Category Archives: Business

Business news and events

VEDA approves $64.3 million in financing for FY 2013

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Economic Development Authority approved $64.3 million in financing in fiscal year 2013, which leveraged additional private capital for business projects that totaled $185.1 million, VEDA announced Friday at its annual meeting.
The 79 commercial and small business loans impacted 2,696 jobs with an average hourly wage of $31.71, including benefits.
Gov. Peter Shumlin and economist Hugh Johnson were scheduled to speak at the event.
“In FY 2013, VEDA’s lending activity coincided with Vermont’s recovery from incredible natural disaster experienced the year before,” said Jo Bradley, VEDA’s chief executive officer.  “Where the Authority broke records in FY 2012, delivering an unprecedented level of emergency financing to devastated businesses and farms, this year VEDA’s financing activity normalized to levels we knew prior to Tropical Storm Irene.”
At the end of its fiscal year in June, manufacturing accounted for 21 percent of VEDA’s financing portfolio, with agriculture comprising 34 percent, travel and tourism, 13 percent, and service-related businesses 19 percent.
In the past five years, VEDA has approved 1,887 separate financing instruments totaling $644.4 million.
The newly created Vermont Sustainable Energy Loan Fund will provide a strong incentive for Vermont businesses and farms to invest in energy in sustainable ways, lower their carbon footprint, and increase their bottom line, Bradley said.
VEDA’s 2013 annual report is available at

General Electric to invest $20 million more in Rutland facility

GE Aviation announced Wednesday it will invest another $20 million in its Rutland facility next year, bringing total investment since 2010 to nearly $100 million.
The announcement coincides with a visit to the Rutland plant by GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
Immelt is also scheduled to address the annual meeting of the Rutland Regional Medical Center at the Paramount Theatre.
Over the last three years, the GE Rutland plant has increased employment from 950 to 1,250 workers. At the same time, the plants on Windcrest Road and Columbian Avenue have completed $75 million in capital improvements.
GE said the growth is driven by a record backlog and rising production rates. GE Aviation’s production rates are expected to increase from approximately 3,600 commercial and military engine deliveries in 2013 to 3,900 deliveries in 2014, and 4,100 deliveries in 2015.
Much of the growth in Rutland is driven by rising production rates of the GEnx, the fuel-efficient engine which powers Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 jumbo jet.  Deliveries of GEnx engines will grow from 200 this year to 300 in 2014
Rutland manufactures the high pressure turbine blades for a variety of engines, including the GEnx. The high-pressure turbine sits directly behind the combustion chamber and receives the brunt of the exhaust gasses produced in the combustor.


Gas pipeline opponents pack Middlebury PSB hearing

Bruce Edwards / Staff Photo Opponents of a natural gas pipeline made their views known at a public hearing Tuesday night in Middlebury.

Bruce Edwards / Staff Photo
Opponents of a natural gas pipeline made their views known at a public hearing Tuesday night in Middlebury.

MIDDLEBURY - Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline packed the gym at Middlebury Union Middle School Tuesday night to tell the Public Service Board they want no part of a pipeline that will bring fracked natural gas to Addison County.
One after one opponents came to the podium to denounce in often sharp terms plans by Vermont Gas Systems to extend its pipeline 43 miles from Chittenden County south to Middlebury with the prospect the pipeline could be extended west under Lake Champlain to New York and further south to Rutland.
A common theme that came across from the public comments was that the world was near the tipping point when it came to climate change and global warming. Despite supporters’ claims that natural gas is cleaner burning than fuel oil or coal, opponents were unrelenting in their criticism that emissions from fracked natural gas in particular will only add to the climate change problem.
Fracking is the process that uses water and chemicals under extremely high pressure to disgorge otherwise hard to extract natural gas beneath the earth’s surface.
But those opposed to the pipeline that would bring gas down from Canada said that the fracking process can destroy the land and pollute drinking water. Continue reading

Vermont’s unemployment rate ticks up in July

MONTPELIER - Vermont’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for July was 4.6 percent, an increase of 0.2 of a percent from June, the state Department of Labor reported Monday .
The national average for July was 7.4 percent.
“The economic recovery for Vermont since the recession has been uneven at certain points,” Commissioner Annie Noonan said. “While Vermont still holds one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and the number of UI (unemployment insurance) claimants continues to decline and employers continue to hire, we also have faced challenges such as the IBM layoffs.”

