People

In case you were wondering who was back here...

Alex Epstein, Warrior-King of Social Media

Alex is an environmental communications specialist, working to strengthen the understanding and communication of crucial environmental issues. A Buffalo, New York native, he is now making a home for himself in the Green Mountain State. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University, where his interest in the intersection of marketing, business, and the environment was kindled.  With a background in digital marketing, data analytics, blog-writing, and design work in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, he is able to act on his desire to make good in the world while helping organizations/businesses grow in a sustainable fashion.

Bill Finnegan, Master of Web and Ultimate Voice Of Reason

Bill is a member-owner of Tamarack Media Cooperative and Vermontivate's website developer and technical director. He has been with Vermontivate from the beginning, creating the website for the first round out of little more than duct tape and optimism, with his early efforts on Vermontivate supported by a TogetherGreen Fellowship from Audubon and Toyota. Bill is also a documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured in the public television series Natural Heroes, on BBC Radio 4, and at film festivals around the world. Bill represents Vermontivate internationally from his office outside London. 

Daniel Shearer, Informant to the Voice of Reason

When not playing Vermontivate, Daniel is practicing the caulk gun for music videos. He's a member-owner at Tamarack Media Cooperative and is very much game for Kick the Can or Kick the Energy Use, whichever people are up for at any time. While living in Burlington, he served on the Burlington Electric Commission, helping set a course for a 100% renewable electricity portfolio which was reached last year. Now, he's working hard with Williams College to set a path for divesting from fossil fuels.

Ginny Sassaman, Awe-Inspiring Events Coordinator and Secret Weapon #1

Known to many in central Vermont as, “The Happiness Lady,” Ginny Sassaman has also worked in public television, for national advocacy organizations, and as a full time artist. In 2006, she returned to graduate school to earn a Masters in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies at Woodbury College. For her Capstone project at Woodbury, Ginny researched suffering and mediation – but as soon as she graduated, she began studying happiness. Those studies continue. In January 2015, Ginny earned a Certificate in Positive Psychology. Ginny is a co-founder of Gross National Happiness USA and creator of The Happiness Paradigm. Currently, she works as a happiness coach and a meditation teacher. Ginny is a strong supporter of Vermontivate! because she believes a) if Mother Nature ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and b) the joyous, can-do spirit of Vermontivate is exactly how we need to tackle climate change, build resilience and community, and enjoy life! Ginny is also a proud and happy grandmother, determined to create the best future possible for her own and all grandchildren.

Jay Stearns, World's Foremost Psychic Videographer

Jay is a new Vermontivator and has helped spread the word this year by producing short films that explain the game and create some buzz. A media industry professional for over 30 years, Jay has made hundreds of films for business and non-profit organizations to help promote, brand, entertain, educate and engage. After many years in England he moved to Vermont in 2012 and has quickly adapted to the Green Mountain state of mind. As the game progresses Jay will be cheering you all on from his completely sustainable, wood-fired, steam-filled sugarhouse. Play well. Do good. Be great.

Karen Mckenny, Goddess Of Everythiiiiiing!

Karen is a three-time Vermontivate! MVP. This year she joins the Vermontivate! team as our community outreach manager and all around player helper. After her first year playing Vermontivate! she joined her town Energy Committee where she has been ever since. These days, when not Vermontivating, she is  the Community Outreach Manager of the South Burlington Energy Prize (SB is a semi-finalist in the National Georgetown University $5 Million dollar energy competition), a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center, a national speaker on Cardiology and Nursing, treasurer of the Vermont Chapter of the STTI National Honor Society of Nursing, on the National UHC Cardiovascular Education Council, and on the boards of Vermont Cardiac Network and Vermont Stage Company. She is also the mother of three incredible young adults and if you can tell has more energy than all the bulbs that will be replaced playing Vermontivate! On turning 50 she celebrated by getting a tattoo that says it all: Joie de Vivre!

Kate Paine, Sassy PR Maven and Fierce Empress of Networking

Kate Paine is the principal of Kate Paine Associates, LLC. She guides clients in their online image management strategies whether for small business owners or people in career transition. Kate specializes in personal branding and LinkedIn profile makeovers to help make you stand out online. 

Kate, a native Vermonter from Stowe, has worked in the marketing and public relations world for various nonprofits and private businesses for over 20 years. 

She has worked as PR and community relations director at The Vermont Community Loan Fund, The Vermont Historical Society, National Life Group, and Johnson State College. Kate is a member of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and the Women Business Owners Network. She served as a board member for three years for VSECU, the state’s largest credit union, and was chair of their Community Contributions’ committee. Currently, Kate serves on the board of HealingWinds Vermont, a nonprofit organization offering respite sailing excursions on Lake Champlain for cancer patients in treatment and their caregivers.

Kathryn Blume, Unofficial VT Climate Czar and #VTVT Showrunner

Kathryn is a speaker, writer, director, and award-winning solo performer who has toured her original work to over 50 cities in the US, Canada, and Europe. She co-founded the Lysistrata Project, the first worldwide theatrical event for peace, and founded Earth on the Air, a nationally-syndicated environmental and social justice radio program. Vermontivate's co-founder, she received her BA from Yale with a self-designed degree in environmental studies and theater, and is also an ordained Minister with the Universal Life Church.  She serves as board chair of 350VT and on the advisory board of Vermont Shakespeare Company. She doesn’t do much in her spare time because she really doesn’t have any.

Nick Lange, Co-Founder and Sunny Rasputin Of Game Creation

Nick is an energy efficiency consultant, eternal optimist, wounded Frisbee warrior, devoted Dad, Olympic Level Explainer, and maple syrup connoisseur. Personal Superpower: Unable to hear the word CAN’T (must've been one of those childhood ear-infections). Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Sweet Impossibility (he made it up but it will be a reality someday)

Pete Land, Drupal Ninja

Pete - another member-owner at Tamarack Media Cooperative - is a Vermont native, web developer, writer, soundtrack composer, wildlife advocate, and assistant to Willy (Tamarack’s office dog). Pete tackled some of the hairiest programming challenges for Vermontivate in Drupal, the open-source platform on which this website was built. Pete currently serves on the boards of Wild Gift and the Vermont Land Trust. He is a former Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, and a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program.

Rob Falcone, Nattily Attired Assistant Community Manager

My name is Rob Falcone. I am a senior at Champlain College Majoring in Business Management with minors in Finance and Marketing. I am from a little town named Long Valley in New Jersey. I am also an avid snowboarder and have been for sometime of my life. I hope to take my passion as a snowboarder and transform it into a career one day. This past year I began to travel the world and I hope to continue my travels throughout my entire life both as a tourist and a business professional. I have high hopes for Vermontivate! to transform the environment into a better place one Vermonter at a time.

Sian Foulkes, Fairy Godmother of Visual Manifestations

Sian Foulkes combines her master’s level academic training in the fine arts with 15 years experience in graphic design and creative direction to create print, branding and web-based solutions focused on information organization, beauty, and ease of use.  Sian is the Creative Director of Foulkes Design in Montpelier, VT.  Clients include Middlebury College, Zutano, Howard Center, Shelburne Farms and the City of Montpelier. Sian has her B.A. from UCSC and her MFA from Hunter College in New York City.

T.J. Hellmann, Drupal Samurai

T.J. is a member-owner at Tamarack Media Cooperative where he serves graphic designer, web developer, and environmental justice activist. T.J. specializes in turning website designs in responsive themes in Drupal and he helped bring Sian's stunning designs to life as Vermontivate's gamified user interface. Previously he worked for six years as a community organizer with the Chelsea Collaborative in Chelsea, Massachusetts and worked three years in El Salvador doing EJ work with youth. T.J. and his family live in Terre Haute, Indiana near the banks of the Wabash River.