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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

 

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Celebrate Springfield

DevelopSpringfield hosted its seventh annual Celebrate Springfield Dinner on March 21 at the MassMutual Center. Nick Fyntrilakis, DevelopSpringfield’s chairman, shared a presentation on highlights of DevelopSpringfield’s first 10 years. Proceeds will support DevelopSpringfield’s redevelopment initiatives, projects, and programs.

From left, Liz O’Gilvie of the Springfield Food Policy Council; Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development; and Laura Masulis of MassDevelopment

From left, Liz O’Gilvie of the Springfield Food Policy Council; Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development; and Laura Masulis of MassDevelopment

From left, Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Stores, and Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One, received the Partners in Progress Award

From left, Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Stores, and Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One, received the Partners in Progress Award, while Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno (represented by Sarno’s Chief of Staff Denise Jordan) received the first-ever Cornerstone Award. The awards recognized the honorees for their efforts to create a strong community and their commitment to economic development and revitalization in Springfield.

Will of the People

Florence Bank recently presented $100,000 in awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 to 57 area nonprofits through its 16th annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program during an event at the Garden House at Look Memorial Park. The funds will support libraries, schools, police, fire departments, hospitals and hospices, and other organizations that benefit people of all ages, as well as animals and the environment. The bank reached the $1.05 million mark in terms of grants made over nearly two decades to 144 community nonprofits. (Photos by Evan Fogarty)

Niki Lankowski and Michael Skillicorn of Grow Food Northampton celebrate the receipt of their Customers’ Choice Community Grant.

Niki Lankowski and Michael Skillicorn of Grow Food Northampton celebrate the receipt of their Customers’ Choice Community Grant.

Florence Bank President and CEO John Heaps Jr., right, shakes hands with Carmine DiCenso, executive director of Dakin Humane Society, the top program recipient with a $5,000 award.

Florence Bank President and CEO John Heaps Jr., right, shakes hands with Carmine DiCenso, executive director of Dakin Humane Society, the top program recipient with a $5,000 award.

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Outlook 2018

The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce staged its annual Outlook luncheon on March 9 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. More than 650 attendees heard a host of speakers updating the regional, state, and national economic pictures. Keynote speakers were Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker, Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Congressman Richard Neal.
Photos by Ed Cohen Photography

Neal gives his annual federal outlook

Neal gives his annual federal outlook


State Rep. Carlos Gonzales, right, talks with Michael Knapik

State Rep. Carlos Gonzales, right, talks with Michael Knapik, who recently left his position as head of Baker’s Western Mass. office to become Baystate Health’s lobbyist


From left, Gene Cassidy, president and CEO of Eastern States Exposition; Penni McLean-Conner, chief customer officer and senior vice president of Customer Group at Eversource; and Mike Mathis, president and COO of MGM Springfield

By the Book

 Phillips Insurance Agency Inc. is sponsoring the Anna E. Barry Elementary School in Chicopee

Phillips Insurance Agency Inc. is sponsoring the Anna E. Barry Elementary School in Chicopee through the Link to Libraries Business Book Link sponsorship program. The three-year, $1,500 annual contribution will provide 300 new books to the Barry School library each year. Five volunteer readers from Phillips Insurance will also visit school classrooms once a month, read to students, and give each child a new book to take home and keep. At the end of each school year, students will have a home library of seven books. Pictured, from left: Sarah Whiteley, employee benefits account executive, Phillips Insurance Agency; Christopher McMaster, account executive, Phillips Insurance Agency; Laurie Flynn, president and CEO, Link to Libraries; Abbie Meulemans, grade 4 teacher, Chicopee; Krystal DeJesus, grade 4 teacher, Chicopee; and Maria Cafaro, grade 4 teacher, Agawam.

Beaming with Pride

On Feb. 28, Holyoke Community College celebrated a topping-off ceremony in front of the HCC Campus Center, now in the middle of a two-year, $43.5 million, top-to-bottom renovation. The building is expected to reopen for the fall 2019 semester. Topping-off ceremonies are held before the last and highest beam is fixed to the frame of new buildings. Traditionally, the beam is painted white and signed by work crews and others involved in the project and adorned with a small evergreen tree and an American flag. By the time it was lifted, the 10-foot beam was covered with signatures from the HCC community, including current student Erin Burns (below), who signed the beam for herself and her sister, father, and mother, all of whom attended HCC. The renovation will add about 9,000 square feet to the 57,727-square-foot building.

 

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Room to Grow

Big Y’s distribution center on Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield, which now supports 70 supermarkets with more planned, will soon be expanded from its current, 189,000-square-foot space to 425,000 square feet, requiring an additional 32 full-time employees at the site. Big Y announced the project, expected to cost between $35 million and $40 million, on Feb. 23. Below (top to bottom): from left, Kevin Kennedy, Springfield’s chief Development officer; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; Claire D’Amour-Daley, Big Y’s vice president of Corporate Communications; and Big Y President Charlie D’Amour.  Middle: D’Amour speaks to the crowd gathered for the announcement. Bottom: Sarno, D’Amour, and D’Amour-Daley with Big Y employees.



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A Sneak Peek

MGM Springfield gave area officials and the press a sneak peek at the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute (MCCTI) Gaming School on Feb. 13. Located on the ninth floor of 95 State St., MGM Springfield’s headquarters, the facility was designed to develop and train individuals interested in applying for gaming positions with the resort casino slated to open this fall. MCCTI is operated by Training and Workforce Options, a collaboration between Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). Below, from top to bottom, MGM President and COO Mike Mathis talks with guests at one of the poker tables. Middle, MGM Springfield General Manager Alex Dixon is flanked by STCC President John Cook and HCC President Christina Royal. Bottom, below, Cook is one of the interested spectators as Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, right, is given some lessons in how to deal blackjack from Robert Westerfield, vice president of Table Games for MGM Springfield.   Photos by MGM/Springfield Mark Murray



Grand Tour

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce (WRC) board of directors and elected officials recently toured the OMG Inc. manufacturing facility in Agawam. Employing more than 350 people in the Agawam facility alone, OMG is a domestic manufacturer of specialty fasteners, adhesives, tools, and related products for the commercial and residential construction markets. Below, pictured top to bottom, from left: West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, WRC Executive Director Robin Wozniak, Agawam Mayor Bill Sapelli, and state Rep. Nick Boldyga. Bottom, from left: Boldyga, Sapelli, and OMG CEO Hubert McGovern.

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Taking a Dip

the newly constructed Balise Riverdale Car Wash on Wayside Avenue

On Jan. 22, Richard Shields, co-owner of Donut Dip, joined Jeb Balise, CEO of Balise Motor Sales, at the newly constructed Balise Riverdale Car Wash on Wayside Avenue in West Springfield to celebrate its opening. Shields, in his Balise-purchased Lexus, received the first public car wash at the new facility. The Donut Dip van was second in line. For payment, Shields brought a dozen fresh, sugar-raised donuts — a value for value trade. Pictured at the ribbon cutting, from left: Tony Debarros, general manager of Balise Car Washes & Detail Centers; car-wash mascot Squeaky Balise; West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt; Jeb Balise; Richard Shields; and Paul Shields, co-owner of Donut Dip. (Photo by Market Mentors)

 

Financing the Future

Country Bank recently announced a $50,000 donation to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp

Country Bank recently announced a $50,000 donation to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. to support its commitment to economic development. The QVCDC offers many programs to help small businesses, including training programs, individual consulting, and small-business loans. “We want to acknowledge and express our deep appreciation for this major donation,” QVCDC Executive Director Sheila Cuddy said. “Country Bank’s support of Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation reflects their deep commitment to the community, and support for activities that are designed to strengthen the business fabric of the region and improve the day-to-day lives of Quaboag region residents.” Pictured, from left: Alex Martinez, QVCDC; Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations, Country Bank; Cuddy; Gail Farnsworth-French, QVCDC; and Janice Hills, QVCDC.

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Meeting the Challenge

Ludlow High School honor students

Arrha Credit Union recently recognized Ludlow High School honor students for collecting $11,523.97 in non-perishable food items and donations. To show appreciation for their extra efforts, Arrha donated $1,000 to Ludlow High School community efforts. “It’s commendable how the members of the National Honor Society at Ludlow High School worked extra hard to make a positive difference for those in need at the Springfield Open Pantry,” said Michael Ostrowski, Arrha president and CEO. The donations were part of the Rock102 Mayflower Marathon challenge to benefit the Springfield Open Pantry, which raised $132,000 in food and monetary donations. Pictured, from left: Ostrowski; Ludlow High School Vice Principal Nancy Kurty; National Honor Society (NHS) students; Shannon Anderson and Brandi Stratton, NHS advisors; and Tony Sanches, assistant vice president of Retail Operations at Arrha.

 

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Shoot to Win

mercedes_9333mercedes-9217Nathan Vila became a Mercedes owner and overnight sensation with his dramatic shot in the Springfield Thunderbirds’ Shoot to Win contest just before Christmas. He ventured to Chicopee and the Mercedes-Benz of Springfield dealership on Dec. 28 to pick up the keys from owners Peter and Michelle Wirth, and it was quite the media event. Vila, who will ship out soon for Army basic training in Georgia (his mother will drive the car for the time being), is seen (at top) with, from left, Paul Picknelly, one of the Thunderbirds’ owners; Nathan Costa, the team’s president; and the Wirths.

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Bags of Cheer

Members of the Holyoke Community College (HCC) Military Club made a visit to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home on Dec. 15 to deliver gifts purchased for the residents there as part of the college’s 18th annual Giving Tree campaign. This year, the HCC community fulfilled the holiday wishes of 343 individuals from four local nonprofit agencies: WestMass ElderCare, Homework House, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Rather than have representatives from the Soldiers’ Home distribute the gifts to their residents this year, the HCC Military Club decided to do it themselves. “This event is so very meaningful to our community. It is a privilege to be able to support the wonderful work of our partners and friends,” HCC President Christina Royal said.

HCC student Ysabel Robles Ramos delivering holiday gift bags to Soldiers’ Home residents

HCC student Ysabel Robles Ramos delivering holiday gift bags to Soldiers’ Home residents

HCC students Jonathan Jasmin delivering holiday gift bags to Soldiers’ Home residents

HCC students Jonathan Jasmin delivering holiday gift bags to Soldiers’ Home residents

Worthy Cause

LUSO Federal Credit Union recently presented Dr. Steven Schonholz, Leonor Salvador, and Robyn Hersey of the Pink WAY and Michelle Graci of Baystate Health Foundation (for Rays of Hope) with a donation of $10,000 for breast-cancer community support and research. This donation was made possible due to generous business donors who helped provide calendar prize giveaways for 60 days, as well as the support of LUSO’s members. This year’s donations brings breast-cancer support and research donations to $40,000 over the last five years.picthispinkway

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A Truly Grand Opening

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield staged an elaborate open house for its new dealership just off Turnpike exit 6 in Chicopee on Dec. 1. The event attracted a wide range of business and civic leaders and Mercedes customers
(Photography by Robert Charles Photography)

A panoramic shot of the new dealership

A panoramic shot of the new dealership

Co-owner Rich Hesse, Todd Grieco, Peter Wirth, and Rainer Wirth

Co-owner Rich Hesse, Todd Grieco, Peter Wirth, and Rainer Wirth

From left, Mike Baxendale, Jennie Anderson, Kirsten and Todd Ondrick, and co-owners Peter and Michelle Wirth

From left, Mike Baxendale, Jennie Anderson, Kirsten and Todd Ondrick, and co-owners Peter and Michelle Wirth

Guests gather around a vintage SL Mercedes model

Guests gather around a vintage SL Mercedes model

Departments Picture This

The Super 60

The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce staged its annual Super 60 Luncheon at a packed Chez Josef in Agawam on Oct. 28. Now in its 28th year, the program recognizes high-performing companies in two categories: Total Revenue and Revenue Growth.

Bill Grinnell (center), president of Webber & Grinnell Insurance, a winner in the Total Revenue category, accepts his plaque from Ashley Allen, vice president of Sales & Marketing for Health New England, the presenting sponsor, and Don D’Amour, chairman of Big Y Foods, a platinum sponsor

Bill Grinnell (center), president of Webber & Grinnell Insurance, a winner in the Total Revenue category, accepts his plaque from Ashley Allen, vice president of Sales & Marketing for Health New England, the presenting sponsor, and Don D’Amour, chairman of Big Y Foods, a platinum sponsor

Ralph Crowley Jr., CEO of Polar Beverages in Worcester, delivers the keynote address

Ralph Crowley Jr., CEO of Polar Beverages in Worcester, delivers the keynote addres

Paul Whalley, vice president of Whalley Computer Associates, the top finisher in the Total Revenue category, accepts his plaque from Allen and D’Amour

Paul Whalley, vice president of Whalley Computer Associates, the top finisher in the Total Revenue category, accepts his plaque from Allen and D’Amour

Drive Time

A host of local and state officials were on hand on Nov. 1 for the ribbon cutting for Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, the $12 million dealership created at the site of the former Plantation Inn in Chicopee. First conceived nearly three years ago, the dealership marks the return of Mercedes-Benz to the Greater Springfield area after a decade-long absence.

Attendees mingle in the showroom prior to the ceremonies

Attendees mingle in the showroom prior to the ceremonies

Jay Ashe, state secretary of Housing & Economic Development, addresses the attendees

Jay Ashe, state secretary of Housing & Economic Development, addresses the attendees

Cutting the ribbon are

Cutting the ribbon are, from left, state Rep. Joseph Wagner, Ashe, Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, partners Peter and Michelle Wirth, partner Richard Hesse, and his wife, Amy

Peter Wirth says a few words to the attendees

Peter Wirth says a few words to the attendees

Departments Picture This

Hats Off to Square One

The 12th annual Square One Tea drew about 400 supporters who celebrated the work the provider of early-learning and family services does on behalf of thousands of families throughout the Greater Springfield region. “Year after year, we look forward to this wonderful opportunity to highlight the work we are doing and the impact that our programs and services have had on the thousands of children and parents who have been served by Square One,” President and CEO Joan Kagan said. “It is so gratifying to hear from our guests how much they enjoy being a part of this special day, and it’s always fun to see who is going to have the best hat.”

From left, Yvette Frisbee, Gladys Oyola, Joan Kagan, Denise Jordan, and Marian Sullivan.

From left, Yvette Frisbee, Gladys Oyola, Joan Kagan, Denise Jordan, and Marian Sullivan.

From left, Ashley Kohl, Lamont Clemons, Lauri Doleva, Christine Dingler, and John Doleva

From left, Ashley Kohl, Lamont Clemons, Lauri Doleva, Christine Dingler, and John Doleva

From left, Sam Edwards, Jennifer Sanchez, Justin Roberts, Lidya Rivera, and Angelo Puppolo

From left, Sam Edwards, Jennifer Sanchez, Justin Roberts, Lidya Rivera, and Angelo Puppolo

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Great Days Gala

Sunshine Village in Chicopee celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 14 with a Great Days Gala. More than 250 guests enjoyed food stations and passed hors d’oeuvres under a tent, along with tours of the buildings on its main campus in Chicopee. As an industry leader in disability services, the organization serves more than 450 people and employs mre than 250 in its day programs and employment services for adults with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. The event focused on the innovation surrounding the next 50 years of the organization, including finding new programs to serve the growing population of individuals with disabilities. Board President Ernest Laflamme Jr. and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos cut the ribbon on the Davis Building that was recently renovated by A. Crane Construction and Caolo & Bieniek Associates to allow for future growth. The building houses administration offices and a new contemporary day-habilitation program geared toward younger adults. In addition, the board room was also dedicated to the leadership of Laflamme as a board member.

Mayor Kos, state Sen. Donald Humason, Executive Director Gina Kos, board Clerk Michael Siddall, A.J. Crane of A. Crane Construction, board President Ernest Laflamme Jr., board Vice President Stephen Melnyck Jr., board member Peter Benton, board Treasurer Clifford Bordeaux, Chicopee Treasurer and board member Marie Laflamme, board member Debra Schneeweis, board member Teri Szlosek, and Curtis Edgin of Caolo & Bieniek Associates. At

Mayor Kos, state Sen. Donald Humason, Executive Director Gina Kos, board Clerk Michael Siddall, A.J. Crane of A. Crane Construction, board President Ernest Laflamme Jr., board Vice President Stephen Melnyck Jr., board member Peter Benton, board Treasurer Clifford Bordeaux, Chicopee Treasurer and board member Marie Laflamme, board member Debra Schneeweis, board member Teri Szlosek, and Curtis Edgin of Caolo & Bieniek Associates.

from left: Ernest Laflamme Jr., Program Manager Jenny Galat, former Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, and Marie Laflamme

From left: Ernest Laflamme Jr., Program Manager Jenny Galat, former Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, and Marie Laflamme

Those gathered listen to a succession of speakers marking the occasion

Those gathered listen to a succession of speakers marking the occasion

Day of Caring

Sept. 15 marked United Way of Pioneer Valley’s 23rd annual Day of Caring. More than 700 volunteers from 25 different companies rolled up their sleeves and gave a helping hand to a non-profit in need. United Way’s Day of Caring is the largest day of volunteerism in Western Massachusetts, with 39 non-profit agencies participating and more than 70 projects happening on that day alone.

 A group of 15 volunteers from AAA of Pioneer Valley, led by Tammi Benson, sort through various donated food items at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield

A group of 15 volunteers from AAA of Pioneer Valley, led by Tammi Benson, sort through various donated food items at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield

Three employees from MassMutual spent the day volunteering with Girls Inc. in Holyoke and washed down all over their transportation vehicles.

Three employees from MassMutual spent the day volunteering with Girls Inc. in Holyoke and washed down all over their transportation vehicles. From left, Jennifer Bolduc, Wendie Dilk, and Charlene Pafumi

Katie Martin, Kathy Dube, Christina Sousa (in camo hat), and Kare LaFleche are among those who volunteered at the Center for Human Development by cleaning up the Residential Center for Young Women—a transitional house for women who suffered trauma from abuse in Holyoke

Katie Martin, Kathy Dube, Christina Sousa (in camo hat), and Kare LaFleche are among those who volunteered at the Center for Human Development by cleaning up the Residential Center for Young Women—a transitional house for women who suffered trauma from abuse in Holyoke

A group of volunteers from Westfield Bank show off a hard day’s work spent doing landscaping projects at Highland Elementary School in Westfield; and Marco Gomes of MassMutual works diligently on a painting project at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke

A group of volunteers from Westfield Bank show off a hard day’s work spent doing landscaping projects at Highland Elementary School in Westfield; and Marco Gomes of MassMutual works diligently on a painting project at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke

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Chilling Out for a Causesp-icebucket-15

Chilling Out for a Cause Fort Street in Springfield played host on Aug. 29 to the Springfield Student Prince ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Event organizers raised $21,000 for the Massachusetts ALS Foundation and specifically to help people in the community who have been stricken with the disease. “When Governor Baker recently filed legislation making the first week in August each year the Ice Bucket Challenge Week, we took it as a special challenge to us here in Springfield, now, to help before the month of August ended. We did not want to wait until next year to begin this tradition,” said event organizer Bill Sampson. Event sponsors included BID Springfield, the Massachusetts Lottery, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Rondeau Ice, Snap Chef, the Springfield Thunderbirds, A.L. Cignoli Co., and the Student Prince and Fort. In addition, Rocky’s Ace Hardware donated 300 buckets.

Fort Street in Springfield played host on Aug. 29 to the Springfield Student Prince ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Event organizers raised $21,000 for the Massachusetts ALS Foundation and specifically to help people in the community who have been stricken with the disease. “When Governor Baker recently filed legislation making the first week in August each year the Ice Bucket Challenge Week, we took it as a special challenge to us here in Springfield, now, to help before the month of August ended. We did not want to wait until next year to begin this tradition,” said event organizer Bill Sampson. Event sponsors included BID Springfield, the Massachusetts Lottery, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Rondeau Ice, Snap Chef, the Springfield Thunderbirds, A.L. Cignoli Co., and the Student Prince and Fort. In addition, Rocky’s Ace Hardware donated 300 buckets.




Family Fun in Amherst

Local improv company Happier Valley Comedy has moved its interactive Happier FAMILY Comedy Show to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. The move places the family-friendly comedy show in a prime location packed full of kid-centric creativity and imagination. The Happier FAMILY Comedy Show is held the third Saturday of every month.

Local improv company Happier Valley Comedy has moved its interactive Happier FAMILY Comedy Show to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. The move places the family-friendly comedy show in a prime location packed full of kid-centric creativity and imagination. The Happier FAMILY Comedy Show is held the third Saturday of every month.




Banking on Growth

Florence Bank hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 14 at its new Hampden County Banking Center in West Springfield, the bank’s first office in Hampden County. All Florence Bank services will be offered through the new center, including deposits and loan products, mobile services to provide 24-hour access to accounts, mortgage-application services, debit-card issuance, commercial-loan capacity, and investment services. The center, which will also offer a drive-up ATM and night depository, will be staffed by eight employees. The bank occupies about 3,000 square feet of a new plaza, developed by the Colvest Group, at the intersection of Union Street and Memorial Avenue, where St. Ann Roman Catholic Church was once located.

Florence Bank hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 14 at its new Hampden County Banking Center in West Springfield, the bank’s first office in Hampden County. All Florence Bank services will be offered through the new center, including deposits and loan products, mobile services to provide 24-hour access to accounts, mortgage-application services, debit-card issuance, commercial-loan capacity, and investment services. The center, which will also offer a drive-up ATM and night depository, will be staffed by eight employees. The bank occupies about 3,000 square feet of a new plaza, developed by the Colvest Group, at the intersection of Union Street and Memorial Avenue, where St. Ann Roman Catholic Church was once located.




Staging Ground

 The Springfield College departments of Physical Therapy and Visual and Performing Arts recently hosted a cross-disciplinary collaboration that focused on effective communication skills that help build and maintain strong relationships between physical therapists and their patients and clients. Led by Department of Visual and Performing Arts Chair Martin Shell (pictured, right) and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Salome Brooks, the one-day workshop helped more than 40 physical therapy students feel more comfortable in their settings by focusing on interpersonal rapport, non-verbal communication, and fundamental presence with others. Shell’s experiential methods, developed for acting classes from the traditions of theater technique, allow for fun and illuminating communication exercises for physical therapy students. “I’ve never had any doubt that the techniques we actors use for observation and training, in preparation to creatively express the complexities of human relationships in collaboration with others, are very useful in many areas of life and work,” he said.

The Springfield College departments of Physical Therapy and Visual and Performing Arts recently hosted a cross-disciplinary collaboration that focused on effective communication skills that help build and maintain strong relationships between physical therapists and their patients and clients. Led by Department of Visual and Performing Arts Chair Martin Shell (pictured, right) and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Salome Brooks, the one-day workshop helped more than 40 physical therapy students feel more comfortable in their settings by focusing on interpersonal rapport, non-verbal communication, and fundamental presence with others. Shell’s experiential methods, developed for acting classes from the traditions of theater technique, allow for fun and illuminating communication exercises for physical therapy students. “I’ve never had any doubt that the techniques we actors use for observation and training, in preparation to creatively express the complexities of human relationships in collaboration with others, are very useful in many areas of life and work,” he said.

Healthcare Heroes

ICU Surgeon Takes Cutting-edge Approach to Help Crush Victims

Dr. Andrew Doben

Dr. Andrew Doben
Dani Fine Photography

Dr. Andrew Doben has two real passions — beyond his family, of course.

Sailing and surgery. Not necessarily in that order, but probably.

They have been both pursuits and professions for Doben, and they are both well-represented on the walls and shelves in his small office at Baystate Medical Center.

Indeed, hanging next to his medical-school diploma is a poster from that famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) 1983 America’s Cup, the one where Australia II, with its revolutionary winged keel, which Doben would describe in great detail, ended the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year hold on the cup. Not far from a shelf crammed with thick medical textbooks is a photograph of Doben and his children on his boat, a 41-foot Oceanis. And just across from a model of the titanium rib fixture he uses to save (and change) the lives of his patients, is another poster, this one complete with bits of sail flown by America3 in its successful America’s Cup defense in 1992.

“I know they’re genuine,” Doben said of these strips of sail, “because it looks like there’s some salt leaching onto the matting.”

Sailing and surgery; surgery and sailing. Doben can do more than talk about them with confidence and reverence in his voice. He can draw some stirring parallels and analogies between the two professions, as we’ll see. Together, they provide a window into how he views his work as director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Baystate.

Which brings us back to that model mentioned earlier and a surgical treatment known as ‘surgical stabilization of rib fractures’ (SSRF), or rib fixation, which, as that name suggests, uses surgically implanted hardware to stabilize rib fractures. The procedure yields quicker recovery times, decreased mortality, reduced incidences of pneumonia, reduced use of ventilation after trauma to the chest, and less chest-wall deformity.

Doben explained. “With pretty much every bone in the human body, when you break it, you are, in some way, shape, or form, holding that bone stable while it heals, whether you put it in a cast, or you put some degree of fixation on it or through it — you stabilize that bone.

“And almost every bone in the body has had that to some degree, with the exception of the ribs,” he went on, adding that this is largely because they are always moving. “Fractures in motion will not heal.”

Years ago, surgeons would try casting or binding the ribs, Doben noted, but because they are so important to the respiratory process, this strategy is almost universally fatal. “People couldn’t take a deep breath, they got pneumonia, and they died.”

People trust a lot in you when you operate on them, and it’s very similar to the feeling you get when someone asks you to be their captain; they give you their boat, and they ask you to carry them through to safe passage; it’s very similar.”

Matters are further complicated by the fact that, if someone has endured an injury forceful enough to break several ribs, they have likely also damaged one or more of the organs that the ribs protect, he said, adding that for decades the hallmark of treatment of such patients was pain control, which led to slightly improved outcomes, with the emphasis on slightly.

Roughly 75 years of technical and medical developments, accelerated by several wars, have produced a fixation system, one that uses a combination of metal exoskeletal plates and pins to keep the ribs entirely immobile while damaged bone and tissue heal, resulting in reduced pain and a much shorter recovery time, as we’ll see later.

Doben’s emergence as one of the leading practitioners of rib fixation — he has performed the procedure more than 200 times, in his estimation — goes a long way to explaining why he is one of two winners in the Healthcare Heroes category called Innovation in Healthcare.

But that’s only part of the story. His tireless work to help make this surgical procedure more mainstream, thus saving more lives, is another big part. Indeed, while fib fixation is widely available in other countries, that is not the case in the U.S.; Doben is working to change that equation.

He noted that, while the number of rib-fixation procedures being performed in this country has risen, those numbers are skewed by the fact that most procedures are being undertaken at a handful of high-volume centers.

“Only a few dozen people in this country have performed as many as 100 of these operations,” he explained, adding that one of his goals moving forward is to create centers of excellence that will become referral centers for the treatment of people with such injuries and training centers for those who perform the procedure, with Baystate likely being one of the first of these centers.

Taking the High Road

As he talked about the start of his professional career — which saw him on the water, or ‘blue water,’ as it’s known to those who navigate it, and not in the OR — Doben made it clear that, while he misses some if not most aspects of that work, he has no regrets about wearing blue scrubs to work every day.

Nor does he have any regrets about not getting into finance, which would have been the most logical path to take with his degree in economics. Instead, he took, well, a different course, actually hundreds of them, as a professional sailor after being part of a nationally ranked sailing team at Connecticut College, a small liberal-arts school located across the street from the Coast Guard Academy in New London.

“I lived on boats and traveled all over the world,” he explained. “I was a captain and delivered sailboats; I did about 35,000 miles of open-ocean sailing prior to going to medical school.”

Elaborating, he said he was first employed by different companies that would lease out boats for sometimes lengthy excursions. It was his job to sail a boat back after a lessee was through with it.

“So someone might start in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and they’d finish in Antigua,” he explained. “Well … somehow that boat has to make it back to the British Virgin Islands. Someone has to have that horrible job of sailing that boat back.”

Later, Doben did well in the business of delivering sailboats to their owners. “Let’s say you live in New England and have a boat you keep in Newport, and you want it in the Caribbean for the winter, but you’re busy; you have a lifestyle where you can’t do it yourself. So you call someone up, and you pay them to bring that boat to you.”

They actually pay more than what he’s making now as a surgeon, Doben said with a smile on his face, noting that, while that life on the ocean sounds like something that would be difficult to leave, he did — and for several reasons.

For starters, life as a sailboat captain didn’t jibe with his ambitions for starting a family — “it’s a tough thing to step aside and say, ‘see you in 35 days,’” he noted. And despite the pleasing picture this lifestyle probably presents in one’s mind, reality is a little different.

“When you’re 600 miles from shore in 140 mile-per-hour winds wondering if your boat is going to sink, it’s not exactly the type of lifestyle most of us want to have in our mid-40s,” he told BusinessWest.

Dr. Andrew Doben

Dr. Andrew Doben can find many parallels between surgery and captaining a sailboat. In both cases, there is what amounts to a contractual agreement.

But, and this is a big but, he desired a lifestyle and a profession that would in many ways mirror what he found on the water.

“I wanted to find a career that was very dynamic, that was constantly changing,” he explained. “One of the things I love about being on the water and navigation is that you can study your whole life and still have things to learn about it.

“No matter what you think you know, things change so rapidly,” he went on, still referring to life on the ocean. “You can start out in the day in beautiful, sunny skies and finish in a tremendous storm, and you have to adjust to it. That dynamic part was something that was very important to me.”

And he’s found it in healthcare, and, more specifically, the operating room.

After going back to college and taking the requisite science courses, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and quickly narrowed his focus to surgery. And in what couldn’t be considered an upset, he found some parallels between that specialty and being a sailing boat captain.

“I felt that there was a real connection to patients, and much more of what I would call a contractual agreement,” he explained. “People trust a lot in you when you operate on them, and it’s very similar to the feeling you get when someone asks you to be their captain; they give you their boat, and they ask you to carry them through to safe passage; it’s very similar.”

Current Events

Fast-forwarding a little, Doben came to Baystate and its 16-unit surgical intensive-care unit in 2010, a destination he chose because of the specific challenges and rewards it presented. And, once again, he can find similarities to life on the blue water.

“When I made the decision that I was going to this [surgery], I decided that I wanted to take care of the sickest of the sick,” he told BusinessWest. “I have the type of personality where … I was out with a friend sailing a few weekends ago, sailing in 40-miles-per-hour winds. I was having a blast.

“I’m not the sort who gets freaked out by bad things happening around me; I’m just sort of even-keeled,” he said, using terminology directly from his previous profession. “If something’s going wrong, I’m just going to focus and try to solve the problem.”

