"Lemonade Stand, "Norman Rockwell, 1955. Pencil on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections, gift of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. ©NRELC: Niles, IL.

"Lemonade Stand, "Norman Rockwell, 1955. Pencil on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections, gift of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. ©NRELC: Niles, IL.

Stockbridge, MA, April 20, 2012—Norman Rockwell Museum presents “Our Town: Can the Local Economy Flourish Despite the National Downturn?,” the latest in its ongoing Four Freedoms Forums, on Thursday, April 26, starting at 5:30 p.m. The community conversation will reflect on the economic challenges that we face today, as well as creative solutions for bringing prosperity back in a new age. Featured speakers will include Keith Girouard, senior business advisor, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network; Nathaniel W. Karns, A.I.C.P., Executive Director, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission; and Pam Malumphy, economic development specialist, 1Berkshire. The conversation is free and open to the public.

About the Speakers:

Keith Girouard has been a senior business advisor with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) since December 2007. He is also the regional director for the office. Prior to joining the MSBDC, Girouard operated his own business consulting firm, and served as an adjunct faculty instructor in Business Management at Berkshire Community College. He also held the position of Executive Director for the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire, Inc. and served as a senior administrator at Berkshire County ARC.

Nathaniel W. Karns, A.I.C.P.,
is the Executive Director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC). Karns is responsible for the overall operation of the agency, under the direction of the Commission. He represents the agency with local, regional, state and federal officials and agencies. In addition, Mr. Karns manages the commission staff to ensure that the organization’s missions, as well as regional and local needs are being met and that adopted regional policies are being complied with. Karns leads staff efforts on major regional initiatives on behalf of BRPC and oversees agency budget and finances.

Pam Malumphy is an economic development specialist for 1Berkshire, the strategic alliance of Berkshire Creative, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Visitor’s Bureau, and Berkshire Economic Development Corporation.. She previously worked for The Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she managed the Business Partners of Tanglewood for four years before becoming the Regional Director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. After four years working with the Commonwealth, Ms. Malumphy returned to Boston Symphony Orchestra as Annual Fund Advisor as well as other consulting including work with Berkshire United Way.

About Four Freedoms Forums:
Town Hall Meetings at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Join us to share your thoughts on the most compelling issues of our day. This series of Town Hall conversations inspired by Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” paintings will explore aspects of our democracy and important social concerns in a rapidly changing and increasingly global world. Noted commentators will offer observations and inspire community discourse, with a reception to follow.

The tradition of Town Hall meetings has it roots in the founding of our nation where small New England communities would gather to invite citizen opinion and vote on matters of importance to the town. A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government.