Page 10 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
P. 10

BusinessWest, Like the Economy, Has Changed Much in Four Decades
John Gormally
[email protected]
Kate Campiti
[email protected]
Joseph Bednar
[email protected]
CONTRIBUTING WRITER George O’Brien [email protected]
ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Kate Campiti [email protected]
Kathleen Plante
[email protected]
Cecille Youmans
[email protected]
Mike Nasuti
[email protected]
Ryan Leary
[email protected]
MARKETING & EVENTS MANAGER Melissa Hallock [email protected]
Darlene Clarke
Entire contents of this publication are Copyright
©2024, and cannot be reprinted in whole or part without special written permission by the publisher. Yearly subscription price is $45.00. BusinessWest assumes no responsibility for mistakes in advertisements, but will make corrections if written notice is received within 7 days of publication date. BusinessWest reserves the right to reject an advertisement it deems misleading or inappropriate.
1441 Main Street Springfield, MA 01103 (413) 781-8600 Fax (413) 781-3930
    The Western Mass. region has a strong tradition of entrepre- neurship that goes back more than three centuries.
And BusinessWest publisher John Gormally reflects that tradition in many ways. He has owned, or still owns, everything from a billboard company to a television station to a boutique resort hotel in Costa Rica. But his story began 40 years ago with a small, monthly publication he decided to call the Western Mas- sachusetts Business Journal (the first issue is pictured at right).
As he tells the story, he looked around New England and saw that other cities and other regions had publications focused spe- cifically on the many aspects of business. He saw that the Greater Springfield area did not have such a publication, and decided that it should, because, well ... there were stories that needed to be told.
Four decades later, there are still stories to be told, and we remain dedicated to telling them. We also remain dedicated to expanding on Gormally’s initial vision of 40 years ago and find- ing new and better ways to turn a mirror on the region’s business community and provide thought-provoking stories and commen- tary on what is reflected by that mirror.
A great many changes have come to the region and its eco- nomic landscape over the past 40 years, and these are reflected in the stories that start on page 6, each focusing on a specific sec- tor. These developments involve everything from the consolida- tion of many industries to profound shifts in how work is done, where, when, and by whom (or what, in the emerging AI era).
There are many common threads running through these sto- ries, but the biggest is technology. Those who can recall what the workplace was like 40 years ago remember a time when desks didn’t have computers on them, when people who wanted to con- tact someone reached for a three-inch-thick phone book, when the fax machine was a wonderous new way to deliver informa- tion; when the internet was still a decade away from emerging from government research facilities into millions of homes and businesses, when portable phones were the size of bricks and the only thing you could do with one was call someone.
Now, information is everywhere and instantaneous. People can call or text their lawyer at 3 a.m. — and he or she will answer the phone. Consumers can move their money from one bank to another in a matter of minutes — or get a quote on car insurance or a loan approval just as fast. Manufacturing equipment can and does run all night, with no one to attend to them. Business meet- ings are often taken by Zoom, saving travel time and expense and allowing people to work from virtually anywhere, while not dimin- ishing the value of in-person collaboration.
There have been many other developments as well. Our busi- ness community is different in many ways, but it is especially more diverse, with far more women (29 of whom earned a spot in this year’s 40 Under Forty) and those from traditionally minority populations serving in leadership positions and owning their own businesses. This has been a profound and refreshing change.
Speaking of 40 Under Forty, BusinessWest introduced that recognition program and gala in 2007, and it remains a fiercely coveted honor among the region’s young professionals. We fol- lowed that up with other recognition programs and accompany- ing galas, including Difference Makers in 2009, the 40 Under Forty Alumni Achievement Award in 2015, Healthcare Heroes
in 2017, and Women of Impact in 2018. Why? Because so many success stories, both individuals and organizations, deserve to be celebrated, and their stories told.
Those stories and thousands more in the pages of Business- West and the Healthcare News, our sister publication introduced in 2000, and on our two websites, and health-, have, over the years, testified to a changing busi- ness landscape. So has our use of daily e-newsletters, social media, and weekly podcasts, dynamic business tools that further reflect changes in the way people work, share information, and
engage with each other in 2024.
Even the way we produce this magazine is much different
today; we went, like other media companies with a long his- tory, from using negatives and paste-up ads in the ’80s and early ’90s to quickly laying out and producing each issue digitally, and immediately sharing stories on our websites and through daily e-news. And we’ve undergone all that change while retaining our culture as a small, independent, local operation with deep roots and a commitment to the communities of Western Mass.
The downtowns of many of those communities, by the way, have been dramatically reshaped by changes that have come to retail and other sectors. Meanwhile, many of the huge manufac- turing mills that once gave many communities their character (think Holyoke, Easthampton, Chicopee, Greenfield, Palmer, and Pittsfield) have become housing facilities, spaces for artists, multi- use properties, shared office space, small-business incubators, or cannabis cultivation operations, to name a few.
Yes, cannabis cultivation. That’s another profound develop- ment, and one of many that probably could not have been imag- ined back in 1984.
Indeed, when asked to look ahead and project what will come next, many of those we spoke with said, given the pace of change that has taken place, predicting the future is very difficult, indeed.
As for BusinessWest ... we’ll just keep doing what we have been doing: holding up that mirror and putting the spotlight on a business community that is rich, diverse, ever-evolving, and with an endless supply of good stories to tell.
We thank our advertisers, our readers, and the entire Western Mass. business community for your support over the past four decades, and we’re looking forward to the next 40 years of prog- ress, challenge, and unpredictability. BW
         10 MAY 13, 2024 << 4OTH ANNIVERSARY >>

   8   9   10   11   12