GREYLOCK ECONOMY WORKING GROUP
MEETING OF AUG. 11, 2016
AT THE GREYLOCK MILL
Registration comments left by participants
(in chronological order of receipt)
Name: Andrea Harrington
Comment: As a candidate for State Senate and small business owner, I would like to talk about my experiences and the ideas I have for our region. I would also bring with me the many stories from people I’ve met and spoke with, from all over our district, and their vision for the future of the Berkshires.
Name: Judy Grinnell
Comment: Long-time interest in promoting economic renaissance and civic collaboration of NA, Adams, and Williamstown.
Name: Peter Wells
Comment: Having lived here since 1982 as an employee of Williams College I would love to not only hear the conversation while also having the perspective of having seen this area — its growth and its amazing potential for so many years and ideally in the now years ahead. Thank you.
Name: Bruce Grinnell
Comment: My expectations are modest. Hopefully, those attending will make a genuine effort to get to know one another, build trust and coalesce around ways to attract employers who have a respect for the environment, pay fair wages and are committed to the long term health of Northern Berkshire.
Name: William F. Kolis, Jr.
Comment: I am a lawyer who has practiced in the area of media law for over 35 years. In addition and as a result of litigating various types of cases I have developed a keen eye for spotting issues and resolving the same.
Name: Nancy Harvin
Comment: Concerned W’town resident of four years. I was part of the Northampton MA renaissance in the ’80s. My then-organization (which has changed mission since then) was particularly focused on affordable housing and simultaneous preservation of open space.
Name: William Galusha
Comment: Local dairy farmer looking to expand business.
Name: ralph brill
Comment: The recent MCLA Economic Summit offered some interesting insights, but was mainly a cover up for the poor BMC county health grades received. No one challenged Dr. Ellrodt’s noise. It was also a Tom Krens puff session. No one challenged his 300 seasonal jobs. The recent Seranak get together was more about our cultural Disneyland. Our musicians do more creative thinking and risk taking than our economic planners.
Name: Holly Hardman
Comment: I have great faith in this region. Our resources are varied, robust, and growing. Since moving back to the Berkshires after twenty-five years spent in New York and Los Angeles, I have produced an internationally-recognized documentary from my Williamstown base, and I am now in the midst of producing a second — again from Williamstown. I would like to share the number of ways that my film production company, Gobbo Films, offers opportunities that enhance and broaden the Berkshire experience.
Name: Roger Bolton
Comment: Academic with experience in citizen planning (town and regional governments), research, and teaching about regional and area economic development.
Name: Paul Dupuis
Comment: I’m a lifelong resident of the area, with an open mind regarding retail, commercial and industrial development in North Berkshire. I’m particularly interested in getting current and future visitors to make their way from cultural destinations, to local businesses in the downtown area of North Adams. I’m also interested in helping more businesses open on Main Street and the other available storefronts.Name: Paula Consolini
Comment: I’m interested in and have experience with:
1) developing collaborative projects, especially those focused on improving infrastructure (such as public transit) and 2) drafting local college students to participate in projects both during the academic year and the summer
Name: Kim Gutschow
Comment: I want to bring social justice, reproductive justice, and issues of public health and global health, and women’s health to the table as a medical anthropologist and activist who has worked on these issues for 30 years in diverse settings including US, India, Nepal, and elsewhere in Asia.
Name: Brian D. Handspicker
Comment: Product strategist, serial entrepreneur, for-profit CEO, and Non-Profit Executive Director – I foster innovation, help companies create investable opportunities, and manage organizations to deliver on those opportunities.
Name: Angela Cardinali
Comment: In 2011, I founded Berkshire Farm & Table (BF&T) — an organization working to advance economic development by employing food tourism and food production as the drivers behind sustainable growth. BF&T’s mission is to cultivate and promote the vibrant food culture of western Massachusetts. Inspired by the region’s rich agricultural history and its verdant landscape, our non-profit organization nourishes the strong connection between makers and producers and our region’s taste of place. We collaborate with farmers, food makers and tastemakers to produce events, foster dialogue and create awareness for the region’s food craft. Building effective platforms to share the unique stories of culinary artisans, farmers and food experiences, BF&T as work advances the food story by building the region’s identity as a source and destination for food. BF&T is looking to share ideas and hear from community leaders about what is happening in the Northern Berkshires and how it will connect to the greater region regarding sustainable growth, our foodshed, hospitality and tourism, and economic development in general.
