Dakin Farm & Cabot Cheese Partner with VSBA and Burlington International Airport

Giant, 7-foot syrup jugs and cheese blocks pop up in Vermont airport




Sam Cutting IV, president and owner of Dakin Farm, Gene Richards, director of aviation at Burlington International Airport, Emily Lopuski, marketing manager at Dakin Farm, pose Thursday, July 26, 2018, with giant replicas of a maple syrup jug and a block of cheese. (Photo: Courtesy)

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's busiest airport is displaying 7-foot-tall (2.1-meter-tall) maple syrup jugs to remind travelers they can buy the state staple online instead of losing it at security when their liquids get confiscated.

The Burlington Free Press reports Burlington International Airport celebrated the installation of the syrup jugs Thursday. The jugs will be accompanied by 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) blocks of cheddar cheese.

LOCAL REPORTSo cheesy: Burlington airport has a 7-foot block of cheese and matching maple syrup

Dakin Farms and Cabot Creamery sponsored the replicas. The companies are promoting a website on which people can have Vermont food shipped to their homes in the hopes fewer travelers will have their maple syrup taken by airport security for being larger than the maximum allotted 3.4 ounces (96.4 grams).

The replicas are just for show. An airport spokeswoman estimates if the 150-gallon (568-liter) jugs were filled the maple syrup inside would be worth $10,500.

Change Corridor Comes to BTV


Vermont Business Magazine Burlington International Airport Director Gene Richards said "a couple million people a year" will walk through the sunny, second floor corridor where rocking chairs offer comfort and a view of the airfield and Green Mountains. They will also be challenged to think about the opioid crisis that plagues Vermont and America. In honor of National Recovery Month, Aspenti Health(link is external) unveiled on Monday the Change Corridor at BTV. The Change Corridor, located on the second floor of the North Terminal, is a multi-year-long public campaign designed to build awareness about substance use disorders, educate individuals about addiction and recovery, and shine a new light on how Vermonters are coming together to address the opioid epidemic.

The corridor features displays, a video loop on a flat panel screen and messages, courtesy of Yipes, stenciled directly onto the windows. Richards said BTV has committed to keeping the display up for at least a year, but will probably be longer, because, "I don't believe we'll fix this in a year."

On hand for the official unveiling was Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo and Chris Powell, CEO of Aspenti Health.

Andrew Gonyea and Patrick Leahy. VBM photos.

“Addiction is not a choice,” Powell said. “It is a chronic brain disease known as Substance Use Disorder. It does not discriminate. It can touch anyone regardless of age, education, or income. It is an illness that is affecting Vermonters, and it is time for change. We believe the Change Corridor will be the catalyst for challenging people’s mental models of how they view addiction so that they become a part of the solution, not the problem. When it comes to addiction, the only choice we make is how we choose to address it.”

The highly-trafficked location of the Change Corridor allows Aspenti the opportunity to reach a large audience, one that includes both Vermonters and those from out of state, with key messages surrounding addiction and recovery. On one side, individuals will be exposed to information designed to reduce the stigma surrounding Substance Use Disorder, encourage them to seek new information and develop compassion for those in recovery and in treatment.

The other side of the corridor will feature quotes from local business owners, government officials, individuals in recovery, and organizations involved in recovery to show how the community is coming together to address the opioid epidemic. Additional elements of the campaign include video interviews featuring stories from members of the recovery community and an art installation.

“What we have here is a very public recognition of a problem that challenges not only our state but our entire nation: opioid addiction,” Leahy said. “But we are all here today with a message of hope, not despair because we are facing this challenge together.”

"The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities in Vermont and across the country," Welch said. "The Change Corridor is an important opportunity to remember those we have lost to opioid addiction, support individuals in recovery, and to educate our families and communities about how we can continue fighting this disease."

Andrew Gonyea also spoke at the event. Gonyea is a native of Bellows Falls and a co-founder of Vermont Foundation of Recovery, and VFOR’s Director of Operations. He is also a person in recovery since May 24, 2003. He was an inmate with the Vermont Department of Corrections from 2005-2008. He acknowledged his criminal past and daily struggles.

"I'm not a bad person," Gonyea said. "I have this mental illness... It takes all of us to come together."

It is important for public and private organizations to work together, the speakers said, to find a solution and support those going through recovery. Fifteen organizations have shared ideas in the planning of this exhibit and will continue to work in collaboration as the Change Corridor evolves over the next year, they are: Yipes Auto & Graphics, Spectrum Youth & Family Services, Lund, Burlington Police Department, Leonardo’s Pizza, Turning Point Center of Chittenden County, Community Justice Center, Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (VAMHAR), Vermont Association of Business Industry and Rehabilitation (VABIR), Vermont Foundation of Recovery, Champlain Valley Union High School, Drug Abuse Resistance Team (DART), UVM Catamount Recovery Program, and the Governor’s Opioid Coordination Council.

“Burlington International Airport feels privileged to take part in the discussion around the opiate crisis within the State of Vermont and beyond,” Richards said. “This battle cannot be won unless we all participate in a caring and passionate way. Our first step is providing the space for this important conversation to take place.”

The Change Corridor exhibit is free and open to the public daily.


From left, Mayor Weinberger, Congressman Welch, VFOR’s Andrew Gonyea, Aspenti CEO Chris Powell, Senator Leahy, Chief del Pozo and BTV Director Gene Richards. VBM photos.

About Aspenti Health: Aspenti Health is an innovative, comprehensive clinical drug testing lab that is seeking to redefine the role of the traditional healthcare testing partner. Led by healthcare professionals and employing people of recovery, Aspenti is focused on helping patients meet their recovery goals while creating a lasting impact through community involvement. Through enhanced treatment access and patient advocacy, Aspenti is dedicated to improving patient outcomes. Aspenti works hand-in- hand with care providers in order to better serve their mutual patients through patient-focused services such as mobile testing, data-driven digital health integration, thought leadership, and strategic partnerships with leading healthcare and research institutions.

Source: Burlington, VT - October 2, 2017— Aspenti www.aspenti.com

Visit from Consul General of Canada

Terrific evening spent with  David Alward, Consul General of Canada,  Mayor Miro Weinberger, Joan Goldstein, Commisoner of Economic Dev. State of VT, Gene Richards, Director of Aviation,  Marc Jacques, Academic & Economic Affairs, Adeline Simenon, Esq., Paul Frank + Collins, Nic Longo, Dir. Of Planning- BTV, Erin Knapp, Dir. Of Mktg.- BTV, Diana Colangelo , Econ. Dev. Specialist/ CEDO, and Marie Friedman, CFOB- BTV. 


Check Out Our Recent Article in Business Vermont

Company seeks to rev up stalled businesses


SOUTH BURLINGTON — All businesses, organizations and executives face challenges at some point, and Erin Desautels’ recently launched business invites clients to come talk about theirs. Vermont Small Business Accelerators, LLC offers consulting services and a cadre of strategic partners that help organizations and leaders face and address crucial challenges.

“My business card says, ‘share your challenges,’ and that’s really what I want people to do. Tell me what’s not working.”

Following an initial consultation, Desautels helps clients focus on key issues, then crafts a strategy and, when needed, assembles a team to address them. The business’ name reflects her desire to help jump-start and revive sluggish businesses.

“When you come in, it indicates you are stalled — you need to get from here to there,” Desautels said. “I will get you from here to there. It could be myself, or working with partners. And if I know I can’t help, I’ll tell you.”

Vermont Small Business Accelerators, or VSBA, is a project Desautels has had in mind for several years. She left her position in membership, sales and event management at Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce to forge her own path with VSBA.

“At the chamber, I was really assisting businesses in facing challenges and solving their problems,” Desautels said. “I really enjoy that work, and I’ve had this LLC since 2013 and hadn’t used it. I decided the time was right.”

Desautels works with businesses from sole proprietors to large companies in all industries, as well as nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and executives.

“One of my clients is an inventor. Another is a philanthropist,” she said.

In each case, her overall approach is similar, but the resulting action plan is highly personalized.

Following an initial consultation, Desautels helps clients focus on key issues, then crafts a strategy and, when needed, assembles a team to address them. The business’ name reflects her desire to help jump-start and revive sluggish businesses.

“Together we find and identify the challenge, then narrow down and focus on what is the core of [the] problem,” Desautels said. “That might mean a 360-degree look at who the client is as a person — focus on what they are actually trying to accomplish.” She the guides her client on a consistent path forward, offering “maintenance along the way.”

Clients find support in an array of key areas, ranging from business development, new-market exploration, market research, business intelligence, marketing and organizational exposure, and partnership development. Desautels also helps facilitate business and government visits and public/private sector connections, as well as event and conference logistics. She emphasized she leverages an extensive network of relationships and connections she has built throughout the business community to assist her clients.

“We leverage relationships to grow your business.” Desautels said. “I am a consultant that builds partnership teams to address your specific challenges. If it’s marketing or exposure issues, I’m great at finding opportunities. I am also fabulous at talent search and helping to fill key positions. I’ve done a lot with manufacturing and workforce training.” For some solutions, it’s a matter of Desautels connecting her client to the appropriate partner.

VSBA’s website reflects a growing list of partners, local to international. Among these are Burlington International Airport, Cole Consulting, Deringer, The University of Vermont, Vermont Tech, Have Your Cake Catering, as well as the Consulate General of Canada and the Quebec Government Office. Desautels said the list will continue to grow, and the website includes a link for potential partners to reach out to VSBA.

A vital part of the solution is the client. According to Desautels, getting un-stalled often requires strong self-examination.

“They might have to refocus,” Desautels said. “Ask, ‘Wait, why are we even doing this?’ If it’s changed, fine, let’s define that. Refocusing the mission is okay, as long as everyone gets it and is on board.”

She emphasized getting everyone on board is crucial for any company or organization with staff.

“There’s an ‘old school’ mentality of top-down management that doesn’t really work, because it means employees are less invested,” she said. “The more they feel ownership, and love where they work and what they do, the more successful the business is. When you look around Vermont and see companies that are doing well, employees are happy, feel valued and feel their ideas matter. A team mentality leads to better products and higher customer satisfaction. And that goes for businesses and nonprofits.”

For Desautels, “Those are the kind of customers I most want to work with. People that want to change the culture of their organization to reflect who they are as a person.”

Desautels not only calls Burlington International Airport home to her offices and a partner to her business, but also lists it as a client. And it is one of those model customers she talks about.

“I love what’s happening here — I find the airport is doing all it can to serve the people of Vermont and visitors. There is a mentality here that this is the people’s airport. The citizens of Burlington pay for this airport, and the mentality of the leadership here is that it is the people’s airport. I really do align with that — the people that work here are happy, They think outside the box and are always look for ways you make the airport even better. They are open to new ideas and not afraid of change.”

A native Vermonter, Desautels cited the state’s manufacturing industry and the role it could play in the Vermont economy.

“I have a special place in my heart for manufacturing, and I think we could do so much more here,” she said. “We have a low unemployment rate and it remains difficult for manufacturers to find the skilled workforce they need. They often look outside the state. I’d like to see how we could implement plans here in Vermont to employ Vermonters. I want to be an accelerator for that.”

Vermont Small Business Accelerators is located at Burlington International Airport, 1200 Airport Drive, Suite 283, in South Burlington. Contact the business at 802-922-0495 or acceleratevt@gmail.com, or visit www.acceleratevt.com.