Andrew Pignatare is a native and lifelong resident of western Massachusetts.
He literally grew up in the pizza shop and variety store family business. Andy started working there before he even turned five, and stayed at it all the way through high school. By nine he already knew he wanted to be a CPA. Although he excelled in math and business courses, he was otherwise an average student. But his passion for business gained him acceptance into Babson College.
After graduating, and earning his CPA, he started his own business before turning thirty. While the business continued growing, Andy went on to earn a Masters of Law in Taxation. After a successful Public Accounting career, he retired in May of 2016.
All those hours spent watching his grandmother make pizza, as well as other delicious Italian dishes, inspired Andy to try his own hand at Italian cooking, which he enjoys doing now for family and friends. He also loves watching baseball and playing golf.
Andy believes it’s important to inspire young people to get excited about the world of finance and business, and to begin their career exploration early in life. He speaks to classes and groups of youth when the opportunity arises. Becoming JoJo MacBean is his first novel, and he is currently at work on a young adult book.
Andy has a beloved wife, TerryAnn, of thirty years, one son, and two collies.
A native to the East Coast, Jen has been calling the beautiful Northwest her home now since 2002. A mom of two, she feels lucky to be creative everyday even when not getting paid for it. An advertising copywriter for over 15 years writing ads about wine, cars, coffee, shoes, fly fishing rods; you name it, she now works as a freelance writer and enjoys new projects like writing her first children’s book. When not wrangling children or words, you’ll find Jen out in nature, traveling with her husband and kids, playing the guitar, and drinking good coffee in Portland, Oregon.
Always an animal lover, Jen found it easy to choose a subject for her first book, First Child. The hero of her book, her chocolate lab Norm, has been her buddy for almost 14 years, and gives her plenty to write about. Stay tuned for his next adventure!
Heather was born and raised in Western Mass.. Where she also raised her 2 boys. She's a speaker, life and Health Coach. She works with groups and individuals helping them get in touch with their bodies and life needs. Helping people realize life happens and our needs will change. Teaching people self- awareness to make better decisions. Her education has equipped her with extensive knowledge and life coaching, holistic nutrition and mindfulness. Ms. Hodnicki lives in South Hadley with her husband and younger son.
Heather Salazar, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Western New England University where she teaches East-West philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of mind. She has authored numerous book chapters and edited an innovative anthology: The Philosophy of Spirituality. Her forthcoming book on constructivist ethics focuses on morality as it emerges from enlightened self-interest. Salazar has been a practicing yogi since 1997 and a yoga and meditation teacher since 2007. She received her Yoga Alliance RYT-200 certification in Bali, Indonesia and founded Sweet Flow Yoga in Easthampton, Massachusetts, which focuses on vinysasa yoga, community involvement and yogic philosophy.
I am Penelope T Evans, graduate of Umass Amherst and one of my hobbies is writing. Kinga, a talented illustrator, and I are working diligently on tales of animals in the natural world.
As a child I was always interested in nature. My aunt, Gwynn Evans, who at the time I lived with her as a child was president of the Audubon society in Virginia. I only lived with her a year but absorbed tons of information. She often took my brother and myself to lectures at the local colleges on nature. We participated in bird counts held throughout the year where I learned of many birds and hunted for many types of mushrooms. I wish to incorporate some of this knowledge into my writing.
Also as a child I moved a lot exposing me to many different environments and different kinds of animals. I grew to develop a fondness for nature and wish to share that with children through my writing.
While In college through the study of the English language I discovered an appreciation for word play such as rhyming, puns, and sentence structure Writing this piece has given me a chance to play with the English language in a way to make it fun for both adults and children.
In the next blogs I will show how I began to write the poetry in this piece and how I formatted each poem based on animals in their natural world.
Cats have always been an important part of Terri Gingold's family. Terri is a retired Milwaukee Public School teacher who taught kindergarten for over 30 years. She has utilized lessons learned in the classroom and her love of animals to create a story that teaches about cooperation, the value of friendship, and love of family.
Kyla Korytoski is a Graphic Design Instructor at LPVEC and Western Chapter Vice President for MVA.