Meet the Board
The VBSR Board of Directors are responsible for hiring and supervising the executive director, establishing policies, establishing committees, and generally overseeing VBSR. The bylaws authorize a board of up to twenty members. The board meets four times a year. The spring meeting is typically a daylong retreat. Board members serve three-year staggered terms. All VBSR members are eligible to serve on the board.
Every year the Board-appointed nominating committee manages the nomination process.
Lawrence Barber, CFM (2014), Merrill Lynch Global Private Client Group,
Lawrence (Larz) Barber, CRPC®, CFM, ChFC® is an Assistant Vice President with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in Burlington and specializes in socially responsible investing and comprehensive financial planning for individual, corporate and non-profit clients. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 1997 Larz helped start and grow many SR companies in Vermont including Northern Power Systems (where he was VP of Field Services), Ski Tuner/Grindrite, Vermont Ginseng Products, Mad River Rockets, and Maya Computer.
Russ Bennett (2015), Northland Design & Construction (VBSR Board Secretary)
Russ is the owner/founder of Northland Design & Construction, since 1978. Northland has a long history of designing and building energy efficient high end residences, as well as working with businesses of all kinds (restaurants, food production, manufacturing, retail) to design and build them the facilities they need to grow and continue to be successful. Northland also works on the planning and design and artistic direction for the largest outdoor music festivals in the country. Russ is a landlord and past owner of Scoop Shops. He has served on many boards and was a Director and President of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the chairman of the Waitsfield Planning Commission. He played a vital role in procuring funding for public bus service in the Mad River Valley.
David Blittersdorf (2016), AllEarth Renewables
David is the founder of NRG Systems, his first entrepreneurial venture that grew into an internationally recognized leader in wind measurement technology. In 2004, David stepped down as CEO of NRG Systems to start AllEarth Renewables, a company dedicated to the development, manufacture and deployment of residential-scale, grid-tied renewable energy systems. David has been active with the VBSR Policy Committee on energy-related issues and has worked on energy- and healthcare-related legislative issues. He currently serves on the boards of the following local and national organizations: the Distributed Wind Energy Association, Renewable Energy Vermont, the Small Wind Certification Council, the Energy Co-op of Vermont, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, the Canino School of Engineering Technology at SUNY-Canton, and the U.S. division of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. Prior to 2010, he served for 16 years as treasurer and one year as president of the American Wind Energy Association. He currently lives in Charlotte in a home completely powered by renewable energy sources.
Mike Burak (2016), Burak Anderson & Melloni PLC
Mike is a founding member of the Burlington law firm of Burak Anderson & Melloni PLC. His practice focuses on complex business and commercial litigation, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights. He has extensive experience in the representation of consumer owned and public entities as well as matters involving corporate governance and closely owned corporations. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School, Mike became a law clerk to the Honorable Sterry R. Waterman, Senior Judge of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals. After his clerkship, Mike entered private practice in New York City, first with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson, and later with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. At those firms, Mike’s principal activities included complex litigation in securities, mergers and acquisitions, and other business-related areas. Mike returned to Vermont to serve as General Counsel to the Vermont Public Service Board. Subsequently, he was appointed by Vermont’s governor to be the state’s first Director for Public Advocacy immediately after that position was created by the Vermont legislature. In such capacities he acquired expertise in all aspects of utility regulation and energy law. Since his return to private practice as a founding partner of Burak Anderson & Melloni PLC, a substantial portion of his practice has been related to utility matters.
Yola Carlough (2015), Business Development, B Lab
Yola joined B Lab in 2011. Her work in the area of Community Development facilitates entry into the B Corp community for businesses that commit to high standards of transparency, accountability and performance, and brings momentum, through membership growth, to the global B Corp movement that redefines success in business and builds a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy. She also manages a private consulting initiative in the field of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. From 2007 to 2011, Yola held the position of Director of Sustainability at Burt’s Bee developing, integrating and monitoring innovative strategies to achieve the brand’s sustainability/CSR goals. As Executive Director of the Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, Yola worked to create meaningful partnerships with non-profit organizations with a mission to drive innovative, positive change through systemic and replicable models that seek to eliminate the root
cause of social and environmental problems. Prior to joining Burt’s Bees, Yola was Director of Social Mission at Ben & Jerry’s in Burlington, VT where she managed pioneering environmental and socially conscious directions for the company’s domestic and international business.
