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    1. Workforce Training is Good Business

      We’ve had success in Western Mass. by developing public-private partnerships to support this type of skills training, but employers can’t do it alone. The partnership between employers in the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Assoc., the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County (REB), the state, and area school systems and community colleges has leveraged resources and created or retained good-paying jobs for over 1,000 Western Mass. residents.

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    2. Strategies for Springfield

      Strategies for Springfield
      Indeed, 2012 will be a year when tornado-recovery plans are put on the table, many downtown initiatives could take big steps forward, the Union Station project may actually go to bid, and the casino debate — with a Springfield site among many in contention — will intensify. “While the hits we took in 2011 were substantial, I foresee a very good year in 2012 — we have enormous possibilities,” said Kennedy. “If we can all work together and coalesce around the plans and come up with the correct strategies to implement what’s there, we’ve got great opportunity. We still have good ...
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      Mentions: Springfield
    3. Continuity and Change

      Continuity and Change
      Glenn Welch, the new president and COO of Hampden Bank, takes over with an informal philosophy of not trying to fix anything that isn’t broken — and this encompasses most all strategic initiatives at the nearly 160-year-old institution. For now, his primary focus is on seizing opportunities to grow the commercial portfolio presented by improving confidence among business owners and what Welch called “concern with larger-bank relationships and where they’re headed.”
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    4. Class Trip

      Class Trip
      “Cambridge College is delighted to partner with the city of Springfield and Tower Square to offer a high-quality education in what will be a state-of-the-art facility,” she said at a recent press conference. “In this new facility, we look forward to continuing our 20-year tradition of offering exceptional undergraduate and graduate education to working adults in Western Mass. and Connecticut.”
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    5. 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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    6. 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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    7. 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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    8. 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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    9. 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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    10. 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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    11. 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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    12. 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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    13. 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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    14. 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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    15. 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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    16. 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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