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Gala Event

Photos from the Difference Makers’ big night out

A crowd of close to 400 people turned out at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House on March 26 as BusinessWest staged its inaugural Difference Makers gala. The event honored the first class of Difference Makers, as selected by the magazine, for the contributions to the community and work to make the region a better place in which to live, work, and play. Those gathered saluted Doug Bowen, president of PeoplesBank; Kate Kane, director of the Springfield office of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network; Susan Jaye-Kaplan, founder of GoFIT and co-founder of Linked to Libraries; Bill Ward, executive director of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County; and the Young Professionals Society of Greater Springfield.

Difference Maker Bill Ward, second from right, is seen with, from left, Sally Fuller, Cherish Every Child project director for the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation; Wanda Flores, administrative assistant at Springfield Technical Community College; Jorge Costellano, administrator for the Workforce Development Department at Springfield Public Schools; and Mary Walachy, executive director of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.


BusinessWest advertising account executive Michael Hurczyn, far left, with those representing event sponsor Sarat Ford Lincoln Mercury and other guests; from left, John DeLecchi, business development manager at Sarat; Jack Sarat, dealer and principal; Ron Dowling; Mark Bartos, account executive at ABC40 and FOX6; Jeff Sarat, general manager; Rick Daigneault, commercial truck sales manager; and Nancy Nielson.


Members of the Community Music School of Springfield’s String City entertain attendees at the gala.


Difference Maker Doug Bowen, president of PeoplesBank, with his wife, Anna.


Difference Maker Kate Kane, right, with Anne Paradis, CEO of event sponsor MicroTek.


BusinessWest advertising account executive Dianne Baribeault, with Michael White, left, director of operations and marketing for event sponsor PAZZO restaurant; and Richard DeBonis, senior vice president of Marketing for Hampden Bank.


BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien, Difference Maker Kate Kane (center), and BusinessWest Associate Publisher and Advertising Manager Kate Campiti pose with Kane’s ceremonial plaque.


BusinessWest advertising account executive Tina Kuselias, with Rich Webber, left, owner and treasurer of event sponsor Webber & Grinnell Insurance; and Bill Grinnell, owner and president of the firm.


Difference Maker Susan Jaye-Kaplan, left, with Janet Crimmins, her partner in a venture called Linked to Libraries, and Tim Crimmins, Janet’s husband and president of the Bank of Western Massachusetts.


Networking prior to the formal ceremonies are, from left, Rich Webber, owner and treasurer of event sponsor Webber & Grinnell; Christy Hedgpeth, former Spalding executive and one of BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty, class of 2007; Peter DeMallie, president and CEO of Design Professionals Inc.; Bill Grinnell, owner and president of Webber & Grinnell Insurance; John Prenosil, principal of JMP Environmental Consulting Inc.; Ned Lutz, commercial lines account executive with Webber & Grinnell; and John Bidwell, president of Bidwell ID.


The unofficial theme for the night was the Butterfly Effect — the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences — which sums up the importance of the Difference Makers and their contributions.


Kate Campiti welcomes attendees to the gala.


George O’Brien and Kate Campiti present Susan Jaye-Kaplan with her plaque.


Event sponsor Sarat Ford Lincoln Mercury had a number of the car-makers current models on display in front of the Log Cabin.


David White, owner of event sponsor Exclusive Car Service, which delivered many of the Difference Makers to the event in limousines, addresses the audience.


Alyssa Carvalho, current president of the Young Professionals Society of Greater Springfield shares the stage with the group’s board members as she accepts the Difference Makers plaque from George O’Brien.

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