• 2018 Leadership Awards Nominees

  • Read About Our 2018 Nominees:

    Nominated for the Chamber Leadership Award:

    Van Chestnut, Executive Director, Advance Transit

    Van Chesnut has been the Executive Director of Advance Transit since 1987, a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides free transit in Vermont and New Hampshire, committed to goals that include reducing traffic congestion, preserving the character of small town communities and providing convenient transit access to area workplaces, hospitals, shopping centers, schools, and community agencies all over the Upper Valley. For over thirty years, Van’s dedicated and humble leadership has been integral in helping Advance Transit to develop a unique and sustainable public transportation system for Upper Valley residents, while also growing to employee over forty individuals in career positions. He deserves recognition for his awesome service and accomplishments. In fiscal year 2017, Advance Transit’s ridership was 885,461. This level of productivity achieved by their 5 routes and 3 shuttles are more typical of urban areas than the collection of small towns served that make up the Upper Valley.

    Dan Fraser, Owner, Dan & Whit's General Store

    Dan Fraser  has/currently served on the following boards and committees:
    President of 3 Condo association boards at Hemlock Ridge
    Public Health Council of VT/NH Board of directors- Secrtary
    Montshire Musuem Corporation Board member
    Vermont Court Diversion Board
    Upper Valley Aquatic Center-Secretary
    Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce for  6 years.
    Norwich Business Council- chair/co-chair- current member
    Hartford Board of Civil Authority- for over 10 years
    Hartford Town Manager Search Committee-Secretary
    He has served as a justice of the peace for over 10 years.

    He was named Norwich Citizen of the year with The Fraser family in 2013 as well as  Dan &  Whit's being selected in 2013 as the small business of the year by the HACC. He was Norwich Citizen of the year in 2015. He was a Micah Hero in 2017 Nominated by St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Norwich. He received the Dismas House Father Jack Hikey Award in 2017 Dan was honored by VItal Communities Celebration as one of the heroes and leaders for 2018. Dan was the July 2018 Vermonter of the month by the Vermont Attorney General Office

    Dan is perhaps best noted for creating The 19 Days of Norwich (and beyond) 1% for the Haven in 2013, which in 5 years has raised over 1 million dollars for The Haven. Dan is treasurer and vice president of Dan & Whit's General Store.  Where he has held monthly wine tastings since 2010 raising over $53,000.00 for local non-profits, and also conducts Pizza Wednesday's each week also raising money for local non-profits.

    Sara Kobylenski, Executive Director, Upper Valley Haven

    When Sara Kobylenski speaks of the Upper Valley Haven she always mentions that the Haven was created in response to the community's needs. Sara has been the Executive Director but would claim that her service has been not to the organization, but to the community members. Sara Kobylenski's work is done with an eye to giving a hand up to Upper Valley residents struggling with poverty. Every aspect of the Haven’s services has seen growth during Sara's tenure, as she shepherded the organization to meet community need. Since Sara took the helm nearly a decade ago, the number of staff members has quadrupled, there are five times as many volunteers, three-and-a-half times as much shelter available, and donations, which fund nearly all the work, have kept pace to match the growth. Sara is able to deftly and articulately communicate the need to be a safe and hopeful place for *anyone* who walks through the doors of the Upper Valley Haven. By sharing her vision in the community Sara elicits broad support from partner organizations, neighbors and the community as a whole.

    Rick Lemay, Branch Manager, Mascoma Bank in Hanover

    Both as a resident of Hanover, and as branch manager at Mascoma Bank, Rick has participated in the community. As my company's bank manager he is every helpful in providing very detailed service, offering advise and keeping on top of our account. He has been a part of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, it seems, in different ways, including serving on the Hanover Business Council, showing up to every meeting and supporting the Hanover businesses by providing Mascoma sponsorship for events, and so on. As a community member he spearheaded the green up event and works tirelessly to create a memorable visit with Santa for local children - as many as 1000 annually- during the Celebrate the Season event in December. Rick is a member of the Hanover improvement Society, Board member at the Howe Library and Hanover Chamber of Commerce, and Ray School PTO treasurer.

    Nominated for the Small Business Innovator Award:

    Cioffredi & Associates Physical Therapy

    Cioffredi & Associates is a community grounded business whose mission is to provide people with the expertise, support, and inspiration to live happier and healthier lives. Not only do we do this every day in capacity of your local physical therapists and provider of supportive holistic services, striving to continually offer the best care, scope of services, and access to treatment in the area but we are also dedicated to the community around us. Below is a list of ways we have helped support and better the Upper Valley in just the past half year or so.

    • Expanded to a second location in Grantham, NH, to provide our services to a community in need of more local PT care.

    • Provided Onsite Preventative Occupation Health Services for multiple local businesses

    • Releasing a new program to provide free high school sport injury screenings and provide recommendations and clearance to play.

    • Developed a series of free videos aimed at injury prevention in baseball, hiking, and golf.

    • Host of Bi-Annual speaker events for the community that focus on promoting health and wellness education.

    • Partner of local organizations to put on community events, including the Lebanon Parks & Rec Couch to 5K host,  UVTA to host Hiking for Health, Lebanon High School Job Shadow Day Host, Spoke at the Regional PATH Conference on management of Back Pain for the Equestrian,  Sponsor/Member of local health, cultural, and charitable organizations and events, Lebanon Opera House,  Opera North, Northern Stage, North Country Chordsmen, CHAD Hero,  Local Sports Teams (Lebanon Raiders Hockey, Youth Lacrosse Team, Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl).

    Hanover Terrace Health and Rehabilitation Center

    Hanover Terrace health and Rehabilitation Center is a 100 bed skilled nursing facility, providing quality care and services to our communities most frail elderly and disabled. We provide 24 hour nursing care in a home like environment. We also provide 7 day a week rehab services, have dental, podiatry, psychiatry and nutritional support for our residents. We have a very involved activity department, believing in quality of life for all of our residents.  We work very closely with the community in providing the highest possible quality of care and quality of life for our residents. Hanover Terrace has also achieved Level Two distinction, ''We Honor Veterans'' partnering with local veterans organizations and hospices  to provide quality of care at end of life for those who served our country. Hanover Terrace  recently was surveyed by the Veterans Administration to renew our contract, and was deficiency free in our Health Survey.  Hanover Terrace also achieved a deficiency free State and Federal CMS  survey, for being 100% in compliance with all State and Federal regulations, a distinction that few skilled nursing facilities achieve.  Most recently, Hanover Terrace received a Bronze in Quality award from the American Health Care Association for their commitment to Quality and Quality Improvement.  Hanover Terrace Health and Rehabilitation Center, and the residents/patients who live here, their family members and the staff who work here deserve the small business innovator of the year award for their commitment to the residents and family members  in our community.

    Northern Stage

    Under Eric Bunge's leadership the Barrette Center for the Arts was built in downtown White River Junction. Eric has led Northern Stage's efforts to build the arts in Vermont, through his work at Northern Stage and also as a lead consultant on the Grand Opening and inaugural season for the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro, VT in the summer of 2017.

    Twin Pines Housing

    Housing is such a problem in the Upper Valley, but Twin Pines is coming up with real solutions.They recently are completing Parkhurst, in collaboration with the Haven (it would be ideal if they both could win this award) for the chronically homeless but they also have true workforce housing and affordable housing options that are really helping bridge the gap from the higher end housing solutions that developers are creating.

    Nominated for the Large Business Innovator Award:

    Harpoon Brewery

    Harpoon was started in 1986 by Dan Kenary, Rich Doyle, and George Ligeti in Boston. In order to meet a growing demand for our beer, we purchased the former Catamount Brewery in Windsor, VT in 2000. In August 2014, Harpoon became an employee-owned company, with 48% of the company given to employees through the establishment of an ESOP. 

    Love Beer. Love Life. is our motto, and we try our darndest to live by it every day. The annual Harpoon 5-Miler is the perfect illustration of our motto. Our first race was May 2001 and since then, every year we have close to 5,000 runners jamming out 5 miles around our brewery in Boston, ending at the brewery for some beers to celebrate. The best part is that the run benefits an organization that is near and dear to our hearts, The Angel Fund. Since we started the 5-Miler, we’ve raised more than $1,300,000 to support their cause in finding a cure for ALS. A little exercise, followed by beers, while raising money for a truly worthy cause. Harpoon Helps was created in 2003 to organize our community outreach. Our mission is to support local charities throughout our distribution footprint with donations of fresh Harpoon beer and volunteer hours, and by raising money for organizations through events. Harpoon Helps produces 6 fundraising events throughout the year. 


    Over the past several years, Hypertherm has become a powerful leader in the Upper Valley on issues relating to substance misuse disorders. Hypertherm leaders have used their position as one of the region’s largest employers to innovate around supporting employees who may struggle with their own or a family member’s addiction and to combat stigma. Through their Hypertherm HOPE Foundation and dedication to corporate social responsibility, Hypertherm has contributed significant resources to support expansion, innovation, and sustainability of the services Upper Valley families need to prevent addiction and support recovery.

