PITTSFIELD, Mass — The region's major economic agents formed 1Berkshire last spring to coordinate efforts. Now they're looking for a leader to turn paper goals into action.
The organization, a unified head for the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Berkshire Economic Development Corporation, the Berkshire Creative Economy Council and the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, has finished its fundraising and laying out its goals. Now to start making real impacts it needs someone to take the helm.
"This is going to be the leadership position for development and growth in the Berkshires," Paul Haklisch, current chief executive officer, said on Wednesday. "We're looking for a highly qualified executive."
Haklisch has led the organization's establishment as a volunteer. To finish the job, he needs to find his replacement. The coalition was announced in April and has been in the organizational phase for much of that time.
"My job is to help them take initiatives from paper and put them to action," Haklisch said.
Haklisch said he is not interested in taking it on full time.
The group has a list of projects to embark on, including advocating for low-impact cleanup of the Housatonic River, he said. Local officials, communities, environmental groups and agencies and GE are debating the best way to clean the river of PCBs dumped there by GE decades ago.
"Just because we haven't assumed a public profile, doesn't mean we haven't been doing anything," Haklisch said. "One of the big things we're doing is taking on a principal advocacy role for the Rest of the River Project."
The job posting on Berkshirejobs.com lists the position's responsibilities, which include facilitating the collaboration of the four major economic forces with federal, state and local public officials, serving as spokesman, executing fundraising efforts and general oversight of the group.
The nonprofit has set its objective to promote economic growth in the county while developing "the Berkshires" brand and is funded by both public and private sources.
In April, the group announced that it would be a one-stop point to answer questions for prospective businesses and hoped to have a toll-free telephone number and website. So far, they have a minimal website presence.
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