About the Board of Directors

Elizabeth Rosenberg
Recently retired, I was Director of a Municipal Library for 23 years.  During that time I was on a Library Cooperative Board. I served as a National Trustee of the ALS Association for 7 years and as a Board member of the Greater New York Chapter of the ALS Association for 15 years. I was elected to both a local school board, serving for 6 years, and then a regional high school board for 6 years. I currently live in Southfield and NYC with my husband Eugene.

Michael Alper  
After a long and rewarding professional career in Creative Services, traveling the world to design stores, packaging, advertising and promotional material, Michael decided to leave NYC and the corporate world to work on more personally creative and satisfying projects.  Moving to upstate NY, to what had been a weekend home, he and his husband started Red House Design. There he served as President of the local Chamber of Commerce and was a member of an ad hoc committee that successfully secured a regional hospital satellite as a local health clinic in our town.
In 2012 we relocated to Great Barrington, after having been visitors to the area over many years.  We have been very fortunate in our business and personal lives here and are thankful to be in a position to give back to the community.
As an architectural designer, I believe deeply in the power of places to transform peoples’ lives for the better.

Deborah Ryan
Deborah Ryan moved to Great Barrington five years ago.  She spent most of her career involved in food and chocolate manufacturing on an international scale, but was also involved in ranching in Wyoming and Montana.
She and her husband Bill retired here, enjoy the Berkshires community, and are committed to promoting opportunities for others who live here to improve themselves through education.   Deb also serves on the Berkshires Agricultural Ventures committee of Berkshire Grown, and CCAP, which provides scholarships and internships in the Culinary and hospitality field.

Rabbi Neil Hirsch
Rabbi Neil P.G. Hirsch joined the Hevreh community in July 2015. Originally from Houston, Texas, he came to the Northeast for college and stayed for the weather and the hiking. He attended Tufts University for his bachelor’s degree, and received his masters and ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York City. Prior to his time at Hevreh, Rabbi Hirsch served Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts. He is married to Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch, who is an assistant director at the URJ Eisner Camp, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Thomas Berkle
Tom Berkel is an Egremont resident, and has served on the Construct Board since late 2009 in various capacities. He was born in Freeport, New York, one of ten children, and raised in Alford, Massachusetts after the family relocated when he was age 9. He is a graduate of local public schools, the University of Massachusetts (Baccalaureate, Political Science), and the University of Connecticut (Masters, Economics) where he was the Connecticut State Legislature Non-Duty Fellow. His professional career includes 20 years  with Bestfoods, a food manufacturing company, where he worked in both the Corporate and Operating companies in areas of Treasury, Finance, Business Analytics, and Consumer and Customer Research and Intelligence. After Bestfoods he worked for Cadbury Schweppes/Dr Pepper Snapple Inc. for 4 years, retiring in 2008.Today Tom volunteers his time in support of both local government and a select group of non-profit institutions and organizations. As time permits, he is an on-call substitute instructor for middle- and highschoolers  in one of the south county regional school districts.

C. Nicholas Arienti
Nick is a partner at the law firm of Hellman Shearn & Arienti LLP, in Great Barrington.  He is a Stockbridge native who returned to the Berkshires after practicing law in Boston from 2006 through the end of 2009, and currently lives in Lee with his wife Francine and their son Evan.
Nick’s law practice focuses primarily on residential and commercial real estate transactions, zoning, permitting and land use matters.
Nick is Chairman of the Lee Finance Committee, serves on the Board of Construct, Inc., and is a member of the Board of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Father Bruce Teague
Before being assigned to Our Lady of the Valley in Sheffield, Father Bruce Teague served as Chaplain to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center( a major Harvard teaching Hospital.) Father Bruce has also served for 25 years in Higher Education(including Amherst College.) as a college and university Chaplain. Father has been the Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Springfield, President of the Western MA Interfaith Council and has been committed to ecumenical and interreligious affairs. He has lived in five inner-city neighborhoods and has been ben active in Latino ministry in Holyoke, Springfield and Amherst.

Mark Rosengren
Mark Rosengren lives in Great Barrington with his wife Caren and 3 children: Christa, Lukas and Liam. I moved here 20 years ago from Chicago, and is a Designer/Builder of custom homes.Mark became involved in Construct shortly after moving to the Berkshires by wanting to “Give Back,” and Construct was a good fit. He has volunteered countless hours on various building projects through the years, including the offices and Men’s Transition House, Jordon House and 314 State Rd. He also recruited volunteers and contractors, working alongside of them, in building the Women’s Transition House and Priscilla’s Room. Mark has helped with many Walks and co-chaired two Mayfests. He has served on the Board 13+ years and is currently the vice president.

The Reverend Janet Zimmerman
The Rev. Janet Whaley Zimmerman, Ph.D. serves as Priest in Charge at Grace Church: an Episcopal Community in the Southern Berkshires here in Great Barrington. Janet served as a priest in Texas and Washington DC before coming to the Berkshires.  Prior to studying for the priesthood and being ordained, she worked as a teacher of children and later as a university professor training undergraduate and graduate students to work with children and youth with disabilities. She lives in Great Barrington with her husband,

Marcia Lawrence Soltes
Originally from Pittsfield, Mass, Marcia earned her Master’s Degree from Columbia University.
From 1969-2003,she taught Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition at Great Neck North High School in Great Neck, New York
She is the author of the book Menopause and Madness, the Truth about Estrogen and the Mind, 1998.
She also authored Acing the New SAT, New American Library/ Dutton Publishing Co.,1994; Test Taking Strategies for the SAT and PSAT, NAL/Dutton 1978 and 1985
She founded Test Prep, Inc. in 1978 and since then has prepared students for taking the SAT. She also was co- producer, writer and host of “The Israel Culture Caravan,”  a NY Cable TV Series, 1986-1991.

John A. James
John James is an architect practicing in the Berkshires since 1986.  He received a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University.  Since moving to the Berkshires he has been actively involved in civic and community affairs, having served as a selectman in Sheffield and is currently on the Sheffield finance committee.  He has also served on the boards of trustees for Jacob’s Pillow, The Mount, Hancock Shaker Village, and the Berkshire Bach Society.

Sara Koffman
Sara Koffman, woman, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend but
if I had to describe myself in one word it would be that I am a volunteer.  Volunteerism has been my avocation and passion for over 65 years as I worked in government, education, the arts and social services and the rewards have been enormous.   I have helped change many lives for the better and helped make the world a bit better place than it might have been. That, more than anything else I have been or done, has given my life meaning.

John Katz
John is an investment banker and business consultant. He served as a director of My Sisters’ Place, an organization for victims of domestic violence in Westchester County, NY, for twelve years. He is a member of both the Board of Assessors and of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Great Barrington. He is a director of Berkshire Bach Society and Community Access to the Arts, in Great Barrington. John and his wife Laura live in Great Barrington and have four daughters and two grandchildren spread coast to coast.

Elaine Silberstein
Caring about housing for all, precipitated Elaine Silberstein’s involvement with Construct. She has been on its board for 8 years. Many of these years she has helped with planning MayFest and the Walk. Currently she is chair of the Development Committee. Elaine is also co-president of Jewish Women’s Foundation, as well as founder of ERL Design Associates. She is married to Ben and has resided in the Berkshires for 16 years .

Tony Chojnowski
Tony resides in Pittsfield, but is known in Lenox as Tony Casablanca. His love is retail and is the owner of Casablanca (Lenox) and several new clothing and a shoe store in Great Barrington. Construct is delighted to have a merchant from Main St., Great Barrington on the board as well as representation from the Lenox area.

Hope for action on homeless bill of rights

Jan 1, 2016
Pittsfield, MA:

State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli and supporters of proposed legislation to protect the rights of homeless people are hopeful a bill he is sponsoring will win passage this year.

“It was a late file last session,” the Lenox Democrat said of the legislation — House bill H-1129. “But we hope it will get across the finish line this year.”

Pignatelli said he has always been moved by the plight of the homeless, and is well aware that the image of a homeless person on a park bench in a big city does not tell the entire story.

Read Full story here:


Walk 2014

Thanks to all our walkers, supporters, and sponsors for another successful WALK!
See you next year ~

ws startws walk butternut goodwalk 2014 opening ceremony ws ws tent walk 2014 tent salisbury bank tent ws drummers at buternut clowns band