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Board Members

James Birge

James F. Birge, Ph.D. is the 12th President of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams, Massachusetts and has worked in higher education for more than 30 years. Previously, Dr. Birge served as President of Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. As a member of the Boards of Directors for LEVER, MASS MoCA, 1Berkshire, and the MountainOne Bank Community Advisory Board, Dr. Birge works to build collaborations between the College and the community.

JD Chesloff

JD Chesloff is the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable (MBR). His work at MBR is focused on strengthening the state’s long-term social and economic vitality with the goal of making Massachusetts a highly desirable place to do business in a global economy. Originally from the Berkshires, Chesloff grew up in Cheshire and has worked in and around Beacon Hill for more than 25 years. In the Massachusetts State Legislature, he was the Chief of Staff to the House Committee on Commerce and Labor, and was the education issues analyst and Deputy Budget Director for the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Cairn Cross – Chair of the Lever Board

Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund.  Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies NativeEnergy, Faraday, and Mamava and is an observer to the SunCommon and Caledonia Spirits boards.  Cairn is a lecturer at the UVM Grossman School of Business where he teaches Financing Sustainable Innovation for the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Cairn is also an advisor to the board of Colchester, Vermont based C2 an IT services and management company. Cairn is also the Instructor for the Vermont SBA Emerging Leaders program.

Don Dubendorf

Donald R. Dubendorf is a recently retired attorney. He had been in private practice in Williamstown, Massachusetts since 1978. His practice concentrated on corporate, business, and land use law throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond.

He worked with a wide range of businesses, financial and cultural institutions, developers and entrepreneurs providing creative problem solving and innovative solutions and applying the law in pursuit of the best of client outcomes.

Steve Jenks

Steve Jenks is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Candescent Partners. He has thirty years of management and investing experience in private equity. Prior to that, Mr. Jenks was an Associate with Norwest Venture Partners, where he managed private equity investments in business services, consumer services, healthcare and software industries. Mr. Jenks graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Williams College in 1981, and also received his MBA from New York University in 1983.

Sara Lalumia

Sara LaLumia is a Professor of Economics at Williams College, where she teaches classes on public economics, tax policy, and income distribution. Her research has investigated how the U.S. individual income tax affects individuals’ labor supply, educational choices, tax reporting behavior, and other outcomes. She has served as a co-editor of International Tax and Public Finance. She is a board member of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and a volunteer tax preparer. She received a BA from Youngstown State University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Elizabeth Nielsen

Elizabeth has experience as a teacher, in a range of volunteer work, and non-profit Board service, including serving as the Board Chair of InterVarsity.

She earned her BA in English at Williams College and later earned graduate degrees in literature (Rutgers University) and theology (Knox Theological Seminary). Elizabeth serves as Pastor of Congregational Care at the First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, Florida. Elizabeth and her husband Steven enjoy living part-time in the Berkshires.

Angela Randolph

Dr. Angela Randolph is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Her research focuses on the cognitive and behavioral process by which nascent entrepreneurs identify, evaluate, and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Randolph holds a Ph.D. from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, an MBA from the College of William and Mary, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. She and her family reside in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Richard Rowe

Rich Rowe is a recently retired executive with over 30 years of experience working in the Berkshires, most recently as President of US Government Products at Crane Currency in Dalton. where he was responsible for strategy, direction and execution of currency and passport products to the US Government. Mr. Rowe holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

As former Board Chair of the Berkshire United Way, and as a current Board Member of Lever, the Dalton Community Recreation Association and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, Rich is deeply engaged in helping create a strong future for the families and communities of the Berkshires. He and his wife Karen reside in Dalton.

Jeffrey Thomas – Lever Co-Founder

Jeffrey D. Thomas is Lever’s Executive Director. A self-described scientist-by-training and entrepreneur-by-accident, Jeffrey was among the founding scientists at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and was the founding CSO of Genstruct (now Selventa). He also led the genomics and bioinformatics program at Pfizer‘s Ann Arbor site. He founded Entrepreneurs@Williams in 2011, a program that includes courses, internship opportunities, and a campus-wide business plan competition. He received his B.A. from Wabash College and his Ph.D. and M.D. from Indiana University. He lives in Williamstown.

Emeritus Board Members

Julia Bowen


Barry Davis


Tina Olsen


Lee Park


Denise Richardello


Will Schmidt


Laurie Thomsen


Travis McCready


Richard Morgenthal


Jim Mahon


Jack Wadsworth


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