Strengthening Vermont’s Grid: Electrification, Equity & Resilience

Event Details:
When: September 26, 2023 5:00 pm – September 26, 2023 8:00 pm
Location: Green Mountain Power, 2154 Post Rd, Rutland, VT 05701

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $25
VBSR Members – Free

Registration is open

Event hosted by: Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility & Green Mountain Power

Join Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) and Green Mountain Power for networking, food, drinks, and learning from Vermont businesses working at every level to strengthen Vermont’s electrical grid to build equitable access and resilient communities.

Recent extreme weather events from climate change have highlighted the need for reliable access to power for the economy, public health, individual safety, and environment. Panelists will share their unique perspectives on fleet electrification, battery storage, renewable energy, microgrids, action through policy, and the benefits these all have on all Vermonters.

Join us for networking at 5:00 PM, followed by our panel discussion from 5:30 – 6:30 PM and a reception from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at Green Mountain Power’s beautiful space in Rutland! We will reflect on what we’ve learned, meet the panelists, and enjoy a cash-only bar and free finger foods.

This event is a part of the VBSR People.Planet.Prosperity. Speaker Series, where we come together to learn from experts and innovators in the Vermont business community. This is a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues, make new connections, gain new ideas and inspiration, and have some fun. This event is open to anyone interested in VBSR’s mission: to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact.

Meet Our Moderator

Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power

Kristin is a Vice President at Green Mountain Power leading strategic and external affairs. That means tracking important details so that Green Mountain Power is delivering cost-effective and clean energy with great service. Kristin has a knack for connecting with customers. She’s a Vermonter who spent 14 years talking with and reporting Vermonters’ stories as a journalist at WCAX-TV before joining Green Mountain Power.

Meet Our Panelists

Ena Backus, Office of Senator Peter Welch

As an Outreach Representative in Senator Peter Welch’s Vermont Office, Ena Backus’ issue portfolio focuses on health care and human services. Prior to joining Senator Welch, Ena was Health Care Reform Director at the Vermont Agency of Human Services and was responsible for coordinating health care reform initiatives across State agencies and departments. Ena has also worked as a staff person at the Green Mountain Care Board where she was involved with regulatory functions and payment and delivery system reform. Ena received her undergraduate degree from New College of Florida and her Master of Public Policy degree from the Heller School at Brandeis University. Ena lives with her family in Montpelier and was born and raised in Bristol, Vermont.

Jay Bellows, KORE Power

Jay Bellows joins KORE Power as our President. Mr. Bellows is an executive with over 20 years of experience with a full spectrum of technology knowledge and leadership expertise in areas of power, systems integration, telecom, data centers, software, networking, and project management. Mr. Bellows has a strong history of guiding developing companies and helping them grow to realize their potential. Prior to joining Northern Reliability as their CEO, Mr. Bellows was the VP of Sales and Director of Northern Facilities of Sovernet Communications. Mr. Bellows grew monthly revenues by ten times their average amount, and oversaw the business development, projects, offerings, and revenue growth over the company’s entire footprint. Mr. Bellows received a Bachelors Degree in History from Northern Vermont University

Jenna Custodio, Casella Waste Systems

Jenna Custodio is a Sustainability Analyst for Casella Waste Systems. She is responsible for managing Scope 1 & 2 emissions data and facilitating solutions to reduce emissions across the company’s vast operating footprint to ensure Casella meets their 2030 emission reduction goal. In addition, she manages projects around the company’s other 2030 sustainability goals which includes fleet fuel efficiency, health and safety, community engagement, and materials management. She also assists with disclosures across multiple ESG frameworks and ratings for investor relations.

Before her role with Casella, Jenna was an ESG consultant working with businesses on their corporate sustainability strategy. She received her MBA in Sustainable Innovation from the University of Vermont, which she pursued after working for nearly a decade at an automotive original equipment manufacturer. It was her experiences in automotive manufacturing that made her an advocate for the shift towards alternative fuel vehicles and more sustainable business practices.

She lives on Cape Cod, MA where the visual impact of climate change is a constant reminder of the obligation society has to ensure economic, environmental and social resiliency for future generations.

Bram Kleppner, Vermont Climate Council

Bram Kleppner has served as CEO of Danforth Pewter for 13 years, during which the company returned to profitability, instituted company-wide profit-sharing and partially paid maternity leave, and added an employee to the Board. Bram converted the company’s electricity to 100% solar and put the company on its current frustratingly slow path to zero fossil fuel use. Burlington Electric believes Bram’s family’s home was the first historic structure in Burlington to achieve zero emissions. Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski appointed him to the Vermont Climate Council to represent Vermont manufacturers. He previously served on the Vermont Tax Structure Commission, the Governor’s Advisory on Health Care Financing, and the Medicaid & Exchange Board, which he co-chaired for five years. In 2019, VBSR awarded him the Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement. Prior to Danforth, he led international marketing for Ben & Jerry’s.

Paul Lesure, Green Mountain Solar 

Paul has worked in the renewable energy space for 10+ years. Paul has a passion for sustainability and working with people, which led him to help start Green Mountain Solar in 2017. During his time as President, Green Mountain Solar has become one of the predominant solar installers in Vermont, handling energy storage, smart panels, heat pumps, and other devices to help customers electrify and create more resilient homes. Paul also serves as chair of the board for Renewable Energy Vermont to drive local policy initiatives supporting a more sustainable future.

Thank you to our host! 

Powering Vermont homes and businesses with energy that’s 90% carbon free and 60% renewable, Green Mountain Power is focused on providing clean, reliable, cost-effective power, while also offering the latest in innovations like battery storage to help customers cut carbon and costs. Green Mountain Power is committed to having a 100% renewable energy supply by 2030, and using energy as a force for good. In 2014, Green Mountain Power was the first utility in the world to become a B Corp and continues its commitment to the community, employees, and the planet by helping to grow local renewable generation, offering convenient programs that help cut costs for all customers, and partnering with communities to make the grid more resilient in the face of more severe storms due to climate change.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Casella Waste Systems is a waste management company based in Rutland, Vermont, United States. Founded in 1975 with a single truck, Casella is a regional, vertically integrated solid waste services company. Casella provides resource management expertise and services to residential, commercial, municipal and industrial customers in the areas of solid waste resource collection, recycling, organics, energy recovery and disposal.

Davis & Hodgdon CPAs is a full-service public accounting firm with the unique ability to offer tax planning, financial and investment planning, and client accounting services under the umbrella of and as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Davis & Hodgdon Advisory Group, a business and financial services firm with locations in Williston and Rutland Vermont. The firm serves its clients by providing progressive, proactive services through expert staff, high-end technology, and unparalleled efficiency.

The nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last eight consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at

Good Point Recycling is a nationally-recognized electronics recycling company and a respected expert in “Fair Trade Recycling.” They are one of the region’s leading “e-waste” recycling operations, based in Middlebury, Vermont.

The Richards Group has provided Insurance, Employee Benefits, and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont & New Hampshire since 1867. The firm has 160 employees in 12 locations and has earned recognition both for contributions to our local communities and as one of the best places to work in the region. The Richards Group is committed to helping employers with their workplace safety, employee retention, and wellness. We recognize that while we help employers manage the cost and complexity of their insurance and employee benefits, we use our expertise, technology, and resources for the betterment of their workforce. For more information about the firm and its capabilities, please visit


Health & Safety

Please stay home if you are not feeling well or have been in close contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19 as outlined by the Vermont Department of Health.

This event is family-friendly and caretakers of any kind are welcome to attend with your dependents.

All members of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility are welcome to attend for free.

Free parking is available on site.

Please make note of any accommodation requests when you register.

Interested in carpooling? If you are able to offer a ride, or if you are seeking a ride, add your name to the Carpool Coordination spreadsheet to get connected with other attendees!


Are you interested in sponsoring this event? If so, please contact Madison Wood at for details.

Questions? Please reach out to VBSR Education & Events Manager, Molly Barfuss,