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Morse temporarily takes BDCC helm

Executive director search gets under way

BRATTLEBORO—Stephan Morse of Newfane has stepped up as interim executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.

Morse is no stranger to tall orders as chair of the Southeast Vermont Economic Development Strategy task force on post-Vermont Yankee and as former Vermont speaker of the house.

Morse started at the BDCC on May 12. He fills the executive director role vacated by Pat Moulton, who left to serve as Gov. Peter Shumlin’s secretary of commerce and community development.

Moulton started in the executive director position only recently, taking over from Jeffrey Lewis on his retirement, at the end of 2013.

BDCC President Dan Normandeau said in a press release that the organization is fortunate to have Morse, given his extensive leadership experience.

“Stephan will provide the type of support our talented staff needs to keep all of our projects moving forward,” Normandeau said.

Normandeau also lauded Morse in a phone interview with The Commons, adding that, along with that leadership experience, Morse possesses a passion for the area that will serve the region well.

Normandeau said he spoke on behalf of BDCC’s staff, volunteers, and board — that this is an area they feel passionate about, and seeing it led ably is a key priority.

He added that while bolstering the economy could be hard work, “there are some very positive and exciting things going on.”

According to SeVEDS, Windham County’s economy is in a 20-year recession. Wages on average are lower than wages in neighboring counties — and indeed are among the lowest in Vermont.

SeVEDS, an affiliate of BDCC, launched more than five years ago to improve the area’s economic trends. In his interview, Normandeau noted that SeVEDS has helped foster regional collaboration. In December 2013 it completed a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) that he said is proving valuable.

In addition to overseeing BDCC’s daily operations, Morse will lead the search for a permanent executive director.

A BDCC press release says Morse is looking forward to working with temporary Project Manager Tom Appel, owner of New England Management Company, LLC, to manage individual business projects Moulton had supported.

In Newfane, Morse chairs the State Board of Education. He also has a track record of success in working on economic issues with BDCC and SeVEDS — including exploring the ramifications of Entergy’s pending closure of Vermont Yankee.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #254 (Wednesday, May 14, 2014). This story appeared on page C1.

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