You could call this a good dog-gone class of 40 Under Forty winners.
Canines are dominant in this year’s photographs, with several breeds, including the basset hound, weimaraner, and rottweiler, among others, represented (apparently cats don’t sit still for this kind of thing). There’s even a cartoon dog that has become a company’s logo. But members of this class are much more than animal lovers — although that’s a good start.
They’re also successful in business and contributors within the community, helping those with two legs as well as four. And, like the three that came before it, the class of 2010 is diverse, with a number of business groups and nonprofit agencies represented. There are entrepreneurs as well, with members starting businesses in the high-tech sector, marketing and public relations, and even motion pictures.
This year’s class has several lawyers, accountants, and bankers, as in previous years, but it also has managers of nonprofits ranging from Springfield School Volunteers to the United Way to Big Brothers Big Sisters. And the contributions within the community are diverse as well, from work (if you call running work) to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund to efforts on behalf of Habitat to Humanity, to initiatives to rescue basset hounds.
Overall, this is an inspiring class, perhaps best exemplified by the story of Nancy Bazanchuk (page A4), this year’s highest scorer. Born with a congenital condition that required the amputation of both legs above her knee, she is now program director of Disability Resources for the Center for Human Development. In that role, she has grown the department exponentially over the past 13 years, and today empowers people with physical disabilities through participation in a number of different sports.
There are a number of stories like Bazanchuk’s over the next 30 or so pages. They involve people who were inspired, and are now inspiring others. People like Natasha Clark, who was reminded daily by her father about the importance of reading and learning. He didn’t live to see her become a respected journalist and, now, program manager for Springfield School Volunteers, but he’s always been a force in her life. Or people like Jill Monson, who says she learned from the death of her mother that one never knows how much time they have, so they have to make the most of each day. She does, and she named the business she started after her mother — sort of. It’s called Inspired Marketing & Promotions because her mother inspired her to start it.
So here are the stories of the class of 2010, and, in many cases, their dogs as well. Read, and become inspired along with us. — George O’Brien
Meet Our Judges
This year’s nominations were scored by a panel of five judges, who took on the daunting task of reviewing more than 100 nomination forms and choosing 40 winners from that impressive pool.
BusinessWest would like to thank these outstanding members of the Western Mass. business community for volunteering their time to the fourth annual 40 Under Forty competition. They are:
Denise Dukette, associate director of the Western Mass. Enterprise Fund, who serves as director of lending and head of operations for that organization, a nonprofit community-loan fund that works with banks and other lenders to enable financing for businesses that would otherwise not qualify.
Ronn Johnson, president of R.D. Johnson Consulting in Springfield, which specializes in strategic planning and organizational development. Formerly, he served as director of Community Responsibility for MassMutual.
Kathy LeMay, owner and founder of Raising Change, a Florence-based company focused on building bridges between philanthropists and nonprofits. The highest scorer among the 40 Under Forty Class of 2009, she recently completed a book titled The Generosity Plan.
Jeff McCormick, a partner with the Springfield-based law firm Robinson Donovan, and one of the region’s preeminent trial lawyers. He specializes in business litigation, personal-injury law, federal litigation, professional-malpractice law, and legal ethics.
Marla Michel, executive director of Strategic Communications and Outreach at UMass Amherst. In this recently created role, she will help lead efforts to build awareness and understanding of research and scholarly accomplishments among internal and external constituents and to expand the university’s role in local and regional innovation. Previously, she served as director of Research Liaison and Development.