PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce has reached into the ranks of local municipal government to hire its new president and CEO.
Jonathan Butler, who has been Adams’ town administrator for the last five years, was officially named head of the chamber on Wednesday by Peter C. Stasiowski, the president of the organization’s board of directors.
The board had voted to hire the 32-year-old Butler on Friday, capping the search to replace former president and CEO Michael Supranowicz, who resigned in January to become the head of business development at Hillcrest Educational Centers. Supranowicz had served as the chamber’s president and CEO since October 2005.
Butler will assume his new duties with the Chamber on Tuesday, Sept. 2, the day after Labor Day. Stasiowski said the delay was established to allow Butler enough time to give the town of Adams official notice that he is resigning from his position and a sufficient amount of time for officials there to find his successor.
On May 14, Butler told the Adams Board of Selectman that he wouldn’t seek re-appointment for a second three-year term as town administrator when his current contract expired on July 1, 2015. Butler told the board then that he would provide the town with as much as two months notice if he left before his contract expired.
The chamber’s current interim president and CEO, June Roy-Martin, will remain in that position until Butler arrives in September.
A native of Cheshire, Butler is a 2000 graduate of Hoosac Valley High School. He doesn’t have the extensive background in the private business sector that Supranowicz had. But Butler said he made economic development a priority during his tenure in Adams. He has overseen improvements to the town’s commercial districts on Summer and Park streets.
Butler said his first professional job was with the state executive office of economic development. He also served as the legislative and policy director for state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, before coming to Adams.
"I’ve never made it any secret in Adams that my real passion was in development for the Berkshires," Butler said. "I come from an economic development background. After five years in Adams, we’ve had a lot of success. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve always seen this particular position as an opportunity to do a lot of things I care about and that I’m passionate about on a countywide scale.
"When I engaged in the process and heard from the chamber staff and other businesses, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me," he said.
Stasiowski said Butler’s lack of experience in the private business sector was debated internally before the board made a decision.
"But at the end of the day, Adams employs 120 people and he has 12 senior managers that report to him," Stasiowski said. "Even though Adams is a municipality and not a business, he’s had to face the decisions that any business owner would. He’s had to hire and fire people, make a case for investments and improvements. It’s similar to running a business."
With the seemingly constant migration of twenty- and thirtysomething professionals from the Berkshires, Stasiowski said the Chamber believes it’s important to retain as many of the county’s young leaders as possible.
"We’re not hiring him because we’re afraid he’s going to leave," Stasiowski said, "but we really think that’s a priority in Berkshire County. We need to keep some of these folks. Jonathan not only understands that -- he’s the embodiment of that to me."
The Chamber initially had 26 applicants for the positions, which were whittled down to 11, Stasiowski said. Following interviews, some of them conducted via Skype, the board selected four finalists including Butler. Two of the finalists were from the Berkshires, and two were from outside the area, he said.
"We were pursuing each of the four on different but parallel timelines," Stasiowski said.
By virtue of his position with the Chamber, Supranowicz also served as the chief operating officer of 1Berkshire, the county’s leading economic development organization. Stasiowski said Butler’s position within 1Berkshire has yet to be defined.
"We’re not clear just what Jonathan’s role in 1Berkshire will be just yet," said Stasiowski, who is also a member of 1Berkshire’s board.
Butler holds a bachelor’s in history from Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire and is currently a candidate for master’s degrees in public administration and political science at Suffolk University.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
or (413) 496-6224.