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    1. Florence Bank Unveils Second Hampden County Branch in Springfield

      Florence Bank Unveils Second Hampden County Branch in Springfield

      Florence Bank opened its second Hampden County branch at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield on Dec. 19, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. “We’re very pleased to be expanding our presence in Springfield,” said John Heaps Jr., Florence Bank’s president and CEO. “Our focus is on providing great customer service and helping to reinvigorate the community.” Bank employees, customers, board members, and corporators will be present for the ribbon cutting, along with invited guests — among them Springfield business and civic leaders, including Mayor Domenic Sarno.

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    2. At bankESB, Growth Continues on a Number of Fronts

      At bankESB, Growth Continues on a Number of Fronts

      In this era of rampant mobile banking, opening a physical branch is a different proposition than it used to be, Matt Sosik said. But it’s still an important one. “At this point in the cycle of our industry, branching has fallen by the wayside a little bit,” said Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, which recently opened its 11th branch on Sargeant Street in Holyoke — a move that, despite the declining emphasis on bricks and mortar, made a lot of sense. “We feel we’ve been banking with the people of Holyoke for years and years, so Holyoke is ...

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    3. Amherst Boasts Some Positive Transitions

      Amherst Boasts Some Positive Transitions

      Amherst is a community in transition, Paul Bockelman says — in some positive ways. The most notable change, obviously, was the seating of Amherst’s first Town Council last month; 13 members were elected following a change in the town charter last March that included a move away from the town-meeting form of government. “Some people who advocated for the charter change felt the representative town meeting wasn’t fully representative of the town and wasn’t nimble enough to address the issues that were facing the town on a daily basis,” said Bockelman, Amherst’s town manager. Other people, he ...

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    4. UMassFive College Credit Union Continues to Move Beyond Its Roots

      UMassFive College Credit Union Continues to Move Beyond Its Roots

      As the name suggests, the UMassFive College Credit Union was launched to serve employees at UMass Amherst. But it quickly expanded its mission to the other schools in that region, and then beyond employees of those institutions. Today, the process of expansion and evolution continues, and touches many realms, from new branches to new technology to new member sponsors. In short, those humble beginnings have been left well behind.

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    5. First Lego League Sends Kids on a Journey of Learning

      First Lego League Sends Kids on a Journey of Learning

      Seeing a group of middle-schoolers design, build, and program robots that perform specific, detailed tasks on cue is an impressive sight. But the impact of the FIRST LEGO League, which boasts teams in numerous schools throughout Western Mass., goes far beyond engineering training. It’s also teaching young people communication skills, teamwork, and confidence — all key traits to take into whatever career they choose, whether in the STEM fields or not.

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    6. Greg Chiecko Named President, CEO of Outdoor Amusement Business Assoc.

      Greg Chiecko Named President, CEO of Outdoor Amusement Business Assoc.

      Greg Chiecko, director of Sales at the Eastern States Exposition (ESE), has been named president and CEO of the Outdoor Amusement Business Assoc. (OABA), the mobile amusement industry’s trade association. The announcement was made by the OABA board of directors following a comprehensive executive search. Chiecko succeeds longtime OABA President Robert Johnson, and will embark on his new career on Feb. 1. The OABA is the largest trade association representing carnivals, circuses, concessionaires, independent ride owners, and others who serve fairs, festivals, and community events.

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    7. Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Awards $665,200 to 45 Nonprofits

      Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Awards $665,200 to 45 Nonprofits

      The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) recently awarded $665,200 to 45 area nonprofits through its capital grant and capacity grant programs, two of the foundation’s six competitive grant-making programs that focus on improving and supporting quality of life for people in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. CFWM capital grants help local nonprofit organizations expand their impact by funding new and upgraded technology, equipment, and facilities. Capacity grants support local nonprofits to build their own organizational effectiveness and operational efficiency. Grant awards range from $4,500 to $40,000 and address community needs in the areas of arts ...

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    8. Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Eligible Candidates for Class of 2019

       The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the eligible candidates for the class of 2019, including the addition of a new direct-elect category for women veterans. Click here for the full list of eligible nominees. The women veterans direct-elect committee aims to recognize the historical greats of the women’s game who may be overshadowed by those in the contemporary women’s game, such as nominees from the WNBA or the present-day college game.

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    9. State,Worthington Select Comcast for Town’s Broadband Project

      The Mass. Broadband Institute at MassTech (MBI) has formally approved an award of $2.2 million to Comcast to support the construction of a broadband network in the town of Worthington. The grant, which was approved by both the MassTech Executive Committee and by the MBI Board of Directors, followed a majority vote at Worthington’s town meeting in May choosing Comcast and supporting the construction of its advanced fiber network to deliver broadband to the town, including approval of a project coverage map. Comcast and Worthington also signed a formal Cable Franchise Agreement on Dec. 11. The proposed broadband ...

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      Mentions: Comcast
    10. UMass Amherst Names Anne Massey Dean of Isenberg School of Management

      UMass Amherst Names Anne Massey Dean of Isenberg School of Management

      Anne Massey, professor and Ruth L. Nelson Chair of Business at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, has been named dean of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. The appointment of Massey, who built her career at Indiana University, was made by John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.  “Anne Massey is an excellent choice to lead the Isenberg School,” McCarthy said. “Not only is she a leading scholar in information systems, but her varied senior leadership experience at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington makes her uniquely ...

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    11. MGM One of Many Factors Spurring Optimism for Tourism Sector

      MGM One of Many Factors Spurring Optimism for Tourism Sector

      They call it the ‘need period.’ There are probably other names for it, but that’s how those at the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) refer to the post-holiday winter stretch in this region. And that phrase pretty much sums it up. Area tourist attractions and hospitality-related businesses are indeed needy at that time — far more than at any other season in this region. Traditionally, it’s a time to hold on and, if you’re a ski-related business, hope for snow or enough cold weather to make some.

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    12. With Talent Scarce, Many Employers Are Laboring to Fill Positions

      With Talent Scarce, Many Employers Are Laboring to Fill Positions

      Meredith Wise says it’s probably not a recent addition to the business lexicon. But it was certainly new to her when she heard it the first time. ‘Ghosting’ is the phrase in question, and it refers to a situation where an individual applies for a job, is given an offer, accepts the offer, passes a drug test, is given a starting date, accepts the starting date, and when it comes … he or she just doesn’t show up for work.

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    13. Host of Forces Create Momentum Across the Region

      Host of Forces Create Momentum Across the Region

      Momentum. Webster defines that word in several ways, including this one: ‘strength or force gained by motion or through development of events.’ Over the past few years, and especially in 2018, there was a good deal of motion and quite a few singular and ongoing events that have made this region stronger and created quite a bit of momentum, said Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass. (EDC).

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    14. Clean Energy Industry Adds Over 1,500 Jobs Statewide

      Clean Energy Industry Adds Over 1,500 Jobs Statewide

      The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today announced the state’s clean energy sector has continued its trend of upward growth, adding more than 1,500 workers to the clean energy workforce between 2017 and 2018. The figures, released as part of MassCEC’s 2018 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, found that the industry now employs more than 110,700 workers in the Commonwealth, an increase of 1.4% since 2017 and 84 percent since 2010. “Massachusetts’ clean energy industry is a critical sector for the Commonwealth’s nation-leading leading innovation economy and we are pleased to see continued job ...

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    15. Dress for Success Receives Another $10,000 Donation for Mentoring Program

      Dress for Success Receives Another $10,000 Donation for Mentoring Program

      Dress for Success Western Massachusetts received a donation of $10,000 in continued support of its Margaret R. Fitzgerald mentoring program. This program was initially launched with a $10,000 donation from this anonymous family member in 2017, and this new donation is intended to continue and expand the success of the mentoring program. “It’s only fitting we named our mentoring program after Margaret R. Fitzgerald,” said Margaret Tantillo, executive director of Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts. “Our mission is to empower women to set goals and to work toward achieving them. We help them navigate obstacles that ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    16. Berkshire Bank Makes $8,000 Grant to Benefit Mass Mentoring Partnership

      Berkshire Bank Makes $8,000 Grant to Benefit Mass Mentoring Partnership

      Berkshire Bank announced that the Berkshire Bank Foundation, in partnership with New England Sports Network (NESN), has awarded an $8,000 grant to the Mass Mentoring Partnership through the Berkshire Bank Exciting Assists Grant Program. Lily Mendez, president and CEO of Mass Mentoring Partnership, accepted the contribution from Gary Levante, Berkshire Bank’s vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility, during NESN’s coverage of the Boston Bruins on Dec. 1.

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      Mentions: Berkshire Bank
    17. Two Bids Submitted for Management of Springfield’s Symphony Hall

      MGM Springfield and Spectacle Management submitted competing bids to take over management of Symphony Hall in 2019, the Republican reported. Blue Tarp Development LLC, doing business as MGM Springfield, and Lexington-based Spectacle were the only two bids received by the Monday deadline, according to the city’s Office of Procurement.

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    18. MachineMetrics Announces $11.3 Million Funding Round

      MachineMetrics Announces $11.3 Million Funding Round

      MachineMetrics, which equips factories with the digital tools needed to increase productivity and win more business, announced it has raised $11.3 million in Series A financing. Tola Capital led the round with participation from existing investors Hyperplane Venture Capital, Long River Ventures, Mass Ventures, Hub Angels, and Firebolt Ventures. With the new funds, the company will expand its data-science and product-development teams while accelerating global sales. MachineMetrics is a pioneer in industrial IoT (internet of things) technology. Its system is designed so customers can install it themselves without the need for expensive and time-consuming customization.

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    19. NAI Plotkin Sells Historic Hampden Savings Bank Building in Downtown Springfield

      NAI Plotkin, a leading commercial real-estate brokerage firm, announced it represented the seller in the sale of 1665 Main St., a 2,010-square-foot commercial building, formerly Hampden Savings Bank, located in downtown Springfield. The building was constructed in 1918 and has a glass ceiling with an ornate supporting structure, marble walls, and copper entrance. The asset sold for $285,000, although it last assessed for $127,600. Wilfredo Lopez of NAI Plotkin was the listing broker for the property. RLTY Development Springfield LLC secured the property and, as the new owner, plans to complete restoration of the original bank building ...

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    20. To Keep Top Talent, Employers Need to Consider Work-life Balance

      To Keep Top Talent, Employers Need to Consider Work-life Balance

      In its 2019 National Business Trends Survey, the EEA aimed to determine the top five most important factors prospective employees are looking for, with the goal of assisting employers with recruitment and retention. The top five factors included, in order, competitive pay (named by 82% of respondents), good work/life balance (69.2 %), flexibility in work hours (56.1%), opportunities for advancement (55.4%), and competitive health benefits (49.9%). “The shortage of labor will be a key factor for employers in 2019,” said Phil Brandt, who chairs the EAA board of directors. “How employers will fill those new jobs ...

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    21. Initiative Aims to Make Individuals Workforce-ready

      Initiative Aims to Make Individuals Workforce-ready

      “We’ve been hearing this for years, but it had just reached a boiling point.” That’s how Kermit Dunkelberg chose to sum up the conversation in this region regarding how many individuals lack the soft skills and the essential skills needed to be workforce-ready. This ‘boiling point’ status helped inspire a regional response to a request for proposals for state funding — and a $247,000 grant aimed at putting more qualified workers in the pipeline.

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    22. Bay Path University Named Safest College in Massachusetts

      Bay Path University Named Safest College in Massachusetts

      Campus safety is a top consideration for many individuals and their families when it comes to choosing a college to attend. Niche.com compiled a list of the safest college campuses in America, and Bay Path University ranked third out of nearly 1,500 reviewed. The university ranked first for safety in both Massachusetts and New England.  “We do as much as we can to ensure that the Bay Path University campus is a safe place,” said Michael Giampietro, vice president for Finance & Administrative Services. “Campus safety is a top priority here. Our Longmeadow campus, in particular, is well-lit with ...

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    23. Monson Savings Bank Asks for Community Input on Charitable Giving

      For the ninth year in a row, Monson Savings Bank is asking the community to help plan the bank’s community giving activities by inviting people to vote for the organizations they would like the bank to support during 2019. “Every year, we donate over $125,000 to organizations doing important work in the communities we serve,” said Steve Lowell, president of Monson Savings Bank. “For several years now, we’ve been asking the community for input on which groups they’d like us to support. We’ve been so pleased by how many people inquire each year as to ...

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    24. Bay Path Physician Assistant Class Scores 100% Pass Rate on National Exam

      Bay Path Physician Assistant Class Scores 100% Pass Rate on National Exam

      The physician assistant (PA) studies class of 2018 from Bay Path University posted a 100% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). The PANCE must be taken before a PA can be licensed for the first time upon graduation from an accredited program. Bay Path University’s PA program currently holds a three-year average pass rate for first-time exam takers of 97%.

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