VCRD unveils ‘Model Communities’ program

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Council on Rural Development is set to begin a program seeking to harness climate change as an economic opportunity for local communities. The group’s Climate Economy Model Communities Program kicks off in early 2017, with an RFP process scheduled to start in February. VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello said the organization, with support from Vermont partners, will select “two towns to provide concentrated services to in the next year.”

Through these services, the goal is to work with the local community to advance economic opportunities while reducing the community’s carbon footprint. For some, Costello said, this offers a different way to think about climate impact. “You can think of the climate change issue as apocalyptic, or you can think of it as a problem that we need to rally to for solutions, essentially an economic problem, which will challenge the creativity of leaders in the business community to come up with answers,” Costello said.

Rock-solid partnership forms with granite manufacturer

It seems simple, but it bears repeating: Keeping costs down helps Vermont businesses succeed, and energy is one of those costs. We can help business owners reduce that cost with energy efficiency solutions, and strengthen storied Vermont industries like granite manufacturing in Barre. The granite industry in Barre reaches as far back as the early 1800s, and it expanded in 1875, when the central railroad reached Vermont. As the granite industry grew, so did the city of Barre. Yet the granite industry is not thriving as it once was.

After 30 years, KSE rebrands to reflect broad expertise

MONTPELIER — After 30 years in business, a Montpelier lobbying firm is getting a makeover of sorts. KSE Partners, the firm started by Steve Kimbell and Robert Sherman, is now Leonine Public Affairs. The company is rebranding itself to better reflect its scope of expertise.

Heartworks to open Montpelier preschool

MONTPELIER — A Vermont-based group of schools plans to start a new preschool in Montpelier in January, giving local families another option for child-care services. The new Loveworks Child Care Center, part of Heartworks Preschools, will be at 24 Mountain View St., in a building owned by National Life. This was the result of a request for proposals from National Life, which was looking to have child-care services in its building, and Heartworks was selected. The Loveworks center will be open to the wider community as well as employees of National Life and the state. The new facility will offer full-time, year-round child care for children 6 weeks old through pre-kindergarten.

Food bank, Uber launch partnership

BARRE — Vermont Foodbank and Uber Vermont today announced the launch of a giving season partnership to help the Vermont Foodbank raise money and provide meals for children and families throughout the Green Mountain State. Starting today, Uber riders in Vermont can enter the promo code FEEDVT16 when they ride and Uber will donate $1 for every trip to the Vermont Foodbank. Riders can enter the promo code every time they ride between today and Friday. Each year, the Vermont Foodbank distributes over 12 million pounds of food to thousands of children and families. During this season of holiday giving, Uber and the Vermont Foodbank are working together to build awareness and bring our communities together to give back.

Heartworks open house is Saturday

The Heartworks Preschools will host an open house called Experience Heartworks Day from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at its location at 618 South Main Street in Stowe. Heartworks is also announcing the January opening of Loveworks Child Care Center at 24 Mountain View Street in Montpelier, which will offer full-time, year-round child care for children 6 weeks old through pre-kindergarten. Heartworks currently has preschool locations in Burlington, Shelburne, Williston and Stowe. For those who can’t attend the Dec. 3 event, Loveworks will host a series of open houses at 24 Mountain View Street in Montpelier in February.

SunCommon hires 2 execs

WATERBURY — SunCommon recently added two new hires to its leadership team, as it prepares to launch several new products and programs.

Tom Berry joins SunCommon as the new vice president of marketing and sales, and Jim Merriam is the new vice president of operations. Berry most recently worked for Keurig Green Mountain and was previously with Burton Snowboards. Merriam used to work for the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. The new duo is leading SunCommon through the launch of a small-business program, a new installation technology partnership and an innovative solar product: the Solar Canopy.  


Entrepreneurs open Good Measure Brewing

NORTHFIELD — “Vermont is the best state for beer in the union,” Scott Kerner said. “The amount of tourists that pour into our state each year is one barometer for the strength of this industry. The brand is strong, and the community is stronger.”
Kerner should know. After he moved to Vermont from Oregon — where he worked for that state’s oldest microbrewery, Bridgeport Brewing Co. — he helped open three beer-focused restaurants: Three Penny Taproom, The Mad Taco and Mule Bar.


Schwetlick joins National Life

MONTPELIER — National Life Group recently hired Achim Schwetlick as a senior vice president to head the firm’s Business Innovation Group. In this position, Schwetlick will oversee the firm’s life and annuity strategy, product design, product marketing and business development. He was previously a partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group in New York, focusing on clients in the insurance industry. Schwetlick joined The Boston Consulting Group in 1999 in Germany and transferred to New York in 2001. He previously held posts at Goldman Sachs and at McKinsey & Co.