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    1. Join Us as We Celebrate the Difference Makers Virtually on April 1

      Join Us as We Celebrate the Difference Makers Virtually on April 1

      Since 2009, BusinessWest has been recognizing the work of individuals, groups, businesses, and institutions through a program called Difference Makers. The 2021 Difference Makers include Kristin Carlson, president of Peerless Precision; EforAll Holyoke; Janine Fondon, founder of UnityFirst.com and professor at Bay Path University; Harold Grinspoon, philanthropist and founder of Aspen Square Management; Chad Moir, founder and owner of DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center; Bill Parks, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield; and Pete Westover, founder and partner at Conservation Works, LLC.

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    2. COVID-19 Takes Significant Toll on Women in the Workforce

      COVID-19 Takes Significant Toll on Women in the Workforce

      In 2020, the same year a record number of women were elected to Congress and the first woman was elected vice president, COVID-19 had a devastating and potentially permanent impact on women in the workforce. The percentage of women participating in the U.S. labor market in October 2020 was the lowest since 1988, and of the 9.8 million jobs that have not yet returned, 55% belong to women. In one year, COVID-19 wiped out a generation of progress and put the precariousness of being a woman in the modern American workplace into stark perspective.

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    3. Florence Bank to Open Third Hampden County Branch

      Florence Bank to Open Third Hampden County Branch

      Florence Bank will open its third Hampden County branch at 705 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee on Monday, March 22, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated for Wednesday, May 5. “We’re very pleased to be expanding our presence in Hampden County,” said Kevin Day, Florence Bank’s president and CEO. “Our focus is on providing great customer service and helping to reinvigorate the community.”

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      Mentions: Chicopee
    4. Women’s Fund, HCC Partner on Course to Develop Leaders

      Women’s Fund, HCC Partner on Course to Develop Leaders

      Only one-third of all businesses in Western Mass. are owned by women, according to a recent survey. In the healthcare sector, one of the largest employers in the region, leadership positions are held by women 41% of the time — with outliers like one hospital where it’s only 16%. These findings are from a 2019 study commissioned by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts titled “Status of Women and Girls in Western Massachusetts.” To address disparities like the ones in the survey, the Women’s Fund and Holyoke Community College (HCC) have teamed up on an eight-week training program ...

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    5. M&T Bank Corp. to Purchase People’s United Financial Inc.

      M&T Bank Corp. to Purchase People’s United Financial Inc.

      M&T Bank Corp. is no stranger to acquisitions, having broadly expanded its geographic footprint through a series of mergers over the past two decades. But every acquisition is undertaken with purpose, Chairman and CEO René Jones said, and that includes the recent announcement that M&T will purchase Bridgeport, Conn.-based People’s United Financial Inc. in a $7.6 billion, all-stock transaction. “The combination of M&T and People’s United will benefit both firms, providing additional growth opportunities beyond what either firm could achieve independently,” Jones said during a recent conference call with investors, adding that the ...

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    6. MGM Must Get Back on the Ramp

      MGM Must Get Back on the Ramp

      When everyone gathered on Main Street that hot August day back in 2018 to mark the opening of MGM Springfield, no one really knew what to expect or what the future would bring. Certainly, no one could have predicted what the scene would be like two and half years later. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic took a resort casino that was ‘ramping up’ — that’s the phrase we kept hearing over and again from past and present leaders — and knocked it completely off the ramp. The casino was shuttered for several months, and when it reopened, it was only at a ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. BusinessTalk with Vince Jackson, executive director of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce

      BusinessTalk with Vince Jackson, executive director of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Vince Jackson, executive director of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. The two have a lively discussion about the deep toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on Paradise City, and how that community’s strong, eclectic business community has responded with determination, imagination, and perseverance. The two also discuss how the pandemic has challenged all chambers, including his, while also changing their roles to some extent and making them even more vital to area small businesses. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with ...

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      Mentions: Northampton
    8. Serve Food to Open Shared Kitchen to Aspiring Restaurateurs

      Serve Food to Open Shared Kitchen to Aspiring Restaurateurs

      Serve Food, a new business in Holyoke, will host its grand opening on Tuesday, March 16 at 2 p.m. at its 112 High St. location.  Serve Food, a shared-use kitchen, is a certified commercial kitchen in which individuals or businesses prepare value-added food products and meals using a monthly membership. Because expenses are shared, the costs are significantly lower than if an entrepreneur started a kitchen on his or her own.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    9. MCLA Division of Graduate and Continuing Education to Hold Information Session

      MCLA Division of Graduate and Continuing Education to Hold Information Session

      The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Division of Graduate and Continuing Education will present a virtual information session on Tuesday, March 23 at 4 p.m. for community members interested in learning about MCLA’s graduate and continuing-education programs, including bachelor’s-degree completion, master of business administration, master of education, teacher-licensure programs, and the MCLA Leadership Academy.

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    10. Bradley International Airport to Launch Non-stop Service to Miami with JetBlue

      Bradley International Airport to Launch Non-stop Service to Miami with JetBlue

      The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced the debut of new, non-stop service from Bradley International Airport (BDL) to Miami International Airport (MIA) on JetBlue. “Connecting customers in the Northeast and South Florida has been a hallmark of JetBlue’s success for more than 20 years, and offering our award-winning service and low fares between Hartford and Miami means we can attract new customers and grow in both regions,” said Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning for JetBlue.”

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    11. STCC Named Fourth-best Community College in U.S.

      STCC Named Fourth-best Community College in U.S.

      Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) was ranked as the fourth-best community college in the nation and second-best in Massachusetts, according to Academic Influence, a college ranking system. Academic Influence consists of academics and data scientists who use artificial-intelligence technology to analyze publicly available data and measure the impact of work produced by the world’s top academic influencers. On March 4, the website released its first-ever ranking of the 50 best community colleges in America. STCC is one of six Massachusetts community colleges listed in the top 20.

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    12. HCC Ranked Among Best Community Colleges in U.S.

      HCC Ranked Among Best Community Colleges in U.S.

      Holyoke Community College (HCC) ranks among the best community colleges in the U.S. for 2021, according to Academic Influence, a technology-driven education-evaluation group. HCC was listed 20th out of 839 community colleges nationwide. In particular, HCC was noted for the strength of its academic programs in criminal justice, nursing, computer science, business, education, and engineering.

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    13. Bradley International Airport Launches Non-stop Service to Nashville

      Bradley International Airport Launches Non-stop Service to Nashville

      The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced the launch of Southwest Airlines flights from Bradley International Airport to Nashville International Airport (BNA) in Tennessee. “We are excited to launch Southwest Airlines’ non-stop service to Nashville from Bradley International Airport,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the CAA. “Nashville is a popular destination that also offers key connectivity to major destinations across Southwest’s West Coast network. The launch of this service significantly enhances our non-stop offering for our travelers, and, with its introduction, we are pleased to strengthen our long-standing partnership with Southwest Airlines.”

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    14. Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity Partners with Union Tradeswomen

      Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity Partners with Union Tradeswomen

      The Habitat for Humanity Women Build Week event, sponsored by Lowe’s, is an opportunity to spread the positive and powerful message of “women helping women” and facilitate in building stronger and safer communities. During the weeklong event, which began March 8, women from all walks of life and skill levels have come together to work on a job site. Under the guidance of construction professionals, the group learns new skills and/or adds to their repertoire.

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    15. Elms College to Host Inaugural Distinguished Lecture in Ethics on March 24

      Elms College to Host Inaugural Distinguished Lecture in Ethics on March 24

      The St. Augustine Center for Ethics, Religion, and Culture (CERC) at Elms College will hold its inaugural Distinguished Lecture in Ethics on Wednesday, March 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. Due to COVID-19 protocols, this event will be held virtually via Zoom. The highlight of the event will be the keynote speech by the Rev. James Keenan, vice provost for Global Engagement, Canisius professor of theology, and director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College.

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    16. COVID-19: One Year Later - BusinessWest

      COVID-19: One Year Later - BusinessWest

      One year ago, the world, or at least our little corner of it, stopped. Completely.
      Well, almost completely. Better to say that it paused — big time. The COVID-19 pandemic had arrived in the 413 and elsewhere, and life as we knew it had given way to something else. Something much different. Something the likes of which we had never seen or dealt with before. The cover of the March 16, 2020 issue of BusinessWest captured it perfectly. Above a set of empty conference-room chairs was the headline “Life in Limbo.”

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    17. Jordan Hart Named Executive Director of Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

      Jordan Hart Named Executive Director of Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

      The Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce has named Jordan Hart its new executive director. “Jordan brings a longtime commitment to Holyoke and to the chamber to her new position,” said Harry Montalvo of bankESB, the chamber’s board chair. “We are looking forward to her leadership in mapping out new strategies to work with our members as we emerge from the challenges of the past year.” Hart will replace Andréa Marion in the role. Marion recently announced her departure to pursue other opportunities.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    18. Springfield College Recognized for Pathways to Support Community-college Transfer

      Springfield College Recognized for Pathways to Support Community-college Transfer

      For the sixth consecutive year, Springfield College has been named to Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll, which identifies the top four-year colleges and universities for creating dynamic pathways to support community-college transfer. Springfield College is one of only 150 colleges and universities in the country to be recognized for this honor, including one of only six colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

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    19. Jay Seyler Joins Greenfield Cooperative Bank as VP of Commercial Lending

      Jay Seyler Joins Greenfield Cooperative Bank as VP of Commercial Lending

      Tony Worden, president and chief operating officer at Greenfield Cooperative Bank (GCB), announced that Jay Seyler has joined the bank as the new vice president of Commercial Lending. He will be based primarily in the King Street, Northampton office and aid the efforts of GCB’s Commercial Lending department, reporting directly to Michael Buckmaster, senior vice president of Commercial Lending.

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    20. Dr. David Brown to Lead Cooley Dickinson Health Care as Interim President, CEO

      Dr. David Brown to Lead Cooley Dickinson Health Care as Interim President, CEO

      Dr. David Brown has begun serving as the interim president and CEO at Cooley Dickinson Health Care. Brown steps in to lead the organization after Joanne Marqusee announced her resignation in January following seven years of service to Cooley Dickinson. Brown, chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), will serve in an interim capacity while a search is conducted for a permanent president and CEO. The search process will be aligned with the Mass General Brigham United Against Racism priority and will include a diverse search committee and slate of candidates for consideration.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    21. HCC Student Miren Neyra Alcántara Honored as Newman Civic Fellow

      HCC Student Miren Neyra Alcántara Honored as Newman Civic Fellow

      Holyoke Community College (HCC) student Miren Neyra Alcántara is the recipient of a Newman Civic Fellowship, which recognizes college leaders who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions to challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally. Alcántara will join 212 college students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the 2021 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, a program administered by Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit working to advance the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions.

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    22. CET Marks 45 Years of Energy-saving Innovations - BusinessWest

      CET Marks 45 Years of Energy-saving Innovations - BusinessWest

      John Majercak likes to say the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) has been successful for 45 years because it’s willing to try out approaches to saving energy that in time become a normal way of doing business.  “We helped invent the energy audit in the 1970s, and now it’s a routine thing that lots of people have done, and it’s having a huge impact,” said Majercak, president of CET.

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