Hub Happenings

Northfield Savings donates $100K to Miller building at UVM hospital


Northfield Savings Bank chief executive officer Thomas Leavitt (center) presents representatives from the UVM Medical Center with a donation in support of the new Miller Building.
Northfield Savings Bank chief executive officer Thomas Leavitt (center) presents representatives from the UVM Medical Center with a donation in support of the new Miller Building.

Northfield Savings Bank announced last week a donation of $100,000 to support construction of the Robert E. and Holly D. Miller Building at the University of Vermont Medical Center, which will contain 128 new single-patient rooms. Completion of the building is expected in the fall of 2019.

To honor the gifts, the UVM Medical Center will name two rooms for Northfield Savings Bank, both of which will directly support patient- and family-centered care.

“Northfield Savings Bank has made this gift to honor and support the physicians, nurses and other caregivers who take care of our neighbors, friends and family,” said John R. Brumsted, MD, president and chief executive officer of the UVM Health Network and chief executive officer of the UVM Medical Center.

This donation helps the UVM Medical Center toward its goal of raising $30 million from the community for the Miller Building.

Longacres’ Nursery in Lebanon, N.H., will be the newest retail location for Gardener’s Supply Company in January.

Gardener’s Supply Company to expand into New Hampshire

HUB - GardenersGardener’s Supply Company of Burlington has acquired the Longacres’ Nursery Center in Lebanon, N.H., marking the 35-year-old company’s expansion into a third location.

Gardener’s Supply Company currently operates two garden centers, one in Burlington and one in Williston, in addition to its catalog and e-commerce business.

The company was very choosy in picking a third retail store, according to Gardener’s Supply President Jim Feinson.

“We’re proud and grateful to have the opportunity to help the Longacres family with business succession,” he said. “The Longacres are great plantspeople. The family has created a terrific reputation, and we look forward to building on their legacy.”

Joe Longacre said Gardener’s Supply Company’s employee ownership structure and community-mindedness were key selling points.

“We like the company’s culture of giving back to the community,” he said.

In addition to encouraging employee volunteerism, Gardener’s Supply donates 8 percent of all profits to causes that make the world a better place through gardening. The company plans to take over Longacre’s Nursery in January.

Generator receives game-building computers from Champlain College

Champlain College’s Game Studio has donated eight recently retired custom-built game development computer systems to Generator, a business incubator located in Burlington.

The donated computers will improve Generator’s computing capacity and provide state-of-the-art computing — including 3D modeling, animation, programming and design for real-time interactive experiences — which is needed for the game development programs at Champlain.

The Game Studio at Champlain College teaches undergraduates how to make video games.

DuBois & King adds Graves

HUB - Graves-1DuBois & King consulting engineers of South Burlington recently added civil engineer Brett Graves to its site and land development division.

Graves, a Richmond resident, is a licensed wastewater and water system designer with seven years of professional experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont.

DuBois & King provides multidiscipline engineering services from offices in Randolph, South Burlington, Brandon and Springfield as well as Bedford, Laconia, and Keene, N.H.

Golfing 4 Life proceeds donated to cancer foundation

The South Burlington law firm of Jarrett & Luitjens teamed up with TLC Homecare & Nursing Associates, also in South Burlington, to host the second annual Golfing 4 Life tournament at Catamount Country Club in Williston. The event, held in June, supports the Cancer Patient Support Foundation, based in Williston.

About 40 area businesses sponsored or played in the 9-hole tournament, raising roughly $9,000 for the foundation. TLC representatives presented the foundation with the funds on Tuesday.

“The goal of this tournament is to provide a positive impact for our community and help support cancer patients and their families,” said Tim Fortune, vice president of TLC.

Golfing 4 Life is a both a tournament and a gathering of people who are providing families with financial assistance, counseling, educational resources and the support of treatment and recovery.

“It’s important to know that 100 percent of the money goes directly to individuals living with cancer,” said Holly Keough, marketing director of Jarrett & Luitjens.

NEFCU adds financial education director

Patricia Selsky
Patricia Selsky

The New England Federal Credit Union of Williston has hired Patricia Selsky as its first financial education director. Selsky holds a bachelor’s degree from the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire. She brings 12 years of classroom, community and professional education experience to the role.

Vermont biz group endorses Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ bill

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) announced last week its support for the “Medicare for All Act of 2017,” introduced recently in the United States Senate by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“VBSR has called for the creation of a system like this since 1992,” said Jane Campbell, VBSR executive director. “The economic problems created by our employer-based health care system were obvious back then and have only grown worse. We are thankful that Sen. Sanders continues to show leadership on this important business issue.”

According to VBSR, the current employer-based health care system hampers economic growth, creates an uneven playing field for businesses that pay for their employees’ health care and leads to unsustainable and out of control costs.

“Medicare for all is not just health care reform, it is an economic development program,” said Don Mayer, CEO of Small Dog Electronics in Waitsfield. “When I started in business over 40 years ago, I paid about $1,500 to cover an employee and their family. Now, coverage that is not even as complete costs me over $15,000.

“As I consider expanding my business, no longer do I just think about the cost of wages to add new employees, I must carefully consider that $15,000 expense, which makes adding jobs much harder. Decoupling health insurance from employment will stimulate the economy and result in significant job growth.”

Gov. Scott appoints Senecal to Commission on Women

Gov. Phil Scott has appointed Lisa Senecal of Stowe to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women, a group working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls.

A fourth-generation Vermonter, Senecal has launched and run three small businesses and currently divides her time between event management, writing with an emphasis on issues of particular importance to women and communications consulting.

She also serves on the board of trustees for the Stowe Education Fund and recently led a study on the viability of converting public schools to independent schools. She is the mother of two sons.

Long Trail announces CBD beer collaboration

Luce Farm of Stockbridge, Vt., and Long Trail Brewing Company of Bridgewater Corners, Vt., released a small batch beer in September using cannabinoid honey.

Cannabinoid (CBN) is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis used as a natural alternative for pain relief, stress and anxiety medications. The cannabinoid beer is the first of its kind in the Northeast, according to Long Trail co-head brewmaster Ian Harbage.

“It’s an honor to be able to collaborate on new products and discover how best to introduce people to the benefits of CBD,” said Rebecca Pimentel, co-owner of Luce Farm said. “It’s all very exciting.”

“It’s a great local connection and a chance for us to try new ingredients and learn from the process,” said Harbage. “There might be a bit of a public learning curve, but we think that a lot of people will be as excited as we are about the beer.”

Lenny’s leads sock donations to support homeless

For the seventh year in a row, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel, Darn Tough Vermont and Smartwool have teamed up to donate over $13,000 worth of socks and support to local homeless shelters.

The donations are the result of a joint effort between the three businesses to help provide warm socks and support to the area’s homeless population in preparation for the colder months.

The organizations receiving the donations include the Safe Harbor Health Center Homeless Healthcare Program in Burlington, Martha’s Kitchen in St. Albans, the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre and JCEO Community Outreach Emergency Services Program in Plattsburgh.

To date, Lenny’s has donated over $96,000 worth of socks and support to these shelters.

Vermont unemployment rate drops to 3 percent

The Vermont unemployment rate for August was 3 percent, the Vermont Department of Labor announced last week.

That is a decline from the July rate of 3.1 percent and beats the 4.4 percent national unemployment rate in August. Vermont’s unemployment rate was tied for the seventh lowest in the country.

“A prolonged economic expansion combined with demographic shifts in the Vermont workforce present a challenge to Vermont businesses seeking to attract and retain workers,” said Lindsay Kurrle, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. “Across the state, employers are reporting that they struggle to find talent.”

For Vermont’s 17 labor market areas, the August unemployment rate ranged from 2.5 percent in White River Junction and Burlington – South Burlington to 4.8 percent in Derby.

Vermont Gas tallies about 500 Addison County customers

Vermont Gas recently announced about 500 families and businesses in Addison County have signed up to switch to natural gas as a result of the company’s pipeline extension from Chittenden County that went live earlier this year.

The South Burlington company has been installing service lines in Middlebury and Vergennes this summer since completing the controversial Addison Natural Gas Project in April. Vermont Gas plans to expand into Monkton, New Haven and Bristol in the coming years.

“We are so glad the project is complete …” said Vermont Gas CEO Don Rendall. “We’re just getting started with service to Addison County.”

Young Professionals Summit addresses workforce supply gap

Nearly 200 young professionals from across Vermont convened in Rutland with members of the Vermont business community earlier this month for the third annual Young Professionals Summit of Vermont. The one-day event’s aim was sharing ideas and confronting issues faced by the state’s young workforce.

The keynote speaker was Mike Schirling, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

The Vermont Futures Project estimates there is workforce supply gap of nearly 11,000 employees in the state. This gap represents the difference between the demand from employers in Vermont and the number of high school and college graduates seeking jobs in the state.