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Agenda

Big E 2020

Canceled: For the safety of fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and the broader community, the leadership of the Eastern States Exposition have canceled the 2020 Big E. “We know our faithful fairgoers will be disappointed,” a statement noted. “This decision was difficult and complex, but we all know in our hearts that it’s the right thing to do for the health and safety of the 1.6 million people who support us each year. Our staff has spent the last few months working tirelessly to figure a way to bring our annual New England tradition to everyone this fall. Despite exploring all our options and planning extensively, we realized that the Big E experience that everyone has come to know and love would not be the same.” Next year’s edition of the Big E is scheduled for Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, 2021.

Café Creations

July 8, 15, 22: Café Creations, an interactive learning program designed by transition specialist Kelsey Poole in conjunction with the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA), will provide opportunities for creativity, friendship, and increasing independence for 15 adults ages 18 to 22 with autism or developmental disabilities. The program was made possible through a grant provided by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism Inc. Café Creations will run for three consecutive Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. via the Zoom virtual meeting platform. To participate, students need access to an internet-enabled computer or tablet that can connect to Zoom. Interested individuals should sign up no later than Friday, July 3 by contacting Poole at (413) 454-7112 or [email protected] Café Creations is designed to provide adults with autism or developmental disabilities a virtual, interactive, and fun learning experience that enables them to walk away with something they created. Along the way, students have the opportunity to connect with others outside of their community, mostly in towns in Western Mass, while focusing on recreational and educational activities that incorporate meaningful connections and sustainable friendships. To finish each weekly session, students play interactive games with incentives and prizes. Materials required for each session’s creative project will be delivered to each student’s residence in time for each session. These materials include vision boards, which enable students to get to know something about themselves and then share that with others in the group; food ingredients for students to make their own pizzas; and materials to create a lava lamp. Students are encouraged to have a job coach or parent nearby to assist with some activities, notably making pizza, which involves using an oven. According to Poole, the program promotes independence and builds friendships through creation. “Folks with autism or developmental disabilities don’t always know how to meet others like themselves in their community,” she said. “I designed Café Creations to be an alternative way of learning and, at the same time, an alternative way of connecting with others. It provides that linkage and does so in a manner where there’s something creative happening. With this population, it’s important to peel back the support and get them to spread their wings.”

Asnuntuck Information Sessions

July 13, 22, 28; Aug. 6: Asnuntuck Community College has scheduled several virtual information sessions with the Admissions and Financial Aid departments during the summer. The sessions will be held on Monday, July 13 at 5 p.m.; Wednesday, July 22 at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, July 28 at 5 p.m.; and Thursday, Aug. 6 at 3 p.m. Prospective students need to attend only one of the sessions. Participants will be able to learn about the admissions and financial-aid process. The July 13 session will feature information regarding Connecticut’s community-college debt-free scholarship, Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT). Students must apply and be registered for a full-time schedule of courses by July 15 to be eligible for PACT. It is free to apply to the college. The sessions will also include time for questions and answers. To register for a session and learn how to register for classes, visit asnuntuck.edu/admissions/how-to-enroll. Registration for the fall semester is now open.

Healthcare Heroes Nominations

Through July 17: BusinessWest and its sister publication, the Healthcare News, will pay tribute to the heroes of COVID-19 by dedicating their annual Healthcare Heroes program in 2020 to those who are have emerged as true heroes during this crisis. The deadline for nominations is July 17. Healthcare Heroes was launched by the two publications in 2017 to recognize those working in this all-important sector of the region’s economy, many of whom are overlooked when it comes to traditional recognition programs. Over the years, the program has recognized providers, administrators, emerging leaders, innovators, and collaborators. For 2020, the program will shift its focus somewhat to the COVID-19 pandemic and all those who are working in the healthcare field or helping to assist it at this trying time. All manner of heroes have emerged this year, and we invite you to nominate one — or several — for what has become a very prestigious honor in Western Mass.: the Healthcare Heroes award. All we need is a 400- to 500-word essay and/or two-minute video entry explaining why the group or individual stands out as an inspiration, and a truly bright star in a galaxy of healthcare heroes. These nominations will be carefully considered by a panel of independent judges, who will select the class of 2020. For more information on how to nominate someone for the Healthcare Heroes class of 2020, visit businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes/nomination-form. Videos can be sent via dropbox to [email protected]. Healthcare Heroes is sponsored by Comcast Business and Elms College.

Nominations for Humane Awards

Through July 31: Dakin Humane Society is accepting nominations from the public for its Dakin Humane Awards until July 31. Nominees should be people who go out of their way to care for animals in need, people who volunteer to help animals, or people and/or animals who have provided significant public service or shown courage in a crisis. Finalists in each of the award categories will be picked from among the nominees and notified of their selection in August. The award ceremony will be livestreamed at a later date in the fall, and one winner in each of the categories will be announced. There are five awards to be bestowed: the Frances M. Wells Award, given to an individual recognized for notable contributions to the health and welfare of animals; the Youth Award, honoring a hero, age 16 or younger, whose extraordinary care and compassion makes a difference in the life of an animal, and makes the world a kinder and gentler place; the Champion Award, given to a public servant who makes life better for tens of thousands of animals and people in their community, and recognizing their dedication and compassion on behalf of animals and people in need; the Richard and Nathalie Woodbury Philanthropy Award, paying homage to an individual who displays a remarkable sense of stewardship in sharing time, talent, and financial resources to improve the lives of animals and people who love them; and the Animal Hero Award, recognizing an exceptional animal and handler (when applicable) whose valor and extraordinary devotion to people proved life-saving in disastrous or challenging heath circumstances. Nominations are being accepted online only at bit.ly/2NOcgps. Mail-in nominations will not be accepted. Nominees should be residents of Central or Western Mass. or Northern Connecticut.

MCLA Gallery 51 Virtual Artist Series

Through Aug. 8: MCLA Gallery 51 will continue its online program, the G51 Virtual Artist Series, live via Zoom at noon on alternating Saturdays. Local, regional, national, and international artists will give virtual tours of their studios and discuss their practices. Discussions with the artists will also be recorded for later viewing. The series kicked off on May 16. The gallery’s full spring programming schedule is available on its website. Upcoming artists include Sula Bermudez-Silverman (July 11), whose conceptual work intertwines multiple issues, investigating and critiquing the issues of race, gender, and economics; Kim Faler (July 25), a local, multi-disciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, and photography, whose art practice unpacks the emotional weight found within everyday objects and architecture; and Anina Major (Aug. 8), who works with topics of identity, slavery, the female body, Bahamian culture, and more. She considers her creative practice to be a response to continuous erasure and a culture that is constantly being oversimplified.

Submission Period for Virtual Art Show

Through Aug. 13: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI Western Massachusetts will present a virtual art show this year, and is now accepting artwork for the show. Submissions are limited to individuals living with a mental-health diagnosis, and the artwork will be displayed on the organization’s website and social-media pages for a limited time, then switched out for new artwork. To submit, e-mail a picture of the art to [email protected]. Note the size of the piece, the medium, and the price if it is for sale. The artist should also specify if they want their name used. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 13.

Elms College Executive Leadership Breakfast

Sept. 22: Elms College has rescheduled its third annual Executive Leadership Breakfast due to state-mandated caution regarding large crowds and coronavirus. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is still slated to be the keynote speaker for the event, which was originally scheduled for April 9. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, the college will announce more details as necessary. This annual event features talks by the region’s leaders on topics of relevance that impact all sectors of business and the economy in Western Mass. Speakers at past events have included Dennis Duquette, head of Community Responsibility at MassMutual and president of the MassMutual Foundation, and Regina Noonan Hitchery, retired vice president of Human Resources at Alcoa.

Company Notebook

UMass to Expand Online Educational Opportunities

BOSTON — The University of Massachusetts and Chapman University System announced their intent to form an exclusive strategic partnership between UMass Online and Brandman University to expand educational opportunities for adult learners in Massachusetts and across the nation. This partnership, expected to be finalized later this year, will be launched as millions of adults in Massachusetts and across the U.S. need flexible, high-quality, and affordable online-education alternatives now and as they recover from the economic dislocation caused by COVID-19, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Based in Irvine, Calif., Brandman was established in 1958 by Chapman University, a 159-year-old private institution in Orange, Calif. Originally founded to deliver high-quality education to active-service military, Brandman has evolved into a widely recognized leader in online education, with a strong record of serving veterans and a diverse range of adult learners. The partnership will augment UMass Online, which now supports more than 25,000 students, strengthening its technology platform and student-support services tailored to adult learners. UMass President Marty Meehan recently cited dramatic declines in the number of high-school graduates and employers’ need for a highly skilled workforce in announcing plans to scale up online programming at UMass. He also cited the “troubling lack of economic mobility” among African-Americans and Hispanics. The economic disruption caused by COVID-19 has accelerated these challenges, and the need for new online education programs that remove the obstacles adult learners often face is now even more urgent. A key target group for the partnership will be adult learners in underserved communities. According to a Strada Network survey of 4,000 adults, most Americans (62%) are concerned about unemployment, but African-Americans are moreso (68%), and their Latinx and Asian counterparts are even more worried (72%). The same study indicated that 53% of adult learners prefer online education opportunities.

HMC Submits Proposal to Expand Psychiatric Bed Capacity

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) has submitted a letter of intent and project proposal to the Massachusetts Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality to expand psychiatric bed capacity. The letter, sent on June 19, notified the Determination of Need Program that HMC will be completing an application for an additional 64 psychiatric beds. If approved, this will increase the hospital’s total capacity to 84 psychiatric beds, which will serve adult and geriatric populations. The 68,000-square-foot Holyoke Medical Center Behavioral Health Pavilion proposal includes 48 adult psychiatric beds, 36 geriatric beds, and 4,000 square feet of shell space for future expansion or uses to be determined later. Population statistics and competitive analysis suggest that there is a need within a 14-mile radius of Holyoke Medical Center for 52 adult psychiatric beds and 36 geriatric psychiatric beds. The proposal also includes a parking analysis and parking-garage study, which could provide an additional 60 to 180 parking spaces. Holyoke Medical Center is partnered with Signet Health Corp., assisting the hospital in the delivery of behavioral-health services by providing management and consulting services. The Leo Brown Group, a full-service healthcare real-estate development and solutions company, will design and build the facility. It is estimated that, once approved by state and local officials, the new facility will take 18 months to complete and become operational.

Monson Savings Bank to Open New Branch in East Longmeadow

EAST LONGMEADOW — Monson Savings Bank announced the expansion of its branch network into East Longmeadow. This new office, located at 61 North Main St., is expected to open in late summer. The full-service branch will offer an extensive array of consumer and commercial products, traditional banking products, wealth-management products, and several robust digital solutions that have grown more important in today’s environment. It has been the bank’s goal to further expand the markets it serves.

Royal, P.C. Moves to Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — The law firm of Royal, P.C. has moved to Springfield. Founded by attorney Amy Royal in 2008, Royal, P.C. is now located in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield, at 819 Worcester St., Suite 2. “Springfield is where I grew up, so it felt natural to relocate my law firm here,” Royal said. “Indian Orchard, with its unique history, has always felt like a special place within the city to me, and its geography otherwise places us in a more centralized location with respect to our Central and Eastern Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut clients.” The telephone and fax numbers of (413) 586-2288 and (413) 586-2281 remain the same. For more information about the firm, visit www.theroyallawfirm.com.

Bay Path Launches Risk Management Degree

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University is expanding its focus in the rapidly growing area of cybersecurity — and helping to bring more women into it — with the introduction of an undergraduate major in risk management. In addition, the university will offer scholarships to women looking to obtain degrees in cybersecurity. Made possible by Strada Education Network, these scholarships will help offset the cost of fall 2020 enrollment in cybersecurity programs. The term ‘risk management’ applies to the forecasting and evaluation of risks alongside the identification of procedures to avoid or minimize their impact. This new program concentration will include coursework in data privacy, project management, crisis management, and incident recovery. With nearly 80% of the organizations surveyed for the 2019 Marsh Microsoft Global Cyber Risk Perception Survey ranking cyber risks as a top-five concern, but only 11% feeling adequately prepared to assess and address those threats, the need for risk managers in the cybersecurity sphere is more important than ever. Within those responding organizations, the majority of board members and senior executives responsible for their organization’s cyber risk management reported that they had less than a day in the last year to spend focused on cyber risk issues.

ValleyBike Share Launches 2020 Season

PIONEER VALLEY — ValleyBike Share — the electric-assist bike-share program of the Pioneer Valley that includes Amherst, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton, South Hadley, Springfield, and the UMass Amherst campus — has launched the 2020 season in select locations. Remaining stations will be opened over the following weeks. ValleyBike boasts more than 40,000 active members, who have ridden more than 280,000 miles on 126,940 trips. Due to the situation with Covid-19, ValleyBike is urging members to sanitize the handles, seat, and PIN pad before and after using the bikes. Every time the maintenance team touches a bike, it will be fully sanitized, but the public can do their part to keep themselves and others safe. Visit www.valleybike.org for more information and to find out how to become a member.

Art Therapy/Counseling Program Accredited at Springfield College

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Art Therapy/Counseling master’s-degree program has been granted initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), effective immediately. Awarded after a peer review by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education and the CAAHEP board of directors, this accreditation determined the Springfield College Art Therapy/Counseling program was in substantial compliance with nationally established accreditation standards. Students enrolled in the program will have the option to either pursue a master of science or master of education degree. Graduates are master’s-level clinicians who can jump right into the workforce or pursue additional licensure opportunities, which will allow them to earn a license in the mental-health field after graduation and to obtain board certification as an art therapist.

Applied Mortgage Giving Makes $45,000 Regional Donation

NORTHAMPTON — Applied Mortgage Giving announced a new campaign, the Vitality Grant, which will be donated to six local community organizations: Downtown Amherst Foundation (Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and Amherst Business Improvement District), Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Franklin County, and United Way of Hampshire County. These organizations will each receive a portion of the gift to use at their discretion to support their work in the community. The Vitality Grant — sponsored by Applied Mortgage Giving, the charitable arm of Applied Mortgage, a d/b/a of HarborOne Mortgage, LLC — is designed to positively influence and provide opportunities for the success of small businesses and nonprofits in Hampshire and Franklin counties. Applied Mortgage Giving will be partnering with the local chambers and United Ways, hoping to enhance these organizations’ opportunities to meet the specific needs of their communities. For more information or questions regarding the Vitality Grant, e-mail LaBonte at [email protected].

Westfield State Accepting Applications for Addiction Counselor Education Program

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Education is accepting applications for the 2020-21 addiction counselor education (ACE) program. Classes will be held evenings and weekends starting in September 2020 and ending in May 2021. The goal of this non-credit certificate program, offered at the university since 1991, is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and techniques necessary for the successful treatment of individuals and families afflicted by alcoholism and/or other drug addictions. This program has been highly instrumental in the professional development of individuals in Western Mass. who are either working or interested in the growing healthcare field of addiction services. To help with this mission, Westfield State also offers the ACE program at a satellite location, in Pittsfield, to help train potential counselors in the Berkshires area to fill critical positions in treatment facilities that are understaffed and unable to fill open positions. Applications for both programs are available online at www.westfield.ma.edu/ace. For more information, or to receive an application by mail, contact Brandon Fredette at [email protected] or (413) 572-8033.

Pittsfield Cooperative Bank Supports Resilience Fund

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) announced it has been awarded a $5,000 grant from Pittsfield Cooperative Bank to support its Resilience Fund for Farmers. This new fund was established in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting impact on local farmers, who are hurting right now as stores, restaurants, and other income-generating avenues like farmers’ markets and CSA are closed or operating in different, logistically challenging ways due to the virus. Despite these challenges, many farmers are reaching out to contribute healthy food to the neediest among us and sell as much as they can directly to consumers. The goal of the BAV Resilience Fund for Farmers is to support those who are experiencing business challenges as a result of COVID-19. Zero-interest, forgivable loans and grants will be provided to help farmers adapt to new realities, overcome significant income challenges, and ensure that farms remain viable and sustainable so they continue to meet demand for healthy, local foods. In addition to working with individual farmers, BAV also hopes to support strategies that avoid costly duplication of effort among farmers, such as developing coordinated delivery services. The first grant from the fund helped Roots Rising to pivot and establish the Berkshire County-wide Virtual Farmers Market, which in its first eight weeks served 1,400 households, gave $18,000 to neighbors in need, and generated $50,000 in sales to support the local food system. The grant from Pittsfield Cooperative Bank represents the first corporate support to the fund, which was established with a grant from a local family foundation. J. Jay Anderson, president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, added that the bank “is proud to support the work of the Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and the Resilience Fund for Farmers during this extraordinary time. At a time when local food systems and healthy food is important to our communities more than ever before, we thank them for their work.”

MCLA Receives Two Awards from Council for Advancement and Support of Education

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced it has received two awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a global nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement. The college received an Educational Fundraising Award for Overall Performance in the category of Public Liberal Arts Institutions and a Circle of Excellence Award for its 2018-19 President’s Report. This is the first year MCLA has been recognized by this program. The annual Educational Fundraising Awards recognize exemplary development programs based on a blind review of data submitted to the CASE Voluntary Support of Education survey. Winners are selected based on factors and variables that include, but are not limited to, patterns of growth, overall breadth of fundraising, amount raised per student, and alumni participation. The Circle of Excellence Awards recognize institutions whose staff members advanced their institutions through innovative, inspiring, and creative ideas. The awards acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, and deliver exceptional results. CASE judges commended the 2018-19 President’s Report, which was developed by MCLA’s Department of Marketing and Communications staff, on its theme and narrative flow, effective use of vintage and modern photographs and design elements, concise but not spare use of color, and the overall feeling of community it expressed, among other praise.

Coronavirus

Growing Need for Tents Is Helping Company Through a Trying Year

Greg Jerome stands by one of the tents

Greg Jerome stands by one of the tents his company supplied to the High Street Clinic in Springfield, an example of how the pandemic has created some opportunities while robbing the company of many others.

Greg Jerome didn’t want to get into any specific revenue numbers, but he made it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has made this a year to forget for his business, Westfield-based Jerome’s Party Plus.

But he also made it clear that, if not for certain aspects of the pandemic, the numbers would be even worse.

Indeed, for this venture, and others like it, tent rentals are a big part of the portfolio. And while the pandemic has wiped all kinds of tent-worthy events off the calendar — from weddings to graduation parties to town gatherings like ‘taste of’ events — it has also driven considerable need for this item, especially over the past several weeks as sectors of the economy and specific types of businesses began to reopen.

That list includes restaurants, summer camps, and even churches, said Jerome, president of this family-run business that has 200 tents in its inventory, noting that his crews have been kept busy putting up tents in recent weeks, and not so much taking them down, because this year, when a tent goes up, it stays up for a while —perhaps the whole summer and beyond.

“We have more than 8,000 chairs, 800 tables, stages, dishware, glassware, flatware, linen, and many other items that have all been collecting dust for three months now.”

“And that’s just one of the things that makes this year very different,” he told BusinessWest, noting that going back to March, when he first installed a tent for Baystate Health for COVID-19 testing, the company has been involved with some unique undertakings.

However, he made it clear that, while he’s renting out tents, there is still a good supply available in the warehouse. Meanwhile, he’s not renting out much of anything else.

“We have more than 8,000 chairs, 800 tables, stages, dishware, glassware, flatware, linen, and many other items that have all been collecting dust for three months now,” said Jerome, adding that, while there is hope that some of these items may soon get back into circulation, the picture was further clouded by the cancelation of the Big E for 2020.

“The Big E cancellation will be our greatest loss of revenue this year,” said Jerome, noting that the Eastern States Exposition is his biggest customer and the fair is by far his biggest single event. “The cancellation of the fair certainly took the wind out of our sails; we always get excited during the push to install 150 tents and 3,500 chairs.”

For now, Jerome said his company is trying to make the most of the sudden, and still-surging, need for tents as businesses and institutions search for ways to carry on during the pandemic — often by moving activities and services outdoors. And his large inventory, especially when it comes to the bigger models, has certainly helped in this regard.

New and certainly non-traditional tent clients include several restaurants, including Shortstop Bar & Grill in Westfield, Tucker’s in Southwick, Captain Jimmy’s in Agawam, and Masse’s in Chicopee, among many others, as well as Blessed Sacrament Church in Westfield, which held services outdoors for several weeks and still uses a tent for those uncomfortable with going inside. The company has already supplied tents for several nonprofits with summer day programs, including the Greater Westfield YMCA and a few Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as the West Springfield Parks & Recreation Department.

It has also provided tents and other items for a number of drive-in COVID-testing sites operated by Baystate Health, including facilities in Westfield, Ware, Greenfield, and three locations in Springfield. This work goes back to mid-March when the company was hired by Baystate Health to create what Jerome called “cubicles” inside the new triage facility erected just outside the emergency room.

Elaborating, he said the company provided the piping, and another vendor supplied corrugated boards that were attached to the framework to create 33 private spaces.

For the drive-in sites, the company created a model that was eventually used at all six locations, facilities that also included a greeters’ tent and a heated tent-within-a-tent with clear sides that served as a type of nurses’ station.

These intriguing projects have certainly helped, but those thousands of items gathering dust and not seeing the light of day are the bigger story.

And they explain why this is certainly a different kind of year, when the pandemic has generated some business, but taken away so much more.

—George O’Brien

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]


Summer Fun

The law firm Pellegrini, Seeley Ryan & Blakesley donated $3,000 and employees’ time to provide and distribute summer-activity backpacks to 300 children for the Boys & Girls club of Greater Westfield. The backpacks were stuffed with art supplies, puzzles, games, soccer and gym balls, and other items for children.

Attorney Patrick McHugh stuffs a backpack

Attorney Patrick McHugh stuffs a backpack

 

Ayame Anthony is pleased with her haul

Ayame Anthony is pleased with her haul

 

 


Feed the Fight

Peter Pan Bus Lines and the Bean Restaurant Group recently teamed up with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to show appreciation for first responders. On May 26, as part of the “Feed the Fight” project, Neal helped deliver more than 300 meals to Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. Supported by a donation from Neal’s campaign and organized by Peter Pan and the Bean Group, the project rewards the hard work of frontline healthcare workers while also supporting local Western Mass. restaurants.

 

 


Bridging the Gap

bankESB recently donated $5,000 to the Easthampton Community Center to support the Kid’s Bag Pantry program, which typically provides each child up to age 18 with a bag of food monthly during the school year and weekly during the summer months. This year, the weekly program began in March due to school closures, contributing to a shortfall in funding. Pictured: Easthampton Community Center Executive Director Robin Bialecki (left) receives the donation from Natalie Didonna, assistant vice president and branch officer at bankESB’s Easthampton office.

 

 


 

 

 

Agenda

Alumni Achievement Award Nominations

Through June 12: When BusinessWest launched its 40 Under Forty program in 2007, it did so to identify rising stars across our region — individuals who were excelling in business and through involvement within the community — and celebrate their accomplishments. In 2015, BusinessWest announced a new award, one that builds on the foundation upon which 40 Under Forty was created. It’s called the Alumni Achievement Award (formerly the Continued Excellence Award). As the name suggests, it is presented to the 40 Under Forty honoree who, in the eyes of an independent panel of judges, has most impressively continued and built upon his or her track record of accomplishment. To nominate someone for this award, visit businesswest.com/40-under-forty/40-under-forty-alumni-achievement-award. Only nominations submitted to BusinessWest on this form will be considered. The deadline is Friday, June 12 at 5 p.m. No exceptions. Candidates must be from 40 Under Forty classes prior to the year of the award — in this case, classes 2007 to 2019. Past winners include: 2019: Cinda Jones, president, W.D. Cowls Inc. (40 Under Forty class of 2007); 2018: Samalid Hogan, regional director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (class of 2013); 2017: Scott Foster, attorney, Bulkley Richardson (class of 2011), and Nicole Griffin, owner, ManeHire (class of 2014); 2016: Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, president, Allergy & Immunology Associates of New England (class of 2008); 2015: Delcie Bean, president, Paragus Strategic IT (class of 2008). The 2020 honoree will be announced at the 40 Under Forty gala later this year. The presenting sponsor of the Alumni Achievement Award is Health New England.

