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BEN Wilson

Favorite Part of Job? I like being part of a team that is committed to making Middlebury College an even better educational institution. There is wonderful camaraderie among the College's staff, because we are all working towards the same common goal.

Most Inspiring Mentor: I was fortunate to work for five-years with Christian Hoffman, a securities litigator and senior partner at the Boston law firm of Foley Hoag LLP. Chris is not only an outstanding attorney, but also he is a wonderful leader because he pragmatically addresses challenges, and he works every bit as hard (or harder) than his associate attorneys. Chris fosters both loyalty and results, and I have tried to emulate his leadership style in my community service activities.

Tell us something fun about yourself that few people know: When I was a law student at the University of Chicago I would occasionally grab a beer on Friday afternoons with a part-time constitutional law professor who was also a state legislator -- Barack Obama.

Favorite Downtime Activity: Participating in, or watching, whatever sport my kids are currently into.

Favorite Vermont Escape: Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton: It is such a luxury to have world-class cross-country skiing only 20 minutes from home. It is a winter escape that I can take advantage of on a weekly basis.

Favorite Social Media: Linkedin is a great professional tool; however, Facebook gets the nod because it has allowed me to keep connected with my friends around the world.

Favorite Website: The Addison Independent and Vermont Digger. Between these two websites I always have a good idea of what is going on locally and state-wide.

Vermont Business Person you would most want to Network with: Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller: We have started some new economic development initiatives in Middlebury that I think could be scaled state-wide. Plus, the man knows good beer having founded Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury.

Career Highlights: Prior to joining Middlebury College, I worked as a lawyer in Middlebury at Langrock Sperry & Wool, and in Boston at Foley Hoag LLP. In Boston, I spent five-years working on the Tyco litigation, which was one of the largest cases in American legal history. I also participated in Foley Hoag’s domestic violence clinic, where we would win 209A restraining orders for domestic violence victims. During law school I served as Law Clerk for Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy.

Community Involvement: I serve as President of the Better Middlebury Partnership ("BMP"), a business group dedicated to making Middlebury a better place to live, work and play. The BMP annually holds four signature events in Middlebury: The Vermont Chili Festival, Midd Summer Fest, The Spooktacular and Very Merry Middlebury. All told, over 11,000 people participated in these events last year. The BMP is also active in Middlebury’s economic development efforts. For instance, the BMP founded Middlebury’s Young Professional Group, and it will be hosting a series of community forums to discuss the future of retail in Middlebury in 2013-2014. 

In 2012, the BMP founded a Telecommuter/Mobile Professional Group, which is designed to better integrate into our community professionals who live and play in Middlebury, but whose work is focused elsewhere. The talent pool of this group is extraordinary – our 67 members work for companies such as Intel, Universal Music, National Geographic, as well as a variety of investment firms and consultancies. Ultimately, we hope that bringing these professionals together will not only build community, but also connections that will spur some of these professionals to create new ventures based in Middlebury. Building off the success of this group, the BMP is initiating a new campaign to recruit telecommuters, mobile professionals and entrepreneurs to relocate to Middlebury. We expect many of these professionals will bring young families to the area which will help offset our aging demographic. We also expect that the increased density of talent will encourage other enterprises to come to Middlebury. In addition to the BMP, I also serve on the boards of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce and Otter Creek Child Center.

 John Boutin, Publisher of VBM, Lisa Gosselin, VT Dept. Economic Dev. and Rising Star Ben Wilson.

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