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The Vermont Forest Business School serves mid-career working landscape professionals with instruction and peer support to advance their businesses, agencies and work life. We offer a formal six-month session, with weekly hour-long evening remote sessions, a periodic creator’s workshops for people who have completed the six-month program and want to keep in touch, and occasional one-time workshops and other resources.
The six-month FBS program features with periodic live meetings and weekly remote conferences to discuss theory, strategy and tactics for continuously improving work results. The school is tailored to the needs of working people, with audiobooks, Socratic discussions and a supportive peer environment. We use proven business and professional development concepts and relate them to work in the forest products industry and related fields.
Successful completion of the program allows participants to leverage the ideas and methods used in class and obtain better financial results. This improvements might be higher revenue in their business (even in the absence of substantial new investment), elevated performance by key employees or better use of public resources in agencies. The FBS program itself leverages about $2,000 funding into a 10-50x financial improvement in businesses.
The school is directed and taught by Dr. Steven Bick, CF. Bick is a small business owner, land steward, writer and researcher and has a long history of providing continuous education materials for the working landscape. Contact him at FBS@northeastforests.com to learn more about the program or discuss the possibilities of customized resources (training, apps, evaluations, strategic plans) for your enterprise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should enroll in this program?
Mid-career professionals and small business owners who know there is more out there but need some direction, support and motivation to learn new ideas and make improvements. If you are good at what you do and know that you can do more, earn more, have greater influence or want to grow your organization, this program is for you.
How do I look into retiring or find out more?
Send an email to FBS@northeastforests.com, telling a bit about yourself in your work. Steve Bick will get back to you and arrange for a phone call to help gauge if this is right for you.
How long is the FBS program?
About six months, with a one-hour live video session almost every week for a group discussion of assigned readings or audio.
What if I sometimes have to miss a weekly session?
Mid-career people lead full lives and this is bound to come up now and then. Each weekly session is recorded so any participants who have to miss it can view or listen to it later. Those who miss an occasional session are encouraged to be in touch with the instructor or other group members to discuss aspects of the most recent study topics.
Are there tests in this program?
No. There is no emphasis on assessing how much you learn or what you are good at memorizing. Instead, there are occasional participant evaluation surveys about the program, along with internal feedback between participants and the instructor about what is working or what additional resources might be helpful to individuals.
I never liked classes in school or at college. Will these be like a typical school situation?
How is this program different from other continuing education or adult learning programs?
FBS emphasizes learning for professional growth and for financial gains in your business. We do not follow the traditional model of trading your time for credits or other proof of attendance. This is about learning.
What will I get out of this?
Past participants have experienced improvements in your work and life, along with an increased network of similar professionals. If you want these things, active participation in this program will bring them to you.
Do I have to be from Vermont?
FBS accepts participants from anywhere, though there is one six-month session that is exclusively for VT residents or those who work for Vermont-based businesses. A second weekly session includes people from all over.
Do I have to be a business owner?
No, FBS participants include key employees, aspiring business owners and public agency professionals.
Are there reports or other assignments?
You will never be asked to write a paper or report or fill out a worksheet. There are regular reading and/or audio assignments (books and podcasts) that inform our group discussions.
Will I get a grade?
Are continuing education credits available?
Yes. Credits are not emphasized or used as a selling point for the program, but they CFE credits are arranged with SAF and any documentation required will be supplied to you in if you need to apply for credits with other groups.
Who should not enroll in this program?
If you are just a few years into your career or are close to retiring, there are other programs out there better suited to your needs. If you are curious about this program because need continuing education credits, there are quicker and easier ways to get them (check out some of the offerings on the terrific www.forestrywebinars.netwebsite).
Also, if you have many reasons why you can not try new things or make any changes or are good at recognizing that many concepts are good for others but probably don’t apply to you, there is no need for you to enroll in FBS.