Mayor Bianchi is pleased to announce that Janis Akerstrom has been the selected to serve as the Director of the Department of Community Development pending City Council approval at their August, 11th council meeting. Ms. Akerstrom was unanimously put forward to the Mayor by the interview committee which consisted of Shirley Edgerton, Cultural Proficiency Coach; Jesse Cook-Dubin, Vice-President of Pittsfield Downtown Inc. and Associate Attorney at Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti and Cook; Jim McGrath, Interim Director of Community Development; Julia Sabourin, Director of Administrative Services for Mayor Bianchi and John DeAngelo, Personnel Director.
Ms. Akerstrom is an experienced community development professional with over 20 years of experience, having worked most recently for the City of Orlando, Florida where she served as the Housing and Community Development Manager, overseeing more than $6 million of the City’s Community Development Block Grant program. Other past experience includes Community Development positions in Illinois, Washington and Oregon.
Ms. Akerstrom’s past experience includes forging partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, which is imperative to the success of the wide range of services and projects administered by Pittsfield’s Department of Community Development. Ms. Akerstrom holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Mayor Bianchi said, “I am very pleased to be able to bring on board a Community Development Director with Ms. Akerstrom’s qualifications. She brings a great deal of experience managing Community Block Grant programs and a variety of other state and federal grant projects. Her knowledge of city planning and housing along with her strong management experience, will be invaluable to the department and the community.”
He added, “I spoke with Council President Mazzeo along with other councilors and they are looking forward to having Ms. Akerstrom’s expertise coming to Pittsfield.”