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Staff & Board


Staff & Board
Allison Hope
Executive Director

Allison has lived in Vermont most of her life, most recently in Westford for 20+ years, had a brief stint in Richford and is now ensonced in the Northeast Kingdom. She is active in her community, having served for many years on the Selectboard, School Board, the Library Board, as a Justice of the Peace in Westford and on the Library Board in Richford. Before joining VMSMA in December 2019, she led the Community Engagement Department at Onion River Co-op, which deepened her love of member-driven organizations and Vermont's working landscape. Ever since she learned about sugaring in kindergarten, she's been one of the world's leading individual consumers of Vermont maple, adding it to everything she eats!

Staff & Board
Heather Winner
Membership Manager

Heather began her career in Northern Colorado, managing volunteers and fundraising for public radio. For more than 22 years, she has focused her energies on program development, nonprofit management, and community health strategies. Most recently she was the wine/beer buyer for Buffalo Mountain Market in Hardwick. She earned her Masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Colorado State University. Heather is also an EMT in training and a volunteer with Cabot Ambulance and Walden Fire. Whenever possible, she is outdoors hiking with her dogs, gardening, cooking up new kitchen experiments, or simply marveling at the surrounding beauty of her home in Cabot, VT.

Staff & Board
Ellie Palmer
Sugarhouse Certification Manager

Ellie, a New Hampshire native, came to Vermont in 2001 to attend UVM, fell in love with Vermont's rural landscape, and never left. She has spent her career in Quality Assurance for the food manufacturing industry focusing on food safety, food quality, sensory evaluation, and managing 3rd party certification compliance. No stranger to maple, she spent 6 years in Quality at Butternut Mountain Farm and more recently 5 years in Quality at Runamok Maple. An avid baker, she is always looking for ways to incorporate maple into the tasty treats she churns out. Ellie lives in Fairfax with her husband and son where they co-own a farm raising Rocky Mountain Elk.

Board of Directors

Staff & Board
Emma Marvin
Industry Director

Butternut Mountain Farm was started in 1972 as a diversified Vermont hillside farm focused on making maple syrup, raising Christmas trees, and conducting timber stand management. Today, the operation has grown beyond the farm to include 100 employees, maple syrup from more than 300 Vermont farms, and a 75,000 square-foot facility.  As the second generation in the family-owned business, Emma has worked her way up doing whatever was necessary – she currently oversees retail operations, marketing, new business development and sales for the organization.  In 2014 Emma was recognized as Vermont Maple Person of the Year. She currently serves on the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association Board of Directors, the Laraway Youth and Family Services Board and the Friends of Green River Reservoir Board. Emma is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resource Management. She lives in Hyde Park, Vermont with her husband and two daughters.

Staff & Board
Arnie Piper
Vice Chair, Executive Committee, Lamoille County Director

Arnie has sugared since 2012 with business partner Mike Macy at Umbrella Hill Maple, in Hyde Park.  They have a 10,000 tap operation and boil off a 4 x 14 wood pellet evaporator.  Prior to sugaring Arnie taught at Norwich University and served in the US Army for 26 retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2006.  Arnie is a graduate of Champlain College and St. Michaels College as well as several military schools over the years.  Arnie mostly hikes trails in Vermont and NH but makes an annual trip to the Greater Yellowstone Basin for hiking with old high school buddies.  He is married to his high school sweetheart Beth and they have two grown children, Matt and Kristen.  Arnie lives in Morrisville.

Staff & Board
Dave Mance
Bennington County Director

Dave began his fascination with sugaring in Kindergarten and like most sugar makers, once hooked, there was no turning back.  He pursued an education (Syracuse College of Forestry) and career in forestry and land surveying, but dedicated early spring to his sugaring hobby.  Mance Maple grew over the years along with Dave’s three sons and his eldest, Dave III is now a partner in their 3,000 tap Shaftsbury operation – a blend of technology, tradition, and family participation.    

Dave has been a VMSMA Director or Alternate for over 30 years, co-chaired two Bennington Co Maplerama’s and served for several years as Vice President of the pre-merged VMSMA.  He is currently the Bennington County Director and VMSMA Secretary.

Staff & Board
Mike Christian
Addison County Director

Mike runs Village Mapleworks in Orwell and has been a fixture at VMSMA's Big E booth in Springfield, MA, for several years as a booth manager, Big E guru and a valuable resource to our many Big E volunteers. His ability to oversee the many different aspects of the VMSMA booth is a clear indication of his ability to multitask. He has trained people with little to no maple experience and inspired those with a maple background on how to fine tune a technique to produce a high quality product. From his guidance and mentoring we’ve all come away from the task with a clear sense of appreciation for a job well done. Mike is also very active with his Addison County Association and has volunteered his time and experience at the Addison County Field Days sugar house for decades. You can almost always find him cooking up a batch of maple cream or explaining sugaring to a customer. In 2022, the VMSMA Board awarded Mike their Sumner Williams Lifetime Achievement Award to honor him for outstanding service and dedication to the maple industry.

Staff & Board
Shawn Messier
Caledonia County Director

Shawn Messier is a second generation sugarmaker. He began sugaring in the Hardwick area with his father in 1972. In 2019 the family poured a new foundation for their sugar house, and in 2020, they expanded the production house while also preserving much of the original beams and woodwork from the first building (ask him for the stories on that!). He now has a heated space for the RO and a brand new roof. Sugaring has always been a family project for Shawn and his family and they welcome visitors!

Staff & Board
Andy Aldrich
Chittenden County Director

Andy grew up and was educated, a degree in Civil Engineering, in Vermont and stayed. He sugars on the farm where he grew up. Now tapping trees what were originally (1950-60s) maple saplings retained for timber, times and goals changed. The 2,700 tap sugaring operation is; efficient, modern, high producing and designed for one person to operate. Andy started sugaring and growing Christmas trees as he wound down his 45 year career of home building. Throw in middle a concurrent 20 year stretch as a single parent and operating a B&B Inn. He believes; education, peer sharing, and industry participation are key components to success no matter the industry and continues that today. His operation has been featured on Across the Fence, received an award from the Vermont Home Builders Association, a Maplerama tour stop, and the 2nd Certified Sugarhouse in Vermont. A life long outdoorsman sugaring fits him.

Staff & Board
Jason Gagne
Treasurer, Franklin County Director
Staff & Board
Cody Armstrong
Orange County Director

Hello my name is Cody Armstrong. My family has a long history of sugaring in the Randolph VT area. I am a fourth generation sugar maker who caught the maple bug as a young boy. My father helped me start our current operation (CDA Maple) in 2005. We now tap 7500 trees and produce 3500-4000 gallons of syrup each year. I attended Paul Smiths college where I received an associates degree in forestry. The goal of our operation is to first be stewards of our forest, secondly to help educate consumers about the advantages of maple, and last but not least, be as energy efficient as possible. When I'm not out in the woods I enjoy spending quality time with my wife Ashley and daughter Adelaide. I am passionate about helping new and growing sugar makers! Maple sugaring is a sticky business and there is lots to learn!

Staff & Board
Jim Judd
Orleans County Director

Although Jim is the fourth generation of his family to produce syrup in Morgan, Vermont, he did not initially follow in the family footsteps. As a young man, he
was a commercial fisherman in Alaska. When he returned to Vermont, he grew his current operation from 50 buckets to a modern 3000 tap operation. Jim is a graduate of University of Vermont and had a professional career as a sales rep in the Outdoor Industry in the Northeast.

Staff & Board
James Buck
Board Chair, Washington County Director

James grew up in Waterbury Ctr., Vermont enjoying time outdoors hunting, fishing, skiing, playing various team sports, and music.  He graduated from engineering school at UVM and works in the renewable energy industry as a design engineer.  James’ sugaring interests began thirty years ago when his family started making syrup in the backyard with a make-shift setup that produced a couple gallons in a good year.  The family operation has grown and relocated but the same love of sugaring continues, especially now with a family of his own.  He lives in Northfield with his wife and son where they manage a 160-acre tree farm.

Staff & Board
Ed Smith
Windham County Director
Staff & Board
Reid Richardson
Secretary, Windsor County Director

Reid is a fourth-generation hill farmer from Hartland, Vermont.  He and his family have a herd of Jersey cattle, manufacture split rail fencing and produce maple syrup from their 11,600 tap sugarbush.  Reid graduated from UVM in 2001 and spent several years managing a large dairy herd and doing carpentry before returning home in 2005.  Since returning home Reid has helped the sugaring operation double in size, adopt RO technology, high vacuum and most recently wood gasification in their new high efficiency Lapierre evaporator.  Reid serves as a director of the Windsor County Maple Producers Association and has been a VMSMA director since 2017. Outside of sugaring Reid enjoys time with his wife and two daughters, woodturning, and exploring the world off of Hartland Hill.

Staff & Board
Arnold Coombs
Industry Director

As a seventh generation sugarmaker, Arnold grew up in the maple business.  The Coombs family had a wholesale maple candy and syrup business, a retail store and a sugarhouse. He was running his own sugaring operation when he was 13.

In 1995 Arnold started his own company, Coombs Family Farms, selling maple into the natural food and bulk markets. Arnold grew CFF, eventually selling it to Bascom Maple Farms of Alstead, NH. He joined Bascom as the Director of Sales and Marketing.

Bascom sells their products across the US and in over 35 countries.

Staff & Board
Sam Cutting IV
Industry Director

Sam joined the family business, Dakin Farm in 1980 immediately after graduation from the University of Vermont with a degree in Marketing. In 1993 he became sole owner of the company.

Today, Dakin Farm is a multi-channel, direct to consumer, retailer of Vermont specialty food products. In the spring of 2012 Dakin Farm entered into a collaborative agreement with Cabot Creamery Cooperative to be the direct to consumer link for Cabot specialty cheeses sold on-line, through catalog sales, through fund raising activities and to the corporate market nationwide.

Sam and his wife Nancy live on the farm in Ferrisburgh. They have three daughters: Carolyn a senior at U.V.M., studying business, Emily a teacher in Thailand, and Katie a registered nurse living and working in Salt Lake City, UT. When not working, Sam is an avid skier, hiker and cyclist.

Staff & Board
Peter Purinton
Industry Director

Peter grew up on a dairy farm in Bristol, Vermont and fell in love with maple sugaring. Peter has been a part of the VMSMA since the mid 1970’s. In 1979, Peter began sugaring at the Jacques sugarbush in Huntington, Vermont that he later purchased. Today, Peter manages his sugarbush with his wife Carla, four children, and grandchildren. The Purinton family is one of the largest VMSMA container dealers. Peter also operates a choose and cut Christmas tree farm, and a Leader Evaporator dealership alongside the sugarbush.

Staff & Board
Mark Isselhardt
UVM Extension Maple Specialist

Mark Isselhardt, University of Vermont Extension Maple Specialist, draws on degrees in forest management and plant biology and twenty-five years of experience in maple to provide research based education on issues from tree to syrup jug. Mark performs original research related to the production of maple syrup. His focus is on issues that are relevant to all producers regardless of the size of operation. Mark works with Vermont's maple producers, sharing research and information to help them ensure long-term tree health, improve management of their sugarbush and increase profitability through higher sap yield, syrup production efficiency and sales. He is based out of the Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill Center, Vermont.

Staff & Board
Myke Kinsella
Industry Director

Myke grew up in northern Wisconsin and has always enjoyed the outdoors. Northern Wisconsin is very much like Vermont, so when he and his wife moved to Barnet, VT in 2019 to start his job as Quality Assurance Manager at Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, he says it wasn’t hard to adapt. Myke has been in the quality assurance field for over 25 years, all of which were in food production. Myke and his wife have a 2 year old son who also loves the outdoors and keeps them busy. When Myke is not at work, you can usually find him outside on the tractor, working on firewood, or looking after their 5 honeybee hives.

Staff & Board
Jennifer Poleio
Industry Director

Jennifer has lived in Vermont all of her life, dairy farming for 15 years. Started her career at the Sugarman of Vermont in 2015 processing maple syrup. Currently overseeing Quality Management, SQF, Auditing and HACCP. Jennifer lives in Morrisville with her husband, Joe, and two granddaughters, Macie and Hayleigh.

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