February 3, 2018

Inbox [Feb. 3-10]: News and notes from Worcester Historical Museum, Chamber of Commerce, Fallon Health, CABI + more

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Courtesy Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction

Students and staff from CABI gave back through a holiday food drive.

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Free February admission at Worcester Historical Museum

Worcester Historical Museum has announced that, thanks to a donation from J.J. Bafaro Mechanical Contractors, it will have an entire month of free admission and programs this month — and invites everyone to come and show their love of Worcester history.

There will be chances for learning about our community and its rich history through lectures on World War I; Worcester’s First Assistive Technology: Thurber’s 1843 Patent Printer; and Communities of Color in celebration of African American History Month. There will be valentine workshops at city public library branches, as well as the museum’s 40th annual Valentine Contest. For school vacation week, the museum will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Alden Family Gallery with crafts, scavenger hunts and fun.

At the end of the month the museum will celebrate Worcester’s 170th birthday with an announcement about a new partnership with WPI, champagne and Queen’s Cups cupcakes.

Chamber to host Career and Internship Fair at WSU Feb. 26

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce will host the Live. Work. Play. Stay! Career, Internship and Live Local Fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at the Wellness Center at Worcester State University.

This event is presented in partnership with the Worcester Student Government Association and sponsored by Clark University. The fair will feature more than 60 employers from across the state as well as regional graduate/continuing education programs. Employers include a cross-section of industries and size: UMass Memorial Health Care, AbbVie Bioresearch Center, ten24, Community Healthlink, T.J. Maxx, and more.  All employers and graduate programs are listed online at www.worcesterchamber.org/student. The fair will also feature Photo Fabulous You, which will offer free LinkedIn professional photos.

The event is geared to college students from all majors and class years. The goal is to connect college students with the region professionally so they are more apt to stay in the region after graduation.

The public is welcome to attend. Degree-bearing or -pursuing candidates with resume in hand and business attire are required for general public entry to the fair. Students/attendees do not need to register in advance. Attendance is free, and there is free transportation from most area campuses. For employers interested in recruiting, there is a fee and advanced registration online.

The participants from area colleges — public, private, two-year, four-year and graduate — will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with employers who are looking for interns, employment opportunities, and networking.

For more information, go to www.worcesterchamber.org/student.

Always Christmas: Vaillancourt refreshes branding, will re-launch retail

On March 1, Vaillancourt Folk Art of Sutton will reopen its retail gallery to celebrate Christmas year-round.

The relaunch coincides with updated branding at the business, reflecting the direct focus on the holiday — including a new logo that prominently displays a Victorian Christmas tree and the Vaillancourt name. Although the business will still function as Vaillancourt Folk Art, the branding will drop the “folk art” phrase, as the term no longer accurately describes the company.

“When we opened nearly 35 years ago, it was during the bicentennial, when Americana and Folk Art was all the rage,” Gary Vaillancourt said in a statement from the business. He founded Vaillancourt Folk Art with his wife, Judi, in 1984. “Our focus then was wholesale and trade shows. Judi, along with family and friends, would make furniture, folk art paintings, and our chalkware before loading it in a truck and selling them at retail shows not dissimilar to ‘craft fairs’ of today.”

Today, wholesale business is conducted at Vaillancourt’s showroom in Atlanta, while retail has been split between its brick-and-mortar store — at the Manchaug Mills at 9 Main St., Sutton — and online.

“The marketplace has really created the product that we sell today,” Luke M. Vaillancourt, Gary and Judi’s son, said in the statement. “Our product is fine art, which is the main reason we decided to drop ‘folk art’ from our branding. … When you see our product in curated collections of museums, on the shelves of the highest quality stores in the country, you know that it’s gone beyond a ‘casual craft.’ ”

Though there will be more Christmas than usual for the off-season when the retail gallery reopens, Christmas will of course still be special at Vaillancourt. The business will continue its annual Christmas Opening with the introduction Starlight Santa.

“When a guest walks into our store during Christmas, their eyes widen. The decorations, the music, the atmosphere —  it’s a wonderful diversion from the world around us,” said Judi Vaillancourt, who designs each chalkware piece. “There is no reason that this feeling shouldn’t be available every day for those who still want to ‘believe.’ ”

Fallon board appoints three new members

The Fallon Health Board of Directors has announced the appointment of three new board members: David Friend, M.D., MBA; Janet Rico, MBA, NP-BC, Ph.D.; and Peter Straley.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Friend, Ms. Rico and Mr. Straley join the Board. Their collective and relevant health care experience complements our team of Directors and reflects our commitment to Fallon’s mission,” David W. Hillis, chairman of the board, said in a statement.

Fallon Health President and CEO Richard Burke said, “Fallon and the communities we serve will benefit greatly from their knowledge and expertise.”

The Fallon Health Board also elected officers. Hillis, president and CEO of AdCare, was re-elected chairman.  Frederick M. Misilo Jr., a lawyer at Fletcher Tilton, was elected vice chairman. Ann K. Tripp, chief investment officer of Hanover Insurance Group, was re-elected treasurer.  B. John Dill, president and CEO of Colebrook Realty Services and Affiliates, was elected clerk.

Friend, of Weston, brings more than 30 years of global health care experience to Fallon. He is co-founder of The BDO Center for Health Care Excellence & Innovation, and currently serves as managing director and chief transformation officer. Prior to that, he was an executive at Golden Living, which focuses on post-acute health care. Friend has shared his expertise on various national media platforms, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CBS and NBC.

Rico, of Wrentham, has decades of experience in clinical settings including geriatrics, primary care home care, urgent care and emergency care. She is assistant dean of Graduate Nursing Programs at Northeastern University and a nurse practitioner at Massachusetts General Hospital. She chairs the ARC of Massachusetts Steering and Policy Committee; and from 2004 to 2010 served on the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing, including a couple of years as chairwoman. She has served on the Massachusetts Patient-Centered Medical Home Council as well as co-chaired the Massachusetts’ Turning 22 Task Force.

Straley, of Amherst, has 40 years of professional experience in health care, including 17 years as president and CEO of Health New England — a provider-owned HMO headquartered in Western Massachusetts. Previously, Straley served as CEO of Springfield-based Baycare Health Partners.  While with Health New England, Straley assumed other leadership roles, including serving as a board member of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, and board chairman of the Health Plan Alliance, the Springfield Museums and of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

Students with autism and CABI staff ‘give back’ with holiday food drive

The Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction (CABI) — an accredited, private special education day school for students with autism spectrum disorder and challenging behaviors in Central Massachusetts — collected 158 pounds of food in a holiday food drive.

The effort came about from an exercise with the students about what giving means during the holiday season. The students expressed an interest in helping those in need, and with the help of the CABI staff, they identified the Worcester County Food Bank as their charity of choice.

A donation box placed in the front lobby of the school, 345 Greenwood St., needly weekly emptying as it was filled with food from friends and family of the school. Led by Elizabeth Rostron, R.N., and Instructional Assistant Meagan Trujillo, the month-long food drive culminated in a visit to the food bank in Shrewsbury, with a couple of students accompanying Rostron and Trujillo.

This was a very proud moment for the CABI students as they experienced what giving back means and how they can directly impact their community, a statement from the school said.

CABI received a letter and certificate from the WCFB which acknowledged the students’ efforts and explained that the 158 pounds of food would serve 131 meals for individuals and families in the community.

“We are so humbled by the donations from CABI’s family and friends for our first holiday food drive,” said Rostron. “Even more so, we are beyond proud of our students for participating in the program and their true interest in giving back to their community. Each student brought a different value to this program whether it was through experience, their studies, or their compassion for helping, and we look forward to implementing future community programs.”

UniBank hires chief information officer, senior vice president

Sam S. Pepper Jr., president and CEO of UniBank, has announced that Gary E. Baxter has joined the bank as chief information officer; and Maureen K. Huffam has joined the bank as senior vice president, director of Human Resources and Training.

Baxter is responsible for the strategic leadership pertaining to all information systems and services for the bank, including information technology infrastructure, security, enterprise applications, and customer e-banking technologies.

His IT career spans nearly 40 years in the financial and insurance industries. He most recently was the CIO for Voya Financial in Hartford, Connecticut.

Huffman, in her new role, is responsible for the oversight and growth related to human resources, training, and employee engagement for UniBank and its subsidiaries, UniBank Fiscal Advisory Services, Sterling Associates and UniPay.

Her career in human resources spans more than 30 years. Huffam has worked in the retail industry, the insurance industry, the medical industry, and most recently for an energy consulting firm. She brings with her extensive experience managing human resources for growing organizations.  She is also a board member for the Energy Federation Inc.

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