40 Reasons to Feel Good About the Future

When BusinessWest started its 40 Under Forty Program just over five years ago, there were expectations — and also some trepidation.
We knew we could identify some rising stars in the region’s business, nonprofit, and entrepreneurship realms, but there were always whispers — and sometimes loud doubts — about just how deep the talent pool was.
As we introduce the sixth class of 40 Under Forty winners, it’s clear that the pool is quite deep — and also very inspiring. For those looking for positive signs that this region will have the young leadership it will need to grow and take on the many challenges facing municipalities in this global, information-based economy, the profiles beginning on page A6 should provide them.
Each of these stories is unique, but there are many common denominators, especially the twin desires to excel and make a difference in the community. Here are just a few examples:
• Carla Cosenzi, the high scorer among the more then 100 nominees. In business, she and her brother, Thomas, are not only continuing the legacy established by their father in the automobile industry, but they’re building upon it with the addition of a Volkswagen dealership in Northampton. In the community, she’s continuing another tradition — the Thomas E. Cosenzi Driving for the Cure charity golf tournament (named after her father, who succumbed to cancer several years ago), which has to date raised more than $200,000 in support of brain-cancer research;
• Ben Einstein, the serial entrepreneur who is devoting considerable time and energy to the cause of helping others get businesses off the ground and to the next level though his involvement with the Idea Mill conference, which is likely to become an annual event in this region;
• Eric Hall, the Westfield police sergeant who became the first law-enforcement officer to join a 40 Under Forty class. His passions are fighting and preventing crime, and helping young people make smart choices. He can often be seen sharing lunch with elementary-school students, and is now chairman of the board at the city’s YMCA;
• Jason Tsitso, who has helped R&R Windows battle back from the rough patch resulting from the Great Recession and its crippling impact on the construction sector. In the community, he took his passion for bicycling and channeled it into a fun — and highly successful — fund-raiser for Habitat for Humanity called Trails for Nails.
• State Sen. James Welch, one of the few public-sector leaders to become a 40 Under Forty winner. He has mastered the art and science of constituent service, especially in the wake of the June 1 tornado, the path of which closely approximates the district he represents.
• Sheila Moreau, who, with her mother, has helped shape MindWing Concepts into one of the more intriguing entrepreneurial success stories in recent years. What’s more, she’s making good on a commitment to serve the community in a number of ways, especially as a volunteer with the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day parade. She even sings the national anthem at sporting events and community gatherings.
The other 34 stories are equally compelling, but these are representative of this year’s class. You won’t find the word in every profile, but the trait these young men and women share is passion — to achieve excellence, to innovate, to help others within our community, and, most importantly, to lead.
After reading these stories, you should feel at least a little better about the future of this region. Thanks to them, it looks very bright.

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