Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Morris Elementary’s Brenda Kelley named Principal of the Year; Berkshire Small Business Expo; Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Annual Meeting; 1Berkshire technical assistance; Goodwill receives grants; Community Bancorp announces strong year

"It is abundantly clear that Principal Kelley is highly regarded by each and every administrator, teacher, parent, and student in the Morris community.”

Morris Elementary’s Principal Brenda Kelley named Massachusetts Elementary School Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association

Lenox— Superintendent William Collins is proud to share that Morris Elementary School Principal Brenda Kelley has been named the Massachusetts Elementary School Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association (MSAA).

Morris Elementary School Principal Brenda Kelley. Courtesy Lenox Public Schools.

Principal Kelley was selected for this honor based on her passionate efforts in support of the students and staff. Principal Kelley’s fellow administrators, Morris teachers, and parents submitted comments on her behalf during this process, noting her warmth, compassion, highly knowledgeable leadership skills, and inspiring commitment to fostering a culture of continuous growth.

“It is abundantly clear that Principal Kelley is highly regarded by each and every administrator, teacher, parent, and student in the Morris community,” said Dr. Collins. “Her efforts in making Morris Elementary School a wonderful place to learn and grow are apparent through her ability to foster relationships, lead her peers, and inspire others to make a change in the community. This honor is well-deserved.”

Principal Kelley will be recognized by her MSAA peers at the annual Leadership Institute in July. MSAA will also be visiting Lenox to present the award.


Regional Partnership hosting third annual Berkshire Small Business resource expo

Berkshire— The regional partnership of 1Berkshire, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), DEI Outdoors, EforAll Berkshire County, Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC,) and Team R3SET is excited to announce the 3rd Annual Berkshire Small Business Resource Expo to be held on Wednesday, May 22nd from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Stationery Factory in Dalton. This free event brings together a variety of resource providers, six informational panels and expert dialogues, and networking opportunities to support the breadth of small businesses in the Berkshires.

Third annual Berkshire Small Business resource expo.

Resource providers focused on financing, marketing, business development, industry-specific growth opportunities, intern access, state resources, supplier diversity and more will all be on site at the Stationery Factory for this high-energy day of information, access, and opportunity.  To continue to improve practices and increase accessibility, the Resource Expo is excited to continue offering that all on-site providers will have at least a summary of their resources available on site in Spanish, and simultaneous in-ear Spanish interpretation will be available during all panel workshops and dialogues.

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided free to pre-registered attendees. Registration is required. To register, visit bit.ly/2024-small-business-resource-expo

Interested in being a sponsor of this year’s expo? Visit the link found here to learn about opportunities and reach out to EconomicDev@1Berkshire.com to help support this exciting high-impact event.


Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Annual Meeting at The Berkshire Museum

Pittsfield— The Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. (DPI) Annual Meeting will be held Thursday, May 9th at The Berkshire Museum at 39 South Street. There will be networking in the Ellen Crane Memorial Room with light refreshments by Patrick’s Pub from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the Annual Meeting program will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Theatre. This event is free and open to DPI members and the public.

The Annual Meeting will feature remarks from DPI’s Managing Director Rebecca Brien, Mayor Peter Marchetti, Outgoing DPI Board President Branden Huldeen, and Incoming DPI Board President Chuck Leach.

Courtesy Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.

Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. will also present two awards. Branden Huldeen will present Mill Town Capital/Mill Town Foundation with the 2024 Downtown Pittsfield Community Award for their continued commitment to the downtown through capital investments and their support of DPI and organizations that promote growth and activity in the district.

Sarah Real of Hot Plate Brewing Co. will present Pete White with the 2024 Robert K. Quattrochi Downtown Person of the Year Award for his ongoing promotion of downtown businesses and restaurants through social media and word of mouth.

Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. will also elect its corporators and directors.

Meet up with friends and colleagues for informal networking and fun at 101 Restaurant & Bar, 1 West Street, after the Annual Meeting at 6:30 p.m. There will be a cash bar and food.

For more information and to register, visit downtownpittsfield.com or call 413-443-6501. Registration deadline is Thursday, May 2nd. Register at this link: https://forms.gle/rXPH2a4FnrVzBusu6


1Berkshire announces spring and summer technical assistance offerings

Berkshire— 1Berkshire, thanks in part to funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, is excited to announce their next slate of technical assistance offerings through the Berkshire Economic Recovery Program (BERP).


Through a highly-successful series of three years of cohorts since 2021, the BERP Technical Assistance series has been able to support more than 110 businesses through targeted training offerings, resulting in notable business improvements, and quantified by the over $2,000,000 in funding collectively accessed by businesses through their participation. Going into the spring and summer of 2024, the series continues with our next two cohorts: “Jumpstarting Your Crowdfunding Campaign” with Laura Christensen, and “Be Press Ready” with Cathy Husid.

Participants in each topical cohort will join a scheduled kickoff workshop with the technical assistance provider. Upon completion of the workshop, each participant will be provided up to two hours of free one-on-one technical assistance from the consultant leading the workshop.

The BERP Technical Assistance series is free, and offered to any business in the Berkshires. Each cohort has a capacity of seven participating businesses, so space is very limited and registration is required. For details on these technical assistance offerings and to register, please visit this link: https://1berkshire.com/1berkshire-programs/berkshire-economic-recovery-project-technical-assistance-program/


Goodwill receives grants for food insecurity aid and job skills programs

Pittsfield— Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont announces that it has received a $1,500 grant from Fallon Health for the nonprofit’s continued work in fighting food insecurity in the Berkshires.

Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont.

Goodwill is part of a local collaborative effort that transports roughly 9,000 pounds of food every week from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Chicopee to Berkshire County soup kitchens, food pantries and a homeless shelter.

Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont also announces that it has received $8,500 in grants from Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union and MountainOne Bank to support its Soar for Success employability skills program. The nonprofit social services organization received an additional $2,500 from Greylock Federal Credit Union toward promotion and other costs associated with its annual meeting in October.

Goodwill’s Soar for Success program focuses on job training in custodial skills, customer service, employability skills guidance for individuals preparing for job interviews, and provides interview and work attire. The program is offered free of charge to all Berkshire County residents. Services are provided at Goodwill’s Career Centers in Pittsfield and North Adams and online. Goodwill sells donated clothes and other household items at a discounted price to aid in funding training and educational programs for individuals seeking employment.


Community Bancorp of the Berkshires announces a year of strong financial performance 

Adams— The annual meeting of the Community Bancorp of the Berkshires, MHC, the parent company of Adams Community Bank, was held on April 10th at Charles H. McCann Technical School in North Adams. The meeting included reviewing the 2023 financial statements for the Bank, electing directors and corporators, and highlighting upcoming executive personnel changes. 

President and CEO of Adams Community Bank, Charles O’Brien, stated, “In 2023, the Bank experienced another year of growth in assets, loans, and deposits, noting the Pittsfield branch reached $26 million in customer deposits from its opening in December of 2022.” He continued, “Those deposits were loaned out locally during 2023 and helped drive our #1 ranking in both mortgage and commercial real estate lending, according to Banker and Tradesman.”

Adams Community Bank.

The Bank’s solid loan and investment portfolios contributed to the overall growth achieved during the year. At year-end 2023, total assets were $995 million, and O’Brien noted the Bank crossed the $1 billion threshold during the first quarter of 2024. 

Board chair Jeffrey Grandchamp noted with O’Brien’s upcoming retirement, this will be the final annual meeting of the CEO’s tenure since he joined the Bank in 1997. He thanked him for his 27 years of dedication to the Bank. He acknowledged the evolution of the Bank as it became the premier community bank in the Berkshires, noting that branches grew from three to 10, that employees grew from 40 to 135, and that assets grew from $127 million to $1 billion. An executive search is underway for O’Brien’s replacement.


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