1. Articles from George O'Brien

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    1. Rural Franklin County Is Making Strides Toward Becoming a Destination

      Rural Franklin County Is Making Strides Toward Becoming a Destination

      Franklin County, the state’s most rural county, and also its poorest, faces a host of challenges today — from a declining and aging population to poor broadband service in most of its communities, to statistically lower wages for comparable jobs. But those working to spur economic development and improve quality of life here see progress in many forms and vast opportunities to attract the young people who covet many of things this region can offer them.

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    2. FogKicker Principals Have a Vision, and Like What They See

      FogKicker Principals Have a Vision, and Like What They See

      There’s no word yet on whether the creators of FogKicker will embrace Johnny Nash’s 1972 reggae hit ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ as their theme song, but it would certainly work. The product, developed in the polymer science lab at UMass Amherst, has proven itself successful in keeping a range of surfaces, from scuba masks to bathroom mirrors, clear of fog. Partners Yinyong Li, Marc Gammell, and Kenneth Carter are scaling up their venture, Treaty Biotech LLC, and while their vision of the future isn’t totally clear, it is certainly coming into focus.

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    3. Staffing Agencies Meeting Needs, but Challenges Are Mounting

      Staffing Agencies Meeting Needs, but Challenges Are Mounting

      The region’s staffing industry has always been a solid barometer of the overall economy, and that is certainly true in this economy. Firms report that demand for qualified workers is high, and the pool of talent is small and in some respects shrinking. Meeting the demands of various sectors, firm owners and managers say, requires a mix of persistence, imagination, and, well, hard work.  Andrea Hill-Cataldo calls it the ‘Perm Division.’  That’s ‘perm,’ as in permanent-hire, or direct-hire, work. The venture she founded nearly 20 years ago, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services, has always provided such services. But they ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    4. Sunshine Village Celebrates a Half-century of Creating Great Days

      Sunshine Village Celebrates a Half-century of Creating Great Days

      Back in the mid-’60s, a group of parents, advised by friends, family members, and attorneys alike to put their developmentally disabled children into an institution, collectively rejected that idea and, far more importantly, came up with a much better one. The result of their innovative, forward-thinking outlook was Sunshine Village, which, 50 years later, remains an immensely powerful source of light, warmth, hope, and lives fulfilled. Lenny Recor was in a good mood — or as good a mood as you might expect someone to be in on a Monday morning.

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    5. Laurie Flynn Named President and CEO at Link to Libraries

      Laurie Flynn Named President and CEO at Link to Libraries

      Laurie Flynn says it’s not often that one gets to make their passion their profession. And it was the opportunity to do just that which prompted her to put aside a budding marketing business she co-founded a few years ago and become president and CEO of Link to Libraries (LTL), the decade-old nonprofit that, as the name suggests, puts books on the shelves of school libraries and other agencies and promotes childhood literacy on many levels.

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    6. AIC Bucks Enrollment Trends Through Innovation, Being Nimble

      AIC Bucks Enrollment Trends Through Innovation, Being Nimble

      American International College has again earned placement on the list of the fastest-growing colleges in the country. Overall, the institution has nearly doubled its enrollment over the past decade or so, largely out of necessity. But the methods for achieving such growth — specifically in response to trends within the marketplace and a high-touch approach to student needs — offers lessons to schools of all sizes

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    7. New Women’s Fund Leader Wants to Broaden the Agency’s Impact

      New Women’s Fund Leader Wants to Broaden the Agency’s Impact

      Donna Haghighat has seen a number of titles on her business cards over the years — everything from ‘tax attorney’ to ‘grants manager’ to ‘founder and CEO’ — yes, she’s launched a few businesses of her own. A common denominator with most all those career stops has been a desire to work with women and girls to identify goals and opportunities and remove the barriers to realizing them. Call it a passion — one that has brought her to her latest business card, which reads ‘CEO, Women’s Fund of Western Mass.’

