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Updated: January 6, 2020 2020 WBJ Best of Business Awards

2020 Best of Business Awards: Employee services

Photo | Courtesy of MindsetGo MindsetGo Founder Mark Altman (center) with trainees from one of his programs.

Best Professional Training Company

  • MindsetGo Inc.
  • Location: Westborough
  • Websites: &
  • Top executive: Founder & CEO Mark Altman
  • Founded: 2015
  • Employees: 3

It was around when Mark Altman was at his lowest when he discovered he had a knack for something, which would send him off on a rising career trajectory.

Altman was working as an assistant banquet manager at a hotel, a minimum wage job he said sustained him with the help of food stamps. He had to support not only himself but a baby when he unexpectedly became a father at 23.

It was while working at the hotel Altman said he learned how to confidently and effectively communicate. He saw how poorly people could treat each other. He wanted to be a champion for those who were judged or overlooked.

That led to a job in sales – which entailed more helping and interacting with people – and eventually to his own consulting business.

Today, that business has grown from a part-time consulting gig to MindsetGo, a business providing professional consulting and coaching to companies far beyond its Westborough base to include those even outside the U.S. who’ve come upon MindSetGo through referrals.

Altman and his small staff of two part-timers and two contractors work with a variety of companies in a range of sizes, and they’re able to do it in large part because of what Altman says nearly any of a company’s major issues comes down to: a communication breakdown. That applies whether it’s related to revenue growth, client retention, employee engagement, culture or leadership, he says.

MindsetGo’s corporate training can be heavily involved, though.

The firm has custom behavioral and competency assessments used to help guide what may be a year-long program with monthly trainings and progress reports in between. The track of the training program is often tweaked based on those progress updates.

If Altman is speaking, he wants to make sure the audience is listening closely, not taking notes. He provides the notes for them later on.

“It’s a form of experiential learning,” he said.

Altman has found companies are increasingly choosing training or motivational programs as a way to do better by their employees. It used to be more companies were conducting training in reaction to, say, high turnover.

But with a low unemployment rate increasing competition for skilled workers, more employers are viewing training as a way to keep their teams in place, Altman said.

Best Health Insurance Provider

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts*
    Blue Cross volunteers working at Girls Inc. in Worcester.
  • Headquartered in Boston, with offices in Worcester, Quincy and Hingham
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President & CEO Andrew Dreyfus
  • Founded: 1937
  • Employees: 3,800

Blue Cross’ commitment to diversity and inclusion at every level is central to its culture and values. At Blue Cross, 72% of associates are women, and more than 50% of the board of directors are people of color or women.

  • Notable runners-up: Fallon Health, Tufts Health Plan

Best Luxury Automobile Dealership

  • Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury*
  • Website:
  • Top executive: General Manager Marshal Cabot
  • Founded: 1980
  • Employees: 200

With more than 38 years of specialized care for Mercedes-Benz customers, this dealership prides itself on tracking down whatever inventory its clients want. Its team provides the best available price right at the start to avoid the need for long, uncomfortable negotiations.

  • Notable runner-up: Lexus of Northborough

Best College for Business Education

  • Nichols College*
  • Location: Dudley
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President Susan West Engelkemeyer
  • Founded: 1815
  • Employees: 357

Nichols College offers a career-focused business and leadership education, including a professional development program, with a 96% employment rate for graduates. New opportunities include course-embedded professional certifications and student-run consulting projects.

  • Notable runners-up: Assumption College, Worcester State University

Best Financial Planning/Investment Services Firm

  • Provo Wealth Management Group*
    Provo Wealth Management Group
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President & CEO Christopher Provo
  • Founded: 1992
  • Employees: 9

Having won WBJ’s Best of Business in this category for all seven years of the award’s existence, Provo seeks to earn clients trust through actions and with the highest level of accountability. In 2019, Provo introduced a program called the Women’s Listening Circle geared toward empowering women to become more confident about their financial health.

  • Notable runners-up: Bartholomew & Co., Fidelity Investments

Best Employee Benefits Consultant

  • Sullivan Benefits*
    Sullivan Benefits
  • Location: Marlborough
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President & Owner Chrystine Heier
  • Founded: 1998
  • Employees: 10

Sullivan is an independent, smaller boutique consultant providing one-on-one client service. As one of four partners in Massachusetts, its United Benefit Advisors partnership offers clients access to the resources of a national alliance. To engage employees in understanding their benefits, Sullivan produces short, focused video content breaking down somewhat complex programs into easily understandable benefits.

  • Notable runner-up: Ryan Matson with Small Business Insurance Agency

Best Staffing Agency

  • The DAVIS Cos.*
    The DAVIS Cos.
  • Location: Marlborough
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President Brendon Davis
  • Founded: 1985
  • Employees: 84

Davis seeks be a consultative partner in staffing solutions and talent advisory services for its clients, where the company’s internal focus on this one wildly important goal has unified its staff and led to growth and opportunity.

Best Exercise Facility/Fitness Center

  • Worcester Fitness*
    Tim MacDonald
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Owner & President Tim MacDonald
  • Founded: 1978
  • Employees: 80

Worcester Fitness recently went through front-end renovations and created a new state-of-the-art training studio. Having been in the fitness industry for more than 40 years, the center has stayed true to its roots while keeping its staff in top notch training, to offer a premier fitness experience.

  • Notable runner-up: Planet Fitness

Best Young Professionals Network

  • YPWA (Young Professional Women's Association) of Worcester*
    The YPWA volunteer board
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President Jennifer Fay
  • Founded: 2011
  • Employees: 0, as it is a nonprofit with seven volunteer board members

YPWA brings women of all ages together for networking, development, community service and fun. Within the network, the association’s members seek to come together to better themselves and the local community.

  • Notable runners-up: Young Professionals of North Central Massachusetts, Worcester Young Businessmen's Association

*Repeat winner

Check out the links below to read about the other 2020 Best of Business winners.


  • Best Accounting Firm: Bollus Lynch, LLP Certified Public Accountants & Consultants*
  • Best Credit Union: DCU – Digital Federal Credit Union*
  • Best Forensic Accountant: McLaren & Associates CPAs, PC*
  • Best Law Firm: Mirick O’Connell*
  • Best Woman-owned Business: PENTA Communications, Inc.*
  • Best Minority-owned Business: Resource Management, Inc.*
  • Best Business Insurance Agency: Sullivan Insurance Group*
  • Best Bank: UniBank*
  • Best Chamber of Commerce: Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce*


  • Best Locally Owned Place to Meet for Coffee: BirchTree Bread Co.*
  • Best Restaurant for Business Dinner: One Eleven Chop House*
  • Best Caterer for a Corporate Event: Peppers Artful Events*
  • Best Blackstone Valley After-Work Bar: Reunion Tap & Table*, North Grafton
  • Best North County After-Work Bar: Slattery's, Fitchburg
  • Best Metrowest After-Work Bar: Tavern In The Square Northborough*
  • Best Worcester After-Work Bar: The Beer Garden
  • Best Central Mass. South After-Work Bar: The Cedar Street Grille*, Sturbridge
  • Best Restaurant for Business Lunch: The Sole Proprietor*
  • Best Local Brewery: Wormtown Brewery*


  • Best Commercial Landscaper: Cheaper Than The Kid Next Door Landscaping*
  • Best Coworking Space: Clearly Coworking*
  • Best Waste Removal: E.L. Harvey*
  • Best Office Cleaning: Eagle Cleaning Corp.*
  • Best Logistics Company: Euro-American Worldwide Logistics*
  • Best Coffee Service: Good As Gold Coffee*
  • Best Plumber/HVAC Contractor: J.J. Bafaro, Inc.*
  • Best Commercial Real Estate Brokerage: Kelleher & Sadowsky
  • Best Limousine Service: Knight’s Airport Limousine Service Inc.*


  • Best New Real Estate Development: 145 Front Street
  • Best Venue for a Corporate Event: Apex Center of New England
  • Best Venue for an Employee Outing: Apex Entertainment*
  • Best Hotel for Business Clients: Beechwood Hotel*
  • Best Venue for a Business Meeting: Beechwood Hotel*
  • Best Public Golf Course: Green Hill Municipal Golf Course*
  • Best Nonprofit Fundraiser Event: March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction*
  • Best Golf Club for Corporate Outing: Worcester Country Club
  • Best Private Golf Course: Worcester Country Club*


  • Best IT Services provider: Cinch IT, Inc.*
  • Best Commercial Printer: Curry Printing*
  • Best Awards & Promotional Products: Engraveables
  • Best Video Production: Pagano Media*
  • Best Advertising Agency: PENTA Communications, Inc.*
  • Best Internet Service Provider: Spectrum Enterprise*
  • Best Sign Company: Sunshine Sign Co., Inc.*
  • Best Web Design Firm: Worcester Interactive

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