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#152: Forecasting the Future with Tom Messner

Learning Life with Jon Tota

Release Date: 12/02/2021

#166: Mighty AquaViTea with Jeff Weaber show art #166: Mighty AquaViTea with Jeff Weaber

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week, Jon sits down with Jeff Weaber, founder and CEO of the famed Kombucha brewery Aqua ViTea, based in Middlebury Vermont. Jeff started as a brewer at Lucky Labrador in Portland Oregon, before discovering the health benefits of Kombucha. He moved to Salisbury VT in 2005 with the goal of helping people sustain a healthy lifestyle. AquaViTea began in a farmhouse in 2007 and is one of the first kombucha brewers in the nation, and the largest on the east coast. The AquaViTea team was the first to introduce of the kombucha-on-tap model to encourage sustainable practices. Listen to hear the...

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#165: A Force for Good with Duane Peterson show art #165: A Force for Good with Duane Peterson

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week, Jon sits down with Duane Peterson, Co-Founder and Co-President of SunCommon, a benefit corporation powering Vermont and Hudson Valley homes, schools, and businesses with solar. Duane is also a member of the board for both VBSR and VPIRG, organizations pushing for social responsibility and environmental protection across the green mountain state.  Duane began his career in politics in California, before moving to Vermont where he spent 12 years as "Chief of Stuff" at Ben and Jerry's, hired directly by Ben Cohen to use the business as a force for social change.  Duane's...

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#164: Diving Deep with Kai Cook show art #164: Diving Deep with Kai Cook

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week on Learning Life, Jon talked with Kai Cook about Deep End Fitness. Kai Cook is a lifelong swimmer and when she discovered Deep End fitness in California, she felt it was important enough to bring back to Vermont and became one of the founders of the Vermont branch. Deep End fitness was originally developed by Don Tran and Prime Hall after they started water survival training for marine raiders. Join in and listen to Kai explain how this military survival training, has become a fun but high intensity workout. Kai shares her story of how she came to be a part of Deep End Fitness, how...

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#163: Hit the Ground Running with Riley Seith show art #163: Hit the Ground Running with Riley Seith

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week Jon sits down with Riley Seith, co-founder of the Laces App, and student entrepreneur. Laces is a platform for runners to find and share safe running routes when traveling or moving to a new city. After you’re done running, you can report incidents or obstacles. Think Waze for runners. Riley and her co-founder Makenzie started their business from Champlain college. The idea started as a way to help women identifying people, particularly in college, to find a more safe way to run. As the Laces App gets ready to launch, Riley shares the difficulties they faced in developing this app...

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#162: Revitalize Rural with Louisa Schibli show art #162: Revitalize Rural with Louisa Schibli

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week Jon sits down with Lousia Schibli, co-founder of the Northern New England Women's Investor network, and co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont. Milk Money is a platform for Vermonters to discover local investment opportunities, get tips on how to evaluate those opportunities, and then make an investment.  Louisa has also recently joined RuralWorks Partners as Chief Engagement Officer. RuralWorks Partners is an impact investment firm that supports growth stage and transitioning rural businesses and the communities in which they operate. RuralWorks is currently raising a $100...

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#161: Not Necessarily Unnecessary with Matty Benedetto show art #161: Not Necessarily Unnecessary with Matty Benedetto

Learning Life with Jon Tota

Matty Benedetto solves problems that don’t really exist by creating products that no one is asking for. Benedetto is the inventor, serial entrepreneur and evil genius behind the wildly popular Unnecessary Inventions based right here in Burlington, Vermont. Matty grew up outside New York City, got his marketing degree at St. Michael’s then settled here in the Green Mountains funneling his passions into product development and startup businesses along the way. Now with over 6 million followers across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, Matty is a full-time content creator making “Unnecessary...

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#160: Planning for Cannabis with Will Read show art #160: Planning for Cannabis with Will Read

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week Jon sits down with Will Read, CEO and founder of CannaPlanners, a marketing agency that helps cannabis retailers with their branding, identity, and digital presence. After graduating college, Will moved to Burlington with his band as a musician before moving down to New York City to work for sales at Apple. As many Vermonters will understand, he felt the Green Mountain State calling him back and he returned a few years later to work in digital marketing. With Vermont legalizing adult-use cannabis in 2022, many farms and businesses are transitioning from CBD to THC and seeking ways to...

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#159: Invest in Vermont with Cairn Cross show art #159: Invest in Vermont with Cairn Cross

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week Jon sits down with Cairn Cross, co-founder of FreshTracks Capital in Shelburne VT.  FreshTracks is a venture capital and private equity firm focused on investments in Vermont-based growth companies. Cross sits on the board of multiple Vermont companies including Native Energy, Faraday, and Vermont Teddy Bear, as well as Mamava (previously on Learning Life,) and a board observer for ThinkMD. Cross is also a lecturer at UVM, teaching at the cutting-edge Sustainable Innovation MBA program.  Listen to learn about opportunities abound in the Green Mountain State and the capital...

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#158: Back to Bolton with Lindsay DesLauriers show art #158: Back to Bolton with Lindsay DesLauriers

Learning Life with Jon Tota

This week we're excited to have Lindsay DesLauriers, the co-owner and President of Bolton Valley Resort. A mountain legacy, Lindsay's father Ralph founded Bolton Valley back in 1966 and developed it into an iconic indie ski mountain in the Northeast. In 1997, her family had to sell the resort, but recently bought it back in 2017 with a group of local investors to restore and modernize Bolton Valley while maintaining its nostalgic charm. With its broad terrain, back country connection, night skiing, and tight community, Bolton is a one of a kind world to explore in a small ski resort....

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#157:  Raising the Bar with Kevin Pellon show art #157: Raising the Bar with Kevin Pellon

Learning Life with Jon Tota

Our guest this week is Kevin Pellon, the founder and CEO of raisedVT, live in our studio! Listen in as Kevin Pellon explains what it means to him to be raisedVT and what it means to be a proud Vermonter, even if you weren't born in the Green Mountain State. This retail clothing brand focuses on what makes Vermont, Vermont, with unique imagery from ski to farm culture, and from the Champlain valley to the top of Mount Mansfield. Listen to learn about a great local entrepreneur building a brand for anyone who's proud of where they were raised, regardless of where they live. Learn more at...

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This week Jon sits down with Vermont’s favorite weatherman, Tom Messner. After 31 years at NBC5 serving Northern New York and Vermont as Chief Meteorologist, Tom is retiring from our televisions and moving on to a new chapter as a media consultant, early stage investor and advocate for the Vermont entrepreneurial community.

Messner may be leaving TV, but he’s invested right here in Burlington. Between the beautiful state and the people of the community, Tom says Vermont is the perfect place to build a business.

After decades of finding sunshine for the community, Tom is ready to help local businesses and startups find opportunities. His advice to entrepreneurs, “Don’t be afraid to reach out! People in this community are so willing to help and they want to see what you’re trying to do succeed.”

Get in touch with Tom at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-messner-49146414b/

Check out our full video interview recorded at Syntax Studio on Pine St: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOhBEfPX7aQ&t=2s