Page 49 - BusinessWest May 12, 2021
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 Christopher Howland
Director of Procurement, Logistics, and Special Projects, Auxiliary Enterprises, UMass Amherst; Age 39
    Chris Howland says it was a phone call that ultimately “changed the trajectory of my life’s path.”
It was 2003, and he was a senior at UMass Amherst, working toward a degree in animal
science. Looking for some needed pocket money, he made a call to the university’s Auxiliary
Enterprises in hopes of getting part-time job. Long story short, he did. But what he really
found was a very rewarding career.
“I had aspirations to maybe become a veterinarian or work in a lab,” he told
BusinessWest. “But I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Once I graduated in May, those in Auxiliary Services invited me to stay on
through the summer, and then in the fall ... I just continued on and kept taking on more responsibilities and moving my
way up in the ranks.” That’s putting it mildly.
Today, he’s director of Procurement, Logistics, and
Special Projects for Auxiliary Enterprises, which includes residential and retail dining (the largest and most-awarded collegiate food service on the
country; Princeton Review has ranked it number one for ‘Best Campus Food’ for five years running) as well as catering, concessions, food trucks, the University Club in Amherst, conference services, and more. He currently oversees an annual spending budget of more than $30 million (in a normal, non-pandemic year) and a staff of 10 who administer bids, contracts, vendor payments, accounts payable, and much more.
It’s intriguing work, with “a number of moving parts,” as he put it, with one of the more intriguing — and rewarding — being the ability to work directly with many of the farms he worked with, and learned from, as a student majoring in animal science, like Mapleline Farm in Hadley, which provides milk to the university.
“It’s like coming full circle for me to be able to understand their business, help them with sourcing their milk, and telling their story,” Howland said. “And I’ve been able to do that with a lot of different farmers.”
While his work keeps him busy, as in very busy,
he says weekends are reserved for family time, and he, his wife Karen, and two daughters, Emma and Violet, are looking forward to the day when loosened pandemic restrictions will allow for more day trips
to museums, zoos, aquariums, and other places that blend fun with learning.
—George O’Brien
  Kelly Lamas
BSEP Program Coordinator and Mobile Health Bus Project Coordinator, Baystate Medical Center; Age 36
    Kelly Lamas has always taken a street-level view of healthcare delivery — in some ways, quite literally. “I grew up wanting to do something to help people,”
she said, and that passion eventually led her into the world of public health, most notably her role with the Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership (BSEP), starting in 2017.
“I run most of the high-school programming for students after school,” she said of the 13-year-old partnership between Baystate and Springfield’s public schools, providing career-exploration courses in medicine, nursing, and allied health.
Lamas brought a public-health perspective to the program at a time when Baystate Health was more broadly embracing a population-based healthcare model and building bridges to public-health initiatives in the community.
“We’re having students really look at health through different lenses, root causes, social determinants of health, and we created a couple of project-based classes,” she explained. Specifically, in partnership
with Focus Springfield Community Television, students created PSAs on topics like distracted driving and mental health.
Through BSEP, she also developed partnerships with organizations like Gardening in the Community and the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, and helped develop a community health worker certificate program at Holyoke Community College.
Now Lamas is shifting gears — again, both literally and figuratively — by leading Baystate’s mobile health unit. TD Bank awarded Baystate Health a $1 million grant to fund, outfit, and operate a mobile health clinic that will improve access to preventive care in underserved urban and rural communities.
“Transportation is the biggest barrier to healthcare for people, whether they live in urban or rural areas. So we started thinking about meeting communities where they are,” she said.
The unit will provide prevention, education, and screening services while offering on-the-ground training for hundreds of nurses, medical students, pharmacists, and other health professionals every year. Many individuals are not currently receiving these needed services because of financial and transportation barriers or a lack of providers in their neighborhoods.
“This is all about meeting people where they are,” said Lamas, who was also recently elected to the Ludlow Board of Health. “We’re changing the way education
is delivered, too. The students, who will eventually be doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, are working together and communicating in teams to deliver the best care. They’re seeing the vital role each member of the
team brings and moving the needle toward healthier outcomes.”
—Joseph Bednar
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