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May 07, 2009

That's Life

Making good on its promise, the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development has axed two top staffers at Vermont Life and will move the mag’s entire operations from its downtown Montpelier digs to swank rental offices at National Life.

Vermont Life Publisher Tom Kelly “resigned” and will be replaced by Steve Cook, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Travel and Tourism. Also out is Maude Chater, a sales and marketing dynamo who helped bring the glossy pub into the black.

Cook and his boss, Tourism commish Bruce Hyde, oversee a bustling team of nine people! How ever do they manage? Why even have a commissioner and deputy with so few people?

Cook, who has no publishing background, will rely heavily on the experts on the magazine’s advisory board, said ACCD Secretary Kevin Dorn. Word is the state will also outsource some of the catalogue marketing and sales to a private company.

Nice. Call Kansas to get a Vermont product.

Kansas? How about India?

Considering how the current administration and its cronies operates, maybe they will rename and also retool the rag: i.e., Vermont GOP Life.

Hey Shay. I am a regular reader and a fan of your work. On this one though, you are either omitting or unaware of some facts that point to the inevitable demise of the magazine without serious business and creative changes. This style of this story is reminiscent of the Freyne mode of grenade-pulling journalism that erodes credibility. Too bad. I'm still a fan. No worries.


Thanks for your interest in Vermont Life. As with most every other area of state government, we are faced with painful choices as the result of budgetary constraints, but I can assure you we are trying to make the best of this challenging situation by making changes to ensure the continued viability and success of Vermont Life.

With respect to the Department of Tourism and Marketing, we are a small group to be sure, but are responsible for tasks as varied and complex as executing national and international advertising campaigns to branding and statistical analysis to earned media placement, all on a miniscule fraction of the budgets of larger states like New York, California, and Florida. Yet we remain very competitive, largely because our team has the skill, experience, and leadership to carry out these functions.

Regarding my background, I hold an Associates Degree in Business from Champlain College and a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Johnson State College. My previous work experience includes stints at two Vermont ski areas, as well as the Marketing Manager for the Vermont Information Center Division under the Department of Buildings and General Services. Later I joined the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing as their Marketing Manager where I was responsible for publication development, print requisitions, media contracts and advertising placement amongst many other job duties.

The staff at Vermont Life, particularly the publication’s Editor Mary Nowlan, are equally talented and dedicated to the quality of the enterprise. The leadership team at the Agency and the Department have full confidence in Mary and her team to adapt to the changes required in these extraordinary times and continue to produce a magazine worthy of being the state’s official publication.

Thank you and I appreciate your attention,

Steve Cook
Deputy Commissioner, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing

The layoffs should start with the top salary - S. Cook- He leaves out his most important credential - Political Party affiliation. In addition he does not address whether or not work will be outsourced to a GOP contibuting corporation in another state.

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