A Productive Year for RYP

The Governance Committee has worked to restructure the bylaws and policies of the organization. Our goal is to give a voice to our membership through voting rights and more defined ways of governing. We recognize the important role RYP plays in the Rutland region, and we want to make sure the organization stays strong and continues to grow stronger.

It is our hope that the changes the Governance Committee is working towards will create deeply defined ways for members to get involved in the organization's operations, whether as a dues-paying member or volunteer.  If you’re interested in volunteering with RYP, we encourage you to get involved with one of our committees in 2017. Reach out to us at info@rutlandyoungprofessionals.org to see how you might best get involved.

The committee also recommended adding two additional seats to the board of directors, for a total of eleven seats, a recommendation that was adopted last June. 


The Events Committee stepped up their game in 2016, continuing to plan and deliver quality monthly Mixes. At these events both our members and the public had opportunities to network and have fun.  Held in a variety of venues (such as Vermont Marble MuseumMountain Meadows LodgeHop'n MooseThe Palms at Prospect Bay), with a variety of themes (including entrepreneurship, fitness, local brewing, and even swing dancing lessons), the committee succeeded in keeping things fresh and interesting each month.

Our annual Giving Back Mix in December (held this year at Mount St. Joseph Academy), gave RYP members and attendees a chance to give back to our community.  We also saw many new faces this year and our September Mix broke the record with more than 130 attendees turning out at Southside Steakhouse for a fashion show showcasing the latest clothing from Fruition Fineries and Raw Honey Apparel!

Thank you to our Mix sponsors and attendees who made 2016 such a successful year for RYP.  For details on upcoming mixes be sure to check out our website or follow us on Facebook.  We hope to see you at a Mix in 2017!

The Employer Relations Committee tackled a variety of initiatives in 2016. Starting in January, the committee kicked off a series of professional development opportunities that ran monthly through June. These workshops were well attended and covered topics such as public speaking, presenting yourself on LinkedIn, and leadership fundamentals.

The committee has worked hard (attending multiple career fairs) and played hard (organizing meetups, like a bowling night or scavenger hunt) to make sure RYP is connected to our community in a variety of ways.  

The Let's Dish program took off in 2016 -- this is a program where RYP volunteers meet with young professionals who are considering relocating to the area.  As Let's Dish volunteers, we act as ambassadors to the area, put a friendly face on the region and help to make the decision for other young professionals to locate here a little easier. We try to highlight our regional assets and answer questions one might have when making the decision to move.  Area employers have found the Let's Dish program incredibly valuable and have reached out to us to use the program to welcome several potential new hires from outside the region.

And one of the biggest initiatives of 2016:  the committee launched a successful sponsorship drive resulting in a dozen sponsors who, through their funding, have allowed RYP to do so much more in 2017 – a BIG THANKS to our sponsors this year!  

RYP is excited to continue its work on behalf of our members and the Rutland region in 2017!

RYP Ends 2016 With More Than 150 Members!

Thank you for your support!

RYP membership is currently open to anyone wishing to support RYP and its mission - we're always seeking new members! Membership is just a reasonable $25 each year and employees of qualified RYP sponsor businesses are eligible for free membership. 

Head over to our Membership page for more details.

If you are wondering whether or not your membership has expired, no worries, you are still current. The RYP Board approved a change and all current memberships will not expire until June 30, 2017.  The Board along with the Governance Committee is working on extensive changes to the RYP by-laws, including a change that would give members rights to elect the Board of Directors.  Look for more details about this in months to come. 

In the meantime, please encourage friends and coworkers to join us!

Congratulations to Rutland's Rising Stars

On November 5th Vermont Business Magazine awarded 40 young professionals from throughout Vermont as their 2015 Rising Stars. Nine of the 40 individuals are from Rutland County and we're proud to say that several of these stars currently or previously served as board members for Rutland Young Professionals. Congratulations everyone!

Summit was a great success

The following letter was included in the September 25, 2015 edition of the Rutland Herald. 

On Saturday, Sept. 12, Rutland hosted the first ever Young Professionals Summit of Vermont. We were thrilled to bring over 125 young professionals from all around the state, as well as 25 distinguished guests (including Peter Welch, Phil Scott and Shap Smith), to downtown Rutland for the day.

In addition to generating important ideas about how to attract and retain more young people to/in our Vermont cities and towns, the summit also succeeded in exposing a statewide audience to the best of what our region’s hub, and community as a whole, has to offer. 

The event’s tremendous success was attributable to the efforts of many — too many to name, but I would be remiss if I did not give special recognition to Lyle Jepson and Castleton University; Catherine Collins and VCET; and several of my cohorts in the Rutland Young Professionals, particularly Katye Munger, Lyz Tomsuden, Will Gormly and Sara Gilbert.

Additionally, the day could not have happened without the support of MKF Properties, GE, OMYA, Casella, RAFFL, Killington Resort, Paramount Theatre and our premier sponsor, Heritage Family Credit Union.

Clearly, the summit was yet another wonderful example of the Rutland region’s willingness to take initiative and then come together to provide overwhelming support. As an alderman and a young professional planning to start a family here, the event further reinforced the pride I have in our community and my optimism for our region’s future.


Rutland Young Professionals, Castleton Downtown and Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies announce details of statewide summit

Representatives from Rutland Young Professionals (RYP), Castleton Downtown and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) announced today the details of an upcoming statewide summit set for September. The 2015 Young Professionals Summit of Vermont will gather young professionals from around the state to discuss issues facing them and explore ways they can contribute to the future of Vermont.

Rutland Young Professionals Opens Membership

This year, we are asking for your support in a new way: we want you to become a member of Rutland Young Professionals. Why? Because you value our events; because you want to see RYP succeed; because you believe in our mission; because you believe in Rutland. You are already a part of Rutland's renaissance and of RYP – with this membership, we invite you to show your support.

If you're not ready for a membership yet, no problem. We still want you to consider yourself an absolutely essential ingredient in Rutland's revitalization. Our monthly mix will always be free, and we hope you join us at the mix, at the many volunteer opportunities we offer you, and at special events. 

RYP Honored with a Resolution

 RYP board members Will Gormly, Colie Densmore, Gwen Flewelling and Matt Bloomer receive the resolution.

RYP board members Will Gormly, Colie Densmore, Gwen Flewelling and Matt Bloomer receive the resolution.

Congratulations to all of you! A resolution was read in the State House last week, honoring all of the RYP community for the work being done to connect young people and advance our mission.

Thanks to Rep. Herb Russell, Rep. Butch Shaw and the rest of the Rutland County delegation for hosting 4 of our Board members and arranging visits with Agency of Commerce & Community Development Secretary Patricia Moulton, Speaker Smith, Gov. Shumlin, Lt. Gov. Scott and the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. All congratulated the group on their efforts and were very interested in getting perspectives from young professionals.

Young Professionals Pitch Ideas for Vermont's Economy

 Rutland Young Professionals Kwame Dankwa, Sara Gilbert, Rutland Senator Brian Collamore and Gwen Flewelling at the Statehouse on April 21, 2015.

Rutland Young Professionals Kwame Dankwa, Sara Gilbert, Rutland Senator Brian Collamore and Gwen Flewelling at the Statehouse on April 21, 2015.

From the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative April 24th, 2015 Update:

In cooperation with the Lieutenant Governor, the Chamber hosted a Young Professionals Economy Pitch Session at the State House this week. Legislators heard from thirteen young professionals from around the state about their ideas for how to grow the economy and increase opportunities for young professionals. From property tax stabilization in designated areas and millenials blogging about Vermont to state investment in LaunchVT and improved transportation infrastructure, these young workers provided a range of new and interesting ideas, many of which haven't been presented at any of the six previous economy pitch sessions around the state. We appreciate the legislators who made time to attend and the young professionals, many of whom drove significant distances to share their ideas. Thank you to:

-    Alex Beck of Southern Vermont Young Professionals (BDCC), who spoke about the digital divide and the opportunities for economic development that exist in areas of the state, particularly rural, that could benefit from improved broadband and technology infrastructure;

-    Owen Brady of Burlington Young Professionals, who encouraged legislators to view our manmade treasures, such as factories and office parks, not as blights on the landscape but as signs of vitality and economic progress and who advocated for straightforward, predictable permitting processes and a simplified process for green development;

-    Kwame Dankwa, who suggested improvements to the transportation infrastructure, especially between Rutland and Burlington, and recommended the implementation of small tolls at state borders to raise revenue and create jobs;

-    Gwen Flewelling, who shared her experience as a CPA working with young professionals with crippling student loan debt and advocated for increased student loan forgiveness and consolidation programs or tax incentives for businesses that help employees with student loans;

-    Sara Gilbert of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, who advocated for down payment assistance for young homebuyers, technical assistance and lending programs for energy efficiency upgrades, and better publicity of one-on-one education and coaching opportunities for first-time homebuyers;

-    Nick Grimley, a cofounder of LaunchVT, who focused on increased state investment in the business pitch competition as a way to grow the start-up ecosystem;

-    Michael Harrington of the Town of Bennington, who encouraged legislators to position Vermont as a small business Mecca by offering incentives for small businesses and reduced cost office space for start-ups;

-    Erynn Hazlett of Northshire Young Professionals, who suggested investment in rail development to lure the increasing number of millenials who do not drive and recommended the creation of a Young Professional Research Committee to determine the needs of young professionals across the state;

-    Erik Hoekstra of Redstone, who advocated for property tax stabilization on housing development in designated downtowns and growth centers to address the housing shortage and encourage development in areas desirable to young professionals;

-    Eric LaMontagne of Lake Champlain International, who encouraged legislators to view phosphorous as a resource to be capitalized on rather than simply a pollutant, providing an overview of three-tiered digesters that turn phosphorous into sellable commodities;

-    Edmar Mendizabal, who challenged the Legislature to be assertive about marketing and branding Vermont as a place to live, especially to those engaged in the highly lucrative gaming industry, which has a significant presence in Montreal;

-    Alex Meyer of Renaissance Information Systems, who stressed the need for branding that highlights the advanced technology and business sectors as well as the landscape and advocated greater publicity to Vermonters about free or inexpensive educational opportunities, such as those offered at Vermont Technical College;

-    Sas Stewart of Stonecutter Spirits, who presented an idea for marketing Vermont that involves the state launching an RFP for ten millenials to blog about their lives in the state.

We also took a few minutes to share some of the results of our Young Professionals Housing Survey and advocate for passage of the first-time homebuyer downpayment assistance program that we have advanced in concert with the Vermont Housing Finance Agency.


A Vermont Full of Promise

Governor Peter Shumlin

Last I week I visited with young professionals along the western side of Vermont in Rutland, St. Albans, and Middlebury. At every stop, I was inspired to see so many committed to living, working and building strong communities in Vermont. Some hailed from outside Vermont, attracted to our state by its natural beauty, outdoor activities and culture. Others were raised here, went away for college, but moved back because they realized Vermont is the place where they want to raise their own kids. Regardless of how they got here, we should thank them for the success they have brought to our state and do more to attract others like them to settle here.

In Rutland I sat down with the Rutland Young Professionals (RYP), all of whom are living and working in Rutland and striving to make their city a better place for everyone. We met at a The Bakery in downtown Rutland, a relatively new meeting place that is next to the recently-opened Small Dog Electronics and around the corner from Castleton State College's Rutland outpost and the Green Mountain Power Innovation Center. Some of the RYP members are working in our booming renewable energy industry; others are serving on the Board of Alderman and building the next generation of city leadership. The downtown corridor is more vibrant now than it has been in decades, and the young entrepreneurs in the RYP are leading the charge to make the city's future bright.

In St. Albans I met with a group of business owners and town officials to discuss ways to continue the amazing revitalization we have seen in that downtown over the last four years. One such business is 14th Star Brewery, owned and operated by Steve Gagner. Steve served in Afghanistan, where he wrote his initial business plan for the craft brewery, and upon returning he set up shop in St. Albans. Steve tapped into the growing craft beer movement here in Vermont, spawning jobs, worldwide awards, and tourism activity all around our state. His success is even more inspiring when you talk to him and understand how he runs his business. For him and 14th Star, community is everything. He understands that for his family and business to thrive, St. Albans needs to thrive as well. The significant investment the state, the city, and its businesses have made to revive St. Albans' downtown will keep the community strong and moving forward.

In Middlebury I met with two young Vermont entrepreneurs who are building on the successes of our local food movement with a new line of Vermont aged spirits. Called Stonecutter Spirits, the operation is housed on Middlebury's Exchange Street, a growing corridor of economic activity that includes Cabot, Otter Creek, Woodchuck Cider, Vermont Coffee Company, Champlain Valley Creamery, and others. Sas and Sivan Cotel, the founders of Stonecutter Spirits, moved to Vermont because they value the community and natural beauty you can only find here, and they knew that this state fosters entrepreneurs like them.

These stories of the young are not isolated; they are playing out all over the state. Our charge now is to do more to support young people like them so they can continue to grow and thrive. We're working hard this session to do that.

To help young businesses get off the ground, we're working to make capital more available by broadening participation and making it easier for business to access the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive (VEGI) program. Last year, we doubled the Vermont Small Business Offering limits to help start up entrepreneurs. And with VEGI, just last year the program awarded $4.7 million that will help create 708 new full-time jobs, generate $15.3 million in new payroll, and $136 million in investment in Vermont. This year we are proposing changes to broaden the program. Making it so more Vermont entrepreneurs can access this program will grow jobs and economic opportunity for all.

We're also working to make sure more Vermont kids have the ability to access a higher education, and the incentives to stay in Vermont when they graduate. Thanks to work we did last year, Vermont kids who play their cards right can now earn up to two years of free college if they stay and work in the state after they graduate. This year, we're working with Vermont Technical College and private employers to take that program to the next level with a new offering that will pair Vermont students with Vermont employers and allow them to earn a free associate's degree in engineering. It's a win for students and businesses. We're also working to create child savings accounts for every kid born in Vermont to be used for higher education. The accounts will be funded with private donations and the research shows that kids with a savings account are three times more likely to enter college and four times more likely to graduate.

All over Vermont we are seeing young people establishing themselves and building the future of our state. I look forward to continuing to work to support them and help them move Vermont forward.

Peter Shumlin of East Montpelier is the governor of Vermont.

Rutland Mayoral Debate 2015

We'd like to thank everyone who came last night, or watched online, to hear the candidates discuss Rutland's future.

A special thank you to Stafford Technical Center for filming and streaming the event, College of St. Joseph's for being a wonderful host, and Mark Foley Jr. and Foley Services for donating linens. Your support of this important community event and our organization is greatly appreciated!

Also, please make sure to thank the ad-hoc committee that stepped up and planned this event when you see them. Without their dedication, leadership, and commitment to both the community and our organization, this event would not have happened: Sara Gilbert, Betsy Ide, Jim Sabataso, and Kimberly Griffin. Thank you so much for planning this event!

Missed the debate? Watch it below!

Great Reception at Castleton Downtown Open House

From left: Lyle Jepson, Dean of Entrepreneurial Programs; Tom Valente, RYP Board, Sara Gilbert, RYP Board; Steve Peters, RYP Board; Katye Munger, RYP Board President; Matt Bloomer, RYP Board; Gwen Flewelling, RYP Board Vice President; Lyz Tomsuden, RYP Board; Chris Louras, Mayor of Rutland; Dave Wolk, President of Castleton College.

Castleton Downtown hosted their Open House on Thursday, January 22. It was a packed house with many city representatives, Castleton faculty and staff, and Vermont State College administration. We once again introduced our partnership with Castleton Downtown and the collaboration we are starting to have. We're very honored to have this exciting partnership, and can't wait to see where it helps us go!


We met Peter Welch!

From left: Chris Louras, mayor of Rutland; Lyz Tomsuden, RYP Board; Steve Peters, RYP Board; Gwen Flewelling, RYP Board; Peter Welch; Allison Gillette, VP of RYP Board; and Tom Valente, RYP Board.

At the September Mix, we were lucky enough to welcome Peter Welch as our guest speaker. Check out this article from the Times Argus.