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The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Business Persons of the Year are Gary Happ and Andrew Mankin of Barrington Brewery.

Southern Berkshire Chamber Names Business Persons of the Year

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Business Persons of the Year are Gary Happ and Andrew Mankin of Barrington Brewery.

The SBCC Nomination Committee received nominations in May from the business community and residents. After an extensive review by the Nomination Committee, they presented this year's nomination finalist to the SBCC board. Happ and Mankin received a unanimous vote.

A celebration will take place at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this event are available through the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce business office, 40 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, by phone at 413-528-4284, on the SB Chamber website event page or by email.

Mankin was raised in Kent, Conn. He started his career at the Kent and Dover Plains Waters Companies. He began home brewing in 1982. He developed his interest in brewing through an internship at Vaux Brewery in Northern England in 1988, contributing to his style of traditional English ales, Czech and German lagers. He moved to Great Barrington in 1990, and 20 Railroad was the local pub.

Happ was born and raised in Oceanside on Long Island, N.Y. He was introduced to catering and the service industry at the young age of 13. In 1973, he had his first taste of the Berkshires when he attended a concert at the Music Inn. He returned to the Berkshires two years later to take a job at Kolburne School but soon realized that wasn't for him. In 1977, at the age of 27, he opened 20 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, well known as the local pub.

In 1995 the two decided to go into business together. Using Happ's restaurant knowledge and Mankin's brewing knowledge, they opened Barrington Brewery. From the beginning they have emphasized local products, and environmentally responsible conditions and materials, and were always smoke free. They built the first brewery solar hot water system in the Northeast. In 2007, seeing a need in the community, they opened Crissey Farm Banquet Facility, which included the solar hot water system. In 2015 they bought two adjacent acres and designed a 144 KW solar-electric photovoltaic array, which supplies 85 percent of the business's electricity needs.

"We are so fortunate to have so many community-minded, environmentally conscious, forward-thinking businesspeople in the southern Berkshires," said Betsy Andrus, executive director for the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce. "Choosing Andrew and Gary as this year's honorees was a no-brainer; they are both ingrained in the Southern Berkshires. They have invested in their business by using local products, brew on-site and very supportive of their staff. They have invested in our community by creating Crissey Farm Banquet Facility, so we have nice place for family, community and corporate events, and they have invested in our environment by creating the first brewery solar hot water system and a solar field to run their operation. 2020 will be their 25th anniversary, not an easy thing to accomplish."

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Berkshire Workforce Board Hires Second Career Readiness Coordinator

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Responsible for overseeing employment and training services in the region, the MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board recently hired a South County career readiness coordinator; a position that is funded by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Ruthann Eagen will be responsible for assisting the Berkshire Workforce Board youth director with coordinating strategies to further enhance career readiness systems and programming within the public school systems in Southern Berkshire County. She will also assist with the development of a South County College and Career Advisory Team and individual school district teams with the goal for every student to graduate with a completed college and career plan.  

As a youth, Eagen was a member of the Nassau County Law Enforcement Career Exploring Program through the Nassau County Police Department in Long Island, N.Y., and as an adult volunteered for the same program. She looks forward to bringing her career exploring experience to her new role.

Eagen was previously the senior district executive for the Appalachian Trail District of the Western Massachusetts Council, Boy Scouts of America. She received her masters of science in human services and leadership in 2017 from Saint Joseph's College, Patchogue, N.Y., and her bachelor's of science in criminology in 2014 from State University of New York (SUNY) Old Westbury.  She also holds a business administration certificate from Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.

Eagen can be reached at 413-442-7177, ext. 144, or by email.

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