Business Briefs: General Dynamics donates to Berkshire Innovation Center; Berkshire Money Management, Eagle distribute school supplies; LitNet, Shaker Museum add to boards

Berkshire Innovation Center announces General Dynamics equipment donation

PITTSFIELD — In early 2021, with grant support from the Mass Development Collaborative Workspace program, the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) launched an Augmented/Virtual and Mixed Reality Simulation (Sim) Lab in a dedicated space at its Pittsfield, Massachusetts facility. The lab seeks to provide industry and academic partners the ability to explore and develop applications for skills assessment, employee training, student education, and applied research in augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies in areas including plastics molding, rapid prototyping, medical device manufacturing, safety training, additive manufacturing, robotics, construction, aerospace and defense engineering.

In further support of the project, General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) recently donated 15 brand-new Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite (1st Generation) mixed reality headsets, valued at $5,000 per set. These headsets are the first fully self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10. They are completely untethered — no wires, phones, or connection to a PC is needed. They allow you to place holograms in your physical environment, allowing a hands-free user experience.

AR, MR, and VR simulations have proven to help businesses operate in a more efficient, safe manner with less cost as it relates to machine maintenance and repair, product design and prototyping, virtual conferences and trade shows, facilities management, safety training, and step-by-step task guidance for training employees. The technology is also a way to engage students and expose them to the work of the future.

“The application of this technology was advancing quickly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pace has accelerated rapidly as more and more organizations turn to it to adapt and thrive. The lab, and this unbelievably generous donation from GDMS, will help bring this revolutionary technology to companies and educational partners in Berkshire County,” said BIC Executive Director Ben Sosne.


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Berkshire Money Management, Berkshire Eagle to distribute supplies to local students

DALTON — Berkshire Money Management is partnering with The Berkshire Eagle to distribute some 500 backpacks to local school-age students. On Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 3:30–6 p.m., families can pick up backpacks at the Eagle building (parking lot) on 74 South Church Street in Pittsfield, the BMM offices at 161 Main Street in Dalton, or the Family Resource Center of the Berkshires at 141 West Avenue in Great Barrington.

“We’re really excited to be able to do this for local students, especially after the year they’ve had,” says BMM Community Development Director Nichole Dupont. “I am totally amazed by the resiliency and adaptability of young people trying to learn and stay engaged during a global pandemic.”

Backpacks are first-come, first-served and will include pens and pencils, notebooks, crayons, safe scissors, highlighters, glue sticks, rulers, and other supplies. Distribution will be drive-through only to maintain social distancing. No registration is required.


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Literacy Network of South Berkshire adds Catheryn Chacon to board of directors

Catheryn Chacon
Catheryn Chacon. Photo courtesy LitNet

LEE — Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet) recently announced the election of Catheryn Chacon to its board of directors.

Originally from Colombia, Chacon came to the United States when she was 15 years old and settled with her family in Lee. She received her associate’s degree from Berkshire Community College, and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Chacon currently works at Ernst and Young as a tax accountant and serves on the board of Berkshire Community College, as well as the supervisory committee of Greylock Federal Credit Union. She is the co-founder of Latinas413, an organization that serves as a bridge to resources available in the county, and increases the representation of the voices, talents, and interests of Latinas across Berkshire County.

“I am honored to be part of an organization that is passionate about advocating for the immigrant community in the Berkshires,” Chacon said. “LitNet has done a great job over the years by listening and responding to evolving needs in the community. As an immigrant myself, I appreciate their work and commitment to transform lives by educating and providing the tools necessary to accomplish many immigrant dreams.”


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Shaker Museum names Matthew Malin to board of trustees

Matthew Malin
Matthew Malin. Photo courtesy Shake Museum

CHATHAM, N.Y. Shaker Museum recently appointed Matthew Malin to its board of trustees, which now has 17 members.

Malin, who has extensive experience launching and building retail brands, is joining the board during a pivotal time for the Museum. The cultural institution is currently developing a new facility, designed by Selldorf Architects, to permanently house and exhibit its collection in downtown Chatham, New York. The physical building will embody Shaker values of inclusion, innovation, and equality to create a museum that both tells the Shaker story and is responsive to the needs of the community.

Malin, who has had a home in Columbia County for more than 13 years, is the co-founder of the skincare company MALIN+GOETZ. Malin founded the company 17 years ago and served as its CEO for the first 13 years. During that time, the start-up business expanded from one New York City retail store into a global business. Today, MALIN+GOETZ operates 12 retail locations in cities including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Hong Kong, with strong international digital, amenity and wholesale businesses. He remains on the company’s board and provides strategic oversight.

Malin began his career with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City and then worked for Barneys New York. Malin was the Vice President of Global Sales for the beauty brand Kiehl’s for six years. In 2001, he moved to the fashion house Prada as part of a new beauty division before leaving to launch MALIN+GOETZ in 2004. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan.