News from our members

Mount Wachusett Community College Welcomes New Leadership Team Members

Sandra Quaye, Vice President of Finance and Administration

Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) is welcoming new members to its Leadership Team and to other leadership positions throughout the college.

MWCC welcomes Sandra Quaye to the college as Vice President of Finance and Administration. Quaye replaces retiring Robert LaBonte who held the position since 1994. Quaye comes to MWCC from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH after a twenty-two year career in roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently Quaye has held the role of Vice President of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since 2014.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sandra to the college,” stated MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “She is a valuable addition to our Leadership Team.”

“I am excited to be joining the MWCC community,” noted Quaye. “The opportunities MWCC provides to students, faculty, and staff as well as the local community are endless. I am energized by the work ahead and look forward to contributing to the success of MWCC.”

MWCC has also made a number of leadership promotions within the Academic Affairs and Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development department following the departures of Vice Presidents Paul Hernandez and Rachel Frick-Cardelle.

John Eisler, who joined MWCC from Springfield College in 2020, will be serving as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Adam Duggan will be stepping into the role of Vice President of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning after six years as Dean of Adult Basic Education.

In addition, Senior Dean of Students, Jason Zelesky, will assume the role of Interim Vice President of Student Affairs.

In addition, Melissa Sargent, a 28-year veteran of the college, has been promoted to Dean of Academic Affairs; Director of Nursing, Kimberly Shea, has been named Dean of Nursing, and Veronica Guay has been named Dean of Math, Science, Engineering, Business and Technology.

“I am grateful to each of our team members for their openness to take on new and evolving challenges and opportunities. I look forward to supporting them in their new roles.” Vander Hooven added. “I am so thankful for the years of service Bob, Paul and Rachel provided to the college. Their leadership and professionalism will be missed.”

Fidelity Bank earns 5-Star Rating from Leading Independent Bank Rating and Research Firm

Fidelity Bank recognized for overall financial strength, security of operations


 Fidelity Bank today announced it has earned a 5-Star “Superior” rating from BauerFinancial, the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm. A 5-Star rating ranks Fidelity Bank among one of the strongest banks in the nation on BauerFinancial’s Recommended Report.

“This rating reflects our overall financial strength and the vigilant efforts we put towards maintaining the safety and security of the bank,” said Ed Manzi, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Bank. “Our clients should feel very well protected, and we are proud to give them the clarity they need to make informed decisions and move forward with confidence.”

Fidelity Bank was evaluated in several areas, including capital and asset quality, and profitability. No institution pays BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can it choose to be excluded. In addition to this strong rating, clients of Fidelity Bank also benefit from 100% of their deposits being insured by the FDIC and the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF). 

Solvus Global Ribbon Cutting Brings 150+ Attendees to Leominster with Cornerstone Announcement of $1.6M Grant from M2I2

Solvus Global hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony with more than 150 attendees from across the country to celebrate advanced manufacturing in Central Massachusetts and the opening of their 32k square foot facility. The event marks the culmination of collaborations from key partners at the Army Research Laboratory, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, VRC Metal Systems, and the State of Massachusetts. Christine Nolan of the Mass Tech Collaborative provided the cornerstone announcement of Solvus Global’s receipt of a $1.6M grant from the State of Massachusetts to develop the first-ever integrated wire arc additive manufacturing, heat treating, and machining center for large area additive manufacturing, capable of producing parts from aluminum, titanium, and steel in excess of 5’ on a side.

The ceremony provided a window of insight into the future of manufacturing in the Commonwealth, with remarks from Worcester Polytechnic Institute Provost Wole Soboyejo, Mass Tech Collaborative Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing Christine Nolan, Army Research Laboratory Technical Lead Victor Champagne, VRC Metal Systems CTO Aaron Nardi, MA State Senator John Cronin, and US Congressman Jim McGovern. The theme of “People, Partners, and Problems” highlighted Solvus Global’s unique business model, which brings people together to drive innovation through collaboration and focused problem solving; the outcome is not just a product, but an enterprise solution that drives the growth of people and markets.

Concluding the event was Solvus Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board Diran Apelian, who shared his heartfelt thanks for all the support from partners in industry, academia, the state, and the federal government. Dr. Apelian left the audience with final remarks highlighting the way in which the Solvus team has come together to provide not just the recipe for innovation, but rather delivers innovation as a fundamental practice.

From the team at Solvus, thank you to all of our partners, supporters, families, and colleagues who have made every bit of this possible – we look forward to seeing you next year, showcasing multiple powder production lines, friction stir additive manufacturing, cold spray additive manufacturing, wire arc additive manufacturing, and so much more.

Leominster Credit Union Donates to Fathering Fathers, Inc.

[Pictured L to R: Barbara Mahoney, President & CEO, LCU; Nate Rollins, Chairman of the Board for Fathering Fathers, Inc.; and John Reedy, Board Member for Fathering Fathers, Inc and Leominster Credit Union.]

Leominster Credit Union (LCU) presented a check for $5,000 to Fathering Fathers, Inc., a non-profit mentoring organization, dedicated to raising up healthy, confident, and well-prepared young men. The lion’s share of this donation will go to help jump start a girl’s mentoring program based out of Clinton Middle School and Tahanto Regional, in Clinton and Boylston, Massachusetts respectively.

“We are deeply grateful for the contribution that this gift provides to develop and implement our programs. We are confident the young men and women in our mentoring groups will directly benefit from this donation and their lives will be impacted in a tangible, positive way. Our desire for this program is that the students we mentor will grow up better equipped to navigate the challenging world we live in. That goal is much closer thanks to the generosity of Leominster Credit Union,” stated Nate Rollins, Chairman of the Board of Fathering Fathers.

“We are proud to contribute to the Fathering Fathers organization in order to help the mentors and volunteers involved in the program to better support, educate and provide leadership and resources for the youth in our community. We feel that this is a very important initiative and will make a great difference in the lives of everyone involved,” stated Barbara Mahoney, President and CEO, Leominster Credit Union.

For more details on Fathering Fathers, Inc., how to become a mentor or mentee, or to donate to the program, please visit

Golden Girl Granola Introduces Pumpkin Harvest – New Seasonal Granola Now Available

Golden Girl Granola introduces a new pumpkin flavor to their granola lineup. Pumpkin Harvest is Golden Girl’s first seasonal granola and was created due to fan interest. This granola features the flavors of fall and is available now through December 2021.

Pumpkin Harvest uses all-natural ingredients like pumpkin and pecans and is baked with pure maple syrup and traditional spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg). These ingredients are double-baked and hand-stirred to create a crunchy texture with minimal salt and sugar.

“We are pleased to offer Pumpkin Harvest to our fans during the fall and holiday season.” says Deborah O’Kelly, owner of Golden Girl Granola. “When we first started selling granola, Pumpkin Harvest was available at farmers’ markets. When we started selling our granola in stores, we couldn’t buy small quantities of bags to offer the flavor seasonally. Thanks to new printing technology, we can produce Pumpkin Harvest with an improved recipe!”

Pumpkin Harvest is available to purchase online and in select stores now for a limited time.

Mount Wachusett Community College Adult Education Students Awarded 2021 First Literacy Scholarships

On September 15, 2021 three Mount Wachusett Community College Adult Education students were honored by First Literacy with scholarships in a virtual ceremony.

First Literacy Scholarships are awarded in recognition of educational achievements and potential, community service, and perseverance in the face of hardship. This year First Literacy awarded 30 scholarships to deserving individuals from community colleges across the Commonwealth. Students Yves Verneret and Lilian Thimotti were honored among the fourteen continuing scholars, while Bushrah Namirimu was honored as a first-year scholar.

“Adult Education programs are vital to our communities, inspiring and supporting students as they overcome the challenges of work, families, and over the past two years, COVID-19,” noted MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “MWCC is a lifelong learning community, focused on the preparation of our students for lives of fulfillment, leadership, and service in a diverse and global society. These three students are shining examples of that pursuit.”

“These students are amazing,” stated Kimberly Kayser, MWCC Adult Education Transition Coordinator. “We are so proud of all they have achieved and continue to achieve.”

In addition, Namirimu was awarded the Thomas Menino Memorial scholarship which honors Mayor Menino’s commitment to adult literacy education and the potential of all students.

Namirimu immigrated to the United States from Uganda where she was an investigative journalist. Her stories were viewed as anti-government and inciting violence, for which she faced persecution. She fled Uganda in 2018, leaving behind her three-year-old son, and her five siblings. With no friends or relatives in the US, Namirimu found work through a friend in Australia as a live-in nanny and housekeeper. She struggled to find transportation to the Mount from her host’s home because they did not approve of her attending college. After escaping this unhealthy arrangement, she left Massachusetts for a time before returning with her then-boyfriend. The pair married and had a daughter in July 2020. Returning to school in the spring of 2021, she faced the challenges of being a full-time student, mother, wife, and employee.

“Many times, I felt exhausted and stressed,” stated Namirimu in her remarks at the virtual scholarship ceremony. “Nevertheless, I persevered and excelled. Although challenges may force one to put a pause on their dreams or even quit, I never considered it. I grabbed every opportunity that came my way to make sure that I made my life and my future better by working hard for it.”

Yves Verneret came to the United States from Haiti in 2015. Having witnessed the destruction of the 2010 earthquake, she realized she wanted to be a nurse and made the decision to pursue her dream in the U.S. When she arrived in the United States she was met with many challenges. She had to provide for the needs of three children as well as study college-level courses. The forced isolation of the pandemic was hard for all of them, but it caused her to form “many positive changes in my life.”  She recognized her competence and success in meeting the various challenges facing her and learned that she could succeed and not be discouraged. The First Literacy scholarship kept her motivated and persistent in following her career path. She has been accepted into the nursing program at Mount Wachusett Community College and was guaranteed future admission to Fitchburg State University’s online bachelor’s program in nursing. Vernerete is looking forward to passing along help to others just as others have helped her.

LilianThimotti came to the United States with her husband and two children to get away from the violence that disrupted her family in Brazil. Her first year in the U.S. was very hard. She knew no English and could not work, causing her family serious financial and emotional difficulties. To make matters worse, everyone in her family became ill during the pandemic. However, with determination and hard work, she faced these challenges and overcame them. The First Literacy scholarship was a lifesaver, allowing her to buy the books and equipment needed for the nursing courses she was taking. Currently Thimotti is working towards an associate degree in nursing and plans to continue on to earn a degree. She looks forward to becoming a nurse and being able to help relieve pain and suffering in others.

First Literacy reaches approximately 5,000 adult learners and 250 teachers in 150 programs across Massachusetts each year through program grants, free teacher workshops, and student scholarships. Since 1990, the First Literacy Scholarship Program has awarded over 500 scholarships to students in adult basic education or English language programs who are continuing their education. To learn more about First Literacy, visit their website at

Mount Wachusett Community College Dean’s and President’s Lists for Summer 2021 Semester

Mount Wachusett Community College is pleased to announce our Dean’s and President’s Lists for the summer 2021 semester. Students who complete a minimum of 12 semester hours are eligible. The Dean’s List requires a 3.30 to 3.99 grade point average while the President’s List requires a 4.0 grade point average.

President’s List

Karissa Alyrd, Douglas

Samantha Grossman, Leominster

Brooke Hazen, Worcester

Jessica Hazen, Worcester

Dean’s List

Chantel McGlone, Athol

Jennifer Bilodeau, Fitchburg

Nichole Camelo, Fitchburg

Brittany Ruffen, Fitchburg

Taniya Tucker, Fitchburg

Robert Chilcoat, Gardner

Stephanie Constant, Leominster

Pamela Day, Leominster

Kionna Mayard, Leominster

Sara Melanson-Paine, Leominster

Ernest Nyarko, Leominster

Corey Tumenas, Leominster

Jose Flores, Lunenburg

Amanda Martin, Lunenburg

Rebecca Degon, Phillipston

Nicholas Grossi, Westminster

Tarra Kruse, Westminster

Gloria  Boakye, Worcester

Giselle Lugo, Worcester

Jessica Woodward, Hanover

Hikes Through History – A Virtual Event Presented by Fitchburg Public Library

Please register for this event by visiting

Have you ever wandered through the woods and wondered who had been there before you?
In Massachusetts, many parks and trails have been carved out of historical sites. Author Alison O’Leary, an award-winning journalist and coauthor of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s new guide Best Day Hikes Near Boston, will share her favorites through this hour-long virtual program.

Using maps and historic photos, she describes several day trip destinations with historical significance and interesting features in Massachusetts. Special effort is made to include varying levels of difficulty (flat and easy to steep and challenging) and variety of scenery.

These sites include:
-A former rubber factory overlooked in the woods;
-Contributions of the Roosevelt-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to our favorite parks;
– Offbeat tales of local residents;
– Sites of former grand estates (and tales of the owners).

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Fitchburg Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

This is a free program. For information about this or other Library programs call 978-829-1780 or visit our website:

Leominster manufacturer honored at sixth annual Manufacturing Awards ceremony

SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE – Leominster’s Aaron Industries was honored by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Tuesday at Polar Park in recognition of its innovative and sustainable practices relative to the recycled plastics industry, according to an announcement from the office of state Sen. John Cronin.

“We are thrilled to be honored at this year’s Manufacturing Awards Ceremony and are proud to be a part of the North Central Massachusetts manufacturing community. This recognition has reinvigorated our efforts to continue producing sustainable, quality, recycled products while continuing to foster economic growth in the region,” said Robert Tocci, president of Aaron Industries.

The Leominster-based manufacturer, which has been a fixture in North Central Massachusetts for four decades, is a leader in recycled plastic innovation and one of the largest resin compounders in the Northeast.

“Aaron Industries has been a major catalyst for economic mobility in the district for decades, and continues to serve as a model for manufacturers across the commonwealth. They have continuously implemented thoughtful and innovative manufacturing practices and are a treasured member of the community,” said Cronin, who nominated Aaron Industries for the award.

Aaron Industries, which oversees the production, shipping and receiving of its products, is a member of MassRecylce, a nonprofit coalition focused on reducing and recycling waste products in the environment. It also hold a third-party certification for GreenCircle Certified LLC.

The event, which was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed to promote and recognize the work of the state’s top manufacturers. Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy, along with members of the Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, state Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Jeffrey Roy, also offered remarks at the event.

The ceremony marks the start of Manufacturing Month in the Commonwealth, which for the past six years has focused on promoting and aiding the work of manufacturers, as well as fostering cooperation between the industry and lawmakers.

Lawmakers will continue to collaborate with manufacturers throughout the month, with Cronin heading to Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens Campus for a look at the school’s advanced manufacturing program next Monday.

EXIT New Options Real Estate Top Management Attends Intensive Professional Development Workshop

EXIT New Options Real Estate Franchisees Denise Wortman and Susan Wright joined real estate professionals from all over the country recently at the Hilton Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, for an intensive training and networking workshop.

EXIT Realty’s Broker Owner Training is one of the most leading-edge programs available in the real estate industry. Many of the industry’s top professionals, including company executives and EXIT Realty’s Co-Chair, Tami Bonnell, gather to teach the essential skills to build a top producing brokerage in any market.

“It was nice gathering in person! The Broker Owner training has not been in person for 18 months due to Covid”.

This program, which is provided at no charge by EXIT Realty and is exclusively attended by the brokerage’s top management including franchisees, brokers of record and administrators, enhances their business acumen and positively affects their approach to life. Attendees are also encouraged to return regularly to “sharpen the saw.” They leave well-equipped to build a successful real estate brokerage for the benefit of the Leominster community.

About EXIT Realty:
EXIT Realty is a company founded and built on human potential. A full service, forward-thinking, real estate franchisor with offices across North America, EXIT has to-date paid out more than a half a billion dollars in single-level residual income to its associates. The Expert Marketing Suite™ including geolocation Smart Sign™ technology gives sellers an edge in a competitive marketplace. A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund, and to-date, $6 million has been allocated to charity. For more information, please visit and

EXIT New Options Real Estate is located at 12 Main St.  For more information, please call 978-852-7955 or visit