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People on the Move

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank (GCB), announced that the board of directors has approved the promotions of Christopher Wilkey to MIS officer, Adam Baker to vice president – commercial loans, Janet Rosenkranz to vice president and senior credit officer, and Erin Tautznik to assistant vice president and branch officer.

Christopher Wilkey

Christopher Wilkey

• Wilkey is responsible for administration of the bank’s internal network and assisting staff in technology issues. He has been with GCB since 2007 and has been lead technology specialist since 2014. He attended the accounting program at Greenfield Community College.

Adam Baker

Adam Baker

• Baker has more than 11 years in banking, primarily in commercial credit. He is a graduate of UMass Amherst and received his MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. He is based in the King Street office of Northampton Cooperative Bank, a division of Greenfield Cooperative Bank. He is responsible for developing new commercial-loan business in the bank’s market area, with a focus in Hampshire County. He is active in Horizons for Homeless Children, the Special Olympics, and Lighthouse Holyoke.

Janet Rosenkranz

Janet Rosenkranz

• Rosenkranz has more than 23 years in banking and has been with GCB since 2016. She is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a degree in economics. She is based at the 62 Federal St. office of GCB and is responsible for managing the bank’s commercial credit-analysis staff and assisting in managing the overall bank loan portfolio. She is active with the American Cancer Society, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and Safe Passage.

Erin Tautznik

Erin Tautznik

• Tautznik has more than 14 years of banking experience. She is responsible for managing the 67 King St., Northampton office of the bank. She joined the bank in 2004 and has attended Holyoke Community College and numerous banking seminars and courses. She is also a volunteer with the JFK Middle School’s after-school program.

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In recognition of her leadership in supervising social-work students from Springfield College, Square One Chief Family Services Officer Jenise Katalina was recently named Field Supervisor of the Year. The award was presented by the Springfield College School of Social Work at a ceremonial breakfast on April 26. The recognition comes following Square One’s longstanding partnership with Springfield College and Katalina’s years of leading the school’s aspiring social workers by supervising their field work at Square One. Before joining Square One, Katalina served for six years as a supervisor in a Springfield-based residential program for latency-age children struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges related to trauma. Her prior experience includes the supervision and coordination of after-school programs and drop-in teen youth programs with the YMCA of Greater Springfield. She received her bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University and her master of social work degree from Springfield College. She is a licensed certified social worker in Massachusetts. Katalina is the past chair of the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services’ Maternal Child Health Commission. She currently serves in a leadership capacity for the Hampden County Perinatal Support Coalition and the Springfield Baby Bottoms Diaper Bank. She serves on the board of directors for MotherWoman and is a Baystate community faculty member for the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health program. She is also a member of many community collaborative groups, including the Project ACCESS Maternal-Child Health Partnership and Springfield’s Project Baby.

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Melissa Brunt

Melissa Brunt

Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont Realtors announced the addition of Realtor Melissa Brunt to its roster of professional real-estate agents in its Main Street, Northampton office. After working in the hospitality industry for a number of years, Brunt decided to make the switch to residential real-estate sales. Brunt is a member of the Realtor Assoc. of the Pioneer Valley, the National Assoc. of Realtors, and the Massachusetts Assoc. of Realtors. As a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont Realtors, her primary focus will be residential real estate in Hampshire and Franklin counties.

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Berkshire Bank announce the 2019 Volunteer Service X-ellence Award winners: Leonard O’Dea, money desk officer in Pittsfield, for his leadership and individual volunteer service activities outside of his role at the bank; Melissa Myers, compliance analyst in Pittsfield, for her leadership and service in both company-supported and individual volunteer activities; and Shanatia Bygrave, financial services representative in Hudson, N.Y., for her leadership and participation in the bank’s corporate volunteer program. Each year, the bank recognizes employees for their volunteerism in the community by naming three top volunteers. The annual awards program celebrates company employees who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.  The three recipients were selected based on their strong record of volunteerism to nonprofit organizations through both company-supported activities and individual service in the broader community. Each of the award winners received a $1,000 donation that will be made to the nonprofit organization of their choice.

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David Rooks

David Rooks

The largest healthcare IT managed-services provider in Western Mass., baytechIT, is expanding its leadership team with the appointment of David Rooks as director of Operations. A seasoned IT and telecommunications industry leader, Rooks previously served as manager of the Project Management Office at VertitechIT.

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With more than 25 years of business-development and public-relations experience, Joe Mitchell has joined Eversource as its newest community-relations and economic-development specialist. He will serve as the company’s liaison for communities in Hampden and Hampshire counties. His focus is supporting Eversource’s electric service business. Mitchell is a past co-chair of the Economic Development Partners of Western Massachusetts, executive director of the Westfield Redevelopment Authority, and a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Most recently, he served as the city of Westfield’s Advancement officer. In this role, he successfully completed numerous large, long-term projects directly related to business development and retention for the city. His previous duties involved site location, expansion, and technical assistance generating private investment, economic opportunities, and jobs. He has worked with all of the Western Mass. communities and has strong relationships with municipal officials and business leaders.

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Mark Kempic will assume the role of president of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts on May 1. The role of president is in addition to his current role as chief operating officer of Columbia Gas, which he has held since January 2019. From September 2018 to January 2019, Kempic was a key part of the leadership team for the Greater Lawrence recovery efforts. Since January, he has led the team focused on restoring the communities of Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover, including overseeing the introduction of the Columbia Gas Equipment Repair Plan, the Heating Equipment Replacement Program, and the private-property restoration work that is currently underway. In his role as president and chief operating officer, Kempic will continue to focus on improvements to statewide infrastructure and implementation of a number of safety enhancements for the company’s infrastructure and operations, as well as phase-two restoration efforts. He will also focus heavily on community engagement, including planned partnerships with local schools for efforts such as career days and other STEM education programs. Kempic first started with Columbia Gas 40 years ago. His experience in the energy industry includes roles in information technology, engineering, gas supply, corporate planning, and legal and regulatory policy. Prior to his assistance in the Merrimack Valley, Mark served as NiSource’s chief transformation officer, responsible for enhancing efforts to integrate processes and technology across the company’s seven-state footprint. He also previously served as president of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Columbia Gas of Maryland. He holds a law degree from Capital University School of Law, a bachelor’s degree in computer and information science from the University of Pittsburgh, and an associate degree in solar heating and cooling engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He has been licensed to practice law in four states, including Massachusetts.

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The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of 100 new members to the academy in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. They include Lila Gierasch, distinguished professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Chemistry at UMass Amherst. The NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. Gierasch’s research focus for decades has been protein folding — that is, how amino-acid sequence determines the three-dimensional structure of a protein. She is particularly focused on how proteins fold in the cellular environment and the role of molecular chaperones in ensuring high fidelity in the folding process. Gierasch’s honor is the latest in a recent series of recognitions she has earned from research peers and professional societies. Last year, for example, she received the American Chemical Society’s Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry for “her seminal contributions to peptide structure and function, peptide models for protein folding and function, and roles of peptide and protein aggregation in disease.” In 2016, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. That same year, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology named Gierasch editor in chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the society’s flagship journal, for a five-year term. In 2014, Gierasch was named to the National Institutes of Health Council of Councils, established to advise the NIH director on policies and activities of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, which includes making recommendations on research that represents important areas of emerging scientific opportunities, rising public-health challenges, or knowledge gaps that deserve special emphasis or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. Most recently, she was recognized for her “outstanding contributions to peptide science” by the American Peptide Society.

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Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg, LLP announced that Jonathan Kane, who joined the firm in 2001 and became a partner in 2005, has been appointed associate justice of the Housing Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His last formal day at the firm will be May 31. Meanwhile, Susan Cooper has become a partner in the firm. She has more than 25 years of experience representing businesses of all types and sizes, from sole proprietors to international corporations. Her primary areas of practice include transactional matters such as business acquisitions and sales, corporate reorganizations, advising startups, and commercial lending. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the George Washington University National Law Center. In addition, Mae Stiles has recently become of counsel to the firm. She has 11 years of experience in complex commercial litigation, including antitrust and intellectual-property matters as well as a wide variety of corporate, business, and licensing transactions. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts, New York, and California.

People on the Move
Colin Lacey

Colin Lacey

Clare Ladue

Clare Ladue

Samuel Smith

Samuel Smith

PeoplesBank announced the appointments of Colin Lacey as Village Commons South Hadley Banking Center manager, Clare Ladue as Hadley Banking Center manager, and Samuel Smith as East Longmeadow Banking Center manager. In his new position, Lacey is responsible for identifying and providing personal and small-business customers banking options to achieve their financial needs, including depository services and lending solutions. He has six years of financial-services experience. Lacey holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. He is also a 2017 graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute. He is a volunteer youth lacrosse coach in South Hadley. In her new position, Ladue oversees and manages all aspects of a full-service banking center, including staffing, sales, operations, business development, and community relations. She has 24 years of banking experience. Ladue earned commercial-lending certification from the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA), and is a graduate of the MBA’s New England School of Financial Studies. Her volunteer service includes the Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce, where she served on the executive committee, as well as the Ware 250th anniversary committee, West Springfield Partners for Education, the Walk of Champions to benefit Baystate Mary Lane Rays of Hope, Junior Achievement, Rays of Hope, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen, and Link to Libraries. In his new position, Smith is serving the financial needs of both consumer and small-business clients. Utilizing technology, he is providing a consultative learning environment in order to educate clients around the various options for banking with PeoplesBank. He has 13 years of banking and financial-services experience. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems with a minor in business management. He is also a certified business banker by Moody’s Analytics. He is also an active volunteer for Revitalize CDC and Junior Achievement.

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Bill Grinnell

Bill Grinnell

Beth Young

Beth Young

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts announced the addition of two new members, Bill Grinnell and Beth Young, to its board of directors. Grinnell is president of Webber and Grinnell Insurance and manager of Webber and Grinnell Employee Benefits LLC of Northampton. He also serves as vice president of River Valley Investors, an angel investment group in Springfield. He is the former president of the Hampshire YMCA, past co-chair of the United Way annual fund, past vice president of the Employers Assoc., former member of the Northampton Planning Board, and past trustee of the Academy at Charlemont. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College in New York. Young has served as district director of Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. for the past 20 years, covering stores in all four counties in Western Mass. and two stores in Connecticut. Throughout her time there, she and her team have organized numerous fundraising events to support local community organizations, including regional food banks, the USO, and Dana Farber’s Cure for Childhood Cancer. She is a graduate of Westfield State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. 

