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ANDY Paluch


Company: Come Alive Outside
Title: Vermont Regional Director
Age: 31

Favorite Part of Job? My job restores my faith in humanity on a daily basis!  Like a lot of people these days, I'm frustrated and frightened by the divisiveness and ugliness that I see every time I look at the national news. The mission of our organization is to facilitate collaborative community systems that create the opportunity for people to live healthier lives outside, and this allows me to interact with the best side of people and experience the power of working together to solve a common problem.

Most Inspiring Mentor: I've learned more about life and business from my dad than anyone else I know.  I try to thank him every chance I get for letting me steal all of his moves.

Favorite Downtime Activity: Hiking up a mountain stream and fishing for wild trout is always a perfect way to spend a day, even if you don't catch anything!

Favorite Super Hero: Bob Dylan.

Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: Elon and Kimbal Musk are both very inspiring to me in how they are addressing some of the world's most pressing problems through bold, entrepreneurial solutions. Elon is the more famous of the two brothers, but I'd love to have a beer with Kimbal and talk about the future of the "real food" movement, and the value of reconnecting people with nature through the food that we eat.

What is the best career advice you have received? A close friend and mentor told me once, "If people aren't telling you no, you're not asking enough." This was in the context of fundraising, but, in general, I've found that most people are so generous with their time, talents and wisdom if you have the courage to reach out and ask for help.

What motivated you to live and work in Vermont? I was blown away by the people I had met in Rutland who were deeply invested in the community and who were also working together in really unique and collaborative ways.  It has made it an exciting place to live and was also an amazing opportunity to plug into that energy through the work that I get to do now!

Career Highlights: In 2013, I returned home after living in China for four years to be one of the founders of Come Alive Outside as a non-profit organization.  I served as Executive Director for three years, working with a network of partner companies in the landscape profession across the U.S. and Canada to design and implement programs that created greater awareness and access to nature near the places where we live. In 2017, with the hire of a new Executive Director, I was able to move to Rutland to focus on further developing regional programming in Vermont, and build on the momentum created by our partners here over the past several years.  As the Vermont Regional Director, I've focused on implementing Farm to School programming in Rutland county, as well as additional programs that help to get people of all ages outside and active.

Community Involvement: It's crazy starting and running a small nonprofit; I feel like our programs consume most all of my time and energy.  I suppose it is all community involvement, but it is also what I get paid to do!
We help to produce a variety of events throughout the year in partnership with the Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland Rec Dept, Carpenter and Costin Landscape, Wonderfeet Kid’s Museum and other awesome partners in the community here.  Through some of these events, elementary students planted out an acre of butternut squash and sunflowers at the hospital, which they later came back and harvested in the fall. Through another event we laid 6,000 square feet of sod on top of Center Street in downtown Rutland to create a temporary park and play space for a day. We also produce Farm to School cooking workshops and taste tests using local food at seven Rutland County schools with support from student volunteers at Castleton University.  Additionally we’ve started Summer and Winter Passport programs in Rutland and Addison Counties that encourage families to go to parks, farmers markets and community events, as well as engaging in other healthy, outdoor activities throughout the year.



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