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    1. Face Lift | BusinessWest

      Face Lift | BusinessWest

      Shardool and Kishore Parmar, president and vice president respectively of the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group (PVHG), understand that they have two sizeable challenges when it comes to the property at 711 Dwight St. in Springfield.  The first is to get people to stop talking about it in the past tense — a still-common practice, especially when it comes to the rotating restaurant on the top floor that was once a major destination in the region — and using one of the names that used to be on the building, especially Holiday Inn.  The second is to convince several constituencies, from families to ...

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    2. Setting a Course of Action | BusinessWest

      Setting a Course of Action | BusinessWest

      There is a new strategic planning initiative underway at the Amherst campus, said Subbaswamy (known to colleagues as ‘Swamy’), one that will provide a detailed outline of where this soon-to-be-150-year-old institution needs to be with regard to everything from the life sciences to economic-development initiatives within the Commonwealth; from increasing the volume of research initiatives on the campus to improving graduation rates.

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    3. Changing Perceptions

      Changing Perceptions

      Don Courtemanche lives in downtown Springfield. He walks to work and takes advantage of the cultural events, eateries, and other offerings readily available to him in the area. “I think of downtown as a neighborhood. It’s a place where I want to live, stay, and raise my family,” said the executive director of the Springfield Business Improvement District, or BID, adding that he can walk to 40 restaurants from his home on Maple Street, which is not technically within the boundaries of the BID, but certainly impacted by the organization’s efforts.

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    4. Looking to Make Some Waves

      Looking to Make Some Waves

      The parent corporation, FloDesign, is essentially an aerospace company that has designed, prototyped, and developed products ranging from noise suppressors for jet engines to something called a RAP nozzle, a device that transmits a fluid force, gas, or fine particles over a distance with minimal loses. Thresher takes the helm at an intriguing time for the enterprise, as it looks to create new business opportunities and avenues for growth.

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    5. Finding Answers | BusinessWest

      Finding Answers | BusinessWest

      There remains a large and vibrant research component at the institute, as evidenced by the white board that dominates one wall in the office occupied by Dan Hodge, the recently named director of the agency’s Economic and Public Policy Research department.  It lists more than a dozen potential projects, or “opportunities,” as he called them, and several initiatives already underway, including a study on the growth potential of the manufacturing sector in the Berkshires, commissioned by the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp., and another research project, undertaken for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, on retention of college graduates.

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    6. Community Profile: Holyoke | BusinessWest

      Community Profile: Holyoke | BusinessWest

      If cultivating a vibrant city is equal parts art and science, Holyoke certainly has plenty of both.  The science ranges from the $165 million Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center that opened in November to a number of high-tech firms moving into former mill space along the canals, to the ‘green’ hydroelectric power harnessed by the Holyoke Dam on the Connecticut River.

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    7. The Nominations Are In | BusinessWest

      The Nominations Are In | BusinessWest

      A total of 99 individuals have been nominated for the honor of joining the class of 2013, the seventh since the program was initiated in 2007.  The daunting, yet rewarding, task of scoring these individuals now falls to five judges (including two previous winners), who represent fields ranging from law to accounting; from education to financial services. They will be returning their scores later this week, and the winners will be notified in the days that follow.

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    8. ‘Challenge Accepted’ | BusinessWest

      ‘Challenge Accepted’ | BusinessWest

      Marcos Marrero remembers that there was about a month between when he received the phone call from Mayor Alex Morse telling him he was being offered the job of planning and economic development director for Holyoke (which he quickly accepted) and when he actually moved into his office at One Court Plaza.

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    9. 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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    10. 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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    11. 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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    12. 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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    13. 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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    14. 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
    15. ‘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
    16. 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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    17. 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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    18. 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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    19. 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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