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    1. Call to Action | BusinessWest

      Call to Action | BusinessWest

      Ed Carroll says businesses, salespeople, or entrepreneurs who are not advertising on mobile devices are losing customers, and his claim is backed up by many studies, including a survey showing that more than 86 million people sought business information last year via their smartphones.
      The co-founder of VizConnect in Springfield first became aware of the trend in 2004 when he was working as a television newscaster and Facebook began to gain in popularity. “I saw a paradigm shift taking place away from mainstream media, and one night I began thinking about how businesses could use it because they are completely ...

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    2. Wings & Wheels Show Slated for Aug. 24-25

      Wings & Wheels Show Slated for Aug. 24-25

      Bud Shuback calls it a “bridge event.” By using that term, he’s expressing the hope — and the confidence — that the first edition of the Great New England Wings & Wheels event, slated for August 24 and 25 at Westover Metropolitan Airport, will be a bridge between the massive air shows staged over the past several decades at Westover Air Reserve Base and Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield, and the ones to come in the future.

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    3. Awash in Innovation | BusinessWest

      Awash in Innovation | BusinessWest

      “Every new idea that comes out gets evaluated, and if it’s feasible, we jump on it,” Rob continued, adding that Belmont is a green company and has recycled 23.5 million gallons of water over the past five years, recovered thousands of BTUs of energy, recycled thousands of hangers and garments each year, and uses environmentally friendly detergents and chemicals.

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    4. Work in Progress

      Work in Progress

      Brianna Davis certainly knows. Now roughly three weeks into a job with the REB through the summer jobs initiative, she told BusinessWest that she handles filing, copying, reception-desk work, and other duties, for which she is paid $10 an hour. Perhaps more important than the paycheck, though (that’s perhaps), she said she’s getting her first experience working in an office and with other people.
      “This is a lot quieter than what I’m used to,” she said with a laugh, adding that her most recent gainful employment has been waitressing. “It’s a lot more focused work — sitting ...

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    5. Springfield’s Big Bet | BusinessWest

      Springfield’s Big Bet | BusinessWest

      Robert Greeley, partner at R.J. Greeley Co., has noticed the same dynamic taking shape. “Still, until a decision is made, however long that takes, there are so many uncertainties that it’s very difficult for people to make decisions,” he noted. “A lot of owners and landlords will hold out, thinking there’s a windfall on its way, but until they know whether the casino is coming or not, it just puts a significant unknown into the equation.”

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    6. Investments in a Promising Future | BusinessWest

      Investments in a Promising Future | BusinessWest

      The awards — $95 million to UMass Amherst and $5.5 million to the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute in Springfield — are part of a $1 billion, 10-year investment on the part of the state designed to stimulate growth of its life-sciences supercluster, considered the largest in the country.  When asked what this latest investment would mean for the Western Mass. region and the state as a whole, Susan Windham-Bannister, president and CEO of the MLSC, said simply, “drive economic development and job creation.”

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    7. Strategic Choices | BusinessWest

      Strategic Choices | BusinessWest

      In 1998, when Jason Mark was teaching a class on Internet strategy, he told students that, before they used any type of technology to create a website, they needed to identify their goals and what they were trying to accomplish.
      “Even though there is so much different technology that developers can use today, the exact same process still needs to take place,” said the co-founder of Gravity Switch in Northampton. “People need to know what their goals are, and businesses should not assume that technology will fix all their problems. If it were that easy, their competitors would have already ...

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    8. Elevating Their Game | BusinessWest

      Elevating Their Game | BusinessWest

      Mary Kay Wydra, exective director of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, agreed. She told BusinessWest that the bureau, which was in what she called “survival mode” during and just after the Great Recession, when visitorship was down and the state was cutting back its contributions to such organizations, is now being much more aggressive in pursuit of conventions, meetings, and events — and sports can and should be a big part of that equation.

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    9. Seeing the Light | BusinessWest

      Seeing the Light | BusinessWest

      Massachusetts has experienced rapid growth in its solar-energy sector in recent years. The total capacity generated by solar energy in Massachusetts has doubled in the last two years, reaching 105 megawatts (enough to power more than 15,000 homes) in 2012, a figure that is forecasted to quadruple by 2020.
      Massachusetts’ renewable-energy sector now employs more than 64,000 people statewide (including nearly 10,000 in Western Mass.) and is projected to grow 15% per year. Massachusetts is now considered to be one of the best states in the country for solar development, a phenomenon driven largely by the state ...

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    10. Funding a College Education | BusinessWest

      Funding a College Education | BusinessWest

      A Crash Course in the Options Available to Parents and Students By any measure, college is expensive and continues to rise rapidly in cost. How to pay for college is one of the biggest financial concerns for today’s parents, no matter what their income level.  The parents’ concern is enhanced by the uncertainty of college costs and financial aid, the complexity of the application process, and the desire to provide the best education for their children. With a long-term plan that carefully balances savings, borrowing, and college selection, parents can help their children reach their dreams without bankrupting their ...

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    11. Engaging Concept | BusinessWest

      Engaging Concept | BusinessWest

      Kathy Dube says that talk of creating a women’s leadership council within the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) has been ongoing for some time now.
      There was never any doubt about the benefits to creating such an organization, both within the community and for the women taking part, she explained, noting that there are now 130 such councils operating across the country in partnership with United Way chapters. And they have been effective in reaching out to women leaders in the community to engage and involve (the two words you see most often with respect to such groups ...

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    12. In a Class by Itself | BusinessWest

      In a Class by Itself | BusinessWest

      John Williamson says Northampton has a magnetic quality that draws a broad spectrum of people to its businesses, restaurants, retail shops, and entertainment venues. And that quality has allowed commercial real estate not only to weather the economic downturn, but register unprecedented growth over the past two years.
      “It’s so far and away from other markets, there really is no comparison,” said the president of Williamson Commercial Properties LLC in Springfield.

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    13. Community Profile: Springfield

      Community Profile: Springfield

      Jeff Ciuffreda has become a bit weary of the casino issue as well. As executive director of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, he knew any stand taken by the ACCGS would be controversial with some, “so we supported it with one caveat — that it not distract from ongoing economic development.” After all, an $800 million casino does change the equation downtown, and is not exactly the sort of project the City of Homes is accustomed to. Ciuffreda wants assurances that MGM or Penn National won’t ignore the small businesses that are in many ways the city ...

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    14. Ventures and Adventures

      Ventures and Adventures

      Sharon Styffe, dean of Workforce and Professional Development at Holyoke Community College (HCC), says that coming up with a successful new business concept is a challenge that comes in two parts: having a good idea, and identifying a market to buy that idea. “It’s one thing to do what you’re good at,” she told BusinessWest, “but its quite another thing to find something you’re good at — and that the market will buy. You can’t just sell something that’s your passion; it has to be someone else’s need — because otherwise it’s just an organized ...

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    15. 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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    16. 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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    17. 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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