Healthcare Heroes Nominations

Through July 1: Since the phrase COVID-19 came into our lexicon, those working in the broad healthcare field have emerged as the true heroes during a pandemic that has changed every facet of life as we know it. And over the past several months, the world has paid tribute to these heroes, and in all kinds of ways — from applauding in unison from apartment-complex windows to bringing hot meals to hospital and nursing-home workers; from donating much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to people putting hearts on their front lawns and mailboxes to thank first responders, healthcare workers, postal workers, and others. BusinessWest and its sister publication, the Healthcare News, will pay tribute in their own way, by dedicating their annual Healthcare Heroes program in 2020 to those who are have emerged as true heroes during this crisis. Healthcare Heroes was launched by the two publications in 2017 to recognize those working in this all-important sector of the region’s economy, many of whom are overlooked when it comes to traditional recognition programs. Over the years, the program has recognized providers, administrators, emerging leaders, innovators, and collaborators. For 2020, the program will shift its focus somewhat to the COVID-19 pandemic and all those who are working in the healthcare field or helping to assist it at this trying time. All manner of heroes have emerged this year, and we invite you to nominate one — or several — for what has become a very prestigious honor in Western Mass.: the Healthcare Heroes award. To assist those thinking of nominating someone for this honor, we are simplifying the process. All we desire is a 400- to 500-word essay and/or two-minute video entry explaining why the group or individual stands out as an inspiration, and a truly bright star in a galaxy of healthcare heroes. These nominations will be carefully considered by a panel of independent judges, who will select the class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is July 1. For more information on how to nominate someone for the Healthcare Heroes class of 2020, visit businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes/nomination-form. Videos can be sent via dropbox to [email protected].

Submission Period for Virtual Art Show

Through Aug. 13: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI Western Massachusetts will present a virtual art show this year, and is now accepting artwork for the show. Submissions are limited to individuals living with a mental-health diagnosis, and the artwork will be displayed on the organization’s website and social-media pages for a limited time, then switched out for new artwork. To submit, e-mail a picture of the art to [email protected]. Note the size of the piece, the medium, and the price if it is for sale. The artist should also specify if they want their name used. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 13.

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]


Celebrating Carol Leary

On May 17, what would have been Bay Path University’s 123rd commencement celebrating the class of 2020, President Carol Leary and her husband, Noel, were treated to a surprise drive-by parade commemorating Carol’s retirement after 25 years. For 20 minutes, more than 200 cars snaked down Route 5 in Longmeadow blasting their horns. Headed by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, the decorated cars featured a giant teddy bear, an inflated flamingo raft tied to a car roof, numerous signs expressing ‘carpe diem’— the official school motto — and, of course, balloons. While maintaining their social distance, the parade of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends shouted their thanks and well wishes to the Learys. (Photos by Leah Martin)

 


 

Election Protection

Scott Rote, president of Wheeler & Taylor Insurance, recently called Charles Burger, director of the Southern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee, wanting to donate 2,000 surgical masks. Then the agency went a step further, procuring foam, elastic strapping material, and 200 sheets of polycarbonate plastic and constructing face shields to be used by poll workers in upcoming elections. Burger will allocate the personal protective equipment to the 12 towns in Southern Berkshire County. After the face shields are used for elections, they will be cleaned and repurposed.

 

 


 

Project Toybox

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently partnered with numerous community organizations to deliver more than 1,000 educational, age-appropriate to families hit hard by COVID-19. Thanks to its partnership with Good360, the toys arrived at the United Way’s office on May 13 and are being distributed to the following organizations who will pass them along to children in need: Boys & Girls Clubs of West Springfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Westfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Holyoke, YMCA of Greater Springfield, and Holyoke Housing Authority. Pictured: the United Way’s Joe Mina moves a pallet of donated toys.

 


Sign and Drive

Bulkley Richardson trusts and estates attorneys have been coordinating parking-lot and driveway signings for higher-risk clients in need of executing legal documents. Keeping the health and wellness of clients a top priority, these arrangements, and others, are made so that an office visit is not required.

 


 

Company Notebook

Country Bank Donates $75,000 as Part of ‘Neighbors in Need’ Program

WARE — As the pandemic continues to disrupt business activities both nationally and in Massachusetts, Country Bank announced a $75,000 series of donations designed to assist organizations on the front lines. As the latest installment in a string of recent financial support, the bank will be facilitating donations to select organizations throughout its market from Springfield to Worcester. The Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts will each receive $25,000 to provide additional grant funding for critical-needs programs. These programs offer support for vulnerable seniors, those without stable housing, with limited English proficiency, and with compromised health conditions, including mental health and drug addiction. Other programs receiving a contribution include: Springfield Rescue Mission and Friends of the Homeless in Springfield; and Abby’s House, Saint John’s Food Pantry, and the Boys and Girls Club in Worcester. These donations will assist in continuing to meet the ever-changing needs in their communities. Many nonprofit organizations are not only combating reduced financial support as many businesses are closed, but also face a lack of volunteers, and have to continually evolve how they support their clients while keeping everyone safe on a limited budget and with limited resources. “This is an uncharted time for our bank, our customers, and our local business community. As part of our effort to assist those most affected by COVID-19, Country Bank has already donated $400,000 to help local hospitals, first-responder recovery centers, food pantries, homeless shelters, veterans, children, and community foundations,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. “We continually look for opportunities where we can help make a difference in the health and well-being of the people in our communities.”

Westfield Bank Future Fund Announces 2019 Giving Totals

WESTFIELD — Westfield Bank announced that the Future Fund, a philanthropic endeavor dedicated to supporting local 501(c)(3) organizations that have a positive impact on the region’s educational, recreational, cultural, and social well-being, awarded more than $300,000 to more than 40 organizations in Western Mass. and Northern Conn. in 2019. Grant recipients included the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield, Domus Inc., Farmington Valley YMCA, Friends of the Holyoke Soldiers Home, Girls Inc. of the Valley, the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Spirit of Springfield, and the YMCA of Greater Westfield. According to James Hagan, and CEO of Westfield Bank, the Future Fund awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants each year to qualifying organizations whose applications are accepted. “There are so many people and groups in our communities that have devoted themselves to making life better for all of us, and especially the young people who represent our future, and we know that supplying needed services presents financial and logistical challenges that grow with each passing year,” he said. “The Future Fund, and Westfield Bank, are dedicated to providing needed support to worthy organizations that enrich and define life in the towns and cities we serve.” In addition to the Future Fund grants, Westfield Bank contributed more than $400,000 to help sponsor community and performing-arts events, youth sports teams, fundraisers, and more. The bank also donated more than $500,000 to local organizations via the Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, an affiliate of Westfield Bank. In total, Westfield Bank provided more than $1.2 million in local and regional philanthropic support in 2019.

Springfield College AmeriCorps, Parent Villages Begin Mask Project

SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Springfield College AmeriCorps program are partnering with Parent Villages Inc. and other local nonprofits to lead the Village Engagement Matters initiative, a program committed to providing community members with face masks at no cost to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The initial distribution of protective facemasks took place on May 12 at three meal-distribution sites located at Springfield elementary schools. Springfield College AmeriCorps members have been assisting with the production of the masks, and also helping with the planning of the distribution efforts. “Giving back to our community is always something we have done in our family, and we are committed to helping with this project,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps member and social-work student Molly Glynn. “My mom and I started making masks for our family members, but that quickly has turned into helping our community as well. What I like about the Olson mask pattern we are using is, it provides a pattern to make masks for both adults and kids, and the pattern also allows for a pocket on the inside for a micron filter to help those individuals who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.” Added Parent Villages Inc. CEO Lakisha Coppedge, “the Parent Villages organization always tries to stay in touch and learn about items that community members really need, and obviously right now the masks are at a high demand. Springfield College stepped up to the plate to help, and we can’t thank the college enough to make this project a reality, and always being there to help our community members.” During these challenging times of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield College AmeriCorps members continue to seek opportunities to serve the Greater Springfield area, including volunteering their time making sure the Village Engagement Matters initiative is a success. “It really means a lot to have AmeriCorps members finding ways to support others,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps Director LaTonia Naylor. “We continue to live our Humanics mission at Springfield College of educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others. It brings me so much joy to watch people step up and show love and support for our community members.”

United Way of Pioneer Valley Announces EFSP Grant Funding

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) has been appointed administrator for Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) grant funding from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, which appropriated supplemental funding in the amount of $194,555 for Phase 37 and $277,380 for CARES grants. With a board comprised of local community leaders, UWPV will determine funding allocation through a competitive application process. These funds will be used to supplement existing food and shelter services, and cannot be given to start new programs. Funding for Phase 37 and CARES-funded grants is now available. Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that serve Hampden County, South Hadley, or Granby may apply. Allocations are to be applied toward supplementing existing food and shelter services. Applications are due by Friday, May 22 at noon. For information or to apply, contact Nicole Young, manager of Community Investments, at [email protected]

Vann Group Becomes Licensed Practioner of Predictable Success

SPRINGFIELD — The Vann Group, LLC announced that Michael Vann has recently become a licensed practioner of the Predictable Success, a business-growth methodology that over the last 30 years has been used to scale hundreds of businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Widely recognized as one of the most powerful organizational growth models available, Predictable Success was developed by Les McKeown, a successful entrepreneur and business-growth advisor. McKeown is the author of the bestselling book Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization on the Growth Track and Keeping It There, as well as the companion book, The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success. Until recently, access to the full model was available only through McKeown. Michael Vann is part of the first cohort of licensed practioners. “I’ve been working with growth models for the past 20 years but have never come across one as powerful as Predictable Success. It isn’t an academic model or a hypothetical theory; it’s a proven, real-world process that enables any organization to scale successfully,” Vann said. “What I find really valuable about Predictable Success is its ability to get to the root cause of an organization’s issues rather than trying to solve symptoms. It integrates very well with our core methodology and tool set. It has been a great addition for our clients that are looking to grow and build value.” Les McKeown, the founder and CEO of Predictable Success, noted that “I’m absolutely delighted to have Michael join our growing group of licensed practitioners. Michael’s background as a trusted advisor and consultant makes him a stellar addition to our group, and I know his existing client base will benefit enormously from his access to the Predictable Success growth model, especially in these precarious times.” The Predictable Success model is intuitive and non-complex and can easily be implemented with the completion of a workshop. In conjunction with the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund, the Vann Group has several Predictable Success workshops approved under the Express Grant Program. The program will reimburse eligible businesses for up to 50% of the actual cost of training. Contact the Vann Group for additional information.

Pioneer Valley College Students Recognized for Entrepreneurship

AGAWAM — Eighty-six students from 14 local colleges and universities recently received awards for their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, with 55 unique businesses and business concepts represented. News of the 2020 Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards came at about the same time as participating students’ semesters were disrupted by COVID-19. Soon thereafter, the annual entrepreneurship banquet, where more than 450 people were scheduled to attend to celebrate these students, was canceled. The Grinspoon EI class of 2020 received their award checks of up to $1,000 by mail, and they and continue to be mentored by their Grinspoon EI faculty advisors. This year’s entrepreneurial class represents many diverse concepts and businesses. Some examples include:

• Bac-Be-Gone, bacteriocin-based cleaning products (Hadley Beauregard, Hailey Charest, and Bryanna Lexus Freitas, UMass Amherst);

• Keifer Games, a clever tabletop game for creative thinkers (Matthew Kiefer, UMass Amherst);

• Nashion, a new material for salon gel nails (Sona Kim, Amherst College);

• PAL, a prosthetic airliner medical device (Courtney Carlson, Kelsey Hastings, and Olivia Truenow, Western New England University); and

• Slacktyde, eco-art and eco-friendly clothing (Camila Mirow, Mount Holyoke College).

Mary Schoonmaker, Grinspoon EI faculty advisor and assistant professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Western New England University, noted that “the Grinspoon Foundation Spirit Awards are foundational to building entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Past and present recipients have appreciated the confidence building and encouragement to advance their innovations.” This year’s Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Award went to Justin Park, founder and CEO of QL Gaming Group, a direct-to-consumer sports-betting data and iGaming affiliate platform. This annual award is given to a former Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winner who has advanced their entrepreneurial endeavors. It is named after Grinspoon’s original business partners, Tom Garvey and Bill Young. “The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation has provided me with encouragement since 2012 to pursue my passion in entrepreneurship,” Park said.

Company Notebook

PeoplesBank Issues Annual Corporate Green Report

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank issued its 2020 annual Corporate Green Report in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Through its green values and actions to support environmental sustainability, PeoplesBank believes it can help make the region a healthier place in which to live, work, and raise a family. The bank puts these values to work throughout the year through its charitable donations, volunteerism, support of green-energy projects, and construction of LEED-certified offices. PeoplesBank is also a longtime leader in sustainable-energy financing, and the bank’s commercial lenders are recognized for their expertise in creating financing packages for green-energy power generation. To date, the bank has financed more than $188 million in wind, solar, and hydroelectric power-generation projects. Over 2019-20, PeoplesBank supported several green community projects in Western Mass., including the Center for EcoTechnology’s ‘eco fellows’ and more than 100 community-education events; the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) Food for All campaign; e-recycle and shred day at the bank’s Suffield Banking Center; Grow Food Northampton; the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s Local Farmer program and awards; scientific environmental education at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment; a mobile farmers’ market that travels to underserved/food-desert areas of Springfield and surrounding communities; the Source to Sea Cleanup of the Connecticut River, which also includes hands-on participation by a team of volunteers from the bank; and ValleyBike Share, the region’s new bike-sharing program. Community banks, like PeoplesBank, are not generally known for building green offices, but PeoplesBank has a LEED Gold-certified office in Northampton, a LEED Gold-certified office in West Springfield, and a LEED Silver-certified office in Springfield. The LEED-certified office in Springfield, the first of its kind in the city, won a Green Seal from the city of Springfield. The bank will pursue a fourth LEED certification for its Pedlar Banking Center in Holyoke in the near future. Three PeoplesBank offices (Northampton, West Springfield, and 330 Whitney Ave. in Holyoke) have electric vehicle-charging stations. The bank also launched a “Choose to Reuse” campaign designed to eliminate the use of disposable paper products internally. PeoplesBank has traditionally commemorated Earth Day by giving away tomato plants and seeds at several banking centers throughout the region. Due to the extenuating circumstances this year, in lieu of those customer giveaways, a donation will be made to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to assist in its COVID relief outreach.

Contribution Clothing Supports Women-focused Nonprofits

SPRINGFIELD — Kelly Partridge, founder of Contribution Clothing, launched her mission-driven online boutique (contributionclothing.com) last June. The boutique, which retails women’s apparel and accessories, provides quarterly monetary donations to Western Mass.-based nonprofit organizations that have a vision of empowering women and girls as well as community support. Contribution Clothing is currently working to gift 15% of its net profits to the Care Center of Holyoke, a nonprofit organization that helps young mothers grasp how powerful they are, gives them tools to learn, and provides them with an exciting and engaging learning environment. Since its website launch, the boutique has provided monetary donations to Dress for Success, Empty Arms Bereavement Support, Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, Shriners, Girls Inc. of the Valley, and Safe Passage. In additional to the boutique’s quarterly contributions, Partridge, a Bay Path University alumna, has worked with the university to create the Contribution Clothing Scholarship Fund, which annually provides a Bay Path student with $500 toward tuition. The clothing line has also supported community-based events and fundraisers such as the Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage, the Women Empowered calendar for Girls Inc., and the Unify Against Bullying fashion show, where Partridge provided six different outfits to help raise awareness against bullying. Partridge’s goal for her business is to use her story and passion for social justice to make a positive impact within her community. She hopes to use fashion as a way of helping women feel confident and empowered.

MGHPCC Expands Access to Researchers Working on COVID-19

HOLYOKE — The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), operated by a consortium consisting of Boston University, Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts system, announced it will provide access to outside researchers working on projects in which high-speed computing would accelerate resolution of the COVID-19 crisis. The MGHPCC’s member institutions are already heavily engaged in coronavirus-related research in areas that include understanding the fundamentals of the disease, contributing to the development of vaccines, treatment and tests, and public-health solutions. Much of this research, and most scientific academic research today, rely on high-performance computing. The MGHPCC, which is among the largest high-performance computing facilities in the country, is now expanding access to its storage and computational systems to academic and commercial enterprises beyond the facility’s member institutions. Total available capacity across all systems includes more than 200,000 CPU cores, 2,000 recent-generation GPUs, and 5 petabytes of temporary storage. The additional work will not impact day-to-day university needs. The MGHPCC consortium is also working with Mass Open Cloud and two of its sponsors, Red Hat and Intel, to launch a site that connects potentially impactful projects with people who have strong computing skills but are unable to work on their regular assignments due to travel restrictions.

Home City Development Wins Funds for Affordable-housing Renovations

NORTHAMPTON — Home City Development Inc. (HCDI), a Springfield-based affordable-housing development organization, was awarded $2.88 million and seven project-based vouchers by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Funds were awarded for renovations of New South Street Apartments, an 18-unit historic building located at 24-34 New South St. in Northampton. Project-based vouchers and supportive service funds will provide housing for seven homeless families. In addition, the city of Northampton awarded $50,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds for this project. Homeless households will be selected from the Three County Continuum of Care Coordinated Entry system. This system includes Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire county emergency-assistance shelters and other assistance organizations. HCDI will provide case management and related support services for residents at New South Street Apartments, including those who were formerly homeless. HCDI is working with Architecture EL as project architect and Henry General Contractors as contractor. Renovation work is expected to begin this fall and take about nine months to complete. Home City Development Inc. is a nonprofit, resident-centered developer of multi-family and mixed-use properties in Western Mass. HCDI was founded as Better Homes Inc. in 1968 by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Over more than 50 years, HCDI has worked to facilitate community stability and growth in collaboration with numerous partners and residents.

Freedom Credit Union Makes $55,000 Donation to Fight Coronavirus Crisis

SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union (FCU) announced a donation of $55,000 to be dispersed among several community organizations at the front lines of the local fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. FCU announced that the following slate of organizations will receive a portion of the $55,000 donation: Baystate Health Foundation; Mercy Medical Center; Cooley Dickinson Health Care; the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts; Hampshire Hospitality Group, whose Hampshire County Heroes feed first responders in Hampshire County; and Feed the Fight, an initiative of Peter Pan Bus Lines and area restaurants to feed healthcare workers and first responders in the community. Welch indicated that FCU will continue to assist the community throughout the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to these community donations, Welch said FCU has offered resources to its individual members intended to provide financial assistance or relief during the crisis, including online banking services and the new Freedom Relief Loan, which provides up to $10,000 to members dealing with consequences of the pandemic, including layoffs, furloughs, and bills. In addition, FCU’s Skip-a-Pay program allows members with a consumer loan — auto, mortgage, home equity, or home improvement — to defer payments up to 90 days. Members should contact their local branch for details. FCU can also work with member businesses needing financial relief on their specific circumstances. Business members should speak with the Member Business Lending department. For contact information, visit freedom.coop.

 

First American Insurance Agency Launches New Client Portal

CHICOPEE — First American Insurance Agency, an independent insurance firm, announced the launch of a new online customer portal designed to enhance service and support for its customers. The portal, called CSR24, enables clients to access insurance ID cards and insurance documents (including renewal paperwork), request policy changes, and more. Clients can also submit claim photos, such as a cracked windshield. For truckers, the portal allows the quick and straightforward download of certificates. The portal is accessible on any device via the agency’s website and requires a login and username. The agency will release a matching app later in the year.

Phillips Insurance Delivers Pizza, Food Boxes to Clients, First Responders

CHICOPEE — Phillips Insurance partnered with clients Fazio’s Ristorante of East Longmeadow and Simos Produce of Springfield to deliver pizza and grocery boxes to its clients and first responders. Phillips Insurance delivered dozens of grocery boxes from Simos Produce to clients so they could avoid going to the supermarket. In addition, Phillips and Fazio’s Ristorante delivered pizzas and grinders to first responders and heathcare providers, while Phillips Insurance delivered pizza and subs to the Chicopee Police Department in appreciation of all they do for the community. Phillips Insurance Agency was established in 1953 and is a full-service risk-management firm with a staff of 28 professionals.

Western Mass. Wedding Vendors Say ‘Thank You’ to Frontline Workers

HOLYOKE — The wedding industry is being hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Couples are being forced to restructure or delay their wedding plans, leaving wedding vendors struggling with the financial challenges of delayed business. Thankfully, the wedding industry is also one marked by resilience and camaraderie. That is why a group of Western Mass. wedding vendors has come together to give back and say ‘thank you’ to frontline workers. Spearheaded by local DJ Anthony Corlis from TC’s Disc Jockey Services with assistance from the Log Cabin/Delaney House meal-donation program, more than 75 meals will be delivered to employees of Stop and Shop in Westfield today, April 24, at 11 a.m. by Corlis and Peter Rosskothen, owner of the Log Cabin/Delaney House. One of those employees just happens to be a Log Cabin groom who needed to reschedule his April 26 wedding. Meals were donated by Vivan B Photography, Events by Jackie M., Aliber Bridal Shops, Michelle Anne Hair Design, SHO Productions, Durocher’s Florist, Catherine Jindela, Kasey Richards of Mountain Rose Inn, TC’s Disc Jockey Services, and Log Cabin/Delaney House. Anyone looking to donate meals should visit delaneyhouse.com/feedalocalhero.

Wellfleet, EIS Group Partner on Innovative Insurance Solution

SPRINGFIELD — Wellfleet, a Berkshire Hathaway insurance company, and industry technology leader EIS Group are building a next-generation insurance-administration platform to meet the evolving demands of the employee-benefits market. In the complex voluntary-benefits landscape, brokers and their clients commonly work with multiple systems, fighting to integrate with carriers’ patchworked legacy systems. Whether it’s product sophistication, internal workflow monitoring, enrollment and third-party integration, or communications across multiple modules, carriers struggle to administer plans in a digitally unified way. Wellfleet Workplace entered the voluntary market last year, on a mission to be the digitally enabled carrier of choice. Partnering with EIS Group helps drive this differentiation by jointly creating an open-architecture and cloud-based software system designed to support the full broker and customer life cycle. The software provider’s cloud-based platform supports broker and customer life cycles, including rating and quoting, policy issuance and administration, and billing and claims management. Multi-channel touch points are easily created and managed through EIS Group’s digital-experience platform.

Pearson Wallace, Arbella Offer Premium Relief

AMHERST — Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, Arbella has committed to providing a 20% credit for three months on all personal auto policies until June 30. This is a per-vehicle refund that applies to existing and new policies from Pearson Wallace Insurance, said Alex Bennett, the agency’s vice president. Arbella Insurance also announced the Arbella Here. For Good. Give Back Program. Subject to approval by state regulators, Arbella’s personal auto customers will receive a credit equal to 20% of their auto premium for the months of April, May, and June. These savings would result in an estimated average of $60 per vehicle, and customers with multiple vehicles on their policy could see significant savings, Bennett noted.

Ascent Laser Aesthetics Introduces Innovative Hair-removal System

EAST LONGMEADOW — Ascent Laser Aesthetics, a medical spa located in East Longmeadow, has partnered with Cartessa Aesthetics to bring the hair-removal system Motux AX to the practice. Motux AX is the most effective laser wavelength for hair removal for the widest array of skin types, Dr. Kevin Coughlin said, adding that the procedure is virtually pain-free and significantly more comfortable than standard methods, while providing quicker treatment of large areas (less than five minutes) and fewer subsequent treatments to achieve optimal results. Through proprietary Moveo technology, risk of side effects is virtually non-existent.

EforAll Holyoke Launches Accelerator Program for Spanish-speaking Entrepreneurs

HOLYOKE — Continuing to expand its proven approach to help under-resourced individuals successfully start and grow their businesses, Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Holyoke announced that it is accepting applications for its new EparaTodos program in Holyoke, which will focus on supporting Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs in the Greater Holyoke community. EforAll’s free, one-year business-accelerator program helps under-resourced individuals successfully start and grow their businesses or nonprofits across a wide range of industries, including personal and professional services, food, manufacturing, and both online and traditional retail. The program offers a combination of immersive business training, dedicated mentorship, and access to a professional network. The organization typically offers its programs in person, but it is prepared to deliver classroom training and mentor sessions online if necessary. Among the businesses started by EforAll participants, 75% are owned by women, 56% are owned by people of color, 54% are owned by immigrants, and 56% are owned by people who were previously unemployed. EforAll is accepting applications for this new Spanish-language accelerator, as well as its English accelerator program (EforAll), through Wednesday, May 20 at 5 p.m. Interested applicants can learn more and apply at www.eforall.org, where they will find information in both English and Spanish. To support its new Spanish-language programming, EforAll Holyoke has hired a dedicated EparaTodos program manager, Gabriella Candelario. Before joining EparaTodos Holyoke, she worked with the Springfield Public Schools as a program coordinator. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Meeting the Need

Action Ambulance Supervisor Kyle Rondeau

Action Ambulance Supervisor Kyle Rondeau, HMC President and CEO Spiros Hatiras, and HMC Chief Operating Officer Carl Cameron.

Holyoke Medical Center has shared personal protective equipment (PPE) with local first responders, including Action Ambulance, South Hadley Fire Department, and the city of Springfield. The donations included 700 face shields, 1,000 KN95 face masks, and 1,500 standard face masks for the responders to give to people they interact with at a distance closer than six feet. Holyoke Medical Center executives also spoke with officials in other surrounding municipalities, most of which had an adequate current supply of masks and face shields.


Bedtime Stories

Link to Libraries recently launched a new initiative called “Link Live: Bedtime Stories,” airing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 8 p.m. on Facebook Live. Children’s book authors are reading their own books and then taking questions from participants. With the use of Facebook, children and their parents can not only enjoy being read to, but also have the unique opportunity to interact with the author in real time. The first authors who participated were Ashley Morse (The Big E Book, pictured), Jamie Michalak (The Coziest Place), Anika Aldamuy Denise (The Love Letter), Josh Funk (Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast), and Cynthia Platt (A Little Bit of Love). Link to Libraries is planning to extend the program into May and will release an updated schedule soon.

Mask Maker, Mask Maker, Make Me a Mask

When the COVID-19 pandemic made wearing face masks a public health concern, those masks suddenly become hard to find — and Lauren Hummel and Donna Fournier sprang into action. Fournier’s mother taught her to sew long ago, and she had a lot of fabric on hand, so she started making masks — 50 to begin with, mostly for her family. Hummel started by making a mask for herself, and friends reached out wondering if she would make masks for them. Both eventually connected with the Mental Health Assoc. to make masks for staff who work in MHA’s group homes, who are considered essential workers. Hummel got her daughter, Kellie, involved as well (pictured), and MHA continues to look for volunteer sewers.

Agenda

Zoom Series on Elder Law, Estate Planning

May 4, 11, 18: Adapting to COVID-19 restrictions, Attorney Karen Jackson of Jackson Law will teach a series of Holyoke Community College classes through Zoom, highlighting the latest developments in elder law and estate planning. An elder-law and estate-planning attorney, Jackson will present her six-hour course, called “Elder Law and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know,” on Zoom in three two-hour sessions on consecutive Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost is $99. To register, e-mail Valentyna Semyrog at [email protected], leave a message at (413) 552-2123, or visit www.hcc.edu/bce. Participants will be sent a link to join the class and can join using PCs, laptops, or smartphones. In the first session, Jackson will explain each document in the core estate plan. She will discuss the problems that can occur when proper documents are not prepared before a loss of mental capacity or physical health or before sudden loss of life. The second session will address four areas: trusts, the probate court process, Medicare hot topics, and options for community care and home care. Jackson will provide pertinent information and details about each to assist attendees in their planning now. In the third and final session, Jackson will introduce the various Medicaid programs that provide long-term skilled nursing-home care in Massachusetts and the financial assistance associated with each. While participants may choose to attend any or all of the sessions, they must still pay the full course cost of $99.

Difference Makers

Sept. 10: BusinessWest has moved its 12th annual Difference Makers event, originally scheduled for March 19, to Sept. 10 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The class of 2020 was profiled in the Feb. 3 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com. Tickets cost $75. To reserve a spot, e-mail [email protected] or visit businesswest.com. Event sponsors include Burkhart Pizzanelli, Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England, Royal, P.C., and TommyCar Auto Group, while the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, MHA, and United Way of Pioneer Valley are partners.

Elms College Executive Leadership Breakfast

Sept. 22: Elms College has rescheduled its third annual Executive Leadership Breakfast due to state-mandated caution regarding large crowds and coronavirus. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is still slated to be the keynote speaker for the event, which was originally scheduled for April 9. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, the college will announce more details as necessary. This annual event features talks by the region’s leaders on topics of relevance that impact all sectors of business and the economy in Western Mass. Speakers at past events have included Dennis Duquette, head of Community Responsibility at MassMutual and president of the MassMutual Foundation, and Regina Noonan Hitchery, retired vice president of Human Resources at Alcoa.

Company Notebook

Country Bank Donates $50,000 to First Responder Recovery Home

LUDLOW — To help the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department successfully operate the First Responder Recovery Home for COVID-19-diagnosed first responders, Country Bank announced it will contribute $50,000 to the efforts. The contribution from the Ware-based financial institution comes with the aim of inspiring other similar organizations to do what they can to assist the department’s effort to help the people who typically help others. The donation, which brings the overall community contributions above $87,000, will help ensure that every COVID-19-positive first responder who comes to stay at the facility has the food and comforts necessary for recovery. The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department opened the First Responder Recovery Home this week to fill an unmet need in the Commonwealth of providing a safe haven for our doctors, nurses, EMTs, police, firefighters, and corrections professionals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, but can’t safely go home to recover without jeopardizing the health of a vulnerable family member. Located at the department’s Pre-Release Center on its campus in Ludlow, the refuge is provided free of charge, thanks to the department’s community supporters and partners. Cocchi and staff started accepting guests this week, with 84 single-occupancy rooms available. Anyone coming to stay must be healthy enough to care for themselves; however, a pool of voluntary medical professionals from the community, led by Ludlow physician Dr. Shaukat Matin, will be making rounds, and if someone needs more comprehensive medical care, the Sheriff’s Department will help coordinate transportation. Any doctor, nurse, police, firefighter, EMT, correctional professional, or military member can call (413) 858-0801 or (413) 858-0819 to request a room or ask questions. The facility needs the person’s full name, gender, and expected length of stay, among other information, and all correspondence will be kept confidential. Community partners include Country Bank, Anthony Ravosa and the 91 Supper Club, Charlie D’Amour and Guy McFarlane of Big Y Foods, Bob Bolduc and Pride Stores, Cesar Ruiz Jr. and Golden Years Home Care, Jim Brennan on behalf of the Edward J. Brennan Jr. Family Foundation, Anthony Cignoli of A.L. Cignoli Co., Jeff Polep of J. Polep Distribution Services, Jay Caron of Bee-Line Corp., Larry Katz of Arnold’s Meats, Andy Yee and Peter Picknelly, and Matin. Anyone wishing to contribute to the First Responder Recovery Home initiative can send tax-deductible donations to Criminal Justice Organization, 627 Randall Road, Ludlow, MA 01056, and write “First Responder Recovery Home” on the memo line.

Ohana School of Performing Arts Looks to Community for Support

CHICOPEE — The future of small businesses hangs in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic, and despite uncertainty and disruption, one local dance studio stands firm in its mission: to spread peace and positivity through performance. Ohana School of Performing Arts, located at 41 Sheridan St. in Chicopee, had to make significant changes to its business model as social-distancing guidelines and safety initiatives were put into place. The studio transitioned to online classes and continues to support families with an interactive Facebook group for dancers and their families, where instructors share craft ideas, new dance moves, story time, and messages of hope and joy. “We are bringing 50 virtual classes to our studio family each week,” said Ashley Kohl, owner and creative director. She explained that teachers are recording classes from their own homes to ensure that the dancers are staying engaged and active. In addition to moving to virtual programming, Ohana also shifted tuition terms for the studio — pay what you can, if you can. Due to the stay-at-home advisory, which Gov. Charlie Baker has implemented until further notice, it is likely that Ohana will not be hosting its June performance, which is the studio’s only for-profit recital of the year. The funds from this performance are typically used to cover overhead costs in the summer months. In addition to the annual performance, Ohana hosts two charity performances as fundraisers for local nonprofits. To date, Ohana has donated more than $30,000 to various organizations, including Make-A-Wish Foundation Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Willpower Foundation, Miracle League of Western Massachusetts, We Love Riley Fan Club, Arik(q)ue, in addition to Ohana’s nonprofit, One Ohana Inc., that provides scholarships to dancers across the Pioneer Valley. The impact of lost revenue comes at a particularly challenging time, as the studio was forced to relocate last year, and the business had to secure significant loan funding. Without the consistent tuition and performance revenue, Kohl fears she may have to close Ohana’s doors. With that in mind, two of Kohl’s close friends, Danielle Barone and Tanyelle Duchesne, organized a fundraiser with a goal of $20,000. For more information on how to support Ohana School of Performing Arts, visit gofundme.com/we-are-ohana or ohanaperformingarts.com.

TommyCar Auto Group Donates $10,000 to Support Health Workers

NORTHAMPTON — TommyCar Auto Group — consisting of Country Hyundai, Country Nissan, Genesis of Northampton, Northampton Volkswagen, and Volvo Cars Pioneer Valley — announced it has donated a total of $10,000 to local healthcare workers through its “Donate to Feed” and “Donate to Protect” initiatives. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on the doctors, nurses, and frontline medical workers at local hospitals, TommyCar Auto Group launched a two-part campaign to help support these local heroes. Members of the TommyCard Rewards loyalty program were able to donate up to 50 points to help the cause, making it easy to support the efforts without having to leave the safety of home to make an in-person donation. The points were then matched in dollars by TommyCar Auto Group. By early April, $5,000 was raised to provide meals to the Emergency Department staff at Baystate Medical Center. As of April 10, another $5,000 was donated to Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which is used to purchase needed equipment such as N95 masks, gowns, gloves, and more. To learn more and follow the “Donate to Feed” and “Donate to Protect” campaigns, visit the Country Hyundai, Country Nissan, Genesis of Northampton, Northampton Volkswagen, and Volvo Cars of Pioneer Valley Facebook pages.

Holyoke Company Tools Up to Manufacture Medical Face Shields

HOLYOKE — Walter Drake Inc., a Holyoke manufacturing company, has responded to the urgent need for medical face shields by healthcare systems. In a matter of days, workers have designed, prototyped, built tooling for, and manufactured a medical face shield of the type that is in desperate demand by hospitals, nursing facilities, and other essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Joseph Feigen, company president, announced that the face shield is called ‘Corona Shield’ for the time being, but will be renamed for permanent use in the healthcare field after the current pandemic ends. Walter Drake staff is now contacting dozens of hospitals around the country to deliver this badly needed personal protective equipment and to help ensure employment opportunities during this extended Massachusetts business shutdown. Established in 1962, Walter Drake Inc. primarily manufactures custom thermoformed packaging in the form of clamshells, trays, and blisters for medical, electronic, consumer, and industrial packaging applications.

MGM Springfield Donates Sleeping Cots, Outdoor Heaters

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield announced a donation of 160 portable sleeping cots and 16 outdoor heaters to Mercy Medical Center and the city of Springfield. A portion of the cots will provide much-needed overflow support for the hospital, while the other portion of cots and the outdoor heaters will assist the city’s work to help the homeless population amid the COVID-19 crisis. “We are a strong community, but this is a challenging time, and MGM Springfield will continue to do what we can to support those impacted and those on the front line,” said Chris Kelley, president and chief operating officer of MGM Springfield. Added Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, “I want to thank MGM President and COO Chris Kelley and his MGM team for stepping up in support of our city’s ongoing and continued efforts in responding to this coronavirus situation. These much-needed items will go a long way in assisting our city’s coronavirus response.” Deborah Bitsoli, president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates, added that “we are grateful to MGM Springfield for the generous donation of cots for use during the pandemic. This is another example of the local area’s remarkable community partnerships that assist our efforts to care for patients during this difficult time.”

UMass Amherst Food Scientist Helps Unravel COVID-19 Mysteries

AMHERST — With the rapid onset of smell and taste loss emerging as symptoms of COVID-19, scientists around the world — including a sensory expert at UMass Amherst — have united to investigate the connection between the chemical senses and the novel coronavirus. The wave of reports from patients and clinicians about anosmia, or smell loss, inspired the creation of the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Researchers. Alissa Nolden, UMass Amherst assistant professor of Food Science, is among the 500 clinicians, neurobiologists, data and cognitive scientists, sensory researchers, and technicians from 38 countries gathering data in a worldwide survey to unravel how the virus is transmitted and how to prevent its spread. Nolden was invited by a colleague at the National Institutes of Health to help develop strategies around measuring the sensory-related symptoms of the coronavirus. “Smell and/or taste loss may be an early indicator of COVID-19, as individuals appear to report loss of smell or taste prior to other symptoms,” she said. “We also want to better understand the mechanism behind taste and smell loss as a result of this virus.” Nolden noted that some people with COVID-19 who experience sensory losses may not have any other coronavirus symptoms. The researchers hope to learn more about this from the survey, since people with sensory symptoms alone are not likely to qualify for a COVID-19 test. “This has been a tremendous effort from collaborators from around the globe to gain a better understanding of the negative impact of COVID-19 on loss of taste and smell,” she said. “We hope to learn a lot about these symptoms and believe it will have a great impact on our understanding of the virus.”

Log Cabin, Delaney House Launch ‘Feed a Local Hero/Someone in Need’

HOLYOKE — Many people and organizations are looking for ways to help others during this trying time. In that spirit, the Delaney House and Log Cabin have created the “Feed a Local Hero/Someone in Need” meal-donation program. People can purchase meals at a discounted rate, which will then be distributed to local businesses with essential employees or community members struggling to gain access to fresh food during this difficult time. Some of the organizations that will receive these donations are Baystate Health System, Providence Ministries (Loreto House), Amherst Survival Center, Mercy Medical Center, Springfield first responders, Holyoke first responders, and many others. To donate, visit www.delaneyhouse.com/feedalocalhero.

MassHire Holyoke Career Center Continues to Offer Services Remotely

HOLYOKE — The MassHire Holyoke Career Center is letting the public known it is open for business remotely for new and current customers and members of the career center. Individuals can visit www.masshireholyoke.org to access information and staff contact numbers for career-counseling and job-search services. Staff members are available to answer questions and provide support such as résumé review and career counseling. These services are available in English and Spanish. Job postings are also available on the website. People with questions about job-seeker services can call (413) 532-4900 and leave a message, and a staff member will be in contact as soon as possible. People who need to file an unemployment claim can call (877) 626-6800 or visit www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-unemployment-benefits. Businesses can call (413) 654-1650, and a business service representative will be in touch.

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Community Support

Earlier this month, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union reached out to support community members and healthcare workers heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, sponsoring 150 portions of chicken pot pie (made fresh and delivered by Log Cabin Rolling) that were served at the Amherst Survival Center daily community meal, and also sponsoring the delivery of 200 meals to emergency-room staff, split between Springfield’s Mercy Medical Center and Worcester’s UMass Memorial Medical Center. These meals were delivered to the staff at lunchtime, with extra meals to support the next shift as well.

 


 

Meeting the Need

 

The United Way of Pioneer Valley

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently donated 5,000 frozen meals to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The transfer took place at Springfield City Hall, with Mayor Domenic Sarno and United Way President and CEO Paul Mina, in attendance. With the economic effects of COVID-19 causing many area businesses to close, the Food Bank and the food pantries it serves have seen a dramatic increase in need. This donation was a part of the Western Massachusetts United Ways’ combined efforts to provide relief for COVID-19. Pictured: Mina (left) and Tom Leporati of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts handle a pallet of food.

 

 

 


 

A Story Worth Reading

Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield announced a partnership


Last month, Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield announced a partnership to promote learning and literacy in support of Springfield students who are out of the classroom and learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield donated more than 1,000 books to children ranging from kindergarten through high school. The books were distributed to families through the 15 schools designated as lunch pick-up sites.

 

 


 

Company Notebook

Community Foundation Grants $700,000 Through COVID-19 Response Fund

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) announced the release of its first grants, totaling $700,000, to community organizations and nonprofits from its recently-established COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. The fund has raised $2,480,000 from local philanthropic and business organizations and over 50 individuals. The first round of funding to support local response to the crisis includes $190,000 to distribute food through the region’s system of food pantries; $120,000 to address the needs of vulnerable elders, including home-delivered meals; $120,000 to provide critical health services and outreach through the Valley’s federally designated Community Health Centers; $150,000 to provide shelter for those without homes and those impacted by domestic violence; and $120,000 to provide flexible supports to the region’s lowest-income families and individuals. Organizations receiving funding include Caring Health Center, Catholic Charities Agency – Diocese of Springfield, Center for Human Development, Community Action Pioneer Valley, Community Health Center of Franklin County, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Friends of the Homeless (Clinical & Support Options), Greater Springfield Senior Services, Highland Valley Elder Services, Hilltown Community Health Center, Holyoke Health Center, LifePath, New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, Safe Passage, ServiceNet, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Springfield Rescue Mission, Valley Opportunity Council, WestMass ElderCare, Womanshelter Companeras, and YWCA of Western Massachusetts. More grants are expected to be announced and released to respond to emerging needs. In subsequent phases, grants will be made to address needs of nonprofit organizations that have been financially impacted by the crisis. The Community Foundation welcomes additional donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. Donate online at communityfoundation.org/coronavirus-donations.

Fire Investigation Transfer Program Launched at STCC

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has a hot new program. Starting this fall, the college will offer a new option in the Fire Protection and Safety Technology department: fire investigation transfer. Students who choose this option will study fire behavior, fire operations, prevention, investigations, and criminal law through courses in fire science and criminal justice. Fire investigators often work for local, state, and federal agencies, but also pursue opportunities in the private sector. The program is offered in the evening only, which will give students who work more flexibility. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for fire inspectors and investigators are expected to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028. The median pay in 2018 was $60,200. Students who successfully complete the two-year program will receive an associate of science degree in fire protection and safety technology. To learn more about the program and to apply for the fall, visit stcc.edu/explore/programs/fitr.as. Individuals with questions may contact Tenczar at [email protected] or call (413) 755-4596.

HCC President Pledges $10,000 to ‘Together HCC’ Campaign

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal has issued a personal $10,000 challenge gift toward a new HCC campaign that is as much about building moral support in a time of great uncertainty as it is about raising money for students experiencing financial distress. As part of the HCC Foundation’s “Together HCC — A Campaign for Caring,” students, staff, faculty, alumni, relatives, and friends are being asked to use the hashtag #TogetherHCC to share stories and images on social media that show the strength of the college community in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Royal’s $10,000 challenge is not just a financial one. Instead, the goal is to gather 1,000 contributions of any kind toward the #TogetherHCC campaign. That includes monetary donations as well as social-media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as e-mail submissions that describe an inspirational tale or messages of encouragement relating to the ongoing pandemic. Besides scholarships, the HCC Foundation manages several funds that directly support students facing financial emergencies as well as those experiencing food and housing insecurity. These include the President’s Student Emergency Fund, which was established by Royal, and another that supports HCC’s Thrive Student Resource Center, which manages the HCC Food Pantry.

Northampton Survival Center Updates Public on Services

NORTHAMPTON — While concern for staff, client, and volunteer health during the COVID-19 pandemic recently forced Northampton Survival Center to temporarily stop client visits to pick up food, the center anticipates resuming modified operations as soon as possible. Even though the building is closed, however, new community partnerships and initiatives have sprung into action. The center has teamed up with Community Action Pioneer Valley to begin distributing food out of Jackson Street School, a nearby location with ample, circular parking and cafeteria and refrigeration capabilities. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, food will be delivered by the Survival Center to the school, where a team of trained personnel will be able to create pre-bagged packages of nutritious food while maintaining safe distancing and other health precautions. On those same afternoons, bags will be carted outdoors under a tent, for quick drive-up intake and food transfer to clients safely in their cars. Another initiative between the Northampton Survival Center and Grow Food Northampton delivers fresh produce and groceries every Tuesday to high-need sites including Hampshire Heights, Florence Heights, Meadowbrook, and the Lumber Yard on Pleasant Street. Food distribution at all four sites will work in tandem with the Northampton public-school system and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School’s new meal-delivery program for children, in order to amplify each other’s efforts to keep children and their entire families fed. Shelf-stable groceries will be paired with fresh produce purchased directly from local farms, as well as produce and other goods purchased from distributors via River Valley Co-op. To serve clients in the hilltowns, food is being brought from the Hilltown Pantry and Northampton Survival Center to the various Councils on Aging that serve the region. COAs in Chesterfield, Worthington, and Goshen have already begun distributing this food from their sites, and further outreach is being coordinated with the Hilltown Community Health Center and the Hilltown Community Development Corp. The center is exploring using a school classroom in Worthington as a mini-pantry, and fresh produce has been shared with the Maples senior housing in Worthington. Eggs from Northampton Survival Center have been shared with the MANNA hot meal program, and fresh produce and retail donations of bread and other items usually reserved for the center are now being shared with other food pantries in the area, via the center’s partners at the Food Bank.

Monson Savings Bank Donates $25,000 to Baystate Health’s Greatest Needs Fund

MONSON — Baystate Health has just completed construction of a rapid-response triage area outside of the Baystate Medical Center Emergency Department, allowing the hospital to better protect patients and medical staff from exposure to the virus as patients are being screened and tested. This new triage area is just one of the many large, unplanned expenses this health emergency has created. Additionally, the exploding demand for personal protection equipment for staff and myriad other needs to fight this outbreak are stretching resources and finances to the limit. Monson Savings Bank has donated $25,000 to Baystate’s Greatest Needs Fund. This gift will directly support resources needed at Baystate Health as it continues to address and prepare for the care the community needs during this worldwide pandemic.

UMassFive College Credit Union Offers Financial Resources, Support

HADLEY — As a local nonprofit financial cooperative, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (UMassFive) is known for playing an active role in supporting and educating members and local communities. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UMassFive has launched a number of initiatives to continue supporting its membership and people in the local community. For example, UMassFive has joined forces with Log Rolling Catering to donate 350 meals to individuals and families in need, as well as those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The Amherst Survival Center received 150 prepared meals for distribution to those in need, and another 200 meals went to the ER staff at both Mercy Medical Center in Springfield and UMass Medical Center in Worcester. In addition, UMassFive has pledged $1,000 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and donated another $1,000 to the local farming nonprofit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, which will use the funds as part of its campaign to raise $50,000 for emergency loans to local farms. Credit-union members can also participate by making charitable donations in support of their local community through the UMassFive Buzz Points program, including options benefiting the Food Bank and the Amherst Survival Center. UMassFive is committed to answering questions and providing financial guidance to its members throughout this ongoing time of economic uncertainty. Members are encouraged to reach out for one-on-one phone consultations with credit union staff to better understand what options are available to them at this time. For instance, UMassFive is offering loan-payment deferral for up to three months on all qualified consumer loans. Members can visit www.umassfive.coop/emergency-relief to learn which loans qualify and to submit their emergency-relief payment-deferral requests through an easy-to-fill-out web form. As a way to make things a little easier for qualified borrowers who decide to take on some short-term debt to address their current needs, UMassFive has temporarily lowered the rate of all new personal loans to 5.99% APR for amounts of $2,000 or less. New and existing members can apply for this loan online at www.umassfive.coop/personalloan. After signing up (for new users) or logging in, applicants should select ‘fixed-term loan,’ then ‘loan special,’ and continue filling out the form until fully submitted. The credit union strongly encourages seeking alternative options before taking on additional debt.

Country Bank Donates $250,000 to Four Hospitals

WARE — Country Bank announced it has donated $250,000 to four local hospitals to help assist with the work they are doing for patients as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitals receiving donations include Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, and Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester. Paul Scully, president and CEO at Country Bank, noted that “these are challenging and ever-evolving times as we face uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community partner, we care deeply about our communities, and we wanted to support our local hospitals to help ease their financial burden as they continue to offer exceptional care to our friends and neighbors in the region.”

Providence Ministries Services Continue Through Pandemic

HOLYOKE — Providence Ministries will continue to offer essential support services to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, Executive Director Shannon Rudder shared precautions being made to ensure continuity of services while protecting program participants. Effective immediately, the following program shifts will occur: Kate’s Community Kitchen will provide warm, nutritious takeout meals; dining-room services will be suspended until further notice. Margaret’s Pantry will continue to welcome those in need of supplemental groceries to enjoy its community services. This includes both monthly guests along with anyone impacted by loss of work or simply realizing greater need at this time. Make an appointment by calling Brenda at (413) 536-9109, ext. 119. St. Jude’s Clothing Center will be closed until further notice to contain exposure, while the foodWorks culinary-training program will suspend current classes until further notice; the April 1 graduation will be rescheduled. Providence is taking every precaution to ensure its single-room-occupancy recovery housing spaces maintain cleanliness and overall health. It is difficult to ensure a true quarantine due to shared spaces, such as bathrooms and kitchens. At Loreto House, residents will suspend weekend passes and all planned workshops, no general public will be allowed entrance, a daily temperature check has been instituted, and any resident presenting symptoms and fever will be sent to the hospital or their primary-care provider. At both Broderick House and McCleary Manor, no outside visitors or overnight guests are permitted. No new residents will be admitted to any of these houses during this time. Each home has adequate cleaning products and hand soaps. Volunteers are asked to exercise caution and use their best judgement to continue in their service.

Girls Inc. Receives Grants from Baystate Health, Women Empowered

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a community-benefits discretionary grant of $5,000 from Baystate Health to Girls Inc. of the Valley’s “Informed and In Charge” program, which is designed to teach healthy sexuality. Through “Informed and In Charge,” girls acquire the knowledge and skills for taking charge of and making informed decisions about their sexual health. Exploring values, practicing responses in different situations, and thinking about their futures helps girls identify ways and reasons to avoid early pregnancy and prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Meanwhile, Women Empowered, a group that strives to promote body positivity and acceptance for both adult women and future generations of girls, has donated $2,500 in proceeds of its Women Empowered calendar sales to Girls Inc. of the Valley. The receipt of this gift will support Girls Inc. of the Valley’s current research-based program offerings designed to empower girls, and will provide a boost in its annual fundraising efforts. The Women Empowered calendar features a diverse group of everyday women who have embraced their uniqueness, have overcome physical and mental obstacles, celebrate their bodies, and want to share their story to inspire others. This calendar provides the chance to send a message of body positivity and acceptance in order to teach other women and future generations to embrace the totality of who they are, and use their gifts, their beauty, and their stories to change the world. Everyone involved with the production of the calendar and all sponsors are women-owned businesses.

