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A+ Awards Dinner

Each year the Chamber bestows 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 valley as a whole.

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The Awardees

Lifetime Achievement Award: Kent Faerber of Amherst
Leader in Innovation: Dr. Khama Ennis, M.D. MPH, Intentional Health, LLC
Leader in Sustainability: Barstow’s Longview Farm
Young Professional: Olivia Feal, Mead Art Museum at Amherst College
Chamber MVP: Joan Dahl-Lussier, Homewood Suites/Pioneer Valley Hotel Group
Rooted in Community Award: J&J Farms



While COVID-19 prevented us from gathering together in-person in 2020, our Annual A+ Awards program persisted, with the "2020 A+ Awards Show" broadcast live from was held at Hadley Farms Meeting House on November 12, 2020.

The Awardees

  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Betsy McInnis, CHD's Family Outreach of Amherst 
  • Leader in Innovation - Elly Vaughan, Phoenix Fruit Farm 
  • Leader in Sustainability - Kristin DeBoer, Kestrel Land Trust on behalf of the organization.
  • Young Professional - Ash Crawford, Amherst Coffee (AMCO) & Quivr
  • Community Service - Peter & Michelle Wirth,  Mercedes-Benz of Springfield
  • Chamber MVP - Lisa Eugin, Encharter Insurance


In 2019, our Annual A+ Awards Dinner: Thursday, October 3, 2019 was held at 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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