Amherst Chamber announces A+ award winners

  • Jim Brassord of Amherst is shown with his Little River Heritage 18 rowing skiff April 11 at the Sportsman’s Marina in Hadley. Brassord is being honored with a community service award at this fall’s A+ Awards sponsored by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/22/2017 10:06:24 PM

AMHERST — An Amherst College employee who spent two months rowing the eastern seaboard to raise awareness and money for the John P. Musante Health Center and an Amherst businessman instrumental in ensuring local youth have a place to go for after-school activities are being honored by the Amherst Area Chamber Commerce.

The annual A+ Awards will be handed out at a banquet at the University of Massachusetts Campus Center Ballroom Oct. 5 at 5 p.m.

These include community service awards to Jim Brassord, chief of campus operations at Amherst College, who rowed from Miami to New York in May and June, and representatives from both the Amherst and University of Massachusetts Police, who have pursued crime prevention through environmental design, such as adding new lighting on Hobart Lane and fences at Townehouse Apartments, both of which are aimed at reducing college student disturbances.

An MVP award will go to Tom Crossman, a member of the board that oversees the Amherst Boys and Girls Club, the century-old club that provides a place for youth to both hang out and participate in structured activities. A Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to Curt Shumway, who owns several hotels and gives both financial and in-kind support to the community, with a Young Professional Award going to Lindsay Barron.

Jerry Guidera, the chamber’s interim executive director, said the awards reflect involvement in Amherst’s civic life.

“To me, it’s a great slate of candidates that shows the kinds of contributions our institutions and businesses make to the community,” Guidera said.

The announcements of the awards come amidst a shakeup at the organization in which Tim O’Brien left earlier this month after just a year as executive director.

Despite the instability at the top, Georgia Moore, president of the chamber’s board of directors, said the chamber remains focused on ensuring members are satisfied.

“We need to change as we strive to meet their needs,” Moore said.

Moore said the chamber isn’t a static organization and adjusts to the ebb and flow of membership, which peaked at 600 and now sits at around 400.

“We want to keep people informed who we are and what we’re striving to accomplish,” Moore said.

The chamber recently put together an ambassadors committee to help attract and welcome new members and are in the midst of exploring both short- and long-term goals.

Many of the customary events, in addition to the awards dinner will go on, including the third annual first responders luncheon Sept. 15, the legislative breakfast Oct. 26 and the Merry Maple celebration Dec. 1.

Tickets for the awards dinner can be purchased online at

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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