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SPRINGFIELD — For more than 40 years, the Springfield Regional Chamber’s (SRC) Leadership Institute has helped mid- and upper-level managers grow their skills to bring their careers, organizations, and communities to the next level. Applications are now open for Leadership Institute 2023, which will run from February through May.

Facilitated by Western New England University faculty, SRC’s Leadership Institute program features a series of six workshops along with peer coaching. The Leadership Institute focuses on developing core management and leadership skills for increasing personal and organizational effectiveness. Upon completion of the program, participants will have more knowledge and skills to take their leadership to the next level and expand their personal and professional network.

“One of the key factors to sustaining a successful business is growing the strength of your leadership team,” Springfield Regional Chamber President Diana Syznal said. “I encourage all aspiring managers, new managers, and professionals interested in expanding their impact to consider this program to take yourself and your team to the next level.”

This program is comprised of 13 sessions, and graduates will be honored at the Chamber Celebration and Annual Meeting on June 14. Attendees who complete the Leadership Institute will also receive a free graduate course offered through the College of Business at Western New England University.

Those interested must apply by Feb. 16. Tuition costs $995 per student, and all sessions will be hosted at the TD Bank Conference Center in Springfield. To learn more, visit springfieldregionalchamber.com.

Special Coverage Super 60

A Tradition Returns

The Super 60, the Springfield Regional Chamber’s annual celebration of thriving companies in Western Mass., was riding high in 2019, when the program marked its 30th year.
Since then … well, you know the story. A pandemic and a wave of economic impacts not only curtailed live events in 2020 and 2021, but created anything but a festive environment for local businesses.
But the program is back this year, and chamber members are ready to celebrate success — and each other.
“It’s super exciting that we’re returning to in-person events in general, and we’re very excited to get back to Super 60,” said Diana Szynal, executive director of the Springfield Regional Chamber. “That’s an award that recognizes the success of local businesses, and it’s going to feel really good to be in person, celebrating business success.”
The Super 60 program celebrates the success of the fastest-growing privately owned businesses in the region. Businesses that rank in the top 30 of the Total Revenue and Revenue Growth categories for 2022 represent all sectors of the economy, including nonprofits, construction, insurance, finance, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, and more. Some have been named to the Super 60 once or many times before, and some are brand-new to the list.
 They are profiled below, with the top five in each category ranked and the rest listed alphabetically.

The Super 60 Luncheon

The annual Super 60 luncheon will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The keynote speaker will be Myke Connolly, the serial entrepreneur behind the successful marketing venture known as Stand Out Truck.

Szybnal said she first connected with Connolly when she was leading the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and noticed the breadth of his activities in Western Mass.

“I was fascinated by his story, his energy, and his presence on social media and locally, and I thought he would be perfect to talk to all of us about his success,” she told BusinessWest. “And what better time than when we’re celebrating local success stories?”

The cost to attend the Super 60 luncheon is $60 for members and $75 for general admission, and reserved tables of eight or 10 are available. Visit myonlinechamber.chambermaster.com/eventregistration/register/6186 to sign up for what promises to be an inspiring afternoon.

TOTAL REVENUE

1. Fontaine Brothers Inc.
2. Whalley Computer Associates Inc.
3. Marcotte Ford Sales Inc.
4. Tighe & Bond
5. Springfield Automotive Partners LLC
American Environmental Inc.
Andrew Associates
Appleton Corp.
Axia Group Insurance Services Inc.
Baltazar Contractors
Bart Truck Equipment LLC
Baystate Blasting Inc.
Baystate Crushing and Recycling Inc.
Chicopee Industrial Contractors Inc.
City Enterprise Inc.
The Dowd Agencies LLC
E.F. Corcoran Plumbing & Heating Co. Inc.
Freedom Credit Union
Hogan Technology Inc.
Keiter Corp.
Knight Machine Tool Co. Inc.
L & C Prescriptions Inc.
M. Jags Inc.
Market Mentors LLC
Maybury Associates Inc.
Paragus Strategic IT
Pioneer Valley Financial Group LLC
Sanderson MacLeod Inc.
Springfield Hockey LLC
V & F Auto

REVENUE GROWTH

1. Vanished Valley Inc.
2. Monty’s Motorsport LLC
3. Campora Construction Co Inc.
4. City Enterprise Inc.
5. Fontaine Brothers Inc.
Axia Group Insurance Services Inc.
Bart Truck Equipment LLC
Baystate Blasting Inc.
Baystate Crushing and Recycling Inc.
Chicopee Industrial Contractors Inc.
The Dowd Agencies LLC
Embracing The Creative Child LLC
FIT Staffing
Keiter Corp.
Knight Machine Tool Co. Inc.
L & C Prescriptions Inc.
L & L Property Service LLC
Ludlow Eye Care P.C.
M. Jags Inc.
The Markens Group
Market Mentors LLC
Maybury Associates Inc.
Northeast Security Solutions Inc.
Pioneer Valley Financial Group LLC
Sanderson MacLeod Inc.
Seaboard Drilling Inc.
Springfield Automotive Partners LLC
Springfield Hockey LLC
Tavares and Branco Enterprises Inc.
V & F Auto

Total REVENUE

1. Fontaine Brothers Inc.
510 Cottage St., Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 781-2020
www.fontainebros.com
David Fontaine Sr., President
Fontaine Brothers offers services such as general contracting, with a focus on K-12 schools, higher education, commercial properties, historical renovations, municipal work, and green buildings, as well as construction management. The firm has been family-owned and operated for 89 years.

2. Whalley Computer Associates Inc.
One Whalley Way, Southwick, MA 01077
(413) 596-4200
www.wca.com
Michael Sheil, President
Whalley Computer Associates offers data-center services, cloud backup, managed services, training, desktop services, network services, and staff-augmentation services. The company focuses its work in the corporate, finance, healthcare, K-12, higher education, retail, and SMB industries.

3. Marcotte Ford Sales Inc.
1025 Main St., Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 650-9041
www.marcotteford.com
Mike Marcotte, President
Marcotte Ford Sales is a car dealership selling and financing new and used cars, trucks, and SUVs. The dealership also offers a wide range of parts and services, such as tires, brakes, oil changes, repairs, and alignment checks.

4. Tighe & Bond
53 Southampton Road, Westfield, MA 01085
(413) 562-1600
www.tighebond.com
Robert Belitz, President and CEO
Tighe & Bond offers engineering, design, planning, and environmental-consulting services, with focuses in building, transportation, water and wastewater engineering, coastal and waterfront solutions, environmental consulting, GIS and asset management, landscape architecture and urban design, civil engineering, and site planning.

5. Springfield Automotive Partners LLC
295 Burnett Road, Chicopee, MA 01020
(413) 624-4100
www.mbspringfield.com
Peter and Michelle Wirth, owners
Springfield Automotive Partners is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield. With a showroom in Chicopee, the dealership sells new and used cars, as well as financing and buying back cars. The location offers service, parts, and tires for all maintenance needs, and provides roadside assistance and vehicle inspections.

American Environmental Inc.
18 Canal St., Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 322-7190
www.amerenviro.com
Charles Hughes, President
American Environmental is a family-owned business providing services like asbestos abatement, structural demolition, boiler removal, commercial lead abatement, concrete cutting, floor preparation, interior demolition, water-jet blasting, roll-off service, and shot blasting. It has worked with property managers, schools, universities, hospitals, churches, stores, industrial sites, and public facilities.

Andrew Associates
6 Pearson Way, Enfield, CT 06082
(860) 253-0000
www.andrewdm.com
Tina Bazarian, Owner and CFO;
Graeme Bazarian, President
Andrew Associates is a printing and mailing service that makes signage and graphics for businesses, nonprofits, and government, with services including bindery, kitting, insertion, and postal presort. It also specializes in data security and analysis to better target viewers.

Appleton Corp.
800 Kelly Way, Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 536-8048
www.appletoncorporation.com
Matt Flink, President
Appleton Corp., a division of the O’Connell Companies, provides property, facilities, and asset-management services, along with accounting and financial services, to managers and owners of commercial and residential properties across New England.

Axia Group Insurance Services Inc.
84 Myron St., Suite A, West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 788-9000
www.axiagroup.net
Michael long, CEO
Axia Group Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency that provides personal lines of insurance, business insurance, and employee benefits, as well as group insurance plans. It represents numerous insurance companies, such as Liberty Mutual, MAPFRE, MassMutual, and Progressive.

Baltazar Contractors
83 Carmelinas Circle, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 583-6160
www.baltazarcontractors.com
Paulo Baltazar, President
Baltazar Contractors is a heavy civil construction company with services in utility construction, roadway construction, site work and development, culvert/bridge construction, earth support and shoring, and trenchless technology. It was started 29 years ago and has remained family-owned.

Bart Truck Equipment LLC
358 River St., West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 737-2766
www.barttruckllc.com
James DiClementi, President
Bart Truck Equipment is a heavy-duty parts and trucking service company, offering different bodies (dump, platform, utility/service), snow plows and other winter removal equipment, truck-mounted generators, hook lifts and roll-offs, and more. It also custom-builds and fabricates parts for clients. It serves contractors, landscapers, fleets, municipalities, utility companies, and homeowners.

Baystate Blasting Inc.
36 Carmelinas Circle, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 583-4440
www.baystateblasting.com
Dinis Baltazar, President and CEO
Baystate Blasting offers services in ledge and rock removal, rock blasting, and rock crushing. It performs large and small construction-site preparation, road and highway work, line drilling and trench work, quarry shots, and residential work such as foundations and inground pools. It is federally licensed as both a dealer and user of explosive materials.

Baystate Crushing and Recycling Inc.
83 Carmelinas Circle, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 583-7856
Dinis Baltazar, President and CEO
Baystate Crushing and Recycling is a family-owned drilling and blasting firm that provides a full range of rock-blasting and rock-crushing services, including site work, heavy highway construction, residential work, quarry, and portable crushing and recycling. A federally licensed dealer of explosives, it offers rental of individual magazines and is a sister company to Baystate Blasting Inc.

Chicopee Industrial Contractors Inc.
107 North Chicopee St, Chicopee, MA 01020
(413) 538-7279
www.chicopeeindustrial.com
Carol Campbell, President and CEO
Chicopee Industrial Contractors is a woman-owned industrial contracting firm that specializes in rigging, heavy lifting, machinery moving, machine installation, millwrighting, machine repair, heavy hauling, plant relocations, concrete pads, foundations, and structural steel installations. It is celebrating its 30th year in business.

City Enterprise Inc.
52-60 Berkshire Ave., Springfield, MA 01109
(413) 726-9549
www.cityenterpriseinc.com
Wonderlyn Murphy, President and CEO
City Enterprise is a minority- and woman-owned design, build, and renovation construction firm specializing in government, municipal, and commercial projects. It has performed work on the Springfield Armory, various UMass locations, the Northampton VA Medical Center, and the Donohue Federal Courthouse. This is its eighth consecutive year on the Super 60 list.

The Dowd Agencies LLC
14 Bobala Road, Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 538-7444
www.dowd.com
John Dowd Jr., President and CEO
The Dowd Agencies is an insurance agency that provides personal (automotive, renters, home, and condominium) and business (liability, commercial auto, liability, and more) insurance, as well as employee benefits. It also offers group packages for personal and business plans. The Dowd Agencies has been family-owned since 1865, welcoming its fifth generation in 2019.

E.F. Corcoran Plumbing & Heating Co. Inc.
5 Rose Place, Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 732-1462
www.efcorcoran.com
Brian Toomey, President
E.F. Corcoran Plumbing & Heating is a full-service plumbing and HVAC contractor, offering 24-hour plumbing services, HVAC installation, gas piping, boilers, heat recovery, and more. It serves the commercial, industrial, medical, and institutional industries and has performed work for Baystate Noble Hospital, Springfield College, UMass, Mercy Medical Center, and Stop & Shop.

Freedom Credit Union
1976 Main St., Springfield, MA 01103
(413) 739-6961
www.freedom.coop
Glenn Welch, President and CEO
Freedom Credit Union is a credit union that offers banking and loan services to businesses, the cannabis industry, and individuals. It also offers insurance plans for individuals and an investment-services division. The institution is celebrating its centennial in 2022.

Hogan Technology Inc.
81 East St., Easthampton, MA 01027
(413) 585-9950
www.teamhogan.com
Sean Hogan, President
Since 1986, Hogan Technology has offered a range of technology services to businesses, which now include audio-visual installation, cable installation, digital signage, and network infrastructure installation. Now run by Sean and his brother Andy, Hogan offers business clients value-added benefits including a trained team of certified installation and support professionals.

Keiter Corp.
35 Main St., Florence, MA 01062
(413) 586-8600
www.keiter.com
Scott Keiter, President
Keiter Corp. is a construction-services company working with clients on residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional projects of all sizes. The firm is divided into four divisions: Keiter Builders, Keiter Homes, Hatfield Construction, and Keiter Properties. The company has performed work for Amherst College, Bacon Wilson in Northampton, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Look Park.

Knight Machine Tool Co. Inc.
1 Industrial Dr., South Hadley, MA 01075
(413) 532-2507
www.knightmachine.net
Gary O’Brien, President
Knight Machine Tool Co. Inc. specializes in machine and inspection equipment, such as head lathes, grinders, drill presses, calipers, and gages. It also offers turning, milling, round and flat lapping, EDM wire cutting, wet surface grinding, assembly, plating, and more. The company is ITAR-registered and ISO-certified.

L & C Prescriptions Inc.
155 Brookdale Dr., Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 781-2996
www.medibubble.com
Dr. Kara James, President
L & C Prescriptions, the parent company for Louis & Clark Pharmacy, provides medication solutions to individuals, healthcare providers, and assisted-living, independent-living, and memory-care communities, and offers online prescription refills, MediBubble pre-packaged pills, blister packs to manage daily medications, vial synchronization, consultations with registered pharmacists, and a delivery service.

M. Jags Inc.
197 Main St., Agawam, MA 01001
(413) 781-4352
www.taplinyardpumpandpower.com
Martin Jagodowski, President
M. Jags, also known as Taplin Yard, Pump and Power Equipment, is a supplier of water pumps, water conditioners, pump-repair services, and yard and garden power equipment. It offers new and used parts and services for repairs, as well as financing options and a parts finder on its website.

Market Mentors LLC
155 Brookdale Dr.,
Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 787-1133
www.marketmentors.com
Michelle Abdow, President
Market Mentors helps other businesses with marketing, advertising, public relations, graphic design, and website design. It serves the automotive, educational, energy, banking and finance, healthcare, insurance, industrial and manufacturing, legal, nonprofit, retail, political, services, sports, and entertainment sectors, and has worked with multiple companies on the Super 60 list, like the Dowd Agencies and Freedom Credit Union.

Maybury Associates Inc.
90 Denslow Road,
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
(888) 629-2879
www.maybury.com
John Maybury, President and CEO
Maybury Associates is a material-handling equipment company that provides parts and services, warehouse design, rentals, and products for sale to businesses big and small. It offers forklifts, cleaning equipment (sweepers, scrubbers, industrial and commercial vacuums, etc.), racking, conveyors, dock equipment, modular office construction materials, and more, and has been awarded with the MHEDA Most Valuable Partner award 12 years running.

Paragus Strategic IT
112 Russell St., Hadley, MA 01035
(413) 587-2666
www.paragusit.com
Delcie Bean IV, CEO
Paragus Strategic IT is an technology provider for small to medium-sized businesses in Western and Central Mass., offering both outsourced and co-managed IT experiences, allowing the client to choose what their preferred IT management looks like. Paragus serves the legal, manufacturing, medical and dental, cannabis, veterinary, insurance, and nonprofit sectors, among others.

Pioneer Valley Financial Group LLC
535 East St., Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 589-1500
www.pvfinancial.com
Charles Meyers, Edward Sokolowski, and Joseph Leonczyk, Founding Partners
Pioneer Valley Financial Group is a financial-planning service, offering services in retirement planning, business planning, asset growth, college funding, estate planning, tax planning, and risk management. It serves retirees, professionals, service members, young adults, and small and medium-sized businesses.

Sanderson MacLeod Inc.
1199 South Main St., Palmer, MA 01069
(866) 522-3481
www.sandersonmacleod.com
Mark Borsari, President and CEO
Sanderson MacLeod innovates, manufactures, and sources wire brushes, stylets, and assemblies. It serves the medical, cosmetic, firearms, and OEM industries. The company invented the twisted-wire mascara brush, the ZTip, and multiple other patented designs.

Springfield Hockey LLC
1 Monarch Place, Springfield, MA 02110
(413) 746-4100
www.springfieldthunderbirds.com
Nathan Costa, President
Springfield Hockey LLC, better known as the Springfield Thunderbirds, is the local affiliate of the St. Louis Blues and and the American Hockey League’s 2021-22 Eastern Conference Champion. The team gives back to the community in multiple ways, like the Thunderbirds Foundation, Stick to Reading school programs, Hometown Salute, Frontline Fridays, and more.

V & F Auto
443 Springfield St., Agawam, MA 01001
(413) 789-2181
www.vfauto.com
Frank Palange, President
V & F Auto is an automotive repair company that offers vehicle sales and financing as well as auto services, including brake repairs, alternator repairs, oil changes, engine repairs and maintenance, radiator and cooling system maintenance, and more. It has been family-owned since 1988.

REVENUE GROWTH

1. Vanished Valley Inc.
782 Center St., Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 610-1572
www.vanishedvalley.com
Mike Rodrigues, Restaurant Owner;
Josh Britton, Brewery Owner
Vanished Valley Inc. is a small-batch brewery that is family- and pet-friendly and holds events in its taproom and beer garden. The restaurant menu includes appetizers, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and barbeque. On tap, the brewery offers IPAs, seltzers, lagers, ales, and stouts, as well as wine and spirits.

2. Monty’s Motorsport LLC
1 Arch Road, Westfield, MA 01085
(413) 642-8199
www.montysmotorsports.com
Monty Geer, Owner
Monty’s Motorsport is a parts, sales, service, and gear store for motorsport vehicles, such as four-wheelers, dirt bikes, motorcycles, electric bikes, street bikes, and more. It offers new and used vehicles, with financing options available, as well as services such as winterization, battery inspections, accessory installations, chain adjustments, oil and filter changes, and full engine rebuilds.

3. Campora Construction Co Inc.
43 Owens Way, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 610-1660
www.camporacc.com
Mario Campora, President
Campora Construction specializes in full-scale building construction and sidewalk, patio, and driveway installation for residential, commercial, and governmental projects. Services include custom home design and construction, complete home rebuilds from fire damage, home additions and sunroom installation, concrete demolition and infills, and commercial office fit-outs.

4. City Enterprise Inc.
52-60 Berkshire Ave., Springfield, MA 01109
(413) 726-9549
www.cityenterpriseinc.com
Wonderlyn Murphy, President and CEO
City Enterprise is a minority- and woman-owned design, build, and renovation construction firm specializing in government, municipal, and commercial projects. It has performed work on the Springfield Armory, various UMass locations, the Northampton VA Medical Center, and the Donohue Federal Courthouse. This is its eighth consecutive year on the Super 60 list.


5. Fontaine Brothers Inc.
510 Cottage St., Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 781-2020
www.fontainebros.com
David Fontaine Sr., President
Fontaine Brothers offers services such as general contracting, with a focus on K-12 schools, higher education, commercial properties, historical renovations, municipal work, and green buildings, as well as construction management. The firm has been family-owned and operated for 89 years.

Axia Group Insurance Services Inc.
84 Myron St., Suite A, West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 788-9000
www.axiagroup.net
Michael long, CEO
Axia Group Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency that provides personal lines of insurance, business insurance, and employee benefits, as well as group insurance plans. It represents numerous insurance companies, such as Liberty Mutual, MAPFRE, MassMutual, and Progressive.

Bart Truck Equipment LLC
358 River St., West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 737-2766
www.barttruckllc.com
James DiClementi, President
Bart Truck Equipment is a heavy-duty parts and trucking service company, offering different bodies (dump, platform, utility/service), snow plows and other winter removal equipment, truck-mounted generators, hook lifts and roll-offs, and more. It also custom-builds and fabricates parts for clients. It serves contractors, landscapers, fleets, municipalities, utility companies, and homeowners.

Baystate Blasting Inc.
36 Carmelinas Circle, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 583-4440
www.baystateblasting.com
Dinis Baltazar, President and CEO
Baystate Blasting offers services in ledge and rock removal, rock blasting, and rock crushing. It performs large and small construction-site preparation, road and highway work, line drilling and trench work, quarry shots, and residential work such as foundations and inground pools. It is federally licensed as both a dealer and user of explosive materials.

Baystate Crushing and Recycling Inc.
83 Carmelinas Circle, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 583-7856
Dinis Baltazar, President and CEO
Baystate Crushing and Recycling is a family-owned drilling and blasting firm that provides a full range of rock-blasting and rock-crushing services, including site work, heavy highway construction, residential work, quarry, and portable crushing and recycling. A federally licensed dealer of explosives, it offers rental of individual magazines and is a sister company to Baystate Blasting Inc.

Chicopee Industrial Contractors Inc.
107 North Chicopee St, Chicopee, MA 01020
(413) 538-7279
www.chicopeeindustrial.com
Carol Campbell, President and CEO
Chicopee Industrial Contractors is a woman-owned industrial contracting firm that specializes in rigging, heavy lifting, machinery moving, machine installation, millwrighting, machine repair, heavy hauling, plant relocations, concrete pads, foundations, and structural steel installations. It is celebrating its 30th year in business.

The Dowd Agencies LLC
14 Bobala Road, Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 538-7444
www.dowd.com
John Dowd Jr., President and CEO
The Dowd Agencies is an insurance agency that provides personal (automotive, renters, home, and condominium) and business (liability, commercial auto, liability, and more) insurance, as well as employee benefits. It also offers group packages for personal and business plans. The Dowd Agencies has been family-owned since 1865, welcoming its fifth generation in 2019.

Embracing The Creative Child LLC
55 Deer Park Dr., East Longmeadow, MA 01028
(413) 525-1500
www.embracingthecreativechild.com
Sarah Gale, Owner
Embracing The Creative Child offers applied behavioral analysis (ABA) programs for children and young adults with developmental disabilities. Programs are geared towards the individual’s needs. Programs include at-home ABA programs, social skill groups, school consultations, and professional development for educators.

FIT Staffing
9½ Market St., Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 733-6466
www.fitstaffingsolutions.com
Anthony Ciak, Division Manager
FIT Staffing is an IT recruitment agency for both the employee and employer that serves all of New England. The agency offers a job search board similar to Indeed, and is affiliated with Maraton Staffing, ASA Recruitment, and the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast.

Keiter Corp.
35 Main St., Florence, MA 01062
(413) 586-8600
www.keiter.com
Scott Keiter, President
Keiter Corp. is a construction-services company working with clients on residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional projects of all sizes. The firm is divided into four divisions: Keiter Builders, Keiter Homes, Hatfield Construction, and Keiter Properties. The company has performed work for Amherst College, Bacon Wilson in Northampton, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Look Park.

Knight Machine Tool Co. Inc.
1 Industrial Dr.,
South Hadley, MA 01075
(413) 532-2507
www.knightmachine.net
Gary O’Brien, President
Knight Machine Tool Co. Inc. specializes in machine and inspection equipment, such as head lathes, grinders, drill presses, calipers, and gages. It also offers turning, milling, round and flat lapping, EDM wire cutting, wet surface grinding, assembly, plating, and more. The company is ITAR-registered and ISO-certified.

L & C
Prescriptions Inc.
155 Brookdale Dr.,
Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 781-2996
www.medibubble.com
Dr. Kara James, President
L & C Prescriptions, the parent company for Louis & Clark Pharmacy, provides medication solutions to individuals, healthcare providers, and assisted-living, independent-living, and memory-care communities, and offers online prescription refills, MediBubble pre-packaged pills, blister packs to manage daily medications, vial synchronization, consultations with registered pharmacists, and a delivery service.

L & L Property
Service LLC
582 Amostown Road, West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 732-2739
Todd Lapinski and Eddie Lapinski, Owners
L & L Property Service is a locally owned company providing an array of property services, including lawn care, snow removal, sanding, excavations, patios and stone walls, hydroseeding, and more. It is a family-owned business.

Ludlow Eye Care P.C.
200 Center St., #1, Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 583-3600
Dr. Catarzyna Babinski, Owner
Ludlow Eye Care is a practice specializing in optometry and offering eyeglass fittings, adjustments, repairs, sunglasses, and contact lenses. It also offers specialty glasses, such as blue-light glasses, computer glasses, kids’ glasses, reading glasses, and rimless frames.

M. Jags Inc.
197 Main St., Agawam, MA 01001
(413) 781-4352
www.taplinyardpumpandpower.com
Martin Jagodowski, President
M. Jags, also known as Taplin Yard, Pump and Power Equipment, is a supplier of water pumps, water conditioners, pump-repair services, and yard and garden power equipment. It offers new and used parts and services for repairs, as well as financing options and a parts finder on its website.

The Markens Group
1350 Main St., Springfield, MA 01103
(413) 686-9199
www.markens.com
Ben Markens, President; Jennie Markens, Partner
The Markens Group is an association management group that provides outsourced professional services including strategic leadership, financial management, event planning, member services, marketing and communications, program management, website and social-media services, and general administration to trade associations, membership societies, and not-for-profits.

Market Mentors LLC
155 Brookdale Dr., Springfield, MA 01104
(413) 787-1133
www.marketmentors.com
Michelle Abdow, President
Market Mentors helps other businesses with marketing, advertising, public relations, graphic design, and website design. It serves the automotive, educational, energy, banking and finance, healthcare, insurance, industrial and manufacturing, legal, nonprofit, retail, political, services, sports, and entertainment sectors, and has worked with multiple companies on the Super 60 list, like the Dowd Agencies and Freedom Credit Union.

Maybury Associates Inc.
90 Denslow Road, East Longmeadow, MA 01028
(888) 629-2879
www.maybury.com
John Maybury, President and CEO
Maybury Associates is a material-handling equipment company that provides parts and services, warehouse design, rentals, and products for sale to businesses big and small. It offers forklifts, cleaning equipment (sweepers, scrubbers, industrial and commercial vacuums, etc.), racking, conveyors, dock equipment, modular office construction materials, and more, and has been awarded with the MHEDA Most Valuable Partner award 12 years running.

Northeast Security Solutions Inc.
33 Sylvan St., #1, West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 732-8748
www.northeastsecuritysolutions.com
George Condon III and David Condon, Co-owners
Northeast Security Solutions supplies security products and services within Western Mass., Northern Connecticut, and Southern Vermont. It offers door hardware, key control, locks, safes, burglar alarms, fire alarms, surveillance cameras, access control, and fire-extinguisher testing and inspections, and has been family-owned for the past 30 years.

Pioneer Valley Financial Group LLC
535 East St., Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 589-1500
www.pvfinancial.com
Charles Meyers, Edward Sokolowski, and Joseph Leonczyk, Founding Partners
Pioneer Valley Financial Group is a financial-planning service, offering services in retirement planning, business planning, asset growth, college funding, estate planning, tax planning, and risk management. It serves retirees, professionals, service members, young adults, and small and medium-sized businesses.

Sanderson MacLeod Inc.
1199 South Main St., Palmer, MA 01069
(866) 522-3481
www.sandersonmacleod.com
Mark Borsari, President and CEO
Sanderson MacLeod innovates, manufactures, and sources wire brushes, stylets, and assemblies. It serves the medical, cosmetic, firearms, and OEM industries. The company invented the twisted-wire mascara brush, the ZTip, and multiple other patented designs.

Seaboard Drilling Inc.
649 Meadow St., Chicopee, MA 01013
(800) 595-1114
www.seaboarddrilling.com
Jeffery Campbell, President and CEO
Seaboard Drilling is a geotechnical and environmental drilling services firm. It offers geotechnical and environmental borings, installation of standard and small-diameter monitoring wells, peizometers, geotechnical instruments, remedial recovery wells, and direct-push soil probing and sample retrieval.

Springfield Automotive
Partners LLC
295 Burnett Road,
Chicopee, MA 01020
(413) 624-4100
www.mbspringfield.com
Peter and Michelle Wirth, owners
Springfield Automotive Partners is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield. With a showroom in Chicopee, the dealership sells new and used cars, as well as financing and buying back cars. The location offers service, parts, and tires for all maintenance needs, and provides roadside assistance and vehicle inspections.

Springfield Hockey LLC
1 Monarch Place,
Springfield, MA 02110
(413) 746-4100
www.springfieldthunderbirds.com
Nathan Costa, President
Springfield Hockey LLC, better known as the Springfield Thunderbirds, is the local affiliate of the St. Louis Blues and and the American Hockey League’s 2021-22 Eastern Conference Champion. The team gives back to the community in multiple ways, like the Thunderbirds Foundation, Stick to Reading school programs, Hometown Salute, Frontline Fridays, and more.

Tavares and Branco
Enterprises Inc.
1428 Center St., Ludlow, MA 01056
(413) 547-6667
www.villaroserestaurant.com
Tony Tavares, Owner
Tavares and Branco Enterprises owns and operates the Villa Rose Restaurant, lounge, and banquet hall, specializing in Portuguese and American cuisine. With a capacity of 150, the facility caters for parties, funerals, and weddings of 30 people or more. Villa Rose also offers breakfast and brunch for those who are looking to book a shower, seminar, business meeting, corporate functions, and more.

V & F Auto
443 Springfield St., Agawam, MA 01001
(413) 789-2181
www.vfauto.com
Frank Palange, President
V & F Auto is an automotive repair company that offers vehicle sales and financing as well as auto services, including brake repairs, alternator repairs, oil changes, engine repairs and maintenance, radiator and cooling system maintenance, and more. It has been family-owned since 1988.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber will kick off its first Rise & Shine Business Breakfast of the 2022-23 season at MGM Springfield on Wednesday, Oct. 12, featuring presentations from MGM Springfield’s Executive Director of Finance Arlen Carballo and Director of Community Affairs Beth Ward.

