, where the firm’s panel discussed from a legal perspective how cannabis is both like and unlike any other business. The Cannabis Group is led by attorneys Scott Foster, chair of the business and finance group and co-founder of Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), and Andy Levchuk, chair of the cybersecurity group and a 24-year veteran of the Department of Justice. The group also includes Ron Weiss, Kathy Bernardo, Mary Jo Kennedy, Sarah Willey, and Ryan Barry. “When doing business in a highly regulated industry, a rapidly changing legal landscape exists that requires a team of attorneys to collaborate across practice areas,” Foster said. “Bulkley Richardson understands the unique legal needs of cannabis businesses operating in Massachusetts and has developed a comprehensive practice group to specifically meet the many challenges within the cannabis industry.”

Company Notebook

American Women’s College Offers Food Industry Management Degree

LONGMEADOW — The American Women’s College at Bay Path University announced the launch of its bachelor of science degree in business: food industry management, now enrolling. The university’s fully online food industry management major prepares students for a wide array of positions within the industry. The program covers core business fundamentals and combines them with a solid foundation in food science. Business topics include accounting, marketing, operations, and management. The major areas of food science, such as food processing and safety, are also covered and have been adapted for flexible online learning through the university’s digitally enhanced learning model, SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning), which uses data-driven intervention strategies to help mitigate achievement gaps. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness hits one in six Americans every year. That’s why Sara R. Milillo, senior academic director of the program, believes it’s more important now than ever for professionals in the food industry, all along the chain “from farm to fork,” to understand the business and safety principles for success. Milillo earned her Ph.D. in food science with minors in education and microbiology at Cornell University. She has authored numerous publications, including papers and book chapters, on food science and safety. Prior to being named senior director of Core Curriculum & Science at the American Women’s College at Bay Path University, Milillo served as director of math and science for the college.

Bay Path Named Among Fastest-Growing Colleges in Master’s Institution Category

LONGMEADOW — The Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized Bay Path University in its Almanac of Higher Education 2018-19 as one of the fastest-growing colleges in the U.S., currently ranked 13th in the category of private nonprofit master’s institutions, with a 118.1% growth rate over a 10-year period (2006-16). Bay Path was the only institution of higher education from Massachusetts on the list, and the only women’s college in New England ranked in this category. Bay Path offers a range of educational options in response to the shifting needs of prospective students and the changing 21st-century workplace. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report for 2018 that cites the top 20 fastest-growing careers, several professions require master’s degrees, including marriage and family therapists, physician assistants, post-secondary nursing instructors, and genetic counselors, among others. Bay Path offers graduate degrees in these areas, and the recently launched MS in genetic counseling has earned distinction as the first all-online program of its kind in the country.

Holyoke Community College Readies New Biotech Center

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will open its new Center for Life Sciences on Sept. 4, for the start of the fall 2018 semester. The 13,000-square-foot facility, on the first floor of HCC’s Marieb Building, features a suite of new biotechnology classrooms and labs and what is believed to be the only ISO-certified instructional cleanroom at any Massachusetts community college and one of very few at any college or university in Western Mass. The cost of the $4.55 million project, including new equipment, was covered by a $3.8 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, supplemented by $750,000 from the HCC Foundation’s Building Healthy Communities Campaign, which also paid for the construction of the college’s Center for Health Education on Jarvis Avenue. Once it’s fully operational, the cleanroom will have a certification rating of ISO 8, which means air quality of no more than 100,000 particles per cubic foot. Inside the cleanroom will be a hooded biosafety cabinet where the sterility will increase to ISO 7, or no more than 10,000 particles per cubic foot. Grant funds and donations also paid for new equipment, including a high-end, research-grade, fluorescent microscope, like those used in the pharmaceutical industry; a micro volume spectrophotometer, used to measure small amounts of genetic material; and an electroporator for genetic engineering.

Blue Sox Named 2018 Perfect Game Collegiate Summer Team of the Year

HOLYOKE — The Valley Blue Sox have been named Perfect Game’s 2018 Collegiate Summer Team of the Year. Led by Manager and Director of Baseball Operations John Raiola, the Blue Sox paced the league with a 30-12 regular season record before winning all four of their postseason games en route to a second straight NECBL championship. Following the season, Raiola was named the recipient of the 2018 Joel Cooney Award, given to the NECBL’s Manager of the Year. Holyoke native and starting pitcher Endy Morales of Southern New Hampshire University) was named to the All-NECBL First Team. Morales posted a 5-0 record and a 1.12 ERA in 40 innings pitched. His lone postseason start came in Game 1 of the NECBL Championship Series, where he held the Ocean State Waves to one run over seven innings. Morales also received the Robin Roberts Award following the season, given to the league’s best starting pitcher. Starting pitcher Cooper Bradford (North Florida), first baseman Tyler Kapuscinski (Marist), closer Ricky Reynoso (Pacific), and shortstop Jaron Robinson (Murray State) were all named to the All-NECBL Second Team. The Blue Sox led the league with five All-NECBL selections this summer.

Holyoke Medical Center Expands Services in Chicopee

CHICOPEE — Holyoke Medical Center has expanded services to a new facility on Memorial Drive in Chicopee for primary and specialty physician services, lab draws, X-rays, ultrasound, and CORE physical therapy. The primary-care services, provided by HMC affiliate Western Mass Physician Associates, have already opened and began treating patients at 1962 Memorial Dr. in mid-June. This office relocated from 262 New Ludlow Road in Chicopee. The office is accepting new patients and will begin offering walk-in services this fall. To make an appointment, call (413) 552-3250. The Holyoke Medical Center lab-draw station relocated on Aug. 6 from 260 New Ludlow Road to an adjoining space of Western Mass Physician Associates at 1968 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee. In addition to lab services, this space will also offer X-ray and ultrasound services, which previously required patients to go to the hospital campus in Holyoke. HMC CORE Physical Therapy also opened today on Aug. 6, and is located within the same complex at 1970 Memorial Dr. This service relocated from 138 College St. in South Hadley, and will offer a renovated space and new equipment to support the rehabilitation needs of the community. To make an appointment, call (413) 532-9913.

Elms College Ranks in Top 30% Of ‘Best Colleges for Your Money’

CHICOPEE — Elms College ranks in the top 30% of colleges in Money magazine’s list of Best Colleges for Your Money 2018. To determine this year’s value rankings, Money reviewed each institution’s graduation rates, tuition charges, family borrowing, and alumni earnings, in addition to 22 other factors. The colleges on the list each demonstrate educational quality, affordability, and alumni success. “The fact that Elms is the top-ranked school in the Greater Springfield area — ranked higher than nearly all other Western Massachusetts colleges — is a testament to our mission of transforming lives through education, which calls us not only to prepare students with a liberal-arts curriculum and professional studies, but also to remain affordable and therefore accessible,” said Harry Dumay, president of the college.

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