Making news in business, June 13

Kristina L. Durocher

Kristina L. Durocher



Melissa LaBonte

Melissa LaBonte

Garrison Piers-Gamble

Garrison Piers-Gamble

Published: 06-12-2024 1:17 PM

New visual arts director at UMass Fine Arts Center

AMHERST — Kristina L. Durocher has joined the leadership team of the UMass Fine Arts Center as the inaugural visual arts director, a role in which she will provide leadership and vision for the organization’s three visual arts entities: the University Museum of Contemporary Art, Augusta Savage Gallery and Hampden Gallery.

Durocher holds an master’s in art history from UMass and a dual bachelor of fine arts in art history and painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She brings to her new position more than two decades experience leading independent and academic museums. From 2011 until 2024, Durocher served as director of the Museum of Art at the University of New Hampshire.

At UNH, Durocher was responsible for administration of the Museum of Art, curating six to eight exhibitions annually, developing curricular connections with faculty across the university and community outreach.

Durocher has served since 2020 as president of the Association of Academic Museum and Galleries. In that role, she advocates for institutional and field-wide excellence, reinvention and individual professional growth. In 2017, Durocher was named a fellow of the Getty Leadership.

Kuhn Riddle promotes to senior project manager

AMHERST — Kuhn Riddle Architects & Designers has promoted Garrison Piers-Gamble to the position of senior project manager.

Piers-Gamble brings expertise to this elevated role, having demonstrated exceptional leadership and a deep understanding of sustainable architecture principles throughout his career.

As a certified passive house consultant, and with experience working on a Living Building Challenge project, Garrison Piers-Gamble is poised to drive the firm’s commitment to sustainability to new heights.

Piers-Gamble has played a pivotal role in the firm’s engagement in the AIA 2030 Commitment with a goal that all of its projects will achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

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As senior project manager, he will lead the firm’s efforts in advancing sustainable and passive house design principles across all projects.

Pathlight welcomes McClure as VP of quality assurance

SPRINGFIELD — Pathlight, a provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities, has appointed Amherst resident Jana McClure as vice president of quality assurance. In this role, McClure will focus on delivering top-tier care across all Pathlight programs, ensuring compliance and sustainability.

As a human services organization, Pathlight’s guiding principle is to provide exceptional support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. McClure will play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining the rigorous standards necessary to ensure predictable, high-quality outcomes for people served.

McClure brings a wealth of experience from her diverse roles in human services. From supporting infants with medical challenges to aiding retired residents and working with teens and adults facing cognitive and developmental challenges, McClure’s career is marked by a deep-rooted passion for helping others. Notably, she designed and implemented the first quality improvement service at Northeast Center for Youth and Families, Inc. and served as director of training, quality and risk management at Brightside.

Applications being accepted for entrepreneur program

EASTHAMPTON — The Chamber of Greater Easthampton is accepting applications for its fall 2024 Co.starters at WorkHub on Union entrepreneurial training program, made possible by a $50,000 American Rescue Plan Act grant as part of the continued economic development partnership between the Chamber and the city of Easthampton.

Co.starters is a 10-week cohort-based program that equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. The program will also provide a natural pathway for entrepreneurs to grow their business at the WorkHub on Union co-working space set to open this summer.

Facilitated by local business owner Cynthia West of Sonnet & Sparrow and The Flying Squirrel, entrepreneurs will be led through a comprehensive curriculum covering business fundamentals within the context of the local community and marketplace.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through Aug. 27, with the program running Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 beginning Sept. 10. The cost of the 10-week program is $3,500 but, thanks to the ARPA grant, participants will only pay $150.

Interested individuals are encouraged to visit the Chamber web site at for more information and to apply.

bankESB promotes LaBonte to assistant VP

EASTHAMPTON — bankESB recently promoted Melissa LaBonte to assistant vice president, core systems.

LaBonte, of Southampton, has 23 years of banking experience. She was promoted to core systems manager in 2018 and promoted to core systems officer in 2021. She joined the bank in 2001 as a teller, and over the past two decades has held a variety of roles in the collections, finance, and strategic projects departments.

LaBonte has an associate degree in business administration and accounting from Holyoke Community College and earned a project management diploma from the Center for Financial Training.