That phrase ‘sickest of the sick’ is often appropriate when taking about candidates for rib fixation. These are usually the victims of crush, fall, and explosive-force injuries and are often elderly, said Doben, adding that he considers himself at the forefront of efforts not only to perform this procedure, but to educate the medical community about its ability to save lives and improve quality of life, while dramatically reducing the overall costs of treating such patients.

“Most bones heal in six weeks, but with ribs, because they’re constantly moving, you’re talking about three to six months,” he said while explaining the many benefits to be derived from this procedure. “If you’re a contractor and you’re self-employed, and you have a raise a hammer over your head, six months to not be able to do that is a long time.

“Roughly 60% of the people who have a severe chest-wall injury remain unemployed for up to a year,” he went on. “We can get people back to work, full-time employment, in three to six weeks.”

He reports that some progress has been made in mainstreaming SSRF, but there is still considerable work to be done.

“In 2009, we wrote a paper on this during my fellowship, and we basically had tomatoes thrown at us when we were at the national meetings,” he recalled. “And now, we’re asked to come to the national meetings and talk about it; it’s been such a frame shift.”

Progress is reflected in the number of rib-fixation procedures being undertaken in this country, he went on, noting that there were maybe 100 cases performed in 2001; by 2014, that number had risen to more than 3,300.

But behind those statistics are some troubling trends, he went on, adding that there are only 20 surgical centers across the country that are performing this surgery more than 30 times a year.

“Most centers are doing one or two a year,” he explained. “And when you look at the patient pool and the injury-severity scores, meaning ‘how badly injured is this patient?’ the number is almost double at the high-volume centers. So the sicker patients are being treated at the high-volume centers, and the mortality is half what it is at the lower-volume centers. So the lower centers are seeing patients who aren’t as sick, with less frequency, and they’re having worse outcomes.

“And that makes sense,” he went on. “If you don’t do the operation a lot and you don’t have a lot of experience, your outcomes are not going to be the same. This is concerning to me, and we’ve been working on that.”

This work is largely focused on creating those centers of excellence he mentioned, adding that he and others with the Chest Wall Injury Society are working to establish the criteria for such centers.

And there is much more to this than having specialists who can perform the rib-fixation surgery, he explained.

“The operation is only one-tenth of the puzzle,” he explained. “The puzzle is the team that takes care of these people. The respiratory specialists, the ICU, anesthesia, the pain management, the post-op management, the physical therapists … it’s a whole host of people. The operation just helps accelerate that process.”

And while establishing these centers of excellence that the ill and injured can be referred to, Doben and others will work to greatly increase the number of surgeons who perform this procedure, with an eye toward improving care in currently underserved areas.

Elaborating, he said there are maybe two dozen facilities that may soon become centers for excellence, and most are clustered in the western part of the country, where there are higher incidences of motorcycling and skiing injuries. Other parts of the country are underserved, he went on, listing Boston, where there is only one surgeon who performs this procedure, as an example.

“There are many people who don’t even know this procedure is available,” he said, adding that his goal now is to not only change that equation, but make the procedure available to more people.

Stemming the Tide

Returning to his thoughts about why he chose surgery as a profession and the ICU as the place to call his professional home, Doben recalled something that a friend of his father and a cardiologist by trade once said to him — something that has obviously stayed with him.

“He said, ‘being a doctor is a great privilege, where you get to see people in their most vulnerable states,’ and there’s nothing more true about that than the ICU, both for patients and families. And I enjoy that relationship of being able to work with people to get them through all that, to get them to safe passage.”

“Sometimes they don’t get there; they don’t survive,” he went on, adding that helping people live out their final days and moments in dignity is often as rewarding as saving a life.

That reference to safe passage was yet another analogy to sailing, a profession Doben has left behind him. Yet the sailing mindset remains — to focus on the horizon and chart a course that will get where you need to go.

And with SSRF and the challenge of bringing that breakthrough technology to more of the people who can benefit from it, he has done just that.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

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Chilling Out for a Cause

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Springfield Student Prince ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Fort Street in Springfield played host on Aug. 29 to the Springfield Student Prince ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Event organizers planned the effort to raise funds for the Massachusetts ALS Foundation and specifically to help people in the community who have been stricken with the disease. “When Governor Baker recently filed legislation making the first week in August each year the Ice Bucket Challenge Week, we took it as a special challenge to us here in Springfield, now, to help before the month of August ended. We did not want to wait until next year to begin this tradition,” said event organizer Bill Sampson. Event sponsors included BID Springfield, the Massachusetts Lottery, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Rondeau Ice, Snap Chef, the Springfield Thunderbirds, A.L. Cignoli Co., and the Student Prince and Fort. In addition, Rocky’s Ace Hardware donated 300 buckets.

Family Fun in Amherst

Local improv company Happier Valley Comedy

Local improv company Happier Valley Comedy has moved its interactive Happier FAMILY Comedy Show to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. The move places the family-friendly comedy show in a prime location packed full of kid-centric creativity and imagination. The Happier FAMILY Comedy Show is held the third Saturday of every month.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts

Fore a Good Cause

Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village held its 28th annual fund-raising golf tournament on Aug. 2 at Chicopee Country Club. The event sold out, with 38 teams participating. A reception with awards, raffles, and a silent auction followed at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee. The winning team was from Kellco Products. Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services came in second, and a team helmed by captain Todd Rubner placed third. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, Sunshine Village will use the funds raised to create opportunities to live and learn, work and earn, and give and grow for the more than 450 people in the organization’s day-services programs. Pictured, from left: Carol Laflamme, Ernest Laflamme Jr., Sunshine Village board president; Gina Kos, Sunshine Village executive director; Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos; and Marie Laflamme.

A Community of Music

The fourth annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival

The fourth annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival drew 16 acts across two downtown stages on Aug. 12. The all-day festival offered a festive atmosphere featuring locally and internationally acclaimed musical artists, including Miles Mosley (pictured), Lizz Wright, Rebirth Brass Band, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Christian Scott, Zaccai Curtis & Insight, Natalie Fernandez, Jeremy Turgeon Quintet, Community Grooves, and more. The Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival was developed by Blues to Green, led by the efforts of founder Kristin Neville, along with Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin and director of Springfield City Mosaic, with the hope that people of many different communities could unite in Springfield, the urban center of Western Mass., to share their love for music and art.

Tru Stories

Tru by Hilton

Work continues at the Tru by Hilton property set to open in the spring of 2018 at 440 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. The 108-room, four-story hotel is owned by BK Investments, which also owns and operates Residence Inn by Marriott (500 Memorial Dr., Chicopee) and Hampton Inn by Hilton (600 Memorial Dr., Chicopee). The new hotel will be the first Tru by Hilton in Massachusetts, and only the second in New England.

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On Track

aerial shot shows ongoing construction at the future Mercedes-Benz of Springfield

This aerial shot shows ongoing construction at the future Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, which is on schedule for mid- to late September opening. The $12 million dealership, to be operated by Peter and Michelle Wirth and Rich and Amy Hess of Springfield Automotive Partners, broke ground near exit 6 of the Mass Pike in Chicopee last September.

A Different Mayoral Race

Valley Blue Sox hosted the Running of the Mayors charity

On July 19, the Valley Blue Sox hosted the Running of the Mayors charity event during the Blue Sox vs. Winnipesaukee Muskrats game at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke. BusinessWest sponsored the event, which included, from left, Chicopee’s Richard Kos, Westfield’s Brian Sullivan, Holyoke’s Alex Morse, Springfield’s Domenic Sarno, and West Springfield’s Will Reichelt. At right is BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien, who dropped the hat to begin the race, which Morse won, edging out Reichelt. As part of the event, Polish National Credit Union contributed money to be distributed to each community’s Boys & Girls Club.

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Meeting the Need

Home Health Aide program at Springfield Technical Community College

Eighteen graduates were recently honored with certificates upon completing the Home Health Aide program at Springfield Technical Community College, which is administered by Training and Workforce Options (TWO), a collaboration between STCC and Holyoke Community College. The program was supported by a 2016 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Training Resources and Internship Networks (TRAIN) Program. Because the grant ended this year, Skinner’s class represented the fourth and final cohort of TRAIN home health aide graduates, although TWO hopes the state will revisit funding for the program. Fifty people have graduated from the four cohorts, and the majority of them have landed jobs. The graduates are highly sought after by employers, said Arlene Rodriguez, vice president of Academic Affairs at STCC. “It is one of the highest-demand occupations, not only in the Springfield area, but throughout the Commonwealth.”

Flipping Out
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The Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce held its 40th annual pancake breakfast

The Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce held its 40th annual pancake breakfast on July 13 at South Middle School. The community event featured music, a bounce house, face painting, bingo, and other activities in addition to the breakfast itself. BusinessWest was among the media sponsors. Top, students enjoy their meal. Above, Justin Klaubert helps serve up pancakes to attendees.

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Celebrating Union Station

More than 550 civic and business leaders turned out at Springfield’s Union Station on June 24 for a black-tie gala to celebrate the four-decade struggle to renovate the landmark and return it to its former glory. The gala was part of a weekend-long series of events that marked the reopening of the station, which was built in 1926 and sat mostly vacant and deteriorating since the late ’70s.

Students from American International College

Students from American International College, dressed in period (late ‘20s) outfits and standing in front of a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton loaned by owner George Holman for the event, served as greeters for the gala.

Gov. Charlie Baker

Gov. Charlie Baker addresses those gathered in the restored grand concourse.

Cutting the ceremonial cake

Cutting the ceremonial cake are, from left: William Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, one of the gala’s sponsors, Baker; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who spearheaded efforts to renovate the station; Roger Crandall, chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual, another of the gala’s sponsors; Maura McCaffrey, president and CEO of Health New England, another gala sponsor; and William Pepin, president and general manager of WWLP-22 News, another gala sponsor.

Neal makes his remarks, thanking a number of individuals and groups that made the restoration of the station possible.

Neal makes his remarks, thanking a number of individuals and groups that made the restoration of the station possible.

 

 

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To Their Health

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Springfield College recently partnered with the Canyon Ranch Institute to implement and evaluate a public-health project called Healthy Table. The goal of the program is to improve healthy eating, cooking, and shopping habits for individuals and families living in the vicinity of Springfield College. As part of the program, participants are able to speak with experts regarding nutrition, learn how to cook nutritional meals, and shop for healthy meals on a budget. Participants must be overweight, or at risk for or diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Each class is co-taught by a chef and a registered dietitian. At left, top: Springfield College Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences Donna Chapman and Catering Director Nick Testa lead participants through a healthy meal option in the kitchen at Cheney Hall. Bottom: Chapman leads the group through a trip to Big Y to talk about shopping for healthy food options.

Springfield College recently partnered with the Canyon Ranch Institute to implement and evaluate a public-health project called Healthy Table. The goal of the program is to improve healthy eating, cooking, and shopping habits for individuals and families living in the vicinity of Springfield College. As part of the program, participants are able to speak with experts regarding nutrition, learn how to cook nutritional meals, and shop for healthy meals on a budget. Participants must be overweight, or at risk for or diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Each class is co-taught by a chef and a registered dietitian. At left, top: Springfield College Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences Donna Chapman and Catering Director Nick Testa lead participants through a healthy meal option in the kitchen at Cheney Hall. Bottom: Chapman leads the group through a trip to Big Y to talk about shopping for healthy food options.

Taking Flight

Bradley International Airport

Bradley International Airport recently launched service between Hartford and Edinburgh, Scotland on Norwegian Air, Bradley’s second non-stop, trans-Atlantic addition in the past year. The airport welcomed the arrival of the aircraft with a traditional water-cannon salute and celebrated the inaugural flight with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Passengers headed to Edinburgh were treated to a Scottish-themed sendoff at the gate, which included cupcakes, giveaways, and entertainment. Norwegian will operate year-round, three times a week, with a twice-weekly schedule during the winter season. The outbound flight leaves Bradley at 9:35 p.m., with an arrival of 9:30 a.m. in Edinburgh. The inbound flight departs Edinburgh at 5:15 p.m. and arrives at Bradley at 7:55 p.m. Charles Gray, board chairman for the Connecticut Airport Authority, noted that “this new international route highlights Bradley Airport’s continued growth and is a reflection of Bradley’s growing popularity among European carriers.”

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts June 13, 2017

Links to the Community

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Link to Libraries

Link to Libraries recently celebrated two local business partnerships. At top, Douglas Theobald (center) and Christopher Walker (left) from Moriarty & Primack, P.C. visited Bowe Elementary School in Chicopee, where they are sponsoring the school students and library as part of the Link to Libraries Business Book Link program for three years. The purpose of the program and sponsorship is to enhance the school library and to give new books to children in the school for them to build home libraries. Below, attorney Stephen Krevalin recently sponsored a field trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame for a grade 4 reading class from Walsh Elementary School in Springfield. They were treated to lunch, a scavenger hunt, new books, T-shirts, and a story hour as part of the sponsored trip, which is part of the Link to Libraries and Basketball Hall of Fame program offered to area schools and nonprofit organizations.

Service Above Self

The Rotary Club of Springfield

The Rotary Club of Springfield gave away $6,000 in service grants at its 102nd anniversary at the Fort Restaurant in Springfield on May 11. The Springfield Rescue Mission, Stone Soul Inc., New England Public Radio (NEPR), the Gray House, Springfield Museums, and Dakin Humane Society each received $1,000.
In addition, the Club presented Paul Harris Fellowship Awards to Peter Lappin, former director of the Western Mass. Office of Economic Development, and Springfield Rotarian Jack Toner.
Pictured from left: Sarah Gogal, project coordinator for the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum at the Springfield Museums; Alicia Garcia, chairperson for the Rotary Club of Springfield Service Fund; Stacey Price, director of Development and Marketing at Dakin Humane Society; Lamont Clemons, vice president of the Rotary Club of Springfield; Laurie Rosner, president of the Rotary Club of Springfield; Greg Clark, stewardship officer for the Springfield Rescue Mission; Karon Tyler, board president at Stone Soul Inc.; Carlos McBride, director of the NEPR Media Lab; and Kathleen Lingenburg, board president of the Gray House.

Nearing the Finish Line

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As part of a multi-year capital improvement project, Thornes Marketplace has spent roughly $500,000 to make the eclectic and historically relevant downtown shopping center more accessible to people with physical disabilities. “We’re nearing the finish line,” said Thornes owner and property manager Richard Madowitz. “We were interested in updating and modernizing and, where feasible, making the building compliant to the extent physically possible. We’re very pleased with the improvements and the increased opportunities it will afford members of the public.” Renovations include the remodeling of several bathrooms, which are now fully handicapped-accessible; the addition of oak handrails along the walls of the grand staircases; and, in partnership with Herrell’s Ice Cream, the replacement of a staircase with a ramp, making the ice-cream parlor accessible from within Thornes for the first time in its nearly 40-year history. Pictured at top: Herrell’s President Judy Herrell stands on the new ramp. At bottom: Madowitz; Thornes Marketing Manager Jody Doele, and Thornes Facilities Manager Jon McGee sit on the stairs beneath the newly installed supplementary handrail.

As part of a multi-year capital improvement project, Thornes Marketplace has spent roughly $500,000 to make the eclectic and historically relevant downtown shopping center more accessible to people with physical disabilities. “We’re nearing the finish line,” said Thornes owner and property manager Richard Madowitz. “We were interested in updating and modernizing and, where feasible, making the building compliant to the extent physically possible. We’re very pleased with the improvements and the increased opportunities it will afford members of the public.” Renovations include the remodeling of several bathrooms, which are now fully handicapped-accessible; the addition of oak handrails along the walls of the grand staircases; and, in partnership with Herrell’s Ice Cream, the replacement of a staircase with a ramp, making the ice-cream parlor accessible from within Thornes for the first time in its nearly 40-year history. Pictured at top: Herrell’s President Judy Herrell stands on the new ramp. At bottom: Madowitz; Thornes Marketing Manager Jody Doele, and Thornes Facilities Manager Jon McGee sit on the stairs beneath the newly installed supplementary handrail.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / May 30, 2017

Special Delivery

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The Post Office Food Drive for the Northampton Survival Center took place on May 13. Postal trucks delivered more than 24,000 pounds of food, with hundreds of volunteers working in two-hour shifts to unload, sort, weigh, and box up the donations. Top: volunteers Cher Willems, Debin Bruce, Elaine Findley, Tyler Lacombe-Bart, Liz Bedell, and Talia O’Shea sort boxes, cans, and glass. Bottom: volunteers Jake Greenburg, Lucas Steblea, and Reed Shimmelfing help a postal worker unload the truck.

All You Need Is Love

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Mercy Medical Center’s first annual Caritas Gala raised $358,316 to expand and enhance Mercy Behavioral Health Care’s opioid-treatment and addiction-recovery programs, including a new inpatient step-down treatment program for post-detox services. Themed “All You Need Is Love,” the inaugural gala was held at the MassMutual Center in March. John Sjoberg and Brenda Garton-Sjoberg served as honorary chairpersons of the event. Sjoberg serves as chairman of the board for Mercy and as vice chairman of the board for Trinity Health – New England. Garton-Sjoberg has served as honorary chairperson of Mercy Gift of Light. Pictured, from left: Alice Kennedy, director of Special Gifts, Fund Development, Mercy Medical Center; Dr. Mohamed Hamdani, committee member, Opioid Project; Sr. Mary Caritas; Dr. Robert Roose, vice president, Mercy Behavioral Health Care; Allison Gearing-Kalill, vice president, Fund Development, Mercy Medical Center; Sjoberg; Garton-Sjoberg; Dean Whalen, chair, Opioid Project; and Daniel Keenan, regional vice president, Advocacy and Government Relations, Trinity Health – New England.

Unified Against Bullying

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More than 650 people gathered at the Log Cabin in Holyoke on May 16 to celebrate diversity through fashion at a fund-raiser for Unify Against Bullying. Students of all shapes, sizes, styles, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and physical ability from 30 different schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut strutted their stuff at the nonprofit’s third annual Fashion Show, presented by Robert Charles Photography of East Longmeadow. Greta Salóme (top), Icelandic performer, joined the students on stage for a moving performance which portrayed an example of dealing with bullying and what it takes to rise above it. During the skit, she performed her song, “Hear Them Calling,” which she sang in the finals of Eurovision in 2016. Bottom: a runway model performs in a skit about bullying.
Photos by Robert Charles Photography

Earning and Learning

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Sharon Dufour, chief financial officer for Luso Federal Credit Union, and Kimberly Anderson, Community Relations representative for Luso, were recognized on National Financial Educators Day for their hard work and dedication to promoting financial-literacy education in Ludlow, Hampden, and Wilbraham. Nominated by Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), Dufour and Anderson, supported by Luso Federal Credit Union and a grant from the Joseph and Anna C. Dias Family Foundation, help bring financial-literacy education to thousands of youth in the three communities. Every child in Ludlow schools and St. John the Baptist School, kindergarten through grade 8, participates in a JA program each year, as well as all the students at Thornton Burgess Middle School in Hampden and Wilbraham Middle School. Dufour and Anderson not only secure the funding for the programs, but recruit and train nearly 100 volunteers to deliver them. Dufour and Anderson also teach multiple JA programs each year. Pictured, from left: JAWM Development Director Megan Beliveau; Dufour; Anderson; and JAWM Program Manager Abigail Ames.

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Celebrating 50 Years

Springfield Technical Community College staged its 50th Anniversary Gala on April 28 at the Marriott in Springfield. The event drew more than 400 attendees, including past and present presidents, faculty members and staff, and supporters on many levels, including trustees and foundation board members. Below, from top to bottom: 50th Anniversary co-chairs Setta McCabe and Richard Parkin (right) with photographer and frequent STCC instructor Jim Langone; former STCC President Andrew Scibelli with his wife, Kitty; from left, Gary Fialky, retired partner with the law firm Bacon Wilson, Joe Sibilia, founder of Gasoline Alley, and Paul Stelzer, principal with Appleton Corp.; STCC President John Cook, who was inaugurated a day before the gala, with his daughter, Sawyer, son, Crawford, and mother, Nancy Codd Cook; from left, retired faculty members Marilyn Pooler and Joanne Cerato with current faculty member Margaret Woble-Valenski; Frederick and Marjorie Hurst, owners of African American Point of View (Frederick is a former trustee of the college); from left, Gail Carberry, president of Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester and former vice president at STCC, and current college staff members Linda Padykula, Cynthia LaPlante, and Sharon Conte.
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Horses, Hats, and Hors d’oeuvres

Short of heading to Churchill Downs, the Colony Club in Springfield was the place to go for the 2017 Kentucky Derby on May 6. Hundreds of guests wore their finest hats, floral patterns, and pastels to celebrate the 143rd running of the annual race. The event has become a signature event for Square One, a regional nonprofit organization serving at-risk children and families. Presented by the Gaudreau Group, Northeast IT, and the Colony Club, with sponsorship support from NUVO Bank, American International College, Chicopee Industrial Contractors, and others, the event raised more than $20,000 to support Square One’s mission. Below, from top to bottom: Jeremy Casey, David Condon, and Justin Roberts looking dapper; from left, Square One President and CEO Joan Kagan, Christine Maiwald of Renaissance Advisors, Karen Tetrault of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., Werner Maiwald of Renaissance Advisors, and Kristine Allard, Jenise Katalina, and Joni-Beck Brewer, all with Square One; Joan Kagan and her husband, Dr. Steve Levine; Square One’s Chief Family Services officer, Joni Beck-Brewer, and husband, Bruce Brewer; Square One event volunteers Samantha Baker, Kelsey Allard, and Grace McConnell, all sophomores at Minnechaug High School in Wilbraham. (Photos by Deb Hanna Photography)
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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts April 17, 2017

Celebrating Women

Bay Path University held its 22nd annual Women’s Leadership Conference on March 31 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, with the theme of empathy. Keynote speakers included bestselling author Nicholas Sparks, media mogul Nely Galan, and Shiza Shahid, social entrepreneur and co-founder of the Malala Fund. Pictured, top to bottom: Bay Path President Carol Leary takes the stage; Mary Lynn Ostrowski, executive director of the Aetna Foundation, is inducted into Bay Path’s 21st Century Women Business Leaders Hall of Fame; Sara Gladu of MassMutual Financial Group heads to one of the sessions; employees from PeoplesBank, conference sponsor, gather for a group photo; attendees enjoy Link to VR’s virtual-reality demonstrations.
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They Will Soar

Girls Inc. of Holyoke held its annual Spirit of Girls Breakfast on April 4 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The theme of this year’s fund-raiser event was “With You in Her Corner, She Will Soar,” showcasing how Girls Inc. builds healthy, confident, and resilient girls. Top to bottom: Girls Inc. alumna speaker Cynthia Medina Carson, Girls Inc. of Holyoke Executive Director Suzanne Parker, and Bay Path University President Carol Leary with Girls Inc. girls Jaylyn, Nayshkaliz, and Stella. Carson (third from left) with CareerPoint’s April Pike, Liz Sotomayor, Gladys Lebron-Martinez, Xandria Sotomayor, and President and CEO David Gadaire.
(Photos by JeffreyB. Photography)
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Learning Across Cultures

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed its fourth and final cohort of educators from Pakistan as part of the Community College Administrator Pakistan project. The group is visiting HCC for six weeks, learning about the U.S. higher-education system with a focus on Massachusetts’ community colleges. They will meet with HCC staff mentors, attend classes and workshops, engage with students and faculty, and develop personal projects and bring those lessons home with the goals of promoting higher education in Pakistan and fostering sustained engagement with their U.S. counterparts and institutions. Top to bottom: Brynn Nowell, HCC senior admissions counselor (right), takes a group of educators from Pakistan on a tour of the HCC campus. Three members of the Pakistani delegation.
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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / Date

Progress Report

DevelopSpringfield hosted its sixth annual Celebrate Springfield dinner event on March 15 at the MassMutual Center in celebration of Springfield and the many accomplishments the community has achieved over the past year along with notable new initiatives underway. Below (from top to bottom): Ethel Griffin of Revitalize CDC, DevelopSpringfield President and CEO Jay Minkarah, and Loleta Collins and Jessica Quinonez of the Springfield Housing Authority; Partners in Progress honorees Gumersindo Gomez of the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, Sarah Page of HAPHousing, Springfield Chief Administrative and Financial Officer Timothy Plante, and Gordon Pulsifer of First Resource Companies; attendees enjoy a time of networking; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno (left) and Jay Ash, secretary of Housing and Economic Development for Massachusetts; a panel discussion featuring, from left, Ash, Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, MassDevelopment Transformative Development Fellow Laura Masulis, and Minkarah.
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Celebrating Heroes

The Annual American Red Cross of Western Mass. celebrated its 15th annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast on March 17 at the MassMutual Center. The organization’s largest fund-raiser brought together some 500 individuals, community leaders, business owners, and family and friends of local people who have shown courage, kindness, and unselfish character through acts of heroism in Western Mass. The breakfast helps to support disaster relief throughout Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Below (from top to bottom): Hometown Hero Gary Ponce takes in the morning’s presentations; Hometown Hero Michael Sibilia with his award; Hometown Hero and Agawam firefighter Pamela Murphy (right) with Rebecca Boutin, American Red Cross of Western Mass. board member; a display of American Red Cross comfort teddy bears.
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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts March 20, 2017

Good Time, Serious Purpose

Nearly 600 guests turned out at the MassMutual Center on March 11 for the inaugural Caritas Ball, staged by the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS) to raise awareness of the addiction crisis facing the region and the nation and to raise money for treatment and prevention programs. Themed “All You Need Is Love” (‘caritas’ means love), the gala featured live and silent auctions, the band Beantown, networking, presentation of the first Caritas Award, and a thought-provoking talk from West Springfield resident Jonah Kirk, who lost his son, Jack, to heroin addiction. Below, top to Bottom: Dr. Robert Roose, vice president of Mercy Behavioral Healthcare, addresses the audience after receiving the Caritas Award for his work on the front lines of the addiction crisis; Kirk addresses the rapt audience with a photo of his son in the background; guests join a singer from Beantown on the dance floor; gala committee chairs John Sjoberg and his wife, Brenda Garton-Sjoberg; and embracing the theme for the night (quite literally) are, from left, guests Lori Miller and Dora Sardinha, Roose, and Allison Gearing-Kalill, vice president of Fund Development for the SPHS, who spearheaded efforts to launch the gala.
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History in the Remaking

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal hosted an elaborate press conference on March 6 to celebrate the soon-to-be-opened Union Station in Springfield. Neal led a host of speakers who detailed the nearly 40-year-long effort to renovate the station as well as the projected key role the facility will play in the revitalization of the city. Other speakers included Mayor Domenic Sarno, Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, Republican Executive Editor Wayne Phaneuf (who is preparing a book on the station), and Edward Pessalano, owner of Design & Advertising Associates, who led the efforts to create murals now on display at the station displaying scenes from the history of the city, Union Station, and regional transportation. One of those murals is pictured bottom.
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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts March 7, 2017
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Spreading Light

I Found Light Against All Odds, a television program hosted and co-produced by Stefan Davis, provides high-risk youth and families with tools and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty, desperation, and dependence that dominates their lives, enabling them to become contributing members of the community. Pictured at a recent meet and greet in Wilbraham for I Found Light Against All Odds are, from left, Lisa Leary; John Doleva, president and CEO, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; Lauri Doleva; Kim Sanborn, board member, I Found Light Against All Odds; Davis; Lori Berg, and Scott Berg, president and CEO, YMCA of Greater Springfield.

I Found Light Against All Odds, a television program hosted and co-produced by Stefan Davis, provides high-risk youth and families with tools and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty, desperation, and dependence that dominates their lives, enabling them to become contributing members of the community. Pictured at a recent meet and greet in Wilbraham for I Found Light Against All Odds are, from left, Lisa Leary; John Doleva, president and CEO, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; Lauri Doleva; Kim Sanborn, board member, I Found Light Against All Odds; Davis; Lori Berg, and Scott Berg, president and CEO, YMCA of Greater Springfield.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts February 6, 2017


Manufacturing Growth

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Last week, Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) celebrated the graduation of participants in its Massachusetts Manufacturing Accelerator. The program delivered intensive and immersive training sessions to seven small precision manufacturers over four months to help them identify new revenue streams and connect them with new industries and customers. “This program is unique because it takes startup methodology and applies it to established manufacturers,” said Paul Silva, VVM co-founder. “We encouraged these businesses to boldly question the way they’ve been doing business for decades and discover new markets and opportunities. We’re very excited about the results.” Funding for this program was provided by the Advanced Manufacturing Futures Program administered by MassDevelopment. “The manufacturers who participated in the Massachusetts Manufacturing Accelerator benefited from the creative and thoughtful approach Valley Venture Mentors and its partners took with this program, and MassDevelopment is pleased to support the accelerator with a grant from the Manufacturing Futures Fund,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones said. “Congratulations to everyone on this accomplishment, which will help Western Massachusetts’ innovative manufacturing industry continue to grow.” Graduates of the program include BSS Additive, Boulevard Machine & Gear, Decker Machine Works Inc., Mitchell Machine Inc. and Precise Turning and Manufacturing. Pictured: Silva (left) and Jones with Decker Machine Works President Scott Decker (top left) and Precise Turning and Manufacturing President Gary Siedlik (top right).





Clothing Time

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Farmington Bank retail administration and assistant branch managers joined forces recently to initiate a holiday children’s clothing drive to benefit My Sisters’ Place, a Hartford-based organization that empowers women, families, and others to achieve independence and stability in their community by providing housing and supportive services. Those efforts were reinforced by customer support center and branch staffs in Farmington Bank operations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Collectively, bank employees donated more than 300 pieces of clothing.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts January 23, 2017

A Decade of Engagement

Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS)

Last week, the board of directors of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) hosted a press conference and leadership luncheon panel to kick off a year-long slate of events celebrating the organization’s 10th anniversary. “I was nothing before YPS,” said Jeremy Casey, past president. “Being a part of this organization has made me better personally and professionally. It’s the best thing I have ever done for my career.” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 18, 2017 Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield Day in the city, praising members’ commitment to cultivate a more engaged young workforce and adding, “you have truly been outstanding ambassadors for the city of Springfield.” Afterward, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien led a panel discussion with Casey, current YPS President Peter Ellis, and past presidents Jeff Fialky and Pam Thornton. “It’s amazing to me to see the progression, the continuation of the ideas you guys had, that are still happening,” Ellis told the past presidents and current YPS members gathered in the room.” Added Thornton, “YPS is only as good as the people serving. It’s always been a working board, a working organization. Everyone brings their own perspectives, different opinions about how to grow it, and sometimes we didn’t get along, but we’re so excited to see it’s still strong and still growing.”

