Features

BusinessWest to Salute ‘Difference Makers’

Recognition Program to Honor Those Who Are Changing the Landscape

We’re calling it Difference Makers. And while that name says a lot, it doesn’t reveal everything about BusinessWest’s latest recognition program, to be launched early next year.

With this new initiative, BusinessWest, the region’s leading business publication, which next year will celebrate its 25th anniversary (2009 is shaping up as quite a year already) wants to recognize people and institutions that are, well, making a difference.

How?

It can be any number of ways, really, which is the best part about this new program.

A difference maker can be anyone from an inventor bringing some ‘disruptive’ technology or innovation to the market or at least to the drawing board, meaning a potential new product that could dramatically alter the landscape in a given sector, to an administrator who has changed the course of a local nonprofit agency.

It could be an elected or appointed official who has succeeded in improving the quality of life in one of this region’s cities or towns. Or it may be a college president or other administrator who has changed the fortunes of one of the Valley’s many institutions of higher learning. It could be the second, third, or even fourth generation within a family business that has taken that company to places that some of those earlier generations may not have dreamed possible.

It could be … well, one’s imagination is the only real limit.

The accomplishments that make someone or some group worthy of Difference Maker status can be very recent in nature, have taken place over the past several years, or even fall into that ‘lifetime achievement’ category. But ideally we’re looking for those who are helping to set the tone in our region today.

We’re launching Difference Makers because we believe this region has many such individuals and groups, and, while some of the stories are known — and have perhaps been told on the pages of BusinessWest — some are not, and we think it’s time they were. Meanwhile, we believe it’s also time for these individuals or teams of people to be recognized.

BusinessWest has a Forty Under 40 program (which will introduce its third class late next spring), but that recognizes only people too young to remember the Nixon years or, in some extreme cases, the Reagan years. The magazine also offers a ‘Top Entrepreneur’ program, but it recognizes only one individual, family, or set of partners each year.

Difference Makers will go further, and honor many of the people, institutions, and developments that are shaping the fortunes of the Pioneer Valley in the 21st century.

We’re excited about it, and we think you should be, too.

Here’s how it works: On this page (and at www.businesswest.com), you’ll find a nomination form for this latest recognition program. The form and its various questions, especially the explanation of why you believe someone or some group fits our description, is self-explanatory. These nomination forms will be due to BusinessWest — via E-mail, fax, or snail mail — by Dec. 31.

The writers and editors at BusinessWest will then review the nominations, make their selections (there will be no set number for a given year), and introduce them in a subsequent issue of the magazine. A special gala will be staged to recognize our winners.

It will be a real party, because the individuals chosen and their accomplishments will be worthy of a serious celebration.

So take a few minutes, think of those of who are making a difference in the Pioneer Valley — they may just be in the next office or cubicle — and nominate them for this special honor.

—George O’Brien, Editor

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