Name: Jason Velazquez
Comment: Very excited to see a continuation of the conversations about growth held recently. Interested in the subjects of agriculture and boutique manufacturing.
Name: Merritt Colaizzi
Comment: Destination Williamstown, interested in improving communication in the Northern Berkshires
Name: Rich Remsberg
Comment: I have a small (one-person) company that provides archival research for documentary films. About half of my work is for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the other half a mix of feature docs, museum exhibits and high-end cable. I have been based in North Adams since 2003.
Name: Barbara Malkas
Comment: Education is a major component of economic infrastructure.
Name: Dr. Douglas Dias
Comment: I would like to find ways to connect student learning with businesses in the area through cooperative ventures.
Name: Deborah Brown
Comment: Involved with Jim Mahon, Judy Grinnell & Sherwood Guernsey and the NBCC with Employ Northern Berkshire. Am interested in retraining, work force currently unemployed. Am interested in how to encourage the graduates of local high schools to stay in North Berkshire vis a vis jobs, transportation, and skills development.
Name: Jean Vankin
Comment: Will be interested to see what comes of this meeting. Am working with BIO on the problem of transportation and with NCCC on our quixotic quest for equity in health care . . . which is essential for a vibrant economy.
Name: Valerie Hall
Comment: The North Adams Partnership has been working on supporting economic development in North Adams for several years and is interested in the new ideas created by this group.
Name: David Fowle
Comment: I have lived in the area since 1972, and was one of the project initiators and later general manager of Wild Oats Co-op in Williamstown. I am devoted to the cooperative structure of business, and of community building. I will come mostly to listen, but will be happy to contribute what I can.
Name: Richard Tavelli
Comment: I am actively working on economic development initiatives , as a volunteer, in Adams, North Adams, Williamstown, and the Berkshires in general. I have a professional background in mergers & acquisitions, private equity, early stage company development and turn-arounds, entrepreneurship and mentoring, corporate strategy, environmental remediation and permitting, energy company management, and business operations and management. My hope is that this discussion will move beyond idealistic, blue sky aspirations to concrete actions that are achievable.
Name: Valeria Sosa
Comment: As a student, I would love to learn more about this community and see how our students can help and get involved!
Name: Donald Pecor
Comment: Would like to hear about the progress of the various projects that are in development. Interested how it might impact zoning.
Name: Joshua Moran
Comment: I am a North Adams City Councilor who is trying to maximize the city’s outdoor recreational potential via the Appalachian Trail.
Name: Diane Sullivan
Comment: I have lived in North Adams for 12 years as an artist and art educator. I bring the perspective of someone who has started Open Studios and was involved with Downstreet Art from the very beginning. Besides being part of the Eclipse Mill community for seven years, I am now a home owner in North Adams . I did not move away when I sold my loft, but invested in a home. I also have an AirBnB apartment and get a lot of input from my guests on the area. I look forward to this meeting.
Name: Amy Shapiro
Comment: Born in North Adams I currently work for a non profit the Franklin County CDC (FCCDC) that is working in northern Berkshire on community development issues that support growing and expanding small businesses. Currently we are implanting a state grant that is working to develop a Northern Berkshire Loan Fund for small businesses and help North Adams businesses with a succession plan to retain jobs. The FCCDC is also the home to the Western MA Food Processing Center a share use commercial kitchen.
Name: Jason Koperniak
Comment: Managing Member of B&B Precision Builders, LLC — We recently launched a Recreational Vehicle and Small Structure manufacturing facility in Adams. We started by building Tiny Houses and RV’s but can also produce writer studios, sheds, gazebos, and other small structures. We are looking to meet like minded entrepreneurs in the Berkshires.
Name: Van Ellet
Comment: I am retired, and have an extensive background in heath policy and aging issues. I have been very involved in an array of public and private sector volunteer opportunities since moving to Williamstown six years age. Currently I serve as chair of the Williamstown Housing Committee (once the Affordable Housing Committee), the Affordable Housing Trust, Elder Services of Berkshire County, and co-chair the Age Friendly Communities Workgroup of Berkshire County. I am deeply involved in and concerned about the lack of suitable housing options available to individuals and families of all ages and incomes . . . Including those with moderate/middle incomes and seniors. As noted by Williamstown’s Economic Development Committee, the lack of housing is a significant contributor to some of the economic challenges facing both Williamstown and Berkshire County. The WHC just issued an RFP to study/document the extent of Williamstown’s housing needs, which will serve as the foundation for future policy development and decision making relating to housing. New thinking and collaborative efforts will be needed to address this major challenges confronting this area.
Name: Charles Bonenti
Comment: I am interested in these topics and in what can be done to advance the region economically while protecting its natural assets.
Name: Michael Bedford
Comment: Interested in discussion on how best to bring low-income residents into discussion.
Name: Sarah Sutro
Comment: How best to integrate higher paying jobs into an arts/tourist economy.
Name: Adrian Dunn
Comment: I am interested in hearing other people’s ideas and supporting this effort. I think northern Berkshire County should continue to develop as a center for the arts and also as a model for a green community with strong links to local agriculture. Addressing our waste in a greener way would be important. Developing fast broadband and supporting our local news media are also extremely important.
Name: Roger Lawrence
Comment: I am an architectural designer and lover of the outdoors. I have learned that both the built and natural environments we inhabit have a profound impact on the quality of human life. Having traveled widely and lived on other continents, I have observed how these criteria play out in a variety of cultures. A native of Williamstown, I have returned to spend the remainder of my life in this area and am interested in meeting with others who are also committed to living here for the long term. It is my hope that by acting together, we may help to guide the inevitable development lying ahead in a direction that provides the opportunity of future economic growth while asserting a strong mandate for valuing and preserving the extraordinary quality of our landscapes and townscapes.
Name: Diane M. Gallese-Parsons
Comment: A former city councilor, long-time educator, MCLA ret., early board member of the North Adams Community Development Corp. (now defunct), local cable contributor, I am interested in participating in the advancement of North Berkshire County and the cultural corridor. As a native, who has lived elsewhere, I am here by choice and possess a fair amount of area history. I am not afraid of change that is well planned and executed.
Name: Robert Kent, Adjunct Instructor, Political Science, Williams College
Comment: I encourage the Greylock Economy Working Group to be in touch with Peter Hirschberg, author of the “Maker City: A Practical Guide to Reinvention in American Cities.” (makercitybook.com). I teach a class each January at Williams. I’m hoping in the next few years to be able to move to Williamstown and open a dojo, and wouldn’t mind being part of a Maker Space project at the same time, putting my 20+ years in aerospace and robotics to good use — so I have every reason to want something like this to be successful. Hirschberg was just keynote speaker at an Aug. 7-9 conference in Burlington, Vt., the inaugural Maker Places Conference.
Name: Kathy Keeser
Comment: I have worked with the community and in particular to improve the outlook for the lower income portion of the population, especially in regards to housing, food insecurity, and workforce development. I will actually be unable to attend the meeting on August 11th due to our fundraiser, but would like to be part of the group in the future.
Name: Betty Vera
Comment: I am a visual artist and art educator. I would like to see economic opportunities develop for the many visual artists like myself who have settled in North Adams. There are world-class museums here, and opportunities for college interns, arts management students, and emerging artists–but no economic opportunities (such as galleries) exist for the mid-career artists who live here. And I would love to see lots of small businesses populating Main Street!
Name: Nancy Bullett
Comment: I am a city councilor and very involved in community efforts to improve the quality of living here. I am a native of North adams and I believe we are on the cusp of becoming something great!