Who We Are
Gary Lambert, President
Gary Lambert has been a cinephile all his life. He has taught production at Champlain College, Burlington College, and UVM, where he also worked as a producer and director at the Video Studio. He served as Media Coordinator at Champlain Valley Union High School and is currently the Electronics Recording Arts instructor at the Burlington Technical Center. A 7th generation Vermonter, Gary currently lives in Burlington, Vermont.
Jessica Wilson, Vice President
Jessica Wilson joined the RETN board in 2009. She is currently the Technology Integration Specialist at the Hinesburg Community School and the Chittenden South Supervisory Union central office. Jessica graduated with an Elementary Education degree and teacher's license from Hofstra University in New York. She also holds a Masters of Technology Education from St. Michael's College. Jessica is passionate about helping teachers transform their classroom through communication, collaboration and problem solving, in order to help students become 21st century learners and active contributors to our global society. Outside of school you will find Jessica traveling around the world, cooking international foods, and participating in variety of outdoor activities.
Alan Levi, Treasurer
Alan Levi has been a board member of RETN since 2007 and the treasurer since 2009. He serves as a community-at-large member from the business sector. Alan graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Psychology. He has pursued a career in retail and has been the owner of several children’s department stores and e-commerce enterprises over the last 30 years. He also serves as a consultant to product designers and manufacturers of baby products. Alan resides in Williston with his wife, Dande. Besides his passion for his business career, Alan is an avid gardener, coffee & beer lover, foodie and movie buff.
Bonnie Birdsall, Secretary
Bonnie Birdsall is the Technology Integration Specialist for the Williston, VT School District. During her years in that position, Bonnie has worked with teachers, staff, and students about how technology can be integrated into the curriculum in natural and meaningful ways to enhance learning. She has taught courses and workshops to Vermont educators about integrating Google Apps into the classroom and Building Personal Learning Networks. Prior to assuming her current role, Bonnie was an elementary level teacher in Williston. Bonnie holds a Master's degree in Technology in Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, worked in a technology-driven national school reform project, and taught in Boston. Bonnie believes that as educators we are all learners and we should use today's technologies to connect, grow, create, and learn. In her spare time, Bonnie enjoys traveling, spending time with her husband and sons, reading, and cooking.
Chris Dissinger joined the RETN board in 2014. He is currently the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont where he handles all aspects of marketing, publicity, graphic design, photography, as well as social and electronic media. Prior to moving to Vermont, Chris was publisher and editor of two daily newspaper in New Mexico for 15 years. A graduate of Towson University, Chris holds degrees in both History and Journalism. Chris believes that technology is a core component of growth for public institutions and, through its use, can reach and be relevant to wider and more diverse audiences. Chris lives in Underhill with his wife and daughter and enjoys skiing, ice and rock climbing, cycling and water sports in his spare time.
Keith Oppenheim has been an instructor at Champlain since 2014. His courses in Broadcast Media Production include Video Storytelling, News Writing and Production and Video Field Production. In addition, seniors in the broadcast major work with Keith on their capstone project, a series of documentaries that air on local cable television. Before coming to Champlain, Keith was a broadcast journalist. He worked in local markets for 12 years, followed by 11 years at CNN where he was a correspondent based in Chicago. Keith taught at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan for 5 years, then made the move to Vermont. Keith is currently a regular contributor to Vermont Public Radio's commentary series.
Charlie McFadyen is the technology integration specialist at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, VT, USA. He is also a musician and composer, a husband and father, lover of problem-solving and crossword puzzles.
Jess Wilson, Executive Director
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Jess joined RETN in December 2012 as Director of Production after spending 13 years as an Executive Producer and Channel Director with CCTV/Channel 17 Town Meeting Television in Burlington. During her time at CCTV, Jess produced, shot and edited documentary style videos for CCTV's non-profit clients. She also managed video production and live webstreaming for events and produced Channel 17's election coverage. Prior to her work at CCTV, she served as executive director of LCATV in Colchester and as News Director of WDEV AM & FM in Waterbury. Jess is a co-founder of the Saints and Poets Production Company, a theatre company devoted to promoting the puppetry arts through theatre and film.
Gin Ferrara, Community Engagement Manager
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Gin considers herself a "multimediator" -- a person who helps folks use media to tell their own stories and connect to their communities. She has taught videomaking to young people and community members across the country, and is thrilled to call Vermont home. Gin enjoys creating new projects, and is the co-founder of Baltimore's Wide Angle Youth Media, the nonprofit communications company Spindle & Widget, and the Burlington story community Storytelling VT. Having been a mediamaker since the days of splicing and 3/4 inch tape, she is pretty thrilled to be making movies on her iPad, and looks forward to what's next. When not making or teaching, Gin is baking bread and hiking with her family.
Drew Frazier, Content Manager
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Drew strives to bring understanding to an otherwise unruly local media information environment. Having joined RETN in the mid-2000s, he has worked through many industry transitions, including analog to digital, SD to HD, and the transitioning to IP-based infrastructures. When away from the office, Drew plays shakuhachi and bass, listens to a lot of music and gets lost in the analog world of literature.
Jackie Marshall, Production Manager
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Jackie joined RETN in the fall of 2016, after spending majority of her last 5 years working in community media in Vermont. Her previous positions include CCTV/Channel 17 Town Meeting Television and ORCA Media, where she coordinated meeting coverage, paid productions services, live streaming as well as Directing and editing videos for clients. Prior to moving northward to Vermont, Jackie grew up in Maine. She left Maine for the Air Force following high school. The Air Force enabled her to expand her view of the world. Following 5 years of service with 4 deployments under her belt, she pursued her newfound passion for media at Western Carolina University. Graduating with a degree in Communication with a concentration in Broadcasting and a minor in creative media. She continues to serve in the Vermont Air National Guard producing stories one weekend a month as a Broadcast Journalist for Public Affairs. She enjoys life alongside her; partner, Pancho their Alaskan malamute and Calico cats Meeko & Sputnik. Jackie call’s Vermont her second home, Maine being the first, and enjoys being part of this community-centered organization.
Connor Vandagriff, Production Assistant
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Connor joined the RETN staff in October 2016 as the Production Assistant. Up until then, he worked for two years as a freelance videographer, director and editor. After residing in Glendale, California for nearly 20 years, he moved to Richmond, Vermont and attended Saint Michael’s College where he received a BA in Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts. With a critical eye for media production, Connor hopes to provide the community with the tools and information to venture through today’s ever-increasing and complex media landscape. In his free time, Connor collects vinyl records, photographs historic car racing events around the country and plays a plethora of percussive instruments.
Jim Kelty, Production Coordinator for Facilities
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Jim Kelty joined the RETN staff in 2007 after working for the organization on a freelance basis for several years as a video editor and field producer. He now works closely with community producers and camera crews that record local events such as public lectures, school board meetings and music and dance performances. He was initially drawn to RETN by the alternative viewpoints he found on Channel 16, which carried "Al Jazeera: Newshour" for several years and carries "Democracy Now!" as well as documentaries and other programming seldom found in the mainstream. An avid reader, Jim tries to stay informed about important issues confronting the human race. He counts Chris Hedges, Derrick Jensen, Arundhati Roy and Dmitry Orlov among his strongest influences. He also works at Vermont Community Access Media and co-produced "Occupy Burlington Update," a live show about the local Occupy movement, that was seen weekly on Channel 15. He studied video production at Champlain College and has a BJ from the University of Missouri.
Ross Ransom, Education Coordinator
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Ross Ransom is the Programming and Education Coordinator at RETN. From Katonah, NY where he spent years working with various artistic media, his interest in media education started in his years studying at Champlain College. His passion for community media was solidified during a senior-year internship with RETN. In order to make media more accessible to his community, Ross works with RETN productions, marketing, programming, and trainings. Ross enjoys biking, reading, camping, swimming, playing guitar and believes in local, dissenting, unfettered, informative and accessible media productions, as well as good beer.
Patrick Heltz, Distribution Coordinator
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Patrick Heltz is a Vermont native and graduate of the University of Vermont where he earned a degree in history. He has spent summers working at historic sites in Vermont and New York. During his previous video production experience, Patrick specialized as a sound technician. He joined the RETN staff as the Distribution Coordinator in 2017.
Wilbur, CTO - Chief Treat Officer
Wilbur joined the RETN staff in December 2012 when he decided it best to follow his meal ticket, Jess Wilson. He began his career of greeting visitors and begging for treats at CCTV/Channel 17 Town Meeting Television. A big supporter of free speech and community media, he has also taken on short-term assignments at Lake Champlain Access Television in Colchester. In his free time, Wilbur likes to eat, nap, swim, harass cats, bark at squirrels and attend theatre rehearsals.