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The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


Belchertown Unit 239 Inc. Chauncey D. Walker American Legion Auxillary, 66 State St., Belchertown, MA 01007. Elizabeth E. Whidden, 400 Stebbins St., Belchertown MA 01007. Aid for Veterans, children and community.


GMTBP Inc., 71 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027. Walter Pacheco, same. Restauraunt ownership and management.


Devine Construction Inc., 20 Hartland Hollow Road, Granville, MA 01034. Forrest Devine, same. Real estate.


Griffin Online Solutions Inc., 333 Granby Road, South Hadley, MA 01075. Rita Griffin, same. E-Commerce.


First Trans. + Repairs Inc., 4 Geryk Court, Southampton, MA 01073. Robert Demagistris, same. Transportation.



D.I.V.A.S. Ministries, 1155 Liberty St. Springfield, MA 01104, Leslie S. Smith, same.
To assist and empower women from incarceration and/or substance abuse centers to transition back into their families, housing and gainful employment.


First Aid Inc., 1 Crescent Hill, Springfield, MA 01105 David Allan Mech, same. Raise funds to help troops and their families in times of need.

Gifted Threads Inc., 2047 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01129. Matthew Hood, same. A clothing company.


39 Neptune Avenue Corporation, 39 Neptune Ave., West Springfield, MA 01089. Sean
Mansfield, same. Food service — bar and restaurant.

CMP Inventory Management Company Inc., 136 Wayside Ave., West Springfield, MA 01089 James Pollard, same. Management company.

Goffer Construction Inc., 16 Healy St., West Springfield MA 01089. Aleksandr Salagornik Sr., same. Bar and grill.


Attorney Richard T. O’Connor has joined Bacon Wilson P.C. in Springfield. O’Connor is a member of the Health Care Department and will focus on matters involving medical groups, regulatory compliance, and managed-care agreements.


Douglas J. De Leo has been elected to the Board of Trustees at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton. De Leo and his family participate in the Parent-Infant Program at Clarke’s Family Center, and recently hosted a reception in Westfield to introduce the community to Clarke’s outreach efforts. De Leo is the founder of NWS Corp., providing business and academic telecommunications networks to corporations, college campuses, and military complexes across the United States.


Marilyn Ghedini has joined Masslive.com in Springfield as an Account Executive specializing in real estate. Ghedini has 28 years of real estate experience, and served as president of the Greater Springfield Assoc. of Realtors in 2002.


Morgan Stanley in Springfield announced the following:
• Michael D. Ravosa has been promoted to Associate Vice President, Financial Advisor, in the firm’s Global Wealth Management Group office, and
• John S. Bonatakis has been promoted to Associate Vice President, Financial Advisor, in the firm’s Global Wealth Management Group office.


MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division in Springfield announced the following:
• Karen Buoniconti has joined MassMutual’s TPA service organization, supporting the western region;
• Jim Keating has been named Relationship Manager for MassMutual’s TPA service organization, serving the northeast region, and
• Eric Sarrazin has joined MassMutual’s TPA service organization.
The new TPA relationship managers are focused on assisting advisors with plan reviews, investment-change processing, product and service education, and other valuable support for TPA-serviced plans on MassMutual’s platform.


Country Bank of Ware has named Denise D. Hawk as First Vice President and Director of Retail Lending. She has more than 20 years of experience in the lending industry and will manage the origination functions of the bank’s residential and consumer loans, and direct the lending team’s efforts.


lia sophia in Chicopee announced the following:
• Tammy Biller has received top honors for the Excellent Beginnings Program for outstanding sales accomplishments and professionalism;
• Brittany Burtness has received top honors for the Excellent Beginnings Program for outstanding sales accomplishments and professionalism, and
• Lynn Lafrennie has received top honors for the Excellent Beginnings Program for outstanding sales accomplishments and professionalism.


Sean Wandrei, CPA for Meyers Brothers Kalicka of Holyoke, has been named a member of the Board of Directors of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield. He will serve a two-year term as Treasurer. Wandrei has more than 12 years of experience in public accounting with a focus on taxation.


Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas of Springfield announced the following:
• Jenelle C. Dodds has been named a Partner;
• Vanessa L. Smith has been named a Partner;
• Daniel M. Rothschild has been named Counsel, and
• Eric D. Beal has been named an Associate.


Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced the following:
• Ralph F. Abbott, Managing Partner, has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston magazine. Abbott’s practice is in the area of labor relations, helping companies manage union negotiations, collective bargaining agreements, and labor arbitrations, as well as working with companies that want to remain union-free.
• Jay M. Presser, Partner, has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston magazine. Presser heads the Litigation Department, which focuses on preventing and defending employment-related litigation, including employment discrimination and wage-and-hour matters as well as other legal matters brought by employees against their employers.
• John H. Glenn, Partner, has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston magazine. Glenn’s practice is predominantly in labor relations, helping companies manage union negotiations, collective bargaining agreements, and labor arbitrations, as well as working with companies that want to remain union-free.
• Marylou V. Fabbo, Partner, has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston magazine. Fabbo’s practice concentrates in employment-related matters, defending lawsuits in state and federal court and before administrative agencies, such as the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. Fabbo also assists employers with preventative measures that avoid such litigation, including handbook and policy review and development, performance management, and disciplinary issues.
• Susan Fentin, Partner, has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston magazine. Fentin’s practice concentrates in employment-related matters, defending lawsuits in state or federal court and before administrative agencies, as well as assisting employers with preventative measures that avoid such litigation.
The firm, which practices exclusively labor and employment law and represents only management, has offices in Springfield, Worcester, and Meriden, Conn.


Tastefully Simple Inc. in Agawam announced the following:
• Kelly Jendza has joined the firm as an independent Consultant;
• Kristin Gagnon has joined the firm as an independent Consultant;
• Jennifer Denault has joined the firm as an independent Consultant;
• Amber Fazio has joined the firm as an independent Consultant;
• Judy Koralik has joined the firm as an independent Consultant;
• Andrea Hartin has joined the firm as an independent Consultant;
• Kathryn Callahan has joined the firm as an independent Consultant, and
• Erin Burke has joined the firm as an independent Consultant.
As consultants, the women offer the company’s gourmet foods and beverages to guests at home taste-testing pa


The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


Full Moon International Inc., 15 Benton Dr. East Longmeadow 01028. Oytun Troy, c/o Benza Erden, 136 Silver Birch, Longmeadow 01106. Import and export of various consumer goods.

Grade A Floors Inc., 15 Benton Dr., East Longmeadow 01028. Laurie A. Oyler, same. Sales/flooring.


MACD Enterprises Inc., 525 Springfield St. Feeding Hills 01030. Mark Danalis, 96 Edmund St. East Longmeadow 01028. Full-service restaurant.


CCLI Corporation 4 Jerry Lane, Granby 01033. Crescenzo Calabrese, same. To operate a restaurant.


Greenfield Bancorp MHC, 63 Federal St., Greenfield 01301. E. Tucker, 26 Lawler Dr., Easthampton 01027. Accumulating, loaning, and investing the savings of its members.

Jesse Leasing Company Inc., 52 River St., Greenfield 01301-3117. Cynthia Stasny, Same. Equipment leasing.


Carlos Torres Productions Inc., 2 Ivy Ave, Holyoke 01040. Alex Torres, Same. Artist management and representation.


Ice River Springs USA Inc., 66 West St., Pittsfield 01201. James Fallis Gott, Grey Road 31, Feversham, Ontario NOC ICO. To engage in the ownership, improvement, development, maintenance, and management of real estate.



DevelopSpringfield Corporation, 1441 Main St., Suite 111, Springfield 01103
Gary Fialky, 70 Yorktown Dr. Springfield 01108. To aid in the speedy and orderly development or redevelopmentn of property in the city of Springfield.

MEME Air Inc., 35 Fern St., Springfield 01108. Mymie Pham, same. Aircraft rental.

Patriot Fence and railing designs Inc., 50 Trumbull St., Springfield, MA 01104. Jason Simmons, 72 Church St. West Springfield 01089. To engage in the sale, construction, and installation of commercial and residential fences.

Roger L. Putnam Technical Fund Inc., 1380 Main St., Springfield 01103. Franklin York Mayo, 73 High Pine Circle, Wilbraham 01095. To support current and future training courses and programs at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School and to solicit public and private contributions, including machinery and equipment.

Royal Beauty Supply Corp. 1104 State St., Springfield 01009. Elizabeth Kro, 11 Fisher St., Springfield, MA 01009. Beauty supplies.


Real Irish Inc., 37 Broad St., Westfield 01085 William P. Farrell, 90 Bigwood Dr., Westfield 01085. To engage in the production and publication of commemorative items for sale to the general public.

William Farrell, Counselor at law, P.C. 37 Broad St., Westfield 01085. William P. Farrell, same. To practice law and provide legal services to individuals and corporate entities.


US Tae Kwon Do Education Foundation Inc., 28 Stoney Hill Road, Wilbraham 01095. Chun Ja Kim, 215 Chislak Dr., Ludlow 01056.To promote sportsmanship in young people.

Sections Supplements
Navigating and Advocating for Families with Special-needs Children

It is difficult enough for parents and family to ensure their child is receiving an appropriate education in today’s education model without the added difficulty of navigating the often-barely chartered waters of special education. Parents of ‘mainstream’ children must advocate and stay involved in the day-to-day schooling activities in order to obtain the best education available to their children. This can be daunting without the emotional stress of dealing with the challenges of our children, a system filled with acronyms, and a process and procedure that can be confusing on a good day.

Navigating the waters of special education can be made easier by a basic understanding of the rights, rules, and regulations that govern the school districts when deciding if a student is eligible for special education and, if so, what services that student will receive.

School districts are subject to state and federal laws that provide detailed procedures to ensure that a student receives a FAPE (free appropriate public education) during the entire time he or she is eligible for special education. Because special education is such a highly complex and regulated area of the law, it is in the parents’ best interest to seek assistance to understand the special-education process. The more informed and well-advised the parent, the more they can make of the opportunity to be a part of the design and development of their child’s educational experience.

The idea that you, the parent or person with custody of the child, will work in partnership with the school district is essential to the process of providing a FAPE for that child. In doing so, you will be a member of the IEP (individualized education plan) team for the student, which is charged with the development of an IEP. Both state and federal laws provide that the IEP be tailored to the student’s unique needs to provide sufficient services to enable the student to make meaningful educational progress and to assist the student in the acquisition of knowledge and skills, including social and emotional development based on appropriate chronological and developmental expectations.

Services to be provided to the student will be at no cost or expense to the family as part of the public-education program. It is also required that students in private schools at private cost are entitled to a FAPE if they want to take advantage of public educational services.

In order to determine eligibility for special services, the student is referred for an evaluation. Parental consent is required before the school can evaluate or test a child. However, the school can review existing data, give your student a test or other evaluation that is given to all students (i.e. MCAS or classroom tests) that are part of the general education program, or share information with federal or state educational officials without parental consent.

Such parental consent is required before your school district can provide special-education and related services to your student for the first time; to make a change in services, placement, or reevaluation; or to excuse members of the IEP team from attending a team meeting.

As the student’s advocate, you will be entitled to prior written notice from the school district when it proposes or refuses to take steps to identify your student as one with a special need, to evaluate your student, to provide special services to your student, or to change your student’s program. This is called ‘prior written notice’ by federal regulation, and the notice must state:

What the school district proposes or refuses to do;

Why the school district proposes or refuses to take the action; and

How the school district came to this decision, including information about each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report that was considered.

It must also describe any other options the IEP team considered and why those options were rejected.

Let the advocating begin. You have the right to request an IEE (independent education evaluation) from an independent, qualified examiner at public expense, provided you meet financial-eligibility requirements, or at your own cost at any time. This IEE must be considered in 10 days by the IEP team to determine if any changes should be made.

If disagreements about the IEP continue, the law provides for several methods of attempting to resolve the dispute. Initially, parents can bring the dispute to the attention of local public-school officials, and then, if still unresolved, they can use the services of the ESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) Problem Resolution System. Mediation is another often successful option, and ultimately, if a hearing with testimony and witnesses is necessary, a due-process hearing through the BSEA (Board of Special Education Appeals) can be convened.

At all times in this education planning process, the assistance of an advocate, attorney, or other qualified professional is recommended. The laws regulating special education are very complex and can be easily misinterpreted or not properly followed procedurally. In order to ensure that your child’s educational experience is smooth sailing, engaging the services of the appropriate advocate, attorney, or other professional is essential.v

Julie A. Dialessi-Lafley, Esq. is a multi-faceted attorney with the law firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C., who focuses her practice areas in business law, real estate, estate planning, and administration and family law. She contributes to a popular Family Law Blog at bwlaw.blogs.com/ familylawbits; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Steps Taken Now Can Lighten Your Tax Burden Later

While year-end tax planning is always and in all ways important, it is especially crucial in 2008. The time is now to apply new tax rules to secure your best tax advantages for this year and beyond.

This is a very challenging time for individuals and businesses, a climate that demands that each of us takes a look at year-end tax planning, regardless of the level of our income, with an eye toward reducing our tax burden down the road. One or more of the following unprecedented events likely had an impact on you during 2008 and potentially for a number of years going forward: the stock-market collapse, the credit crisis, the recession, the bursting of the real-estate bubble, and/or the rise and fall of energy prices.

What follows is a primer that will identify some of the ways in which you can take the lemons that may have been hurled at you and turn as many of them as possible into lemonade.

Income and Deductions Shifting

Usually the most efficient planning opportunities will grow out of the time-tested strategy of maneuvering your income and/or expenses between tax years. The two primary benefits that grow out of the opportunities for doing this are the ability to control the tax rate at which you will be assessed and the ability to control when those taxes will be paid.

If you are in a position to control the timing and flow of income into your possession, it presents an opportunity for you to contemplate whether you are going to be in a higher marginal income tax bracket in the current tax year or the one to come. When you compare these tax brackets, you will then have the opportunity to determine in which year that income might generate the lower tax.

The corollary to the moving of income is the timing of the payment of your deductible expenses. Combining the two presents an opportunity to generate a larger tax benefit by making those swings of taxable dollars more substantial. For example, if you are able to put off $10,000 of income into the next tax year and can accelerate $5,000 of deductible expenses into the current tax year, you will effect a $15,000 swing in your reportable income, impacting your applicable tax bracket and potentially postponing the due date for those taxes by up to 15 months.

This particular strategy can be even more valuable in light of changes in the tax laws that have been made and those that experts anticipate coming down the pike. The importance of contemplating this strategy is significant for the tax years 2008 through 2010, inclusive, when you consider that those taxpayers who are in — or can put themselves in — the 10% or 15% tax brackets will potentially be able to take advantage of the 0% tax rate currently applicable to qualified dividend income and/or capital gains during those years.

A more challenging situation presents itself to those whose income is above the $200,000 to $250,000 threshold identified by President-elect Obama. Although it remains unclear when the tax increase on those taxpayers will actually go into effect, the question here, for those who can anticipate remaining at those income levels during the next few years, is whether to accelerate income into 2008 in order to potentially have it taxed at the lower brackets. This same group of taxpayers should also contemplate this issue while bearing in mind the president-elect’s proposal to restore the limitations on the amount that can be claimed for either personal exemptions and/or itemized deductions.

Bunching Deductions

The next concept impacted by the timing of payments is for those that qualify as itemized deductions, and is generally referred to as ‘bunching.’ The strategy of bunching deductions involves consideration of the timing of your various expenditures and/or deductions, including real-estate and excise taxes, state income taxes, charitable contributions, certain interest payments, medical expenses, and the like. The underlying concept of this strategy is that your itemized deductions are typically compared against a standard deduction that varies depending on your marital status and your age.

In some instances your itemized deductions may only be exceeding the otherwise available standard deduction by a small amount. In this case, a beneficial strategy might be to postpone some of those deductions until the next tax year and accelerate similar expenses from the following year. This will bunch all of your deductions into the middle of three years and create an amount that will substantially exceed the otherwise available standard deduction, potentially giving you better tax results over all three years.

This calculation needs to be considered in the context of the new tax provision enacted as part of the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008, which allows homeowners to claim an additional standard deduction for real property tax if the taxpayer does not itemize. The additional amount is limited to $500, or $1,000 for joint filers.

This bunching strategy also has applications in the context of higher earners who will have a reduction in their otherwise-available itemized deductions simply by virtue of their income level. Specific examples of this application include the fact that medical expenses are deductible only to the extent that they exceed 7.5% of one’s adjusted gross income; and miscellaneous itemized deductions, including the fee that you pay to your tax professional, employee business expenses, and the like, are subject to a 2% threshold.

It is possible that some taxpayers will find that they are able to benefit from higher amounts of itemized deductions by applying this strategy of bunching.

Loss Harvesting

Historically, the end of the year has been the time to take a look at your investments and see where you stand relative to capital gains realized during the course of the year. It was always prudent to look at your portfolio to determine which positions you held that might generate a loss, so that you could either match your gains to your losses and/or exceed your gains by an amount of up to $3,000. That is the amount that would be available as a deduction on your income-tax return to offset other ordinary income.

While there are sound tax reasons for considering this strategy, it is also important to remember that you need to consider the underlying investment wisdom and considerations associated with your having purchased the investment in the first place.

However, beyond that historical strategy, there is a very important planning opportunity that this year’s stock-market collapse has presented relative to what is known as ‘loss harvesting.’ The application of the loss-harvesting concept this year extends more to the concept of stockpiling losses to be used in subsequent years, for several reasons, including the possibility of more short-term transactions or the prospect for capital-gains tax rates being increased.

The application of this strategy would be to sell those mutual funds, stocks, and/or bonds that are now in loss situations in order to realize the capital losses.

Assuming further that you do not wish to be out of the market altogether and would prefer not to be out of the market for any period of time during which a rebound might occur, the critical component of this strategy is to move the proceeds into comparable funds or investments in a way that will avoid the application of the ‘wash sale rule.’ Here, the IRS does not allow you to sell a stock or investment simply to generate a tax loss. For that reason you are not allowed to take a tax loss on an investment if you sell and repurchase the same within 30 days, before or after the sale.

If this strategy is being implemented with mutual funds, you could find a comparable fund within the same mutual-fund family — and thereby avoid sales charges. For example, if you had invested in the Vanguard fund based on the S&P 500 and you sold it and moved the proceeds into the Fidelity S&P 500 fund, the underlying investments would be substantially identical, and the wash sale rule would apply. But if you are able to select mutual funds that are comparable but not substantially identical, then you should be able to recognize the capital losses.

If the underlying investments are stocks or bonds, you must bear the wash sale rule in mind and avoid its application by not investing in ‘substantially identical’ securities. There are, however, strategies beyond the scope of this article that are available to allow you to get back into the identical security without being adversely affected by the rule. Another important component of this loss-harvesting strategy is the fact that the capital losses may be carried forward indefinitely.

The concepts and theories set forth here represent only a few of the tax-planning opportunities that are available. It is imperative for you to remember that, in all but a very few instances, those opportunities for the calendar year 2008 will expire at the stroke of midnight, New Year’s Eve. It is important that you contact your tax professional in order to see which of these and the others might be applicable to helping you be the most efficient taxpayer you can be.v

Bruce M. Fogel is a partner with Bacon Wilson, P.C. / Morse & Sacks in Northampton. He is a member of the firm’s estate-planning, elder, real estate, and business departments. He has extensive experience in matters relating to income, gift, and estate taxes, and he focuses on the tax implications of all legal transactions. He can also be heard on the radio show,“Taxes and Assets,” which he co-hosts Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. on WHMP; (413) 584-1287;[email protected];bwlaw.blogs.com/estate_planning_bits


The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

Albert, Catherine Ann
a/k/a Borah, Catherine A.
547 Maple Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/03/08

Allen, Krishel Pearl
2275 Westfield St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Altis, Jean
150 Linden St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Anne Belue Design
Wright, Anne B.
Anne, Wilson
AB Sales
773 Moore Hill Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Blankenship, Alan C.
37 Basil Road
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/12/08

Brodeur, Donald J.
158 California Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/10/08

Brown, Larry E.
29 Pine Hill Road
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/08

Brown, Molly-Beth
1 Autumn Lane
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/05/08

Campbell, Carrie C.
169 Kendall St.
Granby, MA 01033
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Cape, Antony Robert
39 Paige St.
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/05/08

Converse, Scott A.
59 New Ludlow Road
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/05/08

Cosme, Mercedes
85-87 Mooreland St.
Springfield, MA 01104-1826
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/10/08

Cyr, Roland Joseph
Cyr, Martha Ouellette
7 Warner St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/08

De La Rosa, Ismael
a/k/a Soto, Ismael
1004 Allen St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/06/08

Deluck, Frederick C.
Deluck, Diana M.
44 Vadnais St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/10/08

Discovery Corner Childcare
Western Mass RV Rentals
LaPointe, Shawn E.
51 Oak Brook Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Dixe, Michael A.
Dixe, Jillian L.
17 Hartford St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/06/08

Garcia, Annie
Torres, Annie
70 Patton St., Apt. 1B
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/14/08

Girouard, Carl L.
20 East Bartlett St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Goldthwaite, Scott A.
Casella-Goldthwaite, Darlene E.
48 High Knob Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Handy, Bradley C.
10 Leemond St.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/10/08

Hastie, Cheryl A.
330 Commonwealth Ave.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Jorge, Angel
23 Brandon Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Kroll, Christopher
Kroll, Kimberly Jean
66 Fair St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Lacombe, Lynn C. R.
62 Thyme Lane
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/03/08

Littlefield, Michelle M.
Littlefield, Wayne S.
PO Box 374
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/05/08

Lopes, Saville Shirley, D.
3 Bradlind Ave.
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/05/08

Maldonado, Francisco G.
61 Arthur St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

McAuliffe, Edward F.
McAuliffe, Carol A.
86 Enfield Dr.
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

McCorquodale, Jeffrey M.
McCorquodale, Carol .
31 Mattawa Circle
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/01/08

Merchant, Elissa Ann
71 Stony Hill Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Mercier, James Herbert
539 Sanders St.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Nguyen, Tung T.
192 Dickenson 1st Fl.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/10/08


Ostrander, I. C.
a/k/a Ostrander, Irving C.
PO Box 1082
West Springfield, MA 01090
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/07/08

Pasterczyk, Timothy Francis
38 Brookline Ave.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/12/08

Perez, Arnaldo L.
a/k/a Harrison, Sara E.
a/k/a Perez-Diaz, Arnaldo L.
a/k/a Perez, Sara E.
3 Elm St.
Southampton, MA 01073
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Pham, Thuy Thi
104 Draper St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/10/08

Piascik, Gary J.
Piascik, Kyle A.
70 Beeler Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/06/08

Pitoniak, Kelly J.
117 Yeoman Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Racine, Kimberley J.
38 High St.
North Adams, MA 01247
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/31/08

Reopel, Katarzyna
41 Orleander St.
W. Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Reyes, Dennis R.
Reyes, Aida L.
37 Higgins Circle
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/07/08

RMN Real Estate
Sanschagrin, David D.
Sanschagrin, Meredith E.
a/k/a Santy, Meredith
70 Elm St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Romano, Carmelina
33 Humbert St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/11/08

Rossell, Bernard Daves
2 Cornwall Dr.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Rust, Steven R.
PO Box 277
Warren, MA 01083
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/08

Sainsbury, Gary I.
Sainsbury, Karin E.
a/k/a Brown, Karin
39 Kingman Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/12/08

Santos, Lisa Marie
a/k/a Salvador, Lisa Marie
PO Box 41
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Santos, Miriam
70 Riverdale St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Small, Ingrid E.
5 Temple St., Apt. 502
Springfield, MA 01105
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/06/08

Smith, Kathryne E.
10 Kirkland St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Starkweather, Emily Ridout
26 Chestnut Court
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Stasiowski, Catherine Irene
470 Broadway St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/08

Taupier, Alan T.
Taupier, Dorothy H.
96 Pinehurst Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/07/08

Tillotson, Matthew W.
34 Harvey St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Torff, Allene B.
832 Converse St., Apt.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Torres, Juan A.
1104 Dwight St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/14/08

Tryon, Herbert L.
Tryon, Jeanne M.
57 Lenox Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Urena, Mario R.
Urena, Patricia I.
5 Baird Trace
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 10/30/08

Vallecillo, Patricia
170 Cambria St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/13/08

Vasquez, Fernando T.
a/k/a Vasquez, Tony
11 Littleton St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/12/08

Vescovi, Jessie L.
1149 Pleasant St.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/10/08

Ward, Janice L.
47 Bradford Dr.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/07/08

Weissman, Gordon R.
174 Abbott St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 11/06/08

Zlogar, Kay
502 Belchertown Road
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 11/04/08

Marketing Effort Answers the Question About How to Raise Awareness of the Agency


His name is ‘Joe.’

And while he bears some resemblance to a few business owners in the area, there is no one person who inspired this character, said Ann Burke.

Instead, he represents every business owner in the region, said Burke, vice president of the Western Mass. Economic Development Council, and thus he puts a face on an intriguing new marketing intiative launched earlier by this fall by the agency.

It’s called ‘Ask the EDC,’ and its primary mission, said Danielle Paine, manager of Communications for the non-profit agency, is to raise awareness of the many ways in which it can be of assistance, especially to small-business owners, through myriad free services offered by a host of organizations affiliated with the EDC.

Such services — from help with writing a business plan to assistance with crafting an energy-conservation program — are always in some level of demand, said Paine, adding quickly that such interest rises in trying economic times such as these. Which explains the timing of ‘Ask the EDC,’ which, according to some early numbers, is doing precisely what it was designed to do.

Indeed, while it’s somewhat early to draw in-depth conclusions about the overall success of the initiative, initial response to the campaign has been positive, said Burke, adding that, while the EDC was getting a few random questions a week from area business owners before the campaign started, it is now getting closer to 15. And traffic to the EDC’s Web site is up, unofficially, by about 30%.

All this is positive news for the region, she told BusinessWest, noting that one of the EDC’s primary missions is to help existing businesses survive, thrive, and, if at all possible, stay in this region. The ‘Ask the EDC’ program, part of a larger effort called HomeField Advantage, has become an important manifestation of that mission, and at a time when many businesses are struggling and looking for some help to get them through to the day when the economic climate improves.

“Acknowledging that 70% of our growth comes from within, meaning businesses that are already in the region, and the need to better support those businesses in light of these challenging times, we decided to launch this campaign to help make people more aware of the free services available to them,” said Burke. She noted that recent questions reflect the current conditions, and include issues such as replacing lost customers, securing financing, and creating new revenue streams.

Helping small business owners get the answers to these and other questions was the motivation for ‘Ask the EDC,’ which was officially launched on Oct. 27 and has included print ads, radio spots, a new page (asktheedc.com) on the EDC’s Web site, and a billboard on the southbound lane of Interstate 91 near Longmeadow.

The campaign was inspired by the nagging perception that, while larger businesses probably know about the EDC, its services, and its affiliations with a host of economic-development agencies and business-support organizations, many smaller venues don’t, or lack a full understanding of the help that’s available. The recent surge in calls, E-mails, and Web hits would seem to verify that notion, said Burke, and offer evidence that the $28,000 expenditure has been a sound investment.

‘Ask the EDC’ was designed to build the EDC brand, said Burke, and, in general, educate business owners and managers about the many areas in which support is available. They include:

  • Real estate, or help with finding a new location;
  • Capital access, or assistance with obtaining financial resources, grants, micro-loans, venture funding, and incentive programs;
  • Regional data and drive-time analysis, or access to demographics and statistics needed for relocation and expansion decisions;
  • Peer networking opportunities;
  • Workforce development, or insight into recruiting and training opportunities, internships, and grants to help resolve staffing issues; and
  • Academic institutions, or ways to tap into the resources available at the colleges and universities in the Knowledge Corridor.
  • The questions posed to asktheedc.com have run the gamut, said Burke, as evidenced by one recent print ad. One inquirer wanted some input on whether state funding or other types of grants are available for a solar power installation for his manufacturing plant. Meanwhile, a retailer in what he called a “hidden location” in Springfield wanted to know if there was financing available for some obviously needed marketing.

    “My company currently uses contracted employees, but we are interested in transitioning to direct hire,” wrote a third business owner. “How can we learn about workers’ compensation wage rates and insurance?” Still another, the owner of a small electrical-contracting business, desires to build in the local industrial park and wanted to know where to turn for financing.

    Those with questions are often referred to a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms, said Burke, connoting agencies such as the Western Mass. Enterprise Fund (WMEF), the Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives), and even the Mass. Office of International Trade & Investment (MOITI).

    Paine told BusinessWest that the new marketing campaign will run through the end of the year, at which time, she, Burke, and others will review goals, results, and strategies for moving forward. Results (in the form of responses to the various marketing vehicles) are being carefully tabulated, she continued, adding that the EDC will likely continue the campaign with those media outlets that are generating the best results.

    For now, ‘Ask the EDC’ seems to be the answer to the ongoing question about how to brand the EDC and make its broad menu of services and affiliations known to more business and owners and managers.

    Just ask ‘Joe.’— George O’Brien

    Sections Supplements
    The Dangers of Estate-planning Software Programs

    The recent sophistication of software has contributed to an increase in homegrown estate planning. These mass marketers of legal services misinform people into thinking that they are saving money and that they are receiving sound legal advice. This is simply not true.

    As an estate-planning attorney, I felt an obligation to learn more about these sellers of legal advice. As such, I visited the Web sites and researched the software applications of several well-known estate-planning services.

    One of them called itself a ‘Legal Documentation Service.’ The service purported to “save time and money on common legal matters … and create reliable legal documents from your home or office.” Another purported to “help protect your family and your assets, and save on legal fees.”

    The process of preparing the documents among these companies was similar. Each required you to answer a series of questions, either online or via their software package, and your documents are prepared either instantaneously or within 48 hours. However, one software-based company suggests that you read an accompanying book, which is hundreds of pages in length. Although, you may not need to read the entire book, I do not understand how the public can decipher which parts to skip over and which to read thoroughly with only a basic understanding of estate planning. This seems like a hefty burden on the consumer and not quite the time-saver that the company publicizes.

    Intrigued, I moved forward. I started answering the will questionnaires of several services, and due to my own thorough understanding of the intricacies of estate planning, I was perplexed that my options were limited on these questionnaires. Among other issues, I specifically wanted to better understand my options regarding the inheritance distribution alternatives for my children:

    • Could the distribution ages be staggered so that the children would not receive a windfall at age 18?
    • Could I separate principal and interest?
    • Could my children approach the trustee for health or educational needs prior to the set distribution age?
    • So, I called the telephone number provided on one of the Web sites, and I spoke to a young woman who was very pleasant. But when I asked if she could provide me with examples of how I could distribute my assets to my children in the event that I survive my spouse, she simply stated, “you can distribute any way you wish.”

      Although this may be somewhat accurate, it did not truly answer my inquiry. I then asked if she was a practicing attorney, and she answered that she was not.

      This was just the first of many questions that I had about the questionnaire. Another question regarded whether or not I was required to state my desire for organ donation and cremation in my will instead of my health care proxy. The representative answered that I am only able to insert this information into the will. Many attorneys suggest that this language be included in one’s health care proxy because that document is usually reviewed prior to the will.

      As such, the will may be read by your loved ones well after your body has been buried, and therefore, your intent will not be adhered to. But several of these companies do not allow this flexibility.

      Additionally, with many services, nothing prevented me from including a disabled child, who would be receiving governmental assistance, as a beneficiary under the will. As experienced estate planners know, the receipt of assets by a disabled individual on governmental assistance most often disqualifies them from governmental benefits.

      One company uses the tag line: “We Put the Law on Your Side,” a claim that a law firm cannot make under the marketing rules that govern the legal profession. Nevertheless, the company claims to be a leading legal Web site. Huh? The people that work on the documents are not attorneys, and they cannot, by law, give legal advice.

      To further illustrate this point, one Texas court went so far as to declare that a software-based mass marketer of legal documents constituted the unauthorized practice of law because its process was too interactive and sophisticated.

      Most companies do a review, making sure that all answers are completed in the questionnaire and that all spelling is correct. These minor tasks are akin to a very narrow role as a proofreader of the consumer’s data entries. This has to be limited by law, since no attorney is involved in this process.

      These companies hope that you will never read their disclaimer or terms-of-use disclosure. One such disclaimer provides that they are not providing any legal advice, that their documents may not work in your situation, that their documents may not be valid in your state, and that you agree to hold them harmless for any consequences resulting from your choice to use their services rather than seeking the advice of an attorney. Another disclaimer provides that “this product is not a substitute for … an attorney” and “we’ve done our best … but that’s not the same as personalized legal advice” and “if you want help understanding how the law applies to your particular circumstances, or deciding which estate-planning documents are best for you and your family, you should consider seeing a qualified attorney.”

      How can this provide the end-user with the confidence that their estate-planning documents are both legally binding and appropriate to their particular situation?

      Probate law is strict and unforgiving. Good estate-planning attorneys work diligently to keep abreast of changes in the law through memberships in such organizations as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc. and the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County, and through extensive, continuous reading and legal research. Creating your own legal documents provides a false sense of security, and the inaccuracies are usually discovered only when it is too late to do anything about them.

      Most people need the perspective that an impartial, experienced estate-planning attorney provides. You are playing with fire if you engage the services of these companies for the following reasons:

      • These programs largely disregard specific laws that can dramatically affect your estate;
      • Your unique issues and circumstances can be flushed out and addressed only through consultation with an attorney; and
      • You are not securing the experience and the knowledge of an attorney trained to handle the specific circumstances of your estate.
      • Another inaccuracy that I found regarded the fee structure. One company claims that, “with [the company’s] lawyer-free service you can save up to 85% off the rates an attorney would charge for the same procedure.” Upon a review of what the company claimed to be an estimated fee that an attorney would charge for the preparation of the will, I was flabbergasted. I can only speak for my firm, but our fee is approximately 4.5 times less than the estimated fee quoted on the Web site.

        Moreover, one company suggests that its service is equivalent to the services of an attorney, which is undoubtedly inaccurate as outlined above. In fact, a Colorado attorney boasts that he loves these online and software companies because he has been retained by individuals to correct mistakes included in documents prepared through one of these companies, and he has earned more than what he would have if he had performed the work in the first place.

        In conclusion, the subjects that typically matter the most to you — your health, your family, and your finances — warrant the attention of an experienced, trained professional who will put their bar license and malpractice insurance on the line to provide you with the advice, counsel, opinions, and recommendations that are essential to drafting a proper estate plan.

        People generally create estate plans for the peace of mind that they provide. The question is whether or not a software program and/or an unlicensed, uninsured, and largely unregulated document preparer can provide you with the peace of mind that your estate plan was done appropriately and addresses your specific needs.

        Todd C. Ratner is an estate planning, business, and real estate attorney with the Springfield-based law firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and recipient of Boston Magazine’s 2007 Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars award; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]

        Attorney Marty Dunn Stands Tall Against ALS
        Marty Dunn with his daughter, Kellis; his son, Ryan; and his wife, Anne Marie.

        Marty Dunn with his daughter, Kellis; his son, Ryan; and his wife, Anne Marie.

        Marty Dunn first started noticing a slight slurring of his speech about a year ago. Soon, others noticed as well. Eight months later, he would be officially diagnosed with ALS — amytrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s been a strange, almost surreal 2008 for Dunn, vice president of contracts for Chicopee’s Turbocare and a well-known attorney in the region. But the past is certainly not his focus. Instead, it’s the present and especially the future. There is much planning to do for Dunn, who wants to be an inspiration, not the object of pity, and a determination to make the very most of the time he has left — especially this time.

        Marty Dunn extended his right arm and started shaking and flexing his hand, as if to provide some visual effects for some comments about his thumb.

        It’s simply not as opposable as it was or should be, said Dunn, adding that a lack of mobility and resistance in his thumb has affected, to one degree or another, his ability to eat, write, brush his teeth, turn the car key in the ignition, or do any of those myriad other things that one does with their dominant hand. “It really messes things up.”

        Aside from a slurring of his speech, which has become progressively worse over the past year or so, these thumb problems are the first outward manifestations of amytrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

        Dunn knows there will be more.

        Many more.

        He just doesn’t know when they’ll appear, or where, or to what degree they will impact that intangible known as quality of life — for himself and those around him, especially his wife, Anne Marie, daughter, Kellis, and son, Ryan.

        This is one of the exceedingly cruel aspects of ALS — a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord — and there are many. There is no cure for this menace, named after the New York Yankees star who contracted it, and no one really knows definitively what causes it. A diagnosis is, in most all cases, a death sentence. But those who have it just don’t know how long that sentence is or what the weeks, months, and years ahead of them will be like.

        All they can do is think and hope and prepare for what they know, or think, is coming — which most people would find incomprehensible and exceedingly depressing.

        But Dunn, an attorney, vice president of contracts with Chicopee-based Turbocare, and former associate with the Springfield-based firm Bacon Wilson, isn’t sitting around feeling sorry for himself. He has much better things to do with his time — especially this time, before ALS takes from him his ability to speak, eat, write, type, walk, and be independent.

        He knows those days are coming. He just doesn’t know when.

        “I never miss an opportunity to spend time with the kids now,” he told BusinessWest. “I’d like to think that it was always like that, but it wasn’t. Now, it means so much more to me.”

        One thing Dunn wants to do with this time is try to raise awareness of ALS in the hope that maybe someday the causes will be known and a cure can be found. “ALS is relatively rare, and it doesn’t get the federal money that other, more widespread diseases do, so anything I can do to draw attention to it will help.”

        He’s not going to climb a mountain, stage a telethon, or even blog about his experiences, but he will try to help people understand this disease and perhaps comprehend the many ways it impacts the lives of its victims and all those around them. Ultimately, he doesn’t want to be a victim and object of pity, but rather an inspiration to others fighting battles like his own.

        And one way of doing that is agreeing to sit with BusinessWest and talk about ALS, what he’s experiencing, and what he wants to do “before it’s too late,” a phrase he used on a few occasions to convey his determination to make the most of what is now a truly precious commodity.

        Indeed, as he recalled a time recently when Anne Marie said, “why did this happen to us? — we’ve always done everything right … we’re good people,” Dunn said he replied, “why not us? What makes us so special? Life isn’t fair, and I’ve been pretty lucky through my life.”

        That was his way of acknowledging that ALS strikes indiscriminately, and that time spent asking ‘why?’ isn’t time spent wisely.

        And he’s becoming quite an expert on that subject.

        Body of Evidence

        It was a Sunday-afternoon football party with some of his neighbors in East Longmeadow, like so many before it, until

        Dunn recalls that it was quite cold that day late last fall, and that the New England Patriots triumphed (they won every regular-season game last year). But by day’s end he would have something much different and far more menacing to remember the occasion by.

        This was the first time someone made reference to his speech and that it didn’t seem right. “Someone said, ‘your voice sounds funny,’” he recalled, adding that he had noticed something himself, a slight slurring, in the days preceding, but didn’t think much of it. But with this second reference, he began to think that maybe something was wrong. And with some hard prompting from Anne Marie, he would eventually seek out some answers.

        As he would find out much later, the ALS had actually invaded his body several months earlier, and this lengthy time before the first visible manifestation of the disease is part and parcel to ALS.

        This was just one of the many things Dunn would learn during an almost surreal 2008 for the Springfield native, Cathedral High School and AIC graduate, and Navy veteran who once worked for the late Congressman Edward Boland as an aide in the mid-’80s, first in Springfield and then in Washington.

        “That was a fantastic experience,” he said of his time in D.C., adding that it helped propel him into a career in law, one that would take some time to develop.

        Indeed, after leaving Boland’s staff, he went to work to what was then Continental Cablevision (there have been several new owners and names since) as government affairs manager, and later at MassMutual and Aetna in what he called “systems jobs.”

        During his time with Aetna, he attended Western New England College Law School part-time. Upon graduation in 1998, he went to work for Bacon Wilson, where he specialized in corporate law, especially commercial transactions. He also handled some immigration work and residential real estate.

        In 2006, he left the firm for Turbocare, a subsidiary of Siemens that makes replacement parts for steam and gas turbine engines manufactured by Siemens and other makers. His work involves international contracts, as the title suggests, but Dunn also serves as in-house attorney for the company, handling a broad array of duties that he categorized as “office work.”

        But this was the kind of behind-the-scenes, transactional legal work that appealed to him, and he had settled into the job nicely by late 2007. Soon, though, things would become rather unsettled.

        Questions, but No Answers

        There are many things that medical science doesn’t know about ALS, said Dunn. What causes it and how to cure it are at the top of the list, but it is also not easy to diagnose.

        In fact, it was actually late summer, more than eight months after that first reference about his voice and nearly two months after Dunn finally went in for tests, before doctors could actually, and officially, confirm that this was the problem.

        “A diagnosis of ALS is a diagnosis of exclusion,” said Dunn, noting that there are several neurological disorders that could have been the cause of his slurred speech. “They start out with a list a mile long and they slowly eliminate things; the thing at the bottom is ALS.”

        He remembers several procedures, none of them pleasant, as doctors worked their way down that long list. “They shock you with electric shock, and stick needles in you all over the place,” he recalled, “in the tongue, in the extremities, anywhere and everywhere.”

        Before any of that, doctors found something else to be concerned about — an abnormal heartbeat, which required some immediate attention. By the time a measure of control with his heartbeat had been achieved, doctors were making some headway in their process of elimination.

        “But it would be Aug. 29, a date Dunn won’t ever forget, when he received not only the official word, but a letter that he would have to use as he sought benefits from the Veterans Administration and other agencies. “That’s my kick-off date.”

        He told BusinessWest he greeted the news with “shock and horror,” with thoughts soon returning to some recent experiences, when he watched a boyhood friend’s mother suffer from and then succumb to ALS.

        “It was horrifying … it was very hard to watch it unfold,” he recalled of this exposure to ALS, which played itself out over the course of four or five years. “I heard from my friend frequently; I would visit him and see his mother. I could see what it was doing to her, so there’s some tragic irony to all this.”

        When all was said and done and ALS was confirmed, Dunn said he actually felt sorry for the neurologists who made the diagnosis, who feel helpless in such situations. “Once they come away with this diagnosis, they shift from a curative type of consultation to saying, ‘well, you should make the most of the time you have left.’”

        Upon learning that he was afflicted with ALS, Dunn then did what people do these days when they want information; he googled the acronym.

        Then he started reading, a sobering experience, to say the least.

        Among the things he’s learned is that ALS strikes about 30,000 people a year. That’s a big number, but not big enough, apparently, to drive the pharmaceutical companies to invest large amounts of time and money to finding a cure; there’s simply not enough of a payback.

        He’s also learned that while life expectancy varies, most victims have between two and five years to live. But what none of the sites he clicked on could tell him was just how quickly this disease will take over his body and what he can expect next. He’s not sure exactly why, but he believes his progression will be slow, which is both good and bad.

        Dunn has learned that there are essentially two informal types of ALS. One starts from the head, or top, and works its way down the body. The other moves in reverse, striking the legs and then heading north.

        He has the former, which explains why his speech was the first thing to be impacted. The thumb problems followed, he said, adding quickly that while it’s not getting any worse — yet — it’s not getting better, impacting myriad daily activities.

        “My writing is getting really sloppy,” he said. “I have trouble holding a fork — I really have to grab it — and I can’t really turn the ignition in the car.”

        No one really knows exactly what will happen next or when, but Dunn is pretty much resigned to the fact that soon (a decidedly relative term for those with ALS), he will lose his speech altogether, and he will need to communicate via a computer. Next, or maybe simultaneously, he will lose the ability to swallow, meaning he will need a feeding tube for nourishment.

        Knowing that such things are coming, but not knowing when, is difficult, he said, adding that he is determined to make good use of his time before such quality-of-life-limiting things happen.

        Desire to Inspire

        Dunn said that putting the acronym ALS together with the word blessing in the same sentence is awkward and somewhat perverse.

        But that’s the term he chose to describe one aspect of this disease: time — to think and reflect and relish and maybe do some of the things one might do if he or she knew there was only so much time, or quality time, left. And also time to get one’s affairs in order and make sure that people are taken care of to the best of his ability. Dunn has been doing all of that, and he noted that many people don’t have that luxury.

        “First and foremost, I wanted to do those things they say you should do for your family,” he said, listing a will and a health care proxy, among others. “There are a lot of business-related issues that have to be addressed, and you want to make sure everything’s been done right.”

        His situation improved in September, he said, when the Veterans Administration, acting upon statistics showing that those who served time in the military had a much greater chance of contracting ALS than non-veterans, altered its policy on the disease. Before that, Gulf War and Vietnam-era veterans who contracted the illness would be eligible for service-connected pensions. However, that policy now includes everyone.

        “That opens up some new avenues of help for me and other veterans who have it,” he explained, adding that his wife will now receive a small pension because of that policy change and that ‘service-connected’ designation attached to his ALS.

        Dunn said he doesn’t have any firm plans for the future, but he is mulling a host of possibilities. He intends to take the family on a vacation to Disney World — “it’ll be the 100th time, but if it makes them happy, that’s all I care about” — and is thinking about a visit to Ireland, something his wife wants to do.

        “I have to take advantage of the time I have, meaning while I’m still mobile and can still speak,” he explained. “Hopefully, I’ll be around for quite a few years, but there will come a point where there will be wheelchairs and other things I’ll need, and it just won’t be the same.”

        In the meantime, Dunn is taking inspiration and support wherever and whenever he can find it.

        He’s been given a number of books on the subjects of death and dying, including Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, from which he’s gained determination to honor the late educator’s call for those staring at death to be ‘Tiggers’ and not ‘Eeyores’ (characters from Winnie the Pooh) as they live out their lives.

        “He says you can either be an Eeyore and sit in the corner and say, ‘oh, woe is me,’ or you can bounce around like Tigger and just enjoy life. That’s what I plan to do.”

        Overall, he doesn’t dwell on the hand he’s been dealt or rant at his misfortune. “Sometimes the ball bounces in your direction, which it usually has for me, and sometimes it doesn’t,” he said. “I’ve been more fortunate than most.”

        Dunn was honored this past Veteran’s Day with the role of grand marshal in Springfield’s Veteran’s Day Parade, and a few days later he was the guest of honor at a huge fundraiser at the Basketball Hall of Fame. More than 500 friends, family members, colleagues, and former colleagues gathered at an event that had the look and feel of a Frank Capra movie and drove home the point that Dunn will have plenty of support as he battles ALS.

        Doug Guthrie, now vice president of the Connecticut-West Region for Comcast, with whom Dunn had worked at Continental Cablevision some 20 years earlier when both were just getting started in their careers, organized many of details of the event (which raised more than $25,000 by some very early estimates) and introduced Dunn to those gathered. Meanwhile, attorneys at Bacon Wilson sold hundreds of tickets to the event, and organizers collected raffle prizes from dozens of area businesses and attractions.

        AnnMarie Harding, marketing director for Max’s Tavern and hostess of that football party in East Longmeadow 11 months earlier, handled most of the logistics, with help from some interns at WNEC, Dunn’s alma matter.

        Dunn wrote out his remarks, telling those assembled that by doing so, someone else might finish if he couldn’t. He had to stop several t
        mes, with each pause pierced by a cry of “we love you, Marty,” or “we’re here for you, Marty,” always from a different corner of the room, and each time providing enough to give Dunn whatever it took to read on.

        He told those gathered what he later told BusinessWest — that he intends to be around for a while, and for the time being, it will be “business as usual”— or as usual as it can get when one’s been handed a death sentence.

        He doesn’t know for how long, but one more thing Dunn has learned about ALS is that one lives for the moment and prepares for the future.

        He’s got that part down.

        Lasting Impressions

        When asked if he could ever truly put aside his plight and not think about it, Dunn said there are actually some times when he can forget he has ALS.

        “But it’s not easy,” he said, “not when every time you start to talk you’re reminded. The only respite you get is when you’re sleeping.”

        And now, there’s the thumb.

        Returning to that subject, he flexed his hand a few more times. Dunn said that from that all he’s read and all he knows, it will slowly get worse and that this will impact so many aspects of his life and those around him.

        “It’s really going to sink in when I can’t hold a football anymore and I won’t be able to play catch with Ryan,” he said, stopping for a minute as if to let that eventuality wash over him. And in a very rare display, you could see the pain on his face.

        That’s because he knows that day is coming.

        He just doesn’t know when.

        And that’s the curse of ALS.

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


        The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


        Door Tek Installation Services Inc., 19 East Street Ave., Chicopee 01020. Mario Couture, same. Door installation.

        Taehon Corporation Take on Life Inc., 680 Meadow St., Chicopee 01013-1824. Mark D. Lewis, 191 North Street, Hingham, 02043. Martial arts instruction.


        Hinglag Corp., 46 Townhouse Dr., Easthampton 01027. Bhupendra N. Patel, same. Package store.


        Jim’s Tree Service Inc., 115 homestead Ave., Greenfield 01301. James Michael Elwell. Same. Tree service.


        Friends of Holyoke Council on Aging Inc., 310 Appleton St., Holyoke 01040. Frances Wilhelmi, 31 Mayer Dr., Holyoke 01040. Charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes.


        Scientific Social Solutions Inc., 49 Memory Lane, Longmeadow 01106. Alton King Jr., same. Education

        Western Massachusetts Learning Centers for Children Inc., 281 Deepwoods Dr., Longmeadow 01106. Robert W. Clark, same. To train qualified trainees to become certified tutors.


        Sal’s Pizzeria Inc., 206 Holyoke St., Ludlow 01056. Marie Berardi, 88 Ashland Ave., Springfield 01119-2702. Dispenser of food and drink.


        Western Massachusetts Fly Fishermen Inc., 1212 Thorndike St., Palmer 01069. William Rose, 39 Sunset Terrace, Feeding Hills 01030.To provide education on fly fishing.


        Scapin Sand & Gravel Inc., 260 Blandford Road, Russell 01071. Anthony J. Scapin Sr., same. To supply sand and gravel.


        International Medieval Society, Paris Inc., 50 College St., South Hadley 01075. Meredith Cohen, same. Non-profit.



        Admark Transportation Inc., 786 Newbury St., Springfield 01104. Rene Romero, same. Public transportation.

        Agape Kingdom Community Development International (AKCDI) Inc., 336 Springfield St., Springfield 01107. Kofi Atta Ben Bani Rev., 136 Melha Ave., Springfield 01104. Community service.

        BDH Enterprises Inc., 46 Louis Road, Springfield 01118. Brenda D Harvey, same. On-line customer service.

        Chase Management Service Inc., 85 Mill St., Springfield 01108. Sheryl A.Chase, 29 River St., Thorndike 01079. Real Estate management.

        Faith in Action Community Empowerment (FACE) Inc., 336 Springfield St., Springfield 01107. Kofi Atta Beb Bani Rev., 136 Melha Ave., Springfield 01104. Community service.

        Innovative Communications Inc., 132 Fort Pleasant Ave., Springfield 01108. Kevin McCaskill Jr., Same. Retail.

        New England Farm Workers’ Council Realty Inc., 11-13 Hampden St., Springfield 01103. Heriberto Flores, same. Non-profit.

        Springfield International Animal Hospital Realty Inc., 357 East Columbus Ave., Springfield 01105-2555. Socrates Tello, 356 Orange St., Springfield 01105. Real Estate investor.

        Springfield International Animal Hospital, P.C. 357 East Columbus Ave., Springfield 01105. Socrates Tello, same. Veterinary medicine.

        Tenants & Landlords Inc., 115 Bellevue Ave., Springfield 01108. Hassan R. Ali, same. Home services.

        Yogi Brothers Inc., 220 Worthington St., Springfield 01029. Arvind Trehan, 155 River St., West Springfield 01089. Fast food service/restaurant


        John P. Liptak, CPA Inc., 30 Court St., Westfield 01085. John P. Liptak, 20 Court St., Westfield 01085. The practice of public accountancy.


        Wurszt Inc., 2460 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Greg S. Wurszt, 18 Frontenac St., Indian Orchard 01151. The purchase, sales, distribution, and repair of lawn mowers, snow blowers, and other power equipment.


        Greta LaMountain has joined the law firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. of Springfield. LaMountain, a general practitioner with a focus on financial and real estate matters, will work out of the Amherst office.


        Peter Knapp recently became the new owner of Danco/Danish Inspirations in West Hatfield.


        Pamela Mackenzie, Vice President of Comcast’s Hartford-Springfield area, was recently recognized with the Career Achievement Award by Women in Cable Telecommunications New England at its fourth annual awards ceremony in Boston. The award recognizes an individual who has had a milestone decade, has significantly impacted the cable industry, and is a visionary leader who is highly regarded by her employees and peers. Mackenzie oversees a 500-person team comprising technical operations, finance, human resources, and commercial and residential sales.


        Scott Palmer has joined MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division as Vice President, Retirement Systems.


        Sunshine Village in Chicopee announced the following:
        • Sandy Duprat has joined the agency as a Marketing Representative, and
        • Nancy Bailey has joined the agency as a Marketing Representative.


        Fuss & O’Neill of Manchester, Conn. announced the following:
        • Ted DeSantos, Vice President and Leader of the Transportation and Structures Business Unit, has been promoted to Partner;
        • Chris Ecsedy, Project Director, Facilities and Environmental Services Business Unit, has been promoted to Partner;
        • John Chambers, Project Director, Development Services Business Unit, has been promoted to Partner, and
        • Rob Levandoski, Project Director, Manufacturing Solutions, LLC, has been promoted to Partner.


        Dawn Mulvey of Home & Garden Party was recently promoted to Gold Designer with the company. To reach this goal, Mulvey had to have sponsored three team members and have monthly sales of $300 or more.


        Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. in Holyoke announced the following:
        • Linda Raimondi has joined the firm as Director of Human Resources. In this role, Raimondi will oversee the recruitment, retention, and professional development of staff, as well as oversee the firm’s daily administrative operations.
        • Brenda Olesuk has been named Director of Marketing. She will provide leadership in the development and execution of the firm’s strategic marketing, advertising, and public-relations plans.


        The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in West Springfield announced the following:
        • Janet E. Cassesse has been named Financial Coordinator in the Community Development section, and
        • Danielle J. Kahn has been named a Land Use and Environmental Planner.


        PeoplesBank has appointed Melissa E. Richter Branch Manager at the Sumner Avenue office in Springfield.


        Steven A. Davis was the recent recipient of a Nichols College Alumni Achievement Award. Davis is the President of Ventry Industries, a private firm in Springfield that invests in New England businesses.


        Dawn Mulvey and Lisa Jarrett recently attended “Back to Basics,” Home & Garden Party’s annual conference rally in Las Vegas.


