Insiyah Mohammad Bergeron to Work in Holyoke as Transformative Development Initiative Fellow

June 19, 2017


Meggie Quackenbush, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 857-208-2777 (cell)

Brian Noyes, MassTech, 508-870-0312 ext. 293

Insiyah Mohammad BergeronMassDevelopment has hired a Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Fellow to work in Holyoke, a position jointly funded by MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech).

Mohammad Bergeron will work full-time in the city’s TDI District and the Holyoke Innovation District (HID) “Kitchen Cabinet,” a steering committee that implements strategies to advance the city’s redevelopment vision. In her role, Bergeron will work with MassTech and MassDevelopment to advance the goals of the HID’s Kitchen Cabinet and the TDI District in order to leverage economic impact in the city.

TDI Fellows have experience in city planning, community partnership building, real estate, and economic development, and work in their host Districts for three years in collaboration with local partners. Bergeron follows the first two rounds of Fellows placed in Haverhill, Lynn, and Springfield in April 2015, and in Brockton, New Bedford, and Pittsfield in April 2016.

“The TDI Fellows program adds critical expertise and capacity for Gateway cities and fellows like Insiyah bring a fresh perspective to the economic development efforts in these cities,” said Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary, Jay Ash. “The TDI program continues to be one of our best tools in the toolbox for our Gateway cities.”

Mohammad Bergeron completed her master’s degree in city planning in May 2017 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she focused on housing, community, and economic development. Her graduate research explored cases of adaptive reuse of former prison sites to spark economic development in rural communities. Before attending MIT, she worked for the New York-based nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, where along with government partners she developed strategies to keep young people out of the criminal-justice system. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and film from Bennington College in 2012 and blogs for CoLab Radio, an online outlet that highlights stories of people seeking to effect social change in their communities.

“I’m very thankful to have had MassDevelopment and MassTech Collaborative work closely with my administration to complement our economic development efforts with a new district fellow,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “Insiyah clearly brings a knowledge base and energy to the City that complements our team and will bolster the work at hand in the coming years. I’m excited to welcome her to Holyoke.”

MassTech has a long history of working in Holyoke through the Holyoke Innovation District and through its $25 million dollar investment on behalf of the Commonwealth for the construction of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), a public data center powered by major Massachusetts research universities which sits at the core of the Innovation District. In 2010, MassTech was charged by the Commonwealth with building a regional effort to leverage the state’s investment in MGHPCC to increase economic impact in Holyoke and the Pioneer Valley. This effort includes organizing a region-wide economic development task force, implementing a five-year strategic plan for the region in 2016, and staffing a part-time project manager, the position Bergeron will fill, to implement and guide these efforts.

“Insiyah brings a wealth of experience, which will help her hit the ground running in Holyoke,” said Tim Connelly, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “As the TDI Fellow in Holyoke, she will continue the critically important work of the Holyoke Innovation District, helping coordinate economic development partners from across the city and the region, as they build on the Commonwealth’s investments and further the progress we’ve seen since the HID’s launch, by addressing industry needs and attracting additional companies to the district.”

MassDevelopment selected Holyoke for the TDI Fellows program based on a demonstrated need for personnel to support the TDI Districts’ plans. The city is one of 10 Gateway Cities selected in December 2014 as the pilot TDI Districts in Development—along with Brockton, Haverhill, Lynn, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester. As a part of the program, each will receive a range of real estate development services to support local visions for redevelopment, and to catalyze and leverage investments and economic activities. Everett and Malden are also receiving directed regional planning and implementation assistance to advance their Districts’ TDI visions.
“Insiyah’s expertise in city planning and her creative approach to economic development will go a long way in the Paper City,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We look forward to building on the momentum Holyoke has already generated through the TDI program and within the Innovation District.”

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an innovative public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research by engaging in meaningful collaborations across academia, industry, and government.  From improving our health care systems and expanding high-speed internet across the state to fostering emerging industry clusters, MassTech is driving innovation and supporting a vibrant economy across the Commonwealth.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2016, MassDevelopment financed or managed 352 projects generating investment of more than $4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 8,200 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 4,200 residential units.