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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.

In these times, many people will be working remotely. In addition to accessing BusinessWest online, readers may wish to add their home address. To do this, e-mail [email protected], visit  https://businesswest.com/contact-us/subscribe/, or call 413.781.8600.