Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

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

2020 Best of Business Awards: Professional services

Photo | Courtesy of UniBank Executives from UniBank, the winner of the 2020 Best Bank award, are (from left) President Christopher Foley, Executive Vice President Justine DeNorscia, and CEO Michael Welch.

Best Bank

  • UniBank*
  • Location: Whitinsville
  • Website:
  • Top executives: CEO Michael Welch, President Christopher Foley, and Executive Vice President Justine DeNorscia
  • Founded: 1870
  • Employees: 285
  • Notable runners-up: Cornerstone Bank, Fidelity Bank

Whitinsville-based UniBank has been booming for years.

The bank opened a location on Worcester’s Gold Star Boulevard in 2012, and in quick succession have added others in North Grafton, Hopkinton, Shrewsbury, and a second branch in Sutton.

Its deposits, now at nearly $1.6 billion as of September, was up 7% in one year, 19% in five years, and 64% in a decade. Assets have grown over a decade from $961 million to nearly $1.8 billion.

Today’s 14 branches compares to eight a decade ago, and the employee count has nearly doubled, approaching 300. All this growth has taken place without the benefit of a merger or acquisition, both common in the banking industry.

UniBank – which marks its 150th anniversary this year – is growing under a new CEO, Michael Welch, who joined in July from a career in education.

Welch was most recently a teacher and fundraiser for the Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, S.D. The Worcester native was much closer to home before that, as a former headmaster at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, his alma mater. He succeeds Sam Pepper, the bank's leader for two years.

Welch is looking to grow UniBank in multiple directions: both with more physical branches and an upgrade to the bank’s app.

A small bank has an advantage over its national counterparts, Welch said. UniBank isn’t beholden to outside shareholders and has less bureaucratic layers, making decisions easier, particularly with commercial banking.

“Decision makers are local, and that’s an advantage,” he said. “Our focus is in the community. Our decision makers are all right here. There’s no red tape. Things move more quickly when people know one another.”

With everyone local, there’s also more of an emphasis on relationships, and not just financial transactions, Walsh said.

“It’s all about relationships,” he said. “Depth and breath in the community. I think that’s why I’m here. That’s a key focus for us.”

Best Accounting Firm

  • Bollus Lynch, LLP Certified Public Accountants & Consultants*
    Michael Bollus & Stephen Lynch
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executives: Partners Michael Bollus, Stephen Lynch, Jeffrey Swanberg & David Eaton
  • Founded: 1989
  • Employees: 40

Bollus has blended its accountants more than 100 years of combined experience at national firms into a local firm setting, allowing the firm to offer specialized industry practices in areas such as not-for-profit organizations, manufacturing, retail, wholesale, country clubs, clubs and restaurants, developers, contractors, distribution, insurance, and financial institutions.

  • Notable runners-up: Stowe & Degon, LLC, S&G Business Consultants & Certified Public Accountants

Best Law Firm

  • Mirick O’Connell*
    Mirick's management committee: Robert Gibbons, Diane Power (executive director), Joan Vorster and David Surprenant (managing partner).
  • Locations: Worcester, Westborough & Boston
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Managing Partner David Surprenant
  • Founded: 1916
  • Employees: 135

Mirick has adopted a new strategic plan, shared throughout the firm, so everyone will work together to fulfill its vision for the future. The focus will continue to be on the firm’s culture, where all work collaboratively and respectfully to provide uncompromising quality.

  • Notable runners-up: Bowditch & Dewey, Fletcher Tilton

Best Credit Union

  • DCU – Digital Federal Credit Union*
  • Location: Marlborough
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President & CEO James Regan
  • Founded: 1979 (celebrated its 40th anniversary in October)
  • Employees: 1,460

In striving to create meaningful relationships with all of its members, DCU addresses each business’s unique goals through a wide variety of products, services, and resources.

  • Notable runner-up: Webster First Federal Credit Union, Leominster Credit Union

Best Woman-owned Business

  • PENTA Communications, Inc.*
    Deborah Penta
  • Location: Westborough
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Founder & CEO Deborah Penta
  • Founded: 1989
  • Employees: 17

Deborah Penta founded this advertising and marketing firm 31 years ago, and it has been 100% woman-owned since. She is a featured speaker on topics like public relations, growth strategy, leadership, and social media. She mentors newcomers in the industry, both locally and abroad.

  • Notable runners-up: Sullivan Benefits, The Queen’s Cups

Best Minority-owned Business

  • Resource Management, Inc.*
    Rachel Lopez
  • Location: Fitchburg
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President Rachel Lopez
  • Founded: 1995
  • Employees: 685 in Worcester County

RMI prides itself on being service-driven and knowing its customers' human resources needs, as a provider of custom employee services. The firm offers an in-house general counsel, risk and claims manager, and partnerships with firms to provide legal and accounting services.

  • Notable runner-up: Horizon Insurance

Best Business Insurance Agency

  • Sullivan Insurance Group*
    Sullivan Insurance Group
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President & CEO John Andreoli
  • Founded: 1957
  • Employees: 55

In 2019, Sullivan expanded its client service team to include Marcia McKenney, Lynn Morin, Bunny Hurley, and Sherri Tower – all are experienced and local insurance industry professionals. Terrence Sullivan joined the firm as a principal in September, growing its presence and expertise in commercial insurance and risk management.

  • Notable runners-up: D. Francis Murphy Insurance Agency, Knight-Dik Insurance

Best Forensic Accountant

  • McLaren & Associates CPAs, PC*
    McLaren & Associates, CPAs
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Website:
  • Top executive: Founder & Managing Partner David McLaren
  • Founded: 2005
  • Employees: 14

McLaren, which specializes in tracking and finding money lost, stolen or hidden, is the first certified B Corp. accounting firm in New England. As a result, instead of focusing solely on the bottom line, McLaren has a mission to make a positive difference in the lives of its employees, clients, community and environment.

Best Chamber of Commerce

  • Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce*
    Timothy Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Location: Worcester
  • Website:
  • Top executive: President & CEO Timothy Murray
  • Founded: 1875
  • Employees: 12

The Worcester chamber’s membership reflects 2,200 businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations from the 35 Massachusetts cities and towns. In 2019, the chambers economic development and advocacy efforts let to dozens of private and public partnerships, including with Massport, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives and the Worcester Business Development Corp.

  • Notable runners-up: Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce

*Repeat winner

Read about the other 2020 Best of Business winners in the links below.


  • Best Health Insurance Provider: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts*
  • Best Professional Training Company: MindsetGo
  • Best College for Business Education: Nichols College*
  • Best Financial Planning/Investment Services Firm: Provo Wealth Management Group*
  • Best Employee Benefits Consultant: Sullivan Benefits*
  • Best Staffing Agency: The DAVIS Cos.*
  • Best Luxury Automobile Dealership: Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury*
  • Best Exercise Facility/Fitness Center: Worcester Fitness*
  • Best Young Professionals Network: YPWA (Young Professional Women’s Association) of Worcester*


  • 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

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF