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Bill Atkinson, PE, FNSPE

The National Society of Professional Engineers officially welcomed William “Bill” Atkinson, P.E., F.NSPE, as its 2023-2024 president beginning July 1, 2023. A formal installation ceremony took place at the Society’s annual Professional Engineers Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on August 3, 2023.

“I am honored and humbled to stand here before you,” said Atkinson at the installation ceremony. “But as I look out and see all the remarkable people in the room, I know that the true power of the association does not lie with me, it lies within you. We have so many state and chapter organizations and individuals who are doing amazing things in the pursuit of excellence for the profession, NSPE, and our future. As with everything we do, together we are stronger.”

A member of NSPE and the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers, Atkinson has held many volunteer leadership positions with NSPE including serving on the Committee on Policy and Advocacy, as a mentor for the Emerging Leaders Program, as Vermont’s representative to the NSPE House of Delegates, and as the NSPE Vermont President . Atkinson was named an NSPE Fellow in 2021, and previously served as the state society president in Vermont.

Atkinson is currently the director of engineering, and a member of the executive team, at Vermont Mechanical Incorporated (VMI). There he is responsible for all engineering and has input into the overall company direction for one of the  largest mechanical and plumbing contractors in Vermont. He started at VMI as a mechanical designer and has progressed to his current position after over 20 years of service. At VMI he found strong support from the Owner Randy Kimball in pursuing professional development through civic and volunteer engagements that benefited the Profession and local community.

Atkinson became a professional engineer through a somewhat nontraditional route, first attending a community college program at SUNY Canton where he earned an associate degree in engineering science and later transferred to Clarkson University, where he completed his studies in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he worked “in the woods” as a chainsaw and skidder operator before moving to Maine where he worked for Diamond Phoenix, designing automated material handling equipment. He then relocated to Vermont and began working at VMI. It was at VMI where Atkinson realized becoming a PE was instrumental to progressing in his career and attaining a leadership role and proceeded to take the exams to become licensed. He is currently a licensed professional engineer in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York.

During his fundamental years as an engineer, Atkinson joined the American Society for Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) where he honed his technical skills and his leadership skills, participating in volunteer roles as a leader and trainer at the state and regional levels. This led to becoming one of the founding members of ASHRAE’s Design Build Task Group, as well as serving on national committees and training the presidents-elect at the regional level.

In 2005, Atkinson attended a meeting of the Vermont Professional Engineering Licensure Board, and shortly thereafter was appointed to the Board by the Governor. He served on the Board for the maximum tenure of 10 years, four of those as Chair, which then made him eligible to serve on national committees for the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). He has been appointed to an NCEES committee or task force yearly since 2013, including serving as chair of the Committee on Examination Policy and Procedures, the Leadership Development Committee, and currently serves on the NCEES Examination Audit Committee as a Vermont Emeritus Licensing Board Member.

As a leader, Atkinson firmly believes that the strength in any team is a building a strong consensus from a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and opinions. A diverse team developing and building a consensus allows everyone to have a productive voice and be a part of crafting the best possible outcome.

Outside of work and volunteering, Atkinson enjoys spending time with his two sons and wife Kim (also a professional engineer). The family can be found playing outdoors in all seasons, especially in the woods, at a hockey rink (or their backyard rink), on the soccer field, or on a ski slope.

VT Mathletes Get Ready for National Competition

Date: April 22, 2024

Congratulations to the student team that will represent Vermont during the 2024 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS Competition finals, May 11-14 in Washington, DC. The event is a celebration of the incredible mathletes, educators, volunteers, alumni, and education advocates who make MATHCOUNTS possible. The thrilling Countdown Round at the national competition will take place on May 13 and is open to the public (registration required). Access information about the mathletes and competition events here.


Front Row (left to right): Mohid Ali (F.H. Tuttle Middle School) and Tank Chandler (Edmunds Middle School). Second Row (left to right): Kazimir Skalka (Edmunds Middle School), John Radimer (Coach), and Chase Gurtman (F.H. Tuttle Middle School).

Read more about the Vermont MATHCOUNTS program and recent state competition results.

Vermont's Largest Energy Fair Draws Hundreds

Date: April 22, 2024

For 17 years the Waterbury Local Energy Action Partnership has hosted the biggest energy fair in the state to showcase the latest technology for a more sustainable future, NBC 5 reports.

"A lot of people in Vermont are looking to save energy and save money, and a lot of people are curious about green energy options and this is the place to come to learn all about the latest technologies and opportunities to save," said Duncan McDougall, the event organizer.

Roughly 700 hundred people attend every year from every corner of the state, and as more people start paying attention to carbon emissions and their own personal contributions to climate change, the event continues to grow.

"17 years ago it was a lot of early adopters; now basically everyone is interested in it [green energy] they have neighbors they have friends who are interested in solar heat pumps, power walls or electric vehicles, and they want to find out more. and that’s why we bring all the experts together," said McDougall. Read more.

GlobalFoundries Hosts Students From The Governor's Institute

Date: April 22, 2024

GlobalFoundries (GF) recently partnered with The Governor's Institute of Vermont (GIV) to host a One Day Adventure: Engineering the Solution at GF's Essex Junction facility, Vermont Business Magazine reports. During the event, students experienced the world of engineering at GF with an inside look into real engineering situations through hands-on activities, analytical problem-solving, and opportunities to collaborate.

Following a welcome from Director of Fab 9 Operations Jean Blunt, students opened the day with a hands-on LED Helicopter activity, followed by a GaN case study presentation by GF team members.

Students then split into four "go see" groups to explore different parts of the GF facility and learn about their case study. These areas included tools in the fab, the physical failure analysis lab, the electrical failure analysis lab, and the wafer test area in the modeling lab.

"This is a unique opportunity for high school students to pursue their passions outside of a traditional classroom setting," says Executive Director Elizabeth Frascoia. "GIV strives to provide young people with the resources and mentorship they need to explore career options right here in Vermont. We’re so grateful for the chance to collaborate with an industry leader like GlobalFoundries in our mission to support Vermont's youth as they discover their path forward." Read more.

VSPE Celebrates the Best of the Profession

Date: March 29, 2024

Thanks to everyone that participated in the annual Engineers Week Banquet on February 23! The event provided a great opportunity to celebrate the best of the engineering profession, including recognition of the Engineer of the Year, the Young Engineer of the Year, Student Engineer of the Year winners, scholarship recipients, and featured a keynote presentation by BETA Technologies.

Jeffery Tucker, P.E., LEED AP, CEO of Vermont-based DuBois & King, was named Engineer of the Year. Tucker, a civil engineer, is a graduate of the University of Vermont. He has served as president of both the Vermont Society of Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Vermont.

Jordan Duffy, P.E., CPESC, water resources engineer at Fitzgerald Environmental Associates in Colchester, was named Young Engineer of the Year. Duffy holds bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Vermont. He has served in numerous positions with the Vermont chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, including as 2022-23 chapter president.

Carlene Anchordoguy, a student at Norwich University, and Sarah Lindberg, a student at the University of Vermont, were recognized as Student Engineers of the Year.

Congratulations to the 2024 Scholarship Winners!

  • William Devers – Norwich University
  • Luke Mackintosh – Norwich University
  • Emma McDonald – University of Vermont
  • Elizabeth Reynolds – Vermont State University

Access Engineers Week Banquet event photos.

Standard Solar Strengthens Vermont's Renewable Energy Market

Date: March 29, 2024

Standard Solar (a prominent developer and proprietor of commercial and community solar projects) has acquired a 18.5-MW solar project portfolio in Vermont from local developer, MHG Solar, SolarQuarter reports.

Standard Solar, as the owner and operator, will deploy six projects in Vermont, supplying clean energy to the state's electric utilities through its Standard Offer Program. This acquisition reaffirms Standard Solar's dedication to advancing sustainable energy solutions and bolstering solar development in the area.

This portfolio, spanning Vermont, signifies a significant expansion of Standard Solar's presence within the state. With these projects, the company actively supports Vermont's green energy goals and strengthens its role as a dynamic solar energy center. These endeavors are poised to generate clean electricity for thousands of Vermont households, contributing substantially to greenhouse gas emission reduction. Moreover, they are expected to catalyze the creation of numerous local job opportunities, fostering economic growth and community advancement.

The projects, including Evergreen Solar (2.9 MW in Fair Haven), Halladay Solar (3.3 MW in Middlebury), Midway Solar (3.3 MW in Berlin), Steinberg Solar (3.3 MW in Brandon), Stone Mill Solar (2.8 MW in Castleton), and Trolley Tracks Solar (2.8 MW in Poultney), are expected to be completed by year-end. Read more.

Manufactured Home Communities Get $15.5M to Improve Water Infrastructure

Date: March 29, 2024

Governor Phil Scott recently announced that an additional $15.5 million has been awarded to manufactured home communities throughout Vermont for water infrastructure projects, according to VT Digger.

Forty-six manufactured home communities are recipients of the latest round of funding, benefiting more than 5,600 residents, according to a press release from the governor's office. These communities, which applied for the funding in the fall, hope to address issues such as inadequate or failing wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems. They can spend the money on assessments, technical and permitting assistance, and construction costs associated with these projects, according to the release.

Marjorie Klark, supervisor of the Agency of Natural Resources' Healthy Homes Initiative, said officials hear anecdotally about "residents in parks who are getting trickles of water out of their faucet" and other problems accessing clean drinking water. "We have parks that have discussed the fact that they have pooling septic, creating a health hazard," she said. "Very serious issues are facing these parks and the living conditions, which the residents are facing." Read more.

Vermont Legislators Advance Renewable Energy Standard

Date: February 22, 2024

Vermont lawmakers have advanced a bill to source more of the state’s energy from renewable resources, reports. State utilities are currently required to source 75% of their energy from renewable resources by 2032. This includes solar, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass energy. A key committee advanced the renewable energy standard which, requires utilities to source all of their power from renewables.

State lawmakers say the bill also helps develop more renewable resources in the state. “Part of that is having climate resilience and resiliency is redundancy. So, we have energy sources from all over and local generation when the grid goes wonky or goes down,” said Rep. Amy Sheldon, D-Middlebury. State lawmakers say they are still determining the exact impact on what ratepayers will pay.

UVM’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Program Debuts Its New Name

Date: February 22, 2024

The University of Vermont reports that the faculty of the former Electrical Engineering (EE) program in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) has recently voted to adopt a new name— the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Program—that better reflects the scope and breadth of the undergraduate curriculum and highlights the importance of computer engineering as a core research and hands-on learning opportunity for students studying to become electrical engineers.

“Our faculty recognizes that computer engineering—which blends aspects of electrical engineering with computer science—is a highly sought-after combination of skills for which there is a critical need in the modern workforce,” said Marilyn J. Cipolla, Chair of the Electrical and Biomedical Engineering Department (EBE) where the program will continue to be housed. Cipolla added that the faculty within the Electrical and Computer Engineering program are internationally recognized for their research in areas that heavily involve computer engineering, but that this expertise was not well-reflected in the program’s existing name.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering program allows students to select a specific area of concentration if they choose to. They can collaborate with faculty on research and take courses within specific areas of expertise in the department. Read more.

Save the Date: 2024 Engineers Week Banquet

Date: January 19, 2024

Mark your calendar for the Engineers Week Banquet on Friday, February 23, at the Delta Hotel (1117 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT 05403). The event will celebrate the engineering community, outstanding engineers, and accomplishments in Vermont. The event will also include the usual award ceremonies and other announcements, followed by a keynote presentation by BETA Technologies. Please feel free to invite family, coworkers, and friends to the banquet! Stay tuned for more event details.

Vermont is Racing to Meet its Own Electric Vehicle Targets

Date: January 19, 2024

State transportation officials recently told legislators this week that Vermont’s electric vehicle transition still has a long way to go to meet its goals, the VT Digger reports.

Vermont currently leads the country in efforts toward electrification of the transportation sector, according to data shared by officials based on a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which compared states based on their charging infrastructure, incentives, and emissions requirements. Still, the Green Mountain State is lagging behind its targets.

As of October 2023, there were just under 11,000 plug-in EVs registered in the state, David Roberts, a consultant for the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, told the House Transportation Committee. But meeting state emissions goals for the transportation sector would require that there be about 27,000 plug-in EVs registered in Vermont by 2025 and 126,000 by 2030.

Roughly 10% of new vehicle registrations in the state each year come from EVs, he said. But that needs to pass 15% by 2025 and 68% by 2030 for Vermont to meet its stated targets. "There's a lot of opportunity to advance toward those goals," Roberts told legislators, "but they're going to be challenging to hit, and we certainly can't rest on our laurels." Read more.

STARBASE Expands STEM Among Vermont Youth

Date: January 19, 2024

DVIDS reports that since 1994, the Department of Defense youth program, known as STARBASE, has been increasing fifth graders' exposure to the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Originally called Project STARS, the DoD program began in Detroit, Michigan in 1991 and was focused on exposing at-risk youth to hands-on activities related to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In 1993 the US Congress appropriated funds for the program, and it has since expanded to 81 locations throughout the country – including two in Vermont.

"STARBASE Vermont is a youth program for fifth graders," said Paige Clark, STARBASE Vermont site supervisor. "We have a site in South Burlington on the Vermont Air National Guard Base, and a site in Rutland at the Armed Forces Reserve Center. Each site serves 800 to 1200 students annually, and our mission is to raise the interest and improve students' knowledge in STEM." The 5-day program allows fifth graders from schools across the state to travel to one of the two Vermont locations and experience team-based activities and lessons. "Specifically, students focus on the fields of physics, chemistry, technology, robotics, computer aided design, and the engineering design process," said Clark. Read more.

New Solar Research Facility to Study Effects of Challenging Vermont Conditions

Date: December 19, 2023

The University of Vermont has announced that its new UVM Solar Research and Training Facility at McNeil Generating Station was recently unveiled, energizing the study of the performance and durability of solar panels under often-challenging Vermont conditions: freezing temperatures, heat and humidity, cloud cover, hail, and having their surfaces covered in everything from bird droppings, snow and ice to dust from agriculture and dirt roads.

The facility includes panels purchased as part of a Department of Energy (DOE)-funded UVM research project in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences as well as a large number of panel donated by Sandia National Labs from the former DOE/Sandia National Lab solar test site in Williston. The array will serve as a core research facility serving several new research projects and training opportunities and will support the long-term goal of identifying industry partners interested in testing new technologies.

The McNeil facility provides an opportunity to leave the panels “fully exposed to all of the dust, rocks, birds, squirrels – everything that you might expect panels to be exposed to outside,” said Matthew White, a professor in the Department of Physics and co-PI of both the solar installation and research projects. Read more.

Vermont Prepares for $21 Million Federally-Funded EV Charger Build Out

Date: December 19, 2023

With least 10,000 registered electric vehicles in Vermont and more traveling through, the state is looking to add more EV infrastructure, WCAX reports. “For those times when people may not own their homes, they might not have access to charging in their multi-unit dwelling,” said Patrick Murphy with Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Two years ago Vermont received $21 million in federal funding for EV infrastructure but Murphy says there have been delays in getting it on the ground. In the meantime, the state has spent $1 million in grants on chargers in multi-unit dwellings, expanding access to 6,200 households. But the goal is to add roughly 80 fast chargers, allowing travelers to never be more than 25 miles away from a fast charger from the highway corridor.

“In each location, people will be able to know that they’ll have at least four fast charging ports that can simultaneously charge at 150 kilowatts versus a really fast amount of charge,” Murphy said.

VTrans expects the first part of that $21 million in federal funding will be in motion by next year. Read more.

Vermont, New Hampshire Transmission Project Gets $1.3 Billion in Federal Funding

Date: November 16, 2023

Upwards of $1.3 billion in federal money is coming to Vermont and New Hampshire to upgrade and build electric transmission lines to deliver hydropower from Canada, according to WCAX.

The Twin States Clean Energy Link funding is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will deliver clean energy from Canada to New England to support the region’s carbon reduction goals.

“To realize the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda puts us in position to do just that,” US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “This historic effort to strengthen the nation’s transmission will drive down costs for American families and deliver thousands of good paying jobs for American workers—helping communities keep the lights on in the face of climate change-induced extreme weather events.”

The project is projected to lower costs for customers across New England, creating more than $8.3 billion in wholesale energy market cost savings over the first 12 years, according to officials. It’s also projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new property tax revenues to host state cities and towns through which the line passes. Read more.

UVM Enters Partnership on New Semiconductor Lab

Date: November 16, 2023

An innovative Device Characterization Lab made possible by a partnership between the University of Vermont’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) and GlobalFoundries (GF) was recently unveiled, VermontBiz reports.

The only educational semiconductor lab in the state, the new lab heralds an essential phase of the ongoing initiative to prepare students to work in the rapidly expanding field. The facility features a suite of scientific testing and analysis equipment donated by GF.

“Our strategic partnership with GF continues to build on our shared commitment to developing a highly skilled workforce that positions Vermont as a leader in semiconductor development and manufacturing,” said Linda Schadler, dean of CEMS. “This cutting-edge facility is the first of its kind in Vermont and will provide a unique educational experience for our students.”

The seed of the project was planted last fall when the US Department of Education awarded UVM $2.6 million to develop and implement expanded educational opportunities in semiconductor technology.

With the funding in place, a team of CEMS faculty members including Jeff Frolick, Matt Gallagher and Tian Xia in electrical engineering and Randy Headrick and Matt White in physics collaborated with their colleagues at GF to design an undergraduate certificate in semiconductor engineering and physics. Read more.

Vermont to Receive $329 Million in Latest Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Allotment

Date: October 17, 2023

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration will send Vermont $329 million in federal infrastructure dollars for fiscal year 2024, according to VT Digger. The federal dollars will be allocated directly to Vermont to help pay for critical infrastructure projects, including work on roads, bridges and tunnels, safety improvements, carbon emissions reduction and workforce development.

The feds do have some say in how the dollars are spent: Vermont’s $329 million is divided among 12 different formula programs. The largest pieces of the state’s pie are for the National Highway Performance Program ($151 million), Surface Transportation Block Grant ($74 million) and the Bridge Formula Program ($45 million).

Governor Phil Scott called the latest round of federal funding critical to revitalizing communities in all corners of the state. “This funding, in addition to (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars and historic state investments we’re making, will work together to build stronger, more resilient communities and lay the foundation for long term success,” Scott said in a written statement. “I once again thank the President, our congressional delegation, and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress for working together to pass this historic law.” Read more.

BETA Technologies Opens Electric Aircraft Production Facility

Date: October 17, 2023

BETA Technologies, an electric aerospace company based in South Burlington, recently opened the doors to a large-scale production facility at the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport, where it will manufacture and assemble its all-electric aircraft. Production has begun with the installation of assembly tooling and the initiation of various system production lines, marking a significant milestone along BETA’s path to delivering its all-electric aircraft, the ALIA CTOL and the ALIA VTOL, to military and commercial customers, Vermont Business Magazine reports.

BETA’s facility is designed to be net-zero, equipped with state-of-the-art sustainability technology. The company’s balanced approach to manufacturing includes vertically integrating the design and manufacture of new and enabling technologies such as their superefficient propulsion system, battery systems, and flight controls; and contracting top aerospace suppliers, including Albany Engineered Composites, Advanced Integration Technology, Garmin, Solvay, Sensata, and Volz Servos, among others.

The 188,500-square-foot production facility will ultimately be capable of producing up to 300 aircraft per year and it is expected to create hundreds of jobs. BETA is planning for a steady ramp up to maximum production rates and delivery to its diverse base of customers across cargo, medical, defense, and passenger industries. Read more.

Vermont Utility Seeks Approval to Install Residential Batteries

Date: October 17, 2023

Green Mountain Power, a Vermont-based utility company, is seeking approval from state regulators to install batteries at customers’ homes instead of constructing more power lines, according to The company argues that this approach would be more cost-effective and resilient in the face of extreme weather events.

Traditionally, electric utilities generate revenue by building and operating power lines that transmit electricity from power plants to homes and businesses. However, Green Mountain Power aims to decentralize this model by purchasing batteries for homeowners, allowing them to generate and store their own electricity.

Vermont has experienced numerous severe storms and power outages this year, which influenced Green Mountain Power’s proposal. After conducting a cost analysis, the company determined that investing in battery installations, burying power lines, and reinforcing overhead cables would be more financially viable than constructing new power plants and lines.

Under the proposed plan, Green Mountain Power would gradually install batteries at most homes by 2030, ensuring uninterrupted power supply for its customers. The utility would control the batteries, enabling it to optimize energy usage based on the availability of wind and solar power. When demand is high, the batteries could release electricity to meet customers’ needs. Read more.

Vermont Offers EV Incentives to Flood Victims

Date: September 15, 2023

Vermonters whose cars or trucks were damaged in the recent flooding could be eligible for incentives to upgrade to an electric vehicle under a new state program, The Center Square reports.

The state Agency for Transportation has expanded a package of incentives that could provide up to $11,000 off the sticker price for a new electric vehicle, including those impacted by the devastating floods.

Governor Phil Scott said the expanded programs will provide more financial support to households affected by this summer’s flood events and expedite the transition to plug-in electric vehicles. “As we continue responding to this summer’s weather events, we remain focused on transitioning to an electric future, including in the transportation sector," Scott said in a statement. "My team has been focused on making EVs a priority for years, and we will continue to take the lead on these efforts."

Under the Replace Your Ride program, the state offers $5,000 for those who trade their gas or diesel vehicle for a cleaner alternative. The state has expanded eligibility to include flood-damaged vehicles. Those who purchase a new plug-in vehicle could be eligible for another $1,000 in incentives. Read more.

South Burlington Explores the Feasibility of Electric School Buses

Date: September 15, 2023

South Burlington School District in Vermont has taken a step towards clean energy by introducing electric school buses into their fleet, reports.

A pilot project conducted by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) monitored eight electric school and transit buses in Vermont for a year. The study aimed to determine the feasibility of introducing electric buses into the state’s transportation systems. The pilot program report concluded that operating electric buses in cold weather and varied terrain is feasible.

The report also highlighted the benefits of electric buses, including fuel savings, reduced maintenance costs, and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. On average, electricity costs saved 26 cents per mile compared to diesel fuel costs. Maintenance costs were also lower, with one electric bus estimated to have saved $5,500 in maintenance costs over a diesel model.

However, the report also highlighted some challenges that electric buses face. One of the main concerns is battery efficiency in cold weather. While the buses were able to complete their daily routes, the battery range was affected by the cold temperatures. The report recommended careful consideration of charger selection, placement, operation, and maintenance to ensure efficient charging. Read more.

Amid Soaring Construction Costs, Developers Consider Building Modular Home

Date: September 15, 2023

According to a report from Seven Days VT, construction prices have spiked about 33 percent in Vermont since last year, driving up the price of new homes and remodeling projects — and squelching the development of middle-income housing.

The squeeze has developers looking at an alternative: importing modular housing units from out-of-state factories. Thom Lauzon, a real estate developer in Barre who owns dozens of properties, said he's talking to a modular company in Québec about building an 80-unit apartment building. The move would save 5 to 10 percent in construction costs, he said, and quicken the building process.

Some Vermont developers note modular building gets around the labor shortage, too. Modular units are built in factories, often in states with lower salaries than in Vermont, and shipped in pieces to the site to be assembled. The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, a state affordable housing developer, has purchased some modular units as part of its wide-reaching real estate portfolio, which includes hundreds of units of multifamily housing and some single-family homes. Read more.

State Officials Discuss Infrastructure Recovery in Wake of July Floods

Date: August 15, 2023

A primary focus of Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s August 8 briefing was infrastructure as the state moves toward the recovery stage after July’s flooding, according to WAMC.

The rain has been relentless this summer in Vermont and Scott said new storms are still affecting the state. The Republican says the next few months will be focused on cleanup including debris removal and immediate infrastructure work.

“After we get through this phase heading into the fall, we need to be at a point where the conversation is more about recovery, mitigation work and revitalization," Scott said. "From my perspective, that means merging our flood recovery efforts and the community revitalization work we'd already begun using historic federal ARPA funds. As you know, we dedicated hundreds of millions to this work for things like housing, water, sewer, stormwater, infrastructure, climate change mitigation, economic development and more. Coordinating these efforts is how we can best build back stronger.” Read more.

USDOT Sends $10 Million to Vermont to Repair Flood Damage

Date: August 15, 2023

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration recently announced the immediate availability of $10 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds for use as a down payment by the Vermont Agency of Transportation. The funding is designed to help offset costs to repair infrastructure damaged by last month’s flooding throughout the state.

“I saw firsthand the devastating effects of extreme flooding on people and businesses in Vermont, and increasingly frequent climate disasters have wreaked havoc on more and more American communities,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This emergency funding will help the people of Vermont repair critical infrastructure as we continue working to support Vermonters in their efforts to recover and rebuild.” Read more.

Vermont Renewable Energy Manufacturer Awarded for Excellence

Date: August 15, 2023

Hinesburg-based NRG Systems recently received the President’s E Award in Washington, DC, for its excellence in global exporting, WCAX reports.

“It was an amazing moment and everybody felt it was validation of all the hard work we’ve done, not only in this building to support the world but in locations around the world,” said Evan Vogel, the president of NRG Systems.

NRG Systems was one of 24 companies to win the award this year and the third in Vermont history. Winners must display continual growth in international trading over four years. NRG Systems exports to 170 countries and has created more than 100 jobs in Vermont and beyond.

“I think all of us in Vermont can be proud that this company has done so much, creating good jobs and doing good work that’s important for our climate future,” said Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vermont.

In addition to exporting renewable energy equipment, NRG Systems developed an app so customers can track data on projects around the world. Their work has enabled more renewable energy globally than any other company. Read more.

Vermont Agency Reopens Nearly 100 Roads After Historic Floods

Date: July 18, 2023

Historic, catastrophic floods devastated many Vermont communities last week, leaving countless roadways impassable or completely washed away. One week later, the Vermont Agency of Transportation is on track to fully reopen its 100th road since the flooding occurred. Over 200 miles of roadway were reopened statewide. At least a dozen other roads are open to partial travel, NBC5 reports.

As of 9:15 a.m. Monday morning (July 17), 12 roads remain fully closed, mainly in central and southern Vermont. You can view a full comprehensive list of the statewide road closures on this website.

Vermont to Use New Website to Help Statewide Recovery Efforts

Date: July 18, 2023

Providing relief and recovery from last week’s storm is now underway in Vermont. The Scott administration and federal officials said Monday that a new website is being established that will help individuals and businesses negatively impacted by heavy rain and flooding recover from home, vehicles, financial and business losses, The Center Square reports.

Agency of Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson said that resource centers had been established at the Ludlow Community Center and Barre Auditorium that are open and assist people with temporary housing, food, and primary medical treatment. The sites, open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., will have professionals on hand who will help residents navigate available services.

“The resource centers serve as a one-stop location where the public and private organizations can come together to provide assistance to those who've been affected by the disasters,” Samuelson said. Read more.

Hydro-Québec Subsidiary Launches its 1st Battery Storage System in Vermont

Date: July 18, 2023

EVLO Energy Storage Inc., a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, plans to install 16 of its energy storage system units in the Northeast Kingdom this year, according to the VTDigger. The project, which will be based in the Orleans County town of Troy, is the first battery system that EVLO plans to install in the United States.

The technology in the batteries — called EVLO 1000s — works by storing power during strong energy production times so it can be used during times of peak energy demand. As a result, the batteries lower rates for utility companies by making energy more accessible at critical times.

The batteries are set up to store energy from a nearby wind farm, said Martin Rheault, EVLO’s vice president of business development and sales.

Troy is located in the Sheffield-Highgate Export Interface, an area of Vermont’s electric grid in the northern tier of the state, said Peter Sterling, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont. A lot of renewable power is generated in and transmitted out of that area because of the location of transmission lines. This project, and others like it, could expand the capacity for additional in-state renewable energy, Sterling said. Read more.

Governor Scott Signs $123 Million Infrastructure Package Into Law

Date: June 22, 2023

Governor Phil Scott signed a two-year infrastructure package into law on June 14, appropriating $122.8 million in bonded dollars for a wide array of initiatives, including courthouse upgrades, clean water projects, and repairs at the Vermont Veterans' Home, VT Digger reports.

The capital bill is Vermont's regular spending legislation that finances state construction and maintenance projects, and this biennium's package, H.493, also authorizes an additional $50 million through a separate cash fund. But that pot of money is technically appropriated in the so-called "Big Bill," or state budget, H.494, which Scott vetoed last month over unrelated objections. (Lawmakers are planning an override.)

"The capital bill I signed today will yield dividends for years to come. In my inaugural address, I made clear one of my priorities was to use one-time surpluses for future required match funding, so that we can take full advantage of federal funding opportunities," Scott said in a statement released by his office. The governor also highlighted the spending package's clean water investments, which include $15.9 million in bonded dollars for various initiatives, plus $9.8 million in the cash fund. Read more.

Clean Energy Technologies Plans Facility in Lyndonville

Date: June 22, 2023

Vermont Renewable Gas LLC, an affiliate of Clean Energy Technologies (CETY) in Costa Mesa, California, has entered into an agreement with Northeastern Vermont Development Association to purchase eight acres in the Saint Johnsbury/Lyndon Industrial Park. The property will serve as a site for VRG-Lyndonville, a biomass renewable energy processing facility, according to Waste Today Magazine.

With an investment of $10 million, CETY will design, construct, and operate the facility in Lyndonville. This facility will convert low-grade, woody fiber sourced from local working lands into renewable natural gas (RNG) and biochar fertilizer. The RNG generated will subsequently be converted into renewable electricity and heat. The plant, which should be fully commissioned within 12 months, is expected to yield more than 14,600 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity and 1,500 tons of biochar annually. With the purchase agreement now in effect, the immediate focus will be on site permitting and final engineering.

At the heart of this project is CETY's revolutionary high-temperature ablative fast pyrolysis reactor (HTAP biomass reactor). The HTAP biomass reactor is a proprietary technology that transforms organic waste by using ultra-high temperatures to produce renewable electrical power, biochar fertilizer and high-heating value fuel gas in addition to other commercially valuable chemicals. Read more.

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Transportation and Safety Engineer
Burlington, VT

UVM to Host Research, Innovation, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship Summit

Date: May 19, 2023

The University of Vermont has announced that it will host the inaugural Research, Innovation, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship (RISE) Summit, June 21-22. The new RISE Summit will bring together researchers, business leaders, and alumni to spotlight the opportunities and challenges of economic development in Vermont and the surrounding region. The convened leaders will discuss solutions to pressing needs including clean water, sustainable energy, affordable housing, food production, and more, and demonstrate the potential for university-community-business partnerships to succeed in these areas.

Along with speakers (including Senator Patrick Leahy, UVM Health Network CEO and president Sunil "Sunny" Eappen, University of Rochester's iZone Director Yasmin Mattox, and Davis Studio founding director Teresa Davis), the summit will convene research, policy, and practitioner panels to discuss a variety of related challenges like housing, infrastructure, and talent attraction that must be addressed for economic development to move from select urban pockets to broad regions outside of large coastal cities. Read more.

Proposed Transmission Project to Bring Canadian Hydropower Through Vermont

Date: May 19, 2023

A newly proposed 211-mile transmission project bringing Canadian hydropower through Vermont and New Hampshire – dubbed the Twin States Clean Energy Link – is currently under consideration by the US Department of Energy for federal funding, according to the New Hampshire Bulletin.

The $2 billion partnership between National Grid, Citizens Energy Corporation, and Northeastern Vermont Development Association would bring 1,200 megawatts of clean, dispatchable energy to New England – enough energy to power nearly 1 million homes.

At the Vermont-New Hampshire border, there would be an underground crossing below the Connecticut River, connecting to approximately 26 miles of new underground lines along Route 135 from Dalton to Monroe. From there, nearly 110 miles of upgrades to the existing transmission corridor from Monroe to Londonderry would take place.

Project partners say the Twin States proposal would reduce New England's carbon output "by millions of metric tons per year," while furthering growth of the region's clean energy economy. Read more.

Upcoming Event: VTC Architectural Engineering Technology &  Programs' Senior Project Presentations

Date: April 20, 2023

NSPE-VT members are invited to attend the presentation of senior class capstone engineering design projects of senior students in the Vermont Technical College Architectural Engineering Technology program on Wednesday, May 3. The presentations will take place on the Randolph Center campus (in Conant Building Room 102, known affectionately as "The Pit") from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to ask questions at the conclusion of the presentations and provide words of advice to the students as they prepare to enter the workforce. If you plan to attend or have questions about the presentations, please contact Scott Sabol, P.E., via email.

Student Project Presentations
This year's students will make a presentation on two distinct projects. The first team involves students Alex Coyle, Ryder Lalomia, Matt Korpics, and Levi Wetherald. They are completing the structural engineering design of a research lab facility in Boise, Idaho. The building is the basis for a competition among HVAC students (the ASHRAE student competition). The second team involves students Allyssa Downs, Jeremy Hammond, and Samone Sturkey who undertook a more open-ended project. They investigated issues of importance to Vermont and the nation in the architectural engineering realm, and then focused on a primary area of investigation. Their focus ended up being a potential partial solution to the Vermont homeless population issue.

Each team will discuss the goals of the project, the specifics of their engineering systems, issues they considered, plus costs, and other related information. Access more information about the projects here.

Vermont MATHCOUNTS Team Gets Ready for National Competition

Date: April 20, 2023

Congratulations to the Vermont mathletes who will represent the state during the upcoming 2023 Raytheon Technologies MATHCOUNTS Competition finals that will take place May 14–15 in Orlando, Florida. Access more national competition information here.

The team representing Vermont includes the following students and coach:

  • Xavier Chandler (7th grade) Edmunds Middle School-Burlington, VT
  • Connor DuBois (8th grade) Williston Central School-Williston, VT
  • Erica Hermann (8th grade) NEK Homeschool-North Concord, VT
  • Evan Xia (8th grade) Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School-Burlington, VT
  • Alan Matson (Coach) Edmunds Middle School-Burlington, VT

NSPE-VT supports the next generation of PEs through engagement in the MATHCOUNTS program. Each year, middle school students from across our state come together for the Vermont MATHCOUNTS Competition. These students are some of the most capable and hardworking young mathematicians in our state, and the top scoring students earn the prestigious honor of representing Vermont at the national level. 

Federal Funding Opens for Rural Renewables

Date: April 20, 2023

Vermont's renewable energy goals could get a boost from a billion-dollar federal program aimed at rural areas. But questions remain about whether rural areas of the grid can handle the increased transmission load, WCAX reports.

"The grid that was built to bring power to those places, in many cases, isn't well suited to export power out of those locations," said Tom Dunn with the Vermont Electric Power Company, which manages the local grid. He says that smaller renewables like solar panels on a house shouldn’t overload the grid. But in some areas, too much large renewable generation could slow down the system. "There are better places to put solar than others."

The Department of Public Service says infrastructure upgrades are going forward that will prevent the kind of curtailments that force major renewable producers like Kingdom Wind and the Sheffield wind project, to shut down at times because of transmission capacity.

Sarah Waring with USDA Rural Development says they are aware of the energy distribution challenges and that it's important rural Vermonters aren’t left behind and that new federal funding targets those communities. Read more.

GlobalFoundries Spotlights Opportunities for Women in STEM

Date: April 20, 2023

Semiconductor giant GlobalFoundries wants more women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, according to a report by WCAX. On April 12, the company invited several employees, students, and other organizations to talk about the importance of encouraging women to pursue STEM careers.

Tim Kemerer, a GF manufacturing engineer says women offer different perspectives essential in their workplace. "That's a big thing -- is helping you know, encourage everybody to speak up," he said. "We need to be innovative, we need all kinds of diverse viewpoints."

Sophia Rivera, a Vermont Technical College student, was among the over 150 attending the conference. The aspiring manufacturing engineer says she attended to learn better ways to conduct herself as a woman in the profession. She says in her experience, it seems like women have to go above and beyond to be recognized.

Tinotenda Rutanhira, with the Vermont Professionals of Color Network, says it's important to address the opportunities for BIPOC women in the workplace. "When you look at metrics in business across every sort of sphere of business, we can see that diversity is one of the leading factors in which companies can be productive," she said. Read more.

NSPE-VT Members Featured in PE Magazine

Date: March 17, 2023

The latest issue of PE magazine showcases the perspectives and important work of NSPE-VT members on addressing climate change issues and educating the next generation of engineers to develop innovative engineering solutions.

The PE Voice in a Changing World
NSPE-VT Past President Bill Atkinson, P.E., F.NSPE, shares his perspective on how professional engineers can play a leading role in discussions and actions around environmental change.

Designing a Brighter Future
NSPE members and professional licensed engineers are stepping up to lead on creating sustainable and resilient communities. This article puts a spotlight on the Vermont Technical College Architectural Engineering Technology bachelor's degree program that is nationally recognized for its zero energy design focus. Brad J. Miller, P.E., J. Chris Reilly, P.E., and Scott Sabol, P.E., serve as educators in the program.

*Members must use their NSPE website login and password to access PE magazine. Some members can also access the digital version of the magazine.*

Voters Sign Off on Upgrades to Wastewater and Stormwater Projects

Date: March 17, 2023

Thanks to voter approval on Town Meeting Day, several water and sewer systems across Vermont — one of the most expensive categories of public infrastructure — are set for big upgrades, the VT Digger reports.

In South Burlington, voters approved a $33.8 million bond that would fund the largest wastewater project on any ballot in the state. The vote was 2,914-436.

City officials plan to use about $22 million to upgrade the city's wastewater plant at Bartlett Bay Road and another $1.8 million to upgrade the Airport Parkway plant, which handles the solids that are filtered out from wastewater. They have also designated $4.4 million to update or replace four old wastewater pump stations in close proximity to Lake Champlain.

In Rutland City, voters approved two water-related bonds, according to the Rutland Herald. A $2.5 million bond is set to support replacements for cast iron water mains that are more than 125 years old. The upgrades are part of a long-term city project. Read more.

Bullrock Renewables to Build 3.3 Megawatt Bristol Solar Project

Date: March 17, 2023

Vermont-based Bullrock Renewables recently announced that it is building a 3.3 megawatt "SPEED project" in Bristol. The project, dubbed "Bristol Solar," is slated to be operational this October. In the coming months, 12 full-time employees will be dedicated to constructing the ground mount array, Vermont Biz reports.

The South Burlington-based company was founded in Vermont in 2017; in addition to advancing solar projects in Vermont, the renewable energy construction firm has developed a wide range of solar projects throughout the region, including sites in Connecticut, New York, and Maine.

“This SPEED project in Bristol was at risk of not being built with permits expiring,” said Bullrock Founder and Chairman Gregg Beldock. “We’re able to make complicated projects work. I am excited to have this Vermont project in our growing solar portfolio.”

Vermont established the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development Program (SPEED) program in 2005 to encourage the development of renewable energy sources in the state.

Bullrock Renewables is the leading solar company in Vermont, with operations throughout the Northeast. The company offers a unique list of solar services and award-winning construction expertise. Read more.

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
VT Structural Engineers 5 to 15 Years
Burlington, VT

Vermont Gas Utility Delves into Geothermal Energy Project

Date: Febraury 9, 2023

Vermont’s only natural gas company is exploring possible sites for its first fossil-fuel-free, networked geothermal project, a heating and cooling technology that could be a natural fit for a company already skilled at designing and constructing piping systems, according to an Energy News Network report.

“It’s a near-perfect overlay of our current business model,” said Richard Donnelly, director of energy innovation at Vermont Gas Systems, which currently serves about 55,000 customers.

Legislation pending before the House Committee on Environment and Energy could help speed such geothermal innovation. The bill, still awaiting a number, directs the state Public Utility Commission to adopt rules for permitting thermal energy networks — underground loops of liquid-filled pipes that are heated or cooled by the earth and connected to multiple buildings.

It would authorize any entity, not just existing utilities, to operate geothermal networks as regulated utilities, enabling them to recover their costs through the rates paid by customers. Read more.

Grants a Key Part of Closing Vermont’s Broadband Divide

Within the next half-decade, most of Vermont should be connected to high-speed broadband.

Christine Hallquist, executive director of the Vermont Community Broadband Board, stated the target timeline as she outlined the agency’s goals before a group of legislators on February 1. The presentation was the last in a series of briefings Governor Phil Scott initiated as 2023 gets underway, The Center Square reports.

“We will get every Vermont address connected to broadband internet,” Hallquist said. “The challenge, of course, is affordability.”

The broadband board is the outgrowth of Scott’s Act 71, which outlined a series of initiatives related to broadband expansion across Vermont. Scott in 2021 named Hallquist to the then-newly established entity. “For the most part, we’re going to get it done in five years,” Hallquist said of broadband accessibility. “There might be some stragglers.”

Grant procurement will be a key component to achieving the goal of statewide broadband access, Hallquist said, particularly in some of Vermont’s most rural enclaves. Read more.

Planned EV Fees Aim to Replace State Gas Tax Revenue

Be prepared to pay an extra fee if you drive an electric vehicle in Vermont. As more EVs have taken off, drivers of conventional cars have been left to pay an increasing share of the road, public transit, and other related costs. After years of debate, state officials are getting closer to rolling out a proposal on how to make up for lost gas tax revenue, according to a WCAX3 report.

It’s a fiscal dilemma VTrans has been planning for. “We have known all along that once folks start driving electric, they will no longer be purchasing gasoline and not paying the gas tax,” said the agency’s Michele Boomhower.

Now, VTrans has proposed lawmakers pass a mileage-based fee system for EV owners to cover those costs. “Everybody is used to paying a few extra cents every time they go to the gas pump and we wanted to replicate that so households wouldn’t be hit with a big extra bill,” Boomhower. said.

Mileage data is already collected when vehicles undergo an annual inspection and officials say data from odometers could be used to charge EV owners 1.3 cents per mile. “The idea is to structure a rate that is what the average Vermonter is paying right now in fuel taxes,” said VTrans’ Patrick Murphy. They estimate that comes out to about $150 a year. Read more.

Webinar Series: Vermont’s Renewable Electricity Policies and Programs

Date: January 20, 2023

The Vermont Department of Public Service is hosting a webinar series to share information and answer questions about Vermont’s current electric system. The webinar series, which starts on January 31, is the first of the public engagement opportunities planned by the department as part of the process to comprehensively review the state’s renewable and clean electricity policies and programs.

Through the webinars, the department will explain where Vermont’s electricity comes from, what policies and programs support the use of renewable electricity, and provide information about the process to develop future programs and policies that will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The webinars will focus on the following topics: Where Does Vermont’s Electricity Come From?; Current Renewable Electricity Policies; and Parking Lot Session to Cover Additional Questions. Each topic will be held on two different dates and times. The webinars will be recorded and made available on the department’s website. Access more information here.

EPA to Review Cleanup at Springfield Superfund

Date: January 20, 2023

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct a comprehensive review of completed cleanup work at a National Priority List Superfund site in Springfield, Vermont this year. The site will undergo a legally required Five-Year Review to ensure that previous remediation efforts at the site continue to protect public health and the environment, Vermont Business Magazine reports.

“Throughout the process of designing and constructing a cleanup at a hazardous waste site, EPA’s primary goal is to make sure the remedy will be protective of public health and the environment, especially for communities that have been overburdened by pollution,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “It is important for EPA to regularly check on this site to ensure the remedy is working properly and Vermont communities continue to be protected.”

The Superfund Site where EPA will conduct the Five-Year Review in 2023 is listed below with a web link that provides detailed information on site status as well as past assessment and cleanup activity. Once the review is complete, its findings will be posted to the website in a final report. Read more.

Vermont Ranks in Top 10 for Energy Efficiency

Date: December 21, 2022

As Americans struggle to pay rising energy bills, leading states have instituted energy efficiency policies that cut utility bills—especially for those who need it most—while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2022 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. These policies can serve as models for the dozens of states that have yet to prioritize energy-saving upgrades to reduce costs for disadvantaged households, according to a news release.

California comes in first place in the 50-state scorecard (which also includes Washington, DC) from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Rounding out the top 10 are Massachusetts (#2), New York (#3), Vermont (#4), Maine (#5), Washington, DC (#6), Maryland and Rhode Island (tied at #7), Connecticut (#9), and Minnesota (#10). The scorecard ranks states in six policy areas: utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, state initiatives, industrial energy efficiency, and appliance standards.

Year One of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Date: December 21, 2022

The Biden Administration recently updated state and territory fact sheets that highlight the nationwide impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. To date, more than $823 million in funding has been announced and is headed to Vermont with over 40 specific projects identified for funding. Access information about Vermont projects here.

Greening the Future with Verde Technologies

Date: December 21, 2022

With their revolutionary solar panels, Verde Technologies enthralled the judges and participants at this year's Clean Tech Open—the world's largest and longest-running clean technology accelerator. The University of Vermont startup's thin-film perovskite solar panels, which are lightweight, flexible, affordable, and easily installable because of their adhesive backing, won second place and the People's Choice awards at the Cleantech Open's annual Global Forum, held in San Jose, California, in October. Verde competed against over 90 companies from across the globe.

Randall Headrick and Richards Miller of UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences are the research lead and president/CTO, respectively. The two invented this innovative solution and founded Verde Technologies with a simple but profound mission: to create the lowest-cost clean energy the world has ever seen. Read more.

Career Center

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Director of Grid Services
Burlington, VT

Wastewater and Water Infrastructure Gets Major Infusion of Funds

Date: November 17, 2022

Nearly $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds appropriated for the village water and wastewater initiative has been committed to towns across the state of Vermont. This will help municipalities develop new public drinking water systems and community wastewater disposal systems where this critical infrastructure is lacking, according to a news release.

The fund recipients are:

  • Town of Montgomery Center New Wastewater Facility - $2,217,000
  • South Londonderry Village Community Wastewater System - $3,968,331
  • Grafton Village Wastewater Project - $3,968,331
  • Greensboro Village Wastewater - $3,968,331
  • North Londonderry Village Community Wastewater System - $3,968,331
  • Wolcott Village Decentralized Wastewater Project - $2,565,000
  • Highgate Community Wastewater - $172,719
  • Moretown Village Community Wastewater - $3,325,000
  • West Burke Village Community Wastewater - $3,968,331
  • Killington Drinking Water System - $2,300,000
  • South Hero Community Wastewater - $1,464,881

"Investments like this can be transformative for our rural communities, helping support vibrant communities and climate-friendly land-use, and it's exactly the type of initiative we should be pursuing with the opportunity this one-time federal funding provides," said Secretary Julie Moore. Read more.

Incentives Increasing Affordability of Electric Vehicles

Date: November 17, 2022

New incentives are making it more affordable for Vermonters to buy electric vehicles, Vermont's Independent Voice reports. Buyers of EVs receive rebates based on whether they purchase a hybrid or an all-electric vehicle at levels designated by household income.

Also, under the MileageSmart program, low- and moderate-income car buyers receive an incentive covering 25% of the upfront cost of a used high efficiency vehicle, up to $5,000. Finally, the Replace Your Ride program offers a $3,000 rebate to income-eligible buyers that can be used for a new or used EV or toward other clean mobility options; a prepaid card option became available on November 16.

These incentives are part of the state of Vermont's efforts to move toward cleaner energy. Forty percent of the state's carbon emissions are transportation related, with personal transportation making up a large portion of that. Vermont's climate action plan aims to cut the state's climate emissions in half by 2030.

NCEES Seeks PEs to Update Mechanical PE Exams

Date: November 17, 2022

NCEES is seeking licensed mechanical engineers to participate in a professional activities and knowledge study (PAKS) for the PE Mechanical exams. The results of this online survey will help determine the knowledge and skills required of a licensed mechanical engineer with four to six years of experience to practice in a manner that safeguards the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

The PE Mechanical exams include Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC), Machine Design and Materials (MDM), and Thermal and Fluid Systems (TFS). NCEES is also considering the addition of a Plumbing Engineering exam to the suite of exams.

The survey can be completed in 20–40 minutes and will be open until March 15, 2023. Access the survey here.

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Director of Engineering
Burlington, VT

DOE Gives New Zero Energy Designation to Engineering Program in Vermont

Date: October 18, 2022

The Vermont Technical College Architectural Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science Program received a Zero Energy Design Designation seal of recognition from the US Department of Energy. This is the first time the designation has been given out by the DOE.

It was given to programs that are preparing tomorrow’s architectural and engineering leaders to design state of the art sustainable buildings, WCAX reports. The programs awarded must impart best practices of zero energy design on students, and students have to apply those in actual projects.

“Our fight against climate change runs straight through our nation’s buildings, and the forward-looking college and university programs we honored today are paving the way for students to lead our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions future,” said Carolyn Snyder, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. “Graduates of these programs will join the front lines of our fight against the climate crisis by designing sustainable buildings that bring the benefits of our clean energy future to all.” Find out more.

Governor Scott Spotlights the VT Construction Industry

Date: October 18, 2022

Governor Phil Scott was joined by students and industry leaders in a recent press briefing to proclaim October as Careers in Construction Month in Vermont.

“I am excited to be able to recognize careers in an industry that offers so much opportunity for Vermonters”, said Governor Scott. “As we make historic investments in housing, broadband, and traditional infrastructure, there are many opportunities for Vermonters to find lucrative careers in the trades.”

According to Department of Labor data, construction accounts for 5.2% of statewide total employment, with more than 15,000 individuals working within the industry. The average annual wage for construction workers in Vermont is $57,635, exceeding the statewide average wage of $56,264. The most recent data also shows that construction account for about 10% of the total number of businesses in Vermont, with a total of more than 2,900.

“Anyone who has needed the services of a skilled contractor in the last few years, understands the importance of highlighting and supporting this important sector of our economy, as well as helping to educate folks on just how lucrative and rewarding these careers are for those who chose to pursue a job in the trades,” said Labor Deputy Commissioner Dustin Degree. Read more.

Water Service Extension to Spur Economic Growth in Franklin County

Date: October 18, 2022

The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the town of Highgate/Village of Swanton, Highgate Center, Vermont, to support business and job growth efforts by extending water and sewer service from Swanton to the Franklin County Airport.

This project will provide added water and sewer system service capacity to support the development of seven industrial properties next to the airport and additional airplane hangars, as well as the establishment of a workforce development facility. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.5 million in state and local funds and is expected to create 362 jobs and generate $15 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. Read more.

Public Comments Sought on Electric Grid Modernization Plans

Date: September 21, 2022

The Vermont Department of Public Service is seeking written public input from electric power stakeholders and ratepayers on how the state should distribute federal funding provided under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The IIJA creates funding opportunities open to Vermont to facilitate electric grid modernization for the purpose of preventing outages and enhancing the resilience of the electric grid. States and Indian tribes may receive grants over a five-year period for uses that meet certain criteria.

The US Department of Energy recently extended the deadline for states to apply for this funding until March 2023. The public comment period ends on September 23. Comments should be sent to Find out more.

Water Infrastructure Receives Infusion of Federal Funds in Vermont

Date: September 21, 2022

Unprecedented financial resources are available for investment in water infrastructure, Governor Phil Scott recently announced. Altogether, Vermont is on track to invest nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in water infrastructure projects over the next five years.

Programs to be funded by the American Federal Rescue Plan’s allocation to Vermont include:

  • The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, an EPA partnership that provides communities low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects; and
  • Drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects.
The investments that are underway will ensure that the water system is able to provide consistent, high quality drinking water for users, the Governor’s Office stated in a news release.

Housing Shortage Making It Harder to Hire Engineers, Skilled Professionals

Date: August 17, 2022

Highly skilled jobs including engineering have recently become difficult to fill in Vermont due to a housing shortage. Candidates who have been offered jobs sometimes turn them down because they cannot find a place to live, according to VTDigger.

Doug Pine, deputy director of human resources for the state, said recruiters started noticing the trend in the last 12 months, with the problem worsening this spring. He said the state government recently lost a civil engineer this way.

