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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.

 

 

 


 

Agenda

Drone Pilot Certification Course

Nov. 5-26: Holyoke Community College (HCC) is once again offering a one-month, hands-on program for individuals who want to become FAA-licensed drone pilots. “Flying Drones for Profit, Public Safety, and Commercial Applications” will run on four consecutive Tuesdays, Nov. 5 through Nov. 26, from 6 to 10 p.m. in HCC’s Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on the HCC main campus, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke. The cost for the four-week, non-credit course is $315. Space is limited. The course will prepare individuals to take the Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot in Charge exam, which they must pass to become licensed drone operators. Classes are taught by Steven Vigneault, an alumnus of the program and owner and operator of Expeditionary Drones, an aerial photography company in East Longmeadow. Vigneault worked at Barnes Air National Guard base on the Security Force and was previously an officer for the Springfield Police Department. The course focuses on all content required to pass the FAA Remote Pilot test, including regulations, national airspace system rules, weather, aircraft loading, aircraft performance and flight operations. It is geared toward professionals in a wide range of industries, including engineering, construction, insurance, agriculture, emergency services, public safety, security, environmental management, transportation, and retail, as well as those involved in more artistic pursuits like movies, video, and photography.

Employment Law & Human Resource Practice Conference

Nov. 7: The Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) announced its annual Employment Law & Human Resource Practice Conference will be held on Thursday, Nov. 7 the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place. Ben Eubanks, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory and the author of Artificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Build a Successful Workforce will be the keynote speaker. In his session, “Artificial Intelligence for HR,” he will cover how artificial intelligence (AI) works at a basic level and how it is infiltrating people’s daily lives at work and home. This session will cover key ways AI can support HR functions, the diversity and inclusion argument for AI at work, and the five human skills of the future that AI alone can’t replace. Several sessions are scheduled throughout the day, including presentations from the Massachusetts Department of Paid Family Medical Leave, the Department of Labor, and Springfield law firm Skoler, Abbott & Presser. In addition to compliance-based training, there are sessions on the agenda to help employers invest in best practices for growing their businesses through video as a means of employee engagement and skill-development plans for their workforce. A complete agenda with the full roster of presenters and topics is available at www.eane.org/elhr. The cost for the program is $360 per person with discounts for three or more. Register at www.eane.org/elhr or (877) 662-6444. The program will offer 5.75 credits from the HR Certification Institute and SHRM. Sponsoring the program are the HR Certification Institute and Johnson & Hill Staffing Services.

Boys & Girls Club Black Tie & Sneakers Gala

Nov. 8: The Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee will host its eighth annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke. Presented by Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation and Westfield Bank, this event serves the club as its largest fundraiser of the year. Guests will enjoy a sit-down dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions. They will have the opportunity to bid on auction items including a trip to Costa Rica, gift baskets, Adirondack chairs, jewelry, gift certificates, and more. Guests will also see a short production on the impact the club has on its members. This year, the mistress of ceremonies will be Michelle Wirth from Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, and the auctioneer will be John Baran of WWLP-22News. An Aura photo booth from Absolute Photo Booths, a signature cocktail, and a contest for best sneakers will be introduced this year. Guests can enter the contest as they arrive, and the top three will walk the runway for the audience to decide first place. Each year, the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee selects members of the community to receive recognition for their support and interest in the mission of the club and the members it serves. This year, the club will recognize Pilgrim Interiors Inc. with its Donald & Lois Prescott Founders Award. About 300 people are expected at this event, which begins at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $50 per person. To attend, e-mail Lynn Morrissette, Marketing & Development director, at [email protected] The platinum sponsor for the event is Polish National Credit Union. Gold sponsors include Freedom Credit Union, Tru by Hilton Chicopee Springfield, Mahan Slate Roofing Co. Inc., PeoplesBank, Anne Gancarz, and Pilgrim Interiors Inc.

Asnuntuck Open House

Nov. 12: Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) will host an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The open house will feature information about ACC’s credit and credit-free opportunities, information sessions from Admissions and Financial Aid, campus tours, as well as an information session and tour in the Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center. ACC’s Follett Bookstore will also be open for business during the event. Walk-ins are welcome. Web registration for the spring semester will open on Monday, Oct. 28. Asnuntuck is currently accepting applications for the winter 2019, spring 2020, and fall 2020 terms. Visit www.asnuntuck.edu for information on how to register.

Chili Cook-off

Nov. 17: The Hampden County Bar Foundation and the Dante Club will hold a Chili Cook-off fundraising event from noon to 3 p.m at the Dante Club, 1198 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Hampden County Bar Foundation and the Dante Club Scholarships Inc. The Hampden County Bar Foundation funds the Colonel Archer B. Battista Veterans Scholarship, the John F. Moriarty Scholarship, the Hampden County Legal Clinic, and the Children’s Law Project. The cost to register chili for the competition is $25, and registration is open to all. For more information and to register, visit www.hcbar.org.

Forward Fifty

Nov. 20: Springfield School Volunteers (SSV) will host Forward Fifty, its golden anniversary fundraising gala, at 5:30 p.m. at MGM Springfield. The event will honor 50 individuals, businesses, and community officials who have helped SSV become the impactful organization it is today. They include: American Honda Finance Co., Wylene Bailey, Baystate Health, Evelyn Benedetti, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County, Robert Bolduc, Gary Breton, A. Craig Brown, Bulkley Richardson, Jean and Durham Caldwell, Velada Chaires, Marsha Crapps, Helaine Davis, Maria DeAngelis, Mary Devlin, B. John Dill, Paul Doherty, Don Dorn, Carol Fitzgerald, Leo Foster, Sally Fuller, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Peter Hess, Alberta “Dolly” Howard, Marjorie Hurst, Judy Kelly, Pauline Kimball, Carol Kinsley, Kiwanis Club, Lucie Lewis, John Manzi, Mass Partnership Mentoring, MassMutual Life Insurance Co., Norma Nunnally, Gloria Peeler, Peter Pan Bus Lines Inc., Allen Reed, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Edwin Shea, Ken Shea, Patricia Spradley/PACE, Springfield Regional Chamber, Springfield City Library, Springfield College, Springfield Public Schools, Smith College, James Trelease, state Sen. James Welch, Western New England University, and Sally Wittenberg. Forward Fifty will take place in the Bellagio Ballroom with a celebration of SSV’s rich history through speakers, photos, and videos. There will also be a buffet dinner, cash bar, and presentation of the Springfield School Volunteers Honoree Award to 50 individuals and businesses. Proceeds from the gala will help SSV continue its work improving the lives of Springfield’s students. Over the years, SSV has been a strong supporter of the Springfield Public Schools, developing programs in response to the diverse needs of the students and the district. Today SSV runs three distinctive programs — School-based Mentoring, Academic Support, and Read Aloud — that bring more than 1,000 volunteers each year into the schools. Tickets and tables to Forward Fifty are now on sale at ssvgoldengala.eventbrite.com.

Women of Impact Luncheon

Dec. 4: 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 are profiled in this issue of BusinessWest. Tickets cost $65 per person, or $650 for a table of 10. To purchase tickets, visit www.businesswest.com/women-of-impact or e-mail [email protected] The Women of Impact program is sponsored by Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business and Granite State Development Corp. (supporting sponsors), New Valley Bank & Trust (speaker sponsor), and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (media sponsor).

HMC Annual Gala

Nov. 23: Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) will host its annual gala at the Log Cabin. All proceeds will benefit Valley Health Systems, which includes Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Medical Group, Holyoke VNA Hospice Life Care, and River Valley Counseling Center. The annual gala will feature a complimentary cocktail reception; a seven-course chef’s dinner, each with its own wine pairing; a silent auction to support Valley Health Systems; award presentations; and dancing to music performed by the O-Tones. Holyoke Medical Center has selected Dr. M. Saleem Bajwa to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication and hard work on behalf of Holyoke Medical Center and the local community for more than 40 years. Also being recognized are select members of the Valley Health Systems staff who exemplify exceptional care in the categories of Best Physician, Best Caregiver, Best Supporting Employee, and Best Leader. Tickets for this black-tie-optional gala are $125 per person and can be purchased through the Holyoke Medical Center website at www.holyokehealth.com/gala19 or by calling the Development Office at (413) 534-2579.

Agenda

STCC Majors and Career Fair

April 3: Springfield Technical Community College will host a Majors and Career Fair for students, local vocational high schools, and community agencies interested in exploring opportunities in the biomedical, architectural, civil and mechanical engineering, optics and photonics, social work, landscape and design, digital media, graphic communications, IT security, and many other STEM fields. The Majors and Career Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Scibelli Hall Gymnasium in Building 2. This event is a collaboration among the Career Development Center, the HSI-STEM Grant, and the Perkins Grant. Representatives from academic majors, career fields, and local employers will be on hand. With a goal of raising awareness about STEM majors and careers, the fair will give attendees an opportunity to speak with employers about potential opportunities in their field. For more information, contact Felicia Griffin-Fennell at [email protected] or (413) 755-4819.

EANE Leadership Conference

April 4: The Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) will stage its annual Leadership Conference on Thursday, April 4 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place with a focus on measuring success while motivating and inspiring one’s team to improve performance. The program will feature Jim McPartlin, vice president of Leadership Development for Forbes Travel Guide. McPartlin’s keynote will challenge attendees to bring integrity to their leadership responsibilities, even when times get tough. A second keynote will be presented by Tim Hebert, a perennial entrepreneur, innovator, author, speaker, and adventurer. Hebert will ignite the leadership spark in attendees in a keynote focused on the choices of leadership and techniques to help live life by design, not by default. Between keynote presentations, conference attendees will have access to dozens of breakout session topics ranging from performance management to diversity and inclusion, to perfecting ‘C-suite speak,’ and more. The cost for the program is $360 per person with discounts for three or more. Register at www.eane.org/leadership-2019 or by calling (877) 662-6444. The program will offer 5.75 credits from the HR Certification Institute and SHRM.

Riverside Industries Silent & Live Auction

April 5: Riverside Industries’ 15th annual Silent & Live Auction, featuring more than 250 silent-auction items and a live auction full of experiences from the Valley and beyond, will be held at One Cottage St. in Easthampton from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Attendees can expect plenty of food, casual attire, and a cash bar. Tickets cost $30 in advance. Securely register online at rsi.org. The presenting sponsor is bankESB; the associate sponsor is Harvard Pilgrim; the table sponsors are Finck & Perras Insurance Agency and Mutual of America; and the collaborator sponsors are A-Z Storage & Properties, Helping Hand Society, SBI Benefits Consulting Group, Ruth and Spencer Timm, Whittlesey & Hadley P.C., and Williston Northampton School.

‘What Is Spiritual Direction?’

April 6: Elms College will host a day of reflection titled “What Is Spiritual Direction? Is It for Me?” from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Decice Hall at the Marian Center, located at 1365 Northampton St. in Holyoke. The event will include an introduction to what spiritual direction is (and what it is not), some exploration of different ways to be with God in prayer, reflection on each participant’s own sacred story, discussion of several approaches to spiritual direction, and time for both shared and personal prayer. Virginia Collins-English, a certified spiritual director, retreat director, writer, and psychotherapist, will lead the day of reflection. All are welcome, including those who are ‘spiritual but not religious,’ those who feel marginalized by the church, and those of all faiths. Sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Institute for Theology and Pastoral Studies at Elms, this event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, call (413) 265-2575 or e-mail [email protected] Attendees should bring a bag lunch. Beverages and dessert will be provided.

‘Growing Up WILD’

April 13: The School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Elms College, in partnership with Berkshire Community College and 1Berkshire, will host an early-childhood-education workshop from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the cafeteria at Berkshire Community College. The workshop, titled “A Glimpse at Growing Up WILD,” is free and open to the public. In this extensive training for educators run through MassWildlife, Jane McCarry, academic coordinator and advisor for the Early Care and Education program at Elms, and also a trained Growing Up WILD facilitator, will present two of the program’s activities: “Seed Need” and “Lunch for a Bear.” These hands-on activities encourage participants to move, learn to collect data, and make science-based observations, all at a preschool level. Participants in this workshop will take part in these activities and learn how to use them in childcare settings. The primary intended audience includes people who are already working in early education at preschools or in group care who are required to obtain 20 hours of training per year, but the workshop is also open to BCC students currently earning their associate degrees in early education or a related field, prospective early-childhood-education students, and any community members who are interested in learning about Growing Up WILD. Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate of attendance confirming they have successfully completed two hours of training in Core Competency Area 5: Learning Environments and Implementing Curriculum. The total participants are limited to 50. For more information or to register, e-mail Kelly Zieba at [email protected]

Paid Family and Medical Leave Seminar

April 18: Over the past few months, Massachusetts-based employers have been inundated with information about the upcoming Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements. Unfortunately, this deluge of information has done little to answer employers’ pressing questions. To date, most of this information has been speculative or otherwise subject to change before implementation. In fact, the most helpful information thus far, the new Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave’s draft regulations, has only given an idea of what the program will probably look like. These draft regulations are just that: a draft. They are subject to change prior to the issuance of final regulations. The good news is there are some things we do know for sure, and there is still some time before employer obligations go into effect. Royal, P.C. will host a discussion of the steps employers can begin to take to prepare for the implementation of Paid Family and Medical Leave. The event will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 270 Pleasant St., Northampton. The price is $30 per person, and registration is limited. For more information or to register, contact Heather Loges at (413) 586-2288 or [email protected]

Springfield Art Stop

April 26: The Springfield Cultural Partnership (SCP) announced the return of Art Stop, a pop-up gallery/street festival hybrid, from 5 to 8 p.m. The SCP is partnering with venues downtown to open galleries in unexpected spaces simultaneously. Additionally, several existing Springfield art galleries along this year’s route will also participate as stops along the Art Stop. Between the galleries, which will have the typical artist talks and receptions, there will be street performances. Art Stop was designed to activate underutilized community spaces with colorful art, create economic opportunity for artists, and bring communities together. Galleries will all be located in downtown Springfield. Each individual gallery opening will have an reception with the artist on site to both sell and talk about their work. This year, the SCP has also partnered with several downtown restaurants that will offer a discount on food to Art Stop attendees who present their Art Stop ‘passport’ on April 26. The SCP, along with organizing the curation of art in the pop-up spaces, is hiring unique buskers to encourage attendees to walk from place to place. Guides will be strategically placed to guide attendees along the Art Stop route. The performers will showcase an array of dance, music, and entertainment. All locations are within a walkable area.

DiGrigoli Educational Programs

April 29: For the first time in many years, Paul DiGrigoli, owner of DiGrigoli Salon and DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology in West Springfield and a national spokesperson and educator for the beauty industry, will offer his popular seminars to all local salon professionals and business owners. The all-day program at the Log Cabin in Holyoke will kick off at 10 a.m. with DiGrigoli’s most popular program, “Booked Solid,” based off his best-selling book in the beauty industry of the same name. Designed to help stylists, estheticians, nail techs, or anyone in the service industry to increase sales and retention, “Booked Solid” has inspired professionals across the country at major beauty shows, colleges, and businesses for more than 15 years. After lunch, the day will conclude with “How to Build a Healthy Salon or Business” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. This leadership program, geared towards salon and beauty professionals, business owners, managers, or anyone in a leadership position, will use DiGrigoli’s more than 35 years of experience in the industry to educate on the best leadership practices, how to cultivate a healthy team or healthy business, and how to outperform the competition. This intensive workshop is being made possible through the sponsorship of Sullivan Beauty in New Hampshire. For more information and to purchase tickets, interested stylists and professionals should visit www.sullivanbeauty.com.

