Making news: Locals named to state economic council

  • The Massachusetts Economic Development Planning Council. COURTESY OF THE GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE—





Published: 5/20/2019 2:00:21 AM
Locals named to state economic council

BOSTON – A Northampton business owner and two Pioneer Valley politicians have been named to the new state Economic Development Planning Council.

Judy Herrell, owner and CEO of Herrell’s Ice Cream; state Sen. Eric Lesser, 1st Hampden and Hampshire District; and Marcos Marrero, director of planning and economic development for the City of Holyoke, were sworn in by Gov. Charlie Baker last week. The council is charged with providing “input on and oversight of an economic development plan that will be presented to Gov. Baker by the end of the year,” a press release said.

PVIK is expanding,has new go-carts

HATFIELD – Ryan Bouvier has expanded Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting after six years of operation. The track expansion adds over 1,000 feet to the current track, bringing an outdoor track element to the facility, the only gas go karting facility in the east that has one continuous racetrack that can be both indoor and out, the company said. Additionally, PVIK has also added a new fleet of go-carts that achieve speeds up to 50 mph.

Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting’s facility has space to host special events, from birthday parties to corporate events. The facility includes a private party room and space large enough to host over 100 people.

Siega-Riz named dean UMass Schoolof Public Health

AMHERST – Anna Maria Siega-Riz, professor of nursing and associate dean for research at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, has been named the new dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

She currently serves on the National Institutes of Health Council and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division Advisory Committee. 

Siega-Riz also has a joint appointment in the departments of public health sciences and obstetrics and gynecology in the UVA School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the connection between maternal health, preconceptionally and during pregnancy, and health outcomes. Her current work is on dietary patterns and health outcomes among Hispanics as well as nutritional factors associated with early childhood weight status. Over her career, she has garnered more than $11 million in research funding.

Siega-Riz received both her bachelor’s degree in public health and doctorate in nutrition and epidemiology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in food and nutrition from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg nameand staff changes

NORTHAMPTON – Fierst, Kane & Bloomberg LLP will change its name effective June 1. The firm will be known as Fierst Bloomberg OHM LLP. The website will be changed from to

Jonathan J. Kane joined the firm in 2001 and became a partner in 2005. He has been appointed as Associate Justice of the Housing Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His last day at the firm will be May 31.

Susan L. Cooper has become a partner in the firm. Cooper has more than 25 years of experience representing businesses of all types and sizes. Her primary areas of practice include transactional matters such as business acquisitions and sales, corporate reorganizations, advising startups, and commercial lending. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the George Washington University National Law Center.

Mae Stiles has recently become of counsel to the firm. Stiles has 11 years of experience in complex commercial litigation. A graduate of the University of Vermont and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, she is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts, New York and California.

O’Connor named product manager at OMG Roofing 

AGAWAM – Pat O’Connor of Hatfield joined OMG Roofing Products in 2017 as the Edge Metal product manager for the company’s metal accessories business unit. He has been named as RhinoBond product manager in the company’s fastener business unit. 

In this role, O’Connor will develop and execute marketing and sales strategies for the RhinoBond product line including product development, and product life cycle management.

Prior to joining OMG in 2017, O’Connor worked in various roles for Tyco Simplex Grinnell. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution and a master’s degree in marketing, both from Clarkson University.

Headquartered in Agawam, OMG Roofing Products is a leading manufacturer of commercial roofing products including specialty fasteners, adhesives, edge metal systems, drains, pipe supports and advanced productivity tools. The company’s focus is on delivering products and services that improve contractor productivity and enhance roof system performance.

Nicholas servesas interim CEO

CHICOPEE – The Westmass Area Development Corporation appointed Bryan Nicholas as interim CEO following the unexpected death of Eric Nelson, who served as CEO for Westmass since 2016. Nicholas formerly served as senior vice president of Westmass and is currently a development consultant. He will not be an applicant for the full-time job, Campbell said, and a search process will be announced soon. Westmass is a founding affiliate of the EDC of Western Massachusetts and has developed large projects in the region for over 50 years.  

SHELD joins new solar program

SOUTH HADLEY – The South Hadley Electric Light Department is taking part in the state’s new Municipal Light Plant Solar Program.

The program allows residential customers of participating light plants, like SHELD, to apply for a rebate for the purchase, installation, and usage of solar panels on their homes. It includes a solar rebate of up to $1.20 per watt, capped at 50 percent of total installed costs.

“SHELD is committed to offering renewable opportunities for our customers in accordance with our strategic initiative of enhancing the quality of life in South Hadley,” said Sean Fitzgerald, SHELD’s general manager.

Eligible residential solar installations must be 10 kW or less, with less than 20 percent shading, and facing between 150 and 270 degrees. Applications will be accepted through March 30, 2020. Projects must be completed by April 30, 2021.

Homeowners interested in applying for the rebate can find an application and more information on the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company website,

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