Ben Sosne named new executive director of the Berkshire Innovation Center

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PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire Innovation Center has named a new executive director who will be tasked with operating the 20,000-square-foot workforce development center when it opens this year.

Ben Sosne, of Williamstown, replaces Scott Longley, who had been named executive director Oct. 1, a week after the official groundbreaking ceremony took place. Stephen Boyd, chairman and president of the BIC's nonprofit board, could not be reached for comment Friday. But in a statement, Boyd said Longley will remain part of the BIC's leadership team and will assist Sosne in his new role.

"Ben's leadership experience, advanced skill set and network will serve the organization well during the final phases of the facility's construction to its grand opening and beyond," Boyd said. "Ben's interest is proof that the BIC's momentum is getting noticed and starting to attract top talent from other respected organizations."

The BIC, a $13.8 million project that took 10 years to bring to fruition, is under construction and expected to open in the fall. It will include training facilities, biotech wet space, clean rooms, offices and event space to assist small and medium-size companies in the Berkshires.

The center, located in the William Stanley Business Park, is considered to be a key to the redevelopment of the mostly vacant 52-acre site.

Sosne, a Berkshire County native, previously served as general counsel and senior project manager for Thomas Krens' proposed Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum in North Adams. He holds a law degree from Pace University Law School, and is a member of the Massachusetts and New York bars.

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Sosne, a 1998 graduate of Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, returned to the Berkshires in 2015 with his family after working in both law and digital media in New York City for several years. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

In a statement, Sosne said he has been following the BIC's progress for several years. Although the BIC and the railroad museum "operate in different sectors," Sosne said, "there is a tremendous amount of overlap in terms of the technology employed and the overarching goals of serving as a catalyst for economic development."

He said that Krens had encouraged him to take the position with the BIC.

Longley, originally from West Springfield, has a 25-year background in supply chain management and manufacturing with companies like Hewlett-Packard, Apple and Sun Microsystems. He has worked in China and Thailand, and lived in Silicon Valley for eight years when he became the BIC's first executive director last fall. He also could not be reached for comment Friday.

Boyd thanked Longley for bringing the project this far.

"The BIC was fortunate to leverage the leadership of Scott Longley during the funding and early construction periods," Boyd said. "Scott's efforts supported the rapid transformation of the BIC from a concept to a growing organization set to manage a $14 million facility. Scott will remain a valued member of the team, leveraging his manufacturing and supply chain experience to further enhance BIC member services and development opportunities — and assisting Ben as he assumes his new role."

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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