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BDCC Staff Profile: Adam Grinold

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Adam and family on a local winter adventure.

BDCC Staff Member Name: Adam Grinold

Position Title: Executive Director

Program(s): All of them

Where were you born? Brattleboro, VT

Where do you currently live? Wilmington, VT

What did you do before you came to the BDCC? After I graduated from Castleton State, I managed our family business. Because of that experience, I joined the Chamber of Commerce and then joined the board of the Chamber. I was on the board for ten years and learned about the various challenges that individual business owners experienced. I also became involved with the Tri-Town group and the Mullin Report and Rural Vermont’s first community visit, which was in Wilmington. These experiences highlighted the business challenges and how our rural region is uniquely challenged in providing resources to meet these needs. I had been off the board for a few years when The Flood (Irene) hit. The Chamber then needed an Executive Director. I was already involved with the recovery efforts through FEMA and the ad hoc efforts. I took the position as the interim director. Because of the intensity of the business needs due to the flood, the focus of the chamber became very need driven. Coming out of the FEMA flood recovery process, I was one of the original board members of Wilmington Works, Wilmington’s Downtown Organization. I was on the SeVEDS board for two years before coming on to the BDCC.

What inspires you about your current work? The never ending possibilities and the passionate, dedicated people I get to work with. I know that we can make a difference with our work. We can do that by ensuring we have the tools to stay focused on the mission. Vermont is really unique. We are challenged by our rural geography and the low density population. Helping identify resources to support our businesses grow and thrive is critical for our region’s future. Our work is really in helping to identify where those resources come from, which ones will match our rural character while also making us competitive in a global market. We can’t and should not turn our region into a place with so many opportunities that we would radically change what is unique and strong about our region. As a country, we need places like Vermont, places where you can touch things that you don’t see every day, where things can work on a smaller, slower scale. It doesn’t have to be concrete jungles, but it must continue to grow and adapt.

Tell us about the hobby/activity from your photo, what do you love about it?   I love enjoying the outdoors with my family. In the winter, that is skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling,in the summer camping, boating, and biking. But camping is the big activity that allows all the other activities to happen. As a small business owner, it is hard for us to relax unless we are away from the business for a day or two. It is great to have this time with our kids while hanging out with us is still something they are interested in doing! I also love seeing how my kids are growing and learning in these activities and how their relationships with the activities are evolving. For example, my son has started getting into biking for training and physical conditioning rather than just transportation.

What is a unique fact about you that people might not know? I played the trumpet and was in a jazz band making and album when I was 15. I was fortunate enough to go sailing and scuba diving in Honduras and across the Caribbean.  On a trip to Honduras, they were burning the fields and diverted our plane to a military airport, which was lined with guns pointed at us.  This was in the midst of the Iran/Contra situation. After landing, they took all of our luggage for inspection. We did get most  of our luggage back except for one bag which contained my trumpet, my algebra book, and all of my clothes. Getting another trumpet there was completely impossible. The whole experience was very eye-opening.

I also went to photography school for a year. Wherever I go, I always have my camera.