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Trader Joe’s Employees in Hadley Approve Chain’s First Labor Union

HADLEY — Employees at Trader Joe’s in Hadley have become the chain’s first store to approve a labor union. The union vote passed 45-31. “This victory is historic, but not a surprise. Since the moment we announced our campaign, a majority of the crew have enthusiastically supported our union, and despite the company’s best efforts to bust us, our majority has never wavered,” Trader Joe’s United said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of the work we have done together to win this union election, but winning is just the beginning. We now begin the difficult work of sitting down at the negotiating table as equals with our employer and securing a contract that will benefit and protect us, the crew, instead of the company’s bottom line.”

 

Tech Foundry Awarded $72,547 Tech Talent Diversity Grant

BOSTON — Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy recently announced three new grants from the Commonwealth’s Tech Talent Diversity Initiative, an effort aimed at boosting diversity hiring and training opportunities for diverse candidates. The three grants, totaling $494,947, were awarded to Tech Foundry in Springfield, Hack.Diversity in Boston, and Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology in Boston. Tech Foundry was founded in 2014 by Pioneer Valley tech employers and other workforce, business, education, and economic-development stakeholders to address the regional skills gap in information technology and drive regional economic growth. The organization offers training programs aimed at filling entry-level IT roles and provides training that is tailored to the needs of partner employers, including a work-experience component where students are placed in a position at a local employer. Tech Foundry’s $72,547 grant award will be used to assist employer partners’ ability to host students, primarily in the Pioneer Valley, for hands-on training, by creating a new platform called Tech Foundry Ventures to host two new programs, including the development of a virtual IT technician-training environment, working with employer partners to create a tool where students will face similar scenarios to those seen on the job, allowing them to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom without the stakes of serving real-world clients; and the launch of a service-learning initiative where students will work with community organizations that cannot afford to utilize commercial services, providing similar IT services to those provided by employer partners. The expanded tools will allow Tech Foundry to train as many as 150 additional students per year, three times its existing number.

 

Chase Bank to Open First Springfield Branch

SPRINGFIELD — Chase Bank plans to open its first Springfield branch next year at 1391 Main St. in downtown Springfield. There are plans to add at least three more locations in the Greater Springfield area over the next few years. The expansion is part of the bank’s recently announced plans to more than double its presence in Massachusetts by 2025. The firm opened its first Massachusetts branch in Boston in 2018 and now has 36 statewide. Beyond Springfield, Chase will open its first branch in Worcester next month. “Springfield is a great city with a rich economic, cultural, and educational environment, which makes it an ideal place for Chase to grow,” said Ali Zaidi, Chase’s market director for Springfield and Worcester. “Our goal is to help the community and support our customers during their most important moments.” This first branch will be about 3,000 square feet in size and feature modern, bright designs with comfortable meeting areas and state-of-the-art banking technology. A dedicated Chase Private Client team will provide premium banking services, personalized attention, and access to the expertise and investment capabilities of J.P. Morgan to help families reach their goals. Customers may also meet with financial and home-lending advisors and business-banking relationship managers. “Branches are critically important to our customers, but our mission goes beyond service and convenience,” said Jennifer Piepszak, co-CEO of Chase Consumer & Community Banking for JPMorgan Chase. “We’re hiring locally, investing in the community, and bringing all the benefits our firm has to offer to drive economic growth.”

 

Baystate Medical Center, Roca Create Violence-intervention Program

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center and Roca Springfield are launching a first-in-the-region hospital-based violence-intervention program called Better Tomorrow to serve as a vital public-health response to violence in local communities. Funded with a $1 million U.S. Department of Justice grant through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, the joint effort will combine medical staff and community-based service providers to intervene with victims of violence in hospital settings, connect them with community services, and reduce further victimization and violent behaviors. Hospital-based violence-intervention programs are multi-disciplinary teams designed to identify patients who are at risk of repeat violent injury and connect them with hospital- and community-based resources to help address underlying risk factors for violence. Research shows that these programs reduce repeat victimization and criminal-justice involvement while also decreasing healthcare and other costs associated with violence. They improve quality of life for patients by addressing disparities in access to healthcare, transportation, case management, and a range of other social determinants of health.

 

Elm Electrical Creates Program to Educate Teens on Electrical Careers

WESTFIELD — Elm Electrical has created a new program for high-school students interested in the electrical field. The students, in grades 10-12, were recommended by their teachers or Elm employees to attend this free, four-day training seminar. These prospective co-op students, or Elm Futures, were then invited to join Elm educators learn new skills as well as showcase their own talents at the First Steps Training Seminar. Monday through Wednesday, students receive instruction and training in the state-of-the-art Elm University multi-media classrooms and hands-on lab. Thursday, the final day, is Challenge Day, when students apply what they’ve learned and complete a project board challenge. Elm project managers are invited to evaluate their work, offer feedback, and get to know the students. Three sessions have been held this summer. The Elm University classrooms and lab are used year-round as Elm’s in-house training facility. Employees who want to become licensed electricians can opt into the company’s four-year apprentice program. They can work their jobs Monday through Thursday and then, every other Friday, attend school at Elm University for free.

 

Rocky’s Ace Hardware Named Presale Ticket Partner for Eastern States Exposition

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Eastern States Exposition (ESE), home of the Big E, announced a new partnership, naming Rocky’s Ace Hardware an official presale partner of the Big E. Through this partnership, Rocky’s and ESE have joined together to utilize a locally owned platform in selling tickets to the 2022 Big E. ESE and Rocky’s have developed a ticketing initiative that will allow fairgoers to purchase 2022 advance discount tickets, advance pay-one-price Midway Magic passes, value passes, and Big E Arena concert tickets through the Rocky’s mobile circular digital app and at www.rockys.com.

Company Notebook

Nominations Sought for Super 60 Program

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber (SRC) is seeking nominations for its annual Super 60 awards program. Super 60 recognizes the success of the fastest-growing and privately owned businesses in the region. Nominations must be submitted by August 5. Each year, Super 60 identifies the top-performing companies in this region, based on revenue growth and total revenue. In 2019, one-quarter of the Total Revenue winners exceeded $30 million, with all the winners combining for more than $720 million in revenue. In the Revenue Growth category, all winners had growth above 21%, and 50% of the top 30 companies grew by more than 50%. To be considered, companies must be independently and privately owned; based in Hampden or Hampshire counties or be a member of the Springfield Regional Chamber; have revenues of at least $1 million in the past fiscal year; and have been in business for at least three full years. Companies are selected based on their percentage of revenue growth over a full three-year period or total revenues for the latest fiscal year. Companies may be nominated by financial institutions, attorneys, or accountants, or they can self-nominate. Along with an application, nominators must provide net operating revenue figures for the last three full fiscal years, signed and verified by an independent auditor. All financial information must be reported under generally accepted accounting principles and will be considered confidential. Nomination forms can be found on the Chamber’s website and can be submitted by faxing to SUPER 60, Springfield Regional Chamber, (413) 755-1322. Nomination forms must be submitted no later than August 5. The Super 60 awards will be presented at the annual luncheon and recognition program on Oct. 28, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The Super 60 award luncheon attracts more than 500 business leaders each year. Super 60 sponsorships are now available. For information, call (413) 755-1309 or e-mail Szynal at [email protected]

 

Greenfield Co-op Reports Solid FY 2022

GREENFIELD — Anthony Worden, president & CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank and its parent company, Greenfield Bancorp, MHC recently announced the operating results of the bank’s latest fiscal year as announced at the 117th annual meeting of the bank on June 21. Worden reported that FY 2022, which ended March 31, was very successful and the assets of the bank grew by $41.4 million (5%) over the prior year.

Other results include:

• In FY 2022, GCB originated more than $166 million in loans of all types, including $61.3 million in residential mortgages, $92.0 million in commercial loans,

$45.6 million in municipal lending, $9.2 million in home equity loans and lines, and

$1.2 million in MassSave® ‘’zero-interest” energy loans.

• GCB had an increase of $50.5 million in deposits (7.4%) over the past year;

• The pre-tax operating income for Greenfield Cooperative Bank was $4.416 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 and the net income after taxes was $3.454 million;

• GCB’s Tier 1 Capital to average assets is 10.5%. The bank is considered “well capitalized” by all regulatory definitions.

• As a result of these solid earnings, the bank and its employees were able to contribute more than $180,000 to 200 community groups and charities throughout both Hampshire and Franklin County during the past fiscal year.

 

AIC Partners with HCC with Signing of Articulation Agreement

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has signed an articulation agreement with Holyoke Community College (HCC), formally establishing a close academic relationship between the two-year college and the four-year institution. The accord between AIC and HCC aligns academic programs that enhance the seamless transition of HCC graduates and qualified candidates from HCC, and promotes a smooth, successful transfer to AIC. This articulation agreement offers time and cost savings for students by recognizing the coursework pursued at the community college and demonstrates the ongoing commitment of both AIC and HCC to the community and its students, by ensuring that educational pathways are created for all those who wish to consider a degree in higher education. At AIC, the program is referred to as Direct Connect. Direct Connect, transfer students automatically receive a $4,000 scholarship in addition to their earned merit scholarship, before any need-based aid is awarded. This means Direct Connect students can earn up to $18,000 in financial gift aid, not loans, before being evaluated for additional need-based aid. And, unlike some other transfer articulation agreements, the Direct Connect program at AIC allows students to study and major in their area of interest while attending their community college.

 

Westfield Bank Supports Camp Atwater Capital Campaign

WESTFIELD — Westfield Bank President and CEO James C. Hagan recently presented Springfield Urban League CEO Henry M. Thomas III with a $100,000 contribution to help launch a $7.5 million capital campaign to ensure the future of historic Camp Atwater. The Urban League has owned and operated Camp Atwater, located in North Brookfield, since 1921, making it the longest operating Black-owned summer camp in the nation. In its many years of service, Camp Atwater has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives and careers of the vast majority of the camp’s more than 55,000 alumni. Galvanized by the needs of the Black community in Massachusetts and beyond, the Urban League is embarking on the $7.5 million Centennial Campaign to reimagine and reconfigure Camp Atwater so that it may continue as a foundational experience for campers for the next hundred years. Already recognized for its significance by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Urban League is seeking to capitalize on the opportunity for Atwater to provide the preeminent camp experience for the African American community, and to develop ongoing generations of leaders by providing a unique blend of enriching programs and activities within a setting that is at once nurturing and challenging, while fostering self-discovery and growth. With Westfield Bank’s support, as well as that of other early donors, significant work on the Camp’s buildings and grounds is scheduled to begin this summer and continue onward so that Atwater can welcome overnight campers back in the summer of 2023.

 

Funders Reach Million-dollar Milestone in Awards to Local Farms

AGAWAM — The Local Farmer Awards, a funding initiative launched in 2015 by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) and Big Y Foods, reached the million-dollar milestone in May. Over the past eight years, more than 470 grants have been made to farmers in Western Mass. and the Berkshires. Along with the Big Y and HGCF are 25 generous community and individual donors including Ann and Steve Davis, Charles and Elizabeth D’Amour, PeoplesBank, DeNucci Group at Merrill Lynch, Farm Credit East, HP Hood LLC, Audrey & Chick Taylor, Baystate Health, Country Bank and others. Last month, 74 farmers primarily located in Western Massachusetts received the 2022 awards — checks of up to $2,500 for infrastructure improvements. Totaling $165,500, these grants help sustain robust projects related to growing, harvesting, and processing. Program director Cari Carpenter said that the publicity generated by the Local Farmer Awards draws much needed attention to the productivity of all farms in the region, whether or not they have been award recipients. “We want to celebrate and encourage every farm in Western Mass and the Berkshires, not only our winners. The program returned in March to an in-person appreciation party, including all 120 farms within our applicant reach this year. Donors were able to grasp the impact of what they are doing — and the potential to do even more!”

 

W.F. Young Receives Visionary and Visibility Awards

EAST LONGMEADOW — W.F. Young, a global leader in animal health products such as Absorbine® and The Missing Link®, received two awards at the 2022National Animal Supplement Council Annual Conference, the NASC Visionary Award, acknowledging the animal wellness company as an originating/founding member, and the Visibility Award, for Outstanding Promotion of the NASC Quality Seal. The National Animal Supplement Council is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals and horses throughout the United States. Founded in 2001, NASC is an all-industry association of stakeholders concerned with the issues surrounding the supply of health supplements for animals not intended for human consumption, such as dogs, cats, and horses. The 2022 NASC Annual Conference took place recently in St. Louis, Mo. at the Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel. The event featured networking opportunities for all the attendees, breakout sessions for science, compliance, business, and marketing, as well as exhibiting from sponsors, and a dinner and awards gala. Audra Mulligan, director of Regulatory Affairs and Development, was present at the ceremony and accepted the awards on behalf of W.F. Young.

 

Bella Foodie, Fogbuster Coffee Launch Bella Foodie’s Private Label

SPRINGFIELD — Bella Foodie LLC, in partnership with Fogbusters Coffee, celebrated the launch of its custom private label coffee blend with a special coffee tasting event at Open Square in Holyoke. “Let’s face it, anyone that knows me knows how much I love my coffee! I am so truly happy that Bella Foodie will be having its own custom blend under Fogbuster Coffee,” said Ashley Tresoline, Owner of Bella Foodie LLC. “This partnership has been a dream come true for me and the Pierce brothers are so wonderful to work with. We all understand the value of what we put in our bodies and that it should be only of the highest quality. Their organic, air-roasted coffee is one of a kind and I am so excited for everyone to try it.” Said Sean Pierce, owner of Fogbuster Coffee Works, “we here at Fogbuster Coffee Works are very excited to partner up with Bella Foodie. We have worked closely with Ashley, to develop a special Bella Foodie Blend. One that encompasses both Bella Foodie and Fogbuster Coffee Works philosophies around all foods.”

 

Whittlesey Celebrates Community Day

HARTFORD — More than 90 Whittlesey team members across Connecticut and Western Mass. celebrated Community Day on June 17, an annual day of service representing the firm’s year-round commitment to giving back to local communities. For the past 12 years, hundreds of Whittlesey volunteers have put aside their daily work to partake in various projects ranging from painting classrooms to building homes. This year, the firm focused on efforts related to environmental sustainability. Alongside ReGreen Springfield, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, and Springfield Forestry, team members planted a pollinator garden in Forest Park. Also, teams joined the Bushnell Park Foundation and the United Way of Greater New Haven to plant community gardens, weed, and lay mulch.

 

EforAll Berkshire County Awards Prizes to Accelerator Companies

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County awarded nearly $10,000 in prizes to the Spring 2022 Business Accelerator Cohort at a recent awards ceremony held on Zoom. The celebration and gala began with remarks from state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, who emphasized the robust public-private partnership that supports EforAll’s regional efforts and lauded the efforts of the 12 businesses that completed the program. The class speaker, Rachel Hailey of DEI Outdoors was chosen by her colleagues and shared many of the lessons of the program for future EforAll participants.

The awards were granted as follows:

• Jenny Gitlitz of Berkshire Family Advocates received the Paula Buxbaum Award, established in honor of a member of the Fall 2021 cohort who died in a car crash in October 2021. The award is granted to an individual making a career pivot and incorporating a social mission into their business;

• $1,000 to Rachel Hailey for DEI Outdoors;

• $2,300 to Deirdre Horan (Great Barrington) of Dri Ocean Products;

• $2,500 to Jackye Stoddard (Hudson, NY) for Hierba Buena Foods; and

• $3,500 to Elizabeth Heller (Pittsfield) for The Kids Super Journal.

The virtual event was also simulcast on Pittsfield Community Television. The recording is available to view here: https://youtu.be/yTeFMsVcB-4

EforAll’s next accelerator class will begin in September; applications are due at www.eforall.org before August 25.

 

Pare Corporation Opens Facility in Holyoke

HOLYOKE — Pare Corporation, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, recently staged a well-attended grand opening for its facility in Holyoke, its third office in the region. “The Pioneer Valley is very community-focused and I appreciate the warm welcome the leaders of the Holyoke community have given us,” said Pare Vice President David Loring. “Because Holyoke is a hub point to the region, it is a perfect location for our new office. We look forward to meeting additional members of the community now that the office is open.” As part of the ceremony, a proclamation was presented by the office of Senator John Velis, who grew up in Holyoke and maintains strong ties to the region. Established in 1970, Pare Corporation has more than 130 staff serving the eastern United States. In addition to Holyoke, Pare has offices in Rhode Island and Foxboro, Mass. Pare has experience designing public and private facilities and the infrastructure that supports them. Clients and markets include state transportation departments, water and wastewater authorities, K-12 and higher education facilities, biotechnology and life science companies, and dams and marine facilities ranging to a wide variety of municipal, industrial, institutional, and commercial developments.

Company Notebook

Health New England Awards $400,000 to Three Nonprofits

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England (HNE) awarded $400,000 in grants to help three nonprofit organizations improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in Western Mass. The grants, made via HNE’s Where Health Matters grant program, will allow Wellspring Cooperative’s GoFresh Mobile Farmers’ Market, Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts, and the Care Center’s Roqué House Program to expand needed programs focusing on food, girls’ health, and supporting mothers seeking college educations, respectively. The Wellspring Cooperative’s GoFresh Mobile Farmers’ Market aggregates fresh local produce and delivers it through pop-up markets at low-income housing sites, senior centers, health clinics, and community organizations. The three-year, $150,000 grant will enable Wellspring to double the number of people it provides access to fresh, healthy, local foods; enact a pilot program to expand the GoFresh farmers market throughout winter (the current program operates from May to October), providing year-round access to health foods; partner with local health clinics to establish a food-referral program that meets the needs of patients with chronic conditions through education and access to healthy foods; and continue to support minority and immigrant farmers via the Wellspring Harvest greenhouse program in the Indian Orchard neighborhood. Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts helps girls develop essential social, emotional, and physical skills to successfully navigate life experiences and prepares them physically and mentally to participate in a celebratory 5K run. The two-year, $100,000 grant will enable the organization to double the number of chapters of the popular program and expand into Holyoke and Chicopee. The Care Center’s Roqué House Program provides stable housing for young parents, primarily women of color, working toward a college degree, as well as their children. The three-year, $150,000 grant will fund an artist in residence and counselor for families who live in Roqué House. Health New England’s Where Health Matters grant program, now in its fourth year, has invested $1.2 million in nonprofits in Western and Central Mass. Health New England also partners with each awardee via volunteering and advising to help them thrive.

 

Smith Brothers Insurance Acquires Oxford Insurance

EASTHAMPTON — Effective Nov. 1, Smith Brothers Insurance, with an office in Easthampton, has acquired Oxford Insurance Agency, an independent insurance agency in Oxford. The acquisition expands the company’s footprint in Massachusetts and allows Oxford Insurance to maintain its local presence while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers Insurance. Brian Ravenelle, who was CEO of Oxford Insurance, will become a partner of Smith Brothers Insurance and will stay fully engaged in client service, business development, and in serving clients with the same team of insurance professionals. All Oxford Insurance team members will be joining Smith Brothers. Smith Brothers Insurance has more than 200 team members in locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

 

HCC Named One of State’s Top Women-led Businesses

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been named one of the top women-led businesses in Massachusetts for 2021 by the Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit that supports female business leaders. The Institute’s 21st annual rankings of the “Top 100 Women-led Businesses in Massachusetts” were announced on Nov. 5 during a Zoom celebration attended by HCC President Christina Royal. Royal and HCC were ranked at number 50. The full list was published Nov. 6 in a special “Women and Power” edition of the Boston Globe Magazine. Royal has been the president of HCC since January 2017. She is the fourth president in HCC’s 75-year history and the first woman to hold that position. Also on the list at number 55 is HCC alumna and Westfield native Linda Markham, president and chief administrative officer of Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines, based in Hyannis. To compile the list, the Commonwealth Institute examined revenue or operating budgets for each organization as well as other variables, including number of full-time employees in the state, workplace and management diversity, and innovative projects.

 

YMCA of Greater Springfield Awarded $25,000 Comcast Grant

SPRINGFIELD — The YMCA of Greater Springfield, in partnership with Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, announced it received a $25,000 grant from Comcast to support digital-literacy programming and access to the internet at the YMCA’s North End Youth Center, which also features a Comcast Lift Zone. Comcast has installed more than 1,000 WiFi-connected Lift Zones across the country, with 64 located across Massachusetts. These Lift Zones, which are based in community centers like the YMCA of Greater Springfield, have helped students stay connected and get online to do their schoolwork and more. Free WiFi connectivity is essential to many youth in Springfield, including the teens the YMCA serves at its North End Youth Center on Dwight Street. “This grant from Comcast will support technology programming and digital skills training for teens here at our North End Youth Center technology lab,” said Dexter Johnson, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield. “Our goal is to teach virtual coding and robotics in our after-school teen program, components of which include computer programming, information technologies, and video-game design.” The after-school teen programming at the YMCA is funded by community support and hosts more than 300 teens each year. There will be at least 60 openings available for teens to participate in the upcoming coding and robotics program.

 

Forbes Names Big Y Best-in-state Employer

SPRINGFIELD — For the third year in a row, Big Y has been recognized as a Forbes Best-in-state Employer for 2021. Forbes America’s Best-in-state Employers have been identified across all industries based upon an independent survey of employees who anonymously recommend their employers for this award. Employers such as Big Y have no knowledge of which employees are polled, nor do they have the ability to influence the results in any way. According to Forbes, employees are asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Employees are also asked to give their opinions on a series of statements surrounding work-related topics such as working conditions, salary, potential for development, and company image regarding their current employer. Big Y’s award spans 25 different industries. Big Y has also been named among Forbes Best in State for Diversity, Forbes Best Employers for Women, and Forbes America’s Best Large Employers.

 

Springfield College Launches $50 Million Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College hosted an official kickoff event for Advancing Humanics: The Campaign for Springfield College on Nov. 12 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Center Court. Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper officially introduced the comprehensive campaign, which supports the Springfield College Humanics philosophy, which is to educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others. Cooper provided an overview of the campaign goal of $50 million. Advancing Humanics is being co-chaired by trustees Gregory Toczydlowski and Michele Megas-Ditomassi. Trustee emerita Helen Davis Blake, co-chair of the last Springfield College campaign, is serving as the honorary campaign chair. Gifts collected during the Advancing Humanics campaign will have a direct effect on every aspect of campus life, and the financial support will provide immediate assistance to the most critical needs of Springfield College, including scholarship resources for students and the new Health Sciences Center.

 

U.S. News Bestows Best Law Firm Designation to Three Area Firms

SPRINGFIELD — U.S. News & World Report selected three Springfield-based firms for its 2022 Best Law Firms listing. Bulkley Richardson was named a Best Law Firm in the Springfield region in the following 11 practice areas: bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, banking and finance 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. Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin has been recognized for Tier 1 metropolitan designations in Springfield in the areas of banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, corporate law, elder law, and trusts and estates law. It is also recognized for Tier 2 metropolitan designations in Springfield in the areas of business organizations (including LLCs and partnerships) and tax law. Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. was awarded a Metropolitan Tier 1 ranking in employment law – management, labor law – management, and litigation – labor and employment. Law firms that are honored on the U.S. News Best Law Firms list are ranked based on a careful evaluation process that includes the collection of evaluations from lawyers and clients, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and other additional information that law firms provide as part of the formal submission process.

