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Business Briefs: CDC receives grant; BCREB hires recruiter; Wheeler & Taylor purchases GoodWorks Insurance; BCC hires advising director; grant for Bidwell House Museum

“Access to affordable housing affects every aspect of our community by improving financial stability and a safe and stable environment for families and school children." -- Tim Geller, executive director of the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire

Berkshire Bank Foundation grants $10,000 to Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire

Great Barrington — The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire has announced that the Berkshire Bank Foundation has made a $10,000 grant to support the organization’s staffing and general fund helping families and individuals in the southern Berkshire region.

Said CDCSB executive director Tim Geller: “Access to affordable housing affects every aspect of our community by improving financial stability and a safe and stable environment for families and school children. This funding will also help us provide employee housing for businesses, and offer our youth the opportunity to live and work here.”

Said Lori Gazzillo, senior vice president and director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation, “CDCSB’s work resonates with our Foundation’s goals, as does their patient persistence in continuing the long-term work needed to provide more homes for families and elders, and jobs in our communities.”

In collaboration with other like-minded organizations, CDCSB has helped build more than 60 affordable housing units and leveraged over $19 million in private and public funding.


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BCREB hires Rivers as recruiter

Donna Todd Rivers. Photo courtesy Berkshire County Regional Employment Board

Pittsfield — The Berkshire County Regional Employment Board has hired Donna Todd Rivers as its Berkshire recruiter to help fill a critical gap for businesses and workers in Berkshire County. The position was crafted to ensure that BCREB works closely with local businesses, providing a bridge among people looking for work, existing training programs and employers seeking workers.

Last year during the fiscal year 2018 Massachusetts Senate budget debate, Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, sponsored an amendment to establish and fund this position. The amendment was the subject of Hinds’ first floor remarks in the Senate Chamber, and was adopted and ultimately funded at $75,000 in the budget. The position will serve as the point of contact to help people learn about education, training and employment options available in the Berkshires and to make workforce connections. Rivers will be working with BerkshireWorks Career Center, placement agencies, human resource offices, education and training providers, and economic development partners to reduce duplication and maximize efforts.

A small-business owner and an independent benefits professional, Rivers is a lifelong resident of Berkshire County with a sales and human resources background, and is involved in the community and public service. She is a graduate of Western New England University School of Law and UMass Amherst.


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Wheeler & Taylor purchases Goodworks Insurance Agency of Columbia, Conn.

Great Barrington — George A. Ryan Jr., president and CEO of Wheeler & Taylor Inc., has announced the purchase of the GoodWorks Insurance Agency of Columbia, Connecticut. The purchase, which includes the businesses of F.W. Postemski Insurance and Cummings Insurance, is the second acquisition of a GoodWorks agency by Wheeler & Taylor over the previous 18 months and represents Wheeler & Taylor’s initial entry into the Connecticut marketplace. Immediate plans call for upgrades in technology and an expansion of products and services.

The acquisition will continue to operate under the GoodWorks Columbia name and offer a full range of personal and commercial products, with no staffing or organizational changes planned.


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BCC hires new director of academic and career advising

George Ambriz. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community College

Pittsfield — Berkshire Community College has announced the hiring of George Ambriz as its new director of academic and career advising.

Ambriz previously worked as an advisor/success coach at the College of Southern Nevada, a position he acquired in 2015. Before that, he was an employer relations coordinator and admissions counselor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegasfrom 2006–15. He earned an associate degree from Cochise College in Arizona, a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Western New Mexico University and a master’s degree in public administration from UNLV. He is currently a doctoral candidate in public affairs at UNLV. Ambriz is fluent in Spanish and English and is learning American Sign Language.


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Bidwell House Museum receives grant from Lenox Garden Club

The Bidwell House Museum

Monterey — The Bidwell House Museum has announced its receipt of a $12,000 grant from the Lenox Garden Club. The grant will allow the museum to create a new series of educational garden beds around the recently refurbished museum entrance.

Said executive director Heather Kowalski: “The Museum recently finished work on a new accessible entry … This new walkway will be further enhanced by educational garden beds planted with native species familiar to the 18th century residents of the home, signage to provide visitors with information about the plants and a brochure.”  The museum hopes to have the new garden beds planted and the signage complete by late summer.



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