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Mayor Domenic Sarno announced the appointment of attorney Talia Gee as the city of Springfield’s new chief Diversity & Inclusion officer. “As I said this past year, and with the upcoming retirement of Equal Opportunity Administrator Dan Hall, a newly evolved/transitional position would be developed,” Sarno said. “My thanks to Dan Hall for all his years of dedicated service to our city. This new position enhances my vision to lead in development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in hiring, career development, and leadership opportunities in support of our city’s strategic plan to continue to foster a working environment, where all have an opportunity to succeed. Though this new position will work closely with our Human Resources Division, it is a direct cabinet-level report to me.” Gee will start her position on Jan. 14. Her salary will be $92,000. She is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York City and received her MBA and law degree from Western New England University. She is MCAD-certified and previously worked at the law firm of Sullivan, Hayes & Quinn. She is the board chairwoman of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club and co-creator of the “How to Wear Your Crown” event that focuses on Springfield-area teenage girls.

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Kathryn Crouss

Kathryn Crouss

Bacon Wilson announced that Kathryn Crouss has been named the firm’s newest shareholder. Crouss is a member of Bacon Wilson’s litigation team and handles all aspects of employment law, including management-side representation, defending employers against discrimination and wage-and-hour lawsuits and routinely advising employers on matters related to compliance, official policies and procedures, and best practices. She also represents employees with regard to severance or employment agreements, worker’s compensation matters, as well as claims of discrimination against their employers. She also has extensive experience with both family-law litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Crouss is a certified mediator, trained in collaborative law, an LAR (limited assistance representation) qualified attorney for Hampden County, and a trained conciliator for the Massachusetts Probate & Family Courts. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Bay Path University, where she teaches “Legal Environments in Business” to students of the university’s business department.

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Greg Chiecko

Greg Chiecko

Greg Chiecko, director of Sales at the Eastern States Exposition (ESE), has been named president and CEO of the Outdoor Amusement Business Assoc. (OABA), the mobile amusement industry’s trade association. The announcement was made by the OABA board of directors following a comprehensive executive search. Chiecko succeeds longtime OABA President Robert Johnson, and will embark on his new career on Feb. 1. The OABA is the largest trade association representing carnivals, circuses, concessionaires, independent ride owners, and others who serve fairs, festivals, and community events. Chiecko’s 24-year career at ESE included the oversight of midway operations at the Big E. He worked closely with the OABA and other industry associations and is past board member of the International Assoc. of Fairs and Expositions, and past president of the Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Assoc. and the New England Assoc. of Amusement Parks and Attractions. He also sits on the board of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and served as its chair for five years.

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Berkshire Family & Individual Resources Inc. (BFAIR) announced an organizational restructuring and internal promotions. Rich Weisenflue, previously executive director, will assume the role of CEO. Other promotions included Ethel Altiery to executive director, Jane Patenaude-LeBeau to chief financial officer, and Theresa Gelinas to senior vice president, Day Services. The structural changes come as a response to the organization’s continued growth. According to Alex Kastrinakis, BFAIR’s board chair, “the board of directors placed an emphasis on devising a management structure to achieve the agency’s mission to meet the growing needs of people with disabilities and older adult members of our community. In 2019, we will celebrate the agency’s 25th anniversary, and the new structure is also reflective of the positive changes the management team accomplished over the past two decades, including expansion of services beyond the Berkshires into the Pioneer Valley and Southern Vermont.” Restructuring of the management team will also include a newly created position, vice president, Residential Services. BFAIR is a member agency of the Northern Berkshire United Way and Williamstown Community Chest.

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Monson Savings Bank (MSB) announced the promotions of Carolyn Balicki to branch manager/retail banking officer, Rob Chateauneuf to first vice president commercial loan officer, and Dina Merwin to first vice president compliance and BSA officer. Balicki joined the MSB team in 2009 as a CSA in Monson. She was promoted to CSA supervisor in 2010, assistant branch manager in 2011, and branch manager in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at UMass Amherst and is a graduate of the New England School of Financial Studies. Chateauneuf joined MSB in 2012 as an assistant vice president commercial loan officer. He was promoted to vice president in 2014 and took on the added responsibility of assistant department manager of the Commercial Loan department in 2015. He has close to 20 years of commercial and retail banking experience and earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at UMass Amherst. Merwin came on board in December 2012 as a temporary BSA analyst to assist during an employee leave of absence. In June 2013, she was hired as compliance officer. In 2014, she was promoted to AVP compliance and BSA officer, and she earned the vice president title in 2016. She has 25 years of community banking experience and is a graduate of the National School of Banking and the Massachusetts School for Financial Studies.

People on the Move
Donna Yetter

Donna Yetter

Melanson Heath announced the admittance of its new principal, Donna Yetter, CPA, CES. She has been working in public accounting for more than 30 years and is a part of the Commercial Services team out of the Greenfield office. Yetter joined the Melanson Heath team in 2007 and advises businesses and individuals on tax, management, and other accounting matters. She prepares corporate, partnership, individual, trust, and estate-tax returns; consults on business acquisitions and sales; and performs compilation and review services for financial reporting. Yetter received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Salem State University in 1985 and has been a certified public accountant licensed in Massachusetts since 1991. In 2016, she received her CES, (certified estate and trust specialist) designation, which expands her range of services to include estate planning and asset repositioning on behalf of financial-planning clients. She is a member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Michael Daly stepped down as president, CEO, and director of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Berkshire Bank’s holding company. Berkshire Bank President Richard Marotta has been named CEO and president of the company and CEO of the bank. Sean Gray, chief operating officer of Berkshire Bank, will replace Marotta as bank president. The move comes a year after the financial institution moved its headquarters from Pittsfield to Boston, and the purchase of Worcester-based Commerce Bank helped grow Berkshire to its current $12 billion in assets, making it the largest independent Massachusetts-based bank. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments that the employees of the company have achieved during my time as CEO,” Daly said in a statement. “When I began my tenure 16 years ago, Berkshire Bank was one of the smallest banks headquartered in Massachusetts with some 300 employees, and the company is now the largest with nearly 2,000 employees. I’ve built long-lasting relationships with many employees during this time who I will continue to view as my family.”

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Judith Ward

Judith Ward

Judith Ward, an accomplished healthcare marketing professional, has been named vice president of Marketing & Communications for Baystate Health. In her new role, Ward will oversee marketing, digital/web, communications, public affairs, social media, creative services, loyalty programs, and special events at the Springfield-based health system, which includes hospitals in Springfield, Greenfield, Palmer, and Westfield, along with more than 100 medical practices at some 80 locations throughout Western Mass. Among the strategic marketing executive’s past accomplishments include conceiving and executing strategies that define, differentiate, and drive increased brand recognition, preference, customer loyalty, and market share. Ward comes to Baystate Health from Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, Calif., where she led the organization’s strategic marketing efforts, developed award-winning advertising campaigns, and executed engaging Facebook Live strategies. Prior to her role at Stanford, she served as vice president of Network Marketing for Danbury Hospital and Western Connecticut Health Network, where she led the brand creation and strategy for the newly formed health network. She also served as principal of Judith Ward Associates, providing consulting services centered on the development and execution of strategic digital marketing plans. Ward holds an MBA with a marketing concentration from University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s degree from University of New Hampshire. She has served as an adjunct professor in the Master of Health Administration program at Western Connecticut State University and Marlboro College in Vermont. She is a member of American College of Healthcare Executives, the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development, the Healthcare Executives Forum, and the California Assoc. of Healthcare Leaders.

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Monson Savings Bank announced that Paul Hillsburg has joined the bank as vice president of Financial Advisory Services. He has more than 15 years of experience in the wealth and financial-services industry. He began his career as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch and is now a financial advisor with Infinex Financial Group, located at Monson Savings Bank. Hillsburg specializes in all aspects of retirement and income planning for clientele consisting of small-business owners, successful professionals, families, individuals, and retirees. His primary objective is to work with clients on retirement income planning, wealth transfer, increasing income, maximizing overall returns, and reducing taxes. He holds FINRA Series 7, 66 securities registrations as well as life- and health-insurance licenses and a degree in business management.

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Nikki Long

Nikki Long

Tom Ellerbrook

Tom Ellerbrook

As part of a continuing effort to position the company for stronger growth and faster product innovation to better meet the changing global needs of its customers, OMG has promoted two employees, Nikki Long and Tom Ellerbrook, into key sales positions in its FastenMaster Division. Long has been promoted to the newly created position of director of Key Accounts, which was established to bring a strategic focus to the role that key-account management plays in FastenMaster’s growth plans. She will design and implement strategies to improve sales growth, customer relationships, customer service, and on-time product delivery at FastenMaster’s key accounts. She reports to John McMahon, vice president. A 15-year veteran of the company, Long has held a variety of sales and marketing positions since starting in 2003. Most recently, she was the manager of Home Centers for FastenMaster, where she excelled at driving the FastenMaster brand and footprint in the home-center channel. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College. Ellerbrook has been promoted to director of Sales, responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans to exceed sales targets and expand market share. In addition, he is responsible for coaching and mentoring the sales team to achieve assigned goals, and for building a bench for the future. He also reports to McMahon. Ellerbrook has been with FastenMaster since 2011, most recently as the Northeast regional sales manager, where he was instrumental in building FastenMaster’s sales throughout the region. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UMass and an MBA from Western New England University.

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Carmine DiCenso, executive director at Dakin Humane Society, was unanimously appointed to serve on the board of directors for the Assoc. for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA). The national organization, formerly known as the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, is based in Surprise, Ariz. Its purpose is to create an association with professional administrators employed by organizations generally accepted to be a part of the humane movement. The goal of the board of directors is to design its management and annual conferences in an effort to continually enhance the standards of competence and integrity of its membership, as well as provide a significant benefit to the humane movement. DiCenso joins a team of more than a dozen animal-welfare professionals from around the country in serving on the board, which is chaired by Lisa LaFontaine of Humane Rescue Alliance.

