BOARD LEADERSHIP

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is dedicated to economic progress and the Vermont business community. Their collective expertise ensures that the work of the Vermont Chamber is rooted in the diverse perspectives of those with lived business experience.

Executive Committee

Photo of Thomas Dunn Thomas Dunn CHAIR

Mr. Dunn currently serves as President & CEO of Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO). Mr. Dunn joined VELCO in 2000 and advanced through several positions within the Company including: Director of Capital Projects, Vice President for Transmission Services, and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining VELCO, Mr. Dunn was the Chief of Engineering at the Vermont Public Service Department from 1992-2000. From 1985 to 1990 Mr. Dunn was a Field Engineer at the Massachusetts Electric Company. Mr. Dunn is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and has an MBA from Boston College.

Photo of Sharon Rossi Sharon Rossi VICE CHAIR

Sharon Rossi is the CEO and a board director of FoodScience, LLC. For nearly 50 years, FoodScience, as a global mid-market company, has been trusted to pioneer, formulate, market and distribute nutritional supplements for people and pets. FoodScience operates three facilities in Vermont and one in Nebraska. Sharon believes in the importance of thriving US manufacturing companies and in the significance of mid-market companies as a growth engine for our economy.

Sharon focus at FoodScience is on one important mission: Helping people and pets live healthier lives. And every day, she leads the team to ask, “How can we do better?” For Sharon and the team this means making the highest quality nutritional supplements and products, while also extending to the care FoodScience colleagues provide their customers, the workplace culture they nurture, and the local community where colleagues connect, live and work.

Beyond FoodScience, Sharon serves on the board of Jelmar, LLC. She also volunteers locally with LaunchVT (an early-stage acceleration program for businesses in Vermont), with Champlain College, and with the UVM Grossman School of Business Women in Leadership Advisory Committee.

Since Sept. 2019, Sharon has served on the Vermont Chamber of Commerce board. She has served most recently as the Treasurer and chair of the Finance/Audit committee, and continues as a member of the Executive Committee and the Manufacturing Council. As a member of the Chamber board, Sharon brings forth her experience as a CEO of a growing and thriving Vermont-based manufacturing business that is mission driven and customer focused.

Photo of Kathy Austin Kathy Austin TREASURER

Kathryn Austin is President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Community Bancorp. and Community National Bank in Derby, Vermont, where she has worked for more than 40 years. She is a graduate of The New England School of Banking at Williams College and ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown University. She serves as trustee of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, the Northeast Kingdom Healthcare Collaborative LLC, and as director of the Vermont Community Foundation and Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Austin is a member of the Vermont Bankers Association Government Relations Committee and the American Bankers Association Government Relations Committee and Community Bankers Council representing Vermont.

Photo of Betsy Bishop Betsy Bishop SECRETARY
Photo of Willie Docto Willie Docto EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER AT LARGE

Willie Docto is an innkeeper, association management consultant, event planner and violinist. Since 1998 he has co-owned the Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse in Duxbury, with his husband Greg Trulson. He is past president and treasurer of the Waterbury Tourism Council, where he served on the Board for several years and was instrumental in raising the profile of Waterbury as a popular destination. Willie was Executive Director of the Vermont Brewers Association and produced the legendary Vermont Brewers Festival for 10 years. Willie is the founder of the former Vermont Gay Tourism Association and the Eleva Chamber Players, Central Vermont’s only professional chamber orchestra. Willie has been a featured speaker at the Vermont Tourism Summit and the International Conference on LGBT Tourism, and has promoted Vermont throughout the U.S. and Spain. Willie serves on the Vermont Travel & Recreation Council, having been appointed by Gov. Peter Shumlin and reappointed by Gov. Phil Scott. He is also on the Board of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce where he serves as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Task Force

Photo of Kim Donahue Kim Donahue EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER AT LARGE
Photo of Peter McDougall Peter McDougall PAST CHAIR

Directors

Photo of Alberto Aguilar Alberto Aguilar Carris Reels

Alberto Aguilar has served as CEO/President of Carris Reels, Inc., since January 1, 2021. Alberto graduated as an Industrial and Systems Engineer at the Monterrey Institute of Technology, in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1987. He worked in the custom plastic injection industry prior to the start of his career with Carris Reels in 1999. His first challenge as General Manager was to find a new location and start a plant in Mexico. Alberto facilitated the organic growth of Carris’ plant in Monterrey, by strategically designing the plant, installing the equipment, and recruiting a large team of employees familiar with the plastics industry. In a short amount of time, Carris de Mexico was a profitable plastics manufacturing plant and still is today. His dedication for continuous process improvement earned Carris de Mexico the ISO 9001 certification in 2007. In 2012, Alberto was promoted as the VP of Manufacturing for the Plywood and Plastic divisions and his family moved to Rutland, Vermont, where Carris Reels was founded. His results and commitment to operational excellence afforded him the opportunity to serve as CEO/President for the last two and a half years.

Photo of MANÉ ALVES MANÉ ALVES Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Company

Mané is the founder of Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, Co., and has worked in the wine and coffee industries for over 30 years. As a certified Q Grader, Q Instructor, as well as an International Coffee Tasting Judge, Mané’s reputation as a distinguished coffee cupper & instructor is unparalleled.

He travels extensively to coffee producing countries throughout Central America, South America, Africa, & Asia where he conducts calibrations, teaches seminars on coffee production & quality standards, and offers Q Grader courses. Fluent in his native language Portuguese, as well as Spanish and English, he is able to understand the different countries’ cultures and can communicate directly with coffee professionals at source throughout the Americas.

A member of CQI since its inception & a past director of SCAA’s Technical Standards Committee, Mané founded CLI’s sister companies Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, in 2001, and CLI’s School of Coffee in 2004.
Mane works and lives in Waterbury Center with his wife, Holly. They have 2 grown daughters, Zoe & Quincy, and a beloved Cavapoo named Leo.

Photo of SUE BETTE SUE BETTE Bluebird Hospitality

In her current role, Sue is involved in crafting the company culture, shaping the design and artistic direction, and innovating for future growth 0pportunities. Founded in 2009, Bluebird Hospitality has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, with Bluebird Tavern nominated as one of the Best New Restaurants in 2010, and the Food Network, with Bluebird Barbecue featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. In her current role, Sue is involved in crafting the company culture, shaping the design and artistic direction, and innovating for future growth 0pportunities.

Sue’s passion for the hospitality industry was kindled early, during high school and college summers working a range of positions from the ticket booth to bartender to parasail boat driver in a tourist-driven town in the Adirondacks. Sue’s early professional career was in college athletics where she served as the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Siena College and then as an Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach at St. Michael’s College while pursuing her Master’s degree in Higher Education at the University of Vermont. It was during her coaching experience and working with student athletes that Sue began connecting the dots between the role of food in performance, health, and well-being.

Upon completion of her Master’s coursework and ignited by a sincere interest in learning more about the intersection of food with health and well-being. Sue settled in Berkeley, California, to study holistic cooking and ancestral foods and immersed herself in the Bay Area’s expansive food community. Over a two year period, Sue apprenticed at Three Stone Hearth, a forward-thinking Community Supported Kitchen focused on ancestral diets under Jessica Prentice. Sue also gained experience in a variety of restaurant settings, working in both independently owned counter service and fine dining restaurants.

Sue returned to Vermont in 2009, founded Bluebird Hospitality and launched Bluebird Tavern, which would earn a James Beard Foundation Award nomination for Best New Restaurant. Over the last six years, Sue has been focused on not only guiding Bluebird Barbecue forward as one of the most innovative and notable barbecue restaurants in the country, but also focusing on the development of Bluebird Hospitality as a forward-thinking, team-focused company.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sue quickly shifted gears to community building and hospitality industry advocacy, co-founding Vermont Independent Restaurants and serving on the national Independent Restaurant Coalition’s Leadership Group.

Photo of SHIREEN HART SHIREEN HART Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC

Shireen Hart is a Director and Shareholder with Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC in their Burlington office, where her law practice focuses on health law. She provides regulatory counsel to hospitals, Designated and Specialized Services Agencies, FQHCs, and long term care facilities throughout the state, along with their trade associations. She also advises health care practices, vendors, and individual providers on compliance and professional liability issues. She currently serves on the Burlington Business Association Board and the ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain Board. She recently completed her service on the Burlington Police Commission.

Photo of Brendon Blood Brendon Blood Blood’s Catering & Party Rentals

Brendon joins the board as President and Co-owner of Blood’s Catering & Party Rentals in White River Jct., VT. He has owned Blood’s since 2016 and has worked in the family business since 1987. A former board member of the American Rental Association and current member of NFIB as well as NACE. Brendon graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1996 and was born and raised in VT. He is married to Sara Blood and has one daughter Katie who is attending Boston College. Brendon lives in W. Hartford, VT and enjoys cooking and woodworking.

Photo of Walter Frame Walter Frame Trapp Family Lodge

Walter Frame is Executive Vice President at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe Vermont; implementing the business activities for the 2,500 acre resort; hotel, brewery, cross country skiing, mountain biking, recreation, homeowner association management, and real estate sales & development. Prior to Trapp Family Lodge, Mr. Frame was Vice President and Director of Real Estate Development at Spruce Peak Realty, LLC (AIG Global Real Estate), for the period 2003-2011 where he administered all development, governance and operations for the planned resort community Spruce Peak at Stowe, and was integral in the formation of Spruce Peak Arts Center Foundation. Prior to his ventures in Vermont, Frame was a regional financial controller for Destination Hotels & Resorts in Colorado, a hospitality & property management company. Walter is a Trustee/Director for Copley Hospital, Stowe Land Trust, Stowe Area Association, & Spruce Peak Arts Center Foundation. In 2020 & 2021, Frame served on the State of Vermont Economic Mitigation & Recovery Task Force, established by Governor Scott, to provide technical assistance and expertise to mitigate the devastating short-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop strategies designed to speed long-term business and community recovery. Walter is married to Kristina von Trapp and they live in Stowe with their two daughters, Annie and Stella. Frame earned a BS from Babson College and an MBA from Boston College.

Photo of Steve Gagner Steve Gagner 14th Star Brewing, St. Albans

Steve Gagner is an educator, entrepreneur, and strategist.

Recently retired from the US Army after 28 years of service, Steve now teaches business at the University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business. Additionally, Steve is the co-founder of 14th Star Brewing Company in St Albans, Vermont. In this capacity, he was named the Small Business Administration’s Legacy Business Awardee (2023) and Small Business Person of the Year (2019). The Military Times presented Steve their first-ever “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2018 and Vermont Business Magazine named him a Rising Star (40-under-40) in 2016.

In addition to serving on the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, Steve continues to serve his community through memberships in the Governor’s Workforce Development Board and as an inaugural advisory board member of the Norwich University Center for Leadership. He also provides business consulting services to veteran entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration’s Veteran Business Outreach Center.

Steve lives in St Albans, Vermont with his beautiful wife of 19 years, Nicole, and their two children: Madison and Marcus.

Chris Karr The Karr Restaurant Group, Killington
Photo of Teresa Kajenski Teresa Kajenski Fothergill Segale & Valley

Teresa is Managing Partner with Fothergill Segale and Valley, CPAs in Montpelier. She concentrates on small businesses, partnerships, and individual taxation, accounting and consultation. She is the past president of the Vermont Society of CPAs and is a board member of North County Federal Credit Union and Cochran’s Ski Area. Teresa lives in Williston with her husband Kenneth and spends most of her summer in North Hero on Lake Champlain. Her daughter Katrina is attending Fairfield University in Connecticut. She enjoys running, all water sports and downhill skiing.

Photo of Kelly Krayewsky Kelly Krayewsky Revision Military

Kelly Krayewsky currently serves as the Vice President of Business Strategy at Revision Military – the global leader in ballistic and laser protective eyewear for the military. On the team for the past 16 years, Kelly has had various roles in the company including marketing, communications, and government affairs. In her current role as a member of the executive team, she is responsible for achieving growth objectives by synchronizing the efforts between the Sales, Product and Marketing departments. Kelly joined the Vermont Futures Project’s Board in 2020 to represent a manufacturing company committed to growing in Vermont and participate in initiatives that help Vermonters thrive now and in the future.

Photo of Leslee Mackenzie Leslee Mackenzie Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman

A leader in Vermont’s real estate industry, Leslee MacKenzie brought her vision and analytic skills to one of the state’s most storied companies. Based in Burlington, Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman has over 65 years of providing premium real estate and relocation services. Under her direction, the firm has expanded from 13 to 100+ Realtors and Staff; grown to 3 offices; represents 1 in 5 properties sold in Northwest Vermont; ranked among the top 50 Coldwell Banker Offices in North America. The Team is best-in-class, locally and nationally, in sales productivity, client satisfaction, Agent retention, and marketing and technology. Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman has been recognized as Burlington Business Association Business of the Year, Best Places to Work in Vermont, among the top 35 in America for customer service with an outstanding 99% satisfaction rating from clients, and voted as the Best Real Estate Firm by Seven Days Readers for thirteen consecutive years. Deeply involved in her community and industry, Leslee serves on several area boards, including the Burlington Business Association. She serves as a Federal Political Coordinator for NAR and is a past National Director. MacKenzie is also a past Vermont Association of Realtors President.

Roger Nishi Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom