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SPADC to End Management of Symphony Hall, CityStage

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Performing Arts Development Corp. (SPADC) said Monday it will no longer manage CityStage and Symphony Hall after its contracts expire at the end of 2018. “It is with great sadness, but also with a sense of accomplishment, we share the news that Springfield Performing Arts Development Corp. will cease operations at CityStage and Symphony Hall at the end of 2018 after a successful run in bringing entertainment to downtown Springfield for the past 20 years,” the organization posted on its website. “We are gratified to have played a role in bringing thousands of people to enjoy a diverse offering of high-quality entertainment at CityStage and Symphony Hall. Downtown entertainment is evolving, and we are proud of the contributions we have made in making the city an entertainment destination again.” The city of Springfield contracts for management of Symphony Hall, and the Springfield Parking Authority contracts for management of CityStage. Both entities are expected to discuss new requests for proposals for the two venues. MGM Springfield, which currently manages the MassMutual Center, could be an option to manage Symphony Hall and CityStage. MGM is currently obligated by its host-community agreement with the city of Springfield to book and underwrite at least three shows a year at the two venues. “Entertainment is a key component of the revitalization of downtown Springfield and the continued attraction of new visitors,” Talia Spera, executive director of entertainment at MGM Springfield, said in a news release Monday. “MGM Springfield will continue our conversations with the city leaders regarding the future of CityStage and Symphony Hall with the intent of supporting future dynamic performances in those venues.”

Cushman & Wakefield to Market Eastfield Mall Joint-venture Partnership

SPRINGFIELD — The ownership of Eastfield Mall in Springfield has appointed commercial real-estate-services firm Cushman & Wakefield to market a joint-venture partnership opportunity for the property’s mixed-use redevelopment. The 776,977-square-foot, enclosed regional shopping center sits on nearly 87 acres, providing scope and flexible zoning for a range of next-generation options. Eastfield Mall is currently 74% leased, with in-place net operating income offering interim cash flow while a redevelopment plan is put in place. Major tenants include Cinemark, Old Navy, Hannoush Jewelers, Ninety-Nine Restaurant & Pub, and Donovan’s Irish Pub, along with a non-owned Sears box that accounts for 254,446 square feet. The mall benefits from strong real-estate fundamentals, boasting a location along heavily trafficked Route 20 and access to downtown Springfield, the Massachusetts Turnpike, and interstates 291 and 91. Brian Whitmer, a member of the Cushman & Wakefield team serving as exclusive agent for the mall’s owner, Mountain Development Corp., noted that Eastfield Mall is well suited to become a mixed-use complex featuring a live-work-play atmosphere. “We expect this offering will attract an impressive level of interest from a diverse group of investors,” he said. “This is truly a distinctive opportunity given the many factors that support a successful repurposing.” That sentiment was echoed by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “Malls all throughout our country are reinventing and redefining themselves to be more multifaceted,” he said. “My chief Development officer, Kevin Kennedy, and I will continue to assist our Eastfield Mall to restore the glory of the past toward a successful and diverse future.” The Cushman & Wakefield investment sales and retail specialists heading the Eastfield Mall assignment span two Cushman & Wakefield offices. They include Whitmer, Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut, Seth Pollack, and Kubby Tischler in East Rutherford, N.J.; and Peter Joseph, Brian Barnett, Steffen Panzone, Pete Rogers, and Ross Fishman in Boston.

Employer Confidence Strengthens During August

BOSTON — Massachusetts employers were equally confident about the national and state economies during August, breaking an eight-and-a-half-year run in which they were more bullish about the Commonwealth than the nation as a whole. The brightening view of the U.S. economy boosted overall business confidence as employers headed for the end of the third quarter. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index gained two points to 63.2 last month after tumbling more than five points during June and July. The gain left the Index two points higher than a year ago, comfortably within optimistic territory. Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Design, said the last time employers were more optimistic about the national economy than the state was during the nadir of the Great Recession in May 2009, when the AIM Massachusetts Index was 33.1 and the U.S. Index was 34.4. “The confluence of opinion reflects gathering optimism about the U.S. economy rather than any weakness in the Massachusetts business climate,” Torto said. “The Massachusetts Index rose 1.5 points during the year, but the U.S. Index soared 4.5 points during that same period.” Meanwhile, the Company Index measuring employer assessments of their own operations rose 2.4 points to 62.1, up 1.2 points from August 2017. The Employment Index gained 2.4 points to end the month at 57.0, while the Sales Index lost 0.8 points to 61.0. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, rose 2.5 points to 66.1, leaving it 4.8 points higher than the year earlier. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, rose 1.5 points during August, but remained down 1.0 point for the year.

People on the Move
Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral, a former accounting professor and interim dean of Business and Technology at Holyoke Community College, has been appointed the new director of Training & Workforce Options, a workforce-development partnership between HCC and Springfield Technical Community College. Cabral succeeds Jeffrey Hayden, who maintains his position as HCC’s vice president of Business and Community Services. As director of TWO, she will also continue in her position as director of the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute (MCCTI), the gaming school HCC runs jointly with STCC and MGM Springfield at 95 State St. in Springfield. Before being named director of MCCTI last fall, Cabral served as interim dean of Business and Technology at HCC, where she was a member of the project team that helped bring the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute to life. Cabral holds a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University and an MBA from Elms College. She joined the faculty of HCC in 2014 as a full-time professor of accounting.

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Kevin Bramlett

Kevin Bramlett

Adam Cincotta

Adam Cincotta

As part of the previously announced organizational change to position the company for future growth, OMG Inc. promoted Kevin Bramlett and Adam Cincotta into new business-unit leadership positions for the Roofing Products Division. Each will oversee all facets of their respective business unit, including strategic sales and marketing activities, planning, forecasting, and manufacturing, as well as business-unit profit and loss. Bramlett was named director of the metal accessories business unit, which is predominantly OMG EdgeSystems, the company’s line of fascia, coping, and water-control products. Bramlett has been with the company since July 2012, most recently as the manufacturing manager for the OMG edge business. Before joining OMG, he was a mechanical engineer with Thermo-Fisher Scientific. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Cincotta was named director of the adhesives/solar business unit, which includes OlyBond Adhesives, the industry’s popular line of insulation and fleece membrane adhesive, as well as its OMG PowerGrip line of solar anchors. He joined OMG Roofing Products as a product manager in 2014, and was promoted to group product manager in 2017. Before joining OMG, he was with Lenox Tools/Newell Rubbermaid, where he worked as a senior product manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and management from Cornell University and an MBA from UMass.

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Kelly Marcroft

Kelly Marcroft

Kelly Marcroft, Holyoke Medical Center’s director of Emergency Services, has been selected to join an expert panel to improve patient safety in emergency medicine. The panel was convened by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety, a Massachusetts state agency that catalyzes the efforts of providers, patients, and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of healthcare. The goal of this expert panel is to develop, aggregate, and disseminate practical recommendations and tools to support the efforts of Massachusetts acute-care hospitals to advance the safe delivery of emergency care in their facilities. The panel will deliberate on and endorse a set of core safety competencies that all Massachusetts emergency departments should foster, as well as create a set of best-practice standards, tools, and resources to share throughout the greater emergency-medicine community in Massachusetts. The expert panel consists of nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors from several hospitals throughout the state, including Baystate Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and UMass Memorial Medical Center. The group first met on June 26 in Boston and will continue to meet monthly over the next year.

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Angela Barahona

Angela Barahona

Country Bank announced that Angela Barahona has joined its Commercial Banking division as vice president of Business Development and Cash Management. She brings 17 years of experience in the industry, having held various positions over the years in customer service, management, municipal and government banking, business development, and corporate cash management. She is currently working toward her associate degree from the New England College of Business and Finance with a concentration in business adminstration. Barahona began her financial-services career at Country Bank in 2001 in its retail banking area. A relocation in 2006 to the eastern part of Massachusetts brought her to State Street Bank Corp. in its wire division and later to Century Bank. For the last 13 years at Century, she held various positions working her way through the ranks, where she found her passion in helping business customers.

