The Difference Makers
BusinessWest is pleased to announce that it is now accepting nominations for its Difference Makers class of 2021. This program, initiated in 2009, is a celebration of individuals, groups, organizations, and families that are positively impacting the Pioneer Valley and are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Go to the Nomination Form HERE
Celebrating the 2020 Class
Back in late 2008, BusinessWest conceived a new recognition program.
It was called Difference Makers because, well, that’s the best way to describe those who would be honored. No matter what their career or field or passion — and, over the years, they have been myriad — the one common thread would be making a difference in the community.
Our goal was, and remains, to show the many ways in which an individual or group can make a difference, and suffice to say this goal has been met — as you’ll find out, once again, as you read the stories generated by the 12th such class of honorees.
Difference Makers is sponsored by Burkhart Pizzanelli, Royal, P.C., and TommyCar Auto Group, while the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, MHA, and United Way of Pioneer Valley are partners.
The seven members of the class of 2020 will be honored on Thursday, Sept. 24. We are moving towards a virtual event concept. Ticket sales are currently closed.
2020 Difference Makers
Pay it Forward Non-Profit Partners
Celebrating the Difference Makers
Difference Makers Past Honorees
• The Community Colleges of Western Massachusetts; Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College
• Friends of the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round
• Denis Gagnon Sr., President & CEO of Excel Dryer Inc.
• Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts
• Joan Kagan, President & CEO of Square One.
• The Gray House
• Colleen Loveless, executive director of the Springfield chapter of Rebuilding Together
• The Melha Shriners
• Paula Moore, founder of YSET Academy and a teacher at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Training Academy
• Michael Moriarty, attorney, director of Olde Holyoke Development Corp., and supporter of childhood literacy programs
• Michael Cutone, John Barbieri, and Thomas Sarrouf, organizers of Springfield’s C3 Policing program
• John Downing, president of Soldier On
• Bruce Landon, president and general manager of the Springfield Falcons
• The Sisters of Providence
• Jim Vinick, managing director of Investments for Moors & Cabot Inc.
• Charlie and Donald D’Amour, president/COO and chairman/CEO of Big Y Foods
• William Messner, president of Holyoke Community College
• Majors Tom and Linda-Jo Perks, officers of the Springfield Corps of the Salvation Army
• Bob Schwarz, executive vice president of Peter Pan Bus Lines
• The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts
• Doug Bowen, president and CEO of PeoplesBank
• Kate Kane, managing director of the Springfield office of Northwestern Mutual Financial/the Zuzolo Group
• Susan Jaye-Kaplan, founder of GoFIT and co-founder of Link to Libraries
• William Ward, executive director of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
• The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield