Our economic development team is just a call or email away.
We’re here to assist your business and can direct you toward the many state incentives that help businesses thrive.
In addition, the Vermont Legislature and the office of Governor Phil Scott are some of the most easily accessed political bodies in the nation. State and local chambers of commerce as well as regional development centers are positioned around Vermont in an effort to assist businesses with any other problem that arises. Vermont is home to numerous trade, networking, and industry organizations.
OUR BUSINESS ASSISTANCE TEAM
Joan leads the way for a department dedicated to improving the economic well-being and quality of life of Vermonters. Well-respected in the business industry, Joan brings a wealth of experience to the job, having spent six years as executive director of a regional development corporation, where she helped diversify services with real estate investments, flood-recovery grants, and innovative workforce-development projects. Joan has also been a small business advisor for the Vermont Small Business Development Corporation.
Before moving to Vermont from New York City 12 years ago, Joan spent 20-plus years in the financial services industry in a variety of international sales, marketing, and management roles at J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse. These days, she is particularly interested in real estate development, workforce management, and relationship management. Like many others in Vermont, she believes the scale of the state allows her to really make a positive impact.
Outside of work, Joan likes to ski, cook, and watch movies. She has been married to her husband, Mark, for 32 years; they have one grown son, Evan.
Brett Long is the Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development. He is responsible for communicating with the State’s larger businesses to ensure that they are availing themselves of the many programs that are available, including programs for workforce development, international trade, and capital raising. In addition, Brett administers a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program, which makes funds available for the clean-up of sites to spur redevelopment.
Brett also manages a grant for the US Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. This grant makes funds available to the state’s defense-related businesses to help them to develop new competencies that will help them to thrive in light of the recent slowdown in US defense spending.
Brett enjoys outdoor activities including skiing, cycling, hiking, waterskiing, and windsurfing. After a career in financial services and small business ownership in the New York area he moved to Vermont, full-time, about three years ago to have more time to partake in these activities.
Megan Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC), the approval and authorization body for the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) and the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program. She works with businesses through the VEGI program to incentivize business growth through quality job creation and capital investment that otherwise would not occur. TIF Districts in Vermont work with VPEC to use tax increment revenue to finance public infrastructure projects that will spur critical private development.
Megan is a graduate of the University of Vermont and loves working and raising her family in her home state. Megan has spent her career in the field of economic development in Vermont and is constantly impressed by the incredible businesses and talented workforce hidden amongst these green mountains. Outside of work she enjoys taking advantage of the rich outdoor recreation opportunities year round with her husband and two children.
John manages the Vermont Training Program which is a general fund sponsored workforce development grant program receiving $1.3 million a year. He is responsible for working with businesses to talk about their workforce needs as well as helping them organize a training schedule for up to a year based upon new equipment, business opportunities, or process changes. On average John visits more than 100 businesses a year in a variety of sectors and facilitates 30-50 grant applications a year, including grants to businesses and training providers.
John has lived in Vermont all of his life and has past employment experiences in manufacturing and human resources. In his spare time during the summer season you will find him out in his garden growing giant pumpkins which he brings to competitions all over New England.
Joanne began her career in public service in the State of Vermont Tax Department before accepting a position in the Dept. of Economic Development’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VT PTAC). Joanne has been with the VT PTAC for 14 years and has spent that time providing one-on-one assistance to hundreds of distinct Vermont businesses to help them connect with government contracting opportunities. Joanne is an active member in the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) as well as the Department of Defense Northeast Regional Council which helps her stay current on government acquisition trends. Joanne was born in Connecticut but has spent most her life in Central Vermont, where she resides with her husband and beautiful daughters.
Kristie provides business support to companies in the advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, financial services, health care, education, software, and IT sectors. She helps businesses raise capital, access workforce-development assistance, win government contracts, and access other government programs that can help them thrive in Vermont.
Kristie is a lifelong Vermonter who owns property tended by two prior generations of her family. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, cooking and entertaining, and admiring her home’s mountain and sunset views.
Katie’s primary responsibility is to help businesses export their products — or learn how to export their products if they aren’t already doing so — and succeed in international markets.
Katie’s favorite thing to do is network and meet people from all different walks of life. She was born and raised in Vermont, attended college at Norwich University, and now raises her family in Orange County. She loves the people, friendliness, and the community lifestyle of her home state.
Shelley is in charge of maintaining the economic development website, handling all of the department’s social media engagement, and project managing other special assignments. Always eager to work with new people, both in and outside the state, Shelley loves the varied nature of her work; and as someone who has lived in Vermont her whole life, she has extensive knowledge of the Vermont business community. When not at work, Shelley is an avid runner and spending time with her daughter Chloe.
As Director of Financial Services, Ian advises the Governor and Secretary of Commerce on new legislation and policy recommendations to enhance Vermont’s leadership as the premier on-shore captive insurance domicile. Davis is the chief marketing and business development professional for the State of Vermont’s captive insurance industry, working closely with the Department of Financial Regulation and the Vermont Captive Insurance Association to strengthen our reputation as the Gold Standard. Ian is passionate about making his home state the best place to do business and live life. In his spare time, Ian is an active member of the UVM alumni community, an avid skier, golfer, and club soccer player.
Nick heads up the department’s efforts to drive entrepreneurship and tech commercialization in Vermont. Having co-founded LaunchVT 5 years ago, Nick brings a solid background in entrepreneurship and ecosystem building to the table. Through LaunchVT he has helped numerous startups connect with the people and resources they need to succeed. Prior to joining the department, Nick was most recently Director of Business Development at Vermont Teddy Bear. He has also spent over 10 years in sales and client facing account management roles helping business owners manage risk and solve problems. Outside of the office, Nick is an avid skier and fly fisherman.
Elaine Haney Sopchak
Elaine Haney Sopchak is the project manager for ThinkVermont and a special program director for the Agency of Commerce & Community Development. She is the former administrative director of the Chancellor’s Office of the Vermont State Colleges. Elaine is also a member of the Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees, a member of the Town of Essex Selectboard, and the chair of Channel 17 Town Meeting Television. She is a former small business owner and has a background in community development, marketing, higher education, and event planning.
Daegan Goodman previously worked with the Agency as an intern and has returned to fill the role of business generalist and grants administrator. He provides outreach to the Vermont business community, largely in the advanced manufacturing sector. He does this by marketing the Department of Economic Development’s suite of programs, incentives, and grants and aligning resources to support business attraction, retention, and expansion. He also collaborates with State, regional, and community partners to advance collective goals. Additionally, Daegan manages a portfolio of grants, primarily the Vermont Training Program. Daegan has lived in Vermont all his life and enjoys boating, hiking, waterskiing, and lacrosse.
Through direct oversight of the Vermont Global Trade Partnership, Tim helps Vermont businesses gain access to seminars and trade shows to broaden the reach of their products and exports. He also works with trade partners to foster the increase of foreign direct investment within Vermont. Tim assists regional development directors with new and expanding business recruitment, site location, and technical assistance. Tim also serves as the Northern Border Regional Commission’s Program Manager for the State of Vermont. Prior to joining the Department of Economic Development Tim served for 15 years as the Executive Director of Kingdom Trail Association in East Burke, Vermont.