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.
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 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 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.