Max Neal, Interim Executive Director

Max Neal, Interim Executive Director


The response to the Chamber Member survey is a tad over 20 percent so needless to say, it has been awesome. It is with sincere appreciation that we thank all members who have responded to date. If you haven’t completed the survey, please do so. You can take it online, which closes tonight at midnight, or you can return the hardcopy survey in person, by fax or drop it in the mail. All responses received through the postal service will be counted.

We conducted the survey to get a reading from our members as to the relevancy of the Chamber…Is it providing the types of programs that benefits membership. Is it addressing issues that are of concern to the business community? What can it do differently? What programs are effective? What programs do we trash? The feedback to date is invaluable and we encourage you to be candid in your response.

We expect to start calculating/compiling the results on Tuesday. The results will be shared with the membership and discussed at the December Board of Directors meeting. That meeting will focus on the relevancy and sustainability of the Chamber. The Directors will analyze the results of the Chamber member survey; the results of the “think tank” roundtable conducted earlier this month; and the status of the Executive Director search. Options will be thoroughly discussed by the Board with the expected outcome being a realistic and attainable 2017 program of work.

This is a unique time in the 28ish years of our existence; it is a time when we can re-focus, re-direct, be responsive to our changing times and identify meaningful initiatives and to take action on those initiatives. It is a time of growth and unprecedented opportunity.

So, I say, onward to newer and greater heights! Your Chamber makes a difference in the economic vitality of the Region and you, through your membership investment, your participation and sponsorship of Chamber programs, and your engagement in Chamber activities, will provide the Chamber with the tools (money and engagement) that it needs to continue to provide the education, collaboration, connectivity and leadership needed for sustained growth.

Executive Director Search
It continues and it is positive. Although a date has not been scheduled, the Interview Team will meet within the next couple of weeks to begin the interview process. The Chairman of the Board has conducted preliminary and informal interviews with two viable candidates both of whom would bring positive and demonstrated leadership skills to the Executive Director position. It is anticipated that the process will be concluded and an Executive Director in place by year’s end. It is, of course, a moving target, so stay tuned for updates.

New in 2017
The Board of Directors at its October Board Meeting voted to separate the annual membership meeting, dinner and celebration into two programs – one a business meeting; the other a celebration of Chamber accomplishments and its membership. We are hopeful this split will grow member engagement with the business aspect of operating a Chamber. And, of course, it will allow for proper celebration of the Chamber, the membership and their accomplishments.

Annual Membership Meeting- Mixer
January 18, 2017 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Town and Country Resort, Stowe
Click here to register.

The evening’s format will be registration and networking; business meeting (Chamber members in good standing only), followed by refreshments, networking and raffle. This format is a generally accepted practice among Chambers of Commerce.

If you’re interested in sponsoring the Membership Meeting Mixer, please reach out to me at or give me a call at (802) 888-7607. I’d love to discuss the options with you.

Annual Chamber Dinner and Celebration
March 1, 2017 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the StoweFlake Resort and Spa, Stowe
Click here to register.

The 2017 Annual Chamber Dinner and Celebration will be a plated dinner with extraordinary desserts. It will feature an extended cocktail hour with a cash bar, hearty hors d’oeuvres, and additional time to network/socialize/celebrate and to check out the silent auction items. We can promise you a few surprises as well!

If you’re interested in sponsoring the Membership Meeting Mixer, please reach out to me at or give me a call at (802) 888-7607. I’d love to discuss the options with you.

Committee Updates
Nominating Committee
At a Nominating Committee meeting held recently, nine business leaders were identified as potential Board members and the Committee is in the process of contacting those individuals to gauge their interest in serving on the Chamber Board of Directors.

If you have any interest in serving as Board director, simply email me at advising me of your interest by December 9, include a brief letter of interest and your resume. After receiving those documents, I’ll explain the process further.

The Chamber’s board is currently composed of 14 directors with four slots opening. The board can have no less than five, but not more than 15 directors.

Events Committee
The Events Committee is busy planning the January 18 Membership Meeting Mixer and the March 1 Annual Dinner and Celebration. The committee is recruiting for additional members, so please let me know if you’d like to join. It is currently chaired by Tracy Baker of Bourne’s Energy and sitting members include Sharon Green of Stackpole and French, Greg Paus of Silver Ridge Design Architects, Nick Rivers of Casella and Adam Lory of Union Bank and LRCC Board Chairman.

For Your Calendar:
Wednesday, December 14
Holiday/New Member Mixer: Sushi Yoshi
5 – 6:30 p.m.
It would be soy awesome of you to California roll into Sushi Yoshi for their new member/holiday mixer on the 14th. We promise you it’ll be a grand and festive evening of exceptional hospitality, excellent networking and spectacular hors d’oeuvres. Click here to RSVP.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
First annual Membership Meeting Mixer
5 to 7 p.m. at Town and Country Resort, Stowe
Click here to RSVP.

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Great Big Graphics Mixer, 5 – 6:30 p.m., Morrisville

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Annual Chamber Celebration and Dinner, 5 – 8 p.m. at Stoweflake, Stowe
Click here to RSVP

Don’t forget… Legislative Breakfasts start back up in January with a whole new slate of State Legislators. We are working to confirm dates and locations so keep an eye on your email for future updates.

The Chamber’s Business Seminar series (formerly Eggs & Issues) kicks off in February. We’re working out the details so stay tuned.

Chambers of Commerce make a difference … always has and always will.

Max Neal
Interim Executive Director