1. Articles from Joseph Bednar

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    1. Massachusetts Is Fertile Ground for Biotechnology Careers

      Massachusetts Is Fertile Ground for Biotechnology Careers

      For college students — or career changers — seeking a career path with plenty of opportunity close to home, biotechnology in Massachusetts is certainly enjoying an enviable wave. For example, drug research and development — one key field in the broad world of biotech — has been surging in Massachusetts for well over a decade, and isn’t slowing down, according to the annual report released in November by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, or MassBio. According to that report, Massachusetts has more jobs classified as biotechnology R&D than any other state (see table below), with 34,366 currently employed — a 40% increase since ...

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    2. Granite State Development Corp. Helps Businesses — and the Economy — Expand

      Granite State Development Corp. Helps Businesses — and the Economy — Expand

      Certified development companies, or CDCs, are entities that partner with banks to help small businesses secure financing to grow their operations. But in doing so, they’re also growing the economy by promoting economic development, which is, in fact, a key element of their mission. Since its inception in New Hampshire in 1982 — and its subsequent, ever-expanding work across Massachusetts — Granite State Development Corp. has been executing that mission.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    3. New Developments Light the Way in Chicopee

      New Developments Light the Way in Chicopee

      Mayor Richard Kos is fond of pointing out that Chicopee is alone among Western Mass. communities in having two exits off the Mass Pike — and now it has a third ‘beacon’ of sorts, as he calls it, with the new Mercedes-Benz dealership lighting the night as it overlooks the Pike at exit 6. “One of the benefits of Chicopee is its convenience, as well as being a great place to do business,” Kos told BusinessWest. “That’s why Mercedes chose to build in that location. Having two exits on the turnpike is unique in Western Mass., let alone being close ...

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    4. The O’Connell Companies Opens a New Headquarters in Holyoke

      The O’Connell Companies Opens a New Headquarters in Holyoke

      The O’Connell Companies traces its history in Holyoke back to 1879, when Daniel O’Connell founded the construction company that eventually branched into property design, management, development, and much more. For more than a century, the company was housed in limited quarters on Hampden Street, but a new headquarters on Kelly Way offers more space, amenities, and opportunities for what one of the firm’s executives called “cross-fertilization.”

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    5. Steve Rosenkrantz Touts Franchise Ownership with the Entrepreneur’s Source

      Steve Rosenkrantz Touts Franchise Ownership with the Entrepreneur’s Source

      Western Mass. has seen an impressive surge in entrepreneurship over the past decade, but when people think about the successes, they tend to call to mind startups and independent companies. But there is another way to succeed in business ownership, and that’s through franchising. Through a national company called Entrepreneur’s Source, Steve Rosenkrantz has been matching clients with franchises for 17 years — by focusing on what they want not just in a career, but out of life.

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    6. Baystate’s Jane Albert Embraces Change in Many Ways

      Baystate’s Jane Albert Embraces Change in Many Ways

      From her early days in marketing, Jane Albert had a goal — to work in the field of healthcare, and specifically for Baystate Health, the region’s largest health system. To achieve that goal, and eventually be part of the organization’s senior leadership, she was willing to take risks, welcome new opportunities as they arose, and continually make connections — all the while never losing sight of who her customers are and how to most effectively meet their needs. 

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    7. East Longmeadow Embraces Change, Progress

      East Longmeadow Embraces Change, Progress

      Denise Menard says low taxes, streamlined permitting, and quality of life are all factors in making East Longmeadow an attractive landing spot. When East Longmeadow switched from a town-meeting style of government to a Town Council and town manager, Denise Menard said the change wasn’t meant to be simply cosmetic. Rather, noted Menard — who came on board as interim town manager in 2016 before shedding the ‘interim’ title earlier this year — creating her position and replacing the three-member Board of Selectmen with a seven-member, elected Town Council provided the momentum to launch several new municipal departments aimed squarely at ...

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    8. Mobile Devices Find New Frontiers of Speed, Power, and Quality

      Mobile Devices Find New Frontiers of Speed, Power, and Quality

      An on-the-go society demands on-the-go technology, and the array of smartphones, tablets, wristband health sensors, and portable game systems only continues to expand as the major players compete for their share of a growing pie. In its annual look at some of the hottest tech items available, BusinessWest focuses on those mobile devices, which are connecting more Americans than ever, 24/7, to bottomless online resources and, sometimes, to each other.

