Words of Gratitude for Outgoing Directors

Beach. Fallon. Mackenzie. Neagley. Shields. Stritzler. These are names that resonate with gravitas, which bear witness to significant accomplishments brought about by their leadership on the Vermont Business Roundtable’s Board of Directors. Individually and collectively, they have championed the Roundtable’s statewide initiatives, served as the face and voice of reasoned, principled policy development, and have helped to position us for a strong future. We owe them each a debt of gratitude for their myriad contributions, their wise counsel, and their friendship.

Pennie Beach, Basin Harbor Club is a founding member of the Vermont Business Roundtable, beginning in 1987 and she is ending a her second rotation on the Board. During her tenure, Pennie has actively participated in our efforts to strengthen the Roundtable’s relationship with our Congressional delegation as well as The White House; she has attended periodic meetings, provided thoughtful comments on issues such as immigration law and workforce development that would strengthen the state’s tourism/travel/recreation industries.

Ellen Fallon, Langrock Sperry and Wool has been a member since 2003. She has served on the Board for six years and has chaired the Governance Committee since 2006. Under her leadership the Roundtable has expanded its categories of membership to include Associate Members, Retired CEOs, and Emergent Leaders, which reflect the changing nature of the Vermont business demographic. She has helped recruit a constellation of outstanding members and has served on the task force that produced the report entitled, “Becoming the Knowledge State: The Vital Importance of Higher Education in Vermont’s 21st Century Economy”.

Pamela Mackenzie, Comcast (retired) has been a member since coming to Vermont in 2006. Though she served on the board for a brief period of time, Pam has been a very active member. Her expertise in the telecommunications world has benefited the Infrastructure Working Group, and her commitment to education, combined with her leadership abilities, are reasons why Governor Shumlin appointed her as Chair of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, which is knocking down barriers to educational attainment by bringing connectivity to the final frontiers of Vermont. And Pam was also this year’s featured guest speaker at the Roundtable’s 2011 Ladies Leadership Luncheon.

Mark Neagley, Neagley and Chase Construction has been a member since 1995. He has served on the board for six years, chaired the Health Care Working Group for three years (2003-05) and also represented the Roundtable on the health care reform effort entitled, Coalition 21. He continues to actively serve on the health care working group. Mark is also deeply committed to education: he was a member of the Nordic Education scholarship selection committee and advocates passionately for investment in young children.

Jeff Shields, Vermont Law School has been a member since 2004 when he became the seventh dean of the law school. He has served on the board for six years. Jeff’s commitment to education – beginning with our youngest Vermonters – has led him to be one of the Roundtable’s strongest supporters of our efforts to achieve universal access to preK education for all 3 and 4 year olds.

Bill Stritzler, Smugglers’ Notch Resort has been a member since 2001. He has served on the board for seven years; two years as chair. Bill’s passion has been education: he chaired the Roundtable’s task force that produced our seminal policy report entitled, “Having the Courage to Change”; he has been a steady and wise voice for public investments in our youngest Vermonters, and for positioning education investments as economic development strategies for Vermont. Bill has chaired two of our five “Pulse of Vermont: Quality of Life” surveys (2005, 2010), which highlight the central role of educational attainment in Vermonters’ quality of life.