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Business Notes: March 2, 2014

  • Ron Miller, who has owned the Shiretown Bookstore in Woodstock, Vt., for three years, answers the phone at the shop on Feb. 28, 2014. The store will be closing at the end of March. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Ron Miller, who has owned the Shiretown Bookstore in Woodstock, Vt., for three years, answers the phone at the shop on Feb. 28, 2014. The store will be closing at the end of March.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap

  • Ron Miller, who has owned the Shiretown Bookstore in Woodstock, Vt., for three years, answers the phone at the shop on Feb. 28, 2014. The store will be closing at the end of March. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

Springfield, Vt. — Jenevieve Johnson has been hired as the new director of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. Johnson has been a resident of Springfield, Vt., since 2007 and owns The JennyWren Cafe on Main Street. It is her experience of owning a local business that made her a prime candidate for the position, the Chamber of Commerce said in a news release.

“I understand the challenges faced (by businesses), and I already feel so connected to this community. I’m ready to serve more than just the morning coffee,” she said. “I want to continue to build relationships between businesses and the community. We have so much to be proud of. Our rich history is something to build our future on.”

Johnson started her new position on Feb. 13 and will be in the 56 Main St. office Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 802-885-2779 and the website is www.springfieldvt.com.

Company News

Upper Valley Press Inc., located in North Haverhill, is now 100 percent employee owned under the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, the company reported.

The company, which prints daily and weekly newspapers and advertising circulars, was founded in 1975 by Chip and Carol Harris and has 95 employees.

Dennis DeVaux, Phil Hayward and Chip Harris were the selling stockholders. All three executives will remain with the company.

Hayward, who is the president, said “ownership succession was the missing link in our otherwise very successful growth plans. We needed a transition that worked for everyone — shareholders, the management team, the community and most of all, our employees and customers. This outcome allows us to continue moving forward strongly based on the core values that have always guided our business — respect, community, and business success.”

An ESOP is a form of federally regulated retirement plan that is designed to invest primarily in the shares of the parent company. Employees who meet broad eligibility requirements will receive shares of Upper Valley Press Inc. stock over time. The plan is structured to allow employees to sell those shares back to the company for their cash value when they retire. The ownership transition will be funded with corporate earnings. Individuals are not investing their own funds.

There are approximately 11,000 ESOP’s in the U.S. according to the ESOP Association. Upper Valley Press Inc. joins Hypertherm and King Arthur Flour, which also have set up ESOPs.

DuBois & King I nc., a consulting engineering firm with offices in Randolph, South Burlington and Springfield, was recognized for outstanding examples of engineering excellence for three projects that include the Quechee covered bridge and the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction.

The awards were part of the 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Vermont and announced at the annual Engineers Week banquet in South Burlington last month.

The Quechee covered bridge was severely damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. DuBois & King received the Engineering Excellence Merit Award in the transportation category for designing a replacement structure on a fast track schedule. The design was developed in four months and is a combination of a traditional timber-framed cover with a concrete deck, beams and abutments. The new bridge was designed with an increased span length and an increased hydraulic opening allowing another storm equivalent to Irene to pass without damaging the bridge.

In the category of special projects, the firm received an Engineering Excellence Merit Award for a $2.9 million electrical upgrade project at the VA hospital, which consists of 88 buildings on a 64-acre campus that serves 75,000 veterans in Vermont and New Hampshire.

The electrical upgrades addressed more than 300 electrical system deficiencies and more than 1,600 interior light fixtures and 145 exterior fixtures that were replaced with high-efficiency LED lighting. The lighting upgrades alone resulted in an estimated annual cost savings of $49,500 and reduced electrical energy usage by 495,000 kilowatt hours.

The firm also received the highest ranking and a Grand Award in the buildings and structures category for structural engineering services for the new Dion Family Student Center and Quad Commons Residential Hall at Saint Michaels College in Colchester, Vt.

Items of interest to the local business community are published every Sunday. Submissions may be mailed to: Business Notes, c/o Sunday Valley News, P.O. Box 877, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. You may also send your items by fax to 603-298-0212, or by e-mail to biznotes@vnews.com. All items are subject to editing for clarity or space.