Accelerating the Development of Vermont's Green Economy

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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Meet Our Advisors

The strength of the Peer to Peer Collaborative program truly comes from our talented pool of Peer Advisors. We are fortunate to have been able to engage a talented group of Peer Advisors who are all successful CEOs, CFOs and COOs with demonstrated entrepreneurial track records. In each Peer to Peer engagement, they bring their successes, lessons learned and wisdom to bear when working with a client team. Learn more about their talents below.

The list below includes Peer Advisors we have engaged in the past.  We currently (2017) are not working with any Peer to Peer client businesses so those listed below are not currently engaged through us.

Robert W. Allen (Bob) currently serves as the President of Green Mountain College.  Previously he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Windham Foundation and Grafton Village Cheese. Read More

After retiring in January, 2005 from serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Vermont Country Store, Bob was recruited to join the Windham Foundation as its CEO in 2011.  Bob had been with the Vermont Country Store since 1982 and is presently serving as an advisor (he prefers the title of coach). Originally hired as Assistant to the President, Bob held the positions of Vice President – Merchandising, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and was selected as the first non-family president of the business in 1994. He was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 1996 and led the company through its first strategic planning process. Bob's previous retail experience was with Eastern Mountain Sports, a retail and catalog company. Bob is currently the chair of the Champlain College board of trustees, a trustee and chair of strategic planning for the Mark Skinner Library in Manchester, Vermont and recently concluded nearly ten-years of service to the Preservation Trust of Vermont. Past board associations also include the Vermont Institute of Science, the Orton Family Foundation and Long Trail School.  In 2016, Bob became the 8th President of Green Mountain College.

Bob Barton is the CEO of Catalyst Financial Group, Inc. and for over 28 years he has focused his attention on financing renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, co-generation), recycling, pollution prevention and energy and water efficiency projects. Read More

His firm has arranged over $1 billion in financing and has been (or is) an advisor to over 30 major utilities, the DOE, EPA, numerous trade associations, and dozens of business ventures. As a management consultant Bob helps major foundations and philanthropists maximize their environmental grant making. Catalyst is also the national financial advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency's EnergyStar energy efficiency program for all cities, counties, school districts and state governments in the United States. Catalyst is the financial advisor to the State of Delaware's Sustainable Energy Utility. In this role one of its responsibilities is to set up and manage a $12 million revolving loan fund for energy efficiency and renewable energy loans in the state.

Peter A. Cole is the principal of Cole Consulting, LC and has over 30 years of management experience, helping organizations become more effective through insight-based leadership, facilitation and broad-based coaching strategies. Read More

He founded and managed three successful businesses, and served in senior management positions for Green Mountain Energy, Leading Energy, Inc. and Green Mountain Power Corporation. Prior to that he spent seven years as an educator, the last four of which he was responsible for founding and running a parent cooperative elementary school. Now he is in private practice as an Executive Coach and organizational development consultant (since 1994) and has developed and led management training programs for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and not-for-profits. He is a certified Lominger Trainer, including the Leadership Architect Suite and is qualified as a Training-the-Trainer instructor in the areas of Change Management, Continuous Process Improvement, Project Management, Strategic Planning, Executive Coaching, and Communication Skills.

Marlene Dailey is the principal of Cornerstone Consulting and has worked with organizational leaders to align people and projects to achieve their priorities, focusing on bottom-line results, human resource development and the shaping of corporate culture. Read More

Marlene is highly skilled at clarifying business priorities and then building the internal capacity of the organization to achieve them. Past and present clients include Butternut Mountain Farm, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the SymQuest Group, Rhino Foods, Vermont Tent Company and Copley Hospital.

Kevin Harper is the Founder and former CEO of Autumn Harp, Inc., a natural cosmetics manufacturer located in Bristol, Vermont. He is now the owner of the Bristol Bakery and manages Bristol Works, a smart growth, mixed use redevelopment facility in Bristol. Read More

Under Kevin's leadership, Autumn Harp company grew to over $11 million in sales and 80 full-time employees. Kevin sold the company in 2001 to a local entrepreneur who has been successful at growing the business and adding employees. Since leaving Autumn Harp in 2003, Kevin has assisted small businesses with their development through the Peer to Peer Collaborative and one-on-one coaching / consulting.

Debra Howard is principal of Debra Howard Consulting, founded in 1991. Read More

Debra Howard founded her consulting business in 1991. She’s been coaching managers and leaders since well before executive coaching became the gold standard for leadership development. She coaches three types of clients: 1) rising stars who have ambitious goals, but not yet the skills, knowledge, self-discipline, or patience with others to achieve them; 2) seasoned, successful executives who are starting to feel uninspired, underappreciated, unhealthy, and stuck, and 3) superstars who are derailing because they’re so intense and hard-charging that they’re having an unintentionally negative impact on others.

Some of her current for-profit and nonprofit clients are the Surdna Foundation (New York); the Wallace Center, Global Water Challenge, and Spitfire Strategies (D.C.); Powderhouse Productions (Boston); and NRG Systems (Vermont).   

Debra is certified in or has received specialized training for: the MBTI and MBTI Step II, FIRO-B, job competency assessment and competency-based behavioral interviewing, and Waterline Action Learning peer coaching facilitation.

Prior to 1991, she was a consultant with Cambria Consulting in Boston, a human resource consulting firm that conducted job competency assessments and training for Fortune 500 and government clients. Before that, she was the director of program development for Training Concepts in Braintree, Massachusetts, where she designed stand-alone training programs for telecommunications and high-technology companies in the Northeast. She graduated in 1981 with a BA in semiotics from Brown University and is currently writing a book, “How to Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For.” When she's not working or writing, Deb enjoys landscape photography, gardening, backcountry skiing, and hiking.

