The Equinox Resort has announced theappointment of Courtney Lowe as Director of Sales and Marketing. He comes to the Resort from the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville Virginia where he served in the same capacity. “We are fortunate to have attracted someone of Courtney’s caliber.” said Resort General Manager Gary Thulander. “His enthusiasm is infectious. Courtney’s knowledge of the region, coupled with his marketing and sales acumen will help us take the Resort to the next level. It’s all part of our quest to be the number one Resort in New England.”This is a homecoming of sorts for Courtney. He worked at the Equinox as Director of Sales between 1992 and 1998. “It very exciting for me to have the opportunity to return to the Equinox.” commented Lowe. “We have familyand friends in the area. Personally, I’m looking forward to being closer to them. Professionally, my goal is to bring the Equinox Resort to a newlevel and develop it as a Rockresort brand.” Lowe is a graduate of Northfield Mount Hermon School and Ohio Wesleyan University. He will beresident in Dorset with his wife and two daughters.
New Study Results Show Visitor Spending Impact On Vermont EconomyMONTPELIER – Governor Jim Douglas and Vermont’s Tourism Commissioner have unveiled the results of a major new study that they say is the most detailed and comprehensive ever undertaken to measure the impact of visitor spending on the Vermont economy.The survey, conducted by Economic and Policy Resources (EPR) of Williston shows that in 2003, visitors made an estimated 12.8 million trips to Vermont and direct visitor spending totaled $1.46 billion. In addition, the study found that visitor spending, both directly and indirectly, supported more than 36,470 jobs (approximately 1 in every 10) for Vermont workers and business owners and added $181.7 million in tax and fee revenues to state coffers in the General, Education and Transportation Funds.The study also looks at many other aspects of the industry including where visitors to Vermont come from, average visitor spending, visitor expenditures by category, seasonal occupancy rates for Vermont lodging properties and a comparison of lodging establishments by size.”This study is an important reminder of just how critical the tourism sector is to Vermont,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “As this report shows, the impact of visitor spending is felt widely across Vermont, both geographically and across many sectors of the economy.””This is a landmark study for the Vermont tourism industry,” said Tourism & Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde. “We now have solid baseline information on visitor spending and its impact on tourism sectors and the overall economy in Vermont. This information will allow us to better set annual performance targets and direct promotional resources.”Hyde said that for many years now the focus has been on total economic impact of visitor spending. As a result of this study, the state can now deal in terms of direct visitor spending which is a far more accurate and useful measure, and is the standard used at the national level by organizations like the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA).Hyde added that previous studies have provided a great deal of useful information, all of which has been carefully reviewed in preparing this report. However, Hyde said that the new study differs from earlier research in several key ways, including:* While previous studies have provided information about the characteristics and travel activities of visitors, they were not designed specifically to compile an estimate of overall economic impact.* Earlier research employs different definitions of visitors in its survey work, and therefore the results are not directly comparable to those reported in the new study.* Previous studies were not designed to independently reconcile direct spending with comparable state revenues for tourism sectors.* The new study looks in detail at many previously unexplored aspects of the tourism industry including spending generated by second home owners, visitors staying with friends and the in-state travel spending of Vermonters themselves.”I think one of the most significant findings of this study is that nearly all tourism sectors in Vermont are more dependent than the national average on visitor spending,” Hyde said. “In fact, some sectors like eating and drinking, gasoline and oil, and retail and retail-related businesses are 2-3 times more dependent on visitor spending than the national average.”The complete report is available online on the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing’s industry website at www.VermontPartners.org(link is external). ###
A Vergennes Union High School teacher who has inspiredstudents for 22 years has been named Vermont’s humanities educator of theyear for 2006. The Vermont Humanities Council has chosen RobertaSteponaitis, a teacher of history and geography, to receive its annualVictor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award. The award is the fourth givenout by VHC since inaugurating the award in 2003.”Roberta Steponaitis is the teacher they [students] will remember when theythink back to their high school days, as having made a pivotal difference intheir lives,” said Dr. Carol Spencer, Director of Curriculum and StaffDevelopment of the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union, in her nominationletter. “She touches the lives of the students she meets in a personal andinfluential way.”Vermont Humanities Council Chair Melissa Hersh will present the award atVHC’s Fall Conference, “Setting as Character: Vermont’s Landscape, Stories,and Sense of Place,” November 4 at the Killington Grand Hotel in Killington.The ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. and will include a presentation ofa $1,000 check to Ms. Steponaitis.VHC created the award to recognize a Vermont educator on an annual basis andto honor Victor R. Swenson, the Council’s first executive director. Theaward is given to a Vermont educator in grades 6 through 12 who exemplifiesexcellence in the teaching of the humanities.Steponaitis has taught at Vergennes Union High School since 1984. Duringthose 22 years, she has taught at the middle and high school levels,offering courses in US History, global religions, world cultures, civics,and current events.She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont in 1982and her Masters of Education from the University of Phoenix in Arizona in2005. She will complete her PhD at the University of Phoenix in 2008.Says Spencer, “I believe that the spirit of inquiry that she fosters in herstudents clearly represents the spirit that the Victor Swenson HumanitiesEducator Award celebrates.”Steponaitis encourages her students to use primary resources to investigatethe lives of historical people. She founded the Otter Creek Basin StudentHistory Club to encourage passion about local, state, and national historyin her students. And she takes her students to museums and reenactmentsthroughout the region. Her students have earned many local, state, andnational awards.”Ms. Steponaitis’s . . . commitment to bringing history alive for herstudents has given two generations of students a stronger sense of belongingto a place in history,” notes Spencer. “She helps students to becomescholars. . . . She inspires students to aspire more highly in their lives.She reaches out and taps them on the shoulder and says, ‘you would be goodat this history project. Come on. Give it a try.’ For so many kids, that isall it takes to get them involved, and to help them make a commitment todeeper engagement in their schooling.”For more information about the award, contact the Vermont Humanities Councilat firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail) or 802.262.2626, or visitwww.vermonthumanities.org(link is external).The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring thepower and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters – of everybackground and in every community. The Council envisions a state in whichevery individual learns throughout life – a state in which all its citizensread, reflect, and participate in public affairs.
National Life Insurance Company (National Life) headquartered in Montpelier, Vermont, today announced that it has completed a $200 million surplus note offering.“We are very pleased with the completion of this surplus note offering,” said Mehran Assadi, president and chief executive officer of National Life Group, the parent company of National Life Insurance Company.“The capital raised in this offering will help us finance our current strong sales growth and broaden our options for future growth,” said Assadi.“I believe the success of this sale speaks highly about our financial strength and the confidence of the market in our company,” he said.The National Life note will mature in 2039.About National Life Group – www.nationallife.com(link is external) ~ www.facebook.com/nationallife(link is external)National Life Group®, a Fortune 1000 company, serves more than 850,000 customers. The Group is made up of its flagship company, National Life Insurance Company, founded in Montpelier, Vermont in 1848; Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Dallas, Texas, and Sentinel Investments, Equity Services, Inc. and National Retirement Plan Advisors, all located in Montpelier.National Life Group® is a trade name representing various affiliates that offer a variety of financial service products. National Life Insurance Company is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Dallas, TX is licensed to do business in all states except New York. Equity Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, is a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Adviser. Sentinel Investments® is the unifying brand name for Sentinel Financial Services Company, Member FINRA/SIPC, Sentinel Asset Management, Inc., and Sentinel Administrative Services, Inc. Each company of the group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.Source: Montpelier, Vermont (September 24, 2009) – National Life Insurance Company.
Weekly unemployment claims increased more dramatically last week following several up and down months. For the week of April 10, 2010, there were 1,240 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, an increase of 266 from the week before. Altogether 14,472 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 60 from a week ago and 4,020 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 4,218 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 210 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 3,117 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is a decrease of 64 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)
Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) has passed a major milestone: The Agency has issued more than $3 billion in bonds to finance homeownership and rental opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters.Over its nearly-37-year history, VHFA has put that money to use helping approximately 27,000 Vermont households to buy a home and financing the development of approximately 8,400 affordable rental units.Like other non-profit housing finance agencies across the country, VHFA builds capital by selling tax-exempt bonds, then loans that money at slightly higher interest rates to income-eligible homebuyers and developers creating multifamily projects that offer affordable rents. This self-sustaining model means the agency does not rely on state funding.”We’re proud of all we’ve accomplished, but know the work is not finished,” said Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “Access to the capital markets is very difficult right now. We stand ready to help moderate income and first time homebuyers. There are still barriers they face such as increasingly challenging down payment and mortgage insurance requirements. At the same time, Vermont’s stock of decent, affordable rental units continues to lag way behind demand.”Most challenged are those on the lower end of Vermont’s earning scale. VHFA is most committed to helping this population. In fiscal year 2010, more than half of VHFA homebuyers (52 percent) earned less than 80 percent of area median income. Eighty-one percent of Vermont renters living in VHFA-allocated Housing Tax Credit units had incomes less than half of the area median.”VHFA’s success rate is impressive, especially considering recent economic conditions,” according to Chief Financial Officer Tom Connors. “We respect that our mission is made possible by authority to issue tax-exempt bonds given to us by the State and Federal government, and we’re careful with our funds. Three billion dollars is a lot of money. We’re committed to get the most out of it for the people of Vermont.”VHFA’s low delinquency and foreclosure rates outshine the state and national rates. As of June 30, 2010, VHFA home loans delinquent by 90 or more days were just 0.94% of all the Agency’s outstanding loans. Vermont’s rate was more than twice as high: 2.05%. The national rate was 4.54%.The number of VHFA loans in the foreclosure process on June 30, 2010, was 1.37% of all VHFA loans, compared to Vermont’s overall foreclosure rate of 2.71% and the national rate of 4.57%.”VHFA’s numbers are substantially below others’ for a reason,” Carpenter adds. “We’re focused on responsible lending ‘ solid underwriting combined with homebuyer education. No one wins when a buyer ends up with a house they can’t truly afford.”That’s how we’ve worked to reach the $3 billion mark,” she adds, “and it’s how we’ll continue doing business in the future.”VHFA is a self-sustaining, non-profit agency created in 1974 by the Vermont Legislature to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped approximately 27,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,400 affordable rental units.Download the 2010 VHFA Annual Report: http://www.vhfa.org/documents/annual_report_2010.pdf(link is external)VHFA ONLINE: http://www.vhfa.org(link is external)
7:00 PM Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph, VT Noon to 1:30 PM Luncheon for invited guests, under the tent, Randolph Center Sept. 30th, Friday 10:30 AM to Noon Diversified Agriculture Symposium “Carbon Literacy” Red School House, Randolph Campus 2:00 to 3:30 PM Induction Ceremony Judd Hall, Randolph Center 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Inaugural Celebration Luncheon Morey Dining Hall Sept. 27th, Tuesday 1:30 – 3:30 PM Nursing Education Symposium “Educating Nurses in the 21st Century” Room 401, Williston Campus Sept 26th, Monday 9:00 AM Sustainability Commitment Event The Allen House, Randolph Center 3:30 to 4:30 Reception for attendees and participants Campus Center, Randolph Center Philip A Conroy, Jr, EdD, will be inducted as the 18th president of Vermont Technical College on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 2 pm in Judd Hall on the Randolph Center campus. Delegates representing colleges and universities from all of New England will join VTC faculty, staff and students in the academic procession and investiture ceremony.Dr. Conroy comes to Vermont Tech from Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, where he served as vice president of enrollment management and marketing, responsible for admissions, financial aid, marketing, publications, the web site, public relations, and retention related activities.President Conroy, who has served in a variety of roles at Mount Ida since 1997, is an internationally recognized expert on higher education management, particularly in the areas of strategic enrollment management and institutional advancement. “I am excited for Vermont Technical College and the Vermont State Colleges,” said Gary Moore, Chair of the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) Board of Trustees. “I believe Phil Conroy is the right person to take the college to new levels. He is an inspiring educator and leader who will be an asset to the college and to the state.”VSC Chancellor Tim Donovan echoed Moore’s comments, adding “When you look for a next president of a college, you seek the right person for the time and circumstance of the institution. The college community, the Board of Trustees, and I all agree that Dr. Conroy has the skills and character to lead Vermont Tech to an expanded role in Vermont’s economic and educational future. I anticipate that we will see Vermont Tech’s value to Vermont reach even greater heights under Dr. Conroy’s leadership.”Prior to his service at Mount Ida, Dr. Conroy served as the director of development for the College of Food and Natural Resources at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Director of Development and founding Executive Director of the Bridgewater State University Foundation, where he also served as a faculty member, financial aid counselor, and alumni relations director.Dr. Conroy has more than thirty years of teaching and management experience in higher education, including resource development, endowment management, volunteer and constituent management, strategic enrollment management, financial aid, integrated marketing, international and multi-cultural education, transition to college and the first year of college. In addition, he has earned a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Conroy is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops in Europe and North America on enrollment management, academic affairs, and institutional advancement issues, and he’s served in a number of volunteer positions, both in higher education and in his local community.President Conroy is “intrigued by the potential for Vermont Tech evolving into an applied university serving the state of Vermont and greater New England region. There are some very exciting possibilities ahead for Vermont Tech, and I am looking forward to working with the faculty and staff and bringing those possibilities to reality.”Conroy earned his Doctorate of Education in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; his Master of Education in educational administration from Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island; and his Bachelor of Science in education from Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He has also completed graduate studies at the University of Tampere, Finland; University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Boston College. Dr. Jo Ann Rooney Keynote Speaker Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to keynote inaugural ceremony. Sept. 29th, Thursday 3:00 to 4:30 PM Sustainable Technologies Symposium “Becoming a Sustainable Energy Community” Randolph Center 1:00 – 3:30 PM Computer Information Systems Symposium “The CIS Dynamic Curriculum” Red School House, Randolph Campus Sept. 28th, Wednesday 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM Summit on the Future of Vermont Tech Sugarbush Resort, Warren, Vermont Inauguration Week – September 26 through October 1 Schedule of Events October 1, Saturday 10:00 to 4:00 PM Open House and Alumni Homecoming Day Randolph Center Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to keynote inaugural ceremonyDr. Jo Ann Rooney, Principal Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, will be the keynote speaker at Dr. Conroy’s induction ceremony on Friday, September 30th.She was sworn in on June 2, 2011. Dr. Rooney is deputy senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 DoD civilians, and is responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness. Before assuming her current position, Dr. Rooney was President of Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, from July 2010 until December 2010 following a successful tenure as the President of Spalding University for eight years from 2002-2010. At Spalding she was credited with leading a successful financial turnaround and implemented a unique block scheduling system, achieved significant academic improvements and expansion of programs, put in place major IT infrastructure initiatives, significantly expanded enrollment and completed both a new academic building and laboratory and health science classroom facility. From 1996 to 2002, she served as chief counsel, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and partner of The Lyons Companies in Waltham, Massachusetts. That firm maintained a national practice specializing in estate planning, capital advising, charitable planning, executive compensation, business succession planning, and benefits planning and administration for corporations, individuals and nonprofit organizations. Prior to the Lyons Companies, she practiced tax law in the Boston area and was a founding partner of the consulting firm of Stearns, Rooney & Associates in Hingham, Massachusetts. In addition to practicing law in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, U.S. District Court and U.S. Tax Court, Rooney is a member of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and American Bar Associations. Throughout her career, Dr. Rooney has been a leader in education and had a passion for service. Until appointment, she served as Vice Chair of the Jewish St Mary’s Health Care System and was a member of the Board ofTrustees at Regis University, Denver, Colorado, in addition to numerous other civil and community involvement. In 2010, she was honored with the Mayor’s citation for community service and the Lucy Award from Louisville Scholar House – its highest community leadership award. She alsoreceived the Today’s Woman Magazine, 2006 Most Admired Woman in Education Award, the Business and Professional Women/River City, Woman of Achievement Award and the Business First, Partners in Health Care Award for 5 consecutive years. She has been a national speaker and presenter at the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), the CIC President’s Institute,Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS) annual conference and CAP/CAEL Conferences. A native of West Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Dr. Rooney has earned an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation, from Boston University’s School of Law, the Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Suffolk University Law School and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (summa cum laude) from Boston University.