Amherst Area Tip Jar Launched

AMHERST — The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) have launched the Amherst Area Tip Jar. Many locals would regularly be patronizing their favorite restaurants, bars, salons, coffeehouses, and other businesses that have been ordered closed or have shifted to take-out only, depending on the type of business, due to the COVID-19 crisis and related health and safety restrictions. The Tip Jar, first established in Pittsburgh, allows people to support local service industry staff and businesses. It allows them to send a ‘tip’ to their favorite business, which will share it with their staff — bartenders, servers, kitchen staff, stylists, aestheticians, mechanics, etc. The Amherst Area Tip Jar offers an option for these businesses and individuals to post their Venmo or PayPal information so that customers, family members, neighbors, and community members, near and far, can continue to support them using this open-source concept — a way to maximize social distancing while supporting these workers and small businesses. E-mail Claudia Pazmany, the chamber’s executive director, at [email protected] or Gould at [email protected]m with any inquiries.

Big Y Announces Support for Five Food Banks

SPRINGFIELD — On March 16, Big Y World Class Markets donated $125,000 to three Massachusetts food banks and two in Connecticut in order to help them respond to the challenges they face in helping to feed others during these challenging times. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Worcester County Food Bank, Foodshare, and the Connecticut Food Bank will each receive an immediate donation of $25,000. All Big Y stores also now have collection boxes to allow customers to make food donations for local pantries and shelters. As part of its recent 10th annual Sack Hunger/Care to Share program, Big Y also provided more than $11.5 million in food to area food banks, which amounts to a total of 5.7 million meals to help those in need throughout the region. In addition to Sack Hunger, it donates healthy food to these food banks six days a week throughout the year. Two-thirds of those 5.7 million meals include donations of meat and fresh produce, while bakery, non-perishable grocery items, frozen food, and dairy products account for the rest. In fact, these almost-daily donations have become a routine part of Big Y’s operations. These food banks depend upon this steady flow of food to feed those in need. Big Y also encourages support in any amount for area food banks right now. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts estimates that every dollar donated will provide four meals for those in need. Visit foodbankwma.org for more information. Additionally, Big Y donated $50,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. The fund will provide flexible resources to Pioneer Valley nonprofit organizations serving populations most impacted by the crisis, such as the elderly, those without stable housing, families needing food, and those with particular health vulnerabilities.

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Customers’ Choice

$1,221 award

Florence Bank President Kevin Day presents Nikki Lewis, coalition coordinator of first-time grant award winner West Springfield CARE Coalition, with a $1,221 award.

 

Tammy Walunas of the Smith Vocational High School PTO chats

From left, Tammy Walunas of the Smith Vocational High School PTO chats with It Takes a Village volunteer Sierra-Rae Bottum and Mollie Hartford, co-executive director

Florence Bank gave $100,000 to 57 area nonprofits on March 10 at its annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program celebration at the Garden House at Look Memorial Park, putting the program over the $1.2 million mark in grants made to community nonprofits over almost two decades. The recipients each garnered at least 50 votes from bank customers in 2019, and the bank also awarded $500 each to six organizations that received between 40 and 49 votes.

 


Grand Tour

Grand Tour

From left, John LaFrancis, chair, Mechanical Engineering Technology; STCC President John Cook; state Rep. Jeffrey Roy; state Sen. Anne Gobi; state Rep. Stephan Hay; STCC graduate Elizabeth Ryan; state Rep. Mindy Domb; and state Rep. Aaron Vega

 

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

From the patient simulation center to the mechanical engineering technology lab, state lawmakers toured Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) last month to get a better understanding how it is preparing students for careers and boosting the economic vitality of the region. STCC was the 25th stop for the Joint Committee on Higher Education, which plans to visit all 29 Massachusetts public colleges and universities.

 


 

Picture This

A photo essay of business happenings in Western Mass.

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Elevating the Brand

Valley Vodka Inc., maker of V-One Vodka, announced a new partnership with Julious Grant and Ty Law. Grant brings 29 years of executive-level experience in the spirits industry, having held senior leadership roles in sales and marketing in some of the most successful companies in the world. Law, an NFL Hall of Famer, won three Super Bowls as a cornerback with the New England Patriots. This partnership comes on the heels of Valley Vodka Inc. completing a multi-million-dollar purchase and renovation of its own ‘farm to glass’ distillery in Kamien, Poland. “With our new distillery, expanded production, and new packaging, this is the perfect time to introduce more people to our clean-drinking vodka,” V-One creator Paul Kozub said. “Julious and Ty are tremendous assets to help us expand distribution and increase brand awareness.” Pictured, from left, are Grant, Kozub, and Law.

 


Supporting the Community

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000 to the YMCA of Greater Springfield to help fund the new wellness and childcare center that opened at Springfield’s Tower Square on Dec. 5. The new, state-of-the-art facility includes a 15,000-square-foot education center that serves infants through elementary-school students. Additionally, the facility includes a new, 12,000-square-foot wellness center with premium strength and conditioning equipment in a space that overlooks the city. Pictured, from left: Jeffrey Poindexter, YMCA of Greater Springfield board chair; Dexter Johnson, YMCA of Greater Springfield president and CEO; and Nicole Gleason, Springfield branch manager and vice president of Florence Bank.

 


Highest Honors

For the third consecutive year, the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Chapter at Western New England University

For the third consecutive year, the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Chapter at Western New England University earned the “highest honors” designation for its campus engagement and programming for the 2018-19 academic year. One indicator of the chapter’s engagement is participation at the annual Global Leadership Summit (GLS), which chapter President Tessa Wood and Secretary Kathryn Wells attended last year. The GLS enables delegates to participate in professional-development workshops and share best practices with student leaders from other BGS chapters worldwide. Pictured, from left: chapter members Wood, Finance Chair Emily Sajdak, Service Chair Krystyna Germano, and Vice President Teddy Doyle.

 


Record Donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation in the college’s 74-year history — $7.5 million — from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation, established by the late Elaine Marieb, a longtime HCC faculty member, alumna, best-selling textbook author, and Northampton native. The donation includes $5 million outright and a $2.5 million matching gift that will go toward future renovations of HCC’s main science facility, the Marieb Building, as part of a multi-phase plan to expand the recently opened Center for Life Sciences to encompass the entire three-story structure. Pictured: HCC Biology Professor Emily Rabinsky (center) teaches a biotechnology lab in the Center for Life Sciences.

 


Advocating for Girls

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives from Girls Inc. of Lynn, Worcester, and Berkshires on the State House floor to highlight the Eureka! program — which prepares teenage girls to participate and excel in cutting-edge, dynamic STEM careers — and advocate for its inclusion in the state budget. Pictured, from left: Ruth Roy, campaign director, Girls Inc. of the Valley; Kelly Marion, CEO, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, home of Girls Inc. of the Berkshires; Victoria Waterman, CEO, Girls Inc. of Worcester; Agnes Nkansah, Girls Inc. of Worcester Eureka! alumna and student at Brandeis University; Suzanne Parker, executive director, Girls Inc. of the Valley; Deb Ansourlian, executive director, Girls Inc. of Lynn; Brenda Nikas-Hayes, director of Eureka!, Girls Inc. of Worcester; Sidney Hamilton, outreach and site coordinator, Girls Inc. of the Berkshires; Lena Crowley, director, Teen and Middle School Program, Girls Inc. of Lynn; and Alexandra DeFronzo, supervisor of STEM Programs, Girls Inc.

 


Read Across America Day

First American Insurance Agency recently took part in Read Across America Day

First American Insurance Agency recently took part in Read Across America Day by reading to students at Saint Stanislaus School as part of its Kids First campaign. The campaign is an ongoing effort to support children and teens in Western Mass. through education and play. The staff volunteers time and resources through several activities and fundraisers throughout the year. Pictured, from left: Theresa Kelly, Kristie Learned, Ginger Marszalek, and Meghan Harnois from First American Insurance Agency.

 


 

Agenda

Bowl for Kids’ Sake

March 27-28: Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County’s biggest fundraiser of the year, will take place on March 27 at Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley and March 28 at French King Bowling Center in Erving. This year’s theme, “Slide Back to the 60’s,” will feature a life-size plinko game, 60’s dance instruction, a newlywed-themed photo booth, era-themed music, costume contests, bowling, and much more. There is no cost to attend the event, but fundraising is strongly encouraged. Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are provided at no cost to the children or children’s families, nor to the volunteer mentors. It is a 100% donor-supported nonprofit that has been serving the youth of Franklin County for 53 years. For more information about the event or to register to attend, visit www.bbbs-fc.org or call (413) 772-0915.

Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series

March 27, April 10, May 8, June 19: Women leaders of prominent area institutions will be the featured presenters at the spring 2020 Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series hosted by Holyoke Community College and the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. During the four-part, monthly “Leadership in Your Future 2020” series, each of four presenters will sit at a different table each week and speak on a subject of their choosing. Over the course of the four-session series, they will rotate among the tables so guests have the opportunity to hear all the presentations. The four presenters are Theresa Cooper-Gordon, commissioner, Holyoke Housing Authority (“Self-Determination”); Priscilla Kane Hellweg, executive/artistic director, Enchanted Circle Theater (“In it for the Long Haul”); Jody Kasper, chief of Police, city of Northampton (“Rising to the Top”); and Christina Royal, president, Holyoke Community College (“Leading Through Change”). The luncheons run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St. Lunch will be prepared and served by students in the HCC Culinary Arts program. The series will provide an opportunity to learn from women leaders of area institutions and a chance for participants to network with their peers and gain insights on building their own careers. The cost is $150 for all four sessions. Seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact Valentyna Semyrog at (413) 552-2123 or [email protected]

Unify Against Bullying Cut-a-Thon

April 4: Hair-salon owners and their teams are being asked to make a difference in the fight against bullying. Unify Against Bullying is looking for local and regional salons to participate in a one-day Cut-a-Thon, donating proceeds from haircuts, blowouts, and styling to the anti-bullying organization. Some salons will also offer temporary pink hair color — the signature color of Unify Against Bullying. In addition, each salon will add its own fun activities and promotions for the event. Although the main event is being held on April 4, some salon owners can choose the option to hold the fundraiser for the whole month to make it easier on their team. This year, Basia Belz, a Unify Against Bullying board member and owner of Vivid Hair Salon, located at 99 Elm St., Westfield, will chair the event. Salon owners who wish to participate can contact Belz at (413) 564-0062 or [email protected]

Disability Film Festival

April 5: Whole Children, a program of Pathlight, will partner with Five College Realtors to present the fifth annual Focus on Disability Film Festival at 4 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley St., Northampton. The festival will feature seven films, including six short films from SproutFlix, which exclusively distributes films featuring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and will conclude with the premiere of This Is Me, a Pathlight-made original documentary. All the films highlight the importance of the performing and visual arts in the lives of people with disabilities. This Is Me is about Whole Children’s performing-arts program, now in its ninth year, and was filmed during the creation of last year’s original production. It discusses the history of the program and what is means to the actors, who are local children and adults with disabilities, and their families. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Amherst author Cammie McGovern and featuring young adults with disabilities who express themselves through performing arts. A reception will follow the panel. All proceeds from the film festival support Whole Children’s inclusive programming for children and teens. Whole Children, a program of Pathlight, offers a wide range of after-school, weekend, and vacation enrichment programs for children of all ages and abilities, particularly those with special needs. Classes include gymnastics, art, martial arts, dance, music, social skills, yoga, sports, and theater.

Elms College Executive Leadership Breakfast

April 9: Elms College will host its third annual Executive Leadership Breakfast for the region’s business executives, state and local legislators, and community leaders. The keynote speaker for the event is U.S. Rep. Richard Neal. His talk, “Leadership in Turbulent Times,” will examine how our congressional delegation is providing leadership on issues that could impact the economy of the Western Mass. region. Neal was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988. He currently serves as chair of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. This annual event features talks by the region’s leaders on topics of relevance that impact all sectors of business and the economy in Western Mass. Corporate sponsorships are available for this event, and an invitation is required to attend. For more information on the various sponsorship opportunities or to request an invitation, call the Elms College Office of Institutional Advancement at (413) 265-2448.

Bay Path President’s Gala

April 18: Bay Path University’s fourth annual President’s Gala will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. While the event will continue its tradition of raising funds for student scholarships, it will also celebrate the legacy of Carol Leary, who will retire in June after 25 years as Bay Path president. The gala will feature a tribute to Leary and her husband Noel, silent and live auctions, dinner, and dancing with live entertainment. Last year’s event netted more than $360,000 in support of student scholarships. The President’s Gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by a seated dinner at 7:30 p.m. The tribute will start at 8:30 p.m., and at 9 p.m., guests will be invited to dance the night away. To learn more about the gala, including sponsorships, purchasing tickets, and donating to or participating in the auction, visit www.baypath.edu/gala or contact Meg Morrill at (413) 565-1396 or [email protected]

Knights of Columbus Golf Tournament

May 22: The Greenfield Knights of Columbus, Council #133, will host its seventh annual charity golf tournament at the Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston. This year, the Greenfield Council #133 recognizes the United Arc as its tournament partner. The event will be an 18-hole, four-person scramble with tee advantages for senior golfers. The entry fee of $125 per person includes greens fees, carts, lunch and dinner, and prizes for the winners. Those less inclined to tee off and who would rather enjoy the views of the 18th green while supporting a good cause can take in a meal at Zeke’s Grill. Dinner-only tickets are available for $30. Raffles and a silent auction will feature lottery tickets, gift cards, a three-day Cape Cod vacation, Crumpin-Fox and Hopyard golf certificates, a mystery box, and more. There will also be a hole-in-one contest for a chance to win a new car. In addition to the United Arc — which supports people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in achieving the universal goals of inclusion, choice, and independence — proceeds from the event will be used to fund a number of Council #133’s worthy causes in Greenfield and Franklin County, including the Pan Mass Challenge, Baystate Hospital Wheeling for Healing, Farren Hospital Gift of Light, the Greenfield Homeless Shelter, monthly community meals, honoring veterans by placing flags on graves for Memorial Day and Wreaths Across America wreaths placed on graves at Christmas, several youth sports programs, and more. To sign up or to get more information, call Lou Grader at (413) 774-2848, Dan Arsenault at (413) 774-5258, Bob Wanczyk at (413) 774-2465, Paul Doran at (413) 774-2801, or Joe Ruscio at (413) 768-9876.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. To register or for more information, visit www.hooplandia.com.

Difference Makers

Sept. 10: Due to coronavirus concerns, BusinessWest has decided to postpone its 12th annual Difference Makers event that was scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 19. The event will now take place on Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Log Cabin. With the growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and under the CDC’s recommendations, BusinessWest felt this was the most appropriate and responsible action to take. Event sponsors include Burkhart Pizzanelli, Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England, Royal, P.C., and TommyCar Auto Group, while the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, MHA, and United Way of Pioneer Valley are partners. For more info visit www.businesswest.com or call (413) 781-8600.

Chamber Corners

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700

• April 15: April After 5, 5-7 p.m., sponsored by Paciorek Electric at its DiamondBack Properties, LLC Building, 65D Elm St., Hatfield, with food and drink catered by Grill N’ Chill. Enjoy this night of networking with people from across the Valley. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

• May 6: May [email protected] netWORK, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Look Park, Florence. Sponsored by Greenfield Community College Foundation, Keiter Builders LLC, and Webber & Grinnell Insurance. Our netWORK [email protected] series will feature a nonprofit in the Greater Northampton community and invite [email protected] guests to participate in a project to benefit that organization. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. To register, visit northampton.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-arrive-5-network-may-6-3809.

• June 3: June [email protected], 5-7 p.m., hosted by Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Florence. Networking event. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. To register, visit northampton.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-arrive-5-june-3-3810.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

• April 24: Legislative Luncheon – This event will be rescheduled – please stay tuned – hosted by Shortstop Bar & Grill, 99 Springfield St., Westfield. Mike Dobbs of Reminder Publications will moderate a panel of legislators at our annual Legislative Luncheon. This is an opportunity for your voice to be heard on issues or budget items that affect your business or employees. Confirmed panelists include state Reps. Natalie Blais, Aaron Vega, and John Velis; and Westfield Mayor Donald Humason. Invited panelists include state Sen. Adam Hinds and state Reps. Nicholas Boldyga, Smitty Pignatelli, and Lindsay Sabadosa. Cost: $35 for members, $50 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com
(413) 787-1555

• May 6: Rise & Shine Breakfast, Networking Opportunity, and Educational Program, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Sponsored by United Personnel and MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board. Cost: $25 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $35 general admission ($40 at the door).

• May 14: Stars & Strikes Celebrity Bowling Fundraising Competition, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by MGM TAP Sports Bar, One MGM Way, Springfield. Cost: $20 for members and potential members in advance ($30 at the door). Includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, unlimited bowling, and games.

To register for any chamber event, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com
(413) 426-3880

• May 5: Job Fair 2020 – Local Jobs For Local People, 4-7 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern/Carriage House, West Springfield. The West of the River Chamber will host a local job fair. West Springfield and Agawam businesses, along with other employment opportunities, will be showcased for the public. High-school students, college students, and adults will attend this event looking to begin or advance their careers. This event is free and open to the public. To be a participating vendor, register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD

springfieldyps.com

• April 16: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Towne Taproom. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• May 2: Fourth annual YPS Adult Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon, hosted by Extra Innings and Train for Life of Chicopee. This throwback to elementary school is built with adults in mind for a team-building competition. Register at www.runreg.com/ypsfieldday. Registration includes participation in activities, after party and lunch from 350 Grill, T-shirt, DJ, prizes, refreshments, and more. Early-bird pricing and sponsorships are available.

Chamber Corners

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.amherstarea.com

(413) 253-0700

• March 4: Driven By Community, 5-7 p.m., a multi-chamber event at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield with the Amherst Area Chamber, East of the River Chamber, Greater Northampton Chamber, West of the River Chamber, Hampshire County Young Professionals, and Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield. Sample food, drink, and learn something about area nonprofits. Meet someone new and learn more about businesses in your community. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

• March 11: March After 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Pulse Café, Hadley. Our monthly networking event with a focus on healthy living and eating. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

• April 2: Margarita Madness, 5-7:30 p.m., hosted by Insterskate 91 at Hampshire Mall. Presented by Steve Lewis Subaru. Mix, mingle, and network at our largest signature event of the year. Enjoy an evening of tasty margaritas and vote for your favorite. Local restaurants will showcase their fare, and dozens of raffles prizes will be donated by Amherst Area Chamber members. Cost: $35 pre-registered, $45 at the door.

• April 15: April After 5, 5-7 p.m., sponsored by Paciorek Electric at its DiamondBack Properties, LLC Building, 65D Elm St., Hatfield, with food and drink catered by Grill N’ Chill. Enjoy this night of networking with people from across the Valley. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

 

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.easthamptonchamber.org

(413) 527-9414

• March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1: Her Place at the Table, 7:45-9 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. A five-part series designed to help women increase confidence and build leadership skills to be wildly successful and take their place at the table. Cost for all five sessions: $99 per person for members, $129 for future members. Pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 13: St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, noon to 2 p.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. Join us as we salute Greater Easthampton St. Patrick’s Day Committee award winners and enjoy a traditional corned-beef lunch. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for future members. Pre-registration is required; there will be no registrations at the door. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 19: Books & Joe with Moe, 8:30 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. The second meeting of the Chamber Book Club. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 24: Speed Networking Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. We are partnering with the Springfield Regional Chamber for another fun-filled networking event. Kick-start your day and join us for breakfast. Cost: $20 for members, $30 for walk-ins. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.explorenorthampton.com

(413) 584-1900

• March 4: March Arrive @5: Multi Chamber Networking Event, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, 295 Burnett Road, Chicopee. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register at northampton.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-arrive-5-march-4-3807.

• April 1: April [email protected] netWORK, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Smith Vocational School, 80 Locust St., Northampton. Our netWORK [email protected] series will feature a nonprofit in the Greater Northampton Community and invite guests to participate in a project to benefit that organization. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register at northampton.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-arrive-5-network-april-1-3808.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org

(413) 568-1618

• March 13: St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Westfield State University, Scanlon Hall, 577 Western Ave., Westfield. Platinum sponsor: Westfield State University; coffee bar sponsor: Westfield Starfires; in-kind sponsor: Flowers by Webster. Join us for our annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast as we honor our 2020 Sons of Erin Colleen, Brigid Mary Moriarty, and her court; Irish Woman of the Year, Beth Burns; Irish Man of the Year, Mark Hanrahan; Parade Marshal, Packie Smith; and Billy Buzzee St. Pat on the Back, Jim Hogan. The guest speaker is Associate Justice Edward McDonough Jr. of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The chief greeter is Chuck Kelly. Platinum sponsor: Westfield State University; coffee bar sponsor: Westfield Starfires; bronze sponsor: Armbrook Village; in-kind sponsor: Flowers by Webster. Cost: $28 for members, $43 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events or contact the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• March 23: Block Party, 4-6 p.m. It’s time to rock the block in Southwick. The Block Party is co-hosted by Your CBD Store, 549 College Highway, and New England Chimney Sweeps & Masonry Inc., 535 College Highway. Join us for an open house to meet the hosts and chamber businesses for drinks, appetizers, networking, and more. Chamber members are welcome. Southwick businesses are encouraged to join the chamber by March 23 for 10% off their membership rate. For more information and to register, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• March 6: Outlook 2020 hosted by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. Cost: $60 for members in advance, $80 general admission. Tables of 10 available. Reservation deadline: Feb. 26. No walk-ins will be accepted.

• March 24: Multi-chamber Speed Networking in partnership with the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Summit View Meeting House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. Cost: $20 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $30 general admission in advance ($40 at the door).

• April 7: Mayors Forum featuring Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, and others, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by the Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road, Holyoke. Cost: $30 for members in advance ($35 at the door), $40 general admission ($45 at the door).

• April 29: Beacon Hill Summit, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A day at the State House in Boston, hosted by state Sen. James Welch and state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez. An opportunity to spend a day with members of the Baker-Polito administration. Includes lunch and reception. Cost: $180 for members, $225 general admission.

To register for any chamber event, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com

(413) 426-3880

• March 4: Driven by Community, a multi-chamber networking event, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mercedes-Benz of Springfield in Chicopee. Join us as we network with some of the region’s chambers and organizations. Fun, food, and friends. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• March 19: Mayoral Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern & Carriage House, West Springfield. Presenting Sponsor: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Join us for an informative discussion with our mayors, who will update guests on all that is going on in our towns individually and collaboratively. To register or sponsor, visit www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• April 16: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Riverdale Street, West Springfield. Enjoy a sit-down lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief intro and company overview. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. Cost: free for members (plus lunch), $10 for non-members (plus lunch). Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately that day. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD

springfieldyps.com

• March 19: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Trinity Pub at the Irish Cultural Center. Enjoy free appetizers, a cash bar, and live Irish music. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• April 16: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Towne Taproom. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

Company Notebook

Bay Path University Names Sandra Doran Its Sixth President

Sandra Doran

LONGMEADOW — The Bay Path University board of trustees announced today that Sandra Doran has been selected by unanimous vote to become the sixth president of Bay Path effective June 30. She will succeed Carol Leary, who retires in June following her 25-year presidency of Bay Path. Doran’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive, 10-month, national search process. “Sandy Doran is a charismatic leader who cares deeply about women’s education and is passionate about access to education and student success,” said Jonathan Besse, board chair. “She has an impressive and broad background in a variety of complex organizations, all of which flourished greatly under her leadership.” Doran is currently president of Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, N.C. As president, she led an inclusive and aggressive strategic planning process that resulted in a transformation of the college as evidenced by unprecedented growth in enrollment and fundraising. “I am humbled by the trust the board has placed in me to continue the spirit of innovation here at Bay Path,” Doran said. “The visionary nature of President Leary is inspiring and unprecedented in higher education, and I look forward to working with the Bay Path faculty and staff to build on her legacy. Serving our students, and providing them with a superior learning experience, gives us all great joy. I look forward to engaging with all members of our community, students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and our business and philanthropic partners.” Doran holds a juris doctor degree from the Syracuse University College of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Methodist University. Before serving at Salem, Doran was CEO at Castle Point Learning Systems (CPLS), a company that develops innovative teaching and learning technologies incorporating artificial intelligence and adaptive learning algorithms to provide better student outcomes in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Prior to her position at CPLS, she was president of the American College of Education in Indianapolis, where she grew the organization into the fifth-largest graduate school of education in the country, serving more than 5,000 adult and non-traditional students. Her professional experience also includes positions at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey as an entrepreneur-in-residence, as well as at the New England Board of Higher Education as national policy director. Early in her legal career, she transitioned into higher education, joining Lesley University in Cambridge in 2004 as chief of staff, vice president, and general counsel. Doran currently serves as chair of the board for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation and on the board of the Online Learning Consortium. She was named the Triad Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO, and Power Player of 2019.

AIC to Offer Graduate Program in Cannabis Science and Commerce

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will offer a master of science program in cannabis science and commerce beginning in the fall of 2020, the first of its kind in this region. The 30-credit, hybrid graduate program is designed for individuals interested in a career in the cannabis industry and will provide students with an understanding of the science, business, and legal issues associated with the cannabis industry. The program offers education in the areas of basic science, including chemistry, horticulture, cultivation, uses, and delivery systems; business management, marketing, and operations; and federal and state laws and policies. According to a March 2020 jobs report issued by Leafly, the world’s largest cannabis website, over the past four years, legal cannabis has supported nearly a quarter of a million jobs. That equates to a 15% annual uptick in employment. For more information regarding the AIC’s master of science program in cannabis science and commerce, visit www.aic.edu/cannabis.

MGM Springfield Revenues Rebound in January

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that gross gaming revenue (GGR) at MGM Springfield totaled $20.6 million in January, up from $18.9 million in December, which was its worst-ever full month. Meanwhile, the Encore Boston Harbor casino recorded $48.6 million in GGR in January, down from $54 million in December, while Plainridge Park Casino posted $11.1 million in January, an almost $900,000 increase from December and its first monthly uptick since last spring. MGM Springfield’s January GGR totaled included $14.9 million from slot machines and $5.7 million from from table games. The facility named a new president and chief operating officer following December’s poor numbers, replacing Michael Mathis with Chris Kelley.

Country Bank Donates More Than $900,000 in 2019

WARE — Country Bank reported its donations to area nonprofits totaled $905,049 last year. Throughout 2019, more than 500 organizations in the communities the bank serves received donations, including the Children’s Trust, Ludlow Community Center Boys and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, Project Bread, and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, among many others. Recognizing the importance and overwhelming need to help organizations that address hunger, Country Bank provided monetary donations exceeding $100,000 to food programs throughout the region. The recipients of these funds included Friends of the Homeless, Springfield Rescue Mission, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, as well as many local food pantries. In addition, Country Bank’s employee charitable giving program raised more than $30,000 in 2019 through events such as jeans days, bake sales, and raffles, and employees volunteered more than 1,000 hours of personal time at various events within the bank’s communities.

Bank of America Entrusts More Than $22 Million to Community Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — After collaborating with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) for 29 years, the Bank of America in May transferred three trusts totaling more than $22 million to the Valley-wide grant funder. The move brings CFWM’s total earned assets from roughly $153 million to $175 million and bolsters its role as an enduring philanthropic leader in the Pioneer Valley. Founded in 1990, CFWM administers a charitable endowment consisting of more than 600 separately identified funds totaling approximately $175 million. Some of these charitable assets are unrestricted and used to meet emerging and changing needs in the region. Others support named nonprofit organizations or provide financial support to college-bound students. Still others are donor-advised, offering flexibility to donors in timing, amount, and beneficiary of their giving. Last year, CFWM awarded $7.3 million in grants to nonprofits and $2.2 million in scholarships and interest-free loans to more than 770 area students. The Bank of America funds will continue to support a wide variety of organizations for generations to come, from grassroots community food pantries to region-spanning arts programs — and will preserve the original donors’ wishes to support their communities in perpetuity. The three trusts transferred from the bank to the foundation are the Eugene A. Dexter Charitable Fund, established in 1944; the Nan and Matilda Heydt Fund, established in 1960; and the Valley Charitable Trust Fund, established in 1960. All three were originally created to support and serve charitable organizations and interests with a focus on Springfield and Hampden County.

Eversource Earns Award for Using Smart Technology to Reduce Peak Energy Usage

BOSTON — An Eversource program that pays customers to use less electricity during high-demand periods has received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Residential Program Design & Implementation by the Assoc. of Energy Services Professionals. The award recognizes the company’s ConnectedSolutions demand-response program, which leverages customer-owned devices, such as wireless thermostats, battery storage, and electric-vehicle chargers, to reduce electric use during peak periods, when the cost and greenhouse-gas emissions of electricity in New England are at their highest. More than 9,000 customers have enrolled in the volunteer demand-response program in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Customers allow their devices to automatically communicate with Eversource during regional peak energy periods, resulting in a short reduction of power or, in the case of batteries, a reduction of the stored energy. Residential customers with eligible connected wireless thermostats, battery storage, or electric-vehicle chargers can participate and earn incentives ranging from $20 to more than $1,000 a year. The energy company anticipates that, at full enrollment, the collective ability to call on these customers during high-demand periods could have the environmental equivalent effect of taking 20,000 homes off the grid.

EforAll Holyoke Seeks Mentors for Summer Business Accelerator

HOLYOKE — EforAll Holyoke is actively seeking both English- and Spanish-speaking volunteers to participate as mentors in the summer 2020 business accelerator program. Accelerator mentors come from a variety of backgrounds and use their business and leadership experience to guide new entrepreneurs through the process of turning their idea into a growing business. Mentors work in teams of three and are matched with an entrepreneur based on schedule availability and the desire to work together. The team meets as a group to help reaffirm topics and themes raised during classes, while also strategizing with the entrepreneur on how to reach their specific goals during the program. This is a high-touch, year-long commitment. Mentor teams have 90-minute, in-person meetings for three months and then meet once a month for the following nine months. Anyone interested can e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]


Accessible Design Award

At its annual awards gala, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) presented Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc. with the 2019 Accessible Design Award for its work at Westfield State University’s Davis Hall. The award honors design excellence in buildings that are accessible for people of all abilities, with an emphasis on projects that exceed the legal accessibility requirements in anticipation of diverse user needs and benefits. The residence-hall addition and renovation, designed in coordination with the university and Stegman+Associates Inc., includes new private and multi-user restrooms, providing access to all students.

Pictured, from left: Janet Stegman, owner, Stegman+Associates; Janet Chrisos, deputy director, Massachusetts State College Building Authority; Steven Taksar, vice president, Administration & Finance, Westfield State University; Curtis Edgin, president, Caolo & Bieniek Associates.


Grand Opening

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Hadley Dental Care on Jan. 31. More than 50 community and business leaders stopped by to see the state-of-the-art technology and hear about the client-centric care offered by Dr. Tapan Pujara, DDS and Dr. Chaitalee Ganatra, DDS (pictured). The practice is located at 1 Mill Valley Road, Unit D, Hadley. A celebration followed the ribbon cutting next door at the Taproom, featuring networking, food, and prizes.

 


Charitable Champions List

Pioneer Valley Financial Group is one of 20 financial-advisory firms selected for the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation’s 2019 Charitable Champions List, which recognizes advisory firms for their exemplary efforts to give back to their communities by promoting a culture of philanthropy among employees and financial advisors. Invest in Others received dozens of applications, which were evaluated blindly by a judging panel made up of financial advisors. Applications were evaluated on criteria including employee benefits, company contributions, and philanthropic events and programs offered by the firms.

 


Getting a Boost

Led by state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, the Springfield legislative delegation was able to secure a $250,000 appropriation for the UMass Center at Springfield. On Feb. 10, a ceremonial check was presented by the delegation at the center, located in Tower Square in downtown Springfield. At that event, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy introduced Jamina Scippio-McFadden as the new director of the center, which opened its doors in 2014. Pictured below: Scippio-McFadden and Gonzalez address those gathered for the check presentation.

From left, state Sen. James Welch, state Rep. Angelo Puppolo, McFadden, Gonzalez, state Rep. Bud Williams, and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno gather around the ceremonial check.


 

Agenda

Real-estate Licensing Course

Feb. 19 to March 19: The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley will sponsor a 40-hour, 14-class sales licensing course to help individuals prepare for the Massachusetts real-estate salesperson license exam. The course will be completed on March 19. Tuition is $400 and includes the book and materials. For an application, call the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley at (413) 785-1328 or visit www.rapv.com.

Legal Interpreting Certificate Program

Starting Feb. 25: Interested in working as a legal interpreter? Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will a training course that runs through April, with classes meeting Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Offered as a certificate program through the Workforce Development Center at STCC, this class is open to Spanish-, Portuguese-, Arabic-, and Russian-speaking students who would like to expand their interpreting skills in legal settings. Interpreting is a high-demand field, with jobs expected to grow by 19% through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the U.S. will drive growth, the bureau reports. The course will cover the most in-demand types of hearings, such as due-process hearings, unemployment hearings, and depositions. Students will learn legal terminology and procedural protocols needed to interpret for these various types of hearings. In addition, students will have the opportunity for intense practice through mock hearings, which will give them the experience and comfort level needed to apply for work in the field. Trained legal interpreters are in demand throughout Massachusetts and nationwide in law offices, schools, state agencies, and contracting agencies. For more information and to enroll online, visit stcc.edu/wdc/descriptions/legal-interpreting. To contact the Workforce Development Center office, call (413) 755-4225.

Springfield Rotary Club Luncheon

Feb. 28: Paul Aquila, registered principal with Raymond James Financial Services and founder of Longview Investments, LLC, a diversified financial-services firm offering wealth management in Connecticut and Massachusetts, will address the Springfield Rotary Club’s luncheon meeting on Friday, Feb. 28. He will discuss donor-advised funds — what they are, how to use them, and how they can help clients integrate their values into their investments. The Springfield Rotary Club meets every Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the MassMutual Room at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, and is a member of Rotary International. The Rotary luncheon with Aquila costs $18 per person and is open to the public.

Difference Makers Gala

March 19: The 11th annual Difference Makers gala will take place at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. BusinessWest launched its Difference Makers program in 2009 to celebrate individuals, groups, organizations, and families that are positively impacting the Pioneer Valley and are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. The class of 2020 is profiled in the Feb. 3 issue of BusinessWest. Tickets cost $75. To reserve a spot, e-mail [email protected] or visit businesswest.com. Difference Makers is sponsored by Burkhart Pizzanelli, Royal, P.C., Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health of New England, and TommyCar Auto Group, and the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournement, MHA, and United Way of Pioneer Valley are partners. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Suzy Batiz, who will deliver the morning address to open the conference, earned a place on Forbes’ list of most successful self-made women — and an estimated net worth of $260 million — by creating of a suite of eco-minded household products, including Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray she developed to combat bathroom odors. Patrice Banks (no relation to Tyra) will address the audience at lunchtime. She is the owner of the Girls Auto Clinic and Clutch Beauty Bar, an auto mechanic shop and beauty bar staffed by women. She is also the founder of the SheCANics movement, which looks to demystify car repair and engage more women in the automotive industry. Breakout sessions — focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities — will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series

March 27, April 10, May 8, June 19: Women leaders of prominent area institutions will be the featured presenters at the spring 2020 Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series hosted by Holyoke Community College and the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. At the four-part, monthly “Leadership in Your Future 2020” series, each of four presenters will sit at a different table each week and speak on a subject of their choosing. Over the course of the four-session series, they will rotate among the tables so guests have the opportunity to hear all the presentations. The four presenters are Theresa Cooper-Gordon, commissioner, Holyoke Housing Authority (“Self-Determination”); Priscilla Kane Hellweg, executive/artistic director, Enchanted Circle Theater (“In it for the Long Haul”); Jody Kasper, chief of Police, city of Northampton (“Rising to the Top”); and Christina Royal, president, Holyoke Community College (“Leading Through Change”). The luncheons run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St. Lunch will be prepared and served by students in the HCC Culinary Arts program. The series will provide an opportunity to learn from women leaders of area institutions and a chance for participants to network with their peers and gain insights on building their own careers. The cost is $150 for all four sessions. Seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact Valentyna Semyrog at (413) 552-2123 or [email protected].

Unify Against Bullying Cut-a-Thon

April 4: Hair-salon owners and their teams are being asked to make a difference in the fight against bullying. Unify Against Bullying is looking for local and regional salons to participate in a one-day Cut-a-Thon, donating proceeds from haircuts, blowouts, and styling to the anti-bullying organization. Some salons will also offer temporary pink hair color — the signature color of Unify Against Bullying. In addition, each salon will add its own fun activities and promotions for the event. Although the main event is being held on April 4, some salon owners can choose the option to hold the fundraiser for the whole month to make it easier on their team. This year, Basia Belz, a Unify Against Bullying board member and owner of Vivid Hair Salon, located at 99 Elm St., Westfield, will chair the event. Salon owners who wish to participate can contact Belz at (413) 564-0062 or [email protected].

Elms College Executive

Leadership Breakfast

April 9: Elms College will host its third annual Executive Leadership Breakfast for the region’s business executives, state and local legislators, and community leaders. The keynote speaker for the event is U.S. Rep. Richard Neal. His talk, “Leadership in Turbulent Times,” will examine how our congressional delegation is providing leadership on issues that could impact the economy of the Western Mass. region. Neal was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988. He currently serves as chair of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. This annual event features talks by the region’s leaders on topics of relevance that impact all sectors of business and the economy in Western Mass. Corporate sponsorships are available for this event, and an invitation is required to attend. For more information on the various sponsorship opportunities or to request an invitation, call the Elms College Office of Institutional Advancement at (413) 265-2448.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A year-long community outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2020. Information and engagement is available now through www.hooplandia.com or on Instagram: @hooplandia.

Chamber Corners

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.amherstarea.com
(413) 253-0700

• March 4: Driven By Community, 5-7 p.m., a multi-chamber event at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield with the Amherst Area Chamber, East of the River Chamber, Greater Northampton Chamber, West of the River Chamber, Hampshire County Young Professionals, and Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield. Sample food, drink, and learn something about area nonprofits. Meet someone new and learn more about businesses in your community. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

• March 11: March After 5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Pulse Café, Hadley. Our monthly networking event with a focus on healthy living and eating. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

• April 2: Margarita Madness, 5-7:30 p.m., hosted by Insterskate 91 at Hampshire Mall. Presented by Steve Lewis Subaru. Mix, mingle, and network at our largest signature event of the year. Enjoy an evening of tasty margaritas and vote for your favorite. Local restaurants will showcase their fare, and dozens of raffles prizes will be donated by Amherst Area Chamber members. Cost: $35 pre-registered, $45 at the door.

• April 15: April After 5, 5-7 p.m., sponsored by Paciorek Electric at its DiamondBack Properties, LLC Building, 65D Elm St., Hatfield, with food and drink catered by Grill N’ Chill. Enjoy this night of networking with people from across the Valley. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

 

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• Feb. 20: Books & Joe with Moe, 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. This will be the second in a series of four meetings. Join like-minded individuals for an intellectual discussion sparked by reading books. Sponsored by Richard’s Fuel & Heating Co. and Freedom Credit Union. Cost: $99 per person for the entire series. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served. Participants are required to obtain their own copy of the book explored. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Feb. 25: Networking by Night, 4-6 p.m., hosted by Packard’s, 14 Masonic St., Northampton. We will enjoy a fun-filled evening of building friendships and business relationships, along with food, a cash bar, and networking. Cost: free for members, $25 for future members. Pre-registration is required and closes on Feb. 15. There will be no at-the-door registrations. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1: Her Place at the Table, 7:45-9 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. A five-part series designed to help women increase confidence and build leadership skills to be wildly successful and take their place at the table. Cost for all five sessions: $99 per person for members, $129 for future members. Pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 13: St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, noon to 2 p.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. Join us as we salute Greater Easthampton St. Patrick’s Day Committee award winners and enjoy a traditional corned-beef lunch. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for future members. Pre-registration is required; there will be no registrations at the door. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 19: Books & Joe with Moe, 8:30 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. The second meeting of the Chamber Book Club. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• March 24: Speed Networking Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Summit View Banquet House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. We are partnering with the Springfield Regional Chamber for another fun-filled networking event. Kick-start your day and join us for breakfast. Cost: $20 for members, $30 for walk-ins. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.explorenorthampton.com

(413) 584-1900

• Feb. 25: Nonprofit Resource Roundtable, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Come together with nonprofit professionals for a monthly conversation facilitated by Kristin Elechko of Cascade Consulting. Cost: free. RSVP at www.northamptonchamber.com/chamber-events/workshops.

• March 4: March Arrive @5: Multi Chamber Networking Event, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, 295 Burnett Road, Chicopee. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register at northampton.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-arrive-5-march-4-3807.

• April 1: April [email protected] netWORK, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Smith Vocational School, 80 Locust St., Northampton. Our netWORK [email protected] series will feature a nonprofit in the Greater Northampton Community and invite guests to participate in a project to benefit that organization. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register at northampton.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-arrive-5-network-april-1-3808.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

• March 2: Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Tighe & Bond, 53 Southampton Road, Westfield. Join us for coffee with Westfield Mayor Donald Humason. The event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested so we may give our host a proper head count. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• March 13: St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Westfield State University, Scanlon Hall, 577 Western Ave., Westfield. Platinum sponsor: Westfield State University; coffee bar sponsor: Westfield Starfires; in-kind sponsor: Flowers by Webster. Join us for our annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast as we honor our 2020 Sons of Erin Colleen and her court, Irishwoman of the Year, Irishman of the Year, and Parade Marshal. Guest speaker is Associate Justice Edward McDonough Jr. of the Massachusetts Appeal Court. Cost: $28 for members, $43 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events or contact the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Feb. 20: Third annual Fire & Ice Craft Cocktail Competition, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Cost: $50 for members in advance ($60 at the door), $60 general admission in advance ($70 at the door).

• Feb. 27: Leadership Institute professional development program kickoff, 1-4:30 p.m., hosted by TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield.

• March 6: Outlook 2020 hosted by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. Cost: $60 for members in advance, $80 general admission. Tables of 10 available. Reservation deadline: Feb. 26. No walk-ins will be accepted.

• March 24: Multi-chamber Speed Networking in partnership with the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Summit View Meeting House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. Cost: $20 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $30 general admission in advance ($40 at the door).

• April 7: Mayors Forum featuring Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, and others, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by the Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road, Holyoke. Cost: $30 for members in advance ($35 at the door), $40 general admission ($45 at the door).

• April 29: Beacon Hill Summit, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A day at the State House in Boston, hosted by state Sen. James Welch and state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez. An opportunity to spend a day with members of the Baker-Polito administration. Includes lunch and reception. Cost: $180 for members, $225 general admission.

To register for any chamber event, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com

(413) 426-3880

• Feb. 27: Co-chamber Lunch ‘n’ Learn Seminar: “The State of Small Business in Western Mass.,” 12-1:30 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, West Springfield. Enjoy lunch while learning about changes in small-business laws, minimum wage, PFML, and ways to overcome business challenges in Western Mass. Join us and ERC5 as we learn all there is to know. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com. For more information, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or [email protected]

• March 4: Driven by Community, a multi-chamber networking event, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mercedes-Benz of Springfield in Chicopee. Join us as we network with some of the region’s chambers and organizations. Fun, food, and friends. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• March 19: Mayoral Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern & Carriage House, West Springfield. Presenting Sponsor: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Join us for an informative discussion with our mayors, who will update guests on all that is going on in our towns individually and collaboratively. To register or sponsor, visit www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• April 16: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Riverdale Street, West Springfield. Enjoy a sit-down lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief intro and company overview. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. Cost: free for members (plus lunch), $10 for non-members (plus lunch). Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately that day. Please note, we cannot invoice you for these events. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD

springfieldyps.com

• Feb. 20: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by BarKaya! Enjoy complimentary, handcrafted appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• March 19: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Trinity Pub at the Irish Cultural Center. Enjoy complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, and live Irish music. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• April 16: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Towne Taproom. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• May 2: Fourth annual YPS Adult Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon, hosted by Extra Innings and Train for Life of Chicopee. This throwback to elementary school is built with adults in mind for a team-building competition. Register at www.runreg.com/ypsfieldday. Registration includes participation in activities, after party and lunch from 350 Grill, T-shirt, DJ, prizes, refreshments, and more. Early-bird pricing and sponsorships are available.

Company Notebook

Normandeau Technologies Inc. Can Help Companies Comply Kari’s Law

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Is your business telephone system compliant with Kari’s Law, which went into effect on Feb. 16? Normandeau Technologies Inc. (NTI) can help businesses determine compliance with the law. To reach NTI, call (413) 584-3131. Kari’s Law requires telephone systems to provide direct dial and routing to 911 with no prefixes or other button press, as well as on-site notification of a 911 call being made, with a ‘dispatchable location’ conveyed (for example, which floor and room of an office building a worker is on or which classroom a student is calling from). In addition to facing potentially devastating civil liabilities should a tragedy occur, businesses that fail to comply with the law risk fines, and may be subject to additional penalties for each day they remain non-compliant. With Kari’s Law now included within the amended Communications Act, the Federal Communications Commission has the power to enforce the rules, assign judgments, and collect penalties. Kari’s Law is named after Kari Hunt, who was tragically murdered in her hotel room in 2013 after multiple failed attempts by her daughter to dial 911. Medical examiners agree that, had her daughter been able to reach emergency services, Hunt would have survived the attack. The law is designed to ensure that anyone, anywhere can reach emergency services and that critical location data is provided with that call.

Springfield Museums Seeking Ubora, Ahadi Nominations

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums is seeking nominations for the 29th annual Ubora Award and the 11th annual Ahadi Youth Award. These prestigious awards — conferred by the African Hall subcommittee — are awarded to African-American people from Greater Springfield who have gone above and beyond in demonstrating commitment to fields of community service, education, science, humanities, and/or the arts. The nomination deadline for both awards is March 31. True to the Swahili word that comprises its name, the Ubora Award recognizes an adult of African heritage who exemplifies excellence in their commitment to creating a better community through service. Named for the Swahili word for promise, the Ahadi Youth Award is presented to a young African-American who excels in academics and performs admirable service to the Greater Springfield community. Eligible candidates must be age 19 or younger, live in or have strong ties to the Greater Springfield area, and be currently enrolled in grades 10, 11, or 12. A full list of past awardees can be found on the Springfield Museums website. The Ubora and Ahadi awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Springfield Museums in September. Nomination forms can be downloaded by visiting springfieldmuseums.org/ubora. Nominations may be e-mailed to [email protected] or mailed to African Hall Subcommittee, c/o Valerie Cavagni, Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield, MA 01103.

United Personnel Wins Best of Staffing Designation

SPRINGFIELD — United Personnel, a leading Springfield-based staffing firm serving Massachusetts and Connecticut, has won ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing Client and Talent Award for the third consecutive year. According to ClearlyRated, this industry award recognizes staffing firms that have demonstrated exceptional service quality based exclusively on ratings provided by their clients and placed talent. The Best of Staffing designation serves as a credible point of differentiation for a firm’s commitment to service excellence, providing prospective clients and job seekers with qualitative data critical to vetting staffing and recruiting agencies. United Personnel is based in Springfield with additional offices in Northampton and Chelmsford, as well as New Haven and Hartford, Conn. The agency manages temporary, contract, and direct-hire placements in professional, administrative, information-technology, and light-industrial roles. Focused on placing highly qualified candidates with their clients, United Personnel received satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 from a significant number of both clients and candidates placed in jobs, resulting in the Best of Staffing Client and Candidate recognition. These two awards are distinctions that fewer than 2% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada have earned.

Eversource Customers Benefit from Increase in Reliability

BOSTON — Eversource’s commitment to enhancing system reliability is significantly reducing the number of power interruptions that customers experience, with outages in the Commonwealth down by nearly 17% in 2019 compared to 2018, the company reports. This improvement stems from the energy company’s investments in strengthening and modernizing its electric system, including a program to install more than 1,000 smart fuses to the system throughout the Commonwealth. These smart fuses can automatically restore power to customers when a tree limb temporarily contacts wires and help to protect the electric system when a problem is detected, such as a current surge or overload. Eversource has invested more than $2.5 million to install more than 350 smart fuses on its electric system throughout Massachusetts since 2018. The energy company plans to expand the program in 2020 by installing more than 300 devices on the system throughout the state. In addition to its smart-fuse program, Eversource will continue to install smart switches, devices that enable system operators to remotely reroute power to customers in minutes. The energy company has installed more than 1,100 smart switches over the last five years and continues to replace utility poles with more durable structures, install hundreds of miles of covered wire, and conduct robust tree-trimming programs to ensure the reliable delivery of energy to customers. Eversource customers across New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut all experienced a significant improvement in reliability in 2019. January through December of this year represented the system’s strongest reliability performance across Eversource’s entire service territory since 2013.

Bay Path University Programs Rank Highly on Intelligent.com

LONGMEADOW — Intelligent.com has recognized eight Bay Path University degree programs as some of the best online degree programs available in multiple areas of study. The website is a free, privately supported online platform that’s editorially independent and claims to provide unbiased, accurate, and fact-based information on a wide range of issues surrounding education. According to the website, programs were evaluated on reputation, course strength, cost, faculty, and flexibility. In addition to their numerical rankings, Bay Path’s master of science in accounting and bachelor of science in health services administration degree programs were recognized as “Best Student Resources” in their respective categories, while its bachelor of arts in psychology – counseling foundations and master of science in nonprofit management and philanthropy programs were recognized as the “Best in the Northeast” out of all degree programs assessed in their respective fields. Bay Path’s master of science in leadership and negotiation program was awarded “Best Job Placement Rate” out of the 147 colleges and universities assessed. Other programs awarded include the master of science in applied behavior analysis, the master of science in higher education administration, and the master of fine arts in creative nonfiction, which ranked in the top 8% of creative-writing graduate programs reviewed.

STCC Kicks Off Fundraising Effort

SPRINGFIELD — In celebration of the leap year, the Springfield Technical Community College Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign called “Leap Forward” to support students. The foundation is asking alumni, parents, the community, and friends of the college to make a gift of $29 in the month of February. The contribution will go directly to support the students currently enrolled at STCC. To donate, visit stcc.edu/leap and click on ‘give now.’ The website gives donors the choice to donate in $29 increments, and each $29 represents support for one student. Donors also can enter any amount in an ‘other’ box. In addition, donors can use a drop-down menu to designate their gift for a specific category (where the need is greatest, general scholarship fund, Society of Women Engineers, Hispanic Assoc. in Higher Education, Arts at STCC, STCC athletics, or a named scholarship fund). STCC graduates said financial support from donors made a meaningful difference and were excited to hear about the “Leap Forward” campaign. For questions about the campaign or the STCC Foundation, contact Galanis at (413) 755-4529 or [email protected]

Wilbraham & Monson Academy Cuts Day Tuition by 20%

WILBRAHAM — Wilbraham & Monson Academy (WMA) announced a 20% cut in its day student tuition rate for the 2020-21 academic year. The tuition for Upper School day students will decrease from $42,500 to $34,000. The tuition reset, recently approved by the board of trustees, was made in part because WMA recognized the growing cost of private secondary education, which has outpaced growth in regional household median income. In turn, this has created uncertainty for local families about the attainability of an independent school education. The reset is paired with a new five-day boarding option, two recent $10 million bequests to the endowment, a $6 million library set to open this spring, and a new, 4,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art STEM Lab that will be ready for use in September.

MGM Springfield to Welcome Casual Italian Restaurant Costa

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield will welcome Costa, a classic Italian restaurant serving housemade charcuterie, pizzas, pastas, salads, desserts, and more, to the resort’s food and beverage portfolio on Friday, Feb. 28. This will be Costa’s third outpost, having debuted as Osteria Costa at the Mirage Las Vegas and MGM National Harbor in 2018. Costa at MGM Springfield will be located in the Cal Mare space, which will close on Monday, Feb. 24. For reservations, visit Open Table or call (413) 273-5430.

Agenda

40 Under Forty Nominations

Through Feb. 14: BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 14. Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be detailed in nature, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed HERE. Nominations will be weighed by a panel of judges. The selected individuals will be profiled in the April 27 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The event’s presenting sponsor is PeoplesBank, WWLP-22News is the media sponsor, and the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield is a partner. Other sponsorship opportunities are available.

Elms College Art Exhibit

Feb. 4 to March 2: The Borgia Gallery at Elms College of Our Lady of the Elms will present an exhibition of artwork by Andrae and Priya Nadkarni Green, married painters from Springfield. “Ambidextrous” will be on display in the gallery from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except college holidays and school closures. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from noon to 1 p.m. Andrae and Priya have been married for the better part of the last decade. Although they work separately in their respective styles, they find inspiration in similar experiences and concepts. The couple recently began working together through public art projects, teaching together, as well as challenging each other to ‘paint battles’ where they both paint the same image in their own styles. This exhibition celebrates the spirit of competition, camaraderie, and partnership. Each time the show travels, the work changes, and it is a chance to see their works in conversation with each other — to observe the similarities, differences, and the overall effect of the two bodies of work in harmony. Admission to the Borgia Gallery is free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Dooley College Center on the Elms College campus at 291 Springfield St. in Chicopee.

Black History Month Event at Bay Path

Feb. 5: Vocalist, strategist, and speaker Traciana Graves believes people have the ability to change the world with the power of their voice, and she’ll bring that inspirational message to Bay Path University as the keynote speaker for its Black History Month celebration. Having presented to more than 300 Fortune 500 companies and colleges, including Forbes, JPMorgan, American Express, and the WNBA, Graves strives to make the potentially uncomfortable conversation about diversity and inclusion safe, engaging, and effective. Voted one of America’s Most Fearless Women by the Huffington Post, Graves’ will bring her unique perspective to Bay Path with a discussion focusing on hopes, dreams, and social justice. The talk will begin at 7 p.m., with a reception to follow. This free event is open to the community and will be held on the Bay Path Longmeadow campus at Mills Theatre in Carr Hall, 588 Longmeadow St. For more information and to register, visit tracianagraves.eventbrite.com.

Rotary Club of Enfield Wine and Beer Tasting

Feb. 6: The Rotary Club of Enfield announced that local musician Brian Jarvis will perform at the club’s wine- and beer-tasting event from 6 to 8 p.m. in Asnuntuck Community College’s Conference Center. The evening includes live music, appetizers and desserts, beer and wine tastings, and a silent auction. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased by contacting Julie Cotnoir at (860) 745-3350 or Caroline Salazar at (619) 997-0548.

Sweetheart Dance to Benefit Harmony House

Feb. 15: Harmony House of Western Massachusetts will be the beneficiary of the upcoming Sweetheart Dance sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) and the Knights of Columbus (K of C) Council 4044 of Chicopee, to be held at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. The event begins at 5 p.m. with cocktails, and dinner will be served at 6 p.m., followed by dancing, fun, and raffle prizes. The cost is $40 per person or $75 per couple, and included will be dinner, dessert, and music by DJ Stephan. Dress is casual — Valentine’s Day attire is optional — and seating is open. Proceeds from this event will benefit Harmony House of Western Massachusetts, a home for the terminally ill, along with the Thanksgiving Dinner produced annually by the Knights of Columbus, Council 4044. Tickets are available at the K of C member lounge on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 7:30 p.m., or by calling Steve Dubreuil of the K of C at (413) 250-1677, Libby Martel of Pioneer Valley HOG at (413) 530-1389, or Amy Corcoran of Harmony House at (954) 495-3236.

Children’s Safety Program

Feb. 15, 22: Holyoke Community College (HCC) is running a two-day program designed to teach children how to protect themselves from violence and harm in their daily lives. The program, called radKIDS, is for children 6 to 12 years old and will run over two consecutive Saturdays at HCC’s Bartley Center for Athletics and Recreation. The sessions will be led by Kellie Cournoyer-Cronk and Maggie Brown, two area law-enforcement veterans and trainers certified by the radKIDS national nonprofit network. According to its website, radKIDS is a “fun, activity-based program” whose curriculum includes home, school, and vehicle safety; bullying prevention; abduction defense; and personal space/personal touch safety with a goal of “replacing fear with knowledge, skills, and power by enhancing a child’s critical-thinking abilities and physical-resistance skills.” The $75 program fee includes snacks, water, and a T-shirt. To register, visit hcc.edu/bce and search for ‘radKIDS’ or call HCC Community Services at (413) 552-2123.

Real-estate Licensing Course

Feb. 19 to March 19: The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley will sponsor a 40-hour, 14-class sales licensing course to help individuals prepare for the Massachusetts real-estate salesperson license exam. The course will be completed on March 19. Tuition is $400 and includes the book and materials. For an application, call the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley at (413) 785-1328 or visit www.rapv.com.

Legal Interpreting Certificate Program

Starting Feb. 25: Interested in working as a legal interpreter? Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will a training course that runs through April, with classes meeting Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Offered as a certificate program through the Workforce Development Center at STCC, this class is open to Spanish-, Portuguese-, Arabic-, and Russian-speaking students who would like to expand their interpreting skills in legal settings. Interpreting is a high-demand field, with jobs expected to grow by 19% through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the U.S. will drive growth, the bureau reports. The course will cover the most in-demand types of hearings, such as due-process hearings, unemployment hearings, and depositions. Students will learn legal terminology and procedural protocols needed to interpret for these various types of hearings. In addition, students will have the opportunity for intense practice through mock hearings, which will give them the experience and comfort level needed to apply for work in the field. Trained legal interpreters are in demand throughout Massachusetts and nationwide in law offices, schools, state agencies, and contracting agencies. For more information and to enroll online, visit stcc.edu/wdc/descriptions/legal-interpreting. To contact the Workforce Development Center office, call (413) 755-4225.

Difference Makers Gala

March 19: The 11th annual Difference Makers gala will take place at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. BusinessWest launched its Difference Makers program in 2009 to celebrate individuals, groups, organizations, and families that are positively impacting the Pioneer Valley and are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. The class of 2020 is profiled in this issue of BusinessWest. Tickets cost $75. To reserve a spot, e-mail [email protected] or visit businesswest.com. Difference Makers is sponsored by Burkhart Pizzanelli, Royal, P.C., and TommyCar Auto Group, while the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournement, MHA, and United Way of Pioneer Valley are partners. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Suzy Batiz, who will deliver the morning address to open the conference, earned a place on Forbes’ list of most successful self-made women — and an estimated net worth of $260 million — by creating of a suite of eco-minded household products, including Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray she developed to combat bathroom odors. Patrice Banks (no relation to Tyra) will address the audience at lunchtime. She is the owner of the Girls Auto Clinic and Clutch Beauty Bar, an auto mechanic shop and beauty bar staffed by women. She is also the founder of the SheCANics movement, which looks to demystify car repair and engage more women in the automotive industry. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Chamber Corners

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.amherstarea.com

(413) 253-0700

• Feb. 6: Amherst Pitch Night with Valley Venture Mentors, 5-7 p.m., hosted by AmherstWorks. A collaboration with Valley Venture Mentors, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, Hampshire College, the Amherst Economic Development Department, and AmherstWorks, the Amherst Pitch Night will be an opportunity to network, meet new and upcoming businesses, and possibly win some cash prizes. Cost: $5 and optional donation to best pitch prize pool. For more information and to register, visit amherstarea.com.

• Feb. 12: Going Green & Saving Green Luncheon, 12-2 p.m., hosted by Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Panel discussion and lunch featuring local experts in sustainability sharing strategies to implement sustainable practices that will save organizations dollars and help save the planet at the same time. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit amherstarea.com.

BRADLEY REGIONAL CHAMBER

bradleyregionalchamber.org

(860) 653-3833

• Feb. 11: TVCA Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Luppoleto Brewing Co., 20 Main St., Windsor Locks. Networking with six chambers, beer or soda drink ticket, appetizers, raffle prizes, and cash bar. Spotlight your business with a sponsorship. Cost: free for members, $20 for non-members.

 

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.easthamptonchamber.org

(413) 527-9414

• Feb. 13: In the Know, 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by the Inn on Boltwood, 30 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. Continuing the popular series begun last year, In the Know will feature panelists Jeff Bujak, Prodigy; Michelle Zimora, Z Wraps; and Dan LiBissionnault, Dan’s Power Plant, Fauxmaggio Cheese. They will share what keeps them up at night, how they deal with those issues, and how they handle their surprisingly quick success. A light breakfast and coffee will be served. Cost: $15 for members, $30 for future members. Pre-registration is required; there will be no at-the-door registration. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Feb. 20: Books & Joe with Moe, 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. This will be the second in a series of four meetings. Join like-minded individuals for an intellectual discussion sparked by reading books. Sponsored by Richard’s Fuel & Heating Co. and Freedom Credit Union. Cost: $99 per person for the entire series. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served. Participants are required to obtain their own copy of the book explored. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Feb. 25: Networking by Night, 4-6 p.m., hosted by Packard’s, 14 Masonic St., Northampton. We will enjoy a fun-filled evening of building friendships and business relationships, along with food, a cash bar, and networking. Cost: free for members, $25 for future members. Pre-registration is required and closes on Feb. 15. There will be no at-the-door registrations. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

 

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.explorenorthampton.com

(413) 584-1900

• Feb. 5: [email protected], 5-7 p.m., hosted by Artifact Cider Project. Monthly networking and connection presented by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Come when you can, stay as long as you can. Featuring libations and flatbreads from Artifact Cider Project in its new taproom in Florence. Cost: $10 for members, $14 for non-members. RSVP at www.northamptonchamber.com/chamber-events/arrive5.

• Feb. 25: Nonprofit Resource Roundtable, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Come together with nonprofit professionals for a monthly conversation facilitated by Kristin Elechko of Cascade Consulting. Cost: free. RSVP at www.northamptonchamber.com/chamber-events/workshops.

 

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org

(413) 568-1618

• Feb. 10: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by the Pottery Cellar, the Mill at Crane Pond, 77 Mill St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Chamber members and non-members are free. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• March 2: Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Tighe & Bond, 53 Southampton Road, Westfield. Join us for coffee with Westfield Mayor Donald Humason. The event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested so we may give our host a proper head count. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

March 13: St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Westfield State University, Scanlon Hall, 577 Western Ave., Westfield. Platinum sponsor: Westfield State University; coffee bar sponsor: Westfield Starfires; in-kind sponsor: Flowers by Webster. Join us for our annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast as we honor our 2020 Sons of Erin Colleen and her court, Irishwoman of the Year, Irishman of the Year, and Parade Marshal. Guest speaker is Associate Justice Edward McDonough Jr. of the Massachusetts Appeal Court. Cost: $28 for members, $43 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events or contact the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

 

PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Feb. 10: PWC Headline Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Featuring Karla Medina, retired Hartford police sergeant and owner and founder of Sudor Taino Fitness. Cost: $35 for PWC members, $40 general admission, $25 for students. To make a reservation, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

 

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Feb. 5: “The 2020 Elections: Fasten Your Seatbelts — From Massachusetts to the Beltway, It’s All on the Line” Rise & Shine Business Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. Featuring political consultant Tony Cignoli. Cost: $25 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $35 general admission in advance ($40 at the door).

• Feb. 20: Third annual Fire & Ice Craft Cocktail Competition, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Cost: $50 for members in advance ($60 at the door), $60 general admission in advance ($70 at the door).

• Feb. 27: Leadership Institute professional development program kickoff, 1-4:30 p.m., hosted by TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield.

• March 6: Outlook 2020 hosted by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. Cost: $60 for members in advance, $80 general admission. Tables of 10 available. Reservation deadline: Feb. 26. No walk-ins will be accepted.

• March 24: Multi-chamber Speed Networking in partnership with the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Summit View Meeting House, 555 Northampton St., Holyoke. Cost: $20 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $30 general admission in advance ($40 at the door).

To register for any Springfield Regional Chamber event, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

 

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com

(413) 426-3880

• Feb. 5: Wicked Wednesday, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, West Springfield. Wicked Wednesdays are monthly social events, hosted by various businesses and restaurants, that bring members and non-members together to network in a laid-back atmosphere. For more information about this event, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880, or register at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• Feb. 27: Co-chamber Lunch ‘n’ Learn Seminar: “The State of Small Business in Western Mass.,” 12-1:30 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, West Springfield. Enjoy lunch while learning about changes in small-business laws, minimum wage, PFML, and ways to overcome business challenges in Western Mass. Join us and ERC5 as we learn all there is to know. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com. For more information, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or [email protected]

• March 19: Mayoral Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern & Carriage House, West Springfield. Presenting Sponsor: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Join us for an informative discussion with our mayors, who will update guests on all that is going on in our towns individually and collaboratively. To register or sponsor, visit www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

 

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD

springfieldyps.com

• Feb. 20: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by BarKaya! Enjoy complimentary, handcrafted appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• March 19: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Trinity Pub at the Irish Cultural Center. Enjoy complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, and live Irish music. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• April 16: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Towne Taproom. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

• May 2: Fourth annual YPS Adult Field Day, 9 a.m. to noon, hosted by Extra Innings and Train for Life of Chicopee. This throwback to elementary school is built with adults in mind for a team-building competition. Register at www.runreg.com/ypsfieldday. Registration includes participation in activities, after party and lunch from 350 Grill, T-shirt, DJ, prizes, refreshments, and more. Early-bird pricing and sponsorships are available.

Company Notebook

Red Sox Winter Weekend, Hoophall Classic Inject $7 Million into Economy

SPRINGFIELD — More than 10,000 people attended Red Sox Winter Weekend and the Hoophall Classic in Greater Springfield in January, and their economic impact on the region was significant, according to the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB), which calculated that approximately $7 million was injected into the local economy as a result of these events. Economic impact is calculated using a tourism-industry tool, inputting spending figures in categories like the number of attendees, room nights sold, venue rental, and the cost of food and beverages during the period. Visitor rooms were booked in downtown Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, and West Springfield. Red Sox Winter Weekend occupied space at the MassMutual Center and MGM Springfield, while the Hoophall Classic was held on the grounds of nearby Springfield College.

PeoplesBank Gives $75,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank presented $75,000 to Girls Inc. toward a $5 million comprehensive campaign with three primary goals: to build a permanent home in downtown Holyoke; expand school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and extend the Eureka! STEM education program. As a result of the campaign, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls each year with intensive, research-based programming designed to empower girls and provide opportunities to succeed in school and beyond. This partnership will help Girls Inc. of the Valley to expand its program offerings and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve, and contributes to the bank’s goals of community vibrancy and academic excellence. The need for qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals in the workforce continues to grow, and women — particularly women of color — continue to be underrepresented in these fields. Girls Inc. of the Valley programs like Eureka! expose girls to the STEM fields and support them with mentors and guidance, specialized curricula, internships, and other hands-on opportunities to nurture their curiosity and interests. The “Her Future, Our Future” comprehensive campaign is designed to significantly move the needle on breaking the cycle of poverty and providing tangible opportunities for Pioneer Valley girls to achieve academic and personal success.

New England Business Associates Launches Learn to Earn Initiative

SPRINGFIELD — New England Business Associates (NEBA), a supported employment provider in Massachusetts and Connecticut, is celebrating the launch of its Learn to Earn initiative, thanks to a Kessler Foundation Signature Employment Grant that will fund the project for two years. The initiative, intended to introduce, train, and place four cohorts of employment candidates with disabilities to entry-level manufacturing positions, is the brainchild of NEBA CEO Jeannine Pavlak. The need for qualified employees to fill positions in the manufacturing industry is becoming critical; in many areas of the U.S., upwards of 35% of current manufacturing jobs will become vacant due to retirement by 2022. Pavlak, who is recognized nationally as a subject matter expert in disability employment, sees this as an opportunity. Manufacturing is not currently viewed as a typical pathway to gainful employment for people with disabilities, but there’s no reason it can’t become one. Learn to Earn will give identified candidates the initial training and skills needed to succeed in a manufacturing environment. Over the next two years, 48 candidates with disabilities and barriers to employment will be identified and receive Level 1 and 2 MACWIC manufacturing training and OSHA training, in partnership with MassMEP in Massachusetts and ConnStep in Connecticut. Candidates will also receive NEBA’s customized career-ladders training, designed to cater to individual needs in building employment skills. The goal of Learn to Earn is to place candidates in manufacturing positions that will allow them to earn a sustainable income, eliminate the need for public assistance, and foster growth and future promotions in the field. After placement, employees and employers will be given access to Tooling U-SME, a customized online platform with more than 800 manufacturing courses, allowing employers to identify and customize specific trainings for Learn to Earn employees. Those interested in learning more about the Learn to Earn initiative may e-mail inquiries to [email protected] or call NEBA at (413) 821-9200.

UMass Online Programs Highly Ranked Nationally

BOSTON — Online programs at UMass received high marks again in this year’s Best Online Programs rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Two UMass programs ranked within the top 30 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs category, with UMass Amherst ranking 23rd and UMass Lowell 29th. Amherst and Lowell were also the top two online bachelor’s programs in New England for the second consecutive year. In the same category, UMass Dartmouth ranked 113th, rising 10 spots over last year’s rankings, and UMass Boston ranked 93rd. UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell were also highly ranked in the new Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans category, coming in at 18th and 22nd in the nation, respectively. Three UMass online MBA programs rank in the top 100 nationally, with UMass Lowell placing 22nd, UMass Amherst 28th, and UMass Dartmouth 95th. In the Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans category, the same campuses perform even better, with UMass Lowell ranking 16th, UMass Amherst 22nd, and UMass Dartmouth ranking 53rd. Online programs at UMass have been steadily growing in recent years, with total revenues reaching a record-high $116 million in fiscal year 2019.

Monson Savings Bank Seeks Scholarship Applications

MONSON — The 2020 Monson Savings Bank scholarship application is now available to graduating high-school seniors residing in Hampden and Wilbraham. Applications are available at 15 Somers Road, Hampden, and 100 Post Office Park, Wilbraham. The purpose of the Monson Savings Bank scholarship is to promote the attainment of higher education for graduating seniors who reside within the bank’s footprint. Three $2,000 scholarships will awarded to graduating seniors who reside in Hampden or Wilbraham. Graduating seniors must be planning to attend an accredited college, technical school, or certification program. Scholarship awards will be based on the applicant’s financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities during and after school, work experience, and music, arts, and sports programs. A candidate for this scholarship should also demonstrate a commitment to his or her community, and include an essay outlining that service and its impact. The deadline for application acceptance is April 6. The completed application and required supporting documents will be accepted by mail or electronically. Any questions should be directed to Donna Easton-Vicalvi at (413) 725-4560 or [email protected]

Five College Consortium Wins $2.5M Grant for Native and Indigenous Studies

AMHERST — Five Colleges Inc. has been awarded a $2.5 million, four-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help its member campuses transform how they approach Native American and indigenous studies (NAIS), with the goal of enhancing teaching, learning, and scholarship in the field. The grant is one of the largest made by foundation to the consortium to date, and is also one of the consortium’s largest grant awards from any funder in its 50-year history. The Five College campuses — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst — are located in the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley, which has historically been a crossroads of indigenous nations. Today it remains a central gathering place for NAIS scholars as well as for Native American and indigenous leaders, artists, writers, and activists. Called “Gathering at the Crossroads: Building Native American and Indigenous Studies at the Five College Consortium,” the effort will allow the campuses to develop and establish a set of new academic pathways for students interested in Native American and indigenous Studies — supported by new faculty, new courses, and new course modules — as well as create new advising structures to guide students through these academic options. The grant includes funding to bring a variety of scholars and indigenous experts to the campuses to collaborate in this work.

Land O’Lakes Taps Northstar Recycling for Innovative Sustainability Solutions

EAST LONGMEADOW — Like many major companies, Land O’Lakes has become increasingly committed to sustainability initiatives in recent years. For example, Purina Animal Nutrition, a Land O’Lakes subsidiary, recently set out to develop a cost-effective recycling solution for used Purina feed tubs, a difficult and logistically complex objective. Land O’Lakes called on Northstar Recycling, its recycling partner for all of the U.S. and Canada, to handle this challenge. Purina feed tubs present recycling issues because, by necessity, they need to be constructed of heavy, durable material — often rigid vplastics — to stand up to rough shipping conditions, inclement weather, and, of course, hungry animals. Another challenge was creating a process for collecting the used tubs from farmers across the country. After analyzing the plastics market and consulting with longstanding plastic-recycling partners, Northstar determined that plastic lumber manufacturers would have the greatest demand for the used Purina feed tubs. Northstar then selected the optimal partner and worked with Purina on the logistics of this pilot program to ensure smooth implementation. Additionally, working with a plastic lumber producer gave Purina the opportunity to create a unique and innovative customer experience and launch Project Re-Coop. Through this initiative, the plastic lumber made from recycled Purina feed tubs is used to construct floating chicken coops that protect chickens against flooding — a timely project, as Hurricane Florence alone killed an estimated 3.4 million chickens.

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]


 

Coats of Arms

Employees at Smith & Wesson collected gently used coats during a recent on-site coat drive, and will distribute them to people in need Western Mass., with the help of the United Way of Pioneer Valley. “Our employees are continually looking for ways to give back to our community,” said Lane Tobiassen, president of Firearms at Smith & Wesson. “Knowing these new and gently used coats will be distributed locally makes this event even more special.”


Another Term Begins

Domenic Sarno, the 54th and longest-serving mayor of Springfield, was inaugurated for the fifth time on Jan. 6 at Springfield Symphony Hall. Denise Jordan, executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority, served as the mistress of ceremonies.


The Youngest Fans

Mercy Medical Center and the Springfield Thunderbirds announced a partnership to gift babies born at Mercy’s Family Life Center with a Mercy/Thunderbirds branded onesie. Every year, the Family Life Center welcomes more than 1,000 babies into the world. In their admission packets, parents will be given the onesie, along with instructions on how to enter a monthly drawing. A winner will be chosen each month to win a Boomer’s Kids Club membership, a plush Boomer, and four tickets to a Thunderbirds game. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide each newborn a special gift to welcome them to this world along with Mercy,” said Nathan Costa, president of the T-birds. “It’s never too early to start loving hockey.”


Workplace Pledge

Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that the bank recently donated $61,000 to the United Way of Hampshire County. The bank directly pledged $25,000, while the bank’s employees contributed another $36,000 of their own funds in support of the United Way’s workplace campaign.  That campaign provides employees with the opportunity to donate and direct funds, volunteer time, and advocate for causes that are most important to them.


Toast to the Season

The Hampden County Bar Assoc. (HCBA) recently held its annual Toast to the Season at the Sheraton in Springfield. Members were asked to bring a toy for Toys for Tots.

HCBA President-elect Thomas Wilson, Esq.; HCBA Executive Director Noreen Nardi, Esq.; and HCBA President Kathleen Cavanaugh, Esq.

 

Judge Barbara Hyland, Hampden County Probate & Family Court; and Judge William Hadley, Holyoke District Court.

 

Assistant Clerk Magistrate Michael Wallace, Holyoke District Court; Clerk Magistrate Nathan Byrnes, Westfield District Court; and Charles Casartello Jr., Esq.

 

 

 


 

Chamber Corners

AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.amherstarea.com

(413) 253-0700

• Jan. 22: Annual Member Meeting & Luncheon, 12-2 p.m., hosted by the Red Barn at Hampshire College. Executive Director Claudia Pazmany will present our 2019 impact statement and unveil our 2020 vision for the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. We will salute outgoing board members and ambassadors and welcome new ones. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit amherstarea.com.

• Jan. 31: Hadley Dental Care Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening, 5-7 p.m. Learn all about the state-of-the-art technology and client-centric care offered by Dr. Tapan Pujara and Dr. Chaitalee Ganatra and celebrate the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Hadley Dental Care with an after-party, including a champagne toast, next door at the Taproom. Free and open to the public. For learn more and to register, visit amherstarea.com.

• Feb. 6: Amherst Pitch Night with Valley Venture Mentors, 5-7 p.m., hosted by AmherstWorks. A collaboration with Valley Venture Mentors, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, Hampshire College, the Amherst Economic Development Department, and AmherstWorks, this will be an opportunity to network, meet new and upcoming businesses, and possibly win some cash prizes. Cost: $5 and optional donation to best pitch prize pool. For more information and to register, visit amherstarea.com.

• Feb. 12: Going Green & Saving Green Luncheon, 12-2 p.m., hosted by Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Panel discussion and lunch featuring local experts in sustainability sharing strategies to implement sustainable practices that will save organizations dollars and protect the planet. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit amherstarea.com.

BRADLEY REGIONAL CHAMBER

bradleyregionalchamber.org

(860) 653-3833

• Jan. 29: Legislative Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 a.m., hosted by Doubletree by Hilton Hartford-Bradley Airport, 16 Ella Grasso Turnpike, Windsor Locks. State representatives and senators will hear what’s on your mind regarding regional business issues. Cost: free for members, $10 for non-members.

• Feb. 11: TVCA Business After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Luppoleto Brewing Co., 20 Main St., Windsor Locks. Networking with six chambers, beer or soda drink ticket, appetizers, raffle prizes, and cash bar. Spotlight your business with a sponsorship. Cost: free for members, $20 for non-members.

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.easthamptonchamber.org

(413) 527-9414

• Jan. 30: Celebrate Success, 5-8 p.m., hosted by Northampton Country Club, 135 Main St., Leeds. Join us as we celebrate the past year, what we’ve learned, and where we are headed. We will honor Liz Paquette, Businessperson of the Year; Glendale Ridge Vineyard, Business of the Year; Casey Douglas, Community Service Person of the Year; and Chris Gallivan, Ambassador of the Year. Cost: $45 per person. Pre-registration and dinner selection are required, and space is limited. There will be no at-the-door registration. Deadline for refunds is Jan. 25. Unpaid no-shows will be invoiced. To learn more and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Feb. 13: In the Know, 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by the Inn on Boltwood, 30 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. Continuing the popular series begun last year, In the Know will feature panelists Jeff Bujak, Prodigy; Michelle Zimora, Z Wraps; and Dan LiBissionnault, Dan’s Power Plant, Fauxmaggio Cheese. They will share what keeps them up at night, how they deal with those issues, and how they handle their quick success. A light breakfast and coffee will be served. Cost: $15 for members, $30 for future members. Pre-registration is required; there will be no at-the-door registration. To learn more and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Feb. 20: Books & Joe with Moe, 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by the chamber office, 33 Union St., Easthampton. This will be the second in a series of four meetings. Join like-minded individuals for an intellectual discussion sparked by reading books. Sponsored by Richard’s Fuel & Heating Co. and Freedom Credit Union. Cost: $99 per person for the entire series. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served. Participants are required to obtain their own copy of the book explored. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.explorenorthampton.com

(413) 584-1900

• Feb. 5: [email protected], 5-7 p.m., hosted by Artifact Cider Project. Monthly networking and connection presented by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Come when you can, stay as long as you can. Featuring libations and flatbreads from Artifact Cider Project in its new taproom in Florence. Cost: $10 for members, $14 for non-members. RSVP at www.northamptonchamber.com/chamber-events/arrive5.

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org

(413) 568-1618

• Jan. 28: Block Party, 4-6 p.m., hosted by Westwood Restaurant and Pub, 94 North Elm St., Westfield. Join us for an open house and meet Westwood and chamber businesses for drinks, appetizers, networking, and more. Chamber members are welcome. Marketing tables are available. For more information and to register, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618.

• Feb. 10: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by the Pottery Cellar, the Mill at Crane Pond, 77 Mill St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Chamber members and non-members are free. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Feb. 10: PWC Headline Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Featuring Karla Medina, retired Hartford police sergeant and owner and founder of Sudor Taino Fitness. Cost: $35 for PWC members, $40 general admission, $25 for students. To make a reservation, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Jan. 28: “The Buzz About Cannabis: Marijuana in the Marketplace and the Workplace,” 12:30-5 p.m., hosted by Sheraton Springfield, One Monarch Place, Springfield. Featuring leading business, legal, and medical professionals, distributors, and entrepreneurs. Cost: $60 for early-bird registration until Jan. 14, $75 after Jan. 14. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 5: “The 2020 Elections: Fasten Your Seatbelts — From Massachusetts to the Beltway, It’s All on the Line” Rise & Shine Business Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. Featuring political consultant Tony Cignoli. Cost: $25 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $35 general admission in advance ($40 at the door). To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 20: Third annual Fire & Ice Craft Cocktail Competition, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Cost: $50 for members in advance ($60 at the door), $60 general admission in advance ($70 at the door). To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com

(413) 426-3880

• Feb. 5: Wicked Wednesday, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, West Springfield. Wicked Wednesdays are monthly social events, hosted by various businesses and restaurants, that bring members and non-members together to network in a laid-back atmosphere. For more information, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880, or register at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD

springfieldyps.com

• Feb. 20: YPS Third Thursday Networking Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by BarKaya! Enjoy complimentary, handcrafted appetizers and a cash bar. Cost: free for YPS members, $10 for non-members. Register at springfieldyps.com.

Agenda

40 Under Forty Nominations

Through Feb. 14: BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 14. Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be detailed in nature, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed online  HERE. Nominations will be weighed by a panel of judges. The selected individuals will be profiled in the April 27 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The event’s presenting sponsor is PeoplesBank, and other sponsorship opportunities are available.

Micro-emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program

Jan. 13 to May 5: American International College (AIC) is announcing a new undergraduate initiative in the School of Business, Arts and Sciences titled Micro-Emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program. Three business courses are offered in rotation beginning with the spring 2020 semester. The first course of the series will run on Wednesdays, 3:50 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., starting Jan. 13, 2020 and continuing through May 5, 2020. There are no prerequisites to enroll other than a high-school diploma or GED equivalency. Non-matriculated students can enter the program at any time in the sequence. The first course, “Cannabis Entrepreneurship,” will examine customer groups, products, and services in the recreational market. The effect of price, quality, and competitors will be explored relative to competing effectively. This will involve key components of the industry, including legal aspects, business models, financing, and marketing. In “Cannabis Business Operations,” students will analyze the evolving cannabis marketplace and investigate the complexities and challenges of this sector. This course will conduct an in-depth look at the key components of different business types, how the sector is evolving, starting and operating a cannabis business, in addition to financial constraints, investments, and strategic marketing in the industry. The final course, “The Law and Ethics of Cannabis,” will examine the legalization of cannabis. Discussion around the legal and ethical implications of cannabis use, its legalization, criminal activity, and marketing will be explored in addition to perspectives of law enforcement, business owners, and recreational uses. For more information about the Micro-Emerging Market: Cannabis Certificate Program, visit aic.edu/mem.

Cannabis Education Center

Jan. 16, 23; Feb. 6: The Cannabis Education Center, a joint venture between Holyoke Community College (HCC) and C3RN – the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network – has scheduled three standalone courses for people working in the cannabis industry or those who want to get started. The first, “Professional Cannabis Business Plan Development,” will run on Thursday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke. This $199 course is for experienced cannabis entrepreneurs who need assistance developing a business plan. The second, “Medical Cannabis 101,” is geared toward dispensary agents and healthcare providers. That will run on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the HCC Kittredge Center. The cost is $99. The third, “How to Start a Cannabis Business,” — a comprehensive, introductory session about starting a cannabis business — is slated for Thursday, Feb. 6 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the HCC Kittredge Center. The cost is $99. Space is limited, so advance registration and pre-payment are required for all courses. No walk-ins will be allowed. To register, visit hcc.edu/bcs and click on ‘Cannabis Education.’

‘Stress Less in 2020’

Jan. 17: The free monthly Lunch and Learn program at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence at JGS Lifecare has announced its next topic. Dr. Bill Bazin, a chiropractor for more than 30 years, will present “Stress Less in 2020 with Time and Energy Efficiency,” offering strategies to better manage stress and increase quality of life. Almost 60% of Americans consider themselves stressed and depressed, and stress can play a major factor in heart attacks. Bazin will talk about stress and offer strategies on what to do to deal with it. Topics will include why we have stress; different types of stress; signs and symptoms of an overstressed life; how to get exponential growth from one’s time and energy; strategic planning for one’s life and family; eliminating fear, panic, and anxiety; the five factors of health; solutions for stress that can be done at home, and when to take the next step to deal with stress. The lunch at noon will be followed by the presentation from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The Ruth’s House Lunch and Learn program is free and open to the public. Tours of independent and memory-care neighborhoods will be available. RSVP to Lori Payson at (413) 567-3949, ext. 3105, or [email protected] For more information, visit jgslifecare.org/events.

Free Workshop on Wage and Hour Laws

Jan. 28: MassHire Holyoke Career Center will present a free workshop on the laws enforced by the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division, including the payment of wages, minimum wage, overtime, and earned sick time. At the event — slated for 8 to 10 a.m. at 850 High St., Holyoke — guest speaker Barbara Dillon DeSouza will also discuss the broad powers of the Fair Labor Division to investigate and enforce violations of these laws and explain the various ways a company can become the subject of an investigation. Finally, she will note some resources available to companies to keep informed of the laws. DeSouza is an assistant attorney general in the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She focuses on enforcing Massachusetts wage and hour laws, including prevailing-wage laws. She has been with the office since March 2010. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided. Seating is limited, so attendees are encouraged to reserve a seat early. Register by contacting Yolanda Rodriguez at (413) 322-7186 or [email protected].

All Ideas Pitch Contest

Feb. 5: Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is holding an All Ideas Pitch Contest from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Green at 85 Main St., Suite 105, North Adams. EforAll’s first Pitch Contest at the Berkshire Museum in October created a lot of community buzz, with more than 100 attendees and 11 companies competing. The big winner that night was Kaitlyn Pierce of Binka Bear. Described as “Shark Tank without the teeth,” EforAll’s friendly, free event features a business showcase and then pitches from six pre-selected contestants and two more that are added the night of the event. Each participant is given two and a half minutes to pitch a business or nonprofit idea to a panel of judges and the audience. At the end of it, EforAll gives away seed money to help launch these ideas. The first-place finisher wins $1,000, second place gets $750, third place wins $500, and the audience favorite also wins $500. Applications and audience registration information are both available online at www.eforall.org/berkshire-county.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Banks is the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show and modeling competition that has been replicated in 47 international markets and viewed in 150 countries. This year’s conference also will feature breakout sessions focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities. Sessions will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A year-long community outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2020. Information and engagement is available now through www.hooplandia.com or on Instagram: @hooplandia.

Chamber Corners

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org

(413) 568-1618

• Jan. 6: Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Andrea York Photography, 16 Unio• Ave., Westfield. Joi• us for coffee with Westfield Mayor-elect Donald Humason. The event is free and ope• to the public. Pre-registratio• is requested so we may give our host a proper head count. For more informatio• and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• Jan. 13: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Unio• Crossing Realty, LLC, 420 Unio• St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Chamber members and non-members are free. For more informatio• and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• Jan. 28: Block Party, 4-6 p.m., hosted by Westwood Restaurant and Pub, 94 North Elm St., Westfield. Joi• us for a• ope• house and meet Westwood and chamber businesses for drinks, appetizers, networking, and more. Chamber members are welcome. Marketing tables are available. For more informatio• and to register, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618.

• Feb. 10: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by the Pottery Cellar, the Mill at Crane Pond, 77 Mill St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Chamber members and non-members are free. For more informatio• and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Jan. 16: PWC Headline Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Storrowto• Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, with Karla Medina, retired Hartford police sergeant and owner and founder of Sudor Taino Fitness. Cost: $35 for PWC members, $40 general admission, and $25 for students. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Jan. 28: “The Buzz About Cannabis: Marijuana i• the Marketplace and the Workplace,” 12:30-5 p.m., hosted by Sherato• Springfield, One Monarch Place, Springfield. The region’s most comprehensive cannabis event, featuring leading business, legal, and medical professionals, distributors, and entrepreneurs. Cost: $60 for early-bird registratio• until Jan. 14, $75 after Jan. 14. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 5: “The 2020 Elections: Faste• Your Seatbelts — From Massachusetts to the Beltway, It’s All o• the Line” Rise & Shine Business Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Mai• St., Springfield. Featuring political consultant Tony Cignoli. Cost: $25 for members i• advance ($30 at the door), $35 general admissio• i• advance ($40 at the door). To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 20: Third annual Fire & Ice Craft Cocktail Competition, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Cost: $50 for members i• advance ($60 at the door), $60 general admissio• i• advance ($70 at the door). To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 27: Leadership Institute professional development program kickoff, 1-4:30 p.m., hosted by TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Mai• St., Springfield. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com

(413) 426-3880

• Jan. 16: Networking Lunch, noo• to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Crestview Country Club, Agawam. Enjoy a sit-dow• lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief introductio• and company overview. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. The only cost to attend for members is the cost of lunch. Non-members pay $10 plus lunch. Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately that day. Please note, we cannot invoice you for these events. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

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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Care Where It’s Needed

Baystate Health recently received a $1 million grant from TD Bank to further the health system’s commitment to the communities it serves by funding an innovative new mobile health clinic called the TD Bank – Baystate Health Bus, which will deliver preventive care to people in urban and rural communities who are not receiving services due to financial and transportation barriers, including a shortage of providers in their neighborhoods. As a mobile medical unit, the bus will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary healthcare team to bring health screenings, early detection, and referrals for needed treatment or other services directly to at-risk individuals.

At the announcement, from left: Mark Keroack, president and CEO, Baystate Health; Rebecca Blanchard, senior director of Education, Baystate Health; Steve Webb, regional vice president, TD Bank; Dr. Kevin Hinchey, chief education officer, Baystate Health; Christina Cronin, philanthropy officer, Baystate Foundation; and Scott Berg, executive director, Baystate Health Foundation

Keroack talks about the importance of the health bus

 


Going Above and Beyond

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) has made a $10,000 donation to the Chicopee Police Department, to be used to purchase an aerial drone for public safety. Drones have become a critical tool for first responders, allowing for additional capabilities for search and rescue, surveillance, crash reconstruction, and other tasks.

Pictured, from left: PNCU board members John Murphy and Stephen Burkott with Chicopee Police Chief William Jebb.

 


 

STEM Center at STCC

On Dec. 11, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) officially opened its STEM Center, featuring resources and services to assist students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students who visit the facility can use a computer lab and study lounge and take advantage of other services, including exam proctoring, career exploration, and class support. In addition, the center features collaborative spaces for group study, tutoring, supplemental instruction, and group meetings.

Pictured: faculty and staff join STCC President John Cook, right, at the grand opening of the STEM Center at STCC. Barbara Washburn, interim dean of the School of STEM, second from right, cuts the ribbon with Vice President of Academic Affairs Geraldine de Berly.


 

Helping Students Thrive

A reception on Dec. 10 acknowledged a $50,000 donation from PeoplesBank to Holyoke Community College’s (HCC) Thrive Center, which assists students as they negotiate the complex bureaucracies associated with myriad issues, such as health insurance, food, housing and utility assistance, and credit repair. The money will be used to establish a dedicated fund for Thrive managed by the HCC Foundation, the college’s nonprofit fundraising corporation.

Pictured, from left: Thomas Senecal, president and CEO, PeoplesBank; HCC President Christina Royal; HCC student Christopher Royster; and Amanda Sbriscia, executive director, HCC Foundation.

 


 

Third Party Lender of the Year

Florence Bank was recently recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the Western Massachusetts Third Party Lender of the Year for loans the bank administers to small businesses in the area. Third-party loans, called SBA 504 loans, are offered by the bank in collaboration with certified development corporations such as Granite State Development Corp., Bay Colony Development Corp., and BDC Capital/CDC New England.

Pictured, from left:  Peter Kontakos, office deputy district director, SBA Massachusetts; Erin Couture and Michael Davey, Florence Bank vice presidents in Commercial Lending; Robert Nelson, office district director, SBA Massachusetts; and Ili Spahiu, assistant district director for Lender Relations, SBA Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Agenda

Loomis Village Art Exhibit

Jan. 1-31: The public is invited to view a new exhibit coming to Loomis Village in January, “Five Felters, Five Perspectives,” which will showcase bespoke garments, landscapes, and abstract and sculptural wall pieces inspired by nature, historical artifacts, and imagination. The artists are Nina Compagnon, Sally Dillon, Martha Robinson, Flo Rosenstock, and Margaret Stancer. The exhibit will be displayed in the second- and third-floor galleries at Loomis Village, 20 Bayon Dr., South Hadley every day in January from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A reception with the five artists will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. A demonstration of felting techniques, also open to the public, will be presented on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m.

Project Management Exam Prep Workshop

Jan. 6-8: Are you ready to become a certified project-management professional (PMP)? Forbes.com lists a PMP certificate as the second-highest-paying IT certification for 2019, and the Project Management Institute (PMI) states that, through 2020, 1.57 million new project-management jobs will be created each year. To help prepare community members to begin the certification process, Bay Path University’s Strategic Alliances division is hosting a three-day workshop that will prepare participants to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Exam. The CAPM workshop, led by IT consultant and project manager Rick DeJohn from Camus Consulting Inc., combines lectures, discussions, case studies, and in-class practice testing with a review of test results. Project-management experience is not required, and anyone interested in demonstrating to employers that they have the skill set to become a project manager is encouraged to attend. Participants who complete the program will be awarded a certificate of completion and will earn the required 23 education hours to sit for the CAPM examination. Per the Project Management Institute, a high-school diploma, associate degree, or global equivalent is required as an exam prerequisite. This workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day on the Bay Path campus, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. To register, visit capm2020.eventbrite.com. For additional information, contact Briana Sitler at [email protected] or (413) 565-1066.

Cannabis Certificate Program

Jan. 13 to May 5: American International College (AIC) is announcing a new undergraduate initiative in the School of Business, Arts and Sciences titled Micro-Emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program. Three business courses are offered in rotation beginning with the spring 2020 semester. The first course of the series will run on Wednesdays, 3:50 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., starting Jan. 13, 2020 and continuing through May 5, 2020. There are no prerequisites to enroll other than a high-school diploma or GED equivalency. Non-matriculated students can enter the program at any time in the sequence. The first course, “Cannabis Entrepreneurship,” will examine customer groups, products, and services in the recreational market. The effect of price, quality, and competitors will be explored relative to competing effectively. This will involve key components of the industry, including legal aspects, business models, financing, and marketing. In “Cannabis Business Operations,” students will analyze the evolving cannabis marketplace and investigate the complexities and challenges of this sector. This course will conduct an in-depth look at the key components of different business types, how the sector is evolving, starting and operating a cannabis business, in addition to financial constraints, investments, and strategic marketing in the industry. The final course, “The Law and Ethics of Cannabis,” will examine the legalization of cannabis. Discussion around the legal and ethical implications of cannabis use, its legalization, criminal activity, and marketing will be explored in addition to perspectives of law enforcement, business owners, and recreational uses. For more information, visit aic.edu/mem.

Cannabis Education Center

Jan. 16, 23: The Cannabis Education Center, a joint venture between Holyoke Community College (HCC) and C3RN – the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network – has scheduled three standalone courses for people working in the cannabis industry or those who want to get started. The first, “How to Start a Cannabis Business,” — a comprehensive, introductory session about starting a cannabis business — was held on Dec. 17. The next, “Professional Cannabis Business Plan Development,” will run on Thursday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke. This $199 course is for experienced cannabis entrepreneurs who need assistance developing a business plan. The third, “Medical Cannabis 101,” is geared toward dispensary agents and healthcare providers. That will run on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the HCC Kittredge Center. The cost is $99. Space is limited, so advance registration and pre-payment are required for all courses. No walk-ins will be allowed. To register, visit hcc.edu/bcs and click on ‘Cannabis Education.’

‘Stress Less in 2020’

Jan. 17: The free monthly Lunch and Learn program at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence at JGS Lifecare has announced its next topic. Dr. Bill Bazin, a chiropractor for more than 30 years, will present “Stress Less in 2020 with Time and Energy Efficiency,” offering strategies to better manage stress and increase quality of life. Almost 60% of Americans consider themselves stressed and depressed, and stress can play a major factor in heart attacks. Bazin will talk about stress and offer strategies on what to do to deal with it. Topics will include why we have stress; different types of stress; signs and symptoms of an overstressed life; how to get exponential growth from one’s time and energy; strategic planning for one’s life and family; eliminating fear, panic, and anxiety; the five factors of health; solutions for stress that can be done at home, and when to take the next step to deal with stress. The lunch at noon will be followed by the presentation from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The Ruth’s House Lunch and Learn program is free and open to the public. RSVP to Lori Payson at (413) 567-3949, ext. 3105, or [email protected] For more information, visit jgslifecare.org/events.

All Ideas Pitch Contest

Feb. 5: Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is holding an All Ideas Pitch Contest from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Green at 85 Main St., Suite 105, North Adams. EforAll’s first Pitch Contest at the Berkshire Museum in October created a lot of community buzz, with more than 100 attendees and 11 companies competing. The big winner that night was Kaitlyn Pierce of Binka Bear. Described as “Shark Tank without the teeth,” EforAll’s friendly, free event features a business showcase and then pitches from six pre-selected contestants and two more that are added the night of the event. Each participant is given two and a half minutes to pitch a business or nonprofit idea to a panel of judges and the audience. At the end of it, EforAll gives away seed money to help launch these ideas. The first-place finisher wins $1,000, second place gets $750, third place wins $500, and the audience favorite also wins $500. Applications and audience registration are both available online at www.eforall.org/berkshire-county.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Banks is the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show and modeling competition that has been replicated in 47 international markets and viewed in 150 countries. This year’s conference also will feature breakout sessions focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities. Sessions will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A year-long community outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2020. Information and engagement is available now through www.hooplandia.com or on Instagram: @hooplandia.

Chamber Corners

GREATER WESTFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

• Jan. 6: Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Andrea York Photography, 16 Union Ave., Westfield. Join us for coffee with Westfield Mayor-elect Donald Humason. The event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested so we may give our host a proper head count. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• Jan. 13: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Union Crossing Realty, LLC, 420 Union St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Chamber members and non-members are free. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• Jan. 28: Block Party, 4-6 p.m., hosted by Westwood Restaurant and Pub, 94 North Elm St., Westfield. Join us for an open house and meet Westwood and chamber businesses for drinks, appetizers, networking, and more. Chamber members are welcome. Marketing tables are available. For more information and to register, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618.

• Feb. 10: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by the Pottery Cellar, the Mill at Crane Pond, 77 Mill St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Chamber members and non-members are free. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Jan. 16: PWC Headline Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, with Karla Medina, retired Hartford police sergeant and owner and founder of Sudor Taino Fitness. Cost: $35 for PWC members, $40 general admission, and $25 for students. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER

www.springfieldregionalchamber.com

(413) 787-1555

• Feb. 5: “The 2020 Elections: Fasten Your Seatbelts — From Massachusetts to the Beltway, It’s All on the Line” Rise & Shine Business Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. Featuring political consultant Tony Cignoli. Cost: $25 for members in advance ($30 at the door), $35 general admission in advance ($40 at the door). To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 20: Third annual Fire & Ice Craft Cocktail Competition, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Cost: $50 for members in advance ($60 at the door), $60 general admission in advance ($70 at the door). To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

• Feb. 27: Leadership Institute professional development program kickoff, 1-4:30 p.m., hosted by TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. To register, visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 755-1310.

WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ourwrc.com

(413) 426-3880

• Jan. 16: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Crestview Country Club, Agawam. Enjoy a sit-down lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief introduction and company overview. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. The only cost to attend for members is the cost of lunch. Non-members pay $10 plus lunch. Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately that day. Please note, we cannot invoice you for these events. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

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Cutting the Ribbon

EforAll Holyoke recently cut the ceremonial ribbon at its new headquarters on High Street. The well-attended event featured remarks from a number of those responsible for creating EforAll, now a key component of the region’s entrepreneurship infrastructure, and also building a home for it, one complete with co-working space, in the city’s downtown.

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of EforAll Holyoke, offers some remarks

 


History Lessons

Fifth-grade students at Springfield’s DeBerry School visited the Springfield Armory on Nov. 26 on a field trip organized by BusinessWest as part of its sponsorship of the school through the Link to Libraries Community Book Link Program. The students were reading recently about creation of the National Parks, which prompted a visit to the Armory, a National Historic Site. The students learned about the Armory’s importance to Springfield’s development and its lead role in bringing mass-production processes to the forefront. Here, the students pose in front of the historic photo that greets Armory visitors.

 


Early Literacy Leadership Summit

More than 100 community and state education leaders gathered at Reading Success by 4th Grade’s first Early Literacy Leadership Summit on Nov. 14 at UMass Center at Springfield in Tower Square. The summit featured a presentation by Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education (top right), whose work is significantly influenced and inspired by the pioneering work of Fred Rogers. Pictured at left: from left, Chrissy Howard, manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade; Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman; Literacy Champion Award honorees Tyeshia Weir and Melissa Blissett; Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen; Sally Fuller, retired program manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade and Literacy Champion Award honoree; and Robert Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores and Literacy Champion Award honoree. Top left: panelists in the Out of School Time breakout session at the summit.

The summit featured a presentation by Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education whose work is significantly influenced and inspired by the pioneering work of Fred Rogers

From left, Chrissy Howard, manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade; Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman; Literacy Champion Award honorees Tyeshia Weir and Melissa Blissett; Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen; Sally Fuller, retired program manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade and Literacy Champion Award honoree; and Robert Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores and Literacy Champion Award honoree

Panelists in the Out of School Time breakout session at the summit.

 


President’s Platinum Award

Country Bank recently held its annual staff recognition, which recognized the recipient of the President’s Platinum Award, Matt Croft, IT solutions architect (left). “Matt embodies the bank’s values and its mission,” said Paul Scully (right), president and CEO of Country Bank. One nominee wrote that “Matt shares his knowledge and continually collaborates with teammates by asking for their opinions and different viewpoints to solve problems. He analyzes situations, and if he sees that someone has a heavy workload to meet a deadline, he pitches in to lend a hand to hit the target date. He follows up with appreciation and sincere gratitude toward others for their efforts.”

 


 

Rock-solid Performance

Granite State Development Corp. approved 21 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans totaling more than $8 million in its last fiscal year, making it the most active 504 lender in Western Mass. by both dollars and loan approvals. In addition, it ended the fiscal year ranked fourth in the country by approving 223 loans for $109,099,000.

Pictured, from left: Peter Kontakos, SBA deputy district director; Tracey Gaylord, vice president, Business Development, Granite State Development Corp.; Barbara Arena, vice president, Business Development, Granite State Development Corp.; Robert Nelson, SBA district director; and Ili Spahiu, SBA assistant district director for Lender Relations.

 


Stuff the Bus

The Springfield College campus community filled the Springfield College Athletics bus on Nov. 20 with more than 2,900 pounds of non-perishable food items as part of the annual Fill the Bus campaign, sponsored by the Springfield College Student Athlete Leadership Team, the Department of Public Safety, and the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement. Fill the Bus is an annual tradition that allows students, faculty, staff, and community members to donate non-perishable food items to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, German Gerena Community School, and the Springfield College Food Pantry. Donations included canned fruit and vegetables, canned soup, cereal, crackers, granola bars, jelly, peanut butter, rice, and stuffing mix.


 

Agenda

Starting Gate at GreatHorse Holiday Party

Dec. 14: The Starting Gate at GreatHorse will host a holiday party — including decorations, music, and menu — for any company or group that wants to take part. Attendees can enjoy dinner and dance the night away with staff, co-workers, family, and friends — an ideal option for small businesses. The Clark Eno Orchestra will be playing today’s hits and rock and pop songs from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and beyond, plus big band, swing, and Motown. The event is open to the public for $95 per person. A cash bar will be available. For reservations, call (413) 566-5158.

Micro-emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program

Jan. 13 to May 5: American International College (AIC) is announcing a new undergraduate initiative in the School of Business, Arts and Sciences titled Micro-Emerging Markets: Cannabis Certificate Program. Three business courses are offered in rotation beginning with the spring 2020 semester. The first course of the series will run on Wednesdays, 3:50 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., starting Jan. 13, 2020 and continuing through May 5, 2020. There are no prerequisites to enroll other than a high-school diploma or GED equivalency. Non-matriculated students can enter the program at any time in the sequence. The first course, “Cannabis Entrepreneurship,” will examine customer groups, products, and services in the recreational market. The effect of price, quality, and competitors will be explored relative to competing effectively. This will involve key components of the industry, including legal aspects, business models, financing, and marketing. In “Cannabis Business Operations,” students will analyze the evolving cannabis marketplace and investigate the complexities and challenges of this sector. This course will conduct an in-depth look at the key components of different business types, how the sector is evolving, starting and operating a cannabis business, in addition to financial constraints, investments, and strategic marketing in the industry. The final course, “The Law and Ethics of Cannabis,” will examine the legalization of cannabis. Discussion around the legal and ethical implications of cannabis use, its legalization, criminal activity, and marketing will be explored in addition to perspectives of law enforcement, business owners, and recreational uses. For more information about the Micro-Emerging Market: Cannabis Certificate Program, visit aic.edu/mem.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Banks is the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show and modeling competition that has been replicated in 47 international markets and viewed in 150 countries. A graduate of Harvard’s Executive Education program, she has taught graduate courses at Stanford University and is opening Modelland, an interactive attraction based in Los Angeles that will allow visitors to experience a fantasy version of the modeling world. This year’s conference also will feature breakout sessions focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities. Sessions will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Hooplandia

June 26-28: Hooplandia, the largest 3-on-3 basketball competition and celebration on the East Coast, will take place on June 26-28, 2020, hosted by Eastern States Exposition and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The event will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players of all ages and playing abilities, with divisions for young girls, boys, women, men, high-school elite, college elite, pro-am, ‘over the hill,’ wheelchair, wounded warrior, Special Olympians, veterans, first responders, and more. More than 100 outdoor blacktop courts will be placed throughout the roadway and parking-lot network of the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield. Slam-dunk, 3-point, free-throw, dribble-course, vertical-jump, and full-court-shot skills competitions will be spotlighted. Themed state courts will be mobilized along the Exposition’s famed Avenue of States. Featured ‘showcase games’ will be held on new court surfaces in the historic Eastern States Coliseum and on the Court of Dreams, the center court of the Basketball Hall of Fame. A year-long community outreach effort will begin immediately. Registration will open on March 1, 2020. Information and engagement is available now through www.hooplandia.com or on Instagram: @hooplandia.

Chamber Corners

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

• Through Dec. 11: First annual Red Ticket Month in Downtown Amherst. For every $25 spent at participating downtown businesses, receive a red ticket. Come to Kendrick Park on Dec. 21 to celebrate winter’s arrival with music, carriage rides, a hot-cocoa stroll, and a ticket drawing for $250 or $1,000. For more details, visit amherstdowntown.com.

• Dec. 11: Annual Chamber Holiday Party, 5-7 p.m., hosted by AmherstWorks, 11 Amity St., Amherst. An evening of merriment to celebrate the year. Reflections, networking, and an opportunity to deepen relationships with each other. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. For tickets and more information, visit amherstarea.com.

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

• Dec. 13: December Holiday Breakfast, hosted by East Mountain Country Club, 1458 East Mountain Road, Westfield. Featuring the Westfield High School Show Choir. Join us in celebrating the holidays and support the chamber’s 2019 holiday spirit beneficiary. Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation for the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes ANG, Airman & Family Readiness Program. Event Sponsor: Staples; silver sponsor: Easthampton Savings Bank; bronze sponsor: Shortstop Bar & Grill; coffee bar sponsor: Westfield Starfires. Tickets: $28 for members, $43 for non-members. For more information, to become a sponsor, or to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

• Dec. 16: After 5 Connections, 5-7 p.m., hosted by the Arbors, 40 Court St., Westfield. Refreshments will be served, and a 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Free for both chamber members and non-members. For more information and to register, visit westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618.

SOUTH HADLEY & GRANBY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.shgchamber.com
(413) 532-6451

• Dec. 11: Business After 5 with the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, 5 p.m., hosted by Summitview Banquet House, Holyoke. We will be collecting donations and toys for Toys for Tots. Summitview will be providing dinner and a cash bar. Cost: $15 with a new, unwrapped gift; $25 without gift (donation of $10 to be made to Toys for Tots in advance). Tickets and registration are available at shgchamber.com.

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

• Jan. 16: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Crestview Country Club, Agawam. Enjoy a sit-down lunch while networking with fellow chamber members. Each attendee will get a chance to offer a brief introduction and company overview. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. The only cost to attend for members is the cost of lunch. Non-members pay $10 plus lunch. Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately that day. Please note, we cannot invoice you for these events. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

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Toys for the Kids

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin, along with Springfield police officers and state troopers, recently went shopping at Walmart on Boston Road on Tuesday morning with a special delivery in mind. Afterward, they made a large donation of toys to Baystate Children’s Hospital.

 


Honoring a Supporter

At the launch of the college’s first major gifts campaign in more than a decade, Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook announced the naming of the Tuohey Family Welcome Center at the Student Learning Commons. Brian Tuohey (pictured), a generous supporter of STCC, beamed with delight after hearing the news. His family, including his five children and 12 grandchildren, made a surprise appearance at the kickoff event on Oct. 22.

 


Celebrating 100 Years

Balise Auto Group recently held its 100th-anniversary employee-recognition event at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

President Jeb Balise

A shot of all Balise associates who have been with the company for 10 years or more

 


Food Fest West

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce (WRC) held its annual Food Fest West on Nov. 7  at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield. The event featured the foods of area restaurants, including Carrabba’s Italian Grill, bNapoli, 110 Grill, Hamel’s Creative Catering, Courtyard by Marriott, Pintu’s Indian Cuisine, Partners Restaurant, Springfield Country Club, Storrowton Tavern, Tekoa Country Club, and more. Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield won the People’s Choice Award.

Guests Kelli Lemelin and Ron Lemelin enjoy food from Springfield Country Club

 

A chef from bNapoli serves WRC Chairman Ryan McL

 


Where Health Matters

Health New England recently awarded five $50,000 Where Health Matters grants to organizations that have a positive impact among vulnerable population groups in Western and Central Mass. The honorees included Men of Color Health Awareness, or MOCHA (represented by Lamont Scott, pictured below); Square One (represented by Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard, pictured at bottom); 18 Degrees, a division of Berkshire Children and Families Inc.; Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services; and the Center for Youth Engagement at UMass Amherst.

Lamont Scott

Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard

 


Instilling a Love of Books

The start of the 2019-20 school year marked several significant milestones for Link to Libraries. First, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and families, including Monson Savings Bank (MSB), which now sponsors a record five schools, every public elementary school in the city of Springfield is now a part of Link to Libraries’ Community Book Link sponsorship program. During the 2018-19 academic year, Link to Libraries donated 23,000 new books to sponsored libraries throughout the region. In addition, a record 200-plus Link to Libraries volunteer readers began reading in classrooms in underserved elementary schools in Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Hartford counties.

Principal Terry Powe and students from Elias Brookings Elementary School welcome their new sponsor, MSB President Steve Lowell, and Link to Libraries President and CEO Laurie Flynn

 

William Johnson, vice president of St. Germain Investments, reads to students at Lincoln Elementary School

Longtime volunteer Francie Cornwell reads to students at Homer Elementary School

 


A Challenge from the Commissioner

Carlos Santiago, commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, spoke to a crowd at Holyoke Community College on Nov. 5. He emphasized the importance of reconceptualizing the work that educators have been doing for the past 20 to 30 years, examining the students that are coming into the system, and changing the perception of the students themselves.

Agenda

Women of Impact

Dec. 5: BusinessWest will present its second annual Woman of Impact Luncheon on on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Sheraton Springfield. The keynote speaker will be Lisa Tanzer, president of Life Is Good. The 2019 Women of Impact honorees were profiled in the Oct. 28 issue of BusinessWest and HERE. The event has been sold out. The Women of Impact program is sponsored by Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business and Granite State Developing (supporting sponsors), New Valley Bank & Trust (speaker sponsor), and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (media sponsor).

Pinups for Pitbulls Fundraising Party

Dec. 7: The Massachusetts chapter of Pinups for Pitbulls, an international not-for-profit organization, announced an upcoming fundraising event to be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton. The “Calendars, Cheers & Beer” party will feature an opportunity for guests to have their 2020 calendar autographed by calendar model and South Hadley native Bryn Nowell. The event will also feature a dogs-and-Santa photo shoot, provided by Julie Ann Blonaisz Photography, along with raffles and merchandise sales. Pinups for Pitbulls — an organization that aims to do away with breed-specific legislation, among other goals — has published its annual fundraising calendar for the past 15 years. The calendar release party is free to attend, and guests should be age 21 and older. There is a $10 suggested donation for dog photos with Santa.

Starting Gate Holiday Party

Dec. 14: The Starting Gate at GreatHorse will host a holiday party — including decorations, music, and menu — for any company or group that wants to take part. Attendees can enjoy dinner and dance the night away with staff, co-workers, family, and friends — an ideal option for small businesses. The Clark Eno Orchestra will be playing today’s hits and rock and pop songs from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and beyond, plus big band, swing, and Motown. The event is open to the public for $95 per person. A cash bar will be available. For reservations, call (413) 566-5158.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 27: Bay Path University’s division of Strategic Alliances announced that producer, author, entrepreneur, educator, and, of course, top model Tyra Banks will bring her bold attitude, unique style, and well-honed business acumen to Springfield as the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). This year’s theme, “Own Your Now,” will encourage conference guests to examine the forces that have shaped their careers, relationships, and aspirations; recognize what drives them and what holds them back; and empower them to confidently move forward. Banks is the creator of America’s Next Top Model, the reality show and modeling competition that has been replicated in 47 international markets and viewed in 150 countries. A graduate of Harvard’s Executive Education program, she has taught graduate courses at Stanford University and is opening Modelland, an interactive attraction based in Los Angeles that will allow visitors to experience a fantasy version of the modeling world. This year’s conference also will feature breakout sessions focused on navigating the complicated relationships, personalities, and dynamics of the workplace and the impact those have on our careers and opportunities. Sessions will be led by bestselling authors and researchers including Laura Huang, Harvard Business School professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage; Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning; Dr. Ramani Durvasula, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Don’t You Know Who I Am: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility; and Jennifer Romolini, author of Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Company Notebook

Colony Hills Capital Buys Windfield Senior Estates, Windfield Family Estates

WILBRAHAM — Colony Hills Capital (CHC), based in Wilbraham, announced it recently purchased Windfield Senior Estates and Windfield Family Estates, a combined 160-unit multi-family apartment community located in nearby Hadley. It was purchased for $14,035,000 on Oct. 23. Built in 2002, the property consists of 80 independent senior apartments and 80 family apartments. The property was originally developed and financed using the LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) program and currently has income and rent restrictions on 80% of the units. The community is located just off Route 9 in close proximity to UMass Amherst. It is also within a mile of top retailers such as Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, LL Bean, and numerous restaurants and entertainment venues. Windfields also offers direct access to the Norwottuck Branch Rail Trail, part of the 104-mile Mass Central Rail Trail system. Colony Hills Capital is rolling out a capital-improvement plan that includes upgrades and remodeling to interior resident common areas, hallways, and office areas, as well as adding exterior amenities including a dog park; additional sitting, picnic, and garden areas; and grilling stations. There will also be a complete repaving of parking areas and interior roadways. Additionally, the company plans to make the community more energy-efficient, bike friendly, and environmentally conscious. Colony Hills Capital is a multi-family real-estate investment company that targets workforce, value-add investment opportunities located primarily in secondary markets in the Southeastern U.S. Since its inception in 2008, Colony and its affiliates have acquired more than 8,800 apartment in seven states.

Smith & Wesson Separates Firearms Business from American Outdoor Brands

SPRINGFIELD — Smith & Wesson plans to separate from the outdoor products and accessories businesses of American Outdoor Brands Corp. (AOBC). Smith & Wesson changed its name to American Outdoor Brands in 2016. Instead, the organization will include two separate companies: Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., which will encompass the firearms business, and American Outdoor Brands Inc., which will include the outdoor products and accessories businesses. “There have been significant changes in the political climate as well as the economic, investing, and insurance markets since we embarked upon what we believe have been our very successful diversification efforts,” said Barry Monheit, chairman of the board, in a press release. “We believe that separating into two independent public companies will allow each company to better align its strategic objectives with its capital allocation priorities. James Debney, currently president and CEO of American Outdoor Brands Corp., will lead American Outdoor Brands Inc., while Mark Smith, currently head of firearms manufacturing operations, will be CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands Inc.

HG&E Earns Recognition as Smart Energy Provider

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) has earned a Smart Energy Provider (SEP) designation from the American Public Power Assoc. for demonstrating commitment to and proficiency in energy efficiency, distributed generation, and environmental initiatives that support a goal of providing low-cost, quality, safe, and reliable electric service. Chris Van Dokkumburg, planning analyst at ‎Holland Board of Public Works and chair of the Energy Services Committee in Michigan presented the designations on Oct. 29 during the association’s annual Customer Connections Conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana. The SEP designation, which lasts for two years, recognizes public power utilities for demonstrating leading practices in four key disciplines: smart energy-program structure, energy-efficiency and distributed-energy programs, environmental and sustainability initiatives, and the customer experience. This is the first year the association has offered the SEP designation. HG&E joins a pioneering group of 60 public power utilities nationwide that received the inaugural SEP designation.

Marcus Printing Acquires ILS Business Services

HOLYOKE — Marcus Printing announced it has acquired ILS Business Services of West Springfield, strengthening the capabilities of both companies. Both Marcus Printing and ILS Business Services are local Western Mass. companies built on the shared values of providing exceptional customer service at excellent prices, said Marcus Printing President Susan Goldsmith. Marcus Printing was established in 1930 by Goldsmith’s grandparents, Phil and Sarah Marcus. ILS Business Services was founded by Bob and Irene Scalise in 1980, and their daughter, Amy Scalise, grew up around the business and officially joined the family business in 2014. Amy joins Marcus as the mailing manager, Bob will remain on board as a consultant, and the other ILS employees have joined the Marcus staff. The operations of ILS will move in the near future to the 33,000-square-foot Marcus Printing plant at 750 Main St. in Holyoke.

Pullman & Comley Opens First Massachusetts Office

SPRINGFIELD — Law firm Pullman & Comley, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary of practicing law, recently expanded into Springfield with an office in Tower Square at 1500 Main St. Pullman & Comley’s new Springfield office is its first in the Bay State, adding to offices in Bridgeport (where the firm was founded 100 years ago), Hartford, Westport, Stamford, and Waterbury, Conn., as well as an office in White Plains, N.Y. With nearly 100 attorneys, Pullman & Comley is one of the area’s largest law firms. The law firm’s expansion into Massachusetts gives its local clients — whom it has served for years — easy access to their lawyers. The lawyers in the Springfield office currently focus on legal matters relating to property tax and valuation, labor and employment law, and litigation. In addition, the firm’s Springfield location allows Pullman’s real-estate and public-finance attorneys, who often collaborate with the firm’s environmental, land-use, and energy practices, to serve the commercial real-estate industry in Western Mass. and bring their experience to local public and private development projects.

C&H Architects Celebrates 30 Years in Business

AMHERST — C&H Architects is celebrating 30 years of designing sustainable architecture. The firm’s work serves as an example of how, in a time of critical climate challenges, developers can add to the built environment in a way that improves the sustainability of future generations, rather than threatening it, partner Jesse Selman said. At their most basic level, buildings protect individuals from the elements. Beyond that, they shape the environment and provide texture to people’s lives. Buildings, however, are also one of the largest contributors to global warming, accounting for nearly 40% of all greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide — a statistic expected to double by 2050. In an effort to mitigate these impacts, there has been a steady increase in sustainable architecture — the design of buildings that work in harmony with the environment. C&H Architects has been at the forefront of this effort for the past 30 years. It designed the fifth-ever certified Living Building Challenge project in the world (and the first in New England) for Smith College’s MacLeish Field Station, the most rigorous performance standard for buildings available. The firm has designed more than 10 net-zero homes, the most recent of which won the top honor at AIA (American Institute of Architecture) Rhode Island in 2018, and includes a solar array that powers both the house and the car of its occupants. Founded in 1989 by Bruce Coldham to create architecture that responds to our rapidly changing climate and resources, the Amherst-based firm has served hundreds of clients with projects at every scale, from small residential renovations to large institutional construction. Today, the firm’s four partners — Tom Hartman, Garth Schwellenbach, Jesse Selman, and Elizabeth Morgan — carry on the tradition Coldham started, while constantly incorporating advances in building technology, materials, and practices.

EANE Names CIS Abroad 2019 Employer of Choice

AGAWAM — CIS Abroad of Northampton was selected as the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) Employer of Choice award recipient for 2019. The award was presented at EANE’s Employment Law and HR Practices Conference luncheon at the Sheraton Monarch Place in Springfield on Nov. 7. The Employer of Choice award recognizes companies and organizations for developing workplaces that value employees, foster engagement, invest in employee development, and reward performance. Past winners view the award as a cornerstone of their company credentials and often highlight the award in recruiting and retention, grants and funding applications, and business development. Many past winners have gone on to sit on the application review board to help select future winners of this award. CIS Abroad provides innovative education programs that broaden academic perspectives, promote global awareness, and encourage personal development while laying the foundation for student participants to become engaged world citizens.

Dillon Bodley & Associates Relocates in Amherst

AMHERST — Dillon Bodley & Associates, P.C., owned and operated by certified public accountants Brian Dillon and Catherine Bodley, recently moved its Amherst location to 196 North Pleasant St. to offer its clients more convenient parking and better access. The firm closed at its former location at 37 South Pleasant St. on Oct. 27 and reopened at the new address on Nov. 1. Dillon Bodley & Associates, P.C. provides a broad range of accounting and tax services, including tax preparation and planning engagements for individuals, small businesses, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. It also offers bookkeeping services to its business tax clients and provides consulting to small businesses and startups. The firm was located on South Pleasant Street for four years, with Bodley working on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Dillon working on Wednesdays during tax season. Services are provided on other days of the week and throughout the rest of the year by appointment. Dillon Bodley & Associates, P.C. also has a West Springfield office at 63 Myron St., which will move to 71 Park Ave., Suite C, on Dec. 4 to accommodate an increased number of staff members.

Teach Western Mass Awarded Grant to Develop Diverse Group of Teachers

SPRINGFIELD — Teach Western Mass was recently selected as a member of the Diverse Teachers cohort at ​NewSchools Venture Fund​, supported by the Walton Family Foundation. Teach Western Mass is one of 14 organizations in the cohort. Each cohort member is committed to enhancing the recruitment, development, and retention of underrepresented teachers (including Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaskan Native teachers). In addition to financial support, NewSchools will provide management assistance and create a community of practice for the cohort members. The TWM Residency is a customized credentialing program training new teachers to be effective in the classroom while building strong relationships in their school communities and developing standards-based and culturally relevant curriculum for students in the region’s highest-need schools.

Health New England Recogized for Worksite Health Promotion

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England, a regional health plan based in Springfield, was named a 2019 WorkWell Massachusetts Award Program Silver Level winner for exemplary worksite health promotion. The award recognizes Health New England’s achievements developing, implementing, and participating in corporate health-improvement and wellness programs. The Health New England Healthy Directions wellness program encourages overall well-being, helping employees focus on prevention, nutrition, and physical activity. With leadership support, Healthy Directions is able to offer engaging and evidence-based health tools and incentives. An easy-to-access online portal, onsite nutritional counseling, tread desks, healthy dining options, group fitness challenges, and intensive lifestyle-change programs are examples of Health New England’s dedication to creating an enjoyable and healthy work culture for all its employees. WorkWell Massachusetts Award is a corporate award program created by the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA), a not-for-profit member organization dedicated to the advancement of worksite wellness programs. The award program’s criteria are based on the employers’ strategic planning and organizational support, program design and implementation, participant engagement, and measurements and evaluation.