MassHire honors two local businesses

  • From left, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board Executive Director Rebecca Bialecki, board Chair Anthony Scibelli, and Neil Scanlon and Rafal Dybacki of Worthington Assembly in South Deerfield, whose company received the Workforce Leader Award from MassHire. Contributed Photo

  • From left, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board Executive Director Rebecca Bialecki, board Chair Anthony Scibelli, Nikole Sturtevant and Natasha Latour of River Valley Co-op, and Tara Brewster, vice president of business development with Greenfield Savings Bank. River Valley Co-op received the Workforce Leader Award from MassHire. Contributed Photo

For the Recorder
Published: 6/23/2022 2:38:32 PM

Praised for their innovation and leadership, two local businesses were recently honored with the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board’s Workforce Leader Award.

The two recipients are Worthington Assembly of South Deerfield and the Northampton-based River Valley Co-op.

According to MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board Executive Director Rebecca Bialecki, the award, which has been given out for more than a decade, honors “innovation and leadership in the area of workforce.” MassHire’s website states that criteria for the award include that a company is generally known as “a good place to work,” has a reputation for investing in workers, and is “private sector but public spirited,” meaning the business is actively working to improve its community.

Bialecki said both businesses were nominated by members of the workforce board, which then voted on the nominees. She praises Worthington Assembly for having done a great job with an innovative model of management, and River Valley Co-op for its member-owner co-op model, which she believes “really supports the workforce.”

MassHire doesn’t always award one business per county as it did this year. Last year, for example, only one award was given, to BETE Fog Nozzle in Greenfield.

Worthington Assembly, a quick turn electronics manufacturer in South Deerfield, was honored for its unique workplace operations. The company produces circuit boards for a variety of industries, but mostly focuses on medical devices and smaller, experimental orders.

Worthington Assembly’s website describes it as a “flat decentralized organization,” which, according to President Neil Scanlon, means its employees are given as much autonomy as possible in the manufacturing environment.

Everyone at Worthington Assembly, regardless of department, works as a team according to a common schedule. Workers are empowered to make most of the company’s important decisions. Scanlon stated the organization’s ultimate goal is to provide excellent manufacturing jobs in the Pioneer Valley.

Regarding the Workforce Leader Award, Scanlon said it is great that his innovative workplace model is getting the acknowledgement it deserves.

“It’s great to be recognized for having a nice place to work,” he said.

River Valley Co-op, a member-owned food cooperative based in Northampton, has been through a tumultuous two years. In addition to pandemic-related struggles, last year, the co-op opened a second location in Easthampton. Director of Human Resources Nicole Cowlin described opening a new store in the midst of the pandemic as “difficult,” and noted that the co-op relied heavily on community partners, including MassHire.

Cowlin said the recognition from MassHire was “a surprise and quite an honor,” and is a testament to the business’ concern for the community. She noted that, during the pandemic, River Valley Co-op went above and beyond to help mitigate risk for its staff and customers. One unique measure was an immunocompromised shopping hour, which remains in place today.


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