Jennifer Chiodo (2015), Managing Principal, Cx Associates
Jennifer Chiodo has over 30 years of experience creating and managing new approaches to garnering energy efficiency in the business sector while overseeing the implementation of thousands of energy efficiency, commissioning and measurement and verification projects. She has fostered the development of Cx Associates into a widely recognized leader in the areas of energy efficiency, commissioning, and evaluation, measurement and verification of energy efficiency projects and programs as well as a socially responsible business that puts peopleand the planet ahead of profits. Ms. Chiodo is actively engaged in addressing global warming through building energy efficiency and her volunteer work on her town energy committee and as Advocacy Chair on the Board of the Vermont Green Building Network. Ms. Chiodo was instrumental in the development of Efficiency Vermont, managing the Business Energy Services Division from start-up through the successful fulfillment of the first contract term. During Ms. Chiodo’s 10 year stint as a project manager and electrical engineer in San Francisco, she developed a keen awareness of the value of energy codes, training and enforcement as well as a deep knowledge of the commercial building sector.
Mark Curran (2015), Black River Produce
Mark 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 co., 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."
David Epstein (2016), Partner, TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design
David is a partner in TruexCullins (TC) Architecture and Interior Design, a long-time VBSR member and leader in sustainable design. At TC, he co-leads the Workplace and Education Design Studios, where he has developed an international practice designing K-12 schools. He served for six years on the board and one year as president of Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He also currently serves on the board of the Vermont Foodbank and as a member of the Shelburne Historic Preservation and Design Advisory Committee.
Pat Heffernan (2015), President, Marketing Partners, Inc.
Pat is President of Marketing Partners, Inc. a Burlington-based marketing and public relations firm that has been helping values-driven businesses and public agencies achieve their goals through effective communications since 1992. Pat was the founding president of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. She served for many years on the Governor's Commission on Women, and is afounder of Women Business Owners Network of Vermont & New Hampshire and the Vermont Women’s Foundation. In 2005, she was honored to receive VBSR's prestigious Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence. Pat delights in the outdoors as a winter trekker, kayaker and long-distance cyclist. She currently serves as a member of the UVM Advisory Board for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, a member of the VBSR Public Policy Committee and as chair of the Nominating Committee.
Bret Hodgdon (2016), Partner, Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs
Since being admitted as Partner in Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs in January 2005, Bret Hodgdon has had a key role in the firm’s growth into one of the area’s most innovative public accounting firms. His daily embrace of new technologies has resulted in efficiency improvements not only for the firm but also for many of the firm’s corporate clients. Bret is one of Vermont’s only accountants with the designations of Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), with expertise in fraud prevention, corporate investigations and forensic accounting. Originally from Hardwick, VT, Bret is a graduate of Lyndon State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Business Administration. Since 1998 he has worked with a variety of clients providing audit, tax and consulting services in a number of specialized areas such as non-profit organizations, the construction industry and wholesale/retail.
Julie Lineberger (2014), Owner, LineSync Architecture
Julie Lineberger guides LineSync Architecture, focusing on innovative corporate environments, public buildings and unique homes. The combination of global sustainability, nonprofit humanitarian development, and for-profit earnings are the foundation of her firm. A leader in green building systems, LineSync Architecture has won awards for projects throughout the east coast and in California, London and the Sultanate of Oman.
Don Mayer (2015), CEO, Small Dog Electronics
Don Mayer is a graduate of Goddard College and lives on Prickly Mountain in Warren with his wife, Grace. He founded Small Dog Electronics in 1995 and now serves as CEO. Don's entrepreneurial background is varied, including: Founder of North Wind Power Company (now Northern Power Systems), 1974-1988; Founder of Maya Computer, 1988 to 1992; Founder of River Computer, 1992-1993; General Manager of Portfolio Software, 1993-1995; and Co-Founder and Board member of American Wind Energy Association, 1975-1988. From 1980-1986, Don was elected auditor of the Town of Warren. Don also is a member of the Board of Vermont Health Care for All and the Board of Common Cause of Vermont. He served as Chair of the VBSR from 2002 until 2007.
Chris Miller (2015), Social Mission Activism Manager, Ben & Jerry's (VBSR Board Vice Chair)
Chris Miller currently serves as the Social Mission Activism Manager at Ben & Jerry's, a unique position in the corporate world, where he develops consumer facing activism campaigns that support the company's progressive values. Before recently joining Ben & Jerry's, Chris led the sustainability work at Seventh Generation. In addition to his for-profit experience, Chris directed Greenpeace USA's national climate campaign and served on the staff of then Congressman Bernie Sanders. When he's not working, Chris enjoys the outdoors, eating lots of local food, and has recently tried his hand at running marathons. He currently serves on the board of Car Share Vermont.
