WBON Names New Chapter Coordinator

first_imgThe Women Business Owners Network (WBON) announces that Brooke Hauge Trottier, Attorney at Law, is the new chapter coordinator for the Upper Valley chapter.Brooke is a graduate of Vermont Law School has a law practice in South Royalton, Vermont. Her specialties include real estate transactions and estate planning, purchase and sales contracts, title searches, title insurance, deeds and other documents of transfer, last will and testaments, durable powers of attorney for health care, living will and terminal care documents, general or durable powers of attorney, and trusts. She can be reached at (802) 889-9401 or by email at btrottier@direcway.com(link sends e-mail).The Womens Business Owners Network (WBON) is a Vermont-based association of over 170 women business owners who support one another in the pursuit of business and personal success. WBON has monthly chapter meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro, Norwich, Rutland, Montpelier, and Malone, NY as well as conferences throughout the year.For more information, go to www.wbon.org(link is external) or call 802-363-WBON.###last_img read more

Vermont Jobless rate jumps up half point

first_imgVERMONT’S JOB GROWTH REMAINS SLOW, BUT POSITIVE. UNEMPLOYMENT AT 4.9% IN MAY.Montpelier — The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2008 was 4.9 percent, up five-tenths of a point from the revised April rate of 4.4% and up 1.1 points from a year ago.”Vermont’s continued job growth is insufficient to hold down our growing unemployment rate,” said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. “This is to be expected in a national environment where unemployment is growing rapidly and the national economy continues to shed jobs. In addition, the seasonal transition in Vermont’s labor market from April to May can be quite volatile depending on weather. This can lead to rapidly changing labor statistics. We should have a better picture of the State’s labor market in the June numbers.”Vermont’s observed seasonally adjusted monthly changes in unemployment levels and unemployment rate are statistically different from April values. For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 5.5 percent, up a similar five-tenths of a point from April 2008. Unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.8 percent in Hartford to 6.4 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 4.6 percent, down four-tenths of a point from April 2008.Jobs Data (Vermont’s job count estimates are produced from a statewide survey of business establishments conducted under the Current Employment Survey (CES) – a cooperative effort with the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)Seasonally adjusted job levels grew by 1,200 or 0.4% over April, but remain flat over the year. Most of the growth came from the construction sector: +900 jobs or 6.1% but the sector remains down considerably on an annual basis (-600 jobs / -3.5%). We see the monthly gain as due to a slow start in April rather than a strong May. For similar reasons the Accommodations and Food Services sector shows a strong monthly decline (-600 jobs / -2.0%) What was bad weather for construction kept the ski resorts operating longer in April – thus the decline in May looked worse than is typically expected.Before seasonal adjustment, Total Non-Farm jobs grew seasonally by 4,500 jobs 1.5% from April to May.. Annual unadjusted job growth remains sluggish at +0.1%. Seasonal job gains were seen in construction (+2,400 / 16.4%), but the segment remains in decline showing a 650 job annual loss or -3.7%. Retail Trade jobs grew by 700 in May, but this seasonal boost was not enough to overcome annual job losses of 200 or -0.5%. Professional & Business services grew by 500 over the month and 150 or 0.7% over the year. Arts Entertainment & Recreation grew 700 jobs over the month offsetting a 700 job loss in Accommodations & Food Services. Local Government Education gained jobs in May, but this is almost certainly a school vacation scheduling issue.last_img read more

National Trust Lends Support to Vermont Tech

first_imgNational Trust Lends Support to Vermont Tech RANDOLPH CENTER, VtVermont Technical College this week was awarded a $2,000 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to hire a historic preservation architect to review plans for the renovation of the historic Allen House, which stands at the colleges main entrance in Randolph Center, VT.Vermont Tech was among several grant recipients selected this summer following a competitive application process from applicants across New England and Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.With these start-up dollars, said National Trust Northeast Regional Office Director Wendy Nicholas, Randolph Center, Vermont joins hundreds of other communities across the country that are actively ensuring that Americas architectural and cultural heritage is preserved.When completed, the Allen House will serve as the home of Vermont Techs Center for Sustainable Practices.Through its Preservation Fund, the National Trust offers small matching grants to nonprofit groups and public agencies to support a wide range of local historic preservation projects across the nation.The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress in 1949, is a nonprofit organization with more than 270,000 members. As the leader of the national preservation movement, it is committed to saving Americas diverse historic environments and to preserving and revitalizing the livability of communities nationwide. The northeast Office coordinates the programs of the National Trust within the ten northeastern states and provides a wide range of services adapted to the needs of the region.last_img read more

Waitsfield’s Liz Lovely discusses success in tough times on NPR

first_imgLiz Lovely, Inc. received national exposure when company co-founders Liz and Dan Holtz were featured on The Story, a nationally syndicated program on National Public Radio, on Thursday, March 5th. The show was one in an on-going series called What s Working? Who s Working? that focuses on people and companies that are thriving despite the downturn in the economy.During the 30-minute interview, host Dick Gordon cited pundits who have said survival is the measure of success in 2009. Liz responded, People are saying that to us this year and we re thinking, that was our story last year. Liz and Dan elaborated to listeners on how they turned their embattled business around in 2008 despite a failed West Coast expansion and unserviceable debts for new equipment.Mr. Gordon s asked them about the resuscitation of the business to which the founders credited creative solutions like new products, such as Gluten Free cookies, an e-commerce website, and shipping directly to retailers rather than focusing on a big distributor. Through the process of almost going out of business we actually learned how to write a business plan, Dan said. For the first time in a few years, the business is actually on track to grow significantly this year.Liz and Dan were also very candid about their marriage and how the challenges in their business affected their 15 year relationship. Mr. Gordon skillfully maneuvered the interview into very personal territory for the couple, which may have contributed significantly to listener appeal.According to Andy Campbell, Marketing Coordinator, We received a number of positive emails and calls from listeners, especially people who were inspired by Liz and Dan s personal struggles while trying to stay in business. The Story with Dick Gordon debuted in February 2006 and has grown from a weekly local broadcast to a daily national broadcast airing in more than 60 cities across the country. The audio from the show can be found at www.thestory.org(link is external) and at www.lizlovely.com(link is external).Liz Lovely, Inc. bakes and distributes Certified Organic and Certified Vegan cookies and dark chocolate products to leading natural foods retailers throughout the country. They also recently launched a line of Gluten Free cookies with three more flavors slated for an April release. Liz Lovely makes its products and eco-friendly gift samplers available for consumers, corporate gifts, and events directly from their website. The company s socially responsible mission is summed up in their tagline, Baking a DifferenceTM. Liz Lovely was founded in 2003 by high school sweethearts Liz and Dan Holtz and is located in the Green Mountains of Vermont. For more about Liz Lovely, visit www.lizlovely.com(link is external).Waitsfield, Vermont (March 10th, 2009)last_img read more

Governor Douglas appointed by President Obama to co-chair Council of Governors

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas has been appointed by President Obama to co-chair the Council of Governors, a bipartisan group of 10 governors who will work closely with the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as other defense and national security officials to advise on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.“It is a great honor to be asked by the President to co-chair the Council,” said Governor Douglas.  “Ensuring that the state and federal governments are coordinated in response to domestic military operations and disasters is critical to the safety and security of our Vermont residents, and citizens across the country.”The National Guard Empowerment Act of 2007 directed the President to establish a bipartisan Council of Governors – five from each party – who will work with defense and homeland security officials on issues regarding the command structure for National Guard and active duty military forces operating within states in response to domestic disasters and emergencies.“Governors appreciate the opportunity to exchange ideas and views about military operations within their states,” said the Governor.  “This Council will provide a forum for the discussion of issues that might arise and ultimately lead to more effective responses to domestic disasters and emergencies.”  On January 11, President Obama issued an executive order to formally establish the Council.  Its membership includes:Ø Governor James H. Douglas, Co-ChairØ Governor Chris Gregoire, Co-ChairØ Governor Janice K. BrewerØ Governor Luis G. FortuñoØ Governor Brad Henry, MemberØ Governor Robert F. McDonnellØ Governor Jeremiah W. (Jay) NixonØ Governor Martin O’MalleyØ Governor Beverly Eaves PerdueØ Governor M. Michael RoundsØ Secretary of DefenseØ Secretary of Homeland SecurityØ Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and CounterterrorismØ Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public EngagementØ Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security AffairsØ Commander, U.S. Northern CommandØ Chief, National Guard BureauØ Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard Source: Governor Douglas’ office. 2.5.2010###last_img read more

Condos selects Brian Leven as Deputy Secretary of State

first_imgSecretary of State-Elect Jim Condos has selected Brian Leven of Stowe to be the new deputy secretary of state. Leven has spent the last 12 years as an attorney for the Vermont Legislative Council. During that time he has served as counsel for the House and Senate Committees on Government Operations and the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. These three committees are important committees for legislation pertaining to activities and operations of the secretary of state’s office.In 2002, he staffed the Senate Reapportionment committee which was responsible for redistricting of House and Senate districts after the 2000 US Census. Reapportionment will again be taken up this biennium with completion of the 2010 Census. And, this past year, he served as counsel to the Government Accountability Committee which is monitoring the progress of Challenges for Change.‘I am excited to have Brian join my team,’ said Secretary-elect Condos. ‘His knowledge and experience will prove invaluable as my office continues to serve Vermonters with positive outcomes.’Brian Leven lives in Stowe, Vermont, with his wife, Jacquie, and two children, Augie and Talula. He grew up in Danville and St Johnsbury. He graduated from St Johnsbury Academy, received a BA from the University of Vermont, and a JD from the University of Denver College of Law.In addition to playing music, reading, and enjoying the outdoors, Leven serves as chair of the Stowe Development Review Board.Jim Condos was elected to be Vermont’s secretary of state on November 2, 2010. Condos has over 20 years of elected public service including 18 years on South Burlington City Council, eight years as a Vermont state senator, along with over 30 years of private sector business experience.last_img read more

Vermont construction employment gains back some jobs after big losses

first_imgVermont gained the second most construction-related jobs in November, but still ranks only 45th in the nation over the last year. Construction employment expanded in 20 states between October and November, while the list of states with year-over-year construction job gains grew to 13 states plus the District of Columbia, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department. The new figures continue a year-long pattern of mixed results in construction employment as overall demand remains weak, association officials noted.‘It is encouraging that the number of states adding jobs year-over-year was higher in November than at any time since February 2008,’ said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. ‘However, the data also make clear that these gains are as spotty as they are tenuous.’Simonson noted, for example, that California had the largest monthly increase in construction employment’adding 7,800 jobs’but also the largest 12-month drop’36,900 jobs, or 6.4 percent. New Jersey and New York had the next-highest number of construction job gains in November with 4,500. New Jersey also led the nation in monthly percentage gains (3.7 percent), followed by Vermont (3.4 percent, 400 jobs) and Maine (2.5 percent, 600 jobs).The largest year-over-year percentage gains occurred in Oklahoma (9.2 percent, 6,100 jobs), New Hampshire (6.7 percent, 1,500 jobs) and Kansas (4.7 percent, 2,700 jobs). Texas had the largest increase in the number of construction employees (13,400 jobs, 2.4 percent).Washington had the largest number of monthly job losses (4,200 jobs), followed by Utah (2,400 jobs) and North Carolina (2,300). In November, employment shrank in 29 states and held steady in D.C. and Alaska.On a year-over-year basis, the largest losses were in California (36,900 jobs, -6.4 percent), Nevada (16,600 jobs, -22.0 percent’the steepest percentage decline) and Florida (12,900 jobs, -3.6 percent). Other large year-over-year percentage declines occurred in Idaho (-15.5 percent, 5,100 jobs) and Montana (-11.2 percent, 2,700 jobs). In all, 36 states lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, while construction employment was unchanged in Massachusetts.Association officials cautioned that construction employment figures were likely to fluctuate and possibly drop over the coming months as many stimulus-funded projects begin to wind down and private-sector demand remains weak. They added that newly passed legislation that prevented steep tax increases, including for many small construction firms, will help boost overall economic activity and could drive new demand for construction later next year.‘The tax bill is a step in the right direction because it will revitalize the economy and help boost private-sector construction demand,’ said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. ‘But Congress still needs to act on long-delayed infrastructure bills and provide businesses with relief from an increasingly costly regulatory burden.View construction employment figures by state and by rank.last_img read more

Dutch Utility Changes the Game by Showing Customers How to Buy Less Power

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times: When Eneco, a major Dutch utility, tested a promising energy monitor in several dozen homes, things could not have gone much worse. The company making the devices failed to deliver enough of them, and some of those provided did not work.But when Eneco sent workers to recover the monitors, something strange happened — a tenth of customers refused to open their doors. “They wanted to keep it,” said Tako in ’t Veld, a former Eneco executive who now leads the “smart energy” unit at Quby, the company that makes the energy meter. “They were so happy with the energy insight.”The test in 2010 was part of Eneco’s efforts to adapt to upheaval in the energy market. In recent years, large volumes of wind and solar-generated electricity have undermined the economics of traditional power plants and provided the outlines of a future in which conventional power plants no longer supply the bulk of a home’s electricity.Through acquisitions (including of Quby), by nurturing a cluster of start-ups and with other initiatives, Eneco has sought to provide new services to customers — and, in doing so, to enter new sectors, like the charging of electric vehicles and the repair of solar panels. “We said ‘we have to create an increasing customer loyalty by doing something different,’” said Hans Valk, chief executive of Quby and formerly the leader of Eneco’s consumer business. “What we are trying to do is switch from selling a pure commodity to selling energy as a service.”For instance, Eneco owns Jedlix, an electric vehicle charging unit, which has partnerships with Tesla and BMW and allows car owners to recharge their vehicles inexpensively when there are large supplies of renewable energy on the grid. Jedlix sometimes even pays them to do so.Eneco is also starting a business called CrowdNett which, unusually, pays customers for some of their power. Eneco looks for people who already have solar panels at home and tries to sell them a large home battery, like a Tesla Powerwall. Surplus power generated by the solar panels is stored in the battery and Eneco taps into a portion of that storage to help balance the electricity grid. Customers will receive 450 euros, or $530, a year for allowing use of their batteries.Eneco’s leaders concede that they are proceeding more by trial and error than following a grand plan. Still, these efforts may, over time, aid the company’s survival and contribute to creating ways to help consumers shift to cleaner energy.“They are very forward-looking in terms of strategy and mind-set,” said Roberta Bigliani, a vice president at IDC, a market research firm. If Eneco’s experiments flop, though, “they definitely will not be in operation in the future,” she said.So far, the experiment with its wall-mounted energy monitor, known as Toon, has been among its more successful.When Eneco first considered the test, the utility was locked in a profit-zapping battle with competitors, cutting prices for electric power and natural gas while giving customers gifts for signing up. Seeing the danger signs, Eneco’s management decided that a radical change was necessary.The Toon offered Eneco an opportunity to shift course and, despite early teething problems, Eneco expanded the rollout. The meters allow customers to control their domestic heating settings through a smartphone app, and they have displays that show electricity and natural gas consumption in detail, along with other information like weather forecasts.Full Story:  Dutch Utility Bets Its Future on an Unusual Strategy: Selling Less Power Dutch Utility Changes the Game by Showing Customers How to Buy Less Powerlast_img read more

Criticism in New Mexico of Utility’s Solar Market Control

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Santa Fe New Mexican:Last week, the state Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to approve the utility company’s renewable energy portfolio plan, which include procuring solar, wind and geothermal power. The plan is aimed at meeting the goal of relying on renewable energy for 20 percent of the total energy mix in New Mexico.The solar and geothermal power purchases were contested by some, and a hearing examiner for the commission said the utility should not be allowed to move forward with the investments because it had failed to show they were the most cost-effective options. PNM’s costs ultimately show up in customers’ bills.New Energy Economy, a longtime opponent of PNM, filed a motion asking the commission to “rehear and reverse the findings and conclusions” associated with PNM’s solar plan, which outlines investing in a 50-megawatt facility built by Affordable Solar.Mariel Nanasi, director of the group, wrote the commission had ignored and distorted evidence and applicable law when it decided to allow PNM to move forward with the plan.She said Affordable Solar received a significantly better deal to build a solar-powered center for Facebook last year from PNM. Solar prices have declined, she said, yet the renewable portfolio plan will cost ratepayers in New Mexico a higher fee per megawatt hour than Facebook.This is “not the most cost effective among feasible alternatives,” Nanasi said.PNM has said the plan will provide crucial energy benefits to New Mexico. Earlier this week, Moody’s Investor Service released a statement finding that the plan’s approval is “credit positive.”“The New Mexico regulatory environment historically has been inconsistent and unpredictable,” Moody’s wrote. “And the possibility of litigating the case remains.”More: Environmentalists ask PRC to reverse approval of PNM’s solar plan Criticism in New Mexico of Utility’s Solar Market Controllast_img read more

Who Will Invest in Clean Energy? Big Money Will

first_imgWho Will Invest in Clean Energy? Big Money Will FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:People who invest in the world’s energy systems often want to know how many trillions of dollars will be needed to finance renewable energy and natural gas. One way to find the answer is to look at what those who have already invested trillions of dollars want to happen as the world transitions to a lower-carbon power system and electrifies transportation.A look at the numbers shows that the first thing they want is scale. The 10 largest institutional asset managers each manage more than $1 trillion; the largest, BlackRock Inc., manages nearly $6 trillion. Trillions of dollars of investor supply naturally need trillions of dollars of asset and company demand.Fortunately for energy, it has such a demand. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that zero-carbon power generation will attract almost $9 trillion in investment between now and 2040.Increasingly, the suppliers of that institutionally managed money want to know how their portfolios will affect climate change. Earlier this year, David Fickling took a smart look at the largest asset managers and found that most of the 20 biggest ones back shareholder resolutions on climate and sustainability. Such resolutions are becoming far more common, too: This year, investors have filed 189 climate and sustainability resolutions with U.S.-listed companies — as many as in the previous five years combined, according to Ceres’ climate and sustainability resolutions database.And then there’s yield. Investors are still piling into U.S. energy high-yield debt, which mostly funds oil and gas exploration and production. As Liam Denning noted in August, even this risky part of the energy bond market still yields in the range of only 6 to 7 percent.A decade ago, the yield from U.S. energy fixed income would have been comfortably investment-grade, according to the International Monetary Fund’s October Global Financial Stability Report. In 2007, all but a very small proportion of corporate debt yielded more than 4 percent, and not a dime of securitized or collateralized debt yielded below 4 percent. Ten years ago, “only” $3.4 trillion of investment-grade fixed income yielded below 4 percent.Things look rather different now. According to the IMF, there is now just under $40 trillion of investment-grade fixed income yielding below 4 percent, including more than $5 trillion with a negative yield.This yield distribution, then, is what anything needs to beat to be considered “high yield.” 2007’s investment-grade yield is today’s risky yield; today’s low-risk yield is barely any yield at all, and could even be a negative yield.There’s plenty of money out there to create renewable technologies, and its institutional investors want more than lower-carbon investment strategies. They also are seeking to beat very low investment-grade yields.In 2007, when renewable technologies were expensive compared with conventional energy, and when shale gas just a glimmer in the eye of the U.S. oil patch, there may have been a funding gap. Today, we’re dealing with something more addressable: a simple matter of allocation. Trillions of dollars are needed; trillions of dollars exist. It’s just a matter of aligning supply and demand.More: Who Will Fund Clean Energy?last_img read more