We are excited to announce that BusinessWest, in partnership with Living Local, has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachusetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times
Editor and Associate Publisher for BusinessWest & Healthcare News, is one of the region’s most experienced and respected journalists, with more than 30 years’ experience as a writer and editor.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Andy Yee, president of the Bean Restaurant Group. The two discuss the ongoing plight of area restaurants as they battle the pandemic, ever-tighter restrictions on their operations, and the onset of winter. They also discuss the various forms of relief restaurants are receiving and whether they will be enough to help them withstand the many challenges they are facing. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Amy Royal, a principal with The Royal Law Firm and an employment law specialist. The two discuss the pandemic, vaccines, what employers can mandate, and what they can’t. They also discuss changes in employment law and new measures that take effect in 2021, and what employers should know as they turn the calendar. They also dive into in the matter of employee handbooks and how and why these important documents need to be on point and completely up to date. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.
On the next installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Bob Nakosteen, a professor of Economics at the UMass Isenberg School of Management. The two discuss the economy, the outlook for 2021, and the factors that will determine the shape of the recovery that most are predicting. The two also discuss the matter of pent-up demand for products and services as a result of the pandemic, how real this demand will be, and how it will determine to what extent businesses can bounce back from a most difficult year. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Sheila Coon, co-owner, with her husband, Dan, of Hot Oven Cookies, one of the more intriguing stories of entrepreneurship playing out in the region. The two discuss how, in the middle of a pandemic, the company has greatly expanded its footprint and has even more ambitious plans for the future. They also talk about the constant challenges confronting entrepreneurs, and how they have multiplied during these difficult times. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
George O’Brien talks with Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. The two have a lively discussion about everything from the bank’s sponsorship of the Worcester Red Sox and what it means for both institutions, to the outlook for 2021 for small businesses in this region, to how banks, and specifically Country Bank, are coping with the many pandemic-related challenges they are now facing. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Nick Morin, founder and president of Iron Duke Brewing about the intriguing turn of events involving his brewery and landlord Westmass Development Corp. A year or so ago, this company was brewing Eviction Notice IPA and seemingly bound for Wilbraham. Now, it’s staying in Ludlow Mills and has plans for expansion. Hear how it all happened and what’s next for this growing company. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. The two discuss the pandemic, the recent surge in cases, its impact on the local business community, and what might come next. They also discuss the lingering impact of the pandemic on area chambers of commerce as well as the growing notion that changes brought about by the pandemic may position this region as a home for businesses currently headquartered in major urban areas. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Eugene Cassidy, president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition. The two discuss the pandemic and its impact not only on the Big E, but the region’s large and very important tourism and hospitality sector. They also discuss ways businesses like the Big E have pivoted and created new revenue streams, such as the Big E’s hugely successful Golden Ticket campaign. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Tony Cignoli, president of the A.L. Cignoli Company, a political consulting firm. The two discuss what happened at the national election earlier this month — and what didn’t happen. They also discuss what the country, and specifically the business community, might expect from a Biden administration and how the president-elect and his team might address the pandemic and the significant damage it has already done to the economy. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Peter Rosskothen, owner of the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House and other hospitality-related businesses. The two discuss the state of the local events industry, the new restrictions imposed by the state, and how this vital sector of the economy is pivoting and looking for new and viable sources of revenue in these difficult times. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
George talks with Tom Senecal, president and CEO of PeoplesBank. The two discuss the state of the local economy, how the pandemic is impacting the business community specific sectors of the economy, the short and long-term impacts of state and federal stimulus initiatives, and what lies ahead in 2021. They also discuss the impact of the pandemic and falling interest rates on the banking industry. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Nate Costa, president of the Springfield Thunderbirds. The two discuss the fate of the upcoming season and the factors that will determine if, when, and under what circumstances games might again be played. They also discuss the importance of the team to the ongoing efforts to revitalize Springfield, and how the Thunderbirds stay relevant during this ultra-challenging time. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
On the next installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Meredith Wise, president of the Employers Association of the Northeast about the many issues and challenges facing employers — and their employees — in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two discuss everything from how businesses can bring their employees back to the office or plant safely, to how businesses are helping their valued workers cope with the challenge of balancing life and work during this ongoing crisis. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
George O’Brien talks with Pam Victor, founder of Happier Valley Comedy, about her unique business, which focuses on improvisation and resilience training to help with professional development, how she’s had to pivot during the pandemic …. and also about how to stay positive, as difficult as that is, during these difficult times for all those in business. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk.
Thom Fox interviews Angela Lussier, CEO and Founder of Speaker Sisterhood. Speaker Sisterhood is a growth-stage start-up providing a community to women who want to discover, awaken, and create their voice through the art of public speaking. Angela discusses the pandemic’s impact on her business-model, how she is capitalizing on opportunities brought about by COVID-19, and offers tips about participating in successful on-line communications.
In this episode of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University. In a wide-ranging interview, the two discuss everything from COVID and its impact on campus life, to the many challenges already facing higher education before the pandemic, to the many ways in which COVID may ultimately change the higher education ‘experience.’
Thom Fox interviews Waleska Lugo-DeJesus. Waleska Lugo-DeJesus is the CEO of Inclusive Strategies, LLC and during COVID-19 she has been putting her 18-years of diversity consulting to good use as many companies tackle workplace inequities. Waleska shares why diversity and inclusion is growing in importance, and how organizations are evolving to include more voices in the conversation on equality.
George O’Brien talks with James Leahy, Holyoke City Councilor, official with the Massachusetts State Lottery, and one of five finalists for the magazine’s coveted Alumni Achievement Award. The two discuss his 20-year track record of service to the community as well as recent developments in Holyoke, from the emergence of a cannabis sector in this historic mill town to efforts to bring new businesses to the mills that give this city its heritage.
Thom Fox Interviews Amy Allen, Partner at BlumShapiro about how Human Resources Departments are evolving into a profit-centers. Amy also shares how businesses are navigating challenges brought about by teleworking and managing a decentralized workforce.
George interviews Carla Cosenzi, President of TommyCar Auto Group. This desire to serve the community, and to do things right all the time, is an operating mindset that has earned Cosenzi not only her 40 Under Forty plaque (class of 2012), but another BusinessWest honor as well, the Difference Makers award in 2019. Now she is one of BusinessWest’s five finalists for the Alumni Achievement Award!
George interviews Peter DePergola, Director of Clinical Ethics at Baystate Health and one of BusinessWest’s 2020 Alumni Achievement Award finalists. When he joined the other members of the 40 Under Forty class of 2015, he was a staff ethicist at Baystate and the only person to hold that title in Western Mass. Now a professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Elms College, he’s still the only ethicist in the 413, but his influence now extends well beyond this region.
The MSBDC provides free and confidential one-to-one business advice. COVID-19 has created a tremendous amount of challenge throughout the business community, and the MSBDC have been on the forefront of lending support. Along with helping business owners navigate the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Assistance Program, Samalid and her team have also launched an informative webinar series and built a comprehensive listing of area Business Resources.
George interviews Mike Fenton, Shareholder at Shatz, Schwartz, and Fentin, and one of BusinessWest’s Alumni Achievement Award finalists. Fenton is now a multiple-year finalist for the Alumni Achievement Award, previously known as the Continued Excellence Award. He hopes that 2020 will be the year he’ll break through, but he admits to having other things on his mind right now.
Thom Fox interviews Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, Executive Director of EforAll in Holyoke. EforAll [Entrepreneurship for All] accelerates economic and social impact in communities through inclusive entrepreneurship. Tessa discusses the organization’s Business Accelerator program, Pitch Contests, and how EforAll is supporting local entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
George interviews Paul Kozub, founder of V-One Vodka and one of the five finalists of the BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty Alumni Achievement Award. Launched in 2015, and known then as the Continued Excellence honor, BusinessWest’s Alumni Achievement Award recognizes a previous 40 Under Forty honoree who has continued to build on his or resume as a rising star in this region and leader both in business and within the community. This is the first installment of Alumni Achievement Award podcast installments. Hea what Paul has been up to since his 40 Under Forty honor!
Thom Interview Bill Cole, President of Living Local. Living Local is a grassroots movement in Western Mass that promotes and educates on how and why we need to Eat, Shop and Live Local. Bill and Thom discuss the organization’s economic development efforts, including its partnership with BusinessWest.
George interviews Donna Haghighat, CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts and discuss the mission and program provided by the organization including the LIPP program, Young Women’s Initiative, and the Peace, Power, and Prosperity event and how the pandemic has effected women, and women-owned businesses.
Scott Foster, Partner at the Buckley Richardson Law Firm, joins Thom Fox to discuss what Western Massachusetts businesses are doing to survive, and thrive, during COVID-19 recovery. Scott and Thom also discuss, business liability concerns, the Paycheck Protection Program, and how municipalities are making it simpler to do business.
George interviews John Gannon, employment law specialist with Skoler Abbott, and they discuss the top questions and concerns of employers during the pandemic including how companies are struggling bringing their employees back to work, and provides legal guidance moving forward.
Innovation Accelerator teaches nonprofits how to develop, test, and deploy new mission-aligned, revenue-generating programs. Co-founders Paul Silva and Kelly Minton join Thom Fox to discuss how they are helping Western Massachusetts nonprofits identify unrestrictive revenue streams to offset funding challenges brough about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
George interviews Senator Eric Lesser and they discuss, in detail, the ENDURE Act, which authorizes $455 million to provide relief to communities and stimulate economic development in an effort to combat devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thom Fox chats with Nancy Urbschat, Principal at TSM Design. In 2019, TSM shifted to a remote business model – long before COVID-19. Nancy shares what she has learned in leading a remote team and managing her award-winning creative services agency through the pandemic.
George Interviews John Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Chairman of The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau and they discuss how the pandemic has impacted the tourism industry and Springfield’s long-term strategic plan moving forward.
Thom Fox interviews Pia Kumar, Co-Owner and Chief Strategy Officer of Universal Plastics on how empathy, employee engagement, and people-centric leadership are helping her essential-business meet the challenges, and demands, of the COVID-19 pandemic.
George interviews Chris Thibault, owner, writer and director for Chris Teebo Films and discusses his navigation, along with his wife Missy, through his cancer fight. Chris also gives insight on his company, Chris Teebo Films, what they provide, and how the COVID pandemic, and his health, has affected business.
Thom Fox interviews Tricia Canavan, President of United Personnel Services. With hundreds of jobs to fill, United Personnel has not slowed down during COVID. Thom and Tricia discuss the evolving world of work, innovations brought about by the pandemic, and the types of talent WesternMA employers are seeking.
George interviews Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and they discuss how the City of Springfield is coping with the pandemic as it relates to its residents, businesses, school system, and its senior and homeless population, and how the city will regain its momentum.
Thom Fox interviews Westfield Starfires Co-Founder/Owner Christopher Thompson. Thom and Chris discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on the 2020 Futures Collegiate Baseball League, fan safety measures for home games, and how Westfield is ready to ‘play ball’!
George O’Brien interviews serial entrepreneur, Peter Rosskothen, Owner of The Log Cabin, Delanry House, D. Hotel Suites & Spa, and Delaney’s Market. George and Peter discuss the effects the pandemic has had on a local business owner in an industry focused on bringing people together, and how the current situation has compelled the companies to be more hands-on in their approach and think outside the “event” box.
Thom Fox interviews David Cruise, President and CEO of MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board [MHHCWB]. The MHHCWB is the region’s primary planner to address workforce development issues, and Thom and David discuss how they are managing historic levels of unemployment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
George interviews Mark Keroack, President & CEO of Baystate Health and they discuss how COVID-19 has impaired the local healthcare economy, a potential “second wave” of the virus, and how the western Mass. community is boding well through the pandemic in comparison to other areas of the country.
Thom Fox interviews Raymond Berry, Jr., President and General Manager of White Lion Brewing. Thom and Raymond discuss COVID-19’s impact on the hospitality and beverage industry, how he and his peers are managing the pandemic, and when the new White Lion Tap Room will roar into Downtown Springfield.
George O’Brien interviews Bob Nakosteen, Department Chair & Professor of Operations & Information Management for UMass Amherst, Isenberg School of Management and discusses the economic, health, and political climate as it pertains to education, business, and consumer confidence.
Thom Fox interviews Rick Sullivan, President & CEO of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts. Thom and Rick discuss the unique opportunities COVID presents for WesternMA’s future, local employer’s approach to the region’s unemployed, and resources to support small business owners.
George O’Brien interviews Christina Royal. O’Brien and Royal discuss how the pandemic has disrupted and impacted higher education, its students, and the plans of adaptation for Fall 2020.
Thom and Mayor LaChapelle discuss her service on Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Reopening Advisory Board, resources business owners can access to reopen successfully, and challenges some industries may face in a post-COVID economy.
George O’Brien interview Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. O’Brien and Creed will discuss a wide range of issues, from the reopening of the economy to the impact of the pandemic on downtown Springfield, to the future of chambers of commerce.
We are in the process of building a new platform and website for Living Local. We are planning to relaunch in 2021. In the meantime, we would love to hear from you. Once you join our mailing list, we will be sure and let you know what is happening and when we launch our new programs.