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    1. Difference Makers Class of 2013 | BusinessWest

      Difference Makers Class of 2013 | BusinessWest

      The Class of 2013 probably accomplishes both goals as well, if not better, than any group of Difference Makers honored by the magazine.  Indeed, this year’s class includes the man almost personally responsible for keeping professional hockey in Springfield over the past 40 years — Bruce Landon — as well as the state and local police responsible for creating a unique counter-insurgency program that could become a model for cities battling gang violence. It boasts the Sisters of Providence, who have been adding new ministries of caring since they first arrived in Holyoke 140 years ago, and the group Soldier On ...

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    2. Balancing Act | BusinessWest

      Balancing Act | BusinessWest

      The development of good relations with producers and agents has enabled her to secure popular acts for both venues, and keep the Springfield Performing Arts Development Corp. on solid financial ground. There have also been relationship-building efforts with city officials and the public at large, she said, work that has been helped by several years of effective listening to what demanding audiences want — and delivering what she believes is a quality product.

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    3. Winning Team | BusinessWest

      Winning Team | BusinessWest

      In fact, while MassMutual boasts 85 agencies around the country, including large markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Charter Oak — which used to center solely on the Greater Springfield market before merging with a Hartford-based agency, and now blankets much of Western Conn. as well — consistently finishes second in annual sales, trailing only a Manhattan office.

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    4. Community Profile | BusinessWest

      Community Profile | BusinessWest

      There is a small, carved wooden turtle that sits on Michael Bissonnette’s desk in Chicopee City Hall. It’s been there since early 2007, near the end of his first full year as mayor of this city of just over 55,000 residents.  As of yet, the turtle has no name, said Bissonnette, adding that it won’t until the so-called River Mills Project, a 65-acre brownfield site along the Chicopee River involving the former Uniroyal and Facemate manufacturing complexes, is fully ready for redevelopment. The initiative, marked by lengthy court fights and the complicated process of acquiring property ...

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    5. Healthy Growth Pattern | BusinessWest

      Healthy Growth Pattern | BusinessWest

      Indeed, instead of going into business together and operating a single franchise of a growing national chain of urgent-care centers called Doctors Express — which was one of the options they discussed at that lunch — they decided instead to become what’s known as master franchisees, overseeing not a location of this chain, which offers an alternative to crowded emergency rooms and the primary-care physician’s office when it’s closed, but a region, in this case most of New England.

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    6. A Promise for the Future | BusinessWest

      A Promise for the Future | BusinessWest

      Warwick has been on the job since last July, and his goals are lofty, given the fact that 85% to 90% of the city’s students come from low-income families, which creates a host of academic, social, and emotional challenges. But his deep commitment and history of success prove that he knows what it will take to fulfill what he calls “The Springfield Promise: A Culture of Equity and Proficiency to Raise the Bar and Close the Gap.”

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. ‘Strategic Intervention’ | BusinessWest

      ‘Strategic Intervention’ | BusinessWest

      Minkarah was not a total stranger to Springfield when he saw the postings for his latest career stop. Through his membership with the Urban Land Institute (ULI), which conducted an extensive study on the city several years ago as it struggled with extreme economic hardship, he had read extensively about redevelopment efforts in the city, especially efforts in the South End prior to the tornado. He also took part in a ULI-organized symposium on riverfront-redevelopment initiatives while working in Nashua.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    8. The YPS at Five | BusinessWest

      The YPS at Five | BusinessWest

      It now boasts more than 500 individual members and 50 corporate members. Meanwhile, its e-mail list has grown to more than 2,000. And there have been other forms of validation: BusinessWest chose the group as one of the first recipients of its Difference Makers award in 2009, and state Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield) is sponsoring legislation to develop a ‘Young Professional Commission,’ which would give the 11 YP organizations across the Commonwealth a voice on Beacon Hill.

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    9. Visible Progress | BusinessWest

      Visible Progress | BusinessWest

      “It was painfully slow,” Delude, president of Westmass Area Development Corp., recalled, looking back (although he alternated between the past and present tenses) on that time when the phone literally didn’t ring for weeks and sales of industrial-park parcels were extremely few and very far between. “I’ve seen many downturns in the economy, but nothing as broad-based as that, nothing that severe.”

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    10. Planting Seeds | BusinessWest

      Planting Seeds | BusinessWest

      Specifically, as the entrepreneurs behind Valley Malt in Hadley since 2010, they are among maybe a half-dozen enterprises in the U.S. dedicated to malting barley on a small scale. Longtime home brewers who dreamed of opening a brewery featuring local hops and grain, they were surprised to find there was no local supplier for the ingredients they needed, so they decided to fill a market niche.

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    11. Cliff Hanger | BusinessWest

      Cliff Hanger | BusinessWest

      Karl Petrick, an assistant professor of Economics at Western New England University, agreed. He told BusinessWest that, to get the economy moving again, businesses need to hire more aggressively, and consumers need to open their wallets more liberally — two things that won’t happen if unemployment benefits are reduced, payroll tax cuts are eliminated, and other cliff-related measures come to pass.

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    12. Female Founders | BusinessWest

      Female Founders | BusinessWest

      Although paths to entrepreneurship differ, the number of woman-owned businesses is on the rise. According to the American Express OPEN “State of Women-Owned Businesses” report, between 1997 and 2011 the number of women-owned firms increased by 50%, at a rate of 1.5 times the national average. And today, there are more than 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that generate $1.2 trillion in sales each year.

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    13. Getting Down to Business | BusinessWest

      Getting Down to Business | BusinessWest

      It was during the 2011 Woman of the Year event, which honored Kate Kane, managing director of Northwestern Mutual, that a young mother in her early 20s, with three small children at home, took the stage, grabbed the mic, and explained with the confidence of a seasoned presenter how the scholarship was a turning point in her decision to go back to school to finish her nursing degree or not go back at all.

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    14. Fighting Spirit | BusinessWest

      Fighting Spirit | BusinessWest

      Paul Kozub says that, since the day he started his ambitious business venture, people haven’t been shy about asking him for a job.  “It’s understandable — this is the vodka business, and people think it’s sexy,” said Kozub, who took his brand, V-One, to the marketplace through Valley Vodka Inc. in 2005. “And what’s better than going into bars and buying people drinks and being out all the time?”

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    15. Bright Idea | BusinessWest

      Bright Idea | BusinessWest

      Take Western Massachusetts Electric Co., for example. Although it has not announced specifics yet, the energy company will soon unveil plans for a third large-scale solar installation following successful launches of similar projects in Pittsfield and Springfield. And other area communities have been busy readying large solar projects of its own.

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    16. Exhibiting Strength | BusinessWest

      Exhibiting Strength | BusinessWest

      The MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield came alive on Oct. 11, as the Western Mass. Business Expo 2012 put the region’s business community on center stage. More than 2,000 visitors turned out during an event-filled day that featured 140 exhibitors, dozens of educational seminars and Show Floor Theater presentations, co-located events, thought-provoking breakfast and lunch programs, and a day-capping Expo Social, a premier networking event.

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    17. Straight Shooter | BusinessWest

      Straight Shooter | BusinessWest

      James Debney remembers feeling the need to do some practice shooting before he was interviewed for the position of president of Smith & Wesson’s Firearms Division just over three years ago. “I just thought it was something I ought to do; I’m not really sure why,” he recalled, admitting freely that he didn’t really know much of anything about firearms then, and thought some target practice might somehow be of help. “I borrowed a friend’s gun, went out in the woods, and did some shooting.”

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