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New North Adams Taxi Service Begins Operations

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff

Guy Cariddi demonstrates how the driver can use the tablet to communicate with the dispatcher and use other features, including GPS.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A new taxi service began operations Thursday morning.

Guy Cariddi's Tunnel City Taxi received three city taxi cab licenses on Tuesday after months of planning and hit the road Thursday.

"It's taken a few months to put the program together," Cariddi, who also owns Cariddi's Autos on Curran Highway, said on the company's first day. "We didn't rush into it, we wanted to make sure we had all the latest and greatest as far as computer programming goes."
 
Cariddi said each of his three taxis — a 2003 Ford Windstar, a 2004 red Ford Free Star and a 2000 white Jeep Cherokee — are equipped with a tablet and GPS that are connected to a dispatcher. The dispatcher can quickly locate the closest cab to send out and can monitor each trip.

In addition, the driver can use a touchscreen to communicate with the dispatcher and a program will map out the route and determine the price prior to the ride.

Cariddi said the progression from Tunnel City Transport, which has run as a livery service in North Adams for about three years in conjunction with the BerkshireRides Program, felt that this next step was "a natural next progression."
 

Cariddi stands next to the 2003 Ford Windstar.
"Our goal is just to provide good quality service that people can rely on," Cariddi said.
 
This service, in addition to the taxis, now expands with trips as far out to Albany, N.Y., and Bradley international airports, as well as both the Springfield and Albany train stations and other local transportation centers.
 
Cariddi said the next move for the business is to upgrade its payment service to include debit and credit cards.
 
Tunnel City Taxi is available for on-call service from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily, with day-advance car reservation service from 4 a.m. through midnight and then 7 p.m. until midnight, and can be reached at 413-663-8294 (663-TAXI).
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Greylock Federal Moving Into Former ToyWorks Space

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union has signed a long-term lease for the former ToyWorks building in the Allendale Shopping Center. 

Officials say the 18,000-square-foot space will enable Greylock to bring together credit union operations functions and provide convenient access for Greylock Insurance Agency customers. 

Renovations are under way and credit union officials expect to move several teams to the location later this year.

"This location solves our long-standing need to consolidate numerous operations functions," said Greylock President Marilyn Sperling. "We have looked at more than a dozen locations and were pleased to obtain lease terms in Allendale that will actually decrease our real estate expenses while accommodating the long-term growth of the credit union."

The company's doubled its staff and tripled its assets since moving in 1998 into its 20,000 square-foot headquarters, a location expected to accommodate 20 years of growth. Sperling said the building was completely filled by 2004.

The end space on the L-shaped shopping center has been leased sporadically since the closure of KB ToyWorks and the company's liquidation several years ago. The KB headquarters on West Street next to the credit union was recently purchased by Laurin Publishing.

As the credit union has grown over the last 15 years, operational personnel have been scattered in three locations throughout Pittsfield, said Sperling. "When the moves are complete, we will have a larger footprint with greater efficiency and lower costs."

The Allendale site will also become a new central sales and processing site for Greylock Insurance Agency, providing a more convenient location for members in Cheshire, Dalton and other towns.

In addition to the insurance presence, Greylock plans to move the following functions and departments to the Allendale space, representing about 75 employees in total:
  • Deposit & Loan Operations
  • Call Center
  • Electronic Services
  • Marketing
  • Learning Center
The credit union as 245 employees and $1.2 billion in assets.
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Summer Adds Seasonal Jobs Statewide in June

BOSTON — The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development on Tuesday reported that the June 2012 seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates were down in the Barnstable, Fall River, Nantucket and Tisbury areas; unchanged in the Pittsfield area; and up in the other seventeen areas over the month. Over the year, the rates are down in all 22 labor areas.
 
The Pittsfield metro area saw the addition of 300 jobs over May; both the North Adams and Great Barrington labor market areas also saw a jump in seasonal jobs.

In June 2012, over-the-month job gains occurred in eight of the 12 areas that estimates are published because of seasonal increases. The largest gains occurred in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Barnstable (Cape Cod), Worcester, and Springfield areas.

Statewide, the June seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, up 0.5 of a percentage point from 5.8 percent recorded in May. Over the year, the statewide unadjusted rate was down 1.3 percentage points from the June 2011 unadjusted rate of 7.6 percent.
 
The seasonally unadjusted rate for Pittsfield is 6.2 percent, down from 7.4 percent in June 2011. North Adams is 7 percent, down from 8.7 in June 2011 but still up a half-point from May; Great Barrington's rate is 4.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent in June 2011.

Over the year, 11 of the 12 areas for which estimates are published added jobs with the largest percentage gains in the Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Peabody, and Boston-Cambridge-Quincy areas.
 
The seasonally adjusted statewide June unemployment rate, released on July 19, remained unchanged over the month at 6.0 percent, and down 1.4 percentage points from the 7.4 percent rate recorded in June 2011. The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate showed a 2,600 job loss over the month.
 
Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi.
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Lenox Softworks Hires Vice President


Cheryl Lewis will take over as vice president of Lenox Softworks.
LENOX, Mass. — Cheryl Lewis of Rensselaer, N.Y., signed on to lead Lenox Softworks, the educational technology and training arm of Winstanley Partners, as its vice president.
 
Winstanley Partners, a marketing communications agency founded in 1986, and its sister company Lenox Softworks, a Web and software development firm founded in 1994, began functioning as one entity in 2010. Lenox Softworks/LSW now refers to a stand-alone brand and operating unit focused primarily on educational technology and training software products and services.
 
In her new position, Lewis will be responsible for expanding the professional education and adult training business. This division assists organizations of all types and sizes expand and refine their knowledge bases.
 
"I hope to help LSW cultivate its strengths in adult education, particularly in the areas of energy conservation, best building practices, health, and other sciences through digital media and other electronic delivery methods," Lewis said. "In addition, we will strive to provide state-of-the-art, hands-on training as well as professional seminars to various markets."
 
Lewis added that LSW's relationship with its sister company Winstanley Partners strengthens the companies' focus on providing all-inclusive business solutions, from concepting to training to marketing support and delivery.
 
"We believe we will be most successful in informing the public and other entities that this dynamic training exists, thus ensuring learners are ‘in the seats’— whether they be virtual seats or real ones."
 
Lewis brings years of experience in the areas of operations management, marketing, convention and trade-show planning, and both traditional and online publishing. Prior to taking on her new position, she worked as an executive project manager with Building Media Inc., a leading provider of online training programs for the construction community and a wholly owned DuPont subsidiary. She also serves as president of her own consulting company, Cheryl Lewis & Associates, focused on meeting and event planning, advertising sales, trade show production, and educational program creation. A 10-year stretch in marketing with General Electric and positions with associations such as the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs and Northeastern Retail Lumber Association round out Lewis' career history.
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MountainOne's Crowe Announces Retirement


Stephen G. Crowe will retire as CEO of the MountainOne holding company on Dec. 31.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Stephen G. Crowe, president and chief executive officer of MountainOne Financial Partners, has announced the latest step in a management succession process he and the Board of Trustees embarked on in Sept. 2011.

According to the plan, Crowe will retire from MountainOne effective Dec. 31, 2012, and an announcement regarding the next leader for MountainOne is expected in the coming weeks. Crowe will remain with the organization following his retirement, serving as a Trustee of MountainOne and a director of Hoosac Bank.
 
Dan Bosley, chairman of the MountainOne Board of Trustees, said: "Steve began as CEO of Williamstown Savings Bank and he will soon retire as CEO of the MountainOne holding company that now includes Williamstown Savings as one of its subsidiaries. Steve's conception and development of MountainOne Financial Partners was a monumental undertaking, and few understand the countless regulatory hurdles he worked through over the course of several years in order to make this new and innovative company a reality. He is leaving very big shoes to fill."
 
"I consider the creation of MountainOne Financial Partners to be the pinnacle of my banking career, and I am proud that I was able to serve as the company's CEO for 10 years," Crowe said. "I look forward to my continued service as a Trustee of the company. And, I plan to continue my active role in national banking concerns, so that I can advocate for local community banks like ours."
 
When Crowe joined Williamstown Savings Bank as CEO in 1994, the bank had $65 million in assets. Today, the banks of the MountainOne holding company have combined assets of over $850 million. The market share for the banks in the communities they serve has also increased steadily during this same time period.
 
Crowe's 30-plus years of banking have been marked by innovation and a pioneering spirit. Upon joining Williamstown Savings Bank, he promptly put in place the well-received and successful Community Dividend Program. The CDP allows customers of the bank to annually select their favorite local charitable organization from a voting ballot. Funds are granted to each organization listed on the ballot based on the percentage of votes they receive. Williamstown Savings was the first bank in Massachusetts to establish such a guaranteed giving program. Since CDP voting first began in 1996, the program has awarded well over $1,000,000 to nearly 70 organizations that directly benefit local community residents.
 
Crowe's greatest achievement during his banking career was the development and implementation of the MountainOne Financial Partners holding company concept. The launch of MountainOne in 2002 created the first three-bank mutual holding company in the United States. The holding company concept allowed each subsidiary to maintain its own established name, offices, and management team, but also allowed the companies to pool resources and share common, and often burdensome, expenses such as technology and compliance. In 2002, the unusual MountainOne holding company concept was featured in Banker & Tradesman and in 2006, MountainOne was included in a Community Banker magazine article titled, "Innovative Mutual Institutions."
 
A Certified Public Accountant, Crowe's resume includes a host of national and community board leadership positions. He currently serves as treasurer of the American Bankers Association and also serves on the Board of Directors for the ABA's Education Foundation.
 
In the local community, Crowe serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and serves on the Boards of the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Savings Bank Life Insurance Company, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. He is also past-chairman of Northern Berkshire Health Systems and formerly served on the Boards of the Depositor's Insurance Fund, the Savings Bank Employees Retirement Association, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, and Pine Cobble School.
 
In 2009, Crowe was honored with the Faith R. Scarborough Award by the town of Williamstown. This Community Service Award is presented annually at the town meeting to a recipient chosen on the basis of "demonstrated integrity, excellence and dedication in community service." Crowe lives in Williamstown with his wife, Linda, and has two children. 
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