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Mayor Linda Tyer welcomes Electro Magnetic Applications to Pittsfield.
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Mayor Linda Tyer welcomes EMA scientists Greg Wilson and Justin McKennon.

Space-Related Company Eyes BIC for Testing Center

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Justin McKennon, a electrical engineer with EMA, says the BIC is an ideal location for the company's testing center. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City officials are welcoming Electro Magnetic Applications Inc., which plans to move into the Berkshire Innovation Center.
"Yes I said it NASA here in Pittsfield," Mayor Linda Tyer said Thursday afternoon during a press conference held across the street from the under construction center.
The globally recognized company is a leader in technical consulting, software, and test services to promote safety and mission assurance in electromagnetic environments. It is negotiating with the center to house its new space environment test facility.
"What we are doing today is part of our continued efforts to energize the economy, build a stronger city for today and tomorrow," Tyer said. "Today's news is all about those efforts to create new jobs and locating new science and technology equipment right here in the city of Pittsfield."
Justin McKennon of EMA lives in Pittsfield and said he thought the city was a perfect location for this new testing branch.
"It is just an ideal location and it is nice to see — especially with how many people are out here today — just the general interest and how positive everyone here is," he said. "We are actually negotiating getting into the BIC and working on a program with them ... we are very excited with what we can bring to the table."
McKennon said the space industry is growing as is people's interest in going to space. Because of this, there needs to be "rigorous testing" to better understand the space environment. He said they have traveled all over the country and few sites have the capability to conduct the testing they want to bring to Pittsfield.  
Tyer said the city and its Red Carpet Team have been in contact with EMA for some time now and that they are prepared to bring an initial capital investment of $600,000 and six new jobs with average salaries of $60,000.
She added that the city also plans to help EMA "make roots" in Pittsfield and next week City Council will be asked to allocate $140,000 from the economic development fund to assist EMA in the purchase of its testing chamber. Council will also be asked to approve a tax increment financing package.
McKennon said if all goes well, they would like to up and running by the end of next year.
"We are not here to just create a few jobs we are going to build an empire and that is what we are here to do," he said. 
Business Development Manager Michael Coakley said the partnership is a "win, win, win" situation for EMA, Pittsfield, and the BIC. 
He talked about some of the secondary benefits of having EMA in the city limits and said because of the nature of EMA’s testing, its clientele are going to spend some time in Pittsfield.
"It is not just a few hours of testing these people will need their teams here for a week or two at a time," he said. "So they will be staying here in Pittsfield at our hotels and dining at our restaurants."  
BIC Executive Director Ben Sosne said he was happy to welcome EMA to the BIC, which is slated to open early next year, and said McKennon and his team will be role models.
"I have been continually impressed by the work that they do and their work ethic," he said. "These guys are relentless and they clearly have a passion for what they do and they are going to be role models for any young students that we bring through here."
Tyer looked further into the future and saw EMA as the catalyst of more like companies showing an interest in Pittsfield — possibly turning the city into a space industry hub. 
"Welcoming EMA and their cutting edge technology to our city is a milestone and momentous occasion for the people of our city," she said. "I am equally excited about the possibility of EMA becoming the first tenant of the Berkshire Innovation Center."


Tags: aerospace,   BIC,   

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Pittsfield Panel Continues Marijuana Zoning Restriction Decision

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

The Community Development Board is considering a zoning amendment that would eliminate outdoor marijuana growing from residential neighborhoods. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board continued a hearing giving it more time to consider a zoning amendment that would essentially eliminate outdoor marijuana cultivation in residential neighborhoods.
The board heard from City Planner CJ Hoss on Tuesday who spelled out different outdoor cultivation zoning scenarios and the board agreed to hold off on a decision allowing members to digest the information they heard for the first time that night.
"Then we can look at even more scenarios, look at different impacts, and see how this can be resolved," Chairwoman Sheila Irvin said. 
The proposed change comes from a petition sponsored by the City Council and Hoss went through a series of maps and scenarios that showed where cultivation would be eliminated with different minimum lot sizes, different set backs, and elimination from specific zones.
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