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Hoffman Family Business Lecture Series Showcases Innovative Ideas at a Northern Vermont Ski Resort

Bill Stenger, President and CEO of Jay Peak, speaks during the Hoffman Family Business Lecture Series

Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities in Vermont during the winter months.  But once the last flake of the season falls, many resorts turn into ghost towns.  Bill Stenger wanted more for his resort in northern Vermont.

“It was obvious to me that unless Jay Peak became a year-round resort, we would not survive,” said Bill Stenger, President and Chief Executive Officer at Jay Peak Resort.

Stenger spoke to a crowd of students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, March 26 as part of the Hoffman Family Business Lecture Series, hosted by the School of Business Administration.  The Hoffman Family Business Lecture Series was created to assist the School in providing opportunities for students to learn about innovative business policies and practices from leading scholars and practitioners.

Jay Peak has made local, regional and national headlines for its innovative business practices.  Stenger tapped into a federal program called EB-5, an immigration program for immigrant investors that provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. 

“The ideas we had for Jay Peak were really good ideas that would have remained on paper without capital,” Stenger told the audience.

With help from the EB-5 investors, Jay Peak is now a four-season destination complete with an indoor waterpark, state-of-the-art ice arena, championship golf course, conference center and of course, plenty of skiing and riding.

“It was amazing to hear Bill Stenger talk about the history of skiing in Vermont and to learn how Jay Peak has come to be a year round destination,” said David Ramada, a senior Business School student.  “His use of EB-5 visa funding was a concept I have never heard of and it was amazing to hear how much capital he was raising for not only Jay Peak but for the surrounding rural community.”

Stenger is now spearheading a $600 million effort to bring EB-5 money into the Northeast Kingdom.  His plans include a new factory for a German window manufacturer, a South Korean biotechnology company, new retail shops and a 200-room waterfront hotel and conference center in Newport. 

“I really enjoyed hearing Mr. Stenger’s thoughts and plans for Jay Peak and the Northeast Kingdom,” said Nicholas Monteforte, a senior Business School student.  “It’s always great to hear about real life business examples put into place and to learn about how that is done.  I have skied at Jay every year I have been at UVM and it has been fun watching the resort grow like it has, that’s something unseen in the ski industry right now.”