Public Forum: “Securing Vermont’s Economic Future” November 17th 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Vt Futures LogoThe Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce announce a public forum by the Vermont Futures Project, “Securing Vermont’s Economic Future,” on Thursday, November 17th, 2016 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at the Quechee Club, 3268 Quechee Main St, Quechee, VT 05059.

The Vermont Futures Project’s Jeff Lewis and Jennifer Stromsten will present the data they have gathered so far from ten events across the state with over 400 Vermonters participating.  They will then open the discussion to get an accurate temperature reading on the economy of the Upper Valley as well as important regional issues and hopes for the future.

The Vermont Chamber Foundation launched the Vermont Futures Project in January 2016 with the goal of articulating a shared vision for a healthy state.  The Vermont Futures Project is a data-driven initiative designed to help secure Vermont’s economic future by providing opportunities for its residents.  More information about the Vermont Futures Project, including what they have gathered to date, can be found at

For additional information, please contact Bob Haynes at 802-295-4231 (w); 603-448-8494 (m) or go to

There is no charge for the event but RSVP by contacting  Hors d’oeuvres will be provided and there will be a cash bar available.

Transportation Board holds White River Forum on Rail


The Vermont Transportation Board at 6 p.m. on November 16 will hold a public forum in White River Junction on transportation policy associated with trains, both passenger and freight. The Board wants to discuss railroad related issues with the public – including passenger expansion to Montreal, rail-side economic development and living with railroads as neighbors – to determine how future policy can be shaped to best position Vermont’s rail interests to meet the needs of the state residents.

The forum, which will be held at the Hotel Coolidge at 39 South Main Street, is one of seven such public conversations the Board is holding around the state. Topics the Board plans to discuss include:

  • Living with railroads as neighbors, and the issues they present.
  • Passenger rail expansion along Vermont’s western corridor between Rutland and Burlington.
  • Passenger rail expansion from various points in Vermont to Montreal.
  • Truck traffic through villages and town centers, and the effect of rail expansion.
  • Adjacent rail-side economic development and planning for increased rail activity.
  • Starting commuter rail service linking Brattleboro to various points in Massachusetts.
  • Rail Safety, including crossings, trespassing and response to potential emergency incidents.

“Vermont is poised to significantly expand passenger rail in the very near future, while at the same time the state also is seeking growth opportunities for both the movement and off-loading of freight,” said David Coen, Acting Chair of the Transportation Board. “As a result, we want to have a conversation with Vermonters to both hear their suggestions as well as understand their concerns regarding these new services and how the state uses its rail lines.”

People who cannot attend a forum can submit written comment by visiting the Board’s website at For more information, contact John Zicconi at or by calling 802-828-2942.

Press Release: Public Forum Focused on the Depressed Forest Products Sector  

(Bradford) An informative public conference took place in the old Bradford Academy on October 5th sponsored by the COHASE Chamber of Commerce, Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) and the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, directed by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD).


The event was attended by over 100 participants including: loggers, foresters, truckers, saw mill and power plant operators, land owners, legislators and staff from Vermont’s congressional offices as well as state and federal officials. It was conceived by Marvin Harrison, a key driver of the Cohase Chamber and a local commercial banker with Wells River Savings Bank and Bob Haynes, the Executive Director of GMEDC. The decision to host a public forum followed discussions on behalf of clients in the region who are experiencing financial difficulty with businesses related to the forestry industry in all aspects. As Mr. Harrison said in his introductory remarks, “This is a major problem for all of us who live and work here, not just those of us who are employed in the woods. Bob and I wanted to assemble a group of local folks to share observations and ideas and see what could be done about it.”  Haynes seconded this sentiment and explained that he reached out for assistance from Joan Goldstein, Vermont’s Commissioner of Economic Development and Jared Duval, the Director of Working Lands Program in Vermont.  “We wanted to introduce people directly involved with forest products – “boots on the ground” – to state and federal agency staff and elected officials to discuss the forces at work and possible solutions. The stakes are high and we’re not sure that the average person recognizes how difficult the situation has become.”

Harrison, Haynes and Duval spent several weeks planning the event with the expressed hope to conduct an open and respectful session.  The program began with a panel discussion including:  Peter Condaxis, Chief Forester of the Ryegate Power Station, Bob Moses, President of Britton Lumber, Ryan Kilborn, Chief Forester/Principal with Meadowland, LLC, Marcus Bradley, Co-owner, Redstart Forestry and Bruce Limlaw, Owner of Limlaw Chipping and Land Clearing. Each gave his perspective of problems, opportunities for relief and suggestions about how best to proceed. The audience was invited to respond and several exchanges took place which highlighted items that need more analysis and attention from the state legislators. Sales taxes on forestry equipment and the high cost of Workers Compensation as compared to neighboring states was referenced by several speakers as well as the importance of promoting biomass heat for schools, hospitals and other public buildings. A central theme was that unfortunately, biomass has become a poor stepchild of the renewable energy market as compared to solar and wind. Ironically, it should be considered the only renewable source since it can provide direct benefits to the region perpetually and not just the owner of an energy device (solar or wind).  For example, Ryegate Power and Burlington Electric purchase approximately $150M of wood chips annually and most agreed that the legislature and Public Service Board should be advised to reconsider their support or opposition.

Jared Duval then introduced Steve Sinclair, VT Director of Forests who spoke briefly and introduced Paul Frederick, the Wood Utilization and Wood Energy Program Leader for the VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Mr. Fredericks gave a Power Point presentation he called “A 30,000 foot view of Drivers and Trends” describing the Vermont forest products industry from a historical perspective to its current status. His central message was that the forces at work are substantial, are effected by national and international issues and that the New England Region in particular is suffering badly as a result.

The balance of the three-hour meeting was spent with a “town hall” style discussion. Among the participants was Mark Scarano, the Federal Co-Chair of the Northern Border Regional Commission whose district includes upstate NY, VT, NH and Maine. Scarano thanked the sponsors for taking the initiative to hold the event and expressed how important the discussion is. He promised that it is receiving appropriate attention on the federal level and that similar meetings will take place soon and that coordination with other communities in the region will be an important component to finding meaningful long term solutions.

A sign up list with contact information was gathered and notices of subsequent meetings and updates will be circulated. For further information, please contact Bob Haynes at 802-295-4231 (w); 603-448-8494 (m), or go to

Vermont Wood Products Forum – Oct 5th

Save the Date & Call to Action

The Vermont Wood Products Industry

You are cordially invited to attend a public forum co-sponsored by the Cohase Chamber of Commerce, Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, and the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

1:00 to 3:00 pm
Bradford Academy Auditorium
172 North Main Street
Bradford, VT 05033

We will be joined by forest products businesses, legislative representatives, state and regional economic development officials, technical assistance providers and lenders with programs specific to the forest products sector as we work together to:

  • Frame industry challenges and market trends
  • Provide information on existing resources
  • Exchange ideas and coordinate efforts to improve markets


Marvin Harrison or 802-222-2991

Bob Haynes or 802-295-3710

Jared Duval or 802-272-2461

All are welcome to attend

chamber logo     gmedc  vtworking

Farm-Way, Inc. Expands Operations to Former Twin State Fertilizer Property

July 29, 2016

(Bradford) Farm-Way, Inc. today celebrated the Grand Opening of its expanded operations at its family owned and operated store in Bradford, Vermont.

Twin State Fertilizer and its predecessors manufactured and repackaged seeds, fertilizer and pesticides for 50 years or more on the site where Farm-Way’s expanded facility is now located.  As the former Twin State Fertilizer property was contaminated by these operations and the owner did not have sufficient resources to address the contamination and redevelop the site, Two Rivers Ottaquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) and Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) secured funding from Farm-Way and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Region 1 that allowed GMEDC to purchase the property, enroll it in Vermont’s Brownfields Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation (BRELLA) program and work with Farm-Way, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Brownfields Program and EPA to clean up the site.

Taking advantage of the redevelopment “safe harbor” available to regional development corporations such as GMEDC under Section 6615 d (4) of Vermont’s Waste Management Act, GMEDC was able to remediate the contaminated property and transfer it to Farm-Way with a Certificate of Completion from Vermont’s Brownfields Program that protected Farm-Way and its successors and assigns from liability for the historical contamination at the site and allowed Farm-Way to proceed with the redevelopment of the property.

Carol Metayer, Farm-Way’s President, said “We are grateful to all the people who have helped us navigate this complicated clean up and acquisition and thank our customers and staff for making it possible!”

Peter Van Oot, Chair of the GMEDC Board said, “GMEDC was happy to be involved in this great project for Farm-Way, the Town of Bradford and the Upper Valley from the very beginning through the cleanup and redevelopment. This project with the great collaboration of the many stakeholders who participated in its success is a great example of how our valued local businesses can expand and grow jobs while also protecting and enhancing our natural resources.”

Bob Haynes, GMEDC’s Executive Director added: “This project had a lot of moving pieces but everyone involved recognized the importance and hung together to make it happen. Working on something like this with wide appeal is rewarding for many reasons and the Farm-Way folks were great partners. GMEDC looks forward to assisting with other similarly distressed sites that need our help.”

Joan Goldstein, Vermont Commissioner of Economic development, who was instrumental in the early stages of the project as the former Executive Director of GMEDC, said “It is very gratifying to see this project come to fruition.  It was many years ago that we came up with the plan with Farm-Way to redevelop this property.  It exemplifies how well state and federal partners can work together with private industry to make good things happen!”

All parties involved with the project were complementary of the efforts of Trish Coppolino, the head of Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Brownfields Response Program and Joe Ferrari, the Regional Brownfields Officer who managed the project for the EPA, as well as their respective staffs. They are well known for working hard to provide solutions whenever possible.

Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation is the regional development corporation serving 30 towns in east central Vermont.  Its mission is to foster economic vitality and prosperity consistent with the goals of the communities it serves.

For further information, please contact Bob Haynes at 802-295-4231 (w); 603-448-8494 (m), or Peter Van Oot at 603-442-4512 (w); 802-258-0389 (m)

VMEC Workshops

Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) News and Events

What is VMEC’s Primary Mission?

Our primary Mission is “To help improve and grow manufacturing in Vermont and strengthen the global competitiveness of the state’s smaller manufacturers.” ­This is accomplished by leveraging private and public partnerships and by providing hands-on implementation assistance, consulting, training and coaching. The goal is to help Vermont manufacturers achieve sustainable and profitable growth through innovation, increased productivity, improved manufacturing and business processes and the adoption of advanced business practices and attributes, all leading to the creation and retention of high wage manufacturing jobs.


Developing and maintaining a highly skilled and experienced workforce is absolutely critical to all of Vermont’s industry sectors – both now and for the future – including the following sectors where VMEC has a proven track-record of providing effective assistance: manufacturing, finance, healthcare, higher education, non-profits, and services.

VMEC offers a variety of networking and training opportunities through its basic and advanced public and on-site Workshops, Vermont Manufacturing Forums held at local plants, and focused Special Events. VMEC offerings are designed to help companies innovate, plan, perform and grow. They challenge and train attendees about how they might measurably improve and transform their operations, accelerate profitable growth, and gain competitive advantages through implementing enterprise-wide best practices that include wise investments in their people.

Upcoming Workshops in June, include subjects like: Fundamentals of Project Management, Blueprint Reading for Mechanical Drawings and Intro to Training Within Industry (TWI). VMEC Headquarters is located in the Vermont Tech Enterprise Center (Vermont Technical College) at 1540 VT RT 66 in Randolph. or or 802.728.1432.

Annual Meeting and Member Appreciation

On Thursday June 23rd GMEDC will hold its 2016 Annual Meeting and Member Appreciation Event featuring special guest speakers Joan Goldstein, Dan Smith and Brenan Riehl.

Joan Goldstein, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development and former Executive Director of GMEDC, will talk about managing economic development initiatives on a state-wide basis. Dan Smith, President of Vermont Technical College, will discuss the future of technical education in today’s workplace and Brenan Riehl, President of GW Plastics, will talk about the challenges of operating a manufacturing business in Vermont.

The event includes hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary drink and invaluable networking.

Event Details

Who:               Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation

What:             Annual Meeting and Member Appreciation Event

Where:          King Arthur Flour Bakery and Cafe, 135 US Route 5 South, Norwich, VT

When:            Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Cost:                Free for members, $25 for future members

RSVP:             To April Harkness at or 802.295.3710 by June 16th 


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