1. Articles from George O'Brien

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    1. North Adams Pursues Return to Normalcy - BusinessWest

      North Adams Pursues Return to Normalcy - BusinessWest

      While North Adams tries to return to familiar norms, many are prepared to adjust if new pandemic concerns arise.  That’s the perspective of Mayor Thomas Bernard, anyway, who said his community has slowly and cautiously taken steps to bring back the positive routines of daily life.  “The moment that stands out for me is our first concert at Windsor Lake in early to mid-June,” Bernard said. “There were people who hadn’t seen neighbors and friends for more than a year. The sound of kids laughing and playing, great music, the spirit was unbelievable.”


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    2. Dr. Lynnette Watkins Takes the Helm at Cooley Dickinson Hospital

      Dr. Lynnette Watkins Takes the Helm at Cooley Dickinson Hospital

      Dr. Lynnette Watkins says she is most definitely her father’s daughter. By that, she meant she is a second-generation ophthalmologist, following the lead set by her father, L.C. Watkins, who is one of the first African-Americans practicing in that specialty in St. Louis. “When I say that I stand on the shoulders of giants, I don’t take that lightly, and first and foremost is my dad,” she noted. “He’s been my biggest supporter, mentor, and point of light.”

       

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    3. Opportunities Abound for Graduates of Cybersecurity Programs

      Opportunities Abound for Graduates of Cybersecurity Programs

      Make no mistake, we live in an increasingly interconnected world, and the technology that makes that possible is always under threat from those who would mine, expose, and exploit data — often in life-altering ways. So while it’s no surprise that the cybersecurity field is rife with job opportunity, exactly how much opportunity (a half-million open jobs nationally, according to one study) may still raise eyebrows. Area universities with cybersecurity degree programs hope those statistics also raise interest in a challenging field that offers good pay and the chance to do some truly meaningful work.

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    4. BusinessTalk with John Garvey, president of Garvey Communication Associates

      BusinessTalk with John Garvey, president of Garvey Communication Associates

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively, wide-ranging discussion with John Garvey, president of Garvey Communication Associates. The two talk about Facebook’s long, difficult week, the testimony of a whistleblower, comparisons of social media to Big Tobacco, and cries that something should be done to control this industry. It’s a compelling discussion and must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    5. UMass Amherst College of Nursing Receives $21.5 Million Donation

      UMass Amherst College of Nursing Receives $21.5 Million Donation

      Transformative. Allison Vorderstrasse acknowledged that this is a powerful word with specific meaning; it is not, or should not be, used arbitrarily. But when it comes to the $21.5 million donation from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation to UMass Amherst, and, more specifically, its College of Nursing — the largest single gift ever given to the school — that descriptive adjective certainly fits.

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    6. Westfield Data-center Project Makes a Hard Push for the Finish Line

      Westfield Data-center Project Makes a Hard Push for the Finish Line

      It’s called a ‘hyper-scale data center.’ That’s the name attached to a $2.7 billion proposal planned for a 155-acre parcel in Westfield. The complicated project, now entering the local-approval phase, has cleared perhaps the biggest hurdle — the aggregation of a site that can check a unique set of boxes, including accessibility to huge amounts of power and data. If it comes to fruition — and there are still many challenges to overcome — the project could make the region a player in the emerging sector known as Big Data.

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    7. BusinessTalk with Delcie Bean, CEO of Paragus Strategic IT

      BusinessTalk with Delcie Bean, CEO of Paragus Strategic IT

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively discussion with Delcie Bean, CEO of Paragus Strategic IT and the presenter for a recent BusinessWest Webinar, sponsored by Comcast Business, called ‘Automation: The Time is Now.’ The two talk about the many ways businesses can benefit from automation of processes, everyday tasks, and more — especially during the ongoing workforce crisis — and how to get started. It’s must listening so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    8. Questions Persist About Labor Market and When Things Might Turn Around - BusinessWest

      Questions Persist About Labor Market and When Things Might Turn Around - BusinessWest

      For months now, business owners and elected officials have pinned the region’s mounting labor woes and all those ‘help wanted’ signs on too-generous federal unemployment assistance. Now that those benefits have expired for more than 3 million Americans, we’ll soon find out just how much of a factor those benefits were. Many involved in economic development and workforce matters say the problem has much deeper roots and that it might be some time before there is a return to anything approaching normal — whatever that is.

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    9. Amid Challenges, Cultural Sites in the Berkshires Have Learned Key Lessons

      Amid Challenges, Cultural Sites in the Berkshires Have Learned Key Lessons

      It may not stack up to Edith Wharton’s best novels, but it’s a compelling story. “We’ve had an incredibly good season, despite the challenge of staying in compliance with the latest CDC and local health recommendations regarding COVID,” said Susan Wissler, executive director of the Mount, Wharton’s former estate in Lenox that is now a hub for all kinds of arts, nature, and cultural programming. In fact, Wissler said, this year’s visitorship has doubled that of 2020 — maybe not a striking statistic in itself, given the economic shutdown of that spring and a hesitancy among ...

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    10. BusinessTalk with Eugene Cassidy, president and CEO of the Big E

      BusinessTalk with Eugene Cassidy, president and CEO of the Big E

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively discussion with Eugene Cassidy, president and CEO of the Big E. As the start of the fair approaches, there is both anticipation and apprehension about the 17-day gathering in the wake of COVID and the Delta variant.  The two discuss what the expectations are for the 2021 fair, the steps being taken in the wake of COVID, and the importance of the fair to the region and especially its business community. It’s must listening so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    11. Reintroducing the 2021 40 Under Forty - BusinessWest

      Reintroducing the 2021 40 Under Forty - BusinessWest

      In early May, BusinessWest, in keeping with a spring tradition, introduced its 40 Under Forty class of 2021.  Another tradition is to stage the gala to celebrate that class in late June. This year, due to COVID-19 and pending changes to the restrictions regarding large events, the gala was moved to Sept. 23. As that sold-out event nears, we thought it appropriate to reintroduce this stellar class of young leaders in the community.

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    12. Richard Swift Settles In as CEO at Health New England

      Richard Swift Settles In as CEO at Health New England

      For roughly two decades, Richard Swift hop scotched the country on a series of interim assignments during which he shared his considerable expertise with several different health plans. As fruitful as this niche has been for Swift, he has traded his ‘interim’ tag for something permanent at Health New England — the role of president and CEO — and at a very unique and challenging time, for him and the company.

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    13. BusinessTalk with Dr. Robert Roose

      BusinessTalk with Dr. Robert Roose

      On the next installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively discussion with Dr. Robert Roose, chief medical officer for Mercy Medical Center. The two discuss the changing scene with COVID-19, the emergence of the Delta variant, the outlook for the fall — and beyond, and the many factors that will determine the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    14. Anticipation Mixes with Anxiety as Big E Approaches - BusinessWest

      Anticipation Mixes with Anxiety as Big E Approaches - BusinessWest
      As the calendar turns to late summer, all eyes in the region turn to the Big E in West Springfield and the much-anticipated 2021 edition of the fair. The show did not go on in 2020 due to COVID-19, a decision that impacted businesses across a number of sectors. There will be a fair this year, and the goal is to make it as normal — there’s that word again — as possible. But it will be different in some respects. Meanwhile, as COVID cases surge in other parts of the country and uncertainty about the fall grows with each passing ...
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    15. State Sets Emissions-reduction Goal for Energy-efficiency Plan

      State Sets Emissions-reduction Goal for Energy-efficiency Plan

      The Baker-Polito administration recently announced it has established an ambitious greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions-reduction goal for the next three-year Mass Save Energy Efficiency Plan. The goals, established as part of comprehensive climate legislation signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in March, are intended to help the Commonwealth meet its ambitious goal to reduce GHG emissions 50% below 1990 levels by 2030.

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    16. Bruce Stebbins Moves from Gaming to the Front Lines of Cannabis

      Bruce Stebbins Moves from Gaming to the Front Lines of Cannabis

      Bruce Stebbins remembers the time during his tenure on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission when that body was essentially subleasing some of its space on Federal Street in Boston to the recently formed Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), charged with overseeing an industry then — and in most all ways still — in its infancy. While the two entities had separate quarters, the commissions and their staffs would cross paths often, he said, adding that there were lively discussions and some sharing of ideas between the two very different worlds.

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    17. Mixed-income Housing Project at Ludlow Mills to Begin in 2022

      Mixed-income Housing Project at Ludlow Mills to Begin in 2022

      With state financing now in place, construction is expected to begin in early 2022 on a $29.9 million project to transform the landmark Mill 8 at the historic Ludlow Mills complex into 95 mixed-income apartments for adults 55 and older and a center for supportive healthcare services, Westmass Area Development Corp. and WinnDevelopment announced. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development recently announced new tax credits and subsidies to support the next phase of the ambitious adaptive-reuse project, focusing on the section of the 116-year-old complex that contains the clock tower shown on the town’s seal. The ...

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    18. BusinessTalk with Tara Brewster, Vice President of Business Development for Greenfield Savings Bank

      BusinessTalk with Tara Brewster, Vice President of Business Development for Greenfield Savings Bank

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively discussion with Tara Brewster, Vice President of Business Development for Greenfield Savings Bank and one of five finalists for BusinessWest’s coveted 40 Under Forty Alumni Achievement Award. The two talk about her work, but especially her involvement in the community, her latest assignment as radio talk host, and her life as a self-described “recovering entrepreneur.” It’s must listening so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    19. Hiring Pros Reveal What They Like to Ask — and Why - BusinessWest

      Hiring Pros Reveal What They Like to Ask — and Why - BusinessWest

      At a time when most companies and nonprofit institutions in the region are hiring, or trying to, many area business owners, managers, and HR directors are sitting across the table from job candidates trying to determine if that individual is the proverbial ‘right one.’  Given this climate, BusinessWest asked a number of area business leaders to identify one of their favorite, most effective interview questions. We asked them to explain why they ask that question and what it reveals to them about the candidate.

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      Mentions: Baystate Health
    20. Employees Are Quitting at Record Pace; Employers Are Responding - BusinessWest

      Employees Are Quitting at Record Pace; Employers Are Responding - BusinessWest

      Peter Rosskothen admits to not knowing there is a statistic called the ‘quit rate.’  But he could certainly relate when told that this stat — a measure of how many people in the workforce quit their jobs in a given month — is historically high (2.5% in May, down from a record 2.8% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and also when told the reasons why.

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    21. Today’s Tech Devices Boost Health, Efficiency, and Fun

      Today’s Tech Devices Boost Health, Efficiency, and Fun

      An on-the-go society demands on-the-go technology, and today’s array of high-tech devices — available at all price points — offer users new ways to make their home lives more efficient, manage their work, boost their health, and, well, just have fun in more eye-popping, ear-tickling ways than ever. In its annual look at some of the hottest tech items available, BusinessWest dives into what the tech press is saying about some of 2021’s buzziest items.

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    22. Isenberg Turns the Pandemic into a Learning Experience

      Isenberg Turns the Pandemic into a Learning Experience

      When Anne Massey arrived at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst in the late summer of 2019, she came with a lengthy set of plans, goals, and ambitions for an institution that was steadily moving up in the ranks of the nation’s business schools and determined to further enhance its reputation. The overarching plan was to decide what was being done right, what could be done better, and how the school could continue and even accelerate its ascendency with those rankings. Massey was already making considerable headway with such initiatives when COVID-19 arrived just eight months later ...

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    23. Small Businesses Seek Shelter from the Storm of Cyberattacks

      Small Businesses Seek Shelter from the Storm of Cyberattacks

      The recent spate of high-profile cyberattacks, many involving paid ransoms featuring six or seven zeroes, has brought an ongoing, and escalating, problem even more to the forefront. Businesses are being advised that the problem needs to be managed — before the worst happens. That means having a detailed plan involving many layers to keep things safe.

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    24. BusinessTalk with Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

      BusinessTalk with Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

      BusinessWest editor George O’Brien talks with Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. The two discuss the broad impact of the pandemic on a region heavily dependent on  college students and tourism, and how the same region is bracing for the ‘new normal’ and the many challenges and opportunities that will come will with it. It’s must listening,  so tune in to BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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      Mentions: Amherst
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