Midway Diner to become an IHOP after all

Midway Diner will become an IHOP after all. Frank Trombetta Jr. and John Valente have reached a deal to lease the Midway Diner to a South Burlington businessman, who will convert the Midway Diner into an IHOP restaurant. Valente announced the deal on Monday and said the Midway’s last day of operation will be next Sunday. Sam Handy, who owns the South Burlington IHOP, was on the verge of buying the diner late last year but couldn’t come up with the financing. Valente said the long-term lease arrangement made the deal possible.

SEC files insider trading action against former GM Coffee employee

WATERBURY -  The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday that it has filed a civil enforcement action against former Green Mountain Coffee Roasters employee Chad McGinnis, and others outside the company, alleging insider trading in the stock of GMCR, the company announced.

GMCR was recently advised of the government’s investigation into McGinnis’ activity and is cooperating with the government’s investigation. McGinnis was a manager-level member of the company’s IT department and has been terminated for violations of the company’s insider trading policy. There has been no allegation of wrongdoing on behalf of the company.

“We are appalled at the alleged actions of this individual,” said Brian P. Kelley, GMCR’s president and CEO. “All indications are that this case involves an irresponsible individual acting alone and we have no reason to believe anyone else associated with the company was involved.”

In wake of layoffs, state to hold two job assistance sessions in Burlington

MONTPELIER – Layoffs at IBM have promoted the Department of Labor to hold another Rapid Response session July 11 and an employer and training provider job fair July 15.

The sessions are for laid off IBM and other workers who need assistance with their job search activities.

Both events will be held at the Sheraton on Williston Road in South Burlington.

The Rapid Response session July 11 will focus on understanding the services available to dislocated workers, and will include workshops on resume writing, interviewing skills, and financial restructuring following a layoff.

The sessions will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and from 10:30 to noon.

The employer and training provider job fair will be held July 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It will allow job seekers to visit booths set up by employers, training providers, financial advisers, and health care program representatives. Job seekers are encouraged to wear “business casual or business professional” attire, and bring multiple copies of their resume.

IBM layoffs could top 300 in Vermont, labor commish says

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s labor commissioner says it’s estimated that IBM laid off more than 300 workers in its recent round of job cuts, but a firmer total should be known by the end of next week.
Annie Noonan says IBM is required to notify the Labor Department within 24 hours of job separations becoming final, which is set to happen next Friday, July 12. She says by then the state should have a reliable figure of the total job cuts made public on June 12.
IBM has a policy of not releasing layoff totals.
Noonan bases her estimate of about 310 on the numbers of IBM employees who have been showing up at state-run seminars on seeking new work.

2012-2013 ski season was a great one, association says

STOWE – Business at the state’s ski areas rebounded this season with 4.5 million skier visits – a 16 percent increase over the previous year and the best season since 2001, the Vermont Ski Areas Association reported Tuesday at its annual meeting in Stowe.

The 2012-13 season also marks the second best season on record since VSAA began collecting data in 1992.

Nationally, skier & rider visits had the biggest one-year leap in 30 years, with the Northeast posting the biggest gains in the country. With 4,513,041 skier visits this season, Vermont’s 18 resorts ranked number one in the East and third nationwide for skiing and riding.

“The 2012-13 season stands as a remarkable rebound from the prior year with record early openings thanks to our 80 percent snowmaking coverage, perfectly timed snow for the holidays, blizzard snowfall that buried our core markets’ backyards and an epic March that we haven’t seen in years,” VSAA president Parker Riehle said in a statement. Riehle said the season netted the state more than $170 million in tax revenue from rooms and meals and sales taxes, surpassing pre-recession levels for the first time.

The annual meeting held at Stowe Mountain Resort was attended by a record 300 industry members and marketing partners.

Gov. Peter Shumlin gave opening remarks and National Ski Areas Association President Michael Berry presented the national perspective and continued efforts to attract new participants into skiing and riding.

Jay Peak Resort president Bill Stenger was presented with the Industry Achievement Award, and Jeff Boliba, vice president of Global Resorts at Burton Snowboards, received the Friend of the Industry Award. Career Employee Awards were presented to two longtime ski area employees at Okemo Mountain Resort, Barry Tucker and Barbara Johnston.

Rutland hosts statewide economic development summit

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A new summit is uniting Vermont businesses and economic development partners to identify challenges and opportunities for growth.
The state Agency of Commerce and Community Development is holding the meeting in Rutland, along with the state’s regional development corporations.
The summit is being held Monday at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland.
It will include remarks from Gov. Peter Shumlin who is signing the downtown designation bill.