1. Articles from George O'Brien

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    1. Announcing the Women of Impact for 2018

      Announcing the Women of Impact for 2018

      Leader. Inspiration. Pioneer. Mentor. Innovator.

      You will read those words countless times over the next 8 profiles as BusinessWest introduces its first Women of Impact. In fact, you might read all or most of those words in each of the stories because each member of this inaugural Class of 2018 are, as you’ll see, worthy of those adjectives. These are compelling stories about remarkable women, and as you read them, you’ll quickly understand why BusinessWest added Women of Impact to its growing list of annual recognition programs. In short, these stories need to be told.

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    2. United Way of Pioneer Valley Forges Unique Partnership Agreement

      United Way of Pioneer Valley Forges Unique Partnership Agreement

      Steve Lowell says he took the phone call back in early August; he doesn’t recall the exact date. Everything else, though, he remembers quite clearly. That’s because on the other end of the line was Paul Mina, president and CEO of the United Way of Tri County, who asked for a moment of Lowell’s time — and used it to get a whole lot more than that. Mina was calling Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank, and chairman of the board of the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV), with a proposition of sorts, a unique ...

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    3. New Publication Becomes Part of Efforts to Expand the Manufacturing Workforce

      New Publication Becomes Part of Efforts to Expand the Manufacturing Workforce

      John Cook, president of Springfield Technical Community College, says he doesn’t play the card game cribbage. But that doesn’t mean the cribbage board given to him recently gathers dust sitting in a drawer or closet unused. In fact, it now occupies a prominent place on a desk already crowded with items that speak to his personal life and career in higher education. That’s because the elaborate board was crafted by students at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer. It’s fashioned from metal — Cook isn’t sure exactly what the material is, although he suspects ...

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    4. Yves Salomon-Fernandez Takes the Helm at GCC

      Yves Salomon-Fernandez Takes the Helm at GCC

      Yves Salomon-Fernandez became the 10th president of Greenfield Community College this past summer, succeeding Bob Pura at the helm of a school that enjoys some of the highest retention and graduation rates in the state. Her primary goals moving forward are to build on the momentum generated over the past several years, set the bar higher, and then clear that bar. Salomon-Fernandez is confident in her abilities, and, like the school itself, she says she’s “innovative and entrepreneurial.”

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    5. Berkshire Innovation Center Breaks Ground on Cutting-edge Facility

      Berkshire Innovation Center Breaks Ground on Cutting-edge Facility

      Steven Boyd isn’t just the president and board chairman of the Berkshire Innovation Center; he’s a true believer that the $13.8 million facility will be a game changer for the region’s manufacturing and life-sciences economy. “From a broad perspective, I’d say the center aims to support the legacy manufacturing base that has a long history of innovation here in the Berkshire region,” he told BusinessWest. “We’re an innovation center that is equal parts research and teaching institution and programming for private-sector businesses.”

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    6. Water Park Plans Bring Palmer Property Back into Focus

      Water Park Plans Bring Palmer Property Back into Focus

      More than five years after Palmer residents rejected a casino proposal for a huge tract of land just off Turnpike exit 8, the property is back in the news, this time as the planned site of a $650 million water park, resort spa, and sports complex. It’s the most basic tenet in commercial real estate. Location, location, location. Since the Massachusetts Turnpike opened in 1957, the large tract of land sitting atop the hill overlooking the exit 8 ramp in Palmer has always possessed that coveted quality. But over the ensuing 60-plus years, little has been done to capitalize ...

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    7. SSO Strives to Improve Outreach, Visibility in Community

      SSO Strives to Improve Outreach, Visibility in Community

      As the Springfield Symphony Orchestra prepares to kick off its 75th season on Sept. 22 with “Gershwin, Copland, and Bernstein,” it faces a host of challenges shared by most orchestras its size, especially a changing, shrinking base of corporate support and a need to make its audiences younger. Susan Beaudry, the SSO’s executive director, says the way to stare down these challenges is through imaginative responsiveness — and especially greater visibility through stronger outreach. And she’s doing just that.

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    8. Innovation in Health/Wellness: TechSpring

      Innovation in Health/Wellness: TechSpring

      Christian Lagier has a deep background in entrepreneurship, business operations, and strategic business development. He’s been involved with startups and high-growth companies in Paris and Copenhagen, and he spent 10 formative years in Silicon Valley’s high-octane startup environment at arguably its zenith (the ’90s). Thus, he’s an expert in … collisions. That’s a word you hear quite often within the realms of innovation and entrepreneurship. Generally, it refers to the art and science (because it’s both) of bringing people together and making things — meaning products, services, and the companies to provide them — happen.

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    9. Garvey Associates Helps Clients Navigate a Rapidly Changing Landscape - BusinessWest

      Garvey Associates Helps Clients Navigate a Rapidly Changing Landscape - BusinessWest

      John Garvey isn’t shy about noting that he never worked for a large ad agency, or a ‘traditional’ ad agency, as he calls them. In fact, he’s rather proud of that background — as are the rest of the members of the team at the agency he formed more than 30 years ago known as Garvey Communication Associates Inc., who didn’t work for a traditional agency either.


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    10. Downtown Parking Venture Is Fulfilling Promise

      Downtown Parking Venture Is Fulfilling Promise

      Valet parking isn’t exactly a novel concept; banquet halls, restaurants, and hospitals have been offering that service for years, if not decades. But it is when it comes to downtown Springfield’s office towers. One Financial Plaza recently introduced the concept, and in a few weeks, it is living up the promise first foreseen a decade ago. Evan Plotkin says he first conceived of the idea of instituting valet parking at 1350 Main St. in downtown Springfield — the office tower he co-owns — almost 10 years ago.

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      Mentions: Springfield MGM
    11. Westfield State Awarded $21 Million for Extensive Renovations

      Westfield State Awarded $21 Million for Extensive Renovations

      Ramon Torrecilha says that when it opened in 1956, Parenzo Hall, the first building on what was then Westfield State College’s new campus on Western Avenue, housed “pretty much everything.” That included classrooms, the dining hall, a large auditorium, administrative offices — yes, everything, said Torrecilha, president of what is now Westfield State University. Over time, many all of those facilities moved somewhere else. The dining commons went in Scanlon Hall, new classroom facilities were built, and a number of administrative offices were moved down Western Avenue to the building, acquired by the college nearly 20 years ago, that was ...

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    12. VVM Finalists Eager to Write the Next Chapters in Their Stories

      VVM Finalists Eager to Write the Next Chapters in Their Stories

      The products and services vary widely — from smoothies to yoga classes; from pet adoption to solar-powered battery rechargers; from water-purification technology to entrepreneurial apprenticeships. But the companies in Valley Venture Mentors’ Accelerator class of 2018 have many things in common, specifically the myriad daunting challenges involved with getting a venture off the ground or to a higher altitude. For this issue and its focus on entrepreneurship, BusinessWest looks at the three highest finishers among the 12 Accelerator finalists. We talked to those entrepreneurs about everything from what they’re going to do with the large checks they’ve received through ...

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    13. Ludlow’s Mill Project Is Right on Schedule

      Ludlow’s Mill Project Is Right on Schedule

      Eric Nelson said he recently had cause to look over the occupancy permit issued to Westmass Area Development Corp. for the property now known as Ludlow Mills. The date on the document — April 2012 — gave him both pause and more evidence that time does, indeed, fly. Yes, it’s been more than six years since this ambitious project — a blend of both brownfield and greenfield development — was launched, and, for the most part, it is on schedule, said Nelson, president of Westmass for roughly half the duration of this effort. And by on schedule, he was referring to the pace ...

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    14. PeoplesBank Series Takes Viewers on a Rollercoaster Ride

      PeoplesBank Series Takes Viewers on a Rollercoaster Ride

      Throughout its 133-year history, PeoplesBank has touted innovation as one of its core values. But until very recently, this emphasis on innovation has been focused inward, on products, services, and ways of doing business. With a new program, called, appropriately enough, the Innovation Series, the bank is turning that focus outward, telling stories of entrepreneurship with the broad goal of inspiring more of it.

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    15. MassMutual Responds to a Changing Landscape

      MassMutual Responds to a Changing Landscape

      Over the course of its 167-year history, MassMutual has successfully responded to changes in society and also in how business is conducted. Today, the pace of change has accelerated greatly, but the company is answering with new strategic initiatives involving everything from the design of workspaces to how individuals apply for life insurance. They call it ‘State and Main.’ MassMutual built its former headquarters building in Springfield at that very intersection, so that may have something to do with that name. But it’s more likely a reference to the fact that this is where two of the main spines ...

