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BUSINESS BRIEFS: New Lebanon Farmers Market opens store; Renaissance Investment Group moves; Ask the Experts small business series; BCC new hires, promotions; Bard appoints Lewis to two posts

The New Lebanon Farmers Market has opened a year-round, indoor farmers market in downtown New Lebanon, New York.

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Berkshire Community College announces new hires, promotions 

PITTSFIELDBerkshire Community College (BCC) recently announced the addition of 10 new staff and faculty members, in addition to three promotions.

New hires 

Chris Bodnar has joined BCC as Director of Procurement in the Administration and Finance Division, bringing 20 years of experience in buying, purchasing, planning, and inventory management with KB Toys and a hardware store chain. He studied business administration at the University of Connecticut, Houston Baptist University, Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut, and BCC.

Lauri Byrnes has joined BCC as Administrative Assistant for Academic Advising in the One Stop Center for Student Success. Previously, she was the part-time office coordinator for Politis Family Chiropractic in Pittsfield. She graduated from BCC in 2017 with an associate’s degree in human services, and from Maria College in 2021 with an associate of applied science degree in occupational health sciences.

Christopher DeGray has joined BCC as Director of Facilities in the Administration and Finance Division. Previously, he was Facilities and Operations Department Director, Environmental Services at Westfield State University, where he was part of the Facilities Capital Projects Team, Emergency Management Team, and Green Team/Sustainability Committee. He also assisted in capital planning, construction, and renovation of large projects.

Rolaine James has joined BCC as Academic Success Coach in the Disability Resource Center. Previously, she was Assistive Technology Access Coordinator at Dartmouth College. She specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technology tools for education. She earned a master of science degree in assistive technology and human services from California State University, Northridge and a BA in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies from California State University, Sacramento.

Amanda Lardizabal has joined BCC as Assistant Biology Professor in the Environmental and Life Science Department, STEM and Allied Health. Previously, she was Adjunct Biology Professor at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan and at River Valley Community College in Keene, New Hampshire. She earned a BS from the University of Rochester and a master of science degree from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Charlotte Lotz has joined BCC as Experiential Learning & Career Services Coordinator, Office of Student Engagement. Previously, she was Academic Advising Coordinator at MCLA for four years, preceded by her position as Career Development Coordinator at Georgia College & State University. She received a BA in creative writing from Susquehanna University and a master of education degree in counseling and college student affairs from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Maureen McLaughlin has joined BCC as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Prior to joining the higher education sector, she spent more than 20 years in the high-tech industry working in or with large corporations and start-ups resulting in IPOs or acquisitions. She also spent 10 years in public elementary schools supporting severe special needs students and students in crisis. McLaughlin holds a BS in computer information technology from Bentley University and an MBA from the University of Rochester. She is currently in the data analysis phase of her doctoral dissertation (Community College Leader Learning) at Endicott College with an anticipated completion and defense in January 2022.

Kaila Mullaney has joined BCC as Administrative Assistant to the Vice President and Office of Academic Affairs. Previously, she worked as a sales administrator for iPrint Technologies in Los Angeles. She attended Pierce College in LA and California State University, Northridge, where she focused on physiology and psychology research as well as diversity in STEM.

Rebecca Schmitt has joined BCC as Administrative Assistant to the STEM and Allied Health Division. She earned her associate’s degree from BCC.

Sandra West has joined BCC as Administrative Assistant in the Nursing Division. Previously, she held administrative positions at Pittsfield Public Schools, Springfield College School of Social Work, Harvard University, and Northeastern University. She attended Springfield College School of Social Work in the human service program.

Promotions

George Ambriz, who was serving as Director of Academic Advising, Career Development, and Transfer Services since June 2018, has been promoted to Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Director of SUCCESS.

Shelly Armstrong has been promoted to the position of Academic Coordinator, One Stop Center for Student Success. Previously, she was Academic Counselor.

Lyndsay Isham-Morton has been promoted to Interim Director of Academic, Career and Transfer Advising. She has been with BCC since 2016, when she was hired as Academic Counselor, and was promoted to Student Advising Coordinator in 2018.

—A.K.

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New Lebanon Farmers Market opens year-round retail store

NLFM Market Manager Josh Young. Photo courtesy NLFM

NEW LEBANON, N.Y. — The New Lebanon Farmers Market has opened a year-round, indoor farmers market in downtown New Lebanon, at 528 U.S. Route 20. The market, an expansion of the online-only farmers market that began as a pilot project amid the pandemic in August 2020, works with local farmers and food producers, aggregating products from more than 50 food producers in eastern New York and western Massachusetts. It serves more than 150 customers every week, through walk-in purchases and orders placed online for pickup and delivery. It is currently staffed by volunteers and open Wednesdays–Saturdays from 12–6 p.m.

After New Lebanon lost its grocery store over a decade ago, the town struggled to find a replacement, and residents have had to make the 20-minute drive to a grocery store in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, or Chatham, New York.

“We live in this community, and every day we feel the pain of living in a food desert,” said Josh Young, director of the New Lebanon Farmers Market. “Establishing an indoor farmers market […] dramatically expands our access to healthy food, especially locally produced food.”

Two commercial-grade refrigerators and a commercial-grade freezer provide critical infrastructure. The cold storage, financed through a low-interest loan provided by Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV), allows the market to store perishable items such as meat, dairy, and greens.

Participating food producers in the New Lebanon area include New Leaf Farm, Abode Farm, Climbing Tree Farm, Shaker Creek Farm, the Berry Patch, and Four Fat Fowl. Participating producers in western Massachusetts include High Lawn Farm, Hosta Hill, and Cricket Creek, and other farms. The market store accepts SNAP and currently provides a Market Match, doubling the purchasing power of benefits.

—A.K.

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Renaissance Investment Group, LLC opens office on Walker Street in Lenox

LENOXRenaissance Investment Group, LLC recently announced it is opening a downtown Lenox office at 45 Walker Street. The group will be leaving their current building in the Lenox Commons and plans to move into the new space in November. Mill Town Capital is the new owner of the building, acquiring the property on September 29, 2021.

Renaissance and Mill Town, have agreed on a 10-year lease during which Mill Town will serve as the landlord for the building and is funding property improvements. Mill Town also owns and operates The Gateways Inn and Restaurant at 51 Walker Street.

Mill Town, an impact investment firm based in Pittsfield, owns and operates numerous properties in the Berkshires as part of its efforts to expand and improve the quality of life in the area. The firm focuses on making impactful business investments and community development efforts.

—A.K.

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Free “Ask the Experts” virtual series for small business to be offered by EforAll

PITTSFIELDEntrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is launching an educational workshop series, via Zoom, targeted to small business owners. Funded by a Resiliency Grant from Mass Growth Capital Corporation and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC), all programs will be free of charge to participants.

Beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 13, from 12–1:30 p.m., EforAll will give participants a chance to break into small groups on Zoom to consult with and learn from area professionals. Attendees can come to any or all of the sessions. Every week will feature a different topic and experts.

Wed., Oct. 13: LAW
Intellectual property: Debra Serota, Fish & Richardson
Contracts: Jesse Cook-Dubin, Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti & Cook
Corporate entity questions: Jenevra Georgini, Spark + Sterling

Wed., Oct. 20: ACCOUNTING
Valuation: Kevin Hines, CPA
Tax issues for small businesses: Raymond McGarrigle, CPA
Financial reports: Dan Putignano, MS Management

Wed., Oct. 27: FUNDING, LOANS
Getting a loan from a bank: Heather King, Greylock Federal Credit Union
Sources of capital: Raymond Lanza-Weil, Common Capital
Getting outside investors: Paul Silva, Angel Catalyst

Wed., Nov. 3: DEALING WITH GOVERNMENT
Registration, permits, regulations: Nate Joyner, City of Pittsfield
Certification as a minority/women owned biz: Michelle Miller of CWE
Complying with employment laws: Carletta Hill, EforAll

Wed., Nov. 10: MARKETING
Websites that sell: Roger Matus
Social media: Kaitlyn Pierce, Pierce Social
Finding new customers creatively: Karen Hines, BCC

Wed., Nov. 17: OPERATIONS
Human resources/hiring: Jason Valenti
Creating systems, operational manuals: John Schnyder, Organization Ink
Renting a space, buying equipment: Kathie Penna, Milltown

At the conclusion, an in-person lunch and networking event for panelists and participants is planned at the Berkshire Innovation Center, 45 Woodlawn Ave. in Pittsfield. Registration for any or all of the weeks can be completed online.

—A.K.

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Bard appoints Nicholas Alton Lewis Assoc. VP for Academic Initiatives and Assoc. Dean

Nicholas Alton Lewis. Photo courtesy Bard College

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. Bard College recently announced that Nicholas Alton Lewis will join the College as Associate Vice President for Academic Initiatives and Associate Dean in the Office of the Dean of the College, effective January 2022. Lewis previously served as Assistant Dean of the College.

Lewis comes to Bard from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he is currently Senior Associate Dean and Special Advisor to the President for Strategic Engagement. In this capacity, he develops initiatives and programs to foster an institutional culture that centers equity, belonging, and well-being as a means of promoting human flourishing. Lewis formerly served as Associate Dean of Student and Academic Affairs at Curtis. Prior to his work there, he served as Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Yale Divinity School.

In his previous role at Bard, he developed and supported initiatives to increase personal, civic, and moral responsibility within the campus community. Prior to joining Bard, Lewis served on the music department faculties of Howard University and Virginia Union University.

Lewis is the clarinetist and co-founder of the BLAK-New Blues Ensemble, co-founded with composer-pianist Anthony Kelley and based at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Lewis is also the former bass clarinetist of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and principal clarinetist of the Williamsburg Symphony.

He holds a BFA and a master’s of music in clarinet performance from Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a graduate of Yale Divinity School, where he completed a master of divinity degree focusing on social ethics, and a certificate from the Institute of Sacred Music.

—A.K.

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