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BRPC to Choose New Executive Director Next Week
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:24AM / Friday, February 16, 2018
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Clockwise from top left: Thomas Matuszko, Sean Maguire, and Sungman Kim are the finalists for the position.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — BRPC will pick its new executive director next week.
 
A search committee conducted its interviews for the three finalists for the position on Thursday and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will pick Nathaniel Karns' successor next week. Karns is retiring from the job after 23 years. He was just the second executive director since the commission was formed in 1967.
 
The finalists seeking the position are Thomas Matuszko, Sean Maguire, and Sungman Kim. The final interview was recorded and will be transcribed for the commissioners to review before casting the final vote.
 
Matuszko is currently the assistant executive director. He's been with BRPC for nearly 21 years, first starting as a principal planner from 1997 until 2000 and then being promoted to assistant director in January of 2001.
 
"I want to continue to serve the people in the communities of Berkshire County. I've made a very strong professional commitment to Berkshire County over these last 21 years. The current executive director sometimes refers to me as a co-director at the agency. Because of my knowledge of the region and the commission, I feel I am uniquely qualified for this position," Matuszko said. 
 
Maguire is currently the director of economic development and director of regional analytics for the Capital District Regional Planning Commission in Albany, N.Y. He's been in that role since 2014 and worked as a regional project manager for the state of New York for the seven years prior. 
 
"Planning, economic development, and community success are core to who I am. Anyone who knows me will tell you that. Those are the qualities that attracted me to the profession in the first place," Maguire said.
 
Kim is a land form and planning consultant who last served as the director of development services in South Padres Island, Texas. Prior to that, he worked in Green Cove Springs, Fla., as a chief planner with the Clay County Board of County Commissioners.
 
"I love creating a sense of place and providing a great quality of life for people," Kim said.
 
Kim particularly pointed to his diverse background in planning as to why he'd be a good fit for the job. He started with his bachelor's degree in landscape architecture in South Korea, followed by his master's five years later. He earned his doctorate from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom in 2001 and his masters in business administration at the University of North Florida in 2013. He boasts of a number of awards and more than 70 pieces of publications relating to urban planning, parks, and open spaces, and economic development among the topics covered.
 
He's worked in planning and architecture in all of those places, plus a stint at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as a visiting professor. Most recently, his job entailed oversight of a department with about a $10.8 million budget. 
 
Maguire's background is a mix of planning and economic development. In his current role, he boasts of impacting more than 1,400 jobs and some $25 million added production to the economy. He particularly saw the Berkshires as an area for increased regionalization efforts and cited his work with the New York's North Country Regional Economic Development Councils to bring the region together in a cohesive economic development plan. 
 
"My career path has prepared me for this opportunity. Each step along the way has been a building block, leveraging prior experience to add value to the next organization," Maguire said. 
 
He has a bachelor of arts from the University at Albany in geographic and urban studies, a master's in regional planning from the University at Albany, and a master's of public administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. He said it was the redevelopment of Sprague Electric into Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art that inspired his master's thesis.
 
He, too, cites a number of awards and highlighted his work bringing in using technology to advance the profession. He is also a volunteer firefighter and served as the public information officer for a cadre of departments. He characterized himself as "an inspirational leader" who leads by example and by genuinely caring for those who work alongside him.
 
Matuszko earned his bachelor's degree from Syracuse (N.Y.) University with a major in sociology. He went into planning and received his master's in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts. He has been instrumental in a number of projects BRPC has taken on and has filled in in just about every planning area when there have been vacancies. 
 
He cited a few areas that he believes BRPC can improve, including using private foundations to support the organization's work and playing a strong role in collaborating with other organizations. He said the organization can play a strong convening role like it does with the Rest of the River lawsuit. Matuszko said he can be objective and trusts the planning process. As a leader, he said he likes one who can stick to convictions, be direct, but also not confrontational. 
 
"We expect individuals to do their jobs at a professional level. We are not micromanagers," Matuszko said. 
 
Matuszko also came into Thursday's interview with an endorsement from Karns, who wrote to the search committee saying Matuzko has never had a performance rating less than "exceeds expectations" and that "he works harder and longer than any other person in the organization."
 
"Tom Matuszko has been consistently incredibly dedicated to performing sound planning work and to helping BRPC fulfill its mission. He works hard with complete integrity. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission would not be the organization it is today without his significant contributions and dedication," Karns said.
 
The full commission will vote on the candidate and then the executive committee would be in charge of negotiating the terms. 
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