Speaker Date Topic
LUNCH::Kevin Chu, Director, VT Futures Project Aug 07, 2024 12:10 PM
VT Futures 802 Data Driven Housing Proposal

Due to a mix up in January, we did not hear from Kevin.  While the weather may be different in August, the housing issues he will address remain.  Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your vision. 

Kevin Chu is the Executive Director of the Vermont Futures Project, a data-driven organization that calls on Vermont policy makers to base decisions on hard data.  To accomplish this, VFP generates data and data trends to inform the decision making process.  

In this capacity, Kevin has been generating interest and conversation about a somewhat controversial proposal - a plan to increase Vermont's population to 802,000 from our current level of 650,000 - an increase of over 150,000 by 2035.  This proposal suggests Vermont should add 13,500 people per year over the next 11 years!!  To put this number in context, over the past few years, in-migration has been just over 3,000 people after years of stable or falling numbers.  Vermont Public does a nice job of describing the 802 proposal in this article

To put this concept in play for Essex Jct. and Essex Town, the proposed population increase is 23%.  Assuming the population of the Town and Junction to be 11,000 each, the population of each municipality in 2035 would be 13,500 or an increase of 2,500 in 11 years.  Said another way, the Town and the City would each add 225 residents per year over the next decade.  

As you can see, Kevin has an impressive bio.  Before Vermont Futures, he worked at UVM and attended Middlebury College.  

Kevin Chu 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. A graduate of Middlebury College, he studied the environment and education while also competing in track and field. Prior to joining the Vermont Futures Project, 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 towards a thriving future with opportunity for all?” 



LUNCH: Liam Redmond, DESI - Student Entrepreneur Aug 21, 2024 12:10 PM
Insight into Creation of DESI, College Student Transportation Ride Share System

Liam Redmond is a student at the University of Notre Dame after graduating from Essex High School a short 3 years ago.  He is the founder of venture capital funded DESI, an online business that connects college students seeking to travel across the nation with other students going in the same direction.

Liam has delayed his return to Notre Dame by several days so he can join us to tell the DESI story.    


Desi on Facebook



Lunch: Tom Messner, Founder, Vermont Start-Up News Sep 04, 2024 12:10 PM
How a Retired Meterologist Really Didn't Retire

You may remember Tom Messner as the Channel 5 (WPTZ) meterologist who retired recently.  Well, he has emerged as founder and talent at The Vermont Start-Up News - an online video newsletter that highlights Vermont entrepreneurs attempting to turn ideas into action and reality.  Tom will share this journey and provide insight into his "best bets" for the next big business deal.  And, it's no fair saying Beta Technologies might grow and make it!

Apparently Tom still has a relationship with WPTZ, as this Facebook Page suggests and his bio indicates. 

Area School Counselors re Operation Warmth Program Sep 18, 2024 12:10 PM
School Counselors spell out the impact of the coats Essex Rotary Distributed in Nov. 2023

In 2023, Max Seaton (Chair of the Operation Warmth Initiative of Essex Rotary) reports that  almost 800 coats were distributed to school children and others in need in the towns of Essex Rotary and surrounding communities.  Here is the 2024 report for the program:

Operation Warm 2023 This was the fifth year providing coats to young people in our community. The ordering process begins in early September when we contact school nurses in the EWSD, Jericho, Underhill, and two organizations serving youth. Once the nurses return their list with the numbers of students by gender and grade, we send the information to Operation Warm. About ten days later FedEx delivers the coats to me and we organize them by school distributing them. Packaging from Operation Warm results in extra coats which we donate to different organizations in the community. We bought a few coats from COSCO in the largest sizes.

Budget: $5,650 (Coat orders $5,245,79 balance remaining of $404.21)

Schools and Organizations (157 coats)

  • ADL (4), Hiawatha (15), Founders Memorial (7), Jericho Elementary (8), Summit (13), Thomas Fleming (10), CHIPS (33), Giving Tree (First Congregational Church (66

Organizations (67 coats)

  • Refugee Center Colchester (12)
  • Essex Pediatric (8)
  • COTS (10)
  • Spectrum (19)
  • Essex Police Department Community Outreach (18)

Summary of coat donations

  • 2019 (78 coats); 2020 (107 coats); 2021 (150); 2022 (252); 2023 (205)
  • Total to date: 792 coats


TBD Oct 02, 2024 12:10 PM


Social Gathering @ Black Flannel Oct 16, 2024 10:56 AM


TBD Nov 06, 2024 10:56 AM


TBD Nov 20, 2024 12:10 PM


Senior Citizen Lunch @ Champlain Valley Fairground Dec 04, 2024 11:08 AM


TBD Dec 18, 2024 12:10 PM