Honors & Awards

Honors and awards for Vermonters in business, professional, government, and nonprofit endeavors. In order of receipt.

Category notes: Website Honors and Print Honors and Awards.

September 2018

Burlington Telecom’s 100 percent fiber-optic network has maintained its high level of customer satisfaction, despite an all-time low for the ISP industry nationwide, according to the 2018 American Consumer Satisfaction Index Telecommunications Report. In other findings, 91 percent of customers were pleased with BT’s customer service and technical support; 82 percent rate the service to be better than its competitors; and the net promoter score of 52 remains far above the national average of 32.

Vermont Mutual Insurance Group was recognized for the 10th consecutive year by Ward Group as one of the Top 50 insurance companies in the United States, for its consistency, safety, and superior financial performance. The ratings are identified by comprehensive financial analysis of about 3,000 U.S. property and casualty insurers.

Solar Power World magazine has recognized Encore Renewable Energy as a 2018 Top U.S. Solar Contractor for its growing contributions to the industry. Encore was named a top 25 solar development company in the U.S. with a ranking of 23. The company was also ranked 123 out of 500 solar companies on the magazine’s 2018 Top Solar Contractors list.

Forbes magazine named Vermont Federal Credit Union the Best Credit Union in Vermont in its first “America’s Best-in-State Credit Unions” list. Vermont Federal was one of 145 to be so recognized by Forbes, and the only credit union in Vermont to be named. It was selected based on a survey of more than 25,000 bank and credit union customers in the country.

Union Mutual was named a Ward’s Top 50 property-casualty insurance carrier for 2018. The ratings are identified by comprehensive financial analysis of about 3,000 U.S. property and casualty insurers.

St. Michael’s College was named one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review. The college is featured in the 2019 edition of the publication’s flagship college guide, The Best 384 Colleges, released in August. St. Michael’s is placed in the Top 20 rankings for Students Most Engaged in Community Service (number 11), Best College Radio Station (number 16), and Town-Gown Relations Are Great (number 18).

Lisa Cruser, a financial advisor with the Burlington branch of Wells Fargo Advisors, earned the Accredited Asset Management Specialist designation from the College for Financial Planning. To earn the designation, she completed 120 hours of training on subjects such as asset allocation, retirement planning, and risk management.

Brett Smith, president and CEO of One Credit Union, earned the Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE) designation as a member of the graduation class of CUNA Management School in Madison, Wisconsin. To do so, Smith completed three years of schooling, three exams, two projects, and an oral presentation.

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina was named the newest member of the Vermont Green Business Program. The program’s standards require that systems, devices, and notices are in place to help prevent water pollution. To achieve the status, the marina took on ambitious initiatives such as offering free pump-outs to all boaters and employing best practices for cleaning, fuel handling, and daily operations. It joins Champlain Marina, Marina at Marble Island, North Hero Marina, Point Bay Marina, and Shelburne Shipyard in the program.

Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC announced that 22 lawyers were included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. They are Jon T. Anderson, Gary M. Burt, Gregory S. Clayton, Doreen F. Connor, Anne E. Cramer, Denise J. Deschenes, Gregory Eaton, Jon R. Eggleston, Gary L. Franklin, J. Paul Giuliani, John F. Griffin, Kevin M. Henry, Jeffrey P. Johnson, Gary F. Karnedy, John R. Monson, Ralphine N. O’Rourke, Thomas J. Pappas, Keith A. Roberts, L. Jonathan Ross, Mark H. Scribner, Neil Wheelwright, and Douglas J. Wolinsky.

August 2018

Bluehouse Group was awarded seven Horizon Interactive Awards for its website design and development work, including a spot on the Horizon Interactive Distinguished Agencies list. The agency received four Gold awards: Portfolio Website for Richard Erdman Studios; Government Agency Website for Vermont General Assembly; Magazine & News Website and Advocacy & Nonprofit Website for Every Widening Circles. Work for Downtown Boston took two Silver awards, one in Towns & Municipalities Website and one in the Travel & Tourism Website.

Sharon J. Merritt and H. Kenneth Merritt Jr., attorneys at Merritt & Merritt, were listed in this year’s Chambers USA.

Robert Frost Mountain Cabins was named TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence “Hall of Fame” status for the fifth consecutive year. The designation includes accommodations, restaurants, and attractions around the world that have “continually delivered a quality customer experience.”

The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center was named one of the nation’s Top 20 Rural & Community Hospitals by the National Rural Health Association. The ranking is based on indices including quality (such as median time from emergency department arrival to hospital admission), clinical outcomes (including rates for 30-day heart failure, pneumonia, and hospital-wide readmissions), and patient perspective on the care and services received. Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing, the medical center’s 153-bed facility, received top marks during its annual re-inspection by the state’s Agency of Human Services, Division of Licensing and Protection.

The Snelling Center for Government announced that the following business people graduated from its Vermont Leadership Institute. Sarah Amos, Catamount Arts; Alexandra Bergeron, Vermont State Colleges; Jen Bostwick, Nine East Network; Scott Campbell, Capstone Community Action, Inc.; Pamela Dearborn, Northern Counties Health Care; Kimberly Fitzgerald, Cathedral Square; Nicholas Foss, WestView Investment Advisors; Christina Goodwin, Sterling College; Daniel Groberg, Montpelier Alive; Katherine Harbaugh, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont; Lynne Jaunich, Board Member; Lynn Jones, Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc.; Elizabeth Miller, Rutland County Parent Child Center; Cindy Mosedale, Newark Street School; Geoffrey Pippenger, Department for Children and Families Economic Services Division; James Rice, Vermont Department of Corrections; Vanessa Riegler, Aloha Foundation; Liz Ruffa, EDR Consulting, Inc.; Kristen Sharpless, Stowe Land Trust; Mark Sousa, Green Mountain Transit; Aron Steward, State of Vermont; Renee Swain, Department for Children and Families Child Development Division; and Nicole Whalen, Vermont Foodbank.

The Snelling Center for Government also announced the following graduates of its Early Childhood Leadership Institute. Naomi Alfini, Jill Arkind, Vermont Department of Children and Families; Susan Bloomer, Addison County Parent Child Center; Samantha Champagne, Champlain Valley Heard Start; Emily Dwyer, Capstone Community Action; Catherine Evans, Trinity Children’s Center; Leslie Freedman, Vermont Agency of Education; Tina Grant, The Children’s Early Learning Space; Holly Haggerty, Barre City Elementary and Middle School; Linda January, Otter Creek Child Center; Maybeline Lopez, Winooski School District; Tiffany Martin, Montgomery Center, Richford Elementary School; Kathleen McMurray, The Aurora Preschool; Maroni Minter, Let’s Grow Kids; Eliza Pillard, Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families; Molly Pitkin, Burlington Early Education Program; Becca Raymon, Lamoille North Supervisory Union; Margaret Rubick, Northshire Day School; Darla Senecal, Building Bright Futures; Sandy Stark, Windham Southeast Supervisory Union; Camilla Strauss, Nine East Network; Elizabeth Traver Adolphus, Sunrise Family Resource Center; Beth Wallace, Bennington County Head Start; Susan White, Quarry Hill School; and Shayla Zammuto, Let’s Grow Kids

Austin Perdue, a member of NPI’s Canopy Team, completed the requirements for becoming a Datto-certified technician. Datto provides products and services for hybrid cloud business continuity, planning, and disaster recovery.

July 2018

The Upper Valley Trails Alliance received two awards: the Presidents’ Community Partner Award from Campus Compact for New Hampshire and a National Project Excellence Award from the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals. The Community Partner Award recognizes a community organization that has “enhanced the quality of life in the community in a meaningful and measurable way.” Randy Richardson, UVTA’s development director, accepted the award at an event in Concord, New Hampshire. The National Project Excellence Award honors the organization’s contribution to “exemplary outdoor recreation projects.” Russell Hirschler, UVTA’s executive director, accepted the award at the National Outdoor Recreation Conference in Burlington.

Darn Tough Vermont, which manufactures premium, all-weather performance, outdoor, and lifestyle socks, announced that its brand was named by Vermont Business Magazine a 2018 Best Vermont Made Product. This is the second year VBM has surveyed its readers to identify whom to recognize for this award.

Chambers & Partners, publishers of Chambers USA, named Eric M. Knudsen, attorney and partner at Langrock, Sperry & Wool LLP, a “Band 1” attorney in real estate law, one of only seven Vermont attorneys so recognized. The firm also received rank status for its real estate work.

Peoples Trust Co. was named the best bank in Franklin, Grand Isle, and Addison counties in the 2018 Best of Business awards from Vermont Business Magazine.

Sixteen attorneys at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC were recognized in Chambers USA 2018, and the firm ranked Band 1 in captive insurance, corporate and commercial work, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, and real estate zoning/land use. Attorneys ranked by practice area are Thomas H. Moody, Paul H. Ode Jr., William Roger Prescott, and David J. Sylvester, corporate/commercial; Kathleen H. Davis and J. Zaw Win, captive insurance; Peter B. Kunin and Lawrence H. Meier, intellectual property; Timothy E. Copeland Jr., Johan W.E. Maitland, and Elizabeth Rattigan, labor and employment; Marc B. Heath, Walter E. Judge Jr., and Robert B. Luce, litigation; and William J. Dodge and Scott Jaunich, real estate/land use.

System Integrators, a custom electronics and home technology integrator, has passed the requirements to earn certification by the Home Technology Association. The firm achieved the designation of HTA Certified home technology integration firm.

Snyder Homes was named a 2017 NGBS Green Partner of Excellence by Home Innovation Research Labs, recognizing its “sustained excellence as an NGBS Green Partner, its overall leadership in the field, and its unwavering commitment to high-performance homes and multifamily buildings.”

The 2018 edition of Chambers USA recognized 10 Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew attorneys in their practice areas. Ranked by practice area were Afi Ahmadi, David Gurtman, Brian R. Murphy, and Jeffrey J. McMahan, corporate/commercial; Jeffrey J. McMahan, intellectual property; Amy M. McLaughlin, Jeffrey J. Nolan, and Karen McAndrew, labor and employment; Ritchie Berger and Karen McAndrew, litigation: general commercial; Ritchie Berger, litigation: medical malpractice and insurance defense; and Austin Hart and Molly Langan, real estate.

The Essex Agency announced that Axel B. Handy has earned his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation from the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. Handy has been a sales agent at the agency for over four years and works in commercial and personal insurance.

June 2018

The Vermont Association of Insurance Professionals announced that Paula Clark, AIS, API, AINS, CIIP, DAE, of Vermont Mutual Insurance Group received the Certified Leadership Program designation. Each designee must have completed a 17-module 52-hour series of leadership topics and pass an exam. Valerie Stark of Vermont Mutual Insurance Co., won the International Association of Insurance Professionals Confidence While Communicating speak-off at the Region 1 conference. Competitors present a 3-minute prepared speech and complete a 1-minute impromptu speech, judged by an unbiased panel of experts.

Chad and Clay Bell of the Northfield Investment Services investment team obtained their Certified Financial Planner designations, affording them the ability to discuss clients’ full financial pictures and provide the highest tier of financial planning benefits.

Rutland Regional Medical Center was the only hospital in Vermont to be rated A for Patient Safety in the spring 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades published by The Leapfrog Group in Washington, D.C. Only about a third of hospitals nationwide receive an A grade. The rating is indicative of a strong culture and focus on patient safety.

Vermont Tech announced that its respiratory therapy program is among a small group of programs in the country recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. The college received the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success award, a measure of its success in inspiring graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations. Selection criteria include metrics obtained from colleges and summarized in the commission’s annual report of current status.

All five of the Realtors with Little River RealtyGayle Oberg, Michael Hickey, Zoe Bedel, Rich Drill, and Pam Plummer — were awarded the National Association of Realtors’ Green designation. Little River is the first agency in Vermont to go completely green. To achieve the designation, applicants must complete topic-specific course work, created in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of industry experts from around the country.

RE/MAX North Professionals in Vermont recognized 20 associates and six teams for sales achievements in 2017. Diamond Club: The Gardner Group; Titan Club: Rich Gardner; Platinum Club: David Parsons, Bonnie Gridley, The Condo Guy Team, Desautels Real Estate, and The Gridley Group; 100% Club: Matt Hurlburt, Charlotte Gardner, Jackie Marino, Debbi Burton, Kathie Desautels, Dorothy Vigil, Linda St. Amour, Jan Battaline, Jill Richardson, Matt Hurlburt Group, and Debbi Burton & Co.; Executive Club: Patricia Desautels, Lauren Cohen, Donna Mathieu, Mikail Stein, Ryan Miller, Matthew Bouffard, Jay McCormack, and Suzanne Johnson.

May 2018

Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington received the Best of Home Care Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice awards from Home Care Pulse. The awards are granted to the top-ranking home care providers based on client and caregiver satisfaction scores. It is the only home care company in Vermont to win both awards in 2017 and 2018.

Eighty-one employers received 2018 Worksite Wellness Awards from the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Their names can be found at http://vermontfitness.org/2018/vermont-employers-honored-for-wellness-programs-2/.

Danielle Gilbert-Richard, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, was recognized by Forbes magazine in its “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” inaugural list. A total of 639 Merrill Lynch advisors were included, the most of any firm. The ranking was based on in-person and telephone meetings to evaluate advisors qualitatively, including client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations, and a list of quantitative criteria.

Kurt M. Hughes, an attorney with Murdoch Hughes & Twarog, was invited to join Noticed, a service for distinguished professionals, based on peer reviews and ratings.

Darn Tough’s hiker boot sock cushion socks received the 2018 Backpacker magazine Editors’ Choice Gold Award, annually given to products that have delivered “sustained years of best-in-class performance.”

National Life Insurance was named one of “America’s Magnificent Eight Exceptional Companies” by CEO Forum, a media company that highlights the innovative work of chief executives around the country. Mehran Assadi, National Life’s chairman, CEO, and president, was featured in a column on Forbes.com. Assadi was one of 750 CEOs interviewed and considered for inclusion in the Magnificent Eight.

Rick Scott, president of System Integrators, attained accreditation as a Certified Outreach Instruction from the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, honored 12 ENERGY STAR partners for outstanding contributions to public health and the environment. Among those named Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence is Efficiency Vermont. The EPA’s Boston regional office also announced that the Vermont Agency of Agriculture “has made significant progress toward meeting the state’s water quality goals. The Agency of Agriculture met all of its milestones with a perfect score of 14 out of 14.

Kinney Pike Insurance received the E&O Plus Quality Management Award for the fourth consecutive year. The award is presented to insurance agencies demonstrating “outstanding devotion to quality management in serving their clients and a commitment to excellence in the area of Errors & Omissions prevention and mitigation. Kinney Pike is one of only 23 firms to receive the award.

Propeller Media Works earned three Horizon Interactive Awards in the Travel & Tourism category. The winners include work for Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania (Silver), H20Waterpark in North Carolina (Gold), and Red River Resort in New Mexico (Gold).

Winooski Insurance was recognized by Ohio Mutual Insurance Group as one of the company’s Top 10 agencies for Outstanding Profitable Growth in 2017. Winooski Insurance excelled in “achieving the most outstanding growth and profitability in 2017.”

April 2018

Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington has received two awards from Home Care Pulse: the Best of Home Care Provider of Choice and the Employer of Choice. The awards are based on client and caregiver satisfaction scores. Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington is the only company in Vermont to win both awards in 2017 and 2018.

Angela Batista, Ph.D., vice president student life and special advisor to the president on diversity and inclusion at Champlain College, was honored upon the release of a new book co-edited by her during the 2018 national conference of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Ed. Latinx/a/os in Higher Education: Exploring Identity, Pathways and Success combines scholarly chapters with personal perspectives from Latinx/a/o students, administrators, and faculty who have navigated cultural differences and institutional politics to overcome barriers. Champlain’s Stiller School of Business has earned full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, recognizing the quality of Champlain’s business education, and a major milestone for the business school. The accreditation process was rigorous and included preparing a self-study of the current business programs and a site visit by a team of peer evaluators.

City Market was recognized with two workplace awards: in the “large business” category of the top 50 Best Places to Work in Vermont 2018, and a 2018 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness. Both awards were part of special presentations in March.

Citizens Bank has been recognized as the Best Treasury and Cash Management Provider for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions by Global Finance, which chooses top performers among banks and other providers of financial services.

HomeSmith Services LLC of Middlebury earned the home service industry’s Angie’s List Super Service Award, which honors service professionals who maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.

Expertise.com named People Making Good PR one of the Best PR Firms in Boston for 2018. Expertise considered 165 firms and chose 19 as best of breed, evaluated on reputation, credibility, experience, availability, and professionalism. This is the firm’s second year to be listed in the Top 20 by Expertise.

The Community Health Centers of Burlington has received national accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. CHCB scored a Level 3 at each of its eight locations — the highest level a health center can achieve. Those so designated “employ a team-based model of care designed to maximize efficient, comprehensive, and coordinated medical care to the patient, with a special focus on quality and performance measurements.”

Recent upgrades to a 1950s cape-style home in Burlington have earned the Energy Co-op of Vermont a 2018 Best of the Best award in the $12,000 and Under category from Efficiency Vermont. The New North End home was cold and drafty, particularly in the upstairs areas, due to lack of insulation. After an energy audit,, Paul Fleckenstein of Energy Co-op’s efficiency services team, recommended installing improved ventilation in the bathroom and strategically placed foam insulation in the attic and knee walls.

Howard Center’s Chittenden Clinic was named a Patient-Centered Specialty Practice by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The recognition indicates that the clinic has undergone “a rigorous review” of the clinic’s standards of care and its “commitment to patient care through excellent communication, coordination, and access to care.”

Benjamin A. Russell, CFP, CRPC, APMA, and Seth N. Blanchard, CRPC, APMA, CLTC, private wealth advisors with Russell Blanchard & DuBois, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services in Colchester, have qualified for the company’s Circle of Success annual recognition program. C.J. Charlebois Melendy, CFP, ChFC, CLU, CRPC, APMA, a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise in Williston, was named to the “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list published by Forbes magazine. The list recognizes financial advisors “who have demonstrated high levels of ethical standards, professionalism, and success in the business.”

NPI Technology Management was named to the 2018 Managed Service Provider 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category by CRN, a brand of The Channel Co. The annual list recognizes North American solution providers with “cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services.”

March 2018

Niki Hayes, an agent with Kinney Pike Insurance, was awarded the designation of Certified Professional Insurance Agent by the American Insurance Marketing and Sales Society. Hayes completed three insurance success seminars to earn the designation.

Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage of Vermont, a locally owned franchise, won Best of Service in the design category on Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design. The award is given annually in three categories: design, customer service, and photography. The president of Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage of Vermont is Bryan Randall.

Vermont Mutual Insurance Group was designated A+ Superior by A. M. Best Co. The rating reflects the company’s favorable underwriting and operating results.

Lendio Northern VT / NH announced that Lendio Franchising, a marketplace for small business loans, ranked in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, the only company on the list that has offered franchises for less than a year. John Jacob of Williston owns the Lendio Northern VT/NH franchise.

John W . Davis, CPA, CPF, CVA, CEPA, managing partner of Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPA, earned the Certified Exit Planning Advisor designation from the Exit Planning Institute. Davis has more than 35 years of public accounting and business advisory experience.

For the second consecutive year, Magic Mountain in Londonderry was named the Number 1 Overall Best in Snow in North America at the 2017-18 Best in Snow Awards, powered by Liftopia. Magic was also named Most Challenging mountain in the Northeast and North America, and the Best Value. In Family Friendly it placed second in the Northeast and third in North America, and in Beginner Friendly, placed third in the Northeast and fourth in North America.

February 2018

Kyla Sternlieb, the founder and president of Under the Weather, a manufacturer of pet food products and supplements in South Burlington, was honored by Pet Business magazine for its line of freeze-dried bland diet products. Pet Business is a national industry publication for pet supplies retailers.

Stratton Mountain Resort was among 12 New England organizations recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a Regional WasteWise Achievement Certificate for its work reducing waste.

Discovery Map International Inc. was named one of the top 200 franchises for 2018 by Franchise Business Review. The awards are based on franchisee satisfaction and performance.

Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs announced its inclusion in Accounting Today’s 2017 Top 100 List of Best Accounting Firms to work for. The firm, with offices in Williston and Rutland, is listed in the 34th spot of the Best Small Firms to Work for.

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the top four winners of the first Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship, a partner between the City of Burlington and the Ewing Mario Kauffman Foundation to help early-stage high-growth, women-owned businesses: The Center for Women and Enterprise, $55,000 to launch a new initiative; BTV Ignite, $50,000 for a new initiative providing high-quality independent specialized advisory and development support to “growth stage” companies with a digital or technology focus; Vermont Law School, $50,000 to help fund a program providing free or low-cost legal services for startup and emerging companies; and the Women’s Small Business Program, $45,000 to expand its program to better support and engage its alumni network, and allow for new, innovative programs.

Age Well announced that Chris Dussault, chief innovation officer, earned a CHIME-Certified Healthcare CIO from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. Approximately 400 CIOs in 26 countries have earned the designation.

Paul Fleckenstein, efficiency program manager at the Energy Co-op of Vermont, was awarded Healthy Homes Evaluator (HHE) certification from the Building Performance Institute. A Healthy Home Evaluator assesses home-based environmental health and safety hazards and provides a prioritized list of recommendations to address them.

Rutland Regional Medical Center achieved a 5-Star rating for its performance in total knee replacement, treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and gall bladder surgery from Healthgrades, the online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. RRMC is the only hospital in Vermont to receive a 5-Star for total knee replacement in 2018, and the only one so honored for eight consecutive years. It is also the only hospital in Vermont so honored for gallbladder removal surgery two years in a row. It was one of three in Vermont to receive a 5-Star rating for treatment of COPD this year.

January 2018

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets announced that three Vermont dairy farms have received full certification in a national program aimed at ensuring food safety and responsible medication use. Gervais Family Farm Inc., Duhamel Farms, and Dalestead Farm and Maple LLC partnered with local Food Armor Accredited veterinarians to develop hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plans that meet the stringent requirements of the Food Armor program.

Arabesque gift shop was chosen by Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine as one of 25 Gifted Retailers in the country. It is the only store in Vermont, and one of just three in New England, included on the list.