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    1. Taking Center Stage

      Taking Center Stage
      Heriberto “Herbie” Flores has always had a heart for needy people, partly because he grew up poor. From its humble origins 40 years ago providing legal and financial assistance for migrant farm workers, he has grown his multi-agency nonprofit, Partners for Community, into an $80 million force for economic development and community improvement. But he’s made bigger news with a series of real-estate acquisitions, including the Paramount Theater (seen here), that promise to transform Springfield’s downtown. The kind of long-term change Flores envisions for the City of Homes will require energy and passion — and BusinessWest’s Top Entrepreneur ...
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    2. Groundbreaking Developments

      Groundbreaking Developments
      Redevelopment of the Ludlow Mills complex, an ambitious undertaking on the part of Westmass Development, is well underway, with two large-scale projects punctuating ceremonies to mark the closing on the historic property. One is construction of a new HealthSouth rehabilitation hospital only a few blocks from the current site, the former Ludlow Hospital, while the other is a planned 82-unit senior independent-living facility.
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    3. City2City

      Following up a trip a year ago to Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C., a delegation from Greater Springfield recently visited Grand Rapids, Mich. to see and learn how that community has earned the designation of ‘resurgent city.’ Civic and business leaders there said much of it comes down to private-public partnerships, collaboration between all parties involved in an initiative, and what one official called “coloring waaay outside the lines.”
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    4. Primed for Recovery

      Primed for Recovery
      As 2011 winds to a close, it appears that the nation will see growth of only a percentage point or two. That’s nothing remarkable, but certainly an accomplishment, considering how bleak things looked only a few months ago, when a double dip seemed very possible. And now there are several indicators — from stronger-than-expected holiday sales to signs of life in the housing market — that something approaching real recovery could be on the horizon.
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    5. No Time Like the Present

      No Time Like the Present
      When it comes to end-of-year business planning, Kevin Vann said, every company is different. “If you’re an accountant, obviously tax planning is critically important,” he said. “If you’re a business advisor, consultant, or whatever, other things are critical, like long-term strategic planning.” But he has one piece of advice that crosses all sectors: business planning is not just a year-end exercise. At least, it shouldn’t be. “We look at it as an ongoing thing,” said Vann, a principal with the Springfield-based Vann Group
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    6. The Casino Era Begins

      The Casino Era Begins
      Indeed, only a few seconds in, Blair, president of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., said that, while he had no official determination on the matter, he thought it quite fair to say that the resort casino due to be built over the next several years somewhere within the 413 area code will easily be the region’s largest development project ever. And he wasn’t just talking about dollars and cents, although the projected $500 million (minimum) project — at least twice the cost of Baystate Health’s $250 million Hospital of the Future — will certainly cover that aspect ...
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    7. Center of Attention

      Center of Attention
      The concept initially came together nearly a decade ago. It was a unique and ambitious plan — to combine a transportation center with adult basic education programs and a childcare facility — but it made sense on many levels. So much so, that the Holyoke Transportation Center was able to withstand myriad challenges, many of them capable of scuttling the initiative. The end result is what one of the private-equity investors calls “a one-stop shop to improve your life.”
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    8. Stable Condition

      Stable Condition
      In many respects, the phrase ‘jobless recovery’ still applies to the landscape in Western Mass. But one key sector where that term doesn’t fit, or at least to the same degree, is health care. Indeed, shortages exist in many specialities, and hiring remains steady across the field. This situation presents opportunities for job seekers and career changers, but many positions require degress and completion of challenging programs.
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    9. Going Great Guns

      Going Great Guns
      Steve Troy calls his venture, “the biggest company no one’s heard of.” And that’s largely due to his hard work to fly under the radar screen as he’s nurtured Troy Industries, a government contractor that designs, manufactures, and markets advanced small arms components and other products, into a diverse, cutting-edge company that will soon have 100 employees. But remaining anonymous is becoming increasingly difficult as this unique success story adds new and intriguing chapters.
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    10. Stories Worth Telling

      Stories Worth Telling
      Jeffrey Ciuffreda says the annual Super 60 luncheon is more than a recognition of individual achievement in business, although it is definitely that, too. It’s also a celebration of Western Mass. as a whole. “I believe this program is a great showcase of our region and truly shows the diversity of our employment base, our businesses, which is our strength,” said Ciuffreda, president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, which sponsors the event. “The list of winners includes human-services providers, manufacturers, institutions of higher education, technology, environmental firms, insurers, and more.”
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    11. Profiles in Business

      Profiles in Business
      “I can literally say that I started from scratch, and with the help of my wife, my brother, my sisters, and my parents, plus hard work and perseverance, our company is growing and prospering,” the typed speech reads. Don D’Amour noted that he and his cousin, company President Charles D’Amour, will be called upon for remarks at the 75th gala, and that, while he hadn’t yet finalized his remarks, he was quite certain that they would strike a very similar theme, although the second generation certainly didn’t start from scratch, a point he emphasized many times.
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    12. Grassroots Appeal

      Grassroots Appeal
      As secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Richard K. Sullivan Jr. heads up a sprawling mix of agencies that few states have placed under a similar umbrella. But the framework is a good one, he says, as the Commonwealth’s promotion of renewable-energy production goes hand-in-hand with its heavy investment in conservation and agriculture.
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    13. Profiles in Business

      Profiles in Business
      Vince Maniaci was talking about the profile of the typical American International College student. Before doing so, the school’s president made a point of qualifying things by noting that there is a great deal of diversity on his campus, and that individuals with varied backyards wind up there. That said, though, he admitted that many have certain things in common.
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    14. Big Y Employment Specialist Lindsay Pratola

      Big Y Employment Specialist Lindsay Pratola
      Experts say the job market in Western Mass. is on the upswing. Companies are beginning to replace people who were laid off, and in some sectors, jobs are actually going unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates. But the recovery continues to be painfully slow, and employers are typically filling only one or two positions at time. And the way they find replacements or new hires has undergone a dramatic change as they seek to save time and money.
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    15. On the Cutting Edge

      On the Cutting Edge
      Thorn manufactures instrumentation and implantable surgical devices for the spine, knee, and hip using state-of-the-art computer numeric-controlled machinery. It also does its own laser marking, using a laser to mark parts for customers, as well as a process called passivation, which cleans instruments and implants with citric acid to remove imperfections in stainless steel or titanium.
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      Mentions: Springfield
    16. Programming the Future

      Programming the Future
      “The high-performance computing center will generate a lot of heat,” said Kathleen Anderson, director of Holyoke’s Office of Planning and Development. “If we did urban agriculture, we could take the heat from the computing center and pump it into greenhouses or possibly older mill buildings and start growing things.”Such a project, she said, could generate more than 100 jobs. “Then there’s distributors, processing plants up and down the Valley … how do you include them? An asset like that in Holyoke would need distribution, processing, transportation — how can we leverage that asset to help other businesses in the ...
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