Home Posts tagged John Gormally
Cover Story

A Look Back — and Ahead

What’s Changed — and What Hasn’t — in 40 Years

1984. That’s the title of an epic George Orwell novel, written 36 years earlier, that takes a look into the future and describes a world ruled by a televised ‘Big Brother.’

The real 1984 was a thankfully cheerier year. Ronald Reagan won a second term in office, the Boston Celtics won an epic NBA Finals series over the Los Angeles Lakers, gymnasts including Mary Lou Retton and West Springfield’s own Tim Daggett dominated the Summer Olympics in LA, and the Basketball Hall of Fame was soon to open its doors on Springfield’s riverfront.

That May, a new publication first appeared in businesses across the region. It was called the Western Massachusetts Business Journal, and the monthly magazine was something new and completely different — a publication devoted entirely to the region’s business community.

A few years later, the name was shortened to BusinessWest, which was not the only change to have taken place over the past 40 years. The magazine has since added a second issue each month, a strong digital presence, a daily news blog, a podcast, and several annual recognition programs and accompanying events.

Yet, as BusinessWest turns 40, we’ve dedicated this commemorative issue not to the changes that have taken place here, as significant as they are, but on the sweeping changes that have taken place in the workplace and in our business community.

They have included advances in computer technology that have transformed virtually every sector; a few memorable recessions, including one so profound it was called Great; a pandemic that shut down much of the world for months and may have permanently altered the way people work; a slew of state-of-the-art healthcare projects; a dramatic wave of contraction and acquisition in fields ranging from banking to insurance; a continued focus on entrepreneurship; and even brand-new sectors, most notably cannabis, and still-murky developments like artificial intelligence.

These sweeping, profound changes have impacted just about every sector, from education to law to construction, and have altered how we work, where we work, when we work, and even what we wear to work. In short, it’s been an eventful four decades, which has more than justified Publisher John Gormally’s decision to chronicle all of it on the pages of this magazine.

There’s no way to sum all that up in one issue, but we hope the articles below, brought to life by interviews with some of this region’s most prominent business leaders, at least begins to paint the picture of an economy, and region, ever in flux.


In this special section, 40 years of:

Click on each story to read more

or go HERE to view the entire BusinessWest 40th Anniversary issue


Commercial Development


Financial Planning


Higher Education



Professional Services


The Workplace



It was early 1984, and 24-year-old entrepreneur John Gormally had an observation, then a question, and, eventually, the ultimate answer.

The observation was that most urban areas and regions had journals covering the local business community. The question was, in essence, ‘why doesn’t Western Massachusetts have one?’

The answer came in two parts — Gormally’s conclusion that the region certainly needed one, and the product he launched.

It’s now called BusinessWest, but only relative old-timers will recall that it was originally known as the Western Mass. Business Journal.

Then, as now, the publication was the most trusted, most comprehensive source of information on the local business community. Its pages were filled with articles on people, businesses, trends, developments.

It’s the same today, but BusinessWest and its sister publication, Healthcare News, launched in 2000, have gone well beyond the printed word in their efforts to inform, inspire, and even entertain its audience of local decision makers.

Indeed, over the past several years, the publications have added several recognition programs. These include 40 Under Forty, created to identify rising stars across the region; Difference Makers, a program with a name that says it all; Healthcare Heroes, a program devoted to that all-important sector of the economy; and Women of Impact, which recognizes the contributions of a still often-overlooked constituency.

There have been other additions, including the annual Resource Guide, an invaluable resource for the community; daily news blogs to provide more accessibility to important information; educational seminars, including the recent Future Tense series; special publications such as Cool Stuff, focused on employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector; and much more.

BusinessWest has come a long way in 35 years, but it has never wavered from its original mission and reason for being — to meet a critical need within the four counties of Western Mass.