Other professions that have experienced hiring difficulties include information technology, health care, attorneys, and finance.

According to US Census data, the rate of vacant rentals in Vermont dropped from 7% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2019.

Floodplain Restoration Project to Increase Resilience

Date: August 17, 2022

The Rutland Natural Resources Conservation District and Town of Clarendon are implementing a floodplain restoration project on the Cold River with support from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, VermontBiz reports. The project is being funded by the Clean Water Fund Grant Program with matching funds from the town.

Dredged river sediment is being removed; the project also entails permanent conservation of an adjacent floodplain, which will reduce flood heights and provide sediment storage within the floodplain.

Clean water projects protect public health and safety, support Clean Water Act compliance, increase flood resilience, enhance recreation, improve fish and wildlife habitat, save money over the long-term, and leverage federal funds, according to the DEC Clean Water Board.

Capital Investment Grants Approved for Infrastructure Projects

Date: July 20, 2022

Governor Phil Scott has announced the second wave of approved grant applications to support community recovery and revitalization through the Capital Investment Program, including many infrastructure improvement projects. The grants comprise $3.5 million across multiple sectors, reports.

The approved grants cover a wide range of projects, including replacement of HVAC systems and renovations of manufacturing facilities. A full list can be found here.

Feedback Sought on Review of Clean Energy Procedures in Vermont

The Vermont Public Service Department is asking for feedback on an initiative to review the state’s renewable and clean electricity policies and programs, the Daily Energy Insider reports. It also hopes to gain information about how Vermonters feel about the state’s electricity sources.

The planned review will scrutinize the Renewable Energy Standard started in 2017, as well as net metering in the state. It will also review related renewable energy programs, including moving toward 100% clean energy. More information can be found on the PSD website.

Lawmakers Pass Bill Supporting Local-Level Energy Efficiency Measures

Date: July 20, 2022

A new Vermont law has put into place energy resilience initiatives for local municipalities. Under the legislation, $45 million in American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds will support municipalities with technical assistance, energy assessments and municipal weatherization, fuel switching and other potential cost- and carbon-cutting resilience measures.

Increasing energy efficiency within municipalities’ infrastructure is a cost-saving opportunity to meet the state’s emissions reduction targets, according to

“With no county government in Vermont, many of our smallest municipalities in particular lack the capacity for the planning and implementation of adaptation projects needed to address global pandemics, a rapidly changing climate and the global volatility of fossil fuel pricing,” said Representative Laura Sibilia, lead sponsor of the bill. “H.518 is designed to help address that, utilizing one-time federal dollars to help communities plan for buildings that can safely connect and protect citizens from future pandemics and weather more extreme events and shifting energy market forces.”

Net Metering Changes Delayed for Now

Date: June 16, 2022

The Vermont Public Utility Commission had planned to reduce payments for solar energy producing customers under new net metering rules, but the decision has been put off for at least this year, PV Magazine reports.

Those in favor of the change argue that non-solar customers end up subsidizing solar customers through higher energy bills because the use of solar is believed to reduce utility profits. However, the article says, studies in 16 states have proven this to be incorrect.

The Vermont PUC said it will hold off on setting any long-term net metering policy citing complexities of the issue; the regulator wants to see how California handles similar fights before making a decision. Over 16% of Vermont’s energy comes from solar production.

Vermont Top Solar, Hydroelectric Energy Producer

Date: May 18, 2022

A study of data from the Energy Information Administration rated Vermont in the top five for hydroelectric and solar energy production when broken down by percentage, according to the Brattleboro Informer. Half of the state’s energy comes from hydroelectric plants, and 9% is generated by solar panels.

The study also examined energy consumption. It found that Vermont’s usage increased by 2% since 2020 to a total of 5.4 million megawatt hours in 2021. Energy consumption has increased across the country.

EV Incentive Programs Aim to Curb Carbon Emissions

Date: May 18, 2022

Vermont will soon have the nation’s first electric bike state incentive program. Under a recent transportation bill, the state is launching new electric bike and car incentive programs and is continuing an EV incentive program for state residents, Electrek reports. Transportation carbon emissions constitute about 40% of the state’s carbon emissions.

The incentive programs will be developed and administered by the independent nonprofit Center for Sustainable Energy. The bill provides the following:

  • 50,000 to establish an electric bike incentive, the first authorized statewide e-bike program in the United States
  • $3 million to support incentives for the lease or purchase of new plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)
  • $1.5 million to create the Replace Your Ride Program, providing $3,000 for Vermonters to switch from older, high-polluting vehicles for cleaner transportation options

VTC Architectural Engineering Technology & Renewable Energy
Programs' Senior Project Presentations

Date: April 20, 2022

NSPE-VT members are invited to attend a senior class capstone engineering design project showcase at the Vermont Technical College on Friday, May 6. Students in the Architectural Engineering Technology program and the Renewable Energy program will present their projects.

The presentations will take place 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on the Randolph Center campus (in Conant Building Room 102, known affectionately as "The Pit"). At the conclusion of the presentations, practitioners in the audience may be asked to offer words of advice to students as they prepare to enter the workforce. If you plan to attend, please contact Scott Sabel, P.E., via email no later than May 1.

The Capstone Projects
This year's students have an interesting building for which they performed engineering system designs or evaluations. The project building uses the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers 2022 student design contest building as its basis. It is multi-story mixed-use office and performing arts facility located in Sydney, Australia.

The first team project will show an integrated, sustainable design of the overall building, attempting to reach net zero energy use. As such, they are developing holistic schematic-level designs for the architectural design, the site layout, and for the structural, mechanical/HVAC, and electrical/lighting systems. The second team will focus solely on the structural engineering for the building. As such, their design will be more focused and in-depth. A brief description of the projects can be accessed here. The Green Energy Times recently published an article about the first team's project.

Engineering Electric Harley-Davidsons for Law Enforcement

Date: April 20, 2022

Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Barre has been collaborating with Harley-Davidson engineers to build the nation's first electric law enforcement motorcycle, reports. Wilkins was chosen based on its experience building the electric LiveWire motorcycle for the Vermont Department of Motor vehicles. It is the first all-electric motorcycle built by Harley-Davidson.

The Law Enforcement LiveWire bike will leave Vermont later this month to go on rotation with various law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD. It has unique features specialized for officers, such as LED lighting, police sirens, and protection bars.

"The challenge in building the Vermont DMV bike, along with the second iteration, was that there was no playbook to utilize in wiring, brackets, or other aspects of this machine. We are thankful we have such talented technicians at Wilkins to research the solutions in building this bike," John Lyon, co-owner of Wilkins Harley-Davidson, was quoted.

Grant Funds Action Plan for Caspian Lake

Date: April 20, 2022

A nearly $50k grant has been awarded to the Orleans County Natural Resource Conservation District to conduct a Lake and Watershed Action Plan for Caspian Lake, the Newport Dispatch reports. The award came from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

The plan will provide a digital library of available water quality data and analysis, and will identify and prioritize pollution sources, priority areas, and potential restoration projects. Overall strategies to reduce sediment and nutrient loading will also be included, with the goal of restoring and supporting aquatic habitats. Also planned are shoreland, stream, and road assessments, and projects to improve the lake's water quality.

NSPE Career Center

NSPE's Job Board is your one-stop resource for professional engineering employment. Whether you are on the hunt for your next career move or looking for today's top engineering leaders and talent, you will find it here.

NSPE provides the tools PEs need to keep current in the profession and advance their careers.

Featured Job
Director of Grid Services
Burlington, VT

Find more job openings or reach the right employees on the NSPE Job Board.

VTSPE 2022 Engineer of the Year and the Young Engineer of the Year

Date: March 15, 2022

The Vermont Society of Professional Engineers wants to congratulate Gary A. Santy, P.E., the 2022 Engineer of the Year, and  Kelly C. Barry, P.E., the 2022 Young Engineer of the Year, for representing the best of the profession. View the complete photo album.

Gary A. Santy, P.E.

Kelly C. Barry, P.E.

Engineers Week Proclamation from Governor Scott Commends the Profession

Date: March 15, 2022

Governor Philip B. Scott proclaimed February 20-26, 2022, as Engineers Week in Vermont. In his proclamation, he said, “ Vermont, engineers face the major technological challenges of our time from rebuilding our towns devastated by natural disasters, cleaning up the environment, and assuring safe, clean, and efficient sources of energy, to designing information systems that will speed our state and country into the future.”

He added that engineers help show young people their potential through math and science careers and that engineers are needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century

Federal Funding Would Cover Environmental Infrastructure and Habitat Restoration

Date: March 15, 2022

More than $167 million in funding for specific Vermont projects across the state was included in the fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill passed by Congress. It will be signed into law by President Biden.

Of the funding negotiated for Vermont by Senator Patrick Leahy, $5.25 million will go to Lake Champlain Basin environmental infrastructure and habitat restoration projects. Ten million dollars goes to the Aviation Tech Center at the Burlington Tech Center.

Vermont to Receive $21 Million to Expand Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Date: February 16, 2022

The Green Mountain State is getting more green to go green! Vermont will receive $21 million in federal funding to expand electric vehicle infrastructure, according to a WCAX report.
The state is ranked number one in the nation for public EV charging stations per capita, but officials say the state needs a lot more, especially along highways. Officials say if people are expected to purchase expensive electric cars, consumers must have confidence they won’t get stranded on long drives. The hope is this will help Vermont reach its ambitious goal of 170,000 EVs by 2030.

Legislation Could Create Permanent State AI Commission

Date: February 16, 2022

Vermont lawmakers are seeking to create a permanent commission to oversee and support the responsible use of artificial intelligence technology among state agencies, according to a Government Technology report.

The legislation (H. 410) looks to create a commission to oversee the ethical use of AI technology within state government. The idea for the commission comes from a recommendation by the state’s Artificial Intelligence Task Force, which was operational from September 2018 through January 2020.

Two bills were merged into one to create the current version of the legislation. The first bill aimed to create an index of current AI technology used within the state. The second bill looked to develop a code of ethics and support the responsible use of AI technology among state agencies

Member in the News–Janette Bombardier

Date: January 19, 2022

Janette Bombardier, P.E., has been elected to the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center’s Advisory Board for a two-year term, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. The VMEC Board is an elected advisory board of up to 15 elected members, with the majority of its members required to be proactive Vermont manufacturers represented by senior leaders and/or owners of the companies.

Bombardier is chief technology officer and chief operating officer for Chroma Technology/89 North, where she leads the engineering and technology functions of the company. She spent the majority of her career in advanced semiconductor manufacturing for International Business Machines Corp. She is a licensed professional engineer and received her B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Vermont.

New Solar Field Starts Up on Former Landfill Site

Date: January 19, 2022

Bristol Community Solar, a 500kW solar array built on the site of the town’s former landfill, is now operational, according to the Addison Independent. ACORN Energy Co-op and Aegis Renewable Energy implemented the project with support from more than 120 local investors, who will receive monthly credits on their power bills in proportion to their project ownership.

The array began generating energy in late December after less than two years of planning. It comprises 1,694 panels capable of producing more than 800,000kWh of energy each year, offsetting about the equivalent of 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

Drinking and Wastewater Funds Receive Larger Allocations

Date: December 15, 2021

Vermont will receive an extra $63 million from President Biden’s infrastructure law for the state’s drinking and wastewater loan funds, the Times Argus reports. This brings the total allocation for 2022 to about $80 million. The funds will be divided among several categories, including $30 million for lead service line replacement, $8 million for emerging contaminants, and general improvements. State lawmakers indicated the funding would also help support vibrant, walkable downtowns in Vermont.

Member in the News: Scott Sabol, P.E.

Date: December 15, 2021

Read the comments of VSPE member and professor Scott Sabol, P.E., on Vermont Tech’s recent ABET accreditation in Vermont Business Magazine.

Call for Nominations: Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year

Date: November 17, 2021

Planning for 2022 E-Week is now underway! As is the tradition, we will be honoring outstanding Vermont engineers and student engineers at the annual Engineers Week Banquet on February 25, 2022. As part of the preparations, each Vermont engineering society is eligible to nominate one candidate for Engineer of the Year and one candidate for Young Engineer of the Year. Nomination forms, selection procedures, and a copy of the evaluation sheet are attached to assist you in preparing your candidate packages.

Submit your application and nomination package electronically no later than Friday, January 21, 2022, in pdf format only to Electronic transmissions received after the January 21, 2022, deadline will not be reviewed by the Selection Committee. Forms and details are available online.

Hydroelectric Facility in Bennington Back Up and Running

Date: November 17, 2021

North Bennington Hydroelectric, which purchased the old Vermont Tissue Paper mill hydroelectric facility, has brought one of its turbines back online and it is producing electricity, the Bennington Banner reports. A two-year hiatus was caused by a high air-pressure drilling accident in 2018, which dredged up a large amount of silt and debris near the turbine intake areas. Work to remove debris from the second turbine continues. A spokesperson said the company plans to have the facility fully operational by the end of the year.

Community Broadband Networks Receive $10 Million for Preconstruction Costs

Date: November 17, 2021

The Vermont Community Broadband Board, in coordination with the Governor’s office, awarded Preconstruction Grants to four Communication Union Districts. The Broadband Preconstruction Grant Program provides grants to Communications Union Districts for preconstruction costs related to broadband projects that are a part of a universal service plan. Eligible costs include expenses for feasibility studies, business planning, pole data surveys, engineering and design, and make-ready work associated with the construction of broadband networks, including consultant, legal, and administrative expenses.

The Vermont Community Broadband Board will issue grants for construction costs (materials, equipment, labor) early next year. Three of the four groups awarded in this first round of grants expect to begin construction in the spring of 2022.

A recent survey by Probolsky Research for Cisco revealed that local and regional government executives and managers consider broadband to be critical infrastructure on par with water, electricity, and telephone access. Additionally, the survey found that broadband gaps are most noticeable between suburban and rural communities.

Vermont Funds Brownfields Clean Up

Date: October 19, 2021

Vermont will spend $25 million to clean up old industrial sites in the state, the AP reports. The largest, the former Jones & Lamson Machine Co. building in Springfield, sits on 14 acres and contains a multitude of contaminants. Already, $2.5 million has been spent on assessment and preliminary cleanup on the site, according to The Valley News.

Typically, the EPA funds such brownfield clean up. In this instance, however, state funds will be used. The other sites for remediation are in St. Albans and Burlington.

“This presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address longtime challenges and finally make good on the promise to increase economic equity from region to region and bring growth to all areas of the state, not just Chittenden County,” Governor Phil Scott said.

Report Models Future Efficacy of Climate-Friendly Energy Strategies in Vermont

Date: October 19, 2021

A recent report by the Energy Action Network says Vermont can meet its emissions reduction requirements for 2025 and 2030 using available technology and knowledge. The report asserts that equipment choices are an important factor in determining fossil fuel use. It also says clean vehicles and clean heating systems will need to be installed at a geometric rate rather than a linear rate because equipment-purchase choices have had an impact on emissions for decades, and also because Vermont’s emissions reduction requirements are not linear. Many markets also need time to build up in order to reach the level needed to achieve significant emissions reductions, the report found.

Finally, the report says each climate-friendly measure that is implemented will have different impacts over differing time periods: For example, the model the report’s authors used showed transportation efficiency improvements playing a big role in meeting the 2025 reduction targets, but its impact declines over time. Electrification of transportation, by contrast, plays a bigger role in meeting 2030 targets than 2025 targets, so its impact increases over time. “Also, some measures that have not been widely implemented yet will have to scale significantly and rapidly in order to meet 2030 targets, including transportation electrification and RNG in the thermal sector,” the report states.

Vermont’s Atkinson Elected NSPE Vice President

Date: September 13, 2021

Bill Atkinson, P.E., F.NSPE

Bill Atkinson, P.E., F.NSPE, of Williston, has been elected NSPE vice president for 2021-22 and will serve as the Society’s president in 2023-24. Bill, a past president of the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers, is engineering manager and lead engineer at Vermont Mechanical, where he has over 20 years of experience. During his tenure at VMI, he was appointed by the governor to serve on the Vermont Board of Professional Engineering and is on the UVM Mechanical Engineering Board of Advisors. He has also served as president of the Vermont chapter of ASHRAE and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University.

Environmental Groups Oppose Sewer Plant Permits

Date: September 13, 2021

Environmental groups concerned about phosphorus build up in Lake Champlain say that pending permits for sewage treatment plants in Rutland County aren’t strong enough to keep pollution out of local waterways, according to Permits from the Agency of Natural Resources are currently pending for treatment plants in Rutland, Pittsford, Wallingford and Brandon.

The challenge comes from combined sewer overflows that result in untreated waste emptying into Otter Creek. Combined sewer overflows account for only 3% of Lake Champlain’s phosphorus load, VTDigger reports, and upgrades to the plants cost millions of dollars. Rutland City has been working to upgrade the facility, but officials say they may need $40 million more to fully upgrade the aging system.

Green Mountain Power Revolutionizing Its Power Grid

Date: August 11, 2021

To adapt to the extreme weather caused by climate change, Green Mountain Power in Colchester is transforming its grid, Time magazine reports. The company is transitioning from a grid based on fossil fuels, large generator plants, and long transmission lines toward a more decentralized approach emphasizing networks of utility-connected devices and battery storage.

One of the company’s newest effort to remake the electric system is taking place in rural Panton. In this isolated town, a “microgrid” attached to a solar power plant will distribute its electricity to parts of the community in case they get cut off from the main energy network. Engineers worked for two years modeling electrical scenarios and testing components. GMP’s VP of engineering and innovation said: “I can come up with 10,000 reasons why you wouldn’t pursue this. This won’t work. That won’t work. They’re all things that you’ve just gotta engineer through.” The Panton system will become the first US utility-built community microgrid able to run on renewable energy without a fossil-fuel backup.

But, as Time’s headline asks, “Will the Rest of the Country Follow Suit?”

A Bridge for Trail Lovers

Date: August 11, 2021

A 200-foot-long bridge was installed recently over the Winooski River, a key piece in a plan to connect a network of trails in the Montpelier area, according to VTDigger. When complete, the project will connect the Montpelier Recreation Path and East Montpelier Trails to the Cross Vermont Trail, which currently includes a busy section on Route 2. The new bridge will move hikers and cyclists off the road and onto the trail network.

Planning began in the early 1990s, but the project was anything but easy. The site touches four towns, and none wanted the job. The executive director of the Cross Vermont Trail Association said: “Just designing it, engineering it, getting it here — literally years of engineering and figuring things out.”

The bridge opening is expected this fall. Connecting the trails, however, will take more time.

Federal Funds Directed to Brandon Wastewater Plant

Date: July 21, 2021

The town of Brandon, in Rutland County, has received a $3.78 million loan and a $1.75 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to rehabilitate its wastewater treatment plant, which had been fined by the state for polluting the Neshobe River in 2018, reports the Sun. Improvement will include decommissioning an abandoned flow measurement structure, implementing a facility-wide SCADA system, replacing gas-detection sensors, and refurbishing electrical, HVAC, and lighting systems. The plant serves roughly 3,900 people and 300 businesses.

The USDA is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico, according to Water & Wastes Digest. The money will be aimed at 96 projects that address drinking water quality, storm water improvements, and water and wastewater improvements.

Broadband Takes Another Step Down a Very Long Road

Date: July 21, 2021

Vermont has taken another step in it “seemingly endless pursuit of universal access to high-speed internet service,” reports Vermont Business Magazine. A new law creates a board that will award grants to build out a telecommunications network that will provide 100 megabit-per-second download and upload speeds. Building the required infrastructure will cost about one billion dollars, or roughly $1,500 for every resident of the state. While fiber-optic technology can future proof the system, putting the fiber-optic cable down Vermont’s innumerable back roads will be costly and borrowing the money will be difficult.

Norwich University Moves South

Date: June 9, 2021

This fall, Norwich University will open the first civil engineering program on the Mississippi Gulf Coast—yes, Mississippi. The program will be offered at will be offered at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, specifically designed for Seabees, reports Mississippi’s WLOX. Until now, the Navy would not let enlisted sailors in construction trades become Navy Civil Engineer Corps officers without leaving the service. The new program will be offered to civilians, but it is designed to accommodate the strenuous schedule of Seabees and their families.

“Engineering is not an easy program and it’s even harder if you’re active duty, and then you’re going to try to add on going to classes, finding a program that will accept your credits and how you’re going to get everything done,” said Kevin Beal of Norwich University. “Building this pathway and having it right here on base at NCBC Gulfport that we hope will lead to sailors’ success in the program.”

Keep Your Leachate Out of Our Drinking Water

Date: June 9, 2021

Quebec legislators want Vermont to ban the discharge of leachate into Lake Memphremagog, which provides drinking water to more than 175,000 Canadians, according to VT Digger. In the fall, PFAS chemicals were detected in the lake. Environmental groups suspect the source is a Coventry landfill, the only operating landfill in Vermont. Landfill owner Casella Waste Systems says there is no evidence of a link.

