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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. 

40 Under Forty Continued Excellence Award

Nominate your choice for an outstanding BusinessWest 40 Under Forty Alum!

Click for Past Honorees

When BusinessWest launched its 40 Under Forty program in 2007, it did so to identify rising stars across our region – individuals who were excelling in business and through
involvement within the community –and celebrate their accomplishments. In 2015, BusinessWest announced a new award, one that builds on the foundation upon which 40 Under Forty was created. It’s called the Continued Excellence Award. as the name suggests, will be presented to the 40 Under Forty honoree who, in the eyes of an independent panel of judges,
has most impressively continued and built upon their track record
of accomplishment.

For your convenience, a list of 40 Under Forty Alumni can be found HERE.

About the nomination form:
• Candidates must be from 40 Under Forty classes prior to the year of the award, in this case, classes 2007-2018.
• Only nominations submitted to BusinessWest on this form will be considered.

Deadline is May 3, 2019 at 5 p.m. No exceptions.

Presenting Sponsor:

Continued Excellence Award Past Winners:

Samalid Hogan
Regional Director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
Class of 2013

Scott Foster
Attorney, Bulkley Richardson
Class of 2011

Nicole Griffin
Owner, ManeHire
Class of 2014

 Dr. Jonathan Bayuk
President of Allergy and Immunology Associates of Western Mass. &
Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Baystate Medical Center
Class of 2008

Delcie Bean
President, Paragus Strategic IT
Class of 2008

Continued Excellence Award Nomination Form

Fill out the nomination form completely.
  • Nominated by (your information):


Class of 2019 Cover Story Difference Makers

Celebrating the 2019 Class

It was almost a decade ago now when Bill Ward, then the executive director of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, stepped to the podium at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke to accept the first Difference Maker award presented by BusinessWest.

Much has happened since then. Ward retired a few years later, and the REB is now known as the MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board. 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 are a great many ways to make a difference. And the class of 2019, the program’s 11th, makes this even more abundantly clear, as the stories clearly show.

The six members of the class of 2019 will be honored on Thursday, March 28 at the Log Cabin. For information about the event, sponsorship opportunities, or to purchase tickets, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or go HERE.

Submit Nominations Here!

2019 Difference Makers

Carla Cosenzi, Co-president, TommyCar Auto Group

She’s Been a Driving Force in Business and Philanthropy

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

This Essential Agency Helps the Region Contend with a ‘New Normal’

Peter Gagliardi, President and CEO, of Way Finders

He’s Spent a Career Bringing Home the Power of Collaboration

Frederick and Marjorie Hurst

They’ve Shared a Lifetime Working for Social Change

Joe Peters, Vice Chairman, Former President, Universal Plastics

This Business Leader Has Made a Career of Finding Ways to Give Back

The Springfield Museums

Institution Has Mastered the Art and Science of Being Entrepreneurial

2019 Presenting Sponsor

2019 Sponsors

Photography for this special section by Leah Martin Photography