Carl Bickford, director of quality for Mack Molding’s northern operations, has accepted the position of plant manager for the headquarters facility in Arlington, Vt., it was announced today by Jeff Somple, president of Mack’s northern operations.“Carl brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position,” says Somple. “In addition to serving as director of quality for Mack’s northern operations for the past 13 years, Carl has also managed the manufacturing engineering and document control functions at Mack, served as ISO management representative, and led the way to GMP Level III manufacturing, the most stringent FDA regulatory category for medical devices. He will continue to drive quality throughout all aspects of plant management, which becomes even more critical as Mack sharpens its focus on medical devices and other high-end products.”Bickford first joined Mack in 1989 as quality manager for its Cavendish, Vt., plant. He was soon transferred to the Arlington facility as quality manager, and in 1991, began managing the quality function for all four plants in the northern operations.Prior to joining Mack, Bickford worked for 14 years in the quality arena for the Burndy Corporation, both at its New England operations in Vermont and New Hampshire, and at its facility in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. A graduate of Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center, Vt., Bickford holds a degree in electronic technical engineering.Mack is a full-service contract manufacturer that specializes in plastics design, prototyping and molding, as well as sheet metal fabrication. The company operates 12 facilities throughout the eastern United States and Scotland totaling 1.5 million square feet of manufacturing space. For further information, call 802-375-2511.
Kazam Natural Body Care, An Organic Health and Beauty Product company dedicated to better serve your family! Ms. Marjorie Moutari is the founder and CEO of Kazam Natural Body Care LLC. A family based business which manufactures Natural Body Care and Organic Health and Beauty Products. These products are available online, in beauty shops and from mail order. The company does special orders and gift baskets and ship all over the United States. These organic health and body care products are also available at home parties and in other stores. Some of our customers and clients includes Celebrities, Fashion Models and Diplomats.Moutari received her training in natural personal care products, perfume and essential oil manufacturing in Europe, Africa and the United States, she also hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Pratt Institute in New York. She has over 10 years experience as a holistic nutrition and diet consultant, counseling patients on nutrition and health matters.As the wife of a high ranking diplomat, stationed in several countries around the world including Germany, Russia and Africa, where she conducted workshops and seminars, training African women to make soaps , lotions, essential oils and perfumes. Which enabled them to own their own personal care business which generated an Income for their families and greater independence for themselves.Moutari is widely published in Africa, she has written several articles on health and beauty care and nutrition in French. Published in National Magazines, including “La Nourriture Fondement De La Vie” (Translated from French to English, “Food is the foundation of life”) Kazam Natural Body Care products grew out of a demand for preservative free products that has no harmful side effects, there are a growing number of health conscious consumers who are seeking natural pure high quality organic and aroma therapeutic products that are made without any harsh chemicals. Kazam Natural Body Care products, perfumes and essential oils was developed to fulfill this growing need.Visit our online boutique and discover the delights of pure natural body care products. We have a variety of health and beauty care products, Lotions, Body Scrubs, Bath Salts, Soaps, Candles and more…www.Kazambodycare.com(link is external)
RUTLAND, Vt. – Central Vermont Public Service has selected Rutland and Royalton companies to build the first major solar project in the state to feed power exclusively onto the grid, rather than use it on-site.CVPS has selected CV Solar and Wind, a small Rutland company, and ReKnew Energy Systems Inc. of SouthRoyalton to build the 50-kilowatt solar array along Route 7, just south of the black water tower near the CVPS Rutland District Service Center.“This project will not only provide clean, renewable energy and give CVPS first-hand experience with PV technology, but due to its location just feet from Route 7 in Rutland Town, it will become a tremendous educational tool,” CVPS President Bob Young said. “CV Solar and Wind and ReKnew were selected as the contractors for their technical skill and experience, and their dedication to making this project a ‘classroom’ for Vermonters of all ages.”Young said the solar project would play host to visits from thousands of school children each year through collaborative efforts of the three companies. CV Solar and Wind, started by John Blittersdorf in Rutland in 1996, was the overwhelming choice of a panel of CVPS employees involved in the project.“John Blittersdorf’s enthusiasm and expertise were unmatched by any of the companies that bid,” CVPS project leader Marty Bowen said. “His excitement and his commitment to partner with us to educate Vermonters about renewable energy scored high points in our decision matrix.”Blittserdorf, a Pittsford native who has used solar and wind energy to power his off-the-grid Chittenden home for three decades, said the CV site offered a tremendous opportunity. “Not only will this project be among the biggest solar installations in the state, it will be a symbol to the hundreds of thousands of people who will drive by it each year on the Route 7 corridor,” Blittersdorf said. “We are thrilled to be a partner in the project.”Under an agreement between the companies, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will complete the high-voltage electrical work, and students from the Stafford Technical Center will get hands-on educational experience installing the panels.“We wanted to make full use of this project as an educational tool, and continue to build on our strong relationship with the IBEW,” Young said. “CV Solar’s excitement about working with both groups was a big plus. Some bidders said they would do so, but CV Solar’s enthusiasm was obvious and genuine.”Added Blittersdorf: “IBEW members do high-quality work and are supportive of renewable energy. Having Stafford students working alongside our staff will give them valuable experience to begin a career in this field. We hope this project will begin an ongoing collaboration between CV Solar and Stafford Technical Center.”“Our union, in collaboration with organizations like CVPS, is clearly at the forefront of green collar job creation and Vermont’s burgeoning renewable energy movement,” said IBEW Local 300 Business Manager Jeffrey Wimette. “This project will bolster the first-of-its-kind solar training program for electricians that we unveiled in 2008, by allowing our members to apply their photovoltaic expertise to one of the state’s largest, highest-profile solar endeavors.”The solar project will include about 265 solar panels, each 3 by 5 feet wide. The project, along with Glen Station, a CVPS hydro facility across the road, will include a renewable education program where students will learn about two renewable projects at one site.Young said CVPS, which has among the cleanest energy portfolios in the country, would continue to support and develop new renewable energy projects. The company will expand CVPS Cow Power™ to up to four more farms this year and will begin a collaborative study of the potential of Lake Champlain weeds as an energy crop this spring.“CVPS is committed to maintaining both its price advantage and its clean energy mix in the years ahead,” Young said. “Today’s announcement is but one example of our commitment.”
Wondering how your business, municipality, organization, or non-profit could benefit from the recently enacted economic recovery bill? Interested in how the stimulus bill might help you buy a home or impact your family’s bottom line this year? U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor James Douglas, the Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) invite you to attend a FREE workshop that will help Vermonters understand selected programs included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.Friday, March 6, 2009, 1 pm to 5 pmChamplain College, Burlington, VTIDX Student Life Center, 265 South Willard StreetOpen To:Vermont Residents, Small Business Owners, Advocates, Municipal OfficialsTo register online by Wednesday, March 4th, click here orCall (800) 642-3193Workshop Agenda:1 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: Welcome and remarks by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Governor James Douglas. 1:45 p.m.-3 p.m.: Attend one of seven workshops designed to help Vermonters take advantage of the recovery bill.3:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m.: Workshops repeat to allow you an opportunity to attend a second workshop.
Katy Lesser, Owner of Healthy Living Market, South Burlington, has been named the US Small Business Administration s (SBA) 2010 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year. Nominated by David Blow, Jr, Vice President, Granite State Development Corp., Burlington, Lesser was selected for outstanding leadership related to her company s staying power, employee growth, increase in sales, innovative ingenuity and contributions to the community. Lesser s business is a full-service, natural and organic food store abounding with grocery, wine, cheese, local meats, organic produce, a cafÃ©, a bulk section, and natural health and beauty products. From humble beginnings in a 1,200 sq. ft. space with only one employee and average earnings of $300 a day , Lesser grew Healthy Living Market over a period of 23 years into a spacious, 33,000 sq. ft. market, a staff of 130 employees, and average daily sales of $50,000. Lesser s sales for 2009 were more than $17 million.As the first Burlington market to offer locally-grown produce, Healthy Living was at the forefront of the locavore movement. Lesser s long-term relationships with local farms and farmers regularly provide Healthy Living with local fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, dairy products and more. The Market also acts as an incubator for small, local culinary producers and currently carries products from more than 1,000 Vermont producers.Today, the store s interior design is anything but typical. Before moving to her present location in 2008, Lesser carefully considered details ranging from lighting, color, and texture to physical layout and interior traffic patterns. She successfully planned and implemented the creation of a pleasing, non-traditional shopping environment. For example, Healthy Living s shopping aisles are arranged in a semi-circular pattern rather than the customary linear model. Products stand out in colorful relief, as planned, against a monochromatic background that recedes into virtual invisibility. Because she wanted to avoid a cool, impersonal atmosphere, fluorescent lighting was not an option for Lesser. Instead, she installed museum-quality HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting throughout the store and achieved an ambience of lively warmth and color. Also unusual for a non-chain food market is the development of a product brand, an innovation Lesser considers vital to her continued success. The Market now carries its own brand of vitamins and offers various products under the store label in both the Meat Department and CafÃ©.In the realm of employment, Lesser is also an original thinker. I am proud to hire many people who might not be seen as the most employable group, those who do not have college educations, or are single parents or recent immigrants, Lesser said. And yet, over the years many of them started as cashiers and have risen to become buyers and managers. I am proud and inspired to be able to give people a chance and move them up the ladder.The store also serves as a community outreach center for all manner of causes related to natural and sustainable living. Lesser s most notable successes include:· a two-month partnership with Spectrum Family Youth Services, a local organization working with at-risk youth. Lesser supplied five meals a week, all made at Healthy Living, delivered and served by Healthy Living staff to the kids at Spectrum;· a 15-year affiliation with the Howard Center s Project Hire, an organization that finds employment for developmentally disabled adults, one of whom has worked 12 years for Healthy Living; and,· a new and growing collaboration with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Project. Through the Resettlement Project, Lesser says she hired someone right off the plane from Sudan . . . . he worked at Healthy Living from the day he arrived in the U.S., went to the University of Vermont and graduated in five years . . . . since then we have continued to work with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Project.Healthy Living makes charitable contributions too numerous to list. A few donation recipients from 2009 include Women Helping Battered Women, Lund Family Center, Humane Society of Chittenden County, Spectrum, King St. Youth Center, NOFA VT, Peace and Justice Center, and many more.Lesser has demonstrated determination and courage in the face of repeated challenge. In 1986, after eight years of staying home to care for her two young children, Katy Lesser opened the door to a radical shift in her life. With funding from a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loan, she and her then-husband purchased Healthy Living Market, a 1,200 sq. ft. natural foods store that had been operating just over a year. Lesser had no business experience but believed her enthusiasm for good nutrition, food, and people would make the difference.Two days after taking over the store, Lesser was shocked to learn they had inherited $10,000 in accounts payable, a fact previously unknown to them. At that time, Healthy Living Market s small customer base was bringing in sales of roughly $300 a day, and Lesser was struggling to make improvements. In a town of competitive supermarkets, Lesser found herself in charge of a one-employee store registering zero growth during its first year. Making matters worse, she discovered that her role as a natural foods CEO was taken less than seriously by the men dominating the food industry at that time.Lesser faced these hurdles, including a divorce in 2000, with strength and resilience. Over the first seven years of ownership, she doubled Healthy Living Market s size to 2,500 sq. ft. In 1998, she realized a need for yet more space and moved to a location offering 8,500 sq. ft.In 2004, Lesser began contemplating a major expansion and while continuing to operate the store seven days a week, she worked almost three years to design a new facility, find a location, obtain necessary permits and perform market studies. With funding through the SBA 504 program, Lesser fit up a brand new facility and moved into Healthy Living s present S. Burlington location in 2008.Following her divorce in 2000, Lesser bought out her former husband s share of the Market over a period of eight years. During that time, one of Lesser s previous landlords gave her an opportunity to learn how much grit she actually had. He took her to court over a $10,000 issue she believed to be unjust. She made a decision not to back down, and after five years of preparation with an attorney, won her case. When the landlord appealed the decision, Lesser went forward and won a settlement in the Vermont Supreme Court. This was a break-through event for me, a marathon process that taught me the power of staying the course, believing in myself, and working with people who are the best at what they do, Lesser said.Over the years, Healthy Living Market has undergone a significant transition, as has Lesser herself, having evolved from an inexperienced business owner to a respected leader in both the business community and the natural foods industry. She is gradually turning the business over to her two children, both of whom returned to Vermont following college and jobs elsewhere. Lesser s 32-year old son Eli, a graduate of Brandeis University, is currently Healthy Living s chief operating officer. Her 26-year old daughter Nina, a graduate of George Washington University and the French Culinary Institute in NYC, is Healthy Living s education coordinator and director of the market s newest venture, the Healthy Living Learning Center.As Vermont s Small Business Person of the Year, Katy Lesser will compete for the national title at National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., May 23-25, 2010. Ms. Lesser will be locally honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration on June 17th at a ceremony presented by Vermont Business Magazine at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vermont.The Small Business Award celebration will also honor the following winners of the 2010 Vermont Small Business Champion Awards:Kym Maynard, Vendor Liaison for LACE Arts GalleryCentral Vermont Community Action Council, BarreVermont and New England Regional Home-Based Business ChampionRobert M. Berman, PresidentInstrumart, WillistonFinancial Services ChampionBradley Quinn Page, Veterans Employment RepresentativeVermont Department of Labor, BurlingtonVeterans Small Business ChampionMark and Lauri Boyden, OwnersBoyden Farm, CambridgeJeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small BusinessStory by Kate Herrington, SBA Vermont.# # #
First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, today announced that it has obtained $76 million in financing for the company’s 40 megawatt (MW) Sheffield Wind project. With financing in place, First Wind will continue on schedule with construction of the largest wind energy project to date in Vermont. Construction began in September, 2010. The developer says the Northeast Kingdom project will create construction jobs, local tax revenues, work for small local businesses, and clean energy for about 15,000 Vermont homes.As part of the financing, First Wind closed a $71.3 million non-recourse construction loan and a $4.5 million letter of credit facility for the Sheffield Wind project. KeyBank National Association (Keybank) served as the sole lead arranger for the financing. In addition to the financing, JPM Capital Corporation has executed a tax equity financing agreement for up to $60 million with a subsidiary of First Wind. When the project goes into commercial operation, JPM Capital Corporation will provide long-term capital to take out a large portion of the construction loan, with the remaining portion converting to a term loan with Keybank.‘This is an important milestone in the development and construction of our Sheffield Wind project,’ said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. ‘This financing shows that the capital markets recognize that this is a strong, well-planned project and that wind power is viable in Vermont. We appreciate the commitment of our financial partners, which will help First Wind deliver clean, renewable energy for Vermont residents and businesses, as well as significant economic benefits in terms of construction jobs, local tax revenues and work for local businesses.’‘First Wind has been researching this project for more than six years and spent more than $7 million with Vermont businesses in developing it,’ Gaynor added. ‘We’d like to thank all of our supporters within the Sheffield community, our utility PPA partners, a committed group of Vermont-based consultants and attorneys and groups such as Renewable Energy Vermont for helping us move this beneficial project forward.’ Sheffield is in Caledonia County.Since the end of September, First Wind has raised $435 million in financings and repaid $149 million in short-term turbine supply loans. Financings include the funds for the Sheffield Wind project; $98 million for the Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County, Maine; $247 million for the 68-turbine expansion of its Milford Wind project in Utah; and $15 million for its Steel Winds facility in Lackawanna, New York. First Wind has raised more than $2.7 billion in financings since January 2009.‘We are very pleased to have played a leading role in First Wind’s financing of the Sheffield project,’ said Andrew Redinger, managing director and head of Power & Utilities at KeyCorp. ‘We applaud First Wind’s long term dedication that brings significant investment to Vermont. The financing of the Sheffield project demonstrates the solid fundamentals of the wind project that will provide an excellent source of renewable power for Vermont ratepayers.’Located in the Town of Sheffield in the Northeast Kingdom, the project will bring clean, renewable power to Vermont homes and businesses. Sheffield Wind has the capacity to generate enough power for more than 15,000 Vermont homes ‘ or about 45 percent of the homes in the Northeast Kingdom. The renewable power generated by the project will be sold through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to three Vermont utilities including the Burlington Electric Department (BED), the Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc. (VEC) and the Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WEC). VEC and WEC both provide power to several towns in the Northeast Kingdom, so much of the power produced in Sheffield will stay within the area.During construction, it is estimated that the project will create about 200 jobs. Once it is operational, the Town of Sheffield will receive $520,000-a-year in tax revenues, which can be used toward roads, schools, police, fire and more. The general contractor on the project, RMT, Inc., began construction on the project in mid-September and is hiring many Vermont-based businesses and subcontractors to work on the project. The project is expected to be online and operating sometime in the fall of 2011.First Wind currently has four projects with a capacity to generate up to 232 MW of power in various stages of construction. In addition, construction of a battery storage system is underway for a fifth project, a 21 MW expansion of a project in Hawaii.‘Today’s financing is a great way to top off what has been an excellent year for First Wind. Like we do everywhere, we’ve worked very hard to develop and build the Sheffield project the right way,’ Gaynor added. ‘We’re excited to take another step forward on this project.’About First WindFirst Wind is an independent wind energy company exclusively focused on the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of utility-scale wind projects in the United States. Based in Boston, First Wind has wind projects in the Northeast, the West and in Hawaii, with the capacity to generate up to 504 megawatts of power and projects under construction with the capacity to generate up to an additional 232 megawatts. For more information on First Wind, please visit www.firstwind.com(link is external) or follow us on Twitter @FirstWind.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org March 26, 2011 The Vermont House passed the budget, or the Big Bill as it’s called, on third reading Friday after a another long day of back and forth between the Democratic majority and GOP lawmakers. Republicans engaged in a futile attempt to assail a budget that was, with a few exceptions (including reinstatement of Catamount Health Care and a partial restoration of funds to programs for the elderly, developmentally disabled and mentally ill), a slightly edited carbon copy of the governor’s recommendations.The vote was 95 to 34, along party lines, to approve $4.69 billion in total state spending for fiscal year 2012. The budget represents a 3.6 percent decrease from fiscal year 2011, according to figures from the Joint Fiscal Office. The House GOP members say total spending from 2008 to 2011 increased from $4.1 billion to $4.857 billion. The Dems attribute the increase to federal stimulus funding for economic development, transportation and human services in the wake of the onset of the Great Recession.Lawmakers were charged with reviewing Gov. Peter Shumlin’s proposed budget and coming up with alternative ways to help the state find the combination of revenues and cuts that would fill the state’s General Fund $176 million budget gap in fiscal year 2012.This is the fourth year lawmakers have been faced with unpleasant choices.In previous budget cycles, they cut the state workforce by 10 percent, reduced state employees’ pay by 3 percent and the salaries of exempt employees who earn more than $60,000 by 5 percent. In addition, they have reduced funding for the growing caseload of Vermonters who need mental health services and programs for the developmentally disabled by $15 million and asked teachers to contribute $15.3 million toward the teachers’ retirement fund.In order to meet the fiscal year 2012 challenge, lawmakers banked on $12 million in reductions in payments to private contractors and savings in labor and retirement costs from the state employees union. They also cut $23 million from the General Fund contribution to the Education Fund; raised $14.5million in health care provider taxes; placed a 0.83 percent health insurance claims tax on insurers to bring in $10.72 million; and cut $8.7 million from human services programs.The budget doesn’t touch the state’s stabilization money (also known as the rainy day fund), which now totals $57.66 million. Lawmakers also built $29.78 million into the human services caseload reserve fund, which the state often uses to match federal Medicaid funds. The reserve has been used in the past few years of the recession to fill gaps in funding for human services programs that are in higher demand when the economy is depressed.As House Speaker Shap Smith, a Democrat, put it: ‘It wasn’t a fun budget to pass.’‘I think it’s a responsible budget that meets the needs of Vermonters while recognizing the fiscal restraints we have,’ Smith said.POLITICS DOESN’T TAKE A HOLIDAYSpeaker Smith has remarked on the collegial tone of the debate between independents, Progressives, Democrats and Republicans at the Statehouse. Smith said Vermont should be held up as a model for other states and for Washington, where party rancor has soured productive policymaking. ‘It’s a testament to the members of the House that with weighty issues and difficult decisions, we were able to maintain our composure and have a civil and substantive debate on the critical issues of the day,’ Smithsaid.So what accounts for the relative comity?Smith said it comes down to letting the debate play out. ‘I think it’s important for people to feel they’ve been heard,’ Smith said. ‘That is what I try to have happen on the floor.’Lawmakers have put in an exhaustive week of ‘listening,’ racking up about 30 hours of nonstop talk on taxes, health care and the budget. Still, GOP members didn’t feel they were heard. All that hot air in the end resulted in few changes to legislation as it made its way through the Statehouse.As a minority party, there wasn’t much they could do about it except make their opinions known.That’s because the Democratic majority in the House marched in lockstep as its members deflected amendment after amendment lobbed at them by the minority GOP party. The Republicans initially decided on a coordinated campaign, settling on a dozen amendments that would have cut programs held sacred by Democrats ‘ to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Reach Up program and Efficiency Vermont. All these amendments failed. In fact, only one change to the budget was accepted ‘ a study to determine whether the state has redundant GIS mapping programs.The Dems also withstood a proposal from former compatriot Rep. Paul Poirier, I-Barre City, who tried, for the second time this week, to push for restoration of all the funding for programs through changes in budget and taxation policies from the committees of jurisdiction (House Appropriations, the budget-writing committee, and Ways and Means, where tax policy is developed).His attempts to wheedle and cajole Dems into forgoing significant cuts failed.The party held fast to Gov. Peter Shumlin’s proposal to cut hospitals, school substance abuse programs and services for the elderly, the mentally ill and the developmental disabled. During the debate on the miscellaneous tax bill on Tuesday, Poirier pitched an income tax increase. On Friday, he first tried to persuade his colleagues to accept a plan to leverage about $11 million of the state’s $54 million rainy day fund to restore the cuts. Later, he banked on money from the Tobacco Trust Fund ($4.5 million) and the enhanced federal Medicaid money ($2.9 million) to make the human services programs whole.The Dems would have none of it.The day started with the summary rejection of proposed amendments in the House Appropriations Committee. All but two proposals ‘ a technical correction of the bill from the chair of the committee and the plan to reconsider funding for GIS systems ‘ were dismissed by the committee.Troop-rallying exercises ensued shortly afterward. The two major parties retired to their respective caucuses. The Dems heard Poirier’s stabilization fund proposal. The GOP held a press conference outlining $26 million in cuts to housing and conservation, Medicaid spending and Efficiency Vermont that in part would be used to buy back cuts in human services. The rest would have gone into a special fund that would have been used to soften cuts from federal budget reductions.Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org. VTD was just added to the Columbia Journalism Review’s News Frontier Database for online news organizations.