The Difference Makers
It’s been well over a decade since the first Difference Maker award was presented by BusinessWest.
Much has happened since then, 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 there are a great many ways to make a difference. And the class of 2022, the program’s 14th, makes this even more abundantly clear, as the stories clearly show.
The 2022 Difference Makers
Click on each NAME to read their story!
President, Northampton Jazz Festival; Principal, RC Communications
Founder and Owner, Teddy Bear Pools and Spas
Photos Leah Martin Photography
Click on each NAME to watch their Video!
Come party with us as we celebrate the 2022 Difference Makers
March 24, 2022, 5-8:30 pm at the Log Cabin in Holyoke
Tickets cost $75 and can be ordered at businesswest.com. The sponsors for this year’s program are Burkhart Pizzanelli, the New England Farm Workers’ Council, the Royal Law Firm, TommyCar Auto Group, and Westfield Bank
Celebrating through the years
Difference Makers Past Honorees
- Kristin Carlson
President, Peerless Precision
- Janine Fondon
Founder, UnityFirst.com; Professor, Bay Path University
- Harold Grinspoon
Philanthropist; Founder, Aspen Square Management
- Chad Moir
Founder and Owner, DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center
- Bill Parks
CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield
- Pete Westover
Founder and Partner, Conservation Works, LLC
- EforAll Holyoke
- Christopher ‘Monte’ Belmonte
DJ at WRSI the River Radio
- Ira Bryck
Consultant and Former Executive Director of the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley
- Sandy Cassanelli
CEO of Greeno Supply
- Dianne Fuller Doherty
Retired Director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
- Ronn Johnson
President and CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Inc.
- Steve Lowell
President and CEO of Monson Savings Bank
- Rick’s Place
This Unique Nonprofit Provides Support, Light in the Darkest of Times
• 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