Rudi Scherff, manager of the Student Prince, a landmark eatery in downtown Springfield that just celebrated 78 years in business, is used to the ups and downs of the hospitality business. Scherff, who undoubtedly has one of the strongest and most affluent regular clienteles in the Pioneer Valley, said he’s getting the sense that, while there is apprehension and concern, people are a bit happier with at least the regional economic situation than they were a year ago. Scherff told BusinessWest that the holidays are “huge” for his restaurant, which does a solid 20% of the year’s business ...(Read Full Article)
Fran Ahern acknowledged that the analogy isn’t perfect, but, for the most part, it works, and it helps him effectively tell the story of one of the region’s least-known — and least-understood — business success stories.(Read Full Article)
“We’re a service center for airplanes,” said Ahern, general manager of Gulfstream’s sprawling operation at Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield. He would go on to draw a number of loose comparisons between his operation and the corner garage or auto dealership where one might bring their Buick for new tires, a tuneup, or an inspection sticker.
Bob LePage spends a lot of time talking to employers from many different sectors, from healthcare to hospitality; financial services to manufacturing. And they all have one thing in common — a need for quality workers. He related a conversation he had with the head of an area manufacturing firm. “He said, ‘we have more work than we have capacity. And what’s the biggest capacity constriction? Lack of workers. If I could find them, I’d add a shift, I’d add another line. Our challenge is, we need more qualified workers, whether that’s taking assemblers and upscaling them ...(Read Full Article)
Doug Bowen, PeoplesBank president and CEO, admits that the bank may not see a return on the added investment through energy savings for “seven to eight years from now” at the earliest, but that timetable certainly isn‘t deterring him from such endeavors. Indeed, what interests him most is that PeoplesBank continues to be an industry leader in developing sustainable branch offices, fostering an environmentally friendly corporate culture, and investing in projects that will be energy-efficient. This is a mission that PeoplesBank staked out a couple of years after Bowen took over the leadership of the bank in 2006, and ...(Read Full Article)
Hampden has countered that trend, Welch said, with the strong recent performance of its commercial-loan portfolio; in fact, the bank recorded loan growth of almost 22% in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, outpacing deposit growth of 9%. Overall, Hampden Bank boasts almost $700 million in assets and 111 employees spread across 10 branches in Springfield, Agawam, Longmeadow, West Springfield, and Wilbraham. That wasn’t enough for a group of non-local shareholders who waged an unsuccessful proxy fight for more control over the bank’s dealings earlier this month. Texas-based Clover Partners, which owns about $7.8 million ...(Read Full Article)
The Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community (CHCRC), a $192 million, 517,637-square-foot complex across Commonwealth Avenue from the Mullins Center, opened its doors in August, and it’s already turning heads with a number of constituencies. Indeed, the gleaming, seven-building campus within a campus is gaining the attention of other students at the university, high-school juniors and seniors weighing their options about where to pursue their undergraduate degrees, and other institutions looking to build an honors community of their own.(Read Full Article)
Like Phelon, Ciuffreda, and Nascimento, Anderson also mentioned efforts to partner with other chambers and various economic-development-related organizations to bring still more value to members and bolster the business community or specific sectors within it. These efforts and the others chronicled above represent a response to the new landscape facing chambers, said Nascimento, adding quickly that the scene didn’t change overnight, and the necessary adjustments won’t come that quickly either. “There are a lot of challenges for chambers,” he said in conclusion, “but there are also a lot of opportunities. This is an exciting time for chambers and ...(Read Full Article)
As she gave BusinessWest a tour of the 24,000-square-foot MicroTek plant on Justin Drive, Paradis stopped at a number of the workstations where she learned this business and its specific products more than 25 years ago. She explained the processes involved with specific parts, offered high praise for the workforce, and ended with some pointed commentary. “This is a good example of how manufacturing is still a big part of our economy in Western Mass.,” she said. “People say this sector is in decline, and maybe it’s not what it once was, but what we’re doing here ...(Read Full Article)
Jeffrey Ciuffreda says there are a number of encouraging signs to take from this year’s roster of Super 60 companies — the 24th compilation of the region’s top-performing businesses. For starters, there are the numbers — for both revenue and revenue growth — posted by the winners, said Ciuffreda, president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, which has presented the program since 1990. He noted that companies in the first category averaged more than $35 million last year and combined for more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, one-third of the companies in the revenue-growth category averaged in excess of ...(Read Full Article)
The website was developed as a result of a collaborative effort. It is an initiative of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County (REB), which teamed up with members of the Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Mass., with the goal of strengthening the region’s healthcare workforce and enhancing the quality of patient care. “The idea for the website was generated by employers, educators, and community-based organizations with the express desire of letting people know what types of healthcare jobs and careers are available in the Pioneer Valley and where they exist on the continuum of care,” said Kelly Aiken ...(Read Full Article)
- She told BusinessWest she was comfortable with the institution long before she actually toured it, and even well before her first two interviews for the position, the first via Skype and the second at a hotel at Bradley International Airport — although those sessions and her subsequent visit certainly reinforced her opinion.
She liked the feel and the fit so much that she quickly terminated a quest for another college president’s position to focus all her energies on this one.
The primary reason why is the culture that pervades the school, one summed up by its motto (“Spirit Mind Body ... (Read Full Article)
As president of Easthampton-based Innovative Business Systems (IBS), a 23-year-old IT-solutions company — and the parent company of newly acquired TechCavalry — DelVecchio and his four partners are tasked with finding solutions for businesses and individuals to access data, at home or at work.(Read Full Article)
Through IBS specifically, DelVecchio and his team can provide expertise and resources to meet a client’s information-technology needs, or operate as the IT department’s best resource.
Larry Snyder says his broad goal is to help position Bay Path College as a “hub of cybersecurity in Western Mass.”(Read Full Article)
That’s a somewhat ambitious but certainly attainable goal, he said, noting that there are many aspects to the process of getting there, starting with the school’s decision to create what is believed to be the first master’s degree program in cybersecurity management in New England, which will be led by Snyder and launched later this month.
Recognizing the economic-development potential of the arts, in 2011 Easthampton designated ECA a city committee. Today, it’s funded through the municipal budget, state grants, and private donations, and Maxey works out of the remodeled former town hall, along with a few other creative businesses. Jean-Pierre Pache was the first tenant in the remodeled building, moving Eastmont Custom Framing — a business he started in 2001 — as well as a small art studio, to the historic property. As one of the more than 240 artists active with ECA, he said he has seen the town’s creative community boost more than ...(Read Full Article)
Bill Ward has a wide assortment of photographs adorning the walls and shelves of his office in downtown Springfield. There’s one of him conferring with Sen. Edward Kennedy, for example, and also one that puts him in a group with, among others, Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father-son team famous for their exploits in marathons and triathlons. There are others featuring a host of local, state, and national political leaders, and even a framed copy of the story announcing him as one of the first winners of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers award. But maybe the one he’s most ...(Read Full Article)
Schewe, an author and professor of Marketing at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, has been studying generational differences for more than 20 years. His most recent book — Defining Markets, Defining Moments: America’s 7 Generational Cohorts, Their Shared Experiences, and Why America Should Care — distills much of that research and applies it to the marketplace.(Read Full Article)
He says the Millennials — the second-largest generation in American history, behind the Baby Boomers — have arrived in the workforce with the baggage of a reputation for being lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and restless, perceptions that are, in many cases, exaggerated at best.
Creating a cultural district can do very much the same thing for Springfield, he went on, noting that it will help the city brand itself and its many cultural attractions and, in many ways, give people a reason to give the community a look — or another look. Kay Simpson agreed. She’s the vice president of Springfield Museums and one of the primary architects of a proposed cultural district that would cover several blocks downtown and include everything from the Armory Museum to the Paramount; from the Community Music School to the five museums in the Quadrangle; from Symphony Hall ...(Read Full Article)
he knot of Hampshire County schools known as the Five Colleges — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and UMass Amherst — boast tens of thousands of students who share much more than a region. They’re also able to attend courses on each other’s campuses, access free buses between schools, share library and dining services, attend open theater auditions, and much more, thanks to Five Colleges Inc., the Amherst-based consortium that has been dedicated, since its inception almost 50 years ago, to fostering partnerships and shared resources among the five institutions.(Read Full Article)
Ed Carroll says businesses, salespeople, or entrepreneurs who are not advertising on mobile devices are losing customers, and his claim is backed up by many studies, including a survey showing that more than 86 million people sought business information last year via their smartphones.(Read Full Article)
The co-founder of VizConnect in Springfield first became aware of the trend in 2004 when he was working as a television newscaster and Facebook began to gain in popularity. “I saw a paradigm shift taking place away from mainstream media, and one night I began thinking about how businesses could use it because they are completely ...
Scott Foster says there are many ways to qualify and quantify the physical growth and escalating impact of Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) since it was launched more than two years ago as a unique support system for entrepreneurs looking to start a venture or take one to the next level.(Read Full Article)
Bud Shuback calls it a “bridge event.” By using that term, he’s expressing the hope — and the confidence — that the first edition of the Great New England Wings & Wheels event, slated for August 24 and 25 at Westover Metropolitan Airport, will be a bridge between the massive air shows staged over the past several decades at Westover Air Reserve Base and Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield, and the ones to come in the future.(Read Full Article)
“Every new idea that comes out gets evaluated, and if it’s feasible, we jump on it,” Rob continued, adding that Belmont is a green company and has recycled 23.5 million gallons of water over the past five years, recovered thousands of BTUs of energy, recycled thousands of hangers and garments each year, and uses environmentally friendly detergents and chemicals.(Read Full Article)
Brianna Davis certainly knows. Now roughly three weeks into a job with the REB through the summer jobs initiative, she told BusinessWest that she handles filing, copying, reception-desk work, and other duties, for which she is paid $10 an hour. Perhaps more important than the paycheck, though (that’s perhaps), she said she’s getting her first experience working in an office and with other people.(Read Full Article)
“This is a lot quieter than what I’m used to,” she said with a laugh, adding that her most recent gainful employment has been waitressing. “It’s a lot more focused work — sitting ...
That’s where the city is developing 80 acres — perhaps 12 to 15 subdivided lots — for light-manufacturing and aviation-supported businesses. “We’ve had serious conversations with four or five companies looking there, waiting for the road to be finished,” Daley said.(Read Full Article)