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Chamber Celebrates Year of Saying 'Yes' To Capital Investments
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:34PM / Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Incoming Board of Directors Chairman Peter Stasiowski said he will lead with optimism, creativity and resilience.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — While some across the country were saying no to investments, Berkshire County said, "yes" in the form of $340 million in the last year.

Berkshire Chamber of Commerce President Michael Supranowicz highlighted a number of investments as ways chamber members "made more than lemonade" when the economy gave us lemons.

"There are very, very, very few communities in the United State right now our size that have more than $340 million worth of investments under way," Supranowicz said at the chamber's annual meeting Wednesday morning at the Crowne Plaza. "We did it here because we know how to make more than lemonade."

Supranowicz said that to dig the county out of the recession —  and he believes the county is coming out of it — was to have businesses and leaders build the future economy.

"The best time to invest in your region and your business is the worst time in your economy," Supranowicz said.

Incoming Board Chairman Peter Stasiowski, director of communications for Interprint, said he understands how easy it is for businesses and organizations to say "no" to capital projects.

"There are those who said 'no' for no other reason than it was so easy to say no," Stasiowski said of those who have negative opinions on an array of economic possibilities. "Economic development requires optimism. Economic development requires the ability to say 'yes.' Chamber members who said yes do offer affordable health insurance. Chamber member who say yes do invest in the William Stanley Business Park. Chamber members who say yes do find partners [at GlobalFoundries] over there in Malta, N.Y. When people say yes, old factories become museums and downtowns come roaring back."

Stasiowski has been waiting in the wings to take over from outgoing Chairman Jerry Burke. He said he'll lead on the economic principals of creativity, resilience and optimism to help the county thrive.

Burke, who has been in Pittsfield for 27 years, said heading the chamber's board was a learning experience for even him. Stasiowski is going to have late nights and have to keep track of a lot of groups, as he's already been exposed to as chair-elect, but overall, it'll be an enjoyable experience, Burke said.

"The chamber is one busy place," Burke said.

The board later honored Stephen Crowe with the Francis H. Hayden Award and Eugene Dellea with the Esther Quinn Award.

In other business, chamber members elected the following for three-year terms on the board of directors: Stasiowski; Robert Chapman of The Berkshire Eagle; Michael Coakley of Winstanley Partners; Danielle Gonzalez of Williams College; Ellen Kennedy of Berkshire Community College; Bart Raser of Carr Hardware; Denise Richardello of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts; Bryon Sherman of Smith, Watson and Co.; John Tulloch of Western Massachusetts Electric Co.; and Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant of Multicultural Bridge.

Chamber members elected to one-year terms are: Dellea of Hillcrest; Brad Felix of Greylock Federal Credit Union; Riad Maher of MRA Laboratories; Mark McKenna of Lee Bank; Norma Probst of Cranwell; and Karen Zink of Berkshire Gas Co.

Members elected the following officers: Stasiowski as chairman; Linda Gaspardi, chairman-elect; William Wheelock Jr., treasurer; Chop Moore, assistant treasurer; Vicki Donahue, clerk; and Council Vice Chairmen Larry Hazzard, John Martin Jr., Sue Seely and Christa Proper.

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