24th Annual Membership Meeting Highlights

Steve Voigt & Bill Stritzler. Gov. Peter Shumlin addressing Roundtable Members

The 24th Annual Meeting of the Vermont Business Roundtable saw the passing of the Chair’s torch from America’s #1 Family Resort ~ Smugglers’ Notch Resort ~ to America’s Oldest Flour Company ~ King Arthur Flour. After two years and countless hours in the saddle hauling water for the Roundtable, Bill Stritzler delivered his outgoing remarks and was presented with the Chair’s Chair by a grateful membership. During his tenure Stritzler exhibited a leadership style that Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss described as “sage wisdom through story telling.” Stritzler also chaired two very important and successful initiatives including the 2010 Pulse of Vermont: Quality of Life survey and the Business Leadership Summit on Early Childhood Initiatives.

New directors joined the board including Rob Adams, President, Simon Pearce; Tim Donovan, Chancellor, Vermont State Colleges; and, Pam Mackenzie, Area Vice-President of VT/Western NE. Director. Howard Pierce, President and CEO, PKC, was re-elected to a second term. New officers include Chair, Steve Voigt, President and CEO, King Arthur Flour; Vice-Chair, Mary Powell, CEO, Green Mountain Power; Secretary, Rob Simpson, President and CEO, Brattleboro Retreat; and, Treasurer, Greg Bourgea, Co-Managing Partner, Gallagher Flynn & Co.

As one of his first acts as Chair, Steve Voigt facilitated a member discussion on “top of mind” issues, which, amazingly enough, stayed focused on education policy and outcomes. Members expressed concern over complacency with our current education rankings: Vermont fares well (3rd) against other states on math scores for 8th graders, however, when compared against other countries, Vermont ranks 27th. In assuming the chair’s position, Steve Voigt pledged to continue building on the strong foundation of business support for public investments in education, from preK to higher education.

Also at the Annual Meeting the research team of Drs. Vince Bolduc and Herb Kessel from Saint Michael’s College delivered their presentation on the 2010 Pulse of Vermont, Quality of Life report, representing 20 years of trend analysis of quality of life in Vermont. Bolduc and Kessel gave an overview of nine broad social and economic trends included in the survey including changes in family and domestic arrangements; public health and safety; the electronic revolution in communications; the political landscape in Montpelier; the economy; business; agriculture; education; and, other trends.

The day concluded with a private session with newly-inaugurated Governor Shumlin who highlighted his goals for his first year in office, and addressing questions from the CEO members and their guests. Also in attendance was Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller.