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Company Notebook

Westmass Moves Corporate Offices to Downtown Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Westmass Area Development Corp. announced the opening of its new corporate offices in downtown Springfield. Located at One Monarch Place, Suite 1350, the new offices will host all corporate functions of Westmass with capacity to continue regional awareness and growth. The new office location will enable Westmass to continue to brand itself as a regional development company focusing on opportunities in real estate and economic development in Western Mass. “An opportunity to move into downtown Springfield is great for Westmass,” said Jeff Daley, president and CEO. “We look to expand our market throughout Western Mass. for real-estate development opportunities as well as working with municipalities and private developers providing consulting services to assist with the technical details of real estate and economic-development projects in Western Mass.” He noted that Westmass also maintains offices at Ludlow Mills. “As a nationally recognized brownfield-redevelopment site and the marquee project in our portfolio, with hundreds of residents and employees living and working at the Mills, it is important to not only have our facilities management office there, but to house our expanding leasing and marketing departments as well.”

Florence Bank Unveils Renovated Easthampton Branch

EASTHAMPTON — Florence Bank has completed a renovation of the interior and drive-through at its existing Easthampton branch at 5 Main St. The renovation is part of Florence Bank’s ongoing effort to align its physical branch locations with modern banking offerings and customer needs. The Easthampton renovation included interior updates and modernizations, along with two new ATMs. Florence Bank is a full-service, mutually owned bank based in Florence and has served the Easthampton community for 20 years. It first merged with Easthampton Cooperative Bank and expanded and remodeled its present location on Main Street in 1999. The Easthampton location serves more than 6,400 customers annually. The renovations were intended to maintain the branch’s charm while also embracing the innovative design of Florence Bank’s newly constructed locations. The bank partnered with the following local contractors on the project: HAI Architecture in Northampton, Pioneer Contractors in Easthampton, Broadway Office Interiors in Springfield, Fine Woodworks Millwork in South Hadley, Mercier Carpets in West Springfield, and Grimaldi Painting in East Longmeadow. Inside, the lobby, teller line, and customer-service area were renovated and updated, making the interior brighter and more contemporary. A new digital screen has also been installed to keep customers up to date on bank-wide enhancements and notifications. Outside, two new ATMs are now available, and the drive-up teller equipment was enhanced to provide two-way audio/video communication. Florence Bank opened a branch on Allen Street in Springfield in late 2018. In 2020, the bank will open its newest Hampden County location in Chicopee, expanding its network to 12 locations.

Behavioral Health Network Receives $10,000 Grant from PeoplesBank

SPRINGFIELD — Behavioral Health Network Inc. (BHN) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from PeoplesBank to be used for BHN’s Money School program, a financial-independence initiative for survivors of domestic or sexual violence who are also recovering from addiction. PeoplesBank’s grant to BHN will support the operation of the Elizabeth Freeman Center’s Money School program. Money School is an award-winning, trauma-informed, financial-independence initiative designed to create long-term safety and economic security for survivors. Participants are given individually tailored financial and career mentoring as well as intensive advocacy and support for their substance-use recovery and healing in the aftermath of domestic or sexual violence. The program helps survivors achieve and maintain safety, economic independence, and family well-being for themselves and their children. Kathy Wilson, president and CEO of BHN, noted that “much of our work at BHN has to do with supporting and engaging with people as they overcome obstacles and plan a better future for themselves. The Money School program has been particularly effective in helping women to take control of their finances, one of the most difficult challenges for anyone when navigating the long-term impact of domestic violence. We deeply appreciate the resources being provided by PeoplesBank in this vital program that is changing the lives of the women served.” The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that one in four women report experiencing domestic violence. In addition to physical abuse, domestic-violence survivors often experience financial duress, and almost half of domestic-violence victims struggle with substance-use disorders.

Tighe & Bond Opens Office in Portland, Maine

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond Inc. a northeastern leader in engineering and environmental consulting, opened a new office in Portland, Maine this month. The 4,400-square-foot office, located just minutes from Portland City Hall and the Old Port, will allow the firm to better serve its growing base of clients throughout Maine and the region while providing an opportunity to employ professionals native to the area. Senior Project Manager Dan Bisson will provide leadership for Tighe & Bond’s newest office. Bisson has more than 25 years of experience with management, permitting, planning, design, and construction of water infrastructure projects for municipalities, utilities, and private clients. Tighe & Bond’s strategic plan calls for geographic growth to further reinforce its position as a Northeast regional leader in engineering and environmental services. The company is experiencing office expansions and staffing growth in multiple locations throughout the Northeast, adding four offices in the past five years and expanding its Worcester office earlier this year.

Davis Educational Foundation Awards $100,000 to CCGS Joint Purchasing Initiative

LONGMEADOW — The Davis Educational Foundation has awarded the CCGS Joint Purchasing Initiative a $100,000 grant to be distributed over two years. This is the third grant by the Davis Educational Foundation to underwrite this collaborative project. The Joint Purchasing Initiative (JPI) consists of the five private member institutions of the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS), including American International College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Springfield College, and Western New England University. The goal of the JPI, which will continue to be administered by Bay Path University, is to identify and implement strategic opportunities for collaboration where shared purchasing and shared services in high-cost and high-impact areas will result in significant institutional cost savings across the JPI’s partner institutions, ultimately containing the cost of higher education for students. Since its founding in 2017, the efforts of the JPI have resulted in collective cost savings of nearly $900,000, with varying degrees of savings by institution. During this time, the JPI reduced costs by negotiating better deals on contracted services with vendors, such as student transportation for athletics and van leasing, rental-car agreements, contract management, corporate payment systems, IRB software, employee and student background checks, electricity and solar sources of energy, interpretive and captioning services, medical-waste-disposal services, and computer purchases. With the funding from the latest grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, the next step in the evolution of the JPI is to explore and develop potential plans for shared services, implement best practices, reduce duplication of efforts, and drive efficiency gains with the expertise already existing within the institutions.

HCC Marks 20th Year of Giving Tree Campaign

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) celebrated the 20th anniversary of its annual Giving Tree campaign Thursday, fulfilling the holiday wishes of 375 consumers from four nonprofits that aid and support some of the area’s most at-risk residents. During the campaign’s closing ceremony, HCC students, faculty, and staff gathered with representatives from WestMass Elder Care, Homework House, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), and the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home to share food, stories, and gifts. Eleven HCC departments participated in this year’s Fall Food Fest in November, raising $833 for the Giving Tree campaign. The money was used to fulfill 26 gift tags for MSPCC and create gift boxes that included baby wipes, diapers, clothing, books, and toys. Each year during the annual campaign, Giving Trees are set up in designated areas around the HCC campus. Participants choose colored-coded tags from one of the nonprofit agencies based on the age of the recipient and their wish for a gift. The wrapped gifts are then sorted and piled on tables for the closing celebration.

Family Business Center Awards Grand-funded Memberships to Three Women Business Owners

HOLYOKE — At the Family Business Center’s (FBC) December Log Cabin Dinner Forum, Lakisha Coppedge of Coppedge Consulting, Kimberley Betts of Betts Plumbing & Heating Supply, and Sherryla Diola of Mundo Artisan Foods were awarded grant-funded memberships for the 2020 year. This inaugural grant, aimed at supporting women business leaders in Western Mass., was funded by Encharter Insurance. “My goal is to grow our trusted business learning community intentionally, and to increase diversity and inclusion,” said Jessi Kirley, FBC executive director, who collaborated with the women leaders of local partner organizations, including the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, Leadership Pioneer Valley, EforAll, and Valley CDC, for nominations and selection of the award recipients. Added Tracey Benison, president of Encharter Insurance, “women-owned businesses are critical to the success of small business in the Pioneer Valley. As a women-led insurance agency, Encharter looks for meaningful ways to support women-owned businesses. The recipients of the scholarships are standouts in their professions. We are excited to support their continued journey of learning.”

Company Notebook

City, MGM Springfield Win Economic-development Award

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield and the city of Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED) have received a 2019 Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for the MGM Springfield project. The award was presented by the IEDC last month at its annual conference in October in Indianapolis. The Gold Excellence in Public-Private Partnership Award was presented to Brian Connors, the city’s deputy director of Economic Development, and was the only award category highlighted during the conference keynote event. The award recognizes outstanding and innovative development projects that have significantly enhanced revitalizations. OPED’s team was led through the MGM Springfield project by now-retired Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, and also included Phillip Dromey, deputy director of Planning, and Scott Hanson, principal planner. The MGM Springfield project represented a $960 million private investment, resulting in several new-to-market amenities, including a downtown movie theater, bowling alley, ice-skating rink, four-star hotel, and several new retail and restaurant offerings. In addition, MGM’s commitment to populate existing offsite entertainment facilities became another highlight to economic spinoff, as did the commitment to $50 million each year in spending with local vendors. The project has created several thousand construction and permanent jobs and greatly enhanced local revenues, which helped fund additional public-safety, early-education, and park improvements.

United Personnel Named Among Top 100 Women-led Businesses In Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD — United Personnel announced it has been named one of the top 100 women-led businesses in Massachusetts by the Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit that supports female business owners. The list, published in the Boston Globe, was developed based on revenue, number of full-time employees in the state, team diversity, and innovation. The rankings feature a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, business services, healthcare, education, human services, and retail. United Personnel was number 75 on the list, and was one of only two companies based in Western Mass. represented. Focused on helping to connect people with job openings at local companies, United Personnel has seen decades of success as a women-led organization. Founded by Mary Ellen Scott in 1984 with her late husband, Jay Canavan, United Personnel is now on its second generation of female leadership under President Tricia Canavan.

Hampshire College Maintains Accreditation, Advances Plans

AMHERST — Hampshire College remains in compliance and will continue its accreditation, according to a vote by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) at its meeting on Nov. 22. NECHE reviewed Hampshire’s progress report and five-year plans before acting to continue the college’s accreditation. The commissioners lifted their notation on Hampshire’s compliance with the standard of organization and governance, citing significant progress in this area. NECHE recognized such progress as the hiring of a new president, substantial achievements with respect to good practices for governing boards, and considerable progress in realistic planning with respect to enrollment, fundraising, and finances. The commissioners continued Hampshire’s notation on the standard of institutional resources and asked the college for a full progress report in two years, in December 2021. A team of Hampshire College administrators and trustees, led by Wingenbach and board chair Luis Hernandez, met with the NECHE commissioners on Nov. 21 and reported that Hampshire’s leadership is secure and its board of trustees governance is strong. The college is actively recruiting new students for 2020, its 50th-anniversary year, as it plans to rebuild to full enrollment by 2023-24. The college has also been conducting a rapid, community-wide process to reinvent its curriculum and student experience. In the coming months, Hampshire will draw on the continued support of its alumni, donors, friends, and community members to meet admissions and fundraising goals. Hampshire College also kicked off a major capital campaign, announcing it has already raised $11.2 million in gifts toward its campaign goal of $60 million by 2024. “Change in the Making: A Campaign for Hampshire” is currently led by four alumni co-chairs: Ken Burns (’71), award-winning documentary filmmaker; Gail Caulkins (’73), president of the Greenacre Foundation and former Hampshire College trustee; Lucy Ann McFadden (’70), retired astrophysicist, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, and a member of the Hampshire board of trustees and chair of its advancement committee; and Julie Schecter (’71), director and trustee of numerous organizations, including the SHIFT Foundation, co-founder of Hampshire’s Ethics and the Common Good program, vice chair of Hampshire’s board of trustees, and chair of its trusteeship and governance committee. The co-chairs are working actively to secure additional major gifts, supported by a campaign council, a diverse group of volunteers that represents the board of trustees, major donors, college leaders, faculty, staff, students, and parents. The campaign is administered by Chief Advancement Officer Jennifer Chrisler and the college’s Advancement Division staff.

People’s United Bank to Close Three Springfield-area Branches

SPRINGFIELD — Following its acquisition of United Bank, People’s United Bank plans to close three Springfield-area branches in April, all of them because they are near other People’s United locations. The closures include the former United branch at 1355 Boston Road in Springfield, the former United Branch at 1414 Main St. in Springfield, and a former Farmington Bank location at 85 Elm St. in West Springfield that People’s United acquired in 2018. All employees have been offered jobs at other People’s United offices. People’s United Financial announced in July it was purchasing United Financial Bancorp for $759 million.

Elms College Ranked in Top 15% of State’s Best Schools for Veterans

CHICOPEE — Elms College ranks in the top 15% of 2020 Best Colleges for Veterans in Massachusetts, according to data-analytics company College Factual. The college is also in the top 15% of colleges and universities in the company’s national rankings. In the list of Best Colleges for Veterans in Massachusetts, Elms College was rated ninth out of 70 higher-education institutions for veteran friendliness as reviewed by College Factual. Elms improved its standing five slots over last year’s 14th position. According to College Factual’s national list, Elms College moved from the top 25% to the top 15% with a rating of 214 out of 1,751 institutions, improving its position by 225 slots over last year’s standing at 439. This list highlights colleges and universities that are working hard to provide quality educational outcomes to veterans, active-duty military students, and their families, College Factual stated. Some of the factors taken into account by College Factual include affordability to veterans, support services, and resources specific to the needs of veterans, whether they are traditional or non-traditional students.

UMassFive Opens Branch at Northampton VA Medical Center

NORTHAMPTON — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union introduced its newest branch location at the Northampton VA Medical Center. As of October, the Northampton VAF Federal Credit Union has formally merged with UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, and former Northampton VAF members have transitioned to banking with UMassFive. With this merger, current employees of the Northampton VA Medical Center and their immediate family members are now eligible for UMassFive membership. Along with the merger, the existing credit-union branch located in Building 1, Room B204 of the Northampton VA Medical Center has been completely renovated. The new, open floor plan includes seated service areas where UMassFive representatives can provide members access to a range of credit-union products and services, including checking, auto loans, home-equity loans, solar loans, mortgages, credit cards, and investment guidance. The space also now features a video teller machine that can be accessed in the branch entryway, and allows members to perform video transactions with UMassFive tellers, even while the branch is closed. As with other UMassFive locations, members at the Northampton VA branch will have access to free financial workshops on topics like budgeting essentials, homebuying, identity theft, and planning for retirement. The hours for this new UMassFive branch are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Off-hours access to the lobby video teller machine are available when the building and basement are open, and during regular video-teller hours. Any credit or debit card may be swiped for after-hours entry.

Freedom Credit Union Launches Cherish the Children Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — To a child in need, one special gift can be a holiday wish come true. That’s the spirit behind Freedom Credit Union’s 12th annual Cherish the Children campaign, which provides presents to hundreds of local children in time for the holidays. Freedom Credit Union (FCU), headquartered on Main Street in Springfield and serving members throughout Western Mass. through 10 additional branches, will host this year’s endeavor through Dec. 23. Equipped with ‘wish lists’ of names, ages, and gift ideas from the local area offices of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), FCU aims to provide gifts for a total of 600 children in need. From the wish lists, FCU has produced a tag for each child, which they will place on holiday trees at all Freedom branches, excluding the Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy. Employees and members are encouraged to choose one or more tags from a tree, purchase the item the child has requested, bring it to the branch (unwrapped and with tag attached), and place it under the tree. Monetary donations are also welcome, as FCU’s own ‘elves’ will be going on a festive shopping spree at local stores that provide them a discount for this campaign.

Yankee Home Improvement Holds Annual Food Drive

CHICOPEE — For the second year in a row, Yankee Home is engaging customers in a pay-it-forward event to provide food for those in need this holiday season. For every non-perishable food item donated, Yankee Home will give customers 1% off the cost of their home-improvement service, up to 10%. All food items will be donated to Rachel’s Table, a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts that works to eliminate hunger and reduce food waste in the community. Through the end of December, Yankee Home will be accepting non-perishable food items Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its 36 Justin Dr. headquarters in Chicopee. While the discount is capped at 10% of the total cost of the service, people are encouraged to donate as much as they can. The discount applies to installed, new work only. A Yankee Home specialist can provide complete details.

Florence Bank Receives Award From U.S. Small Business Administration

FLORENCE — 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. Michael Davey and Erin Couture, both vice presidents and commercial loan officers with the bank, accepted the award on Nov. 8 at an event held during SBA’s annual meeting at Clark University in Worcester. Davey explained that 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. He said the program allows small-business owners who might be lacking the traditional 20% down payment to purchase business property with only 10% down, while also reducing the bank’s exposure to risk.

Company Notebook

HCC, C3RN Launch Cannabis Education Center

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) recently announced the creation of the Cannabis Education Center to provide education and training opportunities and other business resources to individuals in the region who want to work in the state’s newly legalized cannabis industry. HCC and C3RN are designated training partners through the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Vendor Training program. The program was designed to provide priority access, training, and technical assistance to those negatively impacted by the drug war. The Cannabis Education Center will be managed out of HCC’s Kittredge Center and provide academic advising and workforce training, public education events that highlight entrepreneurship and workforce development, entrepreneurship events for those interested in joining the cannabis industry as a startup company, and social-equity training for applicants qualified through the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Training program. More information about these programs will be posted soon on the Cannabis Education Center’s website, cannabiseducationcenter.org. The Cannabis Education Center will also be running four previously announced certificate programs for specific jobs in the cannabis industry: cannabis culinary assistant, cannabis retail/patient advocate, cannabis cultivation assistant, and cannabis extraction technician assistant. The first of those programs, cannabis culinary assistant, will begin on Jan. 11, 2020, at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Each certificate program will consist of 96 hours of instruction, half of which will be held on the HCC campus with the other half conducted through C3RN’s internship program with participating dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, and ancillary businesses. C3RN and HCC will also be running five courses for the entrepreneurship track in the Social Equity Program starting Saturday, Nov. 23 at HCC’s Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center, 206 Maple St., Holyoke. The first two-session class, set for Nov. 23-24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will focus on business-plan creation and development.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County Receives Mentoring Matching Grant

GREENFIELD — Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding quality youth mentoring in Massachusetts, is awarding $869,000 in mentoring matching grants to mentoring and youth-serving organizations across the state. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County is one of only 44 organizations chosen to receive a grant. These funds were approved by the state Legislature in the FY 2020 budget and are the only state funding dedicated to the mentoring field. MMP worked closely with legislative and community partners in advocating for the money, which represents a 110% increase over the last two years. The Mass Mentoring Partnership matching grant is used to make and support one-to-one mentoring matches that help ignite the power and promise of Franklin County youth. The mentoring matching grants are managed by MMP, with oversight from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and are intended to improve students’ attitudes towards school. Research has shown that young people who are in mentoring relationships show improved academic performance, better school attendance, and a greater chance of going on to higher education. Despite this compelling evidence, there remains a shortage of mentors, with research suggesting that one in three young people will grow up without one. This year’s grants are expected to create and support more than 3,200 high-quality mentor and mentee matches in schools and youth-serving programs statewide.

Eversource Partners with United Way on Programs

SPRINGFIELD — As part of its commitment to the health of all Bay State communities and economic development across the state, Eversource presented Massachusetts United Way agencies with contributions totaling more than $930,000 this year that support programs and services for hundreds of thousands of residents around the state. In total, Eversource and thousands of the company’s employees across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut contributed more than $2.2 million to the United Way in 2019 to support after-school programs, health clinics, workforce-development programs, weatherization for low-income homeowners, and more. Eversource’s contributions to agencies throughout the state include a corporate gift of more than $515,000 as well as $410,000 in personal contributions made by Massachusetts employees during the company’s annual giving campaign for the United Way. Additionally, Eversource employees across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut have volunteered more than 1,300 hours in partnership with the United Way to serve hundreds of nonprofits throughout New England.

Westfield Bank to Open Bloomfield, Conn. Location

WESTFIELD — James Hagan, president and CEO of Westfield Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western New England Bancorp Inc., announced that the bank will open a new branch office in Bloomfield, Conn. in mid-2020. The bank will open a full-service branch in the Copaco Center shopping plaza on Cottage Grove Road. The office will include lobby and safe-deposit services, an image-technology ATM, and multiple drive-through teller lanes. The bank looks forward to breaking ground as soon as it secures the necessary permits and approvals, with construction being facilitated by AmCap Inc., the property owner and manager, and Borghesi Building and Engineering Co. Inc. of Torrington. Plans are subject to regulatory approval. The Bloomfield location will follow a new Financial Services Center, which is expected to open in West Hartford Center earlier in 2020. In addition to a full-service branch, the West Hartford Financial Services Center will include a suite of offices for residential lending, commercial lending, and business and government deposit services. Representatives of these departments currently occupy temporary space at 977 Farmington Ave. to assist with their community-outreach activities.

Levellers Press Named a Manufacturers of the Year

AMHERST — Levellers Press in Amherst received a Manufacturer of the Year Award at the fourth annual Manufacturing Award Ceremony at the State House on Oct. 22. Collective Copies, a collectively managed and worker-owned printing company, celebrated the 10th anniversary of its publishing wing, Levellers Press, on Sept. 18. Levellers’ beginning was marked by the launch of its first title, Robert H. Romer’s Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts, still one of its bestsellers. One hundred titles later, it has expanded its book-printing and distribution capabilities with Off the Common Books to help self-publishing authors get their books out in a more collaborative way than is possible through the big vendors. Levellers offers a wide selection of printing papers and welcomes input from authors throughout the layout and design process. Levellers Press is a member of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers and was nominated by state Rep. Mindy Domb. The award ceremony was sponsored by the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus. Along with Levellers Press, 76 manufacturers were recognized for truly ‘making it’ in Massachusetts.

‘Best Law Firms’ Ranks 11 Bulkley Richardson Practice Areas in Top Tier

SPRINGFIELD — Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, has included Bulkley Richardson in its 2020 list of “Best Law Firms,” ranking the firm in the top tier for the most practice areas of any Springfield law firm. The 2020 “Best Law Firms” list ranks Bulkley Richardson in the following 11 practice areas: bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense: general practice, criminal defense: white-collar, litigation – labor and employment, medical malpractice law – defendants, personal injury litigation – defendants, tax law, and trusts and estates law. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer included in Best Lawyers. Bulkley Richardson has 12 of its lawyers included on the 2020 Best Lawyers list, the most from any Springfield law firm. Three of the firm’s partners were also named 2020 Springfield Lawyer of the Year: Michael Burke, David Parke, and John Pucci. The rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field.

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union Honored with Award

BOSTON — During the recent Empower U conference in Boston, Credit Union Student Choice presented its third annual Honor Roll Award to UMassFive College Federal Credit Union. The award recognizes excellence in higher-education financing and is given to the winning financial institution in conjunction with a $5,000 Chip Filson Scholarship, which may be awarded by the credit union to an outstanding student-member of its choice. The scholarship was given to UMassFive College Federal Credit Union in honor of Chip Filson, a credit-union industry icon and former Student Choice board member, who played an influential role in the founding and ongoing development of Credit Union Student Choice.

Mellon Foundation Awards Five Colleges $800,000 for Online Museum Collections

AMHERST — The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the Five College Consortium $800,000 to reimagine the way museum collaborations can share their online collections with each other and the world. The current shared collections database at Five Colleges was developed more than 20 years ago, and this commitment to a consortial database has enriched collaboration across the Five Colleges and opened up discovery and access to museum collections for students, faculty, staff, and the public. It remains one of the few collections databases in the country that is shared among several museums, but with advancements in technology and new accessibility needs on the part of the user, this database has revealed its age and limitations. These facts, combined with Five Colleges’ long history of collaboration, was what originally led the Mellon Foundation to request a grant proposal from the consortium. The museums that are a part of the current collections database are the Hampshire College Art Gallery, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, the Smith College Museum of Art, the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst, and Historic Deerfield, an independent museum that works closely with the campuses. The award from the Mellon Foundation’s Arts and Cultural Heritage program is a 30-month planning grant that will be used to assess the museums’ collections-management needs.

Melanson Heath Joins BDO Alliance USA

NASHUA, N.H. — Melanson Heath has joined the BDO Alliance USA, a nationwide association of independently owned local and regional accounting, consulting, and service firms with similar client service goals. As an independent member of the BDO Alliance USA, Melanson Heath can expand the services offered to clients by drawing on the resources of BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional-services firms, and other Alliance members. The firm serves clients through more than 60 offices and 550 independent Alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent member firm of BDO International Ltd., BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of more than 73,000 people working out of 1,500 offices in more than 162 countries. The BDO Alliance USA enhances member-firm capabilities through the availability of supplementary professional services, comprehensive management-consulting services, focused industry knowledge, customized state-of-the-art computer systems, and internal training programs.

Way Finders Breaks Ground on Library Commons Apartments

HOLYOKE — Way Finders held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Library Commons development, which will include 38 affordable apartments, support services, and retail and cultural spaces, on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. at Holyoke Public Library. The development will feature 23 two-bedroom apartments and 15 three-bedroom apartments. The complex also features on-site laundry facilities, two wheelchair-accessible apartments, and 54 off-street parking spaces, and is a short walk to child-care centers, transportation, and schools. Way Finders has also developed a partnership with the Care Center on Roqué House, a first-of-its-kind facility in the Commonwealth that will provide 10 two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments for families headed by young parents who are full-time students. Library Commons is comprised of two rehabilitated historical buildings and one newly constructed building. Way Finders’ services will be made available on-site. There will also be meeting space, classrooms, and an art studio/gallery available to all Library Commons residents. The architect for the project is Dietz & Co. Architects Inc., and the contractor is NL Construction Inc.

Girls on the Run Completes Successful Autumn Auction

NORTHAMPTON — Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts reported a successful Autumn Auction on Oct. 19. The event raised enough money to fund five more teams in Western Mass. Mill 180 Park in Easthampton donated the space and all the food for the event, while 70 items were donated by local business, and a cake was donated by Small Oven. Girls on the Run is a youth-development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8. Participants develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and themselves with care, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to community and society. The next event is the GOTR 5K at Smith College on Saturday, Nov. 23 starting at 10:30 a.m. This event is open to the public.

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.

Company Notebook

AIC Gets High Marks in College Salary Report

SPRINGFIELD — PayScale, a Seattle-based software company that performs compensation research, including pay-scale indices and employee engagement, recently released its 2019-20 College Salary Report, ranking American International College (AIC) 39th in the country for health science and nursing programs when considering salary growth. The annual report, based on the salaries of 3.5 million college graduates, provides estimates of early and mid-career pay for 2,500 associate and bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. For health science and nursing programs, PayScale examined 679 institutions offering four-year degrees. At number 39, AIC ranks in the top 6% of the colleges and universities reviewed. “We are very proud of the dedication, motivation, commitment, and diversity of the students in our health sciences programs, including nursing, exercise science, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and public health, who strive to be the very best,” said Karen Rousseau, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “Central to American International College’s mission is to provide access, opportunity, and inter-professional collaboration to scholars in the School of Health Sciences, which will serve them well in their career goals as they advance in their chosen fields.” PayScale pioneers the use of big data and unique matching algorithms to power the world’s most advanced compensation platform and continues to be the compensation market leader based on user reviews.

Square One Receives $25,000 Grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Square One has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. The grant is part $1 million the Tufts Health Plan Foundation is donating to area nonprofits that are focused on health equity and the social determinants of health in honor of Tufts Health Plan’s 40th anniversary and its longstanding tradition of giving back to the community. “It is a true honor to be recognized by Tufts Health Plan Foundation in such a meaningful and generous way,” said Joan Kagan, Square One President and CEO. “Each and every day, our families are impacted by health disparities and social determinants of health. With these funds, we will continue to seek out creative and effective ways to support the physical, social, and mental health and well-being of our children and families.” The $25,000 grants — 10 in each of the states where Tufts Health Plan serves members — support a range of nonprofit organizations doing exemplary work to promote community health and wellness. “We recognize that nonprofit organizations are on the front lines of service and play a crucial role in building stronger and healthier communities for all of us,” said Tom Croswell, president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan. “These angel grants are a way of saying ‘thank you’ to Square One and other organizations addressing the economic and social conditions that influence the health of our diverse communities and helping them to keep up the great work they do.” The Tufts Health Plan Foundation has given more than $35 million to community organizations since 2008 and will give nearly $5 million in community grants this year.

KeyBank Recognized as a Leading Disability Employer

CLEVELAND — For the third year, KeyBank was recognized by the National Organization on Disability (NOD) as a Leading Disability Employer. “We are honored to accept this award from the NOD, a leader in inclusion for people with disabilities,” said Kim Manigault, chief Diversity and Inclusion officer. “Inclusion is intentional. This award reflects the work across many lines of business and partnerships that provide supportive experiences for people with disabilities who engage with and work for KeyBank.”

Jewish Family Service Receives $250,000 Grant

SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) has been awarded a competitive two-year $250,000 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This grant will allow JFS to expand its current citizenship program to better serve prospective citizens’ assimilation into American civic life in Hampden County. The fiscal-year 2019 grants, which run through September 2021, promote prospective citizens’ assimilation into American civic life by funding educational programs designed to increase their knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics. “Our country welcomes legal immigrants from all over the world who come to the United States, positively contribute to our society, and engage in American civic life,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Immigrants who assimilate, embrace our Constitution, understand our history, and abide by our laws add to the vitality and strength of this great nation. Through this grant program, USCIS continues to support efforts to prepare immigrants to become fully vested U.S. citizens.” JFS is one of 41 organizations in 24 states to receive nearly $10 million in funding to support citizenship-preparation services. Now in its 11th year, the USCIS Citizenship and Assimilation Grant program has helped more than 245,000 lawful, permanent residents prepare for citizenship. A ‘permanent resident’ is a person authorized by the US government to live and work in the country on a permanent basis.

Junior Achievement Wins Community Partner Award

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) was recognized recently by Massachusetts’ Department of Youth Services (DYS) for its work with local youth. DYS, the juvenile-justice agency for the Commonwealth, gave JAWM the 2019 Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Community Partner in the Western Region at a ceremony on Oct. 4 in Dorchester. JAWM, which provides workforce-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy programs to K-12 youth, was nominated by Sharon Bess, youth employment development specialist at the Center for Human Development (CHD) in Springfield. Bess wrote in her nomination that “Junior Achievement has allowed us to introduce career readiness and financial literacy in a unique way that leaves a lasting impact on our young people and creates a foundation toward positive change to their futures.” CHD is a nonprofit that delivers social and mental-health services to people in Western Mass. and Connecticut. “We’re honored to be recognized with this Community Partner award,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “Starting in 2005, our partnership with CHD helped establish their Exclusive Tees program by introducing local high-school students to the JA Be Entrepreneurial program and the JA Company program. Our partnership also established the Teen Reality Fair, which provides high-school students with information on career opportunities and introduces financial literacy in a hands-on, eye-opening fashion. It’s always a pleasure to work with the youth and the staff at CHD.”

Country Bank Receives Award for Marketing Video

WARE — Country Bank was recognized for its “Pioneers” video at the American Bankers Assoc. Bank Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas. “Pioneers” competed against hundreds of national video submissions, winning first place in its category. The winners were selected by bank marketing professionals who judged the entries based on creativity, production value, and overall messaging. “We were so honored to receive this award; ‘Pioneers’ truly portrays the hardworking communities that we serve in such an impactful way. The imagery captured local landscapes, people, and businesses, which resulted in a genuinely moving video for us,” said Shelley Regin, senior vice president of Marketing at Country Bank. “The closing line, ‘even hard work needs a partner,’ supports the bank’s belief that relationships are life’s most valuable investments.” When the bank decided to create new videos last summer, it turned to its agency partner, Small Army, to develop a storyline that would truly represent both Central and Western Mass., she added. “We could not be more grateful to our agency for creating a true representation of Country Bank’s local communities.”

Employer Confidence Holds Steady in September

BOSTON — Business confidence remained essentially flat in Massachusetts during September despite a darkening outlook among manufacturers. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index rose 0.2 points to 58.9 last month after retreating in August. The Index has lost 3.7 points since September 2018 but remains within optimistic territory. The September reading was weighed down by weakening sentiment among Bay State manufacturers. The Index’s manufacturing component dropped 2.4 points in September and 7.9 points for the year. The results mirrored the national Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index, which fell to its lowest level since 2009 last month. A separate report by IHS Markit showed that the manufacturing sector suffered its worst quarter since 2009, though activity increased during September. The constituent indicators that make up the Index were mixed during September. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth fell 0.6 points to 63.3, while the U.S. Index rose to 56.5. The Massachusetts reading has decreased 1.2 points and the U.S. reading has fallen 7.1 points during the past 12 months. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, lost 0.5 points to 56.4, leaving it 4.4 points lower than a year ago. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, increased 0.8 points to 61.3 — 3.0 points lower than its reading of September 2018. The Employment Index rose a point for the month but remained down 3.1 points for the year. Employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers in a full-employment state economy. Non-manufacturers (61.9) were more confident than manufacturers (55.4). Large companies (60.2) were more optimistic than medium-sized companies (59.9) or small companies (55.4), reversing a trend established during the summer. Companies in Eastern Mass. (62.6) continued to be more optimistic than those in the west (53.8).

Company Notebook

Tufts, Harvard Pilgrim Announce Plan to Merge

MASSACHUSETTS — Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan recently inked an agreement to merge, a marriage that would bring together the Commonwealth’s second- and third-largest insurers, creating a powerhouse to rival Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Tom Croswell, president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan, will serve as CEO of the new organization. Michael Carson, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim, will serve as president, overseeing the organization’s diverse business lines and subsidiaries, according to a release. “Our communities and consumers today face four major hurdles in health care: affordability, access, quality of health, and a fragmented healthcare experience across various stakeholders and health systems. Through our shared vision, we believe we can tackle these issues and bring more value to the communities we serve,” said Croswell in a statement. The plan was unanimously voted on by the boards of both organizations. The new combined entity does not yet have a name. The deal would bring together Tufts Health Plan’s 2,841 employees and approximately 1.16 million members with Harvard Pilgrim’s 1,182 employees and approximately 1.16 million members. Together, the insurers will have members in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Elms College Will No Longer Require SAT, ACT Scores for Most Admissions

CHICOPEE — Starting with the class entering in the fall of 2020, Elms College will no longer require scores from standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT for admission to most majors. The move to a test-optional policy is intended to make higher education accessible to students from all backgrounds, including from underrepresented populations. Elms admission counselors will review applicants’ essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. They also will talk with prospective students to get to know them as full people. The test-optional policy will give all students, including those from underrepresented populations such as racial and ethnic minorities or those with economic disadvantages — groups who traditionally earn lower scores on standardized tests because of systemic social inequities — a greater chance to access the educational and experiential opportunities Elms offers. The School of Nursing at Elms will still require test scores, however, because nursing majors are required, upon graduation, to take the NCLEX exam to become licensed as nurses, and the college needs to know that its nursing students can succeed on such exams. Students or families with questions about test-optional admission, academics at Elms, or the application process are encouraged to contact the Office of Admission at (413) 592-3189 or [email protected] More information is also available online at elms.edu/testoptional.

UMassFive to Bring Employees Student-loan Repayment Benefits

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced it is bringing student-loan repayment benefits to its employees via a new partnership between Student Choice and FutureFuel.io. Student Choice teamed up with FutureFuel.io earlier this year to better help credit unions address the growing challenge of student-loan debt faced by the emerging workforce. Participating in this new perk allows credit unions to offer their employees and employees of select employee groups access to FutureFuel’s online portal of automated tools that can help reduce the impact of student debt.

Monson High School Golfers, Monson Savings Bank Support Shriners

MONSON — Monson High School graduate Cam Kratovil, sophomore Mason Dumas, and varsity golf coach Paul Nothe, in cooperation with Monson Savings Bank, teamed up to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield. Kratovil and Dumas collected pledges for a marathon golf round they recently played at Quaboag Country Club. They were escorted in golf carts around the course by Nothe and his wife, Nicole, as they completed their goal of playing 100 holes between the hours of 6 a.m. and noon. All the money pledged to them will be given to Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield. In addition, Monson Savings Bank sponsored the 2019 Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Quaboag Country Club on Aug. 17 and 18 to benefit the hospital.

Tighe & Bond Climbs in ENR’s Ranking of Environmental Firms

WESTFIELD — Tighe & Bond, a Northeast leader in engineering and environmental consulting, climbed six spots this year to number 142 on Engineering News Record’s (ENR) “2019 Top 200 Environmental Firms” ranking. ENR ranks its list of top 200 envi environmental firms nationally based on the percentage of their 2018 gross revenue from environmental services. Earlier this year, Tighe & Bond also climbed 19 spots to number on ENR’s “2019 Top 500 Design Firms” ranking, moving up a total of 38 spots in the past two years. ENR ranks its list of top 500 design firms nationally based on design-specific revenue from the previous year. Tighe & Bond provides comprehensive engineering and environmental services to hundreds of public and private clients across the Northeast, with emphasis on the education, energy, government, healthcare, industrial, real-estate, and water/wastewater markets. A staff of 385 work from nine offices in five states.

People’s United Community Foundation Grant Boosts JA Summer Program

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, which provides workforce-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy programs to K-12 youth, recently received a $5,000 grant from the People’s United Community Foundation to support its Summer BEE (Business and Entrepreneurial Exploration) program for middle- and high-school students. The funds will be used to provide out-of-school educational experiences for youth from grades 6 to 12, focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, career exploration/work readiness, and STEM education. The program includes in-class learning, hands-on learning, and experiential out-of-school learning experiences, such as lessons about the water ecosystem with presentations, videos, and techniques to test the water in the nearby Connecticut River. To learn problem solving, decision making and teamwork, students form companies, create a product, and market and sell the product, with the goal of earning a profit. Students have several opportunities to sell their products and pitch the companies to business people, family, and friends.

ESB Foundation Donates $5,000 to Hilltown Community Health Center

EASTHAMPTON — Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that the Easthampton Savings Bank Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the capital campaign for the John P. Musante Health Center of Hilltown Community Health Center. Located at 70 Boltwood Walk in Amherst, the John P. Musante Health Center provides accessible and affordable healthcare for primary and preventive medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare services. The center’s service area includes Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, Hatfield, Belchertown, Ware, South Hadley, Sunderland, South Deerfield, and Leverett.

WNEU Teams Up with Comcast to Offer Xfinity on Campus Service

SPRINGFIELD — Comcast announced it will bring its Xfinity on Campus service to Western New England University, allowing students to watch live TV and on-demand and recorded content on their IP-enabled devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The service is included with room and board for students living in on-campus housing. Xfinity on Campus offers more than 100 live channels and access to thousands of current TV shows and hit movies via Xfinity on Demand. While off campus, students can use the Xfinity Stream app to log in and access TV Everywhere programming that’s part of their subscription.

Eversource Upgrading Electric System in Western Mass.

SPRINGFIELD — Eversource is investing $4 million in upgrades to electric-distribution systems in the towns of Plainfield, Cummington, Chesterfield, Worthington, Windsor, Savoy, and Dalton. These enhancement projects include replacing more than 130 utility poles with stronger, thicker ones and installing more than 21,000 feet of more resilient power lines. ‘Smart switches’ are also being added to the system to help restore power outages more quickly in the event they happen. These devices can limit the number of customers affected by an outage and restore power with computer-assisted technology from the energy company’s operations center even before sending a crew to inspect the line and make repairs. A major component of this upgrade project is connecting two electrical circuits, creating a loop. Once the two electrical systems are tied together, it will make substations on either end accessible when needed, boosting the company’s ability to deliver reliable power. Customers may experience short power interruptions during the project, so crews can safely perform the work. Any customers affected will be notified by the company in advance. The project is expected to be complete by this fall.

Holyoke Medical Center Expands Services in Westfield

WESTFIELD — Holyoke Medical Center announced expanded healthcare services in Westfield, including family medicine, women’s services, gastroenterology, walk-in care, and more. Holyoke Medical Group Family Medicine, an affiliate of Holyoke Medical Center, has relocated to 140 Southampton Road in Westfield. The office offers care for the entire family, including pediatrics, adult primary care, women’s health, and geriatric care. Dr. Thomas Graziano and Deborah Pisciotta, MS, PA-C, are accepting new patients. The office is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. To make an appointment, call (413) 535-4800. In addition to Holyoke Medical Group Family Medicine, Holyoke Medical Center plans to offer walk-in care, lab draw, imaging services, and physical therapy at the 140 Southampton Road facility starting this fall. Holyoke Medical Group Women’s Services also has an office in Westfield, located at 94 North Elm St., Suite 102, in Westfield. Holyoke Medical Center Gastroenterology will also open a new office at 94 North Elm St., Suite 206, in Westfield on Oct. 21.

Massachusetts Unemployment Drops Slightly in July

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.9% in July, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 3,500 jobs in July. Over the month, the private sector lost 4,100 jobs as losses occurred in leisure and hospitality; education and health services; professional, scientific, and business services; construction; and financial activities. Manufacturing jobs remained unchanged over the month, while trade, transportation, and utilities; other services; and information added jobs. Government added jobs over the month. From July 2018 to July 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 37,300 jobs. The July unemployment rate was eight-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.7% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped four-tenths of a percentage point. The labor force decreased by 4,400 from 3,838,800 in June, as 2,100 fewer residents were employed and 2,400 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — dropped one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 67.6%. Compared to July 2018, the labor-force participation rate is up one-tenth of a percentage point. The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in other services; education and health services; information; and leisure and hospitality.

SPARK EforAll Holyoke Seeks Volunteer Mentors

HOLYOKE — SPARK EforAll Holyoke is actively seeking volunteers to participate as mentors in this winter’s 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 looking for an interactive and meaningful volunteer opportunity and interested in learning more about EforAll should e-mail [email protected]

Court Upholds Dismissal of Class-action Special-ed Suit

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced that the Federal Appeals Court upheld the dismissal of a class-action suit that had been brought by special-education advocates against the city of Springfield and Springfield Public Schools. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Court entered judgment on Aug. 8 affirming the decision of Judge Mark Mastroianni to dismiss the class action. The underlying suit alleged that the city of Springfield and Springfield Public Schools (SPS) violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily segregating students with mental-health disabilities in a separate and inferior school, the Springfield Public Day School (SPDS). A student brought the suit on his own behalf and on behalf of a class of all students with a mental-health disability who are or have been enrolled at SPDS. Two associations, the Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL) and Disability Law Center (DLC), joined as plaintiffs seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, including an order that defendants provide the class plaintiffs with “school-based behavior services in neighborhood schools to afford them an equal educational opportunity and enable them to be educated in neighborhood schools.” The U.S. District Court, in an opinion by Mastroianni, denied class certification. The court later ruled that the associations had standing but granted the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the associations. The plaintiffs’ appeal challenges the district court’s denial of class certification. The city appeal argued that the district court erred in concluding that PPAL and DLC had standing. The Court of Appeals agreed that these organizations lack standing to pursue the claims in the complaint, and affirmed the district court’s grant of judgment on the pleadings as to PPAL and DLC on that ground. The case was argued by Deputy City Solicitor Lisa deSousa and attorney Stephen Holstrom, with whom City Solicitor Edward Pikula and attorney Melinda Phelps of Bulkley Richardson were on the brief.

Agenda

Northampton Survival Center 40th Anniversary

August and September: The Northampton Survival Center invites the public to join in its 40th-anniversary celebration with events in August and September that highlight local businesses and their support for the center’s role in Northampton and nearby communities. A series called “40 Ways to Cook a Carrot” will kick off the festivities the week of Aug. 19-25, with participating restaurants featuring a carrot-inspired appetizer, entree, dessert, or drink in recognition of the center’s bright-orange carrot logo. After-hours parties will take place at various downtown businesses on Thursday, Sept. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. A single price of $25 will allow ticket holders entry into all participating parties, with each party staging its own select activity, such as live music, merchandise discounts, and more. The Window Stroll Challenge, expected to run several days in early September beginning Friday, Sept. 6, will showcase creative downtown window displays starring the center’s carrot logo. A map, published in a special pull-out section of the Daily Hampshire Gazette and available in participating stores, will orient visitors to the downtown area. An online version of the map, directing strollers to participating window displays, will do double duty as customers use it to vote for their favorite windows and also join in a hidden-carrot contest, with eventual winners eligible for prizes. Finally, businesses outside the downtown area plan a toiletry drive and challenge to see which participating business can collect the most donations of toiletries, such as toothpaste, soap, diapers, and other personal-care items.

ACC Super Saturday

Aug. 10: On Super Saturday at Asnuntuck Community College (ACC), admissions, advising, financial aid, registration, and the cashier’s office will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and all services will be available on a walk-in basis. Advising for manufacturing programs and all continuing-education licensure and allied-health programs will also be available that day. ACC’s advanced manufacturing technology program will also hold an open house. Visitors can see the 27,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center and learn what the program has to offer. Those who can’t make it that day may call (860) 253-3189 for more information or to arrange a tour. Placement testing for math and English will be available that morning. SAT and ACT test scores may also be used for placement purposes. Those interested in participating in the Accuplacer placement testing need to pre-register. Testing will begin at 10 a.m. Call (860) 253-1200 to secure a spot. For additional placement-test information, visit www.asnuntuck.edu/admissions/placement. Students who have not already completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are encouraged to do so. The FAFSA can be submitted online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code for ACC is 011150. Follett’s ACC Bookstore will also be open that day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For those who can’t make it on Aug. 10, open registration is available every Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The college will be open for extended hours every Wednesday in August and on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 26-27, until 6:30 p.m. Classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

DeVries Fine Art Reception for 40th Career Anniversary

Aug. 10: DeVries Fine Art International announced it will celebrate sculptor Andrew DeVries’ 40th career anniversary with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. at the DeVries Fine Art International Gallery, 62 Church St., Lenox, with picnic fare and art both inside the gallery and outside on the grounds. Rosie Porter and Tommy LeBeau will provide music. The gallery features original bronze sculptures, pastel paintings, and watercolors by the artist. New for this year is an educational room that gives a detailed description of the lost-wax process Devries uses, with a video and examples of different works in progress. DeVries began his career in Colorado by drawing dancers at the Ballet Denver Academy in 1978. Encouraged to try his hand at sculpture by the artistic director of the ballet company, he began to model figures in clay and wax. In 1979, he cast and finished his first works in bronze. In 1985, he settled in the small Berkshire hilltown of Middlefield, where he maintains his atelier and casting studio. His sculptures are in public and private collections worldwide. He and his wife, gallery Director Patricia Purdy, established DeVries Fine Art International in 2002.

‘Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour’

Sept. 7: The Melha Shriners, in conjunction with the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, will present a day-long country music festival at the fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The “Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour” will bring a full day of music with six country acts, featuring nationally renowned artists Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin. Popular local bands King Kountry, Southern Rain, and Cottonwood will also perform. Ticket prices are $30 (general admission, advance sale), $35 (general admission, day of the show) and $40 (reserved seating). General admission is free for children under 5. Tickets are available online at 3countyfair.com/events. The gates will open at 10 a.m., with on-site parking available for $5 per vehicle. Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages will be permitted. General admission patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets; however, beach umbrellas and pop-up tents are not allowed. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact event chair Shonn Monday at (413) 800-2312.

HCC Foundation Golf Classic

Sept. 9: Registration is now open for the Holyoke Community College Foundation’s 32nd annual fundraising golf tournament at Springfield County Club in West Springfield. Proceeds from the annual tournament will support student scholarships and academic-equipment purchases through the HCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College. The golf outing begins with an 11:30 a.m. buffet lunch followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The $185 fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments on the course. After golf, participants can enjoy cocktails on the clubhouse porch with scenic views of the Pioneer Valley, followed by dinner and the opportunity to enter raffles and bid on dozens of items, including restaurant gift certificates, Red Sox memorabilia, wine baskets, golf outings, and more. Over the past 31 years, the annual HCC Foundation Golf Classic has raised more than $500,000 for HCC scholarships and educational technology for HCC classrooms. Participants can arrange their own foursomes or sign up as singles. To register, visit www.hcc.edu/golf.

RVCC Golf Tournament

Sept. 13: River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC), a multi-faceted mental-health agency, will hold its fourth annual golf tournament fundraiser at 10:30 a.m. at East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. The event is presented by Action Ambulance Services. The funds raised will help RVCC to continue providing mental health and other essential supportive services to more than 7,000 individuals yearly throughout the Pioneer Valley. The cost per golfer is $100 and includes greens fees, a golf cart, gift bag, lunch, and dinner. Golfers will also be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. There will also be contests on the course, with prizes donated by Marcotte Ford and Teddy Bear Pools. Other tournament sponsors include BusinessWest, Unidine, PeoplesBank, CINTAS, Goss & McLain Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency, BMC HealthNet Plan, and Jefferson Radiology. For more information on sponsorships, in-kind donations, and registration, contact Angela Callahan, RVCC’s Marketing and Development specialist, at (413) 841-3546 or [email protected] Information is also available at www.rvcc-inc.org or by visiting River Valley Counseling Center’s Facebook page.

Golf Tournament to Fight Childhood Hunger

Sept. 30: Feed the Kids will hold its second annual charity golf tournament to benefit No Kid Hungry and the HPS Weekend Backpack Program at Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. No Kid Hungry is a national organization that raises funds to support school breakfast programs, summer meals, afterschool meals, and more for children throughout the country. The HPS Weekend Backpack Program distributes bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals to children at the end of each week that they can enjoy over the weekend. Feed the Kids is currently seeking donations for the tournament’s silent auction, individual and corporate sponsors, and, of course, golfers. Check-in for the scramble-format tournament will begin at 10 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon. The fee is $160 per golfer, which includes greens fees, driving range, cart use, lunch, cocktail hour, dinner, and a gift bag. There will also be prizes, a raffle, and an auction. Visit feedthekidsgolf.com.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 17: The third annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Sheraton Springfield from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched in 2017 by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The class of 2019 will be profiled in the Sept. 2 issue of BusinessWest, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets will go on sale in August. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsor), Development Associates (partner sponsor), Comcast (partner sponsor), Elms College (supporting sponsor), Bulkley Richardson (supporting sponsor), and Design to Finish (supporting sponsor). Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

Briefcase

Bradley Begins Construction on New Ground Transportation Center

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont, state leaders, Connecticut Airport Authority officials, and project stakeholders held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of Bradley International Airport’s new Ground Transportation Center on July 18. The new facility, spanning 1.4 million square feet across 13.4 acres, will be located west of the existing short-term and long-term parking garage, with a direct connection to Terminal A. Its major features will include convenient rental-car services across from Terminal A, additional public parking, and improved access to public transportation, including a dedicated area that will be used to receive high-frequency buses connecting the airport to the CTrail line, as well as regional bus services. The construction phase will be completed over the next three years and will cost approximately $210 million, which is being entirely financed by customer facility-charge revenues. In anticipation of the construction of the new Ground Transportation Center, several enabling projects were initiated in 2018 to prepare the site for construction. These projects focused on the realignment of roadways and the addition of a new intersection. Additional enabling projects will commence in the late summer and will be publicized in the coming weeks.

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.0% in June

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate in June remained unchanged at 3.0%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 9,800 jobs in June. Over the month, the private sector added 8,400 jobs as gains occurred in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, financial activities, manufacturing, information, and trade, transportation, and utilities. Government added jobs over the month. From June 2018 to June 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 35,500 jobs. The June unemployment rate was seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.7% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The labor force decreased by 2,100 from 3,840,900 in May, as 1,700 fewer residents were employed and 500 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents age 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — dropped one-tenth of a percentage point at 67.7% over the month. The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in education and health services, information, leisure and hospitality, and other services.

Adam Quenneville Seeks Nominations for No Roof Left Behind Program

SOUTH HADLEY — When hard times fall on a local family, caring people in the community want to help. No Roof Left Behind is a nationwide program that gives good neighbors a chance to nominate a deserving homeowner to receive a free new roof. It also provides a local contractor the framework to provide a new roof at no cost. Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding Inc. has participated in the No Roof Left Behind program since 2014, and will do so again this year. Online nominations will be accepted from local people who know someone in dire need of a new roof in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties from Aug. 2 through Aug. 23, and then the public will vote online for the 2019 winner. To submit a nomination, visit noroofleftbehind.com. Each participant must upload a photo and brief story about someone who needs a new roof. Volunteers will review the nominees and select four finalists. From Aug. 26 through Sept. 13, the public will vote for the winner online. Finalists will be revealed, and the public will vote online for the 2019 winner, who will be revealed on Oct. 11.

MassDevelopment Provides $310,000 for Real-estate Projects Across State

BOSTON — MassDevelopment announced up to $310,000 in funding for 10 projects through its Real Estate Technical Assistance program. Under this program, through a combination of in-house expertise and contracts with consultants, MassDevelopment works with municipal officials, planners, local stakeholders, and others to address site-specific and district-wide economic-development challenges. The technical-assistance funds will support a range of projects, from feasibility studies to master-planning efforts. Locally, the town of Greenfield will use one of the awards to prepare a market assessment and operational analysis of proposed uses in the First National Bank and Trust building. This follows a feasibility study that consultant Taylor Burns completed in June. The other local award will be given to the city of Holyoke to develop architectural and financial analyses to determine the cost of rehabilitation of the former National Guard Armory at 163 Sargeant St. Findings from the analyses will help the city secure additional funding needed to move the project forward.

Briefcase

Nominations Sought for 30th Annual Super 60 Awards

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber is seeking nominations for its annual Super 60 awards program, presented by Health New England.

Marking its 30th year, the awards program recognizes the success of the fastest-growing privately owned businesses in the region that continue to make significant contributions to the strength of the regional economy. Each year, the program identifies the top-performing companies in revenue growth and total revenue. Last year, total-revenue winners combined for more than $750 million in revenues, with 25% of these winners exceeding revenues of $40 million. All winners in the revenue-growth category had growth in excess of 13%, while one-quarter of the top 30 companies experienced growth in excess of 75%. To be considered, companies must be independently and privately owned, be based in Hampden or Hampshire county or be a member of the Springfield Regional Chamber, produce revenues of at least $1 million in the past fiscal year, and be in business for at least three full years. Companies are selected based on their percentage of revenue growth over a full three-year period or total revenues for the latest fiscal year. Companies may be nominated by financial institutions, attorneys, accountants, or be self-nominated, and must submit a nomination form and provide net-operating-revenue figures for the last three full fiscal years, signed and verified by an independent auditor. All financial information must be reported under generally accepted accounting principles and will be held and considered confidential and not released without prior approval. Nomination forms are available by contacting Grace Szydziak at [email protected] or (413) 755-1310. Nominations must be submitted no later than Aug. 2. The Super 60 awards will be presented at the annual luncheon and recognition program on Oct. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Chez Josef in Agawam.

Municipal Utilities Support Integrating Emerging Technologies

BOSTON — Massachusetts municipal utilities are leading the way in integrating carbon-free technologies into their power portfolios, contributing significantly to achievement of the Commonwealth’s energy goals, according to speakers at a State House event sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), the joint action agency for Massachusetts municipal utilities. Approximately 14% of electric consumers in the state are served by municipal light plants (MLPs), a valuable part of the electric-utility industry that deliver low-cost, reliable electric service to consumers. MLPs are nonprofit and owned by the people they serve. Locally appointed or elected boards of commissioners maintain decision-making authority for each light department. MMWEC CEO Ronald DeCurzio outlined the clean-energy projects included in the MLP portfolios, dating back to the 1984 construction of a 40-kilowatt wind project built by the Princeton municipal utility. “Municipal utilities have been at the forefront of the carbon-free energy movement for some time,” he said. “MLPs have recognized trends and implemented emerging technologies in an efficient, economic manner in the best interest of their customers.” In just a few weeks, a new municipal-utility wind project will commence commercial operation. Phase two of the Berkshire Wind Power Project in Hancock will add 4.6 megawatts (MW) to the existing 15-MW wind farm. The project, the second-largest wind farm in Massachusetts, is owned by a cooperative consisting of 16 municipal utilities and MMWEC. By the end of 2019, MMWEC member utilities will have 67.8 MW of wind generation, 48 MW of solar, and 26.2 MW of energy storage — nearly 15% of the 2020 target of 200 MW of storage in place in Massachusetts. Three of MMWEC’s members utilized a total of $1.64 million in grants through the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage initiative, a coordinated effort between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the state Department of Energy Resources, to fund their energy-storage projects. A fourth municipal utility took advantage of declining energy storage costs to install an energy-storage system without the help of state grants or federal tax incentives, a first among municipal utilities in Massachusetts.

Donations of $100,000 to Help Hispanic Students at HCC, WSU

HOLYOKE – College students of Hispanic heritage from Holyoke will benefit from new scholarships established at both Westfield State University (WSU) and Holyoke Community College (HCC), thanks to $100,000 gifts to each institution from Victor and Mariellen Quillard. Victor Quillard, a retired president of Hampden Bank, and his wife, Mariellen, are both Holyoke natives, and their gifts aim to support Hispanic residents from Holyoke who are pursuing their college degrees. The $100,000 donations were given to the Westfield State Foundation and the Holyoke Community College Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising corporations of each institution. The gifts will establish two new endowed scholarships in the Quillards’ name. The Victor E. and Mariellen Quillard Scholarship at HCC gives preference to Holyoke residents of Hispanic heritage who have completed a minimum of 12 credits and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75. The Victor and Mariellen Quillard Scholarship at WSU gives preference to Holyoke residents of Hispanic heritage who transfer from HCC to Westfield State and have a minimum GPA of 2.75. Westfield State University President Ramon Torrecilha noted that “these significant monies will support the university’s goals to offer an accessible and affordable education while supporting its commitment to a diverse and welcoming community.”

Watch, Clock Collectors Make Time in Western Mass.

SPRINGFIELD — The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) staged its national convention in Western Mass. — 39 years after its last such event in New England. The convention, which took place at the Eastern States Exposition on June 27-30, featured products for purchase along with raffles, lectures, and contests. The group was brought to Western Mass. by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB). The economic impact is estimated at $2,543,423, which includes hotel rooms, meals, and other costs associated with the convention. “The convention is unique to New England because the first clocks and watches were produced in New England in the 1700s,” said Alicia Szenda, director of Sales at the GSCVB. “This convention is all about clocks, watches, the tools used in making and repairing them, sundials, barometers, and ephemera. Members of the group share a common interest in collecting, buying, selling, trading, repairing, restoring, and studying the science of time.”

State Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly in May

BOSTON —  The state’s May total unemployment rate is up one-tenth of a percentage point at 3.0%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 3,600 jobs in May. Over the month, the private sector lost 4,000 jobs, although gains occurred in professional, scientific, and business services; information; and manufacturing sectors. The jobs level in ‘other services’ remained unchanged over the month. Government added jobs over the month. From May 2018 to May 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 26,700 jobs. The May unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.6 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Massachusetts continues to experience a strong economy with a low unemployment rate of 3.0% percent and over 60,000 more employed residents and 17,500 fewer unemployed residents in the last year. Also, the Commonwealth’s labor force participation rate remains at a near 15-year high and is 5 points above the U.S. rate,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said. The labor force increased by 600 from 3,840,400 in April, as 1,100 fewer residents were employed and 1,700 more residents were unemployed over the month.

Unify Against Bullying to Award Record $20,000 in Grants

SPRINGFIELD — Unify Against Bullying’s 2019 online grant applications are now open. All applications are due to be submitted by Aug. 14. Unify also announced it has increased the amount it is awarding this year to $20,000 — a record amount for the organization. Grant applications are available at unifyagainstbullying.org. “One of our key goals is to inspire youth of all ages to participate,” Executive Director Christine Maiwald said. “It’s our job to give life to their ideas. They know best how we can bring an end to bullying. Additionally, we are in search of parents, teachers, and community leaders who would like to help us end this epidemic. All are encouraged to apply.” To date, Unify has awarded 27 grants to students and others who have helped lead anti-bullying efforts in their schools and communities. All programs have been dedicated to anti-bullying education and furthering the Unify mission: to bring an end to bullying through the celebration of true diversity. “To encourage youth participation, the grant application process has been made very easy,” Maiwald said. “It’s a single-page form which can be filled out in a matter of minutes.” The organization has a committee of volunteers who select the initiatives which best reflect and advance their mission. “This is the fourth year that Unify will be awarding grants,” Maiwald said. “We’ve come a long way from our first year, when we were only able to provide $3,500 in grants. Although it was a modest start, it was the beginning of something very special.” Unify Against Bullying is a tax-exempt organization dedicated to bringing an end to bullying through the celebration of true diversity. To achieve this mission, Unify provides grants to students, teachers, parents, and community leaders dedicated to bringing an end to bullying. One of Unify’s core missions is to inspire youth of all ages and ignite their ideas on how to prevent or reduce bullying. Unify’s high-school students attend events and help educate their communities on the different resources available. The organization also coordinates programs where high-school students educate their younger peers on the value of celebrating each other’s differences.

Company Notebook

MGM Springfield Receives LEED Platinum Certification

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

Bulkley Richardson Launches Craft Brew and Distillery Practice

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

Tighe & Bond Climbs in National Design Rankings

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

Wellfleet Relocating to Tower Square in August

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

GCC Awarded Grant to Improve Post-incarceration Workforce Outcomes

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

GCC Foundation Awards $190,000 in Scholarships

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

Florence Bank Pitches in on Community Center Upgrade

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

Briefcase

Employer Confidence Strengthens in April

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

Leadership Pioneer Valley Partners with Tech Foundry on Program for Students

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

Scholarships Available for STEM Studies at HCC

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

Company Notebook

Homewood Suites by Hilton Hadley Now Open

HADLEY — Homewood Suits by Hilton, part of Hilton’s All Suites portfolio, announced the opening of its newest property, Homewood Suits by Hilton Hadley. With 96 new suites, the hotel is the first extended-stay property in Hampshire County. Developed and owned by the Parmar Family and managed by Pioneer Valley Hotel Group, Homewood Suites by Hilton Hadley offers a combination of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom accommodations featuring fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas. Guests are also provided amenities like complimentary hot breakfast, evening socials, wi-fi, and a grocery-shopping service. Located at 340 Russell St., Homewood Suites by Hilton Hadley also features an outdoor kitchen and grill area, fitness center, and indoor pool, as well as 695 square feet of flexible space for meetings and social events.

Hogan Technology Receives Top Industry Award

EASTHAMPTON — Hogan Technology recently received Technology Assurance Group’s (TAG) top award at the 19th annual TAG Convention held in Orlando, Fla. TAG, an international organization of independently owned managed-technology service providers in the U.S. and Canada, selected Hogan Technology as the winner of the TAG Champion Award. The award is based on the company’s ability to drive fellow TAG members’ growth and advancement. Hogan Technology offers an array of IT networking, voice, and video solutions all designed to increase customers’ profitability and productivity. The TAG Champion Award was accepted by Sean Hogan, president of Hogan Technology. “Our company’s goal is to always strive to be on the leading edge of technology,” Hogan said. “Through TAG, we learn best business practices for the betterment of the customers we serve. We believe in giving back to the members that have helped us along the way. We’re proud to have won this award among such a sophisticated group of managed-technology services providers.”

Registration Open for HCC Summer-session Classes

HOLYOKE — Registration is underway for summer-session courses at Holyoke Community College (HCC). Three- and four-credit summer classes at HCC are offered in two four-week sessions and one full-term, seven-week session — on campus, online, and blended. Summer session one begins June 3 (ending June 27 to July 3), while session two begins July 8 (ending Aug. 1-8). The full-term summer session begins June 3-4 (ending July 17-23). HCC’s comprehensive summer academic program comprises nearly 200 course sections in 38 academic areas, including accounting, American Sign Language, anthropology, art, biology, business administration, chemistry, communications, community health, criminal justice, culinary arts, earth science, economics, engineering, English, academic English as a second language, environmental science, forensic science, general studies, gerontology, health, health information management, history, human services, law, management, marketing, math, medical assisting, music, nutrition, philosophy, political science, SEM (science, engineering, and math), psychology, sociology, Spanish, and sustainability. A complete listing of course descriptions and summer-class schedules is available at hcc.edu/registration. To enroll, visit hcc.edu/apply. For more information, visit hcc.edu/admission or call (413) 552-2321.

STCC to Offer Summer Classes

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer five-week and 10-week on-campus and online summer sessions. Session one begins on June 3, and session two starts July 8. Academic subject areas include accounting, anthropology, biology, business, chemistry, criminal justice, economics, electronic systems, English, graphic communication and photography, history, information technologies, math, medical terminology, music, philosophy, physics, psychology, sign language, sociology, Spanish, and speech. Class schedules are available at www.stcc.edu/summer. Students can register online, by phone at (413) 755-4321, or in the Registrar’s Office, Student Learning Commons (Building 19), Room 169. Summer also presents an opportunity for high-school students to take free college classes and earn credit. Area high-school students are encouraged to enroll in STCC’s College Now dual-enrollment program to take summer courses. Students who begin during their junior year can enroll in up to eight free courses, which may be taken to fulfill high-school graduation requirements or to pursue an academic interest. Credits earned can also be used toward any STCC degree program. Interested students should speak with their parent or guardian and guidance counselor before the May 1 application deadline for session-one courses.

Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Receives National Funding

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College AmeriCorps Program will receive $1,133,274 in AmeriCorps funding spread out over the next three years from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. Springfield College is one 26 Massachusetts-based organizations that received federal funding, supporting 6,611 AmeriCorps members in their efforts to tackle ongoing challenges in early-childhood education, job readiness, and environmental conservation. For 22 years, the Springfield College AmeriCorps program has provided the city of Springfield and its public schools with student-support and academic-support specialists. Its staff and student volunteers provide mentoring, counseling, social-emotional reinforcement, direct interventions, and identification of risk factors that lead to dropping out of school. The Springfield College AmeriCorps program is the largest in Western Mass., with 56 total members. Springfield College AmeriCorps members have provided an average of more than 44,000 hours of service to more than 16 of Springfield’s public schools leading to student academic success in English and math, and improved results in early literacy skills, attendance, and behavior.

Paragus Technology Drive Raises $2,445 for Dakin

HADLEY — On April 22, Paragus IT teamed with Dave’s Soda and Pet Food City and the Lexington Group for a technology-recycling drive to promote sustainability on Earth Day and to benefit Dakin Humane Society. Paragus took old, unwanted computers, laptops, printers, and other equipment to prepare them for reuse or proper disposal. In exchange, it collected $5 per piece of equipment — all of which went to benefit Dakin Humane Society. Between drop-offs at Paragus IT in Hadley and Dave’s Soda And Pet Food City and pick-ups by the Lexington Group, the technology drive raised a total of $2,445 for Dakin Humane Society.

Briefcase

Leadership Pioneer Valley Accepting Applications for LEAP Class of 2020

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

First-quarter Profits Up Across MGM Resorts

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

PVPC Releases Economic-development Strategy

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

Company Notebook

New England Public Radio, WGBY Join Together to Create New England Public Media

SPRINGFIELD — New England Public Radio and WGBY Public Television announced they will join to create a robust new multi-media organization, New England Public Media (NEPM), with one of the largest newsrooms in Western Mass. With a goal of expanding public media offerings for the people of Western New England, NEPM will build on the strength of each organization to deliver the educational content, cultural and news programs, and community engagement that characterizes public media. Martin Miller, CEO and general manager of New England Public Radio, will become president of NEPM. Anthony Hayes, general manager of WGBY Public Television, will become chief operating officer and general manager of the new organization. NEPM will be an independently run organization with its own governing board. Combined, New England Public Radio and WGBY Public Television have 78 employees, and all current employees will be part of the new organization. NEPM’s enhanced newsroom will total about 21 and is expected to grow over the coming years. The WGBH Educational Foundation, which holds the broadcast license for WGBY, will invest $6 million over six years in the new venture. When combined with critical community support for NEPM, this investment will allow for new programming while ensuring in-depth local journalism remains the centerpiece of the combined organization. WGBH will have a seat on the NEPM board. UMass Amherst will continue to hold the broadcast license for WFCR 88.5FM, and along with the NEPR Foundation board, it has been actively involved in the negotiations that led to the creation of NEPM. The university remains deeply committed to supporting the growth of public media in Western Mass. and will have a seat on the NEPM Board. The support of the Five College Consortium has been a vital part of the history and long-standing excellence of WFCR (Five College Radio) and New England Public Radio since its inception. The executive director of the consortium, which includes Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges as well as UMass Amherst, will also serve on the NEPM board. Along with an expanded news service, NEPM will focus on new content creation including digital music streams, multi-platform and digital programming, and community engagement and education, in addition to the programs audiences now enjoy. A new daily radio program with a local focus will be among the first initiatives the new organization will undertake. Details will be finalized over the coming months with plans and final approval to be completed this summer.

 

Gov. Charlie Baker to Speak at UMass Amherst Commencement

AMHERST — Gov. Charlie Baker will be the featured speaker at the undergraduate commencement at UMass Amherst on Friday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The governor will address an anticipated crowd of about 20,000 family members, friends, and other guests as approximately 5,500 undergraduates receive their bachelor’s degrees at the Commonwealth’s flagship campus. “We are honored that Governor Baker will deliver this year’s commencement address,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “As a results-driven leader, he combines a concentration on thoughtful data analysis with an emphasis on building relationships that strengthen our Commonwealth. His support for UMass Amherst has provided our students the opportunity to flourish as they play an invaluable role in the state’s innovation economy. “It’s no coincidence that, under the governor’s leadership, Massachusetts has achieved record employment, the highest percentage of citizens with healthcare, and an outstanding education system,” he went on. “At the flagship campus, we are proud of playing a role in providing high-quality, affordable education for our citizens.”

Big Y Express Eliminates Plastic Bags

SPRINGFIELD — As part of the recent announcement of Big Y Foods Inc. to phase out single-use plastic bags at its checkouts, its Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations became the first division in the 80-store company to eliminate these bags completely. Previously, Big Y Express in Lee was the only gas and convenience location without these bags as part of that town’s ordinance. Now, the other eight locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut have joined in this pursuit. Single-use plastic bags create an inordinate amount of waste. According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S. each year. If not disposed of properly, this plastic can end up in waterways and forests where it can harm fish, marine animals, birds, and other wildlife. Big Y has been complying with single-use plastic-bag bans in five of its local communities in Massachusetts (Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee, Northampton, and South Hadley) since 2014. The company also issued a pledge in January to eliminate all single-use plastic bags at its checkouts in 2020. The elimination of these bags at its Express locations is the first phase of the implementation for this pledge. Currently, there are several more towns with bans pending, such as Longmeadow and West Springfield. In addition, the legislatures of both Massachusetts and Connecticut are discussing statewide bans on single-use plastic bags.

Country Bank Reports Record Earnings, New Board Leadership

WARE — Country Bank President and CEO Paul Scully announced the appointment of Maura McCaffrey, former CEO of Health New England, and Keith Blanchette, partner at Stolberg, Ebbeling and Blanchette, LLP, to its board of trustees at its recent annual meeting held at the AC Marriott in Worcester. The bank also appointed five new corporators, including Nancy Crimmin, president of Becker College; Cherylann Gengel, co-founder of Be Like Brit; Michael Myers, president of the Worcester Railers; Peter Dawson, partner at Mirick O’Connell; and Mark Donahue, partner at Fletcher Tilton. At the meeting, Country Bank reported its 2018 earnings resulted in record-breaking profits. Net income was reported at $12,853,000, with total assets increasing to $1,624,000,000. Deposit balances increased to $1,083,182,000, and total loans increased from the prior year to $1,240,421,000. Capital was reported at 14.06%, maintaining the bank’s position as one of the higher-capitalized banks in the Commonwealth. As part of its ongoing Worcester expansion, the bank partnered with the Worcester Red Sox as one of the team’s 21 founding partners in anticipation of its move to Worcester in 2021.

United Financial Bancorp Announces Q1 Earnings, Dividend

HARTFORD, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended March 31. The company reported net income of $12.7 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, compared to net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018 of $12.2 million, or $0.24 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $15.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2018. “Despite the challenging operating environment, the United Financial Bancorp Inc. team is focused on expanding and winning new client relationships, maintaining strong asset quality and ample capital, and providing superior customer service,” said William Crawford, IV, president and CEO of the company and the bank. Assets totaled $7.34 billion at March 31, 2019, decreasing $16.9 million from $7.36 billion at Dec. 31, 2018. At March 31, 2019, total loans were $5.73 billion, representing an increase of $75.1 million, or 1.3%, from the linked quarter. Deposits totaled $5.66 billion at March 31, 2019 and decreased by $6.3 million, or 0.1%, from $5.67 billion at December 31, 2018.

HealthDrive to Acquire New England Geriatrics

WEST SPRINGFIELD — HealthDrive, a leader in delivering integrated specialty healthcare services to residents of long-term care, skilled nursing, and assisted-living facilities, announced it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire New England Geriatrics (NEG), a provider of comprehensive and quality psychiatric care for patients and their families. This acquisition will allow HealthDrive to expand its services as it seeks to create a leading multi-specialty healthcare platform for vulnerable populations. This is the first acquisition for HealthDrive as a portfolio company of Bain Capital Double Impact, the impact-investing business of Bain Capital. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed. NEG was founded on mission-driven principles in 1994 to provide mental-health services to underserved geriatric populations in Massachusetts. Today, the company serves more than 13,500 Massachusetts and Connecticut residents in over 129 long-term-care facilities, four managed inpatient geriatric psychiatric units, and one outpatient clinic through its dedicated network of mental-healthcare professionals. As consultants to the facilities and their primary-care physicians, NEG clinicians provide evaluation and diagnostic services, medication management, psychotherapy, behavior-management consultation, and evaluation of patients for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Steve Marcus, the current CEO of NEG, who will join HealthDrive as a senior adviser, added that “we selected HealthDrive as our partner because it is most aligned with our commitment to clinical excellence for the vulnerable population New England Geriatrics serves. We have worked side by side with HealthDrive providers in skilled-nursing facilities for many years, and it is apparent that the HealthDrive team truly understands the population that we at New England Geriatrics make our mission to serve. We are confident that, through our partnership with HealthDrive, New England Geriatrics will continue to offer the same great level of care that we have provided over these past 25 years.” The transaction is anticipated to close in the first half of 2019 and is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions.

UMassFive Among Recipients of Workforce Training Fund Grant

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced its selection as one of 68 Workforce Training Fund grant recipients in the state of Massachusetts chosen by the Baker-Polito administration. As a financial institution deeply invested in the communities it serves, UMassFive takes pride in supporting the local economy through providing quality service and products for its members, and by offering employment opportunities that encourage personal growth and career development. Accomplishing both of these goals means taking a real interest in the professional development of every employee and offering training opportunities so that any staff might become an expert in their chosen field. The $174,000 awarded to UMassFive will provide training for current and newly hired employees that focuses on technology-related mastery as well as leadership and management development in order to promote job growth, retention, and increased opportunity. This project is funded by a Workforce Training Fund grant from the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The grant program is administered by Commonwealth Corp.

Work Opportunity Center Cuts Ribbon on New Springfield Facility

SPRINGFIELD — Work Opportunity Center Inc. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 8 at its newly purchased and renovated community-based day-services (CBDS) facility located at 73 Marketplace in Springfield. Established in 1969, Work Opportunity Center Inc. (WOC) initially served its participants through a center-based work-service model. Community-based day services were added in the summer of 2014. In June 2016, center-based work services were discontinued for all participants, and those services were converted to CBDS. As of March 14, 2019, there are approximately 84 individuals participating in WOC CBDS services. Last month, 34 program participants and six staff members transferred from the WOC facility in Agawam to its newest facility in Springfield. The CBDS program of supports enables individuals with developmental disabilities to enrich their lives and enjoy a full range of community activities by providing opportunities for developing, enhancing, and maintaining competency in personal, social, and community activities. Service options for individuals participating in the CBDS program include career exploration, community-integration experiences, skills development and training, volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits, health and fitness classes, socialization experiences, and support to enhance interpersonal skills as well as the pursuit of personal interests and hobbies. The renovation of the 73 Marketplace facility is supported by a $10,000 grant made by the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation along with a $5,000 grant from Westfield Bank toward the purchase of a new vehicle for program participants.

Company Notebook

Girls Inc. of Holyoke Is Now Girls Inc. of the Valley

HOLYOKE — Poised to boost its reach three-fold over the next five years, Girls Inc. of Holyoke has chosen a new name — Girls Inc. of the Valley — to embody its bigger, wider impact across Western Mass. The agency will keep its headquarters in Holyoke, said Executive Director Suzanne Parker at a press conference this morning at WGBY’s headquarters in downtown Springfield, and stay as committed as ever to the city of its origin. But with Girls Inc. members now hailing from Springfield, Chicopee, South Hadley, and other surrounding communities, a name change was certainly needed. Girls from area communities will continue to benefit from Girls Inc. of the Valley programs held at the Holyoke center headquarters on everything from literacy to leadership, said Parker, but the agency is also expanding into surrounding communities and has partnered to work inside 10 schools, including Springfield’s Chestnut Academy Middle School and Chicopee’s Bellamy Middle School and Dupont Middle School.

CommunicateHealth Celebrates 10th Anniversary

NORTHAMPTON — CommunicateHealth announced its 10th anniversary as a national consulting firm specializing in health information design. CommunicateHealth started as a consulting practice focusing on translating health information into plain language. Co-founders Xanthi Scrimgeour and Stacy Robison started the business in their Northampton attic. The couple quickly outgrew that space, eventually establishing an office on nearby Market Street. Over the past 10 years, the company has been successfully evolving into a full-service communications shop. The mission-based company works for some of the biggest names in healthcare and public health, including health-insurance companies, health systems, patient-advocacy groups, and government. They also take on projects for local hospitals and community organizations. CommunicateHealth is headquartered in Northampton with a second office in the Washington, D.C. area. It employs more than 65 employees across both offices. In 2018, the company recorded more than $12 million in sales.

Hazen Paper Co. Wins AIMCAL Product of the Year

HOLYOKE — Turning a simple box into an unusual ‘beauty and the beast’ packaging statement, Hazen Paper Co. was honored for the second year in a row with Product of the Year honors at the annual meeting of the Assoc. of International Metallizers, Coaters, and Laminators (AIMCAL), held recently in Palm Beach, Calif. The winning entry was a folding carton titled “The Spirit of Innovation” for prestige luxury box maker Autajon Packaging USA, which featured a three-dimensional, jewel-toned snake and a female model whose face transformed from flawless to gorgeously reptilian when the box is tilted. The folding carton was made with precisely registered custom color-motion holography that reflects and refracts light to bring the snake’s sinuous curves to life and allows the woman’s face and eye to blaze with unexpected snake-like gleam. The box is embossed with a snakeskin pattern and finished with a soft-touch coating. Inside, a sea-green coating contrasts with the rich black exterior. Hazen also received a “Product Excellence” award for Benefit Cosmetics’ Hoola Quickie Contour Stick packaging, created with silver Ultracure acrylic-coated metallized polyester laminated to paperboard, offset-printed in transparent and opaque colors, and embossed. Judges rewarded the package for its extensive use of embossing, halftone reproduction, tight registration, and vivid green interior.

Complete Payroll Solutions Reports Record Growth

SPRINGFIELD — Complete Payroll Solutions announced it saw more than 100% year-over-year revenue growth compared to a year ago, setting a record pace of new customer acquisitions. The momentum reflects the company’s investment in its people and processes to better serve clients. This momentum is evidenced by several highlights from 2018, including four location openings in Wakefield, Mass., White Plains, N.Y., West Warwick, R.I., and Portsmouth, N.H.; 35 new employees across all offices and an expanded sales force with 10 additional salespeople, providing enhanced resources in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Connecticut; a new HR consulting division that delivers local, personalized HR solutions to clients; partnerships with industry leaders like BankRI, Brookline Bank, and First Ipswich Bank, along with the company’s continued relationship with Webster Bank; and the addition of iSolved, an HCM technology, to complement its existing platform, Kronos. Together, the solutions help clients with their workforce-management processes, including payroll, time and attendance, benefits, and HR to recruit, onboard, and manage employees. Founded in 2003 as a startup venture by owners with a long tradition in the industry, Complete Payroll Solutions now has 14 locations throughout the Northeast with 150 employees, and services over 6,000 clients across all 50 states.

Financial Times Ranks Isenberg’s Online MBA First among U.S. Programs

AMHERST — The online MBA offered by the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst has been ranked first in the U.S. and third in the world by the Financial Times. With one of the largest and most established accredited online MBA programs in the country, the Isenberg School of Management has provided online education opportunities for nearly 16 years. More than 1,100 students are currently enrolled in the program. The Isenberg School stood out in the Financial Times’ 2019 rankings in a number of areas. The online MBA program ranked first for increase in salary after earning an MBA, with a 39% increase; first in the U.S. for total salary; and first for percentage of female faculty, with 45%. Furthermore, the program ranked fifth in online interaction, which measures how well alumni rate interactions between students, teamwork, and availability of faculty. Isenberg’s online MBA program offers an expansive course of study, from business analytics, finance, and healthcare administration to marketing and sports management. Isenberg students come from all 50 states and around the globe, and include physicians, attorneys, entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, and scientists.

Bay Path University Receives Grant for Student Internship Experiences

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been awarded $5,000 in grant funding support from the Charles H. Hall Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., trustee, for its project, “Impacting the Community: Fostering Social Justice Through Student Internships.” The foundation’s support will benefit Bay Path undergraduate students who are performing internships at nonprofits in Hampden County, including Square One, the Jewish Community Center, and Girls Inc., all of whom service at-risk children and youth. Bay Path requires its traditional undergraduate students to complete a three- or six-credit internship, research project, or field-work experience, depending on their major, to ensure they have the opportunities to develop the skills and competencies that will help them launch their careers. This funding, which will cover four internships, will help relieve the financial worry that unpaid internships can bring for students. Many Bay Path students hold part-time jobs to make ends meet, and adding an unpaid internship to the mix can be stressful.

BFMC Receives Grants for Community Film Fund

PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) received two grant awards for its newly established Community Film Fund, which is a matching fund to help local nonprofit organizations create videos for their branding, marketing, fundraising, and social media. The grants were received from the Berkshire Bank Foundation and the Feigenbaum Foundation, each in the amount of $2,500. In today’s world, video messaging is becoming increasingly important. Wordstream, an online advertising company, states that the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text, and an initial e-mail with a video receives an click-through rate increase of 96%. BFMC is in the process of raising $50,000 for this new initiative, which it expects to launch later this spring. BFMC is partnering with the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires to provide information to local organizations about this opportunity.

Springfield College Students Volunteer in Trinidad and Tobago

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Physical Therapy Professor Kim Nowakowski led a group of graduate students in the health sciences at Springfield College on a global health service trip during spring break. For the third consecutive year, Nowakowski’s group, together with healthcare professionals from Trinidad and Tobago, provided a National Fall Prevention Program in Trinidad and Tobago. The National Fall Prevention program in Trinidad and Tobago was developed based on a needs assessment conducted with physiotherapists from Total Rehabilitation Centre Limited and the Physiotherapy Assoc. of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT). PATT is the sole professional body that represents all physiotherapists in Trinidad and Tobago. Total Rehabilitation Centre Limited was established in 2007 to provide quality healthcare in a friendly, compassionate environment that is geared towards facilitating healing and return to the function of living. Carla Rauseo, a 2005 alumna of the Springfield College physical therapy program who is a physical therapist and co-owner of Total Rehabilitation and a member of PATT, initiated the collaborative effort with Springfield College’s physical therapy program. Since the initiation of the program, the Stay Steady Foundation, a non-governmental organization, has been created to promote sustainability of the Stay Steady Fall Prevention Program, and the involvement of Springfield College has been instrumental to provide the screenings, Rauseo said.

Company Notebook

West of the River Chamber Foundation Funds Equipment at Agawam High School

AGAWAM — The West of the River Chamber of Commerce and its 501(c)(3) foundation presented Agawam High School with a check for $3,600 on Feb. 27 for the purchase of a Haas Simulator for its new manufacturing program. The West of the River Chamber Foundation (WRCF) has a mission to impact the local economy and area businesses by engaging in philanthropic work in the communities of Agawam and West Springfield. It recognizes that approximately 500 machinists’ jobs are vacant in the Commonwealth on any given day. This affects local business and industry because they cannot hire skilled machinists, and, therefore, machine shops cannot operate at maximum capacity. Lower productivity means lower incoming revenue. In an effort to alleviate this problem, the WRCF enacted a plan. It formed a focus group with the Agawam school system and the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative. The focus group’s efforts have resulted in programs, like the new Agawam High School program, implemented in its STEM program to introduce students to the vocation of a machinist. With the purchase of the new machines, the students will be able to learn trades that will provide them with lifelong skills and careers. Ace Precision, a manufacturing company in Agawam, has purchased two new simulators and donated a CNC machine towards this new program as well. Agawam High School has received more than $100,000 in community donations towards this new opportunity for its students.

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts Earns 5-Star Award

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), now celebrating its centennial anniversary, has earned a 5-Star Award from Junior Achievement USA for the third consecutive year. Junior Achievement organizations are judged on five categories: Student Growth/Year-over-Year % Change in Contact Hours; Surplus; Cash on Hand; Debt Ratio, and Current Ratio, defined as current assets divided by current liabilities. All chapters must meet the criteria for Surplus and at least one of the two student ratios, with the level of the star determined by how many of the other three standards are met. JAWM’s volunteer-delivered, K-12 programs foster work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to reach their potential. It provides turnkey solutions for businesses to engage students; rigorous and proven curriculum to educators for Massachusetts frameworks in English-language arts, mathematics, and social studies; and business-startup experience for teens. In addition, Junior Achievement provides educational programming for K-12 students that supports the newly signed law by Gov. Charlie Baker aimed at giving Massachusetts students the tools they need to navigate their financial futures, including milestones like buying a home and planning for retirement. The law allows state education officials to establish standards around financial literacy, which schools could incorporate into their existing curricula in subjects like math, business, and social sciences.

 

Allied Flooring and Paint Donates $5,000 to MHA

SPRINGFIELD — Allied Flooring and Paint made a $5,000 donation to support the work of MHA, which provides residential and support services to people impacted by mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, and homelessness. “Allied has supplied and installed carpet, floors, and paint for MHA residences throughout the area for many years,” said Allied President Mario Tedeschi. “These are family homes for the individuals MHA serves, and I’m proud to help ensure they are comfortable, clean, and bright.” Kimberley Lee, vice president, Resource Development & Branding for MHA, noted that the donation will support MHA’s new outpatient clinic for emotional wellness, known as BestLife. “I’ve had opportunity to see first-hand the compassion and caring that MHA has for the clients they serve,” Tedeschi said. “I’m proud of my long-time affiliation with MHA and consider myself a champion of their work and a cheerleader as well.”

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.

Company Notebook

Community Bank N.A. Reopens Springfield Branch

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Bank N.A. Springfield branch recently celebrated its grand reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local dignitaries, customers, community members, and Community Bank N.A. team members gathered to celebrate the completion of the branch’s renovations. Located within Tower Square, the renovated branch will offer Springfield customers enhanced and expanded services, including a 24-hour ATM and a night drop. At the celebration, Community Bank N.A. leaders also announced the results of a community vote between three nonprofits to receive a portion of the bank’s $12,500 commitment to give back to the Springfield area. Springfield Boys & Girls Club received the majority of the community vote and was presented with a $7,500 donation. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County and YMCA of Greater Springfield each received a $2,500 donation. The Community Bank N.A. Springfield branch began renovations in early October 2018 to add convenient features for customers. The branch will house nine team members and offer customers a wide range of services, including checking and savings accounts, commercial business, and mortgages.

Travel Kuz Provides Services at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta

GILL — Travel Kuz, a motorcoach charter company based in Gill, sent six of its luxurious motorcoach buses to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year. The Travel Kuz buses and drivers were used in Atlanta for VIP and dignitary transportation, which included the special guests of each team and the athletes’ families. In addition to last year’s Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Travel Kuz has also provided transportation services at Super Bowl XLI in Miami in 2007, and at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. F.M. Kuzmeskus Inc., doing business as Travel Kuz, is a fifth-generation family business that has been providing school-bus and luxury motorcoach transportation for more than 90 years. The company operates more than 150 vehicles employing 136 local residents in Franklin County and Southern Vermont.

MassDevelopment Boosts Patriot Armored Systems

LEE — MassDevelopment has issued a $2,646,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Patriot Armored Systems Holding LLC, a real-estate entity affiliated with glass manufacturer Patriot Armored Systems. Patriot Armored Systems currently leases 45,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space at 100 Valley St. in Lee. The company’s real-estate entity will use bond proceeds to buy the building and construct a 7,500-square-foot addition, allowing Patriot Armored Systems to expand its manufacturing operations and hire 13 additional employees. Berkshire Bank purchased the bond. Founded in 1992, Patriot Armored Systems manufactures laminated, customized protective glass systems by purchasing glass as a raw material and melding it with bonding compounds. The company specializes in bullet-resistant glass and security glazing and offers an array of glass types, including architectural, ballistic, and bullet-resistant glass. Patriot Armored Systems serves a broad customer base, manufacturing customized products for various military operations, law enforcement, government buildings, banks, hospitals, retail businesses, vehicles, and homes.

United Financial Bancorp Announces Record Earnings

HARTFORD, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018. The company reported net income of $12.2 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $16.3 million, or $0.32 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $9.5 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017. Net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 2018 was $59.9 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, compared to net income of $54.6 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017. “In the fourth quarter of 2018, United Financial Bancorp Inc. delivered annualized linked quarter loan growth of 9% and deposit growth of 12%, while maintaining pristine asset quality and a strong balance sheet,” said William Crawford, IV, CEO and president of the company and the bank.

Pride Cuts Ribbon on New Hadley Location

HADLEY — Pride Stores held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 23 at its newest store, located at 25 Russell St. in Hadley. The new store offers a wide range of services, including an expanded dining area, a café and bakery, fresh deli and grill, Subway, a convenient drive-thru lane, as well as a separate room for beer and wine sales. It’s the first Pride to offer Chester’s Chicken for fresh fried chicken and family meals. The site also includes 12 charging stations for Tesla vehicles. Pride also donated five cents from every gallon of gasoline purchased that week to the Hadley Library Fund, a local nonprofit that is raising funds to support the building of the new Goodwin Library slated to break ground this summer.

Eversource Recognized for Energy-efficiency Programs

BOSTON — Homeowners, renters, and business owners across Massachusetts are always looking for ways to reduce expenses, and that includes energy costs. In recognition of its efforts to help these customers better manage their energy, Eversource was recognized by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) with Exemplary Energy Efficiency Program awards for both its Home Energy Services (HES) program and Franchise Customer Initiative in Massachusetts. The national award recognizes the best utility programs across the country. ACEEE’s national review evaluates and recognizes exemplary programs in areas such as direct customer energy savings, cost-effectiveness, customer service, innovation, and expansion potential. Eversource’s HES program takes a fuel-blind approach and provides in-home energy assessments, turnkey facilitation of weatherization measures, and 0% financing to help homeowners or renters retrofit their homes with cost-effective, energy-efficient measures. Since 2016, the energy saved through Eversource’s HES program in Massachusetts is enough to power approximately 6,000 homes for a year, and the greenhouse-gas emission reductions are equivalent to taking 1,062 cars off the road for a year.

Berkshire Theatre Group Receives Universal Participation Designation

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) announced it was the recipient of the Mass Cultural Council’s (MCC) Universal Participation (UP) Designation. The UP initiative seeks to break down barriers that prevent civic participation in the cultural sector of Massachusetts. The UP designation provides peer networking, leadership platforms, access to grants, promotional opportunities, and professional development for organizations demonstrating inclusive practices. Through the MCC Innovation and Learning Network and the UP designation, the goals of the UP initiative are to support the growth and development of organizations that embrace inclusivity as core to their mission and recognize the power of design to anticipate and accommodate patrons, staff, volunteers, and students. BTG received this designation through providing training to the staff, board, and volunteers about inclusion; engaging users and experts to steward institutional needs to facilitate program and policy development; and implementing innovative accessible practices.

Hazen Paper Co. Launches 2019 ‘Space’ Calendar

HOLYOKE — Hazen Paper Co. is sharing a futuristic view of holography with its 2019 calendar, titled “Space – the Infinite Frontier.” Hazen Holography creates the illusion of motion and dimension on two-dimensional printed items by reflecting and refracting light at different angles. Revolving around the design concept of concentric circles, the calendar depicts a view of space from within a space capsule and a rocket launch. The poster/calendar incorporates several new holographic effects, including circular pillars, which resemble a sun-like orb pulsating with prismatic color that appears concave or convex, depending upon the viewer’s perspective. It also features holographic radial burst, a ray of light beams that alternates from monochrome to a rainbow of colors. The 18-by-24-inch poster/calendar was created to showcase Hazen’s wide-format tableau. This capability enables production of materials up to 52 inches wide without recombine lines, providing designers greater creative freedom. The custom Hazen hologram on 10-point board, coated on both sides, was finished with four-color printing plus opaque white. Hazen is known for the holographic stadium edition NFL Super Bowl program and the holographic enshrinement yearbook for the Basketball Hall of Fame. It is the most vertically integrated producer of holographic paper and film in the U.S., with a holographic lab and design studio on its Holyoke manufacturing campus. To receive a calendar, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 538-8040.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp Reports Q4 Results

BOSTON — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. reported GAAP net income of $14 million, or $0.31 per common share, in the fourth quarter of 2018. The non-GAAP measure of core earnings totaled $29 million, or $0.63 per share, during this period. Both GAAP and core EPS totaled $0.70 in the prior quarter. The benefit of higher net interest income in the fourth quarter was offset by lower fee income and higher expense. Core EPS is net of non-core charges, which totaled $0.32 per share after tax in the fourth quarter and included merger-related expenses and other items, including costs related to the restructuring of the company’s banking systems provider relationships. Fourth-quarter financial highlights included 2% loan and deposit growth, 3.41% net interest margin, 60.3% efficiency ratio, 0.17% net loan charge-offs/average loans, and 0.28% non-performing assets/assets. “Core earnings for the year were in line with our original plan, and fourth quarter core earnings also met our expectations before the impact of the government shutdown on SBA-related fee revenue,” CEO Richard Marotta said. “During 2018, our teams made great strides integrating our Eastern Massachusetts acquisition and developing organic business across our footprint. Loan growth was consistent throughout the year, and deposit balances increased with the benefit of higher activity in the fourth quarter. Our internal capital generation supported our balance-sheet growth, and our credit performance and asset quality remain strong.” The board of directors voted to increase the quarterly cash dividend by $0.01, or 5%, to $0.23 per common share to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 14, 2019, payable on Feb. 28, 2019. Effective on the same dates, the board also increased the quarterly cash dividend on preferred stock by 5% to $0.46 per share.

Teach Western Mass Receives $250,000 Grant from Barr Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Teach Western Mass has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Barr Foundation that will allow the education nonprofit to make investments in strategic planning and capacity-building efforts. Launched in 2015, Teach Western Mass is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the volume, quality, and diversity of teacher candidates in Western Mass. Teach Western Mass (TWM) leads regional teacher-recruitment campaigns in collaboration with school and district partners. As a result, it is the primary source of job opportunities for prospective teachers in Western Mass., while also offering a high-quality, diverse talent pool for partner schools. In the last two years, TWM partner schools have accelerated hiring timelines and increased the percentage of incoming teachers who self-identify as people of color to 40%. Teach Western Mass also offers four innovative and regionally based teacher-training programs that seek to address persistent talent and hiring challenges faced by partner schools, which include both district and charter schools.

Way Finders Awarded $140,000 Grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Way Finders Inc. was awarded a two-year grant for $140,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to advocate for equitable infrastructure and improved public safety in Springfield. This is one of 11 new community investments totaling more than $1.2 million that reflect the foundation’s commitment to advancing policies and practices that support healthy aging, including addressing gaps in oral health, nutrition, housing, transportation, and community safety. Through this grant, Way Finders will increase the capacity of low-income, older people who are advocating for policy and system changes in Springfield. These older people will lead efforts to address the built environment and community safety. The project leverages Way Finders’ existing Resident Health Advocate programming and its relationships with LiveWell Springfield and the Massachusetts Senior Action Coalition to enable the development of a robust advocacy infrastructure for the city.

Company Notebook

Smith Brothers Insurance Merges With the Partners Insurance Agency

EASTHAMPTON — Effective Jan. 1, Smith Brothers Insurance, with offices in Easthampton and West Springfield, and the Partners Insurance Agency, an independent insurance agency located in Vestal, Owego, and Waverly, N.Y., have merged together. This merger expands the Smith Brothers Insurance footprint into upstate New York, where the Partners will maintain local presence while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers Insurance, one of the nation’s top 100 independent brokers. Owners of the New York offices — Don Patterson, Bill Soprano, Phil Wiles, John Carlin, Michael Constantine, and Chris Hutchings — will stay fully engaged in client service and business development. Constantine will run the New York region, continuing to serve clients with the same team of insurance professionals who have also become employees of Smith Brothers Insurance.

Florence Bank Opens Second Branch in Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD — Florence Bank opened its second Hampden County branch at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield on Dec. 19. “We’re very pleased to be expanding our presence in Springfield,” said John Heaps Jr., Florence Bank’s president and CEO. “Our focus is on providing great customer service and helping to reinvigorate the community.” The Allen Street branch has an open floor plan with two teller pods and innovative technology for quick cash handling. The location will also feature a drive-up ATM with SMART technology for easy depositing and a comfortable waiting area inside with a coffee bar and free wi-fi. Nikki Gleason serves as branch manager for the new location. Other employees include Candice Somar, assistant branch manager; Bianca Hyde, customer service representative (CSR) and teller operations manager; Mario Nascimento, CSR and senior teller; Magdalis “Maggie” Sierra, CSR and senior teller; and Carolyn Ware, community relations director. In August 2017, Florence Bank opened its first branch in Hampden County at 1010 Union St. in West Springfield. The Springfield branch marks the second of several anticipated branches in the region, Heaps said.

WNEU Announces $35 Million ‘Campaign for Our Second Century’

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNEU) announced plans for a comprehensive fundraising campaign designed to enrich the student experience inside and outside the classroom. Named the Campaign for Our Second Century, the philanthropic endeavor launched publicly on 1/9/19 — a nod to the university’s founding year of 1919. Western New England University aims to raise at least $35 million in private support for a range of priorities that will build on the institution’s historic first century and shape its future progress. Those priorities fit into five overall fundraising objectives: growing scholarship aid, building and enhancing campus facilities, creating impactful opportunities for student life, boosting academic initiatives and experiences, and strengthening the President’s Fund for Excellence. Current and future Western New England students will be the direct beneficiaries of the most ambitious fundraising effort in the university’s history. The number-one priority of the campaign is to increase student aid through donor-funded scholarships. In recent years, full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown to record levels, with more than 98% of students receiving financial aid through scholarships, grants, and loans. The university has already secured more than $29 million in new gifts and commitments to advance Western New England during the campaign’s pre-launch phase, which began in 2016. Lead gifts were made by two of the university’s most ardent supporters — Kevin Delbridge ’77 and Janet Johnson Bullard ’69, both university trustees who are serving as the campaign’s honorary chairpersons. To date, more than 4,000 individual alumni, friends, and foundations have made commitments. Each gift made to WNEU during the campaign counts toward its goal. This is Western New England’s second comprehensive campaign. Private philanthropic support is not intended to replace university sources of revenue, but rather provide the margin that enables greater access to scholarship support, state-of-the-art technologies, outside-the-classroom experiences, faculty development, and other critical learning services. For details about the Campaign for Our Second Century, visit wne.edu/campaign.

Community Chooses Recipients of Monson Savings Bank Philanthropy

MONSON — For the ninth year in a row, Monson Savings Bank asked the community to help plan the bank’s community giving activities by inviting people to vote for the organizations they would like the bank to support during 2019. The top vote getters include Wilbraham United Players, Scantic Valley YMCA, the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship Fund, Rick’s Place, River East School-to-Career, Greene Room Productions, Boy Scouts of Western Massachusetts, Link to Libraries, Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, and Old Post Orchestra.

HealthSouth Rehab Hospital Unveils New Name, Brand

LUDLOW — HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts has unveiled its new name and brand as part of its management company’s name change and rebranding initiative. As of Jan. 1, the inpatient rehabilitation hospital is known as Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts. It will continue to provide the same post-acute care for patients overcoming a variety of major illnesses and injuries. Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth Corp. launched its new name and brand on Jan. 1, 2018 and will be transitioning its 130 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and 273 home-health and hospice locations serving 36 states and Puerto Rico through 2019. All of the company’s post-acute-care service locations in Massachusetts migrated to the Encompass Health name and branding last week.

Advocacy Network Donates $17,000 to Whole Children

HADLEY — The Advocacy Network, a local organization with a mission to promote and protect the health, human rights, and safety of people with developmental disabilities, recently donated $17,000 to Whole Children. The donation was one of the last acts of the group, which announced it is dissolving after more than 60 years of work. The late Benjamin Ricci, an Advocacy Network member, was the father of Belchertown State School patient Robert Ricci. He filed a class-action lawsuit against the school in 1972, claiming that its residents were living in horrific conditions. The judge assigned to the Belchertown case, Joseph Tauro, who died in November, spearheaded a major overhaul of Massachusetts’ state facilities as a result of the lawsuit, which ultimately ended in the closing of the institution. Amherst resident Bob Ricci, the man named in the lawsuit against Belchertown, came to Whole Children with members of the Advocacy Network to deliver the check to director Maggie Rice. Whole Children was started in 2004 by a group of parents looking for after-school programs for their children with intellectual disabilities or autism. It joined with Springfield-based Pathlight in 2010 and has expanded to serve some 600 adults, teens, and children each year in a variety of recreation, performing-arts, and enrichment programs.

SmartDollar Names OMG Inc. Company of the Year

AGAWAM — The statistics are alarming: 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. At work, stress over finances can take a toll on employee performance and impact productivity. Almost 10 years ago, OMG Inc. saw this as a factor limiting employee success and took action. OMG used SmartDollar, the financial-wellness program created by money expert and best-selling author Dave Ramsey, to teach employees how to take better care of themselves financially. More than 300 employees have taken advantage of the program to create a financial plan for themselves and their families. Using SmartDollar, the average OMG participant has paid off more than $8,000 in debt and saves more than $5,000. Collectively, participants have achieved a positive swing of almost $1 million through debt reduction and savings contributions. As a result, SmartDollar recognized OMG as its 2018 Company of the Year.

Briefcase

City of Springfield Files Opioid Lawsuit

SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic Sarno announced that the city of Springfield filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, board members, and executives who caused the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic. The civil complaint was filed in Hampden Superior Court on Dec. 18. The complaint alleges that Springfield, along with many other communities, is currently experiencing a stark increase in the number of residents who have become addicted to prescription opioids and heroin, which has caused an increase in opioid overdoses. The complaint references a report that prescription opioids are now known to be the gateway drug to heroin; approximately 80% of current heroin users got their start with prescription opioids. According to the complaint, unlike any other epidemic, the opioid epidemic is not natural, nor typical, but largely man-made, and that it has been created, fueled, and continues to expand by the persistent unlawful conduct of the defendant pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmaceutical wholesale distributors. Springfield’s complaint was filed in conjunction with similar actions brought by Haverhill, Framingham, Gloucester, Salem, Lynnfield, Wakefield, and Worcester.

Clean-energy Industry Adds More Than 1,500 Jobs Statewide

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced the state’s clean-energy sector has continued its trend of upward growth, adding more than 1,500 workers to the clean-energy workforce between 2017 and 2018. The figures, released as part of MassCEC’s 2018 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, found the industry now employs more than 110,700 workers in the Commonwealth, an increase of 1.4% since 2017 and 84% since 2010. The clean-energy industry saw robust growth in its contribution to Massachusetts’ gross state product (GSP), increasing 15% between 2017 and 2018 to contribute more than $13 billion to the statewide economy, making up about 2.5% of the GSP. The report found the clean-energy industry employs residents in every region of Mass. and makes up about 3.1% of the Massachusetts workforce. Other findings show that installation-related jobs are the largest source of clean energy employment, making up 30,057 jobs, followed closely by sales and distribution with 27,471 jobs. The fastest-growing component of the clean-energy workforce was engineering and researching, adding more than 2,400 jobs, a 2.7% increase.

Massachusetts Unemployment Drops Slightly in November

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.4% in November, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicates Massachusetts added 4,600 jobs in November. Over the month, the private sector added 4,600 jobs as gains occurred in trade, transportation, and utilities; professional, scientific, and business services; education and health services; and information. Financial activities, construction, other services, and manufacturing lost jobs over the month while the jobs level in leisure and hospitality remained unchanged. From November 2017 to November 2018, BLS estimates Massachusetts has added 60,500 jobs. The November unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.7% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The labor force increased by 4,200 from 3,832,800 in October, as 8,300 more residents were employed and 4,000 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point. The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — remained at 68%. Compared to November 2017, the labor force participation rate is up 2.7%. The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in professional, scientific, and business services; construction; information; and education and health services.

Bradley Welcomes Frontier Airlines, with Non-stop Service to Denver

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced the expansion of Bradley International Airport’s roster of airlines with the addition of low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. The airline will debut its inaugural service with a non-stop route to Denver. The service will commence on March 28, 2019, on an Airbus 320. From Denver International Airport, the flight will leave at 7 a.m. (MST) and arrive at Bradley International Airport at 12:50 p.m. (EST). The flight will then depart Bradley at 1:40 p.m. (EST) and land in Denver at 4:07 p.m. (MST). It will operate Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Briefcase

Opioid-related Overdose Deaths Decrease in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts decreased in the first nine months of 2018 compared to the first nine months of 2017, according to the latest quarterly opioid-related deaths report released recently by the Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH). In the first nine months of 2018, there were a total of 1,518 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths, as compared with 1,538 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2017. This estimated decrease follows a 4% decline between 2016 and 2017. “The opioid epidemic, fueled by an all-time high level of fentanyl, remains a tragic public-health crisis responsible for taking too many lives in Massachusetts,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “While there is much work left for all of us to do, we are encouraged that overdose deaths and opioid prescriptions continue to decline as searches on the Commonwealth’s Prescription Monitoring Program increase.” The latest report also indicates that the powerful synthetic drug fentanyl present in the toxicology of opioid-related overdose deaths continues to rise and reached an all-time high at 90% in the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, the rate of heroin or likely heroin present in those deaths continued to plummet. In 2014, heroin or likely heroin was present in 71% of opioid-related deaths; by the second quarter of this year, that number had fallen to 37%. Last month, the Baker administration filed legislation seeking $5 million to support a regional, multi-agency approach to fentanyl interdiction and crime displacement by Massachusetts municipal police departments. The funding will supplement surveillance work and overtime costs for units engaged, and officers in the field will also work to get buyers into treatment. In addition, last April, Baker signed legislation that included a long-overdue ‘fentanyl fix’ to allow law enforcement to pursue fentanyl traffickers.

Five Colleges, PVTA, Towns Agree to Increase Bus Payments

SPRINGFIELD — A proposal by the Five College Consortium to increase its annual payment to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority by a total of $250,000 over the next four years has been accepted by PVTA and area municipalities. PVTA’s costs are covered with a combination of federal and state subsidies, payments from towns and cities, and passenger fares. Since 1979, Five Colleges has agreed to pay PVTA the town portion of the cost of bus routes that include its campuses. This has been with the understanding that, to encourage bus use, Five College students do not have to pay fares. In recent years, however, the cost of operating buses along Five College routes has expanded beyond what PVTA was charging. When the campuses became aware of the gap last year, the consortium developed a schedule for increasing payments that would provide greater support to PVTA without creating an undue burden for its campuses. Building on the most current charge of $500,000, the agreement has the campuses paying an additional $50,000 each year until total annual payments reach $750,000. The first payment was made in the last fiscal year, and additional payments will be made in each of the coming four years.

Travelers Aid Begins Service at Bradley International Airport

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) and Travelers Aid announced that Travelers Aid International has begun serving the passengers of Bradley International Airport as the operator of the guest-service volunteer program at the airport. Travelers Aid now operates the Information Center in Terminal A on the lower level, which is the baggage-claim level. There are currently 45 volunteers, and Travelers Aid will be recruiting additional volunteers in order to better serve the airport’s passengers. The center’s current hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Mary Kate Doherty, an experienced volunteer manager, has been retained by Travelers Aid to manage and expand the program. Bradley International Airport will be the 18th airport in the Travelers Aid Transportation Network, which also includes four North American railroad stations and a cruise terminal. In the coming months, Travelers Aid will be reaching out to the residents of the region seeking additional volunteers. Doherty said Travelers Aid will be seeking anyone, both students and adults, interested in assisting a traveler with their questions. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities should contact Doherty at (860) 500-8582 or [email protected].

ValleyBike Share Touts Inaugural Season Success

SPRINGFIELD — ValleyBike Share recently extended thanks to all users, sponsors, and supporters during its inaugural season. While the system experienced some expected (and unexpected) issues during this year’s startup, users successfully traveled over 88,000 miles together and made the bike-share system a success. People have been using the system instead of their cars for commuting to work and school, running errands, and even just for exercise and fresh air. “We are excited by the enthusiastic response in this first season of bike share, which has exceeded our original ridership projections,” said Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz. “We look forward to Easthampton joining the program next spring and also filling in the gaps in the system to continue expanding this important transportation alternative in the region.” Tim Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, noted that, since ValleyBike has been in existence, residents and visitors of the five founding communities and UMass Amherst have traveled the equivalent of three and half times around the Earth — “something truly worth celebrating as its inaugural season comes to a close.” As originally programmed, the system shut down completely on Nov. 30 and will be re-opened on April 1 (weather permitting). During the time ValleyBike Share bikes are over-wintering, ValleyBike will be working to fix the issues noted in the startup season to provide the public with new and improved riding opportunities next season.

Monson Savings Bank Seeks Input on Charitable Giving

MONSON — For the ninth year in a row, Monson Savings Bank is asking the community to help plan the bank’s community giving activities by inviting people to vote for the organizations they would like the bank to support during 2019. “Every year, we donate over $125,000 to organizations doing important work in the communities we serve,” said Steve Lowell, president of Monson Savings Bank. “For several years now, we’ve been asking the community for input on which groups they’d like us to support. We’ve been so pleased by how many people inquire each year as to when the voting will begin again and how many people actually participate.” To cast their vote, people can go to www.monsonsavings.bank/about-us/vote-community-giving. On that page, they can see a list of organizations the bank has already supported in 2018 and provide up to three names of groups they’d like the bank to donate to in 2019. The only requirement is that the organizations be nonprofit and providing services in Hampden, Monson, Wilbraham, or Ware. The voting ends at 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31. The bank pledges to support the top 10 vote getters and will announce who they are by the middle of January.

Company Notebook

Six Flags Delivers Thousands of Diapers to Square One
SPRINGFIELD — Six Flags New England recently held a diaper drive to support the children and families served by Square One. Thousands of diapers were donated by Six Flags patrons, and, in exchange, donors were given free admission to the theme park. More than 500 cases of diapers were picked up at the Six Flags offices by Square One staff on Oct. 11 and delivered to the Square One Family Center at 1095 Main St. in Springfield.

Johnson & Hill Staffing Earns Top National Honor
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Johnson & Hill Staffing received the top honor in the 2018 American Staffing Assoc. (ASA) Genius Grand Award program, which recognizes the best and most innovative communications and marketing campaigns among ASA staffing agency members across the U.S. Johnson & Hill Staffing was honored for its innovative new website, marketing video, and social-media endeavors. A panel of communications and marketing experts selected the honorees based on the overall quality of their campaigns’ messaging, design and visual appeal, originality of approach, and outcomes.

UMass Amherst Launches Biomedical Engineering Department
AMHERST — The College of Engineering at UMass Amherst has established a new department of Biomedical Engineering, which will offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is the fifth department within the college. Biomedical engineering (BME) integrates engineering science, biology, and medicine into a cross-disciplinary field focused on improving human health and solving problems in the delivery of healthcare. Its key principle is that, by looking at the human body through the lens of engineering, one can apply the concepts of design, optimization, and programming to complex biological systems in order to detect, repair, and treat disease and to create diagnostic and therapeutic tools. The new program will be the core of biomedical-engineering research and teaching at UMass Amherst working within the College of Engineering and with the Institute of Applied Life Sciences. The institute was established in 2014 with $150 million from the Massachusetts Life Science Center and the university.

Bay Path Students Create PSAs for Girls Inc. of Holyoke Event
LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University students joined Girls Inc. of Holyoke at the university’s Empsall Hall last week to launch public service announcements (PSAs) in honor of International Day of the Girl Child, a celebration designated by the United Nations on Oct. 11. The PSAs, created by students in the Communications program, reflected different perspectives on how to encourage and empower girls of all ages and backgrounds. The event featured a ‘COMMversation,’ where university students and local panelists, including Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, Women’s Fund of Western Mass CEO Donna Haghighat, Springfield School Committee member LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Open Pixel Studios co-founder and animator Kathryn Taccone, and author and Bay Path Professor Maria Luisa Arroyo, engaged in conversations about how to create a world where girls can feel safe as they explore their individual paths to success. Bay Path students of all disciplines used their storytelling skills to focus on what they feel are currently the biggest challenges, as well as opportunities for girls and women. A walk-through gallery of their PSAs was displayed, prompting discussion among guests, faculty, staff, and other students. Naomi Naylor, daughter of LaTonia Monroe Naylor, attended the event as a local student ambassador. She showcased and described a work of art she painted called “Colors of Acceptance.” Following the event, she donated this piece to Bay Path University through Fondon. Arroyo, who was Springfield’s inaugural poet laureate, signed her book at the event. The ongoing partnership between Girls Inc. and Bay Path University for International Day of the Girl Child was further highlighted in the afternoon as Fondon offered a presentation of her research for “The Intersection: Women of Color On the Move.”

Paragus IT Celebrates Two Years of Employee Ownership
HADLEY — In 2016, Paragus IT CEO Delcie Bean implemented an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which distributed ownership of 40% of the company to its (at the time) 40-plus employees. On Oct. 19, Paragus and its employees, now numbering more than 50, toasted Employee Ownership Month and celebrated self-ownership with a party at the firm’s headquarters in Hadley. An ESOP is an employee-owner program that gives staff an owner interest in the company, making them shareholders in addition to being employees. High-profile ESOPs in the U.S. include Harpoon Brewery, Publix Markets, Chobani Yogurt, King Arthur Flour, and Lifetouch. “After two years, it’s clear that the ESOP decision was a smart one,” Bean said. “It has fueled growth and inspired deeper commitment by giving everyone a direct stake and a personal investment in the future of the company.”

Elms Nursing Graduates Achieve 100% Pass Rate on Licensure Exam
CHICOPEE — Elms College announced that class of 2018 graduates from its School of Nursing achieved a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses). This means every one of the college’s 2018 bachelor’s-degree graduates passed the licensure exam. In 2017, the Massachusetts pass rate for the NCLEX-RN was 86%, and the national rate was 87%; Elms College 2017 graduates achieved a pass rate of 96%. To date, the national 2018 NCLEX-RN pass rate for U.S. undergraduate nurses is 92%, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc.

Pathlight Awarded $23,000 to Support Innovative Curriculum
SPRINGFIELD — Pathlight, a Valley leader in residential and community services for people with intellectual disabilities or autism, has been awarded $23,000 in funding from the Westfield Bank Future Fund and the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation to support a sex-education and relationships program that gives people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism the skills to build and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives. The program, called Whole Selves, is the result of 10 years of teaching the social skills of relationships to adolescents, teens, and adults with a variety of disabilities at Pathlight’s Whole Children program. Whole Selves is flexible and individualized, uses explicit instruction, and has proven to be successful in local high schools where it is taught. Pathlight is developing the program to be available online to middle and high schools nationally. One goal of the Whole Selves project is to prevent the staggering rate of sexual abuse among people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD). According to a recent report by NPR, people with ID/DD are sexually assaulted at a rate seven times higher than those without disabilities. A robust and accessible education is one solution to preventing abuse and isolation, and Whole Selves is developed specifically for this population. Pathlight is piloting the program in several schools this fall, with an eye toward releasing it nationally in 2019.

Phillips Insurance Agency Supports Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-Thon
CHICOPEE — Joe Phillips, president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman, president of Joseph Freedman Co., for the seventh annual Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-Thon being held Wednesday, Nov. 7 at AMF Lanes in Chicopee. The proceeds go to Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live together and work together, caring for each other. Phillips Insurance Agency was established in 1953 and is a full-service risk-management firm with a staff of 27 professionals. The agency handles the personal and commercial insurance needs for thousands of individuals and businesses in New England.

Bradley Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler Readers as Third-best Airport in U.S.
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that Condé Nast Traveler released the results of its 31st annual Readers’ Choice Awards, with Bradley International Airport recognized as the third-best airport in the U.S. Travelers gave the airport high marks for “convenient on-site parking, plentiful charging stations and free wi-fi, decent restaurant options, and an overall relaxed atmosphere.” The CAA has initiated major terminal enhancements at Bradley over the last couple of years aimed at elevating the travel experience. Recent upgrades include the addition of Two Roads Tap Room, Escape Lounge, a Phillips Seafood restaurant, a duty-free shop, and a mother’s nursing room — and more improvements are underway. Additionally, the expansion of the airport’s route network continues to be a priority, with the airport most recently celebrating the launch of its latest non-stop service to St. Louis.

Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Boosts HCC Culinary Arts Program
HOLYOKE — The Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation donated $50,000 to Holyoke Community College (HCC) for the benefit of students preparing for careers in the culinary-arts and hospitality industry. Bill Wagner, president of the foundation, presented a check for that amount to HCC President Christina Royal and officials from the nonprofit HCC Foundation during a brief ceremony on Oct. 2 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. The $50,000 donation will go toward programs, equipment, maintenance, instruction, and student services at the institute, which opened in January in downtown Holyoke. During the ceremony, a plaque recognizing the donation was unveiled outside the institute’s general purpose lab, which is the teaching kitchen used for HCC’s non-credit culinary and workforce-training programs.

Chamber Corners

1BERKSHIRE
www.1berkshire.com
(413) 499-1600

• Oct. 17: Chamber Nite, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Hillcrest Commons, 169 Valentine Road, Pittsfield. Chamber networking event. Free for members.

• Oct. 24: Good News Business Salute, featuring Women in Business Month, 5-7 p.m, hosted by Seven Hills Inn, 40 Plunkett St., Lenox.

• Oct. 28: Berkshire Young Professionals Event, 4-8 p.m., hosted by St. James Place, 352 Main St., Great Barrington.

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

• Oct. 4: A+ Awards Banquet, 5-9 p.m., hosted by UMass Student Ballroom, 280 Hicks Way, Amherst. Each year, the chamber takes a moment to collectively celebrate the outstanding achievements of community members and entities that contribute to the growth and well-being of the place we choose to work and live. Cost: $80, $75 for a table of 10. Register at amherstarea.com.

• Oct. 24: Multi-chamber Oktoberfest, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley. Register at amherstarea.com.

• Oct. 25: Legislative Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 a.m., hosted by Lord Jeffery Inn, 30 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. The annual legislative breakfast brings together legislators, local officials, and business leaders to network and discuss current and upcoming policy issues. Cost: $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Register at amherstarea.com.

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

• Oct. 2: Multi-chamber Business Table Top Expo, 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Sponsored by LaQuinta Inns & Suites, Holyoke Medical Center, Westfield Bank, BusinessWest, and Polish National Credit Union. The Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, South Hadley & Granby, Springfield Regional, and Quaboag Hills chambers of commerce will host more than 100 vendors in this networking event. Vendor tables are booking now at $125, with a $25 charge for electricity. Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available. Sponsorship packages are still available. Free to the public to attend. Register a vendor table online at chicopeechamber.org/events, and ask about the new-member discount.

• Oct. 17: Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by MassMutual Learning & Conference Center. Featuring a community planning update. Chief greeter: Lee Pouliot, city of Chicopee. Keynote speaker: Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Sponsored by United Personnel, Westfield Bank, Holyoke Medical Center, Polish National Credit Union, Gaudreau Group, Spherion Staffing Services, PeoplesBank, Lisa Vachon, CPA, and FutureWorks. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members. Sign up online at chicopeechamber.org/events.

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• Oct. 2: “The Story Behind the Grand Bargain,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. A joint event with the Springfield Regional Chamber and 1Berkshire. Lunch will be 11:30 a.m. to noon, and the program will follow from noon to 1 p.m. Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber, and John Regan, executive vice president of Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, will explain the details of the compromise bill and what it means for businesses. You will learn how they negotiated the compromise with a grassroots coalition and what that process could mean for future hot-button issues and how they affect business. Cost: $30 for members, $40n for non-members. Register at www.springfieldregionalchamber.com. Greater Easthampton Chamber members register with code GBE18.

• Oct. 11: Networking by Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Abandoned Building Brewery, 142 Pleasant St., Unit 103A, Easthampton. Sponsored by Tunnel 7 and Fran’s Fine Editing. Food and door prizes will be available, along with a cash bar. Cost: $10 fir members, $15 for non-members. Pre-registration is suggested. 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

• Oct. 3: October Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., a networking event and chamber open house hosted by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by Clinical & Support Options, CopyCat, Florence Bank, and Pioneer Training. Cost: $10 for members.

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

• Oct. 1: Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Armbrook Village, 51 North Road, Westfield. Free and open to the public. Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events or call the chamber at (413) 568-1618 to register so we may give our host a head count.

• Oct. 4: Multi-Chamber Lunch & Learn, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern Carriage House, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Rick Lord, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, will offer a barometer of the regional business climate and the historic ‘grand bargain’ legislation that promises to have profound effects on businesses and employees. Cost: $30 for members, $40 for non-members (cash or credit paid at the door). Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events. For sponsorships or more information, call the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

• Oct. 4: Ticket to Ride, hosted by the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round, 221 Appleton St., Holyoke. In honor of Manufacturing Month, manufacturers are invited to don casual business attire for a ride down the rails to the Merry-Go-Round in Holyoke. Aboard, you will be treated as a VIP, with an open bar and free hors-d’oeuvres. Non-manufacturers welcome as well. Space is limited. This event is free and open to the public. Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events or call the chamber at (413) 568-1618 to register.

• Oct. 10: October After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Chester Railway Station, 10 Prospect St., Chester. Refreshments will be served, and a 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber’s scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Cost: free for members, $10 for non-members (cash or credit paid at the door). Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events. For sponsorships or more information, call the chamber at (413) 568-1618.

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

• Oct. 2: Multi Chamber Business Expo, 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by Castle of Knights, Chicopee. This five-chamber event gives chamber members the opportunity to showcase their goods and services not just to other South Hadley & Granby Chamber members, but to businesses and purchasers from all over the region. More than 125 exhibitors are expected, parking is free and abundant, and light refreshments will be available. Tables are available for $125, and the event is free of charge to the public as well as to chamber members. To reserve a table, e-mail Sara Lawrence at [email protected], or call (413) 532-6451. You may also visit www.shgchamber.com and click on the link to this event to get additional information and register.

• Oct. 10: Educational Breakfast: “New Tax Law Changes as They Relate to Your Business,” 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by South Hadley Public Library, Conference Room. Thomas Foley II, who will lead this discussion, spent decades as the regional manager at Pieciak & Co., P.C, helping local companies deal with the ever-changing tax laws, and has now established himself as an independent CPA firm. He will explain how the latest tax-law changes may affect business filings this coming year, as well as things to pay attention to in order to avoid unexpected surprises. He will leave time for questions at the end of the session. Because numbers will be limited, e-mail Sara Lawrence at [email protected] to register, or visit www.shgchamber.com and click on this event.

• Oct. 24: Bonfires and Brews, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley. This multi-chamber mixer will combine networking, music, hors d’ouvres and local designer beers in a beautiful indoor and outdoor setting. There will be a firepit, games, and a full moon, if the weather gods agree. Attendees will have the chance to mix with other chamber members from all over the region and establish new network ties, all in a convivial setting. Cost: $20 for members, $30 for non-members. For further information or to register, e-mail Sara Lawrence at [email protected], or call (413) 532-6451. For details on participating sponsors and vendors, visit www.shgchamber.com and click on this event.

SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER
www.springfieldregionalchamber.com
(413) 787-1555

• Oct. 2: “The Story Behind the Grand Bargain,” 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Cost: $30 for members, $40 for non-members, $45 at the door. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

• Oct. 2: Multi-chamber Business Table Top Expo, 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented in collaboration with the Greater Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, Holyoke, Greater Westfield, and Quaboag Hills chambers. Cost: $125 for exhibitors. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

• Oct. 17: Deadline for Super 60 reservations. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

• Oct. 26: Super 60 Awards Celebration, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. Join us as we celebrate the success of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the region. Cost: $60 for members, $75 for non-members, $100 at the door. Register by visiting www.springfieldregionalchamber.com, e-mailing [email protected], or calling (413) 755-1310.

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

• Oct. 4: Multi-chamber Lunch & Learn, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Enjoy lunch while learning about the future of our business climate with guest speaker Richard Lord, CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Cost: $30. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com. For more information, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or [email protected]

• Oct. 18: Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Crestview Country Club, Agawam. You must be a member or guest of a member to attend. 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. The only cost to attend is the cost of your lunch. Attendees will order off the menu and pay separately the day of the event. We cannot invoice you for these events. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

• Oct. 25: Food Fest West, 5:30-8 p.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, West Springfield. Local restaurants show off their cuisine at this well-attended event, which also features a DJ, raffle, and entertainment. Vote for your favorite restaurant. Proceeds raised by Food Fest West will go toward the Partnership for Education and the WRC Educational Fund, which provides grants to businesses for on-the-job training and continuing-education needs. Cost: $35 in advance, $45 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com. For more information about this event, contact the chamber office at (413) 426-3880 or [email protected]

Chamber Corners

GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

• Sept. 6: CEO Luncheon, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Collegian Court, 89 Park St., Chicopee. A quarterly luncheon series where CEOs tell of how they rose to their positions. September’s luncheon will feature Jim Goodwin of CHD. Series sponsored by Polish National Credit Union. Cost: $30 for members, $35 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org/events or call (413) 594-2101.

• Sept. 13: Business After Hours, 4:30-6:30 p.m., hosted by Red Fez, 70 Exchange St., Chicopee. Series presented by Polish National Credit Union Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org/events or call (413) 594-2101.

• Sept. 19: Salute Breakfast, 7:15-9 a.m., hosted by Tru By Hilton, 440 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Chief greeter: Tony Cignoli. Keynote speaker: state Rep. Joseph Wagner. Series sponsored by United Personnel, Westfield Bank, Holyoke Medical Center, Polish National Credit Union, Gaudreau Group, Spherion Staffing Services, PeoplesBank, and Interstate Towing Inc. Cost: $23 for members, $28 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org/events or call (413) 594-2101.

• Sept. 28: Chamber Seminar: “Authenticity in Leadership,” 9-11 a.m., hosted by Residence Inn, 500 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presenter: Lora Wondolowski of Leadership Pioneer Valley. Presented by Westfield Bank. Cost: $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Sign up online at www.chicopeechamber.org/events or call (413) 594-2101.

GREATER EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

• Sept. 13: Networking by Night, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Northampton Country Club, 135 Main St., Leeds. Sponsored by Tunnel 7 and Fran’s Fine Editing. Food and door prizes will be available, as well as a cash bar. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Pre-registration is suggested. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Sept. 23: Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. The Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce joins with other area chambers to provide information concerning the nursing ballot initiative. There will be a continental breakfast and networking beginning at 7:30 a.m., folllowed by a panel discussion beginning at 8 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

• Sept. 28: Women & the Art of Risk, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., hosted by the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. A women’s leadership event featuring workshops, discussions, and career-development opportunities, all led by distinguished women from the Pioneer Valley. Hear personal and professional stories of how taking calculated risks led these women to new adventures and made them stronger leaders. The keynote speaker is Dr. Valerie Young, an internationally recognized expert on impostor syndrome. Cost: $119, or $875 for a table of 10. Pre-registration is a must. For more information, a schedule of the day’s events, and to register, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org or call the chamber at (413) 527-9414.

GREATER HOLYOKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.holyokechamber.com
(413) 534-3376

• Sept. 12: Coffee with a Cop, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Fiesta Café, 305 Main St., Holyoke. The Chamber of Commerce invites Holyoke’s new chief of Police, Manny Febo, to join us for a meet and greet over coffee and light refreshments in the heart of downtown Holyoke. The event is free of charge.

• Sept. 19: Chamber After Hours, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Gateway City Arts, 92 Race St., Holyoke. Join us for our first After Hours of this fiscal season. The team down at Gateway City Arts is excited to host this networking event in its Biergarten and Bistro. Cost: free to members who register in advance, $10 at the door and for non-members.

• Sept. 21: Now in its 30th season, the chamber and Holyoke Community College present Leadership Holyoke, to be held over a series of eight days. Faculty members from HCC will participate as instructors and facilitators, and community leaders will participate as speakers and discussion leaders. Cost: $600 for all eight sessions. Sign up at holyokechamber.com.

• Sept. 28: Women and the Art of Risk, hosted by the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. A women’s leadership event, in conjunction with the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, featuring workshops, discussions, and career-development opportunities, all led by distinguished woman from the Pioneer Valley. Hear personal and professional stories of how taking calculated risks led these women to new adventures and made them stronger leaders. Sign up at easthamptonchamber.org.

GREATER NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

• Sept. 13: September Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., a networking event hosted by Family Legacy Partners, Round Hill Road, Northampton. Sponsored by Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont. Cost: $10 for members.

Oct. 2: October Arrive @ 5, 5-7 p.m., a networking event and chamber open house hosted by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by Pioneer Training. Cost: $10 for members.

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

• Sept. 10: September Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Governor’s Center, 66 Broad St., Westfield. Free and open to the public. To register, visit our website at www.westfieldbiz.org/events or call (413) 568-1618 so we can give our host a proper head count.

• Sept. 12: September After 5 Connection, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Stanley Park, 400 Western Ave., Westfield. Media sponsor: BusinessWest. Member Spotlights are Ideal Health & Body and Pro & Local Detailing. Refreshments will be served, and a 50/50 raffle will benefit the chamber’s scholarship fund. Bring your business cards and make connections. Cost: free for members, $10 for non-members (cash or credit paid at the door) Sign up online at www.westfieldbiz.org/events. For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

• Sept. 20: Workshop: “Cybersecurity for Cloud-based Solutions: Emphasis on Endpoints in the Data Center,” 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted by Tekoa Country Club, 459 Russell Road, Westfield. Presented by Norhals Group LLC, Carbon Black, and VMWare’s Cloud Force Security. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Cost: $45. For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

• Sept. 21: September Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by 104th Fighter Wing ANG, 175 Falcon Dr., Westfield. Platinum event sponsor: Baystate Noble Hospital; gold sponsors: Savage Arms, United Bank, and Westfield Gas & Electric; silver sponsor: A Plus HVAC Inc; bronze sponsors: Armbrook Village, Governor’s Center, Micro Abrasives Corp., and Rehab Resolutions. Join us to hear from keynote speaker Tim Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Immediately following breakfast, we will take the 2019-20 directory centerfold photo, and those who have the time can take a tour of the base. Cost: $25 for members, $40 for non-members. For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

• Sept. 28: Workshop: “Social Media in the Workplace,” 8:30-10 a.m., hosted by Holiday Inn Express, 39 Southampton Road, Westfield. Presented by attorney Timothy Netkovick of Royal, P.C. Cost: free for members; $3 for non-members (paid in advance). For sponsorships or registration questions, e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 568-1618. To register, visit www.westfieldbiz.org/events.

FRANKLIN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.franklincc.org
(413) 773-5463
 
• Sept. 28: Monthly Breakfast Series, 7:30-9 a.m., hosted by Franklin County Technical High School, 82 Industrial Blvd., Turners Falls. Full breakfast will be served during the program, which will feature the kickoff of the United Way of Franklin County’s fundraising campaign. Register at franklincc.org or e-mail [email protected]
 
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S CHAMBER
www.springfieldregionalchamber.com
(413) 787-1555

• Sept. 13: Professional Women’s Chamber Season Kickoff Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the Munich Haus, 13 Center St., Chicopee. Sponsors: BusinessWest and HCN. Lisa Mullins, host of WBUR’s All Things Considered, will headline the luncheon. Cost: $35 for members, $40 for non-members, $99 for luncheon season pass. Registration will be available soon on the PWC website at www.professionalwomenschamber.com.

SOUTH HADLEY & GRANBY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
www.shgchamber.com
(413) 532-6451
 
• Sept. 13: Lunch & Learn: “Marketing Your Small Business,” noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by Yarde Tavern, 3 Hadley St., South Hadley. Ryan Mahoney, an account manager at Hibu, will facilitate this discussion about how best to promote your business with the resources you have, whether you are a one-person business or someone who works at a much larger company. We will order individually off the Yarde Tavern menu at noon, and plan to start the discussion about 12:15 p.m. Cost: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. To register, visit www.shgchamber.com and go to this event on the calendar.

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

• Sept. 18: September Legislative Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by Chez Josef, 176 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam. Join us as we listen to an informative panel discussion with our elected officials. State senators, state representatives, and local mayors will update guests on all things politics. The presenting sponsor is Horizon Services; premier sponsors include the Insurance Center of New England, Health New England, Polish National Credit Union, and Republic Services; and preferred sponsors include Reliable Temps, Spherion Staffing, Westfield Bank, and Partners Restaurant & Catering. Register online at www.westoftheriverchamber.com.

YPS OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD
springfieldyps.com

• Sept. 13: Vote the Valley: The New Springfield, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Mahogany Room at Symphony Hall, 34 Court St., Springfield. Join us for an in-depth update from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno on the current state of Springfield. We will highlight the advances and opportunities for young professionals in the area and those who work with them. For sponsorship and partnership opportunities, e-mail Ashley at [email protected]

Agenda

WMNTMA Pig Roast

Aug. 20: The Western Mass Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Assoc. (WMNTMA) will hold its annual Mainline Drive Pig Roast from 4 to 8 p.m. at Peerless Precision Inc. in Westfield. Larry Maier, former president of the WMNTMA and Peerless Precision, came up with the idea of having a fun networking event during the summer and hosted the first Mainline Drive Pig Roast in 2006. With Maier’s passing in October 2012, the Larry A. Maier Memorial Education Fund was founded with a mission to keep alive his passion for encouraging students to pursue a career in advanced manufacturing and supporting the schools and training programs that support these career options. All profits from the annual pig roast are matched by the chapter and put into the memorial fund to use towards scholarships and training students starting at the middle-school level. At this years’ pig roast, WMNTMA plans to present the West of the River Foundation and Agawam High School with a $1,000 donation for the purchase of tooling for the new manufacturing curriculum beginning in this fall.

River Valley Counseling Center Golf Tournament

Sept. 14: River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) will hold its third annual golf tournament fundraiser at East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. The cost per golfer is $100 and includes greens fees, a golf cart, gift bag, lunch, and dinner. Golfers will also be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. There will also be contests on the course which include prizes donated by Marcotte Ford and Teddy Bear Pools. For more information on sponsorships, donations, and registration, contact Angela Callahan, RVCC’s Marketing and Development specialist, at (413) 841-3546 or [email protected] Information is also available at www.rvcc-inc.org or by visiting River Valley Counseling Center’s Facebook page.

Future Tense Lecture

Sept. 20: The third installment of the BusinessWest lecture series Future Tense, titled “Change Considerations: An Examination of Lean Process, Market Disruption, and the Future of Your Business,” will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Tech Foundry, 1391 Main St., ninth floor, Springfield. The lecture, open exclusively to CEOs and business owners, will be delivered by Mark Borsari, president of Sanderson MacLeod. The cost is a $25 donation to Tech Foundry. Event sponsors include Paragus IT, the Jamrog Group, and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. With increasingly automated business processes, AI, and machine manufacturing, lean concepts are becoming more important than ever in terms of staying competitive. Borsari will discuss change and innovation through lean concepts and focus on resulting cultural considerations. The presentation will also address already-active market disrupters that will affect business processes in various industries. To register, visit businesswest.com/lecture-series.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 25: The second annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Healthcare Heroes was launched last spring by HCN and BusinessWest to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. Individuals and organizations were nominated in categories including ‘Lifetime Achievement,’ ‘Emerging Leader,’ ‘Patient/Resident/Client Care Provider,’ ‘Innovation in Health/Wellness,’ ‘Health/Wellness Administrator,’ and ‘Collaboration in Healthcare.’ Winners have been chosen by a panel of independent judges, and will be profiled in both magazines in September and feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), National Grid (partner), and supporting sponsors Renew.Calm, the Elms College MBA program, and Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health Of New England.

Company Notebook

PeoplesBank Again Named Among Top Corporate Charitable Contributors

HOLYOKE — The Boston Business Journal has announced the region’s Top Corporate Charitable Contributors, and, for the 11th year in a row, PeoplesBank is among the companies included. The region’s top charitable companies, which include, in many instances, the companies’ corporate foundations, will be honored at the Boston Business Journal’s 13th annual Corporate Citizenship Awards on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 6 at Fenway Park in Boston. “We have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through the considerable volunteer efforts of our associates and the millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes we have made over recent years,” said Matthew Bannister, first vice president, Marketing & Innovation at PeoplesBank. The Boston Business Journal’s Top Corporate Charitable Contributors list is composed of companies that gave at least $100,000 to Massachusetts-based charities in 2017. 

PV Squared Recognized as a Top Solar Contractor

GREENFIELD — Solar Power World, a publication covering solar technology, development, and installation, published its annual Top Solar Contractors list in July. Local solar-installation company and worker-owned cooperative PV Squared was listed prominently among other top solar contractors and developers across the country.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for what we do on a national scale, putting Western Massachusetts solar companies on the map,” said PV Squared General Manager Stacy Metzger. “While our focus remains local, the national ranking offers more insight into how we’re performing on a broader scale. It’s deeply rewarding to know that our business and installation practices are leading by example.”

United Financial Bancorp Announces Q2 Earnings

HARTFORD, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018. The company reported net income of $15.6 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $15.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $16.2 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. “In the second quarter of 2018, United Financial Bancorp, Inc.’s earnings results reflected solid linked quarter net interest margin expansion and net interest income growth. Our company continues to grow loans, deposits, particularly checking accounts, and tangible book value while maintaining strong asset quality, capital, and liquidity,” said William Crawford IV, CEO and president of the company and the bank. “I want to thank our United Bank employees for their steadfast support of our customers and communities.” Assets totaled $7.21 billion at June 30, 2018 and increased $139.9 million, or 2.0%, from $7.07 billion at March 31, 2018. At June 30, 2018, total loans were $5.48 billion, representing an increase of $93.2 million, or 1.7%, from the linked quarter. Deposits totaled $5.39 billion at June 30, 2018 and increased by $110.9 million, or 2.1%, from $5.28 billion at March 31, 2018.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp Reports Increase in Earnings

BOSTON — Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. reported 2018 second-quarter net income of $34 million, which was a 73% increase over 2017 second-quarter net income of $20 million. This primarily reflected the benefit of Berkshire’s Greater Boston expansion through acquisition and business development, resulting in higher market share, increased efficiency, and record profitability. “We achieved record quarterly return on assets, with income increasing by 35% over the prior quarter,” said CEO Michael Daly. “Commercial loans grew strongly, and our new Boston corporate headquarters teams are receiving good response to our expanded presence in Greater Boston. Our revenue growth and disciplined expense management produced record quarterly earnings per share, positive operating leverage, and improved returns on equity.” Meanwhile, Daly added, “the integration of acquired operations was completed within plan in the second quarter, and several company-wide initiatives have been accelerated to support the expansion of our deposit product set and delivery channels. Our annual Xtraordinary Day of Service in June tackled 74 community projects across our markets, totaling nearly 7,000 volunteer hours and 92% of our workforce. Our foundation announced the appointment of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) officer to expand our multiple community-engagement activities and implement an all-encompassing CSR strategy.”

First Connecticut Bancorp Reports Net-income Increase

FARMINGTON, Conn. — First Connecticut Bancorp Inc. (FCB), the holding company for Farmington Bank, reported a 35% increase in net income of $6.7 million, or $0.42 diluted earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to net income of $5.0 million, or $0.32 diluted earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. Net income on a core earnings basis was $7.4 million, or $0.46 diluted core earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to $5.0 million, or $0.31 diluted core earnings per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. Core earnings exclude non-recurring items. On June 19, 2018, First Connecticut Bancorp Inc. announced its entry into a definitive agreement and plan of merger with People’s United Financial Inc., pursuant to which FCB will merge with and into People’s United. “I am pleased to report solid core second-quarter earnings for the company,” said John Patrick Jr., chairman, president, and CEO of First Connecticut Bancorp. “As indicated, earnings were impacted by certain one-time charges related to our acquisition by Peoples United Financial Inc. The board of directors and senior management have always focused on shareholder value, and we believe this acquisition maximized shareholder value at a time when, we believe, the operating paradigm is changing for smaller community banks. I would also like to thank our dedicated employees who executed our strategy, which maximized our results for shareholders.”

Work Opportunity Center Receives Grant from Westfield Bank Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Work Opportunity Center Inc. announced it is a recipient of a $5,000 grant donation from the Westfield Bank Foundation. The money will be put toward the purchase of a vehicle for the Community Based Day Services (CBDS) program. The CBDS program of supports enables individuals with developmental disabilities to enrich their life and enjoy a full range of community activities by providing opportunities for developing, enhancing, and maintaining competency in personal, social, and community activities. The program has been set up with five core fundamentals: education, social and recreational, health and wellness, life skills, and employment and volunteerism. Options that are given to individuals who participate in CBDS include career exploration, community-integration experiences to support fuller participation in community life, skills development and training, volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits, health and fitness classes, socialization experiences, and support to enhance interpersonal skills, as well as the pursuit of personal interests and hobbies. The program currently serves 84 individuals.

Thornes Refurbishes Window Assemblage

NORTHAMPTON — In late July, Thornes Marketplace refurbished and expanded an historic window assemblage, installing six new stained-glass window panels designed by a local artist on the Chestnut Staircase behind Share coffee shop. Heather McLean, owner of Dragonfly Stained Glass Studio in Easthampton, was commissioned to design the panels, which are part of an elaborate, two-and-a-half-story window grouping. Each new arts-and-crafts-style panel created by McLean is identical, measuring four feet high by two feet wide. They combine bold orange squares with deep blue edging and long, vertical, pale-yellow highlights, and all six windows together will fill a space that is roughly eight feet high by six feet wide. Above McLean’s stained-glass windows, three tiers of windows original to the building — one overarching transom window and two tiers of oblong windows — were cleaned, painted, and reinstalled to further refresh the entire collection. McLean’s panels replace three original stained-glass windows that could not be restored; they will be cleaned, refurbished, and hung in the building at a later date as an art sculpture, said Jon McGee, Thornes facilities manager. Over the past 10 years, Thornes has taken on a series of major renovations to improve and enhance the eclectic shopping center.

Mediware Acquires Fazzi Associates

LENEXA, Kan. — Mediware Information Systems Inc., a portfolio company of TPG Capital and a leading supplier of software solutions for healthcare and human-service providers and payers, recently acquired Northampton-based Fazzi Associates, one of the largest companies serving home health and hospice. The acquisition creates a unique alignment between two healthcare industry leaders — one in innovative software, the other in outsourced services, consultation, and education. The combined company will have a greater capacity to help post-acute and community-based providers increase efficiency and improve clinical, financial, and operational performance to advance patient care. The addition of Fazzi Associates enables Mediware to offer new, comprehensive, and best-in-class services and solutions — including medical coding, revenue-cycle management, education, CAHPS, consulting, and ancillary solutions that address key challenges and evolving complexities affecting the post-acute care sectors. Mediware plans to maintain Fazzi Associates’ brand and Western Mass. headquarters; the firm’s leadership team will continue to lead Fazzi Associates’ lines of business. Dr. Bob Fazzi will serve in a strategic advisory role with Mediware, consulting on industry relations, home-health advocacy, growth opportunities, and innovation.

Briefcase

Girl Scouts Seek Nominations for ToGetHerThere Awards

SPRINGFIELD — Do you know a champion for the next generation of female leaders? The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts announced its new awards program honoring five professionals in Western Mass. The ToGetHerThere Awards gives area businesses and organizations the opportunity to honor a difference maker from within their ranks who has shown exceptional achievement in their profession, is an inspiration to their co-workers and young women, and has made contributions to their community. The nominated person must demonstrate role-model behavior in their professional career and represent the Girl Scouts’ mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The nomination deadline is Friday, Sept. 1. The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts will honor the winners at the ToGetHerThere Awards Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 2, at MGM Springfield. Nomination forms and requirements can be found at www.gscwm.org/en/events/special-events/TGHTA.html, or by contacting Melanie Bonsu, (413) 584-2602, ext. 3623, or [email protected] Nominations will be reviewed by a panel of business, community, and civic leaders who will then select the honorees. 

Unemployment Picture Mixed in Massachusetts in June

BOSTON — Local unemployment rates decreased in two labor market areas, increased in 21 areas, and remained the same in one labor market area in the state during the month of June, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported. 

Compared to June 2017, the rates dropped in 15 labor-market areas, remained the same in four areas, and increased in five-labor market areas. Twelve of the 15 areas for which job estimates are published recorded a seasonal job gain in June. The largest gains occurred in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Barnstable, Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, Pittsfield, and Framingham areas.  The Leominster-Gardner, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, and Peabody-Salem-Beverly areas lost jobs over the month. From June 2017 to June 2018, 13 of the 15 areas added jobs, with the largest percentage gains in the Lynn-Saugus-Marblehead, Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury, Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Taunton-Middleborough-Norton, and Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton areas. The Peabody-Salem-Beverly area’s jobs level remained unchanged over the year, while the Framingham area lost jobs.

 

Young Women’s Initiative Awards Four Mini-Grants

SPRINGFIELD — A group of Springfield young women participating in the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts’ Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) recently awarded four YWI mini-grants to nonprofits that serve the Springfield area. The project was in partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. In the past year, the YWI participants were charged with identifying and researching issues that are barriers to young women and girls in Springfield. They chose four key issues: women in leadership; rape culture; mental health; and economic, community, and workforce development. A partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts that provided grant funds allowed YWI to put out a call to Springfield-area organizations for projects that could address these issues through programming. Four grant applications were developed, and, after review, the YWAC chose to award funds to the Center for Human Development ($2,545), Girls Inc. of Holyoke ($2,515), Cambridge Credit Counseling ($2,515), and Springfield School Volunteers and Human in Common ($2,515). The 10-month YMI program is open to women between the ages of 14 and 24 who reside in Springfield. There is no tuition fee for this program, and accepted members are paid up to $900 in stipends for attending. Applications for the 2018-19 session are due on Sept. 21. More information is available at www.mywomensfund.org/ywi-program-details.

United Way, Peter Pan Launch Annual Stuff the Bus Program

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley and Peter Pan Bus Lines launched the annual Stuff the Bus campaign with a press-conference event on July 27 at the Holyoke Mall. The campaign will collect new school supplies through Aug. 16. The supplies will be distributed in new backpacks to children who are homeless in Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield, Westfield, West Springfield, and South Hadley. Individuals are encouraged to donate the following age-appropriate supplies: pencil boxes, highlighters, binders, No. 2 pencils, erasers, binders, crayons, pens, glue sticks, rulers, two-pocket folders, and one-subject notebooks. Donations may be brought to the United Way of Pioneer Valley, 1441 Main St., Suite 147, Springfield, weekdays through Aug. 16, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Holyoke Mall, upper level, near Target, Aug. 11, noon to 2 p.m.; Western Mass News, 1300 Liberty St., Springfield, weekdays through Aug. 10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or Balise Kia, 603 Riverdale St., West Springfield, through Aug. 16, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Aug. 16 only, those who bring 20 or more items will receive a free ticket at Six Flags New England. This concludes the campaign, where donations can be made in conjunction with National Roller Coaster Day. Financial contributions are also welcome and will be used to purchase additional backpacks and supplies as needed. Contributions may be made online by clicking the ‘donate’ button at www.uwpv.org.

Sale of Chesterfield Scout Reservation Finalized

WESTFIELD — The Western Massachusetts Council of the Boy Scouts of America announced the completed sale of the 186-acre Chesterfield Scout Reservation to a buyer who plans to maintain the property and continue to offer outdoor programs. The council has owned both Chesterfield and the Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation in Russell since the merger of two area councils in 2008. The camps are 25 miles apart, and the Moses Reservation is a nearly 1,300-acre property. The maintenance of both properties — buildings and grounds — was overwhelming, and following an 18-month property study, the decision was made to sell Chesterfield in 2014. David Kruse, CEO and Scout executive for the Western Massachusetts Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said the council will remain focused on dedicating its time and resources to the Moses Reservation. Proceeds from the Chesterfield sale will allow for continual investment in the Moses Reservation, which includes adding to the maintenance endowment and eliminating the council’s debt. Some of the improvements already made to Moses Reservation feature the addition of metal roofs and replacement of windows and rotting wood on several buildings. There has also been a significant investment in activities for campers.

Agenda

Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways Statewide Conference

July 28: The Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways will host a statewide conference of community rail-trail advocates and government policymakers at Union Station in Northampton. The keynote speaker will be Kurt Gaertner, director of Land Policy and Planning for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), who is responsible for statewide land-use and land-conservation policies as well as sustainable development. Gaertner also serves as the Massachusetts secretary of state’s designee on the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and he represents the EEA on the Governor’s Trails Team. He is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University in its City Planning and Urban Affairs Program, where he has taught since 2009. Gaertner will deliver the lunchtime address at the sixth Golden Spike 2018 Conference to be held over the past 16 years. Before lunch, in two separate one-hour sessions, a series of speakers will discuss updates and news along the path of the Mass Central Rail Trail from Boston to Northampton, and then from Northampton to New Haven, Conn. These talks will be highlighted by aerial maps via a live Google Maps feed. The event is open to residents of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The program begins at 8 a.m. with registration, breakfast, and networking. At 9:15 a.m., an update on the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail from Boston to Northampton will be offered, and Gaertner’s plenary session will begin at 12:30 p.m. The plenary costs $35 and includes lunch. The goal of the conference is to update participants on new developments and the various uncompleted sections of the rail trail that stretches from New Haven to Northampton and across Massachusetts from Northampton to Boston. As part of the conference, eight bicycle and walking tours of varying lengths, featuring topics from local history to flora and fauna along the rail trail, will be offered on Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28 at 2:30 p.m. The cost is $15 per tour. To register for the conference or a tour, visit www.gs2018.org.

Future Tense Lecture

Sept. 20: The second installment of the BusinessWest lecture series Future Tense, titled “Change Considerations: An Examination of Lean Process, Market Disruption, and the Future of Your Business,” will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Tech Foundry, 1391 Main St., ninth floor, Springfield. The lecture, open exclusively to CEOs and business owners, will be delivered by Mark Borsari, president of Sanderson MacLeod. The cost is a $25 donation to Tech Foundry. Event sponsors include Paragus IT, the Jamrog Group, and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. With increasingly automated business processes, AI, and machine manufacturing, lean concepts are becoming more important than ever in terms of staying competitive.  Borsari will discuss change and innovation through lean concepts and focus on resulting cultural considerations. The presentation will also address already-active market disrupters that will affect business processes in various industries. Metered street parking is available near the venue, and there are several parking-garage options nearby as well. To register, visit businesswest.com/lecture-series.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 25: The second annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched last spring by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. Individuals and organizations were nominated in categories including ‘Lifetime Achievement,’ ‘Emerging Leader,’ ‘Patient/Resident/Client Care Provider,’ ‘Innovation in Health/Wellness,’ ‘Health/Wellness Administrator,’ and ‘Collaboration in Healthcare.’ They will be profiled in both magazines in September and feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), National Grid (partner), Renew.Calm (supporting sponsor), the Elms College MBA program (supporting sponsor), and Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health Of New England (supporting sponsor).

‘Trauma-sensitive Schools’

Nov. 1-2: The Education Division at Elms College has postponed its conference titled “Trauma-sensitive Schools: Meeting the Needs of Traumatized Students and Their Teachers,” which was originally scheduled to be held in July. The conference is now rescheduled for Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-2, and will be held in the Chicopee Public Library. More details will be released at a later date.

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