Roundtable Issues Statement in Support of Public Investment in Child Care [4.25.22]

The Vermont Business Roundtable, an organization of over 100 Vermont business leaders, has championed the importance of early childhood care and education since 1999. Meanwhile, Vermont’s inability to comprehensively address early care and education continues, and the resulting disparity has become more pronounced than ever in the context of COVID 19. As business leaders, community members, and Vermonters, we believe the challenge of early childhood care and education cannot continue to wait. The Roundtable urges all Vermonters to recognize publicly-funded early child-care as the best investment we can make in Vermont.

To be effective, the goals of early child-care must address the needs of Vermont’s children from birth to kindergarten, and must include universal and affordable child-care, available to all children in Vermont, without financial barriers. A public program of quality care that sets standards and ensures child-care providers are experts trained in early education and compensated as professionals must be funded. We recognize that a program that achieves these goals will require a significant investment, and we are ready to do our part.

Our collective support for this investment is built upon core principles established by the Roundtable in January of 2021. These principles include an understanding that any revenues identified to implement early care and learning are transparent, equitable, competitive, and sustainable. We also believe that a truly impactful system should use data to be accountable to the outcomes that it produces. Our support stems from the belief that these goals can be achieved while ensuring every Vermont child has access to the care they need. Continue reading “Roundtable Issues Statement in Support of Public Investment in Child Care [4.25.22]”

Vermont Business Roundtable Announces Appointment of Next President [4.8.21]

Seth Bowden Elected to Lead the Roundtable

(South Burlington, Vt.)  Today, the Vermont Business Roundtable (Roundtable) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Seth Bowden, Executive Vice President at Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation (GBIC), will become the next president of the organization. Bowden will assume the role from Lisa Ventriss who retires this year after 19 years leading the Roundtable. Continue reading “Vermont Business Roundtable Announces Appointment of Next President [4.8.21]”

Mark Crow Op-Ed: The Time is Now for Pension Reform [03.22.21]

by Mark Crow, Chair, VBR Pension Reform Task Force and President, Tenth Crow Creative

What if you owed someone a substantial amount of money and were making annual payments each year to pay down the debt. However, every year, year after year, the amount you owe and the annual payments you must make increases – significantly.

Now, what if at the same time, you owed someone a separate substantial amount of money but there was no schedule to pay it back. You were making some intermittent, smaller payments when the lender periodically asked for them, but there was no plan in place to pay off the entire debt. And, like the first debt, each year, the amount you owe increases – significantly.  Continue reading “Mark Crow Op-Ed: The Time is Now for Pension Reform [03.22.21]”

VBR Expands its Research and Education Foundation [2.8.21]

Foundation Board to Grow Targeted Workforce and Education Programs

This month, the Vermont Business Roundtable announces new and expanded governance of its VBR Research and Education Foundation. The Foundation complements the mission of the Roundtable, by promoting educational opportunities to help Vermonters thrive in a local and global economy. 2021 Directors and officers include: Continue reading “VBR Expands its Research and Education Foundation [2.8.21]”

Vermont Business Roundtable Announces President to Retire [2.2.21]

Lisa Ventriss Led Organization for 19 years 

 Today, the Vermont Business Roundtable announced that Lisa Ventriss, President since 2002, will retire at the end of the year.

“It has been one of my greatest professional privileges to serve as President of the Roundtable and work together with such a distinguished and respected group of business and non-profit leaders from across the state and region,” Ventriss said. “After almost two decades as president, and at the beginning of a new decade, it is now time for the Roundtable to bring in the next generation of leader. “

Judy O’Connell, chair of the Roundtable Board of Directors and managing partner at Champlain Investment Partners, praised Ventriss.  “The board greatly appreciates Lisa’s many contributions to enhance Vermont’s economic competitiveness and preserve our unique quality of life. We applaud her commitment to Vermont and her amazing track record of leadership.  We are grateful for Lisa’s selfless  deferral of her retirement for a year in order to guide the organization and provide tremendous programming during this challenging pandemic year.”

The Roundtable has formed a Selection Committee and is working with Gallagher Flynn & Co., an executive search firm to lead the search. Visit for more information.

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Roundtable Issues Statement in Support for Investments into Ages 0-5 Early Childhood Education [1.28.21]

In 2021 the Vermont Legislature and taxpayers will face a number of important fiscal matters, including the need to deal with a general fund revenue shortfall and increasing demands for public services that result from the COVID-19 economic downturn. In this challenging environment, the following statement of support conveys the urgency with which the Vermont Business Roundtable believes investments in Ages 0-5 should be addressed by stakeholders.

Vermont’s workers are challenged to find affordable high-quality childcare. Today, 3 out of 5 of Vermont’s youngest children do not have access to the daily care they need.[1] The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, increasing pressure on strained early childhood education programs (ECE) that cannot find and retain qualified educators.[2] As a result, Vermont’s businesses face significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of workers, many of whom leave the workforce due to lack of affordable childcare.[3] Continue reading “Roundtable Issues Statement in Support for Investments into Ages 0-5 Early Childhood Education [1.28.21]”

David Coates Op-Ed: Finally, Positive Action on the State Retirement Systems! [1.25.21]

by David Coates, Managing Partner, KPMG LLP (Retired)

For over ten years, these columns have been critical of the treatment of the state’s retirement systems (state employees and teachers) which now in their present forms, are neither sustainable nor affordable without significant reforms. This has just changed with the State Treasurer’s report to the Legislature.

The Treasurer and I have disagreed over the years on how to solve these problems. However, I must acknowledge and commend her for the recommendations she has made to the General Assembly on how to reduce pension and OPEB (retiree healthcare) liabilities, to ensure the retirement systems are able to continue to pay their participants. Continue reading “David Coates Op-Ed: Finally, Positive Action on the State Retirement Systems! [1.25.21]”

Business Roundtable Elects New Leadership for 2021 [1.15.21]

Judith O’Connell Becomes Second Woman to Chair the Roundtable

At its 34th Annual Membership Meeting held January 14th, the Vermont Business Roundtable elected new officers: Chair Judith O’Connell, Champlain Investment Partners; Vice-Chair Sara Byers, Leonard’s Pizza; Treasurer Scott Giles, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation; Secretary Don George, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont; and, Immediate Past Chair Mark Foley, Foley Services..

Also, at the meeting, members elected new directors to their first three-year term: Kyle Dodson, Greater Burlington YMCA; Claudio Fort, Rutland Regional Medical Center; Suresh Garimella, University of Vermont; Joyce Judy, Community College of Vermont; Sarah Morris, Basin Harbor Resort & Boat Club; John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank; and, Timo Shaw, Vermont Walking & Bicycling Tours.

Elected to their second three-year term were the following directors: Mark Crow, Tenth Crow Creative and Don George, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont.

Continuing members of the Roundtable board are directors include Renee Bourget-Place, KPMG; David Bradbury, Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies; John Brumsted, University of Vermont Health Network; Tom Dunn, VELCO; Jay Fayette, PC Construction; Scott Fewell, Liquid Measurement Systems; Meg Fleming, SymQuest; Dimitri Garder, Global-Z; Tom McHenry, Vermont Law School; and, Larry Williams, Redstone.

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Roundtable Calls for President to Resign or Be Removed [1.7.21]

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – Yesterday, incited by the 45th President of the United States, rioters attacked our democracy in the most hallowed of halls. Today the Vermont Business Roundtable stands in solidarity with Governor Scott and our Congressional delegation to unequivocally, and in the strongest terms possible, condemn the domestic terrorist attacks on the U.S. Capitol.

Peaceful protest is protected by the Constitution and is one of our most cherished values. The events of January 6th were neither peaceful, nor protests. They were seditious acts that attempted to overthrow a legal election that has been validated by election officials and courts across the country.

The Roundtable joins with Governor Scott in calling for the 45th President to resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet or by Congress.

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The Vermont Business Roundtable is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of CEOs from Vermont’s top private and nonprofit employers, representing geographic diversity and all major sectors of the Vermont economy. The Roundtable is committed to sustaining a sound economy and preserving Vermont’s unique quality of life by studying and making recommendations on statewide public policy issues.