Ronda Berns, Vice President of Tourism, Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Ronda Berns is the new Vice President of Tourism for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.  She has been in sales management in the hospitality industry for 30 plus years.  Her most recent positions include National Sales Manager at Stowe Mountain Lodge and as the Director of Sales at Topnotch Resort.  Ronda previously held the Executive Director position for the Vermont Convention Bureau where she was instrumental in rebuilding this statewide organization through collaboration and partnerships.

Ronda will lead the Tourism Department for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce through the production and advertising sales of the print and online official statewide vacation publications.  She will also represent the Vermont Chamber membership in the State House on issues concerning the tourism and hospitality industries.

Ronda lives with her husband in Elmore, Vermont.






Justin A. Brown, Attorney, Sheehey Furlong & Behm P.C.

Justin A. Brown joined the firm as an associate in July 2016.  He practices in both federal and state trial and appellate courts, and before administrative agencies and boards.  At the firm, Justin represents businesses and individuals in complex civil litigation, white collar and felony criminal defense, and internal investigations.

Prior to joining the firm, Justin was an associate at the Boston office of the global law firm DLA Piper LLP (US).  While at DLA, Justin represented clients in complex business disputes, health care fraud, and land-use litigation. He also regularly conducted investigations for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical clients both in the United States and internationally relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and compliance.

Following law school, Justin clerked for the Honorable Peter W. Hall of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Honorable William J. Lavery and the Honorable Francis X. Hennessy of the Connecticut Appellate Court.


Board Chairman

Michael Casella, General Manager, Casella Waste Systems, Inc.

Mr. Casella brings broad experience in both the private and public sectors, particularly in the field of Waste and Recycling. Mr. Casella has been a member of numerous industry-related and community service-related state and local boards and commissions, including the Green Up Vermont, Vermont Sports Hall of Fame, Wheels for Warmth. He has also served on various state task forces, serving in an advisory capacity to the Vermont Business Roundtable on economic development. Mr. Casella serves in the campaign committee of Governor Phil Scott. Mr. Casella holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia University and a Bachelor of Arts & Science in Communication from West Virginia University.



Corinna Costello, VP Government Guaranteed Lending, People’s United Bank

I started working for Chittenden Bank in 1990.  For the last 21 years, I have worked with US SBA (Small Business Administration) loans in VT.  In 2011, I also took over providing SBA loans for Maine and New Hampshire along with Vermont.  I live in Danville with my husband Thom, who is a teacher at Twinfield, and my two children Madison and Porter.  I participated in Green Up Days as a child growing up in Island Pond and have fond memories of Green Up Day.


Cathy Davis, Executive Vice President, Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce

Cathy serves as Executive Vice President of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Vermont’s largest business association. In her role, she leads the Chamber’s Visitor Services division, Workforce and Economic Development programs and Government Affairs team. Cathy joined the Chamber’s staff in 2007. Prior to her work at the Chamber, she served as International Issues Liaison for former US Senator Jim Jeffords. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont. Cathy and her husband have two young children who keep them very busy.


Erin Desautels, Principle at Vermont Small Business Accelerators

Erin Desautels is Principle at Vermont Small Business Accelerators, LLC and specializes in business and economic development. A native Vermonter, Erin assists small businesses and individuals with specific challenges. Ms. Desautels attended Castleton State College nursing program and worked as an operating room nurse. She was previously the Member Engagement and Events Director at Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Erin is also very actively involved in assisting the non-profit community and serves on several boards. Erin resides in South Burlington, VT with her family and enjoys running and hiking.


Sue Killoran, Owner – Killoran Communications

Sue Killoran has over 25 year’s of management experience in marketing and public relations in the travel and tourism, outdoor lifestyle, and food industries. She is owner and sole employee of Killoran Communications LLC, a public relations firm specializing in the outdoor and ski lifestyle market for internationally known brands.  A major focus is on creating brand awareness and securing product placement with national to regional multi-media outlets, from the New York Times, SELF, Outside, to Vermont Ski and Sports.  Sue is well versed in developing strategic plans that encompass direct communication to event planning. Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to work with Julia Childs to elite world class athletes, traveling throughout the country and internationally for media events, trade shows, and to corporate headquarters. Sue lives in Calais, VT with her husband, two college age sons, a dog and a cat.  She enjoys everything outdoors, cooking and reading.



Kathy Murphy-Moriarty, Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Norwich University

Twenty five plus years of marketing expertise – building, executing and evaluating messages, products and programs for internationally recognized consumer brands in higher education, and specialty outdoor, snow sports, sporting goods, destination travel/resort industries.

Exceptionally skilled in the product to market process from research to product/program development, sell in to sell through, POP/merchandising, advertising, public relations, and ROI analysis. Successfully launched and directed many first to market concepts and products, including entering new markets in Europe, Asia and Scandinavia.

Well versed in small business environment as well as large corporation structure; adept in planning, communication, team building, project management, budgeting, and financial analysis. Highly motivated individual with strong work ethic, impressive organization skills, and entrepreneurial passion. Results driven.


Denise Palmer, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial

Denise Palmer is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial (formerly American Express Financial Advisors) in Barre, VT. She has been in business for 20 years and currently holds the ChFC and CLTC designations. She resides in New Haven.




Heather Pelham, Chief Marketing Officer, VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Heather Pelham was appointed Chief Marketing Officer for the State of Vermont in June 2015. In this current role, Pelham serves as steward of the Vermont brand and effectively acts as an internal marketing consultant for communications and outreach activities by state agencies and departments. Prior to joining state government, Pelham was the managing partner of a central Vermont advertising and design firm, developing brand strategies and integrated marketing campaigns for small business, nonprofit and higher education clients. Also an accomplished designer, Pelham has 20 years of experience in creative strategy, graphic design, and web development. Pelham is a graduate of Brown University and lives with her family in Randolph Center.


Chairman Emeritus


Sheldon Prentice Corporate Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, NBT Bancorp

Sheldon Prentice is corporate executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for NBT Bancorp. Prentice coordinates the company’s legal activities, manages external legal counsel, oversees relations with regulatory agencies and serves as corporate secretary. He is based at the company’s headquarters in Norwich.

Prentice has 37 years of corporate law experience. Before joining NBT Bancorp, he was senior vice president and general counsel for two years at Merchants Bancshares in South Burlington, Vt. Prior to this, he was senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Burlington, Vt.-based Chittenden Corporation, where he worked for 23 years.

Prentice has a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and New York. He has been involved in numerous professional and community organizations over the years, including the Vermont Bar Association, the NASD Board of Arbitrators and the American Bankers Association Government Relations Council. He also taught Securities Regulations at Vermont Law School for nine years as an adjunct faculty member.

Prentice is a member of the Chenango County Council of the Arts, Norwich Planning Commission and the government relations council of Commerce Chenango. Prentice has also been active in the Dartmouth Alumni Association, having served as an Alumni Councilor, Area Enrollment for Admissions and as Head Agent for the Dartmouth Alumni Fund for the Class of 1972.


Gene Richards, Director of Aviation, Burlington International Airport

Gene Richards is a life-long entrepreneur and philanthropist. Starting his career in banking, he became Vice President of Bank of Boston’s mortgage department. Gene went on to incorporate Spruce Mortgage, where he still serves as CEO in addition to being a well-respected landlord in Burlington for over 30 years. Today, Gene is Director of Aviation at the Burlington International Airport, a position he has held since May of 2013. Gene is hands-on and is often seen walking through the airport to greet travelers.

In addition to directing daily airport operations, Gene is devoted to numerous causes and serves on multiple boards. He has been a board member of a number of community groups, including the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, Burlington Community Health Center, United Way of Chittenden County, Lund Family Center, March of Dimes, Church Street Marketplace Commission, Burlington Fire Commission, Burlington International Airport Commission, Queen City Police Foundation, Stern Center for Language & Learning, American Red Cross, Arthritis Foundation, For One Another Foundation, among others.

Gene is passionate about everything he does and is a leader in supporting the local and statewide economy. Gene is innovative and accessible, while continuing to provide a positive impact on the quality of life for Vermonters.



Vice Chairman of the Board


Parker Riehle, President, Ski Vermont

A native of South Burlington where he still resides, Parker attended Hamilton College and Vermont Law School. He has been with the Vermont Ski Areas Association since 1998 (President since 2006), and served on Governor Douglas’ senior staff as Special Assistant to the Governor and Secretary of Civil & Military Affairs. Parker’s father Ted Riehle was the architect of Vermont’s billboard law and in 1969 was appointed by Governor Deane Davis to organize the first Green Up Day.