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The Agawam Small Business Assistance Center is fortunate to have a committed and dynamic Board of Directors. Each board member contributes a body of specialized business expertise and commitment to improving the lives of the business leaders and the communities it serves.




Mayor Richard A. Cohen

Agawam City Hall

36 Main Street

Agawam, MA 01001

413-786-0400 ext. 8200

Dino Gravanis, Chairman


MaryLynn Murray (Vice Chairwoman)

Project Manager & Sales Director

Insurance Center of New England

P.O. Box 1230

Agawam, MA 01001

Phone: (413) 750-7137

Fax: (413) 750-7237


MaryLynn Murray joined the ASBAC board in 2013 as the insurance expert.  MaryLynn is employed by Insurance Center of New England located in Agawam.  Her role at ICNE is Project Manager and Sales Director.  MaryLynn over see’s the Commercial and Benefits departments within ICNE.  She has over 12 years of experience in the insurance industry.  MaryLynn also belongs to the West of River Chamber and Women’s Fund.

Freda Brown, Treasurer

Owner, EA, CDFA

Divorce Financial Services

39 John Mason Road

Southwick, MA 01077

413.569.1428 | 413.569.0015



Freda Brown brings over 30 years of tax experience to ASBAC and holds the title of Enrolled Agent (EA); distinguished as one of America’s Tax Experts. EAs are the only federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.


Ms. Brown owns her own business, Divorce Financial Services and holds the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analysis (CDFA). 


In addition, Ms. Brown serves as Master Tax Advisor with the company, Drenen Financial Services, Inc. and is a graduate from Springfield College with a BS in Education.

Sarah Szczebak, Secretary and Communications and Marketing Committee Chairwoman

Town of West Springfield

Office of Community Development

774 Main Street

West Springfield, MA 01089





Sarah joined the ASBAC board in 2013 and is employed by the Town of West Springfield in the Office of Community Development as the CDBG Project Coordinator. Sarah has over eight years of experience in administering housing rehabilitation programs, grant administration, and grant writing.



Dee Emery-Ferrero, Past Chairwoman

CEO, Publisher Western Mass Women Magazine

525 Springfield Street, Ste. O

Feeding Hills, MA 01030




Under the umbrella of DEF Enterprises, Ms. Ferrero owns several businesses including; Western Mass Women Magazine, The Hartford County Women Magazine; The New England Woman Magazine; Media 9 Advertising & Marketing Assoc., WEDDINGS by DESIGN, certified wedding & event planning company and Statement Skincare & Color Cosmetics. All proudly women owned & operated businesses.


Ms. Ferrero is the current president of the Agawam Small Business Assistance Center, and past president of the Greater Springfield Business and Professional Women's Club. She is the Vice President of The Women’s Business Owner’s Alliance, and 2nd Vice President of the West of the River Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the boards of the Professional Women's Chamber and the Valley Press Club.


Ms. Ferrero is a member of several organizations including the Association of Professional Bridal Consultants, The National Free Press Association, The National Association of Professional Women and Who’s Who in Massachusetts Professional Women and the Ct. Women's Council.


Dale Mazanec
Small Business Commercial Lender
United Bank
95 Elm Street
West Springfield, MA 01089
Tel: (413) 787-1271

Dale W. Mazanec, Assistant Vice President and Commercial Lender with United Bank, has over 20 years of banking experience, working closely with retail and business clients throughout western Massachusetts, many of whom have attended his seminars for small businesses on how to obtain financing. He has also shared his expertise in venues including Western New England School of Law’s “How to” Entrepreneur Institute, and at conferences, forums, and seminars hosted by the Small Business Association (SBA), the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA), Springfield Public Library, and the University of Massachusetts.


Mr. Mazanec is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, the Robert Morris Associates Lending Academy, and the Leadership Institute of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS). He is a past Chair of the West of the River Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of the ACCGS. He serves on the board of the Springfield Partners for Community Action as the 2ndVice President. He is active with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Springfield School Volunteers Read-Aloud program and served for several years as a panel review member for United Way Community Allocations.


Deborah S. Dachos, Program Committee Chairwoman

Director of Planning and Community Development

Agawam City Hall

36 Main Street

Agawam, MA 01001

413.786.0400, ext. 8738


Ms. Dachos has served as the Director of Planning and Community Development in Agawam for over 30 years. Her duties include assisting the Mayor in all economic development activities including: recruitment and retention of businesses; facilitating “expedited permitting” for new businesses or expansion of existing businesses; preparation and implementation of long range economic development plans; and oversight of the daily operations of the Agawam Small Businesses Assistance Center.


She also provides technical assistance to a host of Agawam Boards and Commission. The Agawam Office of Planning and Community Development is home to the Agawam Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Energy Commission and Historical Commission among others.


Ms. Dachos has a BA from Skidmore College and MRP from the University of Massachusetts. Prior to working for Agawam she worked at the Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission in Fitchburg, MA.   She currently serves on the Valley Development Council, the ASBAC Board of Directors, the Agawam YMCA Wellness and Program Center Project Committee, and has recently retired from the Westmass Area Development Corporation.



Gina Fusick, Board Member


United Bank

1325 Springfield Street

Feeding Hills, MA 01030-2162



Gina Fusick brings to ASBAC over forty years of experience within the banking industry. She is currently the Personal Banking Officer at United Bank’s Feeding Office where she is responsible for customer service and offering a wide range of consumer and commercial banking products and services to her clients.


She is active in numerous community organizations including the West of the River Chamber, The Agawam Beautification Committee, Greater Springfield Senior Services, and Kiwanis as well has other business and charitable organizations.


She is a lifelong resident of Agawam and is dedicated to her family.

Cynthia Ayre, Board Member

Owner & President

Ayre Real Estate Co., Inc.

701 Main Street

Agawam, MA 01001



Derek Jarvis, Facilitator

Agawam Small Business Assistance Center

36 Main Street

Agawam, MA 01001






In mid-2004, the Agawam Small Business Assistance Center (ASBAC) contracted Derek (Dan) Jarvis as the business center facilitator. Since the site’s inception, Dan’s primary focus continues to ensure start-up and established businesses have access to the free counseling services and workshops provided by the agency.


Dan is a native of London, England and the only employee of the center; a key component of maintaining a degree of consistency and continuity for the center. The remaining staff consists of dedicated volunteers from the communities it serves.


A retired veteran of the television industry; nearly 40 years employed by the television station Channel 40. Dan’s diverse background at the station included chief photographer, production manager and executive producer of the station’s annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon; responsibilities included the planning and execution of the coverage of political conventions, debates, parades, sporting events, fashion shows, telethons, and many local community events.


After retiring, Dan continued to share his passion and wealth of knowledge teaching video and TV production courses at Holyoke Community College and American International College for a number of years.

He is a former president of the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts and currently serves on its Advisory Board of the Springfield Salvation Army. Dan has been an active member of Valley Press Club board since 1974 and currently serves as the club’s secretary/treasurer.