HOLYOKE — Cinda Jones, president of W.D. Cowls Inc., was awarded BusinessWest’s Continued Excellence Award at the annual 40 Under 40 Gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House on Thursday night — See the gallery of photos from the event HERE.
Chosen by three independent judges from among 60 nominations, Jones was honored for her exceptional achievements, including her leadership in growing Cowls’ timberland base by 1,000 acres and being an advocate for conservation. She has also led development of the company’s ambitious project in North Amherst called the Mill District.
BusinessWest’s Continued Excellence Award goes to a previous 40 Under Forty honoree who has continued to build his or her resume of achievement in both business and within the community.
Jones was one of five finalists for the 2019 award. The others were Michael Fenton, Anthony Gleason II, Eric Lesser, and Meghan Rothschild.
Presentation of the Continued Excellence Award was the opening act of the 40 Under Forty celebration, which saw the Class of 2019 join what has become a very prestigious club.
More than 650 people crammed the Log Cabin for the event, which has become one of the region’s best networking events.
Jones held positions in several nonprofits for 10 years in Washington, D.C. before she came home to manage the family business. She was marketing director for the Cato Institute, Wood Marketing director for the American Forest & Paper Association, Vice President of the National Forest Foundation, and Northeast regional director of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
Jones’ focus on increasing acreage of timberland and creating diversity forest-based opportunities with a focus on solar energy have shown through her actions as President of W.D. Cowls. When she saw the sawmill had potential for better economic use, she rebuilt it as the Mill District, acting as a vibrant commerce center for community members, families and visitors. She sold the largest conservation restriction in state history, raising $8.8 million through the 3,486-acre Paul C. Jones Working Forest, named for her father. In 2019, she will add 2,000 more acres, continuing her goal of leading Cowls as a national conservation leader.