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Celebrating Carol Leary

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

 


 

Election Protection

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

 

 


 

Project Toybox

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

 


Sign and Drive

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

 


 

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Special Deliveries

With campus closed, Holyoke Community College donated its perishable food supplies to three area nonprofits: Martin Luther King Jr. Family Center in Springfield, the YWCA Transitional Living Program in Holyoke, and Easthampton Community Center. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts helped coordinate the donations.

load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

Sarah Schmidt, director of programming for HCC’s Center for Excellence, and Stacy Graves, coordinator of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

ready to deliver a load of food

Mark Pronovost, director of Aramark/HCC Dining Services, gets ready to deliver a load of food to the Easthampton Community Center.

 


Needed Supplies

UMass Amherst recently donated 300 face shields — developed by UMass researchers, engineers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals — to the Skilled Nursing Center at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing. UMass contributed more than $30,000 toward the initial production of face shields and hundreds of volunteer hours designing, testing, revising, and manufacturing them.

a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst

Tomara Meegan (left), assistant director of Nursing and infection preventionist at Loomis Lakeside, and Patty Coughlin, director of Nursing at Loomis Lakeside, carry a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst.

 

 


Gear for the Front Lines

Lenco Armored Vehicles recently donated nearly $300,000 worth of personal protective equipment to regional first responders working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, including sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and spray, respirators, masks, eyewear, gloves, protective clothing, and power air respirator supplies — about 35,000 pieces of equipment in all. Recipients include Dalton, Lanesborough, Pittsfield, and Richmond fire departments; Dalton, Lanesborough, and Pittsfield police departments; County Ambulance and Action Ambulance in Pittsfield; and the emergency room at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

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Meeting the Need

Action Ambulance Supervisor Kyle Rondeau

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

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


Bedtime Stories

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

Mask Maker, Mask Maker, Make Me a Mask

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

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Community Support

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

 


 

Meeting the Need

 

The United Way of Pioneer Valley

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

 

 

 


 

A Story Worth Reading

Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield announced a partnership


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

 

 


 

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Customers’ Choice

$1,221 award

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

 

Tammy Walunas of the Smith Vocational High School PTO chats

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

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

 


Grand Tour

Grand Tour

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

 

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

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

 


 

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A photo essay of business happenings in Western Mass.

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Elevating the Brand

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

 


Supporting the Community

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000

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

 


Highest Honors

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

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

 


Record Donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation

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

 


Advocating for Girls

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives

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

 


Read Across America Day

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

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

 


 

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Accessible Design Award

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

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


Grand Opening

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

 


Charitable Champions List

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

 


Getting a Boost

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

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


 

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A Home for Innovation

On Jan. 23, DevelopSpringfield celebrated the completion of the Springfield Innovation Center at 276 Bridge St., a $7.1 million project funded through state and federal tax credits, grants, foundation money, and private financing. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (left, with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno), who helped secure more than $1 million in federal tax credits to finance the project, noted that innovation is a key part of the country’s — and the region’s — story, and needs to continue to be. State Sens. Eric Lesser and James Welch and state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez were also on hand for the ceremony.

 


 

Scoring a Milestone

The Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament celebrated an important milestone in 2019, pushing past the $1 million mark in donations to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The tournament hosted its 11th annual tournament on Aug. 19 at Twin Hills Country Club and Elmcrest Country Club, where attendees heard from Dr. Patrick Wen from the Neuro-Oncology Department at Dana-Farber (pictured, left, with Carla Cozenzi and Tommy Consenzi of TommyCar Auto Group) about the impact of the tournament on brain-cancer research. In its 11 years, the tournament has raised $1,086,487.50 for Dana-Farber.

 


Car Wash for a Good Cause

 

Balise Motor Sales helped make a difference this holiday season by raising $13,341.51 for Square One. Balise donated the first month’s payment from each unlimited monthly car-wash plan purchased in December at two Western Mass. locations. Balise is a longtime supporter of Square One, donating $5,000 in 2018 to support its Adopt-a-Classroom program, $10,000 in 2017 to help build a new indoor playspace, and $10,000 in 2016 to support the organization’s new fitness program, LAUNCH. Pictured, from left: Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard from Square One, Alexandra Balise from Balise Motor Sales, and Dawn DiStefano from Square One.


Toward a New Home

Florence Bank has pledged $7,500 to the Harmony House of Chicopee to help fund a renovation and expansion that will allow the nonprofit to improve services and care for more terminally ill individuals who live alone or lack a capable caregiver. Harmony House is currently fundraising to cover the cost of the $600,000 home renovation. It recently broke ground on a permanent and much larger home in the Aldenville section of Chicopee. Pictured, from left: Ger Ronan, president, Yankee Home; Maureen Buxton, West Springfield branch manager, Florence Bank; Ruth Willemain, Harmony House founder; Amy Corcoran, president, Harmony House board of directors; and Pamela Quirk, RN, house operations and volunteer committee chair, Harmony House.


Forging Connections

State Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Brian Ashe toured Toner Plastics in East Longmeadow recently with members of the FORGE Manufacturing Initiative, which builds and fosters connections between regional suppliers and innovative startups across the Commonwealth. They were also joined by QUIKCORD, a regional startup that has worked with Toner Plastics to develop a life-saving utility case for military paracord. Pictured, from left: Lesser and Ashe take in the tour with Toner Plastics President Jack Warren.


MassHire Grand Opening

On Jan. 14, MassHire Springfield Career Center held a grand-opening celebration at its new facility on the third floor of 95 Liberty Street. About 125 people attended the event, which included guided tours of the 13,200-square-foot facility. Pictured, from left: state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez; Rosalin Acosta, state secretary of Labor & Workforce Development; Kevin Lynn, executive director of MassHire Springfield Career Center; Shayvonne Plummer, Springfield Office of Planning & Economic Development; Talia Gee, Springfield chief Diversity & Inclusion officer; and Gary MacDonald, vice president of AIM HR Solutions.

 


Cannabis Conference

The Springfield Regional Chamber hosted the region’s first-ever cannabis conference on Wed., Jan. 28: “The Buzz About Cannabis: Marijuana in the Marketplace and the Workplace.” Employers and employees from all over Western Mass. attended the conference to get some help navigating the brand new complex world of marijuana in Massachusetts.

Theory Wellness, soon to open a new location in Chicopee, presents at the exhibitor marketplace

Scott Foster, attorney at Bulkley Richardson, and Tina Sbrega, CEO of GFA Credit Union, present “Business Structure and Banking in the Cannabis Industry”

Daniel Fogarty and Mikayla Bell from NETA show their products at the exhibitor marketplace

Joanne Berwald, vice president of HR at Mestek, Erica Flores, attorney at Skoler Abbott, and Pam Thornton, director of Strategic HR Services at the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast, answer questions about cannabis in the workplace

 


 

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HCC Gives Back to the Community

Representatives from four Holyoke Community College (HCC) student clubs delivered hundreds of winter care packages to agencies in Holyoke and Springfield that serve the homeless. Members of the HCC Military Club, Criminal Justice Club, Radio Club, and Sociology Club created hygiene kits (84 for women, 86 for men) that included basic toiletries, and also prepared 208 kits that included hats, mittens, scarves, and blankets and gave away winter coats.

HCC Criminal Justice Professor Alex Sanchez, student John Serrano, student Sierra Palazzi, alumna Lindsey Pare, student Robert Vigneault, and student John Colleto hold some of the winter care packages. HCC also celebrated the 20th anniversary of its annual Giving Tree campaign this year, fulfilling the holiday wishes of 375 individuals from four nonprofits that aid and support some of the area’s most at-risk residents

Palazzi helps distribute gifts during the closing celebration for the Giving Tree campaign

 


 

No Shave November

TommyCar Auto Group joined forces with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane for No Shave November, in which participants forgo shaving and grooming for one month to raise cancer awareness. Throughout November, deputies and staff in the Sheriff’s Office were able to opt out of the dress code prohibiting beards for a donation of $20 to the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, which supports the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Meanwhile, TommyCar Auto Group employees donated the money they would spend on shaving to the charity. In total, the Sheriff’s Office raised $2,700, which Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Auto Group, matched, resulting in a donation of $5,400 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

 


Florence Bank Open House

Florence Bank hosted its 12th annual holiday open house at its Williamsburg branch on Dec. 11.  Complimentary appetizers and refreshments from the Williamsburg Snack Bar were served, and local businesses, including Cichy’s Garage, O’Brien’s Auto Works, Williamsburg Market, Dove Business Associates, and Village Green, donated raffle prizes.

The event featured a performance of holiday carols by the Williamsburg Congregational Church Choir

Kristine Zdaniewicz, assistant branch manager at the Williamsburg branch (left), and April O’Brien, vice president and Williamsburg branch manager

 


Helping Families Celebrate the Season

Robinson Donovan, P.C. once again partnered with the Gray House for its Adopt-a-Family Christmas program to brighten the season for deserving families in the Western Mass. community. The Gray House pairs local businesses with families in need to fulfill Christmas wish lists for their children; this year, Robinson Donovan assisted five families. Through the help of participating businesses, the Gray House was able to provide more than 800 gifts from children’s wish lists in 2018. In addition to the Adopt-a-Family Christmas program, the organization hosts a general toy drive for children in the community with the help of local schools and shelters.

Robinson Donovan Partner David Lawless with Teresa Liberti, executive director of the Gray House

 


 

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Care Where It’s Needed

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

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

Keroack talks about the importance of the health bus

 


Going Above and Beyond

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

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

 


 

STEM Center at STCC

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

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


 

Helping Students Thrive

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

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

 


 

Third Party Lender of the Year

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

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

 

 

 

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Cutting the Ribbon

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

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

 


History Lessons

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

 


Early Literacy Leadership Summit

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

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

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

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

 


President’s Platinum Award

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

 


 

Rock-solid Performance

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

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

 


Stuff the Bus

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


 

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Toys for the Kids

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

 


Honoring a Supporter

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

 


Celebrating 100 Years

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

President Jeb Balise

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

 


Food Fest West

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

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

 

A chef from bNapoli serves WRC Chairman Ryan McL

 


Where Health Matters

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

Lamont Scott

Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard

 


Instilling a Love of Books

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

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

 

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

Longtime volunteer Francie Cornwell reads to students at Homer Elementary School

 


A Challenge from the Commissioner

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

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Empowering Women

Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted Joyce Roché, businesswoman and author of The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success on Oct. 10 at the Delaney House. She was interviewed by Girls Inc. teens Maya and Janira and shared her story from humble beginnings to becoming the first African-American woman vice president of Avon.

Joyce Roché autographs copies of her book after the event

Maya, Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, Roché, and Janira.

 


Discussing Brexit

On Oct. 3, American International College hosted Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union ambassador to the U.S., and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to discuss the history of the EU as well as the organization’s role in international trade. Lambrinidis told Neal and a packed audience that there is a “divorce” happening in the EU, referring to Brexit, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, and discussed the importance of a continued relationship with the U.S.

 


 

Smoothing Career Pathways

Under a new agreement with Springfield Technical Community College, students at Springfield High School of Commerce will be able to take courses at STCC and earn up to 20 college credits at no cost to them. The Early College initiative allows high-school students to explore high-need career pathways, avoid student-loan debt, and ultimately complete a college degree more quickly.

Pictured, from left: Matthew Brunell and Colleen Beaudoin, co-executive directors, Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership; John Cook, STCC president; Chris Gabrieli, chair, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education; Daniel Warwick, Springfield Public Schools superintendent; and Paul Neal, executive principal, Springfield High School of Commerce.

 


 

Earning an A+

The Parmar family of Pioneer Valley Hotel Group received the 2019 Legacy Award at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual A+ Awards Dinner at Hadley Farms Meeting House on Oct. 3.

From left: state Rep. Mindy Domb, Elena Cohen of state Sen. Jo Comerford’s office, Laxman Parmar, Kishore Parmar, Shardool Parmar, and chamber Executive Director Claudia Pazmany.

Lisa Solowiej and Jocelyn Potter, A+ awardees for Community Service, are joined by their children and Pazmany to receive a citation from Domb for their leadership creating and coordinating the Amherst Survival Center Neighborhood Food Project.

 


 

Illusionist Performs for a Cause

Illusionist Jason Bishop and his dog, Gizmo, greet Treehouse Foundation youth Destiny and Sheyenne after his performances at the Armory at MGM on Oct. 13. The magician made Gizmo disappear and reappear, turned one-dollar bills into one hundred-dollar bills, and wowed the audience with his illusions and humor. Bishop performed two shows to benefit the Treehouse Foundation, an Easthampton nonprofit that supports children and youth who have experienced foster care.

 


 

Responding to the Call

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) recently made a $10,000 donation to the Chicopee Fire Department. The donation will be used to purchase an industrial-sized washer extractor, an innovative machine that reduces the amount of carcinogens in turnout gear without damaging the equipment.

Chicopee firefighters with Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, PNCU President and CEO James Kelly, Chicopee Fire Chief Daniel Stamborski, and Chicopee Fire Fighters Local 1710 IAFF President Glen Olbrych (fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh from left, respectively).

 


 

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield Turns Two

On Oct. 16, family and friends of dealership owners Michelle and Peter Wirth joined to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the dealership’s opening in 2017. Since launching the Chicopee location, the dealership has sold more than 2,000 cars. The celebration included cake, cupcakes, and balloon décor provided by Rise Event Production.

 

 

 

 

Event Galleries Features Healthcare Heroes

Scenes from the October 2019 Gala

The 2019 Healthcare Heroes

There were eight winners in this third class, with two in the category of Lifetime Achievement, because two candidates were tied with the top score. The Heroes for 2019 are:

• Lifetime Achievement (tie): Katherine Wilson, president and CEO, Behavioral Health Network Inc.; and Frank Robinson, vice president, Public Health, Baystate Health;

• Health/Wellness Administrator/Administration: Emily Uguccioni, executive director, Linda Manor Assisted Living;

• Collaboration in Health/Wellness: Carol Constant, convener, Dementia Friendly Western Massachusetts; and director of Community Engagement, Loomis Communities;

• Community Health: Amy Walker, certified nurse midwife, Cooley Dickinson Health Care;

• Emerging Leader: Tara Ferrante, program director of the Holyoke Outpatient Clinic, ServiceNet;

• Innovation in Health/Wellness: Cristina Huebner Torres, vice president, Research & Population Health, Caring Health Center Inc.; and

• Patient/Resident/Client Care Provider: Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield.

Photography by Dani Fine Photography

Presenting Sponsor

Partner Sponsors

Supporting Sponsor

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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).

 

 

 

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Dig In

With the help of local dignitaries, the Walhburgers chain broke ground on Sept. 20 at its newest location at the corner of Union and Main streets in downtown Springfield. Wahlburgers at MGM Springfield will be a casual-dining eatery, featuring its signature burgers and full bar. Founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Chef Paul Wahlberg, Wahlburgers will be filled with photos and memories celebrating the brothers’ life journeys from Dorchester neighborhood kids to rising chef and international celebrities.

The 4,400-square-foot space, set to open in 2020, will provide 120 jobs to the community.

 


 

Sweet Harvest

Loomis Village installed two beehives this spring with the help of the Hampden County Bee Keepers Assoc. The hives were tended to throughout the summer, and residents also had the chance to learn about beekeeping. By summer’s end, the facility harvested 54 pounds of honey, with the possibility of another harvest later in the year.

Pictured: resident Karen Hyvonen helps Hampden County Bee Keepers Assoc. members remove the caps from the combs. From there, the honey is extruded and strained before being bottled.

 


 

Car Wash for a Good Cause

During the weekend of Sept. 7-8, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield hosted a car-wash fundraiser benefiting Chris Thibault and his family. Thibault and his wife, Missy, own and operate Chris Teebo Films, a local production company that helped Mercedes-Benz get its start in Western Mass. more than two years ago. Chris has been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer and is fighting hard for his life.

Pictured, from left: dealership co-owners Michelle and Peter Wirth; Missy and Chris Thibault with son Brayden; and Rich Hesse, co-owner of the dealership, with son John.

 


 

Launching Women Luncheon

Carla Oleska, principal of Carla Oleska & Co. and former executive director of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, leads an exploration of glass ceilings women often don’t think about — the one within ourselves, the one they construct for other women, and, of course, the big, systemic one. The talk was part of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s Launching Women Luncheon.

More than 50 women leaders in business, government, and nonprofit organizations attended the first of the series at the Inn on Boltwood.

 


 

Revitalizing a Community

On Sept. 20, Revitalize CDC held its annual Green N Fit event. The organization and hundreds of volunteers rebuilt four homes throughout Holyoke in one day. Three out of the four homes are owned by military veteran families.

Pictured: Jeremy Ducharme from Blue Cross Blue Shield helps to paint the home of Carol LaBoursoliere, an 80-year-old widow of a military veteran who has lived in her home on Brown Avenue for 53 years. Other homes renovated were on Homestead Avenue and Norwood Terrace.

 


 

 

Open for Business

Architecture Environment Life President Kevin Rothschild-Shea (left) and architect Rick Morse stand in front of New Valley Bank’s first location, a building they designed. The office, located at 1930 Wilbraham Road in Springfield, opened the week of Sept. 9 and is the first new bank to open in Massachusetts in a decade.

Sixteen Acres banking veteran Kimberly Marion will oversee the location and lead the bank’s retail efforts in the market as vice president and personal banking officer

 

 


 

New Life for the Pedlar

The Hildreth House, built in 1882 and home for more than 70 years to the Yankee Pedlar Inn, is now the Pedlar Banking Center, restored and renovated by PeoplesBank. The interior of the LEED-certified building now houses a community room, which will be available to nonprofit organizations free of charge. A new addition was added in the rear of the Hildreth House to provide space for the bank lobby, service counter, and support offices, as well as the drive-through canopy.

Pictured: Mason Lebron of Dowd Insurance Agency and Victor Rodriguez, mortgage consultant at PeoplesBank, celebrate the building’s grand opening.

 


Climate Strike

Organizers encouraged those attending to call their representatives and demand action be taken to mitigate the warming of the planet.

The Interfaith Council of Springfield and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield organized a ‘solidarity vigil’ in collaboration with the global Climate Strike on Sept. 20 in Springfield’s Court Square. Members of the community gathered to speak on the issue of climate change and joined in song.

 

 


Back(pack) to School

First American Insurance Agency, an independent insurance firm, recently donated more than 200 backpacks to nine Chicopee elementary schools. Notebooks, pencils, and glue sticks filled each bag, along with Kleenex and a bookmark.

Pictured, from left: First American’s Noni Moran, Julianne Rossi, Dennis Murphy, Jenna Dziok, and Katelyn Morgan.

 

 


Bridging the Generations

Springfield College and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing have developed an intergenerational Students in Residence program for graduate students in the School of Health Sciences. Julie Torchia and Allie Tupaj, both doctor of physical therapy students, moved into a two-bedroom apartment at Loomis Lakeside this fall and will contribute to social and educational aspects of community living at the facility, logging eight hours of community-engagement project work each week.

