May 28th, 2010

Shots From The Trail: Biz Expo Edition

by Philip Baruth

We’ve talked a lot of about jobs this cycle, how to incubate small business, how to retain and attract larger employers. And if those are conversations you’re going to continue to have, then it’s good every once in a while, and humbling, to spend a few hours in a room packed with business people, people with a clear-eyed view of the VT economy, clear-eyed because in many cases it’s so clearly hobbling them.

Photos courtesy of Erik Filkorn.

But not all, and not even the majority. Many new companies working the green energy dollar, and clearly carving productive new niches for themselves. Ditto for those engaged in wiring up the state, bringing fiber the last mile to those without.

Had a long, intricate talk about universal broadband with the folks at Waitsfield Telecom, for instance, and came away thinking that Kurt Gruendling just may be the smartest and fastest-talking visionary I’ve ever run across. The sort of conversation that makes you question half of your long-held assumptions within the first 6 minutes, and therefore the absolute best sort of conversation to have.

And I ran into my old friend Wayne Turiansky, an attendee of the Hamburger Summit from way back, whose company Amalgamated Culture Works also supplied the first t-shirts the campaign ever purchased. And those t-shirts have held up under some punishing volunteer clean-up events.

Best moment of the day?

Talking with a very well-dressed and polished executive-type who, in the course of five minutes conversation, let slip that she’s also a member of the Green Mountain Derby Dames, and her brawling identity is “Queen Defeat-Yah.”

At the Vermont Business and Industry Expo, it turns out, things are not always as they seem.

Which is just the way we like it.