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Clare Lamontagne

Clare Lamontagne

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Clare Lamontagne as its new dean of Health Sciences. Lamontagne, a registered nurse who holds a Ph.D. in nursing, brings 40 years of experience to HCC as a nursing educator, administrator, clinician, and consultant. For the past seven years, she has been a member of the full-time nursing faculty at UMass Amherst, having also served there as director of the undergraduate nursing program. She began her career in 1978 as a charge nurse at Ludlow Hospital after earning her associate degree in nursing from Springfield Technical Community College, where she worked as a member of the nursing faculty from 1988 to 2011. Lamontagne holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from American International College, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in nursing from UMass Amherst. She has also worked as a nurse at Baystate Medical Center and as a volunteer at the Pioneer Valley Free Health Clinic in East Longmeadow, and has taught in the nursing programs at UConn, Elms College, and Baystate Health.

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Alta Stark has been named director of Communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield. She is responsible for developing, writing, and producing various printed and electronic publications, providing printed materials and signs, publicity for events, advertising, and technical support. She will also work to cultivate and maintain relationships with local, regional, and national media, as well as Catholic media, and produce content for the Sisters of St. Joseph social-media sites. Stark is a communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations, and the news media. Most recently, she taught graduate-level online courses in public relations for Western New England University. Previously, she served as the director of Marketing & Public Relations for JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, successfully rebranding the 106-year organization and helping launch the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation. Stark has also served as senior Communications specialist for Baystate Health and Communications director for the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (now the Springfield Regional Chamber) and the Western Mass. Economic Development Council. She also spent nearly a decade producing award-winning broadcast news in several markets in the Northeast, including WWLP 22News. Stark holds a master’s degree in television, radio, and film with a concentration in broadcast news from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and graduated cum laude from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts with a bachelor’s degree in advertising design.

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Claudia Pazmany

Claudia Pazmany

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County (BBBSHC), a program of CHD, announced the appointment of Claudia Pazmany as its new advisory board president. Pazmany, the new executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, joined BBBSHC as an advisory board member in May 2016. She served on the development committee and led the efforts to celebrate outgoing Executive Director Renee Moss, while simultaneously serving on the search committee to hire her replacement, current Executive Director Jessie Cooley. “Claudia’s successful 17-year history in professional fundraising has made her a true steward of her craft in philanthropy, and this is part of what drew her to us,” said Cooley. “Claudia is also passionate about the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters, with contagious enthusiasm and innovative ideas, and she will help lead us into the next phase of our program’s growth.”

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Krish Thiagarajan, an expert on marine renewable energy and energy-producing offshore structures, has been appointed to the endowed chair in Renewable Energy in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. Thiagarajan will collaborate with state Department of Energy Resources staff on renewable-energy research and projects. His studies focus on harvesting energy from waves in marine environments, and his expertise will broaden and strengthen the research program in renewable energy at UMass Amherst, which has long been a national leader in wind energy. Thiagarajan came to UMass Amherst last spring after serving six years as the presidential chair in Energy at the University of Maine, where his research attracted more than $22 million in funding. At Maine, he also led the Marine Ocean and Offshore Research (MOOR) Group, which studied how human-made structures interact with the complex ocean environment. Thiagarajan completed his bachelor’s degree in naval architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. He earned a master’s degree in ocean engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland before pursuing further graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and naval architecture and marine engineering, as well as a Ph.D. in naval architecture and marine engineering.

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Mika Nash has joined American International College (AIC) as executive vice president for Academic Affairs. She comes to AIC from Champlain College in Vermont, where she served as dean of Continuing Professional Studies. Nash has more than 20 years of experience in the field of higher education, with the majority of her career spent in senior leadership. In her most recent role, she was tasked with the development and administration of all academic and operational responsibilities associated with running the Continuing Professional Studies academic unit with management oversight for all curricula, academic programs, academic policies, articulation agreements, eLearning, faculty recruiting, training and development, and building student, family, and academic support services. A particular area of interest and scholarship for Nash continues to be technology innovation to expand the student experience and engagement in course content. Prior to joining Champlain College in 2007, Nash served as dean for the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management at the New England Culinary Institute. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Vermont. She has a doctorate in higher educational leadership and policy studies.

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Scott Higgins

Scott Higgins

Erin Wilde

Erin Wilde

HUB International New England, LLC, a division of HUB International Limited, a global insurance brokerage, recently announced that Scott Higgins joined the agency as an account executive for Commercial Lines, and Erin Wilde has come on board as a client relationship manager. Both will work in the East Longmeadow office. Higgins will be responsible for servicing medium- to large-sized businesses with a focus on property and casualty products. Having first started his career as a collision repair manager with GM for more than 20 years, he has a vast background in providing settlements for collision repairs. From there, he held various positions with MetLife and MetLife Financial. Wilde will work closely with the HUB New England Employee Benefits team to service existing clients with marketing, benefits communications, regulatory requirements, cost-saving measures, and enrollment, as well as assisting with new prospects. Having worked in the employee-benefits field, including stops at Bank of Tampa and Sullivan Benefits, she has a background servicing nonprofits.

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Springfield Technical Community College announced that Erica Eynouf was named dean of Library, Matthew Gravel was named dean of Academic Initiatives, and Inder Singh was named assistant vice president/chief Information officer. Eynouf joined the college in September 2012 as a reference library, and had served as interim dean of Library Services since August 2017. She holds a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. She received her bachelor’s degree in critical social theory from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. Gravel was most recently dean of Enrollment Management. He joined STCC in August 2001 as the director of Academic Advising, became registrar in March 2005, and was promoted to dean of Curriculum in January 2012. Among his job responsibilities, he will plan and manage academic initiatives and program review efforts. He earned a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in English from UMass Dartmouth. Singh had served as interim AVP/CIO since January. Previously, he served as CIO at Union County College in New Jersey and worked in IT leadership positions for 28 years at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He holds an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Delhi University, India.

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Kathleen Anderson

Kathleen Anderson

Holyoke Medical Center announced the appointment of Kathleen Anderson as the hospital’s director of Community Benefits. She begins her new role on Aug. 27, providing programs and services to improve health in communities and helping to increase access to healthcare. She will succeed Helen Arnold following her retirement after a 42-year career with Holyoke Medical Center. Anderson most recently served as president of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and its affiliated Centennial Foundation. Prior to that, she served as Holyoke’s Planning and Economic Development director, as well as chief of staff for two Holyoke mayors. She serves on the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council, and chairs both the Holyoke Salvation Army and Economic Development Partners of the Western Mass. Economic Development Council.

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The duMONT Co. and Hassay Savage Co. announced the promotion of Cynthia Cote to president of both companies. Cote joined duMONT with new ownership in 2016 as the company’s chief financial officer. Both duMONT and Hassay Savage companies are leaders in linear industrial broaching technology. In 2018, the companies will break ground on a new manufacturing facility to prepare for additional growth through research and development as well as acquisition. In addition to her accomplishments in manufacturing, Cote and her husband own and run a construction company and a real-estate management company in Shelburne Falls.

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HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts recently named Kathy Casagrande as director of Case Management and Mary-Anne Schelb as Business Development director. These leadership-team members will support initiatives to uphold high-quality patient care at the 53-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital located at 222 State St., Ludlow. Casagrande has been a social worker and case manager in a hospital setting for more than 30 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Western New England College in 1985 and began her career at HealthSouth Western Massachusetts in March 1996 in the capacity of discharge planner. She was promoted to case manager in 1997. Schelb serves as director of Marketing Operations at HealthSouth Western Massachusetts. She began her career with an accounting certification from St. John’s School of Business and found herself drawn to a more health- and wellness-based path as a holistic health practitioner holding master/teacher certifications from the International Center for Reiki Training. In addition, she is a certified cranial sacral therapist in Profound Neutral from the Neurovascular Institute.

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Zoar Outdoor recently trained five new guides to lead its canopy-tour experience in a 40-hour process that covered topics from safety to assessing the guest’s state of mind. All five guide candidates aced written exams and technical drills on June 15, the last day of the training. Hired for the remainder of the season, which ends in November, were Brian Schempf, Matt Drazek, Haley Rode, Abby Schlinger, and Tynan Hewes. All of the trainees had previous experience riding a zipline, and they all also had outdoor experience ranging from hiking to mountain climbing. Zoar currently has 43 guides for its zipline canopy tour, which was the first zip tour in southern New England.