first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Chamber is pleased to announce that Kurt Gruendling, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, will serve as Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for the next year and Lisa Kingsbury, Interim Co-Director/Planning Relations Manager for Campus Planning Services, University of Vermont will serve as Vice Chair.Kurt Gruendling, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley TelecomKurt joined Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) in 1996. At WCVT, he is responsible for all facets of marketing, customer service, public relations, strategic planning, and new product and business development. Kurt holds an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelor of Science from S.U.N.Y. Plattsburgh. He is a past Board member of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as past president of the Chamber’s Valley Economic Development Committee. Kurt currently serves on the Marketing and Public Relations Committee of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association where he served as committee chairman and is past chairman of the Marketing Committee for the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO).  This past year, Kurt testified on behalf of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee On Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection as part of their “Disrupter Series: Smart Communities.” Kurt resides in Shelburne with his wife Suzanne and their 16-year-old twins.Lisa Kingsbury, Interim Co-Director/Planning Relations Manager for Campus Planning Services, University of VermontLisa Kingsbury is the Interim Co-Director/Planning Relations Manager for Campus Planning Services at the University of Vermont. In this role, Lisa oversees the land use planning and regulatory functions for UVM as well as serving as UVM’s liaison with community and institutional groups and municipalities specific to land use. Prior to joining the staff at UVM, Lisa was the Director/Public Relations at Paul Kaza Associates in South Burlington and Director of Marketing for Forest City Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the immediate past chair of the Leadership Champlain Board and has served on the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Board and the Executive Committee of the Board for the past two years. She is also a member of the Burlington Business Association, the Vermont Planners Association and the Society for College and University Planning. She has enjoyed volunteering her time for the past two years as the Head Coach of the Girls on the Run program at Shelburne Community School. Lisa lives in Shelburne with her husband and two daughters.The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce is also pleased to announce that the following individuals have joined the Chamber’s Board of Directors.Michelle Buswell, Vice President, Relationship Manager, People’s United BankMichelle Buswell works in Wealth Management as a Vice President, Relationship Manager at People’s United Bank in Burlington, Vermont. There she manages all aspects of her client relationships utilizing her broad knowledge of investments, financial planning, operations, fiduciary advisement and private banking to consult with clients and develop long term wealth management plans. In Michelle’s prior role as Vice President, Portfolio Manager, she managed investment accounts across the bank’s footprint. She also was a member of the firm’s Solutions committee which is responsible for the firm’s investment products, research and selection. Michelle started at People’s United as a Wealth Management Associate in March of 2016.  Prior to working at People’s, she taught college students at New England Culinary Institute, was a chocolatier in the Napa Valley and worked in finance at Columbia Management as a Senior Performance Analyst. Michelle is a graduate of Leadership Champlain Class of 2018. She is a Programs Committee member with the Burlington Business Association and serves on the Leadership Team for the Burlington/Williston chapter of People’s Women in Leadership. Michelle loves gardening, podcasts, Middle Eastern food, live music and taking classes. She lives in Burlington’s New North End with her husband, two young children and Jack Russell, Masoni. Peter Engard, General Manager, Hilton Burlington Lake ChamplainPeter “Pete” Engard is the General Manager of the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain. In addition to serving on the Vermont Business Roundtable, Pete also serves on the Hello Burlington board as Chairperson and formerly on the board of the Equinox Preservation Trust while he resided in Manchester at the Equinox Resort. Pete’s 25+ year hospitality career began when he joined Hilton while studying for his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Fort Lewis College in Colorado. The industry brought him to Seattle, White Plains, Manhattan, Manchester and now Burlington. Pete resides in Essex with his wife and two children.Alex Halpern AIA, NCARB, Vice President, Freeman French Freeman, Inc. – ArchitectsAlex is an experienced architect, designer, project manager, and small business owner of Freeman French Freeman Architects in Burlington. His portfolio includes work in both public and private sectors with a focus on education, technology, and recreation/community projects. As a team leader and vice president for over 20 years, Alex is passionate about helping clients throughout Vermont and New England realize their architectural goals. In addition to Alex’s areas of focus, the firm’s design services also include interiors, commercial, healthcare, hospitality, and historic preservation. Halpern’s recent work includes Burlington’s new YMCA, the UVM STEM science facility, UVM Rescue, the Dion Student Center & Quad Commons at Saint Michael’s College, the Moran FRAME project, and plans for a new South Burlington Recreation Center. Other notable works include UVM’s James Jeffords Hall, the Dartmouth College Burnham Field Soccer Facility, and multiple expansions at the Burlington International Airport. Alex is a 1998 graduate of Leadership Champlain, a former board member for the South End Arts & Business Association (SEABA), and a member of the Burlington Business Association. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from UVM and a Master of Architecture from SUNY Buffalo. Alex is a Burlington resident who loves Vermont and the great outdoors, spending as much time as possible enjoying it with his family and friends.Michael Posternak, Assistant Vice President, NBT BankMichael grew up in Brattleboro and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1999. He began his career in banking as a summer intern at Vermont National Bank, and then went on to work for Chittenden Bank as the manager of its offices in St. Albans from 2001-2003, and Wilmington from 2003-2006. In 2009, Michael moved to Canada and spent nine years working in the banking industry, where he managed retail branch offices in Lancaster, ON and Ottawa, ON. He returned home last summer to manage the 150 Bank Street office of NBT Bank in Burlington. Over the past twenty years he has had the privilege of working in diverse communities on both sides of the border, and has been actively involved with numerous non-profit and community service organizations. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce in St. Albans from 2001-2003, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mt. Snow Region Chamber of Commerce in Wilmington from 2003-2006. In Ottawa, he was vice-chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade from 2016-2018 and a Career Mentor for the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. In his spare time Michael enjoys spending time with his family, and helping to make a positive impact in the community.Heather Ross, Principal, Sheehey, Furlong & BehmHeather Ross is a director and shareholder at Sheehey Furlong & Behm P.C., where she practices commercial litigation with a focus on labor and employment law. For over twenty years, Ms. Ross has been advising clients on compliance issues, conducting investigations, and representing clients in all phases of litigation. Prior to joining the firm in December 2016, Ms. Ross spent more than a decade at the U.S Attorney’s Office in Vermont, where, as a federal prosecutor, she tried multiple cases, including financial crimes and labor and sex trafficking cases.  Ms. Ross came to Vermont in 1995 to serve as a federal judicial clerk to the Honorable William K. Sessions III, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Vermont. Thereafter, she enjoyed private practice at a regional law firm before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She currently serves as the Treasurer of the Federal Bar Association and is on the Board of Directors for KidSafe Collaborative and Give Way to Freedom. Heather lives in Shelburne, Vermont with her husband and two children.Tinotenda (Tino) Charles Rutanhira, Product Manager, Dealer.comTino was born in Harare, but spent most of his childhood in Mutare, the jewel of Zimbabwe. He attended university in South Africa, and lived in Johannesburg afterward before immigrating to the United States where, this time, another jewel found him … Vermont! Tino is currently employed at as a Product Manager, and was previously employed at MyWebGrocer and People’s Bank. In his spare time, Tino is a producer and host of his own podcast called “On The Shoulders of Giants”, which aims to learn how inspirational Vermont luminaries have achieved success in their field and in their communities. He also owns and operates Best In VT Tours & Charters, a party bus for corporate events, brewery tours, weddings, private parties, etc. Most importantly, he is a single parent of a beautiful, amazing, (insert glowing adjective here …) 14-year-old girl. Tino is honored to be seated on one of Vermont’s most influential & respected Boards and representing the Leadership Champlain Class of 2019. His goal is to grow and learn from the Board Members, but also as a young professional, a person of color, and an immigrant, he hopes to provide a different perspective that may be missing from how the board and the Chamber operates.Rick Vincent, Senior Vice President and CFO, University of Vermont Medical CenterRick Vincent is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the University of Vermont Medical Center. He started his career with the organization in 1994 as a staff accountant, and in the 25 years since has held several finance and operational roles, such as administrative director positions in Orthopedics, Cancer, Pathology, Radiology, Anesthesiology, Director of Finance, and Vice President of Finance for the UVM Medical Group. Rick earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Vermont, and his master’s degree in administration and management from St. Michael’s College. He lives with his wife Danielle and three children in Charlotte, Vermont.Brad Worthen, Commercial and Business Broker, Pomerleau Real EstateBrad Worthen is a 4th generation Vermonter. He was raised in South Burlington by two loving parents and picked up just enough education to be confident. He set out to conquer the world but didn’t quite make it that far but just far enough. Today Brad resides in Richmond, VT with his partner Chris. Brad is a Commercial Realtor with Pomerleau Real Estate. His favorite pastime is piloting his Mooney around the Northeast. He enjoys the summer days at his family cottage off the coast of Maine and traveling around the globe.Janine (Jan) Wright, Deputy Chief of Administration, Burlington Police DepartmentJannine (Jan) Wright is currently the Deputy Chief of Administration for the Burlington Police Department. She was promoted to this role in January 2014 by former Chief Michael Schirling. Jan has served the City as Acting Police Chief three times since 2014. She supervises a number of divisions including the Burlington Police Detective Bureau(s) which includes the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI), General and Major Crimes and the Narcotics Unit. She also supervises Communications, Records Division, Parking Enforcement, Training and Recruitment and Facilities.Jan graduated from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Champlain program class of 2010. She joined the Leadership Champlain Board of Directors in 2014 and currently serves as the Chair. She is also the co-chair of Hope Works, an organization dedicated to ending sexual violence through healing, outreach, prevention and Empowerment and serves on the CUSI Policy Board. Prior to moving to Vermont in 2001, Jan was a Deputy Sheriff and Detective with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa for fifteen years. She has an Associate’s Degree in Police Science from the Hawkeye Institute of Technology where she also served as an Advisory Board Member and as a member of Student Senate. In her spare time, she served on a number of Boards that address conservation issues locally and nationally and worked ten years with the United States Marshal Service transporting and guarding federal inmates.  The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce is the largest business advocacy organization in the state. The Chamber puts everything into place to help our members grow their businesses: providing innovative member services and programs, promoting our region and making it an even better place to do business. To learn more about the Chamber, visit is external)/chamber. Source: Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Burlington 10.15.2019last_img read more

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first_imgThe United Nations Security Council has decided to pull UNMIL out of Liberia on June 16, 2016, roughly a year prior to the 2017 presidential and general elections that will mark a serious political transition.In her roundtable discussion with the Liberian media last Friday, Special UN Secretary General Representative of the (SRSG), Karen Landgren, said it was critical that the Liberian government and people prepare for UNMIL’s departure.  She challenged the media to do all they can to ensure that the government is ready to assume this highly significant, historic responsibility.One of the Liberian media’s  challenges, certainly, is to assess for themselves the efficacy (usefulness) of the  Security Council’s decision.  Was it arbitrarily taken? Is it realistic for UNMIL to pull out on the eve of these momentous (earth-shattering) 2017 elections? Why these questions?  The Daily Observer has long called for Liberians to assert their independence and self control, most especially in business.    Even though we submit that Liberians have not proven themselves to be highly entrepreneurial, that is no excuse for the continued foreign dominance of our economy.  It is the responsibility of the government and all of its institutions, if they are interested, sincere and determined, beginning with the schools and universities, and all the relevant players—the Ministries of Finance, Commerce, Justice and Labor—to help build the country’s entrepreneurial capacity.  For what are governments for, if not to see, identify and focus upon a dire need and DO something to fulfill that need and make a substantive (permanent, enduring) difference? If, however, the government is happy with the status quo, subjecting its own people to abject poverty and continuing to keep them as peons (people held in compulsory servitude) in their own country serving other people, especially foreigners, then nothing will change for us, and the rich especially foreigners and a very few Liberians, will continue to become richer and the majority poorer.That is a POLITICAL decision that neither the Security Council nor ANYBODY else can make for Liberia.  It is Liberians themselves who must change that status quo and make a permanent and enduring difference, that will assure all Liberians a stake in their own country, leading, empowering, compelling them to do what Edwin Barclay challenged them to do in The Lone Star Forever: “Defend the sacred heritage.”Without this radical change in the status quo, Liberia, we are afraid, will ALWAYS need an UNMIL or ECOMOG to protect Liberians from themselves.What are we saying here?  We are saying that so long as the government remains oblivious to the reality of poverty in this country, so long will we be at risk of political upheaval.  This government is fully aware of all the groups who have been calling for either regime change or an “interim government”—whatever that means.  The Daily Observer has consistently and vigorously resisted this, arguing that another interim government would do what all the others except Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant’s NTGL, did—pillaged and plundered the national coffers, then led us to more conflict. It seems to us that the current government is the best institution that has the capacity to make a difference, primarily and consummately because THIS is what it was elected to do—and promised it would do—seek the highest interest of the people.  That highest interest is to do everything to seize and retain the POWER that the Constitution has already given them in the first sentence of  Article 1: “ALL power is inherent in the people.”Without the people feeling powerful instead of powerLESS, those institutions on whom we depend to replace UNMIL, such as the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN)—but especially the LNP—will continue to be seen as enemies to the people, an LNP whom the people see as seizing every opportunity to extort from, harass, intimidate and humiliate them.Herein, then, lies the urgency of the cogent (sound) admonition which the Deputy Minister of Justice, Counselor Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, gave the BIN and the LNP last Friday.  If they should be prepared to take over from UNMIL come June 2016, she told them, they must become “accountable and transparent” in all their work.If they are prepared to behave in that fashion, then they may be ready; if not, they will not be ready.  But the GOL can help make them ready by using its remaining time in office to reduce poverty by helping Liberians get into business and having a greater say in their economy.Can this government bring itself to that?  That remains to be seen.   Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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