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    9. Springfield WORKS Takes Collaborative Approach to Job Growth

      Springfield WORKS Takes Collaborative Approach to Job Growth

      Anne Kandilis spends a lot of time talking with area employers, so she knows there are jobs to be had. How to connect those jobs to people who can perform them — well, that’s an issue that has plagued Western Mass. for a generation. “One local employer told me, ‘I’m about half the size I could be, but I can’t find enough skilled workers,” said Kandilis, Working Cities Challenge director at the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Western Massachusetts. Furthermore, she noted, many of these jobs are blue-collar positions that don’t require a college degree, but the ...

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    10. Westfield Thrives by Making Solid Connections

      Westfield Thrives by Making Solid Connections

      By the middle of 2018, Dan Howard says, close to 75% of Westfield residents and businesses will have access to high-speed Internet through Whip City Fiber, a division of Westfield Gas + Electric. “The Municipal Light Board is fully behind it, as is the City Council,” said Howard, general manager of WG+E, adding that the city began funding the project back in 2014. “It’s a great collaboration that has really benefited the entire city.” He noted that of the 41 municipal electric utilities in Massachusetts, only four are gas-and-electric entities, and only one of those four, once Westfield’s ...

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      Mentions: Westfield
    11. A. Crane Construction Continues to Expand Its Scope

      A. Crane Construction Continues to Expand Its Scope

      t’s just one example, said the younger Crane — who runs the company alongside his father — of how A. Crane has expanded its scope over the past decade, assembling a broader book of business in the commercial-building world and branching out into new realms.  “We’ve opened divisions in property management, condominium management, and we’re running more crews over the past four or five years,” he told BusinessWest. “We’ve taken on many more commercial jobs — larger-scale commercial work. We now have the office staff and field crews to handle those types of jobs.”

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    12. WNEU School of Law Adjusts to an Altered Landscape

      WNEU School of Law Adjusts to an Altered Landscape

      Enrollment was already declining at law schools nationwide when the Great Recession hit, drying up the legal job market and driving the applicant count even lower. That forced a mass contraction at institutions across the U.S., including Western New England University School of Law. But its dean says the strategies undertaken to provide more return on investment for students has brought stability, and the future looks brighter than it has in years.

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    13. Filling the Big E’s Concert Bill Is Equal Parts Art, Science, and Hustle

      Filling the Big E’s Concert Bill Is Equal Parts Art, Science, and Hustle

      John Juliano has been booking entertainment at the Big E for almost 30 years, but his first job for the fair was a little less glamorous. Specifically, it was a part-time gig cleaning out horse stalls in 1982. He didn’t mind, though, because it was money in his pocket, and a chance to be a part of a regional icon he’d loved from his childhood. “It was always my favorite thing to do,” said Juliano, senior director of Sales, Marketing & Entertainment for the Eastern States Exposition. “When I was in junior high school, across the street in Agawam ...

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    14. Institute for Applied Life Sciences Connects UMass with High-tech Industry

      Institute for Applied Life Sciences Connects UMass with High-tech Industry

      Peter Reinhart, director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst, said there’s a tendency in academia to think of private industry as the enemy. As one of the nation’s foremost public research institutions, however, UMass has become increasingly engaged with industry, most recently through an expansion of the institute’s core facilities with high-tech equipment that companies can use to help bring ideas to market. It’s a true win-win, UMass officials say, and an example of how public-private partnerships are changing the face of higher education.

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    15. Florence Bank Makes Its Move into Hampden County

      Florence Bank Makes Its Move into Hampden County

      After recording impressive growth during his 22-year tenure as president, John Heaps Jr. says Florence Bank is ready to take the next strategic step, by opening its first branch in Hampden County later this summer. The move comes at an opportune time, he said — a time when many Greater Springfield banks are being bought up and merging with institutions based well outside the region. A community-focused bank like Florence, he believes, is well-positioned to fill the gap.

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    16. NetLogix Aims to Reduce Stress, Keep Clients Focused on Growth

      NetLogix Aims to Reduce Stress, Keep Clients Focused on Growth

      Information-technology solutions providers can easily get lost in a maze of technical jargon, but that’s the last thing Marco Liquori wants to throw at customers. Instead, the technicians at his 13-year-old company, NetLogix, are trained to communicate clearly with clients about their network needs — and then meet those needs, in the background, so businesses can focus on growth, not computer issues. A recent customer-satisfaction report suggests the Westfield-based firm is doing something right.

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      Mentions: Westfield
    17. Ludlow Builds Off Mill Project’s Momentum

      Ludlow Builds Off Mill Project’s Momentum

      When it comes to economic development in Ludlow, the sprawling project known as Ludlow Mills has been the lead story for several years. But it’s far from the only story, Douglas Stefancik said. “We do need economic development, and we take it seriously,” said Ludlow’s town planner. “We look to businesses for tax revenue and jobs. And anytime we can get a new business in town, it enhances the entire area.”

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    18. Custom Builder Laplante Construction Raises Its Game

      Custom Builder Laplante Construction Raises Its Game

      When it comes to custom homes, trends come and go, but buyers are always looking for the next big thing — or, to be more accurate, the next not-so-big thing, as one of those trends favors downsizing in favor of easier maintenance and more energy-efficient touches. But high-end homebuyers aren’t shorting themselves on the interior; they still want the best floors, trims, and technology money can buy. And many are turning to Laplante Construction to get the job done.

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    19. Angela Lussier Finds Her Purpose in Helping Women Find Theirs

      Angela Lussier Finds Her Purpose in Helping Women Find Theirs

      It took just nine words to change Angela Lussier’s life: “you’ll never be ready; you just have to start.” That’s good advice for entrepreneurs of all kinds, but it was especially relevant for a shy, self-conscious, but creative and ambitious woman who decided her path to leadership was learning to overcome her fear of public speaking. Today, through the Speaker Sisterhood, she’s helping women around the world do the same — and, in the process, discover who they really are and what they were meant to do.

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    20. VVM Set to Launch Collegiate Accelerator This Summer

      VVM Set to Launch Collegiate Accelerator This Summer

      Valley Venture Mentors has long cultivated entrepreneurship in the Pioneer Valley through programs like its signature Accelerator, which provides education and support for aspiring business owners to hone their ideas. VVM’s Collegiate Accelerator, set to begin in June, is a different beast, focusing on a younger group with startup ideas and tossing them into a more demanding, time-intensive experience than the traditional Accelerator. But they do have something in common with their older peers: they don’t know anything. Yet

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    21. Tree House Brewing Co. Expands Its Horizons

      Tree House Brewing Co. Expands Its Horizons

      It’s one of the region’s most unlikely success stories — a brewery that doesn’t distribute its beers beyond the building where they’re crafted, yet has managed to amass a passionate following of enthusiasts who wait in long lines to buy that week’s selections. From humble beginnings in a Brimfield barn, Monson-based Tree House Brewing Co. will make its second big move later this year, into a 55,000-square-foot brewery in Charlton, which will dramatically expand its capacity, raise its profile, and put smiles on the faces of a lot more thirsty people.

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      Mentions: MassDevelopment
    22. At Brick Coworkshop, Iron Sharpens Iron … and Much More

      At Brick Coworkshop, Iron Sharpens Iron … and Much More

      Dan Battat is a glassblower, and that can be a solitary art. But he prefers company.
      “As someone who has worked in a solo shop setting, it’s awesome to look up from the bench and see someone pouring concrete into molds, or these guys in the machine shop cutting metal, all in my view from my workspace. Seeing them, it’s hard not to think of new ideas.”  That iron-sharpening-iron philosophy is one of the driving forces behind Brick Coworkshop in Holyoke, a co-working space that currently houses eight artists of varying disciplines — from glass, metal, concrete, and wood ...

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    23. Springfield Central Cultural District Connects Downtown Through Art

      Springfield Central Cultural District Connects Downtown Through Art

      As director of the Springfield Central Cultural District, Morgan Drewniany doesn’t see the arts in a vacuum. Rather, they’re one of the connecting threads joining the realms of economic development, social justice, and a city’s walkability and livability, which are, of course, among the keys to any community’s future. To that end, the SCCD is raising the profile of the arts in and around downtown Springfield — and that of its myriad artists as well.

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    24. PeoplesBank Retains Young Talent by Keeping Employees Engaged

      PeoplesBank Retains Young Talent by Keeping Employees Engaged

      t’s difficult to pigeonhole the Millennial generation — though many have tried — in terms of what they want in a job and a workplace.  But one recurring theme is a sense of purpose and meaning, one that goes beyond their list of duties. And on this front, employers are largely falling short.  In fact, according to a recent Gallup study, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” only about one-third of young professionals strongly agree that the mission or purpose of their organization makes them feel their job is important. And just 40% feel strongly connected to their company’s ...

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