8:00 am Registration Opens

8:30 am Breakfast and Keynote

If Persuasion is Your Destination, Take a Shortcut (click for presentation)
Bill Drew, Kipling Road

Regardless of what industry we are in, we are all in the same business: the persuasion business. Every day, we are trying to get our teams, co-workers, bosses, clients, vendors, partners, contractors, and prospects to listen to us, understand us, and, ultimately, follow us. And, in many cases, buy from us. Storytelling is the simplest and most direct route to persuasion, yet most of us have little or no training in how to get better at storytelling. The good news is, everyone is a born storyteller. So we start from that spot and build up. Before you know, you’ll be better at persuasion because you will become better at storytelling.


  • You will walk away firmly believing that you are a born storyteller. No doubts. No argument. This knowledge will give you the confidence you need to get better at storytelling.
  • You will understand the most important parts of memorable business storytelling. Once you understand the parts, you will be able to focus on those elements to get better. You’ll be able to spot a good story when you hear one.
  • You will have the knowledge and skills you need to go and find great stories to tell at work. You will have the insights and tips you need to practice business storytelling in a simple and low-risk way.

9:45 a.m. Networking and Exhibits

Top off your coffee and fuel up for the day ahead.

10:30 am Concurrent Sessions

Housing Costs Too Much: Why and What Can We Do About It? (click for presentation)
Seth Leonard, Vermont Housing Finance Agency
Lynn Richards, Congress for the New Urbanism

The session will explore Vermont’s housing cost drivers and review possible solutions. Part One will preview and ask participants to provide feedback on the initial findings of the most recent affordable housing cost study. This will be followed by a preview of the Zoning for Great Neighborhoods project that aims to help cities and towns make incremental changes to outdated zoning codes and become more welcoming to housing development.


  • What is driving the cost of affordable rental housing in Vermont?
  • Common zoning barriers to housing development in walkable places.
  • Opportunities and choices to shift policy to increase the supply of housing.

Investing in Main Street: A Case Study Using an Opportunity Fund (click for presentation)
Bob Stevens, M&S Development
Skye Morse, M&S Development

Data shows that the demographic we are looking to attract to Vermont relies on us having vibrant downtowns where most needs—goods, services, entertainment, social gatherings, etc.—are within walking distance from home. Activating our Main Streets by making use of our historic buildings, especially the upper stories with attractive housing options, is an essential ingredient to growing our stagnant and aging population. But the costs to do so just don’t pencil out. This Case Study of The Putnam Redevelopment Project provides lessons learned and successes achieved, and how an Opportunity Fund supported the revitalization of downtown Bennington.


  • Why typical downtown developments do not pencil out.
  • Creative ownership structures and ways to de-risk projects that will make them viable.
  • Unique strategies to raising funds, finding tenants, and closing the financing gap.

Permitting and Case Law: A Year in Review (click for presentation)
Jim Langan, Dinse PC

This is a review of Vermont permitting decisions of note from the last year, with an emphasis on their practical implications going forward.


  • An awareness of recent changes and clarifications to Vermont permitting rules and laws
  • Knowledge of how these changes impact development in Vermont.
  • Insight into what future changes may be on the horizon.

Two Property Owners. Two Contamination Sources. Who is Left Holding the Bag? A Play in Three Acts. (click for presentation)
Tom Broido, ATC Group Services LLC
Geoff Hand, Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand PLLC
Miles Waite, Waite-Heindel Environmental Management
Richard Spiese, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

This session will use a hypothetical scenario to role-play a situation, which has occurred many times in Vermont.

ACT I: The scene opens inside a building where contaminated soil has affected the air quality. Two environmental consultants will walk through their investigation. An attorney will then present the legal liabilities at play such as: CERCLA (Superfund) liability; responsibility for investigation and cleanup costs; property damage and personal injury claims.

ACT II: A State regulator will then present the State’s perspective on Responsible Parties and outcomes. Conflict ensues with each property owner claiming that the other is responsible. A meeting with State Regulators will be followed by litigation and an attempted mediation session. Mediation questions will be accepted from the audience.

