1. Articles from BusinessWest Staff

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    1. Employer Confidence Weakens During June

      Confidence among Massachusetts employers weakened considerably during June as tariffs, rising raw-material costs, and approval of paid family and medical leave in the Bay State raised concerns about business growth.  The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index dropped 5.3 points to 61.3 last month, its lowest level since August 2017. Confidence remains well within the optimistic range, but the June decline left the BCI slightly below its level of a year ago.

       

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    2. Crocker Communications Wins ATSI Award of Excellence

      Crocker Communications Inc. has been honored with the exclusive ATSI 2018 Award of Excellence for the 10th year. This award is presented annually by the Assoc. of TeleServices International (ATSI), the industry’s trade association for providers of telecommunications and call-center services, including telephone answering and message delivery across North America and the UK.Independent judges are contracted by ATSI to evaluate message services over a six-month period. The scoring criteria includes response time, courteousness of the representative, accuracy of the call, knowledge of the account, and overall impression of the call.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    3. More Than $2 Million Announced for Collaborative Workspaces

      The Baker-Polito administration and MassDevelopment announced $2,155,000 in funding for the third round of Collaborative Workspace Program grants, a MassDevelopment program that accelerates business formation, job creation, and entrepreneurial activity in communities by supporting infrastructure that fuels locally based innovation. Eligible organizations may apply for either seed grants to plan and study the feasibility of new collaborative workspaces, or fit-out grants to develop and expand existing workspaces.

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      Mentions: MassDevelopment
    4. HCC’s Line Cook Training Helps Kitchen Workers Land MGM Jobs

      HCC’s Line Cook Training Helps Kitchen Workers Land MGM Jobs

      Annie Rosa signed up for the free Line Cook Training program at Holyoke Community College with a clear objective in mind — get a job working in one of the new restaurants opening soon at MGM Springfield. The 38-year-old Springfield resident had worked in other restaurant kitchens, including Cracker Barrel, Cafe Lebanon, and Subway, but admits that most of her experience came from cooking for her family. She needed a professional boost.  “I’m an MGM hopeful,” she said earlier this month, not long after starting daily classes at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Then, before the four-week training program ...

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    5. Bradley International Airport Receives A+ Revenue Bond Rating

      Bradley International Airport Receives A+ Revenue Bond Rating

      The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that the credit-rating agency S & P Global Ratings has raised Bradley International Airport’s rating on its general airport revenue refunding bonds from ‘A’ to ‘A+’ with a stable outlook. “S & P Global Ratings is one of the most respected and widely used sources for credit ratings,” said Charles Gray, chairman of the CAA Board of Directors. “We’re pleased that the agency shares our confidence in Bradley International Airport’s fiscally responsible management team and the airport’s continued success.”

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    6. Ben Craft Named VP of Community Engagement for CHP

      Ben Craft Named VP of Community Engagement for CHP

      The Center for Human Development (CHD) has named Ben Craft its vice president of Community Engagement. In the newly restructured position, Craft has been charged with deepening the nonprofit human services agency’s relationships in the communities it serves in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In the role, he will oversee strategic communications, marketing and development as well as community, government, and provider relations. Craft brings a strong background in communications, engagement and advocacy to CHD, coupled with almost 10 years of experience in healthcare and public policy at a critical point in CHD’s growth and development.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. United Bank Cuts Ribbon at
Monarch Place Location

      United Bank Cuts Ribbon at
Monarch Place Location

      Joined by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Paul Picknelly, president of Monarch Enterprises, Jeff Lomma of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce and other guests, a team of United Bank employees officially cut the ribbon to its new location   at 1414 Main Street- One Monarch Place on Thursday. Earlier this year, the bank moved its branch from 115 State St. into the first floor of One Monarch Place, the signature office tower in Springfield. Thursday marked its ceremonial opening of the new branch location. United Bank noted several reasons why they wanted to relocate to One Monarch Place, including creating a ...

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    8. The Horace Smith Fund Awards $382,000 to Area Students

      The Horace Smith Fund Awards $382,000 to Area Students

      On June 21, The Horace Smith Fund held its 119th Corporators’ Meeting and scholarship awards ceremony in the Carriage House at Storrowton Tavern for recipients, their parents and school counselors, and Corporators. Wayne Webster, Chair of the Board of Trustees, announced that this year there were 30 Walter S. Barr Scholarship awards, with 25 given to graduating high school seniors and five given to recipients already attending college. The William R. Rooney Award was granted to one candidate who has had special needs. There were also six Walter S. Barr Fellowship recipients. Providing that students maintain at least a ...

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    9. Holyoke Community College STEM Scholarship Deadline Is July 15

      Holyoke Community College STEM Scholarship Deadline Is July 15

      Students enrolled full-time in chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, or other STEM fields at Holyoke Community College (HCC) may qualify for a National Science Foundation scholarship of up to $10,000 a year toward tuition and fees. Recipients of the scholarship become members of HCC’s STEM Scholars program and participate in field trips and benefit from other exclusive STEM-related events  and activities each semester. The NSF STEM Scholarship continues each semester students maintain good academic standing. Incoming and current HCC students are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for the 2018-19 academic year is July 15. Eligibility guidelines for the ...

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    10. Florence Bank Breaks Ground on New Springfield Branch

      Florence Bank Breaks Ground on New Springfield Branch

      Florence Bank broke ground last week on its second Hampden County branch, at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield, and leaders said the full-service location will open later this year. “We’re coming to Springfield,” John Heaps Jr., Florence Bank’s president and CEO, told a crowd of roughly 50 people who gathered for the celebratory event. “Our focus is on our customers and on helping to reinvigorate the community.” Heaps grew up in the Springfield area, and he said the expansion into Springfield “is like coming back home. I used to hang around here. This feels great.”

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    11. Greylock Works Transforming Mill with Help from MassDevelopment

      Greylock Works Transforming Mill with Help from MassDevelopment

      MassDevelopment has provided a $1.1 million loan to Greylock WORKS LLC, the developer of the Greylock Mill, a former cotton-spinning mill campus in North Adams that Greylock WORKS is transforming into a mixed-use commercial development. The organization will use loan proceeds to continue renovations of the Weave Shed, which includes a 26,000-square-foot event venue and commercial kitchen where the owners have been producing regional festivals and dance parties, as well as hosting weddings and other private events. “The Baker-Polito administration has created a toolbox of flexible resources to support significant opportunities for economic growth in municipalities across the ...

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      Mentions: MassDevelopment
    12. BusinessWest Announces 2018 Continued Excellence Award Finalists

      BusinessWest Announces 2018 Continued Excellence Award Finalists

      BusinessWest has announced the five finalists for this year’s Continued Excellence Award. They are Michael Fenton, associate at Shatz, Schwartz & Fentin, P.C.; William Gagnon, vice president of Marketing & Key Accounts for Excel Dryer Inc.; Samalid Hogan, regional director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center; James Leahy, assistant director, Business Development and Promotion Sales for the regional office of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission; and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.

       

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    13. BusinessWest Accepting Nominations for Women of Impact Awards

      BusinessWest magazine decided recently, after much consideration, to launch a new recognition program to honor a specific segment of the local population: women. More specifically, women making an impact in and on this region. BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the Women of Impact honor (www.businesswest.com/women-of-impact), and those who score the highest in the eyes and minds of a panel of three independent judges will be honored at a luncheon in December (date and venue to be determined). “We decided to create a special program recognizing women because, after careful consideration, we decided that this ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    14. People On the Move

      People On the Move

      The Springfield Regional Chamber has named Ellen Freyman, an attorney with Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. in Springfield, its 2018 Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year. Freyman concentrates her practice in all aspects of commercial real estate: acquisitions and sales, development, leasing, and financing. She has an extensive land-use practice that includes zoning, subdivision, project permitting, and environmental matters. A graduate of the Western New England University School of Law and Pennsylvania State University, Freyman has been recognized or awarded by the National Conference for Community and Justice for Excellence in Law, the Professional Women’s Chamber as ...

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    15. Valley Venture Mentors to Award $150,000 to Startups Tonight

      Valley Venture Mentors to Award $150,000 to Startups Tonight

      Today, May 24, Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) will host more than 450 people to celebrate the achievements of 35 startups participating in the fourth VVM Startup Accelerator program. The awards event will gather community influencers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and business leaders at the MassMutual Center starting at 5 p.m. for an evening celebrating the local entrepreneurial renaissance in Western Mass.

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    16. United Bank Announces Purchase of Six Bank Branches

      United Bank announced it has entered into an agreement with Webster Bank, N.A. of Waterbury, Conn. to purchase six branches located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. United Bank will assume approximately $120 million of branch deposits in the transaction, which is expected to close in the fall of 2018, pending regulatory approval. Under the terms of the agreement, the following six Webster Bank branches will be purchased by United Bank, and employees at those branches are expected to join the United Bank team: 50 Elm St., West Springfield; 1355 Boston Road, Springfield; 62 Center Square, East Longmeadow; 124B ...

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    17. Hazen Paper Earns Accolades with AIMCAL Product of the Year

      Hazen Paper Earns Accolades with AIMCAL Product of the Year

      The holographic Kat Von D “Metal Crush” limited-edition powder highlighter carton produced by Hazen Paper Co. was named Product of the Year at the 2018 annual meeting of the Assoc. of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL), held in Charlotte, N.C. Hazen also received Product Excellence awards for a Marc Jacobs “Decadence” perfume box and a Burmester Porsche “Music to Your Ears” brochure.

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      Mentions: Holyoke Hazen Paper
    18. Florence Bank Recognized at Statewide Banking Choice Awards

      Florence Bank Recognized at Statewide Banking Choice Awards

      Florence Bank recently earned four industry honors at the first annual Banking Choice Awards in areas such as quality and service, with recognition based on an independent survey of customer feedback. At the event on April 26 at Boston’s Omni Parker House, Florence Bank ranked first in the Western Mass. region in Overall Quality, Customer Service, and Technology, and second in Community Contribution. “These rankings came from an independent survey performed by a recognized leader in tracking and measuring the customer experience,” President and CEO John Heaps said.

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      Mentions: John Heaps
    19. Tighe & Bond Announces CEO Succession Plan

      Tighe & Bond Announces CEO Succession Plan

      At its annual stockholder’s meeting in April, Tighe & Bond announced that Robert Belitz will succeed David Pinsky as president and CEO when Pinsky retires from that position at the close of 2018. Belitz, the firm’s current chief financial officer, will assume the role of president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2019. Belitz will be Tighe & Bond’s ninth leader in its 107-year history. Pinsky has served as president and CEO since 2006 and has been with the firm for 30 years. “It’s been a privilege leading such a storied firm,” said Pinsky. “I am looking forward to ...

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    20. Chamber Names Ellen Freyman Citizen of the Year

      Chamber Names Ellen Freyman Citizen of the Year

      The Springfield Regional Chamber has named Ellen Freyman, an attorney with Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. in Springfield, its 2018 Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year. The award is given annually to honor the memory of Moriarty, a long-time active participant in the chamber who gave of his time, talent, and personal and professional resources to the local community. Since 2007, said chamber President Nancy Creed, “the award has been given to someone in the business community who — like Ellen — selflessly gives of their time, talent, and personal and professional resources to the community and encourages those who ...

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    21. IALS Light Microscopy Facility Designated Nikon Center of Excellence

      IALS Light Microscopy Facility Designated Nikon Center of Excellence

      The Light Microscopy Core Facility, housed in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) at UMass Amherst, was designated as a Nikon Center of Excellence at a recent grand-opening event. It is one of eight Nikon Centers of Excellence in the U.S. The microscopes that make up the core facility have been purchased by UMass Amherst with funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Education Consortium and furnished by Nikon at a discount. They will allow the campus and the surrounding region access to cutting-edge technology and foster economic development, according to James Chambers, director of the IALS Light Microscopy ...

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