Jay Minkarah, President and CEO of Develop Springfield, a nonprofit development corporation stimulating revitalization and economic development within the city of Springfield. By fostering urban development, Develop Springfield works to strengthen the City’s economy and improve residents’ quality of life. We talk about Springfield’s past, present, and the bright future ahead.
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Stefan Davis is the host of "Against All Odds," which features teens talking about their life experiences from homelessness to abuse, poverty, academic struggles and more. Stefan is an English and History teacher in Springfield, and the show is an extension of the work he does in the classroom. The show also features guests including teachers, mental health professionals and local leaders to touch on the issues that will be discussed by Davis and the young people on the program. In this interview he shares what inspired him to develop "Against All Odds" and his vision for the shows future.
Peter Duggan is the President and CEO of Proactive Controls Group, LLC. Proactive is a trusted consulting partner who applies innovation, technology and collaboration to drive client success on complex construction projects. Peter and his team help contractors mitigate risk associated with scheduling demands, cost overruns, and claims management. We discuss his business, and a certain ball park in Hartford CT.
Click Workspace's Director, Erika Zekos, and co-founder Lisa Papademetriou joined me the night after the Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator Awards to talk about Click Workspace 2.0. Lisa was the MC for VVM’s event, and we kept the entrepreneurial party going on the radio show. Erika and Lisa discussed what’s new at Click, and what entrepreneurs can expect at at one of WesternMA’s growing coworking space. Space, Sanity, and Scalability - oh boy!
Timothy Brennan, Executive Director of The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) joined me to talk about all the Valley’s economic activity. The PVPC works with the 43 cities and town comprising WesternMA to implement strategies encouraging momentum. Tim and I discuss many of the strategies moving the needle, including rail, higher education, entertainment, and clean energy.
Dane Stangler, Vice President of Research and Policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, joined me recently to discuss the future of entrepreneurship. Dane leads a staff of more than twenty economic research analysts and senior scholars who are conducting or funding hundreds of studies on entrepreneurship and youth education. With this knowledge, he and his team report on what drives economic growth in an entrepreneurial economy. Dane and I chat about Accelerators, the startup deficit, and other topics relating to the new era of entrepreneurship.
Lora Fischer-DeWitt is the founder of Scout Curated Wares, a fashion jewelry company. Laura has over 20 years combined experience in fashion buying, retail sales, merchandising, product development, and wholesale. She is applying that knowledge, and learning some new skills, as part of the 2016 Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator cohort. Lora chats about building her startup, refining her product line, and what the future golds for her venture.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Brian Nicks joined me on The Engine to discuss ‘brain-drain’ and local entrepreneurial resources. Brain is the Owner of Brian Nicks Productions, and The Blue Spotlight Project. He is also a supporter of Valley Venture Mentors. Learn more about The Blue Spotlight Project.
Jose Delgado, Pre-Admissions Advising & Recruitment Coordinator for University Without Walls joined me to discuss the program, which is offered through the University of Massachusetts Amherst. University Without Walls began in 1971 and has helped thousands of non-traditional students obtain their degrees. An informational session will be held Feb. 3 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the UMass Center at Springfield in Tower Square. Register online before the event by visiting www.umass.edu/uww.
Jas Maggu is the founder of AuthenFOOD, a WesternMA startup delivering custom meals to your doorstep. Not everyone has time to cook, and restaurant food tends to be expensive. So, Jas built a platform where folks can order food directly from local chefs with authentic culinary backgrounds. She discusses how her experience lead her to build AuthenFOOD, her Valley Venture Mentors tenure, and where she plans on taking her home delivery service. Jas will also give you a discount for using her service, but you'll need the secret code - she reveals in our interview. Bon Appétit.