National Life Wins Deane C Davis Business Award

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National Life Wins Deane C Davis Business Award

Wed, 05/20/2009 - 8:35am -- tim

This year’s Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award was presented to National Life Group of Montpelier. The award was handed out by Governor Jim Douglas at the Vermont Business & Industry EXPO, organized by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, May 20th.
In an effort to recognize and honor Vermont’s best companies, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, along with Vermont Business Magazine created the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award in 1990.  Named for the former Governor of Vermont, this annual award honors a Vermont business that shows an outstanding history of sustained growth while displaying an acute awareness of what makes Vermont unique.
In order for a business to win the award, they must show growth in sales or employment, commitment of company resources for participation in community projects, encouragement of employees to be involved in community events, recognition of the importance of the environment to the state as a natural and economic resource, and addressing employee concerns/needs to create a positive work environment for all employees. The business must have also been based in Vermont for at least 10 years.
A long time institution in Vermont, National Life Group has called Vermont home since 1848.  This deeply-rooted company provides insurance, annuities, mutual funds and financial planning services.  Currently, the company is lead by a Board of Directors allowing the business to be uniquely connected to the interests of the community.  National Life Group emulates the spirit of this award; in fact, Deane C. Davis worked at the company for nearly 30 years, serving as President for 17 of those years.  During his time there, Davis instilled his beliefs in the importance of community involvement, employee satisfaction and attention to the environment.  These beliefs have been carried through to this day, landing National Life Group in the top three Vermont businesses of the year.
Over the last five years, National Life Group has seen a 21 percent increase in overall sales.  Even more impressive, there was a 53 percent increase in 2008, a time when the financial industry was becoming increasingly uncertain.  With a rise in sales must come an increase in workforce and National Life grew this by 17 percent since 2004.  The skill to change with the current economic environment fueled National Life’s decision to purchase Citizens’ Advisors socially responsible mutual funds. This move solidified National Life’s commitment to strengthening the company and ensuring longevity.
National Life Group is an active member of the Vermont Green Building Network and a partner in the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership. It has an acute awareness of the Vermont quality of life that balances a savvy business sense with well-being, environmental and social responsibility.
Many Vermont companies exemplify the standards by which the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business Award nominees are judged, but only three each year are distinguished as finalists for this 19 year old award.  The three finalists for this year’s Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business Award were: BioTek Instruments, Inc. of Winooski, National Life Group of Montpelier and Seventh Generation of Burlington.
DEANE C DAVIS: THE MAN BEHIND THE AWARD
All three businesses have shown great merit as finalists for the Deane C. Davis Award. Like Davis himself—former governor, president of National Life of Vermont, environmentalist, founder of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce—each finalist reflects Vermont’s diverse nature and, at the same time, radiates a savvy business sense.
The criteria for this Award include:
Growth in sales or employment.Commitment of company resources for participation in community projects.Encouragement of employees to be involved in community events.Recognition of the importance of the environment to the state as a natural and economic resource.Addressing employee concerns/needs to create a positive work environment for all employees.Major accomplishment(s) in the past year in any or all of the criteria.Nominated businesses must have been based in Vermont for at least 10 years.
Former Deane C. Davis Award winners include: Wallace Enterprises, Williston - 1990; C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro - 1991; John McKenzie Packing Company, Burlington - 1992; Perry Restaurant Group, Shelburne - 1993; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Waterbury - 1994; Vermont Heating & Ventilating, Colchester - 1995; Mack Molding Inc.,  Arlington - 1996; Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Jeffersonville - 1997; Vermont Country Store, Manchester Center - 1998; Cabot Creamery, Montpelier - 1999; Waitsfield & Champlain Valley Telecom, Waitsfield - 2000; Wild Apple Graphics, Woodstock – 2001; NRG Systems, Inc., Hinesburg – 2002; Hubbardton Forge, Castleton – 2003; IDX Systems Corp – 2004; King Arthur Flour, Norwich – 2005; Resource Systems Group, White River Junction – 2006; Symquest, South Burlington - 2007.
THE 2008 DEANE C. DAVIS AWARD SELECTION COMMITTEEThe Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine sincerely thank the members of this year’s Selection Committee.  The Committee meets behind closed doors to review the award nominations.  This year, the Committee engaged in a candid and spirited discussion that lasted through the afternoon.  These dedicated volunteers are held in high regard for their enthusiasm and strong commitment to the spirit of the Deane C. Davis Award.
John Boutin, Vermont Business MagazineSuzanne Grenier, Northfield Savings BankAlan Jones, Waitsfield & Champlain Valley TelecomJim Keyes, Berkshire BankMichael Seaver, Chittenden Bank, a division of People’s United BankLarry Sudbay, SymquestBill Sayre, Duncan HermansonChris Carrigan, Vermont Chamber of Commerce