VEDA – Board of Directors
VEDA is fortunate to have a Board of Directors comprised of thoughtful and dedicated Vermonters who bring a wealth of experience to the work of the Authority:
Betsy Bishopof Montpelier is President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Formerly, Bishop served as the Commissioner of Economic Development in the Administration of Governor Jim Douglas. She worked on Governor Douglas’ staff for seven years, beginning with his transition team, and including six years on the Governor’s policy and legislative team. Bishop also served as Governor Douglas’ Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to this, Bishop served as Vice President of Government Affairs at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce from 1994 to 1998, before starting her own company which advocated for businesses in the state legislative and regulatory arenas.
ALYSON L. EASTMAN
of Orwell is the Deputy Secretary for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, serving on the VEDA Board as Designee for Anson Tebbetts, Agency Secretary. A lifelong Vermonter, Alyson was raised on her 270-acre family farm in Orwell and resides there today with her husband, Michael, and their twin boys Brandon and Bentley. Alyson attended Champlain College and earned her A.S. in 1997 and her B.S. in 2003. In 2010, she founded Lake Home Business Services, Inc. -- a firm that provides H-2 Visas, and bookkeeping and payroll services. In 2015 and 2016, Alyson served the Addison-Rutland I District in the Vermont House of Representatives.
Tom Gallagherof St. Albans is VEDA's Treasurer. Gallagher has been President and CEO of the Peoples Trust Company since 2011. Prior to his appointment, Tom served as the bank’s Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Loan Officer and has held various positions within the institution during his 15-year career. He also continues to participate on his family’s farm, which specializes in dairy and replacement cattle. An Accounting graduate of Champlain College, Tom serves on various community-oriented boards, including the St. Albans Rotary Club. He also currently serves on the Vermont Banking Association Government Relations Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee.
Leon C. Gravesof Fairfield is the Vice-President for Dairy Marketing Services in New England. From 1995 to 2003, he served as the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Agriculture under Governor Howard Dean. Graves was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1987 to 1994, and the Vermont Senate in 1995. He also served as the Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President and President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
Daniel Kurzmanof Derby Line is VEDA's Board Chair. Kurzman, now retired, was the past Northeast Regional Manager of Operations for Ethan Allen overseeing the manufacturing and sawmill facilities in two states. During his tenure at Ethan Allen, Kurzman also held senior positions in Human Resources at both the regional and corporate level. Prior to his employment at Ethan Allen, Kurzman was a public school educator and administrator.
Will PattenWill Patten’s 40 years in the Vermont business community began as a young entrepreneur in Rutland and included more than two decades working with Ben & Jerry’s, from which he retired as Director of Retail Operations in 2007. In Rutland, he opened and operated The Back Home Café and Murphy’s. From 2007 to 2010 Will served as Executive Director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. After a short sailing trip, Will returned to Vermont to start Back to Basics Vermont, Inc. which invests in and consults on business strategies for new economic realities. Will was recently appointed by Governor Shumlin to the Vermont Economic Development Board and is joining the board of the Lake Champlain Sailing Center. He is currently serving as Rear Commodore of the Royal Savage Yacht Club in Charlotte. He lives in Hinesburg with his wife, Kathleen.
Beth Pearceof Barre was appointed Vermont State Treasurer in January, 2011 by Governor Peter Shumlin. Treasurer Pearce has more than 30 years of experience in government finance at both the state and local levels. Prior to her appointment, she served as Deputy Treasurer for more than seven years under former Treasurer Jeb Spaulding. During that time, financial reports prepared by Pearce received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association.
of Williamsville is a business broker with Country Business, Inc., a regional brokerage firm assisting buyers and sellers throughout New England. Prior to holding this position, Richards spent five years with Pieciak & Company, P.C. focusing primarily on performing business valuations of closely- held businesses. She is a Certified Valuation Analyst (“CVA”) as designated by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) and also holds a Chartered Merger and Acquisition Professional (“CMAP”) designation from the Middle Market Investment Banking Association (“MMIBA”). Before moving to Vermont in 2004, Richards spent eight years working at Citigroup in New York where she held various positions within the investment banking division. She spent five of those years in the Acquisition Finance Group working closely with private equity firms in valuing and financing their leveraged buyouts of middle market and large-cap companies via syndicated bank loan and high yield bond transactions. She spent the following three years as Vice-President in the Global Loans Portfolio Management Group, where she managed a portfolio of highly leveraged corporate loans retained by Citigroup.
Jane O’Meara Sandersof Burlington has spent much of her career in public service, primarily with a focus on community development. Currently, Jane represents Vermont on the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission. Most recently, she served as President of Burlington College, significantly expanding its campus and degree programs, and earlier, as Provost and Interim President of Goddard College, her alma mater. As a municipal Department Head in the City of Burlington, Jane founded many programs and non-profits for children and families that continue today. She has also worked in the U.S. Congress, been elected as a School Board Commissioner, and run her own small business as a media and educational consultant. Jane earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies at Union Institute & University.
was appointed Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development by Governor Phil Scott in December. Immediately prior to serving as Secretary, Schirling served as Executive Director of BTV Ignite, an economic development and technology accelerator initative, where he oversaw the organization's efforts to expedite growth of the local tech sector to strengthen the economy by driving innovation. Schirling led projects and initiatives focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities, career coaching and workforce training programs, and development of innovation hubs. He has also worked as a contractor conducting trainings for the U.S. State Department's Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program Cyber Division. Schirling served in the Burlington Police Department for 25 years, including seven years as Chief of Police.
John R. Snowof Charlotte is VEDA's Vice-Chair. Snow has spent more than twenty years in international banking and investments. Most recently, Snow retired as Vice Chairman of State Street Global Advisors in Boston, the world’s second largest asset management company. In addition to his time with State Street, Snow’s varied career included senior executive positions at NatWest Bank in New York, PanAgora Asset Management in London, and The Boston Company in Boston and London. Although in recent years he has had a focus on emerging markets and venture capital/private equity, Snow’s earlier career included work in private client trust management, mortgage banking and global custody banking.
Michael Snyderof Stowe was appointed Commissioner of Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation by Gov. Peter Shumlin in December 2010. Prior to that he served for 14 years as Chittenden County Forester, providing land stewardship assistance to private landowners and municipalities. For 12 years, he taught two courses in Forestry at the University of Vermont, and he continues to write the Woods Whys column for Northern Woodlands Magazine. Previously, he worked in forest ecosystem science at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and in land surveying and forest management in New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Sweden. He owns and manages a 91-acre forest in the northern Connecticut River valley of Vermont. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees in forestry from the University of Vermont.
was appointed Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service by Governor Phil Scott. Prior to her appointment, Tierney served as general counsel to the Vermont Public Service Board. Before that, she was a Board hearing officer, as well as a staff attorney at the Vermont Department of Public Service. A graduate of Boston University and Vermont Law School, Tierney began her legal career with a clerkship at the Vermont Supreme Court, followed by three years as an associate at a New York City law firm, where she specialized in securities fraud litigation, white collar crime defense and corporate internal compliance investigations. Before her admission to the bar, Tierney enjoyed the privilege of serving on active duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.
of South Burlington was appointed to the VEDA Board in 2016 by Governor Peter Shumlin. Previously, Tuttle served as President and CEO of Merchants Bank and Merchants Bancshares. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Merchants Bank and Merchants Bancshares, as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.