Stephen Morris (2014), Editor and Publisher, Green Living Journal
Stephen is the co-founder of The Public Press, a book-publishing business that provides options for writers whose works are too specialized for traditional publishers. He is also editor and publisher of Green Living and the author of six books. He has been an active member with VBSR, attending and presenting at conferences and has been an active participant in many panel discussions. Stephen served on the board of Green America, and is active in Co-Op America and Author’s Guild, as well as a regular contributor to The Herald of Randolph, Vermont Magazine, Image Magazine, and Best of Burlington.
Sara Newmark (2016), DIrector of Sustainability, New Chapter (VBSR Board Chair)
Sara Newmark is the Director of Sustainability at New Chapter, Inc. of Brattleboro, Vermont. New Chapter is a certified organic manufacturer of whole-food dietary supplements. Sara ensures that all actions by New Chapter live up to its high standards of ecological stewardship, from product sourcing and packaging to New Chapter’s philanthropic efforts. She sits on the board of the international Sacred Seeds Project, which works with leading botanical gardens and ethnobotanists to preserve plants of traditional significance. She is also the chairman of the board member of the largest network of socially responsible businesses, Vermont Business for Social Responsibility.
John Norton (2014), COO, NRG System, Inc. (VBSR Board Treasurer)
John Norton is currently the COO of NRG systems and has had broad experience in socially responsible businesses with tenures at Wall Goldfinger, North Wind Power/Northern Power Systems, Controlled Energy Corporation and now with NRG systems. In addition to his role as a leader and innovator in corporate responsibility, John has been active on energy/climate issues in his local community, at the state level on the Joint Climate Change Oversight Commission, and currently serves on the boards of the friends of the Mad River and the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, where he is the current president.
Leslie Nulty (2014), Focal Point Advisory Services
Leslie Nulty provides financial and management consulting advice to co-ops and small businesses via her own business, Focal Point Advisory Services. In addition, she serves as Executive Vice-President of Energtek-North Country, Inc., developing a new initiative to deliver compressed natural gas to small and medium-sized businesses and eventually residences, as well. Prior to this latest undertaking, from 2007-2014 Leslie was instrumental in building the East Central Vermont Community Fiber-optic Network, which has brought municipally-owned state-of-the-art fiberoptic telecommunications services to the residents, businesses and community institutions of the 24 participating towns. These rural towns now have access to as much as 400 Mbps symmetrical services. Leslie was formerly the General Manager of Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, VT, and, prior to that, Controller of a venture capital fund in Central Europe. Leslie earned her M.Sc. in Economics from Cambridge, University and has more than 35 years’ professional experience in financial analysis and business restructuring. She is a former VBSR Treasurer, member of the VBSR Finance Committee and also a member of the Public Policy Committee. Leslie lives with her husband in Jericho Center, Vermont where she cultivates a substantial organic garden in the summer, and skis in the winter.
Jacob Park (2014), Professor, Green Mountain College
Jacob Park is Associate Professor of Business Strategy and Sustainability at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. He is currently serving on the VBSR Program, Events, and Education Committee and has served on the Strategic Planning Advisory Board. He specializes in the teaching and research of global environment & business strategy, corporate social responsibility, and community-based entrepreneurship with a special expertise in Japan, China, and the Asia-Pacific region. He has a wide range of business experiences, including Ethical Research Consultant with Green Cay Asset Management and Senior Research Consultant specializing in Japanese and Asian equities in the Governance and Socially Responsibility Investment Group of ISIS Asset Management (now F&C Asset Management), a London-based investment company. He resides in West Pawlet.
Avram Patt (2016), Down Patt Consulting
Avram recently retired after over 16 years as the General Manager at Washington Electric Co-op, a consumer-owned rural electric utility that has been an early leader in promoting energy efficiency and developing local and renewable power supply sources. He previously served as Director of the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity, administering anti-poverty programs including the Low Income Weatherization Program. Through his new business, Down Patt Consulting, he is available to assist and advise in the areas of energy policy and program development, non-profit strategies, and the cooperative business model. Avram is a member of the Goddard College Board of Trustees and has served on a number of local government, co-op, non-profit and association boards at the local, state and national level. He enjoys playing in a Klezmer band in his free time.
Markey Read (2016), President, Career Networks
Markey has worked for the past twenty years providing leadership development, team building, and professional employee development services to employers and individuals throughout Vermont with the company she founded, Career Networks. She has been a member of VBSR for twelve years, and has attended and spoken at VBSR Conferences. Markey is a current member of the VBSR Program Committee and throughout her involvement at VBSR has participated on various other committees. She currently serves on the board for the VT Association for Psychological Type and the VT Consultants network. Markey is also the chapter coordinator for WBON in Williston, and is a member of the American Society of Training and Development.