John Kingston has been the CFO at Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, VT since 2007. He founded a financial consulting practice and presently hold small equity stakes in two privately held businesses as a result of capital raising and acquisition efforts with those companies. He is an experienced financial professional who has served as a CFO, Consultant and Commercial Banker. He has worked extensively with mid-size and small businesses. He has experience with raising capital (debt to equity), turn around and troubled situations, mergers and acquisitions, and start-ups.  John is a CPA and CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst) and enjoys capital raising, business valuation and financial modeling.

Fred "Chico" Lager is the former CEO of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream company. He joined the company in 1982, and together with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, built the company from a small ice cream parlor to a $100 million publicly held company. Lager 1994 book, Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop (Crown Publishers, Inc.), chronicled his experiences building a successful business while upholding Ben and Jerry's original philosophy of business as a catalyst for social change.  Since leaving Ben & Jerry's, Chico has assisted many other entrepreneurs build successful companies.

Linda Markin was the Chief Financial Officer at Concept 2, Inc. in Morrisville between 1988 and 2011.  She then served as the CFO of the Vermont Community Loan Fund in Montpelier until retiring in 2015. Read More

She has a BA from Dartmouth College, and received post graduate training in finance and administration at St. Michael's College. In 2006 she completed the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth’s Executive Education summer intensive program. Linda has a strong commitment to issues of social and economic justice and has been involved in organizations with social change missions since the mid 1980's. Linda is the chair of the board of the Public Assets Institute. Her past community service includes six years each on the boards of the Samara Foundation of Vermont and the Vermont Community Loan Fund, two years team teaching in the Women's Small Business Program, and on-going involvement with Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.

Frank Sadowski joined Gallagher Flynn & Company (GFC) in 1997 and established Gallagher Flynn Human Resource Services, LLC. Read More

This group is now the largest human resources consulting business and the largest executive recruiting practice in Vermont. He was made a partner of the Firm in 2003. In addition to continuing to build the Firm’s practice in this area, Frank’s work with clients focuses on the areas of compensation, recruiting, and organizational development. Immediately prior to coming to GFC, Frank was the Principal of Sadowski Consulting Services in South Burlington, Vermont for seven years. Before that, he was Human Resource Manager for Boise Cascade’s paper mill in Sheldon Springs, Vermont; Assistant to the President of the University of Vermont; and Chief of Economic Development Planning in the Vermont State Government. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Cornell University, attended Harvard Divinity School as a Rockefeller Fellow, and earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.

Bill Schubart, has straddled the worlds of the entrepreneur and non-profits for over 40 years.  A serial entrepreneur, Bill co-founded Philo Records, an independent record label that produces international artists in the folk and classical field and which is now part of the Rounder Group; founded Pleiades Music Group, a music publishing company; and founded Resolution, Inc., a fully integrated E-commerce services partner. Read More

Throughout Bill’s business career he has actively worked for nonprofits at the board level, beginning at 26 when he became the youngest trustee ever to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Vermont Arts Council–– a post he repeated at 41. At 30, he joined the Board of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and in 1984, he became Chairman of the Vermont Folklife Center. Bill has also chaired the Boards of Fletcher Allen Health Care, Vermont Public Radio, the Vermont Statehood Bicentennial Commission, The Vermont Board of Libraries, and the Vermont Business Roundtable where he also served on its Telecommunications & Information Technology Task Force.  He has been a member of and spoken at The Direct Marketing Association,  the American Video Duplication Association, which he co-founded, and Book Expo.  In addition, he has advised many non-profit and educational organizations on a variety of cultural and technical projects including the Governor’s Telecommunications Task Force, Vermont Public Radio, and  the National Endowment for the Arts.  He has taught courses at the University of Vermont in music, technology and business. He chaired the VT Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission and served on the Process Team for the Farm to Plate Strategic Planning Process.

Steve Voigt was the President and CEO of King Arthur Flour from 1999 to 2014. Read More

Hired in 1992 as Vice President of Finance, Steve became Chief Operating Officer in 1998. Prior to King Arthur Flour, Steve worked for Benedetto, Gartland & Greene in New York, where he raised private equity for venture, LBO and alternative asset funds. During his tenure there, Steve also supported his wife in founding, and later selling, Robin's Homemade Breads of Greenwich, CT. He also consulted out of Zurich, Switzerland and Cleveland for McKinsey & Company. Steve is a graduate of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, and Colgate University. Steve is Chair of The ESOP Association and is also on the boards of Newport Harbor Corp., King Arthur Flour, and the New England Mail Order Association. Steve has been active in Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility having recently stepped down as a Board member and is a member of the Vermont Business Roundtable.  He is now very involved in ReThink Health, an Upper Valley community health initiative. He periodically provides business coaching services to food related businesses in Vermont.

Paul Whalen is President and CEO of Hill Associates and has over 25 years of experience in leading and operating a successful company of professionals providing training and education to the telecommunications industry. Read More

He is a senior executive with strategic vision, drive and leadership and highly skilled in business and financial management, sales and marketing, and telecommunication technologies. Dr. Whalen first joined Hill Associates in 1984 and served in various technical position as well as other corporate functions. He was the Chief Financial Officer from 1984 to 1992, leading the corporate accounting, finance, and human resource functions. From 1990 to 1992, he served as the President and CEO. From 1992 to 1996, he spent much of his time teaching and establishing the company’s first sales and marketing organization as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. From 1996 to 2002, he served as the Director of Planning and was instrumental in the formulation of the company’s long-range plans. Dr. Whalen was appointed President and CEO for the second time in 2002. Paul is a registered Professional Engineer in Vermont. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers.