Ten Years Later

September 1999

by Edna Tenney, Editor, Business People

A look at the businesses making news in the September 1989 issue of Business Digest

Burlington College


Ten years ago the president and founder of Burlington College was pictured at the beginning of a Business Digest article with the caption, "Steward LaCasce is a very rare person -- someone who wanted to start a college and actually did it." The enormity of that task was clear as the piece described the school's beginnings in LaCasce's living room in 1974 with an initial enrollment of 15, and followed him through his efforts to develop programs, increase the enroll-ment, receive accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and settle the school in its present location on North Avenue in Burlington. In 1989 the college had a fall enrollment of 200, divided between established, two-year degree programs and independent study. Daniel Casey & friends

Daniel Casey at Burlington College's graduation in Israel

The school's second era began in the mid-'90s when LaCasce retired from the school and the board named Daniel Casey as his successor. Casey, whose field is Irish studies, spent 18 years at SUNY in Oneonta, and taught at several colleges in this country and abroad. A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, he was interested in settling again in the Northeast when he chose Burlington College as his next career move. Casey arrived in August 1994 from Berry College in Rome, Ga. "I came from a college with the largest geographic campus (28,000 acres), to the smallest," Casey says. "When I got here I asked where the other buildings were, and they told me there was just the one. I said, 'Well, you've got a nice parking lot,' and they said it isn't ours." The parking lot belongs to the college now, along with a fledgling endowment fund, some state-of-the-art technology, a well received new degree program and a financial position that is "far more solvent than most schools this size," according to Casey. The 27-year-old college is now accredited to offer several four-year degrees, among them "our flagships," Casey calls them -- transpersonal psychology, and cinema studies and film production. Certificate programs in paralegal studies, film studies and computer software are also available. The college runs study-abroad opportunities in Britain, Canada, Ireland, Central America and Israel, some that include participants from other colleges in the area as well as community members. The Central American program combines course study that includes Spanish, ecology, Central American history and literature with a three-week intersession trip to Belize and Guatemala to travel, work and stay with local families. The Israeli outreach is particularly fascinating. Four years ago, Casey heard from a colleague at SUNY that the Israeli government was opening the country to foreign degrees, so he registered Burlington College's transpersonal psychology degree there. He also learned that Israeli teachers graduate with a diploma, but not a degree, and many were interested in adding a degree to their credentials. He set up a small outpost of Burlington College to offer the degree and was amazed to find they had enrolled more than 600 students before the first year was over. The program is in its final year, scaling back because the needs of the Israeli (and Arab) teachers have been met by the Burlington program and others, but not before the program grew to nine educational centers around the country that netted nearly $2 million in income for Burlington College. There are four Daniel Caseys in the Burlington Middlebury phone book. President Casey of Burlington College is the one who speaks Latin, writes extensively about Ireland and its literature, composes poetry and lives in Shelburne with his wife, Linda.

Vermont Public Television

In our 1989 article about Vermont's local public TV station, Hope Green was in her ninth year as the general manager. When Green arrived at the station in 1980, she brought with her almost 10 years of public television experience with stations in Boston and Seattle. In the fall of 1989 she was overseeing the station's separation from UVM, "a graduation," Green said. Technology was changing the station's educational outreach, doing away with expensive efforts to provide televised college courses for credit but increasing programs on air or videotape for Vermont schools. Also, at that time, the station was in the midst of a $3.5-million-dollar upgrade and replacement program for all its transmitters and antennae. Ten years later the station is again occupied with plans for equipment upgrades and replacements, because digital TV is coming to Vermont Public Television. In June 1998 Hope Green gave up management of the station to establish a telecommunications consulting business. The VPT board appointed John King president and CEO of the station. King, who grew up in Milton, received an associate's degree from Champlain College and a bachelor's degree from Johnson State College. He did leave the state briefly to obtain a master's degree in public administration from Harvard College, but soon returned to take a position as general manager of the water resources department for the city of Burlington. In 1987 he was hired as the station's chief financial officer, became a vice president and then the chief operating officer in 1995. John King

John King

The timing of this update found John King on vacation, but public relations director Anne Curran was happy to fill in. "The biggest thing on all our minds here at VPT is converting to digital TV," she says. "Nothing is more exciting or challenging for us, both technically and financially." Congress has set May 1, 2002, as the deadline for the conversion of commercial TV stations to digital, and granted an additional year to public stations to convert. "Congress allowed the extra year for public stations because of the time needed to arrange the finances," Curran notes. She is very excited about the opportunities it presents for the station, "not just because we will be able to offer high-definition television, which we will do during prime time hours, but because we will be able to use all the increased capacity at other times of the day to do multi-casting. That is, we'll be able to broadcast four different standard TV channels, at the same time." As an example, Curran says the station could provide one channel of all children's programming, another devoted to adult literacy or workplace training, a third providing local and national public TV programming, and the fourth could be a public service channel with Statehouse coverage, town meetings and the like. At the same time, there will be multiple layers of information in the broadcast signal that can be downloaded and used on a computer. The staff at VPT doesn't have all the answers about developing the finances or the technical expertise to move into the new world of digital TV, but they are learning fast. And, although it will be expensive for the station to bring digital TV to Vermont viewers, it does not require viewers to buy expensive new TVs -- converters will be available for about the price of today's VCR, Curran says. Also, there's still a reasonable amount of time left for high-definition TVs to come down to a reasonable price level -- all the stations will broadcast in both formats until 2006.

Tanglewoods Restaurant

It was also 10 years ago that Tanglewoods Restaurant opened just off Vermont 100 in Waterbury, serving American country cuisine in a renovated barn setting. The restaurant, owned and operated by chef Carl Huber and his wife, Diane, has thrived on a clientele of seasonal tourists as well as building a strong following of Vermonters "from Highgate to Brattleboro," Huber says. He reports they have made refinements to both the building and the menu, but still serve eclectic American cuisine. "Our sesame coriander-crusted tuna steak is probably our signature dish," he adds. The recent construction of the Country Club of Vermont right in the middle of the restaurant's neighborhood has been keeping them very busy. "Since they haven't built a clubhouse yet," Huber says, "we've become kind of an unofficial 19th hole." The new golf course winds around the rustic restaurant, which now offers scenic views of the third, fourth and fifth holes. Tanglewoods is open year-round (the Hubers take some time for themselves in November) and serves dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The Simons Company

The Simons Company

The Simons Company, a wholesale distributor of heating, refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, opened in South Burlington in the summer of 1989. It was the 11th location in New England for the company. Ken Bowen, who was hired away from a competitor in White River Junction to come north and open the branch, is celebrating 10 years as the manager. The firm sells HVAC equipment for light commercial and residential use to mechanical and general contractors. Recently it supplied some of the refrigeration piping and equipment that went into the new Price Chopper supermarket in South Burlington. The company has 37 locations in New England and New York, the result of the consolidation of two separate HVAC supply companies owned by Simons brothers.
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Last updated: 10/05/99
Cover
Business Digest
September 1989