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tappingtech maximizing vermont’s creative brainpower brought to you by

Vermont is known for its lush countryside, stellar ski slopes and delicious maple syrup.

“Tapping Tech” is brought to you by the Vermont Software Developers’ Alliance. This five-year-old trade group was founded by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, to foster a healthy software industry in the state. Its mission has expanded to include working closely with the Vermont BioSciences Alliance and other knowledge-based industries. The VTSDA created this publication to tell the story of the state’s growing tech sector, which is one of Vermont’s best-kept secrets. Read, download and share this document at

© Chee-onn Leong |


f you think Vermont industry is just about dairy farms, Ben & Jerry’s and Burton Snowboards, you might be surprised to learn that high-tech products accounted for 75 percent of Vermont exports in 2008, according to the national Trade in the

Cyberstates Report, commissioned by the Tech America Foundation. High-tech exports brought $2.8 billion to Vermont in 2008. Yes, billion with a “b.” Large, national companies such as IBM and GE Healthcare account for a sizable portion of those exports, but there’s much more to the story than Big Blue. “Tapping Tech” will introduce you to a dozen local tech companies and entrepreneurs. They’re located in office parks, renovated factories and post-and-beam farmhouses that dot the rural countryside. Some are established firms, others are growing start-ups, some are dreamers with a desire to build something of lasting value in their communities.

Finding a Niche

But the Green Mountain State is also home to some remarkably innovative technology companies.

06 (Burlington) the national leader in creating web marketing solutions for car dealers


Vermont Systems (Essex Junction) a software company that supplies parks and recreation software to nearly 300 U.S. military bases worldwide

09 Physician’s Computer Company (Winooski) a national leader in pediatric practicemanagement software

Going Mobile 12 Green Mountain Software/All That Jazz, LLC (Colchester) a veteran mobile software developer with more than 70 projects already under its belt 13 Empower Mobility, LLC (Essex Junction) an experienced sole proprietor who’s ready to ramp up his mobile computing software shop 14 Tiger Style (Huntington) a video gaming studio that developed the top-rated iPhone app of 2009 15 The Data Farm, LLC (Hanksville) a programmer and author with a different kind of mobile appeal — she works internationally

Building BioScience The individuals profiled in this book work with new technology, but their stories should be familiar to anyone who’s heard of Tom Watson, Rich Tarrant Jr., Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield or Donna & Jake Burton Carpenter. Or, for that matter, Thaddeus Fairbanks. The jobs their companies create are exactly what business leaders, educators and elected officials say is needed — high-paying jobs by Vermont standards with a low impact on the environment. Many of these companies work with mostly out-of-state clients, which means they’re bringing money into Vermont, and spending it here. Best of all, many of these jobs can be done from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. In the following pages, we’ll explain, in layman’s terms, what these companies do, why they’re here, what they bring to the state — and what you can do to help them, and companies like them, succeed. Read on…

18 Chroma Technologies Corp. (Rockingham) an employee-owned firm that designs and manufactures precision optical filters 19 BioTek Instruments, Inc. (Winooski) a life science company that’s one of the leading manufacturers of microplate instrumentation

i n f ra st r u c t u r e Architects 22 Competitive Computing (C2) (Colchester) an award-winning IT company that helps Vermont organizations take their businesses to the next level 24

7th Pixel (Montpelier) a web designer helping Vermont artists and entrepreneurs stand out online

25 North Country Communications (Newport) an Northeast Kingdom native who wants to bring broadband to his neighbors

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For every 1 software developer hired, tech companies add an additional 6 nontechnical supporting positions. VTSDA

“Information Technology (IT) is the fastest growing sector in the economy, with a 68% increase in output growth rate projected between 2002 and 2012. Employment opportunities are expected to be good in the IT industry as demand for computer-related occupations increases due to rapid advances in computer technology, continuing development of new computer applications, and the growing significance of information security.� U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics





Average wage for a software company job in Vermont

Median household income in Vermont, 2008

VTSDA survey of Vermont software companies

USDA Economic Research Service

finding a niche How do you build a successful software company in Vermont? Find a market no one else is serving and dominate it.


vermont systems

Essex Junction

physician’s computer company


mike lane

d eale m


ta p p i n g t e c h : m a x i m i z i n g v e r m o n t ’ s c r e at i v e b r a i n p o w e r

matthew thorsen


f you’ve bought a car recently, you probably researched your options online. More than 80 percent of car buyers are using the web to make decisions, according to Mike Lane, the 34-year-old cofounder and chief operations officer of “Anyone who sells cars has to be online,” he says. That’s good news for the 11-year-old, Burlington-based company, which helps car dealers market their inventory, and their services, on the web. has become the national leader in its industry; 80 percent of the nation’s top automotive dealer groups use its software, according to the 2009 Automotive News list of the Top 125 Dealer Groups. boasts 13,000 clients across North America, most of whom are car dealers. The firm also works directly with companies such as Chrysler, Subaru and Acura.’s 63,000-square-foot, LEED-certified HQ used to house a brush manufacturing company,

Specialty Filaments, which closed in 2005. remade the facility into something you’d expect to see in Silicon Valley, with an indoor tennis court and fitness center and an organic cafe. More than 300 employees toil away in brightly colored cubicles, and the company is still growing. “We will add 100 people in 2010, and

matthew thorsen matthew thorsen

“We will add 100 people in 2010, and we plan on adding 100 more each of the next two years.” Mike Lane

we plan on adding 100 more each of the next two years,” Lane says. “We don’t think we’re anywhere close to our maturity yet.” How did Vermont, a place not known for automotive or tech innovation, end up hosting this booming start-up? The company grew out of a conversation between Lane and cofounder and CEO Mark Bonfigli that came about, appropriately, while Lane was trying to buy a car. In 1998, Lane, who grew up in Georgia, Vt., visited Bonfigli’s Earth Cars dealership in Williston. This was during the dot-com boom, and Lane was working in Boston as a consultant for technology start-ups. The two men went from talking about cars to talking about computers. “Mark understood the potential of the web,” remembers Lane. Their discussion soon morphed into a plan: Create an easy-to-use web platform designed specifically for car dealers that tracks and displays inventory and manages leads. They researched the competition, determined it was lacking, and decided they could do a better job. So Lane and three friends, cofounders Rick Gibbs, Ryan Dunn and Jamie LaScolea, “got the biggest UHaul they had,” says Lane, and moved up to Burlington.

The early years were rough — Lane says the five founders worked 20 hours a day out of an office in the Maltex building. Their first customers were Vermont’s Greensboro Garage and a Lexus dealer in California. But the hard work paid off, and they eventually started hiring others to work for them. Burlington wasn’t exactly teeming with highly skilled programmers with auto industry experience. “We had to figure out how to invent that skill set,” Lane explains, so partnered with Vermont HITEC to train a few dozen new employees, some of whom had been laid off from IBM. Dealer. com provided the facilities, potential employees volunteered their time, and the state paid the trainers. The collaboration worked, and it gave the company the momentum it needed to get started. “We wouldn’t be here today without it,” Lane says. has since moved this type of training inhouse. All new employees attend a two-week boot camp to familiarize themselves with the company, its products and its culture. But attracting those highly skilled employees is still a challenge, despite benefits that include in-house massages, free, on-site tennis lessons and halfprice season ski passes to local mountains. Lane says is currently hiring for 30 positions, many of which have been open for months. “Very specialized people are hard to find in Vermont,” Lane laments. That’s one reason that is considering expanding its operations in California, where high-tech workers would be easier to find. Lane insists the company isn’t planning to move away from Vermont, but it might conceivably add jobs elsewhere. “The reality,” he says, “is that businesses have to make smart economic decisions.”

creates internet marketing solutions for car dealers, including websites, inventory marketing and lead management. Founded

1999 HQ

Burlington Staff


finding a niche


© Mark Hryciw |

V e rm on t s yst ems


sells and services parks-andrecreation software for municipal and military clients. HQ

Essex Junction Founded

1985 Staff

87 8

ta p p i n g t e c h : m a x i m i z i n g v e r m o n t ’ s c r e at i v e b r a i n p o w e r

jordan silverman

Vermont Systems

ermont Systems is a military contractor, but city was so happy with the result that Vermont Systems it doesn’t make armaments or machines. The was invited to present at a national conference. “We got 25-year-old family firm supplies parks-and- that national exposure,” he says, “and we were off.” recreation software to nearly 300 military basA chance, positive encounter with an Air Force repes worldwide. Its computer programs help manage the resentative at a trade show in San Antonio led to a conmilitary’s golf courses, bowling alleys, tennis courts and tract in 1992. Business with the other branches of the equestrian facilities. This is a complicated job, explains Vermont Systems President Giles Willey. Vermont Systems’ software handles a wide variety of tasks, from scheduling leagues to renting lockers to reserving tee times. When 5000 sailors arrive in a port wanting to use the recreational facilities at a nearby base, Vermont Systems’ software prints out their tickets, and uploads their reservation information to a PDA that “We got that helps officers keep track of who is scheduled where and when. Currency exchange is par national exposure, for the course. “Somebody can show up at and we were off.” a golf course on a base in Japan and pay for their round of golf in yen,” Willey says. Bob Willey Forty to 45 percent of Vermont Systems’ business comes from contracts with the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. The rest derives from john Willey, Kate Mitchell, Giles Willey, Bob Willey 1000 municipal clients spread across the country. The parks-and-rec departments of Burlington, South service soon followed. The company grew from five peoBurlington and Montpelier all use the company’s software. ple in 1990 to 87 in 2010, eight of whom are Willey famThe roots of this high-tech, international operation ily members. Though the family still runs the company, are surprisingly rural. Bob Willey, Giles’ father, is the Vermont Systems is now 100 percent employee owned. founder and chairman of Vermont Systems. Bob Willey Bob points out that personal relationships have been crugrew up on a farm in Essex and studied agriculture at the cial to the growth and continued success of the business. University of Vermont before going to work as a sales- When hiring new employees, Vermont Systems doesn’t just man for the Burroughs Corporation in 1960. Burroughs look for tech cred. In fact, says Giles, “No one here was hired sold business machines and, later, computers. The elder with a computer degree.” All of Vermont Systems’ software Willey saw an emerging need for software, rather than developers spent their first few years at the company in the hardware, so he broke off and started his own business customer service department, because being able to comin 1985. His son, Giles, and daughters, Laura and Kate, municate with tech-challenged clients is key. “The reason joined him in the venture. None of them had any train- we hire that way is because you have to have a conversation ing in computer software; they learned on the job. with an actual human being,” says Giles. At first, Bob Willey says, they did “whatever it took” Bob Willey notes that some of their employees in reto get by, writing software for banks and fuel oil dealers. cent years have come straight off Vermont farms. “They He says the company found its niche by “accident.” In know how to work,” he says. One man joined the com1987, an acquaintance in Connecticut asked the Willeys pany nine years ago after working on his family’s farm in to develop a parks-and-rec offering for one of his munici- Hardwick. “He’s in Osan Air Force base in Korea right pal clients. It was a long process of trial and error, but the now,” notes the chairman, “updating our software there.”

matthew thorsen

P h y s i c i an’s C o m p u t er Com pa n y


iruses are generally to be avoided in the computing world, but they helped launch Physician’s Computer Company. The Winooski firm got its start in 1982, when a Vermont pediatric practice wanted to computerize its immunization forms. Their medical software provider wouldn’t design a program for them; a nurse suggested that her son might be able to do it. So the docs hired 19-year-old South Burlington resident John Canning and his friends, Jay Schuster and Ari Shinozaki, to create software to track immunizations and computerize billing and scheduling. When other pediatricians began requesting their services, they realized they’d found a market. Today, their clients include nearly 200 pediatric practices around the country, with offices in 43 states. PCC provides support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their clients are carJohn Canning ing for sick kids; technological delays are not an option. and Chip Hart PCC is located in the Champlain Mill, in a space formerly occupied by a Mexican restaurant and, before that, by textile workers. Its found- “For every programmer that we hire, ultimately we will ers established the compa- hire up to 10 customer service and support staff.” John Canning ny in Vermont because they grew up here, but the location also makes practical sense — the University of Vermont’s is the chair of the board of the Young Writers Project, medical school is home to Dr. Lewis First, editor-in- also located in the Champlain Mill, and has been active chief of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American in promoting the Vermont Youth Orchestra. Academy of Pediatrics. Consequently, Burlington is a PCC’s big project right now is transitioning its clients hub of pediatric scholarly activity. to Electronic Health Records (EHR). PCC has installed Though PCC was started by software developers, its EHR software in 10 offices so far, most of them out of Canning explains that there are only seven of them, him- state, with another four expected to come online in the self included, on staff. Most of PCC’s employees work next few months. “Ten offices sounds small,” says Hart, directly with customers. “For every programmer that we “but when you think about the fact that each of them Physician’s Computer hire, ultimately we will hire up to 10 customer service is covering thousands of children, it seems a little more Company and support staff,” he says. And those employees tend to impressive.” creates pediatricgrow with the company. The receptionist they hired 20 Hart and Canning add that PCC’s growth over the specific software years ago is essentially their Chief Operations Officer. past few years would be more impressive if the company solutions for Chip Hart, PCC's Pediatric Solutions Manager — had better access to financing. Demand for their EHR clients around who graduated from Burlington High School, and lat- software is outpacing the company’s ability to provide the country. er Middlebury College, before joining PCC 20 years it. Canning says that local banks have had a hard time ago — adds that PCC hires English majors and liberal- understanding their business, because PCC is not buyFounded arts grads. “You can teach smart people to do IT-related ing anything that could be used as collateral. A loan that 1983 things,” he says. “But someone who doesn't communi- would have helped them hire more staff fell through last cate well is never going to be a valuable employee for a fall, as lenders clamped down during the credit crunch. HQ company like ours.”  Canning says PCC is still going to grow, but it’s going Winooski To that end, PCC works to develop a well-rounded lo- to do it slower. “If there were funds available for a busiStaff cal workforce by donating $50,000 a year to arts and ed- ness like ours to help with cash flow,” he says, “it would 47 ucation programs aimed at kids. Additionally, Canning be a tremendous help.” finding a niche


“The smartphone surge, it seems, is a case of a trading-up trend in technology that is running strong enough to weather the downturn.” from “The Smartphone’s Rapid Rise From Gadget to Tool to Necessity,” New York Times

“We are just at the beginning of a new wireless era, where smartphones will become the standard device consumers will use to connect to friends, the internet and the world at large. The share of smartphones as a proportion of overall device sales has increased to 29 percent for phone purchasers in the last six months, and 45 percent of respondents to a Nielsen survey indicated that their next device will be a smartphone. If we combine these intentional data points with falling prices and increasing capabilities of these devices, along with an explosion of applications for devices, we are seeing the beginning of a groundswell. This increase will be so rapid that by the end of 2011, Nielsen expects more smartphones in the U.S. market than feature phones.” Nielsen Wire, March 2010

going mobile These Vermont entrepreneurs are taking advantage of emerging opportunities in mobile computing... and global commuting.

green mountain software/ all that jazz, llc


empower mobility, llc

tiger style

the data farm, llc

Essex Junction




Green Mountain Software

develops custom applications for mobile phones and hand-held computers. Founded

1994 HQ

Colchester Staff

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jordan silverman

green m ountain s o ftware / a ll that j a zz, llc

Ann Pettyjohn and lou krieg

hen Green Mountain about a mile from where Krieg grew up. Today, several former employees Software president and work with them as independent consultants; Krieg and Pettyjohn are the founder Lou Krieg went to company’s only salaried employees. Over its 16-year history, GMSW has developed more than 70 applicathe MacWorld trade show in 1993, he had an epiphany: Apple’s tions for the Palm operating system (OS) and the Pocket PC — and now hand-held computer, the Newton, for the iPhone OS, which also runs on the iPod Touch and the iPad. Its clibrought it on. “I just went, ‘Mobile ents have included nationally known firms such as Palm Inc. and United computing is the next wave. This is go- Technologies, as well as New England-based Pro-Cut International and Coffee Lab. GMSW has produced everything from an appliing to be huge,’” he recalls. cation that measures quality of life for lung cancer patients It took longer than he exto software that processes restaurant inspections for St. Paulpected — Apple discontinbased Ecolab. “If you’ve eaten in a fast-food restaurant,” says ued the Newton in 1998 — Pettyjohn, “chances are its food safety inspectors are using our but it turns out Krieg was software.” right. Mobile computing is To take advantage of emerging opportunities in mobile comnow taking off, thanks to puting, Krieg and Pettyjohn are spinning off a new company web-enabled smartphones this year, called All That Jazz Software LLC; as much as they and hand-held devices. “The apple newton liked their Vermont-y moniker, they didn’t think the name consensus is that growth in mp2000 would cut it, from a branding perspective. All That Jazz prodmobile computing, led by ucts will have “JAZZ” as part of their name, making them easy Blackberrys and iPhones, is to identify. really going to dwarf the PC The company will focus on consumer apps for the iPhone OS. revolution,” he says. That’s where the growth is now, says Krieg. “There are 45 to 50 milKrieg has been well posilion iPhone OS devices,” he says. “All of the other operating systems tioned to take advantage of iphone 3g really sort of pale in comparison.” this growth since he and his The numbers aren’t the only attraction — Apple has also wife, Ann Pettyjohn, foundmade buying and downloading software for the devices as ed GMSW 16 years ago. The easy as downloading music. “It’s estimated that consumers will two met while working at spend $6.2 billion on mobile apps in 2010,” says Krieg, adding, Motorola in Massachusetts “I think that’s probably conservative.” in the 1980s — Krieg as Not surprisingly, Krieg says he’s already seeing business rampa director of product deing up to deal with increased demand. “We’re getting very busy,” velopment; Pettyjohn as he says, “and everyone else we know is, too.” He and Pettyjohn a senior marketing proplan to have their first JAZZ products in the App Store in fessional. Krieg returned ipad 2010. They’re planning to have outside offices again, and ento Vermont in 1989 and vision the company growing to a staff of 20 over the next few Pettyjohn followed in 1991. By 1995 their company had an office years, hopefully including some new college grads — Krieg is a University in Colchester and eventually grew to of Vermont alum with a degree in computer science. Their biggest challenge right now is raising capital. “Because we’re dealeight employees. But mobile development stalled af- ing with intellectual property, it’s very difficult to do business financing,” ter the dot-com bust, and the post- Krieg explains. He would like to see some sort of quasi-governmental au9/11 economic slowdown forced the thority created to help software entrepreneurs access financing to grow. couple to regroup. They laid off their “There are a lot of creative people in Vermont,” he says. “Maybe they can staff in 2003 and reinvented the com- do for software what they did for captive insurance. The software industry pany in a home office in Colchester, is just the best type of industry for Vermont to have.”

ta p p i n g t e c h : m a x i m i z i n g v e r m o n t ’ s c r e at i v e b r a i n p o w e r

em po we r m obi li ty, llc


jordan silverman

om Jaros was one of the employees Green Mountain Software let go when it downsized in 2003. He had been with the company almost seven years, and had risen to the position of principal engineer. He had been laid off once before, from a short-lived stint at a tech company in Burlington in 1996. That time, he thought seriously about leaving the state. But by 2002, he was more established in the community, and had just bought a house in Essex. “It was really tough,” he remembers. “You could apply to IDX, or IBM, but there weren’t a lot of smaller development shops that could meet the kind of salary I was looking for.” How did he make it through? By striking out as a consultant and starting his own company. He’s been working from home ever since, first under the name Jarosoft,

“I want people to know that there’s top-shelf mobile development here.” Tom Jaros which he changed in 2005 to Empower Mobility. The name suited him, he explains, because “I do exactly what my business says.” Jaros was still in college when he started working with software for mobile devices. The Connecticut native studied computer science at University of Vermont, but he spent the summers of 1992 and 1993 interning at a Connecticut company, Asset Management Technologies, Inc., that was on the forefront of using handheld computers to track inventory, medical specimens, and even cow milk production. Jaros’ specialty is programming custom mobile

applications. He also helps clients move their software from one platform to another. After leaving GMS, Jaros won a contract to perform that service for Mars, Inc. in Pennsylvania, which makes candy bars. Mars had software it was using to track its products in vending machines. The program did inventory management, warehouse tracking and route management, and synched up with desktop computers. Jaros moved it from a Palm-based system to Windows Mobile. The job “rekindled my spirit,” he says. Jaros says he’s been “really busy” the past several years; he estimates he’s done roughly a million dollars in business since 2004. After 2008, his best year yet, he’d planned to rent office space and hire a small staff, but his 2009 business was off by about 40 percent, so he stayed solo through the recession. Things have picked up in 2010. Jaros is converting a game to the iPhone operating system for a client in New Jersey. “I can only say that it’s a remake of a popular ’80s game for the Mac,” he offers coyly. He’s also devoting a lot of time to the Vermont Software Developers’ Alliance; Jaros was elected to the board of directors in 2007, and currently serves as the nonprofit’s vice president. For the past two years, he’s been on the organizing committee of the Vermont 3.0 Tech Jam, which promotes the state’s growing tech sector. “I’m really trying to raise awareness of this industry in Vermont,” he says. “And the tech jam is one of the vehicles for achieving that long-term vision.” Jaros points out that there are “tons” of people like him doing business in the state for out-of-state clients. He gets frustrated sometimes by the perception that Vermont is just about cows, cheese and maple syrup. “I get jokes all the time: ‘Do you have power in Vermont? Do you have running water?’” he says. “I want people to know that there’s top-shelf mobile development here. I want to spread the word that there are classy, talented shops in Vermont, and you should do business with them.”

Empower Mobility

develops software for mobile platforms, including Windows Mobile and the iPhone operating system. Founded

2005 HQ

Essex Junction Staff



matthew thorsen

ti g er st yle

“You are a spider. One day, you discover an abandoned mansion. Who lived here, and why did they leave? In search of answers, you must adventure from room to room, building webs to trap insects, and uncovering secrets in every dark corner.”

“Video game design is a lightweight industry. It attracts smart young people. It reverses the brain drain.” Randy Smith


Tiger Style

is a video gaming studio that creates games for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad platforms. Founded

2008 HQ

Huntington Staff

1 full-time, 14 part-time contractors and collaborators 14

o reads the description of “Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.” It’s the first video game from Tiger Style, a new indie gaming studio based in Randy Smith’s home in Huntington. The action takes place in a lavishly illustrated Gilded Age mansion straight out of rural Vermont. You don’t need to buy a PlayStation or a Nintendo Wii to play the game — if you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can download it from iTunes for $2.99. More than 120,000 people bought Spider within the first couple months of its release; in the spring of 2010 it was selling at the rate of 100 downloads a day. The game has generated $350,000 in income for Tiger Style so far, some of which has been filtered back to Vermont contractors who helped produce marketing materials. Not bad for a game that cost $15,000 to make. Spider has garnered industry awards, as well. It was a finalist for two 2009 Game Developers Choice Awards, including Best Debut and Best Handheld. Apple’s App Store recognized it as the top-rated app of 2009 — a big deal considering that more than 100,000 apps were available. And the Independent Games Festival named Spider the Best iPhone Game and Best Mobile Game in 2009 — Smith likens winning the latter award to snagging the “Best Picture” Oscar. Spider’s success is driven by Tiger Style’s creative team of game designers, artists and musicians, many of whom live out of state. Several of them, including Smith, are game industry veterans. The 35-year-old founder and native Vermonter grew up in Sheldon before leaving to pursue a computer science degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He designed video games for Looking Glass in Cambridge, Mass., and later moved to Los Angeles to become a creative director and lead designer for gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts, where he was collaborating on a game with director Steven Spielberg. But funding for his team was cut during the recession, and Smith decided to leave the company. He returned to Vermont in December 2008 and started talking with his friends about forming an iPhone studio. “In the past, I always wanted to come back to Vermont,” he says, “but I thought, I can’t work there.” Mainly that was because there are no major studios in Vermont, and few opportunities for talented, ambitious designers. But that’s changing, in part because the industry is no longer focused solely on console games, which require considerable infrastructure and investment to produce. Mobile platforms such as the iPhone have made games accessible to a wider audience, and have

ta p p i n g t e c h : m a x i m i z i n g v e r m o n t ’ s c r e at i v e b r a i n p o w e r

made it possible for indie studios such as Tiger Style to compete. Smith says this is a great time for Vermont to start thinking about courting gaming studios — especially given the presence of Champlain College’s new Emergent Media Center, which is recruiting college students to study game design. “Video game design is a lightweight industry,” Smith notes. “It attracts smart young people who then stay to raise families. It reverses the brain drain, which Vermont is suffering from right now.” Just a short drive north, in Montréal, the gaming industry is thriving. “They have guaranteed business loans of up to $75,000,” he says, “and they give tax breaks for all of the salaries of people employed locally. They’re kind of handing you money to go there.” Vermont is not in that league, but Smith finds the state’s socially responsible business culture attractive, and thinks others would, too. “Small and medium sized studios could easily find a home here,” he says. “You could wind up with a nice industry.”

matthew thorsen

the data farm, llc


espite her corporate moniker, Julie Lerman doesn’t work on a farm, though her Hanksville home is down the street from one. One day, her neighbor’s cows slipped the fence and strolled up her driveway. She took a few photos of them ambling by her home office and posted them to her blog, Don’t Be Iffy. The snapshots illustrate one of the fundamental realities of software consulting today: The job can be done from just about anywhere, as long as there’s an internet connection. Lerman is in Vermont because she loves to ski. She grew up near Syracuse, N.Y., and attended Wells College. She lived for years in or near New York City. In 1989, she left a full-time programming job to become a consultant. At the time, she and her boyfriend (now husband), Rich, were traveling to Vermont frequently to ski. “One time, we were camped out in a big van in the parking lot of Mad River Glen for the annual Telemark Festival,” she recalls, “and we thought, ‘Why don’t we just live here?’” In 1999, they made the move to their rural digs.

“I brought maple syrup from my neighbors to Bill Gates. I feel like the geekette ambassador of Vermont.”

Julie Lerman

Lerman consults with software developers who work with Microsoft’s .NET applications — many of them large corporations, such as Logitech. She travels to their offices when she can; she recently spent three days with a 10-person team from CIEE (formerly known as the Council on International Exchange) in Portland, Maine, helping them design software to manage their study- and work-abroad programs. When Lerman can’t interact with her clients in person, she connects with them on the web, via a DSL connection provided by Waitsfield Telecom. “This week I spent two and half hours on Skype and GoToMeeting with a guy in Paris,” she says. “I work with people all over the world. Hardly any of my income comes from Vermont.” But, she points out, that’s where almost all of her money goes. “I pay taxes here and I spend money locally,” she says. “I’m a total localvore.”

Lerman is also a natural networker, and she’s happy to share her expertise with the local tech community. She has been on the board of the Vermont Software Developers’ Alliance, and has been a member of Champlain College’s Software Engineering and Emergent Technology Advisory Board. In 2002, she founded Vermont’s .NET user group, to meet other programmers. Two Microsoft representatives spoke to the group at its most recent meeting, which drew 50 people. Even more participants — 85 — turned up for a daylong “Code Camp” she helped organize in September 2009, at the University of Vermont. Lerman says the local programmer pool is growing slowly but steadily, and she sees more of her peers striking out on their own. “VTSDA should take out full-page ads in ski magazines saying, ‘Like skiing in Vermont? You could work here, too,’” she suggests. As much as she loves Vermont, Lerman has been traveling a lot lately. Last year, O’Reilly Media published her book, Programming Entity Framework, which has become a must-read for many Microsoft programmers. It established her as a worldwide expert on the topic. In 2009, she accumulated 60,000 frequent-flier miles presenting at conferences in Poland and Sweden, Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas and Toronto. She’s headed to the Norwegian Developers’ Conference in Oslo in June 2010. When Lerman travels, she often hands out Vermont maple syrup. In 2007, for example, she was one of eight tech bloggers who spent a day at Microsoft headquarters previewing the company’s latest technology, and spending the final hour of the day with Microsoft founder Bill Gates. “I brought maple syrup from my neighbors to Bill Gates,” she says. “I feel like the geekette ambassador of Vermont.”

The Data Farm, LLC

Julie Lerman is a .NET programmer and consultant who mentors software developers at companies all over the world. Founded

1989; moved to VT in 1999 HQ

Hanksville StafF



“There are more than 90 bioscience companies in Vermont. Employment data shows that bioscience firms and research provide nearly 1100 direct jobs in Vermont. A study of bioscience employment showed that this sector supports another 3000 indirect jobs in our state, with job growth of seven times the annual rate in the Vermont economy as a whole. And these are good jobs that pay well above the state average.� Vermont BioSciences Alliance

building bioscience IBM isn’t the only high-tech manufacturer in Vermont; like many of the state’s bioscience companies, these two firms combine cutting-edge technology and high-quality Vermont craftsmanship.

chroma technology corp.

biotek instruments, inc.



CHROMA Technology Corp.


Chroma Technology Corp.

is an employeeowned company that designs, manufactures and sells precision optical filters and related products. Founded

1991 HQ

Rockingham Staff

90, 6 at a subsidiary in Burlington 18

hroma Technology Corp. helps its customers see things differently — literally. The southern Vermont company makes optical filters for microscopes. “We take white light and break it into its various colors,” explains president Paul Millman. Chroma’s filters allow scientists to examine biological material, whether it’s a cell, a chromosome or tissue, Millman says. A scientist studying the optic nerve of a fruit fly, for example, might stain the nerve with a substance that glows green under blue light. One Chroma filter would block all but the blue light from hitting the specimen; another filter would isolate the green light. Millman sounds like a scientist when he’s detailing how Chroma’s products operate, but the Brooklyn native ended up in the optical filter business by chance. Millman had worked as a teacher and a bartender before coming to Vermont in 1988. He was looking for a place to live that was close to New York, and where he felt comfortable. An unapologetic liberal, Millman was a member of Students for a Democratic Society while a student at Antioch College in the 1960s. “I thought, Vermont, they got hippies there. I know hippies,” he recalls. Millman visited a state employment office, hoping to find a gig tending bar. The counselor recommended he apply for a sales job with Omega Optical, a company that makes precision optical filters in Brattleboro. He got the job, and worked there for three years, learning the business, studying the product line and the market — before he was fired. A few months later, Millman and six other former Omega employees founded Chroma. Today, 90 employees work at their 28,000-square-foot facility in Rockingham, carrying out the product manufacturing, testing, sales and marketing. Another six employees work for 89 North, Chroma’s engineering subsidiary located in Burlington’s Chace Mill. The company also has a sales office in Germany, and hopes to open a similar office next year in China. Millman says there’s an advantage to having Chroma’s design and manufacturing taking place here in Vermont. “Being from Vermont means something in very many places in the world,” he says, citing the state’s progressive politics and reputation for quality. “We put stickers that say ‘Crafted in Vermont’ on the boxes we use to ship our filters, because people believe that Vermont is a place where craftsmanship is still valued.” Vermont is also a draw for the kind of smart, enterprising individuals that Chroma seeks to employ. “I think that for a large portion of what Richard Florida calls the ‘creative class,’ Vermont is the best place to be,” he says. That said, Millman says Chroma is unlikely to expand its filter business much more in southern Vermont. He expects most of the company’s growth to come from new divisions, and subsidiaries such as Burlingtonbased 89 North, which is developing new products for the life-sciences industry. It’s difficult, he says, to attract a highly educated, highly skilled workforce to the Rockingham area. “We don’t have even one full-service restaurant in Bellows Falls,” he notes. Millman suggests one way to bring even more life-sciences jobs to Vermont: Get a sizable business or government entity to set up shop here.

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“We put stickers that say ‘Crafted in Vermont’ on the boxes we use to ship our filters, because people believe that Vermont is a place where craftsmanship is still valued.” Paul Millman

images (clockwise from top): paul millman, epithelial ducts, chromosomal rainbows

He points out that North Carolina’s Research Triangle took off when the National Institute of Environmental Health established itself there as an anchor. He’s heard that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is working on attracting Sandia National Laboratories to Vermont. “Eventually there’s this kind of pyramiding effect,” Millman says. “And all of a sudden you have a lot of biotech and drug companies coming in and such. I think that having Sandia or somebody like Sandia come into Vermont would be very helpful.”

“Vermonters believe in doing great things and, more importantly, that great things can still be realized. As a people, we dare to dream.” Adam Alpert


icroplate readers don’t look all that exciting to the untrained eye, but don’t let their boxy, cash-register-like appearance fool you. Doctors use these devices to test blood and tissue samples for diseases such as cancer, HIV and avian flu. Microplate systems are essentially super-efficient test tubes: highly sophisticated detectors that look for reactions in hundreds of biological samples at once. These life-saving machines are designed and manfactured at BioTek Instruments, Inc. in little Winooski, Vt. BioTek is one of the global leaders in microplate instrumentation, with sales and service offices in China, Singapore, France, Germany, India and the U.K. But the family company remains firmly rooted in the Green Mountain State. Dr. Norman Alpert founded BioTek in 1968 while working as a physiologist at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Before the days of government regulation, Alpert identified a need for equipment that tested the safety of instruments used in hospitals. Patients could get electrocuted in their hospital beds because a bed motor wasn’t grounded properly. So he tapped his network of university colleagues to develop quality assurance products that would ensure better safety. Then he hired a workforce to engineer them. His sons, Briar and Adam, run BioTek today. The company introduced its first microplate reader in 1981. In 2002, BioTek sold its biomedical division to focus exclusively on microplate instrumentation. Since then, BioTek has more than doubled its sales, outpacing market and competitor growth rates. The firm boasts a staff of 250 housed in two buildings in an office park in Winooski, with another 80 or so employees overseas. BioTek had its best sales year ever in 2008. In 2009, Vermont Business Magazine named it the Best Place to Work in Vermont — the company's average employee tenure is 12 years, thanks to its family atmosphere, good

andy duback

b io T ek I n strum e n ts, Inc .

adam and briar alpert

benefits and profit sharing. Last year, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce chose BioTek as its Business of the Year. Other states have tried to lure this fast-growing company away from Vermont with lucrative tax breaks and financial assistance. Adam Alpert, Vice President of Business Development, insists BioTek remains firmly committed to Vermont, but adds that doing business in the state can be challenging. “Vermonters succeed both because of and in spite of the state they live in,” he says. “In terms of tax, investment, and development policy, we have to acknowledge that Vermont is not as ‘business friendly’ as some states.” Training can be an issue, too. Many BioTek staffers came from larger companies, such as GE and Digital, where they benefitted from formal training programs. BioTek is too small to develop its own curriculum for specific technologies. That means that the company has to rely on local educational institutions for continuing workforce education, which is not ideal; the programs offered aren’t necessarily designed with BioTek in mind. Nonetheless, the company expects to add 10 more jobs this year. As for the employees he’s got, Alpert can’t say enough good things about them. He cites their loyalty, strong work ethic and sense of idealism. “Vermonters believe in doing great things and, more importantly, that great things can still be realized,” he says. “As a people, we dare to dream — how else can using an old gas station to create an ice cream empire be explained? This translates into wonderful creative, entrepreneurial successes every day.”

BioTek Instruments, Inc.

develops, manufactures and sells microplate instrumentation and software. Founded

1968 HQ

Winooski Staff

210 in Vermont, 30 in other states, 40 overseas

building bioscience


“Computer systems design and related services is expected to be among the fastest growing industries in the economy. Job opportunities should be excellent for most workers, with the best opportunities occurring for computer specialists.� from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Number of Vermont jobs supported by the tech sector

Trade in the CyberStates 2008 report

infrastructure architects Vermonters in all corners of the state need access to the internet, and help leveraging its power. These three businesses offer a helping hand.

competitive computing (C2)


7th pixel


north country communications


c om p eti ti ve c ompu ting (c 2)


mployees of Competitive Computing (C2) enjoy a spectacular view from their office on the top floor of an office complex on Water Tower Hill in Colchester. Coincidentally, the same building houses MyWebGrocer. But unlike the online grocery biz, which aims to have a national reach, C2 is more locally and regionally focused; on a clear day, C2 employees can practically see many of their customers — including NRG Systems, Seventh Generation, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and St. Michael’s College — from their lofty headquarters. “We work with a lot of Vermont companies,” explains President and CEO Carolyn Edwards. “Given our background and the tools we work with, we’ve been able to help those organizations reach a new level.” C2’s offerings include content-management systems, collaboration platforms and eCommerce solutions, as well as infrastructure solutions and services. C2 can also design its clients’ physical IT infrastructure, to make it more efficient, and more “green.” C2 recently worked with Seventh Generation to reduce its number of servers by more than 50 percent, which cut costs as well as the company’s carbon footprint. In 2009, ComputerWorld selected Seventh Generation as one of the top “Green IT” companies, partly as a result of that change. C2 employees are certified to work with a wide variety of software technologies — the company boasts top-tier partnerships with most major IT industry leaders, including Microsoft, Dell, VMware, HP, Citrix, Mediachase and Sitecore. They use these technologies to build specific customer solutions. For example, Marty Thieret, Founding Partner, and head of Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, explains that C2 recently created a collaboration portal for a client that enables its national sales and marketing staff to manage statistics and sales materials, and communicate efficiently, rather than shooting emails back and forth. 22

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Edwards and Thieret are two of C2’s four founders. The others, Melissa Dever and Todd Kelley, are also part of C2’s senior management. All but Kelley grew up in Vermont. They met while working for Digital Equipment Corporation, and founded their own technology consulting business after being laid off. “We got the ‘entrepreneurial nudge’ from Digital,” quips Edwards. Initially, C2 had eight employees and continued to work for Digital in a consulting capacity. Its first non-Digital customer was BioTek Instruments, Inc. in Winooski, which is still a client. Edwards estimates that C2 has grown 10 to 15 percent annually. Even in the recent “kind of tight” years, “We actually grew some,” she says. C2 has hired two new employees so far in 2010, one of them a former intern from the University of Vermont, now working as a systems engineer. C2 was able to hire another new employee at the end of last year by taking advantage of a program offered by the Vermont Department of Labor. The individual C2 hired had limited formal education in the technology field. The state paid for part of his training, and that, coupled with on-the-job training at C2, has enabled him to fill a newly created insides sales job at the company. This has allowed C2 to

matthew thorsen

“We work with a lot of Vermont companies. Given our background and the tools we work with, we’ve been able to help those organizations reach a new level.” Carolyn Edwards

LEft (l. to r.): melissa deveR, martin thieret, todd kelley, carolyn edwards opposite: The c2 office on water tower hill below: intranet for NRG Systems

expand its hardware and software offerings, and it’s given the employee a promising new career path. As a condition of this workforce grant, C2’s new employee had to be making 150 percent of minimum wage within six months. “We’ve achieved that,” Thieret says confidently. Adds Edwards, “That program helped us get off the ground with a new line of business. We’re thinking, ‘How can we do that again? How can we do that five times?’” Edwards notes that analysts are predicting the IT industry is about to start a seven-year growth cycle, so C2 is preparing for more aggressive growth in the next few years. Thieret points out that some of that growth may be regional — C2 does work with clients outside of the state. But he also hopes that more Vermont companies will enlist C2’s services. The company occupies a unique niche in Vermont; most of its competitors are out of state. Why should a local firm

Competitive Computing (C2)

designs IT systems and creates software solutions for large- and midsized businesses throughout New England and the East Coast. Founded

1993 choose C2? “We’re a Vermont business working with and serving our fellow Vermont businesses, to achieve mutual goals,” he says. “Our long-term relationships with our clients are crucial to our success.” And, he adds, “Having that face-to-face experience is important.”


Colchester Staff


infrastructure architects


“If you don’t reach out with some kind of presence on the web, you’re really relying on a finite market space.” Gregg Banse

7 th p i x e l



2003 HQ

Montpelier Staff

1 24

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in time for the 2009 holiday season, but the grant didn’t come through until October, so he missed the peak giftbuying season. Banse is working with local arts organizations to build momentum. To meet the conditions of his grant, he needs to create or save 31 jobs in central Vermont by the end of the year. A business planner is helping him figure out how he might scale up. Ultimately, Banse would like Market Vermont to lead to a series of mobile web portals aimed at tourists. “You should be able to go to a town and pull up information on that town on your phone,” he says. Of course, first the state has to improve cellphone coverage. “There are definitely dead zones,” he says, “and some of those spots are prime tourist areas.”

jeb wallace-brodeur

7th Pixel

is a web design and development firm that helps Vermont-based small and midsize businesses leverage the power of the Internet.

ermont is known for its high-quality arts and crafts, and fabulous local food. 7th Pixel owner Gregg Banse is using the web to promote both, and teaching others how to do it, too. The native Vermonter studied engineering at Vermont Technical College, and had several high-tech and consulting engineering jobs before founding a company called Blueberry Publications in 2003; that’s the corporate name of 7th Pixel. “My passion has always been Vermont food and crafts,” he explains. In his spare time, Banse serves as one of 30 moderators of Webmaster World, a global news and discussion forum for web professionals. Banse wants to help Vermont’s artists and small businesses embrace the web because it allows them to connect with a global audience. “You can present your products and your message to customers you might not find otherwise,” he says. “If you don’t reach out with some kind of presence on the web, you’re really relying on a finite market space.” His primary business is designing and building websites for small and mid-sized companies in Vermont. He does some out-of-state work, but he’s pulled back recently to focus on the local market. “That’s where my heart is,” he says. Clients include the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery; Hawkridge Furniture in St. Johnsbury; Bon Temps Gourmet, a soul food catering business in Worcester; and singer-songwriter Patti Casey. He also built a Local Growers Guide for the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies. Visitors to the site can search for locally grown food in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Rutland and Washington counties. Banse has also presented at conferences, and run workshops and tutorials for audiences who want to learn about things like Facebook, Twitter and search engine optimization. Some entrepreneurs want him to explain everything, while others want to pay him to do it for them. Often, he finds, people just want to sit down with someone who can explain what these new tools are, and how they can boost business. “I pull back the curtain,” he says. “That’s what I’ve focused my entire business around.” Increasingly, Banse is spending time on a project called Market Vermont. He won a $99,000 grant from the USDA to create the site, an eCommerce portal for Vermont artists and craftspeople that markets their goods to tourists and others with an interest in the Vermont brand. He had hoped to have it up and running

n o r t h c oun try


erek Niles, founder and Chief Technology Officer of North Country Communications, is a man on a mission. The Newport native is determined to deliver broadband Internet service to his rural Northeast Kingdom neighbors. He wants them to be able to watch videos, use Skype, shop online and telecommute if they want to. Niles is not inventing new technology; all he wants to do is bring his corner of the world into the 21st century. “My goal is just to get broadband to people as soon as possible,” he says. “We’ve all been promised this for a number of years, and there are still people doing without.” The 32-year-old father of six grew up in Newport, studied electronics at Vermont Technical College, then moved away for seven years. He tested microprocessors for IBM in Essex Junction, and worked in Massachusetts for Lucent Technlogies, and Calix, a communications equipment supplier. He returned to Newport in 2005. “I went out, saw the world, and decided to come back here to raise my family,” he says. Niles has worked with other broadband providers in the Northeast Kingdom, including Kingdom Connection and Great Auk Wireless. He teamed up with NCC CEO Dave Kickert last fall because he saw an opportunity for a small company to deliver access and support services to rural areas that Comcast and FairPoint are missing. All Niles needs now is some towers. He plans to put one on a hilltop behind his house; he’s in the process of buying the land. A tower at that elevation could provide wireless broadband connections to approximately 500 households to the south that now have limited or no access to the web. It would also give him line-of-sight access to to 15 major mountains. He’s been offered a spot on four of them already — if he can raise money to develop the sites. With those additional towers, he’d be able to reach towns such as Coventry, Brownington and Irasburg.

c ommu nic ations

Niles has actually been supplying wireless web access to downtown Newport and the shores of the northern parts of Lake Memphremagog since 2007, free of charge. A search for WiFi in the area turns up Niles’ “Joe’s Pool Hall” network. Users who join Niles saw an it are instructed to call opportunity for a Niles’ phone number to gain access to the web. small company to “I get calls all day long, deliver access and every day,” he says. He reports that 1000 comsupport services puters logged onto to rural areas his network in the last year. It can that Comcast accommodate and FairPoint are about 100 users at a time, but missing. typically has about 10 to 15 on during the day. Clearly, he says, there’s a demand for his service. Since founding NCC, Niles has applied for a commercial data circuit, which will allow him to start charging for Wi-Fi. He plans to offer tiered options. “For people downtown who don’t have room North Country Communications in their lives for a $50 Comcast bill, I provides want to give them basic access for $10 a computer repair month,” he says. and training In addition to providing access to services, and the web, Niles will also repair customseeks to bring ers’ computers and get rid of spyware — broadband something he does already. Internet access He has big plans for his nascent tech to remote parts company. If he can secure more funding of the Northeast to buy hilltops and towers, Niles estiKingdom. mates he could turn NCC into a 10-person operation, and he’s already got his Founded team picked out. He knows plenty of 2009 people looking for work. “There’s not a lot of high-tech compaHQ nies up here,” he observes. “There’s not a Newport lot of anything up here.” Staff But, he says, “Build it and they will 2 come. I’m a firm believer in that.” infrastructure architects


now it’s time to...

complete the circuit Vermont’s tech companies are diverse in their aims, and in the services they provide, but they share some common needs. Several themes recur when talking with these entrepreneurs:

It’s difficult to find qualified employees in Vermont. Some companies, such as, are looking for specific technical workers and are having trouble finding them in the local talent pool. and others say they find it difficult to attract employees from other states because of the high cost of living in Vermont, and the high cost of health care. Not surprisingly, tech entrepreneurs say they would welcome an increased focus on STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — in Vermont schools, but better tech training isn’t the only need. John Canning of Physician’s Computer Company notes that he needs skilled communicators. PCC frequently hires English majors and liberal arts graduates. “I want kids graduating from school with communication and problem-solving skills, who have experience working in groups,” he says.

Tech companies in Vermont have a hard time finding business financing. Many tech companies are dealing with intellectual, rather than physical, property, which can make it difficult to secure collateral for a large loan. Other states and provinces have created incentive programs to attract these high-paying, low-impact jobs to their communities. Maine, for example, created the Maine Technology Institute, a state-funded nonprofit corporation. It’s run by a governor-appointed board of directors made up of industry leaders and representatives from key public agencies, and its mission is to offer early-stage capital and commercialization assistance for research and development of tech projects that will create high-quality jobs in the state. For every dollar of state funding, MTI leverages an additional $14 of private and public financing for companies in Maine. Lou Krieg of Green Mountain Software suggests that Vermont create some sort of quasigovernmental authority of this sort, to help software entrepreneurs access financing to grow. “There are a lot of creative people in Vermont,” he says. “Maybe they can do for software what they did for captive insurance.” “The software industry,” he adds, “is just the best type of industry for Vermont to have.”

Vermont needs more technical infrastructure to compete. This seems obvious, but it bears repeating. One person interviewed for this publication confided that many of his clients couldn’t get cellphone coverage in Vermont. “We have people who travel here from all over the world, and they can get coverage everywhere they travel, except here.” he says. “It’s kind of a running joke.”

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ermont has grown more tech-friendly in recent years, thanks to the efforts of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority and the Vermont Economic Development Authority, but members of the

VTSDA believe the state needs to go much further to truly tap the tech sector, and maximize its potential. By working together, and investing in Vermont’s future, we can keep these highpaying, low-impact jobs in the state, and attract even more in the years to come.

Vermont Compani e s tha t a r e “ T a p p in g T e c h” 7th Pixel Montpelier 89 North Inc. Burlington Acute Technology Morrisville Adaptive Engineering, LLC Richmond AllEarth Renewables Williston Allscripts South Burlington American Healthcare Software South Burlington Appleseed Solutions Underhill Ascendo, Inc. South Burlington Astute Computing, LLC Waterbury Battig, Michael Colchester Bear Code, LLC Montpelier BiaDiagnostics Inc. Burlington BioMosaics Inc. Burlington BioTek Instruments, Inc. Winooski Bluehouse Group Richmond Brandthropology Burlington Breen Systems Vergennes Burlington Telecom Burlington Burton Snowboards Burlington Catamount Research and Development, Inc. St. Albans CEDO Burlington Burlington Chroma Technology Corp. Rockingham Coaching Center of Vermont Winooski Competitive Computing (C2) Colchester Comport Consulting Vermont, LLC South Burlington Corey Mechanic Burlington Creative Microsystems Waitsfield CSL Software Solutions Burlington Data Innovations North America South Burlington Data Systems, Inc. Burlington


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VTSDA Burlington Digital Bridges 2.0 Middlebury Dinse, Knapp, McAndrew Burlington Dominic Nicholas, LLC Montpelier Dympol, Inc. Waitsfield Dynamic Business Solutions, Inc. South Burlington East Street, Ltd. Essex Junction Egan Media Productions, Inc. Colchester Empower Mobility, LLC Essex EpikOne, Inc. Williston EQ2, Inc. Burlington EWA Government Systems, Inc. Montpelier Fairpoint Communications South Burlington Freshtracks Capital Shelburne and Middlebury Galen Healthcare Solutions Burlington Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP Williston Global Classroom Burlington Goehlert & Associates South Burlington Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation (GBIC) Burlington Green Mountain Antibodies Burlington Green Mountain Coffee Waterbury Green Mountain Linux East Topsham Green Mountain Network Burlington Green Mountain Software / All That Jazz, LLC Colchester Greensea Systems, Inc. Shelburne GW Plastics, Inc. Royalton Haematologic Technologies, Inc. Essex Junction Hendrickson & Associates, LLC West Glover Hunt, Stuart Westord Image Softworks Fairlee ImmuRX Inc. Lebanon, NH Interlock Software Burlington ISystems Colchester Jim Winter Consulting Hinesburg KGS Software Engineering, LLC South Burlington LabPas Business Unit, Phase it Forward Montpelier Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Burlington Lee River Software LLC Jericho Logic Supply South Burlington Maklad, Carl Williston MBF Bioscience Williston Medimation Hinesburg Mergus Analytics, LLC Burlington Merritt & Merritt & Moulton Burlington








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Vermont Compani e s tha t a r e “ T a p p in g T e c h” Metaink Technical Communications, LLC Montpelier Microcheck Northfield Microdesign Consulting, Inc. Colchester MicroStrain Williston Mincar Consulting Richmond MyWebGrocer Colchester NEHP, Inc. Williston NetHarmonix, Inc. Middlebury New Breed Marketing Winooski North Country Communications Newport Northeast Sports Network Lyndonville NRG Systems Hinesburg Object Computers, LTD Charlotte Omega Optical, Inc. Brattleboro OnClick Solutions Northfield Original Gravity Media Burlington P&C Software Services, Inc. Jericho Panther Internet, Inc. Burlington Phase Forward Montpelier Physician’s Computer Company Winooski PIEmatrix Burlington Polhemus Colchester Pragmatic Technologies Burlington Precision Bioassay, Inc. Burlington Propellar Media Works, LLC Burlington Qvault, Inc. Burlington Rachel Morton Associates Winooski Radius Network LLC Monkton Reading Plus/Taylor Associates Winooski Red Leaf Software, LLC Colchester Renaissance Information System Jericho Research Proteins, Inc. Essex RETN Burlington RingMaster Software Corporation Burlington Roger Tubby Stowe Seiler, Christoper Colchester Seven Days Burlington SoRo Systems, Inc. South Royalton SoundToys Burlington Spring Above Marketing Burlington Springer-Miller Stowe Standards Technology Group Williston Sterling Valley Systems, Inc. Stowe


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Stone Environmental Montpelier Stromatec Inc. South Burlington System Solutions & Support Corporation East Hardwick Systems Ideas Montgomery Center Tag New Media Burlington Technical Connections Burlington TekSystems Essex Junction Teljet Longhaul, LLC South Burlington Tertl Studios, LLC Montpelier The Data Farm, LLC Hanksville The Silverbeard Corporation Fairfield The Tech Group, Inc. South Burlington Tiger Style Huntington Timberline Interactive Middlebury Times*Sign Hinesburg Union Street Media Burlington Upper Valley Writing Services Chester UVM Office of Technology Transfer Burlington Vermont Clinical Study Center Burlington Vermont HITEC Williston Vermont Information Consortium, LLC Montpelier Vermont Information Processing Colchester Vermont Systems Essex Junction WH Group Richmond Working Set, Inc. Burlington Yizri, LLC Burlington Young Writers Project, Inc. Winooski



A c ade mic Members and Fr ie n d s Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Colchester Burlington College Burlington Champlain College Burlington Community College of Vermont Waterbury Marlboro College Graduate Center Brattleboro Middlebury College Middlebury Norwich University Northfield St. Michael’s College Colchester University of Vermont Burlington Vermont Law School South Royalton Vermont State Colleges Castleton, Burlington, Johnson, Lyndon, Randolph Vermont Technical College Randolph



ta p p i n g t e c h : m a x i m i z i n g v e r m o n t ’ s c r e at i v e b r a i n p o w e r


VTSDA is an organizer and major sponsor of the Vermont 3.0 Tech Jam. This popular annual tech-sector expo attracts local employers, job seekers, entrepreneurs and students. It’s a great place to recruit employees, engage in professional development, learn about innovative local companies and network. The next Jam will take place on

October 15 & 16, 2010

at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center in Burlington. Find more information at

Special thanks to Vermont HITEC for sponsoring the printing of this publication.

“Transforming the lives of Vermonters through employer based education and training opportunities.”

Tapping Tech