Announcing the 2023 Difference Makers in the February 20th issue of BusinessWest!
It’s been 15 years since the first Difference Maker award was presented by BusinessWest.
Much has happened since then, but the Difference Maker award remains a constant — and a symbol of excellence and dedication to improving quality of life in this region.
Since the very beginning, this recognition program has shown conclusively that there are a great many ways to make a difference. And the class of 2023, the program’s 15th, makes this even more abundantly clear.
Difference Makers Past Honorees
- Kristin Carlson President, Peerless Precision
- Janine Fondon Founder, UnityFirst.com; Professor, Bay Path University
- Harold Grinspoon Philanthropist; Founder, Aspen Square Management
- Chad Moir Founder and Owner, DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center
- Bill Parks CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield
- Pete Westover Founder and Partner, Conservation Works, LLC
- EforAll Holyoke
- Christopher ‘Monte’ Belmonte
DJ at WRSI the River Radio
- Ira Bryck
Consultant and Former Executive Director of the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley
- Sandy Cassanelli
CEO of Greeno Supply
- Dianne Fuller Doherty
Retired Director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
- Ronn Johnson
President and CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Inc.
- Steve Lowell
President and CEO of Monson Savings Bank
- Rick’s Place
This Unique Nonprofit Provides Support, Light in the Darkest of Times
• The Community Colleges of Western Massachusetts; Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College
• Friends of the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round
• Denis Gagnon Sr., President & CEO of Excel Dryer Inc.
• Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts
• Joan Kagan, President & CEO of Square One.
• The Gray House
• Colleen Loveless, executive director of the Springfield chapter of Rebuilding Together
• The Melha Shriners
• Paula Moore, founder of YSET Academy and a teacher at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Training Academy
• Michael Moriarty, attorney, director of Olde Holyoke Development Corp., and supporter of childhood literacy programs
• Michael Cutone, John Barbieri, and Thomas Sarrouf, organizers of Springfield’s C3 Policing program
• John Downing, president of Soldier On
• Bruce Landon, president and general manager of the Springfield Falcons
• The Sisters of Providence
• Jim Vinick, managing director of Investments for Moors & Cabot Inc.
• Charlie and Donald D’Amour, president/COO and chairman/CEO of Big Y Foods
• William Messner, president of Holyoke Community College
• Majors Tom and Linda-Jo Perks, officers of the Springfield Corps of the Salvation Army
• Bob Schwarz, executive vice president of Peter Pan Bus Lines
• The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts
• Doug Bowen, president and CEO of PeoplesBank
• Kate Kane, managing director of the Springfield office of Northwestern Mutual Financial/the Zuzolo Group
• Susan Jaye-Kaplan, founder of GoFIT and co-founder of Link to Libraries
• William Ward, executive director of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
• The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield