California-based culture consultant and author Jackie Freiberg, Ph.D., came to Vermont last week with a message for the state’s leading employers: “People want to work for a cause and people want to buy for a cause.” Continue reading “Consultant and Author Jackie Freiberg Makes the Case for Corporate Cause to Vermont Business Leaders”
National Life Consultant and Author Jackie Freiberg Coming to Vermont to Talk About Stand-Out Leadership
Authored CAUSE! A Business Strategy for Standing Out in a Sea of Sameness, Telling the Story of National Life’s Distinctive Leadership and Corporate Culture
It’s not enough that Jackie Freiberg, Ph.D., espouses the value of corporate cause. She actually wrote the book about it.
The leadership consultant and author is heading to Vermont in September to engage as many as 400 CEOs and other business leaders at the Vermont Business Roundtable’s third annual Executive Leadership Series breakfast at the Sheraton Burlington. Dr. Freiberg has been a long-time consultant to National Life Group and has helped CEO Mehran Assadi and others at the company transform it into a financial powerhouse by rallying around the simple but difficult promise “Do good. Be good. Make good.” Continue reading “National Life Consultant and Author Jackie Freiberg Coming to VT”
August 16, 2016 – Today, Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the Q3 2016 results of their joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey.
The quarterly survey provides both a look back at the previous quarter and a predictive index going forward. The data for both the backward and forward-looking questions are weighted to the Vermont economy by sector employment and turned into “diffusion indices”. These diffusion indices provide a tool for analyzing and presenting insight into the Vermont economy over time through the sentiments of the Roundtable members. The survey asked eight retrospective and prospective questions about the CEOs’ economic outlook, demand, capital spending, and employment.
The latest survey, which was conducted during the first two weeks of July 2016, achieved a response rate of 69 percent overall and included a 50 percent or greater response rate from all but three sectors within the membership. Survey results show that: Continue reading “3rd Qtr Business Conditions Survey Results Holding on Neutral”
South Burlington, VT — Today Vermont Business Roundtable leaders marked the National Day of Action with release of a report that showcases new research on immigration contributions in Vermont, and highlights the critical need for immigration reform. The event marked the launch of the Reason for Reform campaign, an effort taking place in all 50 states today, sponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE).
The Reason for Reform campaign brings together state business, civic, and cultural leaders to urge Congress to take action on immigration reform. Today’s Day of Action event coincides with the release of a new research, including data on the foreign-born population in Vermont, their tax contributions, their spending power, and their role in Vermont’s key industries as leaders and job creators.
“I strongly believe that immigration reform is part of the solution to increase our workforce to support needed economic growth, and the Roundtable is committed to supporting broader legal immigration,” said Michael Seaver, Vermont President of People’s United Bank and Roundtable Vice-Chair. Continue reading “New Report Highlights Economic Impact of Immigrants in Vermont”
by Lisa Ventriss
After a tremendous amount of hard and important work by the Legislature and Administration in the last biennium around education reform, for which they deserve our recognition and appreciation, Act 46: Unification to Achieve Sustainable Governance, was signed into law in June 2015. It created immediate opportunities for school districts and supervisory unions to unify, an action which will result in better educational opportunities for students and cost effectiveness for taxpayers. Continue reading “Ventriss Op-ED on Act 46”
Mr. Margolis’s commentary in VTDigger, entitled “Why Vermont Has Little to Fear From Florida” (July 10th) identified some interesting information regarding income tax filers, issues that can impact their mobility, and the demographics of those entering and leaving Vermont. At the conclusion of his piece, he casually states that “Vermont, like every other state, has its economic problems and some things to worry about. Rich folks moving to Florida is not one of them.” I’d like to offer another perspective; rich folks moving to Florida is a big problem that we should worry about. Continue reading “Ventriss Commentary: Vermont Should Worry About Out-Migration”
by Lisa Ventriss, President
Everybody has a vice and handbags are mine. In fact, I can easily justify a new purchase at the expense of other priorities, including my retirement fund. And recently, as I was admiring the latest addition to my collection, I thought about the parallels with state spending priorities and their impacts on business outlook.
Last month, 74 percent of Roundtable members participated in our quarterly Business Conditions Survey. Results showed that a majority of CEOs have a neutral outlook toward the current business climate and, since the prior survey, have shifted from ‘neutral’ to ‘mildly pessimistic’ regarding the business climate in the coming three months. Continue reading “Ventriss VPR Commentary on Business Outlook”
Today, Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) announced that, through its Foundation, four new Nordic Education Scholarships have been awarded to Vermont students for the 2016 Academic Year. The Nordic Scholars, half of whom are first-generation college-bound students, are from Windsor and Rutland counties who have been accepted into programs in computer science, civil engineering and healthcare-related fields. A committee of Roundtable members made funding determinations after review of written application materials and personal interviews with finalists. Continue reading “VBR Foundation Announces 2016 Class of Nordic Education Scholars”
2nd Quarter 2016 Business Conditions Survey Results Show Neutral Outlook
(South Burlington, Vt.) Today, Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the Q2 2016 results of their joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey.
