Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce names Mary White Business Person of the Year
STOCKBRIDGE — Mary White has been a successful business owner, a staunch community advocate, and most importantly, a good friend to those who know her.
Her peers recognize those traits, too. The owner of Barnbrook Realty in Great Barrington, White formally received the 2017 Business Person of the Year Award from the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce during a reception on a rainy Wednesday night at the Norman Rockwell Museum. She is the ninth recipient of this annual award.
Interest in the event was so high and space in the venue so limited that the chamber spent the previous three days turning away many who expressed late interest in attending the event, said Executive Director Betsy Andrus.
"People love Mary," Andrus said.
In remarks before and during her acceptance speech, White said she was "shocked," "overwhelmed," "honored" and "humbled" to receive the award, which is based on a vote of the chamber's membership.
The criteria consist of personal qualities, managerial skills and contribution to the Southern Berkshires, which include policies and projects that have a positive impact on the community, and the business support of the community. Candidates are graded on a scale of 1 to 10. Members also provide a brief synopsis on why their candidate is worthy of the honor.
"This year there was lots of praise and lots of tens," said Dawn Stanyon, the chamber's membership and public relations chair.
Longtime friends Eugene Cleary and Wayne Eline, the owner of Les Trois Emme Vineyard & Winery in New Marlborough, both praised White for her service to the community. She also received a Senate proclamation from state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield.
"You are so deserving of this recognition and worthy of this award," said Eline, a former principal at Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield, who has known White for 50 years. "You are truly an inspiring human being."
Born in Ireland, White came to the United States in 1957. She met her late husband, John, while they were attending Northeastern University in Boston. The couple came to the Berkshires in 1960 to raise their family, which currently includes four children, two step children, and nine grandchildren.
She became a licensed real estate broker in 1984, the same year she purchased Barnbrook Realty from its original owners, Ed and Leila Landy. White, who served as president of the Berkshire County Board of Realtors in 1996 and 2001, moved Barnbrook from its former location on Stockbridge Road to its current location on Main Street 13 years ago. White has also previously served on the town of New Marlborough's Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.
"I'm honored, I guess," she said in a short interview before the reception took place. "I just never dreamed that I would be chosen."
During the acceptance speech, White thanked her business partner and daughter, Maureen, her grandson, Michael, who joined Barnbrook last year, and brother, Vinny, and all of her other siblings, who were all in attendance, for their help and support.
"I could not be here without you," she said. "I love this community and all the people here who make it so great."
Contact Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224
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