#liveBRK Spotlight-Ben Sosne
Posted on July 09, 2020Written by Elizabeth Nelson
#liveBRK Spotlight: Ben Sosne, Executive Director of Berkshire Innovation Center
Ben Sosne will tell you that leaving the Berkshires for college, becoming an attorney in the New York State appellate court system, working to support the construction of an architecture and model railroad museum, and ultimately becoming the Executive Director of the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) wasn’t exactly how he’d planned his adult life, except for one part, moving back to the Berkshires.
Along the way, Ben met his wife Amy (a Williams College alum, who also came to love the Berkshires during her time here). He recalled his wonderful experience growing up here and wanted the same for his children. “I was really lucky to be raised in such a special place,” Sosne says. “I always loved the outdoors and the culture, but really it is people. There really are great people here making for really friendly communities. It’s a great place to be a kid.”
If Ben was determined to be at the center of meaningful work in the region, he could do worse than landing a job as the Executive Director at the newly opened BIC, which serves as the Berkshires’ gateway to an extensive and carefully-designed network of manufacturing and innovation support infrastructure in the state. This network includes the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which provided significant funding for the BIC, as well as other MSLC-related innovation centers and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
Ben was impressed by the way these organizations worked together to address a critical shortage of personal protective equipment in the state in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the BIC offers an opportunity to show young people in our region the careers available to them in the manufacturing field and the chance to experience cutting-edge technology firsthand. “I think now we’re in a period where there will be some on-shoring and there will be significant growth in the industry”, Sosne says. He believes the BIC’s support for growing manufacturing companies and the ability to introduce the next generation of innovators to the possibilities in the field will help position the Berkshires well during the recovery from COVID-19 and beyond.
With three kids under the age of six and two dogs, Ben and Amy have no trouble staying busy. They take significant advantage of the great outdoors, spending an enormous amount of time hiking, biking, skiing, paddle boarding, and enjoying the half-dozen world-class cultural institutions and many smaller gems. He added, “We have to sort of pinch ourselves sometimes. We made the move for our kids but really it is an amazing place to be a parent.”
Asked about the best-kept secret in the Berkshires, Ben doesn’t hesitate to answer that it is Wahconah Park, now home to the Pittsfield Suns baseball team. As a longtime fan of baseball and history, he appreciates the old wooden ballpark that has been the site of organized baseball since 1919, and he grew up watching the Pittsfield Cubs play there in the late 1980s. Sosne recalls once sharing his bug spray along the right-field sideline with a player from the visiting Vermont Mariners, who offered to sign a baseball for him in thanks. Sosne and his brother, being true-blue fans of the home team, declined this offer… from a not-yet-superstar Ken Griffey Jr.
Ben thinks that it can be easy for those who grow up in the Berkshires to take for granted the abundance of cultural, natural, and historical treasures we enjoy, as well as the collaborative spirit among our community. “I look at my kids growing up here and I believe they think that this happens everywhere; sometimes you don’t realize how fortunate you are living in the Berkshires.”