Every spring, Leadership Upper Valley, a program of Vital Communities, hosts a Heroes & Leaders celebration to recognize individuals who make significant contributions to the greater Upper Valley region. This year, Heroes & Leaders is pleased to honor 12 Long-Standing Stewards who inspire us with their commitment to this community, their hard work, and their positive impact on this place we love and call home.
Dr. Bill Boyle
Dr. Bill Boyle is emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and of Community and Family Medicine. He came to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School in 1970, after completing his pediatric training and serving in the military. His career has had several twists and turns but has been devoted to children with chronic conditions and the effect on their lives and their families. This has included 40 years in the cystic fibrosis program, a concurrent 12 year stint in pediatric oncology, and four years in the pediatric diabetes program. He also spent six years serving on the national American Academy of Pediatrics Injury and Poison Prevention Committee, with four years as Chair. He served as Hanover Health Officer from 1986-2010, and director of the Hanover Water Company. In appreciation, the Town named the water filtration plant in his honor in 2007. In 1998 a grateful patient endowed the Community Pediatrics Program in his name. The program is devoted to teaching students and residents the burdens families bear when a child is chronically ill. It has fostered and championed the precepts of patient and family centered care in the institution and community. Dr. Boyle has received numerous awards and accolades from the American Academy of Pediatrics, New Hampshire Pediatric Society, and even the Hanover Youth Hockey Association. Bill and his wife Susan have four children and 10 grandchildren.
Dan Fraser is the Vice President of Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich, where he has worked since he was 10 years old. An Upper Valley native, Dan graduated from Hanover High School followed by the University of Vermont and has a Master’s degree in special education from St. Michael’s College. For 14 years, he worked full time as a Special Educator in Hartford and Hanover in addition to his full-time work at Dan & Whit’s. He describes the store as “what Walmart would be if it were local and community-engaged.” He is delighted that Dan & Whit’s is a key meeting place for families from all over the Upper Valley and travelers from all over the world. Dan is a strong advocate for the local economy and dedicated to supporting the local nonprofit community, both financially and with his time. He founded The 19 Days of Norwich & Beyond 1% for the Haven program in 2013, through which almost every Norwich business and many in other towns now donate 1% of sales each December to the Upper Valley Haven. The effort is in its 5th year and has raised over $1 million dollars to support the Haven. Dan & Whit’s also supports the community many other ways. Dan is generous with his time, as well, serving as a board member for the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley, Upper Valley Aquatic Center, Norwich Affordable Housing Committee, Norwich Business Council, Valley Court Diversion, and Hemlock Ridge Condominium Owners Association. He is also a Justice of the Peace serving on the Board of Civil Authority in Hartford.
Co-op Food Stores
In January of 1936, 17 residents of Hanover and Norwich formed the Hanover Consumer’s Club—bringing the nearly 100-year-old cooperative movement to the Upper Valley. What started as a system for pooling orders for discounts within a year became the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society and opened a small retail store on Hanover’s Main Street. Annual sales that year reached $11,404. Today, the four Co-op Food Stores, service center, and commissary kitchen employ around 400 people, serving more than 20,000 member households with sales topping $70 million. In its first year, the Co-op’s Pennies for Change program raised more than $264,000 for community nonprofits including food access partners LISTEN Community Services, the Upper Valley Haven, and Willing Hands. The Co-op also supports local family farms, food producers, and crafters by stocking local produce, value-added food products, and other locally made goods.
The Co-op Food Stores are represented at the Heroes & Leaders celebration by Edward W. Fox, General Manager of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society. In his role of chief executive officer for the cooperative, Ed uses his comprehensive leadership and business experience to lead a team of nearly 400 employees. The Co-op’s seven locations are owned by its more than 23,000 member owners. Among his priorities for the organization is to secure and expand Hanover’s commitment to socially responsible businesses practices while strengthening financial performance. Ed’s prior experience–executive and production–sharpened his ability to run profitable operations in highly competitive sectors. He holds a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies from Saint Michael’s College.
Laurie Harding, MS, RN
Laurie Harding is the Co-Director of the Upper Valley Community Nursing Project and works closely with local Aging in Community initiatives. Laurie holds an undergraduate degree in nursing from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree from Boston University in community health nursing. She gained comprehensive direct care/care management nursing experience through her work with Visiting Nurse and Hospice of VT/NH. She has extensive teaching experience, including in Honduras and Kosovo. Laurie also served in the New Hampshire legislature for five terms, including in leadership roles for Health and Human Services committees. Laurie is chair of the Board of Directors of Headrest and serves on the Advisory Leadership Board of the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative. She is on the steering committee for the Tri-State Collaborative on Aging and is the co-convener for the Upper Valley’s Elder Forum hosted by Alice Peck Day Health Systems. She is a past member of the Advisory Council of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health and over the years has chaired the West Lebanon PTO and Project Grad, volunteered at Whaleback’s Learn to Ski week, served on the Lebanon Master Plan Committee, the WISE Board of Directors, the United Way Board of Directors and the Women’s Leadership Council. She was one of the 12 originators of Women Crossing Paths. In her free time, Laurie loves to “hang out” with her family and ski, sail, and walk with friends and dogs. In addition, Laurie loves making beautiful music with the Upper Valley Music Center’s Juneberry chorus.
Jill Lord, MS, RN
Jill Lord is the senior leader responsible for Community Health at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center. She holds a Master’s of Science in Human Services Administration from New Hampshire College and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Vermont. She has been a nurse for 40 years. In 2001 and 2011, she was appointed to the Vermont Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Nursing. Jill was instrumental in creating the Vermont Nursing Internship Program in 1998 and has served as President of the Board since its inception. She served as Director of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center for 24 years. As a nurse leader, Jill has a strong community health influence through Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, leading the Windsor Area Community Partnership, the Blueprint for Health, the Windsor Area Drug Task Force, Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership, and Volunteers in Action, Chaplaincy Program, and the PATCH Network, in addition to myriad other community health initiatives. Under Jill’s leadership, MAHHC was selected as a national finalist in the prestigious Foster McGaw Award for Community Health in 2002 and the winner of the award in 2012. Jill works to foster high-quality patient-centered care through administrative supervision and support for staff and programs. Additionally, she leads the local area Multi-facility Ethics Committee, the Windsor HSA Community Collaborative, and the Mt. Ascutney Hospital Community Health Committee.
Claremont native Mike Satzow joined the family meat packing business after graduating from Middlebury College in 1970. He also became involved in a number of civic and nonprofit organizations. He has served as Chairman of the Claremont Police Commission, President of the local Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Clubs, and on the boards of numerous organizations including Valley Regional Hospital, New Hampshire Humanities Council, and as Chairman of the Claremont Economic Development Authority. Mike was also extremely committed to the revitalization of the Claremont Mill District and worked for years to bring the project to fruition. The family meat packing business evolved into North Country Smokehouse, a nationally renowned producer of specialty meats and cheeses. Mike has served on many national industry committees and as co-President of the North American Meat Association. He currently sits on the executive board of the North American Meat Institute. In 2015 Mike sold North Country Smokehouse to Quebec’s Breton Family with the stipulation that a new, ultra-modern, 65,000-square-foot meat processing facility be built in Claremont. This facility now processes the high-quality smoked meats the company is recognized for. Shortly after the sale, Mike created The Great Claremont Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation as a vehicle for local citizens to support deserving local nonprofits. The fund currently holds assets in excess of $100,000. Mike and his wife Sheila enjoy two children and four very active grandchildren.
The Family Place
For 33 years, The Family Place has provided family-centered support to Upper Valley parents and children. One of 15 state-designated Parent Child Centers in Vermont, The Family Place offers programs and services that invest in better outcomes for families in the region. They partner with parents and with other professionals through a variety of services including an on-site skills-based program for young parents, developmental screenings, home visits and parent education, child care financial assistance, a Child Advocacy Center, and an on-site child care center for infants and toddlers.
The Family Place is represented at Heroes & Leaders by Executive Director Nancy Bloomfield and Board Chair Posie Taylor. Nancy joined the organization in 2015 after years of experience working with families and children in the region. Nancy developed and coordinated Listen Community Services’ Teen Lifeskills Center “The Junction.” She worked with families involved with the Department for Children and Families through a position as Family Engagement Specialist with Easter Seals Vermont. She also was a founding staff member of COVER Home Repair. After a career at The Aloha Foundation in Fairlee, where she served a variety of roles from homesick camper to Executive Director, Posie Taylor “retired” and wondered what was next. She searched for a nonprofit whose mission matched her lifelong passion for raising healthy children and found The Family Place, to her everlasting gratitude. Since 2010, Posie has loved working with the dedicated staff and with her wonderful colleagues on the Board to support the essential work of The Family Place and to help strengthen families with young children across the Upper Valley. Other volunteer commitments at Crossroads Academy and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation keep her engaged, but nothing is as nurturing to her heart as her amazing children and grandchildren!
Rob Howe, Howvale Farm & Tunbridge Fair
Rob Howe has owned and managed Howvale Farm in Tunbridge since 1983, when he acquired the operation from his father, who established it in 1953. The farm has been certified organic since 1995, marketing fluid milk under various brands and raw directly from the farm. Howe has been instrumental in the beloved Tunbridge World’s Fair since 1981, when he was elected to the board of directors. He served for 25 years as director and in other offices for another decade. He has also been superintendent of cattle for 22 years and works with the fair’s promotion committee. Howe is an active member of the Tunbridge Church as a Parish Council member, chair of the Tunbridge Democratic Caucus, and a Justice of the Peace for 15 years. He also sings with the Handel Society of Dartmouth, presently in his 13th year.
Robin Dow Parker and John Dow, Canaan Hardware & Supply
John Dow grew up in Canaan and after getting an architectural degree from Wentworth Institute returned to Canaan in 1975 to take over his grandfather’s—formerly his great-grandfather’s— hardware store. In 2006, John moved and expanded the store in a central location on the Canaan common. The store’s presence downtown has been a boon to both the store and the community. John has been an active participant in the Lions Club, American Legion, Eastern Star, Free Masons, Canaan Planning Board, Canaan Water Commission, and Friends of Canaan Village. He was also a member of the building committee for the Mascoma Community Health Center, as well as an umpire and coach. In 2011, Robin Dow Parker became the fourth generation to continue the family tradition when she took over for her dad, John. She has continued to expand the store—and she honors the history of the family business with old tools and photos on display. Robin enjoys being part of the community where she grew up. She organizes and supports numerous popular community events including Canaan Hardware’s Spring Expo Day, the Canaan Farmers and Artisan’s Market Fall Festival, and Christmas in Canaan.
Steve Taylor, Taylor Brothers Farm
Steve Taylor is a farmer, journalist, and longtime public official. He began his newspaper career at age 14 as Hanover High’s sports stringer for the Valley News, and following study at the University of New Hampshire and Army service he was managing editor of the Valley News for seven years. For a decade he was a freelance writer for various publications and was the founding executive director of the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Along the way he developed with his family a dairy and maple farm in the Meriden Village section of Plainfield. In 1982 he was appointed New Hampshire’s commissioner of agriculture, a position he held for 25 years. He served 12 years as a town selectman and for 31 years was Plainfield’s moderator. He has served on numerous civic and charitable boards and committees at the local and state levels and, as a lifelong scholar of New Hampshire’s rural culture, writes and speaks frequently on topics related to the land and its people.
Janet & Tim Taylor, Crossroad Farm
When Janet and Tim Taylor started Crossroad Farm in Post Mills in 1980, it was sort of on an impulse—about to have their first child, Janet didn’t want to work in preschool every day and then come home to her own kids, and Tim knew he didn’t want to practice law despite having recently completed law school. They had a big garden and abundant courage, and they launched the first year with an acre of land, a card table, and a hopeful idea. Today, with 45 tillable acres acquired over time, 14 greenhouses, farm stands in Post Mills and Norwich, a number of wholesale accounts including local restaurants and summer camps, and around 40 full- and part-time employees in season, Crossroad Farm is one of the larger farms in the greater Upper Valley region and part of the fabric of the Thetford community. As farmers, Janet and Tim have been involved in building a vibrant agricultural economy in the region for decades. In their early farming days they helped coordinate mini-conferences for area farmers to learn from experts and each other—building knowledge and relationships that have helped them and many other local farmers over the years. Janet has served on the board of the Norwich Farmers’ Market and was involved in the development of local farm to school efforts, and Tim was president of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association. They’re also very connected to their community beyond the farm; Janet served on the Thetford School Board and on the Vital Communities board of directors, and Tim is a member of the town’s Development Review Board, a longtime youth soccer coach, and for seven years has been Chair of the Act 250 District 3 Environmental Commission. Now in their 60s, Janet and Tim feel strongly about maintaining the farm as a working farm and teaching the next generation to keep it going. In 2016, Tim and Janet conserved Crossroad Farm with the Vermont Land Trust and also took on partner Phil Mason, who started working there 17 years ago as a young teenager. “Keeping it a farm for the next generation is a big deal to us,” Janet says. “The farm is very much a part of the community, and we never want to be too far from it.”
The Tuck School of Business
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College combines the intellectual depth and reach of a large Ivy League university with the values of a close-knit community. Founded in 1900 as the world’s first graduate school of management, Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Tuck is distinguished by its collaborative, trust-based learning community and commitment to placing students at the center of discovery. In this environment, students learn to ask the right questions, build the right teams, and take the right risks to transform themselves and the broader world. This orientation to both do well and do good is one of the most enduring aspects of a Tuck education. Tuck’s Center for Business, Government & Society prepares wise leaders to better the broader context in which business operates. The CBGS believes business and governments exist to serve society and can work together for the common good. The 21st Century global economy faces acute social challenges from poverty, inequality, and climate change to health, education, and economic opportunity. No business or government can escape these challenges, and no organization or even sector can address them alone.
Tuck is represented at Heroes & Leaders by Gina des Cognets, Chief of Staff to the Dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Gina serves as a strategic adviser on institutional matters, oversees corporate relations, marketing and communications and institutional research, and partners with the senior leadership team to bring the Tuck mission and vision to life. At Tuck since 2006, Gina has held several in roles including Associate Director and then Director of Alumni Services, and more recently, Director of Marketing and Communications. Before joining Tuck, Gina was Director of Investor Client Services at Business Intelligence Advisors, and held chief of staff roles at both AOL Time Warner and Robinson, Lerer and Montgomery (RLM, a strategic communications firm in NYC). Gina is a proud 2001 graduate of Tuck and has a BA in Art History and minor in Psychology from Hamilton College. Gina is a trustee of the Norwich Public Library and the Montshire Museum of Science.