PITTSFIELD, Mass. (March 25, 2020)  –  Corydon “Cory” Thurston has announced his retirement as the executive director of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA) and the William Stanley Business Park (WSBP) at the end of April after nine years of leadership.

“These years have been an incredible journey for PEDA and the Business Park, and I’m very proud of our accomplishments. Having the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) open for business is a significant milestone in my tenure and now that the table is set for the growth of Pittsfield’s ‘Innovation Economy,’ it seems like the ideal time for my next chapter to begin,” Thurston said. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to play a part in developing these initiatives and look forward to seeing their future success.”

PEDA will remain an independent, quasi-public agency, managed by its 11-member Board of Directors, under the leadership of its current Chairman, Maurice “Mick” Callahan, Jr. There are no current plans to start a search for a new part-time director.

Michael Coakley, business development manager for the City of Pittsfield, will be appointed as PEDA’s interim executive director. He will work closely with Thurston to ensure a smooth transition. Moving forward, the city’s Department of Community Development will support PEDA’s environmental compliance and administrative functions.

Callahan highlighted notable accomplishments under Thurston’s leadership.

“Cory did an incredible job shepherding PEDA and the Business Park. During his tenure, he played an integral role in the development of the Mountain One facility and the BIC,” Callahan said.

“He also headed the negotiations with GE, CSX railway and MassDOT that led to the demolition and reconstruction of the Woodlawn Avenue Bridge. The once private road is now a public thoroughfare that makes Woodlawn Avenue a primary north-south connector that helps the Tyler Street Business District and the Morningside neighborhood.  We all owe Cory a major debt of gratitude for his tireless efforts.”

The consolidation of PEDA and William Stanley Business Park operations under Coakley and the Department of Community Development will create more efficiency and the anticipated savings will enable PEDA to preserve more of its capital for economic incentives for future projects at the Business Park, said Callahan.

“We are thankful to Cory for his dedicated service through the years and we wish him the very best in the next and exciting chapter ahead. The consolidation of PEDA and the William Stanley Business Park will further align and streamline our efforts to advance economic growth in the City of Pittsfield,” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “It will connect these powerful resources, uniting them for the common goal of growing the city’s economy, providing new job opportunities for our residents, and continuing the vital revitalization of Tyler Street and the Morningside neighborhood.

In addition to serving as Interim Director, Coakley will continue his focus on sales and marketing to businesses on behalf of the City of Pittsfield, including the William Stanley Business Park. As he has for the past two years, Coakley said he will continue to present the full range of opportunities available for companies interested in expanding or relocating to Pittsfield.

“Wayfair is a perfect example of a company that was interested in expanding its operations into Pittsfield. We showed Wayfair representatives several locations throughout the city, including the possibility of constructing a new building in the Business Park,” said Coakley.

“After weighing all the options, they decided to convert 40,000 square feet of abandoned mill space in the Clock Tower Building for their sales and service center. It was the ability to go beyond silos and present the breadth of options as a single package that made it easier for Wayfair to make its decision, and accomplished our goal of bringing a new successful business and more good jobs to Pittsfield.”