Photo Gallery | Vijay Mahida named Business Person of the Year
STOCKBRIDGE — Friend, family man, valued community member, visionary.
All of those compliments and more came Vijay Mahida's way when the Berkshire lodging entrepreneur received the 2016 Business Person of the Year Award from the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce at a reception at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Mahida, who emigrated to the United States from his native India 22 years ago with a business degree from a small college and little else, owns Iriniula Management which manages the Hilton Garden Inn in Pittsfield and the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Great Barrington.
He is currently helping his brother open an event center and 100 suite hotel in Lenox, and working with his wife, Chrystal, to open an 88-room boutique hotel in Great Barrington at the former Searles School on Bridge Street.
Following the ceremony, Mahida said he planned to finish the Lenox project first before beginning work in Great Barrington.
"The Great Barrington one is very dear to the community," Mahida said. "Chrystal and I want to make sure we do it right."
Mahida was nominated for and received the award based on five criteria: personal qualities, managerial skills, leadership, vision and his contribution to the Southern Berkshires.
"A family man, dedicated community member and very successful business man," said Business Person of the Year Selection Committee member Kate McCormick.
"There are many reasons why he should be honored," she said. "Over the last year it was clear to me why Vijay was the only choice for 2016 Business Person of the Year."
In his remarks, Mahida thanked his parents for teaching him the importance of hard work, his wife and children for their support, his management team whom he referred to as "an extended family" and the award's seven previous winners — "role models," he said.
"There are so many people in this room who have helped me make what I want to accomplish possible," Mahida said. "This honor is not just about business. It is about community."
Mahida also thanked his adopted country — "I think God everyday that I am a citizen of the United States," — and the Literacy Network of the Southern Berkshires for helping his parents to become American citizens.
Besides McCormick, Mahida received compliments from Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce President Todd Mack, 2015 Business Person of the Year George Smith, 1Berkshire Executive Vice President Lauri Klefos, and State rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox.
Pignatelli presented Mahida with a citation signifying his honor from the state House of Representatives.
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.