Amherst Area Chamber Announces A+ Award Winners to Be Honored on Nov. 12

AMHERST — The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce 2020 A+ Awards Show will be held virtually and broadcast live from Hadley Farms Meeting House on Thursday, Nov. 12, with PeoplesBank serving as presenting sponsor.

Each year, 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 in Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, Sunderland, and the Pioneer Valley as a whole.

“In this year, it feels more important than ever to recognize our leaders who have led differently and pivoted to create new economic opportunities during the most challenging of times we will likely experience in our lifetimes,” said Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber. “These are the heroes of the time, and they deserve our recognition.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Betsey McInnis for her leadership of 19 years as a board member and lead volunteer of Family Outreach of Amherst and the lasting impact her volunteer work will have on future generations.

The Leader in Innovation Award recognizes Phoenix Fruit Farm of Belchertown for being instrumental in cultivating relationships with other local businesses to improve the economic climate of Belchertown.

The Leader in Sustainability Award recognizes Kestrel Land Trust of Amherst for its work to create a sustainable Amherst area by preserving 583 acres while celebrating 50 years serving as a major force in forest land protection, farmland conservation, and expanding outdoor recreational space in Amherst and throughout Hampshire County.

The Young Professional Award honors Ash Crawford for being defined as the ‘epitome of innovation and entrepreneurship’ in the Amherst area. As director of Operations at Amherst Coffee, Crawford helped the business adapt to the new reality of COVID-19 through an online marketplace, a safe and efficient takeout service, and a weekly sidewalk bar.

The Community Service Award honors Mercedes-Benz of Springfield for its outreach efforts through its Driven by Community platform, through which the lives and jobs of the Amherst-area community benefited greatly, especially at this difficult time.

The Chamber MVP is Lisa Eugin of Encharter Insurance and an Amherst Area Chamber ambassador, who embodies the mission of the chamber as a convener, connector, and catalyst for business and community development.

New this year is the COVID Hero, a nonprofit or individual who provided essential support services, went above and beyond, and took initiative to put others before self to benefit the greater good. Live voting will take place to choose a winner from the following organizations and individuals: Amherst Survival Center, Arizona Pizza, Bistro 63, Mary Beth Ogulewicz of the Amherst Senior Center, Rebekah Demling of ARPS PGO, and Wheelhouse Catering.

Also new this year, David Jeffway, owner of Sharper Vision, will create video tributes for each awardee.

A virtual access pass to the view the live awards show costs $20, or a $50 VIP package includes the virtual access pass, a $25 Amherst-area gift certificate, a hard copy of the 2020 A+ Awards Journal, and sponsor gifts. Registration is open, and A+ Award dinner sponsorships and ads are still available for the virtual extravaganza; for more information, visit amherstarea.com. E-mail Pazmany at claudia@amherstarea.com with any inquiries.