Making news in business, June 20





Christina Mullen

Christina Mullen

Auto dealer Gary Rome, right, talks with Thrive Center Coordinator Ben Ostiguy.

Auto dealer Gary Rome, right, talks with Thrive Center Coordinator Ben Ostiguy. CONTRIBUTED

Zoe Fieldman

Zoe Fieldman



Published: 06-20-2024 9:04 AM

Florence Bank presents 2024 President’s Award to three employees

FLORENCE — Florence Bank announced that it recently presented the 2024 President’s Award to three staff members for exceptional service.

Established in 1995, the President’s Award recognizes outstanding performance, customer service and overall contribution to Florence Bank. Those named are nominated by their colleagues at the bank.

This year’s award recognizes Kim Downing of Wilbraham, branch manager and assistant vice president in the Chicopee branch; Michele St. Germain of Chicopee, senior teller and customer service representative in the West Springfield branch; and Christina Mullen of West Springfield, loan servicing manager in the main office in Florence.

With 38 years in the banking industry, Downing was recognized for her communication, team management, and customer service skills. She was also saluted for her commitment to community service. Downing currently serves as a board member of the Therapeutic Equestrian Center and sits on the Gala Committee for the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee.

St. Germain has 36 years of banking experience and was saluted for her ability to quickly and effectively respond to customers’ needs, her positivity, mentoring colleagues, and communicating effectively. She was also recognized for handling customer transactions courteously and for supporting the teller operations manager and tellers to ensure efficient operations.

In her role at the bank, Mullen is responsible for servicing residential mortgages and consumer loans. She was lauded for her attention to detail and ensuring that her staff provides outstanding customer service at all times. She has 34 years of experience in the industry.

Auto dealer Gary Rome presents $5K check to HCC Foundation

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HOLYOKE — Auto dealer Gary Rome presented a $5,000 donation check to the Holyoke Community College Foundation to support the college’s Thrive Student Resource Center.

The check is the result of funds raised in the foundation’s annual “Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives” 24-hour fundraising campaign, which on April 23 raised a total of $164,313 for student-centered programs and scholarships.

In addition to being on the HCC Foundation board, Rome is a regular donor, vocal advocate for HCC, and a key “Together HCC” partner.

As a campaign promotion this year, Rome, owner of Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke and Gary Rome Kia in Enfield, Connecticut, pledged to double all gifts from new donors up to $5,000.

On Tuesday, Rome presented an oversized, ceremonial check to Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation.

The Thrive Center Student Resource Center manages the college’s food pantry and provides services, such as food and housing assistance, that help address students’ basic needs.

The “Together HCC” campaign is a partnership between Rome and HCC that began in March 2020 to build community support and raise money for students experiencing financial distress during the pandemic. Since then, the event has become an annual day of giving to raise funds for the college.

CitySpace hires arts programming and venue manager

EASTHAMPTON — CitySpace has hired Zoe Fieldman as its new arts programming and venue manager to oversee programming and operations at the Blue Room in Easthampton Old Town Hall.

A Mount Holyoke College graduate, Fieldman recently served as the stage manager and technical director for Queer Community Theatre's Bar Dykes, a transformative project hosted at CitySpace. Their dedication to supporting artists behind the scenes reflects a deep-seated commitment to arts administration, production management, and directing.

Situated in Easthampton's historic Old Town Hall, CitySpace's Blue Room has become a hub for performances and community, hosting over 130 events in the past year alone.

When Fieldman is not at CitySpace they also work as a cheesemonger and love attending concerts in their spare time.

UMassFive announces new board leadership

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (UMassFive) has announced new leadership for its board of directors. Jacqui Watrous has been elected as board chair, Ruth Yanka as board vice chair, and Jeremy Bentley as board secretary.

Watrous has served on the board for over seven years, including most recently as vice chair. Now retired, she previously worked at UMass Amherst for over 30 years, having held a variety of positions in the finance and systems fields, including most recently the role of executive director of Administrative Systems in Finance.

Yanka has volunteered on UMassFive’s Board for over 12 years, serving in many capacities including board member and secretary. Yanka holds a master’s degree in program administration from UMass Amherst, and has served on the board of many nonprofit organizations in a variety of positions. She currently holds the role of executive director, A&F Operations in Administration and Finance at UMass Amherst.

Bentley first joined the board in 2022, having previously served as a volunteer on the Credit Union’s Asset and Liability Management Committee when he moved to the area after completing his Ph.D. in accounting from Cornell University. He currently serves as a research foundation director for the Institute of Management Accountants, and in multiple positions with the American Accounting Association.

With this transition in Board Leadership, Robert Harrison ends a decadelong tenure in the role of board chair. He will continue serving as a member.