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The Springfield Thunderbirds announced a new staff hire to its front office with the addition of John Jones Jr. as an account executive. A native of Jupiter, Fla., Jones joins the Thunderbirds after serving as the general manager for Stretch Zone, an athletic and wellness company based in Jupiter, since March 2017, where he oversaw operations and sales/marketing strategies. Jones earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University, where he was a varsity letter winner as a member of the Seminoles football team, and was named to the FSU Athletic/Academic Wall of Fame.

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The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) announced the addition of three new business leaders to its full Board of Directors. They are Dinesh Patel, DGP Properties, Chicopee and Springfield; Hershal Patel, BK Investments, Chicopee; and Peter Carmichael, director of Operations, Six Flags Theme Parks, Agawam. The three were formally voted onto the board during the organization’s recent annual meeting and will serve two-year terms expiring in September 2020. “We are so fortunate to have these three new directors on our board,” said Anthony Frasco, GSCVB board chairman. “They each are well-respected leaders within their own organizations and represent geographically and categorically diverse industries which are in turn important to travel and tourism. With Dinesh Patel, our board gains an individual committed to the development of downtown Springfield with the recent purchase of Tower Square Hotel. Hershal Patel, who has strong expertise in the strategic dynamics of Massachusetts’ hotel industry, is excited to bring new travelers to the region with the modern and refreshed hotel property Tru by Hilton in Chicopee. Peter Carmichael comes to us from the world of theme parks, which draws many thousands of visitors into our economy annually.”

Company Notebook

Hazen Paper Recognized at Manufacturing Award Ceremony

HOLYOKE — The state’s third annual Manufacturing Award Ceremony, sponsored by the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus, was recently held at the State House in Boston. Hazen Paper was one of 58 manufacturers recognized for their success. Hazen is known worldwide for its holographic paper and manufacturing in Holyoke. Well-known examples its work include the Stadium Edition Super Bowl Program and the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Yearbook. Hazen started an apprentice program in 2007 to train the expert workers required for this high-tech factory. Hazen has hired and trained more than 50 apprentices in the last 10 years. In 2010, Hazen started an internship program with engineering students from Western New England University, several of whom now work full-time on the Hazen management team. Hazen has been proactive in helping to build the future workforce via the World Is Our Classroom program, whereby every fifth-grader in Holyoke public schools visits Hazen for a full day of teaching and tours. Hazen started the program in 2004, and an estimated 4,000 fifth-graders have participated since that time.

Big Y Foods, COCC Receive Employer of Choice Recognition

AGAWAM — Big Y Foods Inc. of Springfield and COCC of Southington, Conn. have been selected by the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) as Employer of Choice Award recipients for 2018. Employer of Choice awards recognize companies and organizations for developing workplaces that value employees, foster engagement, invest in employee development, and reward performance. Doing business for over 80 years, Big Y Foods is a family-owned supermarket chain with more than 11,000 employees throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. The chain prides itself on a culture of caring, which manifests itself in the form of workplace ‘huddles’ to celebrate employees who have gone above and beyond, and through the organization’s strong commitment to retain employees. Big Y stands out for its overall benefits, employee satisfaction, training and development, and recognition and rewards. One novel program, called Building Firm Foundations, is a collaboration in which employees help other employees with home-repair needs by utilizing their skills, expertise, and time. Projects have included building ramps, fixing decks and windows, landscaping, and more. Another initiative, called the 10 Foot Rule, combines a user-friendly customer-service model with a fun graphic reinforcing how to treat customers. The Big Y University and Big Y LIFE, an internal communication portal, are among the other employee-centric engagement offerings.

Kuhn Riddle Architects Certified as Woman Business Enterprise

AMHERST — Kuhn Riddle Architects announced that the firm was recently certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts grants the designation of WBE to businesses that demonstrate majority ownership and control of daily management and operations by women. Aelan Tierney, president of Kuhn Riddle Architects, sought the business designation after she became majority owner of the firm in January. She joined Jonathan Salvon and Charles Roberts, who became principals in 2010 when Chris Riddle retired. John Kuhn passed the torch of leadership and ownership to these three architects and will continue to work on selected projects at Kuhn Riddle Architects. Tierney will work on architectural project design while also focusing on new business growth and opportunities. “I see this designation as the continuing evolution of architecture — and of our society as a whole — as professions become more diverse and inclusive,” said Tierney, who has been an architect at Kuhn Riddle since 2005. “This is also as an opportunity for further growth of our firm. We have an immensely talented and capable staff; we are interested in partnering with other firms to take on much larger projects than we have to date. I am hopeful that this designation will open doors and break ceilings for us.”

Comcast Unveils New Xfinity Store at Holyoke Mall

HOLYOKE — Comcast recently staged a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its newest Xfinity Store, which is located on the upper level of the Holyoke Mall. The 4,691-square-foot space is the first Xfinity Store in the region to open in a mall setting. Consumers will have the opportunity to explore, learn about, and interact directly with the latest Xfinity products and services, including Xfinity Mobile. In addition, the store offers a dedicated space where Comcast Business customers and prospects can discover cutting-edge business solutions and get connected with a local expert to discuss their business technology needs. Local officials and community leaders, including Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, state Rep. Aaron Vega, City Council President Todd McGee, Ward 3 City Councilor David Bartley, Ward 2 City Councilor Nelson Roman, and Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce President Barry Feingold, came out to celebrate the grand opening and tour the new store.

American Women’s College at Bay Path University Recognized

LONGMEADOW — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations will add more new jobs than any other occupational group in the next decade, projecting overall growth of 18% by 2026. The American Women’s College at Bay Path University prepares graduates to help meet that growing demand with its online bachelor of science in health service administration program, which has just been recognized on a list of the 30 best in the nation by TheBestSchools.org. The site formulates rankings based on six informational categories: academic excellence, strength of faculty scholarship, reputation, financial aid, range of degree programs, and strength of online instruction methodology. The university’s degree program ranked 18th on the list. The American Women’s College’s digitally enhanced learning model, SOUL (Social Online Universal Learning), uses data-driven intervention strategies to help mitigate achievement gaps, and has been recognized with more than $5 million in support from industry thought leaders and organizations, as well as awards from national foundations, the federal government, and awarding agencies.

Burkhart Pizzanelli Delivers New Coats to More Than 250 Square One Children

SPRINGFIELD — The team at Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C. is doing its part to spread warmth to more than 250 children in need of winter coats this season. The local accounting firm organized a campaign through Operation Warm to purchase the new coats for children served by Square One. They were delivered to Square One on Dec. 4. “Being a strong community partner is an intergral part of our culture at the firm,” said Julie Quink, managing principal at Burkhart Pizzanelli. “As part of our commitment to the community that we work and live in, we believe giving back is important. Many of our clients share the same philosophy and joined our efforts, for which we are very appreciative. Partnering with Operation Warm to provide brand-new winter coats for the families served by Square One is one way for us to make a small difference in our community. We believe that all children should have opportunities to grow without worry.” Added Kristine Allard, chief Development & Communications officer for Square One, “to be able to provide our children with beautiful, brand-new winter coats does wonders for them. Not only does it help to protect them from the elements, but having a new coat of their own builds confidence and self-esteem.” Operation Warm is a national organization that provides new winter coats to children in need, helping to improve self-confidence, peer acceptance, school attendance, and overall wellness. Funding support comes from businesses and individuals within the communities they serve.

Bridgestone Retail Operations Presents Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke with New Van

HOLYOKE — Parents at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke agree that having reliable transportation is the biggest challenge to their children’s participation in after-school activities in Holyoke. Lack of reliable transportation is even more of a stressor for low-income families in need. With that in mind, Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) surprised youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke with a brand-new, eight-passenger Toyota Sienna van, valued at $35,000. The van was recently presented by Joe DeAngelis, New England Region manager, and Scott Zimmerman, area manager for Bridgestone Retail Operations, to Eileen Cavanaugh, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club. The club will utilize the van to engage in experiential learning opportunities, take youth on field trips, visit colleges, increase volunteer opportunities for teens, and participate in more career-readiness activities. In addition to these benefits, the four satellite units located within Holyoke Housing Authority communities will now have more access to the main club. The van allows transportation to nearly 1,400 club members to and from the club.

TommyCar Auto Group Supports Unify Against Bullying

SOUTH DEERFIELD — TommyCar Auto Group was the official partner for Unify Against Bullying for October in support of National Bullying Prevention Month. During the entire month of October, each dealership in the group — including Country Nissan, Country Hyundai, Northampton Volkswagen, and the new Volvo Cars Pioneer Valley — donated $20 for every car sold. Thanks to customer involvement, TommyCar Auto Group was able to donate $4,200. “Bullying happens way more than it should, but we have the power to make a difference,” said Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Auto Group. “We need to continue to talk about bullying openly and freely, and not be scared to address the issues that happen to us, our family, our friends, or our co-workers. Unify is changing the culture within our communities and the way people are addressing bullying, and I knew we had to be a part of that.”

People on the Move
Terry Maxey

Terry Maxey

Terry Maxey, former interim director of Open Pantry Community Services Inc., has been selected to permanently lead the agency as director. He has served as interim director of Open Pantry since November 2017, and has been with organization since February 2016. As director, Maxey will be responsible for managing all aspects of Open Pantry, which serves more than 18,000 low-income and disadvantaged people annually, with an approximately $3 million annual budget and 40 staff members. Before joining Open Pantry, Maxey served as director of Operations and project manager at Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services in Springfield. There, he helped lead the multi-cultural, multi-service agency dedicated to empowering individuals and families in need. He also held a number of leadership positions within the private sector. He has been recognized for his leadership skills, receiving the 2017 SMOC Housing Team of the Year Award and the MLK Jr. Family Services Employee of the Quarter Award for outstanding performance and leadership. Maxey is invested in the Springfield community and serves with a variety of organizations, including the executive and operational committees of the city of Springfield Health and Human Services, Springfield-Hampden County Continuum of Care board of directors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Virginia State University and a certificate from Leadership of Pioneer Valley.

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Christine Pollender

Christine Pollender

Sunshine Village recently welcomed Christine Pollender as the new director of Human Resources. With the organization serving more than 500 individuals, Pollender will oversee employee relations, benefits administration, and procedural compliance for over 260 employees at nine sites across the Pioneer Valley. With an extensive background in human resources in retail and hospital settings, she brings subject-matter expertise to navigate the recent changes to state and federal laws for employers. Pollender received both a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in business administration from Western New England University. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and is a Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, including the local chapter, the Human Resources Management Assoc. of Western New England, where she serves on its diversity and inclusion committee. 

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Cheryl Sheils

Cheryl Sheils

Bay Path University announced that Cheryl Sheils has been named program director for its new doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree program. Sheils comes to the university from Elms College, where she taught in the Nursing program for nearly 30 years at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was a founding member and nurse manager for 20 years at Pioneer Valley Free Health Service in East Longmeadow. She has also been project director for an HRSA Health Workforce Diversity Grant and has travelled to Jamaica with nursing students on medical missions for the past several years. She has presented at numerous conferences, and her articles have been published in industry journals and other publications. The DNP program, set to begin in spring 2019, will be offered 100% online, ensuring flexibility for nurses who wish to obtain the skills to become advanced nurse practitioners with a specialization in family practice (FNP).

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Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that Michael T. Oleksak has been hired as vice president of Commercial Lending. Oleksak brings more than 15 years of experience in banking, most recently serving as the vice president of Commercial Lending for Westfield Bank, managing a portfolio of more than $25 million. Before Westfield Bank, Oleksak was the assistant vice president, Business Banking officer at United Bank. In his new role, Oleksak’s main objective will be to originate and develop commercial-lending relationships involving construction projects, business-acquisition financing, investment real estate, equipment financials, business lines of credit, and lending relationships for the bank. Oleksak holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. He has a strong commitment to serving the surrounding communities, currently serving on the board of directors for the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club.

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Kelly Bowman

Kelly Bowman

Kelly Bowman was elected to be the 2019 president of the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley (RAPV), a nonprofit trade association with 1,800 members. A general membership meeting was held on Nov. 8 at the Delaney House in Holyoke for the purpose of electing the RAPV 2019 leadership team. Bowman is the broker/owner of Trademark Real Estate, LLC which has offices in South Deerfield and Greenfield. She has been active in real estate since 1997. As a former co-owner of Upton Enterprises Inc., a custom home-building company, she brings practical building knowledge to transactions with clients. She has served on the RAPV board of directors for four consecutive years and was involved in several committees, including the grievance committee, professional standards committee, and professional development committee.

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Jessica Chapin, American International College’s (AIC) associate athletic director/compliance senior woman administrator/deputy Title IX coordinator, is one of 18 individuals recently inducted into the Section V Basketball Hall of Fame in New York. She played with Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District. Chapin was a member of the first-team All-State in 2005 with the Class A state champion Cougars. She finished second all-time in Section V girls’ basketball in three-point field goals, with 207. In addition to her success playing for Honeoye Falls, Chapin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and health, science, and social policy from Brandeis University in 2010. While at Brandeis, Chapin was an All-American women’s basketball player. She earned her master’s degree in athletic administration from Springfield College in 2013. Chapin joined the AIC athletic department in 2014 and works directly with all 22 NCAA varsity programs, as well as men’s and women’s rugby, to ensure that the college is in compliance with all NCAA, Northeast-10, and Atlantic Hockey rules, bylaws and regulations. In 2017, she was appointed to a four-year term with the NCAA Division II Management Council. As part of her commitment, she serves on two committees: the NCAA legislation committee and the Olympic sport committee.

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Jeffrey Adams

Jeffrey Adams

Robinson Donovan, P.C. announced that Associate Jeffrey Adams recently received two prominent appointments. He became a fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. (MBA) Leadership Academy and accepted a position on the board of directors at Dakin Humane Society. The MBA Leadership Academy works to develop and nurture future leaders of the bar by teaching fellows how to be compassionate, open-minded, and thoughtful leaders. At Dakin Humane Society, Adams will act as part of the governing body that is responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities. Dakin is a community-supported animal-welfare organization that provides shelter, medical care, spay-and-neuter services, and behavioral rehabilitation for more than 20,000 animals each year.

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Bob Pura, former president of Greenfield Community College (GCC) for more than 17 years, has joined the all-volunteer board of directors of the International Language Institute of Massachusetts (ILI) in Northampton. During his tenure at GCC, Pura oversaw creation of the college’s testing, wellness, advising, and veteran’s centers as well as the GCC Food Pantry and senior symposia. He worked with former U.S. Rep. John Olver and community leaders to develop sustainable-energy, creative-economy, healthcare, and manufacturing initiatives at GCC and oversaw extensive building renovations to the campus. He also worked with the leadership of the Opioid Task Force and the Franklin County Jail and Courthouse to elevate the role education plays in the lives of those in recovery. Under Pura’s leadership, the GCC Foundation raised $14 million and has awarded hundreds of scholarships over several years. The college’s endowment also rose to more than $5 million. Pura has chaired the Massachusetts President’s Council and served on its executive committee. He sits on the Baystate Health board of trustees and was a commissioner on the New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges Higher Education Commission.

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Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin announced that eight attorneys from the firm were selected to the 2018 Massachusetts Super Lawyers List and three attorneys were selected to the 2018 Massachusetts Rising Stars List. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

• Shareholder Michele Feinstein was recognized for the 12th year in the fields of estate planning and probate;

• Shareholder Gary Fentin was selected for the 13th year in the field of government finance;

• Shareholder Carol Cioe Klyman was recognized for the 14th year in the field of elder law;

• Managing Partner Timothy Mulhern was selected in the field of tax law for the 11th consecutive year;

• Shareholder Steven Schwartz was selected for the 13th time in the field of business and corporate law;

• Shareholder James Sheils was selected for the fourth consecutive year in the field of banking law;

• Shareholder Ann (Ami) Weber was selected for the 15th consecutive year in the field of elder law; and

• Shareholder Steven Weiss was selected in the field of business bankruptcy for the 12th consecutive year.

Additionally, three attorneys have been selected to the 2018 Massachusetts Rising Stars list. To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less.

• Attorney Mark Esposito was recognized in the field of general litigation;

• Attorney Michael Fenton was selected for the fifth consecutive year in the fields of business and corporate law; and

• Shareholder David Webber was honored in the field of closely held business for the seventh consecutive year.

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Florence Bank President and CEO John Heaps Jr. announced the bank has hired three well-known and banking professionals with long-term industry experience in the Springfield area. They will be charged with helping to grow the bank’s Hampden County presence as it expands in that region. Michael Moriarty will serve as senior vice president/commercial team leader, Joseph Kulig will serve as vice president/commercial loan officer, and Candace Pereira will be assistant vice president/commercial portfolio manager. Moriarty, Kulig, and Pereira previously worked at Farmington Bank, a $3 billion commercial bank whose assets were recently purchased by Peoples United Bank. At Farmington, Moriarty was senior vice president and regional commercial team leader, Kulig was a relationship manager, and Pereira was assistant vice president. All three previously worked with United Bank.

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The United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) introduced its new president and CEO, Paul Mina, to the community at a public event on Nov. 9. Mina brings more than 30 years of United Way experience to the Pioneer Valley and has already stepped into his new role. The UWPV board of directors has entered into a management agreement with the United Way of Tri-County, based in Framingham. Both organizations’ boards voted to approve the two-and-a-half-year management agreement, under which two organizations will share a CEO and other management operations, while UWPV still remains under local board oversight. “This is not a merger, but a way to gain efficiencies in the back-end management,” said Steve Lowell, chairman of the UWPV board and president of Monson Savings Bank. “Plus we’ll get some much-needed stability in leadership and the value of Paul’s experience and energy. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

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The board of trustees at Elms College have appointed a number of notable figures to be new members of the board. The new trustees are Beth Anderson, founder and CEO of Phoenix Charter Academy Network; Pascale Desir, chief legal officer of Way Finders; Dr. Jose Fernandez, co-owner of Sunrise Behavioral Health Clinic; Mark Fulco, president of Mercy Medical Center; Steven Gobel, first vice president of Morgan Stanley; Fawwaz Habbal, executive dean for Education and Research and senior lecturer at the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University; and Richard Sullivan Jr., president and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

Opinion

Editorial

More than a decade ago, BusinessWest launched its 40 Under Forty recognition program to celebrate the achievements of the region’s rising stars. A few years later, a new program was launched called Difference Makers, which paid tribute to those who have become just what the name on the plaque says.

And just last year, BusinessWest and its sister publication, the Healthcare News, launched a program to recognize the accomplishments of those in the broad field of health and wellness with Healthcare Heroes.

Over the years, many women have come to the podium for ceremonies involving each award.

So why did BusinessWest create a new recognition specifically targeting that demographic, called Women of Impact? The answer is simple: while there are many women of achievement in this region — and have been over the centuries — not enough of them have received the recognition they are due.

What was needed, we concluded, was a new program that recognizes women not for what they’ve done, necessarily, but what they’ve become — specifically, role models, mentors, and inspirations to those around them.

And that is what Women of Impact does. As the stories clearly show, this region has no shortage of women making a real impact — in their specific business fields, but also in the community.

This inaugural class, meanwhile, is very emblematic of this region, its business community, and the nonprofit agencies that are such a huge force here. Indeed, this area is known as an education leader, and two of our honorees are from opposite ends of that realm — Janis Santos, leader of HCS Head Start, and Carol Leary, president of Bay Path University.

And, as noted, the region has a large number of nonprofits that are making a difference across the region. That realm is well-represented by Gina Kos, director of Sunshine Village; Colleen Loveless, director of Revitalize Community Development Corp.; and Katie Allen Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Mass. There are civic leaders as well, specifically Denise Jordan — now director of the Springfield Housing Authority and former chief of staff for Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno — and Jean Canosa Albano, assistant director of Public Services for the Springfield City Library, and one traditional businesswoman, if you will, in Kerry Dietz, principal of Dietz Architecture.

But while these women typically have business cards that tie them to one business, agency, or institution, their influence extends far, far beyond the walls of the place where they work. And that’s what makes them Woman of Impact.

This is an exciting new program, and it has allowed us to tell some remarkable stories. We hope you enjoy them, and we hope that you’ll nominate a woman of impact for the class of 2019. To do that, go HERE.