Message from the vtTA

 
 
As part of our advocacy on behalf of our members and Vermont's tech sector, we are providing input to House and Senate committees on bills concerning standard contracts and non-compete agreements.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee we raised some concerns with S.18 , a bill designed to protect consumers from standard contract provisions. The vtTA supports efforts to protect individual consumers, but we are concerned with the breadth of the bill as it was introduced, and its potential unintended consequences and impact on Vermont tech and other businesses, particularly businesses that use standard contracts in e-commerce. The bill's broad inclusion of contractual terms that are "unconscionable," along with the threat of statutory fines, could expose Vermont businesses to unfair lawsuits and claims - not unlike the tech sector has experienced with lawsuits from patent trolls. We asked the committee to work to include language that strikes a balance between protecting consumers from the worst actors, and the regular and appropriate use of standard contracts.

We have been invited to testify to the House Commerce Committee on H.1 , a bill that would ban all non-compete agreements in employee contracts. Many of our members our concerned about non-compete agreements, particularly if they are used as a way to keep employees from moving from one job to another. On the other hand, other members believe they are necessary to prevent the loss of competitive information and clients. While we support an effort to prevent the abuse of non-competition agreements, we are concerned that an outright ban could present problems for companies that use them appropriately. We recommend that the committee look at those instances where non-compete agreements have been unfair to employees and address those areas specifically, instead of banning non-compete agreements outright.
- - - - - - -
The Vermont Technology Alliance and representatives of Vermont tech businesses - including vtTA members C2, Logic Supply, RB Technologies and Renaissance Information Systems - joined with Governor Phil Scott and Education Secretary Dan French at a press event to proclaim January 30th as "Make Computer Science Count" Day in Vermont. The goal is to encourage Vermont schools to expand computer science offerings and to count high school computer science classes toward math or science credit.
- - - - - - -

The Vermont Technology Alliance is hosting a panel discussion with representatives from Vermont businesses that are providing innovation in energy technology at a "Let's Tech Together" event Friday, February 15 at Green Mountain Power in Colchester. This session is an opportunity to hear from leaders from Faraday, Green Mountain Power, NRG Systems and Northview Weather. Please
sign up now .
 
 
 
Jeff Couture
Executive Director, Vermont Technology Alliance
Useful Links



 
Become a Sponsor
We have sponsorship opportunities in our newsletter, for our Lunch & Learn and social events, on our website, and much more.
 

Like us on Facebook  View our profile on LinkedIn  Follow us on Twitter



Upcoming Events

Jump/Start Lecture Series: How to Build a Solid Legal Foundation  
(February 13, 2019 - Generator, Burlington)
 
Justin McCabe, attorney at vtTA member Dunkiel Saunders, will answer some of the most important legal questions entrepreneurs have when starting a business.

Read more
here.

Selling to the Government 101 
(February 14, 2019 - Rutland)
 
The Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VT PTAC) is offering a one-hour workshop titled "Selling to the Government 101," which introduces Vermont small businesses to government contracting.

Read more
here. 
   
 

Let's Tech Together: Panel Discussion with Vermont Energy Tech Innovators  
(February 15, 2019 - GMP, Colchester)
 
The Vermont Technology Alliance is presenting a "Let's Tech Together" Lunch & Learn panel discussion with representatives of Vermont businesses involved in energy tech.
This session is an opportunity to hear an informal panel of representatives from Faraday, GMP, NRG Systems and Northview Weather discuss how their businesses are innovating in the energy business sector.

Read more
here .
   
 
Excelerate Essex Presents: GIGrow's Invention - Farming's Future  
(February 19, 2019 - Excelerate Essex)
 
Excelerate Essex hosts a presentation by the founders of GiGrow, a Canadi an company that is interested in doing business in Vermont and has invented an innovative indoor, vertical farming technology.

Read more
here.
 

VMEC Manufacturers Forum at Logic Supply  
(February 27, 2019 - Logic Supply, South Burlington)
 
The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) is hosting a Manufacturers Forum for VMEC members and manufacturers at Logic Supply, where the company will discuss its process and quality improvement methodology,
 
Find more here .
   
 

Blockchain: A weapon of the oppressors, or a tool of the resistance?  
(March 1, 2019 - Bugbee Senior Center, Hartford)
 
Ryan Munn of Interchain LLC will explore the application of Blockchain technology and ways it and can be used to empower those who participate in its implementation.
 
Find more here .
   
 

Vermont Technology in the News
 
GE Aviation Awarded $517 Million Military Contract  
(February 6, 2019 - Rutland Herald)

GE Aviation has been awarded a $517 million contract from the U.S. Army to build parts for Blackhawk and Apache helicopter test engines. Dave Wilson, communications leader for GE Aviation military systems, said this contract alone won't require an increase in hiring, however it does put GE in a good spot to be awarded a production contract should this test phase go well. Wilson said it does mean is plenty of work for the Rutland operation during the next several years.

Read more
here .
 
 
Want a Good Job in Vermont? Here's Your List  
(February 9, 2019 - Burlington Free Press)
 
There aren't any jobs in Vermont, and even if you manage to find gainful employment the pay will be lousy. Right?

Wrong, according to a study released in Jan uary - Pathways to Promising Careers 
- by the Vermont Department of Labor and the J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation, which claims to have identified 62 "high-pay, high-demand" jobs in the state.   
The Pathways report estimates there will be openings for 1,780 software developers in the next 10 years, a number that David Bradbury, president of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, found to be "grossly" underestimated. Bradbury projects the need for 10,000 software developers in Vermont over the next 10 years, nearly six times the Pathways number.
 
Read more here
 

Scott Pitches Broadband Expansion Package to Lawmakers  
(February 5, 2019 - VTDigger)
 
Gov. Phil Scott's administration is proposing a slew of measures aimed at giving municipalities and communities the tools and funding to build out broadband infrastructure in rural Vermont. The administration's package of proposals, which they outlined to lawmakers, would include an infusion of about $1.5 million in additional spending on broadband-related expansion projects, and regulatory changes it says would spur buildout of fiber, or wireless internet infrastructure.
 
Read more here .
 
 
Q & A with Paul Millman of Chroma  
(February 5, 2019 - VTDigger)
 
Vermont economic development officials hold up Chroma as one of the state's leading success stories. Founded in 1991, Chroma, a Vermont Technology Alliance member, now employs 140 people and has offices in Europe and Asia. The employee-owned company reported revenues of $31.6 million in 2017. Chroma also owns a small company in Williston called 89 North that makes light sources for scientific instruments. Paul Millman, Chroma's co-founder and now its president, recently talked with VTDigger about Chroma and where it is headed.

Read more
here .
 

GW Plastics Marks Five Years of Manufacturing Operations Growth  
(February 1, 2019 - Press Release)
 
Bethel, Vermont based GW Plastics, Inc. is celebrating its company growth over the last five years - significantly re-investing in its business with major expansions of its Vermont, Arizona, Texas, and China facilities and the purchase of Irish company Avenue Mould Solutions. GW Plastics has grown to a combined 500,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing space and currently offers complete medical device contract manufacturing and mold-making services on three continents.
 
Read more here . 
 
The vtTA Joins with Governor to Promote Computer Science Education in Vermont Schools  
(February 1, 2019)
 
At a press conference on January 30, the Vermont Technology Alliance and representatives of Vermont tech businesses joined with, Governor Phil Scott and Education Secretary Dan French to proclaim "Make Computer Science Count" Day in Vermont. The proclamation comes with a letter to school districts from Secretary French, highlighting the importance of computer science classes, and recommending school districts consider making computer science count as a math or science credit.  
 
Read more here .
 
 
Vermont Forms Digital Alliance with Microsoft  
(January 29, 2019 - Press Release)
 
Governor Phil Scott announced that Vermont has entered into an alliance with Microsoft to improve access to digital skills programing and computer science education, and to promote rural broadband access, with the organizational support of Microsoft technology experts and partners.      
 
"Microsoft will work with Vermont in supporting kids and families in rural communities enhance their digital skills and to help expand broadband access in Vermont through its Microsoft Airband initiative. To advance the state's work to expand broadband access and digital education and training, Microsoft will work with RTO Wireless, as well as other local partners, to bring broadband to Vermont's businesses, farmers, healthcare providers, schools and local communities.
 
Read more here.  
 
 
Gravel & Shea Completes Vermont's First Cryptocurrency Real Estate Transaction  
(January 29, 2019 - Press Release)
 
A 12-foot strip of land along Lyman Avenue in Burlington provided the opportunity to close an innovative real estate transaction. Several of the homeowners had done boundary adjustments to purchase the strip of land behind their homes, but the cost of the process can be prohibitive. With support from Propy and using their online platform, one of the homeowners worked with Gravel & Shea, to purchase the strip of land directly behind their home. This transaction represents the first transaction in Vermont completed from offer through closing on the blockchain, and demonstrates the potential ease of property transactions in the future.  
 
Read more here .
 
 
Q&A: NRG Systems Innovates, Adapts in Global Renewables Industry (January 28, 2019 - VTDigger)
 
 
Justin Wheating is president of NRG Systems, Inc., a Hinesburg company and vtTA member that designs and manufactures technology for the wind and solar industry. The company has annual revenues of about $40 million and about 100 employees who work in research and manufacturing in Hinesburg. Wheating talked to VTDigger about NRG's work now and in the future, and about ever-changing solar and wind energy policy and tax incentives.
 
Read more here .
 
 
 
Move to Vermont? The Governor Wants to Give you $5,000  
(January 24, 2019 - VTDigger)
 
Vermont is losing residents at an unsustainable rate, Gov. Phil Scott told lawmakers at his budget address. His solution: a plan to pay out-of-staters $5,000 to take a job in Vermont. Vermont made international news last summer when it announced its remote worker program, which will reimburse out-of-staters up to $10,000 for their costs if they move to work remotely from Vermont. Scott's latest proposal includes $1 million to pay outsiders to move to the state for Vermont jobs.  
 
Read more here .
 

Featured Member -    Ormsby's Computer Systems  
 
 
 
Since 1982, Ormsby's Computer Systems has been a leader in providing total computing solutions for Central Vermont and surrounding areas. Its mission is to do more for its customers than just provide products: They are total solution providers. Every business and facility is different; even departments within facilities have very different needs. Ormsby's knows the right questions to ask and the right suggestions to share to come up with the right solution for their customers.

Ormsby's solutions and services include:
  • PC repair, whether in or out of warranty
  • small and medium business solutions, ranging from IT hardware to basic business application software, including business collaboration, server applications, backup and security solutions
  • Educational Solutions, from sales and consulting to implementation and maintenance, including software licensing, hardware sales, network maintenance and security solutions
  • Products, including PCs, printers, and network and security hardware and services.
Find more at www.ormsbyscomputer.com  
 
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.
 
Member/Sponsors: We are fortunate to receive annual support through our annual/member sponsors. The Physician's Computer Company ( PCC ), a long-time vtTA supporter, has renewed as a Leadership member/sponsor; the Institute for American Apprenticeships at Vermont HITEC has renewed as an annual small business Partner member/sponsor; and SymQuest has renewed as a Partner member/sponsor. We thank these leaders for helping underwrite the work of the vtTA.
 
We're pleased to welcome new business member Stormseye Associates LLC, and individual member Mia Jeffreys of TEKsystems.
 
Renewing members include business members Howard Center , NRG Systems , Technical Connection Inc ., and individual member Stephen Arrants.
 

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.     
We are happy to tell you more our organization - contact jeff@vtta.org. You also can find more information here, or sign up today to be a new member here.
 

Useful Information & Links
 
SBA Offering Free Strategic Growth Program for Vermont Small Business Owners
 
The Small Business Administration is seeking 20 entrepreneurs throughout Vermont to participate in a free business course starting in April.
 
Emerging Leaders is a free executive-level training program for established business owners poised for growth. Over the course of seven months at Vermont Technical College's Williston campus, each participating entrepreneur will learn immediate ways to improve their business and will create a three-year strategic growth plan to build a sustainable business of size and scale.
 
Emerging Leaders is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. To be considered, firms must be for-profit enterprises, been in business for at least three years, have full-time employees, and have annual revenues between $250,000 and $10 million.
 
Find more information on the program and how to apply 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 regularly  lists between 100 - 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 . 
 
 
Innovation Engineering Resources from VMEC
The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) has been involved in advancement and growth of Innovation Engineering since its inception over 12 years ago, in collaboration with Doug Hall, founder of Eureka! Ranch and the Innovation Engineering Institute.  VMEC recommends these two free IE resources:
 
  • Driving Eureka newsletter. You can subscribe to this weekly e-newsletter
  • Driving Eureka! Podcast, a deeper dive with many insights into innovation-related topics. You can also sign up to receive this in your in-box, as well as listen to the first episodes now.
The vtTA Thanks Its Member/Sponsors

Leadership Sponsors
 

 
 
Sustaining Sponsors:  
   
        
 
Partner sponsors: