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Lara Sharp

Lara Sharp

Lara Sharp, dean of the School of STEM at Springfield Technical Community College, has been named to the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Engineering Technology Council. Sharp is the only community college representative on the council. The ASEE is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. The ASEE Engineering Technology Council is committed to promoting quality engineering technology education. “It is an honor to be voted on to the Engineering Technology Council,” Sharp said. “This will be an opportunity to share best practices and develop new ideas that we can use in our engineering technology programs at STCC.” The only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC offers a wide variety of programs in science, technology, engineering, and math, many of which cannot be found elsewhere in Western Mass. The college offers affordable transfer options in engineering and science as well as two-year degrees and one-year certificates that prepare graduates for positions in the region’s workforce. Programs include civil engineering technology, electrical engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, optics and photonics (laser technology), and more. Sharp was named dean of the School of STEM in 2021. Her professional experience includes six years at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Fla., as the program director for Engineering, Manufacturing and Building Arts and also serving as the acting dean of Natural Sciences, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts. From 2013-2015, she was at the Corporate College of Polk State College, in Winter Haven, Fla., managing National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Labor (DOL) grants in advanced manufacturing and engineering technology. Sharp spent more than 11 years teaching chemistry, natural science and engineering to high school students at various locations. Sharp also brings industry experience, having worked at Specialty Minerals Inc. as a process engineer and an operator technician as well as an educational consultant for PASCO Scientific. She has been recognized for her outstanding teaching as well as her community engagement including a STEM Woman of the Year Award from Girls Inc. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.


Tracye Whitfield

Tracye Whitfield

The Coalition for an Equitable Economy (CEE) announced the hiring of Tracye Whitfield as its new executive director. In this new role, Whitfield, named a Woman of Impact by BusinessWest in 2021, will lead the coalition’s efforts to ensure equitable access to capital for BIPOC small business owners across the state of Massachusetts. Whitfield will continue the coalition’s efforts in creating new programs and policy needed to change and dismantle racist structures preventing the equitable investments needed to support the growth and viability of these businesses. Prior to joining CEE, Whitfield was appointed as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer by Mayor Reichelt for West Springfield. Her work in this role included promoting a diverse environment free from discrimination among employees as well as residents of their town — with an emphasis on racial equity when recruiting new people or hiring existing ones. In her 25-year career, Whitfield has served as a finance analyst for the city of Springfield and data analyst at Springfield Technical Community College. She also worked in various positions including one with MassMutual Financial Group and youth advocacy at Martin Luther King Family Services. She served as the director of Business Development for Training And Workforce Options (TWO), a collaboration between STCC and HCC where she assisted employers in developing customized trainings to strengthen their workforces. She’s also the owner of T&J Tax and Credit Savers, focusing on individual and small business tax preparation, credit repair, and assisting clients on their journey to home ownership. In 2018, she became an elected official in her community as a Springfield city councilor at large. She is now the first African American woman vice president of this position. For the past seven years, she’s served as co-chair of Mason Square C-3 Initiative. This position has allowed her to work closely with residents and local organizations and police officers to promote public safety while also improving the quality of life throughout the community. The Coalition for an Equitable Economy convenes and partners with a broad cross-sector coalition of stakeholders from across Massachusetts aligned around a shared commitment to building an equitable small business ecosystem and to the values of racial equity, collaboration, and shared leadership.


Sheila Bandyopadhyay

Sheila Bandyopadhyay

Sheila Bandyopadhyay has joined Shakespeare & Company as its director of training, beginning her new position on August 9. A director, movement specialist, performer, and devisor of original theater, Bandyopadhyay has an extensive background in both new work and Shakespeare and has trained and taught with the company as an education and training artist. “I began my career at Shakespeare & Company, so taking on this role is a wonderful return,” said Bandyopadhyay. “I look forward to upholding the high quality of actor training Shakespeare & Company is known for, establishing inclusive practices, and expanding our offerings to keep us at the forefront of theatrical artistry.” Bandyopadhyay has been an active player in New York’s independent theater scene, with work at venues including the West End Theater, the Brick in Brooklyn, the Tank, the 72nd St. Theater Lab, and multiple festivals for new work (directing/devising); the Boston Center for the Arts, Gallatin NYU, FSU/Asolo, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Company (movement and choreography), and The Humanist Project and Stages on the Sound as a performer, among others. Before becoming director of training, Bandyopadhyay served as head of the Professional Training Program and Core Movement Faculty at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, and Head of Movement at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Bandyopadhyay has taught actor training workshops internationally and on both coasts. In her new role, Bandyopadhyay will steward Shakespeare & Company’s acclaimed Center for Actor Training into a new era, continuing to refine its aesthetic and enacting positive change for a more accessible, inclusive environment.


Insa, a grower and retailer of medical and adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts, announced the hiring of three new employees who will play key roles in helping propel the Company forward in the burgeoning cannabis industry:

Michael Bird has been named chief people officer. Bird brings significant human resources experience to the team having worked in the field for almost 30 years. Bird started in Human Resources at the Yankee Candle Company as an Employment Recruiter in 1995 when the company was owned and operated by the founder, Mike Kittredge, had 700 employees, and operated 27 retail stores. As Yankee Candle grew, so did Bird’s career. He advanced to hold a variety of positions within HR at Yankee Candle, including serving as the HR director of North American Operations where he led a team of HR business partners serving all corporate functions, with more than 5,000 employees and 500 retail stores. He went on to join The East Coast Tile Group in 2017, a family owned and operated tile importing and multi-channel tile distributor as vice president of Human Resources.

Nicole Constant joins as brand director. She brings more than 10 years of CPG experience to the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Prior to joining Insa, she was at Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., where she led innovation for the cooperative’s Foods Business Unit, which includes the Craisins® brand. Prior to that, Constant led the new Accelerator team within Ocean Spray’s Innovation Hub. In this role, she took an entrepreneurial approach to building disruptive innovation from within.

She is a strong believer in the medical benefits of cannabis and the quality and craftsmanship of Insa’s product portfolio. In her new role, she will be leading brand expansion and development as well as strategic planning within new and existing markets; and

Kate Nelson will hold the role of director of Digital Experience. In the newly created role, she will lead the creation of a full digital experience in-store and online that puts customers first and offers them seamless ways to make purchases, communicate with customer service, interact with the brand across social, SMS, email, benefit from Insa’s loyalty programs, and educate themselves on adult and medical-use cannabis products. She joins Insa from Vista Outdoor, a publicly traded company who owns over 40 outdoor and action sports brands, where she created loyalty programs and digital marketing strategies leveraged across their portfolio. Prior to Vista Outdoor, Nelson worked at DEG Digital, a digital marketing agency where she created digital marketing strategies for premier brands such as Walmart, PepsiCo Brands, and AMC Theaters.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nicole, Michael, and Kate to our team at Insa,” said Pete Gallagher, Insa co-founder. “They each have valuable expertise and deep knowledge in their respective areas. Their hard-work, insights, and problem-solving abilities will be critical in growing the Insa brand, helping the Company meet its objectives, and in helping bring high-quality cannabis to many more Insa customers.”


Stephen Duval

Stephen Duval CFP, a Private Wealth Advisor with Summit House Wealth Partners, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. in South Hadley, has qualified for the company’s Circle of Success annual recognition program and will be honored for this achievement in 2022. To earn this achievement, Duval established himself as one of the company’s top advisors. Only a select number of high-performing advisors earn this distinction. He has 30 years of experience with Ameriprise Financial.

Daily News

AMHERST — UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, under whose leadership the commonwealth’s flagship campus experienced a decade of unprecedented success and momentum, today announced that he will retire at the end of June 2023. 

Subbaswamy arrived in Amherst in July 2012, and during his tenure the campus has excelled in a wide range of key areas, including attracting growing numbers of diverse, high-achieving students, steadily improving graduation rates, and conducting cutting-edge research with real-world impact. 

“It has been a privilege to serve as chancellor of this great university,” said Subbaswamy. “I will forever treasure the support and friendship of the faculty, staff, students and alumni whom I’ve come to know over the past decade and am grateful for all that we have accomplished together. By channeling our revolutionary spirit, we have become one of the fastest rising top-tier public research universities in the country and I am confident that, in its next chapter, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will soar even higher.” 

UMass President Marty Meehan said, “Chancellor Subbaswamy’s leadership of UMass Amherst over the last decade has been truly extraordinary by any measure. The university has grown in impact and national stature under his skillful guidance, while he has always remained focused on student success. That was never more evident than during the last two years of unprecedented challenge and change. It has been an honor to call Swamy a friend and colleague.” 

In the latest U.S. News & World Report Colleges Guide, UMass Amherst is ranked No. 26 among the 209 public universities included in the national survey. A rankings rise from No. 52 in 2010 marks a 26-step ascent, principally during Subbaswamy’s tenure. 

Robert Manning, chair of the UMass Board of Trustees, said, “UMass Amherst has blossomed with Chancellor Subbaswamy as its leader. That has required skilled management, the ability to recruit great people, a sense of humor, and an unyielding pursuit of the land grant mission to serve Massachusetts and the nation through excellent teaching, high-impact research, and powerful service.” 

Manning has named UMass Trustee and UMass Amherst alumnus Victor Woodridge as chair of the search committee that will be appointed to identify candidates to be the next UMass Amherst chancellor. 

Under Subbaswamy’s leadership, the university has played a pivotal and unique role in educating the commonwealth. UMass Amherst alone enrolls more first-year students from Massachusetts than do the commonwealth’s top eight private universities combined. In addition, UMass Amherst awards more undergraduate STEM degrees than any other college or university in Massachusetts, public or private. 

Meanwhile, the university’s research enterprise is driving innovative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges and boosting the state’s economy. In FY 2021, UMass Amherst totaled $213 million in research expenditures, and it ranked first among public universities in New England in National Science Foundation grant awards. 

UMass Amherst recently secured major investments in computer science, fueling the Massachusetts tech economy. An $18 million naming gift will endow the Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences. A state investment of $75 million—along with $30 million from the Amherst campus—will enhance and expand the college’s facilities, enabling accelerated enrollment growth. 

The university is also playing a lead role to help address the commonwealth’s pressing health care needs supported by the largest gift in UMass Amherst history to the Marieb College of Nursing. The $21.5 million naming gift from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation is advancing the university’s innovative nursing engineering center, and it is also providing support for student scholarships, an endowed professorship, and mentorship and research initiatives designed to further access, equity and excellence in nursing education. 

Subbaswamy emphasized that much remains to be done in the coming months. “Over the next year, I will remain focused on fulfilling our mission as the flagship campus of the commonwealth,” he said. “Together, we will work on significant university efforts, such as expanding flexible learning; advancing our Carbon Zero, renewable energy plans; addressing campus issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and preparing for our new fundraising campaign.” 

Daily News

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (UMassFive) announced the retirement of board member Sam Killings at its 55th Annual Meeting on March 23. New director Jeremiah Bentley was elected to the open position at the virtual event.

Killings is retiring from the UMassFive Board of Directors after serving since 1998. During his tenture, Killings served on the credit union’s Asset and Liability Management Committee, which he chaired for several years, as well as the Human Resources Committee and the Diversity Task Force. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and 42 years of experience as an internal auditor and assistant controller for Research Accounting at UMass Amherst.

With his retirement, Killings was recently honored with the status of director emeritus, the first person to hold this title at the credit union.

Bentley has been a member of UMassFive since 2015, when he moved to the area after completing his Ph.D. in accounting from Cornell University. He previously

served as a volunteer on the credit union’s Asset and Liability Management Committee. He currently serves as a research foundation director for the Institute of Management Accountants, and in multiple positions with the American Accounting Association. He is also the Richard Dieter & Susan Dieter Faculty Fellow and associate professor at UMass Amherst, where he teaches financial and managerial accounting and examines how accounting systems change the way people think about and report on their performance.