Last week, the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting. It was a very successful event on many levels.

We were honored that Gov. Phil Scott took the time to address our members. Gov. Scott began by discussing the three executive orders he has issued that are aimed at reorganizing state government to manage our state’s delivery of services to our residents more effectively and strengthen our economy.

Gov. Scott merged the Agency of Commerce and Community Development with the Department of Labor to create the Agency of Economic Opportunity. Executive Order 06-17 dissolves the state’s current Department of Information and Innovation, creating a unified organizational structure for IT. The third executive order merges the Department of Liquor Control and the State Lottery Commission to create a singular Department of Liquor and Lottery.

Gov. Scott received a long ovation when he announced that he will be presenting a budget that is balanced and contains no new taxes. His message was music to our members’ ears. We also elected a new slate of officers and directors. Our officers for this year consist of our board chair, Lindel James (Center for Leadership Development), vice-chairs Kim Bolduc (Bolduc Metal Recycling), Joe Choquette (Downs Rachlin Martin), John Underwood (The Inn at Montpelier), Amy White (People’s United Bank), secretary/treasurer Ed Larson (Larson Forestry & Legislative Consulting), and Leslie Sanborn (R&L Archery), immediate past chair. Directors for 2017 include Steve Cormier (Radio Vermont Group), Caroline Earle (law office of Caroline S. Earle), Cheyenne Holland (UVMCentral Vermont Medical Center), Jessica Jaggars (Norwich University), Debra Kerin (Northfield Savings Bank), Curtis Ostler (Vermont Tech), Dave Rubel (Community National Bank), Denise Russo (Denis, Ricker & Brown), Leslie Sanborn (R&L Archery), and Jamie Stewart (Central Vermont Economic Development Corp.).

We had two very important announcements at the annual meeting. First, we presented our recently completed strategic plan. There are four areas in our strategic plan. The first is to be a business advocate, whether it is working to enhance the business climate by lobbying for the business community at all levels of government, presenting quality educational programs for our members, promoting our tourism industry, presenting networking opportunities and events or working to attract new businesses and create jobs. Our second objective is to ensure the fiscal integrity of the Chamber and to be good agents of our member’s investments. The third initiative is to advance technology and communications for the Chamber and to be certain that we are utilizing all appropriate platforms. Finally, we are committed to proper stewardship of Beaulieu Place, the World Headquarters of The Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Our “World Headquarters?” You read that right. The second major announcement was the presentation of our new website — our front door to the world. Our old website was launched at the dawn of the internet. It was a remarkable window into central Vermont and contained virtually everything about our region. Our new website (www.centralvt.com), while still a work in progress, has a fresh look and is a tremendous envoy for all who visit us, whether they are from down the street or from the other side of the planet.

I invite you to visit our new website. While you are there, you can also read our complete strategic plan. I’m interested to know what you think. If you have ideas that can enhance the website, please let me know. Email me at Bill@centralvt.com.

William Moore is president of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

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