1Berkshire CEO Jonathan Butler addresses the audience at the ninth annual Celebrate the Berkshires event held Sept. 26 at Jiminy Peak. Photo courtesy 1Berkshire

Business Briefs: Berkshire Trendsetter Awards; Downtown Pittsfield fall cleanup; cultural council deadline; home-buying seminar; Flying Cloud board members

Berkshire Trendsetter Awards announced at 1Berkshire’s Celebrate the Berkshires

Hancock — With more than 300 people present, 1Berkshire honored TOURISTS for “Putting the Berkshires on the Map” and presented the 2019 Berkshire Trendsetter Awards at the ninth annual Celebrate the Berkshires event Sept. 26 at Jiminy Peak.

The 2019 Putting the Berkshire on the Map Award was designed by Neathawk Designs of Williamstown. Photo courtesy 1Berkshire

In the Innovative Marketing Campaign category, Lee Bank took home the award for its in-house, locally produced branding campaign featuring employees having fun and enjoying authentic experiences with local business customers. The Newcomer of the Year award was presented to Theory Wellness for opening the first recreational cannabis dispensaries in the Berkshires, attracting over 65,000 visitors from nearby states and contributing over $1 million in taxes and impact fees to the town of Great Barrington in its first six months of operation. Roots Rising was named Nonprofit Impact winner for founding the only teen-run farmers market in the country.

Winning the Creative Economy Standout award was Steve Sears of the Stationery Factory for validating the concept and starting a movement of Berkshire mill conversions into attractive repurposed space for businesses, events, live music, food and beverages. MASS MoCA received the Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy award for its investment and redevelopment in the Berkshires, creating the largest contemporary art museum in the country and contributing over $50 million annually in economic impact to the region.

Jess Sweeney was named the Under 40 Change Maker for her work creating an environment for local and emerging artists to thrive in the northern Berkshires through the Common Folk artists’ collective, while empowering teens in leadership and decision making through ROOTS Teen Center and leading the O+ Festival. The Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year award was given to Margaret Keller for leading the expansion of Community Access to the Arts’ inspirational work, increasing people served by 70%, doubling its base of financial support and launching its first-ever capital campaign/facilities project to give artists with disabilities their own campus in Great Barrington.


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The Berkshire Bank team at the Downtown Pittsfield Inc. 2018 spring cleanup. Pjhoto: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. to hold fall cleanup

Pittsfield — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will hold its first annual Downtown Pittsfield Fall Cleanup Friday, Oct. 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. Fifteen teams made up of over 100 volunteers from local businesses will sport trash bags, rakes and brooms, and take to the streets of Pittsfield for the cleanup next Friday afternoon. After 21 successful annual spring cleanups, DPI has added a fall cleanup for the first time.

The fall cleanup will feature teams from Albany Berkshire Ballet, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Community College’s Fitness for Life class, Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Medical Center, BFAIR, the City of Pittsfield, Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook LLP, Cross Insurance/Cross Surety, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guardian, Guidewire Inc., Hotel on North, Pittsfield High School, RE-FORMation Academy, TKG Real Estate, and Wayfair.

After the cleanup, an afterparty for participants will be hosted by event sponsor Patrick’s Pub. A rain date has been set for Friday, Oct. 11. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.


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Cultural council proposal deadline is Oct. 15

Berkshire County — In accordance with Mass Cultural Council guidelines, a deadline of Tuesday, Oct. 15, has been set for organizations, schools and individuals to apply for grants for 2020 that support cultural activities in the community.

According to Lenox Cultural Council Chair Arlene D. Schiff, the grants can help underwrite projects, programs and events in the arts, humanities and sciences that foster a rich cultural life for Berkshire residents.

There are 329 local cultural councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The Local Cultural Council Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.


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Salisbury Bank to hold seminar on home-buying, credit scores

Lakeville, Conn. — On Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Salisbury Bank will offer a seminar at its Lakeville location with information on buying a first home and credit scores.

The seminar will cover the basics of first-time homebuying, such as how much to save for a down payment, required documents for loan application, and mortgage qualification. Information about credit scores will also be discussed, including how credit scores are determined and how to improve credit.

The seminar will be presented by Kevin Cantele, vie president, mortgage advisor. Born and raised in Salisbury, Cantele joined Salisbury Bank in 2013 as an intern in the commercial credit department. In 2014, he became a mortgage advisor trainee and has been a full-time mortgage advisor since January of 2015. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Gettysburg College. He volunteers with programs such as Habitat for Humanity and youth sports.

The program is free and open to the public. Reservations are suggested but not required. For more information or to sign up, contact Genia Wilson at (860) 453-3496, or evwilson@salisburybank.com and type “Home & Credit” in the subject line.


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Flying Cloud Institute welcomes new board members

Kenzie Fields. Photo courtesy Flying Cloud Institute

Great Barrington — Flying Cloud Institute has announced the appointment of Kenzie Fields, Karen O’Donnell, Susan Russell and Lia Russell-Self to its board of directors.

Fields has lived in five countries and traveled extensively in both hemispheres. She and her family arrived in the Berkshires from Brooklyn in 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the New York University Gallatin School. A realtor and photographer, Fields is the chair of the Great Barrington Fresh Air Fund volunteer committee, a former school committee member of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District and a member of the New Marlborough Land Trust.

Karen O’Donnell. Photo courtesy Flying Cloud Institute

O’Donnell completed a career with General Electric at the Jack Welch Leadership Center. As principal of Autonomy LLC, she provides personal and business coaching for executives and business owners. She is a certified green belt and professional certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. She graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, and holds a master’s degree in zoology from University of Illinois and a master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University.

Susan Russell. Photo courtesy Flying Cloud Institute

Pittsfield native Russell recently retired from the U.S. Department of State. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, a Master of Business Administration and doctorate in human and organizational development, and has experience in both academia and the private sector. With expertise in financial management, organizational development, and interpersonal communication, she has served on the boards of the Berkshire Family YMCA, the Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program of Rensselaer County, and the Los Angeles chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Lia Russell-Self. Photo courtesy Flying Cloud Institute

Russell-Self is the associate producing director at WAM Theatre in Lenox, and a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock with a degree in creative writing and theatrical arts. Russell-Self is a freelance theatre artist and educator, and is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Eighty4 Productions. Russell-Self has worked with organizations in the Berkshires, the Chatham/Hudson area in New York and beyond to bridge the gaps of arts, activism and education.