Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB)

The Working Lands Enterprise Board is responsible for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund investment decisions.

Voting Members:

 

Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (Chair)

Anson Tebbetts was appointed Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets by Governor Phil Scott in January of 2017. Prior to his appointment, Tebbetts spent more than twenty years as part of the WCAX news team, serving as the station’s news director since 2009. From 2007-2009, he stepped away from his role at WCAX to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, under the Douglas administration. An avid bird enthusiast, he co-hosts “For the Birds” on WDEV & WLVB radio.Tebbetts, a graduate of Emerson College, is a native Vermonter with deep agricultural roots. He was born and raised on his family’s farm in Cabot, where he continues to reside today with his wife Vicky and their two children. In 2001, the Vermont Farm Bureau honored him with their Friend of the Farmer award.

Alyson Eastman, Deputy Secretary of VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (Designee)

Alyson Eastman was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets by Governor Phil Scott in January of 2017. Most recently, she served in the Vermont State legislature, representing the Addision-Rutland 1 District. A graduate of Champlain College, Eastman has owned and operated several successful businesses over the years, offering a wide variety of services including property management, payroll, bookkeeping, and H-2 Visa management. Agriculture has always been an important part of her life. She grew up on the family farm in Orwell, Vermont. Throughout her youth, she was active in 4-H. She continues to live on the family farm in Orwell with her husband, and two sons.
 

Mike Snyder, Commissioner of VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Michael Snyder was appointed Commissioner of Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation by Gov. Peter Shumlin in January 2011. He served 14 years as Chittenden County Forester, providing land stewardship assistance to private landowners and municipalities. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees in forestry from the University of Vermont.

 Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary of VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Ted Brady was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) by Gov. Phil Scott in January 2017. He served as the Rural Development State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire in the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Obama.  Prior to that position, he served as U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy’s senior economic development, community development, housing and transportation field representative.  

Chris Castano, Champlain Hardwoods, One member who is actively engaged in wood products manufacturing

Chris is Vice President of Champlain Hardwoods. He is a certified hardwood lumber inspector and has been in the industry for over 30 years.  He has a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Vermont. Chris is the secretary/treasurer for the New England Lumbermen's Association and serves as Vice President for the Vermont Soccer Association.

 

Emma Marvin, Butternut Mountain Farm, Morrisville, VT, One representative actively engaged in commodity maple production

Marvin has worked on managing the retail operations, marketing, and special projects of the family business since 2004. Prior to joining the family business she spent several years working for an environmental educational non-profit in northern Vt. Marvin is an honors graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resource Management.

 

Joseph W Nelson, One representative of the VT forest industry who is a forester

Joe founded Upland Forestry in 1989, a small forestry consulting firm which he expanded from small scale forestry work in Vermont to providing forestry services to industrial owners in New England and New York. With the paper companies divesting of forestland in the 1990’s, Joe steered the company to managing large tracts for private investors. Joe has taught Forestry Camp and Silviculture at the University of Vermont, and consulted on agroforestry and forest economic projects in Central and South America.  He sold the business in 2010 and continues with wildlife habitat, forestry, and conservation agriculture projects in Vermont and New York.  He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1980 with a B.S. in Forestry.   

 

Brian Kemp, Mountain Meadow Farms, Cornwall, VT, One representative of the two largest membership-based agricultural organizations in VT who is NOT a dairy farmer

Since age 10, Kemp has been working with animals. For seven years he worked at the University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm as a Horse Specialist. Following, Kemp worked at Monument Farms Dairy. Kemp now works as the Farm Manager at Mountain Meadows Beef Farm where he is fully responsible for the day to day management.

 

Kathleen Wanner, Executive Director of the Vermont Woodlands Association, Rutland, VT, One representative of a membership-based forestland owner organization

Kathleen Wanner is co-owner and vice president of Ghostwriters Communications, Inc., a marketing and communications firm in Rutland that serves the non-profit, natural and cultural resource sector in Vermont. Wanner graduated with a B.A. in English from Castleton State College and an M.S. in Technical Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Robin Scheu, Executive Director of the Addison County Economic Development Corporation, Middlebury, VT, Two representatives actively engaged in providing marketing assistance, market development, or business and financial planning

Scheu has been the Executive Director of the Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) since 2008. Prior to joining ACEDC, she was a commercial lender and senior manager at Bank of Boston and Bank of Vermont for fifteen years, ran her own consulting business, and was interim Executive Director of both the Addison County Solid Waste Management District and the Middlebury Area Land Trust. She has a BA in Biological Sciences from Smith College and an MS in Management from Antioch University.

 

Eric DeLuca, University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education, One member with expertise in sales, marketing or market development (Vice Chair)

DeLuca is currently the Chair of Slow Money Vermont, leading a statewide network that envisions a robust, just, healthy and sustainable local and regional food system.  Previously, Eric was the National Advisory Board Facilitator of the Food Hub Management Program being developed by University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education.  DeLuca was also the U.S. program manager for the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives through the National Cooperative Business Association, and a program manager at Dialogos.  He holds B.A. from Brown University and a CalArts M.F.A. in integrated media.

 

Megan Cowles Camp, Shelburne Farms, One member who is an employee of a Vermont institution engaged in agriculture or forestry education, training, or research

Camp serves as Vice President and Program Director at Shelburne Farms providing leadership for organizational and educational program development.  Much of her work over her 30 years at the Farm has focused on building public private partnerships to conduct research, influence policy, and build networks to strengthen Education for Sustainability in Vermont and around the world.

Bob Lesnikoski, Vermont Cranberry Company, One member who is actively engaged in on-farm value-added processing

After many years owning logging companies, Lesnikoski started Vermont Cranberry Company in 1997.  The farm has 3.5 acres of producing cranberry beds and produces fresh fruit, juce, specialty jams and jellies, cranberry juice and dried cranberries. Lesnikoski is also a winemaker, ski instructor, and owner of Seasonal Seafood.  He holds a B.S. in Forest Management with a concentration in Wildlife Management from the University of Vermont.

 

Will Belongia, Vermont Community Loan Fund, One member who is an agriculture and forestry enterprise funder

Belongia has served as the Executive Director of the VCLF since 2004.  Prior to being appointed its Executive Director, he was the organization's Chief Financial Officer for 11 years. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Vermont. He is also an alumnus of the Snelling Center for Government's Vermont Leadership Institute.

 

Johanna Laggis, Laggis Brothers Farm, One member who is a representative of Vermont's dairy industry who is also a dairy farmer

Laggis grew up on Mission Farm, a 188-acre, self sufficient farm in Killington owned by the Episcopal Church of Vermont.  She holds a degree in Forest Entomology from the University of Vermont.  She worked for the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation until 1990 when she went into private industry with Concept 2.  She joined the team at Laggis Brothers Farm in 2000 as calf manager along side her husband John Laggis and brother-in-law Chris Laggis. She also sits as a member of The Center for an Agricultural Economy Board since 2010.

 

Gil Livingston, Vermont Land Trust, One member with expertise in land planning and conseration efforts that support Vermont's working landscape

Livingston was Counsel and Vice President for Land Conservation at VLT from 1990 to 2006, becoming president in early 2007. He currently serves on the boards of Home Share Vermont and the Black Family Land Trust. Livingston graduated in 1975 from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Political Science and received his law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law (J.D. summa cum laude) in 1978.

 

Ken Gagnon, Gagnon Lumber, One member who is actively engaged in primary wood processing or logging

Gagnon Lumber is a modern wholesale and retail forest products business owned and operated by Gagnon and his father.  Ken also owns and manages woodlands in central Vermont, and is committed to responsible forestry practices under both the Vermont U.V.A. program and FSC Forest Management program.  Ken graduated from Castleton State College with a B.S. in Business in 1979.  *Formerly a member of the Vermont Agricultural and Forest Products Development Board.

 

Mark Curran, Black River Produce, One member who is actively engaged in manufacturing or distribution of Vermont agricultural products

Curran moved to Vermont in 1974 at the age of 20.  In 1978 he opened a natural food store with Steve Birge called Black River Market.  In 1978 the store morphed into a wholesale distribution company, Black River Produce, which currently has about 150 employees.  He is married to Margie Straub and they have raised four sons.  He has served on numerous local and state boards including, "Vermont Fresh Network." *Formerly a VAFPDB member.

 

Ex-officio, Non-voting Members:

 

Jo Bradley, Manager of VT Economic Development Authority, Montpelier, VT, Manager of VT Economic Development Authority or designee

Bradley became Chief Executive Officer of the Vermont Economic Development Authority in February, 1997. She graduated with Honors from Johnson State College, earning a B.A., and from the Boston University School of Management with an M.B.A. in Finance. She also completed the Program for Senior Executives in state and local government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

 

Ellen Kahler, Executive Director of VT Sustainable Jobs Fund, Montpelier, VT, Executive Director of VT sustainable jobs fund or designee

Kahler became the Executive Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) in late 2005. Prior to joining the VSJF, Kahler was the Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington (1990-2002). She graduated from Bucknell University in Pa. with a B.A. in Political Science and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with an M.P.A.

 

 

Gus Seelig, Executive Director of VT Housing Conservation Board, Montpelier, VT, Executive Director VT housing conservation board or designee

Seelig was the founding Executive Director of Vermont Housing Conservation Board. As a direct result of Seelig’s leadership, Vermont now has some 325,000 acres of conserved land, including over 500 conserved farms, 9,800 units of permanently affordable housing and the infrastructure policies in place for the future. 

 

 

Designees:

 

Ela Chapin, Director of the Vermont Farm Viability Program, Montpelier, VT

Designee to Gus Seelig, Chapin is Director of the Vermont Farm Viability Program at the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. The program began in 2003 and provides business planning and technical assistance to farm and food businesses. Chapin has been Farm Viability Program Director since 2006, helping to improve the quality of program services and providing professional development opportunities to strengthen the network of agricultural service providers in Vermont. She has a MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Chapin is also an avid gardener, a dancer and dance teacher, and lives in East Montpelier with her husband and two young boys.

 

Matt Langlais, Caledonia/Essex County Forester, VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation

Designee to Mike Snyder, Designee to Mike Snyder, Matt has 15 years of forestry experience.  Since 2006 he has served as the Caledonia and Essex County Forester providing information, technical assistance, and outreach to Vermonters about managing and stewarding their forestland.  Matt is also a Christmas tree grower, owning and managing  Langlais Family Tree Farm in Burke, VT.  He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with degrees in wildlife biology and forestry.   

 

Jared Duval, Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Jared Duval , designee to Lucy Leriche, is an Economic Development Director in Vermont’s Department of Economic Development, within the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. His work is primarily focused on Vermont’s working lands and green economy sectors. Jared earned his Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School in 2014, with a concentration in Domestic Policy. Originally from the Upper Connecticut River Valley, he is part of the ninth generation of his family to call the Green Mountain State home. Jared resides in Montpelier with his wife, Joan, and their son.

Sarah Isham, VT Economic Development Authority, Montpelier VT

Since 2000, Sarah has been VACC’s Senior Agricultural Loan Officer, having started her tenure with VACC as an Agricultural Loan Officer in 1994. Sarah previously had a 14-year career with USDA as an Assistant County Supervisor at Farmers Home Administration, where she originated farm and housing loans. Sarah graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Animal Science. A resident of Brookfield, she is actively involved in the Vermont horse industry and community organizations.