 

Freedom Commits $15,000 to BFMC’s New Department of Family Medicine

SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union has made a $15,000 commitment — $3,000 per year over five years —to support a new family-medicine residency program designed to attract and retain young physicians to Franklin County. Led by founding Chair Dr. Robert Baldor, the Department of Family Medicine is a partnership between Baystate Franklin Medical Center and UMass Chan Medical School – Baystate. The residency will be housed at the Greenfield Family Medicine Practice at 48 Sanderson St., which is adjacent to Baystate Franklin Medical Center and easily accessible to the Greater Greenfield community. Family medicine physicians are trained to treat all members of a family, from children to adults and seniors, diagnosing and treating a wide range of ailments and providing preventive care. Four new residents will be welcomed annually into the three-year training program (12 in total). They will learn from the physicians at Baystate Franklin Medical Center and specialists from Franklin County and other Baystate Health facilities. The first class of four residents will arrive in June 2022. Freedom’s $15,000 donation is among $245,700 that has been donated in support of the hospital’s $4.2 million investment in creating a state-of-the-art clinical/teaching facility at 48 Sanderson St. Two education grants from the federal government will support the program as well, including a $750,000 Health Resources & Services Administration grant and an Area Health Education Center grant for $100,000.

 

Uvitron International Launches New, Enhanced Website

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Uvitron International Inc., a designer and manufacturer of high-performance UV light curing systems and accessories, recently launched a new website — uvitron.com — offering streamlined navigation and improved quoting capabilities, among other features. Uvitron was established as a developer and manufacturer of switch-mode power supplies for light curing systems, developing the first electronic arc lamp power supply. The company has since evolved into a total solutions provider of light curing systems and accessories. In addition to enhanced navigation and quoting capabilities, the new site also features more comprehensive product information, applications by industry, and information about services and capabilities, such as application analysis, sample testing, and demo units.

 

BHN’s Kamp for Kids Receives $5,000 Grant from Westfield Bank

WESTFIELD — Behavioral Health Network Inc. (BHN) announced it has received a grant of $5,000 from Westfield Bank’s Future Fund Program to benefit Kamp for Kids, the organization’s summer day camp for children and young adults with and without disabilities. Westfield Bank, a longtime supporter of BHN’s Kamp for Kids, established the Future Fund in 2002 as a response to overwhelming community needs and the shrinking sources of corporate philanthropy. It prioritizes funding to 501(c)(3) educational, recreational, cultural, and social-service programs that serve Westfield Bank’s market area. Grants made to Kamp for Kids provide camperships to youth with or without disabilities to ensure that all children, regardless of family income, are able to attend camp.

Company Notebook

BETE Fog Nozzle Earns MassHire Workforce Leader Award

GREENFIELD — The MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board awarded BETE Fog Nozzle its 2021 Workforce Leader Award, honoring the company’s contributions to workforce well-being, workplace, and public safety during the pandemic. BETE now employs more than 180 people at its Greenfield facility, designing, casting, and machining spray nozzles. The company garnered headlines earlier in the year for developing an innovative machine for quickly disinfecting school buses after each use with a touchless process employing BETE’s trademark fog nozzles. Working with local bus company F.M. Kuzmeskus Inc., BETE engineers designed a button-sized fogger installed in rows along each school-bus ceiling, out of reach of children. The series of spray foggers are linked and connected to a port on the outside of the bus where a mobile compressor machine mixes air and disinfectant that is pumped through a tube to the spray nozzles on the bus interior, sending an aerosol disinfectant mist throughout each bus before rolling to the next one. When the pandemic lockdown shuttered businesses in March 2020, BETE provided paid furloughs to all its employees, and the company offers regular profit-sharing bonuses. BETE is also a founding supporter of the seven-year-old Manufacturing Skills Initiative (MSI) training partnership between Greenfield Community College, the Workforce Board, Career Center, Franklin County Technical School, and area manufacturers. BETE has hired more than a dozen graduates from MSI’s 12-week CNC Operator training program, giving them a solid start toward building a rewarding, high-skill career in precision machining. Company President Tom Fitch is chairman of the GCC Future Work Advisory Council, which brings local chambers, business, employment agencies, and the college together to develop curriculum to provide training that brings additional employment and advancement opportunities to area residents.

 

Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. Announces Acquisition

SPRINGFIELD — Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. has added the Northampton law firm Etheredge & Steuer to its regional law practice. Attorneys Edward Etheredge and Shelley Steuer bring a wealth of talent, knowledge, and expertise to Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin’s business, real estate, land-use planning, permitting, estate planning, and estate administration practice areas. Both firms have deep roots in Western Mass. and similar approaches to providing service to clients. Etheredge, whose practice is principally in real estate, land use, planning, and development, began practicing law in Northampton in 1976. He is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Steuer, whose practice focuses on estate planning and estate and trust administration, has practiced in Northampton since 1990. She is a member of the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council, the Hampshire County Bar Assoc., and the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New York, and California, as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Steuer and Etheredge will be joined by members of the Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin team at 64 Gothic St., Northampton. The firm will continue to provide services to clients at 1441 Main St., Springfield.

 

Eversource ConnectedSolutions Earns Program Pacesetter Award

SPRINGFIELD — In recognition of its efforts to help customers reduce energy use and save money through demand response programs, Eversource’s ConnectedSolutions demand-management program received the 2021 Program Pacesetter Award from the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA). The energy company was recognized for surpassing enrollment goals and setting a high bar for energy-demand-management programs. Eversource’s ConnectedSolutions program provides incentives to customers to reduce their energy use at times of peak demand, which helps reduce strain on the electric grid and lowers carbon emissions by avoiding additional power generation of dirtier fossil fuels like coal that still come online in New England when demand is high. Customer enrollment in 2020 across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire surpassed goals by more than 60 MW, reaching a total of 170 MW approved for targeted use during days with the highest energy demand and an additional 6.3 MW of storage capacity approved for daily demand reductions. ConnectedSolutions is significant not only for the large demand reductions that can be achieved, but also for the diversity of customers and devices enrolled, including more than 600 business customers using a range of demand-reduction strategies and more than 33,000 residential devices including Wi-Fi thermostats, electric-vehicle chargers, residential battery storage, and Wi-Fi-connected A/C units.

 

House Earmarks $50,000 for New Manufacturing Program at HCC

HOLYOKE — State Rep. Patricia Duffy announced that $50,000 has been earmarked in the House fiscal-year 2022 budget to seed the development and implementation of a new Manufacturing Training Program at Holyoke Community College (HCC). According to labor and workforce data, 9.7% of jobs in Holyoke are in manufacturing, compared to 6.7% statewide. Meanwhile, at 9.9%, the unemployment rate in Holyoke is the second-highest in Western Mass. after Springfield’s 11.2%, compared to a statewide rate of 6.6% for March 2021. The Manufacturing Training Program will join a robust stable of workforce-development programs at HCC. The program will serve up to 45 individuals in three cohorts by providing approximately 150 hours of remote and in-person, hands-on training combined with workplace experiential learning, and includes skills assessments and pre-training focused on workplace readiness in English and basic math, followed by core training in entry-level manufacturing. The manufacturing component will include modules in communication, teamwork, customer service, digital literacy, general manufacturing processes and principles, blueprints, dimensions, tolerances, instrumentation and measuring; manufacturing workplace math, lean manufacturing, problem solving, quality control, and workplace safety. Regional employers will be invited to participate in curriculum design and delivery as guest speakers, as well as in hosting tours of their facilities when possible. Participants will be connected to area employers and receive job-placement assistance through HCC and MassHire Holyoke.

 

Girls Inc. of the Valley Event Raises More Than $67,000

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has raised more than $67,000 to date from its Spirit of Girls 2021 event, which will help support ongoing program needs. The virtual event was held on May 6 and was attended by notable women such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Mount Holyoke College leadership fellow and political figure Carmen Yulín Cruz, actress Tequilla Whitfield, WWLP weeknight anchor Ciara Speller, and Girls Inc. President and CEO Stephanie Hull. Girls Inc. of the Valley has had to opt for safer, virtual options, which is why this year’s Spirit of Girls event was held 100% virtually. Attendees heard directly from girls, staff, and notable celebrities regarding the importance of celebrating their place at the table. Girls Inc. of the Valley will be posting a link to a video of the event on its YouTube channel, where it will still accept monetary gifts as well. Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities.

 

Springfield Museums Offer Sensory Friendly Saturdays

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Museums will present Sensory Friendly Saturdays on the second Saturday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m., starting May 8. Sensory Friendly Saturdays provide less noise, dimmer light, and cool-down spaces for those who have sensory sensitivity. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Springfield Science Museum will open early, with some exhibits modified to provide an opportunity for people with a range of differing abilities to experience what the museums have to offer. Trained staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and, if necessary, direct visitors to a quiet space that provides a chance to cool down and take a break. Sensory-friendly crafts for all ages will be available in the Cat’s Corner. Parents and caregivers must stay with their children at all times. The modifications are enabled until 11 a.m. Preview guides are available for those who would like to explore what to expect before arriving at the museums. If visitors find the Museums too overwhelming and need to leave before 10 a.m., the Welcome Center staff will give the family a voucher to try again on another Sensory Friendly Saturday. The Springfield Museums became universal-participation-designated two years ago as part of a Massachusetts Cultural Council program to help museums, theaters, and other cultural organizations pay particular attention to ensuring their programming is accessible to all people. The staff created preview guides for families to read together before visiting the museums and made decisions about which exhibits they could modify to be more friendly to visitors with sensitivity to noise, lights, and movement.

 

WNEU School of Law Adds Race-related Coursework Requirement for Graduation

SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to incorporate antiracism education and training into the student experience, Western New England University (WNEU) School of Law has added a new Antiracism and Cultural Competency (ARCC) graduation requirement beginning with incoming students in the fall of 2022. This requirement offers students more than a dozen options from substantive courses relating to legal history, structural inequality, intersectionality, discrimination, civil rights, and theories of subordination, focusing on cultural context and cultural competency. The list of eligible courses includes “Race, Racism, & the Law,” “Business Law from an Antiracist Perspective,” “Gender & the Law,” “Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession,” and many others. “Western New England University School of Law has a long and proud history of incorporating social justice and antiracism into the education we offer,” said School of Law Dean Sudha Setty. “A cornerstone of our mission is the belief that the study of law must embrace the notion that different beliefs, backgrounds, and opinions are critical components of a well-rounded learning environment.” WNEU School of Law currently offers a wide range of elective courses, experiential learning opportunities, engagement opportunities through its Center for Social Justice, pro bono opportunities, student organizations, and vibrant speaker series that serve to broaden students’ knowledge on legal issues related to racial justice, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

 

 

Springfield Thunderbirds, Mass Lottery Wrap ‘Feed the Frontline’ Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — Each week during the month of April, the Springfield Thunderbirds and the Massachusetts State Lottery teamed up for the “Feed the Frontline” campaign, to thank individuals in the healthcare and service industries. The Thunderbirds worked with several of their food partners to provide lunch to some deserving individuals throughout the Pioneer Valley. Members of the Thunderbirds front office and mascot Boomer visited staff at Mercy Medical Center, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, USA Hauling, the Springfield Police Department, and the Springfield Fire Department. The Thunderbirds and the Mass Lottery will be collaborating on several initiatives throughout the spring and summer to recognize several individuals within the Western Mass. community. Meals were provided by a number of local food partners, including Nadim’s Mediterranean Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, 99 Restaurant, Uno Chicago Grill, and Theodores’. The Mass Lottery and the Thunderbirds will continue to promote the outstanding work of those in the community throughout the summer when the Hometown Salute campaign launches in May. Individuals who are currently or have served in the military, or those working in the healthcare or public-service industries, may be nominated to be recognized by the Thunderbirds each week.

 

Visiting Angels West Springfield Receives Home-care Accreditation

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Visiting Angels, a private-pay home-care agency based in West Springfield, is among a select group of agencies to earn accreditation from the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts. The alliance, which represents 180 home-health and eldercare agencies across Massachusetts, has created an accreditation protocol to promote quality services, ethical business standards, and superior employment practices in an industry that lacks meaningful licensure in Massachusetts even as it grows in popularity. The Home Care Alliance launched this accreditation program for private-pay agencies (agencies that are not paid by Medicare or Medicaid) in 2010. Agencies seeking accreditation are required to submit documentation to show that they meet standards established by the organization. The standards were developed over several months in consultation with an advisory task force representing agencies throughout the Commonwealth. Training requirements, administrative protocols, and business practices are among the categories the Home Care Alliance reviews for accreditation.

 

Riley Home Realty Launches Full-service Agency

CHICOPEE — Riley Home Realty announced the launch of its Chicopee-based, full-service real-estate agency. This family-owned and -operated agency will offer residents in the surrounding Western Mass. communities a comprehensive suite of services delivered with expert guidance from a team of dedicated agents. Riley Home Realty services include listing homes for sale, working with home buyers, managing rental properties and listing rental properties, and property management. It was a dream of members of the Riley family to work together to help others realize home and real-estate ownership, the company noted. “Our family-owned and -operated agency is built on the values we as a family embody. We are with each other every step of the way. Our clients get that same dedication and commitment when they work with us. When you work with Riley Home Realty, you’re family.”

Company Notebook

The Hive Makerspace Comes to Downtown Greenfield

GREENFIELD — After the World Eye Bookstore at 156 Main St. in downtown Greenfield moved down the street, the storefront sat empty for almost two years before former landlord Robert Cohn decided to take a new tack to find an appropriate tenant for the 5,600-square-foot space. He contacted local creatives to find out what might be an exciting contribution to the creative economy of downtown Greenfield, and artists and artisans from myriad disciplines suggested that a makerspace could be an economic driver and help create a destination downtown. So Cohn moved forward with finding the team to put such a plan in place, and the Hive was born. Rachael Katz and Adrienne LaPierre are the project leads working to implement the vision of a state-of-the-art public makerspace. Katz, the owner of the Greenfield Gallery just across the street, is the primary technical consultant for the Hive, with experience that combines the skills of a mechanical engineer with the talents of an artist. She is the sculptor behind the Beatrice the Bee project, the largest public art project ever undertaken in downtown Greenfield, in which six painted bees will be placed around town in celebration of Bee Fest in May 2020. LaPierre, who will be the executive director of the facility, is an educational technology consultant who has spent the past five years working within the Brattleboro public school system to develop innovative ways to integrate makerspace activities and engineering design into the elementary- and middle-school curriculum. They are working with a small, dedicated team of advisors and volunteers to bring the Hive to life. They have applied for a planning grant and have initiated fundraising efforts to cover costs for the first year of development. The name of the Hive is a tribute to the long-standing legacy that Greenfield holds in the world of beekeeping. Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, and fabrication. At the Hive, traditional artisans will stand side by side with engineers operating 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines. Performing artists may design fabric for costumes, and props for plays can be crafted at the same time prototypes for new products created by local innovators and entrepreneurs take shape.

EforAll Holyoke Announces 2020 Winter Cohort

HOLYOKE — Ten early-stage businesses and nonprofits have been selected to participate in the Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Winter Accelerator program in Holyoke. This cohort was evaluated by more than 50 community leaders, EforAll mentors, industry experts, and entrepreneurs through a rigorous application review and interview process. The startups selected represent both products and services from a variety of industries. In this year-long program, 70% of the startups have at least one founder of color, and 80% have at least one female founder. This is representative of EforAll’s mission to accelerate economic development and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship in gateway communities. As part of the 2020 cohort, entrepreneurs will have access to expert mentorship, tailored curriculum, co-working space, and opportunities to win prize money. The finalists are:

• Liam Malone, Holyoke: Greens for Good. Aims to open a year-round farmers market and aquaponic production facility to provide locally sourced food at affordable prices for Holyoke and beyond;

• Carlos Rosario, Springfield: Rosario Asphalt Co. Specializing in residential asphalt and paving services;

• Dioni Soriano and Nayroby Rosa, Holyoke: Soriano Baseball Academy. A baseball camp that provides one-on-one coaching and guidance to youth ages 8 to 16, creating a safe environment where they can practice their skills and improve them year-round;

• Erika Matos, Indian Orchard: Top Flight Nutrition. A nutrition club that recently opened at 594 Dwight St. in Holyoke, offering fitness classes, healthy shakes and smoothies, and health-related programming for the community;

• Jessica Rivera, Chicopee: Bet on Our Youth Travel Camp. Centered on providing services and opportunities to enlighten young people through positive experiences;

• Heather Labonte, Granby: the Estate. An outdoor event venue for weddings, corporate parties, showers, and special occasions;

• Nicole Ortiz, Chicopee: Crave Food Truck. This HCC culinary student plans to open a food truck that has a variety of food with an emphasis on local ingredients and breakfast;

• Sandra Rubio, Easthampton: Totally Baked 413. This Holyoke-based startup offers custom 3D, gourmet cakes for any occasion, as well as pastries and other fresh-baked goods;

• Jessika Rozki, Springfield: Rozki Rides. Providing safe and reliable children’s transportation for working parents; and

• Sarah Kukla, Holyoke: Cupcakes, Pupcakes & More. Baked goods and sweets for both humans and dogs.

Springfield College Unveils New Master of Science in Athletic Training Program

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College unveiled its new master of science in athletic training program, which is accredited under the 2020 Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) Curricular Content Standards. The new curriculum is the combined effort of many dedicated athletic training educators working over a three-year period to design a program that stayed true to the core values of Springfield College and the athletic training education program. The new program also seeks to incorporate innovative and engaging ways to ensure that athletic training graduates are well prepared to meet the healthcare needs of physically active individuals. Springfield College has a long-standing tradition in preparing athletic trainers for successful careers dating back to 1925. As part of this internationally recognized program, students gain the training and experience to help them succeed in the field. Springfield College’s athletic training tradition includes graduates employed by professional teams, high schools, and colleges and universities.

New Restaurant to Open in Thornes Marketplace

NORTHAMPTON — Aaron Thayer, a chef with experience at exclusive fine-dining establishments in Boston and San Francisco — and at Coco & the Cellar Bar in Easthampton — will open a restaurant called Patria in Thornes Marketplace with his business partner and wife, Abby Fuhrman. Patria will be located on the basement level in the space formerly occupied by ConVino, which closed in August. Thayer and Fuhrman expect to open Patria in the spring of 2020. Currently, they are renovating the dining room and kitchen to create a more functional flow and enhance the décor with new furnishings and lighting. Key in creating a new workflow is a restructuring of the dining room and kitchen to account for the fact that Patria will be focused more on food service, whereas ConVino’s emphasis, as a wine bar, was on beverage sales. Thayer said Patria will offer fine dining with a relaxed and casual approach. Patria will specialize in large, family-style roasts, fresh pastas, and vegetable dishes that will all be sharable. Service and quality will be a major focus of the restaurant, and Thayer and Fuhrman will work to create an atmosphere that is comfortable and adventurous. Thayer will use as much local produce and other ingredients as is possible.

Pilot Precision Products Wins Silver Economic Impact Award

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Pilot Precision Products, which opened the doors to its new, 24,000-square-foot facility in South Deerfield in April, received a Silver award in the Western Mass. division at the 2019 Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards. Nineteen companies from across the Commonwealth were selected as finalists for MassEcon’s 16th annual celebration of firms for their outstanding contributions to the Massachusetts economy. MassEcon, the state’s private-sector partner in promoting business growth in Massachusetts, selected the finalists based on their job growth, facility expansion, and investment since Jan. 1, 2018, as well as other criteria, including community involvement. The winners were selected after site visits and a reception with their competitors and judges from Nutter McClennen & Fish, LLP. Locally owned and operated, Pilot Precision Products is the parent company of duMONT Minute Man Industrial Broaches and Hassay Savage broaching tools, and is the exclusive American distributor of Magafor and GMauvaisUSATM products. Pilot currently has 33 employees and had tripled its sales over the past three years.

Carr Hardware Opens New Store in Lenox

LENOX — Carr Hardware, a family-owned business for more than 90 years, announced that its new location in Lenox is now open for business. The 11,000-square-foot retail space is located in the Center at Lenox on Routes 7 and 20. The Center at Lenox is also home to well-known retailers CVS, Marshalls, and Price Chopper. The new, state-of-the-art Carr Hardware offers a modern and convenient shopping experience with a nostalgic, vintage hardware-store flair, said company President Bart Raser. Preferred brands featured include STIHL, Toro, Pratt & Lambert, Valspar, Cabot, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Weber, Big Green Egg, Scotts, Graber, and Carhartt, to name a few. The store also features a large, seasonal garden center, as well as services like digital key duplication, screen and glass repair, lamp repair, and propane filling. Free local delivery is available as well as the Carr assurance, “at Carr, we service what we sell.” Unique to the market, Carr Hardware has introduced “Ben Moore 2 Your Door,” where contractors and homeowners can select their Benjamin Moore paint purchase, along with the needed accessories, and have them all delivered within the Greater Lenox area the same day for free. Orders can be placed online, by phone, or by text.

Jay Smith Receives Award from National Tour Assoc.

HATFIELD — The National Tour Assoc. (NTA) recently presented Jay Smith, founder of Sports Travel and Tours, with the 2019 Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award for dedication to the organization’s mission for more than 20 years. At NTA’s annual conference, called Travel Exchange, on Dec. 12 in Fort Worth, Texas, Smith accepted the honor from NTA President Pam Inman. Smith has served as a volunteer, member of the organization, member of the NTA board of directors, and board vice chair and chair. Smith founded Sports Travel and Tours in 1996, offering tours to baseball games initially and then expanding to include other sports trips in a wider range of venues, including Cuba, London, and Japan. Support from his staff and his wife, Carol, allowed him to dedicate time to the NTA and its goals. Smith is active in Tourism Cares and Travel Alliance Partners, two industry-focused organizations, and Sports Travel and Tours has been the official travel company of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum since 2007.

Rotary Club of Springfield Inducts Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) was inducted as a corporate member into the Rotary Club of Springfield on Dec. 6. Nathan Skrocki, regional director, and Keri Davidson-Bravman, vocational rehabilitation and children’s worker supervisor for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, will be the participating members. The MCB was sponsored by Rotarian Paul Lambert, vice president of Enshrinement Services & Community at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. MCB was established on July 13, 1906. The organization was originally comprised of three men and two women, including Helen Keller. Its mission is to provide vocational and social rehabilitation services for residents of the Commonwealth who are declared to be legally blind by an eye professional. MCB provides rehabilitation and social services to Massachusetts residents who are blind, leading to their independence and full community participation. Its main office is in Boston, with regional offices in Springfield, Worcester, and New Bedford.

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