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Picture This

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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

 


Picture This

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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.

Picture This

A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts April 15, 2019

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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

Picture This

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

Picture This

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.

Picture This

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.