Rich is the CEO of BFAIR, a human service agency that provides complete services for people with developmental disabilities, autism, and acquired brain injuries. Under Rich’s leadership, BFAIR’s services expanded with Day, Employment, Community Based, Family, and Individual Support services and residential homes throughout Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley, MA. Headquartered in North Adams, BFAIR now serves over five hundred clients and is a significant regional employer with over three hundred staff.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Rich began his career working with people with developmental disabilities as a live-in House Manager with Keystone City Residence and later developing recreation and community integration programs for people with disabilities with the Deutsch Institute. Rich relocated to Berkshire County, where he has worked for nonprofit human service agencies for the past 35 years, including BFAIR for twenty-three, initially as the Director of Employment Services, followed by his promotion to Executive Director in 2001 and his current position as CEO in 2018.
Rich graduated from the University of Scranton with a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Human Resource Administration. Additional learning included courses in nonprofit management at the Harvard Business School Executive Education. In 2019, Rich was recognized as an honoree for Executive Leadership by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.
Current professional volunteer activity includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Provider’s Council, a statewide trade association, and Northern Berkshire United Way. Previously, Rich served on the Boards of the Employers Association of the Northeast, the Human Service Forum, the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, the Louison House, and as Past-President of the Rotary Club of North Adams.
Rich resides with his family in Lanesborough, MA, and his interests include cycling, photography, and traveling with his family.
Ethel’s currently serving as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer. As COO, Ethel is responsible for leading the day-to-day operation and management of BFAIR’s comprehensive services and activities about licensure, human rights, personnel management, and contracts. Ethel oversees developing, implementing, and managing program aspects of the agency’s budget and ensuring that BFAIR’s services comply with all federal, state, and funding source regulations, certifications, and licensure requirements.
Ethel began her career at BFAIR in 2000 as Director of Residential Services and has been with the agency ever since. Advancing to the Director of Program Operations and into her current role as COO, Ethel’s leadership empowers staff to make measurable impacts on the operations of existing programs and the successful implementation of new services under the agency’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.
Ethel graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitative Services. While attending college, Ethel worked full-time at Mansfield Training School as a Direct Support Professional. At the end of her work with the state, upon graduation, she held the position of State School Instructor.
Ethel began working for United Counseling Service in Bennington, Vermont. She held various positions there during her 10-year tenure, including Supervised Apartment Counselor, Residential Program Coordinator, and Quality Services Coordinator.
In addition to her work in the non-profit sector, Ethel’s community involvement includes participating in Wreathes Across America. Past volunteerism has included Advanced EMT with Pownal Rescue (Volunteer), CRASH group leader for DWI offenders, Board member for the Turning Point Recovery Center in Bennington, Vermont, and member of the Rotary Club of North Adams.
Ethel resides in Pownal, Vermont, and enjoys spending time with her adult children, grandchildren, and dogs.
Jane Patenaude-LeBeau is the Chief Financial Officer for BFAIR (Berkshire Family & Individual Resources, Inc.). In 2019, Jane was promoted to her current position as CFO. She oversees the agency’s financial operations, ensuring all internal systems and controls meet state and federal guidelines and agency standards. Jane leads the agency’s overall finance strategy. She assumes responsibility for accounting, payroll, accounts payable/receivable, budgeting and expense procedures, and money management services related to the individuals supported by BFAIR. All while ensuring systems and processes are in place to support effective programming, service implementation, and vital internal controls.
First joining the team in 1990, Jane worked in Administration, supporting the agency’s Residential program. In 1994, Jane was promoted to Financial Systems Director providing financial support to all program budgets and economic systems. Along with a degree in Business, Jane has over 30 years of experience working in non-profit finance.
Community involvement includes being the past Treasurer of Berkshire Food Project and a current volunteer with the Cheshire Food Pantry.
Jane is a lifelong Berkshire County, MA resident, where she resides with her family.
In 2022, with the shift of BFAIR’s Family & Individual Supports and Adult Family Care to a Community service program model, Theresa’s responsibilities included guidance to those programs and managing BFAIR’s Day Service programs. As a result, Theresa was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations.
Organizational management restructuring in 2018 provided a path for Theresa’s trajectory to support the growth the agency was experiencing. Under this change, Theresa began to oversee the Quality Assurance (QA) department following her promotion to Senior Vice President of Day Services. This shift made way for the technological and innovative advancement of the agency’s QA department.
In 2016, she was promoted to Director of Day Service Operations, which included the new ABI-MFP Service component and oversight of the agency’s Employment services in addition to the Day Habilitation Center and Community Based Day Services. Theresa’s program leadership experience was pivotal in the continued growth and satisfaction of Day Services at BFAIR
Theresa started a career with BFAIR in 2001, functioning as the Assistant Program Director for the Day Habilitation Center. Shortly after her arrival, she assumed the role of the Program Director and served in that capacity until 2010. In this role, she was responsible for program development, Individual Support Planning and implementation, and staff supervision and support.
Theresa began her postgraduate work at Adams Memorial Middle School in 1998 as a paraprofessional with two students in the Special Education department. In this role, she familiarized herself with the special education environment and learned all facets of the IEP process.
Theresa recently graduated with her MBA in January of 2022 from Southern New Hampshire University. She resides in Clarksburg with her husband and three children.
Michelle Baity graduated with a BA in Business Management from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). Michelle worked as a contractor in Configuration Management and Human Resources at General Dynamics while pursuing her degree.
From that point, she moved into her career in Human Resources in the Human Services field. She launched her career as an HR assistant. While employed with BCARC, she worked her way up the ladder to HR Generalist, then HR Specialist, to eventually Assistant HR Director.
During this tenure, she was responsible for all areas of recruitment and onboarding and benefits administration, including, but not limited to, voluntary benefits and leave administration. She oversaw all day-to-day HR operations for staffing changes. Additionally, Michelle was responsible for all unemployment claims and training needs. She managed hire orientations, annual benefit open enrollment campaigns, and Berkshire United Way campaigns. During Michelle’s 17 years with BCARC, she sat on the agency’s golf committee and actively participated in the agency’s successful annual golf classic fundraiser.
In 2017, Michelle became the Director of Human Resources at Berkshire Family and Individual Resources (BFAIR). There she was tasked with overseeing the Human Resources department, voluntary benefit contract negotiation, OSHA compliance, Affirmative Action, legal compliance, and day-to-day operations while ensuring the goals in HR align with the agency’s overall mission, values, and strategic plan.
During her tenure, she received her certification from Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Michelle was promoted to Vice President – Human Resources and eventually Senior Vice President – Human Resources.
Michelle currently resides in Pittsfield, MA, with her husband, Tim. She is the stepmom to Jameson and Cooper Baity. She also goes by Mimi to her grandson.
Berkshire Place – Personnel Committee
Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Berkshire Leadership Program graduate
As Vice President of Residential Services, Michelle oversees the management of thirteen residential homes for adults with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries. The agency’s residences are located throughout Berkshire County, the Pioneer Valley, and are funded by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Under Michelle’s direction, BFAIR’s residential homes have maintained high-quality standards and the maximum DDS licensure standard.
Michelle’s responsibilities include developing and managing the individual residence and departmental budgets, implementing strategic plan goals and initiatives, communicating with all Residential department staff, individuals, parents, and guardians, and promoting a team-building culture.
Since joining BFAIR in 2017, Michelle has held the positions of ABI Program Supervisor and ABI Residential Director following her early success and the expansion of the agency’s residential services; in 2019, Michelle was promoted to her current position as Vice President of Residential Services.
Michelle began her career in human services right out of high school. In 1999 she joined Rockridge Retirement Community, a senior living community offering Independent, Assisted Living, Memory Support, and Level 4 Care. During Michelle’s employment at Rockridge, she assumed the position of Resident Care Director and Risk Manager, responsible for developing an employee education and in-service program.
Michelle holds an associate degree from Springfield Technical Community College and is a Leadership Academy of the LeadingAge graduate, a nonprofit organization advocating for hospice care and senior living home facilities.
Michelle grew up in Hampshire County in Massachusetts, where she raised her family and resided in Greenfield. Michelle has two children and three grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending her free time.
Erin Shea is the VP of Quality Compliance at BFAIR (Berkshire Family and Individual Resources, Inc.). In 2019, Erin assumed the VP of Quality Compliance role, ensuring BFAIR meets internal quality standards, requirements of external funding, and regulatory sources, as well as consulting on Human Rights for the agency. For over 12 years before her promotion, Erin performed various roles with the agency, including Assistant Director of the Day Habilitation Center, overseeing day-to-day operations of the program.
In 2014, BFAIR’s Homecare program was developed, and Erin was promoted to the Director of Homecare Services. As Director, she oversaw the Elder Service of Berkshire County contract and the Acquired Brain Injury/Moving Forward Plan Community Living Waiver services through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.
Erin is a critical resource to the agency’s Self-Advocacy Group and Family Advisory Committee. It is committed to the quality of BFAIR’s services while promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion of people with disabilities, upholding the rights of all people, and fostering all abilities.
Erin holds a bachelor’s in social work from Our Lady of Elm’s College and is a Licensed Social Worker with over 20 years of progressive experience supporting elders, individuals with disabilities, and their families. She began her career at United Cerebral Palsy of the Berkshires and then transitioned to Long Term Care as a Social Worker with Berkshire Health Care Systems.
Erin is a longtime resident of Adams, MA, with her husband Ryan and two daughters.
Striving to fulfill her career at a distinguished nonprofit organization, Kristen eagerly joined BFAIR in 2003, demonstrating a twenty-year commitment to the agency’s mission. She was hired as a Multi-Site Residential Coordinator, managing three homes for adults with developmental disabilities, and later promoted to Assistant Residential Director.
Kristen’s success in the Residential department resulted in her promotion to Director of Family and Individual Services, a Senior level position. Most recently, Kristen’s vast experience providing community-based services for people with disabilities led her to the leadership position of Vice President of Community Services, providing the oversight of three services offered by BFAIR, Adult Family Care (AFC) and Shared Living, Community Living, and Family and Individual Supports.
Kristen was introduced to the human services field twenty-five years ago through her employment at Hillcrest Educational Centers before moving on to the former Valleyhead School. Joining the Valleyhead management team, she served young girls with a history of learning and emotional difficulties, often resulting from traumatic upbringings. During her tenure, she supervised thirty staff and focused on providing specialized care and individualized comprehensive treatment to sixty adolescents and their families.
Kristen attended Dean College, studying Criminal Justice. She currently resides in Pittsfield, MA, with her husband, Scott.