Innovation in the Berkshires - 2022 Virtual Lecture Series

The Berkshires of western Massachusetts have been a center of technological innovation since the 19th century: from early adaptation of new technologies in the textile and paper industries to the groundbreaking innovations of Stanley Electric and GE in the 20th Century.  Berkshire-based firms are among the global and national leaders in new technologies in clean energy, the life sciences, security and defense, and the creative arts. In this series, leaders in innovative firms in each of these sectors will share insights into their businesses. The stories of today’s innovators will be prefaced by the history of Berkshire-based innovation and the final program will explain the essential elements of a tech economy ecosystem that will nurture growth of these firms and expansion of tech-enabled firms in the Berkshires.

Presented by OLLI at Berkshire Community College, 1Berkshire, and Berkshire Innovation Center

2022 Lecture Series Schedule

October 12
at 5 p.m.

History of Tech Innovation in the Berkshires

The Berkshires has a rich history of tech innovation. This lecture will walk us through that history and set a foundation for the rest of the lecture series.

Speaker: Evan Hickok, Operations Manager at General Dynamics Mission Systems


October 19
at 5 p.m.

A Low-Carbon Energy Industry is Coming - What Does That Mean for the Berkshires?

Climate mitigation and greenhouse gas reduction are a major societal focus. This lecture focuses on what firms in the Berkshires are doing to face these challenges in the areas of wind, solar, and electric transportation.

Panelists include: Pat Quinlan, co-founder of SolaBlock Inc. and Black Island Wind Turbines; Tyler Fairbank, CEO of The Fairbank Group, LLC and President of Jiminy Peak; and Dave Lewis, Founder & CEO of MoveEV. Moderated by Tom Michelman, Senior Director and Distributed Energy Resources practice area lead at Sustainable Energy Advantage


October 26
at 5 p.m.

Aerospace and Defense

This lecture will look at the size and scope of the aerospace and defense sector both at the state level and local to this region, and in addition how we are staying competitive and where growth will occur in the next decade.

Panelists include: Christine Nolan, Director of Mass Tech’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing; Brenda Burdick, Director, Strategic Communications at General Dynamics Mission System; Justin McKennon, Principal Scientist at Electro Magnetic Applications; Chris Babadelis; Marketing Manager and Producer at United Aircraft Technologies; Tim Butterworth, Operations Manager, the Berkshire Innovation Center will moderate.


November 2
at 5 p.m.

Life Sciences

Massachusetts is a global leader in the biotech and life sciences sector.
This lecture will be an overview of the sector's growth, the effect the pandemic has had, and what careers are and will be in demand.

Panelists include: Jeanne LeClair, Senior Director of Business Development & Workforce Partnerships; Linnea Koons, Director of Marketing at Boyd Biomedical; and Thorsten Scott, General Manager of Spectrum Plastics in Pittsfield.


November 9
at 5 p.m.

Creative Economy

A stimulating discussion by organizations in the arts arena that are using technology in the creative process including exhibitions, production, learning, and interpretation. Learn about how tech is enabling our creative ecosystem. Hear leading organizations discuss how they are using technology now, and speak to emergent trends/impacts of tech applications driving their mission and contributing to the cultural and economic vitality across the Berkshire region.

Panelists include: Jenny Wright, Director Of Strategic Communications and Advancement at MASS MoCA; Diane Pearlman, Executive Director, Berkshire Film and Media Arts Collaborative; and Jared Fine, Chief Marketing Officer, Jacob's Pillow. Moderator: Dennis Rebelo, Chief Learning Officer, Berkshire Innovation Center.


November 16
at 5 p.m

Growing the Tech Economy in the Berkshires

Building on our innovative tech history, learn about the current state of our regional tech ecosystem and how we will be moving forward.

Panelists are: Ben Lamb, Director of Economic Development, 1Berkshire; Ben Sosne, Executive Director, Berkshire Innovation Center; and Bob Braddick, Advisor


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