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People on the Move

Deborah Bitsoli

Deborah Bitsoli has been named president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates, effective Dec. 2. In this role, she will be responsible for the operational performance of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates; provide leadership in the execution, management, financial performance, and oversight of all operations; and explore opportunities for growth through strategic development initiatives. Bitsoli joins Mercy with over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry and has spent the last 18 years in leadership roles. Most recently, she served as president of Morton Hospital, a 110-bed facility in Taunton. Prior to her tenure there, she was chief operating officer and executive vice president at Saint Vincent Hospital, a 270-bed facility in Worcester. She holds an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy with a management minor from Bentley University in Waltham. She is a certified public accountant in the state of Massachusetts and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2019 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s elite sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for eight consecutive years. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a Nautilus Group member, an exclusive, advanced planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. Deliso has developed an expertise in assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. Deliso currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation, the Community Music School of Springfield, and the YMCA of Greater Springfield. She is also a former board member of Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

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Bacon Wilson announced that three attorneys have been named to the 2019 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list of top attorneys in the Commonwealth, and two have been named to the 2019 Massachusetts Rising Stars list of up-and-comers. They are: Michael Katz (selected to Super Lawyers from 2004 to 2019), bankruptcy; Hyman Darling (selected to Super Lawyers from 2005 to 2019), estate planning and probate; Paul Rothschild (selected to Super Lawyers from 2004 to 2019), general litigation; Thomas Reidy (selected to Rising Stars from 2015 to 2019), land use/zoning; and Meaghan Murphy (selected to Rising Stars from 2018 to 2019), employment and labor. Identified by a research team at Super Lawyers, the attorneys are selected for background, professional experience, achievement, and peer recognition. There is no opportunity to pay for a listing. Only 5% of New England’s lawyers are Super Lawyers. Rising Stars are under age 40 or have been practicing law for less than 10 years. Fewer than 2.5% of New England lawyers were named Rising Stars.

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Yvonne Cruz

Dietz & Co. Architects Inc. announced the addition of Yvonne Cruz, RA to its staff as a senior project architect. Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Pratt Institute, School of Architecture in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is a licensed architect in New York and Connecticut. She brings more than 20 years of experience to Dietz & Co., having worked for firms in New York City throughout her career. She has worked on an array of residential projects as well as many hotel and restaurant projects. She brings to the firm a commitment to high-quality design and a passion for mentoring junior staff members.

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Three new members have been elected to serve three-year terms on the Bay Path University board of trustees: Pia Sareen Kumar, Rodger Metzger, and Jeanette Weldon. Kumar is co-owner and chief strategy officer for Universal Plastics Group. A graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an MBA, she previously worked at JPMorgan Chase and American Express, leading business-development initiatives and managing strategic partnerships. Kumar serves on the boards of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, and the Springfield Technical Community College Foundation. She is also a member of the Women President’s Organization and is a reader and school sponsor with Link to Libraries. As president and chief investment officer of Hooker & Holcombe’s Investment Advisory Group in Bloomfield, Conn. Metzger serves as the client relationship consultant for the group’s largest and most sophisticated clients. He is also responsible for directing the asset-allocation and fund-research efforts and chairs the investment committee. Prior to joining the firm, he was with Hartford Investment Management Co., a subsidiary of Hartford Financial Services Corporation. Metzger earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Lawrence University and an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Hartford. He serves as an advisory council member for Legg Mason Client Solutions, in addition to memberships with the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Hartford. He devotes time as a consultant and board member for various organizations in Connecticut. Weldon, managing director for Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority, is a public finance professional who has been involved as either issuer or financial advisor on more than $10 billion in transactions for state and local governments and their issuing authorities. She previously served as chief financial officer at Windham Hospital and as senior managing director for P.G. Corbin & Co. Weldon earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia University. She currently serves on the boards of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority and Northeast Women in Public Finance.

People on the Move

Rachel Rubinstein

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed Rachel Rubinstein as its first vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. Prior to her arrival, Rubinstein spent 16 years at Hampshire College in Amherst, where she was a professor of American Literature and Jewish Studies and from 2010 to 2018 served as dean of Academic Support and Advising. At HCC, she will oversee the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs in what is a newly unified role at the college. Rubinstein holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University. A child of Mexican-born, Jewish immigrants, she grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and also studied Yiddish. Her academic studies, professional scholarship, and teaching have largely focused on immigration, migration, and multi-lingualism. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Whiting Foundation Travel Fellowship. She has taught at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College and also taught adult learners and high-school students through community organizations including the Jones Library and the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. Her scholarly work includes two co-edited volumes, Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature and Culture in Honor of Ruth R. Wisse and the forthcoming Teaching Jewish-American Literature. She is the author of Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination, which earned a Jordan Schnitzer Book Award honorable mention.

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Dawn Forbes DiStefano

The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling announced the appointment of Dawn Forbes DiStefano to its board of directors. DiStefano is the executive vice president at Square One, where she manages contracts and annual budgeting of $9 million. Square One is a private, nonprofit organization that provides early education and care to 500 children each day, as well as a range of family-support services to 1,500 families each year. Founded in 1983, the Mass Council on Compulsive Gambling has been instrumental in bringing the issue of gambling disorder to the attention of the public and policymakers. With the gambling landscape evolving and expanding, the council has continued to play a leading role in protecting and educating the public. DiStefano r eceived her master’s degree in public administration and nonprofit management from Westfield State University. She serves on several boards, including Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts, the Springfield Regional Chamber, and Baystate Community Relations at Westover Job Corps. In addition, she chairs the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

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The National Science Foundation recently awarded two grants to support research by two Western New England University faculty members — Robert Barron, assistant professor of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, and Amer Qouneh, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering — and their collaborative partners. Barron is a co-principal investigator on a project titled “INFEWS/T2 FEWtures: Innovation Analysis Framework for Resilient Futures, with Application to the Central Arkansas River Basin.” The project will develop strategies to promote resilient small-town and rural (STAR) communities using renewably powered fertilizer production and wastewater treatment. FEWtures will equip STAR communities to face urgent challenges such as low crop prices, high prices for energy and fertilizer, pollution, and depleting water supplies. Barron is among a team of researchers led by the University of Kansas and including Western New England University, Kansas State University, and Washington State University that have been awarded $2.5 million to craft a creative, multi-faceted set of responses to these challenges. The focus of Qouneh’s research is “SHF: Medium: Collaborative Research: Enhancing Mobile VR/AR User Experience: An Integrated Architecture-System Approach.” This research will open the door for next-generation mobile platforms that provide high-quality, low-power applications for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It seeks to develop a synergetic architecture-system approach to improve the user’s experience with AR and VR by addressing performance, battery life, and thermal issues. The project is a collaboration effort between Qouneh and faculty at the University of Florida and the University of Houston. The total amount of the grant is $1.1 million.

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Melissa Fales

Kerry Homstead

NeighborWorks America, through its affiliate Way Finders, has awarded Congressman John W. Olver Scholarships to two individuals — Melissa Fales, program manager for Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp., and Kerry Homstead, community facilitator for the Treehouse Foundation — to attend the NeighborWorks America Training Institute (NTI). The scholarships provide travel, lodging, and tuition to a catalogue of more than 100 topic- and skill-focused courses. NTI creates an opportunity to network with other community-development organizations from across the country to share ideas and learn best practices in their field. Two scholarships are awarded annually to NTI attendees. The Congressman John W. Olver Scholarship recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that demonstrate leadership, dedication, and commitment in the housing and community-development field in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. Olver retired in 2012 after more than 40 years in public service, including 20 years serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. While in office, he not only provided strong support for NeighborWorks America, but also increased funding for housing vouchers, community block grants, and other affordable-housing programs. He was instrumental in the establishment of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, which assisted more than 1.5 million distressed homeowners through May 2013.

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Brian Benson, CPA has joined the investment-management team at St. Germain Investment Management as a financial planner, while Kathy Stewart has joined the firm’s client services group. Benson has extensive experience in accounting, risk assessment, audit procedures, and planning methodologies, and adds client relationship management to his quantitative and analytical competencies. Previously, he was a senior audit associate at Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. He also held accounting and auditing responsibilities at Menzel & Associates, P.C. Benson earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business management as well as an MBA with a concentration in financial planning from Elms College. He is an active volunteer and organizer involved with charity golf tournaments as well as sharing his time with Junior Achievement and the MSCPA. At World Sports Camp in Easthampton, he produced individualized coaching lessons for golfers and tennis players. Stewart brings skill and experience in communications, corporate administration, client engagement, and secondary research. Most recently, she was the executive assistant for the operations & production manager at WWLP-TV22 News. She also held responsibilities as an executive producer for As School Match Wits, as well as administrative coordinator for the FCC 398 Children Television’s programming quarterly reports. Prior to her broadcast television experience, she worked in the Community Relations and Marketing department at the Sisters of Providence Health System. She earned an associate degree in administration from Bay Path University.

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James Garvey

Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi) announced that James Garvey, a digital marketing analyst with the company, has recently earned a digital marketing certificate from Cornell University’s online certification program. “I viewed it as a retreat of sorts where I could isolate the tactical and focus on overall strategy development,” Garvey said. “In turn, our emphasis has now become working with our clients to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) prior to planning the tactical considerations. It sounds simple, but tactical is always the shiny object. Which platform to use and what creative often takes precedent over what the actual objective is. That tendency underserves the client and the potential of digital marketing, and is something we are working hard to avoid.” According to Cornell University, the objectives of the program are to learn and implement proven frameworks, assess opportunities and strategies associated with leading channels, and create integrated digital-marketing plans based on priorities and resources.

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Scott Foster, partner at Bulkley Richardson, has been recognized as a New England Trailblazer in American Lawyer Media’s (ALM) inaugural publication. ALM recently introduced New England Trailblazers, a special supplement developed to recognize professionals in New England who have “moved the needle” in the legal industry, are “agents of change,” and have made significant marks on the practice, policy, and advancements in their sector. Foster’s nomination notes that “he is recognized as a trailblazer because of his unwavering commitment to the business community in Western Massachusetts, providing the resources for emerging businesses that encourage growth, provide education, and make collaboration possible. As a partner at Bulkley Richardson, he is responsible for the recent launch of important practice areas, including cannabis, cybersecurity, emerging businesses, and craft breweries.” All of the honorees are featured in the Nov. 4 issue of the Connecticut Law Tribune.

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Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) recently welcomed Michelle Barthelemy of Greenfield Community College, Calvin Hill of Springfield College, Gladys Lebron-Martinez of MassHire Holyoke and the Holyoke City Council, Callie Niezgoda of Common Capital, Tony Maroulis of UMass Amherst, and Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates of Baystate Health to its board of directors. In addition, Francia Wisnewski has been elected clerk. Each brings a passion for both the work of the organization and the continued success of the Pioneer Valley, said Lora Wondolowski, LPV Executive Director. “We are delighted to have these dynamic community leaders join us. They will bring important skills and experience to the board and will help to fulfill our mission of building and connecting more diverse, committed, and effective leadership for the Pioneer Valley.”

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Dr. Said Nafai

Dr. Said Nafai, professor of Occupational Therapy at American International College (AIC), has been selected to receive the American Occupational Therapy Assoc. (AOTA) International Service Award at the 2020 annual conference in Boston in March. The AOTA International Service Award recognizes occupational therapists who demonstrate a sustained, outstanding commitment to international service in this field; promote and advance occupational therapy abroad in regard to occupational health and/or occupational justice in underserved countries, thereby promoting a globally connected community; and provide incentive to extend international relationships and contributions to address global health issues. Nafai, known as the ‘father of occupational therapy’ in his home country of Morocco, returns several times a year to volunteer, teach, and raise awareness of occupational therapy as a profession and a tool for empowering people of all ages who face physical, cognitive, or behavioral challenges. Students and faculty from across the U.S. and Europe frequently accompany him to learn about Morocco’s healthcare system. Among his credits, Nafai is the Moroccan delegate to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists; co-founder of the OT Project in Morocco; founder and president of the Occupational Therapy Assoc. of Morocco; vice president of Emmanuel’s Dream, a nonprofit for children with special needs; and a board member of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group, which currently has the most co-sponsored healthcare bill in the U.S. Congress.

People on the Move

Hector Toledo

Gov. Charlie Baker recently appointed Hector Toledo, vice president and Branch Distribution Network officer at Greenfield Savings Bank, to Greenfield Community College’s (GCC) board of trustees. One of 11 trustees, he will replace former trustee Linda Melconian. Toledo joins the board with close to 30 years of experience in banking. Before joining Greenfield Savings Bank in 2018, he held executive positions at People’s United Bank, Hampden Bank, and Bank of America. Raised in Springfield, he has spent the past 25 years volunteering for numerous nonprofits. He is a board member and chair of the finance committee for Baystate Health, a board member for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, a former chairperson of the board of Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), and a board member of both the YMCA of Greater Springfield and the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Though new to the college, Toledo has served on boards alongside former GCC President Bob Pura, and is acutely aware of the life-changing impact community colleges have on the students they serve. An alum of STCC, he is of the first generation in his family to attend college. “One of the greatest qualities of community colleges in this state is the automatic support and hope given to students regardless of where they come from, their ethnicity, their gender, or their age,” Toledo said.

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Viability Inc. announced that Don Kozera will serve as interim president and CEO following the recent death of President and CEO Dick Venne. “With decades of executive leadership experience, Don rejoins Viability to provide support and guidance for the organization,” said Patricia Robinson, vice president. “During this time, Don and the board will be collaborating to identify the future needs of Viability and how we continue to develop our organization better together.”

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Karen Smith Wohlers

Karen Smith Wohlers has joined Smith Brothers Insurance and will be responsible for employee-benefits compliance and legal services. She has a strong background in human resources and compliance, which will complement Smith Brothers’ growing employee-benefits services in support of clients throughout the U.S. Previously, she was vice president of Human Resources and then chief operating officer at Square One. “Karen’s experience and impact with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, as well as her compliance training and consulting work for the Employer Association of the NorthEast, will be a significant addition to our employee-benefits practice,” said Don Poulin, Employee Benefits practice leader at Smith Brothers Insurance.

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Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County ran its first All-Ideas Pitch Contest at the Berkshire Museum, awarding first prize of $1,000 to Kaitlyn Pierce of Binka Bear, a product that helps wean children off pacifiers. She also won the Fan Favorite award of $500. Second place prize of $750 went to Michelle Latimer and Leia Miller for their idea 413 Bubbly, a mobile prosecco/champagne business. Third place went to Erin Laundry of Bottomless Bricks, a building-block birthday-party business with a storefront in Adams. More than 100 members of the community came to support the new business ideas, where 11 individuals were invited to showcase and eight pitched their ideas. The contest judges were Evan Valenti of Steven Valenti Clothing, Jodi Rathbun-Briggs of Greylock Federal Credit Union, John Lewis of Sp3ak Easy Studios, Laurie Mick of PERC and the city of Pittsfield, Linda Dulye of Dulye & Co., and Lindsey Schmid of 1Berkshire.

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Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality Group, announced the appointment of H. Jackson Donoyan as vice president of Operations for the growing hotel-management company. As vice president of Operations, Jackson will work closely with Eustis and Main Street’s leadership team to oversee operations at each hotel property in the portfolio. He will focus on revenue generation, operational oversight, owner relations, talent development, and strategic growth. In addition, he is tasked with stabilization and development of the brand while also enhancing the overall guest experience and reinforcing brand standards. Jackson brings a wealth of industry ingenuity to Main Street Hospitality Group, including a background opening and operating newly constructed and renovated hotels. Most recently, he was the general manager at NYLO Providence Warwick Hotel in Warwick, R.I. Prior to that, he was a hospitality consultant in Boston and held positions as the director of Food and Beverage and director of Operations/interim general manager at both the Liberty Hotel in Boston and Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I.

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Kevin Kervick

OMG Roofing Products hired Kevin Kervick as solar products business manager, reporting to Adam Cincotta, director of the company’s Adhesives/Solar Business Unit. In his new role, Kervick is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan for the company’s solar business, as well as for managing solar sales, product development, and profitability. For the past four years, Kervick has been a sales and marketing consultant, most recently working with the Spencer Brewery, a startup venture. Earlier, he was owner and chief Marketing officer for the Bassette Co., a commercial printing and marketing company based in Springfield. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Babson College.

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Peter Reinhart, director of the Institute of Applied Life Sciences (IALS) at UMass Amherst, announced that six campus research teams have been named recipients of the first Manning/IALS Seed Grants. The awards will support next steps in their research, such as proof-of-concept studies, business development, and fundamental research into new products, technologies, and services to benefit human health and well-being. Earlier this year, alumnus Paul Manning and his wife, Diane, committed $1 million through their family foundation to establish the Manning Innovation Program, which provides three years of support in advancing a robust and sustainable pipeline of applied and translational research projects from UMass Amherst. The seed grants were awarded after a competitive process that narrowed 35 teams to six winners. Faculty researchers will receive not only seed funding of $100,000 each over three years, but also business training and mentorship from IALS, the College of Natural Sciences, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Isenberg School of Management, among others. The winning team leaders and their projects include Derek Lovley, microbiology, “Fabricating Protein Nanowires for Unique Sensing Capabilities”; Jeanne Hardy, chemistry, “Development of Potent Zika Virus Protease Inhibitors”; S. “Thai” Thayumanavan, chemistry, and Steve Faraci, “Pre-clinical Efficacy Evaluation of Liver-targeted, Thyromimetic-encapsulated IntelliGels for the Treatment of Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis”; Neil St. John Forbes, chemical engineering, “Bacterial Delivery of Therapeutic Peptides to Treat Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma”; Shelly Peyton, chemical engineering, “GelTech to Enable Tissue-specific Drug Discovery and Help Eliminate Potential False-positive Hits from Screening”; and Madalina Fiterau Brostean, computer science, “4Thought: Unlocking Insights into Your Mental Health.” The Manning Foundation’s gift provides an investment in UMass Amherst as a partner of choice in advancing and applying knowledge and innovation for the betterment of society.

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Kingbill Zhao

OMG Roofing Products announced that Kingbill Zhao has been promoted to director of Key Accounts and International Sales. He replaces Web Shaffer, who was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of the company’s FastenMaster Division. In his new role, Zhao will manage all sales and marketing activities of the company’s three key account managers, as well as the company’s international sales and its European and Asia market managers. He reports to Peter Coyne, senior vice president and general manager. Zhao joined OMG Roofing Products in January 2010 as the company’s first employee in Asia, and was instrumental in not only building its presence in China, but also in hiring the team in place now in China. Prior to joining OMG, he worked for the Chinese National Building Waterproof Assoc. as manager of the International Liaison Department. Earlier, he worked for North China Power Engineering Co. in Nigeria as commercial manager on a substation expansion project. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Beijing International Study University and is pursuing his MBA from Washington State University. He is based at the company’s Agawam headquarters.

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Jessica DeFlumer-Trapp, vice president of Integration at Behavioral Health Network (BHN), recently received the Excellence in Care Integration Award at the Assoc. for Behavioral Health’s (ABH) annual “Salute to Excellence” event. In the two years DeFlumer-Trapp has served at BHN, she has been guiding the organization’s dramatic growth in medical integration and care management. Strategies to integrate behavioral and physical health are at the forefront of healthcare in BHN’s service area and in the nation. As BHN’s vice president managing behavioral and physical health integration, she is guiding new initiatives related to integration and population health. She was recognized by ABH for her ability to understand trends at the macro level as it relates to the evolving landscape in behavioral health, and bring concept and strategy to the implementation level. Prior to her current position, DeFlumer-Trapp served as BHN’s senior program manager of Population Health, where she charted the overall course of BHN’s population-health initiative, working closely with those in the areas of care management, pharmacy, health, and wellness.

People on the Move

Ian Coddington

Christopher Soderberg

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the promotions of Ian Coddington and Christopher Soderberg to associate positions. Coddington started as an intern in 2018 and worked his way up to associate in less than a year. In his new position, his responsibilities include preparing individual and corporate tax returns and working with senior staff to conduct audit engagements. He works to understand clients’ needs and wants in the whole scope of their business. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management, with a concentration in accounting, from Westfield State University, and is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. Outside the office, he volunteers at Junior Achievement. Soderberg also began as an intern last year. As an audit associate, he assists and supports the audit team in day-to-day functions, including ensuring compliance of best practices of all audit procedures and standards and preparing and analyzing test work completed during the audit. He is passionate about developing a professional relationship with clients, with a focus on HUD and nonprofit organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and management from Elms College. He plans to return there to pursue his master’s degree in accounting with a focus on financial planning, along with acquiring his CPA.

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Kristi Bodin

Curtiss, Carey, Gates and Goodridge, LLP (CCG&G) is recently welcomed attorney Kristi Bodin to its practice. Bodin’s practice areas include business law, liquor licenses, special permits, zoning and land use, and civil litigation. She is a lifelong resident of the Pioneer Valley and is celebrating her 25th year as a lawyer in Western Mass. Bodin has successfully guided dozens of small-business clients through the processes of entity formation, asset purchases and sales, commercial leasing, and related transactions. She also works with businesses and individuals on issues involving state and local regulations and code enforcement. She is skilled at strategic analysis, business planning, and management. Before becoming a lawyer, Bodin worked in materials management and production control for companies whose products included metal-cutting tools, time-recording and building-management systems, and consumer health products. In addition, she has served as an assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and assistant town counsel for several communities. She is a past member of the board of directors of the Franklin County Community Development Corp., a representative Town Meeting member in Montague, and an active member of the Amherst Rotary Club.

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Mary Catherine “Marikate” Murren

Jynai McDonald

Yanira Aviles

The Springfield Technical Community College board of trustees recently welcomed two new members and a new chair, Mary Catherine “Marikate” Murren. The new members are Jynai McDonald, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in June, and Yanira Aviles, who was elected by the student body in April. Baker named Murren as chair of the board over the summer. She replaces Christopher Johnson, whose term recently expired. He had served as a trustee since 2006. Murren has served as a trustee for more than two years. She is vice president of Human Resources for MGM Springfield and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in sports management. McDonald is the family child care coordinator for Service Employee International Union Local 509. In her role, she provides leadership training, professional development, and negotiation for more than 3,500 childcare providers throughout the Commonwealth. Previously, she served as Western Mass. regional manager for Training Resources of America Inc. She also has worked at Hampden County Career Center and Northeast Center for Youth & Families, Tri-County School. McDonald was honored as a rising star in the regional business community when she was named to BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty in 2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing and social media management from Bay Path University. Aviles, the student trustee, said she wants to use her position to help other students who have faced barriers. In her mid-30s, Aviles took courses at STCC to prepare for the HiSET, or high school equivalency test. After passing her HiSET exam in 2016, she enrolled in the liberal arts/general studies degree program at STCC.

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Priscilla Kane Hellweg

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) awarded Priscilla Kane Hellweg, executive and artistic director of Enchanted Circle Theater of Holyoke, with one of two Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2019. The other recipient was Darnell Williams, president and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. The awards were presented at MNN’s annual conference on Oct. 16. Enchanted Circle Theater is a nonprofit, multi-service arts organization that integrates arts and education to engage, enhance, and inspire learning. Under Kane Hellweg’s direction, it has become a regional leader in the field of arts integration. Enchanted Circle works in public school districts across Western Mass. and collaborates with more than 60 community-service partner organizations to develop work that bridges arts, education, and human services to chronically underserved communities, including youth in foster care, families in homeless shelters, and youth in residential treatment programs.

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Dawn Creighton

Greenfield Community College recently welcomed Dawn Creighton as the college’s new chief Workforce Development officer. She will officially join GCC on Oct. 21, and her office will be located at the Downtown Center, 270 Main St., Greenfield. A 2005 GCC alumna, Creighton began her career as an employment specialist at MassLive before becoming regional director for the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) — the state’s largest employers’ resource group — in 2009. During her tenure at AIM, she served thousands of employer members, uniting them around issues ranging from healthcare and employment law to sustainability, budgeting, and hiring. As the former board president of Dress for Success, Creighton also built Foot in the Door, a workforce-readiness program dedicated to helping women develop critical skills for entering and re-entering the workforce.

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On Oct. 17, the Assoc. of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP) and the Department of Developmental Services presented Talking Tech 2019, an event celebrating the promise of technology for empowerment and social inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Delcie Bean, CEO of Hadley-based Paragus IT, was a featured guest speaker alongside other experts in a wide range of technological areas, including remote monitoring, staffing solutions, assistive technologies, cybersecurity, and more. ADDP is a trade association representing more than 120 providers throughout Massachusetts. The organization is committed to enhancing the political, financial, and educational health of member organizations that serve people with disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries.

Picture This

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


 

They Shoot, They Score

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Lexington Group hosted an Aeron Chair Hockey Tournament on Oct. 2. Lexington Group invited players and administrative staff from American International College and UMass Amherst to battle it out in a friendly competition (pictured at top left). AIC won and advanced to a match against the Springfield Thunderbirds, with the AHL squad prevailing. The event, which raised $18,000 for the Foundation of TJO Animals, was incorporated into an After-5 networking event co-hosted by BusinessWest, the West of the River Chamber of Commerce, and the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce. West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt served as referee, Pat Kelley of Lazer 99.3 emceed and provided entertainment, and complimentary refreshments were provided by Log Rolling.

Two squads with Boomer, the Thunderbirds mascot

Lexington Group owner Mark Proshan (far left), Reichelt, and some of the players present the $18,000 check to the Foundation for TJO Animals

The cake created by Cerrato’s Bakery to commemorate Lexington’s 30th anniversary

 


 

 

Square One Tea Party

Square One held its 14th annual Tea Party on Oct. 4 at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Proceeds will benefit the children and families served by Square One.  (Michael Epaul photography)

event sponsors Jenny Mackay and Maureen Gaudreau of USI Insurance

Keynote speaker Tasheena Davis, attorney and Springfield city clerk

Dawn DiStefano of Square One with event sponsors Peter Miniati and Jeff Ligori of Napatree Capital

 


 

New Home for Williamstown Police

Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc., the Chicopee-based architectural firm, has completed construction at the new Williamstown Police Station. Built at the Turner House, formerly a center for veterans, the new station provides improved accessibility and safety, as well as the most current technologies in law enforcement.

Pictured, from left: Chris Kluchman, Housing Choice Program director, Department of Housing and Community Development; Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for Community and Government Affairs, Williams College; Williamstown Selectwoman Anne O’Connor; state Sen. Adam Hinds; Williamstown Selectman Andrew Hogeland; Williamstown Town Manager Jason Hoch; Williamstown Police Chief Kyle Johnson; state Rep. John Barrett III; and James Hanifan, architect, Caolo & Bieniek Associates.

 

 


 

Grand Opening

The Sisters of Providence celebrated the grand opening of Hillside Residence, 36 units of elder affordable housing, on Sept. 27. The $9,250,000 housing development is located on the Hillside at Providence campus, formerly known as Brightside, at 100 Hillside Circle, West Springfield. This innovative facility’s objectives will demonstrate a nonprofit model of affordable elder housing and be integrated with Mercy LIFE, a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offering health and care management services, with both organizations co-located on the same 27-acre campus devoted to elder programs.

 


 

Cooking Up Support

bankESB recently donated $10,000 to the Holyoke Community College Foundation to support students preparing for careers in the culinary-arts and hospitality industries.

Pictured, from left: Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation; Harry Montalvo, Community Development specialist at bankESB; Tiffany Raines, assistant vice president of the bank’s Holyoke branch; HCC president Christina Royal; and John Driscoll, board chair of the HCC Foundation, hold a ceremonial check for $10,000 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute.

 


 

Bridging the Gap

On Sept. 24, Elms College launched the Center for Equity in Urban Education (CEUE). The CEUE will help bridge the 800-teacher annual gap across K-12 schools in the area, especially in specific roles such as special education, English-language learners, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. The center was made possible through the foundational support of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation of Springfield and Cynthia and William Lyons III of Wilbraham. The launch ceremony included the signing of memorandums of understanding with leaders from schools in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield.

Pictured, from left: John Davis, senior director, Davis Foundation; Modesto Montero, head of school, Libertas Academy Charter School in Springfield; Cynthia Lyons, chair, Elms College board of trustees; Elms College President Harry Dumay; William Lyons III; Daniel Baillargeon, superintendent, Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Springfield; Stephen Zrike Jr., receiver/superintendent, Holyoke Public Schools; Daniel Warwick, superintendent, Springfield Public Schools; Rachel Romano, executive director, Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield; and Paul Stelzer, vice chair, Elms College board of trustees.

 


 

Supporting Veteran Families

Revitalize Community Development Corp. and its JoinedForces initiative announced they were awarded a $730,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue their mission to support military veteran families. This statewide grant will be used to modify and rehabilitate the homes of more than 51 military veterans. The funds will be used to remedy safety hazards in the home; install energy-efficient features such as insulation, heating system repairs, and Energy Star appliances; and make age-in-place modifications, including the installation of grab bars and ramps. The announcement took place at the home of Lonnie Chappell, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, and his wife, Mary (pictured with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno).

 

 

 

People on the Move

Jeff Daley

Westmass Area Development Corp. named Jeff Daley CEO of the private, nonprofit development entity. Daley, who was chosen as the result of a search process conducted by the Westmass board, has more than 15 years of experience in the real-estate development arena. Daley is the former executive director of the Westfield Redevelopment Authority and most recently served as the principal of CJC Development Advisors LLC, which he founded in 2016. Daley’s portfolio includes overseeing $60 million in commercial and industrial development and managing $34 million in public development projects. As CEO, Daley will be responsible for management of Westmass, including negotiating corporate acquisitions, land sales, leases, and incentive proposals; grant applications; and marketing resources and development services to organizations and businesses considering investment in the region. Daley will also enhance Westmass offerings regarding development services to communities throughout the region to assist with economic development and real-estate development opportunities. Daley will also evaluate opportunities for new industrial-park development and land acquisition and coordinate federal, state, and local economic-development grants and resources. Daley replaces interim CEO Bryan Nicholas, who served after the sudden passing of former CEO Eric Nelson, who was appointed in 2016.

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Sheila Stamm

Sheila Stamm has joined American International College (AIC) as dean of the School of Education. Stamm is the president of S. Wright & Associates, providing consulting support to academic leaders and faculty in higher education and community sectors. She has an extensive background in higher education, including serving as dean of the School of Education for Cambridge College and Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. Stamm previously served as commissioner of Higher Education for the state of Minnesota. Prior to transitioning to administrative roles in higher education, Stamm was a tenured professor at Hamline University and an associate professor at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Throughout her career, Stamm has been dedicated to community service, with affiliations including the Ramsey County Blue Ribbon Commission on Economic Disparities, the Minnesota Chicano Latino Affairs Council Committee on Educational Disparities, the education workgroup of the African American Leadership Forum, the West Suburban College of Nursing board of trustees, the leadership council of Chicago-Area Deans, and the Urban Teacher Education Program, among numerous other affiliations. Stamm has served on dozens of committees at the colleges where she was a member of the administration or faculty and has extensive publications and presentations to her credit, with a focus on higher education, diversity, inclusion, hiring, teaching, innovation, leadership, and learning.

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Patrick Fortunato

Azaya Inc. named Patrick Fortunato its Business Development manager. In this role, he will lead the sales of IT managed-services support, digital and VoIP business telephone systems, and future security surveillance technologies to serve businesses, the government sector, as well as educational institutions within the state of Massachusetts. Fortunato has more than 20 years of executive management leadership experience, while developing strategic business units in financial services and digital-imaging solutions, for mid-size to large enterprise companies and organizations. He served as national Sales manager for Sharp USA and vice president of Sales while working at Konica Minolta, with U.S. national responsibilities and oversight. Fortunato most recently served as managing director for Global Financial NetworX, LLC with the task of increasing customer acquisition for the company’s lending, insurance, annuities, and investment portfolios.

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Rebecca Mercieri Rivaux

Bacon Wilson announced that attorney Rebecca Mercieri Rivaux has joined the firm. Mercieri Rivaux is an associate and a member of Bacon Wilson’s bankruptcy and business/corporate practice groups. Prior to joining Bacon Wilson, Mercieri Rivaux attended Western New England University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2019. She also obtained her bachelor’s degree from Western New England University, graduating summa cum laude in 2015.

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In the wake of a record number of new homes being built, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) recently welcomed new staff to assist with furthering the agency’s mission. Jason Montgomery joins GSHFH as its Donor Relations manager. He comes to GSHFH with more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit/human-services work and has strong ties in the local community. He has previously served with Habitat for Humanity in Hartford and locally with Way Finders. Also joining the team, Sarah Tanner is now on board for a short term as interim executive director. Tanner is a principal with Financial Development Agency and brings more than 20 years of local nonprofit experience to the affiliate. GSHFH also announced internal promotions and realignments to maximize the agency’s resources. In response to a capacity grant received by Habitat for Humanity International, Jeff Lomma has been named Marketing & Communications manager, with an emphasis on promoting the value of Habitat programming throughout the community. Meanwhile, Mary Olmsted has transitioned from serving as an Americorps volunteer to full-time staff as Volunteer Services coordinator.

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Adrienne Smith

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed Adrienne Smith as interim dean of its division of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Smith brings 13 years of community-college experience to HCC, most recently as the dean of the School of Engineering, Technologies, and Mathematics at Springfield Technical Community College. Prior to that, she served as associate professor and coordinator of Electronics Technology at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. Her professional accomplishments span many areas of academic program development and enhancement, enrollment management and retention, diversity responsiveness, and regional and community partnership coordination. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in science, engineering, and math from Western New England University, where she was the first African-American woman to graduate with a degree in engineering, and she earned a doctorate in education from UMass Amherst with competencies in community-college leadership, educational polices, and administration. A graduate of Springfield Technical High School, Smith started her professional life as an electrical engineer (and the first female engineer) at Digital Equipment Corp. in Springfield.

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Alyssa Arnell

Alyssa Arnell, chair of the History Department at Greenfield Community College (GCC), was awarded the African American Female Professor Award by the African American Female Professor Award Assoc. (AAFPAA) in a ceremony at Bay Path University on Sept. 26. Formerly a history teacher at Dillard University and educational-outreach coordinator and historical interpreter for the National Park Service, Arnell joined the faculty at GCC in 2017. In just two years, she has modernized GCC’s history curriculum, infusing it with a social-justice focus and adding courses such as “The Legal History of American Civil Rights” and “North American Indigenous History.” For many of Arnell’s classes, she has integrated a public history component that brings her classes out of the classroom and to the lobby of the main building, where her students give presentations on their projects throughout the day — a way to let other faculty, staff, and students see the kinds of work her students are engaged in, and see the kinds of research that can happen in a history course. In addition to teaching, Arnell has created programming that reaches beyond the classroom with talks on the removal of confederate statues, a lecture on the life Frederick Douglass, a panel discussion with students about the movie Black Panther, and a conversation on immigrant rights. She also adapted a format of Facilitated Dialogues used by the National Park Service to launch a series of conversations about race and ethnicity at GCC. Arnell is also a core member of Greenfield Community College’s Racial Equity and Justice Institute Team, a part of the Leading for Change Higher Education Diversity Consortium. As part of the Racial Equity and Justice Team, she has worked to learn best practices to support students of color, helped the college identify specific areas where achievement gaps exist, and will continue in the coming year to work to identify specific action steps to try to address those achievement gaps.

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Amy Royal

Amy Royal, owner of Royal, P.C., has been selected as a Super Lawyer for 2019. Providing legal representation in Massachusetts for a variety of different issues, Royal was also selected to Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. Royal represents employers with employment and labor issues. Additional legal issues represented include employment litigation: defense, cannabis law, and alternative dispute resolution.

People on the Move

Jeffrey Roberts

Jeffrey McCormick

James Martin

Nancy Frankel Pelletier

Patricia Rapinchuk

Carla Newton

Richard Gaberman

Jeffrey Trapani

Robinson Donovan, P.C. announced seven attorneys were listed in Best Lawyers in America 2020. Jeffrey Roberts, managing partner, practices corporate and business counseling and estate planning, and was named in the practice areas of Corporate Law and Trusts and Estates. He has received the Best Lawyers recognition for 28 consecutive years. Jeffrey McCormick, partner, was listed in the fields of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. A member of Robinson Donovan’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Group, he practices complex litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He has received the Best Lawyers recognition for 20 consecutive years. James Martin, partner, was listed in the practice areas of Franchise Law and Real Estate Law. He concentrates his practice on corporate and business counseling, litigation, and commercial real-estate law, and is a member of Robinson Donovan’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Group. He has received the Best Lawyers recognition for 20 consecutive years. Nancy Frankel Pelletier, partner, was listed in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants. A member of Robinson Donovan’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Group, she concentrates her practice in the areas of litigation and insurance defense. She has received the Best Lawyers recognition for 15 consecutive years. Patricia Rapinchuk, partner, was listed in the fields of Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment. She was also named Lawyer of the Year in the field of Litigation – Labor and Employment. She practices employment law and litigation and has received the Best Lawyers recognition for 11 consecutive years. Carla Newton, partner, was named in the field of Family Law. She focuses her practice on divorce and family law, litigation, corporate and business counseling, and commercial real estate, and is a member of Robinson Donovan’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Group. She has received the Best Lawyers recognition for eight consecutive years. Richard Gaberman was named in the fields of Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates. He focuses his practice on corporate and business counseling, commercial real estate, and estate and tax-planning law. He has received the Best Lawyers recognition for 28 consecutive years. Robinson Donovan also announced that Jeffrey Trapani, partner, will receive the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. (MBA) Community Service Award during the Hampshire County Bar Assoc. (HCBA) annual meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Garden House at Look Park in Florence. Trapani concentrates his practice in civil litigation, including insurance defense, employment law, municipal liability, business litigation, and professional malpractice. He also represents landlords in summary process action and housing-discrimination claims, and insurance companies in unfair-settlement claims and coverage issues.

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Bacon Wilson, P.C. announced that eight of its attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2020. The firm’s managing partner, Kenneth Albano, was selected for business organizations including LLCs and partnerships; Michael Katz for bankruptcy and reorganization; Stephen Krevalin for family law; Hyman Darling for elder law; Gary Breton for banking/finance law and business organizations; Jeffrey Fialky for commercial finance; Gina Barry for elder law; and Paul Rothschild for litigation. Best Lawyers compiles data from confidential evaluations. More than 8 million attorneys participated in the peer-review survey for the 2020 edition. There is no opportunity to pay for a listing.

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Bernitta Burnett

The nation’s 24th Educare early-education center will be led by Springfield native Bernitta “Nikki” Burnett, who has been hired as Educare Springfield’s first executive director. Burnett was raised in the nearby Mason Square neighborhood, attended neighborhood public schools, and earned her undergraduate degree in leadership and organizational science from Bay Path University. She will be completing her master’s degree in leadership and negotiation from Bay Path in 2020. Most recently, Burnett served as regional vice president of Multicultural Initiatives for the American Heart Assoc., where she worked throughout the New England region to build capacity and support revenue generation around community health and education initiatives. She has more than a decade of leadership experience and, prior to her position with the American Heart Assoc., worked at Baystate Health as education coordinator of Cardiopulmonary Services. At Baystate, she managed three cardiology fellowship programs. Burnett also has been actively involved in community organizations in Springfield and in the region, having served on the board of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, the Baystate Health community benefits advisory board, and Live Well Springfield, an organization that promotes a culture of health in Springfield. Her duties as executive director of Educare Springfield will include oversight of strategic leadership, operational execution, and ensuring the effective implementation of the Educare model to the highest standards of excellence. Burnett will also be responsible for community engagement, fundraising, and resource development.

•••••

Sharianne Walker

Sharianne Walker has been named interim dean of the Western New England University (WNEU) College of Business. Walker joined the College of Business faculty in 1996, most recently serving as chair and professor of Sport Management, as well as co-director of the Sport Leadership and Coaching graduate program. She is the co-author of the texts “Managing Intercollegiate Athletics,” “Managing Sport Organizations: Responsibility for Performance,” and “Strategic Management in International Sport Management.” She has presented her research in leadership development, business operations, and revenue generation at various international, national, and regional conferences. She has also spearheaded accreditation, strategic-planning, and assessment projects at the university. An influential figure in the growth of the university’s athletics program, Walker has served as a faculty fellow, an NCAA faculty representative, and chair of the Western New England Athletics Council, and was inducted into the university’s Downes Athletic Hall of Fame. She was named Career Woman of the Year by the Massachusetts Business and Professional Women’s Assoc. and served as director of the Springfield Leadership Institute. She currently chairs the board of trustees of Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park in Florence. Walker earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Smith College and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in sport management from UMass.

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MassHire Holyoke Career Center announced the appointment of Shawn Teece as its new vice president of Finance. He has several years of successful leadership in nonprofit financial and accounting operations. He assumed the vice presidency of MassHire Holyoke on Aug. 29 and is responsible for strategically overseeing all aspects of the career center’s financial and accounting systems.

Prior to this appointment, Teece was an accounting manager for Head Start Inc. and an account/auditor for the Holyoke Health Center and Lester Halpern, P.C. He has a master of accountancy degree from Westfield State University.

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Jiulie Phillps

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed Jiulie Phillps as its coordinator of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. Phillips comes to HCC from Westfield State University, where she held positions in Institutional Advancement as associate director of Advancement Services and coordinator of Donor Relations and Annual Giving. At HCC, Phillips completes an Institutional Advancement team that also includes Director Patrick Carpenter and Vice President Amanda Sbriscia. Phillips’s primary responsibilities at HCC will be engaging with alumni and building the college’s annual fund. Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree from Western New England University in communications and is working toward her master’s degree in public administration (concentration in nonprofit management) from Westfield State.

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OTELCO recently welcomed back David Chaplin as a senior ISP engineer in the company’s Granby office. Chaplin has an associate degree in telecommunications from Springfield Technical Community College and a bachelor’s degree in church leadership from Southeastern University. He spent 31 years with Verizon as an OSP technician and staff management assistant, and has additional experience working as an engineering project manager for Verizon and as an electronics and communications specialist for ISO New England.

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TD Bank named Steve Webb regional president for Southern New England. In this role, Webb will lead commercial and retail banking teams in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Upstate New York, and Connecticut. Webb has more than 30 years of banking experience and has worked across several businesses at TD Bank. He most recently served as New Hampshire market president – Commercial, where he was responsible for the growth and expansion of commercial and small-business lending, cash management, and government banking in the state. Prior to assuming this role, Webb was responsible for the Commercial Division of TD Banknorth in New Hampshire, including credit risk management, cash management, commercial lending, commercial real estate, leasing, and healthcare. Webb also brings a wealth of retail experience to this role, having previously helped to optimize store operations.

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Judge Mary-Lou Rup, a retired Massachusetts Superior Court judge, has completed a workshop and received certification in civil mediation in conformity with Supreme Judicial Court Rules, Rule 1:18 Dispute Resolution, Rule 8. Administered by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Inc., the course covered principles of positional and interest-based negotiation, mediation procedures and techniques, settlement agreements, confidentiality, and ethics. Rup recently returned to private practice at Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP, where her mediation experience adds value to the firm’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice.

People on the Move

Matthew Nash

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. announced the promotion of Matthew Nash from senior associate to audit manager. Nash began as an intern at MBK in 2011 and was hired as an accounting associate later that year. Since then, he has developed as an expert accountant, leading technical audit engagements and mentoring junior staff through his eight years with the firm. He has a dedicated approach to service and has demonstrated expertise in commercial, benefit-plan, and nonprofit audits, as well as review and compilation engagements. Nash received his bachelor’s degree from Nichols College and his MBA from Elms College. He is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and recently completed all sections of the CPA exam.

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Cindy Bigras

Community-based financial-advising firm PV Financial Group (PV) recently welcomed the newest member to its financial-advisory team, Cindy Bigras, CFP. Bigras and her staff will operate out of their office in West Springfield, expanding PV Financial’s services and continuing its growth as a company. With more than 30 years of working independently and running her own advisory practice, Bigras will bring a wealth of investment knowledge and will help PV Financial form strong relationships with clients and their families. A financially savvy and hard-working individual, Bigras has always maintained a passion for helping others with their finances, said Edward Sokolowski, managing partner. Working as an agent and as a broker at a major insurance company before starting own practice gave her a solid foundation in risk management that proved essential to a financial-planning career.

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CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County recently welcomed Katie Lipsmeyer as manager of Development and Marketing. Lipsmeyer’s professional background is in event planning and coordination, marketing and communications, entrepreneurship, and business development. She is currently the founder and owner of Camp Glow It Up and a fitness instructor at 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition in Hadley. In her new position at Big Brothers Big Sisters, she will lead the planning and coordination for annual fundraising events such as the Daffodil Run/Walk and the Northampton Winter Craft Fair, manage the marketing and social-media operations for the organization, and work with the leadership team to create innovative strategies for mentor recruitment and donor stewardship.

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Andrew Sullivan

Freedom Credit Union announced the addition of Andrew Sullivan as commercial lending officer. As Commercial Lending Officer, Sullivan is responsible for working with new and current business owners on their lending needs and the range of services available to them at Freedom Credit Union. He previously served as a small-business lending officer and portfolio manager at Country Bank. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting/business and an MBA from Elms College. He is the founder of the Andrew Sullivan’s Swing for a Cure charity, a golf tournament that has raised more than $30,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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The Rotary Club of Springfield elected its new president, Robert (Bert) Carter, president and CEO at Willie Ross School for the Deaf, as well as its board of directors for the 2019-20 Rotary year at its June 28 meeting. Carter is an 11-year veteran of Rotary. Before coming to Springfield, he served in the Brattleboro, Vt. club for five years, where he was foundation chair. Since joining the Springfield club, he has served as seargent at arms, director, secretary, second vice president, and first vice president before assuming the post of president. Carter is a 38-year veteran in the field of deaf education and school administration. Prior to his tenure at Willie Ross School for the Deaf, he was the president of the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which included the Austine School for the Deaf as well as statewide education and social-service programs. Carter also directed statewide deaf services for FSW Inc., a private, nonprofit agency in Bridgeport, Conn. In that position, he created and directed a 24/365 sign-language interpreter service serving all 31 acute-care hospitals in Connecticut. An educator, mental-health practitioner, and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, Carter holds a master’s degree in deafness rehabilitation from New York University, a master’s degree in expressive therapies from Lesley University, and a bachelor’s degree in art education from Miami University.

Features

Rethinking Safety

Joe Hileman of Blue-U Defense addresses the audience gathered at the recent seminar on workplace violence.

Joe Hileman of Blue-U Defense addresses the audience gathered at the recent seminar on workplace violence.

Sarah Corrigan thought the new security systems being implemented at OMG Inc.’s several locations would be sufficient to keep employers safe from any sort of outside danger.

But a recent workplace-violence training session convinced her that keeping an office or building safe at a time when active-shooter incidents occur almost weekly in the U.S. is far more about educating and training people than it is about technology — although technology is certainly important.

Corrigan, vice president of Human Resources and Environmental Health and Safety for Agawam-based OMG, said she went into the session, hosted by the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) and presented by Blue-U Defense, expecting to receive some type of plan for how to deal with these types of tragic incidents.

Instead, she came out knowing it was up to her to talk with her employees about how they can each help themselves survive such a situation.

“I expected them to give us a process where there would be something set that we follow, so that was different to me, but it made a lot of sense,” she said, adding that she was surprised to hear the instructors actually warn against making a detailed plan.

Blue-U President and CEO Terry Choate Jr. told his audience of 150 business owners, managers, and rank-and-file employees that active-shooter training can oftentimes be too descriptive, putting the lives of those in the path of danger at even higher risk.

“As alarming as some of those videos are to watch, it is truly a reality. We’re really at a point where we need to take matters into our own hands; we have to be proactive at this point. It’s almost like, if we don’t do anything, we can’t expect any change.”

“Most of the active-shooter training across the country is ‘run, hide, and fight’ based. The problem with run, hide, fight is we already know that,” Choate said. “In the end, it means nothing. The key becomes how, when, and where do we run? How, when, and where do we hide? How, when, and where do we fight?”

This was the key takeaway from the three-hour session, hosted by EANE twice earlier this month — on June 12 at the Log Cabin in Springfield and on June 13 at at the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford.

The sessions were prompted by recent events — all too many of them, including the May 30 mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va. — and alarming statistics. Indeed, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 340 mass shootings in 2018, compared to 269 in 2014. Meanwhile, during the presentation, Choate said the number-one cause of death for women in the workplace is workplace violence.

More than 140 area business owners, managers, and employees attended the event.

More than 140 area business owners, managers, and employees attended the event.

Those numbers help explain why the MassHire Springfield Career Center office, located in the Springfield Technology Park across from Springfield Technical Community College, was uninhabited on the afternoon of June 12, with all 28 employees attending the session at the Log Cabin.

Executive Director Kevin Lynn said his staff had been asking to do a training like the one put on by EANE, and he jumped at the opportunity.

“I think the issue really is that, every time we turn on the news and hear about one of these shootings, you think, ‘do you know what to do? What’s the right thing to do?’ he told BusinessWest. “You’re always sort of guessing.”

And guessing isn’t what he wants to be doing, or wants anyone else on his staff doing, he said, adding that this was a big motivator for sending his team to the training.

The audience at the Log Cabin was attentive and responsive as Choate and his colleague, Joe Hileman, went through their presentation, and the crowd fell silent when listening to the disturbing audio of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Using that tape and videos of other mass shootings, the two explained that, although it may be a difficult thing to think and talk about such incidents and the steps needed to prevent one, such discussions are necessary in this day and age.

Pam Thornton, director of Strategic HR services at EANE, agreed, and said part of the agency’s role as an employer partner has become keeping the employees it serves safe, prompting such programs as the recent training sessions.

“As alarming as some of those videos are to watch, it is truly a reality,” she said. “We’re really at a point where we need to take matters into our own hands; we have to be proactive at this point. It’s almost like, if we don’t do anything, we can’t expect any change.”

Lynn added that the training session forced him to think about things differently, noting that being a company that regularly interacts with the public, serving 12,000 people annually, heightens the need for security.

“There’s really not a lot of room to operate; a building from the 1800s is not really built for this kind of reality,” he said, referring to the Tech Park, part of the Springfield Armory complex and later home to Digital Equipment Corp.

Like OMG, Lynn said he is looking into renovations that could potentially make the building safer, but for now, he said his employees were thankful for the training.

Whether working with organizations as large as OMG or nonprofits as small as MassHire, Blue-U focuses on giving people the tools to mentally deal with a life-threatening situation.

Choate told the audience at the Log Cabin that one of the biggest problems with active-shooter training in these times is that the mental aspect of the problem is not dealt with. Another huge problem comes with overpreparing for a workplace-violence situation.

“We cannot assume what a bad guy or threat is going to do when they come into the building,” he said.

OMG Inc. is in the process of upgrading its security systems, including the installation of cameras and using badges for all 300-plus employees in its Agawam facility, but the company’s leaders now know that a conversation needs to be started with its workers as well.

“There are a lot of doors, a lot of ways to get in,” said Corrigan. “You can’t protect all of those means of access, so you have to teach employees to think for themselves so that they have a plan.”

Kristen Pospolita, HR manager at OMG, said the training session aligned with what the company is currently focusing on.

“I thought that it goes in line with what we are trying to do at OMG, which is to empower our employees to take accountability and responsibility for their own safety in every aspect of the job,” she said, adding that being careful while operating machines and picking up spills on the floor are other ways to be self-aware. “This is just one more step in keeping us all safe. ‘See something, say something’ can be very helpful in lots of different types of situations.”

While a mass shooting or violent crime in the workplace is still not exactly a common occurrence, Choate said such matters are, unfortunately, something people are forced to think about in today’s world. Taking the necessary precautions and thinking about how one would respond in an active-shooter situation can be the difference between living and dying.

“No matter what we do, we will never be able to stop acts of mass violence entirely; it will not happen,” said Choate. “That doesn’t mean we can’t try.”

Kayla Ebner can be reached at [email protected]

People on the Move
Lisa Kmetz

Lisa Kmetz

Michael Turley

Michael Turley

Brandon Lively

Brandon Lively

Anthony Worden

Anthony Worden

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, announced that the board of directors approved the promotions of Lisa Kmetz to senior vice president – Retail and BSA/security officer, Michael Turley to senior vice president and controller, Brandon Lively to executive vice president, Information Systems, and Anthony Worden to executive vice president and senior commercial loan officer.

Kmetz has 38 years of experience, having started at the former Bank of New England – West. She also spent time at the former United Savings Bank before joining Northampton Cooperative Bank in 1998. She is responsible for managing the branch network for the bank and its security functions as well as coordinating the bank’s charitable-giving efforts. She earned her associate degree in business administration from Holyoke Community College and completed a certificate program in computer information systems from Western New England University. She is a volunteer board member of the Lathrop Community. Turley has 39 years of experience in banking and finance. He joined Greenfield Cooperative Bank in September 2013. He is a graduate of Union College in New York with a degree in economics and attended the MBA program at Western New England University. He is active in the community as a long-time member of the Buckland Finance Committee and several other committees within Buckland. Lively has more than 22 years of banking experience and joined GCB in 1999. He is responsible for the bank’s electronic banking department, information systems, and online security, as well as managing the staff that handle these areas. He received his associate degree in information systems from Greenfield Community College and is a graduate of numerous systems-related programs and certificates. He has been active with the United Way allocations panels and several other groups. Worden has more than 20 years of experience in commercial lending and has been with GCB since 2008. His focus is managing the bank’s commercial lending arm. GCB provides financing for equipment, working capital, and commercial mortgages for small to mid-sized businesses primarily in Franklin and Hampshire counties. Worden earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and his MBA from UMass Amherst, and also graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. He is active with the town of Greenfield Cable Advisory Committee and the Turners Falls Downtown Working Group.

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John Page

John Page

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Claudia Pazmany announced the recent addition of John Page as full-time Membership & Marketing manager. Page, who has been serving as an intern in this position for the last 10 months while completing his undergraduate studies, earned a BBA in 2019 in operation and information management from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, where he also studied political science and was a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. He received the Amherst Area Chamber and Cooley Dickinson Health Care Scholarship in 2015. He had been working for UMass Dining for five years, rising through the ranks, before joining the chamber in 2018. He has a passion for civic engagement and politics and serves on a number of local committees.

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Garth Janes

Garth Janes

Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy, P.C. has elected Garth Janes as managing partner. He joined the firm in 1988 and concentrates his practice in general business law, succession planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Janes is past chairman and a current member of the board of tribunes of WGBY-TV, Springfield’s public television station, as well as a past member of the board of directors of the WGBH Education Foundation. He is also past chairman of the board of advisors of the Springfield Enterprise Center at Springfield Technical Community College and past chairman of the Richard Salter Storrs Library in Longmeadow. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, a juris doctor from Cornell Law School, and a master of public administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government.

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John Perry

John Perry

John Perry, who welcomed patrons to the Student Prince & the Fort restaurant for more than 20 years, is back as assistant general manager. In that role, he will oversee day-to-day operations and do a little bit of everything, including interacting with customers. He returned briefly for three years from 2014 through 2017, but he left again to pursue other interests. During his leave, Perry said the Student Prince & the Fort stayed on his mind and in his heart, and he wanted to return. “I’ve always tried not to let the Student Prince define me, but it does,” he said. “Yes, I’m a father, a husband, and a friend to many, but the Student Prince has become that other part of my life. I’m here to witness the birth of the next generation as parents share their Student Prince experience with their children.”

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The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County and the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council, recently announced Hyman Darling, a shareholder with Bacon Wilson, as the the recipient of the Distinguished Advisor in Philanthropy Award, to honor the important role that professional advisors play as champions of philanthropy in the region. In receiving the award, Darling was also given the opportunity to award a grant of $1,000 the charity of his choice. Professional advisors make critical connections between their clients and the mission-driven organizations that serve to enhance quality of life in the region. The Community Foundation recognizes an advisor each year in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County and the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council who has distinguished himself or herself in philanthropic leadership. Darling is the chair of the Estate Planning and Elder Law department at Bacon Wilson. He holds many honors and awards, and is a well-known estate planner.

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Bulkley Richardson announced that Ethan McNiff will spend the next several months at the firm as a summer associate. During his 10-week assignment, he will have the opportunity to assist with work from all practice areas. McNiff is currently attending Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago with an expected graduation date of May 2021. He is a graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, where he received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in finance and legal studies in 2014. Since his undergraduate studies, he has worked as an investment operations representative and treasury analyst.