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    1. Driving Force

      Driving Force

      Over the years, Advance Welding has expanded several times, most recently with an addition that doubled the size of the current facility on Allston Avenue, while also increasing its workforce from two to the current eight, with more additions likely. As equal partners in the venture, Kielb and Mitton, who essentially grew up in the shop handling a variety of jobs, both oversee the staff and wear several hats while doing so.

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    2. Upwardly Mobile

      Upwardly Mobile

      The social experience, Aaron St. John says, is where gaming is at. That’s why HitPoint Studios — the company he founded in 2008 along with Paul Hake, and which designed Seaside Hideaway — is focusing on social games, where multiple players interact with each other, rather than harness all their energies creating the next massive solo-player success, a la Angry Birds.

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    3. Fitting Fair Well | BusinessWest

      Fitting Fair Well | BusinessWest

      Wayne McCary was asked to speculate on how many visits he might make to the Big E this fall. He offered a slight chuckle and then a wide grin that spoke volumes. “I really don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll get there — I’ll be one of those people eating my way through the fair,” said the Big E’s outgoing president as he thought ahead briefly to what will be his first trip to the West Springfield landmark as a non-employee in more than four decades.

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    4. The Futures Market

      The Futures Market

      “MassMutual is in the business of workforce development — we’ve got great opportunities to develop young people — but we’re not in the mentoring business,” she explained. “However, Big Brothers Big Sisters is, and they’ve provided support for the work involved to sustain a solid mentoring program.” Elaborating, she said there is a geat deal of work that goes into the process of matching young people with mentors. In a nutshell, MassMutual recruits the many volunteers needed for the program, and Big Brothers Big Sisters goes about screening both volunteers and students identified by the School Department, and making ...

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    5. A Priceless Gift | BusinessWest

      A Priceless Gift | BusinessWest

      It was also a journey she might never have undertaken without the help, support, and guidance she has received from Valley Venture Mentors, or VVM. The Springfield-based group provides critical support to entrepreneurs by linking them to business professionals who act as mentors during structured monthly pitch-and-planning sessions as well as in private meetings between sessions. Although Muehlke had conducted academic research before making the decision to launch her company, the guidance she’s received from the group has been invaluable.

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    6. Banking on Progress | BusinessWest

      Banking on Progress | BusinessWest

      A long-time customer of Easthampton Savings Bank recently called with a question about a loan. “This was someone who did his first mortgage with us in 1972,” bank President William Hogan said. “When he called, he said he had to talk to me, and I remembered him. He asked, ‘why do you need all this information?’ “I said, ‘Jack, the world has changed,’” he continued. “And it’s true — what we used to do with a handshake when we took his first application, we can’t do that anymore. Now, a loan file is four or five inches thick by ...

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    7. Getting Down to Business

      Getting Down to Business

      On a night in early April, the Springfield Leadership Institute, a program created through a partnership between the city’s chamber of commerce and Western New England University, held its 2012 graduation ceremonies at the Sheraton in Monarch Place. Offering guidance, support, and the tools for members of the business community to become regional leaders, the institute’s proceedings had very special significance for several members in attendance.

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    8. Transition Team

      Transition Team

      Aiken said the CTEP program would never have happened “if the broader partnership of the Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Mass. were not in existence.” That group is comprised of three groups: In health care, the players are Baystate Health, Berkshire Healthcare Systems, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Genesis Healthcare/Heritage Hall, Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke Medical Center, Jewish Geriatric Services, Noble Hospital, Holyoke VNA & Hospice Lifecare, Sisters of Providence Health System, Mass Senior Care Assoc., Home Care Alliance of Mass., Mass. Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors, and VNA and Hospice of Cooley Dickinson.

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    9. Anatomy of a Merger

      Anatomy of a Merger

      In some ways, Cooley Dickinson’s merger may not be as dramatic as it seems, as the Northampton hospital was affiliated with the New Hampshire-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system from 1992 to 2008. But in other ways, the new affiliation reflects the emergence of some broader economic trends in health care that promise to dominate the industry for years to come. The other news from the merger announcement, of course, was the rejection of the other finalist for affiliation, Baystate Health, which already operates three hospitals across the Pioneer Valley.

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    10. Spheres of Influence

      Spheres of Influence

      Through most of his career in the plastics business, Mel O’Leary has kept a low profile. Make that a very low profile. Indeed, over the course of the past 29 years, during which he’s shaped Meredith-Springfield into one of the nation’s more accomplished blow-molding specialists, O’Leary has let the company’s products — actually, other people’s products, ranging from maple-syrup containers to detergent bottles — do the talking for him.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    11. A Landmark Decision

      A Landmark Decision

      She’s calling it Cooper’s Commons, a nod to Ensign Thomas Cooper — the Civil War naval hero who lived in the home just after that conflict ended — and also to the store her father created at the rear of the property nearly 40 years ago and named after the ensign. And she described the concept as “a place where Thornes Marketplace, Northampton, meets the Village Commons, South Hadley,” a reference to two of the region’s best-known centers of eclectic retail.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    12. Difference Makers 2012

      Difference Makers 2012

      Two of the individuals are cousins, continuing and expanding D’Amour family traditions of business excellence, service to the community, and philanthropy. Another is the president of a community college hailed for his efforts to create ‘pathways’ to his institution and then from it, to four-year colleges and career opportunities. Still another has forged a reputation for getting things done, especially in the realms of adult literacy and creating permanent solutions to the problem of homelessness. Meanwhile, a husband-and-wife team, majors in the Salvation Army, have been lauded for their work with disasters — large ones, like the tornadoes that touched ...

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    13. Momentum Building

      Momentum Building

      One of the main marketing taglines for the Scibelli Enterprise Center at Springfield Technical Community College is ‘Business Building.” This explains both what the facility is — a facility housing small businesses, said Director Marla Michel — and what it does, which is to help certain clients develop, mature, and get to the next level. In recent years, the focus has been primarily on the former, she said, noting that, as the economy sagged, the emphasis was on filling space. Moving forward, the shift will be more to the latter, which has always been the primary mission.

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    14. Shot in the Arm

      Shot in the Arm

      Late in 2008, just as the economy began to slide into the Great Recession, officials at Baystate Health were having second thoughts about moving forward with their planned $250 million Hospital of the Future expansion. They eventually decided to press on, much to the relief of hundreds of workers in the construction trades — most of them local — who found the project a lifeline at a time when opportunities were scarce.

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    15. Site Seers

      Site Seers

      The operating ratios are very thin, with little margin for error, and downward pressure on rents. You have to be very focused on operating margins, and that means being a partner with the owner, not just running the property.” Jack Dill, president and CEO of Colebrook Realty Services in Springfield, which manages some 1.8 million square feet of space in Western Mass., echoed that assessment. “Management is not just shoveling snow and cleaning bathrooms,” he told BusinessWest. “These are very large assets that have a lot of risk in them, and we really need to understand and be thoughtful ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
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