Board of Directors

Board of Directors Group Photo with Cake
  • David Markow, President  
  • Sarah Jarvis, Past President
  • Nate Hausman, Vice President
  • Kaj Samsom, Treasurer
  • Linn Perkins Syz, Secretary
  • Jon Anderson 
  • Claire Benedict
  • Steve Cook
  • Jesse Jacobs
  • Dawn McCall
  • Michel Fournier
  • Katie Budreski 
  • Amy Willis
Sarah Robson Jarvis, Past President
  • Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Sarah is Staff Attorney in the Municipal Assistance Center at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. She is a former 3-term member of the Montpelier City Council and a vocal advocate for small-town communities. Sarah lives in Montpelier with her 2 sons (ages 9 and 11), both of whom take great pride in the downtown plantings that they have helped water and weed in the last few years.

David Markow, President
  • Vermont College of Fine Arts
David is Vice President for Enrollment Management at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has over 17 years of higher education experience, including executive level positions in the Maine Community College System and University of Maine System. In 2013, after 20 years in other parts of the country, David returned to Montpelier with his wife Jana, who grew up here, and 2 children, Jackson and Lila. David and his family are active in skiing, canoeing, and sailing on Lake Champlain.

Linn Perkins Syz, Secretary
  • Community Member
After teaching high school social studies for 23 years, Linn started work in the nonprofit world in 1998 at the New England Grassroots Environment Fund where she was a grant reviewer and program administrator for 8 years, followed by 3 years as the Office Manager for the Vermont River Conservancy. Now officially "retired" from the working world, Linn volunteers for a number of community organizations and fills her spare time playing tennis and broomball, working in her gardens, hiking, biking, kayaking and skiing. She and her husband, Stephan, have 2 grown sons in California and Colorado and 2 grandchildren, the reason for her frequent travels to the West Coast.

Jon Anderson 
  • Burak, Anderson & Melloni
A Board member of Montpelier Alive since it was founded, Jon practices law in several areas in which he can use his engineering background and problem-solving and project management approaches to serve clients. These areas include complex real estate projects and transactions including, especially, permitting and siting, litigation (especially over technical issues such as contaminated sites liability and clean up, valuation of complex property), administrative law, including defense of environmental enforcement actions, utility regulation, environmental law, solid waste disposal, including permitting and siting, land use including Vermont's Act 250, and zoning. Jon has been designated as one of the best lawyers in America in the field of environmental law. Jon served as a member of the Montpelier City Council for 8 years and represented Montpelier in the Vermont House of Representatives. With his wife Betsy, Jon owns Betsy's Bed & Breakfast. They have 2 children, Tyler and Katie.

Claire Benedict
  • Bear Pond Books
Claire Benedict is co-owner of Bear Pond Books in downtown Montpelier. She is an active member of the Montpelier Business Association and has been on the Montpelier Alive board since 2010. A transplant "from away", Claire has lived in Montpelier since 2002 with her husband and 2 children.

Steven Cook
  • Deputy Commissioner, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing
Steven Cook was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing in September 2006. Since then he was also assigned as Publisher of the State of Vermont's official magazine, Vermont Life, where he served a 3-year term. Cook has worked for the State of Vermont for over 10 years, previously under the Department of Buildings and General Services as the Marketing and Information Technology Manager. Cook has also worked in Vermont's ski industry, holding sales and promotional positions for both Smugglers' Notch and Jay Peak ski resorts. He is a graduate of Champlain College with a degree in Business Administration, and Johnson State College with a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Cook currently serves on a number of statewide and regional tourism boards and councils. Steven and his partner, Yana, along with their 5 children, live in Montpelier.

Dawn McCall
  • VSECU
Dawn is a "born and raised flatlander" who fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming a Vermonter when she and her husband, Ryan, relocated to the Green Mountain State in 2003, when they became Montpelier residents. Her professional history is that of project implementation, client relations, sales, and customer service. During the 1st decade she lived in Montpelier, Dawn worked from her home for an out-of-state employer. Feeling this arrangement curtailed her ability to be well-immersed in the community, Dawn sought employment with VSECU, headquartered downtown. She was awarded the position of VP Member Experience in 2013, and she is proud to not only be offering her professional expertise to a non-profit organization founded on the concept of "people helping people", but to also be associated with a credit union dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Vermonters. Dawn is passionate in her belief that thriving local communities afford their residents a quality of life that is unmatched. This belief led her to the opportunity to serve on the board of directors for Montpelier Alive beginning in 2015. Dawn and her husband have 2 daughters, Kathryn (9) and Molly (6). They are her most important work and she feels blessed that her daughters' bios will 1 day begin with, "I was born and raised in Montpelier, Vermont".