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February 03, 2009

Vermont 3.0 Legislative Forum -- Round-up and Video

For a little over a year now, Seven Days has been working with a group of educational, governmental and private sector partners on a series of job expos called Vermont 3.0 Creative/Tech Career Jams. The last one we did was in October.

Last Wednesday, Vermont 3.0 hosted a discussion between five Vermont CEOs and a group of legislators at the statehouse in Montpelier. I counted about 40 people in attendance, many of them elected officials. The small conference room was packed, and almost everyone stuck around for the two-hour-long discussion. Seven Days publisher Paula Routly moderated.

Turns out it was very timely, considering the recent layoffs at IBM. The audience seemed to find it instructive, hearing from five CEOs of successful, growing local companies who want to continue doing business in Vermont. Senator Ginny Lyons called the discussion "a ray of sunshine" amidst the all the economic doom and gloom.

It wasn't very sunny outside, though. We received a number of calls during the day from people asking us if we were going to reschedule the forum because of the snowstorm. Despite the winter storm warning, we decided to press ahead.

We planned the forum because the legislators wanted to learn more about the companies who exhibited at the last Vermont 3.0 Creative/Tech Career Jam. Our primary goal was to facilitate a conversation between them and CEOs. Well, the legislators were already in Montpelier, and many of them were staying overnight. They were a captive audience! And rescheduling the panel would have been extremely difficult.

So we went ahead and did it. Thanks to the five CEOs who participated — John Canning of Physician's Computer Company, Rich Tarrant Jr. of MyWebGrocer, Steve Arms of MicroStrain, Paul Millman of Chroma Technology Corp. and Lisa Baril-Groeneveld of Logic Supply.

If you weren't able to attend, and would like to know how it went, check out this video. Jess Wilson and Brent Harrewyn of CCTV Productions drove all the way to Montpelier in a snowstorm to film it for us. You guys rock.

Here's a link to the video on CCTV's website.

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