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    16. Greenfield’s Downtown Gaining Momentum

      Greenfield’s Downtown Gaining Momentum

      Greenfield Mayor William Martin acknowledged that it isn’t exactly a scientific measure of either his downtown’s vibrancy or the efficiency of his long-term strategic plan for the central business district. But it certainly works for him. He’s being told there’s a parking problem downtown. Actually, he’s been told that for some time. Until recently, the commentary involved the east end of that district by Town Hall, and the chorus was so loud and so persistent that the community is now building a 272-lot parking garage in that area, due to open in the fall.

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    17. Way Finders Relocation Creates More Momentum in Both Ends of the City

      Way Finders Relocation Creates More Momentum in Both Ends of the City

      The nonprofit group Way Finders, formerly known as HAPHousing, has released renderings of the new 35,000-square-foot home it intends to build on the site of the soon-to-be abandoned Peter Pan Bus station. The move to the North End will bring benefits for the agency and its many types of clients, but it will also generate momentum — and economic development — at two locations, a trickle-down effect not always seen with relocations of this type.

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    18. Local Companies Starting to Land Contracts with MGM Springfield

      Local Companies Starting to Land Contracts with MGM Springfield

      Rebeca Merigian says the slip was found, and promptly given to her, many years ago by a long-time customer, a description she quickly categorized as an obvious understatement. Indeed, the date at the top is 1940, and thus this item, now displayed under glass, is a time capsule as much as it is a pick-up slip for a two-piece suit. Start with the phone number at the top; there are just five digits because that’s all that were needed back then (ask your mother; actually, make that your grandmother). The name of the company was Park Cleaners & Dyers Inc ...

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    19. Simply Grace Partners Helping to Create a New Dynamic Downtown

      Simply Grace Partners Helping to Create a New Dynamic Downtown

      Like most people who grew up in and around Springfield in the ’60s and ’70s, Mikki Lessard has fond memories of getting on a bus and spending an entire Saturday afternoon downtown. She said most of those visits would start, and a good number would also end, at Johnson’s Bookstore, but there were plenty of other stops as well. “We would go to Johnson’s, and Steiger’s, and many other stores. There was always something happening; it was positive, and it was fun,” said Lessard, adding that, while she acknowledges that things won’t ever be exactly like ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    20. Deerfield Strives to Be More Than a Tourist Town

      Deerfield Strives to Be More Than a Tourist Town

      Wendy Foxmyn acknowleged that, when pressed to describe Deerfield with a word or two, most responders would say ‘tourist town,’ or something to that effect. And, sounding somewhat like the Seinfeld characters in that infamous episode, she said there’s nothing particularly wrong with that. But she quickly, and repeatedly, stressed that this community that is home to Yankee Candle’s flagship store — one of the most visited attractions in New England — as well as Mount Sugarloaf, Historic Deerfield, and the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservancy and Garden wants to diversify and broaden its commercial portfolio.

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    21. GCC’s Bob Pura Made the Community-college Mission a Career

      GCC’s Bob Pura Made the Community-college Mission a Career

      Bob Pura couldn’t help but laugh and shake his head as he talked about it. And that’s because the whole idea of it was so, well, foreign to him — in every way. He and his wife will be flying into Edinburgh, Scotland in July to visit their daughter, who’s studying there. “And we bought one-way tickets,” he said, uttering those last three words slowly for emphasis and in a voice that conveyed as much as three exclamation points. “We might stay a week, we might stay two … we don’t know,” said Pura, president of Greenfield Community ...

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    22. Greentown Initiative Links Startups with Manufacturers

      Greentown Initiative Links Startups with Manufacturers

      Adam Rodrigues, manufacturing fellow with Greentown labs, says his job description can be smashed down to two words: Making matches. That would be matches between startups across the state, and especially those within the 413, and manufacturers in Western Mass. that can help bring a concept to the marketplace. He’s already made several of these matches and plans to make many more, connections that have a number of benefits — for the startups, the manufacturers, the region, and the state.

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    23. There’s Certainly Growing Interest in Holyoke

      There’s Certainly Growing Interest in Holyoke

      Marcos Marrero says that if one were to have a machine running an optimization algorithm that would weigh a host of quantitative and qualitative factors to ultimately determine the very best spot in the region — and maybe the country — to locate a marijuana cultivation and distribution facility, it would, when done with its analysis, likely spit out two words: Holyoke and Massachusetts. He doesn’t. He’s director of Planning and Economic Development for the other Holyoke, the one on the Connecticut River. The one heralded as one of the first planned industrial cities in the country. The one where ...

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    1-24 of 191 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 »
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