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A Visit from the First Lady

On Feb. 21, Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker paid a visit to Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center, where she spent the afternoon learning about Square One’s work with children and families in the region. She was greeted by Square One educators, therapists, and children, who welcomed her with songs and gifts for the children Baker engages with in her work with the Wonderfund of Massachusetts.

 


Advocating for Community Colleges

James Lombella (left), North-West regional president of Connecticut Community Colleges, and Eileen Peltier (right), dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education for Asnuntuck, Northwestern Connecticut, and Tunxis community colleges, traveled to Hartford in February to represent the 12 Connecticut community colleges as part of a 2020 Skills Summit organized by the National Skills Coalition. Lombella and Peltier met with staff from the office of state Sen. Richard Blumenthal and state Rep. Joe Courtney (center) to provide updates on the community colleges and seek support for Pell grants for students in non-credit programs that provide industry licensure and credentials.


Grand Opening

Brenda Cuoco & Associates Real Estate Brokerage celebrated its grand-opening ceremony on Feb. 8. The office opened for business in Wilbraham in November. State Rep. Angelo Puppolo presented Cuoco, who has been a real-estate agent for 15 years, with a House of Representatives citation.

The brokerage team, from left, Amy Beaulieu, MaryKate Caron, Paula Lynch, Alyssa Stout, Brenda Cuoco, Tammy Sandomierski, Kathleen Brenner, Paige Belcastro, and Cori Bessette

 

From left: Puppolo, David Cuoco, Brenda Cuoco, Marco Cuoco, and Antonio Cuoco

 


Giving Back to the Community

Community Bank N.A. announced that its annual charitable giving reached more than $2.6 million in 2019 through sponsorships, donations, and grants, with its branches across Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont donating to more than 2,500 local organizations. In Massachusetts, it supported a variety of organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, the YMCA of Greater Springfield, Springfield Rescue Mission, Open Pantry Community Services, Way Finders, Gardening the Community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County, and (pictured) the Western Regional Office of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC).

From left: Community Bank N.A. Springfield Branch Manager Gilbert Nieves, Commercial Banking Team Leader Keith Nesbitt, MSBDC Regional Director Samalid Hogan, MSBDC Client Services Coordinator and Office Manager Lynn Shedd, and MSBDC Senior Business Advisor Anita Elisaon.

 

 


Art History

Tower Square unveiled a James Kitchen sculpture in its Center Court on Feb. 26. The 11-foot-high sculpture, titled “Tower Squares,” is comprised of intricate, stacked blocks, a la Dr. Seuss, filled with parts and pieces recycled from Springfield’s past. Visitors will discover a 1940s Indian motorcycle seat, pipe wrenches invented by Solymon Merrick in 1835, a clip-on ice skate patented by Everett Barney in the 1800s, a basketball hoop, ice tongs, hammers, gears that turn, doorbells that ring, faucets, and much more. The entire installation is interactive, inviting children and adults to explore its components. The statue will be a permanent feature of the building.

 

 


 

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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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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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President’s Gala

An evening of elegance and passion, the Springfield College President’s Gala raised more than $500,000 for Springfield College student scholarships. More than 300 gathered on Saturday, October 26 at the MGM Springfield Aria Ballroom. All proceeds will go toward need and merit-based scholarships. The gala was also an opportunity to celebrate the Springfield College Humanics philosophy and its 50-year commitment of having an active member of the current student body serve as a voting member of the board of trustees. Pictured, clockwise from top left: Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper with sport management major Shamar Martin; Kristian Rhim, a communications/sports journalism major from Philadelphia who serves as the student trustee-elect this academic year and will continue on as the 50th student trustee starting in June 2020, is introduced at the gala; Alexandra Goslin, a math and secondary education major from South Windsor, Conn., who is serving as the 49th student trustee this academic year, welcomes visitors to the gala.

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper with sport management major Shamar Martin

 

Kristian Rhim, a communications/sports journalism major from Philadelphia who serves as the student trustee-elect this academic year and will continue on as the 50th student trustee starting in June 2020, is introduced at the gala

 

Alexandra Goslin, a math and secondary education major from South Windsor, Conn., who is serving as the 49th student trustee this academic year, welcomes visitors to the gala

 


 

Children’s Study Home Art Show

On Sept. 19, the Children’s Study Home held a child and youth art show and auction at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Forest Park. More than 30 pieces of artwork from all mediums, including acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, chalk, and sculptures, were shown from the students of the Children’s Study Home’s Mill Pond School and Curtis Blake Day School, as well as artwork from the children of the Children’s Study Home’s residential programs. Local area artisans participated and donated art pieces to the event. The art was displayed for the evening and sold to raise money for the Children’s Study Home’s art and culturing programs.

 


 

Uplifting Women

More than 130 people attended the COMMversations 2019 event at the Springfield Museums. This Bay Path University student-directed event, in partnership with community collaborators, honored and recognized the voices of historic women of the past, pacesetters of the present, and those who are working in ‘brave’ spaces today to define a future for all. Featured speakers were Bay Path President Carol Leary, who was recognized for her 25 years of leadership at Bay Path, and Freedom Rider Jean Denton Thompson, who courageously fought for justice on the front lines of the civil-rights movement.

Allison Zacynski (left) and Tabitha Shustock were two of many Bay Path students who participated in COMMversations 2019

 

From left, state Rep. Brian Ashe, Leary, state Sen. Eric Lesser, Denton Thompson, Bay Path Professor Janine Fondon, and Marvena Shubrick, representing state Rep. Jose Tosado.


 

Harvest of Creativity

On Oct. 25, students and staff from DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology in West Springfield delivered creepy, cute, and festive Halloween pumpkins to the young patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield and Baystate Children’s Hospital. A yearly tradition at DiGrigoli School, the students spent weeks painting, gluing, and designing their pumpkins. Paul DiGrigoli, owner of DiGrigoli School and DiGrigoli Salon, purchases 60 pumpkins every year to increase creativity among the students and teach them the importance of giving back. Once the pumpkins are designed and completed, they are judged by staff members, and prizes are awarded. A selection of the best are then hand-delivered to the child patients of the two Springfield hospitals.

 


Note-able Family

The Ja’Duke Theater announced a father/daughter duo as winners of the Valley Voice competition, which took place Oct. 26. The winner of the Valley Voice Kids & Teen division is 10-year-old Natalie Duff of Wilbraham. She competed in three rounds of performances to win the top spot, a cash prize of $500, and a one-hour recording session at Next Level Records. This division is designated for singers in grades 1 to 12. Natalie’s father, Jared Duff, was named the winner of the Valley Voice adult division. He also competed in three rounds of performances and won a cash prize of $1,000 and a one-hour recording session at Next Level Records.

 


 

Super 60

Now in its 30th year, the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Super 60 program celebrates the success of the fastest-growing privately-owned businesses in the region. Businesses on the Total Revenue and Revenue Growth categories for 2019 represent myriad sectors of the economy, including nonprofits, transportation, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality. They were feted on Oct. 25 at Chez Josef in Agawam.

Pictured at right: Michael Mancuso (left) of event sponsor People’s United Bank presents a plaque to Nate Costa, president of the Springfield Thunderbirds, honored in the Revenue Growth category.

 

 


Passing the Torch

The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley (FBC) celebrated its 25 years of success and first leadership transition with a Legacy and Soul event on Oct. 23 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Founding Director Ira Bryck officially passed the torch to the new Executive Director Jessi Kirley (pictured belwo). FBC members, sponsors, friends, and family shared stories about Bryck and gave a show of support for Kirley. The night finished with dancing to local reggae band (and family business) ReBelle.

 


 

Keep the Ball Rolling

Joe Phillips (right), president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman (center) and state Rep. Brian Ashe for the eighth annual Joseph D. Freedman Bowl-a-Thon. John is the founder of the event, and Ashe will serve as master of ceremonies. The event is being held Saturday, Nov. 16 at AMF Lanes in Chicopee. All proceeds will benefit Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live and work together, caring for each other. Last year, hundreds of bowlers enjoyed the bowling, face painting, and other activities.

Joe Phillips (right), president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman (center) and state Rep. Brian Ashe for the eighth annual Joseph D. Freedman Bowl-a-Thon

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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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Giving Back

Timm Marini, president of HUB International New England, recently presented a check for $5,000 to the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA). Marini has also committed to a $5,000 donation to MHA for 2020. “HUB International New England embraces the value of the communities where our customers and employees live and work, so we give back by supporting community-focused organizations that do good things to help others. MHA is an organization that we have supported for many years and continue to support because of the important work they do helping vulnerable people,” said Marini (pictured with Kimberley Lee, vice president, Resource Development & Branding for MHA).

Music to Their Ears

Phillips Insurance Agency Inc. recently donated $5,000 to the Berkshire Hills Music Academy (BHMA) in South Hadley, which offers a post-secondary transition program, as well as a long-term graduate program for young adults with intellectual challenges. Its educational model infuses music with an empirically based curriculum to promote skills for independence. Karen Phillips of Phillips Insurance (left) presented the check to Michelle Theroux, executive director of Berkshire Hills Music Academy, at the annual spring concert held at the Bernon Music Center on the BHMA campus.

 

City of First Socks

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno showed his support for Upscale Socks owner Lenny Underwood recently, and bought the first pair of his ‘City of First’ socks, depicting the city skyline and a basketball, representing the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The socks can be purchased online at www.upscalesocks.com, as well as the Springfield Regional Visitors Center located at 1319 Main St.

 

 

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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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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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Inspiring Young People

Junior Achievement of Western Mass., working in concert with Associated Industries of Mass. (AIM) and a host of area businesses, staged the inaugural JA Inspire program at the MassMutual Center late last month. The event is a type of job fair for area young people, designed to not only introduce them to potential careers and area employers, but offer insights into what it will take to enter these fields. More than 400 students from 12 area schools and youth organizations attended, and 42 area companies participated.

Jennifer Connelly, president of JA of Western Mass., with students from Granite Valley Middle School in Monson

Jennifer Connelly, president of JA of Western Mass., with students from Granite Valley Middle School in Monson

Kristin Carlson, president of Peerless Precision, talks with a student about opportunities in manufacturing while Dawn Creighton, Western Mass. Director for AIM, listens in

Kristin Carlson, president of Peerless Precision, talks with a student about opportunities in manufacturing while Dawn Creighton, Western Mass. Director for AIM, listens in

students visit the Comcast booth

students visit the Comcast booth

students from M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield pose for a group shot

students from M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield pose for a group shot

students take part in the activities at the Florence Bank booth

students take part in the activities at the Florence Bank booth

 


 

Paul Harris Winners

The Rotary Club of Holyoke recently bestowed Paul Harris Fellowships, Rotary International’s highest honor, upon two community leaders, Peter Rosskothen and Edward Caisse III. Rosskothen is co-owner of the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, the Delaney House, and other businesses. He is actively involved with a number of area groups and organizations, including the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, the Pioneer Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Link to Libraries. Caisse is unit director of High Risk/Community Initiatives for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, known for his work with the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative in Holyoke. Here, Holyoke Rotary Club President Robert McKay, center, congratulates Rosskothen, left, and Caisse.

 


 

TWO Grants

Training & Workforce Options (TWO) helped obtain grants to train workers at Savage Arms in Westfield and Conklin Office Furniture in Holyoke. The Baker-Polito administration in March announced the awarding of $7.48 million in Workforce Training Fund Program grants that will fund training for almost 6,000 workers and is expected to create more than 1,100 new jobs in the Commonwealth over the next two years. The awarded grants included $238,485 for customized training for 67 workers at Savage Arms and $48,820 to train 72 workers at Conklin Office Furniture. The training at Savage Arms will help workers learn to operate computer numerical control (CNC) machines. The grant also includes training in English as a second language. The company expects to add 54 new jobs by 2021. The grant for Conklin Office Furniture will pay for the training of 72 workers in a range of skills, from customer service and team building to sales and leadership. Here, Mark Stafinksi, left, who completed the Introduction to Manufacturing Technologies course facilitated by TWO, stands with Michael Welsh, director of Human Resources at Savage Arms, and Tracye Whitfield, director of Business Development at TWO.

 


 

Breaking Ground

MassMutual was joined by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and the Fallon Company as it broke ground recently on the company’s new commercial building in Boston’s booming Seaport district at 10 Fan Pier Boulevard. This is an integral milestone in support of MassMutual’s multi-year plan to expand in its home state of Massachusetts. Once completed, the new, 17-story, 310,000-square-foot building will house approximately 1,000 MassMutual employees. MassMutual is also renewing its commitment to Springfield, the city of its founding, by adding 1,500 jobs to its headquarters by the end of 2021. Here, MassMutual Chairman, President, and CEO Roger Crandall (eighth from left) is holding the original shovel used for the groundbreaking of MassMutual’s headquarters building in Springfield in 1925. From left, Sean Anderson, head of Facilities at MassMutual; Susan Cicco, head of Human Resources & Employee Experience at MassMutual; Richard Martini, chief operating officer at the Fallon Company; Anis Baig, head of Talent Acquisition & People Analytics at MassMutual; Jennifer Halloran, head of Marketing and Brand at MassMutual; Joe Fallon, founder, president, and CEO of the Fallon Company; Walsh; Crandall; Baker; Teresa Hassara, head of Workplace Solutions at MassMutual; Pia Flanagan, chief of staff at MassMutual; Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S. (MMUS); Gareth Ross, head of Enterprise Technology and Experience at MassMutual, and Renee Roeder, head of the MMUS Business Project Management Office at MassMutual.

 


 

Legacy Gift

During her lifetime, Elaine Marieb donated more than $1.5 million to Holyoke Community College in large and small amounts she once described as “tokens of gratitude” to the institution where she earned her nursing degree and taught biology for 24 years. Even after her death in December, Marieb’s generosity continues. HCC is the beneficiary of a $1 million legacy gift Marieb set up as part of her estate plan, money earmarked for HCC programs that support non-traditional-age students. The gift was officially announced on May 28 at HCC’s monthly board of trustees meeting, followed by the presentation of a $1 million ceremonial check. Pictured, from left, HCC Foundation board chair John Driscoll, HCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Sbriscia, HCC President Christina Royal, and HCC board of trustees chair Robert Gilbert hold a ceremonial check for $1 million from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation.

 


 

Rally Against Cancer

Country Bank’s Employee Charitable Giving program recently donated $26,000 to the Jimmy Fund’s Rally Against Cancer. Team captains Eric Devine, Bonnie Trudeau-Wood, and Jeremy Toussaint led Team Country Bank with fundraising activities to help them exceed their goal of $25,000 and claim the first-place spot in the Corporate Team Challenge. Fundraising activities included staff-donated raffle baskets for employees to win, paying to wear jeans on casual Fridays, a bus trip, bake sales, and online staff donations. In addition to these activities, Country Bank provided a generous matching donation.

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

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Meeting the Class of 2019

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, one of the sponsors of BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty program for 2019, recently staged a cocktail party for the class of 2019 and their guests, providing an opportunity for the soon-to-be members of an exclusive club to meet and get to know one another. Here, honorees gather for a class photo. They’ll be together again on June 20 for the 40 Under Forty Gala at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.



Trees into Cartons, Cartons into Trees

Fourth- and fifth-graders from the Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys and Girls Club recently gathered to learn about the environmental benefits of trees, paper, and recycling from staff members of the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC), a national trade association, headquartered in Springfield, for the manufacturers of paperboard boxes. The presentation was part of PPC’s educational outreach program, TICCIT (Trees into Cartons, Cartons into Trees), which teaches students that trees are a sustainable crop, highlights the many uses for trees and paper, and underscores the importance of recycling. The students also planted tree saplings in paperboard cartons to take home. The carton, when planted directly in the ground, provides protection and a natural water funnel for the new tree. As the tree grows, the carton will break down and complete the TICCIT cycle. PPC also donated a young weeping cherry tree that was planted near the front entrance of the community center.



Investment in the Future

Aerospace Components Manufacturers (ACM), a nonprofit regional network of independent aerospace companies, recently announced a four-year, $180,632 pledge to Asnuntuck Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. The center’s CNC machine-technology lab was also named in honor of ACM. “By ensuring that more students gain access to careers in this exciting industry, these funds will aid in both the realization of individual educational and career goals as well as helping to satisfy a dramatically increasing demand for a technologically skilled workforce,” said Asnuntuck President Frank Lombella, pictured at right with ACM President Pedro Soto (left) and ACM Executive Director Paul Murphy. See story on page 21 for an broader look at the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.



Marking a Milestone

The Edward P. Boland VA Medical Center in Leeds is marking its 95th anniversary this year. It is marking this milestone in a number of ways, including a ceremony, complete with a large birthday cake, at the facility on May 15.

CEO John Collins, FACHE, addresses those gathered, offering both a look back and a glance to the future

CEO John Collins, FACHE, addresses those gathered, offering both a look back and a glance to the future

Audience members listened to a number of different speakers

Audience members listened to a number of different speakers

Gordon Tatro, a retired employee (Engineering) and the VA’s unofficial historian, references an old photo of the facility to highlight changes that have taken place in recent years

Gordon Tatro, a retired employee (Engineering) and the VA’s unofficial historian, references an old photo of the facility to highlight changes that have taken place in recent years

Collins joins recently hired employees to cut the cake

Collins joins recently hired employees to cut the cake

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


Common Threads

Dress for Success staged its annual Common Threads gala on April 25 at the Sheraton in Springfield. The event, described as a ‘celebration of women,’ inspires supporters with stories of success and empowerment as recent program participants speak of their achievements and successes.

Wilhelmina Humphries is ushered to the stage by Werner Maiwald, president of Renaissance Insurance Benefits

Wilhelmina Humphries is ushered to the stage by Werner Maiwald, president of Renaissance Insurance Benefits

Maria Pelletier is ushered to the stage by Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health

Maria Pelletier is ushered to the stage by Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health

Carla Cosenzi, president of Tommy Car Auto, Margaret Tantillo, executive director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts, and Jessica Dupont of Health New England, chair of the board of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts

Carla Cosenzi, president of Tommy Car Auto, Margaret Tantillo, executive director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts, and Jessica Dupont of Health New England, chair of the board of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts

 


President’s Gala

Bay Path University staged its third annual President’s Gala on April 27 at the Sheraton in Springfield. The gala, which raises money for scholarships, again featured a Dancing with the Stars format that had a team of judges — and the audience — struggling to determine who should take home the coveted President’s cup. After audience voting, that honor eventually went to Julian Jusko, a community partner and long-time supporter of the gala, who earned three perfect 10s from the judges, as did fellow competitors Erin Hornyak.

Gala chairs Tim and Carrie Burr, Drew and Lauren Davis

Gala chairs Tim and Carrie Burr, Drew and Lauren Davis, Tiffany and Ted Madru, and Carol and Rick Steele Jr.

Jusko finishes off her routine in style

Jusko finishes off her routine in style

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal addresses the audience

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal addresses the audience

Bay Path President Carol Leary offers a few remarks

Bay Path President Carol Leary offers a few remarks

the judges for the dance competition, from left, Lindsay Arnold, Wayne Hooker, and Kara Wolters

the judges for the dance competition, from left, Lindsay Arnold, Wayne Hooker, and Kara Wolters

from left, instructor Gunnar Sverrisson, Hornyak, Jusko, Clemons, and instructor Daryll & Sverrisson gather for a final round of applause

from left, instructor Gunnar Sverrisson, Hornyak, Jusko, Clemons, and instructor Daryll & Sverrisson gather for a final round of applause


Celebrating Entrepreneurship

The Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative (GEI) staged its annual awards banquet on April 24 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. The well-attended gathering featured an Entrepreneur Showcase featuring students attending 14 area colleges and universities, an elevator-pitch competition, the presentation of awards, and keynote speaker Wombi Rose, CEO and co-founder of Lovepop.

GEI Founder Harold Grinspoon visits with Julia Baker, Springfield Technical Community College student and founder of Media Journeys

Jarrod Coletta, Western New England University student and co-founder of Bimiitech, chats with guests about his venture

Jarrod Coletta, Western New England University student and co-founder of Bimiitech, chats with guests about his venture

the crowded ballroom floor during the Entrepreneur Showcase

the crowded ballroom floor during the Entrepreneur Showcase

Anna Aron (left), a Hampshire College student and founder of Anna Leigh Pottery, shows some of her works to Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation

Anna Aron (left), a Hampshire College student and founder of Anna Leigh Pottery, shows some of her works to Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation

Hampshire College student Adil Sarwar shows off his venture, the Cupcake Factory

Hampshire College student Adil Sarwar shows off his venture, the Cupcake Factory

 


Derby Day

Square One staged its fourth annual Kentucky Derby fundraising gala on race day at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield. More than 210 guests turned out to watch the Running of the Roses, do some networking, and raise nearly $30,000 for early-education provider Square One.

attendees watch as the horses head for the finish line

attendees watch as the horses head for the finish line

from left, Carrie and BJ Calvi, Kelli Moriarty Finn, David Finn, and Ryan McCollum

from left, Carrie and BJ Calvi, Kelli Moriarty Finn, David Finn, and Ryan McCollum

from left, Jeff and Laura Lomma, Andrew and Megan Hersman, and Dawn DiStefano

from left, Jeff and Laura Lomma, Andrew and Megan Hersman, and Dawn DiStefano

Square One President and CEO Joan Kagan addresses the crowd of race watchers

Square One President and CEO Joan Kagan addresses the crowd of race watchers

from left, Lakisha Coppedge, Margaret Tantoillo, and James Coppedge do some networking

from left, Lakisha Coppedge, Margaret Tantoillo, and James Coppedge do some networking

 


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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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Women’s Leadership Conference

Bay Path University staged its annual Women’s Leadership Conference on March 29. The theme for the day was “Why Not Me,” and a number of keynote speakers and focus sessions addressed that broad topic.

More than 1,700 people attended the day-long conference

More than 1,700 people attended the day-long conference

luncheon keynote speaker Mel Robbins shares the ‘five-second rule’ with the audience

luncheon keynote speaker Mel Robbins shares the ‘five-second rule’ with the audience

Rita Moreno, winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and Golden Globe, was the closing keynote speaker at the conference

Rita Moreno, winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and Golden Globe, was the closing keynote speaker at the conference

he sizable contingent from MassMutual poses for a photo

he sizable contingent from MassMutual poses for a photo

Dr. Ann Errichetti, chief operations and academic officer at Presence Health

Dr. Ann Errichetti, chief operations and academic officer at Presence Health

Kate Kane, managing director and wealth-management advisor for Northwestern Mutual, were both inducted into the Women Business Leaders Hall of Fame

Kate Kane, managing director and wealth-management advisor for Northwestern Mutual, were both inducted into the Women Business Leaders Hall of Fame




Cutting the Ribbon

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were conducted on April 5 for a new medical/professional building at 15 Atwood Dr. in Northampton, a project led by Development Associates and Northwood Development, LLC.

Ken Vincunas, right, president of Development Associates, with Ronald Waskiewicz, assistant chief probation officer, and Michael Carey, Hampshire County register of Probate, both tenants in the building

Ken Vincunas, right, president of Development Associates, with Ronald Waskiewicz, assistant chief probation officer, and Michael Carey, Hampshire County register of Probate, both tenants in the building

from left, Vincunas, Susan O’Leary Mulhern of Northwood Development, Eileen O’Leary Sullivan of Northwood Development, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, and Travis Ward of Development Associates

from left, Vincunas, Susan O’Leary Mulhern of Northwood Development, Eileen O’Leary Sullivan of Northwood Development, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, and Travis Ward of Development Associates

officials cut the ceremonial ribbon

officials cut the ceremonial ribbon

O’Leary Sullivan addresses those gathered at the ceremony

O’Leary Sullivan addresses those gathered at the ceremony




Partnering with the Sox

As part of its ongoing Worcester expansion, Country Bank is teaming up with the Worcester Red Sox as one of the team’s 21 founding partners in anticipation of its move to Worcester in 2021. The bank’s recent annual annual meeting in Worcester featured a keynote address that included a video of the site of Polar Park narrated by Worcester Red Sox President Charles Steinberg, along with remarks regarding the team’s decision to relocate to Worcester.

Pictured, from left, are Rob Crain, senior vice president of Marketing for the Worcester Red Sox; Shelley Regin, senior vice president of Marketing for Country Bank; Paul Scully, President and CEO of Country Bank, and Jack Verducci, vice president of Corporate Partnerships for the Worcester Red Sox.

Pictured, from left, are Rob Crain, senior vice president of Marketing for the Worcester Red Sox; Shelley Regin, senior vice president of Marketing for Country Bank; Paul Scully, President and CEO of Country Bank, and Jack Verducci, vice president of Corporate Partnerships for the Worcester Red Sox.




Show of Support

The YWCA of Greater Springfield recently hosted a somewhat unusual, but important gathering — a show of support for Cheryl Claprood, the recently named acting police commissioner in Springfield, a role she assumes at a time of considerable controversy within the department.

Claprood, center, with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi and YWCA Executive Director Elizabeth Dineen, a former prosecutor in Hampden County. Behind them are some of the more than 30 women who attended the event

Claprood, center, with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi and YWCA Executive Director Elizabeth Dineen, a former prosecutor in Hampden County. Behind them are some of the more than 30 women who attended the event

Dineen addresses the gathering

Dineen addresses the gathering




Visit from the Earl of St. Andrews

Elms College recently received a visit from the Earl of St. Andrews, a senior member of the House of Windsor, the reigning royal house of the United Kingdom.

George Philip Nicholas Windsor, Earl of St. Andrews, is the elder son of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and his wife Katharine, Duchess of Kent. He holds the title Earl of St Andrews as heir apparent to the Dukedom of Kent. The earl stopped by Elms College on his way through Springfield to attend a conference on the Middle East in Washington, D.C., later this week. The conference was co-sponsored by the Next Century Foundation, where he serves as a trustee with retired ambassador Mark Hambley, who is also a trustee of Elms College.

George Philip Nicholas Windsor, Earl of St. Andrews, is the elder son of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and his wife Katharine, Duchess of Kent. He holds the title Earl of St Andrews as heir apparent to the Dukedom of Kent. The earl stopped by Elms College on his way through Springfield to attend a conference on the Middle East in Washington, D.C., later this week. The conference was co-sponsored by the Next Century Foundation, where he serves as a trustee with retired ambassador Mark Hambley, who is also a trustee of Elms College.




Degrees of Progress

Elms College President Harry Dumay, left, and Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook shake hands after signing a partnership agreement to offer accelerated online degree-completion programs in Computer Science and Computer Information Technology and Security. The bachelor’s degree programs are completely online and accelerated, which means students can earn their degree in 14 months after obtaining an associate degree from STCC.

Elms College President Harry Dumay, left, and Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook

Elms College President Harry Dumay, left, and Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook




Berkshire Blueprint 2.0

1Berkshire recently launched the implementation phase of the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 at ceremonies at the Colonial Theatre in downtown Pittsfield. The event was the culmination of more than 100 interviews, thousands of hours of work, and more than 20 months of planning and design. 1Berkshire President and CEO Jonathan Butler kicked off the primary outline during the launch by recognizing that $1 billion in regional investments have been made in the Berkshires in just the last three years, noting that investment in the Berkshires is “a good bet.” (Photos by Kara Thornton)

John Bissell, President and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, addresses the large crowd

John Bissell, President and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, addresses the large crowd

Butler, left, with Ben Lamb, director of Economic Development for 1Bershire

Butler, left, with Ben Lamb, director of Economic Development for 1Bershire

from left, Betsy Strickler, chief communications officer for Community Health Programs Inc.

from left, Betsy Strickler, chief communications officer for Community Health Programs Inc.Kevin Pink, Economic Development coordinator for 1Berkshire; and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer




Safety Awards

Peter Pan Bus Lines recently hosted its annual Safety Awards presentation at the Student Prince and the Fort. A total of 175 drivers were recognized for completing 2018 with no accidents, and the company also recognized drivers, operations, and maintenance departments for outstanding customer service and performance.

Michael Drozd was honored as a 2 million-mile driver

Michael Drozd was honored as a 2 million-mile driver

Siyana Abdulbasir received the company’s Customer Excellence Award for outstanding customer service

Siyana Abdulbasir received the company’s Customer Excellence Award for outstanding customer service

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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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Photo essay of business happenings and events

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Outlook 2019

The Springfield Regional Chamber staged its annual Outlook lunch on March 4 at the MassMutual Center. More than 600 area business leaders and elected officials heard from a number of speakers who presented the outlook for the region, the state, and the nation. At top, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal gives the federal outlook.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal gives the federal outlook

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal gives the federal outlook

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno offers some remarks

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno offers some remarks

Margaret Carlson, columnist for the Daily Beast, presents the view from the U.S. Capitol

Margaret Carlson, columnist for the Daily Beast, presents the view from the U.S. Capitol

 


 

Celebrity Readers

Jeb Balise, CEO of Balise Auto, right, and West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, below, took a break from their respective duties recently to become celebrity readers at West Springfield’s Coburn Elementary School. They both read The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin Stead, to third-graders.

 
 

 
 

 


 
 

 

 

 


FSB Community Grants

Through its Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program, Florence Savings Bank (FSB) recently presented grants totaling $102,500 to 61 area nonprofits at an awards ceremony on March 5 at the Garden House at Look Park. At top, FSB President and CEO John Heaps presents Jessie Cooley, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, with a $4,853 award. Below, Adena Calden, left, and Kate Agresto, both of the Leeds Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, read the brochure outlining the award recipients.

FSB President and CEO John Heaps presents Jessie Cooley, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, with a $4,853 award

FSB President and CEO John Heaps presents Jessie Cooley, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, with a $4,853 award


Adena Calden, left, and Kate Agresto, both of the Leeds Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, read the brochure outlining the award recipients

Adena Calden, left, and Kate Agresto, both of the Leeds Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, read the brochure outlining the award recipients

 

 


 
 

Gateway to College

Holyoke Community College recently staged graduation ceremonies for its Gateway to College program. Gateway at HCC is part of a national network of programs that put struggling high-school students and dropouts into college classes, where they work toward their high-school diplomas and also collect transferable college credits.

Biannca Colflesh of Holyoke, one of the 15 graduates, celebrates with her family after the graduation ceremony

Biannca Colflesh of Holyoke, one of the 15 graduates, celebrates with her family after the graduation ceremony

Jeysha Vega Colon of Springfield celebrates with her family

Jeysha Vega Colon of Springfield celebrates with her family

 

 


 
 

Dealer of the Year

Country Hyundai in Northampton recently earned the 2019 DealerRater Dealer of the Year Award and the 2019 Consumer Satisfaction Award, which recognizes auto dealerships across the U.S. and Canada who deliver outstanding customer service, based on consumer reviews written on DealerRater.com.

Carla Cosenzi, center, joins staff at the dealership in celebrating the honor.

Carla Cosenzi, center, joins staff at the dealership in celebrating the honor.

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Business Community Photo Essay February 2019

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Family Fun Day

Link to Libraries recently staged its Family Fun Day at Mill 180 in Easthampton. The event was a celebration of reading and a fun way to engage children of all ages in that all-important activity.

Link to Libraries board member Tammy Trudeau welcomes guests

Link to Libraries board member Tammy Trudeau welcomes guests

Longmeadow High School Key Club volunteers, from left, Emily Ibrahimov, Meghan Desrosiers, Sara Creapo, Kate Gelinas, Shirley Yuan, Abby Chiz, Olivia Anderson, and Miranda Vellenga

Longmeadow High School Key Club volunteers, from left, Emily Ibrahimov, Meghan Desrosiers, Sara Creapo, Kate Gelinas, Shirley Yuan, Abby Chiz, Olivia Anderson, and Miranda Vellenga

Meghan Desrosiers with two attendees

Author Megan Dowd Lambert, from Amherst, reads aloud to children

Meghan Desrosiers with two attendees

Meghan Desrosiers with two attendees

the children’s musical group Little Roots performs at the event

the children’s musical group Little Roots performs at the event

State of Entrepreneurship

On Feb. 7, Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), in partnership with the Western Mass. Economic Development Council’s Entrepreneurship Committee, presented the annual “State of Entrepreneurship in the Valley.” Staged at the recently opened Valley Venture Hub on Bridge Street in Springfield, the event brought together a host of players that collectively comprise the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and featured a number of entrepreneurs speaking to the effectiveness of the ecosystem in helping them turn ideas into businesses.

A host of area leaders involved with VVM, the ecosystem, and entrepreneurship in general cut the ceremonial ribbon on the Valley Venture Hub

A host of area leaders involved with VVM, the ecosystem, and entrepreneurship in general cut the ceremonial ribbon on the Valley Venture Hub

Gregory Thomas, executive director of the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, networks with Ray Berry, founder of White Lion Brewery

Gregory Thomas, executive director of the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, networks with Ray Berry, founder of White Lion Brewery

Kristen Leutz, CEO of VVM, offers some remarks

Kristen Leutz, CEO of VVM, offers some remarks

Roy Chan, a student at UMass, campus director of the Hult Prize, and past Innovation Challenge participant

Roy Chan, a student at UMass, campus director of the Hult Prize, and past Innovation Challenge participant

Sheila Coon, founder of Hot Oven Cookies, tell the audience how the ecosystem has helped promote entrepreneurship in the region

Sheila Coon, founder of Hot Oven Cookies, tell the audience how the ecosystem has helped promote entrepreneurship in the region

The band Turgeon Quintet entertains after the formal program

The band Turgeon Quintet entertains after the formal program

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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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Building New Lives

More than two dozen students were recently recognized for completing a five-month ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) program for Puerto Rican evacuees at Holyoke Community College. The Puerto Rican New Arrivals Program started July 23 and concluded Dec. 20 with a recognition ceremony and feast at HCC’s Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center (PAFEC) in downtown Holyoke. The HCC division of Business and Community Services offered the free ESOL program specifically for residents of Puerto Rico who left the island after Hurricane Maria and relocated to Western Mass.

Maria Crespo Santos and Yamilette Gonzalez Caceres share a moment at the ceremony

Students, faculty, and staff from HCC’s Puerto Rican New Arrivals Program celebrate the completion of the program

Investing in Students

An “Introduction to Fire Science” elective class offered at Ware High School and taught by Ware Fire Department Deputy Chief Edward Wloch — one example of project-based learning at the high school — led to an opportunity to take an EMT-B class at the Holyoke Community College satellite located at the Education to Employment (E2E) site in Ware. Students who finished the high-school elective are now exploring careers in fire science and emergency medicine. Area business partners included Baystate Wing Hospital Corp., which provided a matching grant of $640 that covered half the tuition and textbooks for the EMT course. From left: Michael Moran, president of Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital; students Valentina Towne, Morgan Orszulak, and Joe Gagnon; Wloch; students Seth Bourdeau, Felicity Dineen, and Jordan Trzpit; and Ware Superintendent of Schools Marlene DiLeo.

From left: Michael Moran, president of Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital; students Valentina Towne, Morgan Orszulak, and Joe Gagnon; Wloch; students Seth Bourdeau, Felicity Dineen, and Jordan Trzpit; and Ware Superintendent of Schools Marlene DiLeo.

From left: Michael Moran, president of Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital; students Valentina Towne, Morgan Orszulak, and Joe Gagnon; Wloch; students Seth Bourdeau, Felicity Dineen, and Jordan Trzpit; and Ware Superintendent of Schools Marlene DiLeo.

Another Act of Advocacy


The Advocacy Network, a local organization with a mission to promote and protect the health, human rights, and safety of people with developmental disabilities, recently donated $17,000 to Whole Children. The donation was one of the last acts of the group, which announced it is dissolving after more than 60 years of work. “We’re very pleased to support the programs and staff of Whole Children. We know we found the right place,” said Advocacy Network board member Ed Orzechowski. Whole Children was started in 2004 by a group of parents looking for after-school programs for their children with intellectual disabilities or autism. It joined with Springfield-based Pathlight in 2010 and has expanded to serve some 600 adults, teens, and children each year in a variety of recreation, performing-arts, and enrichment programs.

Launching a New Brand


Consolidated Health Plans (CHP), a Springfield-based accident- and health-insurance Berkshire Hathaway company, recently announced the launch of a new brand name and brand identity for three organizations: Consolidated Health Plans, Commercial Casualty Insurance Co., and Atlanta International Insurance Co. The organizations will be branded under the marketing name of Wellfleet, and the company names are changing to Wellfleet Group, Wellfleet Insurance Co., and Wellfleet New York Insurance Co., respectively.
Consolidated Health Plans President and CEO, Drew DiGiorgio, right, with company founder Kevin Saremi at CHP’s recent 25th anniversary celebration at the Basketball Hall of Fame. At left: from left, CHP employees Maureen Brunelle, Karen O’Connor, Susan Daley, and Amanda Noel.

Consolidated Health Plans President and CEO, Drew DiGiorgio, right, with company founder Kevin Saremi at CHP’s recent 25th anniversary celebration at the Basketball Hall of Fame. At left: from left, CHP employees Maureen Brunelle, Karen O’Connor, Susan Daley, and Amanda Noel.

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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

Business Exchange

The Greater Northampton, Greater Easthampton and Amherst Area chambers of commerce recently came together for their annual Business Exchange at Lord Jeffery Inn. More than 225 business leaders from across the Pioneer Valley enjoyed music, tastings, and networking bingo. The event was sponsored by Duseau Trucking, Five College Realtors, and Kuhn Riddle Architects. Pictured below: from left, John Howland, President, Greenfield Savings Bank (far left) and his wife Phelicia (far right) with Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation. Bottom: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing (left) and Jessye Deane of F45 Training of Hampshire Meadows & Community Action.

 

Pain into Purpose

The Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs recently presented Leon Ford, a community leader, social activist, and survivor of police brutality. Ford, author of Untold, shared his personal story about police brutality, racial profiling, discriminatory practices, victimization, and how he has used his experience as a tool to positively impact society. In 2012, Ford, then 19, was shot five times by a Pittsburgh police officer during a routine traffic stop, leaving paralyzed. Since that time, Ford has told his story all over the country, including delivering a TEDx Talk, “Turning Pain into Purpose,” about his experiences. Pictured: Ford (right) with Calvin Hill, Springfield College’s vice president for Inclusion and Community Engagement.

 

Engaging Efforts

Greater Springfield Senior Services recently awarded $5,000 Let’s Re-engAGE grants to three organizations — Glenmeadow Retirement Community of Longmeadow, Valley Eye Radio Inc. of Springfield, and the Indian Orchard Branch of the Springfield library — for projects designed to reach out to isolated senior citizens and engage the community in the effort. Pictured at below: from left, Valley Eye Radio Executive Director Barbara Loh and board members John Ptaszek and Ellen Berry. At bottom: from left, Stephen Crane, Longmeadow town manager;  the Rev. Pam McGrath, First Church of Christ, Longmeadow; Anne Thomas, president and CEO, Glenmeadow Retirement Community; and Erin Koebler, Community Outreach coordinator, Longmeadow Council on Aging.

 

Celebrating in Style

Mercedes Benz of Springfield celebrated its first year in business recently by throwing a party for customers, employees, and partners in the dealership’s many initiatives within the community. Donations were suggested to support Square One and the Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra. Below, Peter and Michelle Wirth, co-owners of the dealership, with their children: Alexander, Christian, Benjamin, and Charlotte. Middle, magician Peter James entertains two young children. Bottom, there were Mercedes models for people of all ages.

 

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

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Food Drive

The Springfield College Student Athlete Leadership Team partnered with the Department of Public Safety recently to lead a food drive in support of the Foodbank of Western Massachusetts. The campus community helped donate more than 1,698 pounds of nonperishable food items to the Foodbank. Students and staff delivered the food items on Nov. 15.


Andrus Award Winner

On Nov. 8, AARP Massachusetts presented its prestigious Andrus Award to Susan Jaye Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries and founder of GoFIT. The award is given out annually to a volunteer in the state. Named after the organization’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, it recognizes outstanding individuals who are sharing their experience, talents, and skills to enrich the lives of others.

Kaplan with her husband, Steve, left, and Matt Bannister, first vice president of Marketing and Innovation with PeoplesBank. All three are members of the Link to Libraries Board of Directors


Awards Breakfast

Viability Inc. recently staged its annual Employer Recognition and Awards Breakfast at Springfield Country Club. Employer partners that were recognized include The Short Stop Bar & Grill for the Rookie Employer Award; Deerfield Packaging for Employer of the Year; and Walgreens for the National Employer Award. Also recognized was Joseph Wendover for the Armand Tourangeau Volunteer of the Year

Jeff Bowers and Kyle Hahn from Walgreens accept the National Employer Award, presented by Viability Senior Vice President of Corporate Inclusion Solutions, Carla Gaouette.

Viability Board Chair Timothy Marini, left, of Hub International New England, and Viability CEO Dick Venne.


New Bay Path Trustees

Bay Path University recently welcomed seven new members to its Board of Trustees.

From left: Michelle Wirth, co-owner of Mercedes Benz of Springfield; Laura Grondin, president and CEO of Virginia Industries Inc.; Wayne Webster, vice president of Commercial Lending for Westfield Bank; Andrea Hill-Cataldo, founder and president of Johnson & Hill Staffing; Kirk Arnold, technology executive; Lamont Clemons, senior vice president, Proton Energy, and executive vice president, S-Cel-O Painting; and Stefano Martini, chief information officer for MassMutual Financial Group.

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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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Tee Party

Square One’s celebrated its 13th annual Tea Party on Oct. 4. This year’s party was a vintage golf-inspired event hosted by the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Pictured top to bottom: Lauri Doleva (left) and Kris Allard; Lynn Brown and Bill Sullivan; from left, Nina Cameron, Dawn DiStafano, Liz Lopez, and Shynel Hayes; and Jami Ouellette Morse winning a prize.

Michael Epaul Photography

Michael Epaul Photography

Deb Hanna Photography

Michael Epaul Photography

Earning Top Grades

On Oct. 4, 220 guests filled the UMass Student Ballroom for the eighth annual A+ Awards presented by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, recognizing leaders in the community whose work and actions bring economic and social benefit to the region. Pictured top to bottom: honorees included, from left, Catalina Arrubla of Multi-Arts, Jen Loebel-Strong of CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, former U.S. Rep. John Olver, Kim Alli of Greenfield Savings Bank, David Dann of Village Neighbors, and Amherst Cinema, represented by Carol Johnson. Tony Maroulis (left) and John Coull, both former Amherst Area Chamber executive directors.

Source to Sea Cleanup

On Sept. 28-29, an estimated 3,000 volunteers gathered at more than 100 locations along the Connecticut River and tributary streams in four states for the Connecticut River Conservancy’s (CRC) 22nd annual Source to Sea Cleanup. “We all have a responsibility to solve this problem — individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” said Andrew Fisk, CRC executive director. “After cleaning up over 1,000 tons of trash over the course of 22 years, it’s clear that repeated cleaning is not the solution to our trash problem. We need to redesign our economy so there isn’t waste in the first place.” In addition to the tons of small litter picked up this year by volunteers, CRC uses the Source to Sea Cleanup as an opportunity to clean up large trash dump sites and remove large debris items from rivers. (Photo by Sam Masinter)

Something’s Cooking

The Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation recently donated $50,000 to Holyoke Community College for the benefit of students preparing for careers in the culinary arts and hospitality industry. Bill Wagner, president of the foundation, presented an oversized check for that amount to HCC president Christina Royal and officials from the nonprofit HCC Foundation during a brief ceremony Oct. 2 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. From left, Teri Szlosek, administrator and director of the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation; Royal; Wagner; Paul Boudreau ’67, HCC Foundation board chairman; and Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation.

Impact Award

The Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) recently received the Bronze CUSO Financial Services/Sorrento Pacific Financial 2017 Impact Award at the 2018 Annual Conference in San Diego. The award is given to a financial institution that demonstrates an excellent job of building awareness through branch marketing efforts. From left, Valorie Seyfert, president and CEO of CUSO Financial Services, L.P.; Kevin Kober, PNCU director of Retail; Christopher Casale, financial advisor, CUSO Financial Services, L.P.; and Amy Beattie, COO, CUSO Financial Services, L.P.

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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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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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PWC New Members Gathering

The Professional Women’s Chamber of Western MA, an affiliate of the Springfield Regional Chamber, hosted its first annual new-member event on June 28 at Glendale Ridge Vineyard in Southampton. This event brought together professional women from all specialties and backgrounds to network and learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of the Professional Women’s Chamber. Attendees also had the opportunity to sample wines and learn more about the vineyard from host Mary Hamel, co-owner of the Vineyard.

From left: Kate Vishnyakov of Kate Gray Boutique, Jenny MacKay of the Gaudreau Group, and Madeline Landrau from MassMutual Financial Group


From left: Diane Cordeiro of Louis & Clark Drug, Gillian Palmer of Eastern States Exposition, Jeannie Filomeno of Marcotte Ford, Caron LaCour of Burkhart, Pizzanelli, P.C., Margaret Perry of Wilson’s Department Store, Kathleen Plante of BusinessWest, Landreau, and Rachel Duda of Louis & Clark Drug

Cutting the Ribbon

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Paul Picknelly, president of Monarch Enterprises, and Jeff Lomma, member services director of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce joined members of the United Bank team for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bank’s new location at Monarch Place in downtown Springfield on June 28. Earlier this year, the bank moved its branch from 115 State St. into the first floor of One Monarch Place. June 28 marked the ceremonial opening of the new branch location.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Paul Picknelly, president of Monarch Enterprises, and Jeff Lomma, member services director of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce (left to right at center)

All-Star Unveilings

On June 28, the American Hockey League and the Springfield Thunderbirds announced that Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. will serve as the title corporate partner for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield, which will take place on Jan. 27-28, 2019 at the MassMutual Center. Balise Lexus of West Springfield was an integral part of the partnership for the AHL All-Star Classic, in addition to being a Springfield Thunderbirds corporate sponsor. “Balise is proud to partner with Lexus, the Springfield Thunderbirds, and the AHL in this endeavor to make the city we call home a destination, for both entertainment and community,” said Jeb Balise, owner and CEO of Balise Motor Sales, at the announcement. “As an integral part of the city of Springfield since 1919, we are committed to its continuing growth and revitalization.”

Officials from the team, the AHL, and Balise Lexus pose behind the official All-Star logos


Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa addresses the gathering

Pilgrimage Tour

Two students from Elms College spent a week in France last month, practicing their French, learning about French history and culture, and — perhaps most importantly — making personal connections with the legacy of the college’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph. The week of June 16-23, Jane Dugan of Southwick and Monica Karriem of West Hartford, Conn. joined a pilgrimage to Le Puy, France, led by the Assoc. of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph (ACSSJ), of which Elms College is one of nine members. The group was led by Sr. Kitty Hanley and Sr. Joan Lescinski, along with Martha Malinski, executive director of the ACSSJ, and campus ministry representatives from some of the colleges.

Jane Dugan of Southwick (at right) and Monica Karriem


Dugan (left) and Karriem pose beside the statue of Mother St. John Fontbonne at the Sisters of St. Joseph Heritage Rooms in Lyon, France.

Supporting Square One

For the second consecutive year, customers of Pride Stores and store management are showing support for Square One in a very big way. Pride recently staged a campaign where customers were encouraged to purchase a Square One ‘square’ for $1 at all Pride locations. Pride owner Bob Bolduc, one of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers for 2018, agreed to match all the donations, in support of the children and families served by Square One. On July 3, surrounded by Square One preschoolers, Bolduc, along with his team, presented a check for $13,000 to the agency at its location at 255 King St. in Springfield.

Pride employees play games with some of the children


From left, Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One; Marsha DelMonte and Kyara Wiggins of Pride Stores; and Kristine Allard, Square One


Bolduc meets with one of the young students.

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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. 

 

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Breaking Ground

Caolo & Bieniek Architects of Chicopee and R.A.C. Builders Inc. of Agawam took part in the May 5 groundbreaking for West Boylston’s new senior center. R.A.C. Builders was awarded the $4.25 million contract to construct the new facility, which was designed by Caolo & Bieniek. The same two companies designed and built the new West Boylston police headquarters in 2017.

From left, Chris Rucho, West Boylston selectman; project manager Tony Dilusio; Curtis Edgin, principal with Caolo & Bieniek; Roland Ciocca, president of R.A.C.; and John Hadley, West Boylston selectman.

From left, Chris Rucho, West Boylston selectman; project manager Tony Dilusio; Curtis Edgin, principal with Caolo & Bieniek; Roland Ciocca, president of R.A.C.; and John Hadley, West Boylston selectman.

Members of the senior center building committee, plus state Senate President Harriette Chandler (second from right) and state Rep. James O’Day (fourth from left).

Members of the senior center building committee, plus state Senate President Harriette Chandler (second from right) and state Rep. James O’Day (fourth from left).

 

Meeting an Urgent Need

Country Bank recently donated $15,000 to the Ware River Valley Domestic Violence Task Force to support its continued commitment to helping those in need in the Quaboag Hills Region. “Country Bank’s donation has been the foundation of all local domestic-violence services at Valley Human Services of BHN Inc. in the Quaboag Hills,” said Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services (pictured, left, with Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations with Country Bank. “Their funds have been the seed money and remain the match for programs now supported by municipal, state, and federal dollars. We literally would not have our team preventing and responding to domestic violence in our region without Country Bank.”

Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services (pictured, left,) with Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations with Country Bank

Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services (pictured, left,) with Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations with Country Bank

Down the Stretch…

More than 300 supporters of Square One turned out at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield for the nonprofit’s third annual Derby Party on May 5. The gathering, a networking and watch party centered on the Run for the Roses, netted more than $10,000 for Square One’s programs for children and families. Presenting sponsors were the Gaudreau Group and Northeast IT, the venue sponsor was Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, and the platinum sponsor was Alekman DiTusa. 
Photos by Michael Epaul Photography

From left, Amy Selvia Smith, Danielle Williams, Michelle Wirth, and Yvonne Williams

From left, Amy Selvia Smith, Danielle Williams, Michelle Wirth, and Yvonne Williams

from left, David Finn, Maureen McCollum, Ryan McCollum, Kristine Allard, and Kelli Moriarty Finn

from left, David Finn, Maureen McCollum, Ryan McCollum, Kristine Allard, and Kelli Moriarty Finn

Joan Kagan and her husband, Dr. Steve Levine

Joan Kagan and her husband, Dr. Steve Levine

Regina Burns (left) and Jenny MacKay display their winning tickets

Regina Burns (left) and Jenny MacKay display their winning tickets

From left, Alex Dixon, Peter Wirth, and Art Jasper

From left, Alex Dixon, Peter Wirth, and Art Jasper

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Healthy Beginnings

More than 100 community stakeholders, CHD staff, and well-wishers gathered to officially welcome the new CHD Greenfield Center for Wellness to 102 Main St. in downtown Greenfield on April 20. The center, a partnership of CHD and Community Health Center of Franklin County, officially opened for business on Monday, April 30. CHD invested nearly $6.5 million through a combination of private funds, MassDevelopment tax-exempt bonds, and historic tax credits to transform the historic Sears building into a state-of-the-art community health center. Pictured at top: Jim Goodwin, president and CEO of CHD, with Natalie Blias, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. Bottom: Robert Babcock, market president with TD Bank, with Kimberley Lee, vice president of Development at CHD.
Healthy BeginningsHealthy Beginnings 2

Caritas Gala

Mercy Medical Center staged its annual Caritas Gala on April 21 at the MassMutual Center. The gala, with its Motown-inspired theme “Reach Out,” raised funds to support Mercy’s Pathway to Care: Addressing the Opioid Crisis through Intervention, Education, and Treatment. Gala organizers presented two Caritas awards at the event, named after Sister Mary Caritas, SP, vice president of Sisters of Providence congregation and long-time president of Mercy Medical Center. The first went to Gov. Charlie Baker for his vision and leadership around prevention and treatment efforts for those suffering from substance use disorder and his support of individuals and families in recovery. “Recognizing that the opioid crisis is one of the most significant public health issues facing America, Gov. Baker has mobilized efforts across the Commonwealth to tackle the issue through prevention and treatment services; he was a unanimous choice for this important award,” said Mark Fulco, President of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates, as he presented the honor. The second Caritas Award was presented to Daniel Keenan, vice president of Advocacy and Government Relations for Trinity Health of New England, for his advocacy efforts on behalf of patients at Mercy Medical Center and Providence Behavioral Health Hospital. An attorney and former state representative, he is active in behavioral health advocacy including work with the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association and the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems. Below, from left, Fulco; Sister Caritas; Baker; Robert Roose, MD, MPH, FASAM, vice president of Behavioral Health, Mercy Medical Center; and Sister Kathleen Popko, SP, president, Sisters of Providence congregation. At bottom, from left, Fulco, Baker, and Keenan.Caritas GalaCaritas Gala 2

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Be Curious

More than 1,400 men and women ventured to the MassMutual Center in Springfield on April 6 for Bay Path University’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference. The theme of the day-long conference was “Be Curious,” and the event featured two keynote speakers — social psychologist and author Amy Cuddy, and writer, producer, and actress Lena Waithe — as well as a number of focus sessions with topics ranging from “Curiosity at the Core: Cultivating Innovation” to “Reality-based Leadership: Ditching the Drama” and a women leaders panel.

Waithe, right, answers questions from Bay Path President Carol Leary

Waithe, right, answers questions from Bay Path President Carol Leary


From left, women leaders panel members

From left, women leaders panel members Kirk Arnold, a technology executive, Nancy Shendell-Falik, president of Baystate Medical Center, and Lisa Tanzer, president of Life Is Good, with moderator Yvette Frisby


attendees check in for the conference

Attendees check in for the conference


Guests listen at one of the focus sessions

Guests listen at one of the focus sessions




Transcultural Lessons

Puerto Rican author Esmeralda Santiago recently addressed a standing-room-only crowd at Holyoke Community College’s Leslie Phillips Theater, many clutching copies of her 1994 memoir, “When I Was Puerto Rican,” to be signed. Santiago grew up in Puerto Rico in a one-room shack with a dirt floor and tin roof, the eldest of 11 children. Her family moved to Brooklyn when she was 13. In her talk, titled “Writing a Life: A Transcultural Journey,” she described how she learned English from children’s books in the Brooklyn public library, and attended New York’s famous High School of Performing Arts and Manhattan Community College before transferring to Harvard University. She also talked about teachers and mentors and how meaningful they were to her as she adapted to life in the continental U.S.

Puerto Rican author Esmeralda Santiago

Puerto Rican author Esmeralda Santiago


copies of her 1994 memoir, “When I Was Puerto Rican,” to be signed

Copies of her 1994 memoir, “When I Was Puerto Rican,” to be signed