April 21, 2014

Hub Happenings

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AllEarth Renewables announces partnerships

AllEarth Renewables, the Williston-based manufacturer of the AllSun Tracker, announced new partnerships that will make the dual-axis solar tracker available throughout the eastern United States.

AllEarth Renewables began expanding with a partnership program late last year. It has expanded from northern Maine to Illinois and as far south as the Gulf Coast.

The company has now expanded its geographic reach with newly established partnerships with Paradise Energy Solutions, Joule Solar Energy, SECCO, and Hannah Solar.

 

Vermont to raise minimum wage

The Department of Labor announced on Nov. 9 that the state minimum wage will increase to $8.60 per hour from $8.46 per hour on Jan. 1, 2013. In addition, the same increase applies to the basic wage rate for tipped employees and the maximum tip credit allowed, as well as the state-allowed rates for employer provided rooms and meals that may be deducted from an employees pay.

Accordingly, the basic wage rate for “service and tipped” employees will increase to $4.17 per hour from $4.10. Tipped employees’ (as well as other employees) total earnings during a pay period must equal or exceed $8.60 per hour. If a combination of tips and the basic wage do not meet that requirement, the employer must make up the difference.

 

New staff at Stern Center

The Stern Center for Language and Learning, a nonprofit learning center with locations in Williston and West Lebanon, N.H., recently welcomed several new staff members.

Miriam Stoll is a clinical psychologist with more than 15 years of experience as an evaluator in private clinic, community and school settings specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders, neuro-genetic syndromes and anxiety disorders.

Julie Baer, a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow, recently completed a pre-doctoral internship specializing in intellectual and developmental disabilities at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Stoll and Baer join the Stern Center’s Learning Evaluations program, where they will provide cognitive, educational and psychological evaluations for children, adolescents and adults.

Danielle Kent is joining the Stern Center’s communication services program, where she will provide instruction to children with social, cognitive and general speech/language challenges including children with autism and social-emotional communication issues.

The center also recently elected the following new members and officers to its board of directors.

New members include: Will Billings of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; Maureen Post with Lang McLaughry Spera; and Stephen Richards of Champlain Apartments. The elected officers are Eve Pratt Hoar as chair, Deborah Schapiro as vice chair, Elaine Ittleman as secretary, and Chris Gannon as treasurer.

 

Howard joins Davis & Hodgdon 

Trisha Howard has joined Williston-based Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs as an associate accountant. Howard received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Howard, a Colchester resident originally from Massachusetts, has accounting experience at a national public accounting firm in Boston, Mass. Currently, she is preparing to sit for the CPA exam.

 

Williston resident brings DRI to U.S.

Williston resident Mitch Lieberman recently launched U.S. operations for a global business consultancy and technology integrator, DRI, in collaboration with the DRI Portugal team

Lieberman will build and lead the U.S. team. DRI was founded in Portugal in 1999 and is established in five European countries.

 

Fischer to appear on TLC show

Gretel-Ann Fischer is set to appear on Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro’s TLC show, “Next Great Baker.” Fischer owns Cupps, a bakery and café in Winooski. The 10-episode season begins Nov. 26. Thirteen bakers will compete for a $100,000 prize, a feature in Redbook Magazine and a chance to work with Valastro.

“Each season brings out stronger contestants and I think this is the best batch yet. The challenges are tougher, the judges more critical, and the reward as sweet as ever,” Valastro said in a press release.

 

New business emphasizes local level online group buying 

LocalvoreToday.com, a new company based in Burlington, has created an online group-buying space for local products.

LocalvoreToday.com crafts a unique offer that supports each merchant, often capping the number of sales to below 50 to avoid overwhelming the business and allowing them to keep their quality standards high, according to a company press release.

“Most business owners are too busy running their business to learn how to create and maintain their own website,” says Michael Nedell, LocalvoreToday.com co-founder and owner. “We have those skills. And we want to offer the use of those skills to our neighbors so they can focus on making awesome bread, or pottery or cooking incredible meals in their restaurants.”

 

Local horse farm awarded

Cedar Spring Farm of Charlotte was recently honored with the 2012 Horse Farm of Distinction award given by the Vermont Farm Bureau. The award is given annually to farms that excel in criteria including management, community service, expertise and curb appeal.

 

 Perkins Smith wins environmental award

Shelburne-based Perkins Smith Design Build was recently awarded an environmental excellence award for its Eco-Lodge project at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro. Owner John Perkins received the award at the recent Home Builders and Remodelers 2012 Better Homes Awards banquet, where Perkins Smith was chosen from 58 entries.

 

Petty Appointed Dean of Academic Affairs at Vermont Tech

Philip W. Petty has been appointed dean of academic affairs at Vermont Technical College, beginning Jan. 1, 2013. Most recently on staff with the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Petty served as e-Vermont community director, advancing the goals of a project focused on increased Internet adoption and use, particularly for populations that have underutilized broadband technology.

“Philip’s impressive academic credentials, knowledge of Vermont Tech’s people and culture, and management experience make him the perfect fit for this important position,” said President Philip A. Conroy.

 

Wake Robin welcomes new board chair, directors

David Provost, vice president of administration and finance at Champlain College, was elected chair of Wake Robin’s Board of Directors at its annual meeting. Provost brings seven years of experience on Wake Robin’s board.

Wake Robin, a senior life care community,  also welcomed three new directors, each elected to three-year terms.

Kate Lampton of Charlotte is a former director who chaired Wake Robin’s Board Governance Committee. Catherine Frank of South Burlington has served on several local boards, including chairing the Vermont Ethics Network Board and membership on the Board of Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Visiting Nurse Foundation boards. Geoffrey Hesslink of Shelburne is senior lender and executive vice President of the Merchants Bank where he has worked for 17 years, and is president of the non-profit General Education Fund.

 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont announces senior appointments

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) announced recently that Ruth K. Greene has joined the health insurer as vice president and chief financial officer and Daniel Galdenzi has been promoted to vice president, business technology and CIO.

A native Vermonter, Greene is a 1983 graduate of the University of Vermont and spent the last 26 years at UNUM Corporation. Most recently, she served as vice president and CFO for Global Business Technology, a division of UNUM based in Portland, Me.

Galdenzi joined BCBSVT in 2010 as the corporate director of IT. Prior to joining BCBSVT, he served in senior IT management positions for several privately held and public companies in the health insurance field. Most recently, he was vice president of IT at WellCare Health Plans, Inc. He is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University.

 

Hileman named grants manager at Shelburne Museum

Shelburne Museum Director Thomas Denenberg recently announced the hiring of Nancy Hileman as grants manager.

Prior to joining Shelburne Museum, the Vergennes resident was director of development at Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Conn. In addition, Hileman worked in arts administration at the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission.

 

Bitybean wins innovation award 

Bitybean, a new company in Charlotte, recently received the 2012 Innovation Award from the Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA) at the All Baby and Child Expo in Kentucky. Bitybean also launched its Bitybean compact child carrier.

Every year, JPMA holds a competition for the most innovative products in the market. Entries are evaluated by a selection committee of trade media representatives and industry retail buyers, and judged on their innovation, marketability, trend-setting potential, appeal and usefulness.

 

VBSR Honors Botzow, Pollina with Awards

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) announced this week that it is honoring Rep. Bill Botzow and Sen. Anthony Pollina with its Lawmaker of the Year awards for their work during the past legislative session.

Both lawmakers scored perfectly on VBSR’s 2011-12 Legislative Scorecard and worked on legislation that enhanced Vermont’s economy. The statewide business organization presented the two lawmakers with awards at its annual Fall Conference at Mount Snow in West Dover on Nov. 14.

“We think it is important to recognize and thank the legislators that are doing the hard work necessary to improve the business and social climate as the two are inextricably intertwined,” said Russ Bennett, owner of Waitsfield’s Northland Design and Construction and chair of VBSR’s Public Policy Committee.  “Both lawmakers always have a seat at the table for VBSR. They truly understand what makes Vermont’s economy work and the conditions that lead to success for socially responsible businesses and for our citizens.”

 

Benton joins VHFA 

Executive Director Sarah Carpenter announced that Brittany Benton of Winooski has joined Vermont Housing Finance Agency as an accounting specialist.

Benton is a recent graduate of Saint Michael’s College with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in accounting and a minor in finance.

 

Statewide seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increases slightly in September

The Vermont Department of Labor announced that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for September 2012 increased by one-tenth of a percent from the prior month. At 5.4 percent, Vermont’s seasonally adjusted rate continues to remain significantly lower than the national average of 7.8 percent, which fell by three-tenths of one percent from the prior month. For the third straight month the Northeastern region posted increases in the unemployment rate as reflected in the standard household survey data.

w“As the economy improves and people become more optimistic that they can find a job, this can be accompanied by temporary increases in the unemployment rate as people start to look for work again and thus identified in our survey data. The slowing of the rise in the unemployment rate could indicate a turning point as we examine the data. We are seeing an increase in job postings by Vermont employers, collected by our department which we believe will allow VDOL’s regional career centers to match more job seekers to available job openings in Vermont. With significant economic development projects like the project in the Northeast Kingdom, the signs of continued economic recovery are tangible in this state,” said Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan in a statement.

 

Survey show Vermont’s fish and wildlife important recreationally and economically

Fish and wildlife resources contribute to the economy, according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau and released in September.

In total, $704.4 million was spent in 2011 on fish- and wildlife-based recreational activities in Vermont.

Resident and nonresident hunters spent $268.7 million in Vermont. People also spent $288.5 million to watch wildlife in Vermont in 2011.  Wildlife watching activities are defined as observing, feeding or photographing wildlife.

“Hunting, particularly, comes at a fortuitous time for our tourist centered businesses – after the leaves are off and before the skis are on,” said Berry.  “Fishing and turkey hunting also spike big in the spring, after skiing is done and before summer tourism gets rolling.”

The nationwide survey showed that Vermonters ranked second only to
Alaskans in enjoying fish and wildlife resources recreationally in 2011.

 

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