Agenda

Celebrity Bartending Tip-Off Fundraiser

March 7: The Hampden County Legal Clinic (HCLC), an award-winning, nationally recognized pro bono program of the Hampden County Bar Assoc. and the Hampden County Bar Foundation, has provided free legal advice and law-related services to the underserved through a variety of pro bono initiatives and community-based programs for 11 years. The HCLC and its pro bono associate advisory board are delighted to announce the first inaugural Celebrity Bartending Tip-Off Fundraiser to support the Legal Clinic. The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Art e’ Pizza, 272 Worthington St., Springfield. Along with food and entertainment, the event will feature local celebrity bartenders and a silent auction. This event is open to all. For more information, call the HCLC at (413) 733-6500.

‘Daniel Shays & America’s First Non-violent Protest’

March 9: Historian and author Dan Bullen will present “Captain Daniel Shays & America’s First Non-violent Protest” at 2 p.m. in the Springfield Armory Museum. The program will take place in the museum theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required due to limited seating. On Jan. 25, 1787, Shays marched 1,200 farmers and veterans to Springfield to seize the federal arsenal’s stockpiles of weapons, to keep them from falling into the hands of the governor’s army, which was coming to impose martial law in the Connecticut River Valley. For five months, Shays and the farmers of Massachusetts had peacefully protested the state’s economic policies, which explicitly favored the merchant elites, but the governor and other leaders saw the people’s opposition as a threat to the state’s authority. Bullen writes that he found this story deeply engaging “not just as a local history, but as an ongoing story of Americans banding together to protect the liberties they’d won in the Revolution.” Bullen will tell the story of the economic, social, and political factors that brought thousands of men in arms to Springfield in 1787 and ultimately led to reforms in Massachusetts and then to the drafting of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For further information about the event, call (413) 734-8551.

Difference Makers

March 28: 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 2019 was profiled in the Feb. 4 issue and will be feted at the Difference Makers Gala on March 28 at 5 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Tickets are on sale now for $75. To reserve a spot, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected] The presenting sponsor is Baystate Health/Health New England, and other event sponsors include Royal, P.C., Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C., Development Associates, TommyCar Auto Group, and Viability Inc.

Women’s Leadership Conference

March 29: In celebration of women everywhere knocking down doors and breaking through glass ceilings, Bay Path University will host its 24th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. This one-day event, which has become the region’s prime women’s leadership event for professional networking and enrichment, will challenge women seeking to make career or life changes to look at the power within to make their dreams a reality, and to dare to ask “why not me?” instead of “why me?” Delivering the keynote address will be award-winning actress, dancer, and singer Rita Moreno, one of only four women who have achieved the EGOT, the grand slam of entertainment-industry awards, by winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Mel Robbins, a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, life strategist, internationally recognized social-media influencer, and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the world, will deliver the conference’s luncheon keynote. She is the CEO and co-founder of the Confidence Project, a media and digital learning company working with Fortune 500 brands to help employees build habits of confidence and courage. The conference’s opening keynote speaker will be announced soon. In addition to the three keynote speakers, breakout sessions focused on reimagining the narrative around women in leadership will be led by Cy Wakeman, drama researcher, global thought leader, New York Times best-selling author, and president and founder of Reality-Based Leadership; Kim Meninger, certified executive and leadership development coach and president and founder of Executive Career Success; Dr. Kristina Hallet, board-certified clinical psychologist, and associate professor of Psychology at Bay Path, executive coach, and best-selling author; and Kim Lear, founder of Inlay Insights, storyteller, writer, and researcher. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

EANE Leadership Conference

April 4: The Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) will stage its annual Leadership Conference on Thursday, April 4 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place with a focus on measuring success while motivating and inspiring one’s team to improve performance. The program will feature Jim McPartlin, vice president of Leadership Development for Forbes Travel Guide. McPartlin’s keynote will challenge attendees to bring integrity to their leadership responsibilities, even when times get tough. A second keynote will be presented by Tim Hebert, a perennial entrepreneur, innovator, author, speaker, and adventurer. Hebert will ignite the leadership spark in attendees in a keynote focused on the choices of leadership and techniques to help live life by design, not by default. Between keynote presentations, conference attendees will have access to dozens of breakout session topics ranging from performance management to diversity and inclusion, to perfecting ‘C-suite speak,’ and more. The cost for the program is $360 per person with discounts for three or more. Register at www.eane.org/leadership-2019 or by calling (877) 662-6444. The program will offer 5.75 credits from the HR Certification Institute and SHRM.

 

Springfield Art Stop

April 26: The Springfield Cultural Partnership (SCP) announced the return of Art Stop, a pop-up gallery/street festival hybrid, from 5 to 8 p.m. The SCP is partnering with venues downtown to open galleries in unexpected spaces simultaneously. Additionally, several existing Springfield art galleries along this year’s route will also participate as stops along the Art Stop. Between the galleries, which will have the typical artist talks and receptions, there will be street performances. Art Stop was designed to activate underutilized community spaces with colorful art, create economic opportunity for artists, and bring communities together. Galleries will all be located in downtown Springfield. Each individual gallery opening will have an reception with the artist on site to both sell and talk about their work. This year, the SCP has also partnered with several downtown restaurants that will offer a discount on food to Art Stop attendees who present their Art Stop ‘passport’ on April 26. The SCP, along with organizing the curation of art in the pop-up spaces, is hiring unique buskers to encourage attendees to walk from place to place. Guides will be strategically placed to guide attendees along the Art Stop route. The performers will showcase an array of dance, music, and entertainment. All locations are within a walkable area.

Bay Path President’s Gala

April 27: Bay Path University has announced its third annual President’s Gala, “Dance a Mile in Their Shoes,” to take place at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. Lindsay Arnold, a Dancing with the Stars professional and season 25 champion, and So You Think You Can Dance fan favorite, will lend her expertise for her second year in a row as the event’s celebrity judge. Arnold will be joined at the judges’ table by actor, producer, Springfield native, and Bay Path alumna JoAnna Rhinehart, who is currently appearing in My Fair Lady on Broadway. The Bay Path University President’s Gala will feature a Dancing with the Stars-style ballroom dance competition infused with telling the story of the university’s mission — empowering undergraduate women and graduate women and men to flourish in a constantly changing world. Last year’s event netted more than $315,000 in support of the Bold Women’s Scholarship and the Finish Line Fund. These scholarships are awarded to assist students in removing obstacles standing in the way of achieving their goal of receiving a college degree. This year’s featured dancers at the gala are Lamont Clemons, Business Development for Secure Energy Solutions, executive vice President of S-Cel-O Painting, and Bay Path trustee; Erin Hornyak, Bay Path advisory council member and Longmeadow resident; and Jillian Jusko, blogger and Longmeadow resident. Clemons, Hornyak, and Jusko are undergoing training with Daryll and Gunnar Sverrisson, ballroom dance champions and owners of Ballroom Fever in Enfield, Conn., as they prepare to compete to raise scholarship funds and take home the Mirror Ball Trophy. In addition to the performances, the gala will feature an auction, dinner, and live entertainment by the Boston-based band Protégé. 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 dancing competition will begin at 8:30 p.m., and at 9 p.m. guests will be invited to dance the night away. Tickets are on sale now at www.baypath.edu/gala.

Aerosmith Concerts

Aug. 21, 24, 26, and 29: Aerosmith will bring “Deuces Are Wild — East Coast Run,” a special edition of its Las Vegas residency show, to MGM Springfield for four nights. Along with never-before-seen visuals and audio from Aerosmith recording sessions, the performances will be presented in L-ISA Hyperreal sound. The shows will take place at the MassMutual Center. Tickets went on sale to the general public on March 1.

Meetings & Conventions

Meeting Expectations

Rendering of the event spaces at MGM Springfield.

As MGM Springfield continues the final countdown to its Aug. 24 opening, the company is starting to generate considerable momentum in what will undoubtedly be one of the most important aspects of its operations — hosting meetings and conventions. MGM is creating what is being called a ‘campus,’ one that should catch the attention of groups planning everything from product showcases to association conventions to weddings.

Monique Messier was a little late for her scheduled conversation with BusinessWest, but there was a good reason — one that gave her something else to talk about.

Indeed, she was wrapping up work to book the first wedding at the hotel at MGM Springfield, and those talks took a little longer than expected.

Messier, executive director of sales for MGM Springfield, didn’t share too many details about that wedding other to say that it was booked for September — only a few weeks after the facility opens its doors — and that the couple was excited to be tying the knot in the glittering, new $950 million casino complex — and more excited that they would be the first to do so.

“It’s someone who knew they wanted to be in MGM,” she explained, referring to the short time frame between the booking and the nuptials. “They waited until we could get them into the building to see it, and we did; they were sold.”

Monique Messier

With the meeting and event spaces at the MGM Springfield hotel and the MassMutual Center, Monique Messier said, the company can sell a “campus” of facilities to a host of constituencies.

Messier said this will be obviously be the first of many weddings at the facility, and that such ceremonies will comprise one element in a spectrum of gatherings that can be staged at a broad portfolio of meeting and event spaces at the casino and the MassMutual Center across the street.

“It’s a resort feel coming to downtown Springfield,” she noted, adding that this ‘feel,’ as well as the views and a wide array of facilities and amenities, should move Springfield up several notches when it comes to the radar screens of event planners and business owners and managers looking for a place to gather.

MGM Springfield had an unveiling of sorts for the meeting and event spaces earlier this month, revealing photos and details of some of the rooms. Officials there have been offering tours this spring and summer to event planners and other groups, but thus far it has mostly kept those spaces under wraps.

What’s becoming clear, though, is that what’s under those wraps is spacious, unique, and versatile, and that, collectively, the facilities provide Greater Springfield with a great opportunity to attract more events of all kinds. Already, there has been considerable interest, said Messier.

“We’re working with hundreds of groups already, and we’re in the process of trying to get as many groups as we can under contract,” she explained, adding that, while she couldn’t name clients that have signed on, there is a mix of groups and companies from within the 413 and outside it as well. “I think we’ll see quite a few new faces coming into downtown Springfield with all the different groups that have already shown interest in us here.”

In all, there will be 34,000 square feet of event and meeting spaces at the casino complex. There will also be abundant natural light and a host of indoor and outdoor options.

“We’re working with hundreds of groups already, and we’re in the process of trying to get as many groups as we can under contract. I think we’ll see quite a few new faces coming into downtown Springfield with all the different groups that have already shown interest in us here.”

Many of the individual facilities will incorporate the names of some of MGM’s sister properties in an effort to highlight the resort’s connection to other top destinations around the country.

There’s the 10,600-square-foot Aria Ballroom, a nod to the resort and casino in Las Vegas that opened in 2009; the smaller (5,600-square-foot) Bellagio Boardroom, named after another MGM property on the Vegas strip; the 1,000-square-foot Borgota Meeting Room, named after the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City; and the 1,000-square-foot Beau Rivage Boardroom, a nod to the MGM property in Biloxi, Miss.

There will also be the renovated former National Guard Armory (most recently used as the South End Community Center) that will offer a unique, 4,800-square-foot room that will enable the groups that book it to stretch their imaginations and create an environment to suit their specific needs.

“This is a gorgeous, open area,” she told BusinessWest. “Groups can have high-end functions there; we can seat about 200 people banquet-style.”

Overall, the collection of spaces, coupled with the many attractions at MGM Springfield — from the casino floor itself to the Regal Cinemas complex, 10-lane bowling alley and arcade, TopGolf Swing Suite, and a variety of restaurants — will undoubtedly catch the eye of groups staging conventions, companies looking for team-building options, and a host of other constituencies.

For this issue and its focus on meetings and conventions, BusinessWest takes an inside look (not really, but it’s close) at the array of spaces at MGM Springfield and how they are expected to change the landscape when it comes to the all-important conventions business.

Space Exploration

Messier told BusinessWest that she and her sales staff will be selling the collective space at MGM Springfield and the MassMutual Center as a “campus,” because that’s truly what it is — one that boasts everything from a sports arena capable of seating nearly 10,000 people and huge convention spaces, to the hotel, its 252 rooms, 16 suites, and assorted ballrooms, boardrooms, and restaurants; from an open-air plaza inspired, Messier said, by the classic New England town common, named Armory Square, to the bowling alley and movie theaters.

Most groups won’t need all that, but it’s there if they need it, she went on, adding that just beyond this campus are more hotels and restaurants, performance venues including Symphony Hall and CityStage, and attractions ranging from Six Flags to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Put it all together and it’s a fairly easy package to sell, she went on, adding that a number of groups and events have already been scheduled.

“We did a tour yesterday for an association that’s looking at us for April, along with another that’s looking at us for 2022,” she said. “We have business that runs the gamut, from short-term, coming in in September, to a year out, to five years out.”

And there has already been a wide range of different types of events scheduled, she on, listing everything from that first wedding to this fall’s annual Bright Nights Ball, to take place in the Aria Ballroom, to a host of meetings and conventions.

In designing the spaces, MGM wanted to capture the flavor of Las Vegas and other gaming and convention hot spots, not just with the names on the venues, but with their luxurious look and feel and also the way they promote collaboration, interaction, and productivity, said Messier, adding quickly that there are considerable amounts of local flavor and personal touches.

The hotel was designed in a way that recognizes Springfield’s industrial roots, she noted, while eclectic artwork evokes this region’s creative iconography, visually referencing Dr. Seuss, Emily Dickinson, and Merriam-Webster Dictionary, among others.

The spaces will also be adaptable, she said, adding that while the Aria ballroom can hold up to 540 and the Ballagio up to 360, they can be configured to seat smaller gatherings.

‘Adaptable’ is also a word that can be used to describe the former Armory.

All of the meeting spaces are on the second floor of the hotel, and running the full length of those spaces is a terrace that looks out on Armory Square, with the Armory itself in the middle of the plaza, she explained, adding that these views are still another selling point when it comes to this campus.

“When you walk through our space, the whole terrace is open, and natural light floods in,” she said. “It’s an amazing view of the whole property.”

Messier said the collection of facilities within the campus she described will be especially appealing to business groups and individual companies.

Indeed, the various spaces can be utilized for everything from product showcases to annual retreats and sales meetings; from those increasingly popular team-building exercises to gatherings to entertain and recognize clients, vendors, and employees.

Bottom Line

Summing up what’s she’s seeing and hearing on the phone — from potential clients, her sales staff, and that couple getting married at MGM in a few months — Messier said the City of Homes and the region surrounding it are gaining the attention of a wide range of constituencies.

“I feel like there is revitalized interest in coming to Springfield,” she said. “With all the great attractions we already have in the area, for clients to be able to book here, bring their clients here, bring their salespeople here, bring their company outings here … it’s a classic win/win for people.”

As she mentioned earlier, it’s quite an attractive package, and one that’s already starting to sell itself.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]