1. Articles from Joseph Bednar

    1-24 of 99 1 2 3 4 5 »
    1. Lenox Looks to Further Boost Quality of Life - BusinessWest

      Lenox Looks to Further Boost Quality of Life - BusinessWest

      As its town manager, Christopher Ketchen is certainly bullish on Lenox.  “If you’re moving to the Berkshires, Lenox has clearly got to be on your radar for many reasons,” he told BusinessWest, adding that he’s one of the more recent converts. “I made the move here myself from the Boston area four years ago. I’m originally from Alford, and when I moved back to this area, I chose to live in Lenox.”

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      Mentions: Springfield
    2. Wilbraham Strives for a Healthy Balance - BusinessWest

      Wilbraham Strives for a Healthy Balance - BusinessWest

      Being pro-business, Jeff Smith says, doesn’t mean letting just any business set up shop in Wilbraham — but it does mean giving every business a fair shake.  Take, for example, Iron Duke Brewing, which is moving to town after a successful but eventually contentious stay at the Ludlow Mills. Because Wilbraham had no zoning for microbrew and brewpub establishments, the town’s Economic Development Initiative Steering Committee (EDICS) recommended a zoning change that eased the path for not just Iron Duke, but also Catch 22 Brewing, which is setting up shop at the former Dana’s Grillroom on Boston Road.

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    3. Snapchef Cooks Up a Lifeline for the Food-service Industry

      Snapchef Cooks Up a Lifeline for the Food-service Industry

      The culinary world is a notoriously challenging place to forge a career, and turnover at the entry level is often high, a problem that constantly challenges restaurants, hotels, colleges, and a host of other food-service companies. Enter Snapchef, which has built a regional reputation for training those workers and matching them with workforce needs to help them get a foot in the door — and then, hopefully, kick it in.

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    4. Regional Rail Service Picks Up Speed

      Regional Rail Service Picks Up Speed

      The launch of the Hartford line last month, which expands rail activity from Union Station in Springfield to a host of Connecticut stops, has been a success, judging by early ridership. More important, it has municipal and economic-development leaders from Greater Springfield thinking about the potential of a Springfield-to-Greenfield service beginning next year, as well as the viability of east-west service between Boston and Springfield. It’s about more than riding the trains, they say — it’s about what riders will do once they get here.

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    5. Community Connections Energize Easthampton - BusinessWest

      Community Connections Energize Easthampton - BusinessWest

      As executive director of the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, Moe Belliveau has a good view of what has become one of the region’s more unique and energetic small cities.  “There’s a lot of great stuff here, different stuff,” she told BusinessWest. “I think Easthampton has a very eclectic flavor to it, and that just continues to grow. I believe the community really enjoys that about itself and embraces that part of themselves, and helps to nurture that. It’s lovely to be a part of that.”

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    6. Springfield’s Economy Continues to Outperform Hartford

      Springfield’s Economy Continues to Outperform Hartford

      Connecticut has had its share of economic challenges in recent years, including a slow but steady outmigration of residents. Many might not be aware, however, of how stark the differences are between Connecticut and Massachusetts when it comes to long-term job recovery from the Great Recession — including Springfield’s relative strength when compared to Hartford. Farmington Bank’s economic adviser recently broke down the numbers, painting a picture that should be encouraging to those north of the border.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. Click Workspace Aims to Make an Economic and Cultural Impact

      Click Workspace Aims to Make an Economic and Cultural Impact

      Co-working spaces — offices where members share physical work areas and office technology and supplies — have become an increasingly popular model for small, particularly solo, businesses in the region. Mary Yun, executive director of Click Workspace in Northampton, had a broader vision, helping to grow a center that brings economic energy to the city, but also builds on its cultural vibrancy through the arts. A rapidly growing roster of members testifies to the success of that vision.

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    8. Northampton Energized by Its Lively Downtown

      Northampton Energized by Its Lively Downtown

      Northampton’s downtown, Amy Cahillane says, is nothing if not eclectic. “We have a great mix of businesses,” said the director of the Downtown Northampton Assoc., a two-year-old organization dedicated to boosting vibrancy in the city’s center. “We have a lot of different clothing stores, coffee shops, restaurants and bars — there’s a lot of room to find your niche here.” She said business owners downtown are very much a network of mom-and-pop outfits that take pride in the district’s economic vibrancy and work hard to welcome new shop owners into the fold as they’re launching their ...

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    9. FloDesign Sonics Aims to Bring Cell Therapy to the Masses

      FloDesign Sonics Aims to Bring Cell Therapy to the Masses

      The “filterless filter company,” as FloDesign Sonics dubs itself, was launched in 2010 in an effort to separate contaminants — particularly anthrax — from the water supply. There’s nothing trivial about that goal, but the company’s co-founder and CEO, Stanley Kowalski III, and his team have only been thinking bigger ever since. “We don’t like mediocre challenges; we take on pretty big issues, and we back it with the best thought leaders in this space,” he told BusinessWest. “We’ve targeted some of the biggest things mankind could be working on, and it gets people motivated on a different ...

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    10. Finding People Jobs Is Only Part of Nicole Griffin’s Calling

      Finding People Jobs Is Only Part of Nicole Griffin’s Calling

      A job seeker came to see Nicole Griffin recently after making a careless mistake — one he didn’t even recognize at the time. The mistake was leaving a temporary position at a large, well-known firm two weeks before his contract was up because he didn’t like the environment and the job wasn’t quite what he thought it would be. “I said, ‘you kind of ruined all the work you did there for several months by leaving before your assignment ended,’” said Griffin, president of the employment firm she launched in 2013 as Griffin Staffing Network. “That was a ...

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    11. WNEU School of Law Selects Sudha Setty as Its Next Dean

      WNEU School of Law Selects Sudha Setty as Its Next Dean

      Sudha Setty wasn’t sure where her initial interest in law would take her — she simply wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Her current role as a professor certainly fits that bill, though it’s not a path she expected to take early on. Now, as she prepares to take over the dean’s chair at Western New England University School of Law, she’s ready to navigate a still-challenging climate for law schools and help other young people achieve their world-changing goals.

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    12. Emerging Technologies Will Bring Dramatic Changes to Business

      Emerging Technologies Will Bring Dramatic Changes to Business

      Delcie Bean knows something about innovation, building the company he launched at age 13, Paragus IT, into a nimble, multi-faceted presence in the region’s IT world. He’s also passionate about futurism studies, understanding better than most that several emerging innovations will dramatically alter the way entire industries do business — leaving many companies hopelessly behind. But for those willing to embrace the change, it’s also a time of great excitement.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    13. New Projects Energize Palmer’s Neighborhoods

      New Projects Energize Palmer’s Neighborhoods

      In a neighborhood struggling to regain some momentum, any new development matters — no matter how humble. Literally, in the case of Humble Pie, a restaurant with a façade as nondescript as its name and a farm-to-table ethos that has quickly won over locals since opening in December on Main Street in the Three Rivers section of Palmer. “They’ve been getting excellent reviews, and people are literally standing in line,” said Town Planner and Economic Development Director Linda Leduc. “That’s good because it’s another catalyst to get other business owners and developers to invest in Main Street ...

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      Mentions: Palmer
    14. Mixed-use Projects Highlight Growth in Amherst

      Mixed-use Projects Highlight Growth in Amherst

      Anyone who has spent time in Amherst recognizes the town’s enviable mix of cultural institutions, restaurants, academic energy — more than 33,000 students attend UMass Amherst, Hampshire College, and Amherst College — and open space. But town officials know they need to do more than tout those offerings; they need to leverage them to create the kind of community where college graduates will want to stay, and where families and businesses will want to locate. A number of recent developments aim to meet that need. For example, Archipelago Investments, LLC of Amherst is building One East Pleasant, a mixed-use project ...

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    15. Gateway City Arts Is a Place to Meet — in More Ways Than One

      Gateway City Arts Is a Place to Meet — in More Ways Than One

      Gateway City Arts touts itself as “a venue for events, entertainment, dining, art making, teaching, and learning.” That’s quite a mouthful, but the sprawling complex in Holyoke’s growing innovation district, beside its historic canals, has certainly become all that and more. It’s a model, co-owner Vitek Kruta says, that not only raises the profile of local artists and startups, but boosts tourism and raises the city’s economic profile.

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      Mentions: Northampton Holyoke
    16. 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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    17. 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
    18. 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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    19. 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
    20. 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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    21. 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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    22. 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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    23. 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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    24. 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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