The Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region (CEDRR) held its annual meeting Nov. 14 at the newly opened Hub CoWorks in Downtown Rutland. During the public meeting, four community members were honored with awards for innovator of the year, business leader of the year, community leader of the year, and volunteer of the year.
Jeff DeJarnette, the founder of Tacitly LLC, a virtual reality startup focusing on the healthcare industry, was selected as innovator of the year. Lyle Jepson, executive director of CEDRR said, “I met our Innovator of the Year as he helped launch The MINT Makerspace. Jeff ’s energy and intellectual ability light up a room. This award is in recognition of his work leading the Rutland Region toward a more innovative, creative and inspired future.” DeJarnette’s virtual reality lab is based out of The Hub CoWorks in Downtown Rutland.
The business leader of the year award was given to the team at Dream Maker Bakers in Killington. Owner Megan Wagner accepted on behalf of the team. Dream Maker Bakers achieved this honor due to their com- mitment to the community, specifically during the Whoopie Pie Festival. When presented with the challenge of creating Vermont’s largest whoopie pie, Wagner put together a team, researched the largest whoopie pie recorded, found an oven large enough, prototyped and built a special baking pan, and then delivered the day of the event. “Megan and her team are deserving of this award because of their inspiring leadership, teamwork, and focus on customer satisfaction, as well as the creation of the largest Whoopie Pie ever made in the state of Vermont at 542-pounds,”said Jepson.
John Casella II, co-president of Casella Construction Inc. in Pittsford was awarded community leader of the year. Casella is the immediate past president of CEDRR’s board of directors and a current board member. He was a driving force as Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) and the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce (RRCC) merged to create CEDRR in 2020 and continues to provide promise for the Rutland Region. Jepson said, “John’s tireless commitment to the communities he serves and his exemplary leadership in creating what CEDRR has become is why he earned this award.”
Rick Gile was named volunteer of the year after spending hundreds of hours helping shape and develop The Hub CoWorks and StartUp Rutland. Over the years, Gile has fondly dubbed the Rutland Region,“The Land of Oz,” and the city of Rutland, “The Emerald City.” Jepson said.
“Because of Rick’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and his inspiring vision for the growth of the Rutland Region, especially ‘The Emerald city’ that is at its heart, the volunteer of the year,” he added.