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Updated: January 9, 2023 / 2023 Best of Business

Best of Business 2023: Best Events & Multimedia

Photo | Courtesy of Why Me & Sherry's House Why Me & Sherry's House provides services to families with children diagnosed with cancer.

Best Nonprofit Fundraiser Event: 100 Mile Ruck March Challenge for Why Me & Sherry's House

At the end of July, during a sweltering Central Massachusetts heat wave, 33 people began what would eventually become a 100-mile, four-day charity ruck. Despite temperatures that pushed into the low 90s and high humidity that made it feel even hotter, most of the athletes persevered, knowing they were doing something much bigger than just themselves.

They were competing in the second annual 100 Mile Ruck March Challenge, to benefit childhood cancer support services organization Why Me & Sherry’s House.

According to a documentary that tracked the event, the race is a military-style challenge where athletes hike 25 miles a day, camping out each night on the farm of a local brewery, and continuing to march at sunrise each and every morning. Athletes carry everything they need for the entire challenge on their backs throughout the whole event. In 2021, the inaugural year of the challenge, 15 athletes participated.

“Just remember why you signed up to do this. It’s probably one of the only things that will get you through,” Rick Porter, the creator of the event, told athletes right before kickoff.

The participants were strangers when they started the ruck. But the challenge’s intensity, plus their commitment to supporting children dealing with devastating illnesses, caused them to become thick as thieves by the time it was over.

“We get to share stories of the families we work with, so come the finish line, there is this real emotional sense of community,” said Rebecca Kuczarski, executive director of Why Me. “We had a guy that came from Texas last year. He knew nobody and walked away with 33 new best friends. You rely on each other, and it’s pretty spectacular at the finish line.”

The 2022 Ruck March Challenge has raised about $150,000 in support of the nonprofit.

This year’s event is scheduled for July 20-23. Athlete registration is full, but interested parties can still sign up to volunteer.

-- Story written by Laura Finaldi

*denotes repeat winner

Best Venue for a Business Meeting: Beechwood Hotel*

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: Sayed Saleh, asset manager and managing director
Founded: 1989
Employees: 100

The Beechwood has served the Central Massachusetts business community as a place to hold business meetings for more than 30 years. Each meeting is fully customizable and features the latest audio-visual technology, fast 5G internet speed, unique meeting room designs, award-winning cuisine, and an executive planning team to orchestrate every detail.

Notable runners-up: AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester, Venture X Marlborough – Apex Center

Best Venue for a Corporate Event: Beechwood Hotel*

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: Sayed Saleh, asset manager and managing director
Founded: 1989
Employees: 100

In its efforts to go above and beyond for corporate events, The Beechwood offers 8,000 square feet of flexible event space throughout 13 function rooms, an experienced team of hospitality professionals and event planners, extensive sanitization and safety policies exceeding industry standards, and complimentary onsite parking.

Notable runner-up: Polar Park

Best Web Design Firm: PENTA Communications, Inc.*

Location: Westborough,
Top executive: Founder & CEO Deborah Penta
Founded: 1989
Employees: 16

PENTA has worked with hundreds of companies over the years, as part of its services as an integrated marketing firm, including offering website design and development. PENTA prides itself on personalized service, striving to address each client’s different challenges and goals.

Notable runners-up: Worcester Interactive, Kill the Ball Media

Best Video Production Company: Pagano Media*

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: President Joe Pagano
Founded: 1981
Employees: 9

Pagano Media, a boutique digital marketing agency, leverages its design, branding, and production capabilities to achieve marketing goals for its clients. The company won a W3 Web Design Award in 2022 for its work for Spencer manufacturing company Dienes, which grew organic web traffic by 140%.

Notable runners-up: PENTA Communications, Studio Jade

Best Awards & Promotional Products: Crown Trophy

Location: Northborough,
Top executive: Owner Andy Gleckel
Founded: 1996
Employees: 10

Crown Trophy saw 2022 as a major rebound year, with new customers seeking their awards products directly from the company. With expanded product lines and restored capability to offer a wide array of designs, Crown Trophy remains committed to accuracy, timeliness, and fair pricing.

Notable runners-up: Olympic Trophy, Guertin Graphics.

Best Commercial Printer: Curry Printing*

Location: Westborough,
Top executive: President Peter Gardner
Founded: 1978
Employees: 30

Curry Printing expanded in 2022 with new products and by entering new markets, with a strong revenue performance allowing the company to make infrastructure and technology investments. Now at pre-COVID employment levels, Curry Printing continues to add new clients to its customer base.

Notable runners-up: Minuteman Press, Miles Press, Inc.

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