Mark Foley and Art Jones’ roles at the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce annual meeting felt like the perfect antidote for a cold, wet day in Rutland, Oct. 29.
The Chamber’s recognition of Mark Foley as Business Person of the Year was an acknowledgment of one of the brightest lights in Rutland. Mark tends to do his work quietly, almost never calling attention to his business or himself, yet his contributions to life in the greater-Rutland area are broad and deep. His commitment to Rutland, ability to take the long view and focus on constant, forward progress are virtually unmatched.
Through his leadership roles on a host of nonprofit boards, personal contributions, investment in jobs and property, and willingness to collaborate for the common good, Mark has demonstrated an uncanny love for this community. His ability to look beyond hurdles and challenges and work to improve the region is inspiring.
So, too, was filmmaker Art Jones’ outsider’s perspective on the Rutland he’s come to know since he first visited about 15 years ago. For those who missed it, Art contrasted the vacant storefronts and deep despair many folks were feeling back then, and even more recently, with the explosion of energy seen today in downtown, the Rutland Young Professionals, the farm-to-table movement, local schools and higher education, and the energy field itself.
Art has traveled the country talking about rebirth and revival as he shared his film, “The Blood in This Town,” and noted the glowing national publicity Rutland has received recently, which has ranged from The New Yorker to USA Today. He acknowledged that there’s still plenty of work to do, but recounted stories he’s heard all over America as others look to Rutland for inspiration.
Jones and Foley come from vastly different perspectives and backgrounds, but share a powerful trait and an equally powerful belief that every one of us would do well to emulate: unwavering optimism, and the conviction that Rutland’s future will be increasingly bright.
Steve Costello, Rutland Town
Steve Costello is a vice president at Green Mountain Power and a member of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.