Quebec’s National Assembly voted 118-0 to ask the province’s government to take a stand on “permanently banning discharging treated leachate into the Lake Memphremagog watershed and to solicit the Vermont government to ensure this is done.” Julie Moore, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has been in contact with Benoit Charette, the Quebec minister of the environment. ANR plans to collect data on PFAS concentrations throughout the Memphremagog watershed. “There isn’t a lot of data that’s available in order to have that kind of informed conversation,” she said of the debate around leachate in the lake.

A ‘Monstrous Project’

Date: June 9, 2021

A historic brick train depot in New Haven, built in the 1850s, will be moved to a new location about a mile away, reports WCAX. The move is necessary to make way for an Amtrak route.

Will State Infrastructure Get a Boost from Return of Federal Earmarks?

Date: May 12, 2021

Earmarks, which were banned in 2011 by then-House Speaker John Boehner, are returning to the federal appropriations process, and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont will be leading the way. As chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Leahy is in charge of crafting spending bills and will sign off on requests from individual members of Congress to fund home-state projects, reports Vermont Digger. “If anybody’s got a project that they are working on that they want to make sure is on the senator’s radar, we would love to hear about it and see if there’s a way to single out funding for that initiative,” a Leahy aide said.

Among the precautions: senators may not request funding for projects in which they or an immediate family member have a financial interest, spending items must be introduced in writing, and the appropriations committee must make each request publicly available online.

Leahy’s office was expected to set a deadline of late May for organizations to make pitches to the senator.

Have you watched Committee Corner, NSPE’s new video series about legislative activity on Capitol Hall?

Bridge Repurposing Comes with Scary Price Tag

Date: May 12, 2021

Rockingham Selectboard members were hit with “sticker shock” after seeing the latest cost estimates to repair and repurpose the historic Depot Street Bridge, reports the Eagle Times. The estimate of $8 million - $9.2 million would involve repurposing the concrete arch bridge as a pedestrian walk and include the construction of an off-alignment vehicle bridge. The town would be responsible for 10% of the cost and VTrans would cover the remainder. The project managers said engineering challenges and related costs make the concrete arch design not economically viable. Instead, they recommend a steel truss design.

Bridge Debate Reignites

Date: April 21, 2021

A community debate in Bellows Falls has flared up again over the historic Depot Street Bridge, reports Construction Equipment Guide. The debate is over whether to replace the 112-year-old bridge at its current site or build an alternative, angled bridge that would shift the flow of traffic further north. The town’s plan to replace the bridge with a similar concrete arch design was determined to not be economically viable, due to engineering challenges and related impacts. In 2019, VTrans estimated a project cost of $3.4 million to raze bridge and replace it with a similarly designed replica alongside the existing location. describes the bridge as one of Vermont’s earliest concrete highway bridges and built for the sum of $12,056.83

Member Named Efficiency Vermont Director

Date: April 21, 2021

VSPE member Carol Weston, P.E.
VSPE member Carol Weston, P.E., has been promoted to director of Efficiency Vermont after nearly 10 years with the utility as director of operations. Efficiency Vermont, created by the Vermont Public Service Board, promotes and facilitates energy efficiency across the state. As director of operations, Weston helped the organization achieve all energy savings goals set by the Public Utility Commission in the 2018-2020 performance period and launch the highest-ever weatherization incentives for moderate income Vermonters, resulting in 1,175 comprehensive weatherization projects across the state. Prior to joining Efficiency Vermont, Weston served as city engineer and capital improvement program manager for the City of Burlington. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Tufts University.

Is State’s Renewable Power Clean Enough?

Date: March 18, 2021

As Vermont attempts to boost its use of renewable energy, some critics are pointing out that the state’s renewable electricity standard allows utilities to rely too much on out-of-state renewable energy credits, reports Energy News. In 2019, about 66% of the state’s electricity came from renewables, but about 44% of the state’s electricity in 2019 was from Hydro-Québec. While the renewable requirements in other states are lower, their utilities aren’t allowed to buy renewable energy credits from large hydropower generators. Additionally, Hydro-Québec faces criticism for building a dam system that has caused environmental problems and displaced Indigenous populations.

Early Example of Industrial Engineer

Date: March 18, 2021

The state’s historic preservation officer says that the Bellows Falls Garage is under review for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, reports the Brattleboro Reformer. The unusual Art Deco era concrete structure appears to be a rare form of early modernist industrial engineering and architecture. Originally, the Windham Windsor Housing Trust planned to convert the building into apartments.

Mark Your Calendar for Virtual Career Fair at Vermont Tech

The Vermont Technical College Spring Virtual Career Fair will be on Tuesday, March 16, from 9AM-4PM. This virtual event will be hosted on the College Central Network portal.

To register for the Vermont Tech Virtual Career Fair, go to and choose 'employer' and then sign in with your employer log in information. You can get user name and password assistance by clicking on the links for forgotten user name or password. Once signed into your employer account, you will see the virtual career fair announcement with a registration link.

Once your career fair registration has been approved, please upload job descriptions and company information you'd like to share with students and alumni.

Email Karry Booska if you have questions or need assistance.

Vermont Gas Pipeline Draws Scrutiny

Date: February 16, 2021

Vermont Gas failed to bury a natural gas pipeline through Addison County at the 4-foot depth required by a construction permit, and the company also failed to ensure a PE signed off on the construction plan, according to state regulators, reports VT Digger. Now area residents are raising concerns, particularly in light of the gas pipeline explosion in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 2018. According to the article, Massachusetts utilities projects aren’t required to have an engineer sign off on construction plans, while in Vermont they are.

University Orders Hybrid-Electric Research Vessel

Date: February 16, 2021

A new research vessel featuring an emissions-reducing electric power and propulsion system is currently under construction for the University of Vermont, reports Marine Link. The 64-foot aluminum catamaran is scheduled to launch in April 2022. The catamaran will be able to run on all-electric power for trips under two hours and will two diesel engines as back up. “The future of vessel procurement will look quite different to its current form today, as operators worldwide begin to respond to increasingly stringent requirements for low-emission craft,” said Andy Page, naval architect and managing director for Chartwell Marine, the firm that designed the vessel.

Vermont Job Opportunity

Date: February 16, 2021

Quality Assurance Manager
Champlain Cable

See other engineering job opportunities on the NSPE Job Board.

Norwich To Unveil Lab Renovation During EWeek

Date: January 27, 2021

During Engineers Week 2021, Norwich University Construction Engineering will be opening a new $1.5 million laboratory renovation. This improvement was entirely constructed under COVID-19 Vermont state protocols. This renovation was made possible through a generous gift by Dr. Donald M. Wallace, a 53-year professor of Norwich engineering. Improvements are specifically focused to allow increased student experiential learning and hands on testing of soils and construction materials. Additionally, and outdoor concrete pouring facility was constructed, allowing competitive head-to-head student concrete mixing, testing, and pouring. We are looking forward to our ribbon cutting during EWeek 2021!

Keep It Real: A 100% Renewable Goal Will Take More Time

Date: January 27, 2021

Burlington and other cities and towns around the country are striving to meet all their electricity needs from renewable sources. But an article on explains, “The reality is a bit complicated — and it shows the challenges of true, ‘deep’ decarbonization of electricity in the United States.” There are caveats. As a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin says, the goal to run 100% renewable is more like an accounting mechanism than accurate description. Additionally, delivery of clean electricity 24/7 requires technologies (like batteries, nuclear, geothermal, and hydrogen) that need further development. An engineering professor at Princeton said that if the US wants to zero out emissions, “we need to spend the next decade very proactively — pushing these technologies forward and seeing which ones succeed, how quickly they mature, and how fast we can scale them up in the future.”

New Train Station Coming to Brattleboro

Date: December 16, 2020

Construction of a new Amtrak station is slated to begin in the spring of 2022, reports the Brattleboro Reformer. The $4.5 million station will be part of an overall plan to revitalize the southern end of downtown. According to Amtrak, Brattleboro Station provided 16,765 customer trips to passengers in 2019.

Highways Show Signs of Decline

Date: December 16, 2020

Vermont’s highway system ranks 30th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report. This is an 11-spot decline from the previous report, where Vermont ranked 19th overall, as the state dropped 21 spots in congestion and 7 in total disbursements per mile. The state’s best rankings are in urban Interstate pavement condition (1st) and urban fatality rate (3rd). Read the details in the state-by-state summary.

Vermont Landfill Faces PFAS Concerns

Date: November 18, 2020

As public concern about PFAS has grown, the solid waste industry is “growing more alarmed about financial implications, including the potential for dramatic changes to leachate costs and a wave of state and federal regulation,” reports Waste Drive. The article highlights Coventry Landfill, the only active landfill in Vermont. Casella, which owns and operates the landfill, is planning a 51-acre expansion but faces obstacles like state drinking water standards and local opposition. Casella’s vice president of engineering and compliance says the industry can address PFAS just as it would any other serious concern. “These waste materials do exist and are going to be handled over coming decades, so it’s very important that we handle them properly,” he said. “That needs to be part of our sustainable waste management practice.”

Federal Funds Designated for Water Infrastructure Improvements

Date: November 18, 2020

Vermont has been awarded over $19 million by the US EPA to help improve the state’s water infrastructure, reports Water World. The funding includes $7,780,000 for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $11,011,000 for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. EPA has also awarded $295,000 over three fiscal years (2018 through 2020) to the Department of Environmental Conservation to improve lead in drinking water testing in schools and childcare facilities.

Earlier this year, Vermont designated $11 million in SRF money to Bennington to replace about 1,575 lead pipes that carry drinking water, at no cost to residents, according to VT Digger. The funding came as the result of federal legislation enacted in the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The law gave states a limited one-year opportunity to transfer money from their Clean Water SRF to the Drinking Water SRF. Construction in Bennington was expected to begin this fall and take several years.

Next Steps in State’s Global Warming Law

Date: October 28, 2020

Now that the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act has become law, the next step is naming the 23 members of the panel that will be responsible for proposing the policies and legislation to carry out the law, the Bennington Banner reports. The bill became law by legislative override on September 22, which means stakeholders have until late November to assemble the panel, and until late December to hold its first meeting.

Burlington Considers Requirement for All-Electric Buildings

Date: October 28, 2020

Burlington City Council is considering a proposal that would require all new buildings in the city to be all electric or pay a fee of $100 per ton of carbon emitted over 10 years, reports VT Digger. The city’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030. Currently, 95% of the heat in Burlington buildings comes from natural gas.