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Inspiring Young People

Junior Achievement of Western Mass., working in concert with Associated Industries of Mass. (AIM) and a host of area businesses, staged the inaugural JA Inspire program at the MassMutual Center late last month. The event is a type of job fair for area young people, designed to not only introduce them to potential careers and area employers, but offer insights into what it will take to enter these fields. More than 400 students from 12 area schools and youth organizations attended, and 42 area companies participated.

Jennifer Connelly, president of JA of Western Mass., with students from Granite Valley Middle School in Monson

Jennifer Connelly, president of JA of Western Mass., with students from Granite Valley Middle School in Monson

Kristin Carlson, president of Peerless Precision, talks with a student about opportunities in manufacturing while Dawn Creighton, Western Mass. Director for AIM, listens in

Kristin Carlson, president of Peerless Precision, talks with a student about opportunities in manufacturing while Dawn Creighton, Western Mass. Director for AIM, listens in

students visit the Comcast booth

students visit the Comcast booth

students from M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield pose for a group shot

students from M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield pose for a group shot

students take part in the activities at the Florence Bank booth

students take part in the activities at the Florence Bank booth



Paul Harris Winners

The Rotary Club of Holyoke recently bestowed Paul Harris Fellowships, Rotary International’s highest honor, upon two community leaders, Peter Rosskothen and Edward Caisse III. Rosskothen is co-owner of the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, the Delaney House, and other businesses. He is actively involved with a number of area groups and organizations, including the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, the Pioneer Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Link to Libraries. Caisse is unit director of High Risk/Community Initiatives for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, known for his work with the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative in Holyoke. Here, Holyoke Rotary Club President Robert McKay, center, congratulates Rosskothen, left, and Caisse.



TWO Grants

Training & Workforce Options (TWO) helped obtain grants to train workers at Savage Arms in Westfield and Conklin Office Furniture in Holyoke. The Baker-Polito administration in March announced the awarding of $7.48 million in Workforce Training Fund Program grants that will fund training for almost 6,000 workers and is expected to create more than 1,100 new jobs in the Commonwealth over the next two years. The awarded grants included $238,485 for customized training for 67 workers at Savage Arms and $48,820 to train 72 workers at Conklin Office Furniture. The training at Savage Arms will help workers learn to operate computer numerical control (CNC) machines. The grant also includes training in English as a second language. The company expects to add 54 new jobs by 2021. The grant for Conklin Office Furniture will pay for the training of 72 workers in a range of skills, from customer service and team building to sales and leadership. Here, Mark Stafinksi, left, who completed the Introduction to Manufacturing Technologies course facilitated by TWO, stands with Michael Welsh, director of Human Resources at Savage Arms, and Tracye Whitfield, director of Business Development at TWO.



Breaking Ground

MassMutual was joined by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and the Fallon Company as it broke ground recently on the company’s new commercial building in Boston’s booming Seaport district at 10 Fan Pier Boulevard. This is an integral milestone in support of MassMutual’s multi-year plan to expand in its home state of Massachusetts. Once completed, the new, 17-story, 310,000-square-foot building will house approximately 1,000 MassMutual employees. MassMutual is also renewing its commitment to Springfield, the city of its founding, by adding 1,500 jobs to its headquarters by the end of 2021. Here, MassMutual Chairman, President, and CEO Roger Crandall (eighth from left) is holding the original shovel used for the groundbreaking of MassMutual’s headquarters building in Springfield in 1925. From left, Sean Anderson, head of Facilities at MassMutual; Susan Cicco, head of Human Resources & Employee Experience at MassMutual; Richard Martini, chief operating officer at the Fallon Company; Anis Baig, head of Talent Acquisition & People Analytics at MassMutual; Jennifer Halloran, head of Marketing and Brand at MassMutual; Joe Fallon, founder, president, and CEO of the Fallon Company; Walsh; Crandall; Baker; Teresa Hassara, head of Workplace Solutions at MassMutual; Pia Flanagan, chief of staff at MassMutual; Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S. (MMUS); Gareth Ross, head of Enterprise Technology and Experience at MassMutual, and Renee Roeder, head of the MMUS Business Project Management Office at MassMutual.



Legacy Gift

During her lifetime, Elaine Marieb donated more than $1.5 million to Holyoke Community College in large and small amounts she once described as “tokens of gratitude” to the institution where she earned her nursing degree and taught biology for 24 years. Even after her death in December, Marieb’s generosity continues. HCC is the beneficiary of a $1 million legacy gift Marieb set up as part of her estate plan, money earmarked for HCC programs that support non-traditional-age students. The gift was officially announced on May 28 at HCC’s monthly board of trustees meeting, followed by the presentation of a $1 million ceremonial check. Pictured, from left, HCC Foundation board chair John Driscoll, HCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Sbriscia, HCC President Christina Royal, and HCC board of trustees chair Robert Gilbert hold a ceremonial check for $1 million from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation.



Rally Against Cancer

Country Bank’s Employee Charitable Giving program recently donated $26,000 to the Jimmy Fund’s Rally Against Cancer. Team captains Eric Devine, Bonnie Trudeau-Wood, and Jeremy Toussaint led Team Country Bank with fundraising activities to help them exceed their goal of $25,000 and claim the first-place spot in the Corporate Team Challenge. Fundraising activities included staff-donated raffle baskets for employees to win, paying to wear jeans on casual Fridays, a bus trip, bake sales, and online staff donations. In addition to these activities, Country Bank provided a generous matching donation.

Company Notebook

UMass Ranks Among Best in World for Patents Awarded

BOSTON — Solidifying its reputation as a world-class research and innovation leader, UMass ranks 37th on the “Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Patents in 2018” list released by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Assoc. (IPO). This is the sixth consecutive year UMass has landed on the prestigious list, and the university rose eight places in this year’s rankings. With 58 patents awarded in calendar year 2018, UMass ranks first among public universities in New England, third overall in New England, and 30th overall in the U.S. “These rankings reflect the significance and the entrepreneurial opportunity of the research enterprise at UMass,” President Marty Meehan said. “Every day, our renowned faculty are unlocking new discoveries and creating new intellectual property with the possibility of creating new products and companies right here in Massachusetts.” In addition to patent awards, UMass filed 203 invention disclosures, executed 32 licensing deals, and launched eight startup companies in fiscal year 2018. “These 58 patents, and the jump in our ranking, are an excellent indicator of the strength of our entrepreneurial activity,” said Katie Stebbins, vice president for Economic Development in the UMass President’s Office. “What these numbers show is that UMass is one of the best in the world at developing world-class research and delivering it to the marketplace.” UMass is the fourth-largest research university in New England, with more than $650 million in annual research and development. Founded in 2010, the NAI is a nonprofit organization of universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions with more than 4,000 members. The IPO is a trade association of owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets founded in 1972. The NAI and IPO have published the “Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Patents” report annually since 2013. Rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which list a university as the first assignee on the issued patent.

The University of Massachusetts also ranked 71st on the Reuters list of the “World’s Most Innovative Universities.” The Reuters ranking highlights the educational institutions doing the most to “advance science, invent new technologies, and help drive the global economy.”

Baystate Medical Center Awarded $3,949,912 from Mass. Life Sciences Center

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center has been awarded $3,949,912 in grant funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) in a competitive program designed to sustain the Commonwealth’s competitive edge in advancing human health. “This support will expand our capacity to perform efficient and compliant clinical trials by building a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) at Baystate Medical Center, speed medical advances, and make novel treatments available to our diverse patient population,” said Dr. Peter Friedmann, chief Research officer for Baystate Health and associate dean for Research at UMass Medical School – Baystate. Baystate is among 11 hospitals, colleges, and other institutions to receive a total of $30.95 million in capital-grant funding to support the state’s global leadership in the life-sciences sector. There were 45 applications. The funding, provided through the MLSC’s Competitive Capital Program, is designed to support advances in human health, accelerate innovation in the areas of clinical and translational research, and expand the capacity of life-sciences development and job growth across the Commonwealth. The MLSC’s Competitive Capital Program invests capital dollars through a competitive process in high-potential economic-development projects that promise to make significant contributions to the state’s life-sciences ecosystem. The program aims to address funding gaps in capital dollars, industry support, and federal funding for educational institutions, incubators, research institutions, and workforce-training programs, while also catalyzing private and philanthropic investment to match state investment and preparing the life-sciences workforce of the future.

Springfield College School of Social Work Participates in Study Abroad in Romania

SPRINGFIELD — For the second consecutive year, Springfield College School of Social Work Professor Karen Clark-Hoey is leading a short-term study-abroad program in Romania, where she had lived and worked under Peace Corps and Fulbright from 1994 to 1997. Clark-Hoey will travel with 17 social work students from the Springfield and Worcester campuses for experiential learning on the study of social work in Romania more than 25 years after inception. “This trip is an opportunity for our students to learn firsthand from the social-work educators who first launched the profession in the early years following Romania’s 50 years of communism, and for them to gain an understanding of what it took to build systems of care for vulnerable populations across the practice spectrum where none had existed before,” Clark-Hoey said. The visitors will be working with the Department of Social Work at Babes-Bolyai University, where they will receive instruction from faculty, meet and share experiences with Romanian social work students, and make site visits to various agencies. Along with the experiential learning opportunities, the group will enjoy cultural experiences, including a visit to forests and castles deep in the region of Transylvania, a visit to Bridal Veil Falls, and participation with Outward Bound Romania, a nonprofit organization specializing in outdoor activities, both educational and recreational, that was founded in 1993 as an independent member of the internationally recognized Outward Bound International.

Ross Webber and Grinnell Moving to New Location

HOLYOKE — Ross Webber and Grinnell Insurance and Webber and Grinnell Employee Benefits are moving their offices down the street from 150 Lower Westfield Road to 98 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke. The third-floor office suite located above Pier One has recently been remodeled to accommodate the transition. “Our team is very excited about our new space,” said Bill Grinnell, president of the agency. “It has wonderful natural light and a very contemporary feel. It also gives us enough space to continue to grow the agency, and, being at the crossroads of I-91 and I-90, it’s an easily accessible location for our clients. We’ll continue our office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.” Webber and Grinnell purchased Ross Insurance in May 2018 and moved its employee-benefits company to the Holyoke location last November.

Hogan Technology Offers SD-WAN as a Service to Small, Mid-sized Customers

EASTHAMPTON — Hogan Technology, a leading managed-technology-services provider, announced that it now offers SD-WAN as a service to its small to mid-sized business customers (SMBs). SD-WAN is a leading technology; according to research firm Gartner, “by the end of 2019, 30% of enterprises will deploy SD-WAN technology in their branches.” The reason for the technology’s rise in popularity is due to its simultaneous capacities to increase productivity within an organization while also reducing the total cost of ownership. SD-WAN is an acronym for software-defined networking in a wide-area network (WAN). SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism. This concept is similar to how software-defined networking implements virtualization technology to improve data-center management and operation. A key application of SD-WAN is to allow companies to build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost and commercially available internet access, enabling businesses to partially or wholly replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies such as multi-protocol label switching. SMBs that need to scale up or scale down quickly, or need to run multiple remote offices or would like greater visibility into their networks, can benefit greatly from this technology.

Berkley Human Services Selects Smith Brothers as Regional Representative

EASTHAMPTON — Berkley Human Services, a leading provider of insurance and risk-management services for social services across the U.S., has selected Smith Brothers Insurance to represent it in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Smith Brothers, which has offices in Easthampton and West Springfield and is headquartered in Glastonbury, Conn., is an independently operated, top-100 broker in the U.S., withd has offices throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. “For decades, we have had great relationships with many of the W.R. Berkley companies,” said Joe Smith, president and CEO of Smith Brothers. “The addition of Berkley Human Services in our social-services specialty will enhance our growth plans, and, with our home base in Hartford County and expansion in Massachusetts and New York, we look forward to helping these organizations help others.”

Valley Health Systems Employees Donate Clothing to Dress for Success

HOLYOKE — Employees of Valley Health Systems, which includes Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Medical Group, Holyoke VNA Hospice Life Care, and River Valley Counseling Center, generously donated clothing to benefit Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts on May 16. A Holyoke Medical Center van was filled with women’s professional clothing, shoes, and accessories and delivered to the Dress for Success Boutique, located at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts collects new or gently used, freshly dry-cleaned or laundered suits, scrubs, business-appropriate apparel, shoes, and accessories for women. “Doing a clothing drive was very generous of River Valley Counseling Center and Valley Health Systems,” said Margaret Tantillo, executive director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts. “The clothing ultimately helps a woman secure employment and helps her become financially independent.”

Briefcase

Massachusetts Unemployment Falls Below 3% in April

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate for April was down one-tenth of a percentage point at 2.9%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 4,100 jobs in April. Over the month, the private sector added 4,000 jobs as gains occurred in construction; professional, scientific, and business services; education and health services; financial activities; information; and other services. Trade, transportation, and utilities; manufacturing; and leisure and hospitality lost jobs over the month. From April 2018 to April 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 37,100 jobs. The April unemployment rate was 0.7% lower than the national rate of 3.6% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Preliminary estimates indicate that, in April, the Massachusetts unemployment rate fell below 3% for the first time since December of 2000,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “Year to date, the Commonwealth’s economy has added 25,400 jobs, showing that, even with a low, 2.9% unemployment rate, Massachusetts employers continue to add jobs to help fuel their growth needs.” The labor force decreased by 3,200 from 3,843,500 in March, as 1,600 fewer residents were employed and 1,600 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped six-tenths of a percentage point. The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 67.8%. Compared to April 2018, the labor-force participation rate is up 0.4%. The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in professional, scientific, and business services; information; construction; and education and health services.

Manning Family Gift Will Advance Innovative Research at UMass

AMHERST — UMass Amherst alumnus Paul Manning and his wife, Diane Manning, have committed $1 million through their family foundation to establish the Manning Innovation Program, which provides three years of support in advancing a robust and sustainable pipeline of applied and translational research projects from UMass Amherst. It will allow the university’s College of Natural Sciences (CNS) to support bold, promising researchers, providing resources for them to innovate in new directions and to develop real-world applications for their discoveries. The initiative will provide assistance to researchers and business students across campus through the critical early stages on the path to commercialization, such as ideation, proof of concept, and business development. Faculty will receive seed funding and engage in business training and mentorship from a number of campus units, including the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, the College of Natural Sciences, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Isenberg School of Management. The first grant to be awarded from the Manning Innovation Program will support research on a topic that hits close to home for the Manning family, Stargardt disease. Both of the Mannings’ sons, Bradford and Bryan, have the disease, which causes loss of central vision. Currently, there is no treatment to delay or cure the disease. The two Manning brothers now run a clothing line called Two Blind Brothers, and they donate all of its proceeds directly to blindness research. Abigail Jensen, associate professor of Biology, will use a $40,000 grant to support her research on Stargardt disease and possible therapies using zebrafish. Her research seeks to identify how the disease works on a molecular level. Development of zebrafish with therapeutic mutations subverting Stargardt disease at the genetic level provides the first opportunity to discover the molecular mechanism of cone-photoreceptor degeneration and potential pathways for translation of research to therapeutic applications. In keeping with the university’s core values, the Manning Innovation Program will stimulate, recognize, and reward innovation. It will foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the college and enhance the spirit of collaboration among Isenberg School of Management advisors, science and technology researchers, and industry experts. Further, the Manning Foundation’s gift provides vital investment to support UMass as a partner of choice in advancing and applying knowledge and innovation for the betterment of society. The next wave in the application process for the Manning Innovation Program will result in a new round of applications being submitted by July 15. The review committee will notify recipients at the end of August, and the next round of projects could begin in September. Paul Manning, an entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, most recently founded PBM Capital Group in 2010. PBM Capital is a healthcare-focused private investment group that looks for opportunities to use its entrepreneurial and operational experience to make high-growth pharmaceutical, molecular-diagnostic, gene-therapy, life-science, health and wellness, and consumer product investments. He was the anchor investor in Maroon Venture Partners, the first venture-capital fund at UMass Amherst. Created in 2017, the fund is a $6 million, for-profit investment vehicle created to support alumni, faculty, and student businesses in their early stages.

Communities Receive $647,000 for Middle-school Exploration Programs

BOSTON — American Student Assistance (ASA), a national nonprofit, announced it has awarded grants totaling $647,000 to seven Massachusetts school districts, including two in Western Mass., to fund career and interest exploration programs for middle-school students. The school communities, which will receive their funding over the course of three years, will begin implementing the programs in the 2019-20 school year. In Western Mass., Monson Public Schools will launch the Careers in the Middle program, providing students in grades 6 to 8 with classroom lessons, field trips, and events that will expose them to career-awareness opportunities. “Monson is thrilled to be chosen by ASA to partner to provide additional resources that focus on our middle grades,” said Robert Bardwell, director of School Counseling and School-to-Career coordinator. “This grant will give us the opportunity to do more for our middle-level students and collect data that tells us which activities are best to facilitate and encourage career development early on.” Meanwhile, Springfield STEM Academy will enhance and expand the Tech/Engineering Exploration program to expose students to new fields such as bioengineering, solar and wind engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. “Exposing students to biological, solar, wind, electrical, and mechanical engineering at a young age is a potential game changer for their rest of their lives,” Superintendent Daniel Warwick said. “It allows them to think about the wide array of STEM careers in real ways and opens the door to unlimited possibilities in this burgeoning field. We are extremely grateful that this ASA grant will help us provide this opportunity for our students.”

Employer Confidence in Massachusetts Falls in May

BOSTON — Employer confidence weakened in Massachusetts during May amid renewed trade tensions and concerns among companies about increased operating costs from paid family leave and other government mandates. The outlook among business leaders has moved in a narrow, overall optimistic range for much of 2019. However, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index lost 3.2 points last month to 57.1, its lowest level since October 2016. The Index has declined 9.5 points since May 2018. All the constituent indicators that make up the BCI weakened during May, with the largest drop coming in employer views of conditions six months from now. The erosion of confidence during the past 12 months has been driven largely by caution about the national economy and concern among manufacturing companies. “The Business Confidence Index continues to reflect the Goldilocks economy in which we find ourselves — U.S. GDP growth is expected to remain at a modest level of 2% to 3%, and there is not much inflation or deflation. There are both encouraging signs and red flags,” said Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Several employers participating in the survey said regulatory costs have become a significant concern. “The cost to operate has increased dramatically — higher wages, benefit costs, supply costs, and cost of compliance with all the new regulations coming out of the State House,” one employer wrote. Constituent indicators showed a broad-based retrenchment during May. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the commonwealth fell 2.3 points to 60.9, while the U.S. Index shed 3.3 points to 55.0. The Massachusetts reading has declined 9.1 points during the past 12 months, and the U.S. reading has dropped 14.3 points during the same period. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, tumbled 4.5 points to 56.0. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, lost 1.8 points to 58.2, 8.4 points lower than a year ago. The Employment Index declined 1.2 points for the month and 5.1 percent for 12 months. Analysts say employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers in a state economy with a 2.9% jobless rate. AIM President and CEO John Regan, also a BEA member, said the national economic uncertainty comes at a time when Massachusetts employers are struggling with a series of expensive new employment-law mandates such as the state’s $1 billion paid family and medical leave program. “AIM has joined Raise Up Massachusetts and other groups in asking the Baker administration to delay the scheduled July 1 start of paid leave by three months to provide employers time to consider how much of the cost they will share with workers and whether they wish to opt out of the state system,” Regan said. “The delay is necessary to ensure a smooth rollout of this new entitlement.”

Opioid-overdose Death Rate Falls 4% in Massachusetts

BOSTON — The opioid-related overdose death rate in Massachusetts continues to decline, falling an estimated 4% between 2016 and 2018, according to updated figures rin the latest quarterly opioid-related overdose deaths report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. For the first three months of 2019, preliminary data shows 497 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths. The decline in opioid-related overdose deaths is occurring despite the persistent presence of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl. In 2018, fentanyl was present in the toxicology of 89% of those who died of an opioid-related overdose and had a toxicology screen. The presence of some stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines, has also been increasing in opioid-related overdose deaths since 2017, while the presence of heroin or likely heroin in opioid-related overdose deaths has been declining since 2014. “While we remain encouraged that opioid-related overdose deaths have declined over the last two years, the epidemic continues to present very real challenges across Massachusetts that are made worse by the presence of fentanyl, cocaine, and amphetamines,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to provide the $266 million we proposed in our budget to support prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services in addition to $5 million for a new Regional Fentanyl Interdiction Task Force.” In 2018, the total number of confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths was 2,033. That’s 17 fewer deaths than the 2,050 confirmed and estimated in 2017. By comparison, there were 2,100 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016. “The inroads we are making are also the result of our relentless focus on using data to drive our decision making around programs and policies,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “We continue to focus our efforts on multiple strategies that are proven effective.”

Massachusetts Health Officials Report Second Case of Measles

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed that a case of measles was diagnosed in a child in Greater Boston on May 24. During the infectious period, the child was present in a number of locations in Quincy and Weymouth that could have resulted in exposure to other people. This second case of measles this year in Massachusetts has occurred in the context of a large national outbreak of measles and a very large international outbreak. “Lack of vaccination, combined with domestic and international travel, has resulted in the spread of measles nationally and internationally,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel. “Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves from this disease.” DPH urges all those who do not know their measles immunization status to get vaccinated with at least one dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles vaccine given within 72 hours of exposure may prevent measles disease, and vaccination beyond this window will provide protection from subsequent exposures. DPH, local health departments, and healthcare providers are working to contact individuals at high risk for exposure. Early symptoms of measles occur 10 days to two weeks after exposure and may resemble a cold (with fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes), and a rash occurs on the skin two to four days after the initial symptoms develop. The rash usually appears first on the head and then moves downward. The rash typically lasts a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to four days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears. People who have had measles, or who have been vaccinated against measles per U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, are considered immune.

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests in Growth of Ludlow’s Manufacturing Sector

LUDLOW — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $3.1 million in the town of Ludlow to help support of the growth of local manufacturing by improving Riverside Drive. The project, to be matched with $3.1 million in local funds, is located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act-designated Opportunity Zone and is expected to create more than 950 jobs and generate more than $90.6 million in private investment. “Improving Riverside Drive will support the needs of larger commercial and industrial users, which require reliable water and sanitary sewer systems, as well as electric and communication services, to be competitive in the regional and global economy,” Ross said. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone designation will further incentives businesses to invest in the area and develop the local economy.” U.S. Rep. Richard Neal noted that the investment will bring the Riverside Drive project at Ludlow Mills one step closer to completion. “I have visited the site many times and know how important this federal investment is to the town of Ludlow. The transformation of the former mill on the Chicopee River has been impressive, and I am pleased to have been an enthusiastic supporter of this business and housing venture from the start.” The Riverside Drive improvement project will include construction of approximately 4,500 feet of public roadway, including water and sewer lines and underground utilities, to provide safe and adequate access to new manufacturing space within Ludlow’s industrial area. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC). EDA funds the PVPC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic -development road map to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

Company Notebook

MGM Springfield Receives LEED Platinum Certification

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Resorts International announced that MGM Springfield has received the world’s first U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction Platinum level certification for a gaming resort. MGM Springfield, which opened in August 2018, is the company’s most recent development. Working closely with state and city officials, as well as the local community, MGM Resorts committed to designing and building a property that exemplifies the company’s values in support of environmental sustainability and positive social impact while honoring local history and architecture. A significant enabler of the LEED Platinum rating is the property’s new solar array, which will supply renewable electricity to the facility. In partnership with GE Solar, a subsidiary of General Electric based in Massachusetts, MGM Springfield will install a 1.13-megawatt solar canopy on the eighth floor, on top of the MGM Springfield garage. This array is expected to generate more than 1,600 megawatt hours of electricity, helping reduce the property’s annual carbon footprint by approximately 410 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Among its sustainable design and development elements, MGM Springfield redeveloped and revitalized a tornado-impacted site in the South End; integrated smart energy infrastructure and submeters through the facility to help monitor and control the property’s electrical and mechanical systems to support year-round energy efficiency; designed for significant on-site electricity generation; installed 50 electric vehicle-charging stations and 140 low-emitting fuel-efficient vehicle parking spaces in some of the most preferable locations of the guest and employee garages, to encourage the use of more environmentally preferable modes of transportation; diverted more than 95% of construction and demolition waste by weight from landfills during construction; selected products from manufacturers that disclose information about the ingredients in their products; used interior finishes such as paints, sealants, coatings, adhesives, carpeting, and composite wood products with low or no volatile organic chemicals and free of urea-formaldehyde, helping to create healthier spaces for guests and employees; and created a rainwater-harvesting system and underground cistern to capture, store, and treat rainwater onsite, allowing 100% of water for landscaping to come from this source. Working with community partners, the MGM Springfield development project includes multiple buildings within the city of Springfield, including a daycare facility, entertainment venues, and more. All aspects of this project have already achieved or are seeking a minimum of LEED Gold certification.

Bulkley Richardson Launches Craft Brew and Distillery Practice

SPRINGFIELD — With a growing number of clients in the space, Bulkley Richardson announced the launch of its Craft Brew and Distillery practice. The firm advises local craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries in all stages of development, from startups to established businesses. The firm’s attorneys possess a depth of expertise in the relevant areas of law to assist with startup and entity formation; state, federal, and local licensing; financing; distribution agreements; intellectual-property matters; real-estate matters and commercial leases; construction and expansion; mergers and acquisitions; business succession planning; and litigation. The Craft Brew and Distillery practice is led by attorneys Ryan Barry, Scott Foster, Michael Roundy, and Sarah Willey. To help launch this new practice, Bulkley Richardson has signed on as lead sponsor, alongside Berkshire Bank, of What’s on Tap Wednesday, the new, weekly outdoor beer garden featuring local breweries. The events are held on Wednesdays after work beginning June 5 through September 18, and will rotate locations among 1350 Main St., Duryea Way, MGM Springfield, Tower Square Park, and the Shops at Marketplace. Each week will feature live music, local food, and guest brewers. The firm will also sponsor the second annual Whip City Brewfest on Saturday, June 1 in Westfield to support the Amelia Park Children’s Museum. Roundy has been on the festival’s planning committee from the inception and is heavily involved in the planning of the event.

Tighe & Bond Climbs in National Design Rankings

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, one of the leading full-service engineering and environmental consulting firms in the Northeast, climbed 19 spots this year to number 222 on Engineering News Record’s (ENR) 2019 Top 500 Design Firms ranking. In the past two years, Tighe & Bond climbed 38 spots as the firm continues to grow its regional market. ENR ranks its list of top 500 design firms nationally based on design-specific revenue from the previous year. “We are very excited to climb 19 spots in this national ranking, which we believe is the result of continuing to execute on our strategies of expanding in our regional markets along with attracting and retaining outstanding staff across the organization,” said Bob Belitz, president and CEO of Tighe & Bond. “Of course, we could not achieve these accomplishments without the trust our clients have in us to work on their behalf and deliver superb project outcomes.”

Wellfleet Relocating to Tower Square in August

SPRINGFIELD — Wellfleet, a Berkshire Hathaway company providing accident and health-insurance products, will relocate its national corporate headquarters to Springfield’s Tower Square in August. A press conference will be held on Friday, June 7 at 11 a.m. at the Tower Square ground-floor atrium. Wellfleet has outgrown its current office space on Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield. The new offices at Tower Square will give Wellfleet employees up to 80,000 square feet of class A office space and provide ample room for Wellfleet’s new and growing Workplace Benefits division. Formerly known as Consolidated Health Plans, the company rebranded as Wellfleet in January, uniting its insurance carriers and claims-administration organizations under one marketing name. Wellfleet has approximately 175 employees, 150 of whom work in Springfield; others work remotely or from satellite offices in Florence, S.C. and San Rafael, Calif.

GCC Awarded Grant to Improve Post-incarceration Workforce Outcomes

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community College (GCC) has been awarded $17,000 from the Commonwealth Corp. as part of an Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development initiative to improve workforce outcomes among individuals returning to their communities after incarceration. The Program Design Capacity Building Grant is part of the Commonwealth Corp. Re-Entry Workforce Development Demonstration Program. The goal of the grant is to design a manufacturing workforce pipeline in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties that helps meet unmet manufacturing labor needs. The project aims to prepare returning citizens for careers in manufacturing by addressing systemic barriers to gainful employment for individuals post-incarceration. In order to achieve this goal, GCC will partner with manufacturing businesses, state and community agencies, and Holyoke Community College. Grant partners include four manufacturing businesses; Peerless Precision Inc., Sisson Engineering Corp., Deerfield Packaging Service Inc., and Sanderson McLeod Inc. Partner agencies include the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office and House of Corrections, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board, MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board, Community Action Pioneer Valley, and Holyoke Community College.

GCC Foundation Awards $190,000 in Scholarships

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Community College (GCC) Foundation awarded 127 scholarships to GCC students at its 57th annual GCC Foundation scholarship awards ceremony. The awards totaled over $190,000, with an additional $100,000 to be distributed in the fall, all made possible by donor support of endowed and direct-funded named scholarships. The occasion is a time for members of the entire GCC community to come together to celebrate students’ academic achievements. Scholarship donors include private individuals, local businesses, corporations, faculty and staff, and alumni, and many were on hand to present their awards to the recipients. For a complete listing of the scholarships awarded, visit www.gcc.mass.edu/2019scholarships. Scholarships range in size and eligibility requirements, and include awards to students enrolled in credit-bearing certificate and degree programs, as well as participants in the college’s non-credit workforce-development programs. The Charlotte Waynelovich Scholarship is one example. Funded by Baystate Health and Baystate Franklin Medical Center in honor of her retirement, it was presented by Wanelovich to a GCC student in the associate degree in nursing program who lives in Franklin County. The GCC Foundation was founded in 1968. Since then, it has worked with those who wish to invest in the dreams of students who work, students who cannot afford tuition, and students who cannot travel to other educational institutions.

Florence Bank Pitches in on Community Center Upgrade

SPRINGFIELD — Florence Bank and the city of Springfield are working together to upgrade the basketball court at Greenleaf Community Center in time for summer, school vacation, and neighborhood pickup games. Work to repave and paint the court began earlier in May and is expected to be complete before school ends in June. Two new hoops and backboards will also be installed. Nearly two years ago, Florence Bank opened its first branch in Hampden County at 1010 Union St. in West Springfield, and last fall, a second branch opened at 1444 Allen St. Florence Bank and the city each contributed $15,000 to the project. A celebratory event will be held on Tuesday, June 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., with a rain date of June 19.

Briefcase

Employer Confidence Strengthens in April

BOSTON — The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index rose 2.4 points to 60.3 last month. Confidence remains well within optimistic territory, though still 3.9 points below its strong reading of April 2018. The April 2019 increase reflected growing employer optimism about economic prospects for the next six months and about the future of their own companies. All of the constituent indicators that make up the Index rose during April with one notable exception. The Employment Index fell 1.5 points to 54.4, suggesting that employer sentiment continues to be tempered by a persistent shortage of qualified workers. “The Business Confidence Index continues to show a conflict between short-term economic optimism and long-term concern about the prospect of finding enough appropriately skilled workers to run Massachusetts businesses,” said Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design. “The immediate news for employers is positive as economic growth in Massachusetts surged to an annual rate of 4.6% during the first quarter of 2019, and U.S. growth came in at 3.2%.” The constituent indicators showed a broad-based strengthening of confidence during April. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth rose 1.5 points to 63.2, while the U.S. Index gained 2.8 points to 58.3. The Massachusetts reading has declined 0.9 points during the past 12 months, and the U.S. reading has dropped 5.6 points during the same period. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, surged 3.1 points to 60.5. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, rose 1.7 points to 60.0, still 5.1 points lower than a year ago. The decline in the Employment Index left that measure 5.4 points lower than in April 2018. One good sign for job seekers is that the Sales Index, a key predictor of future business activity, rose 3.9 points during the month.

Leadership Pioneer Valley Partners with Tech Foundry on Program for Students

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) and Tech Foundry partnered together for a leadership-development curriculum for the students participating in the 14-week IT-training program. At no cost to the students, Tech Foundry prepares a cross-section of the population to step into a sustainable career in the information-technology sector. The program provides a comprehensive computer-science curriculum that gives students the fundamental knowledge needed to work with a variety of programming languages, computer hardware, networking solutions, and more. Partnering with Leadership Pioneer Valley, Tech Foundry was able to offer leadership development and skills to the students. “I can definitely say that, as a result of working with LPV, our students’ skill sets and confidence increased by leaps and bounds. Lora was thoughtful and responsive from our first planning meetings designing the curriculum to establishing the schedule, to securing trainers and delivering the workshops to meet our unique program needs,” said Dara Nussbaum-Vazquez, executive director of Tech Foundry. “Interactive and engaging LPV sessions with Tech Foundry ranged from students creating an elevator pitch on video to team exercises building towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows, to a creativity and problem-solving session rooted in improv-comedy techniques. We would highly recommend LPV to other nonprofits and companies, and look forward to a longstanding partnership.” LPV is also currently seeking applications for its LEAP Class of 2020. Emerging leaders, mid-career professionals with leadership potential, and those looking to better the Pioneer Valley are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is Monday, July 1. Applications and further information can be found at www.leadershippv.org.

Scholarships Available for STEM Studies at HCC

HOLYOKE — Students enrolled full-time in chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, or other STEM fields at Holyoke Community College (HCC) may qualify for a National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship of up to $10,000 a year toward tuition and fees. Recipients of the scholarship become members of HCC’s STEM Scholars program and participate in field trips and benefit from other exclusive STEM-related events and activities each semester. The NSF STEM scholarship continues each semester students maintain good academic standing. Incoming and current HCC students are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for the 2019-20 academic year is Monday, July 15. Eligibility guidelines for the National Science Foundation STEM scholarship can be viewed at www.hcc.edu/scholarships, where there is also a link to the online application under ‘National Science Foundation Scholarships in STEM.’ Applicants must be enrolled full time in a STEM program, demonstrate academic ability or potential, and demonstrate financial need, according to the guidelines. STEM disciplines include biological sciences, physical sciences, math, computer and information services, geosciences, and engineering.

DBA Certificates

The following business certificates and trade names were issued or renewed during the month of May 2019.

AMHERST

GranAuto
611 Southeast St.
Maria Caizan

Rivica Solomon
145 University Dr., #3582
Rebecca Edelson

Sebastian Management
48 Fairfield St.
David Sebastian

Sovereign Cit Pressure Washing
434 North Pleasant St.
George Vazquez

Thrive Works Counseling
21 Pray St.
Greg Handel

Urban Empire Productions
33 Kellogg Ave.
Rhonda Soto

BELCHERTOWN

AMETG
9 Sarah Lane
Andrea Bordenca

Angle Cuts Etc.
3 Cold Spring St.
Anne Leger

Cold Spring Self Storage
159 Bay Road
Trista Fedor

Delisle Family Farm
95 Railroad St.
Keri Delisle, Douglas Delisle

Desco
9 Sarah Lane
Andrea Bordenca

Eileen Klockars Graphic Design & Bard Brook Press
27 Wilson Road
Eileen Klockars

KD Plumbing & Heating
538 North Washington St.
Kevin Douville, Karen Mercier

Lanzi, Elisa M.
47 Two Ponds Road
Elisa Lanzi

Liberty Nails
Binh Hue Truong
40 Daniel Shays Highway

CHICOPEE

C2C Home Improvement Inc.
15 Pembroke Place
Steven Buzzell

Cordero Epoxy Overlays
91 Providence St.
Felix Cordero

Go Pro Lawn & Tree
15 Pembroke Place
Steven Buzzell

Law Office of Attorney Bob Opsitnick
63 Whittlesey Ave.
Robert Opsitnick Jr.

SRN Trans
280 James St.
Hiddadura Mendis

DEERFIELD

Cuts by Tatsiana
5B Elm St.
Tatsiana Smolava

Massachusetts Artists Foods
75 Stillwater Road
Christopher Haskell

EASTHAMPTON

Orion’s General Labor
12 Ely Ave.
Travis Dean

Slingshot Advertising
180 Pleasant St., Suite 320
Joanna Surowiec

Tonal Eclipse
25 Lazy D Dr.
Jessey Ina-Lee, Brittany Shoup

Wonderland
56 Cottage St.
Beth McElhiney

EAST LONGMEADOW

Ann’s Hair Salon
741 Parker St.
Ann Roberts

Diane & Co.
376 Prospect St.
Diane Gomes

Glossy Design
60 Shaker Road
Latina Duncanson

Mass Gun Shop
50 Shaker Road
Kendall Knapik

Smoke N Pipe Outlet
668 North Main St.
Abid Akhtar

Sub-Surface, LLC
143C Shaker Road, #206
Beth Provencher

GREENFIELD

FireSky Skin Essentials, LLC
259 Federal St.
Cassandra Paronich

Gerry Insurance & Financial Service
486 Main St., Suite 6B
Melissa Emerson Gerry

Greenfield Nail Bar
255 Mohawk Trail
Cuong Luu

Peter’s Barber Shop
207 Main St.
Petr Kourizhhykh

Pretty Nails
209 Main St.
Trang Nguyen, Martha Gutierrez

Resurrection Revival Ministries
52 Union St.
Marcelene Murdoch

Salon at Wilson’s
258 Main St.
Mariette Poginy

Silvanus
58 Solar Way
Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakkix

Starpoli Sounds
671 Lampblack Road
Jeremy Starpoli

Suebeedoo Designs
13 Cedar St.
Susan Brulotte

HOLYOKE

Blue Collar Entrepreneur Magazine
582 Pleasant St, Apt. 1M
David Hannah

El Sabor Caribeno
351 High St.
Norma Martinez

Forward Change Experiences, LLC
226 Sargeant St.
Antonia Santiago

Gold N Diamonds Holyoke
50 Holyoke St.
Lavinia Oprea

Jazzed About Jobs
92 Race St.
Donald Prisby

Keller & Macri
480 Hampden St.
Timothy Macri

Legendary Who’s Next Barber Shop
323 Main St.
Omar Peralta

Lenscrafters #198
50 Holyoke St.
Luxiottica Retail North America Inc.

Lin’s Relax Station
50 Holyoke St.
Lin Lin

MoonLight Launch
62 Main St.
Jonael Ruiz

PARPE
55 Laura Lane
Patti Cutler

Round 1 Bowling & Amusement
50 Holyoke St.
Tamiya Sakamoto, Kiyofumi Kuroda, Shintaro Kaji

Sunglass Hut #4198
50 Holyoke St.
Sunglass Hut Luxottica of America Inc.

Sunglass Hut at Macy’s #7242
400 Whitney Ave.
Sunglass Hut Luxottica of America Inc.

Today’s Nails
50 Holyoke St.
Charles Tran, Hong Nguyen

Vin’s Car Wash
185 South St.
Paul Mazzariello

LUDLOW

A & P Machine Co.
1189 East St.
Paul Guay, Anne Guay

Bay State Painting Co.
512 Miller St.
Donald Wojcik Jr.

Kings Painting
27 Maple St.
Alan Kelliher

Linda’s Hairstyling
322 West Ave.
Linda Bianco

Ludlow Spring
89 Prospect St.
Kurt Oelmann Jr.

NORTHAMPTON

Golf Tournament Solutions
73 Barrett St., #5161
Steven Duffany

The Kitchen Pitch
13 Grove Ave.
Marc Freedman

Mark LaValley & Sons Trucking, Excavating
541 Ryan Road
Mark LaValley

Radiant Point Acupuncture
22 Merrick Lane
Kathryn Cadwagon

Resources for Reading
155 Industrial Dr.
Matt Dufresne, Michele Dufresne, Robert Dufresne

Valley Trust
37 Main St.
Jagdish Singh

Walgreens #11602
70 Main St.
Todd Heckman

Whole Body Healing, Acupuncture and Wellness, LLC
30 North King St.
Elizabeth Girard

SOUTHWICK

Deragon and Sons, LLC
44 Hillside Road
Thomas Deragon

Smokey Water Rib Co., LLC
81 Point Grove Road
Tony Pitts

SPRINGFIELD

A Plus B Food Mart
1390 Allen St.
Rizwan Kabir

ACC
1755 Boston Road
American Leaf MA, LLC

Accountemps
1 Monarch Place
Evelyn Crane-Oliver

American Outdoor Brands Corp.
2100 Roosevelt Ave.
Smith & Wesson Corp.

Aro Realty Inc.
41 Cedar St.
Antonio Aro

B & S Trucking Co.
214 Pasco Road
Benito Santiago

Bob Hogan Productions
21 Lawn St.
Robert Hogan Jr.

CP Property Group, LLC
672 Chestnut St.
Robert Couture

Cashman Legal
69 Longhill St.
Michael Patrick

Cricket
1334 Liberty St.
Summit JV, LLC

Cricket
2547 Main St.
Summit JV, LLC

Cricket
950 State St.
Summit JV, LLC

Dino’s Auto Repair
136 Nursery St.
Misael Colon

ER Tools, LLC
98 Corey Road
Elvin Ramos

En Motion Dance Theater
531 Belmont Ave.
Shire Brown

Great Walls
1004 Berkshire Ave.
Jason Lemire

Hit Harder Fitness
77 Warehouse St.
Kimberly Ewing

Ironsides Property Group
672 Chestnut St.
Robert Couture

Jackie’s Cakes
48 Ivanhoe St.
Jacqueline Burgos

Josue David Cortes
25 Watling St.
Josue David Cortes

Luxury Lashes by Viky
516 Main St.
Viktoriya Patiera

MRG Building Solutions
837 State St.
Robert Garcia

Marcel Transit
31 Westford Ave.
Marcel Smith

Old San Juan Restaurant Express
1655 Boston Road
Eliziel Matos

Pikoretas Frappe & More
570 Dickinson St.
Iris Marrero

School Street Convenience
108 School St.
Frank Cincotta

Stone Creek Foods
180 Avocado St.
Severn Peanut Co.

Urban Financial Services
1924 Wilbraham Road
Michael Perez

Ut Vo ATM
51 Biddle St.
Ut Van Vo

VCA Boston Road Animal Hospital
1235 Boston Road
VCA Animal Hospitals

WESTFIELD

2 Bay Machine & Metal Works
23A Orange St.
2 Bay Machine & Metal Works

DG Woodworks
88 Notre Dame St.
Daniy Gavrilyuk

Elm Motel
50 Russell Road
Om Tat Sat Inc.

Flourish Beauty MA
38 Elm St., Suite 8
Gilmarys Marrero

FNL Painting
868 Southampton Road
FNL Painting

Green Palace Massage Therapy
51 Southwick Road
Guomei Wang

Janik’s Pierogi Café
3840 Main St.
Janik’s Pierogi Café

Longcap Lamson Products, LLC
79 Mainline Dr.
Longcap Lamson Products, LLC

LT Properties
13 Mechanic St.
Lisa Buckman

Salon Thairapy
338 Springdale Road
Jennifer Zabielski

Weege & the Wonder Twins
32 White St.
Weege & the Wonder Twins

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Advanced New England Construction
203 Circuit Ave.
Kirill Katalinikov

Audiology Services Co. USA, LLC
459 Riverdale St.
Michael Damelio

B & H Auto Repair
21 Summer St.
Hashim Adwan

Master’s Concrete
41 Bacon Ave.
Gregory Mercure

Mindfulness Meditation Workshop
380 Union St.
Douglas Williams

Mr. Whippey Soft Swirl
934 Morgan Road
Karen Maratea

R-E Pools
31 Field St.
Eric Dziewit

Therese K. Sarnelli, M.Ed. LMHC
117 Park Ave.
Therese Sarnelli

WILBRAHAM

I & J Home Improvement
25 Brainard Road
Anatolie Balaur

Quabbin Advisors, LLC
22 Carla Lane
Megan Donnelly

S.H.A.P.E.S.
348 Stony Hill Road
Brian Tracy

SnapVending
38 Manchonis Road
Raymond Gore

Stony Hill Farm, LLC
899 Stony Hill Road
Alice Colman, Brian Cunningham

Theme Cakes by Joelene
2341 Boston Road, #2
Joelene Guzzo

Opinion

Editorial

Those gathered around the water cooler have had to find other things to talk about in recent days, as James Holzhauer, the record-breaking, cyborg-like Jeopardy! champion was forced to the sidelines as the popular game show took a break for its teachers’ tournament.

But he’ll be back soon, and so will the talk — all kinds of talk. About his almost scary intellect, non-traditional tactics, intriguing personality, and, yes, his winnings — almost $1.7 million (in just 22 shows) when he had to take his break.

But the discussion at the water cooler, and in columns in newspapers and magazines across the country, has gone further in some cases, talking about how Holzhauer has somehow broken the popular game, ruined it, turned it into bad television, or somehow broken or distorted its rules.

Apparently, the virtues of even an incredible Jeopardy! winning streak are in the eyes of the beholder.

What we see is something quite intriguing, something that offers lessons about maybe how all of us should look at life, work, and running our businesses.

Indeed, for decades, it seemed, Jeopardy! was played one way. Contestants found a category they liked, started at the top, and moved to the bottom. When they found a Daily Double, they generally (but not always) wagered conservatively. A good day’s work was maybe $25,000 or even $35,000.

Then, along came Holzhauer, the professional sports gambler, who has obviously looked at this game and its rules and decided that there was a better, more effective, more lucrative way to play it. Before he arrived, the one-day record was $77,000. He’s averaging that — well, $76,864, to be exact — per game.

He starts at the bottom of each category with the big-money questions. He moves around the board searching for the Daily Doubles. When he finds them, he usually has a lot of money won, and then he wagers large amounts, often making them true Daily Doubles. And by hitting the $1,000 and $2,000 questions early — and getting them right — he’s building leads his opponents simply cannot overcome; there isn’t enough money left on the board.

When it gets to Final Jeopardy! the game is already won, but Holzhauer still wagers generally as much as he can, gets the question right (he hasn’t missed a final question yet), and often banks north of $100,000.

It’s radical, it’s different, but unless you’re a hopeless traditionalist who just doesn’t like the way Holzhauer is smoking his competiton every night, you have to like it, you have to applaud it — and you have to tune in to watch it. Yes, Jeopardy! ratings have been much higher since he started this remarkable run.

The lessons for managers and business owners? They’re quite obvious.

Holzhauer surveyed the scene, looked at how just about everyone before him had played Jeopardy! and decided there was a better way. And we’re willing to bet that many more people will be playing it this way from now own.

This is the way to look at your business and your role in it. The status quo is sometimes just fine. Doing things the way everyone else has done them is sometimes OK. But we always need to be searching for those better ways, those new and innovative ways, to do things.

By finding such ways, Holzhauer has set and re-set the single-day earnings record for Jeopardy! In fact, he now owns the 12 highest daily totals in the show’s history. He has, in effect, raised the bar, and he keeps raising it.

That’s the ultimate lesson from this incredible run.

Agenda

‘How Will Marijuana Affect the Workplace’

May 14: MassHire Holyoke Career Center will host a workshop titled “How Will Marijuana Affect the Workplace In Massachusetts” with attorney Erica Flores from Skoler, Abbott & Presser. This free event will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. Flores will the current state of the law regarding marijuana use by employees for both medical and recreational purposes, including employers’ obligations to accommodate marijuana use by disabled employees; proposed legislation that would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who use recreational marijuana and how this rule would affect employers’ current rights in the workplace; and the importance of reasonable-suspicion testing in this new legal climate and strategies for implementing and enforcing such testing programs.

‘Turn Up The You and Quiet The Critic’

May 15: Baystate Health’s Every Woman program will hold a special evening titled “Turn Up the You and Quiet the Critic” at 5:30 p.m. at 121 Club at Eastworks, 116 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Keynote speaker Pam Victor, president of Happier Valley Comedy, will discuss “Five Techniques for Quieting Your Inner Critic,” and there will be live music, food, women’s health information, and shopping with local vendors. Victor is a professional improviser, facilitator, teacher, and the founder and president of Happier Valley Comedy, the first improv theater and training center in Western Mass. She directs the three branches of the company: the comedy-training center, regular shows, and the Through Laughter program for professional and personal development. The event cost is $15. To register, visit turnuptheyou.eventbrite.com. For more information, call (413) 794-5200.

Maifest Block Party

May 17-18: Maifest is a colorful, joyous tradition in Germany. It celebrates the arrival of spring, when food is plentiful and spirits flow freely. The tradition will unfold in Springfield with the Maifest Block Party, a two-day community event, presented by the Student Prince & the Fort, set to take place outdoors on Fort Street and inside the restaurant. Live bands will fill the air with music while guests sip beer and head inside for a Maifest menu filled with spring delights. This year, a generous portion of the proceeds will benefit Rays of Hope to bring the organization closer to its mission of finding a cure for breast cancer. The festivities will be emceed by radio personality Lopez from WMAS. The tapping of the ceremonial keg will be headed by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Denise Jordan, chair of the Rays of Hope campaign, who is also executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority. Sgt. Brian Elliott of the Springfield Police Department will host the ceremonial cheer. Rudi Scherff of the Student Prince will give a brief talk about the Maifest tradition.

Labor and Employment Law Conference

May 21: Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. will hold a Labor and Employment Law Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Springfield. “The conference will deliver an in-depth review of some of the most challenging employment-law issues organizations, human-resources personnel, and management have faced over the past year, and will provide cutting-edge insights needed for surviving challenges on the horizon,” said Partner Marylou Fabbo. Breakout sessions will include “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Change Is Coming” “Wage and Hour Mistakes,” “Harassment, Discrimination, and Why Employers Get Sued,” “Labor and Employment Law Update,” “How to Handle Requests for Reasonable Accommodations,” and “How to Conduct an Internal Investigation.” Speakers and panel-discussion participants will include Skoler Abbott attorneys and other leaders in human resources and employment law. A continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and luncheon are included with the conference, as well as time for networking and questions following the presentations. See the full agenda and register online at skoler-abbott.com/training-programs or call (413) 737-4753.

Social Work Conference

May 22: More than 350 professionals from throughout Western Mass. will gather on the campus of Western New England University from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the 37th annual Social Work Conference. The keynote speaker will be Jen Falcone, director of Businesses Against Human Trafficking. A survivor of child sexual abuse and trafficking as an adolescent, she will discuss her experiences and how utter devastation kick-started the healing that drives her life choices and professional work. Falcone will focus on launching a movement within the Springfield-area business community to address human trafficking. Frank Sacco will be honored with the Jim Quinn Human Service Award at the conference. In addition to a celebrated career nationally and internationally in the fields of social work and psychotherapy, Sacco has spent his life researching and authoring books and articles on bullying, teacher bullying, and building a successful anti-bullying structure within a school. He consulted for the FBI after the 1999 Columbine shooting as well as internet sexual exploitation and domestic violence. The day-long conference, sponsored by Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work Program, the Social Work Advisory Council, and the Office of Enrollment Management, will also feature more than 30 exhibitors from throughout the region. The conference fee is $165 and includes registration, luncheon, and six credit hours for full (100%) attendance. Lower student rates are also available. To register online, visit wne.edu/prodev, or call (413) 796-2173.

JA Inspire Career Exploration Fair

May 28: Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), now celebrating its centennial anniversary, will host the JA Inspire Career Exploration Fair from 8 a.m. to noon at the MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. “We will host more than 500 students from seventh through 11th grades, who will have the opportunity to explore diverse career options at interactive booths featuring colleges, universities, trade schools, apprenticeship programs, companies, local law enforcement, and public-safety organizations from throughout Western Massachusetts,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. The JA Inspire program provides students with the opportunity to learn about careers from industry representatives in time to begin planning for high-school coursework and better prepare themselves for life after graduation. The program consists of four in-class lessons, plus the career exploration fair, all designed to engage students and help them explore education and career pathways, showcase careers in Western Mass. with a focus on high-wage and high-demand industries, and connect students with industry representatives who can share career advice and offer interactive exhibits during the career fair. Exhibitor space is still available at no charge. Exhibitors will present interactive and engaging career stations, while providing volunteer mentors to staff the career stations throughout the event. To reserve a career station, contact Connolly at (413) 747-7670 or [email protected]. To learn more about the event, visit jawm.org/events or call (413) 747-7670.

Community Action Awards

June 13: Springfield Partners for Community Action will present a night of celebrating those in action within the community. The Community Action Awards will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Springfield Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. It will be a night of speakers, awards, handing out scholarships to Community Scholarship winners, and a silent auction for guests to participate in. Ticket purchase is available at communityactionevent.eventbrite.com. Springfield Partners for Community Action is the federally designated community action agency of Springfield whose mission is to provide resources that assist those in need to obtain economic stability and ultimately create a better way of life. For more information on the event, contact Natalia Arocho at (413) 263-6500, ext. 6516, or [email protected].

40 Under Forty Gala

June 20: BusinessWest will present its 13th annual 40 Under Forty Gala, a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2019, which is profiled in the April 29 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com. Also, the fifth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. Tickets cost $75 per person; only standing-room tickets remain. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected] PeoplesBank is the presenting sponsor, Health New England is the Continued Excellence Award sponsor, and WWLP-22 News is the media sponsor. Other sponsors include Baystate Health. the Isenberg School of Management, MP CPAs, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, Live Nation, MGM Springfield, Comcast Business, and YPS of Greater Springfield (partner).

‘Thrive After 55’ Wellness Fair

June 21: State Sen. Eric Lesser announced that he will host the third annual “Thrive After 55” Wellness Fair in partnership with Health New England, Springfield College, and the Center for Human Development (CHD). This year’s fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Field House on the campus of Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield. The fair is free and open to the public. With more than 70 local organizations ranging from health and fitness to nutrition and elder law, the annual fair will connect residents of the Greater Springfield area with information and resources to help them thrive. The event will feature several educational seminars which will highlight areas of interest for attendees, including estate planning and elder law, scam avoidance, and diet and nutrition. Heart Song Yoga Center of East Longmeadow will return for a third year with an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement. The program includes a boxed lunch, hundreds of raffle prizes, and access to information and experts. To RSVP, call Lesser’s office at (413) 526-6501 or visit senatorlesser.com/thrive.

Briefcase

Leadership Pioneer Valley Accepting Applications for LEAP Class of 2020

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) is now accepting applications for enrollment in the LEAP class of 2020, a nine-month, regional leadership-development program that engages the Pioneer Valley’s most promising emerging leaders through learning and exploration. Participants are trained in leadership skills by experts in a classroom setting. They also attend in-depth field experiences across the region where they meet with local leaders and explore the region’s economy and culture. The LEAP program runs September through May. In its seven years, nearly 300 individuals representing more than 90 companies, organizations, and municipalities have participated. The program has filled a critical need for a leadership program that builds a network of emerging leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the region. Fifty-three percent of alumni have a new leadership role at work, 64% have joined a new board of directors, and 99% made new meaningful connections. LPV is seeking applicants all over the Pioneer Valley, including Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties in different sectors. The program is made for those in nonprofits, businesses, and government who are eager to increase their leadership skills and take action to better the region. Applicants are considered in a competitive application process that prioritizes diversity by employment sector, geography, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Emerging leaders, mid-career professionals with leadership potential, and those looking to better the Pioneer Valley should consider applying. Those who apply by June 1 will be eligible for $100 off of their personal tuition, and companies with three or more applicants by June 1 will receive 50% off one participant. The deadline for LPV class of 2020 applications is July 1. Applications and further information can be found at www.leadershippv.org.

First-quarter Profits Up Across MGM Resorts

LAS VEGAS — MGM Resorts International reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2019. Consolidated net revenues increased 13% compared to the prior year quarter to $3.2 billion. MGM Springfield earned $9.38 million on $77.9 million in net revenue. That figure represents adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA. “The first quarter came in slightly better than our expectations with consolidated net revenues up by 13% and adjusted EBITDA up 5%,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “Our Las Vegas resorts experienced broad and diversified customer demand. Our non-gaming revenues grew by 4%.” Net revenues increased 21% to $804 million, including $78 million in contributions from the opening of MGM Springfield in August and $37 million in contributions from the acquisition of Empire City Casino in New York in January. “We remain focused on achieving our 2020 targets of $3.6 billion to $3.9 billion in consolidated adjusted EBITDA and significant growth in free cash flow,” Murren said. “Our strategy to achieve these goals includes the continued ramping up of MGM Cotai [in Macau], Park MGM [in Las Vegas], and MGM Springfield, and the implementation of the MGM 2020 Plan. MGM 2020 is a company-wide initiative aimed at leveraging a more centralized organization to maximize profitability and lay the groundwork for the company’s digital transformation to drive revenue growth.”

PVPC Releases Economic-development Strategy

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) recently released its 2019 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress Five-year Update, a blueprint for economic development in the region. The CEDS features a description of regional economic-development conditions and sets forth goals and objectives for the future, as well as a list of projects seeking the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration Public Works funding in the next year. The report highlights the region’s continued decrease in unemployment, an improved workforce-talent pipeline, and increased early-education enrollment and high-school and community-college graduation rates, among others, as metrics illustrating the overall progress being made. The CEDS also lists many major committed projects of regional significance, such as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame renovations in Springfield, North Square at the Mill District in Amherst, and the One Ferry Street mixed-use development in Easthampton. A full digital copy is available at www.pvpc.org/plans/comprehensive-economic-development-strategy-ceds. Hard copies are also available upon request.

Incorporations

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

CHICOPEE

Keshar Enterprise Inc., 577 East St., Chicopee, MA 01020. Ankitkumar G. Patel, 35 Montvale Ave., Woburn, MA 01801. Package store.

Lee’s Taekwondo at Chicopee Inc., 82 Main St., Chicopee, MA 01020. Suhyun Lee, same. Taekwondo cenTerrace

FLORENCE

Kiwanis Club of Northampton Inc., 138 Overlook Dr., Florence, MA 01062. Margaret Wynne-Gruszecki, same. Raise funds, organize volunteers, and conduct all lawful activities to meet the unmet needs of the populations of Northampton, surrounding communities and elsewhere.

LENOX

Lenore Property Owners’ Association Inc., 150 Pittsfield Lenox Road, Lenox, MA 01240. Louis J. Allegrone, 771 Robinson Road, Hinsdale, MA 01235. To own, manage, maintain, preserve, protect, repair, improve, use, operate, and dispose of Lenore Road in Hinsdale.

NORTHAMPTON

Landscapes Inc., 84 Conz St., P.O. Box 1332, Northampton, MA 01060. Craig Stevens, same. Landscape services.

PITTSFIELD

L & P Boston Operating Inc., 82 Wendell Ave. Ste 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Les Levy, same. Sales and installation of home remodeling services.

SOUTH HADLEY

Larochelle Services Inc., 23 College St., Suite 8, South Hadley, MA 01075. Colleen Miller Larochelle, 8 Briar Spring Lane, South Hadley, MA 01075. Landscaping.

SPRINGFIELD

Just B Transportation Inc., 49 Bissell St., Springfield, MA 01119. Isaac N. Teresia, same. Non-emergency transportation.

LGS Construction Inc., 26 Colonial Ave., 3rd Floor, Springfield, MA 01109. Luis Alberto Galaviz Santos, same. Roofing.

WHATELY

Kyle Monahan Trucking Inc., 305 Haydenville Road, Whately, MA 01093. Kyle Monahan, same. Trucking company.

WILBRAHAM

Kelley Management Group Inc., 931 Main St., Wilbraham, MA 01095. Daniel Kelley, same. Business management consulting services.

Kkuljaem Korean Kitchen Inc., 2205 Boston Road, Apt. A-1, Wilbraham, MA 01095. Paul J. Aust, same. Restaurant.