State officials unhappy with proposed switch in drug abuse office

first_imgby Laura Krantz is external) Senators on Monday approved a proposal for a bureaucratic shuffle that has alarmed some state health officials. The Senate OK’d a budget amendment that would transfer oversight of the state office that runs substance abuse programs from the Health Department to the Department of Vermont Health Access, which manages the state’s publicly funded health insurance programs. The switch of the program away from the Health Department is not final because the budget has not passed in final form. The Secretary of Human Services, whose agency oversees both departments, opposes the proposal, as does the health commissioner.Secretary Doug Racine. VTD/Josh Larkin“I think we’re doing a good job, so why upset this apple cart?” Human Services Secretary Doug Racine said.The Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, known as ADAP, works with the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) to run the state’s new hub and spoke substance abuse treatment and recovery system, which officials say is extremely successful and a national model.Racine said ADAP and DVHA work well together and a shuffle will cause more harm than good. Administration officials were not consulted about the idea, he said.“I was not aware they had any issues with ADAP,” Racine said.The proposal to move ADAP is an amendment to the fiscal year 2015 budget. The Senate on Monday gave the budget preliminary approval.Sen. Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, is chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDiggerSenate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, presented the amendment to her committee last week. Kitchel on Monday said the switch has to do with the source of ADAP’s funding, as well as promoting accountability.Much of ADAP’s funding comes from DVHA. Administration officials have said they expect DVHA to save $6.7 million next year by treating substance abuse patients through the hub and spoke system, which links methadone-dispensing hubs with local doctors and outpatient services.Administration officials proposed to transfer that savings to ADAP to reinvest it in substance abuse programs. As the Senate Appropriations Committee considered that potential transfer, the committee floated the idea of transferring ADAP to DVHA instead, Kitchel said.“The programs move, it’s just we’re putting all the funding together,” she said.The hub and spoke system builds on the state’s Blueprint for Health(link is external) and Community Health Team programs, which are run by DVHA, Kitchel said. DVHA also pays for much of the addiction treatment medication, she said.The transfer will streamline the treatment process and create more accountability and flexibility, she said. It should also result in better care for patients, she said.“What we’re trying to do is what is the best programmatic and functional alignment to manage the policy, manage the development of treatment and not fracture it,” Kitchel said.She is aware that the Agency of Human Services opposes the proposal.“Organizations find it very difficult to change, and ADAP has been in a variety of places,” she said.Racine said he intends to talk to Kitchel to learn more.Health Department Commissioner Harry Chen said Monday the proposal was an unwelcome 11th-hour surprise. The Health Department did not have a chance to comment, he said.“It is a proposal that could be very disruptive to the substance abuse treatment system we are creating, one that we hope will serve as a model for other states,” Chen said in an email.The amendment asks state officials to make sure the positions at ADAP that serve public health functions remain in the Department of Health. Positions and associated state and federal funding may be transferred to DVHA by June 30, 2015, the amendment says.If there are any savings as a result of the increased spending on hub and spoke, $30,000 should be used for needle exchange programs, the amendment says.It asks for a report to the Joint Fiscal Committee by September on the progress of the transfer. It should include a report on the impact to capacity and sustainability of residential substance abuse treatment facilities in the state, the amendment says.last_img read more


Musgrove family celebrates first ‘529 Day’ baby

first_imgBrattleboro Memorial Hospital,The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and Vermont Student Assistance Corp marked national 529 Day by starting a college savings account for Skyra Musgrove – the first baby born May 29 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Baby Skyra, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, was born at 12:36 am in Brattleboro, one of the participating hospitals in 529 Day event.“We are so excited to be able to partner with VSAC and the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan to award our ‘529 Baby’ with money for their college savings,” said Jill Olson, vice president of policy and legislative affairs for the hospital association. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for a family to receive money for college.”Scott Giles, VSAC President and CEO, said that 529 Day is an effort to remind parents that now is the time to start saving. “Skyra has a foundation for her future—what a great way to celebrate her birth,” said Giles. “We hope that other families will be inspired to start saving for their children, no matter how young or old—it’s never too early or too late to save.”Also, across the state during May, families of children of any age up to 18, have had an opportunity to enter to win one of two $529 VHEIP contributions. One boy and one girl will be selected in a random drawing. Families have until midnight on May 31, 2014 to enter at is external).Proud parents Angela Musgrove and Scott Powers hold Skyra, Vermont’s 529 Baby, born at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital May 29 at 12:36 am. About VHEIPThe VHEIP 529 college savings plan was established in 1999 and is Vermont’s only state-sponsored 529 plan. VHEIP is administered by the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc. For more information about VHEIP, visit is external) or call the customer service center at (800) 637-5860.About VAHHSVAHHS is a member-owned organization devoted to improving the health status of communities throughout Vermont. Its activities include advocacy, policy development, education and research. VAHHS works in partnership with dozens of Vermont health care organizations on a wide variety of issues, providing educational and research services for members and non-members alike. VAHHS supports coordination of our members’ health care services with other health or social service organizations. For more information, visit is external).About VSACVermont Student Assistance Corporation is a public, nonprofit corporation created by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 to help Vermonters plan and pay for education or training beyond high school. VSAC administers Vermont’s 529 college savings plan; outreach services to encourage low-income students to aspire to and complete college; college and career planning services for all Vermonters; need-based state grants for full-time, part-time and non-degree study; public and private scholarship programs; and private education loans. Find us at is external) or on Facebook at is external).Brattleboro — (May 30, 2014) – BMHlast_img read more


Jamaica solar project completes first two months of commercial operations

first_imgVermont Business Magazine iCement Plant Solar, a 500 kilowatt group net metered solar array, completed its first two months of commercial operations this month, delivering over 65,000 kilowatt hours to the Green Mountain Power electric grid.The array is located on the former site of the William E. Dailey Inc. ready-mix concrete facility in Jamaica. Previously, the site had been used for batch mixing jobs, many of which were associated with the construction of buildings at Stratton Mountain and the surrounding area. In recent years, however, the site had become inactive, and the company had been exploring several possible uses when the idea for a net metered solar array was introduced.iCement Plant Solar array in Jamaica, Vermont“We thought that a solar array was an excellent use for the site. As a company we are excited to support development of local sources of energy” said Matt Lazzari, Land Manager for Peckham Industries, parent company of William E Dailey Inc. “Working with Essex Capital Partners has allowed us to accomplish this while transforming a dormant industrial site into a solar array. The fact that we will continue to benefit from this net metering arrangement for years to come really made it work for us”Under the terms of a group net metering agreement, production from the array in Jamaica will offset power consumption at Dailey Concrete’s main plant in Shaftsbury, Vermont, a major local employer. Under Vermont’s current net metering program, customer meters located on the same utility grid can be part of a single net metering group, regardless of where they are physically located. “Remote net metering allowed us to do this with a site in Jamaica and have it benefit our main plant operations in Shaftsbury. That was especially critical” said Lazzari.Siting was also a major consideration for the project developer, Essex Capital Partners, an experienced developer of renewable energy projects in the State of Vermont. Charlie Grant, Project Manager for Essex, said that the company arrived at the property after conducting a state-wide search for suitable candidates. The company weighed visibility to the public, avoiding sensitive environmental resources, and proximity to electrical infrastructure when deciding to move forward with the site.Up front diligence paid off as the project received several positive reviews from Town and State officials. The project received its Certificate of Public Good from the Public Service Board after gaining positive feedback from the Town of Jamaica’s Planning Commission and Selectboard, as well as the Regional Commission. “We are always looking for ways to promote economic development in the Town of Jamaica”, said David Mink, Chair of the Jamaica Planning Commission. “We were pleased with both the early notice and consultation we received from ECP about the Project, as well as the finished product”.The Agency of Natural Resources also visited the site prior to development. In an email communication summarizing her review, a wetlands scientist for ANR called the project location a good site for solar, and in particular noted the project’s avoidance of sensitive wetland and wildlife habitat resources.The project was financed in part with a Commercial Energy Loan from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). The project employed several local contractors, including CDP Electric, of Rutland, VT and Hunter Excavating of Londonderry, VT.About Essex Capital PartnersEssex Capital Partners (ECP) was founded in 1995, and since its inception, has owned, developed and operated a portfolio of commercial properties in the greater New England region. ECP handles all facets of solar development including site selection, design, permitting, construction management, equipment procurement, environmental monitoring, financing, and property management. ECP manages a comprehensive team of related professionals in legal, engineering, construction, environmental, and capital markets as required for each transaction, from inception through project completion.last_img read more


UVM Medical Center opens genome lab

first_imgThe University of Vermont Medical Center,Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Medical Center has opened a Genomic Medicine laboratory to expand its use of advanced genetic testing that doctors can use to develop treatments tailored to individual patients. By pinpointing genetic variations related to a patient’s disease or disease risk, genomic testing leads to a more accurate diagnosis which may allow providers to choose a therapy targeted at the underlying cause of a specific patient’s illness.  Since early 2016, patients of the UVM Health Network with solid cancers – such as lung, colon and melanoma – have benefitted from genomic testing, which is only available at a limited number of academic medical centers in the U.S.  The new lab will allow testing of blood cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurological conditions, among other illnesses. Highlights:Genomic testing allows for “personalized medicine”.  Testing will expand from cancer to other conditions.Availability of genomic testing is limited nationally.“What was once thought of as lung cancer is now known to be many types of a disease that reacts differently to varying treatments,” said Debra Leonard, MD, PhD, chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UVM Health Network and Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine. “With the precision treatments made possible by genome sequencing, some of our patients have had their tumors decrease in size.”“Genomic medicine provides the fundamental medical information we need to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment, which is critically important as we move to a health care model that emphasizes keeping people healthy,” said John Brumsted, MD, president and CEO of the UVM Health Network and CEO of the UVM Medical Center.  “This is a great advance for the UVM Health Network and the patients and families we serve.”“I want to congratulate Dr. Leonard and her team for successfully pursuing the goal of offering our patients leading-edge genomic testing,” said Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, president and chief operating officer of the UVM Medical Center.  “It’s this kind of dedication to improving patient care that has made us one of the top academic medical centers in the nation.”“In addition to its expected benefits for patients, the establishment of this laboratory also provides an unparalleled opportunity for health care services research, including whether accessing genomic information leads to better outcomes for patients and more cost-effective care,” said Frederick Morin, MD, dean of the Larner College of Medicine. “The way we are bringing genome sequencing into clinical medicine should make UVM a model system for others to emulate.””Our sincerest thanks to everyone at the UVM Medical Center and UVM Medical Group who supported our vision to take this exciting step in the development of our Genomic Medicine program,” said Nikoletta Sidiropoulos, MD, the program’s medical director.  “Personalized therapy and prevention informed by genomics will become a significant part of medical care in the coming years, and we are determined that our patients will fully benefit from the promise of Genomic Medicine,” she added. The 5,000 square foot facility consolidates UVM Medical Center’s genomic testing into one clinical laboratory space specifically designed for this purpose.  The different steps of genomic testing will be performed across three separate specially designed rooms to meet regulatory requirements.About the University of Vermont Medical CenterThe University of Vermont Medical Center (link is external) is a 447 bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York.  Together with our partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network(link is external), a five-hospital system established to deliver high quality academic medicine to every community we serve.Source: UVMMC. 1.27.2017. For more information on Genomic Medicine at the UVM Medical Center, visit the website(link is external).For more information visit is external) or visit our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog sites at is external)last_img read more


Bluehouse Group names marketing director, commits to flexible workplace

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Bluehouse Group, a digital marketing and web design firm, has hired Michelle Massa(link is external) as the company’s marketing director.  Massa brings nearly 20 years of marketing and business development experience in local and global markets.  She will manage marketing operations within Bluehouse Group and provide expanded online marketing services to help clients reach their marketing goals. Bluehouse Group is committed to a flexible workplace environment, which includes flexible hours, a work-life balance and remote work opportunities for staff.Greg Brand, president of Bluehouse Group, remarks, “Bluehouse Group had its best year ever in 2016, and hiring a new marketing director will help us build on that momentum. It can be a challenge for many Vermont companies to find and retain talented people. That’s why we’ve built an appealing company culture, providing a flexible work environment, including working remotely and flexible hours to accommodate family life. Partly through our membership in Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility(link is external), we’ve learned that taking care of our people enables us to build a stronger team.”Massa met Brand at a VBSR conference in 2016 where he spoke about how to make remote work successful for employers and employees. Michelle accepted the position at Bluehouse in 2017 knowing that she could work part time from home. Thanks to non-profit internet provider, ECFiber(link is external), Michelle is able to work from her home in rural Vershire and commute as needed to the Burlington office or client meetings.“ECFiber was a game-changer for me and potentially the economy in central Vermont,” said Massa. “I was on satellite internet and leapfrogged DSL altogether – straight to Fiber.  Major productivity gains!”In 2016, Bluehouse Group moved its office from Richmond to the Hood Plant building on South Winooski Avenue in downtown Burlington.“This was a great move for many reasons, including lessening our carbon footprint”, says Brand. “Several folks walk or ride their bike to work.  We walk up Church Street for lunch.  We love being in the middle of Burlington’s creative tech community.”About Bluehouse GroupBluehouse Group is a full-service digital marketing agency in Burlington. For nearly 20 years, the company has been creating commercial-grade websites and web applications that get results. With a local team of experienced developers, marketers and project managers, Bluehouse Group serves as a strategic web partner for organizations in Vermont and beyond. VBM vermontbiz.comSource: Burlington, VT  –  June 14, 2017  –  Bluehouse Group is external)last_img read more


Weekly unemployment claims edge up, still under 500

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims rose slightly again last week but remain at their typically low summer-time level. There still could be some volatility coming as school jobs end and claims are made. Claims spiked to over 1,100 eight weeks ago and then again three weeks ago before falling steeply. Claims are lower than they were the same time last year, which has been the usual case for most weeks in 2017. For the week of June 17, 2017, there were 459 claims, up 90 from the previous week’s total and 537 fewer than than they were a year ago.Altogether 3,752 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 64 from a week ago, and 911 fewer than a year ago.Claims during the summer usually hold at a relatively low level because of vacation hiring, until the next transition when school resumes in September.As expected, by industry, Services reported the most claims (57 percent of the total). Manufacturing also saw an increase of about 20 claims to 22 percent of the total.The Department processed 0 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08).Vermont’s unemployment rate for May was 3.1 percent. This reflects no change from the revised April rate (3.1 percent). SEE STORY.RELATED STORIES:Country Home Products to close Winooski plantCorp taxes rescue May revenuesThe Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: is external)NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) – A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment “by place of work.” Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment. VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more


AG settles data breach case for $264,000, issues $400 per Social Security number penalty

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Attorney General reached a settlement(link is external) today regarding a security breach involving the Social Security numbers of 660 Vermont Health Connect users. SAManage USA, Inc, a technology company that provides business-support services, agreed to alter its information security and legal compliance programs and to pay a penalty of $264,000. In July 2016, SAManage’s IT ticketing system allowed an excel spreadsheet containing the 660 social security numbers to be viewed publicly without requiring authentication.A Microsoft Bing web crawler discovered the URL of the spreadsheet and incorporated it into its search results, where it was found by a Vermonter, who reported the breach to the Attorney General. The Attorney General then investigated the SAManage breach. It appeared that due to a miscommunication within the company, this breach would have gone unreported were it not for the Attorney General’s intervention.“My office takes data breach very seriously,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan. “Vermonters are increasingly aware of the dangers of mishandling Social Security numbers, and we will continue to protect them by enforcing our data breach and consumer protection laws,” he said. “This is an appropriate penalty given the given the specific facts of this incident and that the company fully cooperated with our investigation.” More information about the Attorney General Donovan’s efforts to protect consumers and address data breaches can be found at is external).Published: Sep 29, 2017last_img read more


UVM ranked #4 on Princeton Review’s list of top Green Colleges

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,UVM Sophomore environmental studies major Alysa Kelly, one of 20 EcoReps at the university, helps manage a Weigh the Waste event at a UVM dining hall. The idea? “We want students to realize that, even though they’re putting food in the compost bin, it’s still waste,” says fellow student EcoRep Lucy McGrew. (Photo: Brian Jenkins)Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont is ranked #4 in Princeton Review’s recently released Guide to 375 Green Colleges, 2017. The guide highlights the top colleges and universities among 2,000 schools the Princeton Review considered. UVM ranked first this year among institutions with larger populations. Five of the top ten colleges have 10,000 or more students.“UVM’s commitment to the environment, both in academics and in our sustainable practices, is a core part of the university’s identity and a key element of our appeal for current and prospective students,” said UVM president Tom Sullivan. “We’re pleased and proud that the Princeton Review has recognized UVM’s commitment by ranking us near the top of an elite list of the greenest schools in the country.”According to the more than 10,000 high school students and their parents who participated in the Princeton Review’s 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent said that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.The Princeton Review ranks schools based on its “Green Rating” score, tallied from institutional data the publication obtained from school administrators and from surveys emailed to students at colleges across the country on issues such as how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; the visibility and impact of student environmental groups; whether students have a quality of life on campus that is both healthy and sustainable; how well a school is preparing students for employment in an increasingly green economy; and how environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.UVM scored 98 of a possible 99 total points.This year’s high ranking in Princeton Review’s Green Colleges guide shows the effects of “a virtuous cycle,” says Gioia Thompson, director of UVM’s Office of Sustainability. “Students are attracted to UVM for the commitments they see to social justice and environmental responsibility,” she said. “Then they come to campus, get involved in this community and make their own commitments to living more sustainably. Some take on special projects and leadership roles, investing their time in helping the university itself make further progress. Faculty and staff working on sustainability topics often collaborate with students as they seek to understand problems, explain options and bring about change.”Earlier this year the University of Vermont received a STARS Gold rating(link is external) for its sustainability efforts from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The university’s score of 70.87 placed it among the top 12 percent of all 770 institutions. Key to UVM’s success are its university-wide general education requirement for undergraduates; its strong policy record on climate action, diversity and equity; and its early adoption of best practices in planning and campus operations.Source: UVM 10.18.2017last_img read more


Citizens Financial provides $22.5 million for colleagues and communities

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Citizens Financial Group, Inc (NYSE: CFG) announced a year-end decision to make additional investments in its colleagues and the communities it serves following the new law on federal tax reform.Specifically, the bank plans to:Grant approximately 12,500 colleagues a one-time $1,000 cash bonus, a cost of $12.5 million. This grant will benefit colleagues below a certain compensation threshold, covering over 70% percent of Citizens’ workforce.Contribute $10 million to the Citizens Charitable Foundation to further the impact it makes on its communities, and to benefit its partners. The Foundation focuses on improving financial literacy, helping to provide affordable housing and fight hunger, and supporting economic development across the Citizens footprint.“Corporate tax reform provides us with an opportunity to recognize the role our colleagues have played in delivering better results for customers and shareholders, and to positively impact the communities where we live, work and play,” said Bruce Van Saun, chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group.More information on Citizens giving programs can be found here. About Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $151.4 billion in assets as of September 30, 2017. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions.In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services, including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest rate products and asset finance.Source: PROVIDENCE, RI — Citizens Financial Group, Inc . More information is available at is external) or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.last_img read more


Personal Income Tax strong as revenues remain positive

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Personal Income Tax revenues for last month surged and are running ahead of projections. General Fund revenues collected for the month of December totaled $139.62 million, $8.19 million above the consensus cash flow expectation for the month. The monthly consensus cash flow targets were established by the Emergency Board on July 21, 2017 and reflect the General Fund receipts estimated to be collected each month. December marks the sixth month and the halfway point of fiscal year 2018. Actual December collections exceeded expectations most significantly in the Personal and the Corporate Income Tax categories, by $6.18 million and $3.86 million respectively. All other components of the General Fund were either slightly ahead, or only slightly behind, their monthly targets. At this midpoint in fiscal year 2018, the General Fund is $13.43 million ahead of the con-sensus forecast for the first half of the year. Of note, Personal Income Tax collections have exceeded year to date expectations by $9.85 million.“December’s results put the General Fund deeper into positive territory. It is a development that again underscores the volatility in personal income tax collections that we have experienced this year,” stated Secretary of Administration Susanne Young. “The increase may reflect expedited payments in December that might not have been made until later in the fiscal year due to Vermont taxpayers planning for changes in the tax deductibility of State and Local Taxes in tax year 2018. We look forward to the analysis and recommendation from our state and legislative economists that will be offered at this week’s Emergency Board meeting.”The Transportation Fund collected $22.29 million for the month of December, +$0.86 million ahead of its $21.44 million tar-get. All components of the Transportation Fund were modestly above target for the month, except for the Gasoline Tax which was down slightly by -$0.73 million. Year to date, the Transportation Fund is ahead of its cumulative target by +$2.36 million.The Education Fund collected $14.58 million for the month, -$0.67 million below the consensus target of $15.25 million. Year to date, the Education Fund is ahead of its cumulative target by $0.19 million.The consensus revenue forecast for fiscal year 2018 is currently being reviewed by the state and legislative economists, as is usu-ally done this time of the year. Their recommendation whether to adjust the forecast for the second half of this budget year and for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 will be presented to the Emergency Board on January 18, 2018, 10:00 a.m., Governor’s Ceremonial Office, State House, 115 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont.last_img read more


Grinold: Economic development is about people and communities

first_imgby Adam Grinold, Executive Director, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation I lead an organization that is working to build a vibrant regional economy. The dry language of economic development does little justice to the way our work touches real people and real communities. A sample of our activities from just the past few weeks illustrates the range of challenges and triumphs, and what our daily work entails:We brought 50 people together at our Southern Vermont housing summit.We helped a startup identify a location for their new facility.Our Southern Vermont Young Professionals partnered with BF3F (Bellows Falls 3rd Friday) on a February “Night Out” event.Our workforce team met with 100 employees impacted by a recent round of layoffs to create a rapid response plan.We made two micro entrepreneur loans, helping Hermit Thrush brewers keep growing and helping a new startup enterprise to launch here.We continued work with several firms to plan and implement expansion projects in Windham.150 college students met with our internship director at 5 different college career fairs to learn about local positions.We collected the last of 400 signatures to get on Town Meeting warnings (yes, January was a very cold time to do this!)Wilmington Works partnered with us to deliver a small business succession planning workshop.We completed installing teleconferencing equipment for 3 regional towns, creating virtual connections to one another and beyond.That’s typical. We produce great programs, and great results continuously…and it’s never enough.Our programs are all a means to an end, a way to reach a set of clear objectives to improve the regional economy. We are inventing best practices for innovative rural regional economic development every day, because we looked around for a manual but couldn’t find one. So a decade ago the BDCC & SeVEDS started writing our own.Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) is an affiliate of the BDCC that grew from 2008 grassroots efforts, initiated by the BDCC, to reverse the region’s economic decline. In 2011 the SeVEDS Board was formed, and the BDCC established a Post Vermont Yankee Task Force which issued the Post-VY report(link is external). Based on those findings regional partners testified to the Vermont Legislature on VY’s economic impacts and the resources needed to mitigate closure losses. These lessons were incorporated into the creation of our region’s first strategic economic plan the 2014 Windham Region CEDS(link is external) (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) built over two years with 55 public meetings. The implementation of projects and programs is all about reaching a set of goals for healthy economic growth, which is why our CEDS received a 2016 award(link is external) for implementation from the International Economic Development Council.Since 2014 BDCC has invested over $600,000 of its own private sector resources and secured millions in additional funding to implement the SeVEDS strategic priorities. The reach of this small organization is as wide and deep as the relationships and partnerships we build. Our programs and projects are built on collaboration, our planning and capacity-building based on grassroots engagement. We stay focused by (a) sticking to our strategies, (b) being efficient and outcome-driven, (c) working hard to build buy-in and understanding, expecting the most, and knowing it’s never enough.And sometimes we need to take risks – remember there is no rural economic development guidebook! We innovate, which means operating on research, discernment and courage when we have to operate without precedent. We have also taken risks to find innovative ways to grow the economy  – whether getting into business “incubators” decades before startups were a hot topic when we acquired the Cotton mill (which has helped hundreds of businesses start and grow), or helping realign workforce efforts here so we can aggressively foster a new generation of students and working Vermonters. We go where our economy needs help and then find resources to do the work, rather than chasing trends.How do people get help from us? We field hundreds of calls and referrals each year from people new to the area, non-profits and towns, employers with a problem, individuals with an idea. If we don’t have a solution, we make a connection with someone who does. Our work has many names like INSTIG8, Fast Tracks, SOVT YP, SVEP, Startup Lab, CDBG-DR, NMT, but it adds up to outcomes that matter to real people and communities. We help people create new businesses, jobs and opportunities. We connect people with opportunity. We connect towns, non-profits and businesses with the resources they need to grow. We help great initiatives and organizations grow here. We help employers find and develop they talent they need to succeed. You can find more on our programs and impacts in our BDCC & SEVEDS Annual Report(link is external).Why do we do this work?It’s personal. This is where we live. All of our staff are committed to this region, many of us grew up here, half are under 40 and building their own lives here.It’s serious. In 2016 private sector wages dropped $50 million with the VY closure, companies struggling to hire as labor force shrinks, and a shrinking and aging population.It can change. That sounds bold but yes, we can make a difference if we are strategic, entrepreneurial, and work together. Before the VY closure our focus on job and wage growth was having discernible impact. We are on track to close that gap by replacing lost jobs and earnings by growing businesses and employment.We do it all to fulfill the BDCC & SeVEDS mission, to make Windham a thriving place with great opportunities, as well as great quality of life. Here’s what I can promise you; we will always look forward and take on the next challenge in order to build a vibrant regional economy. But to do this we need your support so we can continue to act boldly, act strategically, and act regionally.This is part 2 of 2-part series about the BDCC & SeVEDS regional approach to reversing economic decline, and overcoming losses related to the closure of Vermont Yankee.About BDCC and SeVEDS:The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, and Weston. BDCC serves as the State of Vermont’s certified Regional Development Corporation (RDC) for the greater Windham County area. BDCC is one of 12 RDCs throughout Vermont.For more information visit: is external)Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) is an affiliate of BDCC that grew from a 2008 grassroots effort, initiated by BDCC, to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region and plan for the economic impacts from the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. In 2014, after multiple years of regional input, education and data gathering, SeVEDS submitted the Windham Region’s federally recognized S.M.A.R.T. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for federal approval.For more information visit: is external)last_img read more


GlobalFoundries Vermont wins environmental award

first_imgGlobalFoundries,Vermont Business Magazine National Pollution Prevention Roundtable board member Rick Reibstein traveled from Boston to Vermont this week and visited GLOBALFOUNDRIES to recognize the company for winning the 2017 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention ( MVP2 ) award. All GF employees receiving the award work at the GF Vermont facility. They included: Dan Wildermuth, Eric Lemire, Ruma Kohli, Jonathan Grohs, Randy Austin, Jim Densmore, Christopher Magg, Dan Hill, Louis Kindt and Shaun Crawford.GF’s winning project is “Elimination of Legacy Wet Chromium Etch Processing in Photomask Manufacturing” and is from the Mask House organization at the Essex Junction site. This project brought about significant savings and reductions and also resulted in improved operator safety and productivity.The following results were achieved:5,268 gallons of hazardous chemicals were eliminated from the manufacturing process, resulting in over $88,000 of chemical savings per year.  In addition, removing  the tools from the manufacturing process helped GF save 6.5M gallons of water; 352,414 kWH of electricity; and 6.5M gallons of waste; resulting in over $71,000 in annual savings.  This process change also resulted in improved operator safety and productivity (over 800 man-hours of operator time), increased process yields, and improved equipment and floor space utilization.Upon presenting the NPPR award to the team, Reibstein said, “It is gratifying to see at this facility, the good sense an environmentalist like me would want to see a business exhibit. It is the same intelligence and quality a smart manager, investor or customer would want to see. This company does not just make product it makes sense.”GF Mask House winning team: Dan Wildermuth, Christopher Magg, Louis Kidnt, Jim Densmore, Ruma Kohli, Shaun Crawford, Rick Reibstein (NPPR), Eric Lemire and Randy Austin. Photo courtesy GF.GLOBALFOUNDRIES is the world’s first full-service semiconductor foundry with a truly global footprint. Launched in March 2009, the company has quickly achieved scale as one of the largest foundries in the world, providing a unique combination of advanced technology and manufacturing to more than 250 customers. With operations in Singapore, Germany and the United States, GF is the only foundry that offers the flexibility and security of manufacturing centers spanning three continents. The company’s 300mm fabs and 200mm fabs provide the full range of process technologies from mainstream to the leading edge. This global manufacturing footprint is supported by major facilities for research, development and design enablement located near hubs of semiconductor activity in the United States, Europe and Asia. GF is owned by Mubadala Development Company. For more information, visit is external).  Source: GF 3.8.2018last_img read more


Bee’s Wrap, Dr Fred Kniffin, and HOPE are 2019 Addison Chamber award recipients

first_imgEmily Gaynor & Sarah Kaeck of Bee’s Wrap and Rob Carter. Photos courtesy of Joanna Banks-MorganVermont Business Magazine The Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized a local business, individual, and non-profit organization with awards during its annual meeting held on October 24th at the Middlebury Inn. Three awards were presented in front of a crowd which included Chamber members, local business people and community members.Bee’s Wrap, located in Middlebury, received the 2019 Business of the Year Award which recognizes businesses that have grown, sometimes despite adversity, while providing excellent products or services while doing well by their employees and the community.Bee’s Wrap started with a question facing many families and home cooks: How can we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?  The company creates wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage and has seen rapid growth since its inception in 2012, moving from the founder’s basement to New Haven, then Bristol, and now Exchange Street in Middlebury. Shawn Oxford of Bristol Financial Services presented the award to founder, Sarah Kaeck, who shared, “We are honored to have our business in Addison County.  We are proud of where we live and where we work.  We are proud to bring suppliers and business partners to the area.”Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM Porter Medical Center and Rob CarterThe 2019 Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM/Porter Medical Center.  Dr. Kniffin exemplifies the criteria for which the award is given—a history of getting things done to make the community better in a variety of ways, with no intention of personal reward or recognition.Tom Manion, vice president at Porter, introduced Dr. Kniffin, sharing the three traits he believes make the hospital’s leader worthy of this recognition: fantastic communication, discipline, and being patient/people-centered. Manion shared, “Fred cares deeply about the way this community is cared for.” Upon receiving the Buster Brush Award, Dr. Kniffin reflected on his 29 years at Porter and in this community saying, “I have the best job in the world. My job is an award in and of itself,” emphasizing the meaningful, rewarding work and the great people he has the opportunity to work with.The Chamber’s 2019 Community Achievement Award is given to a non-profit organization that provides a significant and sustained contribution to the wellbeing of the area. This year’s award was presented to HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects).  HOPE’s mission is to improve the lives of low income people in Addison County, Vermont by working with individuals to identify and secure the resources needed to meet their basic needs. Meaghan McLaughlin of the National Bank of Middlebury presented the award, highlighting the organizations “quantifiable impact” this year alone: 72,000 meals served, 400 people assisted with housing/heat/work/medical needs, 581 children benefiting from the holiday program, and 993 new clients.  McLaughlin emphasized the organization’s dynamic and flexible response to the needs of the community, giving the impressive improvements to the organization’s food shelf as an example.Rob Carter, Jeanne Montross, Cathy Eddy, John Betz of HOPEThe award was accepted by Jeanne Montross, executive director of the organization who said, “The work HOPE does is only possible because of the community in which we exist.  You help make our work possible.”Annual Business MeetingAnnual meeting attendees voted on the board of directors for the 2019-2020 year. New to the board this year, serving one-year terms expiring at the 2020 annual meeting are Sue Ritter, Middlebury College; Deborah Wesley, Addison County Home Health and Hospice; Nancy Foster, Champlain Valley Properties; and Jeff Kozak, WhistlePig Distillery.Other board members include:•             *Bethany Dever, Dever Accounting Service, Treasurer•             Karen Duguay, representing Better Middlebury Partnership•             *Judson Hescock, Neuse, Duprey & Putnam, P.C., Past Chair•             Renny Perry, representing Vergennes Downtown Partnership•             Bill Sayre, A. Johnson Lumber Company, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission•             Len Schmidt, Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center•             *Adam Rainville, Maple Landmark, Chair•             *Meaghan McLaughlin, National Bank of Middlebury, Secretary•             Robert Feuerstein, Kennedy Brothers, shared board member with Addison County Economic Development Corporation•             Dickie Austin, Black Sheep Bistro•             Marty Kulczyk, Robert Frost Mountain Cabins* Designates Chamber OfficersThe board of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce thanked outgoing board member Shawn Oxford of Bristol Financial Services for his seven years of service to the Chamber and the community. Appreciation was also expressed to outgoing board members Ben Calvi of Vermont Cider Company, Courtney DeBisschop of IPJ Real Estate, Sean Flynn of Silver Maple Construction, and Tom Manion of UVM Porter Medical Service.About Addison County Chamber of CommerceFounded in 1969, the Addison County Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in the success of Addison County’s business community. With a full-time paid staff, the Chamber operates a Visitor Information Center just outside of Middlebury’s downtown.  The Addison County Chamber is responsible for promoting the county as a tourism destination, responding to inquiries from visitors and residents as well as providing referrals to member businesses.The Addison County Chamber is a vital resource for the business community by providing governmental affairs programming, educational forums and opportunities to meet other members to create and nurture connections.The Chamber’s mission is to enhance the economic vitality of Addison County.Photos courtesy of Joanna Banks-Morgan:Shawn Oxford and Judson Hescock; Emily Gaynor & Sarah Kaeck of Bee’s Wrap and Rob Carter; Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM Porter Medical Center and Rob Carter;  Rob Carter, Jeanne Montross, Cathy Eddy, John Betz of HOPE.Source: Middlebury, Vermont – October 24, 2019 – The Addison County Chamber of Commercelast_img read more


Weekly unemployment claims keep falling, down to 1,552

first_imgby Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine As Governor Scott continues to open up the economy, the weekly unemployment insurance claims have continued to subside. Initial and ongoing claims have now decreased every week since the peak in early April.The weekly claims report indicates that for the week ending May 23, 2020, the Department processed 1,552 Initial Claims, down 647 from the previous week but 1,122 more than the same time last year. Total new and continuing claims are 51,837, a decrease of 5,465 from the previous week and 48,204 more than the same time last year.Since March 1, over 90,000 claims have been filed. The official Vermont March unemployment rate was only 3.1 percent, but the April rate is 15.6 percent. The US April rate is 14.7 percent. Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said he expects the Vermont rate to continue to rise because the unemployment survey was done in the middle of the month. The rate does not include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance filers.The recently-launched Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has added to the ranks of those receiving benefits. The PUA serves the self-employed who previously did not qualify to receive UI benefits.State officials said while UI payments might be late, all money owed will be paid eventually back to the actual start date. Harrington said that some PUA recipients were initially overpaid but that all those claims should be rectified by May 23.This surge during the Great Recession for the entire year in 2009 spiked at 38,081 claims.The claims back in 2009 pushed the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund into deficit and required the state to borrow money from the federal government to cover claims.Right now (see data below), Vermont has $423.6 million in its trust fund and spent $15.2 million on claims last week. Payments lag claims typically by a week.Vermont currently has more than double the Trust Fund it did when the economy started to slide in 2007.The UI Trust Fund would not fall into deficit under these trends, but the governor has acknowledged that they simply cannot predict it given how economic conditions could swing if there is a second surge of COVID-19.The US unemployment rate for April jumped to 14.7 percent in April, the highest rate since its was first calculated in 1948 and the highest unofficially since the Great Depression of about 25 percent. The US and Vermont (15.6 percent in April up from 3.1 percent in March) unemployment rates are expected to surge further.But with Governor Scott’s order to at first close all restaurants March 17 and all non-essential workers have been ordered home. He has slowly started to reopen the economy and is expected to add to that list already this week and expects to announce more on Friday. He also extended his Emergency Order to June 15.See the latest business guidance HERE, and Scott’s $400 million economic recovery plan HERE.The impact on jobs from the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Vermont on weekly unemployment claims is expected to be profound and the federal aid package more than doubles current UI payments to Vermonters.The federal government will add $600 a week to the Vermont benefit. That federal benefit is set to expire July 31(link is external).Nationwide, according to the US Labor Department for the week ending May 23, initial claims for state unemployment benefits were 2.1 million. Economists were expecting 2.05 million. Last week they were 2.7 million, before that it was 2.98 million, from 3.18 million the week before, and 3.85 million and 4.4 million the previous weeks. (The weeks previous to that were 5.2 million and 6.6 million. The weeks before that there were 3.3 million and before that 282,000 claims.)About 40.8 million Americans have filed for claims since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.UI claims by industry last week in Vermont were not calculated.All these numbers of course are expected to take a precipitous turn for the worse over the next few months, especially when the April report is released in May.Stories:Vermont’s unemployment rate increases to 15.6 percent in April General Fund tax revenues fall by more than 50 percentBusinesses to see double-digit rate decrease in workers’ comp insurance in 2020Tax revenues finish year nearly $60 million above targetsUI tax rates for employers fell again on July 1, 2018, as claims continue to be lower than previous projections. Individual employers’ reduced taxable wage rates will vary according to their experience rating; however, the rate reduction will lower the highest UI tax rate from 7.7 percent to 6.5 percent. The lowest UI tax rate will see a reduction from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.Also effective July 1, 2018, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will be indexed upwards to 57% of the average weekly wage. The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $466, which will increase to $498. Both changes are directly tied to the change in the Tax Rate Schedule.Vermont’s minimum wage rose to $10.78 on January 1, 2019.The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: is external)NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) – A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment “by place of work.” Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment.last_img read more


WMG signs triathlete Ognjen Stojanovic

first_img Related Global media, sports and entertainment company, WMG has signed Serbian triathlete Ognjen Stojanovic as a global client.WMG will provide global representation, working closely with his existing team. ‘WMG will also assist in the development of the TRIOGY brand [].’Peter Stencel, Senior Vice President at WMG said, “WMG is delighted to welcome Ognjen Stojanovic to our already established portfolio of athletic legends.“Ogy is widely regarded as the greatest Serbian and South-East European triathlete and we look forward to strategically developing his established triathlete profile across global markets.”Stojanovic commented, “I am excited at not only joining an established stable of global athletes but extending my professional opportunities in new markets.”The Olympics in London 2012 are fast approaching and I can’t think of a better combination of my long standing management team and now my extended team, WMG, the premier sports marketing company in the world.”www.triogy.comlast_img read more


Ticket to ride: Billetto in partnership with Challenge Nordic team

first_img Related Event ticketing platform Billetto has entered into a long term partnership with Challenge Nordic race organiser RaceMakers, where ‘the goal is to ensure further expansion, in a competitive and ever growing market.’ The partnership is stated as ‘the first in a series of significant collaborations Billetto will present this year, all within the sports segment.’Currently active in 21 countries, the Challenge Family brand is billed as ‘the most rapidly growing long distance triathlon series globally’. The headquarters of Challenge Nordic are located in Denmark – owned and operated by RaceMakers, with Claus Vesterby as the Event Director.Challenge Nordic covers all of the Challenge Family events that take place in Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland, where over 10,000 athletes take part. ‘And in Denmark alone 3,000 volunteers will also be on-board by 2017, to help coordinate the upcoming events.’ Currently there are five events planned across the Nordic region.Claus Vesterby, Event Director & Partner at RaceMakers said “Partnering with Billetto is very exciting. As an organisation we have set new objectives for the possibilities of our events in the Nordics. In collaboration with Billetto, we will increase the number of participants, while we widen our understanding of the athletes. Together, this will ensure that we are offering our athletes the best product we possibly can.”A recent focus on the sport industry will aim to position Billetto as ‘the go-to platform for similar organisers, and a synergy effect between events is to be expected, as even more people with sport interests will visit Billetto.’Mads Rasmussen, Senior Partnership Manager at Billetto added, “The new partnership with Challenge Nordic will not only boost the ticket sales, it will also give the organisation a clearer overview of their target group. Understanding the audience is vital in order to grow, and that is what the Billetto platform is built to do. We are really looking forward to the collaboration with Challenge Nordic – which won’t be the only partnership we present within the sport segment this year.”Billetto is a VC-backed tech startup based in Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin and Amsterdam. The company notes that it is growing rapidly and is currently expanding operations across all of its markets.At its core, Billetto is positioned as a simple self-service ticketing platform, designed to make event creation and selling tickets easy. Unlike traditional ticketing services, Billetto adds that it acts as a social and mobile events community, where people can discover local events and follow their favourite artists, venues and promoters.Since its inception in 2009 Billetto has reportedly grown by more than 400% each year, and now includes brands such as Virgin, Soho House, Vice and Red Bull amongst its 16,000 clients. The company hosts more than 50,000 events annually, and its member community has just crossed the first million.www.Billetto.dkwww.RaceMakers.dklast_img read more