Education, craft beer and recycling round out Outlook list

 In Blog

A few weeks ago, I gave you a glimpse at some of the stories I wrote about local business and nonprofits for the Springfield Republican’s annual, award-winning Outlook business section.

Today, I offer the final three stories on Westfield State University’s The Westfield Promise program; Northstar Pulp & Paper of Springfield; and Mike Schilling and Jordana Starr, the owners of Beerology in Northampton.

The Westfield Promise

Ramon S. Torrecilha, Westfield State University’s 20th president, moved to this country from Brazil 40 years ago, landing a job at an orchard in Washington state. He knew admission into Portland State University would change the trajectory of his life because, as he says, knowledge becomes yours. While he had no idea how to get started, Torrecilha stumbled through the mystery of the college entrance process because he knew it would take him where he wanted to go.

Torrecilha is certain that today’s high school students are equally as unprepared for college and all that enrollment entails—lacking in what he calls “cultural capital.” So, he eagerly got behind The Westfield Promise after he came on board just over two years ago. The program gives high school students in Westfield, Springfield and Holyoke—and their high populations of underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students—a taste of the academic experience as well as general savvy.

“It’s invaluable,” Torrecilha said. “For many students—especially students of color and first-generation students—the notion of going to college is a mystery. This program helps them bridge that space between high school and college. It’s about building the student’s self-esteem and respecting his or her ability to learn.”


Mike Schilling and Jordana Starr met in 2002 as Tufts University freshmen. Their first few dates were over Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at midnight, but they soon evolved into more elegant affairs. “We were always too old for our age,” Schilling said, noting he loved the instant gratification of mixing elaborate cocktails. “When other kids were having keg parties, we were having people over for wine and cheese.”

Belgian beer captured Schilling’s attention, and when the two married in 2010, they received a homebrew kit as a wedding present, but they had to go into a brew shop to pick up the ingredients. Once inside, they were hooked.

Schilling earned an international diploma in brewing technology from the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and Doemens Akademie in Munich in 2013. Three years later, in November 2016, he and Starr opened Beerology in downtown Northampton. They’ve been feeding the craft beer movement in the Valley ever since, providing malted grains, yeast, and hops to home brewers of beer, cider, wine, and mead as well as to local brewmasters.

Northstar Pulp & Paper

Thirty years ago, when Lori Goodman Novak was a teenager, she worked in the office for the family business, Northstar Pulp & Paper, answering the phone, weighing trucks on the scale and sorting mail. Nearly two decades later, while Novak was teaching kindergarten, her half-brother, Aaron Goodman, was old enough to work at the plant as a forklift operator, before he launched his college education and commercial banking career.

After making radical professional moves in recent decades, the two siblings—Novak, 49, and Goodman, 31, have committed to Northstar. With their father David, they serve as its key leaders.

These fourth- and fifth-generation operators run a recycling business that was founded 119 years ago, in 1898, in Worcester by Hyman Goodman, David Goodman’s great-grandfather. “It’s a privilege,” Novak said, noting that one of her sons is a senior in high school and will be building pallets at Northstar for the first time this summer. Before he starts college, Sam Byrne will work alongside his grandfather, David Goodman, chief executive officer; his mother, the company president; and his uncle, Goodman, chief operating officer.

Northstar Pulp & Paper, now located in Springfield, is not your everyday recycling company. It processes and resells paper, metals and plastics, and recently added repairing and selling wooden pallets to the reuse repertoire. The work—collecting, compressing, baling, grinding, and delivery—is done by roughly 80 employees who process 20,000 tons of scrap material every single month in two warehouses that together provide 300,000 square feet of working space.

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