NEWPORT CITY –“Mark Twain said when you turn your vocation into your vacation, you got to quit, and I haven't worked forever," joked Doug Nelson, who received the Business Person of the Year award during Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at the Eastside Restaurant yesterday.
The New Business Person of the Year award went to Ruth Sproull from Little Gnesta Bed and Breakfast. Chris McFarland from Clyde River Recreation received the Small Business Award. The Business of the Year Award went to Community National Bank.
Steve Marsh, president of Community Bank, who performed as master of ceremonies, said he traveled to Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Vermont Bankers Association to lobby Rep. Peter Welch about increasing the reporting requirements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Marsh was speaking about a law passed in 1933 that required banks to report anytime they had more than 500 shareholders. After years of discussion, lawmakers increased the number to 2,000, saving financial institutions like Community National Bank between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.
Rep. Welch, the keynote speaker at yesterday's meeting, said Vermont lawmakers “get it” when people such as Vermont bankers have practical problems.
“Our job is to try to do things that help you be more successful in you doing your jobs,” said Welch. “That’s really what it should be about when you’re working in Montpelier, or you’re working in Washington, or you’re lucky enough to be the head of a bank. You’re job is to help other people you work with be successful in doing their job.”
Welch said it was wonderful to hear the presentations like the Farm to School Program and about the success of local banks.
“Had they been in charge of Wall Street, we never would have gone off the financial cliff because they thought you lend money to people who want to pay it back,” he said. “The point of lending money is because someone has an idea how they can create a few more jobs or it’s a family where they want to get into their first home or they want to upgrade, but they’re not looking for a McMansion.”
Welch liked hearing how business owners are taking care of their businesses. He said their success depends on how other businesses are successful.
“We all know we’re in a global economy,” said Welch. “There is nothing we can do. It creates an enormous challenging for all of us. The one thing we’re in control of is what we do locally.”