Making IT Happen

Tech Foundry

Last month, Tech Foundry graduated its third class, during which area employers announced the hiring of IT students, turning them from interns to employees. With close to 100 volunteers, partners, business leaders, friends, and family in attendance, Jonathan Edwards (pictured), Tech Foundry’s director of Strategic Partnerships, feted the accomplishments of the Tech Foundry students, noting that “the class we’ve had this time around is truly remarkable. Now it’s time to build on that momentum.” Meanwhile, Tech Foundry founder and board chair Delcie Bean challenged the graduating students to “live up to the expectations that everyone in the room has for you by helping the Springfield economy grow and thrive. Other guest speakers included Carol Leary, president of Bay Path University, and Andrew Anderlonis, president of Rediker Software, whose company has hired three Tech Foundry graduates.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts December 26, 2016

Future of Nursing

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Elms College recently received $2,000 from the veterans honor society known as La Societé des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux (the Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses, or the Forty & Eight), to fund a nursing scholarship. This award will grant $400 per year to support a sophomore or junior student’s nursing education. Preference will be given to veterans, children of veterans, or active military. Pictured, from left: Ralph LeFebvre, cheminot local, Forty & Eight; James Hoar, cheminot and chef de gare passé, Forty & Eight; Kathleen Scoble, dean of the School of Nursing at Elms College; and Delfo Barabani Jr., commissar intendant, Forty & Eight. Photo courtesy of Elms College.

Sharing an Important Story

Sharing an Important Story
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien, a board member with Link to Libraries (LTL) and frequent celebrity reader, was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Ludlow Zonta Club. He updated the members on progress at both the magazine and LTL, the nonprofit that provides books for school library shelves across Western Mass. and Northern Conn. Here, he accepts a check for $300 from Ludlow Zonta President Mary Knight to further Link to Libraries’ efforts.

Driving Support

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The Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce donated a total of $1,000 to Margaret’s Pantry and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke Inc. on behalf of Bryan Marcotte, dealer principal of Marcotte Ford, who was named the 2016 Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year. A portion of the proceeds from the event’s advertising sales was set aside for Marcotte to donate to the charities of his choice. Pictured from left: Mike Filomeno, General Manager, Marcotte Ford; Jeannie Filomeno, human resources manager,  Marcotte Ford; Eileen Cavanaugh, president, Boys and Girls Club of Holyoke; Bryan Marcotte; Benda Lamagdeleine, program manager, Margaret’s Pantry; Michael Marcotte, president, Marcotte Ford; Sue Keller, marketing director, Marcotte Ford; and Kathleen Anderson, president, Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts December 12, 2016

Service Above Self

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Last month, the Springfield Rotary Club staged its annual Service Above Self luncheon at the Basketball Hall of Fame, an event where two individuals, one regional and one national, are honored for their work for and within the community. Honored this year were NBA great (and Hall of Famer) Spencer Haywood and Susan Jaye-Kaplan, founder of Link to Libraries and GoFIT. Top to bottom: from left, Lamont Clemons, first vice president of the Springfield Rotary Club, Frank Colaccino, CEO of the Colvest Group, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Haywood; Basketball Hall of Fame President and CEO John Doleva, right, with the two honorees; state Sen. Eric Lesser presents Jaye-Kaplan with a commendation from the state for her work within the community.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts November 28, 2016

Government Reception

The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce staged its annual Government Reception on Nov. 17 at the Carriage House at Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield. Below, from top to bottom, left, State Sen., Eric Lesser, left, and State Rep. Joseph Wagner, meet with Dawn Creighton, Western Mass. director for A.I.M.; Dan Glanville and Eileen Leahy of Comcast Business; From left, state Sen. James Welch, West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, and Agawam City Councilor Richard Theroux; Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams with Annamarie Golden, administrative fellow in the Office of Government and Community Relations at Baystate.
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Watch This

Donna Harvey, right, assistant director of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Elms College, was the lucky winner of an Apple watch, raffled off at the Western Mass. Business Expo on Nov. 3 by event sponsor Johnson & Hill, represented here by Tiffany Appleton, director of the company’s Accounting and Finance Division.
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Super 60

Super 60

More than 500 guests gathered at Chez Josef in Agawam on Oct. 28 for the Super 60 awards luncheon, presented by the Springfield Regional Chamber to honor the region’s fastest-growing privately owned companies. This year’s top honoree in the Total Revenue category was Stavros Center for Independent Living Inc. in Amherst, while the top honoree in Revenue Growth was Lavishlyhip, LLC in Feeding Hills. The event’s keynote speaker was Tree House Brewing co-founder Dean Rohan.

 

Justin Pelis, board treasurer of Stavros Center for Independent Living

From left, Justin Pelis, board treasurer of Stavros Center for Independent Living; Ashley Allen, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Health New England; Nancy Bazanchuk, board vice president of Stavros; and John Patrick, president and CEO of Farmington Bank

 

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Bill Grinnell, president of Webber and Grinnell Insurance (left), and Richard Venne, CEO and president of Community Enterprises

From left, Allen; Jay Ray, president of Detector Technology Inc.; and Patrick

From left, Allen; Jay Ray, president of Detector Technology Inc.; and Patrick

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts October 31, 2016

 

Employer Recognition

Human Resources Unlimited (HRU) recently celebrated its annual Employer Recognition & Awards Breakfast at Springfield Country Club.

Dan Flynn, United Bank’s COO for Wholesale Banking (left), presents HRU’s 2016 Employer of the Year Award to Specialty Bolt & Screw Inc.; accepting the award is Specialty COO Jon Queenin.

Dan Flynn, United Bank’s COO for Wholesale Banking (left), presents HRU’s 2016 Employer of the Year Award to Specialty Bolt & Screw Inc.; accepting the award is Specialty COO Jon Queenin.

Amy Royal, CEO of Royal, P.C. and member of HRU’s board of directors, presents HRU’s 2016 Rookie Employer of the Year Award to Mario Scorza, manager of Friendly’s of the Westfield Shops

Amy Royal, CEO of Royal, P.C. and member of HRU’s board of directors, presents HRU’s 2016 Rookie Employer of the Year Award to Mario Scorza, manager of Friendly’s of the Westfield Shops

Timm Marini (left), president of HUB International, Carol Tourangeau (second from left), and HRU President Don Kozera present HRU’s 2016 Armand Tourangeau Volunteer of the Year Award to Cheryl Rumley of Apex Healthcare.

Timm Marini (left), president of HUB International, Carol Tourangeau (second from left), and HRU President Don Kozera present HRU’s 2016 Armand Tourangeau Volunteer of the Year Award to Cheryl Rumley of Apex Healthcare.

 

 

 

Ready to Launch

 On Oct. 21, Massachusetts life-science industry leaders, state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, and other dignitaries took part in a launch of the university’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), including a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Harvey Lodish, scientific advisor to Genzyme Inc. and Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, offered the keynote talk. IALS was initially funded by a $95 million investment by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center together with more than $55 million in investments by the university. To date, more than $20 million in IALS-related sponsored research awards have been secured. The investment in state-of-the-art equipment is designed for use not only by UMass faculty researchers but also industry and academic partners.


On Oct. 21, Massachusetts life-science industry leaders, state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, and other dignitaries took part in a launch of the university’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), including a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Harvey Lodish, scientific advisor to Genzyme Inc. and Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, offered the keynote talk. IALS was initially funded by a $95 million investment by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center together with more than $55 million in investments by the university. To date, more than $20 million in IALS-related sponsored research awards have been secured. The investment in state-of-the-art equipment is designed for use not only by UMass faculty researchers but also industry and academic partners.


A student displays his research project at the event

A student displays his research project at the event

 

 

 

Breaking Ground

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 18 at campus Building 19, which will be renovated and transformed into the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons, set to open in the fall of 2018.

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 18 at campus Building 19, which will be renovated and transformed into the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons, set to open in the fall of 2018.


STCC President John Cook speaks at the groundbreaking, which drew a standing-room-only crowd.

STCC President John Cook speaks at the groundbreaking, which drew a standing-room-only crowd.


Former STCC President Ira Rubenzahl, left, and Christopher Johnson, STCC board of trustees chairman, stand next to Ann Beha Architects’ depiction of the structure that will bear Rubenzahl’s name

Former STCC President Ira Rubenzahl, left, and Christopher Johnson, STCC board of trustees chairman, stand next to Ann Beha Architects’ depiction of the structure that will bear Rubenzahl’s name

 

 

 

Another Link

Claire D’Amour Daley, vice president of Corporate Communications for Big Y

Claire D’Amour Daley, vice president of Corporate Communications for Big Y, recently read to grade 4 students at the Homer School in Springfield as part of the Link to Libraries (LTL) read-aloud programs. The students listened to the story “The Day-Glo Brothers,” and each received a new book to bring home to build their home library as part of the Link to Libraries program. “Having Ms. Daley come to the school, read to the children, and talk about her work and how education made a huge impact on her life is what the Link to Libraries program is about,” said Susan Jaye-Kaplan, LTL president. “Mentoring, reading, and inspiring our students is what is most important.”

 

 

 

Recognizing Local Lights

Oct. 20 in a celebration of Western Mass. businesses at the Wood Museum of Springfield History

Associated Industries of Massachuetts (AIM) handed out four awards on Oct. 20 in a celebration of Western Mass. businesses at the Wood Museum of Springfield History. Pictured above: AIM President Richard Lord presents Cinda Jones, president of W.D. Cowls Inc., with the inaugural AIM Sustainability Award, which was also given to PeoplesBank. Meamwhile, AIM honored Smith & Wesson and Valley Venture Mentors with the 2016 Next Century Award.

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Innovative Project

State and UMass Amherst officials broke ground recently on the $62 million Business Innovation Hub at the Isenberg School of Management. The ambitious project will add 70,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, and student spaces, including an expanded career center, advising spaces, and learning commons, as well as faculty offices to the school’s existing facilities. The project is scheduled for completion in September 2018, with occupancy in January 2019. The new addition accompanies additional renovation of select spaces within the original 1964 building and the 2002 addition named for Harold Alford. The new and renovated facilities will combine to create a single unified campus for the Isenberg School. Speakers at the groundbreaking included UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, Isenberg School of Management Dean Mark Fuller (bottom left), state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (bottom right), UMass Building Authority Chairman Phillip Johnston, UMass trustee Henry Thomas, and Isenberg graduates Edward Shirley, Stephanie Berenson, and Martin Boyle. Above: an architect’s rendering of the new Business Innovation Hub.

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Operation Playhouse

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A group of 14 Country Bank employees recently joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Metro West/Greater Worcester in a team-building exercise that ended with a local veteran family receiving a unique gift: a custom playhouse. Habitat’s Operation Playhouse is a program designed to allow groups to come together to create and complete a custom playhouse in one day. The opportunity to work together and collaborate on design and construction of the house is wrapped up with the reward of seeing it turned over to a local veteran and their children. “Working with the Habitat staff was seamless, and the day couldn’t have been more rewarding,” said Deb Gagnon, Corporate Relations officer, Country Bank. “Completing the playhouse gave us all a sense of accomplishment, and when the family arrived to receive their gift, there wasn’t a dry eye around.”

 

Community Focus

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Eighty-five Massachusetts companies were honored at the Boston Business Journal’s 11th annual Corporate Citizenship Summit on Sept. 8 at the EpiCenter at Artists for Humanity in Boston. For the ninth time, PeoplesBank was among the companies included, this year finishing 48th on the statewide list and third for companies headquartered in Western Mass. Matthew Bannister, vice president, Corporate Responsibility at PeoplesBank (pictured at left, with Thomas Senecal, president and CEO), accepted the award at the summit on behalf of the bank’s associates. “Our mutual charter supports everything we do and why we are succeeding as a community bank,” he said. “Because of our mutual charter and related values, we have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through volunteer efforts and millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes.”

 

Wheeling for Healing

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On Aug. 21, 180 bicyclists, runners, and walkers gathered for the ninth annual Wheeling for Healing ride, walk, and run event in Greenfield to support cancer care and services at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. “Thanks to the wonderful fund-raising efforts from our community and support from our sponsors, we were able to raise over $46,500 this year, bringing our total funds raised for Baystate Franklin Medical Center Oncology to over $286,000,” said Kathy Tobin, director, Annual Giving & Events, Baystate Health Foundation. Proceeds from Wheeling for Healing events are used to purchase medical equipment and comfort items for patients undergoing chemotherapy at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Proceeds have also assisted patients with extraordinary expenses associated with their illness, including medicines not covered by their insurance.

 

Celebrating STCC’s Founders

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Springfield Technical Community College kicked off its year-long 50th-anniversary celebration with a Founders Day Convocation on Sept. 9. The event honored the four founders — Edmond Garvey, the school’s first president; then-Springfield Mayor Charlie Ryan; state Rep. Anthony Scibelli; and industrialist Joseph Deliso — and briefly traced the history of the college through today. Ryan and family members representing the other three founders (all deceased) were presented with commemorative plaques in the form of photo montages of their careers and contributions to the college. Top to bottom: from left, retired STCC President Ira Rubenzahl, Mayor Ryan, retired STCC President Andrew Scibelli (Anthony’s nephew), current Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and current STCC President John Cook; members of the Garvey family, from left, Sandra Garvey, her husband, James Garvey (Edmond’s son), Pauline Kimball (Edmond Garvey’s niece), and her son, Robert Kimball; Andrew Scibelli with the plaque commemorating his uncle’s contributions; and, representing the Deliso family, back row, Clem Deliso (Joe’s son), Jean Deliso (Joe’s granddaughter), right, and Lisa Doherty, and in front, Joe’s great-grandsons, Spence Doherty Deliso, left, and Clement Joseph Doherty Deliso.

Springfield Technical Community College kicked off its year-long 50th-anniversary celebration with a Founders Day Convocation on Sept. 9. The event honored the four founders — Edmond Garvey, the school’s first president; then-Springfield Mayor Charlie Ryan; state Rep. Anthony Scibelli; and industrialist Joseph Deliso — and briefly traced the history of the college through today. Ryan and family members representing the other three founders (all deceased) were presented with commemorative plaques in the form of photo montages of their careers and contributions to the college. Top to bottom: from left, retired STCC President Ira Rubenzahl, Mayor Ryan, retired STCC President Andrew Scibelli (Anthony’s nephew), current Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and current STCC President John Cook; members of the Garvey family, from left, Sandra Garvey, her husband, James Garvey (Edmond’s son), Pauline Kimball (Edmond Garvey’s niece), and her son, Robert Kimball; Andrew Scibelli with the plaque commemorating his uncle’s contributions; and, representing the Deliso family, back row, Clem Deliso (Joe’s son), Jean Deliso (Joe’s granddaughter), right, and Lisa Doherty, and in front, Joe’s great-grandsons, Spence Doherty Deliso, left, and Clement Joseph Doherty Deliso.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts August 23, 2016

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First Impressions

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New York-based Elle Magazine sponsored an opening reception at Visual Changes Salon and Spa, a high-end, contemporary facility at 100 Shaker Road, East Longmeadow. WHERE: Visual Changes owner Mark Maruka (right) with Craig Sweitzer, owner of Craig Sweitzer & Co., the general contractor for the new facility.

(Photos by Robert Charles Photography

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts August 8, 2016. Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to
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Income Statements

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JA) and Moriarty & Primack teamed up to bring JA’s Economics for Success program to all the eighth-graders at M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield in June. “To be able to teach students how to budget their income, and what getting an education after your high-school diploma can mean for your income, is a valuable lesson for everyone,” said Dahimeli Mercado, Moriarty & Primack staff accountant. Mark Laurenzano, guidance counselor at Kiley Middle School, added that “the students are eager to learn more about JA and business. Many of our students have participated in JA job-shadow experience. They are excited to work with the JA volunteers in the classroom today and learn about creating a budget.” Pictured, from left, are Moriarty & Primack’s Christopher Walker, Rebecca Connolly, Phillip Giguere, Jessica Putnam, Dahimeli Mercado, Jonathan Normand, Isaiah Odunlami, Roger Conklin, and Puja Karki.


Breaking Barriers

Berkshire Bank representatives

Berkshire Bank representatives recently visited the Center for Human Development’s (CHD) Disability Resources program to present a donation of $2,500. The bank’s gift supports CHD’s efforts to provide barrier-free recreational and competitive adaptive sports opportunities, as well as social gatherings and educational events for youth and adults with disabilities. Pictured, from left, are Luke Kettles, senior vice president of Commercial Lending for the Pioneer Valley, Berkshire Bank; Jennifer Bogin, vice president, Developmental Services, CHD; Rachel Keyworth, director, Disability Resources, CHD; Jim Goodwin, president and CEO, CHD; and Tim Hussey, assistant vice president of Commercial Lending, Berkshire Bank.


Global Lessons

Springfield College Professor of Management and U.S. Fulbright grant recipient Robert Fiore

Springfield College Professor of Management and U.S. Fulbright grant recipient Robert Fiore recently traveled to China to collaborate with faculty and students at Hong Kong Baptist University in the academic area of entrepreneurship. Fiore assisted in the development of research and curriculum in China’s new initiative mandating the development of entrepreneurial courses to be offered at all universities. “The collaboration was exciting because it allowed us to exchange ideas on modes of entrepreneurial company formulation specifically dedicated to elevate geographically focused poverty and enhance economic growth within low-income regions by the use of micro-financing and village-based cooperative entrepreneurship,” said Fiore. As part of the program, Fiore presented biographical material of notable entrepreneurs to highlight their use in teaching and fostering entrepreneurship among students by analysis of the successful entrepreneur’s attitudes and behavior. He discussed lean entrepreneurial start-up procedures and methods as taught in the U.S., the U.S. perspective on crowd-funding financing sources, and legal issues of intellectual-property development.

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Banking on Cancer Care

Medical Center

Calling it an “important project for the local community,” bankESB recently donated $75,000 to Transforming Cancer Care – the Capital Campaign for the Sister Caritas Cancer Center. The gift will support the recently completed $15 million dollar expansion of the Cancer Center that added 26,000 square feet of clinical space on two floors. “The Sister Caritas Cancer Center has a strong reputation for providing high-quality cancer care with a compassionate touch,” said Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB. The recent expansion of the center brings radiation-oncology and medical-oncology services together under one roof, creates the ability to conduct 30,000 treatments per year, increases patient privacy, and provides added convenience for patients undergoing treatment. Dr. Scott Wolf, president of Mercy Medical Center and the Sisters of Providence Health System, called bankESB “a longtime supporter of Mercy Medical Center and our efforts to meet the healthcare needs of the local community. We are grateful for this generous contribution that underscores the vital role of the cancer center as one element of our mission to serve as a transforming, healing presence.” Pictured, from left, are Sr. Mary Caritas; Thomas Brown, executive vice president, Retail Banking, bankESB; Sosik; and Dr. Philip Glynn, director of Oncology, Sister Caritas Cancer Center.

Teeing Up for Kids

Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield was recently honored by Big Y Foods Inc. as a beneficiary of the 35th annual Paul & Gerald D’Amour Memorial Charity Golf Outing. Over the past 35 years, this event has raised more than $2 million for local charities. Wayne Walsilefsky (right), store director, and Barbara Lavoine (left), employee services representative of the St. James Avenue Big Y store, presented Lee Kirk (center), hospital administrator, with a check for $10,000, to be directed to the hospital’s EOS imaging campaign. EOS imaging is a safer alternative to traditional X-ray technology, using 91% less radiation. “Congratulations on the great work of your organization in meeting the needs of our community,” said Clare D’Amour-Daley, vice president of Corporate Communications at Big Y. “We look forward to supporting your efforts.”

Star-spangled Summer

Spirit of Springfield

New Jersey native Jeremy Antivo barely had his diploma in hand from American International College (AIC) when he began an internship with Spirit of Springfield. Producing numerous major events throughout the year with a full-time staff of only four people, President Judy Matt believes in giving interns significant responsibility and a lot of opportunity. Matt tapped Antivo to work closely with Social Media Coordinator Bridget Delaney to broaden Spirit of Springfield’s social-media presence in an effort to reach younger audiences. Immediately after graduation, Antivo was thrown right in to the Spirit of Springfield Golf Classic held at Franconia Golf Course followed by the Star Spangled Springfield event at Riverfront Park on July 4. “He’s learned by osmosis what it takes to put on these events,” Matt said. She also asked Antivo to share his social-media expertise and ideas for event marketing with the organization’s board members at a recent meeting. “Jeremy was able to explain social-media strategy exceptionally well. His knowledge of the product and confidence in his presentation gave him the ability to impart information in an understandable manner to our board members.” Antivo added, “I’m learning about how great these opportunities are as well as learning how social media impacts marketing and advertising.”