BUSINESS BRIEFS: Greylock Investment Group opens office; Scott Fujioka joins Berkshire HorseWorks; Seward’s Tire joins City Tire; BCC to participate in space flight; Ventfort Hall receives CFF grant; NBT Bank contributes to CHP Berkshires; 1Berkshire winter cohorts; BCHS annual meeting; COVID relief for non-profits


Greylock Investment Group opens North Adams office

North Adams— Greylock Investment Group has opened an office at 131 Ashland Street in North Adams, further deepening its engagement with North County residents.

Marissa Kirchner, LPL Financial Advisor. Photo courtesy of Greylock Investment Group.

The office is staffed by Marissa Kirchner, an LPL Financial Advisor who holds both her Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses through LPL Financial.

“Marissa has been an incredibly valuable member of the Greylock team for almost two decades. I couldn’t be more excited to have her on our team, to help us better serve our members, especially those in North County,” said Fazio.

Marissa serves on the Board of Directors for Northern Berkshire United Way and Berkshire Family and Individual Resources (BFAIR).  Before joining Greylock Investment Group, Marissa worked at Greylock Federal Credit Union for over 17 years in the branch and retail division as the assistant vice president of member service operations. While at Greylock Federal, she worked with the branch retail team, creating efficiencies within the member service areas and major projects including mergers with other Credit Unions.

“North County, and all of the communities in this area are such great places to be, they always have been,” said Kirchner. “I grew up in Adams, went to school here, and it feels right to work here again. I want people to know they shouldn’t wonder if they should have a financial advisor. If they are wondering, they should call me, and we can figure it out together.” The office is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or can be reached by calling 413-749-8001.

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City National Bank SVP, Scott Fujioka joins Berkshire HorseWorks Board Of Directors 

Richmond— Berkshire HorseWorks, Inc., has named Scott Fujioka to its Board of Directors. Fujioka will parlay his financial expertise into helping BHW with grant writing and strategic planning, as the nonprofit enters its 10th anniversary year.

Berkshire HorseWorks Board Of Director, Scott Fujioka.

Scott Fujioka has served for 26 years as SVP/Relationship Manager in City National Bank’s Entertainment Division in Los Angeles. Recently retired, his portfolio while at CNB comprised individuals and companies engaged in the Entertainment industry including actors/actresses, writers, directors, and producers in both television and feature film, business management firms, commercial production companies, talent agencies, and entertainment law firms.

“I’ve been tracking BHW and its progress over the last 10 years. Now retired, I wanted to transition from supporting simply through donations to taking a more active strategic role in its growth,” stated Fujioka.

“I’ve known Scott for over 30 years as he managed all aspects of my communications firm’s assets. His reputation, kindness, and loyalty are unparalleled. We are so appreciative. He has been a supporter for years,” Sumner stated.

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Seward’s Tire to join City Tire and Auto Centers family

Great Barrington— Seward’s Tire, a 50-year-old family-owned business located in Great Barrington, has become part of the City Tire and Auto Centers (City Tire) family. Founded in 1927, City Tire is also family-owned and already has a location nearby in Pittsfield. The Seward’s name will be retained.

Paul Dumont and Matt Buffoni of Seward’s Tire.

According to Manager Matt Buffoni, not much will change, “Other than seeing a few new faces, customers will not see any difference in quality of service.” Buffoni is a 20-year employee of City Tire and had previously been assistant manager of City Tire’s Pittsfield Store. He also announced that the store will now have Saturday hours from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

Paul Dumont, a Seward’s Tire veteran who has been promoted to Assistant Manager, the reputation for high-quality service will remain, “When anyone posts on the community board in Great Barrington about where to go with tire questions, the response is always to go to Seward’s Tire.”

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Berkshire Community College to participate in space flight experiment 

Pittsfield— Berkshire Community College (BCC) has been selected by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP)’s Mission 18 to participate in a microgravity research experiment headed to the International Space Station (ISS).

The SSEP Mission 18 program is supported through a grant from the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium (MASGC) and the BCC Foundation, a non-profit corporation established to encourage and receive gifts in support of the mission of the College. The Foundation has pledged $19,000 to help fund the project.

BCC President, Ellen Kennedy.

“BCC heartily supports STEM programs like this one, which puts the College at the forefront of scientific experimentation and innovation,” said BCC President Ellen Kennedy. “We are so excited to see what the final project is, and to witness it launch into space. We are grateful to the Commonwealth and to the BCC Foundation for their support of this exciting program.”

Experiments will be sent to the ISS via private launch company SpaceX’s Dragon 2 spacecraft, which will be launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket during a cargo supply mission. When the automated rocket reaches the ISS, astronauts will unload a payload box containing student microgravity experiments. The astronauts will follow instructions on how to operate each of these experiments and then send the experiments back down to Earth, where students will compare the results to the control version operated in full gravity.

Each school selected for the project is known as an “SSEP community.” One student-designed experiment in each SSEP community is selected to fly to the ISS. BCC students involved in the project are currently submitting final proposals to a BCC review board, which will review them and choose up to three experiments. The top selections will be sent to SSEP, which will conduct the SSEP National Step 2 Review Board. This board will select the flight experiment from each participating community.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch is planned for spring or summer 2024. SSEP students and their families, teachers and community stakeholders will be given the opportunity to attend the launch in person.

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Ventfort Hall receives Cultural Facilities Fund grant

Lenox— MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council, two state agencies that jointly administer the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) recently approved a $149,000 CFF grant to the Ventfort Hall Association.

Accelerating deterioration of some of the mansion’s key structural elements now require immediate attention. This grant will be used for our highest priority structural restoration: rebuilding and restoring the four chimneys on the east and west sides of the roof ridge.

Ventfort roof, four chimney view.

Since rescuing it from destruction in 1997, the Ventfort Hall Association has maintained and continued to restore this landmark estate, a magnificent example of early 20th century architecture and a museum dedicated to the history of the Gilded Age, a significant period in the history of Lenox.

The CFF provides capital and planning grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities and sciences.

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NBT Bank contributes $75,000 to CHP Berkshires to support dental services

Great Barrington— NBT Bank has delivered a generous contribution of $75,000 to CHP Berkshires.

“We are so grateful to NBT bank for this generous gift, which will make a significant impact on CHP’s dental expansion and other essential services in the Berkshires,” said Carrie Barth, CHP senior director of grants and philanthropy.

NBT Bank.

Kapetanopoulos urged CHP to direct the funds to programs that will make the most impact in serving more than 30,000 Berkshire region residents. Much of which will help support CHP’s growing dental care services in the Berkshires, and other initiatives.

“This is a significant business alliance for us, and a mark of impressive community leadership by NBT,” said Bethany Kieley, CHP’s chief executive officer. “We are fortunate indeed to receive such an impactful gift, and our patients and clients will benefit.”

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1Berkshire announces winter technical assistance cohorts 

Berkshire— 1Berkshire, thanks to support from a USDA Small Business Development Grant, is excited to announce the launch of their Winter 2023 Technical Assistance Cohorts as a continuation of the Berkshire Economic Recovery Project. 

Through a highly-successful series of over two years of cohorts since 2021, the Berkshire Economic Recovery Program Technical Assistance series has been able to support more than 90 businesses through targeted training offerings, resulting in notable business improvements, and quantified by the over $1,000,000 in funding collectively accessed by businesses through their participation. Going into the winter of 2023, the series continues with two cohorts and two workshops, “Social Media and Digital Marketing Basics” on December 6th with Francesca Olsen and “Jumpstarting Your Crowdfunding Campaign” on January 16th with Laura Christensen. 

1Berkshire.

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: https://1berkshire.com/1berkshire-programs/berkshire-economic-recovery-project-technical-assistance-program/.

For more information, or for additional inquiries, please contact the 1Berkshire Economic Development Team at EconomicDev@1berkshire.com. 

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Berkshire County Historical Society annual meeting 

Pittsfield— On December 14th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Berkshire County Historical Society hosts their annual meeting at the historic Country Club of Pittsfield. The meeting will include an overview of 2023 BCHS activities by Executive Director Lesley Herzberg as well as election of directors and officers for 2024. 

Historic Country Club of Pittsfield. Image courtesy of BCHS.

The meeting from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. is free and open to the public with no reservations required. A reception will follow the meeting from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Hot and cold appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available. The cost to attend the reception is $30 per person and reservations are required. Register online by using the “BOOK NOW” button at berkshirehistory.org.

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FEMA awards nearly $37M to Massachusetts for COVID administrative costs

Massachusetts— The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending almost $37 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reimburse it for some of the administrative costs incurred responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will receive a total of $36,547,871 in federal funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance grant program to reimburse the cost of administering grants FEMA provided to the commonwealth for such expenses as COVID vaccinations and testing, non-congregate sheltering, and providing meals to vulnerable populations. Those to be reimbursed include state, county, and municipal governments, as well as eligible non-profit businesses and tribal entities.

Additional information about FEMA’s Public Assistance program is available at https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit. To learn more about the COVID-19 response in Massachusetts, please visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4496.



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