        Northeast Utilities announced the following:
        • James A. Muntz has been promoted to President, Transmission, and
        • Patricia McCullough has been elected President and Executive Director of the Northeast Utilities Foundation. McCullough will continue to serve as a Director in NU’s enterprise planning group, working with NU’s operating companies on energy efficiency and resource management.


        The Zonta Club of Quaboag recently honored Nancy Fletcher with its Founder’s Day Award, given annually to a woman who exemplifies the ideals of Zonta. Fletcher is Founder and Executive Director of ACT NOW! Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to building character and confidence in youth, particularly girls, through improvisation and movie making.


        Robert N. Authier recently received the National Association of Realtors’ top executive award, the William R. Magel Award of Excellence, during its annual conference in Orlando. Authier is Chief Executive Officer of the 21,000-member Mass. Assoc. of Realtors.


        Northwestern Mutual announced the following:
        • Dana R. Barrows will receive the company’s Forum Award, and
        • John H. Joyce will receive the company’s Forum Award.
        Barrows and Joyce are with The Zuzolo Financial Group, based in Springfield.


        Paul Peter Nicolai, Principal of Nicolai Law Group P.C., has been elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Nicolai has been named to the Strategic Development Committee of the association’s Center for Professional Responsibility.


        Jim Vinick has been named Senior Vice President, Investments, for Moors & Cabot Inc., based in Boston, and will oversee its new office in Springfield at One Financial Plaza, 1350 Main St.

        Sections Supplements
        Business Owners Should Never Overlook Springfield’s Central Business District

        Economic cycles come and go (at least so far). However, parking, safety, and competition from suburban properties are the three ever-present factors that impact the downtown Springfield Class A office market. And, as is so often the case with commercial real estate and urban central business districts, perception is not exactly reality.

        Indeed, while these matters of parking and safety certainly constitute challenges, they are not as formidable as some make them out to be. Meanwhile, space in the suburbs does not come free of issues — or with free parking, either. In other words, there is some fiction that needs to be separated from fact on these matters.

        Let’s start with parking. It was getting a bad rap long before I came to the area in 1985. And while enormous progress has been made with the addition of the I-91 North and South garages, companies still maintain that they have trouble attracting employees, especially females, due in part to the cost (which has remained nearly constant for the last 10 years) and safety issues related to parking.

        Ironically, the cost of parking in downtown Springfield is a bargain when compared to other office markets in New England. Monthly parking in the City of Homes runs on average $80 per month in one of several covered garages or surface lots. Similar parking in Hartford is $200 or more per month, and in Boston it’s $400, or about as much as a car payment.

        Meanwhile, Hartford’s downtown environment isn’t any safer than Springfield’s, and neither is Boston’s. The fact is that some people simply have a parking-garage phobia. It’s the earthbound version of a fear of flying.

        One possible way to assuage this inherent aversion to parking garages might be to seek the help of the Springfield Business Improvement District. This seems like the logical organization to turn to, with such a perfect name for the job. The BID is supported by a special tax assessed on certain property owners in the designated district to improve the quality of the downtown business environment. For example, the Sovereign Bank Building makes an annual tax payment to the BID in excess of $50,000 a year. This is over and above the real property taxes it pays to the City of Springfield. All landlords, including the Class A and B office buildings, pay this tax in varying amounts.

        Some of this revenue could be directed toward improving the collective sense of well-being as it pertains to parking. The BID has numerous uniformed officers, intended to be high-profile, who could, when requested, serve from time to time as escorts between the office buildings and garages. It seems like the most fundamental service for the BID to provide.

        I don’t believe the primary objection to parking is really the cost. Parking translates into an additional cost of occupancy to a tenant of between $2 and $3 per square foot in rent if, in the extreme, the employer pays for 100% of every employee’s parking. Class A lease rates in the CBD top out at about $18 per square foot. With parking factored in, the rents are at $21 per square foot. In the prime suburban locations, the land of so-called ‘free’ parking, rents peak in the $25-per-square-foot range with parking.

        Viewed in this light, ‘free’ seems to have lost some of its meaning.

        Overall, the suburban office market has a significant impact on the downtown Springfield market. The suburban multi-tenant properties have been traditionally very close to capacity. When, on occasion, the suburban market experiences a sizeable vacancy, as was the case recently when ISO New England vacated 330 Whitney Ave. in Holyoke for newly built nearby quarters, a gold rush of sorts ensues. Two notable companies with downtown roots going back 20 years made commitments to the vacated space.

        Monarch Life Insurance left, as did the Novak Insurance Agency leaving Tower Square. The combined square footage left behind in downtown amounts to more than 30,000 square feet. Fortunately, most of this has already been absorbed.

        Liberty Mutual’s recent decision to locate at the Technology Park at Springfield Technical Community College, as opposed to staking a downtown presence, plugs a 30,000-square-foot hole there that could have eventually lured away other CBD tenants. So, for the time being at least, the downtown area is the only game in the region for office users in need of large blocks of available space.

        Time will tell, but there is some optimism that business owners can look past downtown’s challenges and the often-misleading perceptions about that area, and help generate some real momentum in the CBD.

        Downtown Springfield is, has been, and always will be the center of culture, commerce, and government in the region. For many companies, it is the only place to be. The David L. Babson Company, Court Square Data, and Western Mass Legal Services have all re-upped their commitment to downtown. The Premier Education Group (Branford Hall) recently moved its executive offices from East Springfield to Monarch Place.

        These companies don’t need to be downtown — technology enables businesses to locate virtually anywhere — but they saw some of the inherent advantages to being in that area, and found space that will enable their companies to grow.

        Other business owners can do the same — if they can look past challenges and some lingering misperceptions, and see opportunity.

        John Williamson is the president of Williamson Commercial Properties in downtown Springfield; (413) 736-9400.



        The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the month of October 2008.


        Dean’s Landscaping
        349 Barry St.
        John-Michael Dean

        Favor Home Remodeling
        106 Columbia Dr.
        Mark St. Laurent

        Northern Snow Removal
        31 Maple St.
        Nicholas Pandolfi


        Hybrid Fire
        38 Lessey St.
        Aaron Soules

        370 Potwine Lane
        Peter Levy


        Bernat’s Polish Meat Products & Deli
        895 Meadow St.
        Gregory & Edward Bernat

        Bulldog Jakes
        64 Olea St.
        Gayle Marie Davignon

        Chicopee Windows
        36 Mercedes St.
        Robin Campbell

        Secure Solutions
        213 Dayton St.
        Robert Morgan

        Squeaky Clean Inc.
        48 Center St.
        James Michael Thomson


        Home Town Painting
        17 Harrison Ave.
        Karlene Foster

        JMW Construction
        14 Plymouth Ave.
        James Wildman

        Roy Chiropractic & Wellness Center
        132B Cottage St.
        Dr. Norman G. Roy


        El Greco Café
        233 Main St.
        Kosta Pitaridis

        Jacqui’s Cleaning Service
        91 Norwood St.
        Jacqueline L. Wilkins

        Lucky Nails
        130 Main St.
        Tai H. Hunh

        Moonlight Auto Reconditioning
        1110 Bernardston Road
        John Woods


        Executive Flooring
        30 Lynwood Ave.
        Raymond J. Mansfield

        Health Power
        50 Holyoke St.
        Yong Qiang Li


        ABC Home Daycare
        361 Wolf Swamp Road
        Cheryl Cochi

        Counsel & Gynecology Group, P.C.
        175 Dwight Road
        Max Chorowski, M.D.

        JR Enterprises
        192 Captain Road
        Ronald Mack

        Prospect Group
        43 Benedict Terrace
        Michael Green


        Bistro 186
        186 Main St.
        Robert B. Lowney

        Chameleon’s Hair Salon
        2 Conz St.
        Teri Woodland

        Ostrander Law Office
        36 Service Center Road
        David W. Ostrander

        Pillow Casey
        30B Avis Circle
        Pamela D. Estes

        Valley DBT & CBT
        32 Masonic St.
        Rosemary Roy

        Queen Nail Salon
        138 King St.
        Khanh N. Tran


        1085 Park St.
        Victor Acquista

        Premier Communications
        11 Hobbs St.
        Robert Lucier

        Ray’s Towing & Repair
        1205 South Main
        Raymond LaBonte, Jr.



        Nailz by Jennifer
        135 College St.
        Jennifer Deleon

        Russ Foisy Electrical Service
        16 Lathrop St.
        Russell R. Foisy

        Nathan Abraham & Associates
        158 Riverboat Village Road
        Nathan Abraham


        MLS Services Co.
        68 Granville Road
        Michael Shea

        Passion in Performing Arts
        627 College Highway
        Theresa Dellamarco

        Southeastern Financial Group
        603 College Highway
        Keith Deyo


        MYM Services
        197 Florida St.
        Yasir Osman

        New York Nails
        1368 Allen St.
        Jennifer Thu Costa

        Pentecostal Church
        155 Chestnut St.
        Julio Edwards

        Perfect Cuts Barber
        472 Bridge St.
        Frankie C. Pileggi

        Princess Nails
        368 Cooley St.
        Michael Cao

        933 Belmont Ave.
        Maria Bianchi

        Riverbend Medical Group
        305 Bicentennial Highway
        Robert L. Lounsbury

        Rubet Commercial Cleaning
        17 Fairhaven Dr.
        Luis Rubet

        Seabrooks Cleaning Service
        73 Edgewood St.
        Ulysses Seabrooks

        Studs Only National Scene
        135 Boston Road
        Yolanda R. Cancel

        69 Anne St.
        Richard J. Blake

        Tenants & Landlords
        1655 Main St.
        Castillo Castle LLC

        This & That Collectible
        98 Carver St.
        Sara Louise Bechta

        U Know Tech
        892 Main St.
        Ronald Lopez

        Universal Real Estate
        115 State St.
        Daniel D. Kelly


        D & D Design
        48 Marla Circle
        Diane Strattner

        Sweet Reveal
        1 Overlook Dr.
        Carla Kone

        Westfield Community News.com
        20 Perkins St.
        Sally Memole


        Closet Factory
        266 Cold Spring Ave.
        David Townsend

        Fathers & Sons
        989 Memorial Ave.
        Damon S. Cartelli

        Kia of West Springfield
        468 Memorial Ave.
        Damon S. Cartelli

        Mind, Body, & Skin
        117 River St.
        Jennifer Pruitte

        Nut House Designs
        80 Windsor St.
        Roy D. Bessette

        Richard’s Grinders
        875 Memorial Ave.
        Brian Cleland

        126 Baldwin St.
        Joseph Ward

        Wood Stock Mills Inc.
        266 Cold Spring Ave.
        David W. Townsend

        Sections Supplements
        Bequeath Your Values Along With Your Valuables

        ‘To my daughter, I leave my love of laughter.’ ‘And to my son, I leave my passion for knowledge.’

        As a responsible provider, you want to ensure the future financial stability of your loved ones. As such, you may have already drafted a last will and created an estate plan that transfers your worldly possessions; however, your estate plan should not end there.

        What steps have you taken to ensure that you also pass on your values, ideas, and beliefs? What wisdom and life lessons do you want to share with those you care about? Do you want to be remembered for your values rather than for the possessions you have left behind? If so, you may want to consider drafting an ethical will.

        As the name suggests, ethical wills are the spiritual counterparts to traditional wills that distribute wealth. Ethical wills pass on intangible assets such as blessings, life lessons, dreams, and hopes, as opposed to tangible possessions. While ethical wills are not binding legal documents, they can be an invaluable gift to friends, family members, and other loved ones.

        Although ethical wills have recently gained in popularity, the concept is not new. Medieval models of ethical wills have been found in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures. In the days of illiteracy, last wills were read aloud so that all concerned could hear. Thus, it became common practice to attach one last communication to a captive audience.

        Today, ethical wills are increasingly being created alongside traditional wills as part of the estate-planning process. Like traditional wills, they are often revised to reflect turning points and transitions in the writer’s life, i.e. the birth of a child, a marriage, or end-of-life planning. Additionally, while traditional wills are filed in probate court and become public documents, ethical wills become privately treasured family heirlooms. Indeed, rather than wonder what you might have done in response to a specific situation, loved ones may continuously glean nuggets of advice as they read your ethical will many times throughout various stages of their lives.

        Preparing to draft an ethical will often involves serious consideration of your values and morals, important lessons learned, hopes and dreams for the future, advice to loved ones, invaluable memories, and important events in your life. You may also contemplate themes, such as regrets and forgiveness, personal love, mentors and teachers, cultural beliefs, ancestry, or how you would like to be remembered by others.

        Creating an ethical will does not need to be an individual endeavor. You may choose to review your ethical will with your loved ones. Indeed, by encouraging input from family members, an ethical will may serve as a tool to give those family members insight regarding your wishes and intentions. Thus, the joint process of creating an ethical will serves to promote a cohesiveness that can last well beyond your lifetime.

        Although writing an ethical will is a serious endeavor, it need not be a complicated process. Unlike traditional wills that are bound by statutory constraints, there is no set form or procedure for creating an ethical will. Each ethical will is as unique as the individual that creates it. An ethical will can be a letter to loved ones or to grandchildren not yet born. It may also be a set of instructions regarding the family business or a detailed account of a life journey. It may choose to develop and impart a family mission statement or provide blessings for future generations. Additionally, an ethical will does not need to be limited to writing. It may incorporate multimedia messages, such as photos, drawings, music or videos. Your personal preferences are the only constraints.

        There are various resources available to assist with creating an ethical will, and professionals that specialize in this area will assist you. They may provide individual consultation or writing workshops. They will help you to ascertain what is most important for you to express and then guide you along in the process so that you will be certain to create an ethical will that is a true reflection of you. If you are inclined to work alone, an Internet search will provide a variety of free resources and examples that you may use as you write your ethical will.

        Creating an ethical will forces you to contemplate end-of-life issues, which can admittedly be very difficult; however, this should not be a deterrent, because the benefits of completing an ethical will far outweigh the detriments.

        It will help you gain a great deal of insight into what you really value and, in turn, pass that on to your friends, family members, and loved ones. Bequeath more than your valuables. Create an ethical will and bequeath your values, too.

        Gina M. Barry is a partner with Bacon Wilson, P.C. She is a member of the National Assoc. of Elder Law Attorneys, the Estate Planning Council, and the Western Mass. Elder Care Professionals Assoc. She concentrates her practice in the areas of estate and asset protection planning, probate administration and litigation, guardianships, conservatorships, and residential real estate; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]

        Sections Supplements
        Nuvo Bank Gets Down to Business
        Nuvo Bank President Jeff Sattler, left, and Chairman and CEO Jim Gardner.

        Nuvo Bank President Jeff Sattler, left, and Chairman and CEO Jim Gardner.

        Perhaps a year behind the original timetable, Nuvo Bank, the region’s first new bank in more than 20 years, is set to open its doors. Principals Jeff Sattler and Jim Gardner acknowledge the skeptics who say this isn’t the place — ultra-competitive Western Mass. — or the time to be opening a new financial institution. But they believe they have a product and an operating mindset that will prove those skeptics wrong.

        Jeff Sattler says Nuvo Bank will have a commercial-lending limit of roughly $1.2 million per transaction.

        That will cover maybe 65% to 70% of the requests for this region, said Sattler, president of the region’s newest bank and a long-time commercial lender with TD Banknorth. “That represents the meat and potatoes of this market, and means we can handle the needs of nearly all the small businesses in this region.”

        Sattler and Jim Gardner, chairman and CEO of the bank set to open its doors in Tower Square next month and also a long-time bank administrator, know all about the needs of small-business owners — and also the challenges, headaches, frustrations, expectations, hopes, dreams … all of that.

        That’s because they’ve lived that life for the past few years and continue to live it today.

        It was early in 2006 when they first started laying the groundwork for the region’s first new bank in more than 20 years, and to say that there have been hurdles to overcome on the way to the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony would be a huge understatement. The timetable for opening the facility has been pushed back several times as the partners worked to raise the requisite capital for the venture — a task made more challenging by factors ranging from a softening of the economy to competition from other financial institutions seeking the attention and dollars of investors.

        Meanwhile, there have been the typical issues with getting the physical space ready for prime time, as well as other matters, such as gaining some flexibility with parking regulations downtown (they’ve secured several metered spaces on Bridge Street), finalizing a business plan, and putting a marketing and advertising strategy into place.

        “We certainly have a great appreciation for what small-business owners go through because we’ve been through it all ourselves,” said Sattler, adding that he and Gardner intend to use those learning experiences to grow Nuvo’s portfolios of business. “In the end, I think that will only make us more responsive to our customers, and better able to serve them.”

        Almost all of the hurdles are now in the rear-view mirror, and the entrepreneurs who have been relegated to using the future tense — about what they hope and plan to do — for far longer than anticipated can now finally use the present tense and discuss what they are doing.

        Indeed, while the final touches are being applied to the once-cavernous space in the northeast corner of Tower Square, Sattler and Gardner are already doing business. They’ve written a few commercial loans to date, with many of the parties earning somewhat distinctive designations. One obviously became the first customer, said Sattler, while another was soon awarded at least temporary status as the institution’s largest customer.

        Such levity will soon be the stuff of nostalgia, quickly supplanted by the day-to-day rigors of operating a bank, said the partners, but what will continue is a mindset to make each customer feel in some way special.

        This is part of an operating model designed to change and enliven the banking experience, said Gardner, who also emphasized connections to the community.

        In this issue, BusinessWest looks at the highly anticipated opening of Nuvo Bank, and what the partners are expecting as they enter — finally — what is an ultra-competitive banking environment in Western Mass.

        Accounting Class

        As they gave BusinessWest a tour of their bank-in-progress several weeks before the scheduled opening, Sattler and Gardner pointed out some of the features they believe will make their institution different and refreshing.

        First, they stopped within what will be known as the ‘community room,’ which, as the name suggests, will be a facility (1,200 square feet) set aside for the community, meaning everything from nonprofit groups that need a meeting space to business organizations that want to conduct informational get-togethers.

        They then stopped at the conference room, which will have windows on all four sides, an architectural nuance designed to highlight openness and transparency, said Sattler. “We want our customers to see what we’re doing,” he said, as he moved on to show how everything — from the lobby to the corporate offices to spaces where the works of local artisans will be displayed — will soon take shape in this space where the ceiling has been lowered from 60 feet to 15.

        Bringing all this to reality has taken far longer than the two principals could have anticipated, but that is part and parcel — in most cases, anyway — to getting a new small business off the ground. And that’s what Nuvo is.

        Specifically, it is the region’s first de novo bank, the name given to start-up operations, be they commercial or community banks, that follow one of what are now many blueprints for getting such ventures off the ground. The concept has worked successfully in many other regions of the country, but hadn’t been tried in Western Mass., what most consider to be a saturated market for banking, until Gardner approached Sattler about testing the local waters.

        After a thorough vetting process, the partners became convinced that there was need for such a facility, and went about amassing a group of investors, or organizers. They then applied to the state Board of Bank Incorporation for the OK to move forward, and received that simple but important document in April 2007.

        Soon thereafter, they commenced the task of raising the capital needed to launch the venture. The projected floor was around $10 million, but the partners set a more ambitious goal of $15 million. Getting there was complicated by a number of factors, they said, listing everything from the softening of the economy to unfamiliarity with the de novo concept to that aforementioned competition for investor dollars.

        Eventually, the campaign topped $13 million this past spring, and the partners moved from fund-raising to the next stages of the operation — putting the facilities and team in place. Those steps are still in progress, but the finish line is clearly in sight, said Gardner, noting that the bank should open by mid-October, with formal grand-opening ceremonies set for Nov. 13.

        “The barriers to entry in this business are considerable, and that’s by design — if this was easy, you’d see new banks on every block,” he said while explaining why the timeline for opening has been stretched repeatedly. “There are thousands of decision points in the process, and none of them are I what I would consider easy decisions.”

        But in retrospect, Sattler said the delay in hitting the fund-raising number, while frustrating, may have a blessing in disguise in many respects. Elaborating, he said that opening a year ago, when real estate values were still significantly inflated, would have put Nuvo in a more difficult situation than what it will face when the doors do open in October.

        “I’d be more worried today if we’d opened a year ago,” he said, referring to the current conditions and question marks hovering over the financial-services sector and real-estate market. “Because I’d have a portfolio we’d have to retrace and backtrack on. We’re at the bottom of that cycle from an asset-value standview, and from the standpoint of caution — business owners are regrouping.

        “I don’t have a portfolio that is downgrading,” he continued. “I’ve got a portfolio that at this economic time is strong and credit-worthy and local. And that’s building a great foundation, so that when this market picks up, we’re going to be in a good position.”

        Summing things up, he said that a bank just getting started is in some respects better off than some larger, existing institutions with sagging portfolios and pressure from shareholders and elsewhere to somehow bring those numbers up.

        How to Generate Interest

        Like all other bank administrators in the region, Sattler and Gardner acknowledge that this is what amounts to a no-growth market when it comes to the financial-services sector.

        Thus, growth — or, in the case of Nuvo, simply getting started in the process of accumulating assets and deposits and building loan portfolios — comes down to taking business from others.

        And both business partners believe there will be ample opportunities for them to do so.

        Why? Because over the past few years there has been considerable change within the local market, said Sattler, noting that several banks — Hampden and Chicopee Savings, most notably — have gone public, while there have been some acquisitions, such as NewAlliance absorbing Westbank. And this change — and the promise of more to come, by most accounts — equates to opportunity, according to Nuvo’s principals.

        “Go back to when we started with this in June of ’06 … how many banks have changed or merged since then?” Sattler asked, before quickly answering that question with a simple, “quite a few.”

        “And change is opportunity for us,” he continued. “Customers have become pretty sophisticated over the past several years, especially since the ’80s when there were so many changes and mergers. Things are happening in this marketplace … there are policy changes in some of these institutions; things are not the same at some of these banks. Business owners know that, and we can capitalize on that.”

        Overall, the two partners said, to seize on those aforementioned opportunities, they plan to focus on value, in whatever ways it can be delivered.

        They listed several, from the community room — which they will likely name the ‘Resource Room,’ to accurately convey what it is — to CDAR (certificate of deposit account registry), which enables the bank to insure deposits up to $50 million, not the FDIC’s ceiling of $100,000, to the fact that when one sits down with Sattler to discuss a loan, they will be meeting with not merely with a lending officer, but the president of the company.

        “That’s a tremendous advantage, to have a principal with the company sitting there with you,” said Gardner, “because he’s the decision-maker, and in the current climate at most banks, the decision-makers are maybe hundreds of miles away, and they don’t really know the person who’s going to be most affected by that decision.”

        The concepts of value and a fresh, new approach to banking will be the main thrusts of the bank’s marketing initiative, said Michelle Abdow, president of Market Mentors, the firm that is developing the campaign for the institution.

        She said the primary goal, obviously, is to raise awareness about the latest addition to the market and the fact that it is open for business. Also, it will stress that Nuvo will feature a different look and feel when it comes to the banking experience, what she described thusly: “Starbucks meets Barnes & Noble meets a bank — that’s the ambiance Nuvo is going to have.”

        But beyond that, the marketing efforts aim to stress that the bank can help customers — from homeowners to small-business owners — accomplish their goals and dreams.

        A series of print, radio, and TV ads will feature a somewhat risqué variation on Nike’s ‘Just Do It,’ by depicting a diverse set of consumers explaining how they “did it” — meaning everything from putting an addition on their home to starting a new restaurant, and how the bank helped — while inviting viewers, listeners, and readers to “get ready to do it.”

        As he talked about Nuvo, the anticipated opening, and what he and Gardner might expect in the short and long term, Sattler acknowledged that questions and doubts about the venture are not restricted to timing or the competitive nature of the market.

        Indeed, the location — in downtown Springfield in a struggling Tower Square — has also raised some eyebrows. But here again, the partners feel good about their decision.

        They admit that Tower Square has certainly seen better days — it has lost several retailers over the past few years, including Hannoush Jewelers and Edwards Books earlier this year — and that the revitalization of downtown Springfield remains a work in progress. But the partners are optimistic about recovery for both entities, and intend to be part of that process.

        “There has been some progress downtown, and we’re certainly optimistic that the picture will continue to brighten,” said Sattler, noting, as one example, the prospects for re-tenanting the nearly vacant federal building across Bridge Street from the bank and the resulting benefits to businesses in the central business district. “It’s not going to happen overnight … these things take time, but things can and will improve, and we intend to be part of the solution.

        “The key is to bring people and activity to downtown,” he continued. “We will help just by being here, but we can also bring people downtown through the Resource Room and other ways we intend to connect to the community.”

        The Bottom Line

        Summing up the past 30 months or so, and especially the past year, Sattler and Gardner said they’ve overcome a great deal to get their doors finally open.

        Navigating that whitewater has been a tiring, frustrating experience, they told BusinessWest, but also an exhilarating one in many respects, a roller-coaster ride of emotional swings that has provided some confidence — and some kudos.

        “Some people have told us that, if we can get through all this, if we can survive all this adversity, then we can probably serve our customers effectively,” said Gardner. “That’s just what we were thinking, too.”

        And with that, they went back to work making sure their institution would be in all ways ready for opening day — and also for its first customer and its largest customer, whoever that might be by then.

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


        The following business incorporations were recorded in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire, counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


        Fusion Bath & Kitchen Inc., 56 Beekman Dr., Agawam 01001. James Kearney, Jr., same. To operate a kitchen and bathroom modeling and repairing company.


        Dream Book Inc., #721 Keefe Campus Center, Amherst 01002. Melissa Lauren Atmadia, 4075 View Park Dr., Yorba Linda, CA 92886. Justin Park, #721 Keefe Campus Center, Amherst 01002, resident agent. (Nonprofit) To promote the resolution between the arts and sciences in the field of medicine, etc.


        Fairview Farms, JJC, Ltd., 121 Haynes Hill Road, Brimfield 01010. James J. Corkery, 159 Woodwind Dr., Rock Hill, SC 29732. Krystone O’Connor, 121 Hanes Hill Road, Brimfield 01010, registered agent. Equestrian boarding and activities.


        Assembleia de Deus Ministerio Na Uncao, 419 Montcalm St., #214M, Chicopee 01020. Wellington de Brito Corraim, same. (Nonprofit) Church.

        Western Mass Export Inc., 269 Chicopee St., Suite 12, Chicopee 01013. Vlad Bezruthchenko, same. To import and export auto parts and automobiles.


        Link To Libraries Inc., 45 Rockingham Circle, East Longmeadow 01028. Susan Jaye-Kaplan, 35 Bluegrass Circle, East Longmeadow 01028. (Nonprofit) To enhance language and literacy skills of children of all cultural backgrounds, enabling them to learn about their world through reading.

        RWG Paralegal Group Inc., 26 Yorkshire Place, East Longmeadow 01028. Richard W. Gebo, Sr., same. Paralegal services.


        Chemitorp Inc., 238 Nonotuck St., Florence 01062. Gabriel Munck, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Manufacture of maiamioa and urea molding compounds.


        Joe Francis Inc., 514 South East St., Holyoke 01040. Joseph Francis, same.
        To renovate and manage rental properties.


        CBR Realty Corp., 87 Russell St., Hadley 01035. Daniel J. Regish, same. Real estate.


        Houghton Business Systems Inc., 511 Main St., Hampden 01036. Scott Wentworth Houghton, same. Information technology consulting.


        Grasshopper Learning Solutions Inc., 236 Stafford Road, Holland 01521. Heather Briere, same. Health education services.


        Ministerio de Misiones Uniendo Fuerzas Para Vencer Inc., 21 View St., Holyoke 01040. Wilma Rodriguez, same. (Nonprofit) To establish a good relationship with the community, bring help to the children in Central America, etc.

        Western Massachusetts Catholic Homeschoolers, 74 Pearl St., Holyoke 01040. Mary V. Brazeau, same. (Nonprofit) Learning Bible and apologetics studies for adults and children, etc.


        Crestal Health Periodontics, P.C., 218 Pinewood Dr., Longmeadow 01106. Daniel B. Stiefel, same. To engage in the practice of dentistry, specializing in periodontics.

        OTR International Inc., 785 Williams St., #214, Longmeadow 01106. Firangiz Ismailova Orel, 67 Broadway Lane, West Yarmouth 02673. Sale of tires, trucks, and related products.


        Environmental Safety Training Inc., 212 Clearwater Circle, Ludlow 01056. Carolyn Scyocurka, same. U.S. EPA approved asbestos training provider.


        CS Solutions Inc., 138 Wales Road, Monson 01057. Patricia L. Kustra, same. Customer service.


        Northeast Toyota Crawlers Inc., 60 Randall Road, Montague 01351. Robert L. Tracey, 123 Western Pkwy., Schenectady, NY 12304. Cody Savinski, 60 Randall Road, Montague 01351, resident agent. (Nonprofit) To provide social, educational, and recreational activities for its membership, promote safe operation of our stock of modified 4-x-4 vehicles on and off road, etc.



        Diploma Plus Inc., 75 Gothic St., Northampton 01060. Ephraim Weisstein, 6 Watertown St., Lexington 02421. (Nonprofit) To develop innovative educational approaches to improve outcomes for youths formerly failed by traditional schools.

        Mo Willems Studio Inc., 75 Lyman Road, Northampton 01060. Maurice Willems, same. (Foreign corp; NY) Author — children’s books.


        The Eco School Inc., 1046 Millers Falls Road, Northfield 01360. Danielle Lejnieks, same. (Nonprofit) Educational facility for the underprivileged.


        1241 Park Street Realty Inc., 1241 Park St., Palmer 01069. Giampiero Borgovono, IV Novemkbre Merate 23807 ITA. Frank Fitzgerald, P.C., 46 Center Square, East Longmeadow 01028. To deal in real estate and personal property.

        Al’s Heating & Cooling Inc., 37 Stimson St., Palmer 01069. Alan Nateau, same. Installation of heating and cooling systems.


        Corner Construction Inc., 18 Main St., Suite 2B, South Hadley 01075. Nasrullah Khan, same. Construction.

        The Central Massachusetts Academy Inc., 9 College St., South Hadley 01075. James Levine, Ph.D, same. (Nonprofit) Exclusively for educational purposes.

        Witman Properties Inc., 26 Camden St., South Hadley 01075. Anthony Witman, same. To deal in commercial and residential real properties.


        BAC Foundation Inc., 15 Ruthven St., Springfield 01128. Cordell Valentine Rogers II, same, registered agent. To develop and sustain holistically healthy communities, etc.

        Euro Marketing Group Inc., 934 Main St., Springfield 01103. Carmino Bonavita, 118 Southbrook Road, East Longmeadow 01028. Marketing and origination of commercial and residential mortgages.

        Frodema Appraisal Inc., 50 Cherryvale Ave., Springfield 01108. Thomas P. Frodema, same. Real estate appraisal services.

        Greenleaf Holdings Inc., 1655 Main St., Suite 201, Springfield 01103. Alex Aviles, same. Real estate.

        KJR Commercial Cleaning Inc., 24 Stony Brook Road,
        Springfield 01118. Kelly J. Raleigh, same. Commercial cleaning.

        Zhen Bo House Inc., 762 Boston Road, Springfield 01119. Wei Dong Lin, 765 FDR Dr., #9G, New York 10009; Wei Dong Lin, 762 Boston Road, Springfield 01119, registered agent. Restuarant.


        VFR Inc., 2004 Main St., Three Rivers 01080. Rakeshkumar V. Patel, 1922 Wilbraham Road, Springfield 01129. To operate a supermarket.


        Divine Mercy Academy Inc., 84K St., Turners Falls 01376. Lawrence Filiault, 297 Mountain Rd., Gill 01354. (Nonprofit) To provide a comprehensive liberal arts education in the Catholic classical tradition.


        Gary Olszewski & Company, PC Inc., 94 North Elm St., Westfield 01085. Gary S. Olszewski, same. Public accountancy services.


        Burke Technology Inc., 35 Brookside Dr., Wilbraham 01095. Patrick D. Burke, same. Implement and maintain technology solutions.


        Lift Truck Parts & Service II Inc., 20 Parkside Ave., West Springfield 01089. Mario A. Sotolotto, 290 Rogers Ave., West Springfield 01089. To deal in industrial equipment for lift trucks, etc.

        River Street Spirits Inc., 20 D River St., West Springfield 01089. Louis F. Bonavita, 67 Alexander Dr., Agawam 01001. To own and operate a package store.

        Sections Supplements
        Manufacturers, Developers Answer the Call for Customizable Phones

        If you thought there was no place for Wack-a-Gopher or Word a Day calendars in today’s personal technology landscape, you’re wrong.

        The latest craze among new phones — which, today, are not phones at all so much as personal online and connectivity devices — is not the handsets themselves, but the additional, customizable applications a user can download at any time. For some people, this might mean adding a racecar game or a relaxing, virtual pond of koi fish for idle gazing. Or, it could just as easily mean installing complicated stock programs to follow specific trades, a remote desktop that connects to a home or office computer, or a mobile version of the White Pages.

        Regardless of the product, it’s a personalized climate in which we’re communicating, leading to new needs and wants among consumers. Here’s a look at some of the new offerings on the market.

        An App a Day

        Just this summer, the communications buzz centered almost entirely on Apple’s latest offering, the iPhone 3G. The new iPhone is said to be twice as fast as the first generation iPhone, allowing users to take advantage of faster access to the Internet and E-mail over their cellular network, as well as for voice and data connectivity worldwide.

        But as autumn settles in, iPhone chatter has shifted to focus more on the vast number of services and applications (or what Apple calls Apps) that can be used in conjunction with the device. MobileMe, for example, is a new service available to all iPhone users that ‘pushes’ E-mail, contacts, and calendars instantly to iPhone, removing the need to manually check E-mail and wait for downloads. There are also about 600 ‘Web apps’ available to iPhone users, such as connectivity to popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and 2,500 applications to date that can be purchased (some are free) and downloaded to the iPhone via through Apple’s online ‘App Store.’

        These include applications in a variety of categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference, and travel, and all are designed to help users customize their experience. There are more than 40 photography Apps alone, ranging from editing tools to uploaders to popular online photo hosts such as Phanfare and flickr, and a number of business-related Apps, including remote PowerPoint controllers, task managers, voice recorders, and automatic trackers for everything from headlines to real estate trends.

        New Apps are added constantly, and Apple tracks its most popular products. Currently, the most-often downloaded Apps among free and for-purchase products include Wikipanion, a free search tool for use with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia; Stanza, a reader for electronic books; Pandora Radio, a free, personalized music service; and Spend Lite, a budget manager. (Wack-a-Gopher and the virtual koi pond are also in the top ten Apps this month.)

        In addition, other companies, from technology firms to audio-visual manufacturers, are also capitalizing on the iPhone craze and introducing their own compatible hardware and software.

        MODE for iPhone, for example, was created by audio-component manufacturer SpeakerCraft, based in Riverside, Calif., to expand upon the iPhone’s already-extensive music-playing capabilities.

        MODE essentially transforms the iPhone into a remote control that can be used with home-theater and multi-room audio systems, as well as with every iPod within a household. The interface operates much like other iPhone applications, and displays song information, artist names, genres, and playlists on the interactive touch screen, making the process of accessing music simple and intuitive.

        BlackBerry Cordial

        These kinds of innovations — focused less on one-to-one conversations and more on the vast potential of hand-held communications devices of today — is an industry-wide trend, and not relegated to all things Apple. Another sweet spot in the industry is the BlackBerry, which is also revamping its image, capabilities, and relationships with those all-important third-party applications.

        The BlackBerry Curve 8830 from Verizon Wireless is one of the latest models, featuring applications that can work together and load concurrently. With the Curve 8830, users can E-mail a Web page to a contact, for example, while browsing the Web or listening to music. The BlackBerry also utilizes a 3G network, which augments such real-time features as ‘VZ Navigator,’ an audio and visual GPS system that provides turn-by-turn directions.

        ‘Built by BlackBerry’ is this company’s version of an online application store, carrying both free and for-purchase add-ons in categories such as lifestyle, finance, news and weather, and music and media. Users can play a game of virtual Uno, read the New York Times, make stock trades, or track expenses by installing these diverse programs, which are added and expanded on a regular basis.

        All of these innovations point toward devices that are increasingly versatile, as well as easy to use. As suggested by the iPhone 3G, keypads are beginning to give way to touch screens, and personal organizers, music players, phones, and portable Internet-connectivity devices are already morphing into one gadget rather than several.

        A Soft Spot for Hardware

        However, this is not to say that design and lifestyle don’t still play a part in which phone or accessories are purchased. High-end phones like the BlackBerry and iPhone are larger than some of the tiny devices of years past, and more complicated to replace or repair. That’s why many manufacturers are now striving to offer a multitude of options in terms of capabilities and space for added applications, while still taking into account the varied lifestyles of consumers.

        The Motorola Adventure V750 Push-to-Talk Phone, for example, is designed to cater to travelers and businesses with a far reach. It connects one or multiple team members at the same time with one push of a button, and is a more rugged phone that meets military standards for shock, dust, vibration, solar radiation, altitude, and high and low temperatures.

        It also supports a Verizon Wireless application called Field Force Manager, a business-to-business, multi-function tool that allows for the location and tracking of field workers, offers an electronic time-card option, creates an audit trail to validate job information for customers, and generates turn-by-turn driving directions.

        If sophisticated business tools aren’t necessary, though, there’s also mobile Guitar Hero and Pac-Man Fever. A little something for everyone is the trend, and everything is close at hand.

        Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]

        Sections Supplements
        Flexible Arrangements Are Gaining Attention, Acceptance
        Bill Ferris

        Bill Ferris says there is mounting evidence that flexible work schedules lead to greater productivity from those happy to be in such situations.

        Paraphrasing Mark Twain, most business owners and managers today would say that the death of the traditional five-day workweek has been greatly exaggerated. That being said, the so-called flexible work arrangement, of FWA, seems to gaining more acceptance as it garners headlines and attention from the academic community. Some of that study is inconclusive, but much of it suggests that such flexibility yields happier, more productive employees, while helping companies attract and retain top talent.

        Bill Ferris says the acronym FWA hasn’t yet worked its way into the mainstream at most companies or business-related organizations, but it’s probably only a matter of time before it does.

        It stands for ‘flexible work arrangement,’ said Ferris, a professor of Management at Western New England College who has studied the subject extensively, and as that name suggests, it connotes work schedules or conditions that are, well, flexible, as opposed to inflexible, which is the word that ruled in corporate America for decades. It’s a term that now covers everything from telecommuting to variable scheduling to compressed workweeks, he explained, and although it is hardly a recent phenomenon — progressive companies have been employing the concept, if not exactly the acronym, for many years now — it is gaining more attention, and more headlines.

        The state of Utah recently went to a four-day workweek, for example, while France abruptly and unceremoniously abandoned its experiment with that concept and went back to the five-day variety. Meanwhile, as gas prices soared above the $4 barrier there was much talk, and some action, among employers about compressing the workweek, offering more telecommuting opportunities, or both to help their workers save at the pump. And the airline JetBlue has been drawing considerable attention from the press, academia, and the business community for deploying an army of stay-at-home moms to handle its ticket-reservation work, and with apparent success.

        “They just log in and log out according to specific hours, and all seems to work … JetBlue apparently has a much more responsive network than many its competitors,” said Alan Robinson, a professor of Management at UMass Amherst. He noted that the company’s workforce is also more diverse than many others, because it can hire women with young children, and the airline, like other companies, can free up — or not lease — tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of square feet of prime commercial real estate by having people work at home.

        But in the end, flexible work arrangements shouldn’t be about, or all about, gas prices or real-estate costs, said Debra Palermino, vice president of Corporate Human Resources at MassMutual. Instead, flexibility with schedules is more about productivity, recruitment, and retention, she explained.

        “These are the things that are driving what we do here,” she said, noting the financial services giant has been utilizing flexible work arrangements, if not exactly calling them that, for many years now in several different departments. “This is a matter of work design for us; it’s not a commuter-cost issue here. It concerns how we can do our work in the most efficient way and in the way that is most attractive to the kinds of employees we’re going to need to do that kind of work.

        “We ultimately have a vision to have as much flexibility as the company can afford and can manage,” she continued, adding that this phenomenon includes arranging for a valued employee to stay with the company after relocating to Florida.

        “He had been here many years, was a top performer and an excellent employee, and we just didn’t want to lose him,” Palermino explained. “We worked out an arrangement whereby he could continue to work for us in Florida, and it it’s been quite successful.”

        There are some issues and shortcomings to address when it comes to FWAs — not everyone can work at home, most companies need to staff the office and the phones five days a week, not four, and the FedEx bills can get excessive with many employees working remotely. Meanwhile, for those who can and do work at home, for example, there are matters of isolation and socialization (or lack thereof) to contend with. And there is always the matter of productivity to measure and re-measure, as well as lingering skepticism among many employers.

        Meredith Wise, executive director of the Employers Association of the NorthEast, told BusinessWest that soaring gas prices — which have been retreating but always threaten to skyrocket again — have prompted some of her agency’s members to visit or revisit the subject of flexible work arrangements, and especially the four-day workweek.

        Some are hesitant, she explained, because of studies and anecdotal evidence indicating that productivity declines when people work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days, and additional concern about rising health care claims from such arrangements as minds and bodies tire with a longer day.

        “For many businesses, there are too many challenges to overcome and too many questions with regard to a four-day or four-and-a-half-day workweek,” she explained, noting that this sentiment seems to apply to other types of flexibility with regard to work, especially among smaller companies.

        But Ferris says there is gathering evidence that with such flexibility comes generally happier employers and improved productivity. So much evidence, in fact, that he believes the traditional five-day workweek is, or will soon be, obsolete.

        “It’s dead … it’s gone,” he said, noting, for starters, that people in many professions work, or are on call, literally or figuratively, almost 24/7. Meanwhile, technology enables people to work when and often where they want, and progressive companies must recognize and take full advantage of this phenomenon is they want to compete.

        In this issue, BusinessWest looks at the concept of work, the increasing prevalence of FWAs, and what it all means for companies and their employees.

        Hour Town

        Ferris told BusinessWest that the concept of the flexible work arrangement, like distance learning and its potential and limitations, has become the subject of considerable study, debate, and conjecture within academia — and Corporate America, as well — and he’s one of those involved in such activity … sort of.

        Some of his current students are involved in such study, he said, noting that one, a graduate student, is conducting what’s known as evidence-based management research to test her hypothesis that telecommuting workers who want to telecommute (that’s an important distinction) are more productive than workers who toil in the corporate office.

        “She believes that’s what she’ll find, and there’s reason for her to think she’s right,” said Ferris, who told BusinessWest that many of his current and former students, ages 21 to 30 or so, are working increasingly in flexible work arrangements, giving him a test group, if you will, to monitor and measure.

        “They’re in all kinds of different businesses,” he said of his charges. “They’re working at home, and their companies are looking for ways to have more of their people working at home.”

        Study results, not to mention anecdotal evidence, are varied, said Ferris, but some trends are emerging, with many of them pointing toward FLAs being beneficial to companies and employees alike.

        “What has been discovered, by and large, is that people who want to be on flexible work arrangements are happy about it, and typically produce better or as well as people who are not,” he said. “People even report that they’re sick less and call in sick less, because they’re already home doing their work. They put in more hours per week, typically, than people who go to work.

        “They’re healthier, they work more, and they bill more hours,” he continued, noting that that this healthier state results from not being around sick people at work. And they’re more productive, he conjectured, because they’re not interrupted or sitting in meetings all day that accomplish little if anything.

        Robinson told BusinessWest that, from his view, most of the studies on this matter are in progress, and that he relies mostly on anecdotal evidence — or his own experiences — when weighing the matter of flexible work arrangements.

        “I’m much more productive at home, and part of the reason for that is that you can’t hang a do-not-disturb sign on your office door for three hours,” he said. “There are studies that show that every time you’re distracted, it takes you 15 minutes to get back to you where you were.”

        For these reasons and others, he said, it makes sense for companies to permit telecommuting when and if the technology and the circumstances permit.

        But while the academic community continues to study the various aspects of the flexible arrangements, work — as it is now defined or carried out — goes on in the real laboratory, the workplace.

        Remote Possibilities

        This includes corporations like Mass-Mutual, where flexibility has been part of the equation for many years now, said Angela Derouin, a human resources business partner at the company. She noted that, while some departments can’t really offer such arrangements — security and call-center operations, for example — most can and do, with the extent of the programs typically determined by the manager in question.

        Derouin estimated that roughly 400 of the company’s 5,000-odd employees have some form of flexible work arrangement (matching industry averages), and the number is rising, due to both the popularity of such programs and the company’s degree of satisfaction with what it has seen and heard.

        “We hope that in certain areas where we know the work can be done at home and we can accelerate the technology support it, we can put more people to work in their home,” she said, referring to just one piece of the efforts with regard to FWAs.

        Indeed, flexibility includes telecommuting locally; working in Florida, as that one producer does, or other states; compressed schedules; and flexible schedules — people coming in later and leaving later, for example. “I come in really early, but the person next to me arrives at 9,” she explained.

        Generally, said Derouin, people working in such arrangements are as productive or more productive than they might be in a traditional work arrangement. Why? Because they’re happy to have that flexibility and want to keep it.

        “We find that when people are successful while working at home and want that arrangement to continue because they like it and it benefits them in many ways, they’re wiling to work hard and make sure they’re available on the phone or via E-mail. They work very hard to make the arrangement successful so they can keep it.

        “We want everyone to be productive, whether they’re working here or working remotely,” she continued. “But we see those in flexible arrangements doing whatever they can to make it work, because their ability to work in that way is dependent on business needs, and it’s at the discretion of the company.”

        Ferris said this trend is prevalent elsewhere; those granted flexible work arrangements view them as a priviledge, not a right or something they can take for granted. “So they put in the effort to maintain that privilege.”

        Beyond productivity and morale issues, however, another benefit to FWAs is the ability to recruit and retain employees — most of whom work in and around Springfield, but some others don’t.

        “We have employees spread out across the country, and it has worked out very well,” said Palermino, adding that this ability to have people work in Florida, California, and even overseas will prove valuable as companies across all sectors face the challenge of finding enough qualified workers in the years and decades ahead.

        But as FWAs become more popular, there are issues and challenges that companies must contend with, said said Derouin, who cited isolation as one possible problem. She said the term gaining acceptance in corporate America is ‘social distancing.’

        “Those companies that have done it in a big way are dealing with this now,” she explained. “They’re asking themselves, ‘how do you maintain espirit de corps?’ and ‘how do you maintain your sense of an entity if you’re so isolated?’ Companies are responding by forming agreements where there are certain times in a week or month when people have to come in.”

        Overall, experts say that an array of potential problems and issues — from isolation to distractions from young children — can be overcome (see related story, page 28).

        As for skeptical managers, Palermino acknowledged that there are some gray areas when it comes to productivity within some departments — meaning that it’s not all numbers on a balance sheet — which makes it challenging to gauge whether people are more or less successful in a flexible work arrangement. But in most cases, performance is outcome-based, giving most managers a fairly clearly read on whether something is working or not.

        Meanwhile, not everyone desires flexible work arrangements, said Ferris, noting that many individuals want and need interaction with others in the workplace.

        That’s why the traditional five-day workweek won’t disappear from the landscape any time soon, he noted, adding, however, that flexible work models are becoming more prevalent — where and when they are applicable.

        Time Passages

        Ferris told BusinessWest that, in time, and probably not much of it, the term ‘telecommuting’ will eventually fade from the business lexicon, as will ‘flex time’ and other phrases that seem destined to replaced by FWA or something like it.

        “That’s because ‘flexible work arrangement’ typically means you spend some time in the office and some time out of the office doing office work, so it covers all those terms,” he explained, adding quickly that the issue for business owners and managers certainly isn’t terminology.

        Instead, it’s recognizing that, in many respects and in a great many professions, work is changing, and the old rules — which add up to inflexibility — no longer apply.

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

        Whom Do You Pay First When Cash Gets Tight ?

        This region and its business community are facing some frightening times. Energy prices are at record highs, which not only affect what we pay at the pump, but push up prices on most goods, as transportation and other costs increase. Furthermore, consumers are unwilling or unable to spend as they have in the past due to these perceived price increases.

        As a result, many businesses are experiencing cash-flow problems that they have not experienced for many years and are struggling with how to keep current. Here is some practical advice on how to maneuver through these challenging times.

        When the inevitable cash crunch hits, are you prepared for it, and what will you do?

        The first thing that needs to be dealt with in order to prevent a crisis is a complete review of your company’s budget to determine any areas where there may be some fat or other reasons to curtail expenses. This is a difficult decision because certain expenses that appear discretionary, such as promotional and advertising costs, may be quite essential to keeping a business going in order to get to a turnaround.

        A more difficult decision involves personnel costs. These are usually the highest expenses in a business, exclusive of inventory. Cutting back on personnel sends a message to the community — and, more importantly, to your employees — that things are not going well. This could have a deleterious effect on your organization. Therefore, it is important at some point to communicate, with at least the key employees, as to what the situation is with your business and to elicit their help and support during difficult times.

        Once you are satisfied that the budget is in proper form and reasonable, how do you ride out the storm?

        In almost every business, a substantial amount of the expenses are compensation-related items such as health care and payroll taxes. Certainly the payroll and related costs must be paid in a timely manner in order to maintain the normal business operation. Taxes, including payroll taxes, sales taxes, and others, are not necessarily due on a weekly basis, and if these payments slip, the usual business operations can appear unaffected for a relatively indefinite period of time. For this reason, there is a great temptation on the part of many business owners to use these funds for temporary working capital.

        This is probably one of the worst mistakes you can make. Not only do these overdue taxes result in exorbitant interest charges and penalties, but in the event of a disastrous result, such as liquidation of your business, they do not enjoy a priority over that of secured creditors, and if they remain unpaid, they become the personal obligation of the principals of the business.

        In most cases they can never be discharged, even in individual bankruptcies. Therefore, it is not in your best interest to use these funds as working capital. You should assiduously make these payments so they do not come back to bite you. Do not give in to the temptation to delay on these items.

        Other substantial costs are likely to be loan payments to secured creditors. Typically, secured creditors are banks, and they are secured by liens on substantially all the assets of your business. In virtually every case, they are also guaranteed by the principals, and it is entirely likely that they will have liens on your other assets that are outside of the company’s operations, such as homes and bank accounts. These secured creditors have a priority lien on the assets that secure their loans, and as a result have the right to seize and foreclose upon your assets if defaults occur. Obviously no business can survive without its major assets, so these debts need to be handled with great care if not paid.

        Many times, secured loan terms can be re-negotiated and modified by agreements with the secured creditors in advance. Such renegotiated terms can be beneficial to both parties. Hopefully, terms can be arrived at that will allow you to reduce your monthly payments, while at the same time providing the secured party greater confidence that the newly negotiated payments can be made.

        These negotiations can also be beneficial to lenders in that they can provide information about your business and its future, as well as instill greater confidence that the reduced payments can not only be met, but will give your business the relief that it needs in order to avoid further defaults.

        Any further defaults are likely to lead to perhaps a liquidation, foreclosure on assets at fire-sale prices, and not only the loss of your business but substantial losses to the lender, as a result of a forced liquidation sale remedy. The secured creditors, if given the appropriate information, may be willing to work with you to help you through difficult times in the hopes that your business can prosper. This will potentially increase its recovery either by refinancing with other lenders or by maximizing results by an orderly liquidation if things do not pan out as planned.

        This is certainly a much better approach and less stressful for all parties as opposed to allowing these loans to go into delinquency due to non-payment. Most secured creditors are willing to work with their borrowers through troubled times as long as they are fully aware of the circumstances and do not feel that they are being further endangered. Therefore, it is best to talk early and often with these lenders in order to receive their help, support, and patience.

        Obviously these discussions should be held only after substantial preparation with your financial advisor and attorney, and all parties should be present at any meetings with lenders.

        Potential Short-term Cash Relief

        Generally this leaves a third group: unsecured trade creditors. These creditors, some of whom are likely your friends and associates, are really at the bottom of the food chain in the event of a foreclosure or other liquidation. They are usually suppliers of goods or services on open accounts, and their rights are generally subject to the secured creditor’s claims and the priority tax and wage claims. They have little or no leverage except to cease to deliver goods and/or take legal action.

        This is the group that can most likely be worked with in order to obtain some limited relief. Since these creditors stand to lose the most by both their inability to collect the outstanding debt and the potential loss of what may be a good customer, it is likely that they will agree to a limited moratorium on payments as long as they are not prejudiced any further.

        They should insist upon and be offered at least payment for any new goods or services delivered from this time on so that they do not lose any further ground. Most likely, a liquidation by secured creditors will leave them high and dry, so there are real incentives for them to provide some relief as long as they are being fairly treated. Hopefully, a relatively short time period for a moratorium on payments will provide the time to scale down costs, increase sales, and take whatever other steps are necessary in order to bring the cash flow back in line.

        The best time to deal with these issues is early, before any crisis appears. In this way, companies are most likely to be able to negotiate terms that are helpful without creating a history of broken promises and a breakdown of relationships. The goal is to ultimately reach a commitment that leads to a turnaround of the business.

        It is highly likely that a company that would otherwise be a candidate for a reorganization proceeding such as a Chapter 11 bankruptcy can avoid that if these issues are recognized early. The alternatives, although possible, are costly and stressful.

        In summary, it is key to recognize the problem early, create a plausible solution, and discuss it openly with the various creditor groups. This planning will enhance the likely survival and future prosperity of any business that is properly planned and operated.

        Paul R. Salvage, Esq. is senior partner and co-chair of Bacon Wilson’s Business Reorganization and Insolvency department. His law practice deals with sophisticated workout and bankruptcy matters, representing both creditors and individuals or companies facing financial difficulties. His additional specialties include creditor’s rights, business law, and real estate; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]

        Sections Supplements
        The Effect of E-mail Communication on Attorney-client Privilege

        There is no doubt that we are all more technologically advanced than ever. What used to be just a cell phone is now our phone, a camera, and it plays music. We are able to communicate with each other electronically 24 hours a day, and some of us have created relationships with others whom we have never met, having only communicated through E-mail, chat rooms, or social-networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

        What we don’t consider is how these advanced means of communication may be creating a trail that we do not want to be followed.

        Attorneys are always mindful of the attorney-client privilege. A prudent practitioner will take tremendous steps to see that communications between their client and themselves do not fall outside of that privilege. We instruct our clients as to the importance of the privilege and to take steps to insure that no one is privy to the communications so that the privilege may be lost.

        What some may not realize, though, is that they may be losing this privilege via the use of E-mail or other forms of electronic communication. A question arises: when a client communicates with his attorney via E-mail, is this communication still protected by attorney-client privilege?

        This issue that has yet to be addressed by the Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but it has begun to be addressed by courts in other jurisdictions. Notably, courts in the state of Tennessee in the case of Hazard v. Hazard stated that when one of the parties sent a letter to their attorney through the family computer, this communication was not protected by the attorney-client privilege. The court in the Hazard case reasoned that, because others had access to the computer, it was as if the husband was talking to his attorney with his wife in the room.

        In addition to the ruling in the Hazard case, other jurisdictions have held that there is no expectation of privacy on the family computer even if you are able to ‘password protect’ your communications. The consensus of other jurisdictions on this issue is that if others have access to the computer, anything that you do on this computer is fair game.

        This is not the first time that courts have determined that communications one might think are privileged are actually not safe from disclosure in the future. The issue arose previously when dealing with E-mail communications between a husband and wife.

        In Massachusetts, there is a doctrine known as spousal disqualification. This represents the proposition that communications between a husband and wife are private and cannot be disclosed to others by either spouse. (Note: There are exceptions to this rule that are not detailed here because they are not relevant to this discussion.)

        Courts in Massachusetts have held that this disqualification does not pertain to E-mails that are exchanged between the parties. The courts have reasoned that once the communication is put into writing, it is no longer to be considered subject to the disqualification. This may be somewhat disheartening to those who consistently use E-mail as a substitute for verbal communication and may now be faced with the prospect of being confronted with statements that would not otherwise be admissible, but now are because they have been reduced to writing.

        How can you prevent losing the privilege as it relates to either attorney-client or spousal communications? Here are some simple tips:

        • If you must send something electronically, use a computer that cannot be accessed by anyone else. Don’t use the family computer, and don’t use your work computer. If the computer used is yours alone, you can expect whatever is sent from it to be private.
        • Think before you write. Resist the temptation to send your spouse a scathing E-mail message or to engage in any other inappropriate language. A simple rule to follow is to assume that whatever you send may be read by someone else, such as a judge.
        • Don’t communicate electronically when you can do it verbally. We all fall victim to the ease of E-mail, but as noted above, this can create a trail that you might otherwise wish did not exist.
        • Technology has made all of our lives more convenient in many ways, and it has allowed us to communicate in ways some may never have thought possible. But as we have seen, it can create pitfalls that we all may want to avoid.

          Michael J. Grilli is an associate with the Springfield-based law firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. His areas of expertise include divorce/family law, personal bankruptcy, and residential real estate; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]

          Sections Supplements
          Westmass Unveils Ambitious Plans for a Ludlow Mill Complex
          Kenneth Delude

          Left, an undated lithograph shows the Ludlow Manufacturing Associates complex nearly a century ago. Below, Kenneth Delude stands near some of the dozens of small stockhouses at the mill complex, which comprise one of many challenges to re-use of the site.

          Westmass Area Development Corp. is finalizing acquisition of the sprawling Ludlow Manufacturing Associates complex, which was once the largest jute-making facility in the world. Westmass administrators say the ambitious initiative, which blends elements of greenfield and brownfield development, could, over the next 15 to 20 years, attract perhaps $300 million in private-sector investments and create more than 2,000 jobs.

          It’s a powerful image — a lithograph (date unknown) th.at depicts the sprawling Ludlow Manufacturing Associates complex that gave the community its identity — both literally and figuratively.

          Indeed, Ludlow has been known throughout most of its 234-year existence as a mill town, and it was known as Jute City — that’s the product (twine) that was made at the complex. Meanwhile, the clock tower on the northwest corner of what was known years ago as Mill No. 8 has become perhaps the town’s most identifiable landmark. It appears on the town seal, the masthead of the local weekly newspaper, the Register, Ludlow High School class rings, and many other places.

          The mill complex along the banks of the Chicopee River, including several buildings that are no longer standing, certainly dominates the lithograph, first published in a 1928 book on the making of jute, but that’s not the only thing that catches Kenneth Delude’s eye.

          “Look at all the housing, on both sides of the river, that was built by the mill and because of the mill,” said Delude, president of Westmass Area Development Corp., who also referenced streets, parks, and the town library as current fixtures that came about as a direct result of the mill complex and its ownership.

          “At one time, there were about 8,000 people living in Ludlow and 4,000 people working at the mill complex,” he said as he moved his hands in a circular motion across the image. “When I look at this picture, I think of the enormous regional impact that this complex had — the jobs it created were part of the economic fabric of the community. And that’s what we hope to do again.”

          Indeed, Delude sees history repeating itself, albeit on a certainly smaller scale, if an ambitious Westmass project currently in the formative stage unfolds as he expects that it will. The agency, part of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., is in the process of acquiring what remains of the mill complex — some 1.6 million square feet of floor space on a 170-acre parcel, nearly half of it undeveloped — and create a mixed-use complex on the site. Preliminary estimates (and they are very preliminary) indicate that such reuse and new development could create perhaps 2,000 or more new jobs, generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, and spur additional economic development — much of it in the form of businesses that would support those 2,000 workers.

          The business plan for the project, known for the moment as ‘… at River’s Edge’ (more on that later), is still very much a work in progress, said Delude, who used an enlarged version of the lithograph and some aerial photographs of the site to show what could happen there.

          Gesturing toward what is now known as the clock tower building, he said its ground floor could house a bank, a restaurant or two, and other enterprises that would support workers in the redeveloped complex, while its upper floors could house fledgling businesses. Tapping a large, five-story mill building now largely vacant, he said it could be retrofitted into elderly or market-rate housing.

          Meanwhile, a currently undeveloped section of the complex could be put toward development of smaller buildings (10,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet) for growing businesses, he continued, while the 79 acres of undeveloped, wooded land could become an industrial park. Several dozen small stockhouses, used to store raw materials for jute making, could be put to imaginative uses, perhaps as incubator spaces, said Delude, adding that many will likely be razed.

          All these ‘coulds’ will be more thoroughly explored over the next 18 months or so, said Delude, adding that the hope is to retain as many of the current buildings as possible to preserve a sense of character and history, while also creating a business park that will help retain existing companies and attract new ones.

          The Ludlow project, as envisioned, would be the most ambitious project to date for Westmass, which has developed industrial parks in Agawam, Westfield, Hadley, and East Longmeadow (in that order) and its first true brownfield project — meaning development of former industrial space that has environmental issues to be addressed.

          Such brownfield development was deemed a priority by the Westmass board of directors, said Stephen Roberts, that’s body’s president, both out of necessity and a sense of civic responsibility.

          Elaborating, he said the region has many potential brownfield development sites — most of them former mills that produced everything from paper to tires — and Westmass has committed itself to blending that type of development with the more-traditional ‘greenfield’ variety that has defined the agency’s past and present. Meanwhile, there are simply fewer of those greenfields to be developed, making projects like the one in Ludlow more of a necessity than an option.

          In this issue, BusinessWest takes an indepth look at the Ludlow project, as currently conceived, and how this elaborate plan might come together.

          Name of the Game “Project India.”

          That was the first, and quite unofficial, name given to the Ludlow project, said Delude, noting that, like most large-scale commercial real estate initiatives these days, this one involved a high level of discretion and thus needed a code name.

          This one was chosen because the raw materials that went into making jute came from India, he explained, adding quickly that, now that word is out, Project India is more or less obsolete, and those within Westmass have moved on, sort of. The organization wants to use ‘at River’s Edge’ somehow in the name, but hasn’t determined yet what to put before those words — hence the three dots that currently precede them — in large part because the vision of the final product is still being shaped.

          That Project India code name was in use for more than a year, or since the start of talks between Westmass and the current owner of the mill complex, Ludlow Industrial Realties Inc. — negotiations that were brokered by Doug Macmillan, second-generation owner and president of Springfield-based Macmillan & Son Inc., which has been handling some leasing and other real estate-related matters at the mill complex since it was purchased by Arthur Fastenberg in the late ’60s.

          Fastenberg eventually acquired several other commercial properties in the region, including the former Westinghouse plant on Page Boulevard in Springfield, which is slated for conversion into a retail complex, said Macmillan. In Ludlow, Fastenberg arranged a sale-leaseback of the property with Ludlow Manufacturing Associates, thus ensuring a prominent, long-term anchor, and many other tenants, large and small, were added over the years.

          “When I first saw that site back in the ’80s, it was really humming,” said Macmillan, adding that, until perhaps a decade or so ago, the mill complex was 80% occupied, or more. Over the past several years, that percentage has fallen, reflecting a decline in manufacturing across the region, and the continual downsizing of Ludlow Manufacturing, later to be known as Ludlow Textiles, which moved out completely about 18 months ago.

          At or around that time, at the behest of several of Fastenberg’s descendents, who now control Ludlow Industrial Industrial Realties Inc., Macmillan approached Westmass about potential interest in the complex.

          Initial discussions centered around the undeveloped, wooded portion of the property, said Macmillan, but ownership wanted to sell the entire complex, and quickly convinced Westmass to take that course. More formal discussions took place in New York earlier this year, and, over the course of the past several months, a purchase-and-sale agreement was reached, with the price still undisclosed.

          Thus, the Ludlow project becomes what Delude believes is the largest mill-reuse development initiative in New England, and one that will be somewhat unique in that it will focus more on commercial and industrial development than residential, although there will likely be housing components.

          This uniqueness makes it hard to find models to follow, said Delude, but there are some.

          One is the former Digital complex in Maynard, Mass., which is similar to the Ludlow site, right down to the clock tower, which gives it its name — Clock Tower Place. Located along the Assabet River, the 1.1 million-square-foot complex was originally home to the Assabet Manufacturing Co., which made carpets and yarn, and later to DEC, which started as one of many smaller tenants to inhabit the mill in the 1950s, and later occupied the entire complex as Ken Olsen’s enterprise became one of the leading makers of minicomputers.

          But Olsen’s failure to grasp the concept of the personal computer led to DEC’s demise, and by the late ’90s, the mill complex was almost entirely vacant. It has been rejuvenated with new ownership, and is now home to Monster, the Yacobian Group, and many other tenants.

          Another potential model is the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston, Maine, a 1.2 million-square-foot series of mills that once produced uniforms for the Union army during the Civil War, and is now home to a number of diverse businesses. The list includes the loan-processing operations center for Peoples Heritage Corp., but also dozens of start-up businesses and support services.

          Knots Landing

          Delude, who plans to visit still another potential model in Rhode Island later this month, said Westmass hopes to take lessons and inspiration from these projects as it goes about writing the next chapter in the history of the Ludlow mills.

          “If we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, then we won’t,” he said. “There’s a lot that we can take away from what’s happened before.”

          As he gave BusinessWest a tour of the Ludlow complex, Delude stopped the car at several locations to point out both opportunities and challenges, and there are several of both.

          In the latter category, he referenced a warehouse, circa 1914, that housed finished product and was, in its day, the largest jute warehouse in the world. It is eight stories high, but shorter than the neighboring five-story mill because each level — outfitted with some of the first concrete floors used in this country due to the excessive weight of the twine — is only eight feet high.

          This will limit re-use possibilities, but there are several options, said Delude, who said the building is one of many he would like to preserve if possible.

          The stockhouses present another challenge for reuse, he continued, noting that their size (roughly 6,000 square feet each) and shape do not lend themselves to easy re-use. Meanwhile, they stand between the mill complex and the riverfront, and one of Delude’s goals with this project is to make more and better use of the river.

          “For more than a century now, access to the river has been blocked,” he said as he pulled the car to a spot along the bank. “People can see it, but they can’t get to it; we want to change that.”

          Development opportunities abound at the site, said Delude as he drove down State Street to the large, undeveloped stretch of the mill property, which winds along the river and eventually abuts Ludlow Country Club. The 70-acre site sits across from an attractive residential neighborhood, but Westmass industrial parks have shown they can live in harmony with such areas, he explained.

          This is the case in Agawam, where a business park built on what was once Bowles Municipal Airport abuts several residential streets. “We’ve shown that we can successfully co-exist with neighborhoods like this one.”

          There are more than 60 buildings on the Ludlow site, said Roberts, who told BusinessWest that Westmass will attempt to reuse all those where preservation makes sense. In those cases where it doesn’t, the agency will pursue what he called “deconstruction” — a word he preferred to ‘demolition’ — and reuse the bricks and other building materials in a broad effort to maintain the look and feel of the historic jute-making complex.

          The next steps in the process of making the vision for the site reality are to finalize purchase of the property — which is expected to take place over roughly the next year — and complete what Delude called a “business plan” for the project.

          This involves gauging what is feasible with regard to what he considers to be perhaps five distinct phases, and coordinating a plan for how and when to proceed with each one. “We’re going to spend the next 18 months testing theories and principles,” he explained. “We’re going to determine what we can do, and what we should do to create jobs and opportunities for this region.”

          Overall, Delude said the site’s location — only a few minutes from Turnpike exit 7 in Ludlow — and various amenities add up to an attractive, and sustainable, economic-development initiative that will make the clock tower building as much a part of the town’s present and future as its past.

          “It’s such a significant feature of the town,” he said of the landmark. “But what it meant for the region, not just Ludlow, was vitality and energy, and it can be that again.”

          Not a Run-of-the-mill Project

          As he talked about the Ludlow initiative and how he envisions it progressing, Delude compared it in many ways to the Agawam Industrial Park.

          Although much different in nature, the sites are similar in size, at least with regard to how many square feet of industrial and commercial space each can accommodate. Meanwhile, the Agawam project has taken roughly 20 years to develop and reach near-full occupancy — and roughly the same is expected for the Ludlow site — and both locations necessitate industrial park development in a mostly residential setting.

          The Agawam park now boasts more than 2,000 jobs and contributes millions in tax revenue to the community, said Delude, adding that, if this rate of performance can be matched in Ludlow, Westmass will go a long way toward making an impact that will be on a smaller scale than that made by Ludlow Manufacturing Associates, but perhaps just as significant.

          An image to rival that lithograph will probably be two decades in the making — and that’s if all goes as planned — but if things develop as Delude believes they will, it might be just as powerful.

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


          The following business incorporations were recorded in Hamden, Hampshire and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


          Agawam Eye Associates Inc., 656 Springfield St., Agawam 01001. Richard Gallerani, 1 Meadow Wood Dr., Suffield, CT 06078. Richard Gallerani, 656 Springfield St., Agawam, registered agent. Optometry services, eye care, and eye wear service.


          Maunsn Inc., Main St., Brimfield 01010. Shakeel Ahmed, 8 Osceola Lane, Longmeadow 01016. To operate a convenience store and gas station.


          ABN Enterprises Inc., 1177 Granby Road, Chicopee 01020. Joe T. Alam, 16 East Main St., Westborough 01581. To operate one or more motor vehicle service stations selling gasoline, convenience items, etc.

          Hope Everlasting Inc., 159 Casey Dr., Chicopee 01020. Robert Zygarowski, same. (Nonprofit) To provide services for underprivileged adults, children, and battered women, animal assistance, find shelters for the homeless, etc.

          New England Pellet of Western Mass. Inc., 50 George St., Chicopee 01013. Richard R. Carbonneau, same. Purchase and sale of wood pellets for residential heating.


          Epic Electric Inc., 21 First Ave., Easthampton 01027. Joseph J. Delaney, same. Electrical services.


          Peruvian Education Initiative Inc., 203 Canterbury Circle, East Longmeadow 01028. Romulo Cabeza, same. (Nonprofit) To provide for the specific educational needs of economically disadvantaged students in Peru.

          Speedway Cars and Hobbies Inc., 89 Maple St., East Longmeadow 01028. Judith Dventhe, 111 Chestnut St., East Longmeadow 01028. Selling toy cars and boats, hobby toys.


          Hamilton Home Health Inc., 489 Bernardston Road, Greenfield 01301. Ebony Hamilton Sterbinsky, same, president, treasurer, and secretary. Home health care.


          Madhav Corp., 63 Somers Road, Hampden 01036. Magan Patel, same. Gas station with convenience store.


          Marion Electric Inc., 394 Mountain Road, Holyoke 01040. Keith C. Marion, same. Any and all electrical work.


          McLymont 2 Inc., 1236 Worcester St., Apartment 2l, Indian Orchard 01151. Alicia Elizabeth McLymont, same. Sales.


          SYED Inc., 137 Damon Road, Unit #G, Northampton 02060. Atif Tasneem, same. Gasoline and convenience retail trading.


          The Andanje Foundation Inc., 351 Pleasant St., Suite 180, Northampton 01060. Elly Dickson Tuti, same. (Nonprofit) To make distributions to need-based community establishments, public schools, places of worship in remote regions of developing countries in Africa, etc.


          Nystrom’s Village Blacksmith Shop Inc., 125 South Main St., Orange 01364. William C. Mehr, Jr., same. (Nonprofit) To own and restore a historic blacksmith shop and forge in Orange, etc.


          413 Production Inc., 141 Massachusetts Ave., Springfield 01109. Cleveland Wilson, same. (Nonprofit) Education in music production for youths engaged in the music industry.

          Black Leadership Alliance Inc., 727 State St., second floor, Springfield 01109. Ronald A. Copes, 54 Blueberry Ridge, Westfield 01085. (Nonprofit) To build and strengthen the black community by addressing and positively impacting all quality of life issues, etc.

          Charles in Charge Inc., 127 Lebanon St., Springfield 01109. Charles McNair, same. (Nonprofit) Interior decoration consultation for veterans and families.

          Kiddo’s Transportation Inc., 3 Norfolk St., Springfield 01109. Rony Pena, same. School bus compamy.

          RMO Real Estate Company Inc., 41 Tyler St., Springfield 01109. Rosita Otero, same. Real estate.

          Tristate Mobile Inc., 364 Belmont Ave., Apartment 4, Springfield 01108. Jeremy Branco, same. (Nonprofit) To provide alternate consumer solutions for mobile solutions and free consultation and help choosing the right carrier and rate plans.


          MJS Solutions Inc., 399 Falley Dr., Westfield 01085. Michael Simard, same. Marketing consultant to education providers.

          Rory Farrell.com Inc., 37 Broad St., Westfield 01085. Rory M. Farrell, same. Internet Web design and related programing.

          The Westfield Kiwanis Foundation Inc., 82 Broad St., Suite 2, Westfield 01085. Paul J. Hutchinson, 92 Glenwood Dr., Westfield 01085. (Nonprofit) To assist needy persons, particularly young people, in attaining vocational excellence, to aid handicapped persons, etc.


          Yankee Home Improvement Inc., 109 Easthampton Road, Westhampton 01027. Gerard J. Ronan, same. To provide home improvements and construction.


          AAA Pioneer Valley Auto Glass Inc., 150 Capital Dr., West Springfield 01089. Chris Mensing, 12 Echo Hill Road, Wilbraham 01095. Auto and auto glass repair.

          Kevin B. Terrell DDS, P.C., 367 Memorial Ave., West Springfield 01089. Kevin B. Terrell, DDS, same. To engage in the practice of dentistry.


          The following building permits were issued during the month of June 2008.


          Joseph A. Walz
          302 Suffield St.
          $400,000 — Remodel and addition for general dental office


          Amherst Housing Authority
          33 Kellogg Ave.
          $7,400 — Upgrade at Jean Elder House

          ServiceNet Inc.
          129 King St.
          $10,000 — Exterior renovation


          Hawthorne Services
          93 Main St.
          $7,000 – Install new door in existing building

          Tri-City Management
          92-94 Rivers Ave.
          $12,000 — Interior renovations


          ZLS, LLC
          3 Chapman Ave.
          $21,000 — Alterations


          Dollar Tree Store
          414 N. Main St.
          $119,000 — Build out


          Friendly’s Realty LLC
          368 Federal St.
          $9,000 – Replace existing fire alarm system

          GCC Foundation Inc.
          270 Main St.
          $5,000 — Interior repairs

          Mark A. Wightman
          Walnut St.
          $4,700 — Exterior renovations

          Thomas & Mary Dillon
          54 Main St.
          $12,000 — Install new roof


          Holyoke Mall Company, L.P.
          50 Holyoke St.
          $9,000 — Install five Williams Sonoma awnings


          Esko Graphics
          40 Westover Road
          $24,500 — Renovations


          Asab Abid
          78 Masonic St.
          $8,800 — Install commercial kitchen hood exhaust system

          Blue Sky Real Estate LLC
          269 Main St.
          $3,000 — Enclose stairwell to separate apartments

          Coca-Cola Company
          45 Industrial Dr.
          $180,000 — Install new EPDM roof system

          Edwards Church of Northampton
          297 Main St.
          $40,000 — Install 39 replacement windows

          Finn, Jack V. & Priscilla R.
          57 King St.
          $130,447 — Install Photovoltaic panels on roof

          Florence Savings Bank
          176 King Street
          $5,200 — Install concrete pad for ATM

          Joice Gare
          114 Main St.
          $15,000 — Repair masonry, glass storefront, and entrance doors

          Lathrop Community
          680 Bridge Road
          $209,327 — Replace siding multiple buildings


          Meadow Brook Preservation Associates LP
          491 Bridge Road – Bldg. 4
          $40,000 — Unit 5 reconstruct interior walls and mechanicals

          Meadow Brook Preservation Associates LP
          491 Bridge Road, Bldg. 4
          $40,000 — Unit 3 reconstruct interior walls and mechanicals

          Meadow Brook Preservation Associates LP
          491 Bridge Road – Bldg. 4
          $40,000 — Unit 1 reconstruct interior walls and mechanicals

          Smith College
          8 College Lane
          $323,250 — Renovations to presentation room

          The College Church Inc
          48 Pomeroy Terrace
          $25,000 — Relocate kitchen area

          Theresa Ruggerio
          86 Masonic St.
          $52,209 — Interior renovation

          Trident Realty Corp.
          109 Main St.
          $180,000 — Interior renovations

          SOUTH HADLEY

          Mt. Holyoke College
          50 College St.
          $4,738,000 — Renovations to Kendall Hall


          Bay Communications, LLC
          22 Industrial Road
          $47,000 — 12 antennae panels


          Springfield Housing Authority
          13-15 Manilla Ave.
          16-18 Manilla St.
          17-19 Manilla St.
          22-24 Manilla St.
          23-25 Manilla St.
          76-78 Manilla St.
          26-28 Manilla St.
          27-29 Manilla St.
          32-34 Manilla St.
          33-35 Manilla St.
          36-38 Manilla St.
          37-39 Manilla St.
          42-44 Manilla St.
          43-45 Manilla St.
          47-49 Manilla St.
          53-55 Manilla St.
          $8,257 for each unit — Exterior renovations


          Jordan Phillip
          485 East Main St.
          $23,000 — Renovation

          Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
          127 Holyoke Road
          $4,123,000 — Church addition

          Richard & Cassandra Adams
          519 Southampton Road
          $6,500 — Renovation

          Ronald Schortman
          61 Union St.
          $991,000 — New office building

          Sage Engineering
          217 Root Road
          $1,300,000 — New office facility


          Big E
          1305 Memorial Ave.
          $50,000 — Install new fire main system

          Century Investments Co.
          73 State St.
          $250,000 — Renovate 34,908 square feet of retail space


          The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


          J & Y Trans Inc., 472 Meadow St., Agawam 01001. Yuliya Abramov, same. Transporting goods.


          Integrated Primary Care Inc., 365 Shays St., Amherst 01002. F. Alexander Blount Jr., same. Product development.


          QAR Inc., 4A Eagle Heights, Belchertown 01007. Joseph Bodzinski, same. Auto repair.


          Spell Bound for the Spirit Within Inc., 312 Main St., Easthampton 01027. Philip Nartowicz, same. Retail sales of general merchandise.


          LaEvita Inc., 515 Shaker Road, East Longmeadow 01028. Martin Sabado, same. To deal in certain medical devices.


          Macaulay Business Development Inc., 5 Brookside Dr., Feeding Hills 01030. Timothy I. Macaulay, same. Salon and hair cutting business.


          GGIC Inc., 23 French King Highway, Gill 01354. Goe Greige, same. To operate a service/gasoline station and convenience store.


          Davinci Scooter Sales Corp., 920 Main St., Holyoke 01040. Michael P. Rigali, same. Sales and service of motorized scooters.


          Lansing Spatech Presents Inc., 10 Pond Brook Road, Huntington 01050. David Lansing, same. Retail sales of spas and accessories.


          Dancing For A Difference Inc., 50 Pendleton Lane, Longmeadow 01106. Sowjanya Kilaru, same. (Nonprofit) To provide support for hospitals and other care organizations directed to providing vision rehabilitation services to distressed or underprivileged children with vision disabilities, etc.


          KHR Global Inc., 14 Wilson Ave., Northampton 01060. Patrick Curran, same. Nurse recruiter.


          E-Z Access Storage Inc., 620 East Main St., Orange 01364. William H. Paul, same. Self-storage facility and warehouse.


          Non-Profit Credit Counseling & Debt Management Services Inc., 1024 Park St., Palmer 01069. Francis Lafayette, same. (Nonprofit) To provide financial and budgetary advice and judgments to individuals in connection with a budgetary plan, etc.


          Sheltering Pine Institute Inc., 106 East Buckland Road, Shelburne Falls 01370. Katherine Schmidt Nickel, same. (Nonprofit) Provide educational programs regarding natural building, publish newsletters, etc.


          SOUTH HADLEY

          QB Inc., 1 Silverwood Terr., South Hadley 01075. Jeffrey A. Simpson, same. Consulting.

          Select Marketing and Distribution Inc., 650 New Ludlow Road, South Hadley 01075. Jayme A. Parro, same. Mfg/distributing thru retail/wholesale channels.


          AP Investments Inc., 730 Plumtree Road, Springfield 01118, Daniel A. Jones, 433 Coldspring Ave., West Springfield 01089. Real estate.

          Clionsky Neuro Systems Inc., 155 Maple St., Ste. 203, Springfield 01105. Michael I. Clionsky, same. To own, develop and market companies and ideas in the health care industry.

          Commonwealth Records Inc., 126 Amherst St., Springfield 01109. Cleveland Wilson, same. (Nonprofit) To provide community support to underprivileged children who wish to obtain a career in music record producing.

          Ex Mobile Inc., 364 Belmont Ave., Apt. 4, Springfield 01108. Jeremy Branco, same. (Nonprofit) To provide consulting services about wireless service and alternatives to save money.

          Learn To Skate Inc., 92 School St., Apt. 913, Springfield 01105. Jeffrey Libardi, same. (Nonprofit) Help and teach young children how to skate.

          One Family Services Inc., 849 Belmont Ave., Springfield 01108. Jeffrey S. Hardy, Sr., same. (Nonprofit) To bring about a change for our youth by modeling positive change on our streets, community and city.

          WLHZ La Hora Zero Ministerio Corp., 2147 Main St., Apt. 15, Springfield 01104. Julio Edwards, 454 Carew St., Springfiel 01104. (Nonprofit) Christian broadcasting, Christian ministerio.

          THREE RIVERS

          Coal Stoves & More Inc., 2146 Rear Main St., Three Rivers 01080. Mark M. Bogacz, 51 Ruggles St., Three Rivers 01080. Sale of stoves, grills, furnaces/boilers and fireplace inserts.


          Ware Community Center Inc., 2 High Meadow Lane, Ware 01082. Luwanda Mae Cheney, same. (Nonprofit) To offer activities that serve the social, emotional, intellectual and creative needs of the community.


