The Difference Makers
Come Celebrate with Us!
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
Scenes from the 2019 Event
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 were honored on Thursday, March 28 at the Log Cabin. View the Program Guide HERE.
President of A.L. Cignoli Company
Tony Cignoli is the President of the A. L. Cignoli Company, the public relations, political and governmental affairs company he founded in 1992. The company serves political and corporate clients across America with bases of operation in Boston, Massachusetts, clients’ operations centers, and home base being Springfield, Massachusetts.
A.L. Cignoli Company has built a reputation creating success for both political and corporate clients in challenging situations; taking on tough assignments, from referendum campaigns other firms will not touch to assisting in turning around political and corporate campaigns in trouble. The firm is recognized for a holistic approach to public and governmental affairs solutions, melding Tony and his associate’s contacts and hands-on approach with an understanding of how to utilize modern applications of data mining, polling data and social media.
Tony is a veteran of over 350 political campaigns, including presidential elections in Peru, Prime Minister and Parliamentary campaigns in Italy and many referendums in Massachusetts and throughout New England. He is a frequent commentator and political analyst for newspapers, radio and television news programs.
2019 Sponsor Videos
2019 Difference Makers
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