MP CPAs recently announced the promotions of six team members.
• Sharon Blazejowski was promoted to senior audit manager. She manages audits, reviews, and compilations for small to medium-sized businesses. She specializes in and is a key leader for Massachusetts charter school and non-profit organization engagements, including yellow book and single audits. Blazejowski joined the firm in 1996 and has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from American International College. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA).
• Phil Giguere was promoted to senior tax manager. He provides consulting and tax solutions to a diverse group of clients including individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, and trusts. He also has experience working with international affiliates on foreign tax issues. He specializes in working with high-net-worth clients and with private-equity firms and their owners. Giguere joined the firm in 2006 and has more than 16 years of experience in business and individual taxation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Western New England University. He is a certified public accountant and a member of AICPA and MSCPA. He sits on the golf committee for Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the finance committee of Wellspring Cooperative, and volunteers his time with the Cory J Garwacki Foundation.
Eun Mi Kwon
• Eun Mi Kwon was promoted to senior tax manager. She provides tax compliance and planning services to a diverse group of clients in the U.S. and abroad, specializing in estate and trust taxation. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal and business taxation. Kwon holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea and an MBA with a concentration in accounting from the University of Massachusetts. She is a certified public accountant and certified financial planner, and a member of the AICPA. Active in the community, she serves on the finance committee for the Amherst Survival Center.
• Jeff Laboe was promoted to tax manager. He provides consulting and tax solutions to a diverse group of clients, including individuals, trusts, partnerships, and corporations. He specializes in working with private-equity firms and their owners, as well as high-net-worth clients and their families. Laboe joined the firm in 2010 and has more than 12 years of experience in personal and business taxation and holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Iowa State University. He became an enrolled agent in the spring of 2021.
• Tim LaFalam was promoted to tax manager. He provides planning and tax solutions to a diverse group of clients, including individuals, estates, trusts, corporations, and partnerships. He has built solid and trusting relationships with countless clients. LaFalam joined the firm as an intern and started full-time in 2016. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Western New England University, and he leads the firm’s efforts in continuing a mentoring and recruiting relationship with the university. He has taken the lead in many fundraising and community-service activities that the firm participates in, including coordinating the firm’s United Way annual pledge, South Park Inn program, and Children’s Study Home Secret Santa.
• Joe Oliveira was promoted to senior tax manager. He provides quality tax services to high-net-worth clients. His experience includes successful representation before the Internal Revenue Service and other taxing authorities, planning for life events, and estate planning. Oliveira holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in accounting from the University of Connecticut. He is a certified public accountant in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, and is a member of the AICPA and the Connecticut Society of CPAs. He is the treasurer of the Suffield, Conn. chapter of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut and an active member of Sacred Heart Church in Suffield.
Sam Skura, MPH, MBA, a healthcare professional with more than 25 years of clinical leadership experience, has been named president of Baystate Medical Center and senior vice president of Hospital Operations for Baystate Health. His appointment becomes effective Sept. 12. In his new role, Skura will join the senior leadership team and serve as a member of the president’s cabinet, reporting directly to Marion McGowan, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Baystate Health. Skura has an extensive background in hospital leadership and most recently served as chief operating officer reporting to the president at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. In previous roles, he served as senior vice president of Ambulatory and Clinical Services and chief administrative officer at BIDMC. Prior to BIDMC, Skura was vice president of Clinical Operations at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, reporting to the chief operating officer. He served on the leadership team of a combined group practice of more than 500 physicians and a 335-bed inpatient hospital. He also held administrative roles at Cambridge Health Alliance, where he provided oversight to senior leadership for 16 community health centers and practice sites and a three-campus Emergency Department. He was administrative director for Steward Health Care (formerly Caritas Christi Health Care System) in Boston, where he provided management for the largest emergency-medicine group in Massachusetts, trending more than 240,000 annual visits. Skura also held managerial roles at Brigham & Women’s Hospital/Partners Healthcare in Boston and Fallon Healthcare System in Worcester. Skura earned an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, a master’s degree in public health from Boston University, and a bachelor of arts and economics degree from Brandeis University.
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) announced that three new members have been elected to the SSO’s board of directors: Andrew Cade, Margaret Mantoni, and Evan Plotkin. Cade is the senior vice president of the Urban League of Springfield Inc., which serves the Greater Springfield African-American community by advocating for and providing model services that enhance the academic and social development of young people and families, promoting economic self-sufficiency, and fostering racial inclusion and social justice. Apart from his job at Urban League, Cade also serves as president of the Springfield Cultural Council. Mantoni is president and CEO of the Loomis Communities. She served for 30 years as the organization’s CFO prior to taking her current position. She is a certified public accountant and worked in a local accounting firm for eight years before joining the Loomis Communities. She serves on the Audit Committee of the United Way of Pioneer Valley, is a member of the LeadingAge Massachusetts board, and serves on the Capital Projects Planning Committee for the city of West Springfield. Mantoni has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Western New England College. Plotkin is president of NAI Plotkin, a full-service brokerage and property-management company. He has extensive experience in all aspects of property management and commercial brokerage, including commercial office buildings, medical office buildings, industrial buildings, shopping centers, and condominium/residential management. Plotkin is one of the lead organizers of the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival and the City Mosaic project, as well as the force behind Art & Soles. He was recently named the 2022 Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year by the Springfield Regional Chamber. He has served on the boards of the Springfield Museums and Holyoke Community College.
Carolyn Martinez has been promoted to assistant executive director of Christina’s House, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing and social services for homeless or near-homeless mothers and children. Martinez has served as program manager and brings firsthand experience to Christina’s House as a program graduate. Before joining the team, she worked in community healthcare settings for several years and has completed certificate programs in child behavioral health and community health. She will work alongside founder Linda Mumblo to expand the mission and assist the Christina’s House family to reach their fullest potential. Christina’s House also announced it is seeking candidates for the new community development and administrative assistant roles, and that Executive Director Shannon Mumblo intends to transition from her role. In its 10th year, Christina’s House operates two homes in Springfield. It continues its mission to educate, embrace, and encourage families in the program to develop the life skills needed to become self-sufficient as they transition from homelessness to stable environments. Through the program, women and their children participate in programs that include financial counseling, job-skills development, parenting, conflict resolution, and building healthy eating and exercise habits.
Holyoke Community College (HCC) Anthropology Professor Vanessa Martínez is the recipient of the 2022 Antonia Pantoja Award from the Latino Scholarship Fund of Western Massachusetts. The award, named after the noted Puerto Rican organizer and education activist, was presented on June 23 at the Latino Scholarship Fund’s 32nd annual meeting at the Log Cabin. The organization presents the award annually to an individual who has made a profound and significant contribution to education, demonstrating a dedication to the academic achievement of Latinx students. Martínez is co-director of HCC’s Honors Program and co-founder of the Women of Color Health Equity Collective, a Springfield-based nonprofit. In addition, her HCC classes frequently engage with community groups and Holyoke schools through service-learning projects. She has been teaching at HCC since 2006. In January, she also received the 2022 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Martínez was born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University, a master’s degree from Georgia State University, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts. In 2011, she received the Latino Teaching Excellence Award from then-Gov. Deval Patrick, and was selected in 2015 as a Leadership Fellow by the American Anthropological Assoc.
The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce announced Melissa Breor as its new executive director. Breor spent four years at the Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Inspired by her work there leading the launch of Hampshire County tourism platforms, she co-founded Western Mass Beer Week in 2016 to celebrate the economic impact of the region’s burgeoning local craft-beer industry. After her time at the chamber, she worked as the assistant director of Marketing and later interim director at the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center, finding new ways to connect, grow, and measure audience development. Most recently, she worked for Gateway City Arts in Holyoke as Press & Outreach coordinator, as well as in customer service at various businesses in the region.
Freedom Credit Union recently announced the promotion of Andrew Sullivan from commercial loan officer to assistant vice president, member business lending. Sullivan has been with Freedom since 2019 and is based in the main office in Springfield. He will continue his role providing financing for new and existing business members along with managing the existing commercial-loan portfolio. Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting/business management and an MBA from Elms College. He is also the founder of Andrew Sullivan’s Swing for a Cure to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Fierst Bloomberg Ohm LLP recently made several personnel announcements.
• Michael Simolo joined the firm as a partner. A graduate of Hobert College and Cornell Law School, he has 20 years of experience in corporate matters, tax, estate planning and administration, probate litigation, and related areas. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, and New York.
• Daniel Fierst has become a partner of the firm. A graduate of the University of Colorado and UMass Dartmouth School of Law, he began his career as in-house counsel for Wargaming.net in Austin, Texas. Since joining the firm in 2016, he has focused on assisting film, television, and video-game clients with their transactional, licensing, and intellectual-property matters. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Florida.
• Frederick Fierst and David Bloomberg were recently named 2022 Massachusetts and New England Super Lawyers. Fierst was honored in the entertainment and sports category for the 15th consecutive year, and Bloomberg in the category of real estate. Super Lawyers is a rating service of lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are limited to the top 5% of lawyers in each state.
Tricia Serio has been named provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at UMass Amherst. She started her new position on July 18. Serio previously served as dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and associate chancellor for Strategic Academic Planning. Serio joined UMass as dean of CNS in 2017 after serving as professor and head of the department of Molecular And Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona. Her professional honors include the 2016 Mid-career Award for Excellence in Research from the American Society for Cell Biology, the Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences for 2003-07, and the National Cancer Institute’s Howard Temin Award for 2001-06. In 2022, she was selected to be a fellow in the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the pre-eminent scientific institution in the U.S. Serio earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Lehigh University and a master of philosophy degree and Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. She was a postdoctoral fellow in molecular genetics and cell biology at the University of Chicago.
The Assoc. for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) awarded the 2022 Ellen Stewart Career Achievement Award in Professional Theatre to Tina Packer, founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. The award is named for American theater director and producer Ellen Stewart (1919-2011) and is awarded annually to an individual primarily based in professional theater, honoring a career of distinguished service to the field. “Tina Packer’s Shakespeare & Company develops and performs classical and contemporary works, houses one of the largest theater-in-education programs in the Northeast, and offers year-round actor-training opportunities,” ATHE Executive Director Aimee Zygmonski said. “She has developed transformative training methodologies and, for four decades, been an advocate of collective storytelling, both nationally and in her local community.”
James Hagan, president and CEO of Westfield Bank, announced that Matthew Valliere has been appointed branch manager and retail banking officer at the bank’s 26 Arnold St. branch in Westfield. Valliere will be responsible for overseeing customer service; retail and business product sales, including mortgage originations; as well as business development and community outreach. Other responsibilities include managing general operations and employee development within the branch. Valliere graduated from Springfield Technical Community College in 2007 with an associate degree. In 2014, he completed the Connecticut School of Finance and Management. He spent time as a retirement services representative and assistant branch manager with other financial institutions before joining Westfield Bank in 2020 as an assistant branch manager at the 47 Palomba Dr. location in Enfield.
St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced that the team has hired Kevin Maxwell as general manager of the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, as well as a pro scout. Maxwell joins the Blues organization following 14 seasons in the scouting department with the New York Rangers. Since 2011, Maxwell had served as the Rangers’ director of Professional Scouting. New York reached the Stanley Cup playoffs in 10 of Maxwell’s 14 seasons in the organization, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Maxwell was a third-round selection by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1979 NHL draft following an All-American season at the University of North Dakota. After an eight-year professional playing career, he jumped into the scouting ranks, spending three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers scouting department from 1988 to 1991. Following a brief stint as the head coach for the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings in 1991-92, Maxwell spent the last 30 years in NHL scouting roles with the Hartford Whalers (1992-96), New York Islanders (1996-2006), Dallas Stars (2006-08), and Rangers (2008-2022). He has served as the director of Professional Scouting for the Whalers, Islanders, and Rangers over his tenure as an executive.
Chris Nadeau recently joined O’Connor & Drew, P.C. as a tax manager. He brings with him more than 15 years of experience in public and private accounting and is regularly retained to provide business valuation, advisory, and taxation services to closely held businesses, professional service firms, and medical practices. He also has extensive experience in succession planning, corporate and partnership taxation, and individual taxation. Nadeau previously spent seven years at a regional accounting firm as a manager-director and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Westfield State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Assoc. of Certified Valuation Analysts, and the Institute of Management Accountants.
bankESB recently promoted Karen DeMaio to assistant vice president, IRA and Operations Risk Management. DeMaio joined bankESB in 2006 as an IRA specialist and was promoted to IRA and Deposit Services officer in 2014. She is responsible for IRA services, vendor management, business-continuity planning, and insurance for the Hometown Financial Group family of banks, which includes bankESB, bankHometown, and Abington Bank. Prior to bankESB, DeMaio served as senior Marketing analyst at Friendly Ice Cream Corp. and as senior auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Western New England College, completed the certified public accounting exam, and earned her Certified IRA Services Professional designation. She currently serves as vice chairperson for the town of Southwick Finance Committee and is a board member of Westfield Credit for Life.
American Eagle Financial Credit Union (AEFCU) announced the appointment of Ashley Rollins as vice president of Consumer Lending. In her new role, Rollins will focus on all aspects of lending, including consumer and real-estate originations, collections, process improvement, automation, and loan reporting. Rollins assumes her new role at AEFCU with more than 11 years of experience in financial-services operations, quality control, and consumer loan products. She most recently served as Loan Administration officer for Justice Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C. She earned certificates from the National Assoc. of Federally Insured Credit Unions Management and Leadership Institute and the Harvard Business School Leadership Academy, as well as a Yellow Belt certification from Lean Six Sigma. During her time in the D.C. region, she volunteered at the Central Virginia Food Bank and taught financial-literacy classes at Richmond, Va. elementary schools.
Community Access to the Arts (CATA) announced the appointment of Kelly Galvin as program director. She joins current CATA staff members Jeff Gagnon and Kara Smith, who have been promoted to the program director position, to create a new, three-person arts leadership team at the nonprofit, reporting to Executive Director Margaret Keller. CATA strategically restructured staff roles to develop a shared program leadership model, following the retirement of long-time staff member Dawn Lane, coupled with vigorous growth in CATA’s arts programs serving people with disabilities. The three-person arts leadership team will work closely with Keller to seize opportunities and provide inclusive arts programs for people with disabilities across the Berkshires and Columbia County. Galvin joins CATA as an accomplished director, producer, and teaching artist. She has been a company member with Shakespeare & Company since 2008 and served as the artistic associate at WAM Theatre. As a director and producer, she has led acclaimed productions at Shakespeare & Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the Theater at Woodshill, and Gloucester Stage, and assisted at regional theatres including the Guthrie and Asolo Repertory Theatre. She is the founder of the rig, an organization in Western Massachusetts working to create connections through the arts and to redistribute cultural resources to a larger portion of the community.