          Atlantic Woodcraft Inc., 45 Shirley St., Wilbraham 01095. Michael St. Germain, same. Custom woodcraft and millwork manufacturing.

          FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp., 380 Main St., Wilbraham 01095. Stanley Kowalski, III, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Engineering, design, manufacturing, and sale of wind turbines.

          Hampden County Irrigation Co. Inc., 2033 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Jeffrey Merigian, 222 South Monson Road, Hampden 01036. Design, construction and installation of lawn irrigation systems, residential and commercial.

          Rick’s Place Inc., 35 Post Office Park, Unit 3514, Wilbraham 01095. William J. Scatolini, 12 Bittersweet Lane, Wilbraham 01095. (Nonprofit) To provide a comprehensive support program for grieving children having suffered the loss of a family member, etc.


          Nealkanth Corp., 560 Riverdale Road, West Springfield 01089. Rajendra R. Patel, 17 Fox St., West Springfield 01089. Hotel/motel ownership and operation.

          Quality Renovations Inc., 136 Riverdale St., West Springfield 01089. Craig McCarthy, same. Home improvement.

          The Fond Memories Foundation Inc., 215 Kings Highway #A2, West Springfield 01089. Joe Khoury, same. (Nonprofit) Providing free professional portrait photography to children and adults facing life-threatening illnesses.


          Bradley J. Lucido was recently named Chief Compliance Officer of the MassMutual Financial Group in Springfield, succeeding Margaret Sperry, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, upon her retirement on July 1 after 27 years with the company. Lucido is currently a vice president and associate general counsel responsible for all regulatory matters at MassMutual’s investment management affiliate, Babson Capital Management. He now joins MassMutual as a senior vice president with responsibility for oversight of ethics, compliance and government programs, policies, and procedures across the MassMutual Financial Group companies.


          Adam Raczkowski of W.F. Young Inc. in East Longmeadow has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Healthcare Products Assoc. He also holds the positions of Executive Vice President, COO, CFO, and General Manager.


          PeoplesBank has named Paul E. Hillsburg as Assistant Vice President for PeoplesFinancial and Insurance Services at the bank’s South Hadley office. Hillsburg has served as a financial consultant for Infinex Financial Group and as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. He holds Series 7 and 66 registrations and holds an insurance license with life, health, and variable products.


          Nadia M. Baral has been promoted to the position of Compliance Officer at Springfield-based Hampden Bank. In her new position, she will be primarily responsible for the day-to-day regulatory compliance functions.


          The Springfield-based law firm Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. announced the following:
          • Ann I. Weber, an attorney and shareholder with the firm, was the guest speaker at the May Estate Planning Council luncheon staged at the Colony Club in Springfield. Weber presented on the topic “Safeguarding the Castle: Can a Trust Keep the Dragon from the Gate?” Weber explored with the audience ways of protecting homes and investment properties from taxes and the cost of long-term care; and
          • Carol Cioe Klyman, attorney and shareholder with the firm who specializes in elder law, estate planning, guardianships, and probate litigation, is among the contributors to The CPA’s Guide to Long-term Care Planning, recently published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and ElderLawAnswers. Klyman contributed to the book’s section on Massachusetts.


          Stanley D. Komack, an attorney operating Record Title & Law Offices in West Springfield, has been chosen as the 2008 Affiliate Member of the Year by the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. Komack, a member since 1972, has played an active role on a number of committees, including service as the 2008 chairman of the Affiliate-Realtor Work Group, and as a member of the Realtor of the Year Committee and the President’s Advisory Group.


          The Associated Industries of Mass. announced that the following Western Mass. business leaders have been elected to three-year terms on AIM’s board of directors:
          • Jens Bauer, Managing Director of Interprint Inc. in Pittsfield;
          • Charles Hatch, General Manager of Packaging Corp. of America in Northampton; and
          • Jay Nesbitt, Plant Manager at Solutia Inc. in Springfield.


          Environmental Compliance Services Inc. has named Al Les as a Senior Project Manager. His primary responsibilities include providing functional expertise in the areas of safety and health, industrial hygiene, homeland security, and environmental management. Les is a Massachusetts board-certified wastewater treatment operator.


          Shane Bajnoci, Chief Forester and Saw Mill Manager at Cowls Land and Lumber Company in North Amherst, has received the Oustanding Management of Resources Award from the Northeastern Loggers Assoc.


          Julia Kincade has been named Manager of Ticket Operations for the Springfield Falcons.


          Notch Mechanical Constructors of Chicopee announced that Sharon Orr has taken over as President, and Steven Neveu, previous President, will assume the position of Vice President of Business Development. Neveu will also lead new ventures in Eastern Mass., including a new subsidiary, Energy Recovery Systems LLC.


          The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities announced that Dr. Anthony Caprio, President of Western New England College, has been elected to serve on its executive committee of college and university presidents.


          The Hampden District Medical Society announced the following:
          • Dr. Philip Stoddard was awarded the 2008 Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year Award. Stoddard, a past President (1981-82), was nominated for this award based on his substantial contributions performing cleft lip and palate surgery at Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield;
          • Dr. Cyril Shea Jr., retired Orthopedic Surgeon; Dr. Alonzo Sheffield Jr., retired Gastroenterologist; Dr. John Sullivan, retired Pathologist; Dr. William Walthall Jr., retired Radiologist; and Dr. Alan Ziskind, retired Pediatrician, were awarded the 50-year Member Award;
          • Dr. Stephen A. Metz was recently named President;
          • Dr. James K. Wang, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Ob/Gyn, Baystate Medical Center, was named President-elect;
          • Dr. Claudia T. Martorell, an Infectious Disease physician in private practice in Springfield, was named Vice President;
          • Dr. Teresa Klich-Nowak, an internist who specializes in Rheumatology in Holyoke, was named Secretary;
          • Dr. Mark Mullan, an Internist with Cardiology & Internal Medicine in Springfield, was named Treasurer;
          • Serving as Trustee to the Mass. Medical Society Board of Trustees is Dr. Mark Sherman, a cardiothoracic, vascular surgeon in private practice in Springfield; and
          • Dr. Stephen Metz was named Alternate Trustee.


          UMass Amherst’s School of Education announced its first-annual Awards of Distinction, given this year to nine educators from across the country who are UMass alumni, including:
          • Westfield State College President Evan S. Dobelle;
          • Mary Cowhey, recipient of the Milken National Educator Award and a Teacher at the Jackson Street School in Northampton;
          • Patricia Crosson, Professor Emeritus and Trustee of Greenfield Community College; and
          • James Mullen Jr. President of Elms College in Chicopee and soon-to-be President of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.


          David Hayes has joined Sports Travel & Tours as a Travel Coordinator.


          Ken LeGendre has joined Unemployment Tax Control Associates of Springfield as Vice President of Business Development. He will be responsible for developing strategic marketing and sales plans to accommodate corporate goals for the company, which assists clients with reducing the cost and complexities of managing their unemployment compensation programs. LeGendre was previously a national sales manager for a Manhattan-based company at which he developed sales and marketing plans for executive conferences staged on cruise ships and luxury resorts.


          Wanda Mooney, a Real Estate Sales Associate with Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont Realtors, has been recognized as the No. 1 sales associate in Massachusetts for the highest number of closed transactions for Coldwell Banker Affiliates in 2007.


          The Center for Human Development in Springfield announced the following awards and accomplishments of staff members:
          • Deviegene Reid has received the Mass. State Assoc. of Developmental Disabilities Providers Direct Support Professional Award for 2008 in recognition of superior performance in her work. Reid has been a House Manager for the Meadows Homes Program in West Springfield for six years.
          • Ja’Net Smith, Clinical Director for the Center for Human Development, has been recognized as one of BusinessWest’s Forty Under 40 recipients; and
          • Program Director Jim Williams will be honored as the recipient of the Robert J. Van Wart Award, which is given to an individual who has worked as a leader in a nonprofit or public human-service organization for at least five years and demonstrates leadership skills.

          Sections Supplements
          A Long-term View Can Help Investors Secure Their Future

          A slowing economy impacts people’s daily lives in many ways, but for those with money tied up in stocks or other investment vehicles, market turmoil can seem like a threat to their future, too. But most analysts say that keeping one’s eye on long-term investment goals is key to riding out what one local expert called the “noise” of short-term fluctuations.

          Paul Valickus recalled a pool employees used to conduct at St. Germain Investment Management.

          “Everyone would throw in a quarter in the morning, and to win you had to get within 10 or 15 points of the Dow at the end of the day,” said Valickus, president of the Springfield-based investment firm. “Do you think the experts won that pool? No, the receptionist won it the most. There’s no sense to it.”
          The lesson from that game is that investment markets are uncertain and highly volatile beasts in the short term — but that those who make smart decisions over time will be rewarded.

          “My crystal ball is very blurry over the next six months, but that’s when people want to know what’s going to happen,” Valickus said. “Over the next six months, I don’t have a clue. But I do know that, over the next five to 10 years, you’ll be happy you got into the stock market today. What happens in the short term is all noise.”

          Nonetheless, that noise worries investors, many of whom are counting on the financial decisions they make today carrying them through a comfortable retirement. Financial analysts who spoke with BusinessWest called that an understandable anxiety, but warned that it can be dangerous to bail on the market or make wholesale portfolio changes in response to a rocky economy.

          In other words, to borrow an oft-used metaphor from sports, investing for the future is a marathon, not a sprint. And there’s no reason to quit the race, experts say, just because the current stretch is cratered with potholes.

          “In uncertain times, we try to reaffirm with customers that the strategies we put in place to begin with are still relevant,” said Chris McCarthy, director of national sales for TD Banknorth Wealth Management Group, the investment arm of the financial-services institution.

          “When the market is fluctuating, that tends to generate dialogues with clients,” he continued. “We’re always looking to see how we can make tactical changes in clients’ portfolios, but generally speaking, we don’t see that long-term plans change.”

          Typically, McCarthy explained, that long-term strategy looks ahead five, 10, or more years, and historically, the market is virtually assured of gaining ground over any such stretch.

          “We want to help clients establish what their strategies are to achieve those long-term goals,” he said. “In the short-term management of the portfolio, we’ll always be adjusting to what the market is doing, but even when it’s more volatile than normal, you have to go back to the basics and focus on your long-term goals and building a diversified portfolio.”

          In this issue, BusinessWest examines the difference between short-term and long-term outlooks in the world of investments — and why there are plenty of opportunities to make up ground in that race toward financial security.

          Staying the Course

          Although the long-term health of the stock market is a good bet, Valickus said, many people let current conditions rattle them.

          “We, as Americans, look at Warren Buffett as the god of investing and believe his philosophy of buying something cheap and selling when it gets expensive,” he said. “The problem with most people is, even though that works, they don’t follow it.

          “In other words,” he continued, “right now, with everything going wrong, with oil prices going up, inflation rearing its ugly head, and the economy slowing, everyone is getting nervous with the markets down big over the past 12 months. But this is a time when we at St. Germain are actually looking to buy stocks on sale.”

          Valickus explained that it makes sense to take advantage of the two great emotions that come into play in the stock market: greed and fear. “What we want to do is buy stocks when everyone has the greatest fear, and we want to sell stocks when everyone is greedy and saying, ‘oh, did you see the stock market?’

          “We do very well in questionable markets; people can trust us to be conservative and cautious,” he added. “Where we do poorly is when the market goes crazy, and people don’t want to think about three to five years out, but about what’s going to happen over the next two months and how they can make a killing quickly.”

          People who are serious about a long-term growth strategy must understand that they will endure some fluctuation in value, noted Richard Duncan, president of Richard G. Duncan Financial Services in Longmeadow. The difference between making and losing money long-term, he suggested, is knowing how to spot a trend amid those daily fluctuations — or, in most cases, hiring someone adept at spotting them — and be able to objectively change course when those fluctuations harden into negative trends.

          “You and your adviser could end up being the last people to climb aboard the train before it goes bad, and if that happens, how much money are you willing to risk?” he asked.

          “You can’t get emotional; you have to make the decision based on the trends. It’s like going home and seeing a for-sale sign in front of every house on the street except the one that belongs to you and your wife. Unless you’re going to ignore those signs, you have to make some decisions — and the sensible decision would be to turn around and get a for-sale sign for the front of your house until you figure out what’s causing all this.”

          Duncan noted that there are a number of blue-chip companies that were once considered safe havens, but times have changed. “General Electric, for example, was the quintessential example of a blue-chip stock. It was trading at $56 in 2000, and it’s in the mid-$30s now.”

          That’s why he suggests working with a broker with experience in successfully analyzing the small movements that become trends, because there are fewer ‘sure things’ out there. People with a limited amount to invest, he said, need to set a loss threshold at which point they will stop the bleeding and sell.

          “If you want to buy a share in Apple, you need to tell me why you’re considering investing money in this company, and there is really only one answer: you’re expecting it to grow in value at an attractive rate of speed,” he said. But if the trends turn and cross that loss threshold, an investor must be willing to cut the stock loose, no matter how much they admire a company.

          Diversification of investments is important, but it’s a more effective buffer when the overall market is healthy, Duncan noted. “When fear and panic set in, every boat in the harbor sinks.”

          Next Big Thing

          That panic can manifest itself in different ways, Valickus noted.

          “Habits change tremendously based on what’s going on in the markets,” he said. “Two or three years ago, a lot of our clients were leaving because real estate was the place to be. Right now, it’s commodities. Ten to 15 years ago, people wondered whether the steel industry in the U.S. would survive. Now, it’s the hot place to be.

          “People want to jump on the latest trends; it’s human nature,” he continued. “When everyone wants to be in real estate, maybe it’s time to get out. When everyone wants to be in oil and commodities, you have to step back and say, ‘maybe we have a bubble here.’”

          McCarthy said asset allocation is key for any long-term investor, with a mixture of stocks, bonds, and other products spreading out the risk. But equally important is setting aside emergency savings as a buffer against everyday economic challenges, such as energy and food prices that are taking large chunks out of Americans’ discretionary spending.

          “Clearly you want to keep your cash position,” he said. “A general rule is to keep three to six months [of salary] to weather the storm. That storm could be things costing more, or it could be losing your job. When people do that, it keeps them from dipping into their longer-term savings and investments. You want to let those ride and not put yourself into a position where you’re taking money out.”

          One good thing about market uncertainty, said Valickus, is that sometimes expected bad news doesn’t pan out. “Everyone’s offering their own guess on where gasoline’s going, saying we’ll have $5 gas by the end of the summer,” he said. “But if everyone thinks gas is going to be $5 soon, it probably won’t be. The consensus may be right, but very often at the extremes, it’s wrong.”

          But he’s not betting a quarter on it. After all, nobody has a crystal ball.


          United Bank announced the following:
          • Michael Whitman has joined the bank as Vice President of Commercial Lending;
          • Terry Bennett has joined United as Administrative Officer;
          • Deborah Gebo has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Retail Banking;
          • Joan Klinakis has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Operations; and
          • Miriam Siegel has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Human Resources.


          Berkshire Bank of Pittsfield announced the following:
          • Amy E. Fyden has been appointed Branch Manager for the Westfield branch at Little River Road. She is responsible for branch sales and operations, new-business development, and educating customers on products and services offered by Berkshire Bank, and
          • Brandon J. Kot has been appointed Branch Manager for the Clifton Park, N.Y. branch. He is also responsible for branch sales and operations, new business development, and educating customers on the bank’s products and services.


          Donald Fletcher, Executive Director of the Association for Community Living in Springfield, has announced his retirement for February 2009. An executive transition plan has been implemented to find a successor that will ensure a smooth transition in leadership next spring.


          Michael D. Ravosa of the Burke Ravosa Group, a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, has obtained the Certified Financial Planner designation from the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards Inc.


          Visael “Bobby” Rodriguez has been named Baystate Health’s first Chief Diversity Officer, a position created to help the health system attract, develop, and retain a diverse workforce and ensure that Baystate’s work environment reflects the organization’s values, its commitment to its employees, and the cultures of the communities it serves.


          Andrew R. Beaudry has been recognized by John Hancock Financial Network at a recent gathering of the top-performing sales representatives in Puerto Rico. Beaudry is the Senior Financial Advisor at Private Financial Design and is also President of the South Hadley Chamber of Commerce.


          Janet D. Allen has joined Banknorth Investment Group Inc. as an Investment Representative based in the TD Banknorth Branch in Westfield. She provides retirement and financial reviews for individuals as well as small businesses.


          Dana C. Huff has been named a leader in the civil engineering technical practice group of Tighe & Bond in Westfield. Huff is a professional engineer with nearly 30 years of experience in his field. He is an active member of the Solid Waste Assoc. of North America.


          Tina J. Null, RN, BSN, has been appointed Director of Patient Safety in the Department of Quality Improvement and Innovation at Holyoke Medical Center.


          Hasbro Inc. has appointed Bennett Schneir to Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Motion Pictures. Based in Los Angeles, Schneir will serve as Hasbro’s lead creative executive for feature films, focused on the company’s new six-year strategic partnership with Universal Pictures.


          Lillian George has announced her affiliation with Carlson GMAC Real Estate. She will work out of the Wilbraham office.


          Deborah A. Pace, Director of Employer Relations at Western New England College in Springfield, has been selected to the National Advisory Committee of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. Pace will serve a two-year term on the National Advisory Committee, helping set the vision for the annual conference.


          Holyoke Community College announced the following:
          • Doreen Larson, Vice President for Student Affairs, received the 2008 Professional Development Award given by the Mass. Women in Higher Public Education;
          • Maureen Conroy, Director of the Office for Students with Disabilities and Deaf Services, received an award from the Federation for Children with Special Needs that recognizes her efforts and advocacy to make the college accessible to people with disabilities, and
          • Isolda Ortega Bustamante, Director of Engaging Latino Communities for Education, was recognized by the Five Colleges Committee for Community-based Learning for her leadership of Holyoke Bound Orientations.


          Barbara Grynkiewicz has joined the John M. Glover Agency of Holyoke.


          Sarah Torres recently joined Unemployment Tax Control Associates of Springfield as a Staff Attorney. She will manage and oversee regional hearing representatives serving the firm’s clients.


          James B. Dunbar has been promoted to Vice President within the government-relations practice of O’Neill and Associates.


          Nick Morganelli and Donna Hawk have joined the American Lung Association of Massachusetts Leadership Board. Morganelli is a business owner, meteorologist, and science teacher, and Hawk is a respiratory therapist at the Weldon Rehab Hospital at Mercy Medical Center.


          Partners in Prosperity, a Chicopee chapter of Business Network International, has named the following new members:
          • Marco Dermith is a home inspector, teacher, and radio-show volunteer. He is the owner of Home Inspections by Marco Inc.;
          • Paul Stallman is owner and creative director of Alias Solutions;
          • Rachel White is a Web-site designer and creator, and
          • Alex Lak is a financial advisor at Edward Jones.


          The Mass. Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. announced the following directors and corporate officers for 2008-09:
          • Ashburnham Municipal Light Department Manager Stanley W. Herriott, serving his second three-year term as a Director, was elected Chairman of the MMWEC Board of Directors;
          • H. Bradford White, Manager of the West Boylston Municipal Light Department, was re-elected to his third one-year term as President of the MMWEC organization;
          • James M. Lavelle, Manager of the Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, was re-elected to a three-year term as a Director;
          • Robert V. Jolly Jr., General Manager of the Marblehead Municipal Light Department, was re-elected to a three-year term as a Director;
          • Jonathan V. Fitch, Manager of the Princeton Municipal Light Department, was re-elected to a three-year term as a Director;
          • Thomas R. Josie, General Manager of Shrewsbury’s Electric & Cable Operations, was elected to complete the one year remaining on the unexpired term of an MMWEC director who retired earlier this year;
          • Other MMWEC officers for the coming year, as elected by the board, are: Ronald C. DeCurzio, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary-Treasurer; Kelly R. Joyce, Assistant Treasurer; Nancy A. Brown, Assistant Secretary; and Nicholas J. Scobbo Jr., General Counsel;
          • The newly elected directors join MMWEC’s other board members, which in addition to Herriott include William F. Waters, General Manager of the Peabody Municipal Light Plant, and Sean Hamilton, General Manager of the Templeton Municipal Light & Water Plant.
          • Michael J. Flynn and Paul Robbins serve on the board as Gubernatorial Appointees. Flynn also represents the Town of Wilbraham on the board, with Luis Vitorino and John M. Flynn representing the towns of Ludlow and Hampden, respectively.


          Beth Callery has joined MetLife Financial Group of Mass. as a Financial Services Representative. Callery is licensed to sell life and health insurance, as well as fixed and variable annuities, in Massachusetts.


          Holyoke Medical Center announced the following:
          • Priscilla Mandrachia has been named a member of the Board of Directors. Mandrachia is Second Vice President in the Corporate Audit Department of MassMutual Financial Group of Springfield;
          • Dr. David Tupponce has been named a member of the Board of Directors. Tupponce is Vice President of the Medical Staff at Holyoke Medical Center, and serves as the Medical Information Officer and Chair of the Medical Quality Assurance Committee, and
          • Sean Mitchell has been named Director of Development.


          Convergent Solutions Inc. in Wilbraham announced the following:
          • Ronald Duquette Jr. has been appointed IT Delivery Services Manager. He will serve on the medical billing and practice management systems team and will participate in client-related electronic-medical-record installations and maintenance.
          • Christina Dever has been named Client Relations Manager. Dever will specialize in the development of charge-capture processes focused on compliant coding and customized design.


          Ellen Desmarais has been named General Manager of the Colony Club in Springfield. The Colony Club is a private dining club located in Tower Square.


          P. Edgardo Tarrats has been named Branch Manager of the Springfield office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. In his role, Tarrats is responsible for the SBA’s financial-assistance and entrepreneurial-development programs in the four counties of Western Mass.

          Sections Supplements
          There are Many Ways to Finance a Startup Business

          It is one of the often-harsh realties of the business world: While new ventures begin with an idea, they can only truly get started with money.

          Indeed, entrepreneurs and new-business owners alike are challenged by finding sources of funding during the startup phase. And unlike existing businesses with a proven track record relative to cash flow, customer base, and revenue stream, new businesses are often not profitable for at least the initial six to 12 months of operations.

          That said, a new business nonetheless faces the same economic realties of an existing business, such as the need to purchase inventory, pay employees (including a salary to the business owner until profitability is maintained), and pay rent and other ongoing expenses. In addition, new businesses often have initial expenses such as equipment purchases, capital improvement, and initial inventory expenses, which can be significant.

          What follows is a primer on determining what it will take to get a business venture off the ground, and also how to secure that financing.

          Startup Cost Estimates

          A sound business plan for a startup company should consider any and all costs that will be incurred during the startup phase of the business, and then on an ongoing basis. Initial substantial costs will likely be incurred for such things as inventory, equipment and machinery purchases, leasing and/or other real estate expenses, marketing expenses, insurance premiums, specific costs, such as franchise fees or license costs, and initial payroll costs.

          If you’re considering starting a new business, it is wise to avoid understating and underestimating your initial capital needs during the startup period. The rule of thumb should be to overestimate initial capital needs and underestimate initial business operating revenues to avoid running into budgetary deficit. Whether or not you have contemplated seeking financing through an institutional lender, commercial lenders are often an invaluable resource for you relative to evaluating your business plan. In fact, since commercial lenders often are presented with numerous business plans by potential and current borrowers, they are often uniquely positioned to understand and challenge your estimated initial capital needs. Even an informal conversation with a commercial lender would likely be highly productive.

          Once the associated needs and costs have been identified, your challenge is to identify a source to finance the startup of your business. There are a number of different forms of startup financing, including self-financing, equity financing, and debt financing.


          Self-financing simply means that you fund the startup costs, drawing upon initial cash options such as savings accounts, home equity loans, retirement accounts, and other sources of liquidity. Often called ‘bootstrap’ financing, self-financing a business is the least complex and most popular form of financing new small businesses. You simply draw funds off the available liquidity on an as-needed basis, both during the inception of your business operations and during the course of your business startup period.

          You should bear in mind, however, that frequently the same funds utilized for your business will also be needed in lieu of income during the startup period. Since it takes a potentially significant period of time for most new businesses to see profitability, you will likely need to draw upon existing cash surpluses to substitute income. So, if you’re contemplating utilizing bootstrap financing, you should consider covering not only business expenses that will be incurred during the startup period, but also living and personal expenses that will arise as well.

          An alternative to bootstrap financing is seeking funding from family and friends. Not without a whole host of issues unto itself, family financing can be a cost-effective way to manage your business’s startup needs. Young entrepreneurs often seek initial loans from parents and other close relatives, with terms, conditions, and formality all determined by the circumstances. That said, even in the informal circumstance of a loan from a parent or close family relative, such a transaction nonetheless constitutes an obligation that could have other legal and/or account implications. Even loans between family members should be reflected by minimal documentation including at least a promissory note by and between the parties, and, as with all financing transactions, it should follow legal and tax consultation.

          An advantage to startup self-financing or funding by family and friends is the ability to receive funding without relinquishing equity or control. In addition, the informality of loans from relatives and family members could lend itself to flexibility otherwise unavailable with other sources of financing.

          Debt and Equity Financing

          In the case where substantial capital needs are required by your business during the startup phase, more traditional debt financing or equity financing would most likely be needed. Debt financing is essentially funds borrowed to run your business, including loans from traditional lending institutions, commercial finance companies, and government organizations, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA).

          Equity financing is a financing mechanism by which, unlike debt financing, you relinquish some portion of equity ownership in your business in return for a capital contribution. This often takes the form of an initial investor seeking stock (in the case of a corporation) or membership interests (in the case of a limited liability company), to reflect the contributor’s investment. While certainly an attractive and available option for many new-business owners, seeking equity investors should be undertaken with thorough evaluation.

          In most circumstances, you have spent quite a bit of time developing your business plan with the intent of growing a successful and prosperous business. By incurring a new equity owner, you are relinquishing control and ownership, two factors that should be thoroughly considered at the onset. Indeed, private investors in a new business venture want to understand such things as how much control he or she will have over their new investment, and will want to know how long it will take for them to recoup their investment, as well as the nature of the potential returns that they can hope to achieve.

          Angel Investors and Venture Capital

          An additional method of financing is through angel investors and venture capitalists. They are available, albeit limited, funding vehicles. Angel investors are wealthy individuals or groups of individuals who provide capital financing in return for an ownership stake and control in a new business. Venture-capital firms similarly seek to provide capital investments, often-sizable ones, in return for ownership and control, including rights such as positions on the company’s board of directors.

          In most circumstances, funding from angel investors and venture capital firms is unlikely to be available to a new business owner. Given the risky nature of these investments, most angel investors and venture capital firms look for the proven track record of an existing business seeking financing to provide some level of comfort relative to the profitability and success of the operation’s business plan. That said, while angel and venture-capital financing may not be available at the onset of the business operations, funds may be available after a period of demonstrated success.

          Traditional Debt Financing

          Unlike equity financing, traditional debt financing allows you to seek a loan without the need to relinquish ownership or control. Once a traditional business loan is paid back, there are no further obligations to the lender. This means that you will maintain ownership of 100% of your company and will benefit exclusively from its profitability on an ongoing basis. If you’re not looking to relinquish control and ownership, or incur a new business partner, traditional debt financing may be an attractive option.

          Such debt financing generally involves some type of loan facility, including a traditional lending institution and/or a government agency such as the Small Business Administration. SBA loans administered through traditional lending institutions may have the ability to offer financing with slightly fewer qualification requirements than may be required through the institutional lender without involvement of the government agency. This is possible because agencies such as the SBA may guarantee repayment of some portion of your loan.

          Institutional loans, whether or not government agency-guaranteed, will most likely be secured by some form of collateral. Often, collateral will include your personal guaranty, mortgages on your real estate, including your personal residence, and liens on business assets such as inventory and equipment. It should be noted that nearly one-half of all startup businesses seek initial financing through traditional bank loans.

          As discussed above, commercial lending officers are often an excellent resource for evaluating the strength of your initial business plan. Additionally, as your business grows, an existing track record and relationship with a bank may assist you in receiving further financing such as credit lines and large term loans.

          Even within the current economic climate, it is possible to launch a new venture. But it helps to know — and fully understand — all your options.

          Jeffrey Fialky is an associate with the law firm Bacon Wilson, P.C., specializing in business, corporate, municipal, and real estate law;[email protected]; (413) 781-0560.

          Sections Supplements
          A ‘Snapshot’ That’s in Focus and a Solid Business Plan Are Some of the Keys

          What, if anything, can a business owner do to position his or her company to obtain the credit availability that it needs to both operate and, in many instances, survive in today’s ever-changing and volatile economy?

          There are several critical factors that providers of business credit view as vital when considering a company’s request for credit, which may involve many different types of credit facilities, such as a working capital line of credit, a fixed asset/equipment non-revolving line of credit, a term loan, or a mortgage loan. Paying close attention to these factors can enhance and, in many cases, provide the key to your company’s obtaining the necessary credit availability that you are looking to gain.

          The first factor is what many lenders call the ‘snapshot’ of the company at a specific point in time. This is usually comprised of a company’s most recent financial statements and consist, at a minimum, of a balance sheet and a profit-and-loss statement. These financial reports provide a prospective lender with a detailed and comprehensive picture of your company’s current business operations and profitability, as well as a reasonable indicator of future growth. It is an effective tool in your company’s pursuit of credit. Depending on the lender, an in-depth interview may be conducted with the owner(s) or senior management to allow the lender to become more intimately familiar with both the company’s operations and its decision makers.

          Another factor to consider is a well-defined business plan. Having such a plan in place demonstrates that you have already wisely considered your company’s future strategic growth and related financial projections, which address both the anticipated income and financial needs of the company. Supplying a copy of this plan to your prospective lender will provide a solid indication to the lender that your company possesses smart management, which is generally given substantial weight in any credit decision. It is important to remember that you are asking a prospective lender to effectively become a partner with your company, and knowing that your company has had the foresight to require such a business plan will go a long way toward creating a level of comfort on the part of the lender.

          It is also important to consider self-promotion. Clearly demonstrating to a prospective credit provider that your company has established a proven track record is paramount, and providing a prospective lender with insight into what is transpiring in your particular industry can add credibility to your request for an extension of credit.

          Furthermore, something that is often times given a substantial amount of weight in the quest to obtain a favorable credit decision is collateral security. While no provider of credit will approve requested financing solely on the basis of the value of the underlying collateral to be pledged as security for an extension of credit, offering your prospective lender strong, easily valued, and easily accessed loan collateral is a critical component that cannot be overlooked. Such collateral security may consist of a grant of a security interest in ‘hard’ assets such as furniture, fixtures, equipment, and real estate; more ‘fluid’ assets such as inventory and accounts receivable; or truly ‘liquid’ collateral in the form of cash, certificates of deposit, or brokerage accounts. The actual value of, straightforward access to, and ease of liquidation, if required, are all considered in not only whether a particular request for credit will be approved, but also whether the terms of the credit facility are more or less favorable to your company.

          One final suggestion: ask for it. Many times business owners are reluctant to initiate a request for credit based on what they perceive are insurmountable obstacles to obtaining a favorable response, when in fact many such perceived obstacles may be able to be satisfactorily addressed and overcome by working in concert with a sophisticated lender who can bring both creative and fiscally responsible alternatives to the table.

          Consequently, when your company is seeking business credit, it only makes sense for you to review and consider your company’s strengths and weaknesses in the context of each of the foregoing areas. Doing so will provide your company with a solid basis for obtaining the necessary credit facilities you need to operate and grow your company.

          Gary G. Breton, Esq. is a partner with Bacon Wilson, P.C., and a member of its Banking and Finance Department. His major emphasis of practice includes representation of financial lending institutions, as well as both individual and business borrowers. He also represents numerous business clients in the startup, purchase, and sale of businesses; (413) 781-0560;[email protected]

          Sections Supplements
          New Ownership Is Gaining Tenants, and Momentum, at One Financial Plaza
          Keith Parent

          Keith Parent, on one of his balconies, with Springfield’s Court Square in the background.

          Several floors remain vacant, or ‘dark,’ as they say in this business, but there are more lights now on at One Financial Plaza than there have been in years. New ownership has made several improvements, steps that, when coupled with some aggressive marketing and high occupancy rates in other Class A towers in downtown Springfield, have yielded several new tenants.

          Keith Parent says he first looked at the space on the fifth floor of 1350 Main St. in 2001, or the last time his lease was due to expire and he knew he needed more square footage with which to grow his company.

          He liked the accommodations at what is now also known as One Financial Plaza and the Sovereign Bank Building, especially two balconies that came as part of the deal, and also liked the address — it meshed nicely with the name of his company (Court Square Group), which he started several years earlier in a small space above Frigo’s deli on Main Street, in the section of downtown called Court Square, and thus named it accordingly.

          But the asking price at the 17-story tower was a little steep, and besides, those managing what was then known as the SIS Center, now the TD Banknorth Center, put together a fairly attractive package, a deal he really couldn’t refuse. So he went there instead.

          Fast-forward roughly seven years, and Parent, who has aggressive plans to grow his information-technology-solutions company and didn’t think he could do that in the Banknorth Building, was again looking at area office buildings. And somewhat to his surprise, the space he looked at in 1350 Main St. all those years ago was still vacant and very much available.

          The fact that it was spoke volumes regarding the well-documented struggles that building has experienced in recent years, but Parent was focused on the future — of his company and also the building — and not the past. So he’s now the proud occupant of roughly 12,000 square feet, or most of that fifth floor.

          He has his balconies (actually, three of them), a Court Square presence (again), plenty of room to grow, and something else — some satisfaction that comes from not only staying in downtown Springfield, but also helping to breathe some life into a building nearly 50% vacant, or dark, as they say in this business, since a major tenant moved out several years ago.

          “I’m committed to Springfield — we started here, we like it here, and I think this is a city on the move,” said Parent, who told BusinessWest that he looked at options in area suburbs and also at other locations in Springfield — including space in the Technology Park at Springfield Technical Community College that eventually was taken by Liberty Mutual — but wanted to stay downtown. And Dan Eastman, an area contractor who recently acquired the bottom five floors, eventually gave him enough reasons to make that happen.

          Bill Low, co-owner of floors 6-17 at One Financial Plaza and vice president of Samuel D. Plotkin & Associates, which manages the building and handles leasing efforts, said Parent isn’t the only one discovering, or rediscovering, the property, as the case may be.

          In addition to the CSG signing, roughly 20,000 square feet has been leased out across floors 6-17 over roughly the past year, said Low, adding that this is just about what his ownership team set as a goal for that time frame. Other new tenants include Radiology & Imaging, which took 5,000 square feet on the 10th floor; the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.), which absorbed almost 6,000 square feet on the 11th floor; Moors & Cabot, an investment brokerage firm, which took 1,100 square feet on the 15th floor; and Entercom Communications Corp., which will locate a radio station in 3,310 square feet on the 12th floor.

          “We’re on target … things are going pretty much according to plan,” said Low, who was joined in the purchase of floors 6-17 by Evan Plotkin, president of Samuel D. Plotkin; Ronald Eckman, owner of several area businesses and real estate properties; Michael Vinick, who has partnered with Eckman on many of those ventures; and William Lyons, co-founder of Blackstone Medical Inc. “There’s still a lot of vacant space, maybe 130,000 square feet, but we’re chipping away at it.”

          The good news is that this constitutes perhaps 90% of the available Class A space available in downtown Springfield, he said, adding that the keys to filling this space include getting people to give it a look — new owners have made some significant improvements, said Low — and convincing would-be tenants that there isn’t really a problem with parking, just a perception of same.

          In this issue, BusinessWest looks at CSG’s move and other developments at 1350 Main St. that are creating a strong sense of momentum.

          Coming into View

          Parent has spent virtually all of his 13 years in business in downtown Springfield.

          After operating above Frigo’s for several years, he relocated to the fourth floor of Harrison Place and, more specifically, square footage once occupied by the former Third National Bank. This space included the bank’s conference room — and conference table, which was (and is) so large that the bank left it behind when it moved out, and Court Square Group did the same several years later.

          “It was too big to move,” said Parent. “The good thing about that table was that it was so big we could get everyone in the company, more than 20 people, around it for meetings.”

          Eventually, though, this was no longer the case, as CSG continued to grow and eventually commanded more space. This prompted Parent to look at several options and eventually choose the Banknorth space. Seven years later, it was, as Yogi Berra put it, déjà vu all over again. That’s because Parent was looking for room to grow, and he was back looking at space in 1350 Main Street once occupied years ago by BankBoston as one of his many options.

          “We want to make this a $100 million company in five years,” he explained.

          Those ambitious growth plans, coupled with aggressive efforts to turn the lights back on within those ‘dark’ floors at 1350 Main St., eventually brought Parent to that street address.

          “Dan Eastman said, in essence, ‘what do we have to do to get you in here?’” said Parent, adding that new ownership pushed whatever buttons it needed to in an effort to ink a deal.

          As he gave BusinessWest a quick tour of his new digs, which were still littered with moving boxes, Parent referenced some of the things that attracted him to it. The balconies were a factor, but also the many ‘corner offices’ that result from the building’s unique design and sharp angles. “There’s a lot of glass and a lot of light,” he said.

          But it was more than these amenities that ultimately shaped his decision.

          Indeed, there was a desire to back up his involvement with several area economic-development groups, especially the Regional Technology Corp., which he chairs, with deeds, and not just words about Springfield and the importance of its fiscal health to the rest of the region.

          “I’ve thought about other places,” he said, adding that he has considered moving his headquarters to Marlboro, where he has another office. “I live in Palmer, so for me, I could be anywhere between here and Boston, but I wanted to stay in downtown Springfield.”

          Dr. Laurie Gianturco, president of Radiology & Imaging, told BusinessWest that her venture had several requirements, or priorities, when a search was launched for larger quarters late last year. For starters, the company wanted enough space to bring 20 administrators who had been scattered in three locations together in one space — and accommodate expected future growth. It also desired a site convenient to those three locations — near Baystate Medical Center, Liberty Street in Springfield, and Elm Street in Enfield.

          “One Financial Plaza had the right geography, and the right price,” she said, adding that initial concerns about parking and security were ameliorated.

          It was a different, rather unusual set of requirements that brought the FDIC to 1350 Main St. Specifically, there was a seismic-compliancy issue that had to be met.

          Elaborating, but only slightly, KiJuan William-Dickerson, a spokesperson for the agency, said federal offices must now be located in buildings built to certain specifications regarding earthquakes and the ability to understand them. She couldn’t say exactly what the requirement was, but did know that the agency’s former local address, 489 Whitney Ave. in Holyoke, did not meet specifications (thus necessitating a move), and One Financial Plaza did.

          It is also within five miles of the Holyoke location (another federal requirement so that employees do not have to relocate to continue working for the agency), and it offered what William-Dickerson called “the most value” of any of the few sites that did meet the seismic requirement.

          Thus, the FDIC took 5,962 square feet, and moved 32 employees into downtown Springfield last December. Some of them have no doubt become regulars at Palacio (Italian for Palace), the coffee and sandwich shop that new ownership lured to 1350 Main St. last year. There have been several other additions and improvements, said Low, noting that the fountain facing Court Square has been restored, and there have been renovations to common areas, as well as other updating and cleaning.

          Moving forward, the leasing strategy will be to continue to fill vacancies on occupied floors and leave several of the vacant floors intact for possible full-floor or multiple-floor tenants, said Low, adding that if, over time, demand for larger spaces doesn’t materialize, then ownership will commit more of those floors to smaller tenants.

          “If a big tenant comes along, that’s fine,” he said, “but we want to lease about 20,000 square feet a year, and we’ll do it any way we have to.”

          Let There Be Lights

          Parent told BusinessWest that the name ‘Court Square’ would have stayed on his company no matter where he wound up in his latest move. “I would just have to do a lot more explaining,” he said, referring to what life would have been like had he moved to one of the suburbs, another section of Springfield, or Marlboro. “But now, this fits nicely.”

          It does, and his move to the fifth floor, ultimately delayed seven years, represents a positive step for CSG, One Financial Plaza, and downtown Springfield. All this will be celebrated out on those balconies, when Court Square Group stages an open house on June 4.

          It will be a moving story — in more ways than one.

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


          The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


          The Liberty Preservation Association of Massachusetts Inc., 111 High St., Agawam 01001. Laura A. Jackson, same. (Nonprofit) Non-connected or ideological political action committee to affect legislation.


          Association for Environmental Health & Sciences Foundation Inc., 150 Fearing St., Suite 17, Amherst 01002. Paul T. Kostecki, Stillwater Road, South Deerfield 01373. (Nonprofit) To promote the education, training, research and dissemination of information regarding the environment, etc.

          Voter Action Inc., 48 North Pleasant St., Suite 304, Amherst 01002. Holly Jacobson, 2520 34th Ave., South, Seattle WA 98144. John Bonifaz, 30 Harris St., Amherst 01002, treasurer. (Nonprofit) To protect the right to vote, ensuring election integrity, transparent election procedures, etc.


          Belchertown Band Boosters Inc., 12 Wilson Road, Belchertown 01007. Susan Clark, same. (Nonprofit) To educate and promote the music program in the Belchertown Public Schools, etc.


          Amvets Riders Chapter 12 Inc., 754 Montgomery St., Chicopee 01020. Maurice V. Marcil, 234 Dale St., Chicopee 01020. (Nonprofit) To provide community service and fellowship, support the goals of the Amvets national organization.


          Easthampton Quality Machine Inc., 16 Arthur St., Easthampton 01027. Raymond A. Witherell, same. Tool and machine making.


          KAYANT Inc., 17 Overbrook Road, East Longmeadows 01028. Ralph A. Giuggio, 3 Mayfair St., East Longmeadow 01028. To own and operate a restaurant business.

          MEC’s Landscaping Inc., 32 Hampden Road, East Longmeadow 01028. Alessandro Meccia, same. Landscaping.

          Pinnacle Performance Inc., 171 Shaker Road, East Longmeadow 01028. Paul W. Koetsch, 43 Treetop Ave., Springfield 01118. Automotive restyling and paint protection.


          Good Time Stove Company Inc., 188B Cape St., Goshen 01032. Richard Richardson, same. The renovation and sale of wood stoves and related items.


          Laduke Electric Inc., 92 Ferry Hill Road, Granby 01033. James E. Laduke, II, same. Electrical service, repair and installation.


          George’s Rocks Inc., 246 Silver St., Greenfield 01301. George P. Marchacos, same. Retail amusements.

          VLS Auto Trade Ltd., 16 Ferrante Ave., Greenfield 01301. Lucia Ivantchev, same. Automobile import and export.


          AMP Consulting Inc., 23 South Ridge Road, Hampden 01036. Andrew H. Persaud, same. Finance and accounting consulting.


          Friends of Holyoke Public Schools Inc., 225 High St., Suite 601, Holyoke 01040. Michael J. Moriarty, 1 Lexington Ave., Holyoke 01040. (Nonprofit) To facilitate the funding of programs to support and celebrate academic achievement and creativity in the Holyoke public schools.

          Merchant Service Center Inc., 15 Main St., Holyoke 01040. Jeffrey P. King, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Merchant service credit card processing.

          Ministerio Evangelistico De Cristo Es La Uncion Y Poder Inc., 10 Center St., Holyoke 01040. Ramon Antonio Crespo, same. (Nonprofit) To help restore the lives of people through outreach work in different communities.

          PH Recordings Inc., 10 Gatehouse Road, Holyoke 01040. Stephen C. Porter, same. To operate a music recording business.

          Source of New York 8 Inc., 354 High St., Holyoke 01040. David Woo M. Park, same. Retail clothing and accessory company.


          Faith In Action of Hampden County Inc., 76 Longfellow St., Longmeadow 01106. Nancy A. Marshall, same. (Nonprofit) To enhance the quality of life for adults of 60+ years who lack an adequate support system, offering the friendship and support of a volunteer, etc.


          Munn Inc., 141 Munn Road, Monson 01057. Ralf Trzeciak, same. Laundromat and ownership of other businesses.


          Northampton Community Acupuncture Inc., 160 Main St., Northampton 01060. Melissa Beth Stein, same. Acupuncture and herbal medicine.

          Nolta Inc., 27 Olive St., Northampton 01060. Felix Bonn, same. Manufacturing of motor/pump protection devices.


          Committtee for Responsible Wildlife Management Inc., 2 Reynolds Road, Shelburne 0370. Herbert Bergquist, same. (Nonprofit) To promote science based wildlife management decisions based on fact, not emotion or personal ideology.


          The Learning Circle-Deerfield Inc., 150 North Main St., South Deerfield 01373. Jay L. Whitney, 178 Old Vernon Road, Northfield 01360. (Nonprofit) Child care center for ages 6 weeks to 6 years old.

          SOUTH HADLEY

          For The Health of It in Western MA Inc., 17 Spring Meadows, South Hadley 01075. Maureen A. Jagodowski, same. (Nonprofit) To provide information and education relative to suicide prevention.

          River Road Billiards Inc., 320 River Road, South Hadley 01075. Steven Daniel Blaney, same. Billiards and pool leagues.


          25 Point Grove Realty Inc., 205 Feeding Hills Road, Southwick 01077. Patrick J. Lynch, same. To hold real estate.

          Ranpat Inc., 13 Lauren Lane, Southwick 01077. Randy Rindels, same. Bar/restaurant.


          Chico’s Towing Service Inc., 61 Chandler St., Springfield 01104. Cecilio V. Rivera, 25 Bancroft St., Springfield 01107. Towing of commercial and residential vehicles.

          Concilio Pentecostes Ya Es Tiempo De Que Te Levantes Talita Cumi Inc., 246 Walnut St., Springfield 01105. Felix Torres, 56 Montrose St., Springfield 01109. (Nonprofit) To perform Christian services and food services to the needs of our community.

          Harrell Funeral Home Inc., 355 St. James Ave., Springfield 01103. Ronald E. Harrell, same. To operate a funeral home.

          IT & T Systems Inc., 1655 Main St., #501, Springfield 01013. Jeffrey Rm Filamonte, 26 Dayton St., Chicopee 01013. IT systems maintenance and installations.

          R & D Towing & Transport Inc., 36 Jardine St., Springfield 01107. Robert M. Bernier, same. Towing and transport.

          Toby Transportation Inc., 137 Cedar St., Springfield 01105. Tony Ayoade, same. To provide transportation of a wide variety of individuals needing mobility (i.e., medical transportation, wheelchair, etc.)


          Unified Sports Program Inc., 267 Falley Dr., Westfield 01085. Mary Lou Niedzielski, 24 Harlow Clark Road, Huntington 01050. (Nonprofit) To provide recreational and sport activities to children in the Greater Westfield area who have mental and/or physical disabilities, etc.


          QE Global U.S. Inc., 5 Wandering Meadows Lane, Wilbraham 01095. James Killoren, same. Importing, sales and distribution of energy .

          Spartan Investigations Inc., 408 Springfield St., Wilbraham 01095. Scott Alan Richard, same. Private investigation.


          The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.


          Majestic Tile & Grout Restoration Inc., 59 Sunnyslope Ave., Agawam 01001. Darren A. Jacobs, 62 Home St., Springfield 01104. Tile & grout restoration.


          Community Funding Partners Inc., 6 University Dr., Suite 206-239, Amherst 01002. Irvin Rhodes, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Marketing and sales.

          MW Photonics Inc., 433 West St., Amherst 01002. Jeannie E. Williams, 152 Boston Road, Groton 01450. Scientific research in optical technologies.


          Bruce Goodrich Cancer Survivor’s Fund Inc., 450 North Washington St., Belchertown 01007. Ken Goodrich, same. (Nonprofit) To promote awareness and raise money to help cancer victims, etc.


          Z-M Performance Systems Inc., 203 South St., Bernardston 01337. Allan P. Zitta, same. To develop, own, license and otherwise exploit intellectual properties of all kinds.


          Mass Terror Inc., 57 Davenport St., Chicopee 01013. Shaun Foley, same. Retail and wholesale merchandising including manufacturing.

          Westfield Ready Mix Inc., 652 Prospect St., Chicopee 01020. Leo Ouellette, Jr., 15 Easton St., Granby 01033. Sale and processing of concrete, sand, gravel.


          Creative Autism Services Inc., 53 Holyoke St., #1, Easthampton 01927. Rebecca C. Belopsky, same. Relationship-based consulting.

          Suzi’s Way Inc., 300 Reservation Road, Easthampton 01027. Suzi Buzzee, 22 Reservation Road, Easthampton 01027. Real estate sales and purchases.


          Western Massachusetts Institute For Social Research Inc., 4 Oakwood Circle, East Longmeadow 01028. Raymond J. Zucco, same. (Nonprofit) To promote the advancement of social research, help raise public awareness of the contributions and use of sociology to society, etc.


          Alycat Inc., 63 Poplar St., Feeding Hills 01030. Robert F. Johnson, III, same. To operate a restaurant.

          D.J. Concessions Inc., 15 Belmont Ave., Feeding Hills 1030. David Jalbert, same. Retail sales.


          Freedom Post 28 Inc., 63 Riverside Dr., Florence 01062. Thomas P. Ouimet, same. (Nonprofit) A veterans organization for social and recreational activities.


          Danny’s Electric Inc., 11 Hendel Dr., Holyoke 01040. Luis D. Arroyo, same. Any and all electrical work.


          V & S Management Co. Inc., 66 Dwight Road, Suite #1, Longmeadow 02206. Raymond G. Stevens, 36 Elm St., East Longmeadow 01028. Real estate development and related activities.



          Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp., Moddy St., Ludlow 01056. H. Bradford White, 289 Spring St., Shrewsbury 01545. To acquire property for wind turbines, etc., to produce wind energy in Hancock and known as the “Berkshire Wind Facilities”, etc.

          NEW SALEM

          Stages of Life Inc., 283 Wendell Road, New Salem 01355. Dylan W. Flye, same. (Nonprofit) A performing arts after school and summer program to offer disadvantaged and at risk youth, etc.


          Evolve-IBB Inc., 167 South St., #2, Northampton 01060. Elena Tunitsky-Bitton, same. Marketing, sales and business development, advertising.


          Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club Inc., 75 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls 01370. Meta Nisbet, 146 Smead Hill Road, Colrain 01340. (Nonprofit) To increase the beauty of the Village of Shelburne Falls, award college scholarships to local area youth, etc.


          Alian Consultants Inc., 57 Florence St., Springfield 01105. Darnel Ali, same. (Nonprofit) New business consultation and development.

          Billups World Entertainment Inc., 113 Lyman St., Springfield 01103. Stefan Billups, 3 Silver St., Springfield 01107. Multimedia and print production and distribution.

          Bridgers Property Inc., 73 Cambridge St., Springfield 011089. Cynthia A. Bridgers, same. Real estate ownership.

          Concilio Pentecostes Ya Es Tiempo De Que Te Levantes Talita Cumi Inc., 246 Walnut St., Springfield 01105. Felix Torres, 56 Montrose St., Springfield 01109. (Nonprofit) To perform Christian services and food services to the needs of our community.

          Denise’s Designs Inc., 132 Fort Pleasant Ave., Springfield 01108. Asiala Dickson, same. (Nonprofit) Promote awareness in art and design in fashion ware and culture.

          DJAV Corp., 105 Woodlawn St., Springfield 01108. David J. Virella, Jr., same. Carpentry and construction.

          Elite Consulting Services Inc., 293 Bridge St., Ste. 328, Springfield 01103. Eliezer Serrano, 20 Windermere Dr., Feeding Hills 01030. Consulting services.

          Nuvo Bank & Trust Co., 1500 Main St., Springfield 01115. Jeffrey Sattler, 21 Magnolia Terr., South Hadley 01075. Transacting the business of a trust company.

          Podjockey Inc., 650 Belmont Ave., Springfield 01108. Michael Harrison, 212 Deepwoods Dr., Longmeadow 01106. Media production and delivery services.

          Springfield City Youth Organization Inc., 1350 Main St., 10th Fl., c/o Hare, Stamm & Harris, Springfield 01103. Richard F. Williams, 43 Pearson Dr., Springfield 01119. (Nonprofit) To provide a non-profit community-based athletic program for youth in the City of Springfield.

          VK Transport Inc., 534 Union St., Springfield 01089. Vadim V. Kot, same. Trucking company.


          Pioneer Valley Propane Inc., 389 Southampton Road, Westfield 01085. Jeffrey S. Hunter, 16 Kylene Cirle, Southampton 01073. Distribution and sale of propane fuel and related products.

          Sections Supplements
          Springfield’s Newest Destination Boosts City’s Curb Appeal
          Peter Pappas

          Peter Pappas stands in front of the nearly completed River’s Landing, as landscaping and exterior lighting are completed.

          For years, what is now known as the old Basketball Hall of Fame stood vacant, and early in 2006, people were only cautiously optimistic about a big change to the property proposed by two developers who trace their roots back to Springfield. Two years later, the landscaping is being finished and the signage is going up at River’s Landing, and gradually, the city’s riverfront is becoming the place to be, both night and day

          In the main kitchen at Onyx Fusion Bar and Restaurant, executive chef Isaac Bancaco is devising a number of dishes that pair international flavors with the traditional ingredients of New England fare.

          “It’s tradition with a twist,” said the Hawaiian, recruited by Onyx to bring his unique flair to Western Mass. “Contemporary cuisine using local ingredients is going to be one of our trademarks. It celebrates what’s already here, and brings something new to the table, too.”

          This is an apt description of the ‘east-meets-west’ menu at Onyx; fusion, after all, is the calling card of the restaurant. But it’s also an effective metaphor to describe what’s happening at the larger complex in which it operates: River’s Landing, the reincarnation of the former Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and Springfield’s newest destination.

          Located adjacent to the new Hall of Fame, next to the Connecticut River, and flanked by I-91, River’s Landing is the brainchild of Peter Pappas and Michael Spagnoli. The two Springfield natives submitted their proposal for a day-into-night entertainment venue centered on health, fitness, and upscale dining to the Springfield Riverfront Development Corp. (SRDC), the private real-estate entity that owns the land, in late 2005.

          The partners are dually located on the East and West coasts; Pappas is an East Longmeadow-based real estate developer and importer/exporter, and Spagnoli, a chiropractor, owns a number of medical offices scattered across the country, including several in California, where he now resides.

          At the time of the request for proposals, Pappas and Spagnoli, doing business as River’s Landing LLC, were competing against a wide range of proposals for the ‘old hall,’ including a hotel and a public market. But at the end of the day, the duo’s vision won the bid based in part on the upscale yet cohesive feel it aimed to create on the still-expanding stretch of the riverfront that includes not just the Hall of Fame, but also a Hilton Garden Inn and four popular eateries — Max’s Tavern, Coldstone Creamery, Pazzo, and Pizzeria Uno (a fifth, Sam’s Sports Bar, will open in the Hall later this spring).

          “It’s a perfect fit with the Hall of Fame and the restaurants that are already doing well here,” said Pappas. “There’s a theme developing that we’re really excited about.”

          David Panagore, chief development officer for the city, agreed. He said the look and feel of the riverfront is one that is evolving with the Hall of Fame at its center, augmented by other sports- and fitness-related activities and a good measure of dining and hospitality options.

          “There’s a theme here of physical activity that means there’s much more to do along this stretch that eat,” he said, noting that, as development talks continue, the city will be looking to broaden this theme. “We’re looking closely at ‘event commercial’ opportunities that are semi-public, if not public. Five single-family homes, for instance, aren’t even in the realm of possibility. We need something to drive visitors.”

          He said the consistency of the River’s Landing project — few major changes have been made to the original proposal — is also an important aspect, because it has helped maintain faith in the riverfront’s future, and has also helped to create a strong base from which to spur further growth.

          “It’s about follow-through and keeping promises,” he said of the undertaking by Pappas and Spagnoli. “That’s what’s happened here.”

          Going with the Flow

          Pappas said he hopes River’s Landing will serve as a model for future projects, adding that, indeed, most of the original plans have stayed intact throughout the planning and construction process, now nearing completion.

          L.A. Fitness, a national health club chain, expressed interest in the property early on, and is now putting the finishing touches on a three-story facility that will be the company’s second-largest location in the country, encompassing 60,000 of the 75,000 available square feet on the property. It’s expected to open for business on May 1.

          Onyx, also three stories tall, covers 12,000 square feet, and opened for dinner and cocktails last month, the same week the city hosted the Division II college basketball tournament. Development of the remaining 3,000 square feet of the building’s footprint is being completed now, in order to house a Boston-based physical-therapy and sports-medicine outfit.

          At the project’s start, Pappas and Spagnoli pledged $9 million in private funds to the endeavor. In 2006, when the partners first spoke with BusinessWest, they noted that this figure could rise to $13 million.

          To date, Pappas said they have actually invested $14 million into the project, but lean more heavily on the fact that, as River’s Landing enters its first month as a fully functioning entity, the property is completely occupied, and improvements such as landscaping and exterior lighting, all geared toward making the building attractive and visible from the highway, are moving toward their completion on schedule.

          “Action breeds action,” he said. “When people see what’s going on here, they’ll feel more comfortable with coming to the riverfront to use it. I can’t wait to see people walking along the river again.”

          Walking through the building, Pappas, who’s added ‘restaurateur’ to his list of titles, said attention has been paid to spurring that action inside and outside of its walls, as well as to the city’s legacy, especially as the birthplace of basketball.

          This attention can be seen in its design and in the roster of firms involved with the project; several are local businesses, while some were pulled from other regions to add a metropolitan flavor to River’s Landing.

          “The basic structure of the building is the same,” said Pappas, noting, however, that it has received a considerable facelift. “The windows have been replaced, but they still offer views of the river, the Hall of Fame, the highway, and downtown, on different sides. Not only can people inside see out, but others can see in and take note that there’s a new level of activity here, and feel safer because there are eyes on them.”

          Current Events

          A bright gold now adorns much of the exterior, and the familiar row of multiple, vertical signs that stretch across the side of the building facing the highway, once carrying illustrations of famous Hall of Fame inductees, remains, but is now being redesigned to match the new décor.

          Onyx, owned and operated by Pappas and Spagnoli, has essentially become the facility’s showpiece. The Amherst-based architectural firm Kuhn Riddle handled much of the design, while California-based interior designer Julia Wong, whose work recently appeared on E! Entertainment Television, was brought in to create a cohesive visual flow throughout the 300-seat establishment.

          “We’ve incorporated the ideas of imagination, elegance, and a journey,” said Pappas, weaving from the lobby, which features a glass ‘water wall,’ into the bar and lounge area, with its multi-screen video wall and amber onyx bar.

          “The design is also ‘green,’ including low-flow water systems in the bathrooms and bamboo flooring,” he noted, adding that Onyx also offers free wireless access for patrons and will soon add an outdoor patio dining area.

          Onyx opened for lunch recently, and the final addition to its repertoire, a coffee and smoothie bar during morning hours, will commence in conjunction with the grand opening of L.A. Fitness, in order to better integrate the two businesses.

          The club includes an Olympic-sized pool, a full basketball court on the second floor overlooking the Hall of Fame, and multiple exercise, weight, and cardio rooms. Pappas said the club’s management has been pre-selling memberships for three months, and expects to welcome thousands of members.

          All of this activity is a positive sign for Springfield, said Panagore, adding, however, that there’s still a long road ahead with regard to riverfront development.

          “The project is going well, and with the hotel on one end and River’s Landing on the other, this is becoming a destination site in Springfield,” he said. “In terms of moving forward, we continue to have discussions about alternative uses for the visitors center — the original study talked about co-locating it within the Hall of Fame. We’re investigating how to better position that resource, so we can drive more visitors there.”

          With the York Street Jail now razed, there is another major development opportunity on the riverfront that Panagore said the city is monitoring closely.

          “We’re focusing on ensuring that anything happening at the site proceeds properly. We don’t want to be getting ourselves in a snarl, or tripping over ourselves,” he said. “ We’ll clear the site and start looking for development opportunities that complement those that are already down there.”

          Panagore added that the riverfront offers what he calls “curb appeal” as seen from I-91, and to be truly successful, the area must not only attract new traffic but send that traffic farther down the road.

          “The riverfront projects are initially important,” said Panagore, emphasizing the word ‘initially,’ “because they help bring people to Springfield and turn around the image of the city. People who would not otherwise come to Springfield now have a reason. But we really need to move some of that energy into the downtown, so our focus is on the entire core of the city.”

          There are some challenges, however, in the move to better connect the riverfront to downtown, said Panagore. While he said the city is in the middle of “ongoing discussions” regarding the maintenance and renovation of the riverside walkway that runs parallel to the Connecticut River and extends from River’s Landing to the Memorial Bridge, there are some physical impediments.

          “The state has a little less than $1 million earmarked to spruce up the walkway,” he said, “But Route 91 is always going to be a constriction. The underpasses between the riverfront and the downtown are also an issue, as is the railroad. Physical barriers naturally deter visitors from taking that route; we will try to put as good a face on it as possible.”

          Still, many of these conversations relate to what Panagore said is over the next hill for Springfield, while other hurdles, the largest of which is the ‘old hall’ and what to do with it, have been cleared.

          “Right now, we’re working on current successes,” he said. “There are always larger conversations about Springfield’s vision, but the work is well underway, and we’re getting up on our feet.”

          Going Swimmingly

          A diverse mix of activity on the waterfront, long a distant hope, is now becoming a reality for the City of Homes, and it has also provided a new venue for cuisine like Bancaco’s, which draws from his own traditions and is colored by those he’s learning more about in New England.

          One of his favorites is the hazelnut mahi-mahi with Maine lobster hash, and he said he’s hoping to introduce even more of these ‘east-meets-west’-inspired creations to diners at the newly opened eatery.

          “Pairing traditional ingredients and techniques with those that are modern is the best definition of the word ‘fusion,’” he said.

          Watching servers and prep cooks bustle in a kitchen located where he once came to learn more about some of basketball’s greats, Pappas nodded in agreement.

          Jaclyn Stevenson can be reached at[email protected]


          State Adds 2,900 New Jobs in March

          BOSTON — The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development recently reported that monthly survey estimates show that 2,900 new jobs were added in Massachusetts in March, its largest monthly increase since November of last year and the sixth consecutive monthly increase in jobs. The state unemployment rate also held steady at 4.4%. Revisions to the February rate, published last month on a preliminary basis at 4.5%, show the rate edging down to 4.4% and an increase of 700 jobs instead of the loss of 700 as originally estimated. The Massachusetts rate continues to outperform the national rate, which increased from 4.8% in February to 5.1% in March. The state rate has been below the U.S. rate since June 2007. Over the year, the Bay State’s unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from 4.6%. The largest job gains in March were recorded in professional, scientific, and business services, as well as leisure and hospitality. New jobs were also added in the trade, transportation and utilities, information, construction, and manufacturing supersectors. Also, education and health-services employment, at 632,600, was off 400 in March. Over the year, this supersector continues to show the strongest job gains at 14,900 and, along with the information supersector, posted the highest annual rate of job increase at 2.4%. Professional, scientific, and business services added 1,000 jobs in March, following a gain of 3,100 the previous month. Most of the 9,700 jobs added over the past year were in professional, scientific, and technical services industries such as computer systems design and scientific research and development. At 488,300, overall employment is up 2.0% from one year ago.

          Financial activities employment was off 200 over the month due to declines in the real-estate and rental and leasing component. At 224,100, financial-activities employment is down 1,600 from one year ago, with real estate and leasing contributing to much of the loss. Trade, transportation, and utilities employment increased by 500 in March, largely due to retail trade posting its first job gain since last November. At 569,100, employment in this supersector is off 1,200 from one year ago. Retail trade lost 2,900 jobs over the year, while wholesale trade and transportation, warehousing, and utilities added 1,400 and 300 jobs, respectively. The leisure and hospitality supersector added 1,200 new jobs, the most jobs added among supersectors in March. At 305,200, jobs in leisure and hospitality have increased by 2,600 over the year. With monthly gains in each of the most recent five-month periods, jobs are up by 4,200 since October 2007. Information employment increased by 200 in March to 89,900. This supersector has added 2,100 jobs over the year and, along with educational and health services, posted the strongest annual growth rate at 2.4%. Manufacturing recorded a 200-job gain in March, its second consecutive monthly increase. At 292,900, employment is still down 4,000 or 1.3% from one year ago. Construction gained 600 jobs in March after having lost jobs over each of the four previous months. At 135,400, employment is off 2,000 or 1.5% from one year ago. The job numbers are the result of a monthly survey that uses U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology. More than 9,000 Massachusetts employers are surveyed to determine the number of jobs by industry. These estimates are the economic indicator used to gauge employment-growth patterns across the Bay State. The Commonwealth’s labor force increased by 2,300 over the month, as 3,700 more Massachusetts residents were employed and 1,500 less were unemployed. At 3,411,200, the labor force is slightly higher than at this time last year, as 7,500 more residents were employed and 7,000 fewer unemployed. Labor force estimates for Massachusetts, developed using the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics model, are based on information on Massachusetts residents’ employment and unemployment status, collected through a small, monthly sample survey of households.

          Easthampton Awards Valley CDC Grant

          EASTHAMPTON — Valley Community Development Corp. (Valley CDC) recently announced it has been awarded a $140,000 grant from the City of Easthampton for the provision of comprehensive business-development technical assistance (TA) to income-qualified Easthampton residents and businesses. Valley CDC is providing TA for a 15-month period that began April 1. The TA services that Valley CDC will provide include one-on-one counseling; business development, marketing, and technical computer workshops and seminars; credit counseling; referral to financial institutions; assistance with applications for financing; referral to professional and other resources for support and services not provided by Valley CDC; and continued outreach to artists and to former mills on Pleasant Street and Cottage Street. The grant also enables Valley CDC to retain its offices in the Eastworks building on Pleasant Street. 


          The following Business Certificates and Trade Names were issued or renewed during the months of March and April 2008.


          All Seasons Vending
          52 Hamilton Circle
          Edward A. White

          Q.P.C. Cleaning Company
          498 Franklin St. Ext.
          Jon Lund


          Blair, Cutting & Smith Insurance
          25 University Dr.
          Encharter Insurance LLC


          66 Main St.
          Joseph Cebula

          Bell’s Contractors LLC
          24 Casino Dr.
          Gabriel Valerim

          J.G. Woodcrafters
          40 Newbury St.
          James R. Grooms

          RPS Designs
          196 Fletcher Circle
          Robert F. Perry

          Rye Landscaping
          104 Johnson Road
          Kyle Methot

          Twins Variety
          112 Ducharme Ave.
          Rita K. Desai


          Angel Trucking
          11 Lux Ave.
          Donald Pomakis

          Massage for Better Health
          413 Liberty St.
          Elizabeth Molitoris

          The Real Estate Connection
          247 Northampton St.
          Nancy Nickerson

          Wolf Investigations
          7 Mt. Tom Ave.
          Raymond Redfern


          MiMi’s Consignment
          32 Shaker Road
          Brad Sulewski

          Studio Nails
          30 Shaker Road
          Jennifer Nguyen

          Worthington Rare Coins
          174 North Main St.
          Bruce James Miller


          Goodwill Industries
          254 Maple St.
          Steven Mundahl

          Hot Topic Inc.
          50 Holyoke St.
          Jim McGinty

          Purnima S. Adlakma M.D.
          1221 Main St.
          Purnima S. Adlakma

          Rainbow Flowers & Gifts
          878 High St.
          Isis Feliciano

          Ronald E. Gillis Insurance Agency
          290 High St.
          James R. Gillis

          1588 Northampton St.
          Gary M. Martin

          Whitley’s Fitness Center
          384 High St.
          Dwayne Whitley


          Caren & Company
          682 Bliss Road
          Caren Demarche

          FH Consumer Sales
          785 Williams St.
          Fred Halbstein


          Karen Weber LMT
          360 Sewall St.
          Karen Weber

          Smith’s Cuttery
          48 Hubbard St.
          William Smith


          135 King St.
          JoAnne McGrath

          Cordelia’s Dad
          76 King St.
          Peter Irvine

          Harlow Luggage
          196 Main St.
          Robert Burdick, Jr.

          11 Fruit St.
          Angela Diala Iroh

          On Call Urgent Care Centers
          51 Locust St.
          Jill A. Griffin M.D.

          Tea Culture
          241 Main St.
          Joseph P. Augustino

          Unique Auto of Northampton Inc.
          310 Damon Road
          Richard P. Kida, Jr.

          Wild Flora
          61 North Main St.
          Wendy K. Stamm


          1235 Park St.
          Thomas Lyons


          Grandmother Two Feathers
          1343 Main St.
          Jean Matus

          Library Media Solutions
          2029 Quaboag St.
          April Jean Graziano

          SOUTH HADLEY

          Ashman Apparel
          9 West Cornell Road
          Phillip S. Sanford

          Angelslayerink Tattoo
          103 Main St.
          Roland Abair

          Ladies Landscaping
          16 Upper River Road
          Candice Demers


          20 Meadow Lane
          Paul Drake, Jr.

          DW Berry Construction LLC
          73 Will Palmer Road
          David Berry, Jr.

          Southwick Seamless Gutters
          37 George Loomis Road
          Michael J. Lyons

          Quality Interiors
          6 Second St.
          Kim Andrea Jenks


          Mill Park Realty Trust
          77-111 Mill St.
          Barbara Hill

          Ms. Rhonda’s & Company
          141 Boston Road
          Rhonda Yvette

          Multi-Sport Screen Printing
          15 Park St.
          Robert Riopel

          Party Pagoda
          91 Pinevale St.
          Omniglow Inc.

          Quick Sign Service
          199 Acorn St.
          Blas Rosa

          Rose Nails
          752 Sumner Ave.
          Kristen Nguyen

          Silver Tree Moon Designs
          15 Mountainview St.
          Meryl Lefkovich

          Stellar Styles
          One Federal St.
          Stella M. Lyons

          Still Champion the Undefeated
          896 Main St.
          Hector Javier

          Top Rankin Hair Designs
          864 State St.
          Leon O’Neil Marsh

          Twisted Tentacles Tattoo
          298 Belmont Ave.
          Enrique Guerra

          William’s Fashions
          280 Oakland St.
          Glenny Gonzalez

          Zara Child & Family Consulting
          17 Lancaster St.
          Dr. Rosa Ihedigbo


          A.J. Precision Inc.
          66B Mainline Dr.
          Wade P. Austin

          Fortini Construction & Plowing
          511 West Road
          Matthew Fortini

          Fruit Palace
          5 White St.
          Orhan Dogan

          Great Home Improvement
          69 Franklin St.
          Jason Padilla

          J&E Towing
          22 Cherry St.
          Ernesto Sanchez

          Walk on Docks LLC
          337 City View Blvd.
          Steven A. Booher


          AAA Recycling
          1080 Riverdale St.
          Patriot Recycling Inc.

          Future Comp
          123 Interstate Dr.
          TD Banknorth Inc.

          Royal Home Construction
          758 Union St.
          Vladimir Kozlov

          Signature Designs
          946 Elm St.
          21 School Street Corporation

          Susan Taylor’s Photography
          30 Bobskill Dr.
          Susan T. Taylor

          The Angus Agency
          767 Main St.
          Angus Rushlow

          Western Mass Hypnosis Center
          201 Westfield St.
          Thaddeus J. Muszynski

          West Springfield Residence Inn
          64 Border Way
          Carson Russell

          Whip It Solutions
          152 Hillcrest Ave.
          Dennis Tremblay


          The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties, and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

          Marks Meadow Parent Guardian Group Inc., 813 North Pleasant St., Amherst 01002. Deborah Timberlake, 180 Summer St., Amherst 01002. (Nonprofit) To support the Marks Meadow Elementary School by providing support for educational and recreational needs, and community building.


          Minuteman Drywall Builders Inc., 107 South Washington St., Belchertown 01007. Michael Allen, same. Drywalling.

          Morgan Kimball Contracting Services Inc., 89 Howard St., Belchertown 01007. Morgan Kimball, same. Contracting and construction services.


          Family Bike Inc., 217 L Shaker Road, East Longmeadow 01028. Raymond D. Plouffe, 36 Lovers Lane, Somers, CT 06071. Raymond D. Ploutfe, 217 L Shaker Road, East Longmeadow 01028, registered agent. Bicycle and other sporting equipment sales/repair.


          Metal Dreams Inc., 1467 Main Road, Granville 01034. Len Elie, same. Fabrication and installation of heating & cooling products, etc.


          Northampton Soap Box Derby Inc., 4 North Farms Road, Haydenville 01039. Timothy McQueston, same. (Nonprofit) To aid the development of youth in Western Massachusetts through the aspects of soap box derby racing, etc.


          US 1 Construction Inc., 56 Jackson St., Holyoke 01040. Joseph J. Miller, same. (Foreign corp; CT) Construction management service.


          Affordable Bathroom Solutions Inc., 541 Center St., Ludlow 01056. Diane Robbins, same. To deal in the installation of wall systems for bathrooms in the home.


          Island Design Build Inc., 109 Lakeshore Dr., Monson 01057. Joseph Viens, same. Residential and commercial design and construction.


          Parenting Resource Directory Corp., 241 Jackson St., 6D, Northampton 01060. Lori Bess Schmidt, same. (Nonprofit) To provide to the public a free printed version of parenting resource directory, a corresponding Web site, etc.

          SOUTH HADLEY

          Cal-A-Hearty Corp., 18 Mulligan Dr., South Hadley 01075. Pasquale J. Calabrese, 4 Cherry Lane, Granby 01033. Golf course food and beverage facility.

          Progressive Windows Inc., 160 Old Lyman Road, South Hadley 01075. James Stanley Shields, Jr., 192 Berkshire Ave., Southwick 01077. To operate as a home improvement contractor to residential housing, commercial structures, etc., principally windows.


          Neh Inc., 15D College Highway, Southampton 01073. Ethan A. Holmes, 62 Line St., Southampton 01073. Retail — gardening supplies.


          Southampton Stone Company Inc., 7 Center St., Southampton 01073. Michael W. Broda, same. Stone work and stone sales.


          Boricua Construction Inc., 634 Plainfield St., Springfield 01107. Oswaldo Ramos, same. Construction and management of real and personal property.

          Dream Decor Inc., 756 State St., Springfield 01109. Abdul Sattar, 14 Chestnut Hill Road, South Hadley 01075. Sale of variety merchandise.

          Good Food and Exercise Healthy Life Education Inc., 70 Chestnut St., #209, Springfield 01103. Michael A. Bruce, Sr., same. (Nonprofit) To educate people about the importance of eating good food, especially organic food, getting good exercise, etc.

          Interproduce Inc., 679 White St., Springfield 01108. Ali Bulut, 17 Pioneer Circle, Springfield 01119. To sell fruits and vegetables.

          JC Logistcs Inc., 25 Paige Hill Road, Springfield 01010. Suzanne Ferris, same. To operate a freight brokerage company, etc.

          Lessard Home Solutions Inc., 12 Arcadia Blvd., Springfield 01118. Timothy P. Lessard, same. Residential plumbing and heating.

          Premier Education Group Foundation Inc., 189 Brookdale Dr., Springfield 01104. David Stanford, 120 Ridgecrest Dr., Westfield 01085. (Nonprofit) (No specific purpose stated.)


          New England Hockey Factory Inc., 54 North Plain Road, Sunderland 01375. Leonard B. Quesnelle, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Hockey training camp.


          Level Best Builders Inc., 106 Ely St., Westfield 01085. Stephen G. Herbert, same. Construction — remodel residential properties.

          Meyers Enterprises Inc., 65 Franklin St., Westfield 01085. Eric Meyers, 33 Hawk Circle, Westfield 01085. Laundry service.

          Sullivan Siding & Windows Inc., 83 Pinehurst St., Westfield 01085. Kevin Sullivan, same. A siding and windows business including installation.


          Alli Enterprises Inc., 292 Belmont Ave., West Springfield 01089. Deborah Y. Alli, same. Management and consulting company.

          Diamond Cabinet & Vanity Inc., 184 Wayside Ave., West Springfield 01089. Kimberly M. O’Connor, same. Home remodeling.

          Encore Realty Inc., 117 Park Ave., Suite. 201, West Springfield 01089. Erik Szyluk, 7 Park Ave., Ste. 201, West Springfield 01089. To own and operate a real estate brokerage and ancillary services business.

          Inspirations Food Designs Inc., 1338 Memorial Ave., West Springfield 01089. Jeffrey Daigneau, 26 North Alhambra Circle, Agawam 01001. Restaurant, lounge and food catering.

          40 Under 40 Class of 2008
          Age 38: Attorney (Associate), Bacon Wilson, P.C.

          Jeff Fialky had several options when he was job-hunting a few years ago, near the end of his stint with Adelphia Communications in Andover.

          A few of them were with Boston-based law firms, and they were certainly attractive, he told BusinessWest. But another was with Springfield-based Bacon Wilson, where his father happened to be a partner. He eventually chose the latter, in part because it meant returning to an area he grew up in and loved. But there was more; he really wanted to get involved in the community and “make a difference,” and knew that the opportunities to do so — and the need to do so — were here in the Pioneer Valley.

          “In Boston, they don’t really need people to raise their hand and volunteer,” he explained. “Here, they do; here, you can make an impact.”

          And since joining Bacon Wilson nearly two years ago, Fialky has committed himself to “walking the walk.” Indeed, while building a law practice focused on business and commercial real estate, he has been active in the community on several levels.

          He’s a board member with a number of organizations, including the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross of the Pioneer Valley, and the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, or YPS. He’s also on the Advisory Committee at the Springfield Enterprise Center at STCC.

          Fialky said his involvement with the Chamber, YPS, and enterprise center helps satisfy his desire to foster economic development in the region. He told BusinessWest that the Valley provides an attractive quality of life, but to attract and keep more young people it must also offer career opportunities.

          Fialky is devoting considerable energy to YPS, a group formed in 2007. He is one of many shaping a mission for the growing fellowship of young leaders, and helping it make a significant impact — there’s that word again — in the Pioneer Valley.

          Perhaps his biggest challenge at the moment is finding time to grow his practice and serve those nonprofit groups, and that test will become even sterner this summer, when Fialky and his wife, Emily, are expecting their first child, a boy.

          “This is something I’ve looked forward to for a long time,” he said of fatherhood, adding that it will soon be the most important line on his resume — and still another opportunity to make a difference.

          George O’Brien

          Sections Supplements
          Life in the Quirky Northampton Real Estate Market

          Each time I pass by the Ten Thousand Villages store on Main Street in Northampton — a retail chain that sells what is described as ‘fair-trade products’ from 100 artisan groups in 30 countries — I am reminded of how I perceive the Northampton office real estate market: 10,000 psychotherapists.

          Northampton is honeycombed with countless small-office users. Some are attorneys, some financial advisors and other professions, but most seem to be related to providing some sort of mental health counseling. The net result is that, in the aggregate, they all occupy a vast amount of space in very small increments — about 200 square feet on average.

          They are all over town. Much of the upper-floor space on both sides of Main Street hasn’t changed much from the days of Sam Spade. Small offices with translucent-glass-paneled doors and creaky wooden floors. All are walk-ups, although some buildings do have elevators. The former Elks Lodge on Gothic Street was sold several years ago and converted into very handsome office space. What was once a tired and fairly wide-open building is now the home of dozens of social service or mental health practices. This is typical all along the Route 9 corridor into Florence and Haydenville as well. And nowhere is this pattern more apparent that at the Potpourri Plaza on King Street.

          This community of small users is generally a favorable one from a landlord’s perspective, in that many tenants in one building have a tendency to spread the risk. But it makes it very difficult for a company in need of 5,000 square feet or more to find space in the city. Many companies looking to expand simply can’t find large blocks of space in the market. Everyone wants to be downtown, and who can blame them?

          The largest single office user in Northampton is Disney Publishing, which occupies 10,000 square feet at the former post office building on Pleasant Street.

          In 2006, Disney relocated from another downtown site, the Roundhouse Building, which contains 15,000 square feet of truly unique space. That building, just off Pulaski Park, proved too large for Disney, which was downsizing at the time. Also, the building was about to go through a protracted environmental remediation by Baystate Gas. That project will be concluded within the next few weeks, and the building will once again be available to accommodate the needs of larger users.

          Another large space, at 109 Main St., was most recently occupied by Fleet Bank, a victim of the merger and acquisition quicksand, and is in the process of being leased. The owners have responded aggressively to unmet requirements in the market, and the results are becoming apparent.

          The top floor of Thorne’s Marketplace is also being converted into much needed larger blocks of downtown office space — fortunately, however, not at the expense of relocating PACE into nearby street-level space on Main Street.

          I expect this available supply of larger blocks of downtown office space to be absorbed in the next 12 to 18 months. Once the inventory is depleted, the only alternative will be new construction elsewhere.

          The project planned for King Street, a commercial-office mix at the former Lea Honda dealership site, was out of step and has stalled. Rents associated with new construction there, coupled with a less-than-desirable ‘strip’ location, have proven to be impassable obstacles for the project. The Hospital Hill commercial development, at the site of the former Northampton State Hospital, will offer a more desirable office venue than King Street, but it’s a far cry from downtown. And, as previously mentioned, everyone wants to be downtown.

          Several office-conversion projects that are not located downtown have succeeded nonetheless. The Cutlery Building complex in the Baystate section of the city is near capacity and offers affordable and somewhat non-traditional office space. The building has plenty of on-site parking and is located in a safe rustic setting along the Mill River. While such office locations can succeed as alternatives to downtown, they often prove to be much more challenging.

          Northampton’s allure is so compelling that, most days, we are willing to endure the inconvenience of circling the block for a parking place only to wait again for a table at one of downtown’s many wonderful restaurants.

          I guess that’s why those 10,000 psychotherapists are there, too — ready to help us work out all such stresses and pressures in our lives.

          John Williamson is president of Springfield-based Williamson Commercial Properties; (413) 736-9400.

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