The survey, which is conducted quarterly, provides both a look back at the previous quarter and a predictive index going forward. The data for both the backward and forward-looking questions are weighted to the Vermont economy by sector employment and turned into “diffusion indices”. These diffusion indices provide a tool for analyzing and presenting insight into the Vermont economy over time through the sentiments of the Roundtable members.
The raw survey data can be easily compared to the national Business Roundtable CEO Survey, a quarterly survey of national and multi-national companies, which contains similar questions to the VBR/EPR Survey in terms of employment and capital spending. Comparing these two surveys revealed that Vermont companies are more positive-to-neutral about employment stability than national companies, while capital spending outlooks were slightly less optimistic than in the past for VBR respondents and more closely align with BRT results.
1 Each question on the survey is weighted by sector employment and the diffusion number is formulated by giving each “strong positive” answer a numerical value of 1.0, “mild positive” answers a numerical value of 0.5, neutral answers a value of 0, “mild negative” answers a value of -0.5, and strong negative values of -1.0. The diffusion index numbers are then formulated based on these numerical values. A value of 100 would mean that every respondent answered “strong positive”, a value of 0 would mean that every respondent answered neutrally, and a value of -100 would mean that every respondent answered “strong negatively.”
The latest survey, which was conducted during the first two weeks of April 2016, achieved a response rate of 74 percent overall and included a 50 percent or greater response rate from all but three sectors within the membership. The survey asked eight retrospective and prospective questions about the CEOs’ economic outlook, demand, capital spending, and employment. Survey results show that:
- Most responses to the question about the state’s overall business climate outlook were neutral (51%). The remaining responses were split between optimistic (28%) and pessimistic (20%).
- More than 60 percent of respondents (62%) shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions; and,
- The education sector had the most optimistic outlook on the general business climate, while the health care sector had the least optimistic outlook.
Graph #1 below shows the diffusion index of overall economic outlook, which measures the level of confidence (optimism or pessimism) respondents have about different aspects of the economy based on the first question on the survey, and can range from 100 (where 100% of respondents answered “strong positive”) to -100 (where 100% of respondents answered “strong negative”).
For this reporting period, the diffusion index shows a decline in optimism from Q1 2016 to Q2 2016, indicating that Vermont CEOs continue to feel neutral to mildly pessimistic about the business climate for the coming three months.
Graph #2 above shows the composite index of the diffusion index points for the questions relating to demand, capital spending, and employment in the next three months. The majority of responses were neutral and the index point slid from a mildly optimistic index point of 19 last survey to an index point of 9 this survey, indicating a shift toward true neutral. The outlook remains in the neutral range.
Also included in the survey was the opportunity for Roundtable members to express their opinions on other topics adversely affecting their businesses. The greatest frequency of responses from members concerned high taxes and tax policies, health care costs, economic growth/development in Vermont, and the difficulty of finding workers.
The next survey will be conducted in early July 2016.
The Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of chief executive officers of Vermont’s leading 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. www.vtroundtable.org.
Economic & Policy Resources, Inc. (EPR) has been providing private and public sector clients throughout the U.S. and Canada with problem-solving economic research and analysis services for more than 25 years. Our professionals bring a broad spectrum and a deep reservoir of problem-solving knowledge and experience in applied economics to each assignment. We put our capabilities and experience to work for our clients so that they have the insight and understanding necessary to move forward with confidence. EPR has successfully completed assignments throughout the United States and in eastern Canada. www.epreconomics.com.
By Lisa Ventriss, President, Vermont Business Roundtable
Art Woolf’s latest critique of K-12 education spending and outcomes, and Act 46 implementation in particular (“Is VT getting what it pays for in education?” Burlington Free Press 3/10/16) made me remember some important milestones along Vermont’s path to education reform.
In 2006, the Vermont Business Roundtable and partners commissioned a study entitled, “Vermont State Public Education Expenditure Overview and Analysis”, which was intended to provide a broad overview of the primary “cost drivers” affecting public education expenditures in the state, and examine factors that may affect future expenditure growth. Included in the study’s fact set were charts that showed two important trends: Continue reading “Ventriss Opinion Editorial on Act 46”