Downing's Next Step Is Solar Energy Firm

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Ben Downing will join a solar energy firm after leaving office.

BOSTON — Benjamin B. Downing, who has championed renewable energies during his 10 years in the state Senate, will join a solar energy company at the end of his term.

Nexamp Inc. announced on Monday that the Pittsfield Democrat, who did not stand for a sixth term, would be the solar contractor's new vice president of new market development.

"Ben's long history of public service will complement Nexamp's expert team of local development professionals," said Zaid Ashai, chief executive officer of Nexamp, in a statement. "He joins us at the most exciting juncture in our company's young history, and his ability to effectively communicate promising opportunities to diverse stakeholders will continue to be an immense asset in the private sector. We couldn't be happier to have Ben on the team."

Downing was Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy and has been considered instrumental in shaping state's solar and alternative energy policies. At Nexamp, he will focus on expanding the company's strategic development efforts across growing geographies and product lines. He also will lead the its entry into the energy storage market, guiding efforts to align and implement new technologies within existing and developing national policy frameworks.

During his time representing the 52 communities in the far western edge of the state, his leadership on clean energy and climate change earned him awards and recognition from industry groups, including the Northeast Clean Energy Council, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the Solar Energy Business Association of New England. He also helped to shepherd Massachusetts to a top-five national ranking in installed solar capacity.

"When I announced I would not seek re-election, I began looking for a business opportunity that would allow me to make a substantial impact on issues I am passionate about," Downing said in a statement. "I approached Nexamp with this goal and the company's reputation for excellence in mind. Where my previous role had me in the center of policy debates, this new position will have me as part of a team turning that policy into real change. I couldn't be more excited to begin helping Nexamp and the state of Massachusetts on their mission to solve climate change."

Nexamp, based in Boston, develops, owns and operates solar energy developments from project development, design and construction to financing and operations and maintenance.It has been named Clean Energy Company of the Year by the Northeast Clean Energy Council and Top 10 Solar Developer nationally for two straight years by Solar Power World. For more information, please visit

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Dalton on Search for New Fire Chief

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — Chris Cachat will continue as acting fire chief as the Board of Water Commissioners determines its next steps. 
Cachat, the assistant chief, stepped in three weeks ago when James Peltier was placed on administrative leave. Peltier was fired last week for what the commissioners said were personnel complaints and for overspending his budget.
Commission Chair James Driscoll said at Tuesday's meeting it could take the department a couple of weeks to a couple of months to find a replacement. 
Hiring from outside the department search could take longer. 
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