Message from the vtTA

We were pleased to see a good turnout for our public policy and networking event in Montpelier last month. We had an informative discussion with leaders of the House and Senate Commerce committees on topics ranging from attracting a tech workforce to broadband. They expressed support for the tech sector and we welcomed their interest and that of the other legislators' who attended.
Secretary of Commerce Michael Schirling summarized the Governor"s proposal for a campaign to recruit working-age individuals, families and entrepreneurs to relocate to Vermont, particularly to help fill job openings. The Vermont Technology Alliance supports this effort as we have been working to promote Vermont as a home for tech-focused workers and businesses. We believe there's an opportunity to attract tech professionals who want Vermont's quality of life, but are unaware of the job opportunities with many innovative tech businesses and organizations that are in the state.
Here are some proposed bills in the Legislature of potential interest to the tech sector:
Business Grants & Credits
S.94 - creates a tax credit for employers that offer benefits such as telecommuting and flexible work schedules, and calls for the development of co-working spaces and rural broadband.
H.597 - would modify the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive program to encourage participation by small businesses and mission-based businesses
H.767 - creates the ThinkVermont Innovation Initiative to help accelerate small business growth by offering $400,000 in seed grants.
Broadband and Net Neutrality
H.581 - establishes the Connectivity Initiative requiring internet service of speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, prioritizing unserved and underserved Vermont locations.
H.582 - funds the Connectivity Initiative by increasing the Universal Service Charge from 2% to 2.5% for four years from July 2018 - June 2022.
S.289 - would require internet service providers to certify compliance with net-neutrality provisions as a precondition for winning state contracts.
H.680 - would require internet service providers doing business in Vermont to apply to the Public Utility Commission for net-neutrality certification.
H.811 - proposes the creation of a Workforce Education and Training Fund for training, internships, apprenticeships, and employment services.
H.852 - creates a framework for modernizing the workforce development system.
H.556 - bans the use of non-compete agreements.
H.764 - is designed to provide consumers with more information about data brokers and their data collection practices.
S.269 - Creates guidelines for promoting businesses that use blockchain, cryptocurrency, and other financial technology.
Finally, we want to thank PCC for renewing as an annual Leadership member/sponsor, and welcome the Institute for American Apprenticeships at Vermont HITEC as a small business Partner member/sponsor for 2018. Our annual member/sponsors provide valuable support that enables the work of the vtTA year-round.
Jeff Couture
Executive Director, Vermont Technology Alliance
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Upcoming Events

Let's Talk Progress: Innovation and Collaboration
(February 20, 2018 - Study Hall, Burlington)

The sixth event in Burlington's Let's Talk Progress speaker series will feature a "Jazz style mindsession" with four local thought leaders on the topic of innovation and collaboration.
Find more here .

Lightning Jar Event - Mary Powe ll, CEO of Green Mountain Power  
(February 22, 2018 - Bennington Museum)
The Lightning Jar co-working space presents an evening with Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power at the Bennington Museum.
Find more information here .

Creating Autonomous Yet Safe Robots
(February 28, 2018 - Generator, Burlington)
Josh Bongard: Director, Morphology, Evolution & Computation Lab at UVM, will describe how his research group is trying to ensure autonomous, but safe, robots using a crowdsourcing and gaming platform called TwitchPlaysRobotics.
Find more here .
Peak Pitch Vermont 2018 @ Sugarbush
(March 15, 2018 - Sugarbush Ski Resort)
Hosted by FreshTracks Capital, Peak Pitch Vermont, now in its 14th year, is a skiing, networking and fundraising event held at Sugarbush Mountain. Entrepreneurs are paired on a chairlift with an investor or advisor, and provided the chance to deliver their elevator pitch on the way up the mountain.
Find more here .
2018 Invention 2 Venture Conference
(April 5, 2018 - UVM Davis Center)
The UVM Office of Technology Commercialization presents the 13th annual Invention 2 Venture (I2V) Conference, which brings together dynamic experts, academic researchers, students, entrepreneurs and business leaders from across Vermont and New England to talk about how to protect, develop and finance your ideas.
Find more here

Vermont Technology in the News
House OKs Temporary Fee to Support Broadband Build-Out 
(February 18, 2018 - Vermont Business Magazine)   
The House advanced a measure that would raise more than $6 million to build out broadband infrastructure across the state. The bill, H.582, would temporarily increase a fee on telecommunications services from 2 percent to 2.5 percent for four years, ending in 2022.
The money raised from the increase - estimated to total nearly $6.3 million - would go to a fund that distributes grants to internet service providers that expand networks in underserved areas.

Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Dover, made the case for the bill as an effort to support expanding broadband access to Vermont's students and residents. "We have got to do something to help," she said on the House floor. "This is a very modest measure. 
Read more here.
Governor Signs Net Neutrality Executive Order for State Contracting  
(February 16, 2018 - Vermont Business Magazine)
Governor Phil Scott signed Executive Order No. 02-18, which directs the Agency of Administration to ensure that all state contracts with internet providers include net neutrality protections. The Democratic leadership welcomed with reservation the governor's order, but will continue to push for a more comprehensive net neutrality law.
Read more here.

Can You Prove That Vermont's Main Business Incentive Creates Jobs? It's Debatable  
(February 16, 2018 - Vermont Public Radio)
Among the proposals Gov. Phil Scott has made this year to expand Vermont's workforce is adding more "enhancements" to the state's signature business incentive program. But one top state official has long questioned a core principle of that program, called the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI). To get the VEGI payment, companies, such as tech firm recipient Logic Supply, must promise that they would not be able to add the new jobs and investment without the state funds, or that the growth would occur in a "significantly different" and "less desirable" way. However for years, Doug Hoffer, Vermont's state auditor, has publicly criticized this idea.
Read more here .
Data Collection Companies to be Regulated under House Bill 
(February 15, 2018 - VTDigger)

The Vermont House passed a bill that would regulate data brokers and provide consumers with protections against companies that collect, analyze and sell their personal information.

Under the legislation, H.764 would require data brokers to register annually with the Vermont Secretary of State's office and publicly disclose information about data collection practices and opt-out policies.

Read more here. 
UVM Adds Entrepreneurship, Tech Experts to Board  
(February 13, 2018 - UVM Communications)    

The UVM Board of Trustees has added two new members with expertise in entrepreneurship and technology. Jodi Goldstein, executive director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, and Otto Berkes, executive vice president and chief technology officer at New York City-based CA Technologies, will serve six-year terms beginning March 1.
Read more here .
The Vermont Tech and Taps Tour    
(February 7, 2018 - Machine Design)
Machine Design magazine wraps up its series of visiting Vermont tech businesses (and breweries). Profiled businesses include BioTek, Dynapower, Logic Supply and VCET.

Read the series here .  

GW Plastics Expands In-House Tooling Capabilities  
(February 9, 2018 - Press Release)

Bethel, Vermont-based advanced manufacturer GW Plastics has expanded and upgraded its tooling facility in response to growing customer demand in its global medical device and drug delivery business. The company has renovated and enhanced its state-of-the-art tooling facility in Royalton, Vermont, and purchased advanced metal 3D-printing equipment to build precision mold components.
Read more here .

Maple Syrup and Tax Breaks: Can Scott Attract New Vermonters? (February 9, 2018 - Seven Days)
One of the more ambitious ideas in the modest agenda Gov. Phil Scott proposed in his January 23 budget address was a $3.2 million campaign to convince people to move to Vermont.

Scott and his administration say they would use digital technology to identify and recruit individuals who already have some connection to the state, offer financial incentives to get them to move, and convert visitors to residents through what they're calling "economic development tourism."

First, however, administration officials will need to convince skeptical lawmakers that they can deliver a widely shared - but long-elusive - goal of spurring more migration to the Green Mountains.
Read more here.
Partnership Between THINKMD and Ona Presents an Expanded Offering in Digital Health  
(February 9, 2018 - Press Release)

THINKMD and Ona have announced a technical partnership focused on integrating the functionality of THINKMD's MEDSINC frontline health worker clinical assessment platform with OpenSRP, a comprehensive open-source point of care case management platform for frontline health workers. It was a developed by Ona with the World Health Organization and a consortium of leading global technical and health research partners.

Read more here.

People-Places-Capital Mantra Takes VCET - and Vermont Entrepreneurs - Far
(February 6, 2018 - UVM Communications)

With its superhero-themed art, retro furniture, random ping pong table and open floor plan, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies' eye-catching co-working space - a little bit of Palo Alto plunked into Burlington's FairPoint Technology Hub - is a good symbol for the dynamic contribution the economic development organization is making to Vermont's start-up culture.

Read more

Open Approach acquires Rail City Info Systems   (February 6, 2018 - Press Release)
Open Approach, a Burlington-based full-service IT company, acquired Rail City Information Systems (RCIS), an IT company based in St Albans. RCIS founder and president Scott Burleson, vice president Dale Burleson, and the current RCIS technology team has transferred all existing accounts and services to Open Approach's offices.
Read more here - Burlington is Our Home
(February 2, 2018 - Burlington Free Press)
In this commentary, Mike Rother, general manager at, discusses the company's connection and commitment to Vermont and the community as it marks its 20th anniversary in 2018.

Read more

Filabot Founder Named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 List
(January 24, 2018 - Essex Reporter)
Tyler McNaney, the 25-year-old Milton native and Filabot founder, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list a few months ago. "It's cool to get that acknowledgement, but we're still chasing down that dream - that mission of recycling the widest range of plastics," he said. Filabot builds machines for plastic extrusion. The machines convert plastic into filaments for 3D printer use.

 Read more here

Featured Member: Tech Vault  
Tech Vault, Inc. brings a world-class data center to the serenity of Vermont's Champlain Valley, with an environmentally conscious design from the ground up.Tech Vault is helping lead the industry in new thresholds for energy efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions.

Tech Vault offers data center co-location, cloud services, disaster recovery, storage, security, and consulting Services for all sized businesses.

Massive Internet bandwidth is provided by six enterprise class carriers, each with dual points of entry into the facility. Tech Vault's eco-friendly data center is LEED Silver Certified. The facility is constructed with hardened exterior perimeter walls, has closed circuit 24/7/365 camera surveillance and other protections to deliver what the company calls the Secure Side of IT.

Find out more at
Vermont Technology Alliance Membership Update
The Vermont Technology Alliance works on behalf of its members and is able to carry out its mission through the support of its membership.
The Physician's Computer Company (PCC) has renewed as a Leadership member/sponsor and the Institute for American Apprenticeships at Vermont HITEC has renewed as an annual small business Partner member/sponsor. Other renewing members are: Fletcher CSI, FreshTracks Capital, Green River Software, Protean, and Union Street Media. 

Join the Vermont Technology Alliance
The Vermont Technology Alliance welcomes all businesses, organizations and individuals who make up and support Vermont's diverse, tech-based economy to join our non-profit business association. Members benefit from vtTA's advocacy, programs, events, communications, and services, including job postings in our Career Center, and networking and business opportunities. 

Find more information here , and sign up today to be a new member here .

Useful Information & Links
UX Burlington Call for Proposals

A call for proposals has been issued for the UX Burlington 2018 conference to be held June 15 in Burlington. Organizers are seeking submissions for six 30- to 60-minute talks from speakers who are leading, strengthening, and revitalizing User Experience. New and seasoned speakers are welcome. The submission deadline is February 28.  
Find more here .

VMEC Offering Spring ExporTech Program  
Growth opportunities exist in global markets and exporting can be an important strategy for increasing sales.  Learning how to tap into these new markets can have a huge upside potential. The spring 2018 program will be Vermont's sixth ExporTech offering to help Vermont-based businesses move quickly from planning to closing export sales. Program sessions are March 8, April 26 and May 31 in Colchester.
Find more information here .

vtTA Career Center
Vermont Technology Alliance member companies are hiring, and when you visit the Career Center on the Vermont Technology Alliance website you can browse and search for these job openings . The Career Center features up to 200 tech and non-tech jobs. Jobs available from vtTA members are listed at no charge in the Career Center as a member benefit.
For more, click see the vtTA Career Center . 
The vtTA Thanks Its Annual Sponsors

Leadership Sponsors
Sustaining Sponsors:  
Partner sponsors: