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A+ Awards Dinner

The Chamber gives A+ Awards to individuals and organizations that enrich the life of the community through their work in education, business, and civic engagement across the area that the Chamber serves (Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, and Sunderland) and the Pioneer Valley as a whole.

The A+ Awards

Lifetime Achievement / Legacy Award recognizes an individual for their outstanding contributions to the Amherst Area over their career and the lasting impact their work will have on future generations.

Leader in Innovation Award recognizes entrepreneurs who craft creative solutions and redefine the way Amherst lives, works, and learns.

Leader in Sustainability Award recognizes a business, organization, or individual for their contribution to creating a sustainable Amherst, preserving and ensuring its vitality for future generations.

Young Professional Award honors a young professional who has a positive presence in and has made a significant impact in the Amherst Area.

Community Service Award honors a business, non-profit, or individual which has benefited the lives of the Amherst Area community through their work and outreach.

Chamber MVP is an individual who truly embodies the mission of the Amherst Area Chamber as a convener, connector, and catalyst for business and community development.




Last year in 2019, at our Annual A+ Awards Dinner: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House.

The Awardees

  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Parmar Family, Pioneer Valley Hotel Group
  • Leader in Innovation - Amherst Innovative Living
  • Leader in Sustainability - Laura Draucker, Director of Sustainability, Amherst College
  • Young Professional - Carolyn Forcade, Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, The Travel Unicorn
  • Community Service - Lisa Solowiej and Jocelyn Potter, Neighborhood Food Project, Amherst Survival Center
  • Chamber MVP - Jessye Deane, Community Action Pioneer Valley & F45 Training Hampshire Meadows 

Read about our awardees and their accomplishments in our Award Announcement.

View the photo album of the 250+ community members gathered captured by Michael Zide Photography.


On Thursday, October 4, 2018 in the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, we honored:

  • Lifetime Achievement - Former Congressman John Olver
  • Community Service - Catalina Arrubla, Multi-Arts Camps for Children & David C. Dann, Village Neighbors
  • Economic Vitality - Amherst Cinema
  • Young Professional - Jen Loebel Strong, CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Hampshire County
  • Chamber MVP - Kim Alli, Greenfield Savings Bank
Thank you to PeoplesBank, our Presenting Sponsor!

View a full photo album of the 220 guests who gathered to celebrate business and community.

2018 A+ Awards

Our 2018 A+ Award Honorees from left to right: Catalina Arrubla, Multi-Arts Camps for Children; Jen Loebel Strong, CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Hampshire County; Former Congressman John Olver; Kim Alli, Greenfield Savings Bank; the late David C. Dann, Village Neighbors; Carol Johnson on behalf of Amherst Cinema.

2018 A+ Awards

Chamber Executive Director Claudia Pazmany giving remarks at the 2018 A+ Awards Dinner.

2018 A+ Awards

Chamber Executive Director Claudia Pazmany with Alisa Brewer of the Amherst Town Council and Cinda Jones of W.D. Cowls Land Co. having some fun at the 2018 A+ Awards Dinner

2018 A+ Awards

Chamber President Peter Vickery with Former Congressman John Olver at the 2018 A+ Awards Dinner.

2018 A+ Awards

UMass Vice Chancellor Nancy Buffone with Curt Shumway and Sherri Wiley of Hampshire Hospitality Group.

2018 A+ Awards

Two former Chamber Executive Directors in attendance for the 2018 A+ Awards Dinner: John Coull and Tony Maroulis. Tony now works as the Executive Director of External Relations and Event for the University.

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