8:30 a.m. Registration Opens
Be sure to use the promo code emailed to you to access free parking for the day.

9:00 a.m.

Onay Payne, Manulife Investment Management; David Williams, Lafayette Square 
Grab a cup of coffee and kick off the day with this special presentation. Please note that breakfast will not be served this year.
Start the day with a macro scope of emerging national trends in real estate and a perspective on the link between socioeconomic mobility and real estate investment. Onay and David will provide an overview of findings and predictions from the Urban Land Institute’s 2024 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report.
They will explore what cutting-edge research and data reveal about the dynamics of economic and social inequity, as they intersect with the real estate landscape both statewide and nationally. Discover strategies that have the potential to provide market-rate returns while improving long-term economic opportunity and mobility, offering ways in which members of the real estate industry can serve as agents of change.

10:45 a.m. Choose from four concurrent sessions:

Kevin Chu, Vermont Futures Project; Tino Rutanhira, Vermont Professionals of Color Network
Are you a Vermonter? Who gets to decide? People often point at policies or programs to try to explain why things are the way they are. However, what gets written or implemented is just a reflection of the underlying attitudes and beliefs of the people at the table. It’s time to invite more people to the table to ask some different questions. In this session, you’ll be presented with both qualitative and quantitative data to set up a discussion with your peers about the key question: Who is Vermont for? 

Craig T. Miskovich, Downs Rachlin Martin; Chris Roy, Downs Rachlin Martin; Gary Winslett, Middlebury College  
Vermont’s housing shortage has finally risen to the top of public consciousness. This session will address the legal, economic, and public policy factors contributing to this situation with the aim of fostering interactive discussion and engaging questions from both attendees and panelists. Panelists will delve into why Vermont needs to view housing as a component of work. If Vermont is to recover the labor lost since 2020 and maintain its current worker-to-housing-unit ratio of 1:1, it will need to add thousands of units, demanding a level of cooperation and commitment that is presently lacking. The panelists contend that Vermont’s housing shortage is a result of land use and zoning regulations. They will dissect five political dynamics—resistance to change, pastoral environmentalism, filtering denial, anti-capitalism, and activist supremacy—that heighten anti-development sentiment and hinder economic growth.  Facilitating discussion, Chris Roy sheds light on Vermont’s development regulations as a driving factor behind the housing shortage and will evaluate recent legislative measures, such as S.100, and their relevance to the need for housing. 

Dominic Cloud, City of St. Albans, Vermont; Tim Sampson, Downs Rachlin Martin; David White, White + Burke Real Estate Advisors 
Municipalities can play an essential role in creating opportunities for the delivery of public infrastructure to support private development. This session will provide a high-level overview of several tools municipalities have to support private development. It will also offer the practitioners’ perspective on how best to implement those tools. 

Megan Sullivan, Vermont Chamber of Commerce 
Join us for an engaging session that delves into the transformative potential of comprehensive Act 250 reform for Vermont’s development landscape. Act 250, a long-standing pillar of Vermont land use policy, requires adaptation as our needs evolve. In this dynamic workshop, we will explore the urgent need for comprehensive reform, consider the law’s impact on Vermont’s economic growth, and collectively work on a path forward for sustainable development. Through innovation and collaboration, we will address the challenges that Act 250 can pose to housing, economic competitiveness, and community development. We will unveil strategic reform proposals aligning with our twin goals: reducing regulatory barriers and embracing smart growth principles. Two real-life Act 250 scenarios will be utilized to foster open-floor discussion. Whether you are a development professional, business leader, community advocate, policy enthusiast, environmental advocate, or all of the above, this session offers a unique opportunity. You can be part of a conversation that will inform a topic at the forefront of Vermont’s coming legislative session. 

12:00 p.m. Lunch
Join the group in the general session room and use this time to catch up with your colleagues and clients and make new connections.

12:30 p.m. Speed Networking: Connecting with Fellow Professionals (session limited to 40 people)
Participants will have a designated session just for networking. This session will offer short, one-on-one meetings with other attendees for an opportunity to share a quick introduction. Join us for this unique chance to test your communication skills and grow your network.

1:15 p.m. Choose from two concurrent sessions:

Speed Networking 2: Connecting with Fellow Professionals (session limited to 40 people)
Participants will have a designated session just for networking. This session will offer short, one-on-one meetings with other attendees for an opportunity to share a quick introduction. Join us for this unique chance to test your communication skills and grow your network.

Chris Cochran, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development; Jacob Hemmerick, State of Vermont; Amy Tomasso, State of Vermont  
This spring, the Vermont legislature made significant revisions to state laws to speed up the approval of new housing projects. In this session, participants will gain insights into the HOME Act’s historic reforms to support housing starts. This session will preview the Department of Housing and Community Development’s latest project: Homes for All: A “Design & Do” Toolkit for Small-scale Developers. This toolkit is crafted to help move HOME Act reforms into action by empowering current and aspiring small-scale homebuilders. This session will also offer a sneak peek at 2024 legislative recommendations to help chart a path toward climate-ready housing development through future-focused land use and development frameworks. Participants are invited to offer feedback and ideas to shape the future of housing development and land use policies in Vermont. 

Joseph A. Barra, Robinson + Cole; Ravi Bidichandani, PC Construction; Robert M. Freas, Exponent; Art Klugo, BETA Technologies; Kurt Naser, PC Construction 
The multifamily, hospitality, and institutional markets have seen an uptick in interest in the use of modular building techniques. This interactive panel will solicit questions from the audience and explain how modular techniques can help mitigate current market challenges including those related to labor resources, material costs, and quality control. The presentations will include background information on a variety of modular techniques, current applications, advantages, disadvantages, and associated risks. 

2:00 p.m. Networking and Exhibits
Take a break to grab a snack and some coffee.

2:15 p.m. Choose from three concurrent sessions:

Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power; Evan Langfeldt, O’Brien Brothers; Tiana Smith, Green Mountain Power  
O’Brien Brothers and Green Mountain Power have launched Vermont’s first fully storm-resilient, all-electric neighborhood. This community in South Burlington will have 155 homes that will be all-electric and fossil fuel–free, with microgrid backup power. All homes will also come equipped with a resiliency package including home batteries for backup power and solar panels to recharge them. Residents will move into homes ready for green living; each home will have heat pump systems for heating and cooling, all-electric appliances, and a SPAN smart panel and SPAN Drive level 2 charger. This neighborhood addresses two overlapping challenges: a dire housing shortage and the ongoing climate crisis. This community represents a model for development, and the way forward for the future. We can and must move quickly to implement these solutions across the state.

Christian Chorba, Downs Rachlin Martin  
This presentation is a year in review focusing on recent cases from the Vermont Supreme Court and the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court that have particular relevance for Vermont developers and other professionals in the commercial real estate industry. Subject areas include construction, zoning, Act 250, and other permitting-related issues. This session aims to be practical and interactive, with an emphasis on conveying how the recent cases impact developers’ work and how developers should respond to those changes. 

John Dunbar, Whitaker Properties, Inc.; Zak Hale, Hale Resources; Chloe Learey, Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development; Dan Ridlehoover, M&S Development; Jen Stromsten, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation 
Rural developers both large and small are creating innovative solutions: incremental redevelopment of historic homes that breathes new life into neighborhoods, rehabilitation of historic buildings and brand-new buildings that are reinvigorating downtowns, and ambitious repurposing of a former educational campus. In this session, the panel will take a quick look at some projects that illustrate these diverse business models. That will be followed by a lively conversation on the math that’s making great projects possible: complex funding stacks, tax credits, creative capital, smart zoning, public/private partnerships, Act 250 updates, and more. 

3:00 p.m. Networking and Exhibits

3:15 p.m.

Kevin Stapleton, Vermont Department of Labor 
By many metrics, the Vermont economy is at or near pre-pandemic levels. In other ways, it seems permanently altered. In this discussion, Kevin leads us through a range of economic and labor market measures and their evolution since 2020. He also looks ahead and discusses emerging challenges.
4:00 p.m. Cocktail Reception
Finish up the day with time to connect and reflect. Enjoy a complimentary drink from the bar and some light snacks. Stay to win a prize in the raffle!

2023 Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Keynote Speaker Sponsor

Gold Sponsors


2023 Vermont Development Conference 

Joseph A. Barra, Esq. | Construction Attorney | Robinson + Cole 
Joe is a partner in the Boston office of the law firm of Robinson + Cole LLP. He’s been practicing construction law for over 30 years and is licensed in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. He represents public and private owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, and design professionals in both transactional matters and disputes.  Joe is an adjunct professor of construction law at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. He is a construction arbitrator and a member of the American Arbitration Association Dispute Resolution Board (DRB) Panel of Neutrals. He is also certified as a mediator. Prior to beginning his law career, Joe worked as an engineer in New York, having previously graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1983 with a degree in civil engineering. Joe is chambers certified and was recently voted a “Go To” Construction Lawyer in Massachusetts by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. 

Ravi Bidichandani | Corporate Director of Business Development | PC Construction 
Ravi is the corporate director of business development responsible for PC Construction’s new project pipeline across the East Coast and in all markets. He has led the strategy and development of more than $3 billion in construction pursuits for public and private owners. He is particularly proud of his technical field experience building projects such as the University of Vermont STEM Complex. Ravi serves on the planning committee for the Vermont Development Conference. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a BS degree in mechanical engineering. Ravi and his wife have two young children and live in Essex. He enjoys traveling and spending time at his family’s camp in the Northeast Kingdom. 

Beth Boutin | Vice President | Evernorth 
As vice president of community investments, Beth oversees community investments staff in Evernorth’s Burlington, Vermont, and Portland, Maine offices. She directs both LIHTC and NMTC investment opportunities across northern New England, overseeing project placement, underwriting, and deal structuring to guide transactions from development to closing and implementation. She is responsible for broadening and maintaining strong alliances with investment and business partners. Beth has 26 years of economic and community development financing experience. She got her start in Washington State as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer evaluating banks’ Community Reinvestment Act investment performance, and as a credit analyst at Evergreen Community Development Association. Following a move home to Vermont, Beth oversaw small business agritourism lending and fund development at the Vermont Community Loan Fund. Prior to her start at Evernorth in 2012, Beth was a community development specialist for the State of Vermont’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Beth has a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Vermont and currently serves on business loan committees for Community Capital of Vermont and the City of Montpelier. She has two daughters, has run two marathons, and lives in Montpelier with her husband, dog, and cat. 

Kristin Carlson | Vice President, Strategy and External Relations Green Mountain Power 
Kristin is the vice president of strategy and external relations for Green Mountain Power. Kristin previously worked at WCAX-TV as a senior political reporter and anchor, winning multiple awards for her investigative work including the prestigious national Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. She serves as chair of the board of ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, and is also on the Vermont Community Foundation board leading the governance and strategy committee. Kristin grew up in Central Vermont and graduated from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. She lives in Montpelier with her husband Michael, who is a watercolor artist and sculptor, and their 12-year-old. You will often find them hiking and seeking out adventures in Vermont and around the world. 

Christian Chorba | Attorney | Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC 
Christian is an attorney at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, where he represents a wide range of clients through all phases of the litigation process including through motion practice, discovery, mediation and arbitration, trial, and appeal. His practice includes a particular emphasis on land use, zoning, environmental regulation, and construction disputes. Building on the skills he developed through a two-year clerkship with Chief Justice Paul Reiber at the Vermont Supreme Court, Christian regularly argues cases before state and federal courts in Vermont and beyond. Additionally, he has extensive experience with other litigation-related venues, such as state and local boards, commissions, and committees, including development review boards. 

Kevin Chu | Executive Director | Vermont Futures Project 
Kevin grew up in Vermont and is looking forward to growing old here, too. He is the son of immigrants and spent most of his early years living and learning in Burlington. Kevin is a graduate of Middlebury College where he studied the environment and education while also competing in track and field. Prior to joining his current employer, Kevin worked at the University of Vermont where he led efforts in recruiting for diversity, academic advising, communications, community engagement and economic development, and strategic planning. He is now the executive director of the Vermont Futures Project, a nonpartisan organization that is working to answer the mission question: How can we use data to support the evolution of Vermont’s economy toward a thriving future with opportunity for all? 

Dominic Cloud | City Manager | City of St. Albans, Vermont 
Over the last 15 years, Dominic has directed the comprehensive redevelopment of St. Albans, Vermont from his position as city manager. Under his tenure, the City has demonstrated the power of forming public/private partnerships to advance economic development projects. Dominic previously served as the director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns Municipal Assistance Center and as a lobbyist in the Statehouse. He received a MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a BA in government from St. John’s University. He lives in Essex, Vermont, with his family. 

Chris Cochran | Director of Community Planning and Revitalization | Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development 
Chris leads the innovative and multidisciplinary Community Planning and Revitalization division at the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development. The division uses a place-based, community development approach to align land use and built environment policies, programs, and funding which empowers state and local leaders to plan for and build walkable, vibrant, inclusive, and resilient downtowns, villages, and neighborhoods. Chris earned his master of historic preservation degree from the University of Georgia’s (UGA’s) College of Environment and Design. Before his work with the agency, he worked at UGA’s Center for Community Design and Preservation. Chris lives in Calais with his wife Stephanie and their daughter Avery. 

John Dunbar | Co-Owner and Director | Whitaker Properties, Inc. 
Whitaker Properties, Inc., is owned and operated by twin brothers John and Jeff Dunbar, who grew up in Bellows Falls, Vermont. After college and brief stints living in bigger cities, John moved back to Rockingham, Vermont in his early 30s. Nearly two decades later, the brothers recognized the potential that exists in Rockingham and its villages of Bellows Falls and Saxtons River and started Whitaker Properties, Inc. in 2014 to continue their parents’ tradition of providing quality housing for community members. 

Robert M. Freas | Principal | Exponent 
Robert is a principal in Exponent’s construction consulting practice, offering guidance on risk management, project controls, change management, project scheduling, process improvement, claims and change order negotiations, dispute avoidance, and the preparation or defense of construction claims. He has participated in the preparation and presentation of significant construction and contract claims and disputes. His experience with construction disputes includes the development, analysis, and defense of construction claims related to delays, inefficiencies, and cost overruns. Robert has been recognized as an expert in CPM scheduling, construction delay and inefficiency claims, and related damages. He also provides risk analysis services to large construction company owners and contractors including contract risk assessments, probabilistic scheduling, Monte Carlo simulations, and schedule and cost assessments. He has assisted clients with project management oversight and construction management services, lender representation services, and the development of project control systems. Robert is the president and a fellow of the Project Management College of Schedule, the 2022–23 board of directors’ chair for the Washington Building Congress, and the past president of the National Capital Section of AACE International. Robert has also taught at George Mason University focusing on project controls, and frequently lectures on construction claims avoidance and preparation, and risk management and mitigation strategies. 

Zak Hale | Partner and CEO | Hale Resources 
Zak is an innovative leader in rural real estate development, making notable strides in transforming Southern Vermont’s housing landscape. As partner and CEO of Hale Resources, LLC, Zak has effectively harnessed his strategic investment, detailed financial planning, and astute development skills to manage an expansive portfolio. This portfolio includes over 200 managed units, 100 of which are directly owned. His groundbreaking work in rural redevelopment includes securing the first Community Development Block Grant awarded to a for-profit company in Vermont and successfully raising over $2 million for housing renovation projects. Zak has been acknowledged as a “Rising Star” by Vermont Business Magazine and an “Emerging Leader” by Castleton University, and his commitment to rural revitalization is unwavering. 

Chris Kilmurry | Executive Director | Lewiston Housing 
Chris joined Lewiston Housing in July 2019 and has over 20 years of affordable housing experience. He holds responsibility for the organization’s strategic direction as well as overall agency operations. Chris’s role encompasses a range of responsibilities including the development of new affordable housing, administration of the Section 8 voucher program, and oversight of the property management and maintenance for Lewiston Housing’s owned and third party-managed portfolios. Chris has held leadership positions with two national nonprofit developers and owners of affordable housing, the Community Builders, Inc., and POAH Communities in Boston, as well as Avesta Housing in Portland, Maine. He earned a BS in business administration with a concentration in international business management from the University of Vermont, and he currently serves on the board of directors for Community Concepts. 

Jacob Hemmerick | Community Planning and Policy Manager | State of Vermont 
As a community planning and policy manager, Jake supports a variety of state projects, programs, and policy work related to the Vermont Municipal and Regional Planning Act and the Downtown Development Act—including the administration of planning grants and state designations that help support location-based development and redevelopment. Jake holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Dayton, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and lives in Barre City, where he serves as mayor, with his partner Lisa and dog Primo. 

Art Klugo | Team Member | BETA Technologies 
Art has broad experience in real estate development, architecture and engineering services, and construction management. This experience has provided the foundation for leading and managing successful teams involved in the permitting, funding, planning, design, construction, sales, marketing, and operation of real estate and corporate assets valued from $1 million to $350 million. He holds a BS degree from Lawrence Technological University and is a registered professional architect. 

Evan Langfeldt | President and CEO| O’Brien Brothers 
Evan joined O’Brien Brothers in January 2016, after which the 65-year-old company embarked upon a significant growth and development strategy. Its most notable development was O’Brien Farm, a 140-acre mixed-use development in South Burlington, Vermont, currently featuring 364 residential units in various stages of occupancy and construction. This includes Vermont’s first 100 percent fossil fuel–free, climate-resilient, microgrid community. Apart from development, O’Brien Brothers owns and manages diverse residential and commercial properties, and developable lands across Chittenden County. Prior to his time at O’Brien Brothers, Evan spent eight years at ReArch Company, where he served as vice president of development, and before that at Meridian Development Group as director of operations, developing upscale multifamily ski resort properties in Mammoth Lakes, California, and in the Lake Tahoe area. Evan actively serves his community as vice chair of the board of directors of the Vermont Futures Project, as a director of New England Federal Credit Union, and on the Eastview at Middlebury retirement community board. He’s been involved with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, and Greater Burlington YMCA building and development committee.  Evan was born and raised in Middlebury, Vermont, and graduated from Hamilton College. He lives in Charlotte with his wife and daughter. 

Chloe Learey | Executive Director | Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development 
Chloe is the executive director of the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro. She is the steering committee chair of the Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance, and is on the boards of the Vermont Community Loan Fund and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Chloe has shepherded her organization through a planning process to design a new future for its property, a 200+ acre campus nestled between Route 91 and Brattleboro neighborhoods. A mixed-use redevelopment plan is in the works to include recreational and educational uses, as well as the addition of 300 housing units. 

Craig T. Miskovich, Esq. | Director | Downs Rachlin Martin 
As a director at Downs Rachlin Martin, Craig provides advice to lenders, investors, and project companies regarding tax credit financings, including New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and other state and federal tax credit programs. He is also the founding member of the Brooks House Development Team, a collection of civic-minded entrepreneurs who redeveloped an 87,000-square-foot commercial building in downtown Brattleboro. 

Christina Mortensen | Choice Neighborhoods Deputy Director | HUD 
Christina manages the competitive selection of Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant awards, leading to an investment of over $1 billion in low-income neighborhoods with distressed HUD-assisted housing. She also manages a portfolio of housing and neighborhood redevelopment projects. With advanced degrees in both urban planning and social work, Christina brings a “people first” approach to neighborhood revitalization. Prior to taking the Choice Neighborhoods position, Christina was appointed to HUD as a presidential management fellow with the Federal Housing Administration. She also worked for the National Association of Social Workers and provided mental health services as a licensed social worker. 

Kurt Naser | Director of Preconstruction | PC Construction 
Kurt leads PC’s preconstruction and cost estimating services for projects across the Northeast. He manages a team of estimators responsible for detailed cost modeling ranging from conceptual estimates through guaranteed maximum price (GMP) proposals. Kurt has extensive experience in value engineering, constructability reviews, and construction system analyses, backed by years spent as a project manager and project engineer. Kurt holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University. He is an avid skier and resides with his wife and two sons in Essex Junction. 

Onay Payne | Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager | Manulife Investment
Onay Payne is a Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at Manulife Investment
Management (“MIM”). Ms. Payne is responsible for driving the strategy and development of ESG
impact investment capabilities across the MIM platform. Ms. Payne partners with MIM’s
investment, asset management and investor relations teams in screening investments;
identifying risks and opportunities with respect to ESG impact; optimizing portfolio construction;
enhancing asset performance; maximizing returns; and establishing performance benchmarking
for ESG impact.
Prior to joining MIM, Ms. Payne was the managing director of real estate at Lafayette Square, which aims to create investment opportunities in overlooked places and underserved markets. Onay served on Lafayette Square’s people practices committee. Previously, she was an equity owner and managing director of Clarion Partners. As a portfolio manager, she oversaw nearly $10 billion in assets over the course of her tenure. Onay oversaw various investment mandates across property types and markets in the U.S. including Clarion’s Mexico platform. She began working in the real estate and finance industries in 1997. Onay graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1997 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2003 as a Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow. Onay chairs the Toigo Alumni Endowment Board and the audit, finance, and investment committee at Mark Morris Dance Group. She’s a global governing trustee and vice chair of ULI’s Technology and Real Estate Council. Additionally, she’s part of REEC, the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board, WX New York Women Executives in Real Estate, and Building Cyber Security Advisory Board. In 2023, Onay was recognized on Commercial Observer’s Power 100 list, Bloomberg Markets Magazine, and Commercial Property Executive’s Female Leaders in CRE. Previously, she contributed to Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2023, appeared in Commercial Observer’s Power Finance 50 (2021), Pace Common Ground Campaign (2017), Toigo Foundation’s “40 Under 40” (2013), and Real Estate Forum Magazine’s “Women of Influence” (2010). 