ACT III: The case will be resolved and the consequences to the parties will be presented.

The audience will be voting at various points along the way providing input regarding who they view as the Responsible Party.


  • An understanding of the technical complexity involved with multiple contamination sources affecting multiple building owners.
  • Knowledge of the legal liabilities arising from these situations.
  • Insight into how the State regulators view these matters and make decisions regarding responsibility for cleanup.

11:45 am Networking and Exhibits

12:00 pm Lunch and Presentation

Lunch Bites: #trending (click for presentation)

The Buzz Around Pollinator Friendly Development
Samantha Alger, VHB

Rebuilding Opportunities for Young Professionals
Erin Bombard, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce
Austin Davis, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

Expanding the Cube: Coworking and Working Remote Is Changing Our View
Missa Aloisi, Blank Slate Coworking and Hinge

In the Pecha Kucha presentation style, three presentations will review trending topics as they relate to the commercial real estate development industry. This will be a fast-paced presentation style that keeps the presenters on their toes. Try to keep up as each speaker scrolls through 20 slides, with only 20 seconds allotted per slide. You will learn everything you need to know to stay current and trendy in less than seven minutes.

1:00 pm Concurrent Sessions: Round 1

Off Limits for Development? What You Need to Know About the Regulation of Forest Connectivity Blocks (click for presentation)
Brian Sullivan, MSK Attorneys
Eric Sorenson, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has designated a large percentage of the rural lands of Vermont to be “Highest Priority” Forest Connectivity Blocks. According to the ANR, these blocks allow animals to move freely with wide range, and to find suitable habitats as climate and land uses evolve and change. Development in these blocks may cause fragmentation of the habitat and be detrimental to the processes described above. But how much of the Vermont countryside will be off limits to development as a result of efforts by ANR and private groups to compel adherence to those block designations? What is the appropriate balance between development and conservation in these areas? Who is best suited to determine how that balance will be struck?


  • Understand what Forest Connectivity Blocks are and why they are important.
  • Understand how the ANR exercises its authority to protect those blocks.
  • Understand the current state of the law regarding ANR’s exercise of authority.

Building SMART: Developing For the Future is Now (click for presentation)
Scott Sullivan, Siemens Industry, Inc.
Leif Erikson, Siemens Industry, Inc.

With the technology market rapidly changing the way we design, use, and leverage our buildings, partners that know how to navigate the industry are imperative to the success of your new development. You will learn how to leverage technology to create additional revenue streams, and how the right technology partners can help build SMART yet cost effective buildings. Scott and Leif will illustrate how methodologies such as the use of digital amenities and “Future Proofing” have already been adopted successfully throughout the country.


  • How and when to engage technology partners.
  • Where the industry is moving regarding technology.
  • How developers can leverage technology to generate continuous revenue streams.

Development of Investment Tax Credit Eligible Projects (click for presentation)
Scott Rowland, Gravel & Shea, PC
Brent Lanoue, Gravel & Shea, PC

This session provides useful information on securities regulations and entity structuring relevant to investors and developers interested in developing investment tax credit eligible projects. In recognition of Vermont’s current need for affordable housing, this conversation will be framed around an example project utilizing the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) program. As such, this session will provide a roadmap to the fascinating and complex requirements for applying, and receiving, an LIHTC allocation. This session will also discuss on going LIHTC compliance requirements and the investor-exit strategies.


  • Understand securities regulations governing the marketing and sale of equity interests.
  • Learn typical organizational techniques that facilitate the flow of tax credits generated by a project to its equity investors.
  • Discover the mechanics of the LIHTC allocation process and ongoing compliance requirements.

Speed Networking: Connecting With Fellow Professionals (session limited to 45 people)
Back by popular demand, attendees 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.

1:45 pm Networking and Exhibits

2:15 pm Concurrent Sessions: Round 2

Mass Timber as Market Distinction: Products, Projects, and Design
Ricky McLain, Woodworks-Wood Product Council

The need for greater energy efficiency and a lighter carbon footprint is a growing need, especially in the construction and real estate industries. Advancements in engineered wood products, and the technologies used to create them, are resulting in higher levels of precision, prefabrication, envelope efficiency, and MEP service integration. This fast-moving session will discuss reasons for mass timber selection, challenges and solutions associated with its implementation, and unique lessons learned throughout the design and construction processes. Ricky will illustrate why designers, developers, and contractors are looking to integrate mass timber methodologies, and how they too can be part of the positive change.


  • Identify mass timber products available in North America and consider how they can be used under current building codes and standards.
  • Review completed mass timber projects that demonstrate a range of applications and system configurations, focusing on market distinction.
  • The benefits of using mass timber products, including structural versatility, prefabrication, lighter carbon footprint, and reduced labor costs.

Making Your Job Easier With Online Maps
Tim Terway, Vermont Center for Geographic Information
John E. Adams, Vermont Center for Geographic Information

Who owns that property? For how much is it assessed? How much developable land does it have? What existing permits are on the property? Does it qualify for any state incentives? Accessing this information is now easier than ever, thanks to newly available data and web mapping applications readily available at your fingertips. From grand list-joined parcel data, high-resolution land cover, 1’ contours, and building footprints, to ANR permits, designation program boundaries, and floodplains. Learn how to access public data to kick start the planning, design and development process. This session will demonstrate how to find and use public data, provide example applications, and show you how to quickly answer questions about a property.


  • What development-related geographic information is now freely available statewide in Vermont.
  • How to easily access and use this information.
  • Example development-related uses (e.g. property ownership research, land use analysis, site design and development, municipal and regional planning, economic geography assessment).

This Stinks – What To Know When Leasing Space To Cannabis Growers (click for presentation)
Ethan Bellavance, Efficiency Vermont
Lauren Morlino, Efficiency Vermont

Join Ethan and Lauren to learn the unique energy, ventilation, and building shell concerns of the indoor agriculture tenant and the property owner. This presentation will draw upon what Efficiency Vermont is learning as the number of cannabis growers in Vermont increase, as well as what we are learning from our peers in areas of the country where recreational marijuana use has been legalized.


  • Indoor growing is a very energy intensive process.
  • Proper air sealing, insulation and ventilation are vital, as failing to do this can lead to pest and mildew issues for the tenant and odor issues for the owner.
  • How to tap into the resources available (both technical and financial) as you prepare your commercial space to accommodate cannabis growing.

Top Ten Updates, Pitfalls, and Pointers Relating to Opportunity Zone Development Projects (click for presentation)
Shannon Lenzini, Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC
Drew Kervick, Dunkiel Saunders Elliot Raubvogel & Hand PLLC

You have heard the buzz about the Opportunity Zone program, the community development tool introduced in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, but is the program living up to the hype? The clock is ticking and the Treasury Department continues to release new proposed regulations. But, there is still time for investors and developers alike to utilize this powerful tool. This session will highlight some of the most important changes implemented by the new regulations and will dispel the most frequently shared misconceptions and misunderstandings associated with the program.


  • A deeper understanding of important aspects of the new regulations.
  • Pitfalls to avoid and common misconceptions to be aware of when structuring Opportunity Zone funded projects.
  • Practical tips for implementing Opportunity Zone funds into development projects.

3:00 pm Networking and Exhibits

3:15 pm General Session and Finale

Musings From A Cloudy Crystal Ball: The Vermont Economy in 2019
Kevin Stapleton, State of Vermont, Vermont Department of Labor

In this annual favorite, economist Kevin Stapleton will review the status of the economy, both in Vermont and nationally, with special emphasis on business cycle trends and demographic changes. Join local Legislators and Representatives for this engaging session. Bring your questions and join the group discussion.

4:00 pm Cocktail Reception

Network with peers, sample a Vermont-made spirit, and (hopefully) win a great raffle prize!