On Monday, June 29, John Boutin, publisher of Vermont Business Magazine, and Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, traveled to Bellows Falls to confer the 2019 Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year Award on Chroma Technology Corp. Chroma CEO Newell Lessell and COO Janette Bombardier accepted the award on behalf of the 150 employees of the 29-year-old employee-owned optical filter manufacturer.
“It’s a tremendous honor for Chroma to be designated Vermont’s outstanding business of the year,” said Lessell, who was recently named CEO. “As a 100% employee-owned company, we strive to be not only a world-class supplier of optical filters but also a model employer and corporate citizen. We believe it’s possible to do well by doing good, and our 29-year history of consistent growth and profitability bears that out.” Chroma’s filter products are used in diverse applications across many industries, including the life sciences and medicine, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Bombardier noted, “Many are aware of Chroma’s technology and business growth success, but the company is also committed to the community through corporate giving, employee giving, and volunteerism. And our level of employee engagement is unique, given the employee board of directors’ structure, as well as actions to continuously improve our business and the sense of responsibility to our customers by the entire team.”
According to Boutin, the selection committee was unanimous in its decision to honor Chroma with this year’s award. The committee cited Chroma’s strong, continuous growth in revenue and employees, its commitment to community, its recognition of the environment as a natural and economic resource for Vermont, and its supportive work environment. Previous winners include Green Mountain Power (2018), Vermont Mutual Insurance Group (2017), and Marathon Health (2016).
When announcing the award earlier this month, Boutin said, “Chroma has shown great merit for the Deane C. Davis Award. Like Davis himself — former governor, CEO, and environmentalist — Chroma reflects Vermont’s diverse nature and radiates a savvy business sense.” Bishop noted, “Chroma’s designation as the winner of the award is a culmination of many years of success as a leading advanced manufacturer in Vermont.”
While most companies have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chroma’s growth has increased. Its filters are in high demand from manufacturers of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instruments, which detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and also from researchers working on treatments for the disease.
About the Award
The Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year Award is presented annually by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine. It is named in honor of Governor Deane C. Davis (1900–1990). In 1968, at the age of 68, when most people look forward to retirement, Davis was elected governor of Vermont. He brought considerable experience to the governor’s office (1969–1973), gleaned over many years as a lawyer, corporate officer, and company president. He was a strong advocate of a sound economy based in a protected environment. Governor Davis was known as the “environmental governor” because of his strong support for Act 250, which was enacted during his administration. He also championed vigorous economic development.