ACEDC Announces 2013 Addison County Companies to Watch Awards Recipients

Addison County Economic Development Corporation again recognizes business innovation and local companies’ commitment to success in Addison County, Vermont.

Addison County Co 2 Watch Awards Co2Watch 2013

Addison County Economic Development Corp. announced the 2013 Addison County Companies to Watch Awards recipients during its annual meeting today. Pictured L-R: ACEDC Board President Darcy Tarte, Mike Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Joel Melnick of Nathaniel Group, Louis Dupont of Stark Mountain Woodworking, Jane Swift of Middlebury Interactive Languages, ACEDC Executive Director Robin Scheu, Shannon Costello of Stark Mountain Woodworking.

MIDDLEBURY VT, December 5, 2013 – During its annual meeting today, Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) announced recipients of its 2nd Annual Addison County Companies to Watch” awards. Four local companies – Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Middlebury Interactive Languages, Nathaniel Group, and Stark Mountain Woodworking – were recognized for their contribution to the county’s economic growth and for community impact. 

“We are thrilled to recognize these four local businesses that are defining and redefining what innovation in Vermont truly means,” says Robin Scheu, ACEDC Executive Director. “These companies contribute to the vitality and health of our county in many ways, and they embody the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and commitment to Vermont values that show why Addison County as a great place to live and work,” Scheu said.

Since 1979 Maple Landmark Woodcraft has been making eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games, and gifts. The company sources raw materials locally and supports other local organizations that also operate responsibly and sustainably. During peak seasons, the company employs 40 people at their shop in Middlebury.

"We at Maple Landmark are pleased to be recognized for our efforts to remain a local manufacturer, in the face of global competition, and our focus on adding additional value to our local forest resources," said President Mike Rainville.

Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL) has translated Middlebury College’s gold-standard language curriculum to the digital and blended learning environments for students in elementary grades through high school. Its products are used by more than 170,000 students at 1,200 schools, making MIL the nation’s leading provider of world language education solutions to the K-12 market. The company has more than doubled its workforce and revenues over the past three years. Demonstrating its commitment to Addison County, the company recently announced plans to consolidate all of its core operations to its Middlebury headquarters.

“We at Middlebury Interactive are proud of this award because it recognizes the long-term commitment we have made to Addison County and the State of Vermont,” said Middlebury Interactive CEO Jane Swift.  “We look forward to the further growth of our workforce in Middlebury and, in partnership with Middlebury College, expanding our commitment to enhancing K-12 language education in Vermont.” 

Started in 1984, Nathaniel Group developed its own proprietary technology and markets fiber optic illumination technology primarily focused on the endoscopy market. The company, which employs 35 full-time staff at its Vergennes headquarters, focuses on medical equipment manufacturing and contract engineering. Nathaniel Group maintains one of the highest-level ISO certifications for manufacturing and is in the process of adding “clean room” capabilities.

“The entire team at Nathaniel Group is honored to be recognized as one of ACEDC’s ‘Addison County Companies to Watch’ for 2014. Designing and manufacturing innovative products with quality being the number one focus along with providing good jobs in Addison County are goals that are very important to us,” said Joel Melnick, President of Nathaniel Group.

Louis Dupont and Skimmer Hellier launched Stark Mountain Woodworking 20 years ago. The company produces a wide variety of wood products, from woodwork and furniture for museums and historical homes to complete kitchens, and more. Having experienced significant growth during the past two decades, the company now employs 14 craftsmen at its renovated barn workshop in New Haven. Representing and exporting the Vermont brand, Stark Mountain Woodworking’s commitment to sustainable business practices includes FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, on-site heating with waste wood and sawdust, and carbon emissions reduction practices, including a bike-to-work program.

“We very much appreciate this award and look forward to continuing all of the work we have been engaged in: building lasting relationships with our clients, continuously improving our design and production processes, doing the best we can for our people and for our community, and most importantly, creating the high quality custom work that makes everything else possible,” said Stark Mountain Woodworking Co-Owner Louis Dupont.

Scheu says the awards represent an opportunity to recognize business innovation and entrepreneurial success in Addison County. She hopes the awards will not only validate recipients’ success but also raise the profiles of the businesses and attract the attention of investors, potential partners, and qualified talent to the county.

The keynote speaker at ACEDC’s breakfast meeting was Jon D. Erickson, Professor & Interim Dean at The University of Vermont's Rubenstein School. Professor Erickson’s address, Bold is Beautiful: Metrics and Milestones for Charting Progress in the Genuine Economy discussed how The Genuine Progress Indicator is emerging as one standard methodology for including costs and benefits like these in our basic economic accounts.

Erickson described how GDP (gross domestic product) ignores many positive contributions to well-being, like infrastructure, the services provided over time by durable goods, and natural resources protection, and how economists and policy-makers alike are questioning the utility of such a narrow metric of progress. He said that a sustainable economy needs more comprehensive measures that reflect the environmental and social realities of our time.

Vermont is one of a small number of states exploring issues and challenges associated with economic and other performance metrics.  With its commitment to environmental protection and social justice, Erickson said that it makes sense that Vermont would be in the forefront of a movement to redefine progress.

In addition to dozens of ACEDC member businesses and organizations, attendees included representatives from the following: Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Office of U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders, Office of Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Department of Economic Development, Vermont Economic Development Authority, Vermont Small Business Development Center, City of Vergennes, Town of Middlebury, Town of Bristol, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, Middlebury College, Vermont Hard Cider Company, People’s United Bank, National Bank of Middlebury, Co-operative Insurance Companies, and Addison County Chamber of Commerce.

Award plaques for 2013 Addison County Companies to Watch were crafted in Addison County, Vermont by Maple Landmark Woodcraft. Award winners also received boxes of cookies baked by Vermont Cookie Love of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

Addison County Companies to Watch Awards eligibility criteria includes:

  • Be a privately held company (business cannot be publicly traded or a subsidiary or division of another company, and not a nonprofit).
  • Be headquartered in Addison County.
  • Have been in business for a minimum of 2 years and focused on growth rather than survival.
  • Employ 6 or more full-time employees, including the owners.
  • Demonstrate the ability or potential to grow.

ACEDC is a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation, which helps businesses meet the challenges and find solutions – from startup financing and referrals, regulatory assistance, business loans and grants, to workforce training and program development. It is one of 12 regional development corporations in Vermont.

About Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC)

ADEDC is the resource for navigating challenges and opportunities of doing business in Addison County, Vermont. ACEDC works with businesses in all stages of growth, from pre-venture start-ups to established companies and global corporations, to help them create and retain good paying jobs. Additional information may be found at:


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