Each year the Agency of Commerce and Community Development honors one or more individuals for their work helping the Agency meet its mission – to improve the quality of life for all Vermonters and build strong communities.
In 2019 the award was renamed the Paul Bruhn Vermont Economic Advancement Award to honor one of Vermont’s most well respected and successful community and economic development visionaries. Bruhn was U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s first U.S. Senate campaign manager and chief of staff in 1974. After returning from Washington, DC, Bruhn became the first Executive Director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, a non-profit organization that helps communities and individuals preserve and use historic and architectural resources. For four decades Bruhn led efforts to help more than 1,500 local projects – from supporting general stores to preserving Mad River Glen’s single chair. Bruhn also advocated for the creation of multiple economic and community development programs including Barn Grants, Historic Preservation Grants, and Downtown Tax Credits. Bruhn’s life and achievements were celebrated in the fall of 2019 at a Shelburne Farms memorial service where nearly 1,000 people fondly remembered Bruhn’s tremendous impact on every Vermont community.
- Multi-year commitment to economic development
- Demonstrated success leading the implantation of multiple pieces of policy and projects
- Timely achievements (such as a major project completion, policy achievement, or career milestone)