As Chamber CEO, Butler Looks To Bring A Young Workforce To Berkshires
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce has named a new president and CEO.
Jonathan Butler will take over for interim president June Roy-Martin the day after Labor Day. Butler will leave his post as Adams town administrator, where he’s served since 2009, at the end of August.
“A lot of the challenges that we have revolve around workforce development; maybe better alignment with our universities; MCLA, Williams College and BCC,” Butler said. “In addition to that just continuing to carve a direction for ourselves economically and with business development that can attract more and more people post-college, in their 20s, in their 30s back to the Berkshires or attract new people to the Berkshires. The key there is development of positions that pay in the pay range where we can better diversify what we have here in the Berkshires and grow jobs that will help us stabilize our population.”
Former Chamber president Michael Supranowicz left in January for a position with Hillcrest Educational Centers. Butler is a native of Cheshire and a 2000 graduate of Hoosac Valley High School. Currently a candidate for both a Masters of Public Administration and Masters of Science in Political Science at Suffolk University, Butler says his interest has always been economic development.
“As town administrator I spend as many hours as I can trying to work on redevelopment of the downtown and work toward the vision in Adams,” he said. “I’ve always had this particular position in my mind if at some point in my career it were to become available it would nice next step to actually take that which I’m passionate about which is economic development and growth in the Berkshires and be able to work on it on a countywide scale.”
Twenty-six candidates applied for the Chamber position. Peter Stasiowski chairs the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce which serves 1,000 business members. Stasiowski says Butler, at 32 years old, knows what draws young people to an area and what keeps them there once they arrive.
“He understands that part of the Chamber’s goal is to attract and retain this young talent because we’ll need the next generation of leadership,” Stasiowski said. “Not only does he understand that for the Chamber, but he understands that for Berkshire County. Not only does he understand that, he embodies that. He’s one of these people who have been willing to invest in himself through education and he’s embraced leadership and responsibility. These are the kind of things that we feel that young people in Berkshire County can see that and understand that there is opportunity here.”
Butler served as a legislative and policy director for Democratic State Senator Ben Downing of Pittsfield before taking the job in Adams. Butler says he is most proud of the positive and open attitude shift amongst the people in Adams, something he doesn’t take credit for.
“In the last five years we’ve really aligned in a way where we can take the big chances in Adams,” Butler said. “We can go after the Berkshire Scenic Rail and try to bring it to North County. We can go after big grants for the Greylock Glen and be competitive and move that project forward. We can think outside the box in balancing our budget and writing smarter budgets that are more right size to our needs today and they are able to accommodate the things that we need to be doing for a changing Adams.”
In May, Butler announced he would not be seeking reappointment next summer for another term as Adams town administrator. The town will appoint a department head on an interim basis to shadow Butler as he wraps up his duties this summer. A seven-person search committee is being formed to find a permanent replacement with a goal of early 2015.