Carballo and Ward will address attendees over breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Celebrating the casino’s decade of commitment to the chamber and the Greater Springfield region, the pair will address MGM’s transformative economic impact on the region following the pandemic, the recent passage of sports betting that will lead to the opening of the new MGM Sports Lounge, upcoming entertainment, and more.

Ward, an award-winning journalist and former news anchor for Western Mass News, brings 30 years of experience to her role as MGM’s director of Community Affairs. In her position, she serves as the primary media contact for the casino and is also involved with philanthropy, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Carballo has been with MGM Springfield since its opening in 2018, first serving as director of Financial Planning and Analysis. Before joining the casino, she worked at MGM National Harbor in Maryland as the Financial Planning and Analysis manager. As executive director of Finance, Carballo oversees all aspects of finance operations at MGM Springfield for gaming and non-gaming areas.

“We’re thrilled to kick off Rise & Shine breakfasts while partnering with MGM Springfield to showcase the myriad ways they have positively impacted the city of Springfield and the Western Mass. region,” Springfield Regional Chamber President Diana Szynal said.

Ward added that “it’s an honor to partner with the chamber on this incredible event. We’re ecstatic to showcase the impact the casino’s impact, celebrate a decade of partnership with the chamber, and let people know all the great things MGM is working on.”

Cover Story

A New Challenge

Diana Szynal

Diana Szynal

Diana Szynal recently made a successful transition from public service — she was a selectman in Hatfield and then a legislative aide — to running the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. Now, she’s making another transition, to leadership of the Springfield Regional Chamber. While Greater Springfield is a much larger area, she said the challenges facing businesses, and the basic mission of the chamber, are the same as they are in Franklin County, and she’s ready to put her experience to work in her new setting.

Diana Szynal says that within minutes of the announcement that she had been named the new president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce going out last spring, her phone started ringing and pinging.

There were calls and texts from area business leaders, government officials, and directors of area economic development agencies wanting to meet and talk.

“The calls started coming, and I’m still getting them,” said Szynal (pronounced Zy-nal), adding that her appointment book is quickly filling up for the next several weeks.

Those appointments are part of what she describes as a broad learning process as she takes the reins at the Springfield chamber, succeeding Nancy Creed, who has stepped down officially after several years at the helm, but is assisting in the transition.

Indeed, while Szynal, who most recently served as director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and before that served as a legislative aide to the late state Rep. Peter Kocot, is certainly familiar with Springfield and Hampden County in general, she admits that there will be a ‘getting acquainted’ period awaiting her as she assumes the leadership position at the Springfield Regional Chamber.

“I know that I don’t know everything about Springfield,” Szynal, who started her new job July 5, told BusinessWest. “But I do know that I’ve had dozens of local businesses and community leaders offer to help me with that; Springfield is the economic engine of Western Massachusetts, and we need to make sure that we’re at the forefront, always at the cutting edge, of what’s happening, business-wise and legislatively.”

“The pandemic really did shine a spotlight on how critical it is to be part of that larger group and have that support and have that information that was so important.”

While scheduling meetings with those who are now calling and texting her, Szynal is also putting together a to-do list, one that includes a return of the chamber’s popular Super 60 program this fall — nominations are currently being accepted for that honor — as well as a resumption of the chamber’s ambassadors program (put on the shelf due to COVID), and, further down the line, planning of the first in-person Outlook lunch since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.

Also on the list is creation of a new strategic plan — the last one was undertaken before the pandemic — and continuing and building upon Creed’s strong track record for not only keeping members well-informed, but making sure their voices are heard on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill.

“Nancy was, and still is a great voice for this region,” said Szynal. “We need to continue to make sure that our voice is heard, and the way you do that is by engaging the legislators and forming good relationships with stage agencies. The legislative piece is really important, and that’s where the Springfield Regional Chamber has a leg up, because it spends so much time making sure that it has put together a solid legislative agenda that supports what businesses need and makes sure that the voice at this end of the state is heard.”

Overall, Szynal takes the reins at an intriguing time for this chamber, and chambers in general.

Indeed, she said that the pandemic provided an opportunity for chambers to show their true value to members — and potential members — when it comes to not only providing needed information (although there was plenty of that) but for being a true resource for, and advocate for, the business community.

“I think there was a real affirmation of the value of chamber membership, particularly during the pandemic,” she said. “In Franklin County, when we went into the shut-down and my phone was ringing, it was non-members who were reaching out. Members of chambers were getting a lot of information during that tumultuous time on matters such as the Payroll Protection Program, who qualified, and how the loans were processed.”

This ability to step up and elevate their game, if you will, resulted in chambers being able to retain members and actually add new ones at a time of real challenge for businesses of all sizes and in every business sector, she went on, adding that both the Franklin County chamber and the Springfield Regional chamber have posted solid numbers the past few years, better than those from before the pandemic.

Moving forward, she said she plans to build off this momentum — and that’s what she prefers to call it — while also strengthening existing relationships with both other chambers and other economic-development-related agencies.

For this issue, BusinessWest talked with Szynal about her new appointment, the state of the Springfield Regional chamber, and the prospects for all chambers in the post-pandemic world.

 

Getting Down to Business

Recalling her shift from public service — she was a selectman in Hatfield and then in county government before joining Kocot as an aide — to running a chamber of commerce, Szynal said it was a relatively smooth, almost seamless transition. That’s because the work is similar in many respects, she noted, adding that in both arenas, there are large amounts of listening and advocacy involved.

Elaborating, she said that in her municipal roles, she got to work with many area economic-development-related agencies, such as the regional employment boards (now MassHire agencies), the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., and others. She was able to take those relationships, as well as her understanding of the state Legislature and relationships she forged there, to her work with the Franklin County chamber.

“It was while I was working for representative Kocot that I really cut my teeth on learning about workforce development, economic development, the importance of community organizations and nonprofits, and the importance of public-private partnerships,” she explained. “And how all of that fits into economic development.

region’s voice

Diana Szynal says one of her priorities moving forward is making sure this region’s voice is heard on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill.

“I was also able to develop at that time really important relationships with key stakeholders throughout the region,” she went on. “So when Rep. Kocot passed away, I went to the Franklin County chamber, and all of those relationships and learning experiences were invaluable in helping me execute the mission there.”

Szynal is expecting a similarly smooth transition as she moves from the Franklin County chamber to the one in Springfield, because, while the two regions are certainly different when it comes to population, the chambers are of similar size, membership-wise. Meanwhile, most all of the issues and challenges within the business communities are the same, and so is the basic mission of the organizations — to serve members and advocate on their behalf.

“The main focus of a chamber is communication, relationships, and business support,” said Szynal. “Each chamber is a little different, but most focus on the same things. Through events we facilitate networking and collaboration among members, and we give businesses some visibility through our membership directory, our website, member spotlights, all of those things. The business-to-business relationships, business-to-community relationships, those are things that most chambers focus on, although each chamber adds their own flavor.”

In Springfield, the size and makeup of the chamber reflects the diversity of the city and its recent upward trajectory, said Szynal, noting that, despite the pandemic and its impact on every sector of the economy, Springfield is in a growth mode and seeing vitality in most aspects of its economy.

“Springfield has so much going for it — there’s been so much revitalization in the area,” she said. “The sectors of healthcare and education, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing … all of those things are so vital and so critical here. I’m really looking forward to diving in and learning all that I don’t know and putting some fresh eyes on the chamber and the region.”

As noted earlier, she arrives at an intriguing time for this chamber, and all chambers. While most have become smaller staff-wise — several, including the Springfield Regional Chamber, are essentially one-person operations — there is a new vibrancy for many due to the relevancy gained during the pandemic.

“There is a lot of opportunity here. I have a lot on my to-do list, but I can’t wait to dive in.”

“The pandemic really did shine a spotlight on how critical it is to be part of that larger group and have that support and have that information that was so important,” Szynal told BusinessWest, adding that the challenge, and opportunity, moving forward is to hammer home the importance of chambers during what could be called more-normal, but still quite challenging times.

Indeed, Szynal said businesses large and small are still being impacted by a number of issues, many of them COVID after-effects including supply-chain issues, soaring prices, the early signs of recession, and, especially, a workforce crisis that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

“Look at the challenges businesses are facing today that they didn’t have to before — supply chain issues, fuel prices are going to be crushing to some businesses, workforce issues, childcare, and more,” she said, adding that in such times, being part of an organization like the chamber, which can make its voice heard in Boston and Washington can be beneficial to businesses of all sizes.

Speaking of more normal, Szynal said the chamber will be turning back the clock to 2019 with regard to its events and many of its programs. On the events side of the ledger, the agency has started to stage in-person gatherings again — the annual meeting at the Springfield Sheraton drew more than 250 guests — and one of its largest annual get-togethers is back on the docket for the fall.

This is the program known as Super 60, a compilation of the region’s most successful companies based on performance in two categories — Total Revenue and Revenue Growth. One of the chamber’s most important revenue generators, Super 60 was put on ice in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, and Szynal believes the lengthy pause will generate some interest in the popular program, slated for Oct. 28 at the MassMutual Center.

The same could be said for the chamber’s annual Outlook lunch, the region’s largest gathering of area business leaders. It has been staged remotely the past two years, and Szynal is looking forward to that tradition, and many other annual gatherings, returning to an in-person format.

“Outlook, the Beacon Hill and Washington summits, the Government Reception, the Mayors Forum … it’s so important to get back to doing those again because they provide information and offer opportunities for businesses to be together,” she explained. “I’m looking forward to being back full steam.”

While planning those events, she has many other items on her to-do list, starting with those meetings with area civic, business, and economic development leaders.

And there will also be work to create a new strategic plan for the institution.

“The last one was done three years ago, so it would be time to do another one anyway,” she noted. “But with everything that’s happened in the last two and a half years, it’s a really good time to evaluate the mission of the chamber and how we’re meeting that mission.”

 

The Bottom Line

From a personal perspective, Szynal said she chooses to look at the next stop on her career path as an opportunity and not necessarily as a challenge.

It will be an opportunity to continue the kind of work she has been doing for the past several years in several different capacities.

“I really love connecting with people, learning about their business, and learning about their business needs,” she explained. “I love that aspect of any job, that’s why I loved working with Peter Kocot, because I did so much constituent work; this is what I’m looking forward to.
“There is a lot of opportunity here,” she went on. “I have a lot on my to-do list, but I can’t wait to dive in.”

 

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

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, the Springfield Regional Chamber has decided, out of an abundance of caution, to postpone its Government Reception that was slated for Jan. 13.

“Given the rise in cases and our hospital systems constrained, as well as our risk assessment which estimates this event will cause a greater than 99% risk of spread (despite vaccinations and boosters), we believe postponing is the most prudent and right thing to do for our community,” chamber President Nancy Creed said. “Thank you for your understanding as we work to keep our community members healthy and safe during this time. We look forward to gathering together in person soon.”

The chamber will provide more details soon, but in the interim, members can reach out and submit any questions and/or concerns at springfieldregionalchamber.com/contact-us.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — After a two-year hiatus, the Springfield regional Chamber’s annual Government Reception will return in person on Jan.13.

The event will bring business and community leaders together in one place for the opportunity to meet socially with local, state, and federal officials. Those in attendance will include state representatives, senators, mayors from surrounding communities, and city council members from the area. 

The event will take place at the United States Courthouse on 300 State St. in Springfield. Tickets are available for $60 for chamber members, $70 for future chamber members, and $75 when they are purchased the evening of the event. Visit springfieldregionalchamber.com for more information or to order tickets.All COVID-19 protocols and mandates will be followed, and guests will be required to pass through federal security.

Daily News

 

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield regional Chamber of Commerce announced that it supports Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s recommendation for the city’s fiscal year 2022 property tax rate, which would reduce the commercial and industrial rate level from fiscal year 2021.

“This reduction will support our hardest hit business sectors like our retailers, our restaurants, and our hotels, especially those that saw their property values decrease as a result of the pandemic,” the chamber said in a statement. “We understand the mayor’s need to provide tax relief to the city’s residents during these economically difficult times despite their rising property values, but we appreciate the fact that the mayor recognizes the challenges that continue to face our business community as well. Through his rate recommendation, the mayor has found a way to balance the needs of all constituents while serving as a catalyst for the economic recovery of the city.

“The business community cannot succeed without the residents who work for our companies, organizations, and nonprofits, who shop in our stores, and who dine in our restaurants,” the statement continued. “Residents cannot succeed without the jobs, tax dollars, and charitable giving from our business community.

“We must all continue to work together as we come out of this unprecedented crisis and move the city forward, and we hope that we do not find ourselves in a situation where we are creating opposition against each other,” it went on. “As a member of the city’s Tax Advisory Committee, which has been working to find common ground on this issue and will make its recommendation to the City Council, we hope that the committee and the Council will ultimately come to the same conclusion and find that balance.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — After more than a decade serving the Springfield Regional Chamber (SRC) and overseeing the region’s economic growth, Nancy Creed is stepping down from her position as chamber president to help care for her elderly mother.

Creed served as the president of SRC since 2016, and as vice president of Marketing and Communications for five years prior to her appointment as president. She successfully navigated the chamber through several challenges, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During her tenure with the chamber, Nancy has been an invaluable resource,” said Barbara-Jean Deloria, senior vice president and chief credit risk officer at Florence Bank and chair of SRC’s board of directors. “She has laid the groundwork for the chamber to grow and thrive and has positioned the chamber on solid financial footing. On behalf of the board of directors, I want to express our thanks to Nancy for creating a robust foundation for the future of the chamber. I know how difficult this decision was for her to make, and I applaud her for prioritizing herself and her family. We’re grateful to have her full guidance and support while we recruit a new chamber leader, and we wish her all the best.”

During Creed’s tenure, she repositioned the chamber as a regional organization for businesses in Western Mass., creating a channel for the voices of the Pioneer Valley to be heard by key stakeholders in the eastern part of the Commonwealth. Creed developed a successful future for SRC by establishing educational programming for businesses and dynamic networking opportunities for professionals, engaging members across all industries, creating a minority business council to better support the growing business sector, and issuing informative legislative updates for the community that are now pillars of the chamber’s mission and will continue after her departure.

“The past 18 months have been an incredible challenge, but I am so proud of how we rose to that challenge and met it head on. While we still have work to be done, I recognize that I need to shift my priorities from an executive role to a caregiving role and focus on my family,” Creed said. “I’m incredibly thankful for my time at the chamber, the members I had the pleasure of collaborating with, and all those who worked with me to make the chamber what it is today. I look forward to working closely with Barbara-Jean and the board of directors to assist with the transition and position the next president to be as successful as they can be. I am incredibly proud of the progress and evolution the chamber has made, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity.”

To ensure an orderly transition, Creed will remain president until either a successor is appointed by the chamber’s board of directors, or no later than April 21, 2022. The board has engaged a search committee and recruiter to find the best candidate to serve as the next president of the Springfield Regional Chamber.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber (SRC) will partner with MassHire BizWorks, a division of the MassHire Department of Career Services’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, to offer a free educational webinar for businesses. On Tuesday, Oct. 5 from 8:30 to 10 a.m., participants will meet leading authorities and learn how the state’s economic-development programs can be applied to their businesses.

SRC will offer the webinar in collaboration with all chambers throughout Western Mass., including 1Berkshire, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce, Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, and West of the River Chamber of Commerce. The webinar will outline the tools and resources that are available through MassHire BizWorks and local chambers of commerce to assist business owners.

Since its inception in 2012, MassHire BizWorks has enhanced and aligned the resources and services available to businesses throughout Massachusetts. BizWorks partners with agencies in workforce development, economic development, and education to help businesses grow and thrive. The BizWorks model offers assistance to employers for every stage of the business cycle. Services are available for business growth, expansion, maintenance, and downsizing.

“In this time of recovery, it’s critical that our business community take advantage of all the resources the Commonwealth has to offer, from job recruitment to hiring incentives; tax credits to workforce training, grants, and money-saving initiatives; and everything in between,” Springfield Regional Chamber President Nancy Creed said. “We’re thrilled to involve our members, along with members from neighboring regional chambers, so they can benefit from several money-saving services that are offered by Massachusetts and free for all businesses. Over the years, thousands of companies have profited, grown, and thrived because of BizWorks’ dedication.”

Ken Messina, of both BizWorks and the Department of Labor’s National Rapid Response Workgroup, will lead the webinar’s presentation. Messina has been with MassHire BizWorks since its inception and has started several initiatives, including the first Regional Rapid Response Summit and the Rapid Response Set Aside Fund program, and he developed the Massachusetts Rapid Response model that ensures consistency is maintained statewide. This model has been recognized nationally and duplicated in many other states. In his 30 years of experience, Messina and his team have served more than 12,000 companies, assisting with closings or layoff events that have affected more than a half-million employees.

To register for the free Oct. 5 webinar, click here.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber has partnered with MassHire and the Baker-Polito administration on a statewide virtual job fair, the first of its kind. The event will be held Aug. 16-20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no cost to participate, and the online platform will allow employers to connect with candidates on the spot.

“We are working with our partners across the state and convening the chambers in our region to ensure that this opportunity is available to every business seeking talent and every resident seeking a job,” said Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber. “I encourage you to take advantage of this unique recruiting opportunity to find the talent you need.”

Employers and job seekers can register at www.mass.gov/massachusetts-virtual-job-fair. The fair will focus on all industries on Aug. 16 and 19; manufacturing, professional services, and finance on Aug. 17; healthcare, hospitality, and education on Aug. 18; and information technology, building services, and others on Aug. 20.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber has partnered with MassHire and the Baker-Polito administration on a statewide virtual job fair, the first of its kind. To date, nearly 3,000 job seekers from across the Commonwealth have registered to participate.

The event will be held Aug. 16-20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no cost to participate, and the online platform will allow employers to connect with candidates on the spot.

“We are working with our partners across the state and convening the chambers in our region to ensure that this opportunity is available to every business seeking talent and every resident seeking a job,” said Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber. “I encourage you to take advantage of this unique recruiting opportunity to find the talent you need.”

Employers and job seekers can register at www.mass.gov/massachusetts-virtual-job-fair. The fair will focus on all industries on Aug. 16 and 19; manufacturing, professional services, and finance on Aug. 17; healthcare, hospitality, and education on Aug. 18; and information technology, building services, and others on Aug. 20.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber (SRC) is seeking nominations for its annual Super 60 awards program. Marking its 31st year, Super 60 recognizes the success of the fastest-growing and privately-owned businesses in the region.

The last awards ceremony took place in 2019, honoring winners from 21 communities across the region and representing all sectors of the economy, including real estate, transportation, sports, dining and entertainment, insurance, energy, health care, technology, manufacturing, retail, and service. After a hiatus due to COVID-19, the award program is back, with a nomination deadline of August 6.

Each year, Super 60 identifies the top-performing companies in our region, based on revenue growth and total revenue. In 2019, one-quarter of the Total Revenue winners exceeded $30 million, with all the winners culminating to more than $720 million in revenue. In the Revenue Growth category, all winners had growth above 21%, and 50% of the top 30 companies grew by more than 50%.

“It’s been a tough year, but our region is incredibly strong and we have persevered. We are thrilled to celebrate the robust accomplishments our small businesses have achieved in a year that posed tremendous challenges and adversity,” said Springfield Regional Chamber President Nancy Creed.

To be considered, companies must be independently and privately-owned; based in Hampden or Hampshire counties or be a member of the Springfield Regional Chamber; have revenues of at least $1 million in the last fiscal year; and have been in business for at least three full years. Companies are selected based on their percentage of revenue growth over a full three-year period or total revenues for the latest fiscal year.

Companies may be nominated by financial institutions, attorneys, or accountants, or they can self-nominate. Along with an application, nominators must provide net operating revenue figures for the last three full fiscal years, signed and verified by an independent auditor. All financial information must be reported under generally accepted accounting principles and will be considered confidential.

Nomination forms can be found on the Chamber’s website at www.springfieldregionalchamber.com and can be submitted by faxing to SUPER 60, Springfield Regional Chamber, (413) 755-1322. Nomination forms must be submitted no later than August 6. The Super 60 awards will be presented at the annual luncheon and recognition program on Oct. 22 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

The Super 60 award luncheon attracts nearly 700 business leaders each year. Super 60 sponsorships are now available. For information, call (413) 755-1310 or email Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber, at [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Regional Chamber President Nancy Creed issued a warning to chamber members about a recently reported scam.

“It’s come to our attention that the Springfield Regional Chamber’s likeness is being used in a targeted phishing attack,” she wrote. “You may have received an e-mail regarding membership verification. This is not a chamber-affiliated communication. Please be cautious and do not input any personal data.”

Creed also listed some tips for identifying phishing attacks:

• Check the sender information. Does the email address look suspicious?

• Watch out for shortened links. Cybercriminals often use these — from Bitly and other shortening services — to trick the recipient into thinking they are clicking a legitimate link, when in fact they are being inadvertently directed to a fake site.

• Be wary of threats and urgent deadlines.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber, has been elected president of the Massachusetts Assoc. of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) through 2022. MACCE is a Massachusetts-based organization that offers resources and networking opportunities to its member chamber of commerce professionals across the Commonwealth.

Creed has amassed more than 25 years of strategic alliance building, communications, public relations, media relations, and government and community outreach experience. She has served as president of the Springfield Regional Chamber since 2016. Prior to becoming chamber president, she served as vice president of Marketing and Communications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, is certified in nonprofit organization management through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, and is a 2000 graduate of the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Leadership Institute.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as president of the MACCE board and look forward to connecting with fellow chamber professionals to provide information, education, and peer experiences to help them grow, learn, and succeed,” she said.

Creed has served in a variety of capacities on the MACCE board, including Region 1 vice president, secretary, and vice president.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Longtime ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton will headline the Springfield Regional Chamber’s virtual Outlook on April 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Presented by Baystate Health, Outlook generally brings together more than 500 business leaders to network and hear from expert speakers on local, state, and federal issues.

 

Keynote speaker Compton has 41 years of on-air experience for ABC News. Her tenure spanned seven presidents and 10 presidential campaigns. Assigned to the White House in 1974, she reported for ABC News broadcasts from Washington and around the globe, traveling with presidents, vice presidents, and first ladies. Notably, Compton was the first woman assigned to cover the White House on network television. Compton received special recognition onboard Air Force One during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the awards bestowed on ABC’s coverage which included an Emmy, a Peabody, and a SilverBaton from the DuPont awards at Columbia University.

“This year’s Outlook program will look a little different, but it’s important to note that the content will be just as informative,” said Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber. “It has been a challenging year for our business community, our region, our Commonwealth and our country, but we do have a path forward and are making strides in our recovery. We’re thrilled to be able to discuss what lies ahead with key leaders who are helping our communities rebuild a sustainable future.”

 

The Outlook event will once again be hosted by Congressman Richard E. Neal, who will provide insights on what is happening on Capitol Hill, the American Rescue Plan stimulus package, and what is on the horizon relative to a major infrastructure spending bill. The event will include remarks from recently elected speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Ronald Mariano, who has represented the third Norfolk District, comprised of Quincy, Weymouth, and Holbrook in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1991.

Additional speakers will include Michael Knapik, vice president of Government and Community Relations at Baystate Health, who will serve as the event’s emcee; Springfield’s Mayor Domenic Sarno, and representative of the 8th Hampden District and assistant majority leader, Joseph Wagner.

This year’s Outlook is supported by platinum sponsors: Comcast, Mercy Medical Center, Health New England, Eversource, and United Personnel along with gold sponsors MGM Springfield and BusinessWest. Print and television media partners include The Republican/MassLive and WWLP-TV 22.

Tickets cost $39.95 for Springfield Regional Chamber members and $49.95 for general admission. Enterprise-level tickets (six access passes) for members are available for $179 and enterprise level tickets (six access passes) for general admission are available for $225. Visit www.springfieldregionalchamber.com to register. For additional information, visit [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber will host three virtual events on Wednesdays in January, each dedicated to helping business leaders across Western Mass. navigate the challenges, complexities and hope that the COVID-19 vaccine now offers.

“What to Expect with the COVID-19 Vaccine” is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, will lead a conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine, what businesses can expect, how and when it may be distributed, and more. During this virtual event, sponsored by Health New England, attendees will have the opportunity to have their questions answered by one of the region’s leading public-health experts.

“Navigating the Legal Complexities of the COVID-19 Vaccine in the Workplace” will follow on Wednesday, Jan. 20 from 9 to 10 a.m. Employment attorney Meghan Sullivan of Sullivan Hayes & Quinn will offer insights around navigating the HR complexities of the COVID-19 vaccine and the issues surrounding deployment to the business community. Held with the support of the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast, this event is designed to help small businesses understand their rights and responsibilities when rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine and beyond.

Finally, “Effectively Communicating the COVID-19 Vaccine” will be presented on Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 9 to 10 a.m. Justine Griffin from Rasky Partners will deliver an informative program on developing cross-cultural communications strategies, messaging, and more to gain buy-in on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for employees, business, and the entire community. The Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast is sponsoring this event.

“The COVID-19 vaccine offers the hope of normality and recovery for businesses and our entire region,” said Nancy Creed, Springfield Regional Chamber president. “As we wait for widespread availability, now is the time to prepare, plan, and learn new practices and legal guidelines. Our January event series is designed to help the business community do just that.”

To learn more or register, visit springfieldregionalchamber.com. Chamber members receive exclusive discounts.

Economic Outlook

Springfield Regional Chamber to Host Marijuana Professionals, Officials

There’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the cannabis industry.

Despite the fact that medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts in 2012, and recreational marijuana in 2016, the business community is juggling countless regulations and laws, whether looking to get into the cannabis industry themselves or just dealing with this new economy in general.

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, many of these questions will be answered.

From 12:30 to 5 p.m. at the Springfield Sheraton, the Springfield Regional Chamber will host “The Buzz About Cannabis: Marijuana in the Marketplace and the Workplace,” a collection of business, legal, and medical marijuana professionals, distributors, and entrepreneurs, as well as state cannabis officials, who will give attendees all the information they need to know about cannabis.

Nancy Creed describes retail cannabis sales as just one spur on the wheel of an industry that has pushed its way to the forefront over the last several years, and the president of the Springfield Regional Chamber is making plans to prepare business folks for this rising economic driver.

“The cannabis industry is clearly a, no pun intended, budding industry,” Creed said. “When you look at the revenue associated with it and the taxes, it really is the next economic engine of its time.”

It was a meeting with Cannabis Control Commissioner Kay Doyle that inspired Creed to begin researching this topic.

Nancy Creed describes retail cannabis sales as just one spur on the wheel of an industry that has pushed its way to the forefront over the last several years

“This, to me, was kind of a no-brainer,” Creed said. “We need to make sure that we are at the front of the industry and we are helping businesses either get into the industry or, on the flip side, deal with this new economy.”

The conference itself features an opening keynote from Doyle, breakout sessions focused on topics like “Business Structure and Banking in the Cannabis Industry” and “Cannabis in the Workplace,” and a closing keynote by Beth Waterfall, founder of Elevate Northeast, titled “Cannabis: What’s Next?”

Budding Goals

Chamber leaders thought carefully about what their goals were for the cannabis conference — the first time a chamber in the region has hosted an event of its kind.

Creed said this first conference will take a general focus, building a solid foundation on the basics of the industry — and leaving room for a potential focus on hemp, CBD, or other spokes on the wheel, as she calls them, next year.

The main goal of the conference is to educate attendees on what cannabis is, what they need to know when getting into the industry, and how it affects the economy.

“It’s a place for business people to come and get educated,” she noted. “I think it’s also an opportunity to recognize the growth of the cannabis industry and how that will positively impact our economy and be able to shine a light on it, so people see it as the future of our region.”

In order to accomplish this, she knew they needed to bring in several experts and professionals from different parts of the industry — including someone from the commission, Doyle, to talk about the landscape of the industry and the regulations entrepreneurs need to grapple with.

Next, Creed wanted to ensure the conference featured someone who could help businesses figure out what they needed to know about not only getting into the industry, but also what type of business they would be classified as.

Perhaps most importantly, they needed an expert in the banking industry. Because marijuana is still federally illegal, almost no bank will deal with marijuana businesses — although that could eventually change. Tina Sbrega, CEO of GFA Credit Union, will accompany Scott Foster, partner at Bulkley Richardson, to talk about banking and business structure.

“I want to make sure that businesses understand that, so they are successful when they start out, and aren’t just starting out not thinking through all of the things you need to think through to be a successful business,” Creed said.

She added that this conference is not just for people looking to get into the business, but also for people who just need to understand how it works.

Joanne Berwald, vice president of HR at Mestek; Erica Flores, attorney at Skoler Abbott; and Pam Thornton, director of Strategic HR Services at the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast, will lead a breakout session about recruitment, retention, and employment law.

“There are a lot of complex laws that come into play,” Creed said. “We wanted to make sure, for the rest of the business world that isn’t interested in getting into the cannabis industry, that we had information about what is it like for the other folks working and hiring in a cannabis world.”

For the final breakout session, Creed explained that she wanted to bring in a panel comprised of a marijuana grower, a user, and a distributor, but did not have the internal resources to find people who fit the description. That’s when she reached out to Michael Kusek, cannabis journalist and publisher of Different Leaf magazine. He crafted a team — Noni Goldman, Leslie Laurie, Ezra Parzybok, Karima Rizk, and Payton Shubrick — to talk about their individual niches and how they navigate the cannabis industry in different ways.

Sowing Seeds

Overall, Creed hopes to help as many people as possible navigate a still new and quickly growing industry.

Because it is the first event of its kind, she is unsure just how many people will register, but believes that, once people learn more about the event, they will see the benefits of attending.

“I really don’t know how much the business community is going to understand the conference and embrace the conference,” she said. “Our hope is that they will, but it’s new.”

What she does know is that the cannabis industry is evolving at a rapid rate, and keeping up with the high demand is a must for the chamber.

“It’s a place for business people to come and get educated,” she said. “I think it’s also an opportunity to recognize the growth of the cannabis industry and how that will positively impact our economy, and be able to shine a light on it so people see it as the future of our region — because it’s here.”

Kayla Ebner can be reached at [email protected]

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