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Catherine Rioux

Catherine Rioux

Monson Savings Bank announced the recent promotion of Catherine Rioux to commercial portfolio officer. She will be based out of the Monson Savings Bank Loan & Operations Center at 75 Post Office Park in Wilbraham. Rioux is very involved in the local communities. She is a member of the Ludlow Rotary Club and the Monson High School scholarship committee, and volunteers with local organizations, including St. Patrick’s Church and I Found Light Against All Odds. She is a graduate of Western New England University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is also a graduate of the New England School of Financial Studies and the Springfield Regional Chamber Leadership Institute. Rioux has had the unique opportunity of working in many departments of the bank, gaining vast knowledge of the industry. In 2006, she started her career with Monson Savings Bank as a high-school intern in the Human Resources department. When her internship ended, she accepted a position as a receptionist, shortly after moving to the Retail department. In 2013, she joined the Residential Lending department as a residential loan servicer. In early 2015, she accepted a position in the Commercial department as a commercial loan servicer. She thrived in this department and would go on to become a junior credit analyst before being promoted to credit analyst. Prior to this most recent promotion, she served as commercial portfolio manager.

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Matt Eddy

Matt Eddy

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union recently introduced the newest leader of its Northampton VA Medical Center branch, Matt Eddy. Eddy began his career at UMassFive three years ago as a member service specialist at the credit union’s King Street, Northampton branch, where his standards for outstanding service quickly created a rapport among the Northampton membership and built the foundation for his promotion to manager of the Northampton VA Medical Center branch. In his new position, he now oversees the day-to-day operations of the Northampton VA Medical Center branch, including leading a team that cultivates a positive banking experience with each member interaction. He is also in charge of maintaining branch compliance.

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Lachlan Harris

Lachlan Harris

Florence Bank promoted Lachlan Harris to the position of information security administration officer. Harris joined Florence Bank in 2016. Prior to his recent promotion, he had served as the information and cybersecurity administrator. In his new role, he will be responsible for security protocols throughout the bank’s information infrastructure. He is a certified information systems security professional and also a member of the Global Information Assurance Certification Advisory Board.

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Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) announced the appointment of Gabriela Sheehan as its new Berkshires resettlement coordinator. Sheehan comes to JFS with master’s degree in career and technical education from Northern Arizona University, and more than 10 years of experience teaching in the Pittsfield public-school system. In addition, she served on the United Educator of Pittsfield board for two years, and recently taught ESL to multilingual students in grades 5-8 at Du Bois Middle School. She will join JFS’ New American Program to facilitate the reception and placement of Afghan evacuees in Berkshire County, including coordinating with legal, housing, education, government, advocacy, and social-service agencies and businesses to advance opportunities for refugees to survive, integrate, and thrive in Berkshire County. She will also work closely with volunteer leaders and organizations taking part in resettlement efforts. She will begin her new position on Dec. 6. Sheehan credits growing up in a multi-lingual, bicultural home, and her late father, Ramiro Guerrero, who was a champion for justice for the Latino community in the Berkshires, for giving her the incentive to become a strong advocate for immigrant families. She looks forward to sharing her passion for cultural diversity with the greater community.

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Cecile Mejean

Cecile Mejean

OMG Inc., a Steel Partners company and a leading manufacturer of fasteners, adhesives, and construction-productivity tools marketed through its FastenMaster and Roofing Products divisions, named Cecile Mejean director of the New Product Development & Innovation Department for its OMG Roofing Products division. She will lead the new-product development team, driving product and application innovation for the division. In addition, she will lead the Technical Services organization in delivering technical product support and managing codes and approvals. She reports to Peter Coyne, senior vice president and general manager. Mejean joins OMG Roofing Products from Saint-Gobain High-Performance Materials. She spent the past nine years in research and development and business-leadership roles, most recently as business manager for the electronic market. Before Saint-Gobain, she held research positions at Yale University Medical School and Harvard University. She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science from Yale University and master’s degrees in soft matter, colloids, and polymers from the University of Bordeaux and in chemical engineering from the Ecole National Superieure de Physique et Chimie de Bordeaux, both in Bordeaux, France.

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Mike Kelly

Smith Brothers Insurance hired Mike Kelly as private client practice leader. He is responsible for private-client growth initiatives, client service, and enhancing the company’s people-focused culture. Kelly brings 15 years of experience in the insurance industry on the agent, broker, and carrier sides, with key leadership roles in high-net-worth personal lines. Most recently, he was vice president, regional executive for PURE Insurance, a carrier that specializes in financially successful families.

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Dr. Simone Alter-Muri

Dr. Simone Alter-Muri, Springfield College’s director and professor for Art Therapy/Counseling and Art Education Programs, recently received the American Art Therapy Assoc. (AATA) 2021 Outstanding Creative Applied Practice Award (OCAPA). Alter-Muri received her honor during the AATA’s recent 2021 virtual awards ceremony. The criteria for this award included personal art making that emphasized social justice, resilience, and the promotion of art therapy in the community. Alter-Muri’s art making has demonstrated a commitment to creative practice and has significantly influenced the art-therapy community with these art-based practices. She has demonstrated support for the value of art in art therapy as evidenced by both personal and professional practice as an artist and art therapist. The OCAPA is designated for an active member of the AATA whose contributions as an artist and art therapist (or student in a current art-therapy program) have significantly influenced the art-therapy profession. The AATA is dedicated to the growth and development of the art-therapy profession. Founded in 1969, the association is one of the world’s leading art-therapy membership organizations. Its mission is to advance art therapy as a regulated mental-health profession and build a community that supports art therapists throughout their careers.

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Diane Brunelle

Diane Brunelle

Dennis Duquette

Dennis Duquette

Mark O’Connell

Mark O’Connell

The Elms College board of trustees appointed three regional leaders — Diane Brunelle, Dennis Duquette, and Mark O’Connell — to serve on the board. Brunelle, a 1984 alumna, is president of the Elms College Alumni Assoc. and has been a member of the association since 2012. She is a retired nurse executive who has more than 30 years of experience serving in leadership positions at acute healthcare facilities in both Massachusetts and Vermont, including Shriners Hospital for Children, Baystate Health, Holyoke Medical Center, and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. She has served on numerous boards throughout her career and was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Elms in 2013. Brunelle was a member of the college’s first RN-to-BSN class. She also received her master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Massachusetts and is a graduate of the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program through the Wharton School and Leonard David School of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Duquette is head of Community Responsibility for MassMutual in Springfield and president and CEO of the MassMutual Foundation. He and his team are responsible for setting corporate community-relations strategy development and driving community investments, philanthropy, and community-impact program management for the firm nationally. Duquette has worked in financial services for 40 years; he began his career at MassMutual just out of college and then worked for Fidelity Investments in Boston for 27 years. He returned to MassMutual in his current role in 2016. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, graduating cum laude with a double major in communications and English. He earned a master’s degree in administrative studies, also from Boston College, and later earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University. He currently serves on the board of directors at the Jump$tart Coalition in Washington, D.C. as well as the community and government relations committee for the Springfield Museums. O’Connell is a principal in Wolf & Company’s assurance group and is the firm’s president and CEO, responsible for leading Wolf’s overall strategic direction. He has more than 40 years of experience providing audit and financial reporting services to both privately held and publicly traded financial institutions, as well as holding companies (including community banks and mortgage banking institutions) across New England. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western New England University and is a former board member and board president with the Children’s Study Home in Springfield.

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Marylou Fabbo

Marylou Fabbo

Timothy Murphy

Timothy Murphy

Amelia Holstrom

Amelia Holstrom

Meaghan Murphy

Meaghan Murphy

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that two of its attorneys, Marylou Fabbo and Timothy Murphy, have been selected to the 2021 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list in the field of employment and labor law. Additionally, attorneys Amelia Holstrom and Meaghan Murphy were named to the 2021 Massachusetts Rising Stars list. Fabbo has been selected to Super Lawyers 11 times and was twice prior named to the Rising Stars list. A partner and head of the firm’s litigation team, she represents employers in litigation before state and federal courts as well as agencies in Massachusetts and Connecticut. She also has more than 25 years of experience providing legal advice to clients to reduce the risk they will unknowingly engage in illegal employment practices. Murphy was selected to Super Lawyers for the third time after twice being named to the Rising Stars list. Focusing his practice on labor relations, union campaigns, collective bargaining and arbitration, employment litigation, and employment counseling, he has been included in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2013 and was named Lawyer of the Year in 2015, 2019, 2020, and 2021. He is very active within the local community, sitting on boards of directors for several area organizations, including the Human Service Forum and Community Legal Aid. Holstrom and Murphy have both been selected to the Massachusetts Rising Stars list for the fourth time. Massachusetts Rising Stars recognizes no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in the state. Holstrom defends employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful termination, as well as actions arising under the Family Medical Leave Act and wage-and-hour laws. She also frequently provides counsel to management regarding litigation-avoidance strategies. She was awarded the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. Community Service Award in 2016, and was named in 2017 as an Up & Coming Lawyer by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly at its Excellence in the Law event. Murphy advises clients regarding all employment-related matters, including compliance with state, federal, and local laws, as well as discipline of employees. She also creates workplace policies for clients and represents them in various forums, including at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, government agencies, and in state and federal court.

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Antonio Dos Santos

Antonio Dos Santos

Crear, Chadwell, Dos Santos & Devlin, P.C. announced that Partner Antonio Dos Santos was selected to the 2021 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list in the field of real estate. Dos Santos focuses his practice on all facets of commercial real estate, commercial finance, and general business law. He has significant experience representing developers, investors, and lenders regarding complex commercial real-estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, financing, zoning, and permitting. Additionally, he represents many closely held businesses regarding entity formation, succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, and financing. Active in the community, Dos Santos currently serves as general counsel for a local nonprofit organization, providing advice for all its day-to-day operations, including its development of affordable housing in Massachusetts and throughout the U.S. He also currently serves as chairman of the Westmass Area Development Corp. board of directors.

Daily News

LUDLOW — PV Financial Group recently welcomed two new members to its team — Antonio Bastos as retirement plan coordinator and Andrea Santos as digital marketing specialist. Both will be working in PV’s main office located in Ludlow.

Upon graduating from Nichols College in Dudley with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Bastos accepted a job with MassMutual Retirement Services. During his five years with the company, he represented and sold MassMutual’s qualified retirement plan platform to small and mid-sized businesses. Bastos also obtained his Series 6 and Series 63 licenses while gaining beneficial knowledge and experience with qualified retirement plans.

At PV Financial, Bastos’s role is to manage all the qualified retirement plan clients, from day-to-day servicing to fielding all inquiries from retirement plan participants and plan trustees. He will also maintain relationships with retirement-plan providers in the industry. Other responsibilities will include staying connected and up-to-date on new products, services, and ERISA compliance regulations so he can properly and confidently serve PV Financial’s retirement plan clients and participants.

“By having Tony join the team at PV Financial, we have committed to the qualified retirement plan marketplace,” said Edward Sokolowski, PV’s managing partner. “As many local financial firms have been exiting this business, Tony will be able to fill the void and offer professional guidance to companies looking for quality advice for their retirement plans.”

Santos graduated from Holyoke Community College with an associate’s degree in Business Administration, as well as from Elms College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing. Upon graduating from Elms, Santos accepted a job at Northwestern Mutual. During her four years with the company, she held the position of director of Client Services, where she was responsible for the oversight of new business insurance applications and investment accounts, as well as insurance underwriting correspondence. She also worked with clients directly on account inquiries and led the office’s marketing efforts.

At PV Financial, Santos will be the digital marketing specialist. She will be the first point of contact for new and current clients who are a part of PV Financial’s new program, PV Navigator. Other responsibilities include maintaining the program’s website and social media accounts, staying up to date with the services provided within the program, maintaining relationships with the program’s clients, and assisting the advisors with outreach.

“Having Andrea join our team is a major step in the future success of PV Financial,” said Sokolowski. “Andrea’s talents in social media and client relationships will be a cornerstone to our newly launched investment program, PV Navigator.  I look forward to the energy and focus Andrea will bring to our firm and the positive impact she will have on our clients.”

Healthcare Heroes

Amid the Crisis at the Soldiers’ Home, This Small Army Answered the Call

The Staff of Holyoke Medical Center

The Staff of Holyoke Medical Center

It was coming up to noon on Friday, April 4, and the staff at Holyoke Medical Center was frantically working to ready facilities there for the arrival of residents of the nearby Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, who needed to be relocated in the midst of a tragic COVID-19 disaster that would make headlines across the country.

Carl Cameron, HMC’s chief operating officer, who was overseeing that work, was on the phone with his boss, hospital President and CEO Spiros Hatiras, who was telling him that some promised National Guard personnel would likely soon be arriving from the Soldiers’ Home to help with the massive and complex undertaking.

Cameron’s response more than sets the tone for a truly inspiring story that most still haven’t heard, but certainly should.

“I told him that at that point not to bother,” he recalled. “Because we had our own army of people. And it was absolutely outstanding and amazing how that team came together and got this done.”

“We had our own army of people. And it was absolutely outstanding and amazing how that team came together and got this done.”

Indeed, HMC’s small army, which would grow in numbers in the coming days and weeks, as we’ll see, came together in every way imaginable to bring 39 residents of the home into a hospital that was in the early stages of the COVID-19 fight itself. An acute-care hospital, HMC was not in the business of providing long-term care. But, to borrow a phrase from hockey, it shifted on the fly, and essentially got into that business.

There was a learning curve — staff members were certainly not used to people in HMC’s beds making requests (better make that demands) for their favorite brand of beer — but they did learn, and they made the veterans/patients/residents feel at home at an extremely difficult time.

They decorated the hastily created living spaces with flags and red, white, and blue ornaments. They found the soldiers television sets. They provided much-needed information and comfort to those soldiers’ family members, many of whom had no idea where they were. They’ve helped a few of their guests celebrate 100th birthdays since their arrival. Outpatient physical therapists were taken off furlough to become veterans’ liaisons, helping the Soldiers’ Home residents with daily functions as well as helping them maintain connections with loved ones. Office assistants stepped in to assist with patient care.

Summing it all up, Hatiras said his staff came together, as perhaps never before, amid a crisis that tested the medical center on every level imaginvable — and earned the designation of Healthcare Hero for 2020 not only from BusinessWest, but from the Huron Studer Group, one of only four such awards that organization issued across the entire U.S.

Spiros Hatiras

Spiros Hatiras

“Everyone put their roles aside and said, ‘all hands on deck.”

“Everyone put their roles aside and said, ‘all hands on deck,’” Hatiras noted, summoning still more military language as he praised every department in the hospital, from Plant Operations to Communications to Environmental Services, for the specific roles they played. “And what we’ve learned, aside from all the bonding and being more comfortable in different roles, is that we’ve technically become much more astute. We’ve learned things from a technical standpoint that would allow us to respond to a second wave or other kind of pandemic, because now we’ve got it right; we know how to convert rooms under pressure, we know how to isolate people, we know how to shift things around, we know how to use alternative ways. We’ve learned so much by going through this.”

As several of those involved with this herculean effort talked with BusinessWest about it, much of the discussion focused on that first day and night — and for a reason.

The hard work of setting up spaces for the soldiers — an outpatient cardiac-services unit and a maternity unit that has seen declining volume for several years — had been completed by mid-afternoon — as noted, without the help of the National Guard.

As he talked about the mad dash to get the rooms ready, Angelo Martinez, a member of the Plant Operations team, spoke for everyone in the room when he spoke of those who be staying in those rooms.

“At end of the day, I was tired, but it was a good feeling,” he said. “Because these veterans did a lot for us, and we owe them for all they’ve done.”

Those units were ready by 3 p.m., the end of a shift for many of those involved. But just about everyone stayed until those soldiers finally started arriving by van in the early evening. And they stayed on until the last of them arrived around midnight. And still they stayed on until the soldiers were settled into their new quarters.

Kaitlyn Nadeau, a surgical technologist, was one of them. She told BusinessWest she was unaware that the hospital was taking on the veterans because it had been a busy day in the operating rooms. When she learned, around 3 in the afternoon, she and others went about setting out a welcome mat.

Korean War Veteran Richard Madura, seen here with recreational therapist Mary Argenio, is one of 39 veterans who found a new home at Holyoke Medical Center.

“We made hearts to put on the walls because … it’s a basement, and it’s white walls, and it’s kind of scary when you walk in,” she explained. “So we decorated it like we were going to stay there. Because if it were my grandparents coming in … most of these people are confused as is, and they’re coming to this facility they’ve never been to.

“So we decided we were going to stay there,” she went on. “Hours went by, and they still hadn’t arrived because it’s quite the process to get them here. Finally, I said, ‘let’s get more people down here.’ My boss just started grabbing people from everywhere; people from the command center showed up, and managers from other departments, and CNAs … everyone just came together, including people I’d never met before in my life, to welcome them here and get them settled in.”

This coming together as a team during that first 24 hours or so set the tone, but it was really only the first chapter in a story that, seven months later, is still being written.

Indeed, soon after the veterans arrived, some began showing signs of the virus, meaning more space would have to be readied for these guests, and single rooms would be needed to slow and hopefully stifle any spread.

Also, the hospital, and especially its nursing staff, had to pivot to providing long-term-care services.

“Being an acute-care hospital, we’re not normally planning things out for long-term-care residents,” Nurse Manager Christina Straney said. “But many of our nurses have worked in long-term care, so they stepped up and said, ‘let me take this, let me run with this, let me show you what we do in nursing homes and how we care for patients.’”

Meanwhile, some of the certified nursing assistants had worked at the Soldiers’ Home and recognized some of the patients, she went on, adding that this helped create a fluid, almost seamless transition for the veterans.

Likewise, the furloughed physical therapists stepped into their new roles as veterans’ liaisons, a role that came about out of necessity, Hatiras explained.

“We had the matter of individual preferences,” he said. “I would get on a Zoom call, and I would have family members say, ‘remember, Ed doesn’t eat eggs, and he doesn’t like mayo, and he takes his tuna fish this way, and he likes his newspaper every morning’ … and I’m like, ‘whoa, how am I going to remember all this stuff?’”

The solution was to assign liaisons to each of the veterans. Jeff Ferriss is one of them. He was furloughed on a Friday and called back to work the following Monday to serve in this unique role.

“My father was a veteran — he spent 20 years in the Air Force. My brother spent four. And I’m also a veteran — I was in the National Guard and the Air Force Reserves,” he said. “So this was the perfect transition for me; I was happy to come back and help out. Our job was to keep the family members informed, but being therapists, we tried to goad them into therapy too. Some of them may not have wanted to do that, but over time, they needed to — they were stuck in their rooms, and we were trying to keep their minds going and keep them going physically. It’s been an honor to serve these people.”

Veterans like Richard Madura. A Korean War vet, he will tell you (without much prodding, by the way) that, through his 85 years, he’s been fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time — on most occasions.

Indeed, the long-time Chicopee resident arrived in Korea just as the truce between the warring factions was being signed. And when it looked like he was ticketed for taking up a gun and maintaining the peace along the DMZ, an officer who noticed on his résumé that he had musical experience and had been part of some polka bands, let him take up a clarinet in an Army band instead. To make a long story shorter, his band entered a string of talent contests, ultimately won first prize, and wound up on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Madura told BusinessWest that this habit of being in the right place extends to his current, but certainly not permanent, mailing address at Holyoke Medical Center.

“They take really good care of you here,” he said, not wanting to compare the facilities to those he left just up the hill at the Soldiers’ Home, although he did hint that the desserts are better — and larger — at HMC. “I’m fortunate to be here; we all are.”

Indeed they are. A small army answered the call last April, and it is still answering the call, making the staff at HMC a true Healthcare Hero in a year when there are many to celebrate.

 

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

People on the Move
Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral, a former accounting professor and interim dean of Business and Technology at Holyoke Community College, has been appointed the new director of Training & Workforce Options, a workforce-development partnership between HCC and Springfield Technical Community College. Cabral succeeds Jeffrey Hayden, who maintains his position as HCC’s vice president of Business and Community Services. As director of TWO, she will also continue in her position as director of the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute (MCCTI), the gaming school HCC runs jointly with STCC and MGM Springfield at 95 State St. in Springfield. Before being named director of MCCTI last fall, Cabral served as interim dean of Business and Technology at HCC, where she was a member of the project team that helped bring the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute to life. Cabral holds a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University and an MBA from Elms College. She joined the faculty of HCC in 2014 as a full-time professor of accounting.

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Kevin Bramlett

Kevin Bramlett

Adam Cincotta

Adam Cincotta

As part of the previously announced organizational change to position the company for future growth, OMG Inc. promoted Kevin Bramlett and Adam Cincotta into new business-unit leadership positions for the Roofing Products Division. Each will oversee all facets of their respective business unit, including strategic sales and marketing activities, planning, forecasting, and manufacturing, as well as business-unit profit and loss. Bramlett was named director of the metal accessories business unit, which is predominantly OMG EdgeSystems, the company’s line of fascia, coping, and water-control products. Bramlett has been with the company since July 2012, most recently as the manufacturing manager for the OMG edge business. Before joining OMG, he was a mechanical engineer with Thermo-Fisher Scientific. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Cincotta was named director of the adhesives/solar business unit, which includes OlyBond Adhesives, the industry’s popular line of insulation and fleece membrane adhesive, as well as its OMG PowerGrip line of solar anchors. He joined OMG Roofing Products as a product manager in 2014, and was promoted to group product manager in 2017. Before joining OMG, he was with Lenox Tools/Newell Rubbermaid, where he worked as a senior product manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and management from Cornell University and an MBA from UMass.

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Kelly Marcroft

Kelly Marcroft

Kelly Marcroft, Holyoke Medical Center’s director of Emergency Services, has been selected to join an expert panel to improve patient safety in emergency medicine. The panel was convened by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety, a Massachusetts state agency that catalyzes the efforts of providers, patients, and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of healthcare. The goal of this expert panel is to develop, aggregate, and disseminate practical recommendations and tools to support the efforts of Massachusetts acute-care hospitals to advance the safe delivery of emergency care in their facilities. The panel will deliberate on and endorse a set of core safety competencies that all Massachusetts emergency departments should foster, as well as create a set of best-practice standards, tools, and resources to share throughout the greater emergency-medicine community in Massachusetts. The expert panel consists of nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors from several hospitals throughout the state, including Baystate Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and UMass Memorial Medical Center. The group first met on June 26 in Boston and will continue to meet monthly over the next year.

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Angela Barahona

Angela Barahona

Country Bank announced that Angela Barahona has joined its Commercial Banking division as vice president of Business Development and Cash Management. She brings 17 years of experience in the industry, having held various positions over the years in customer service, management, municipal and government banking, business development, and corporate cash management. She is currently working toward her associate degree from the New England College of Business and Finance with a concentration in business adminstration. Barahona began her financial-services career at Country Bank in 2001 in its retail banking area. A relocation in 2006 to the eastern part of Massachusetts brought her to State Street Bank Corp. in its wire division and later to Century Bank. For the last 13 years at Century, she held various positions working her way through the ranks, where she found her passion in helping business customers.

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Clare Lamontagne

Clare Lamontagne

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Clare Lamontagne as its new dean of Health Sciences. Lamontagne, a registered nurse who holds a Ph.D. in nursing, brings 40 years of experience to HCC as a nursing educator, administrator, clinician, and consultant. For the past seven years, she has been a member of the full-time nursing faculty at UMass Amherst, having also served there as director of the undergraduate nursing program. She began her career in 1978 as a charge nurse at Ludlow Hospital after earning her associate degree in nursing from Springfield Technical Community College, where she worked as a member of the nursing faculty from 1988 to 2011. Lamontagne holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from American International College, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in nursing from UMass Amherst. She has also worked as a nurse at Baystate Medical Center and as a volunteer at the Pioneer Valley Free Health Clinic in East Longmeadow, and has taught in the nursing programs at UConn, Elms College, and Baystate Health.

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Alta Stark has been named director of Communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield. She is responsible for developing, writing, and producing various printed and electronic publications, providing printed materials and signs, publicity for events, advertising, and technical support. She will also work to cultivate and maintain relationships with local, regional, and national media, as well as Catholic media, and produce content for the Sisters of St. Joseph social-media sites. Stark is a communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations, and the news media. Most recently, she taught graduate-level online courses in public relations for Western New England University. Previously, she served as the director of Marketing & Public Relations for JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, successfully rebranding the 106-year organization and helping launch the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation. Stark has also served as senior Communications specialist for Baystate Health and Communications director for the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (now the Springfield Regional Chamber) and the Western Mass. Economic Development Council. She also spent nearly a decade producing award-winning broadcast news in several markets in the Northeast, including WWLP 22News. Stark holds a master’s degree in television, radio, and film with a concentration in broadcast news from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and graduated cum laude from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts with a bachelor’s degree in advertising design.

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Claudia Pazmany

Claudia Pazmany

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County (BBBSHC), a program of CHD, announced the appointment of Claudia Pazmany as its new advisory board president. Pazmany, the new executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, joined BBBSHC as an advisory board member in May 2016. She served on the development committee and led the efforts to celebrate outgoing Executive Director Renee Moss, while simultaneously serving on the search committee to hire her replacement, current Executive Director Jessie Cooley. “Claudia’s successful 17-year history in professional fundraising has made her a true steward of her craft in philanthropy, and this is part of what drew her to us,” said Cooley. “Claudia is also passionate about the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters, with contagious enthusiasm and innovative ideas, and she will help lead us into the next phase of our program’s growth.”

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Krish Thiagarajan, an expert on marine renewable energy and energy-producing offshore structures, has been appointed to the endowed chair in Renewable Energy in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. Thiagarajan will collaborate with state Department of Energy Resources staff on renewable-energy research and projects. His studies focus on harvesting energy from waves in marine environments, and his expertise will broaden and strengthen the research program in renewable energy at UMass Amherst, which has long been a national leader in wind energy. Thiagarajan came to UMass Amherst last spring after serving six years as the presidential chair in Energy at the University of Maine, where his research attracted more than $22 million in funding. At Maine, he also led the Marine Ocean and Offshore Research (MOOR) Group, which studied how human-made structures interact with the complex ocean environment. Thiagarajan completed his bachelor’s degree in naval architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. He earned a master’s degree in ocean engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland before pursuing further graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and naval architecture and marine engineering, as well as a Ph.D. in naval architecture and marine engineering.

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Mika Nash has joined American International College (AIC) as executive vice president for Academic Affairs. She comes to AIC from Champlain College in Vermont, where she served as dean of Continuing Professional Studies. Nash has more than 20 years of experience in the field of higher education, with the majority of her career spent in senior leadership. In her most recent role, she was tasked with the development and administration of all academic and operational responsibilities associated with running the Continuing Professional Studies academic unit with management oversight for all curricula, academic programs, academic policies, articulation agreements, eLearning, faculty recruiting, training and development, and building student, family, and academic support services. A particular area of interest and scholarship for Nash continues to be technology innovation to expand the student experience and engagement in course content. Prior to joining Champlain College in 2007, Nash served as dean for the School of Hospitality and Restaurant Management at the New England Culinary Institute. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Vermont. She has a doctorate in higher educational leadership and policy studies.

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Scott Higgins

Scott Higgins

Erin Wilde

Erin Wilde

HUB International New England, LLC, a division of HUB International Limited, a global insurance brokerage, recently announced that Scott Higgins joined the agency as an account executive for Commercial Lines, and Erin Wilde has come on board as a client relationship manager. Both will work in the East Longmeadow office. Higgins will be responsible for servicing medium- to large-sized businesses with a focus on property and casualty products. Having first started his career as a collision repair manager with GM for more than 20 years, he has a vast background in providing settlements for collision repairs. From there, he held various positions with MetLife and MetLife Financial. Wilde will work closely with the HUB New England Employee Benefits team to service existing clients with marketing, benefits communications, regulatory requirements, cost-saving measures, and enrollment, as well as assisting with new prospects. Having worked in the employee-benefits field, including stops at Bank of Tampa and Sullivan Benefits, she has a background servicing nonprofits.

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Springfield Technical Community College announced that Erica Eynouf was named dean of Library, Matthew Gravel was named dean of Academic Initiatives, and Inder Singh was named assistant vice president/chief Information officer. Eynouf joined the college in September 2012 as a reference library, and had served as interim dean of Library Services since August 2017. She holds a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. She received her bachelor’s degree in critical social theory from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. Gravel was most recently dean of Enrollment Management. He joined STCC in August 2001 as the director of Academic Advising, became registrar in March 2005, and was promoted to dean of Curriculum in January 2012. Among his job responsibilities, he will plan and manage academic initiatives and program review efforts. He earned a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in English from UMass Dartmouth. Singh had served as interim AVP/CIO since January. Previously, he served as CIO at Union County College in New Jersey and worked in IT leadership positions for 28 years at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He holds an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Delhi University, India.

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Kathleen Anderson

Kathleen Anderson

Holyoke Medical Center announced the appointment of Kathleen Anderson as the hospital’s director of Community Benefits. She begins her new role on Aug. 27, providing programs and services to improve health in communities and helping to increase access to healthcare. She will succeed Helen Arnold following her retirement after a 42-year career with Holyoke Medical Center. Anderson most recently served as president of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and its affiliated Centennial Foundation. Prior to that, she served as Holyoke’s Planning and Economic Development director, as well as chief of staff for two Holyoke mayors. She serves on the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council, and chairs both the Holyoke Salvation Army and Economic Development Partners of the Western Mass. Economic Development Council.

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The duMONT Co. and Hassay Savage Co. announced the promotion of Cynthia Cote to president of both companies. Cote joined duMONT with new ownership in 2016 as the company’s chief financial officer. Both duMONT and Hassay Savage companies are leaders in linear industrial broaching technology. In 2018, the companies will break ground on a new manufacturing facility to prepare for additional growth through research and development as well as acquisition. In addition to her accomplishments in manufacturing, Cote and her husband own and run a construction company and a real-estate management company in Shelburne Falls.

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HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts recently named Kathy Casagrande as director of Case Management and Mary-Anne Schelb as Business Development director. These leadership-team members will support initiatives to uphold high-quality patient care at the 53-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital located at 222 State St., Ludlow. Casagrande has been a social worker and case manager in a hospital setting for more than 30 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Western New England College in 1985 and began her career at HealthSouth Western Massachusetts in March 1996 in the capacity of discharge planner. She was promoted to case manager in 1997. Schelb serves as director of Marketing Operations at HealthSouth Western Massachusetts. She began her career with an accounting certification from St. John’s School of Business and found herself drawn to a more health- and wellness-based path as a holistic health practitioner holding master/teacher certifications from the International Center for Reiki Training. In addition, she is a certified cranial sacral therapist in Profound Neutral from the Neurovascular Institute.

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Zoar Outdoor recently trained five new guides to lead its canopy-tour experience in a 40-hour process that covered topics from safety to assessing the guest’s state of mind. All five guide candidates aced written exams and technical drills on June 15, the last day of the training. Hired for the remainder of the season, which ends in November, were Brian Schempf, Matt Drazek, Haley Rode, Abby Schlinger, and Tynan Hewes. All of the trainees had previous experience riding a zipline, and they all also had outdoor experience ranging from hiking to mountain climbing. Zoar currently has 43 guides for its zipline canopy tour, which was the first zip tour in southern New England.

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