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Steve Costello awarded Business Person of the Year at 2013 Rutland Chamber Annual Meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 29

Photo courtesy of RRCC 
Steve Costello, Vice President of Generation and Energy Innovation at Green Mountain Power is presented the 2013 Business Person of the Year Award by (l-r) Tom Donahue, Executive Vice President/CEO Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce; Lt. Governor Phil Scott; Costello; Jane Costello; Marleen Cenate, President Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce and Rutland City Mayor Chris Louras.

 

Steve Costello awarded Business Person of the Year at 2013 Rutland Chamber Annual Meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 29
Chamber's annual accomplishments through local partnerships celebrated

Over 200 people attended the annual meeting of the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce (RRCC) on on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
The Keynote speaker was Vermont Lt. Governor Phil Scott, who was joined on stage with Rutland City Mayor Chris Louras, and Chamber officials.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the afternoon is the annual selection of the Business Person of the Year award. This year it went to went to Steve Costello, Vice President of Generation and Energy Innovation at Green Mountain Power. Before presenting the award, Tom Donohue, CEO of RRCC, told the audience, 'This award exemplifies what makes Rutland tick; volunteers and leadership."
Costello has been involved in Vermont business and communications since his career began. A graduate of St. Michaels College in Vermont, he went on to complete a Bachelor of Journalism, and become editor of both the Addison Independent and TimesArgus. More recently he was the Director of Public Affairs for 16 years at CVPS and, in 2012, joined Green Mountain Power who set the goal to make Rutland the 'Solar Capital' of New England. Most recently GMP increased their commitment and shortened the timeline aiming to provide 10 megawatts of solar production in the city by the end of 2015.
Tom Donohue cited a quote from local radio personality Nanci Gordon, who said, "Steve has vision and energy, he thinks big and then attends to all the details that make those big things happen. Meanwhile, he maintains a low-key demeanor. He is an exceptional individual."
In response, Costello humbly said, "No one wins this award on their own, it is a team effort."
Ever passionate for the next community project, Costello did not forget to mention the Gift of Life Marathon on Dec. 17 this year. "Let's set a national record," he said. Costello also received the American Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence in 2010, for his efforts.
The afternoon of presentation also included highlights of the Rutland region during the past year and the chamber's role in supporting those events.
Tom Donahue spoke about how the Chamber together with REDC, intervened in Section 248, Certificate for the Public Good, advocating for the pipeline from Burlington to Rutland. 'The RRCC strongly supports the Vermont Natural Gas Pipeline," he said, adding that natural gas for Rutland would mean lower household energy bills, and a reduction in Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions.
Donohue also mentioned the $8.9 million dollar grant received from the US Department of Transportation to upgrade the Western Rail Corridor, benefitting not only the passenger rail through Rutland, but also freight business. "We want to get our rails up to national standards, so our freight cars can carry full capacity," he said of the improvements.
As the second busiest airport in Vermont, Rutland wants to keep the competitive edge, Donohue continued. "We want to keep attracting new business, as well as improving the business we already have," he said. Airport Road is being repaved and a right hand turn lane will be added from US Route 103, additional length is also being added to each end of the main runway. "It is a significant asset to the region, supporting business and recreation," Donahue said.
The Chamber's Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza won best fireworks in the region for the third year in a row, and has become quite a draw for the region.
The 32nd Chamber Winter in August Celebration, sponsored by The Rutland Herald, was once again a success giving Rutland Business people and residents the opportunity to recognize the positive economic impact of the ski industry.
In collaboration with the Mountain Times the RRCC produced and distributed 20,000 'Perk Cards' promoting over 100 businesses, created and distributed 10,000 regional maps as well as 30,000 Central Vermont Getaway Magazines.
Moving forward, the Chamber aims to continue to bring new commerce to the region by supporting numerous events, especially over the summer period. "In the off-ski-season, as well as utilizing our great roads and covered bridges, we want to take advantage of our amenities in order to bring in a number of national organizations," Donohue said.
From June until September, this past summer, Rutland hosted Horseless Carriage Club of America, Red Knights International Motorcycle Convention, New England Brass and Gas, Rally North America and worked with the Town of Killington to bring the Killington Classic Motorcycle Rally to the region. Donahue hopes to build on these successes while attracting new organization to the region as well.

 

Lt. Governor Scott gives keynote speech at RRCC Meeting
By Francesca Whyte
On Oct. 29, the annual Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce Meeting featured Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott as the Keynote Speaker.
A personal friend and colleague, Ken Grier, introduced Scott to a crowd of over 200 local business people. Having spent many hours with the Lt. Governor at the Thunder Road SpeedBowl, Grier noted that the sport (of car racing) meant that Scott had learned at an early age to work hard for what he wanted. Referring to Scott as a conciliator and a thinker, Grier said, "His life is dedicated to doing things for others."
A member of the Senate for 10 years, Scott became Lieutenant Governor in 2010. He promotes a common thread in all his work, from running his own construction company, to race-car driving, to politics, he says "To be successful you have to treat others as you would like to be treated. Respect your competition."
Scott compared the Rutland region to his hometown of Barre, saying, "Two blue collar towns, both full of survivors and innovators." He praised the Chamber's innovative work in Rutland calling it "a melting pot of traditional values and cutting edge ideas - just what Vermont needs." Scott referenced the diverse entertainment offered by the Paramount Theatre, bringing both Metropolitan Opera and live sports games to downtown Rutland.
Lt. Governor Scott established the Wheels for Warmth program, now entering its ninth year. Over that time 18,000 tires have been recycled, 11,150 tires have been put back into use, and $217,000 has been raised for fuel assistance.
The Lt. Governor touched on the Affordable Health Care Act. His advice to Vermonters was: "Don't lay blame, it is the law at this point, and we should do what is right for Vermonters."
In closing, he urged people to speak up and get involved, "If you want things to change then you have to step up, come down to the local government and talk to us."