The board of directors of Big Y Foods Inc. announced the following changes to its senior leadership team, effective Jan. 1. These changes align with the enterprise’s expanding business activities and the dynamic shifts that are occurring within the supermarket, convenience, and retail liquor industries.
• Donald D’Amour, current chairman and CEO, will transition out of his day-to-day responsibilities as CEO and will continue to serve as an advisor to the board in his new role as chairman emeritus. He was appointed to CEO in 1980 and in 1997 succeeded his father and co-founder, Paul D’Amour, as chairman of the board.
• Charles D’Amour, son of co-founder Gerald D’Amour, will continue as president, a position he has held since 2006. In order to allow for a smooth transition, he has been appointed CEO and will be responsible for helping to drive the overall strategic direction of Big Y along with the company’s vision and mission. In addition to providing overall leadership and oversight, key departments of Finance, Legal, Real Estate and Development, Employee Services, and Information Resources Technology will report directly to him.
• Michael D’Amour, grandson of Paul D’Amour and son of Donald D’Amour, was appointed to the position of executive vice president in 2014 and has added the role of COO, a position formerly held by Charles, to his roster of responsibilities. As COO, Michael will be responsible for all operating aspects of the company, including Sales, Operations, Distribution, and Supply Chain. He began his full-time career at Big Y in 1996.
• Guy McFarlane, Big Y’s vice president of Fresh Foods since 2011, has been promoted to senior vice president of Sales and Marketing, where he will oversee sales and procurement, pricing, marketing, and data analytics. He will report to Michael D’Amour. McFarlane began his career at Big Y more than 23 years ago and has been in the supermarket industry for 41 years.
• Richard Bossie, Big Y’s vice president of Operations since 2016, has been promoted to the new position of senior vice president of Operations and Customer Experience. Within this expanded role, Bossie will oversee all operational aspects of the company that impact the customer experience, including labor planning, inventory control and ordering, checkout and customer service, and retail asset protection, along with all operational aspects of Big Y Express Gas and Convenience Division and Table and Vine, Big Y’s flagship beer, spirits, and fine-wine store. He also will report to Michael D’Amour. Bossie began his career at Big Y more than 30 years ago and has more than 38 years of retail experience.
• Nicole D’Amour Schneider, Big Y’s senior director of Store Operations (and granddaughter of Paul D’Amour and daughter of Donald D’Amour), has been appointed to the new position of vice president of Supermarket Operations, with specific focus on the daily operations of the supermarket division. Along with the five district directors reporting to her, she will continue to drive operational excellence throughout the chain. She reports to Bossie. She began her full-time Big Y career in 1999.
Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that attorney Amelia Holstrom was named a partner in the firm on Jan. 1. Holstrom, who has been with the firm since 2012, focuses her practice on labor law and employment litigation, including personnel policies and practices review, wage-and-hour compliance, and separation and severance agreements. Holstrom frequently speaks about employment-related legal topics for a wide variety of associations and organizations. She was selected by BusinessWest as a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2015 and received the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. Community Service Award in 2016. She is a member of the Massachusetts, Hampden County, and Connecticut bar associations; sits on the board of directors for Clinical & Support Options in Northampton and Girls Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts; and is an ad hoc member of the personnel committee for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Andrew Anderlonis, president of Rediker Software, recently announced that Esther Rich has been hired as the company’s new director of Support. Rich brings more than 30 years of experience in customer support, with more than 10 of those years spent in a management position. Before joining Rediker Software, Rich was the Customer Support manager for Farm Credit Financial Partners in Agawam. In her new role, Rich will lead and motivate her team to ensure they have the tools and skills required to provide the best customer service possible. She holds a business management degree from St. John’s School of Business.
Holyoke Community College (HCC) hired Laura Lefebvre as its new director of Public Safety. Lefebvre, a seasoned investigator, has more than 30 years of law-enforcement experience, most recently as senior sergeant in the campus police department at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams. She is the first woman to serve as chief of police at HCC. Lefebvre, 56, got her start with the Hialeah Police Department in Dade County, Fla. She began as a patrol officer in 1986, then one of only four women in the 450-person department. She worked in the juvenile sexual battery unit investigating child-abuse cases before becoming the first woman assigned to the robbery division. She later moved into homicide as a detective. Lefebvre retired from the Hialeah Police Department in 1999 and then moved to Western Mass. with her husband, Gary, also a retired police officer, and two small children, Spencer and Emily, now adults. She then spent a few years as an officer with the Hadley Police Department and a police lieutenant at Westfield State University. Before going to MCLA, where she was the first woman sergeant, she worked for 11 years as a fraud investigator for the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the insurance giant Unum. Throughout her career, Lefebvre has been a field-training officer, teaching at police academies in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. She holds a bachelor’s degree from MCLA in interdisciplinary studies in business and sociology and will complete her master’s degree in education at MCLA this May.
HUB International New England, LLC, a division of HUB International Limited, a leading global insurance brokerage, recently announced that Wendy Fitzgerald has re-joined HUB New England as a strategic account executive, responsible for all things personal (personal insurance/auto, home, condo, renters, and more). Her role will include handling new business and outreach, renewals, quoting, special projects, and providing support when needed to the Personal Lines team of experts. She will be based out of HUB New England’s East Longmeadow office. Previously, Fitzgerald had been with the HUB/FieldEddy Personal Lines team from 2008 to 2016.
Garvey Communication Associates Inc., the most experienced independent Google Partner in the Springfield area, announced the 2019 certifications for its Google Ads strategists. Mary Shea, vice president of Digital Strategy, and James Garvey, digital marketing analyst, collectively have passed the Search, Display, Mobile, and Video exams certifying their advanced expertise in creating, managing, measuring, and optimizing these specific Google Ads products. The two GCAi marketing technologists also meet with a dedicated Google Ads representative every month to review and further increase the performance of client campaigns. GCAi earned its Google Partner Agency designation more than five years ago. Partner status requires that GCAi associates pass Google Ads certifications, that the agency meets the spend requirements across its managed accounts, and that it demonstrate performance by delivering strong client and company growth. Shea works out of GCAi’s downtown Springfield headquarters at Tower Square. Garvey works out of GCAi’s newest office at WeWork’s Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif.
Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced that Rosemary Manu has joined the LPV team as the LEAP program coordinator. She will hold various responsibilities in this position, including assisting in the planning, coordination, and execution of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s nine-month leadership-development program, in addition to helping recruit future LEAP program participants. Manu returned to Springfield last spring after obtaining a master’s degree from George Washington University in international development studies with a concentration in energy. Prior to this, she earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Connecticut. Most recently, she worked as a consultant for USAID Food for Peace, which provided her with monitoring and evaluation skills. She was responsible for evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of combining emergency assistance and resilience building. Manu also comes to Leadership Pioneer Valley with an extensive background in the UN Women in Bangkok, Thailand, in the Disaster Risk Reduction Department. This experience expanded her research and writing skills and led her to become passionate about helping to develop communities and individuals.
John McAndrew, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Holyoke, has accepted an invitation to become a limited partner in the Jones Financial Cos., the holding company for the St. Louis-based financial-services firm. Edward Jones currently employs 45,000 associates in all 50 states and through its affiliate in Canada. This is the firm’s 17th limited-partnership offering in its 97-year history. The Jones Financial Cos. was created in 1987 to enable the firm to expand into new business areas while allowing it to remain a partnership. The Jones Financial Cos. owns Edward D. Jones & Co., LP, which operates under the trade names Edward Jones, EDJ Leasing Co., the Edward Jones Trust Co., and its international financial-services subsidiary, Edward Jones Canada.
Meredith Wise, president of the Employers Assoc. of the Northeast (EANE), announced the addition of two new members, Marilyn Lopez-Haddad and Pattie Hallberg, to the EANE board of directors, effective Jan. 1, for three-year terms. Lopez-Haddad, vice president of Human Resources for the Seven Hills Foundation, joined that organization’s senior leadership team in 2008. She oversees the HR office and Seven Hills Corporate College, and provides leadership in the areas of employee relations, recruitment and retention compensation and benefits, and learning and development. Seven Hills is an integrated health and human services network based in Worcester. Before joining Seven Hills, Lopez-Haddad worked for various municipalities in Connecticut as the head of HR, personnel, and labor relations. She also worked as a Social Security disability associate in Florida. Most recently, she worked as an adjunct professor at Clark University in Worcester, where she taught global talent development. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University and a juris doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She was admitted to practice law in Connecticut and Massachusetts, is a certified executive and career coach, and has acquired the SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications. Hallberg is CEO of Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts (GSCWM), headquartered in Worcester and Holyoke. She joined GSCWM as CEO in 2008 to lead the merger of the three Girl Scout councils into one organization with a commitment to developing girls’ leadership potential. Under her direction, GSCWM has emerged as a leader in Central and Western Mass. in advocacy for girls. She is a commissioner on the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. She serves as a co-chair for the Investing in Girls Alliance in Worcester, and is a founding member of the advisory committee for the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact and an advisory board member of the Young Women’s Leadership Institute with the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She serves as a board member and member of the finance committee for New England Public Radio. She is a member of the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts and a member of the Western Mass Women Presidents’ Organization. She is on the advisory board of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Nichols College and a volunteer for the Springfield Schools Read-Aloud Program. In 2013, she received the Outstanding Women in Business Award from the Worcester Business Journal.
Executives and entrepreneurs who participate in business peer groups report it is their most valuable activity for exploring solutions and shifting paradigms, says Ira Bryck, director of the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley. A group that has been meeting for years, formerly as part of a global roundtable organization, is accepting new members and hiring Bryck as their facilitator and coach. The Impact Executive Peer Group meets monthly for much of a day, and each member gets monthly, personalized coaching from the facilitator. The group will grow to include a dozen leaders from medium and larger companies roughly between Worcester and the Berkshires, and Hartford and Brattleboro. The format will include members discussing their challenges with questions and suggestions, as well as a speaker series, with topics and presenters relevant to the needs of the group. Bryck has moderated roundtable groups for 25 years, and is taking on this project as part of the leadership succession the Family Business Center is undergoing.
Dena Hall, who has served as Baystate Health Foundation’s vice chair for the past two years, has succeeded Jean Deliso as the foundation’s chair. Hall — a graduate of UMass Amherst, the Massachusetts School for Financial Studies, and the National School of Banking and Finance at Fairfield University — is executive vice president, chief Marketing officer for Hometown Financial Group and its banks, bankESB, based in Easthampton, and bankHometown, based in Central Mass. She is also the president of the bankESB Charitable Foundation and a member of the board of trustees for the Springfield Museums and the Springfield Thunderbirds Foundation. A longstanding volunteer for Baystate Noble Hospital, Hall and her husband, Eric, chaired the 2009 Baystate Noble Ball, helping to generate vitally important funds in support of the hospital in Westfield. In her previous role as Western Massachusetts regional president of United Bank and president of the United Bank Foundation, she launched support for the innovative Acute Care for Elders Unit at Baystate Medical Center with a $50,000 grant from the bank. She continues to invite new funders to the hospital to consider supporting this program.
Country Bank announced that Ryan Nauman joined its Commercial Banking division as vice president of Commercial Lending. Nauman brings 20 years of experience in the industry. His knowledge of business banking comes from his prior commercial-service roles and his passion for partnering with business owners to make their dreams reality. Nauman has held various positions over the years as a credit analyst, portfolio manager, and, most recently, vice president, loan officer with Farmington Bank in the Commercial Real Estate department. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Bryant College. He is a member of the Real Estate Finance Assoc. and the Hartford Community Loan Fund. Nauman is located at the bank’s corporate office in Ware and will assist customers in the Western Mass. and Connecticut areas.
The Vann Group announced that Patty Stefanelli has joined the organization and will lead its newly launched Performance Improvement Division. This division was created to help organizations in any industry work toward more sustained levels of operational excellence by embracing Lean thinking and continuous improvement. In her role, Stefanelli will be focusing on creating awareness of the benefits of these concepts throughout the Pioneer Valley. Before joining the Vann Group, Stefanelli worked for the city of Springfield in its Information Technology department, and as an independent consultant helping organizations with their operations and IT. She has extensive technical and business knowledge, as well as project-management experience. She has led large, organization-wide initiatives from ERP and time and attendance system implementations to Lean process improvement initiatives, such as streamlining hiring processes or the order fulfillment processes in shipping departments. She has an MBA, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and TWI Knowledge certification.
Paragus IT CEO Delcie Bean announced the addition of three new board members. On Jan. 1, Nicole Nakashian, Michelle Abdow, and Scott Webster joined Randy Krotowski, Scott Foster, and John Drake on the board of the fast-growing IT firm. Nakashian currently serves as executive vice president at InvestCloud Inc. She helped launch Agio, an IT managed-service provider, and was responsible for building a client-centric progressive culture in addition to growing and managing the operations. Abdow is founder and president of Market Mentors, LLC, a full-service marketing agency located in Western Mass. that provides a variety of services, including advertising, branding, media buying, graphic design, public relations, broadcast production, and event planning. Webster is currently head of WW Operations for Amazon Experts. He brings a versatile mix of financial, technical, and business expertise. He is passionate about driving innovation, strategic change, and operational efficiency across dynamic, internet-based businesses.