    Hypertherm is well on its way to becoming a “Recovery Supportive Workplace” and is participating in Governor Sununu’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative. In 2015, they created a “Substance Use Disorders Task Force” and found a core group of “champions” willing to work on and speak out about addiction. They have developed various strategies to provide associates with basic information and resources for what to do if substance abuse is impacting them or their families. They have trained all their leaders to be supportive of associates with substance-related challenges and remove the stigma around addiction.  They have also provided grants to expand and sustain many recovery support programs like the Second Wind Foundation and prevention programs like Second Growth’s Coaching for Captains. Hypertherm also generously provides access to their high-quality training spaces for many community partners, including NarCan training, Recovery Coach training, Mental Health First Aid, and more. The Public Health Council regularly holds our member meetings at Hypertherm. 

    River Valley Club

    Last year,  the River Valley Club donated $100,000.00 to local charities through many fundraising events and sponsorships.  Organizations included: WISE, CHaD, Northern Stage,  Opera North, Dartmouth athletic teams, the Prouty, the Mudball, Montshire Museum and veterans causes. We give boxes upon boxes of Toys for Tots each year at Christmas,  free memberships to anyone staying at David’s House and we have given free spa-salon service for residences there. We give free salon service for cancer patients to get their hair and makeup done through NCCC,  sponsor and run Buddy up tennis and Buddy up fitness each week for special needs kids to come to RVC and work out and we ran two fundraisers this spring for Positive Tracks to raise money. We sponsor the MURPHY and we are also running a 10 week living well after cancer program.

    Mascoma Bank

    This year,  Mascoma Bank became a Benefit Corporation, a business that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Becoming a B-Corp is a natural extension of what we have always been, a mutually owned bank chartered to serve the needs of the communities we serve. As a mutually owned bank without shareholders, we have always been committed to remaining independent and to re-investing profits in our community. Our first priority has always been—and always will be—you, our customers. Now, as a B-Corp, we will take that commitment even further.

    Nominated for the Business Innovator Award:

    Carol Dunne, Artistic Director, Northern Stage

    Carol Dunne recently launched the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle to address the lack of support for women in theater. With funding from the Pussycat Foundation, the Circle will provide $1.25 million in support for Northern Stage and four other theaters run by women artistic directors during the 2018-2019 season. Each theater will receive a $250,000 grant. The BOLD Circle will offer major support of artistic initiatives focused on women artists and will create a formal mentorship program to train and prepare future women artistic directors to lead, to create, to innovate, and deepen the impact of theater on the American culture. A recent study by Wellesley Centers for Women, revealed that women hold only 20% of artistic leadership positions in the American regional theater, and that the dearth of female theater leaders is not due to a lack of candidates but rather to a clearly observed glass ceiling preventing women from assuming the artistic helm of professional theaters.

    Kimberly Ghigliotty, Sales Manager, Allen Pools & Spas

    I am nominating Kim Ghigliotty for being one of the most hard working, innovative people I have ever met. She helped grow Allen Pools & Spas from a small pool company in Rutland, to the oldest and largest pool and hot tub dealer in Vermont. She started out by cleaning pools for them about 18 years ago and worked her way up to being their Sales Manager, opening 2 more locations in northern and central Vermont. It's really amazing. She worked so many jobs within this company to help it grow into what it is today. I don't think she gets recognized enough for the amount of work and dedication she has given to this company. She really deserves a lot of awards!!

    Nini Meyers, CEO, Positive Tracks

    Along with serving as Founder and CEO of Positive Tracks, Nini currently serves as Trustee of the Jane B. Cook Charitable Trusts; Overseer of Hopkins Center For The Arts At Dartmouth; Community Engagement Director of the CHaD HERO Half Marathon; and Trustee of the Hypertherm HOPE Foundation. Positive Tracks sees a world in which every young person has the desire and capacity to make change. We believe that service and athletics blend to create powerful leadership experiences that positively shape the lives of young people and the communities they live in. We also believe that for young people to reap the personal benefits of civic contribution, they must feel their voices matter and be active in the process of making change. We call it “sweating for good”. Together, with youth, we’ve built an inclusive, sports-based framework to equip and support youth of all backgrounds and abilities to make change using their own minds and muscle.

    Simon Pearce, Founder, Simon Pearce

    At age 16, Simon began his craft as an apprentice at his father’s pottery studio. From there, he went on to work with notable glassmakers all over Europe before opening his namesake studio. The founder opened his first glass blowing workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1971. In 1981, Mr. Pearce relocated to America and picked a setting where he and his family could live and he could work, as well as produce his own energy on-site. In his Quechee facility,  the company produced its own hydro-power electricity from the Ottauquechee River. Today, Simon Pearce has its headquarters in Windsor, and production occurs in Quechee, Windsor and at a facility in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland (MD).