A manufacturing company reborn in the middle of the Great Recession, a groundbreaking research partnership between Raytheon and UMass Lowell, and candle entrepreneur Michael Kittredge are among nine recipients of Next Century awards to be presented at three Associated Industries of Massachusetts regional centennial celebrations this month.
The Next Century awards recognize individuals, companies and other organizations for seminal contributions to the Massachusetts economy and the well-being of its citizens. Presentations will take place during late afternoon receptions on June 11 at the Crane Model Farm in Dalton; June 15 at the Wood Museum of Springfield History in Springfield; and June 17 at the Marc and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center at UMass Lowell.
“All nine recipients exemplify the transformative and lasting power of economic opportunity. Their vision and leadership have allowed Massachusetts residents to work, support families and build lives for themselves while making the commonwealth a wonderful place to live,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.
The Dalton event will honor Onyx Speciality Papers Inc., Berkshire Health Systems and SABIC Innovative Plastics. Employers in Springfield will honor Kittredge, MassMutual Financial Group and the job-training programs of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. The Lowell event will recognize the Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute, Mayor Daniel Rivera of Lawrence and developer and philanthropist Salvatore Lupoli.
Here are summaries of each recipient:
Onyx Specialty Papers gave new life to a 200-year-old business in 2009 when it acquired the assets of MeadWestvaco’s specialty paper division in South Lee. It was an extraordinary act of courage in the face of the Great Recession and the ongoing cost and regulatory challenges of manufacturing products in Massachusetts. It is an act that has preserved the livelihoods of 152 manufacturing workers, scientists and engineers who now supply materials for countertops, laminate floors, furniture, filters, graphic arts and even automotive transmissions.
Berkshire Health Systems is among a vanguard of community hospitals developing new models of patient care and financial sustainability in a turbulent health-care market. The most dramatic example of the company’s innovative approach came when it stepped in and invested more than $6 million to provide medical services to people in northern Berkshire County in the wake of the closing of North Adams Hospital. BHS has also invested in the recruitment of new physicians to meet the demand from patients who formerly sought treatment from doctors in private practice.
SABIC Innovative Plastics, a world leader in providing thermoplastic solutions, sets a unique standard for balancing success in the global marketplace with addressing the needs of its hometown. Founded with the acquisition of GE Plastics in 2007, SABIC employs 9,000 people in 35 countries making products for the automotive, electronics, transportation, building & construction, and healthcare industries. At the same time, SABIC employees volunteer their time in the Berkshires and elsewhere through programs that support community initiatives focused on education and environmental sustainability.
Holyoke native Michael Kittredge is the Founder of Yankee Candle Company in South Deerfield, which he sold in 1998, and Co-Founder of Kringle Candle Company of Bernardston. From a home-made candle created at age 16 as a Christmas present for his mother, Kittredge created businesses that have entertained customers and employed hundreds of people across a unique blend of retail, manufacturing, distribution, tourism and hospitality operations.
Perhaps no company has done more for Springfield and western Massachusetts over a longer period of time while forging more wide-reaching business success than MassMutual. From jump-starting the rebirth of downtown Springfield with the development of Baystate West in 1971 to the formation last year of a $100 million corporate venture capital firm, MassMutual has been involved in virtually every substantive economic-development initiative in western Massachusetts.
At a time when the primary challenge facing Massachusetts employers is finding qualified workers for their businesses, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department last year placed 506 formerly incarcerated people into jobs. Sheriff Michael Ashe and his staff have created a national model for employment support that includes vocational training, education, counseling, job-readiness skills, job search and job retention that has secured employment for more than 10,000 people since 1989.
The Raytheon–UMass Lowell Research Institute (RURI), established in 2014, provides a blueprint for mutually beneficial research collaboration between Massachusetts companies and the commonwealth’s colleges and universities. RURI is a joint research facility focused on the advancement of innovative technologies, including flexible and printed electronics. The institute will serve as a launchpad for collaboration and learning among UMass Lowell faculty and students and Raytheon employees.
The RURI award will be accepted by founders and co-directors Dr. Christopher McCarroll of Raytheon and UMass Lowell Prof. Craig Armiento, Ph.D., a faculty member in electrical and computer engineering in the university’s Francis College of Engineering.
Daniel Rivera, elected as a reformer to lead Lawrence out of a period of political instability, is living up to the “Mayor and CEO” titles that appear on his business card. Rivera has made City Hall a partner in creating economic opportunity for the citizens of Lawrence with a clearly defined plan to cut crime, oust drug dealers, increase jobs, attract new businesses to the former textile city, and get thousands of Lawrence residents who do not speak English to enroll in classes.
Entrepreneur Salvatore Lupoli has been a key ally of Mayor Rivera in changing the face of Lawrence “one job at a time.” Lupoli is an American success story, having transformed a single pizza restaurant founded in 1990 into a retail franchise and wholesale operation with more than 40 businesses serving New England, California, Arizona and India. He has also played a key role in the revitalization of Lawrence by turning more than 3.6 million square feet of mill space into the thriving commercial, retail and manufacturing center, Riverwalk Properties. Lupoli employs more than 1,000 people and has become a major benefactor of community organizations ranging from veterans’ groups to anti-hunger initiatives.
AIM will honor six more individuals and companies at two additional regional celebrations in September – September 16 at the Hanover Theater in Worcester and September 21 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. All the regional celebrations run from 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Lowell begins at 4 p.m.) and are free, though pre-registration is required.