Misty Parker | Assistant Director of Economic and Community Development | City of Lewiston, Maine  
Misty is the assistant director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Lewiston, Maine. In her role, she focuses on downtown redevelopment, strengthening the community through creative programs and services, developing innovative workforce development programs, and supporting business owners to establish and expand in the city. Over the past five years, Misty has been managing the city’s Choice Neighborhoods initiative, implementing a resident-led transformation plan for Lewiston’s most blighted  Tree Streets neighborhood. Misty holds a BS in environmental studies from the University of Maine at Machias and a master’s degree in resource management and conservation from Antioch University New England. 

Dan Ridlehoover | Senior Manager of Project Development | M&S Development 
A desire to tackle complex housing projects and improve rural economies led Dan to join the M&S Development team in August 2021. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has seven years of experience in corporate retail project management, sourcing, developing, and operating retail stores on a national level. Other experience includes serving as the retail operations manager for Newell Brands’ technical apparel division, and as the facilities manager for the Brattleboro Food Co-op. Dan is also a volunteer for the Dummerston Fire Department. 

Chris Roy | Director, Litigation Group | Downs Rachlin Martin 
Chris is a director with the Litigation Group of Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC (DRM). He works closely with clients to tailor plans for commercial and real property litigation, including environmental and land use permitting. As a seasoned commercial litigator, he represents clients across Vermont—from individuals to large businesses—with respect to business disputes of all kinds. He devotes much of his practice to permit litigation and to resolving the entire spectrum of real property–related disputes. Chris also chairs DRM’s Complex Land Use and Development Group, which brings together practitioners from multiple disciplines to provide tailored support and guidance to clients with complex land use and development needs. As a former member of the Williston Selectboard and Vermont Environmental Board, and past chair of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Chris represents clients in a variety of land use, tax, administrative, and other matters with the added perspective derived from his years of relevant public service. Besides appearing regularly before the state’s Environmental Division and trying cases in Superior Courts across Vermont, Chris is an active appellate litigator, having represented clients in over 50 appeals before the Vermont Supreme Court and other appellate courts. 

Tino Rutanhira | Co-founder | Vermont Professionals of Color Network 
Tino is currently employed at Cox Automotive. He also sits on the board of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the board of the Janet S. Munt Family Room. An entrepreneur and creator at heart, over the last five years Tino has produced and hosted his own podcast called “On the Shoulders of Giants”; co-founded, owned, and operated Best In VT Tours and Charter; acted in a play at the Flynn Theatre titled The Call; and performed standup comedy at the Vermont Comedy Club. In 2019, he co-founded the Vermont Professionals of Color Network. When not working or creating, Tino enjoys listening to music or podcasts, and watching or playing competitive sports. He loves to play and watch football (soccer), and most Saturdays he can be seen in his beloved Liverpool FC jersey yelling at the TV! Most importantly, Tino is a single parent of the most beautiful, intelligent, amazing 18-year-old daughter. Parenting is by far his biggest source of pride and joy. 

Tim Sampson | Director and Chair | Real Estate Law Group at Downs Rachlin Martin 
Tim is a director and chair of the Real Estate Law Group at Downs Rachlin Martin in Burlington, Vermont. He has a multi-jurisdictional real estate development and transactions practice that touches on many aspects of municipal development. Tim currently represents the City of Burlington in connection with the CityPlace project, and he represents a Virginia-based healthcare system in connection with multiple public/private development projects. Tim received his law degree from George Mason University and a BA in government from the College of William and Mary. He lives in Charlotte, Vermont with his family. 

Tiana Smith | Head of Electrification and Sustainability| Green Mountain Power 
Tiana is the head of electrification and sustainability at Green Mountain Power, leading GMP’s work to help customers switch away from fossil fuel for driving and heating. She’s also focused on deploying V2G (vehicle to grid) technology, expanding electric vehicle fast charging across Vermont, and launching new customer initiatives that help boost resiliency for homes and businesses as Vermont experiences more extreme weather. Tiana attended Colorado State University, and she brings two decades of experience at community-focused energy companies in Colorado to her work with GMP customers and local leaders across Vermont. Tiana and her family live in Essex. They love to ski at Smuggs in the winter and enjoy fishing and hiking in the summer, with their two St. Bernard/Great Dane dogs.   

Kevin Stapleton | Economic & Labor Market Information Division Assistant Director | Vermont Department of Labor
In his current role, Kevin oversees a variety of labor market data programs, analyzes economic trends, and travels the state to discuss the Vermont economy. In addition to his work with the Department of Labor, he holds faculty positions at the University of Vermont and Community College of Vermont, where he teaches economics and international development. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and an MS in applied economics from the University of Vermont. When he’s not working, you can find Kevin riding his bike, playing in the woods, or watching his 11-year-old daughter do cartwheels. Kevin’s penchant for economics started in the fifth grade when he forgot his lunch money.   

Jen Stromsten | Director of Programs | Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation 
Jen is the director of programs at the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC). She oversees workforce and community development programming. Prior to joining the BDCC staff, Jen worked for two years to launch the Vermont Futures Project, in partnership with BDCC’s former director, Jeff Lewis. Jen has a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, focused on economically sustainable land use through infill-driven redevelopment in towns. 

Megan Sullivan | Vice President of Government Affairs | Vermont Chamber of Commerce 
Megan leads the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s extensive policy advocacy to ensure a strong economy for all people, communities, and businesses. Since graduating from the University of Vermont, Megan has been dedicated to growing economic opportunity in Vermont, working in both state and federal government positions before joining the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. She ran the Vermont Economic Progress Council, which oversees the State’s business incentive program and the tax increment financing program, and has served as business liaison for Congressman Peter Welch. 

Amy Tomasso | Community Planning & Project Manager | State of Vermont 
As community planning coordinator at the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, Amy manages and supports a variety of statewide housing initiatives, including the Homes for All “missing middle” housing toolkit, the Designation 2050 reform project envisioning the future of Vermont’s designation programs, and the Neighborhood Development Area housing incentive program. She holds a BA in urban sustainability and Italian from Stanford University and an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University, and is passionate about creating more walkable, livable communities. Amy is an avid triathlete, serves on the board of the Vermont Italian Cultural Association, and lives in Moretown, Vermont.  

David White | Founder and President | White + Burke Real Estate Advisors 
David is founder and president of White + Burke Real Estate Advisors, which has set up seven of the last eight TIF (tax increment financing) districts in Vermont and consulted on two others. David has been involved in Vermont’s development industry for over 40 years and specializes in public/private partnerships and managing complex development projects. Prior to founding White + Burke, David was vice president of Pomerleau Real Estate, director of community development for the City of Montpelier, and executive director of a nonprofit downtown development corporation. He holds a master of science degree in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University. 

David Williams | Vice President| Lafayette Square 
David is a vice president of real estate, impact, and partnerships at Lafayette Square. Previously he served as the director of policy outreach at Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based research lab focused on improving upward mobility in America through the use of big data. His leadership resulted in partnerships across the country, including a regional economic opportunity initiative in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Creating Moves to Opportunity, a national housing mobility initiative. David served as a senior advisor to the mayor of Detroit, where he managed large-scale real estate and community revitalization projects; neighborhood planning initiatives; and policies related to economic mobility, land use, and equitable development. He has also acted as an affordable housing and community development attorney and a nonprofit management consultant. David received an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, focusing on anti-foreclosure and anti-eviction law and policy. 

Gary Winslett | Assistant Professor| Middlebury College 
Gary is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department and the International Politics and Economics Program at Middlebury College, where he has been teaching since 2018. Gary earned his PhD in political science at Boston College in 2016, and was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in 2016–17. For fun, he enjoys cooking, skiing, and hiking with his wife, Becky, and their 4-year-old daughter, Adelaide. 

Gail Henderson-King, White + Burke Real Estate Advisors
Shannon Lenzini, Downs Rachlin Martin
Steve Shaw, Weston & Sampson
Nathalia Ellis, Freeman French Freeman