Pictured, from left: Brooke Hallowell, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Springfield College; Torchia; Tupaj; Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper, Loomis Communities President Lauren Scruggs; and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing CEO Craig Johnsen

 

 

 

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Senior Games

During the weekend of July 13-14, Springfield College hosted the Massachusetts Senior Games, as it has since 1991. Hundreds of participants took part in a range of events, including track and field, swimming, racquetball, and more. Pictured at left: from left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games. At right: Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

From left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games.

Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

 


 

Patio Party

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Young Professionals of Amherst and Northampton Area Young Professionals for a patio party on July16 at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Pictured, from left: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing, Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation, Dawn Creighton of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and Vince Jackson of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.


 

Planners Tell All

On July 17, Michael’s Party Rental teamed up with Meeting Professionals International of the Connecticut River Valley and CJC Creative to host a “Planners Tell All” event. A panel of corporate and special-event planners joined local wedding/meeting planners and suppliers at the Michael’s warehouse for a night of networking and education.

Pictured, from left: Jackie Martucci, owner of Events by Jackie M; Lisa Antonecchia, owner of Creative Concepts by Lisa; Erin Tierney, lecturer at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; and Amanda Cristina, senior meeting planner at LIMRA.

 


 

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Connecting Youth with Careers

River East School-to-Career recently held its annual breakfast meeting at the Ludlow Country Club. The program places high-school students from Belchertown, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Ware, and Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in a business environment to gains skills through part-time jobs and internships. Seven student-mentor teams were honored for their outstanding work performance and providing students with job opportunities. Hampden Veterinary Clinic and Baystate Health Eastern Region accepted the Business Champion Award for providing work-based learning opportunities to students each year for the past 15 years.

From left, Jennifer Gouvin, president, River East School-to-Career board of directors; Lori Manseau, manager, Rehabilitation Services, Baystate Wing Hospital, accepting the award on behalf of Baystate Wing and Baystate Mary Lane; and Loretta Dansereau, director, River East School-to-Career Inc.

From left, Gouvin; Dr. Penny Peck, owner, Hampden Veterinary Clinic; and Dansereau.

A Bed for Every Child

The Cooperative Credit Union Assoc. Inc. (CCUA), on behalf of Massachusetts credit unions, along with members of the Massachusetts Credit Unions Social Responsibility Committee, recently presented a $202,725 check to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless at the third annual Stephen D. Jones Credit Union Charity Golf Tournament in support of “A Bed for Every Child.”

From left: Charlene Bauer, Metro Credit Union; Ronald McLean, CCUA; Rui Domingos, Naveo Credit Union; Mark Cochran, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union on behalf of the Stephen Jones Family; Kevin Zipps, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union; Tina Baptista, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; Paul Marotta, Hanscom Federal Credit Union; David Plantier, MassMutual Federal Credit Union; and Peter Panaggio, St. Anne’s Credit Union. Committee members not pictured include Sarita Ledani, RTN Federal Credit Union; Robert Lockett, Workers’ Credit Union; Melissa Morin, Credit Union of the Berkshires; and Jon Reske, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union

Xtraordinary Day of Service

Berkshire Bank employees recently came together to package more than 50,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger, which will be sent to nations where starvation is a key concern. The donation was a part of the bank’s annual Xtraordinary Day of Service, when the bank closes its offices early to empower employees to volunteer in their local communities. The event is in its fourth year. The volunteer work for Rise Against Hunger was one of 37 projects completed as a part of Xtraordinary Day. More than 90% of Berkshire Bank’s workforce participated in the event, totaling over 6,000 hours of volunteer work in a single day throughout the bank’s footprint.

Surprise Gift

On June 21, Richard’s Fuel and Heating celebrated its 500th Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling mini-split installation with an event that surprised lucky customer Lisa Bartlett, as well as the installation technicians. Briget Michaud, business manager at Richard’s Fuel and Heating and one of the organizers of the promotion, showed up with a cake and balloons and presented Bartlett with a gift certificate covering half her unit and installation costs. Richard’s Fuel and Heating also donated $500 to the Easthampton Council on Aging.

From left: Michaud, Bartlett, and Sean Gallagher from BellSimons Co., the Mitsubishi Electric rep for Richard’s Fuel and Heating.

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A New Chapter

Fifth-graders at DeBerry Elementary School were honored at graduation ceremonies staged earlier this month. BusinessWest, which sponsors the school as part of Link to Libraries’ Business Book Link program, was on hand to present Most Improved Reader awards and hand out graduation presents — yes, books to read over the summer. And there was a special guest there as well. At right, Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles to most-improved readers J’Siah Turner Goode and Yaneliz Andino. They were also presented with plaques from BusinessWest. At left, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book to fifth-grader Noah Peralta. Looking on are, from left, Maria Nunez, paraprofessional; Laura Sacco, fifth-grade teacher, and Beth Fazio, principal.

Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles

At right, Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles to most-improved readers J’Siah Turner Goode and Yaneliz Andino. They were also presented with plaques from BusinessWest

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book to fifth-grader Noah Peralta. Looking on are, from left, Maria Nunez, paraprofessional; Laura Sacco, fifth-grade teacher, and Beth Fazio, principal


Thrive After 55

About 1,000 area residents turned out to state Sen. Eric Lesser’s third annual Thrive After 55 Wellness Fair on June 21 to learn about local resources available to help them plan for retirement. This was the biggest Thrive fair yet, with 81 organizations providing information. Health New England, Springfield College, and the New England Dermatology & Laser Center returned as sponsors of the fair this year, in addition to a new sponsor, the Center for Human Development. HCN, BusinessWest’s sister publication, was a media sponsor. This year’s program included five educational seminars, on topics including estate planning and elder law, diet and nutrition, and an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement.


Woman of the Year

The Professional Women’s Chamber (PWC) recently honored Denise Hurst (right), vice president of Advancement & External Affairs at Springfield Technical Community College, with its coveted Woman of the Year award at a celebration at the Springfield Sheraton. Hurst is also currently secretary-treasurer for the Massachusetts Assoc. of School Committees Inc. and has served on the Springfield School Committee since 2009. She is an inaugural graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact, a member of the League of Women Voters and the Collective Majority, and a graduate of the 62nd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar, Massachusetts Senate. She and her husband, Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst, are both BusinessWest 40 Under Forty alumni.

Hurst, fourth from left, with members of the PWC board.

Hurst, fourth from left, with members of the PWC board.


Seeing Purple

On June 21, the Bertera Auto Group and Fedor Financial Group, LLC in West Springfield went purple in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Longest Day” fundraising event. Pictured here, Michael Bertera, right, president of Bertera Auto Group; David Fedor, president of Fedor Financial Group and volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Assoc.; and Bianca Walker, director of Fundraising for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, share a moment.


Scholarship Winners

Monson Savings Bank recently distributed more than $20,000 in scholarships to graduating high-school seniors. The students were invited to the bank’s corporate headquarters for a celebration, where President Steven Lowell, seen here with the honorees, spoke to them about their future and congratulated each on their hard work and accomplishments. They are: Edward Wurszt, Hunter Acconcio, and Timothy Connors (Minnechaug High School); Derek Joyce, Liam Metcalfe, Taylor Mitchell, and Hannah Somers (Monson High School); Shelby Tweedie, Kayla Smith, and Travis Orszulak (Ware High School); and David Krutov (homeschooled).


JGS Lifecare’s Day of Tournaments

JGS Lifecare recently staged the 39th annual Frankel-Kinsler Day of Tournaments, which raised more than $97,000 for the care of the community’s elders. The day featured a golf tournament, but also many other competitions as well, in tennis, bridge, canasta, and mahjong. The event provides JGS a way to continue to honor the memory of Michael Frankel, former chairman of the JGS Lifecare board of directors, and the families of Raymond and Herman Kinsler, longtime leaders and supporters, for their exemplary commitment to those served by JGS Lifecare.

Seymour Frankel, father of Michael Frankel, is surrounded by his family

Seymour Frankel, father of Michael Frankel, is surrounded by his family

From left, Susan Goldsmith, JGS Lifecare board chair; state Sen. Eric Lesser; and Richard Halpern, JGS Lifecare board member, share a moment at the cocktail reception


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Cutting the Ribbon

New Valley Bank & Trust recently staged a grand opening at its headquarters at Suite 910, One Monarch Place.

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes the bank to the city

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes the bank to the city

Sarno and bank Chairman Frank Fitzgerald cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside board members and dignitaries

Sarno and bank Chairman Frank Fitzgerald cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside board members and dignitaries

Fitzgerald thanks the almost 300 local investors who raised $23.5 million to get the bank started, well in excess of what is needed by regulatory requirements

Fitzgerald thanks the almost 300 local investors who raised $23.5 million to get the bank started, well in excess of what is needed by regulatory requirements

 

Innovation Fest

On June 12, Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) staged the region’s inaugural Innovation Fest, a day-long celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation that featured seminars, networking, the awarding of cash prizes to finalists in VVM’s accelerator program, walking tours of downtown, and much more.

VVM CEO Kristin Leutz welcomes attendees to the festival

VVM CEO Kristin Leutz welcomes attendees to the festival

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of SPARK EforAll Holyoke, and Bill Cole, president of Living Local, present a program called “Reviving Main Street”;

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of SPARK EforAll Holyoke, and Bill Cole, president of Living Local, present a program called “Reviving Main Street”

Michael Molinari, a principal with Autodrop3d

Michael Molinari, a principal with Autodrop3d, a New London, Conn.-based company that has created an automated ejection system for 3D printers, took home the top prize ($10,000) among the accelerator finalists

the five accelerator finalists

the five accelerator finalists, all holding their ceremonial checks, gather with VVM mentors and supporters

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes visitors to Springfield.

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes visitors to Springfield.

 

Innovation Accelerator Graduation

The 2019 Innovation Accelerator, a program that transforms nonprofit leaders’ thinking by bringing a culture of innovation into their organizations, recently graduated its fourth cohort. The event, held at TechSpring in Springfield, hosted three graduating Innovation Accelerator teams. With numerous funders and business and foundation executives in attendance, they supported, learned, and provided a pathway to potential funding for initiatives realized during the six-month class. Each team pitched its best plan to create mission-aligned revenue for their organizations. They also had to clearly demonstrate the core assumptions underlying their new ventures, how they tested those assumptions, the evidence they gathered, and what they learned.

from left, students

from left, students Cody Andrews, Julie Lococo, Monique Whiting, and James O’Neill (Viability) present to sharks John Goodhue (Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center), Joe Minton (Digital Development Management), Marty Caine (Wolf & Co.), Ali Usman (Pixeledge), and Paul Silva (Innovation Accelerator)

from left, Kelly Minton (Innovation Accelerator), student Rose Egan (Community Education Project), and Silva

from left, Kelly Minton (Innovation Accelerator), student Rose Egan (Community Education Project), and Silva

students Ethan Ferris and Will Swyers

students Ethan Ferris and Will Swyers, co-founders of Xernai, talk with sharks Caine and Dana Barrows (Northwestern Mutual)

 

The Business of Cannabis

The Springfield-based law firm Bulkley Richardson staged an informational forum on June 18 as part of an ongoing series on the many legal aspects of operating a cannabis-related business. The featured speaker was Tina Sbrega, president and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union, to talk about how her financial institution became the first in the state to serve recreational marijuana companies. The event drew about 50 business professionals. Sbrega explained that the process of banking the cannabis industry involves a host of regulations because the drug is illegal at the federal level.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts April 29, 2019

Cutting the Ribbon

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were staged on April 12 for the Isenberg Business Innovation Hub, which opened to students this past January. The stunning addition to the Isenberg School of Management was hailed as a critical turning point in the history of the school, a facility that provides much-needed additional space and an opportunity to climb higher in the ranks of the nation’s leading business schools.

officials cut the ribbon

officials cut the ribbon

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group, which partnered with Goody Clancy on the design of the hub, addresses those gathered

an exterior shot of the building

an exterior shot of the building

an aerial shot of the hub shows how it connects with the existing Isenberg building

an aerial shot of the hub shows how it connects with the existing Isenberg building


Creating a Buzz

Springfield Technical Community College’s student radiology team placed first at the 2019 Massachusetts Society of Radiologic Technologists Buzz Bowl competition. With six community colleges participating, Buzz Bowl challenges students’ knowledge in the field of radiologic technology. STCC’s seven-member team did not lose a match in the competition, which featured questions in the categories of safety, image production, radiographic procedures, patient care, and more.

STCC students who participated in the competition

STCC students who participated in the competition included Brian Griffin, Kurt Reeter, Briana Rudman, Hillary Ladeau, Selenia Hernandez, Julie Korman, and Sabrina Provost.


Jobs for Youth

The Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board brought a team of youth and business service staff at the recent [email protected], encouraging members to hire a youth this summer. From school-to-career programs for in-school youth to partner programs such as Community Action’s Northampton Youthworks project, the team aims to match youth with jobs at area firms. This year, they are also developing STEM internships for youth with the help of Collaborative Educational Services.

Pictured, from left, are Marija Boily, business service representative

Pictured, from left, are Marija Boily, business service representative, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center; Rebecca Bannasch, employer partnership specialist, Community Action; Patricia Crosby, executive director, and Jennifer Droesch, executive assistant, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board.


Record Haul for Riverside

On April 5, more than 400 people attended Riverside’s signature annual event at One Cottage Street in downtown Easthampton, helping to raise $112,000, the most ever in the 15-year history of the event. Guests enjoyed food, drink, and more than 250 silent and live auction items to bid on.

Pictured, from left: Susan Lapointe

Pictured, from left: Susan Lapointe, Riverside’s director of Development; Irene Lamson, Riverside supporter; Silas Kopf, master of ceremonies; and Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of presenting sponsor bankESB, conduct the live auction.


Supporting High Achievers

Michael Ostrowski, president and CEO of Arrha Credit Union, recently congratulated the 2019 Anthony J. Serafino Scholarship winners. Five $1,000 scholarships were awarded by Arrha to worthy students based on scholastic merit and civic achievement.

Pictured, from left: Ostrowski

Pictured, from left: Ostrowski; recipients Jessica Smith of Minnechaug Regional High School, Isaac Schein of Longmeadow High School, Taylor Woods of Pioneer Valley Christian Academy, Quinn Serafino of West Springfield High School, and Kaylee Fife of Tantasqua Regional Senior High School; and Erin Panteleakis, director and scholarship committee chair at Arrha.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / March 2019

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Vivid Vocal Visionary

The Women’s Fund of Western Mass. (WFWM) paid tribute to four of its pioneers at an event it called Vivid Vocal Visionary on March 18 at the Tower Square Hotel in Springfield. The event honored the group’s three founders, Dianne Fuller Doherty, the late Sally Livingston, and Martha Richards, as well as its founding executive director, Kristi Nelson.

From left, Donna Haghighat, CEO of the WFWM, Doherty, Richards, Nelson, Mimi Ginsberg (accepting for Sally Livingston’s family), and Haydee Lamberty-Rodriguez, board chair of the WFMA)

From left, Donna Haghighat, CEO of the WFWM, Doherty, Richards, Nelson, Mimi Ginsberg (accepting for Sally Livingston’s family), and Haydee Lamberty-Rodriguez, board chair of the WFMA)


Former board members Jane Sapp, left, and Brenda Lopez

Former board members Jane Sapp, left, and Brenda Lopez


From left, Eugenie Sills, Eleanor Lord, Shirley Edgerton (all former board members), Abbie von Schlegell, and Barbara Viniar

From left, Eugenie Sills, Eleanor Lord, Shirley Edgerton (all former board members), Abbie von Schlegell, and Barbara Viniar


Haghighat (left) with featured speaker Teresa Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women

Haghighat (left) with featured speaker Teresa Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women



New Name, Same Mission

Girls Inc. of Holyoke officially changed its name to Girls Inc. of the Valley last month to reflect its broader reach — it now serves girls in several communities across the region — and deeper impact. The name change was announced at a press conference at WGBY’s headquarters in Springfield that featured a number of speakers talking about the agency’s critical mission within the region.

From left, Luis Soria, principal of the Marcella R. Kelly School in Holyoke; Safiatu Sam, mother of a Girls Inc. Eureka scholar who lives in Chicopee; Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley; Roxanne Atterbury, a teacher at Rebecca Johnson Elementary School in Springfield; and Melyssa Brown-Porter, chair of the board for Girls Inc. of the Valley.

From left, Luis Soria, principal of the Marcella R. Kelly School in Holyoke; Safiatu Sam, mother of a Girls Inc. Eureka scholar who lives in Chicopee; Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley; Roxanne Atterbury, a teacher at Rebecca Johnson Elementary School in Springfield; and Melyssa Brown-Porter, chair of the board for Girls Inc. of the Valley.


A New Chapter

The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation announced late last month that the Springfield City Library will assume management of the Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative launched by the foundation in 2009 and managed by Sally Fuller until her retirement last year. The new chapter for the initiative was announced at a press conference at the Mason Square branch of the library attended by a host of area civic and business leaders as well as third-graders from nearby DeBerry Elementary School.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno meets with several of those students.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno meets with several of those students.

Students from DeBerry pose with the book bags, filled with books, that they received

Students from DeBerry pose with the book bags, filled with books, that they received

From left, Sarno, state Rep. Bud Williamson, and Mary Walachy, executive director of the Davis Foundation

From left, Sarno, state Rep. Bud Williamson, and Mary Walachy, executive director of the Davis Foundation


Hometown Heroes

The Western Mass. Chapter of the American Red Cross staged its annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast on March 21 at MGM Springfield. The event recognized 10 heroes from across the region.

Columbia Gas was the presenting sponsor

Columbia Gas was the presenting sponsor for Matthew Turgeon and Michael Croteau of the Chicopee Fire Department (center), who saved a toddler and her father while ice fishing off duty

Brad Campbell, board chair of the Western Mass. chapter, and Holly Grant, regional CEO of Massachusetts

Brad Campbell, board chair of the Western Mass. chapter, and Holly Grant, regional CEO of Massachusetts

From left, Sheila Doiron, director of Communications & Community Relations for Columbia Gas, Hometown Hero Holly Holden, and Beverly Tangvik, president of the Arbella Insurance Charitable Foundation

From left, Sheila Doiron, director of Communications & Community Relations for Columbia Gas, Hometown Hero Holly Holden, and Beverly Tangvik, president of the Arbella Insurance Charitable Foundation

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Smile for the Camera

Sandra Costello, owner of Sandra Costello Photography, cuts the ribbon to the opening of her new photography studio in the Eastworks Building in Easthampton on Feb. 17. Surrounded by family, friends, and clients, Costello celebrated her new space for capturing portraits of women, families, high-school seniors, and professionals. (Photo by Ryan Williams)

Sandra Costello, owner of Sandra Costello Photography, cuts the ribbon to the opening of her new photography studio in the Eastworks Building in Easthampton on Feb. 17. Surrounded by family, friends, and clients, Costello celebrated her new space for capturing portraits of women, families, high-school seniors, and professionals. (Photo by Ryan Williams)



Image Conscious

Michael’s Party Rentals recently received a national accolade at the 2019 American Rental Assoc. (ARA) annual convention and trade show in Anaheim, Calif.  The company was acknowledged with a Presidents Image Award, given to a business facility or store celebrating its commitment to improving the rental-industry image through a remodeling, rebuilding, or renovation project. The award was in response to Michael’s Party Rentals’ new showroom, which opened in July 2016. Pictured: Melissa Sullivan (left) and Michael Linton accept the award.

Michael’s Party Rentals recently received a national accolade at the 2019 American Rental Assoc. (ARA) annual convention and trade show in Anaheim, Calif. The company was acknowledged with a Presidents Image Award, given to a business facility or store celebrating its commitment to improving the rental-industry image through a remodeling, rebuilding, or renovation project. The award was in response to Michael’s Party Rentals’ new showroom, which opened in July 2016. Pictured: Melissa Sullivan (left) and Michael Linton accept the award.


Supporting Seniors

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) recently pledged to donate $25,000 to the Friends of River Mills Senior Center in Chicopee. The donation will be spread over the course of five years in $5,000 installments. The check was presented during the Financial Elder Abuse Workshop sponsored by the credit union on Feb. 7. This donation will be used for the addition of programs and activities for the seniors. Pictured, from left: Alfred Picard, president of Friends of River Mills Senior Center; Jim Kelly, President and CEO of PNCU; Sherry Manyak, executive director of Friends of River Mills Senior Center; Michael Sugrue, executive vice president of PNCU; and Kevin Kober, director of Retail at PNCU.

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) recently pledged to donate $25,000 to the Friends of River Mills Senior Center in Chicopee. The donation will be spread over the course of five years in $5,000 installments. The check was presented during the Financial Elder Abuse Workshop sponsored by the credit union on Feb. 7. This donation will be used for the addition of programs and activities for the seniors. Pictured, from left: Alfred Picard, president of Friends of River Mills Senior Center; Jim Kelly, President and CEO of PNCU; Sherry Manyak, executive director of Friends of River Mills Senior Center; Michael Sugrue, executive vice president of PNCU; and Kevin Kober, director of Retail at PNCU.

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Black Tie Gala

The Assoc. of Black Business and Professionals (ABBP) hosted its third annual Black Tie Gala on Jan. 19 at the Aria Ballroom at the MGM hotel in Springfield. During the gala, the association recognized 10 businesses and professionals were that have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the local black business community. The keynote speaker was Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the U.S.

Attorney Alesia Days serves as master of ceremonies

Adjei-Barwuah addresses the crowd

Adjei-Barwuah addresses the crowd

Adjei-Barwuah (left) with Jasmine Green, ABBP executive board member

Adjei-Barwuah (left) with Jasmine Green, ABBP executive board member

From left, Jimmy and Toni Hendrix of Smokey Joe’s Cigar Lounge, Lamont Clemens of S-Cel-O Painting, Stefan Davis of I Found Light Against All Odds, Rosemary Tracy Woods of Art for the Soul Gallery, Justin Haynes of Jus10h, Vanessa Hall of Beaute Within, Clarence Thomas of Final Touch Barbershop, and Mychal Connoly of Stinky Cakes

From left, Clemons, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, mayoral aide and ABBP executive board member Darryl Moss, and Lordi Smith of Micro Scalp Clinic.

Open for Business

Florence Bank recently cut the ribbon on its second Hampden County branch, at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield. Bank staff, board members, and corporators were on hand at the ceremony, along with civic leaders.

In the front row, are, from left, Springfield City Councilor Michael Fenton, State Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Florence Bank President and CEO John Heaps, Vice President and Branch Manager Nikki Gleason, board member Mansour Ghalibaf, Area Manager/Vice President Elissa Langevin, corporator Tania Barber, Vice President/Director of Facilities Mark Cavanaugh, and Joanne Gould of the Outerbelt Service Assoc

The branch’s staff: from left, Carolyn Ware, community relations director; Candice Somar, assistant branch manager; Mario Nascimento, customer service representative/senior teller; Nikki Gleason, vice president/branch manager; Magdalis (Maggie) Sierra, customer service representative/senior teller; and Bianca Hyde, customer service representative/teller operations manager

 Sarno (left) greeting Heaps and welcoming Florence Bank into the city.

Sarno (left) greeting Heaps and welcoming Florence Bank into the city.

Model Congress at AIC

The 79th annual Model Congress at American International College, the longest-running continuous model congress of its type in the nation and one of the college’s oldest campus traditions, convened at AIC during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Eleven high schools throughout the Northeast came to campus to write, debate, and pass legislation in a weekend-long simulated congress.

The Best Delegation award was presented to (pictured, from left) Alexandria Barnard-Davignon, Rose McCaffrey, Bridget Bushy, and Michael Scoville from SABIS International Charter School. The Best Bill award was given to Chinaly Chanvong and Jada Ficarra, also from SABIS. McCaffrey was named this year’s top delegate, and will receive the Kathryn Mauke Scholarship, a full four-year tuition scholarship to AIC. Second- and third-place delegates were Althea Brennan and Pamela Mountain, respectively, from Chatham High School in New York, who receive a $10,000 and a $5,000 four-year scholarship to AIC.

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Asnuntuck Community College

Going Digital

In an effort to provide students with relevant skills for the workplace, Asnuntuck Community College has adopted eLABJournal, a software solution from Bio-ITech, a division of Eppendorf. eLABJournal is an intuitive and user-friendly application that is designed for laboratories in academic teaching and research labs as well as in commercial settings. Students using this platform in the classroom will gain valuable experience in electronic notebook and inventory/data management, which will better prepare them for their careers. Here, Asnuntuck student Samantha Fox is photographed in one of the college’s labs working with eLabJournal. Asnuntuck Community College’s Foundation provided the funding, through a mini-grant, for this software.





The West of the River Chamber of Commerce

Open for Business

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Box Paper Scissors to the Agawam community. The store, which opened in late December and is owned by Bryant Whitsett, offers a wide variety of products and services, including key cutting, notary, DVD transfer, office supplies, conference-room rental, space to sell and promote local products and services, shipping, mailbox services, faxing, and more. A grand-opening celebration was staged Jan. 17. Here, Whitsett is seen with employee Delaney Tanzer.





North Brookfield Savings Bank

Meeting a Need

North Brookfield Savings Bank (NBSB) recently thanked the community for the overwhelming success of its annual toy drive, during which the bank accepted thousands of donations of new and unwrapped toys and collected monetary donations in jars at its branch locations. Pictured are the Cindy Fountain (left) and Patty Ostrout of NBSB with officers from the North Brookfield Police Department, whose Toys for Joy program was one of many partnering organizations in the drive.





Officials from Holyoke Community College and Westfield State University

Nursing Degree Partnership

Officials from Holyoke Community College and Westfield State University signed a dual-admission agreement that streamlines the process for students who want to continue their nursing educations at Westfield after earning an associate degree in nursing at HCC. The RN-to-BSN completion program partnership was announced during a ceremony at HCC’s Center for Health Education on Jarvis Avenue, home to the college’s RN (registered nurse) and LPN (licensed practical nursing) programs and medical simulation center. From left: Diane Prusank, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Westfield State University; Ramon Torrecilha, president of Westfield State University; Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College; and Monica Perez, vice president of Academic Affairs at Holyoke Community College.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts December 25, 2018

Cutting the Ribbon

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Gov. Charlie Baker, joined Springfield Technical Community College administrators, faculty, students, and trustees (past and present) for a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons, otherwise known as Building 19 when it was part of the Springfield Armory complex. Actually, several speakers who took the podium joked that the $50 million facility should simply be called ‘the Ira’ for short. The renovated historic building will now serve as a one-stop hub for student services and activities.

Rubenzahl, president of the school from 2004 to 2016 and visionary for the Building 19 project, cuts the ribbon

Rubenzahl, president of the school from 2004 to 2016 and visionary for the Building 19 project, cuts the ribbon

Baker, right, with current STCC President John Cook

Baker, right, with current STCC President John Cook

Rubenzahl chats with students Karolyn Burgos-Toribio and Mohammed Gabriel

Rubenzahl chats with students Karolyn Burgos-Toribio and Mohammed Gabriel

Building 19 opened in the mid 1800s, and has served the college in a number of ways over the years

Building 19 opened in the mid 1800s, and has served the college in a number of ways over the years

Rubenzahl addresses those gathered for the ceremonies, with Cook and Baker to his right

Rubenzahl addresses those gathered for the ceremonies, with Cook and Baker to his right

 

Banking on Worthy Causes

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA) announced that the MBA Charitable Foundation set a new record in its annual year-end community grant season. The 45 grants in 2018 total $163,000. The foundation has now provided gifts totaling approximately $2.5 million over its 22-year history. Among the awards is $5,000 to United Way of Pioneer Valley’s Thrive Financial Success Program (below), $5,000 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts (middle), and $5,000 to Girls Inc. of Holyoke (bottom).

 

‘Your Friends Are My Friends’

More than 200 women recently attended WillPower Foundation’s “Your Friends Are My Friends” holiday brunch at Hadley Meeting House. The annual fundraiser raised more than $12,000 for grants for families with loved ones with different abilities throughout Western Mass. An art auction with pieces created by supporters of WillPower was the highlight of the event.

Sharon Dufour of LUSO Federal Credit Union and Kim Anderson with art they won at the auction.

Sharon Dufour of LUSO Federal Credit Union and Kim Anderson with art they won at the auction.

 

Food for Thought

Arrha Credit Union President Michael Ostrowski (pictured at far left) recently recognized Ludlow High School honor students for collecting $7,159.50 in non-perishable food items and donations for Springfield Open Pantry. Arrha sponsors the School Challenge, through which area students raised $22,982.91 this year. To show appreciation, Arrha donated $1,000 to Ludlow High School community efforts. The Springfield Open Pantry is an emergency food kitchen that serves more than 30,000 people each year.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts November 2018

AIC Unveils Colaccino Center

American International College (AIC) celebrated the grand opening of the new Colaccino Center for Health Sciences

American International College (AIC) celebrated the grand opening of the new Colaccino Center for Health Sciences on Oct. 24. Located at 1020 State St., the center offers spacious classrooms and hands-on labs in exercise science, nursing, physical therapy, public health, and occupational therapy. The 20,000-square-foot facility includes simulation, rehabilitation, and human-performance laboratories, as well as smart classrooms, study areas, faculty offices, and conference space. Athletic training programs will be introduced beginning in 2021. Pictured at top: cutting the ribbon are, from left, state Sen. James Welch, state Rep. Thomas Petrolati; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, AIC President Vince Maniaci, AIC board of trustees chair Frank Colaccino, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, AIC School of Health Sciences interim Dean Karen Rousseau, state Sen. Eric Lesser, and Springfield City Council President Orlando Ramos

Critical Links

Thanks to Big Y, Link to Libraries has recently made significant donations of books in the Berkshires. Pictured top: from left, Denise Dubreuil and Mike Messer of Big Y in Pittsfield; Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries; and representatives from Silvio Conte Community School, Morningside Community School, and Crosby Elementary School in Pittsfield. Bottom: from left, Carolyn Wallace, principal of Brayton Elementary School in North Adams; Flynn; Becky Prenguber of Big Y in North Adams; Barbara Malkas, superintendent of North Adams Public Schools; and representatives from Brayton Elementary School, Greylock Elementary School, and Colegrove Park Elementary School in North Adams.

Super 60

On Oct. 26, the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Super 60 gala celebrated 60 area companies for their success in one of two categories — total revenue and revenue growth — and the wide range of honorees brought into focus the breadth and depth of the region’s business community. Lelaneia Dubay, founder of Hartford Flavor Co., distiller of Wild Moon liqueurs, was the keynote speaker for this year’s event at Chez Josef in Agawam. Pictured above: Dubay with representatives from presenting sponsor Health New England, from left, Brendaliz Torres, Maura Girouard, Tim Chrystal, Sandra Ruiz, Keith Jones, Peggy Garand, Eric Harlow, Christine Wershoven, Mike Wolnecki (Webber & Grinnell), Ashley Allen, and Glenda DeBarge. (Michael Epaul Photography)

HCC Opens Center for Life Sciences

Holyoke Community College (HCC) marked the official opening of its new Center for Life Sciences on Oct. 24 with a ribbon-cutting celebration featuring lab demonstrations and tours of the 13,000-square-foot, $4.55 million, state-of-the-art facility. The center, which opened for classes in September, features a suite of new science labs and classrooms and the only ISO-certified cleanroom at any community college in Massachusetts. Pictured at top: HCC president Christina Royal and state Secretary of Education Jim Peyser cut the ceremonial ribbon. Also pictured, from left to right, are state Rep. Angelo Puppolo; state Rep. Aaron Vega; Martha Waldron, vice president of Marketing & Communications for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse; and several HCC students. Bottom: HCC Biology Professor James Knapp gives a microbiology demonstration to students and visitors during the grand opening celebration.

Changing Lives

Asnuntuck Community College’s November episode of Changing Lives focuses on recent growth at the college

Asnuntuck Community College’s November episode of Changing Lives focuses on recent growth at the college. James Lombella (left), president of Asnuntuck and Tunxis Community Colleges, hosted the show. His guests were Tim St. James, interim dean of Student Services, and Jennifer Brown, director of Workforce Development and Non-credit Programs. Produced by volunteers, the Changing Lives program airs on PATV 15 on Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Fridays at 11 a.m. (Photo by Ben Durant)

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Continuing the Fight

The 25th Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer drew about 25,000 people to Forest Park in Springfield on Oct. 21 to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, as well as supporting survivors and remembering loved ones they’ve lost. The program, launched in 1994 by Lucy Giuggio Carvalho has raised almost $15 million over its history for research, treatment, equipment, breast-health programs, outreach, and education — all of it local — as well as providing grants to various community programs throughout Western Mass.

‘Pink Day’

LUSO Federal Credit Union in Ludlow and Wilbraham celebrated a “Pink Day” recently to raise awareness for breast cancer. The local, nonprofit community credit union is raising money to benefit Rays of Hope and the Pink W.A.Y. through calendar raffles for the months of November and December. Suggested donation is $10 (for one) or $15 (for two). To learn more, visit www.lusofederal.com.

Bowl-a-thon Donation

Joe Phillips, right, president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., presents a $5,000 check to John Freedman, president of Joseph Freedman Company, for the seventh annual Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-thon being held Nov. 7 at AMF lanes in Chicopee. The proceeds go to Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live together and work together caring for each other.

Getting College Experience

Brian Candido, professor and program chair for Springfield Technical Community College’s Computer Information Technologies program, leads a class involving students from Springfield’s Commerce High School. The college welcomed more than 40 students from Commerce this fall as part of a program, created in collaboration with the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, to enable high-school students to take college-level classes. Students attending STCC can choose between courses in mobile app programming, computer basics, and airbrushing techniques.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / October 1, 2018

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Cutting-edge Experiences

Kristen Boyle, a senior psychology and neuroscience major works in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility at IALS.

This summer, the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) at UMass Amherst launched its first summer-intern program through its core facilities. This program creates hands-on experiences that prepare students for successful careers. Interns worked on tasks like 3D printing and laser cutting; human physiological, biomechanical, and behavioral studies; and cell testing. Many of the students are continuing on with their work throughout the current academic year. Pictured: Kristen Boyle, a senior psychology and neuroscience major works in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facility at IALS.

Day of Caring

The United Way’s Day of Caring brought together more than 1,000 people on Sept. 14

The United Way’s Day of Caring brought together more than 1,000 people on Sept. 14 to complete community-service work throughout the region. Many area companies use this day of service as an opportunity to engage employees in team-building and morale-boosting activities. The United Way connects local volunteers to nonprofit organizations and schools to complete tasks such as landscaping, painting, gardening, and other tasks. Pictured, top to bottom: a team from Collins Pipe volunteer at Birthday Wishes, representatives from Springfield College Americorps and BusinessWest volunteer at Gardening the Community, and employees from Belt Technologies spend the day working at the Chicopee Child Development Center.

Beyond the 9-to-5

Square One announced it is expanding access to child care to all hours of the day, to support working parents with second-shift, third-shift, and weekend jobs

Square One announced it is expanding access to child care to all hours of the day, to support working parents with second-shift, third-shift, and weekend jobs. Strategic funding partners include MGM Springfield, Baystate Health, Smith & Wesson, the Center for Human Development (CHD), FOCUS, and LENOX. Funds from these employers were matched by philanthropist Lyman Wood of Hampden. Collectively, more than $100,000 was raised to launch Square One: Next Level. “Square One has a long-standing reputation for strategically responding to the evolving needs of our community,” said Joan Kagan, Square One president and CEO. “We heard from our business leaders and from parents in our community that the lack of child care during evenings and weekends was making it difficult for employees to be successful in their careers and employers to be successful in running their businesses.” Pictured, from left: Lori Nesci of CHD; Annamarie Golden of Baystate Health; Wood; Kagan; Alex Dixon of MGM Springfield; Hannah Butler of LENOX; and Dan McDonough of Smith & Wesson.

Seeding the Future

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded two separate grants to Springfield Technical Community College

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded two separate grants to Springfield Technical Community College to enhance education in cutting-edge internet technology and advanced photonics, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced. The college received $599,388 to develop the Internet of Things Education Project and $551,202 to develop a program called Problem-Based Learning in Advanced Photonics Manufacturing Education. Both grants are designed to support three-year projects that will prepare and inspire students to enter careers in growing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. STCC has degree and certificate programs that prepare students for these careers. Pictured at the announcement, from left: Gary Mullett, co-chair of the Electronic Systems Engineering Technology Department at STCC; Neal; and Nicholas Massa, department chair for Optics and Photonics Technology at STCC.

Helping Kids Overcome

Springfield will be home to the first Educare early-education school in Massachusetts

Springfield will be home to the first Educare early-education school in Massachusetts. The groundbreaking for the $14 million school took place on Sept. 17 on Hickory Street, adjacent to Brookings School, on land provided by Springfield College. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was joined by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; Educare officials; Janis Santos, executive director of Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start; local leaders in philanthropy and project funders; representatives of Springfield College and the Old Hill Neighborhood Council; elected officials; and other community members for the ceremony. The center is expected to open in late 2019, offering an early-education model designed to help narrow the achievement gap for children living in poverty. Funding for the project comes from a variety of local, state, and national sources. Pictured at top: state, local, and elected officials, as well as representatives of Educare, Head Start, the Davis Foundation, O’Connell Development Group, and others break ground on Educare Springfield. At above: Polito holds up signs made by Head Start children.

Linking the Community

Link to Libraries recently held an event at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield to recognize its Business Book Link sponsors

Link to Libraries recently held an event at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield to recognize its Business Book Link sponsors. Pictured top: From left, Michael Matty, president and director of St. Germain Investment Management, Peter Wirth, co-owner of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, and William Trudeau, president and CEO of the Insurance Center of New England. Above: Amy Rediker and Andrew Anderlonis of Rediker Software, and Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries. (Photos by Sarah Gallagher)

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Running for the Kids

More than 200 runners and walkers gathered in downtown Northampton on Aug. 26 for the Gándara Center’s fourth annual Frozen Yogurt 5K Run/Walk. The event raised more than $20,000 to build a universally accessible playground at Gándara’s Mooreland residential group home for children up to age 12. “This playground will provide the youngest individuals we serve with some joy during an incredibly stressful time in their lives,” said Lisa Brecher, director of Communications and Development at the Gándara Center. “Giving these children a safe and fun outlet in their backyard will help provide a positive light to their stay.” Pictured above are some of the top finishers. This year’s first-place winners by category included: men 13-54, Michael Giles (19:03); women 13-54, Laura Christof (20:35); boys 12 and under, Teddy Cyr (21:32); girls 12 and under, Sabrina Hopkins (28:17); men 55 and over, Alan Hunt (25:15); and women 55 and over, Candace Curran (27:48).

 


 


 

 

Shot of Support

Goodwin House, a CHD program offering substance-use treatment services for males between ages 13 and 17, recently commissioned a new outdoor basketball court. Pictured above: the facility’s namesake, Jim Goodwin, CEO of CHD. Below, Big Y Foods was among the donors who made the court possible. Pictured, from left, are Ben Craft, vice president, Community Engagement, CHD; Stacy Bissonette, aftercare coordinator, Goodwin House; Chantal Silloway, program director, Goodwin House; and Michael Matyszewski, store director, Chicopee Big Y. Other contributors to the new basketball court included Russell and Day Degenza, Mike Gram, Hathaway Construction Corp., HD Supply White Cap – A.H. Harris, Home Depot of Chicopee, JRT Landscaping, Marcelino Mendez, Pioneer Valley Concrete Service, Scott Santor, Craig Sypek, and Vermont Woods Studios.


 

Successful Start

Officials from Head Start, MGM Springfield, and the city of Springfield recently gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new MGM Head Start Child and Family Center on Union Street in the city’s South End. The $4 million, 10,000-square-foot preschool center features classroom space for 88 children under age 5. Pictured, from left: Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Janis Santos, director, HCS Head Start Inc.; Alex Dixon, general manager, MGM Springfield; Marikate Murren, vice president, Human Resources, MGM Springfield; state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez; and Janet Steigmeyer, director, Human Resources, Facilities, and Maintenance, HCS Head Start Inc. (Photo by Ed Cohen)

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Investing in People

MHA’s Leadership Series

MHA’s Leadership Series, which is open to all members of management in the mental-health agency, delivers a leadership curriculum specialized for human-services professionals. The comprehensive training is designed to support supervisors and directors within their roles. Twenty-six supervisors recently graduated from MHA’s Leadership Series 2018. A second Leadership Series is scheduled for the winter of 2019. “Employee training is essential to the success of any organization. Supervisor training and development can have a profound effect on employee retention, as well as recruitment,” said Cheryl Fasano, MHA president and CEO. “The investment MHA has made in our Leadership Series will benefit the organization for the long run. Investing in our most important resources, our human resources, is a priority.”

 

 

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / August 20, 2018

Swinging for a Good Cause

The 38th annual Brightside Golf Classic at Springfield Country Club

The 38th annual Brightside Golf Classic at Springfield Country Club raised $90,180 to help to continue the work of Brightside for Families and Children as a nonprofit child-welfare and family-support organization for at-risk children, adolescents, and their families. The support given through this year’s Golf Classic will help Brightside’s efforts to assist children, adolescents, and families in need through family outreach and stabilization, psychiatric and medication evaluation and management, special education, and therapeutic mentoring. Pictured, from left:  William Walthouse, St. Germain Investment Management; Maria Zygmont, Brightside; John Kendzierski, Professional Drywall Construction Inc.; Daniel Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank; Mark Paglia, Brightside; Jack Dowd, the Dowd Agencies; Madeline Johnson, Brightside; Hank Downey, Florence Bank; William Wagner, Westfield Bank; and Mark Fulco, President, Mercy Medical Center.


 

Building Leaders

The MHA Leadership Series

The MHA Leadership Series, which is open to all members of management at MHA and targeted at program supervisors and directors, recently graduated 26 participants. The program delivers a leadership curriculum specialized for human-services professionals. The comprehensive training is designed to support supervisors and directors within their roles. A second Leadership Series is scheduled for the winter of 2019. “Employee training is essential to the success of any organization. Supervisor training and development can have a profound effect on employee retention, as well as recruitment,” said Cheryl Fasano, MHA president and CEO. “The investment MHA has made in our Leadership Series will benefit the organization for the long run. Investing in our most important resources, our human resources, is a priority.”


 

Community Impact

The staff of Facial Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery (FCMS) in East Longmeadow

The staff of Facial Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery (FCMS) in East Longmeadow collected money over the past few months during dress-down Fridays, and chose to donate $500 in proceeds to East Longmeadow Fire Department for its Firefighters Assoc. Pictured, from left: Cheryl Grassetti of FCMS, Mike Minahan of the East Longmeadow Fire Department, FCMS owner Dr. Richard Fraziero, and Ashley Swift of FCMS.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts

Winning Drive

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield recently awarded a new Mercedes-Benz to William Morrissey of Agawam, who won the car by hitting a hole in one on June 18 at the LETR Celebrity Golf Classic Tournament at Wilbraham Country Club, benefiting Special Olympics in coordination with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. “We are thrilled to have been a part of the LETR golf outing and couldn’t be happier for Mr. Morrissey,” said Mercedes-Benz of Springfield co-owner Peter Wirth. “We are proud to sponsor local community events such as this, and we hope Mr. Morrissey enjoys his new car.” Pictured: Mercedes-Benz of Springfield co-owner Michelle Wirth, Morrissey, Peter Wirth, Special Olympics representative Al Tomlinson, Milton Torres of Wilbraham Country Club, and Jon Laporte of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department.

 

 

Farming the Future

Holyoke Community College students, staff, and alumni, along with community farmers and others, trained last month to grow produce inside two urban container farms set up in a lot off Race Street next to the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. The 40-foot-long Freight Farms shipping containers were delivered in April for a joint urban agriculture project that includes HCC, the city of Holyoke, and the community nonprofit Nuestras Raices. The two shipping containers use hydroponic methods (without soil) to grow leafy greens and herbs. Each of the container farms can grow as much produce in a year as an acre of farmland. Pictured: Francesca Mazzillio, head farm manager for Freight Farms, explains some of the equipment to Dylan Donicz, farm manager for Nuestras Raices and a 2015 graduate of HCC’s sustainable agriculture program. Behind them is Kate Maiolatesi, HCC professor of Sustainable Studies and Sustainable Agriculture.

 

 

Rink of Honor

The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBCNE) recognized the new $18 million Worcester Ice Center with the James D.P. Farrell Award for Brownfields Project of the Year during its annual meeting and celebration on June 27. Tighe & Bond oversaw the project’s environmental remediation prior to site redevelopment. Completed last year, the Worcester Ice Center features twin ice rinks, shops, restaurants, and a variety of recreational venues. Pictured, from left: Shawn Rising, Bryan Gammons, Jeffrey Arps, and Douglas Landry of Tighe & Bond, Paul Hoffman of GKN Sinter Metals, and Marc Richards, Matthew Abraham, Becky Bozadjian, Sue Courtemanche, and Fran Hoey of Tighe & Bond.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts.
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Cooking for Life

More than a dozen city of Holyoke employees and their spouses recently took part in a two-part class on preparing healthy meals, presented by Training and Workforce Options and hosted by the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Warren Leigh, chairman of the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts programs at HCC, developed the two-part, hands-on class, which focused on the Mediterranean diet, which is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. The class introduced participants to knife skills, food choices, portion control, gluten-free food, and cooking styles. Trainees cooked with locally grown produce and learned about sustainability.

Leigh demonstrates a technique for chopping greens

Enrique Melendez (left) of the Holyoke DPW and Jim Crowley of Holyoke Gas & Electric slice onions.

Enrique Melendez (left) of the Holyoke DPW and Jim Crowley of Holyoke Gas & Electric slice onions

 

Hands-on Learning

Springfield College recently hosted its 25th annual Athletic Training Student Workshop on campus. The four-day workshop, co-directed by Springfield College Athletic Trainer and Assistant Professor of Exercise Science and Sport Studies Wayne Rodrigues and Springfield College alumnus Bob Kuzmeski, is intended for high-school students interested in careers in athletic training and sports medicine. High-school students from throughout the country attend the workshop and focus on anatomy, injury prevention, and care of common lower-extremity athletic injuries. Lectures, demonstrations, and practice sessions about athletic-injury prevention and maintenance take place during the workshop. Students also have the opportunity to receive hands-on exploration of cadaver anatomy in the cadaver laboratory on campus. Presentations on career options also are part of the curriculum.
Springfield College Student Workshop

Banking on Their Future

Monson Savings Bank distributed more than $22,000 in scholarships to high-school seniors who graduated this year from Monson, Ware, and Wilbraham/Hampden high schools and Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Recipients included Isabela Ferraro, Grace Pettenqill, Bianca Pio, Lisa Cavanaugh, Serina Bowen, Hannah Hicks, Cienna Moriarty, Benjamin Pagliaro, Macauley Rouette, Ethan Hill, Kaitlyn Rousseau, and Nigel Opoku-Achampong, who were selected by their schools because they demonstrated academic success and have an interest in pursuing higher education.

Steve Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank, with some of the scholarship winners.

Steve Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank, with some of the scholarship winners.

 

Air Apparent

The Great New England Air & Space Show drew more than 63,000 visitors to Westover Air Reserve Base on July 14-15. In addition to dozens of static displays, aerial performances were provided by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Geico Skytypers, stunt pilot Bill Stein, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, just to name a few of the many who took to the skies in aircraft both vintage and cutting-edge.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

5-year-old Evan LaShomb checks out one of the static displays at Westover

Connie Brown accepts a lithograph from the Golden Knights

Connie Brown, president of the Galaxy Community Council, which co-produces the airshow, accepts a lithograph from the Golden Knights

U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team

The Geico Skytypers

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Xtraordinary Efforts

Berkshire Bank closed all locations early on June 5 for its third annual Xtraordinary Day, which provides employees the opportunity to volunteer in communities the bank and its affiliates serve. This year’s Xtraordinary Day included almost 90 community projects with 92% of employees participating, contributing more than 7,000 hours of service. In Berkshire County, projects include a Habitat for Humanity multi-site build in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity; assembling of teacher-appreciation kits at Farmington River Elementary; landscaping and painting with Hillcrest Educational Centers; and cleanups with Housatonic River Walk, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires’ Camp Russell, and the West Stockbridge Historical Society.
In the Pioneer Valley, projects include:

Tree planting and park improvements with ReGreen Springfield


Gift wrapping at Birthday Wishes


Painting and landscaping at Lupa Zoo

Painting and landscaping at Lupa Zoo, Amelia Park Children’s Museum, Girls Club of Greenfield, and YMCA of Springfield; painting the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club; and shelving books and landscaping at the Westfield Anthaneum

Taste of Things to Come

The Boston Foundation recently awarded Holyoke Community College the 2018 Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges for expanding its culinary-arts and hospitality programs to address industry needs, and for the partnerships the college put together to construct the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute in Holyoke’s Innovation District. First awarded in 2015, the Deval Patrick Prize recognizes community colleges that do an outstanding job partnering with employers to build effective career pathways for their students. Part of the $50,000 prize money is allocated for a free line-cook training program for experienced kitchen workers that started on June 4. Pictured below: faculty and staff stand on the second-floor landing of the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. At bottom: Culinary Arts lab tech and HCC alumnus Tyler Carrier prepares mussels for a lunch event during the spring 2018 semester.

faculty and staff stand on the second-floor landing of the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute

faculty and staff stand on the second-floor landing of the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute


Culinary Arts lab tech and HCC alumnus Tyler Carrier

Culinary Arts lab tech and HCC alumnus Tyler Carrier prepares mussels for a lunch event during the spring 2018 semester

Community Spirit

Community Bank N.A. team members from the Springfield branch recently participated in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, an annual bowling event that raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County. The branch donated $2,500 in scholarships for the organization, contributing to a grand total of more than $40,000 in proceeds raised during the 2018 event. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County provides premier services in one-on-one mentoring that really makes a difference in a child’s life,” Community Bank N.A. Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer Michael Buckmaster said. “Our Springfield team is proud to support the organization and help them continue to make a significant impact in our community.”

Community Spirit

Pictured, from left: Diane Dunkerley, Michael Buckmaster, and Keith Nesbitt, commercial banking officers; Jackie Guenette, branch manager; and Natasha Miranda, customer service representative

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Finding Their Sparkle

Link to Libraries recently hosted local author Natasha Lowe at Kensington International School in Springfield

Link to Libraries recently hosted local author Natasha Lowe at Kensington International School in Springfield. Lowe spent more than an hour with the third grade, discussing life as an author and reading from her latest novel, Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle. “I’m just bowled over by the incredible work Link to Libraries does,” Lowe said. “Getting books into the hands of kids is a small thing that can make a big difference. A book can offer a child a magical world to escape into. They become like old friends, to be read over and over again. I had such a wonderful time visiting Kensington School this morning and sharing Lucy with all the third-graders.”

 

New Life on Main Street

Country Bank announced it has donated its former building, located at 65-71 Main St., Ware, to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. (QVCDC).

Country Bank announced it has donated its former building, located at 65-71 Main St., Ware, to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. (QVCDC). “The bank is looking forward to the development of this property as a creative, innovative space for artists and crafts people to practice and teach, as well as display their work,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. The retail space is currently being revitalized and will provide incubator space to three new small businesses to help them begin their journey. The plans for the retail space include a pottery studio that will work in conjunction with Workshop 13 on pottery classes for the public, an art gallery with a coffee shop, and an additional space for another artistic business. The QVCDC also received a $75,000 grant from the MassDevelopment Collaborative Workspace program to help with the renovations taking place in the new space. Pictured, from left: Alexandria Martinez, project specialist, QVCDC; Sheila Cuddy, executive director, QVDC; Scully; and Mary McGovern, CFO of Country Bank.

 

Future Teachers

The ​MassMutual Foundation has awarded Teach Western Mass (TWM) $150,000 to support two teacher-pipeline programs, Generation Teach and the Urban Education Pathway (UEP

The ​MassMutual Foundation has awarded Teach Western Mass (TWM) $150,000 to support two teacher-pipeline programs, Generation Teach and the Urban Education Pathway (UEP). Both programs are critical to TWM’s efforts to recruit, prepare, and retain effective teachers to provide access to a world-class education to every student in Western Mass. Launched in partnership with Smith College in the fall of 2017, the first cohort of undergraduate Urban Ed Scholars includes 23 students from Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst. Generation Teach is a summer fellowship for high-school and undergraduate students interested in exploring a teaching career.

 

Running for Their Lives

More than 2,500 girls, spectators, volunteers, and community members gathered on June 3 for the Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts 5K event at Springfield College, the culminating moment of the Girls on the Run season

More than 2,500 girls, spectators, volunteers, and community members gathered on June 3 for the Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts 5K event at Springfield College, the culminating moment of the Girls on the Run season. Girls on the Run is a national, physical activity-based, positive youth-development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8. During the 10-week program, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for the end-of-season celebratory 5K event. In Western Mass., more than 190 trained volunteer coaches facilitated the curriculum to 54 teams of girls this spring season, helping equip them with the physical and emotional skills necessary to carry them over the 5K finish line. There were 740 girls in the program this spring from 52 school sites.

 

Engineering Inspiration

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently hosted students from Putnam Vocational Technical High School and Springfield High School of Science and Technology for Engineering Exploration Day

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently hosted students from Putnam Vocational Technical High School and Springfield High School of Science and Technology for Engineering Exploration Day. The students calculated the trajectory of projectiles, explored the computer science that enables 3-D printing, built bridges out of newspapers, plotted transit maps, solved logic puzzles, examined atomic structures, generated magnetic fields, and much more. “Engineering Exploration Day was not only about letting incoming students know about our STEM programs and classes; it also offered our STEM students the opportunity to share their personal experiences of how HCC has impacted their personal journeys,” said Melissa Paciulli, HCC’s STEM project administrator. Pictured: Alban Medina, 18 (right), gets ready to shock one of his classmates from Putnam during an exercise in electricity.

 

Alzheimer’s Awareness

On May 15, Alzheimer’s Assoc. officials, local state legislators, and citizens impacted by Alzheimer’s disease gathered at the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House for a day of awareness and conversation around the disease

On May 15, Alzheimer’s Assoc. officials, local state legislators, and citizens impacted by Alzheimer’s disease gathered at the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House for a day of awareness and conversation around the disease. The event, Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day, included a focus on pending legislation (H. 4116) that would support these individuals and their families while focusing on preparing various stakeholders on making the state more dementia-capable. H.4116 passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 31 and is expected to be in front of the Senate this summer. Attendees also met with their local legislators to share how Alzheimer’s has impacted their lives, thank their representatives for their support of H.4116, and urge senators to support the upcoming legislation. 

 

Features

Photos from the June 2 Event

Gala sponsor Sarat Ford Lincoln with special guest judge Lindsay Arnold (fourth from left) and Bay Path President Carol Leary (fourth from right).

Gala sponsor Sarat Ford Lincoln with special guest judge Lindsay Arnold (fourth from left) and Bay Path President Carol Leary (fourth from right).

Andrew Associates, Mirror Ball sponsors of the Gala.

Andrew Associates, Mirror Ball sponsors of the Gala.

From left to right, Prestley and Helen Blake; President Carol Leary and Noel Leary

From left to right, Prestley and Helen Blake; President Carol Leary and Noel Leary

Emcee Ashley Kohl and special guest judge Lindsay Arnold from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Emcee Ashley Kohl and special guest judge Lindsay Arnold from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Gala Honorary Chairs: (from left to right) Steven and Alissa Korn; Drew and Lauren Davis; and Carrie ’86 and Tim Burr.

Gala Honorary Chairs: (from left to right) Steven and Alissa Korn; Drew and Lauren Davis; and Carrie ’86 and Tim Burr.

From left to right, Gala judges Jonathan Besse, vice chair of the Board of Trustees; Lamont Clemons, Springfield business leader; and Lindsay Arnold from “Dancing With the Stars” provided comments on the dancers.

From left to right, Gala judges Jonathan Besse, vice chair of the Board of Trustees; Lamont Clemons, Springfield business leader; and Lindsay Arnold from “Dancing With the Stars” provided comments on the dancers.

A shot of the dance floor!

A shot of the dance floor!

Founder and CEO Delcie Bean IV from Paragus Strategic IT with partner Daryll Sverrisson’98.

Founder and CEO Delcie Bean IV from Paragus Strategic IT with partner Daryll Sverrisson’98.

Patricia Faginski, vice president and financial advisor at St. Germain Investment Management danced with Gunnar Sverrisson of Ballroom Fever in Enfield, CT.

Patricia Faginski, vice president and financial advisor at St. Germain Investment Management danced with Gunnar Sverrisson of Ballroom Fever in Enfield, CT.

From left to right, President Leary joins the dancers at the end of the competition, Daryll Sverrisson ’98, Delcie Bean IV, Maria Rodriguez-Furlow ‘’10 G’12 of Bay Path, Gunnar Sverrisson, and the winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy:  Patricia Faginski.

From left to right, President Leary joins the dancers at the end of the competition, Daryll Sverrisson ’98, Delcie Bean IV, Maria Rodriguez-Furlow ‘’10 G’12 of Bay Path, Gunnar Sverrisson, and the winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy: Patricia Faginski.