Making the Connections

Making the Connections

I spend a fair number of hours this time of year going around in circles. I don’t necessarily mean in this space, though that may be the case, but rather on the riding mower trying to show the lawn who’s boss. The routine, while not without its challenges, has become, well, routine, and as such allows the mind the luxury of wandering and, perhaps, of making connections.

Joan Goldstein, Vermont’s new commissioner of economic development and the subject of this month’s cover story by staff writer Aimee Caruso, has no such luxury.

Faced with a state economy dominated by small businesses, which can limit opportunities for worker advancement, plus a complex permitting regime, expensive rents, a workforce in need of development and a time horizon perhaps less than two years, Goldstein’s challenge is anything but routine. Her solution — or at least her approach — is to try to make connections. Connections between businesses and regulators. Connections between businesses and lawmakers. Connections between businesses and sources of funding.

“The job is connecting,” Goldstein told Caruso, “plain and simple.”

She may be on to something there. Larry Trottier, owner of L.F. Trottier in South Royalton and White River Junction, worked with Goldstein when she was at the Green Mountain Economic Development Corp. As he told Caruso, Goldstein is reliable, a good problem solver and someone who “made a lot of things happen.”

Across the river, Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts is also making things happen by making connections.

In this month’s Creative Economy column, contributor Rebecca Bailey details some of the venerable center’s outreach efforts, which include bringing artists, musicians and workshops to schools, hospitals, museums and other facilities throughout the Upper Valley. “As one of the Upper Valley’s major cultural institutions,” Bailey writes, “it’s our responsibility to see that everyone — not just the 1 percent — has access to expressive opportunities.”

New contributor David Watts, in this month’s HR Pro column, describes yet another example of making connections — connections that have contributed directly to the success of his employer, Kendal at Hanover. Always in need of entry-level staff, Kendal reached out to Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Springfield, Vt., whose clients with developmental disabilities are always in need of meaningful work opportunities. The HCRS clients, Watts writes, “have been embraced with open arms by employees and residents alike.” The HCRS clients, for their part, are grateful for the work and for the relationships that have developed. “The partnership has been symbiotic.”

Connections. Plain and simple.

Ernie Kohlsaat


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