WORCESTER – Deborah B. Goldberg, Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver General, was keynote speaker during the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly Breakfast Club on Sept. 7 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

Goldberg is responsible for the state’s cash and debt management, unclaimed property, and chairs state boards and commissions, including the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, the State Board of Retirement, Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, and the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. In 2015, she established the new Office of Economic Empowerment, the first of its kind in the country, and chairs its Economic Empowerment Trust Fund. Treasurer Goldberg also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Treasurers.

Read more about Sec. Goldberg’s speech in the Fall Chamber Exchange Newspaper.

MEMBER SALUTES

At the breakfast, the chamber also honored several businesses with Member Salutes, including:

Cornerstone Bank combines
two successful financial institutions

SOUTHBRIDGE/SPENCER – The 2017 Cornerstone Bank merger process is now complete, combining long financial staples of Central Massachusetts communities, SpencerBANK and Southbridge Savings Bank, which have served and supported their customers since 1871 and 1848, respectively.

With more than $1 billion in assets and 200 employees, Cornerstone Bank offers an increased array of products and services and higher lending limits spread across 15 branches with 19 ATMs.

The senior leadership team of the newly merged bank reflects a complementary combination of experience and skill sets. K. Michael Robbins, former President & CEO of SpencerBANK prior to the merger, will now serve as Cornerstone’s Chairman and CEO while Todd M. Tallman, outgoing President & CEO of Southbridge Savings Bank, will serve as President and Treasurer.

“Although our name is now different, our customers will continue to experience outstanding service from the same familiar faces and relationships they have come to know,” says Robbins.

Fidelity Bank’s name to
grace new Worcester Ice Center

WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers Hockey Club, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, announced in August that Worcester Sports Center LLC has reached an agreement with Fidelity Bank for the naming rights to the new Worcester Railers HC $18 million practice facility due to open this month. The combination rink, recreation, and retail facility will be called Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center. The agreement between Fidelity Bank and the Worcester Ice Center will carry through 2027.

“I would like to thank Ed Manzi, Chris McCarthy, and the entire group at Fidelity Bank for their support of the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center,” said Cliff Rucker, owner of the Worcester Railers HC and the Worcester Ice Center. “We are excited about the partnership and look forward to providing an ice center that the entire community will be able to enjoy this September.

In addition to being the Worcester Railers HC practice facility, the state-of-the-art 110,000 square foot Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center will be home ice for Worcester State University, Becker College and top-tier high school programs such as Worcester Academy. It will also host the Junior Railers and Junior

Crusaders youth hockey programs, as well as several other youth hockey groups.

“The Fidelity Bank team is thrilled to be associated with the Worcester Railers HC and the continued investments that Cliff is making in the Worcester community,” said Edward F. Manzi Jr., Fidelity Bank Chairman & CEO.

Fidelity Bank has a LifeDesign Banking Center in Worcester at 465 Shrewsbury St. and there are plans to open a second in downtown Worcester in the spring 2018. “The Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center is a great example of the exciting revitalization of the city’s Canal District and a terrific way to expand our LifeDesign brand in the market,” added Christopher W. McCarthy, Fidelity Bank President & COO.

Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, managed by the EDGE Sports Group, will be a year-round facility featuring a pro shop, strength training, Reliant Medical Group’s Physical Therapy centers, and a two-story restaurant, Nonna’s Kitchen and Steam Café. The restaurants will be operated by Niche Hospitality.

Provo Wealth Management Group
celebrates 25th anniversary

SHREWSBURY – Celebrating 25 years in business, Provo Wealth Management Group based in Shrewsbury is poised for even greater success as the firm continues its mission to make all clients feel like the only client.

According to company President and CEO Christopher Provo, the firm remains steadfast in its commitment to partnering with fewer clients for an enhanced focus. “This approach affords our team the energy and time needed to provide quality service and attention to even the smallest details. We seek to know our clients on a deep level. By only truly understanding can we put clients on the right path.

Provo provides prudent guidance on all aspects of financial management, including wealth management, retirement, alternative investments, insurance planning and asset preservation strategies, family office services, divorce financial analysis, taxes and college planning, and corporate benefits.

Innovative in its field, Provo Wealth Management Group has clients spread across 30 states and is involved in many charitable and non-profit groups including Becker College, 15-40, Seven Hills Foundation, and the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk. The firm was the recipient of the Best of Business Award in 2014 and 2015.

Quinsigamond Community College
names new president

WORCESTER – Dr. Luis G. Pedraja has begun his tenure as president at Quinsigamond Community College. He is the sixth president in the college’s 54-year history.

Dr. Pedraja most recently served as Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for Oakland, California’s 35,000-student Peralta Community College District, where he led faculty, staff, and administrators to develop innovative programs and ensure student success. Previously he was Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Antioch University Los Angeles, a non-profit

institution serving adult students with bachelor degree completion and professional graduate programs.

Dr. Pedraja became the first in his family to attend college; later earning a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

As a child, Dr. Pedraja emigrated from Cuba and grew up in a low

-income Miami neighborhood. He became the first in his family to attend college; and he later earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Focusing on Latino perspectives, Dr. Pedraja published books and articles exploring how understanding language and culture can promote intercultural dialogue and tolerance.

In addition, he has published on higher education issues and best practices, including governance, assessment, strategic planning, and faculty and program development. He taught philosophy, ethics, and religious studies at the University of Puget Sound and Southern Methodist University, where he served as a division chair and faculty senator.

After later becoming a dean and provost, Dr. Pedraja continued mentoring Latino graduate students and served as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars in his discipline. Dr. Pedraja advocates passionately for increased higher education access for all people, especially those who have been underserved historically

by the American higher education system; and he has been quoted on this topic by media outlets including the Associated Press, Huffington Post, International Business Times, and Univision.

Total Wine & More opens new retail business

SHREWSBURY – Total Wine & More, the nation’s largest independently-owned retailer of fine wine, spirit and beer, opened one of its newest and fourth stores in Massachusetts on Route 9 in Shrewsbury this past February.

The new store offers more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits, and 2,500 beers. Total Wine & More will feature the area’s most comprehensive and unique shopping experience for consumers looking for the best value and highest quality in wines, spirits and beers – as well as a level of expertise and service unique to Total Wine & More.

“We’re excited to bring Total Wine & More, bringing our unmatched prices, selection, and customer service to customers,” said Edward Cooper, Total Wine & More’s Vice President of Public Affairs & Community Relations.

The company opened its first Massachusetts store in Natick in November 2015 and subsequently opened additional stores in Everett, Danvers and Shrewsbury. Total Wine & More has supported more than 9,000 charitable organizations with in-kind and cash donations in excess of $6 million which helped those organizations raise over $35 million for their good works.

Staff participate in ongoing training, including yearly company-sponsored trips to Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California and to vineyards in Spain and France every other year.

UniBank announces new President & CEO

WHITINSVILLE – Timothy P. Wickstrom, Chairman of UniBank’s Board of Directors, recently announced that Sam S. Pepper, Jr. has been named President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UniBank and the bank’s holding company, UFS Bancorp.

“Following a comprehensive search process that was conducted by a team of UniBank board members, corporators, and employees, we are confident that Sam Pepper has the knowledge and experience to uphold UniBank’s core values of Teamwork, Integrity, and Excellence, to further strengthen UniBank’s position as the premier bank serving the financial needs of individuals, businesses and communities throughout the Commonwealth,” said Wickstrom.

Pepper comes to UniBank with over 30 years of experience in senior-level banking positions, specializing in lending and operations. Most recently, he was the Executive Vice President and Commercial Banking President for Equity Bank in Wichita, Kansas. His experience also includes work at Enterprise Bank & Trust in Missouri and BMO Harris Bank in Missouri. He holds an MBA in Finance & Economics from Long Island University. He also has ties to Massachusetts as a graduate of Western New England College holding a BSBA degree.

“I am delighted to begin my tenure at such a highly-regarded community bank as UniBank, which is embarking on many exciting initiatives. I am grateful for the confidence that UniBank and its Board of Directors have placed in me to lead the bank forward,” said Pepper.

Pepper takes over from William M. Mahoney, who is retiring after having served as Interim President and CEO since October 2016 and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the bank since 2009. UniBank is rooted in the Blackstone Valley with assets of $1.6 billion as of March 31, 2017.