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    8. United Bank Steps Up Its Presence in Downtown Springfield

      United Bank Steps Up Its Presence in Downtown Springfield

      On paper — and on a map — it’s only a few blocks, really. But United Bank’s relocation of its office in downtown Springfield, from the corner of Main and State streets to the front of Monarch Place, constitutes a major move in all other respects. The new address — formerly home to a Bank of America branch that closed its doors several months ago — is projected to bring everything from much greater visibility to significantly higher foot traffic, to a likely surge in commercial-side market share as business owners based in the center of downtown take advantage of another bank ...

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    9. Mark Fulco Takes the Reins at Mercy Medical Center

      Mark Fulco Takes the Reins at Mercy Medical Center

      Roughly 21 months ago, Mark Fulco left Mercy Medical Center for a position with the hospital’s parent company, Trinity Health, one that would groom him for a leadership role somewhere within the vast Trinity system. As it turned out, somewhere became Mercy Medical Center. Mark Fulco called it the “president track.” Formally, he was carrying out a role within the Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health system, specifically that of ‘vice president, Health Ministries & System Office Communications Interface.’ While doing that, though, he was learning and essentially being groomed for a leadership position in one of the system’s many ...

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    10. CIC Celebrates 25 Years of Uplifting Moments

      CIC Celebrates 25 Years of Uplifting Moments

      When Chicopee Industrial Contractors (CIC) officially marked a quarter-century in business a few months back, it did so with an elaborate open house at its headquarters in Chicopee. This meant that a good number of those invited — especially a host of the company’s best customers — had to rely on their car’s navigation systems to get them to the ceremonies. That’s because, for starters, they’d almost certainly never been there before — and also because this business is not exactly easy to find. Indeed, North Chicopee Street is a dead-end road in the northwest corner of the city ...

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    11. New Products Give Callaway Plant a Needed Bounce

      New Products Give Callaway Plant a Needed Bounce

      Over the past century or so, golf balls — and golf-ball history — have been made in Chicopee. Indeed, the sprawling plant on Meadow Street that once bore the name ‘Spalding’ and now ‘Callaway’ has been home to a number of innovations and new products. In recent years, though, that tradition — not to mention the number of workers at the plant — has been in decline. However, a new and exciting golf-ball design is changing the landscape, in all kinds of ways. They’re calling it the Truvis V.

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    12. Expo Will Help Attendees Work on Their Business

      Expo Will Help Attendees Work on Their Business

      It’s often said that business owners and managers are good at what they do, good at their particular business, but not necessarily good at — well, fill in the blank. And there are many things to fill in that blank with, from information technology (and how to make the most of it) to employee benefits; from social media to ever-changing employment laws. There are dozens more ways to fill in the blank, as anyone doing business in today’s ultra-challenging environment

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    13. MGM Puts Team, Strategies in Place for Staffing Up

      MGM Puts Team, Strategies in Place for Staffing Up

      The final countdown has begun at MGM Springfield; the $950 million casino will be open for business in just over a year. That means roughly 3,000 people must be hired between now and then, a massive task that falls to a team that has already been hard at work for months. 126,000. That’s the number of applications that Wanda Gispert is expecting for the 3,000 or so positions that MGM Springfield must fill between now and opening night roughly a year from now — actually, well before opening night.

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    14. Mercedes-Benz Set to Make Its Return to Western Mass.

      Mercedes-Benz Set to Make Its Return to Western Mass.

      Michelle Wirth started her career with Mercedes-Benz as a mechanical engineer. Early on, after only a few visits to Stuttgart, Germany, where the cars are designed and manufactured, she learned that the company doesn’t build to industry standards — it creates an environment where engineers can design to their own, higher standards. These are lessons she and her husband, Peter, apply to their life and how they do business, especially with their new venture, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, set to open next month.

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    15. West Springfield Aims for Balance, Smart Growth

      West Springfield Aims for Balance, Smart Growth

      Mayor Will Reichelt says West Springfield is seeing a good deal of adaptive reuse of commercial and industrial properties, a necessity in a community that is land-poor. Will Reichelt says he was only 15 when he started working at the Donut Dip on Riverdale Street. His father arranged an introduction with the owner, a fellow Rotarian, and just a few days later, Will was working behind the counter and occasionally injecting filling into jelly donuts.

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    16. Mill 1 at Open Square Blends History with Modern Look and Feel

      Mill 1 at Open Square Blends History with Modern Look and Feel

      It’s called ‘industrial modern.’ That’s the phrase attached to a genre of interior design, one that takes cues from old factories and industrial spaces — or uses such facilities themselves — and blends them with modern fixtures and furniture to create a unique working and playing environment that blends the past with the present. That look and feel — which John Aubin, owner, developer, and chief designer at Open Square in Holyoke, also described with the phrases ‘accessible modern’ and ‘comfortable modern’ — are becoming increasingly popular with a host of constituencies. They include people in business, and especially those involved in ...

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    17. Harry Dumay Takes the Reins at Elms College

      Harry Dumay Takes the Reins at Elms College

      Soon after Harry Dumay reached that point professionally where he determined he was ready and willing to pursue a college presidency, he did what many people in that situation do.  He put together a wish list, or a preferred list, if you will, of the type of institution he eventually wanted to lead. And he did so because, in such situations, as so many eventual college presidents have told BusinessWest over the years, ‘fit’ is all-important — to both the candidate and the school in question.

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    18. As Tower Square Hits the Market, Conjecture Abounds

      As Tower Square Hits the Market, Conjecture Abounds

      Since it opened nearly a half-century ago, Tower Square has been both a prominent part of the Springfield skyline and a barometer of sorts for the health and vitality of the city and its downtown. And this explains why there is so much anticipation and speculation accompanying the announcement that the property is being put on the market by owner MassMutual. Experts agree that this will be more than a real-estate transaction — it will likely also be a referendum on Springfield and its apparent resurgence.

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    19. GM Alex Dixon Gets to Work Building a Culture

      GM Alex Dixon Gets to Work Building a Culture

      Library officials here didn't expect their proposal for a new facility to receive state funding right away. Now, after the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners on Thursday awarded the town $3.9 million, they're accelerating their plans. "We're thrilled. We're beyond thrilled. We're kind of flabbergasted," said Goodwin Memorial Library Director Patrick Borezo. "We felt very confident," he said, but officials never expected to be funded in the first round after filing a grant application last fall.

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    20. Holyoke, Easthampton Chambers Launch Women’s Conference

      Holyoke, Easthampton Chambers Launch Women’s Conference

      It was more than a decade ago now, but Kathy Anderson can clearly remember the many emotions that accompanied her decision to seek the role of director of the Holyoke Office of Planning and Development. They included doubt — there was some of that, and on many levels — as well as uncertainty and perhaps a bit of fear as well. But there was also confidence and anticipation about what she could do in this role and what it would mean for her career. Anderson recalls that what she needed — and what she got from her friend, fellow Holyoker and mentor of ...

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    21. Pieces Falling into Place for Revival at the Paramount

      Pieces Falling into Place for Revival at the Paramount

      Like all those who have fond memories of taking in movies and shows at the Paramount Theater, Herbie Flores has long dreamed of the landmark’s revival. But nostalgia has never been enough of a force to generate a rebirth. What’s needed is a viable plan, financing, and a vibrant downtown that can fuel such an ambitious venture. Flores, who calls himself “a realist, not a dreamer,” believes the needed pieces to the puzzle are falling into place.

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    22. Agawam Is Building a Bridge to a Better Future

      Agawam Is Building a Bridge to a Better Future

      Richard Cohen is now halfway through his 16th year as mayor of Agawam — a tenure marked by four two-year terms, a two-year hiatus of sorts, and then four more terms. (And, yes, he’s seeking a ninth term this fall.) For that duration, if you will, he’s been coping with many of the same issues impacting this community of roughly 29,000, which is technically a city (hence, it has a mayor), but in most ways considers itself a town. In fact, that’s the word you see over the front door of the municipal offices on Main Street ...

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    23. Easthampton Strives to Become Destination City

      Easthampton Strives to Become Destination City

      Moe Belliveau says it’s certainly not the most important part of her job. But it just might be the most meaningful.  She was talking about the ribbon cuttings that mark the openings of new businesses and expansions of existing ventures. As executive director of the Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, Belliveau, like her colleagues at chambers across the region, has taken part in more of these than she can count. In fact, after borrowing a pair of large ceremonial scissors for her first such celebration nearly three years ago, she ordered her own pair.

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    1-24 of 158 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
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