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News and Views for Windham County, Vermont

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This series of interviews is supplied to The Commons by the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (brattleborodevelopment.com), the regional development corporation tasked with helping businesses start up in Windham County. These interviews are intended to explore the experience of starting a business in the Windham County region, looking at how individual business owners choose to be in southern Vermont, as well as their challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, and memorable celebrations.

The interviews are designed, in the words of the BDCC, “to inspire those sitting on the sidelines while reminding others they are not alone, that yes, you can open a successful business in southern Vermont.”

Interviewer Jerry Goldberg, who runs his marketing and communications firm, Goldberg Creative Marketing, in Brattleboro, worked as a communications executive for many years at CBS in both New York and Los Angeles. Later, in Brattleboro, he headed communications at World Learning and from 2005 to 2013 served as executive director of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce.

Originally published in The Commons issue #384 (Wednesday, November 23, 2016). This story appeared on page B1.

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By Jerry Goldberg/The Commons

WILMINGTON—It’s almost impossible to have spent eight years at the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce without keeping up to speed on the work of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility — an organization whose mission is “to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environment of our citizens.”

For eight years as a member and four as chair of the VBSR board, Julie Lineberger, owner of LineSync Architecture, proved to be an indefatigable advocate. I saw her in action in so many rooms, at so many forums — whenever there was a community need to get something important done.

But she has worn other hats as well. Along with her husband Joseph Cincotta — LineSync’s principal architect — she’s put their business where their hearts are for 30 years, including the 28 years they’ve been in southern Vermont.

So I was both delighted and eager to hear not only about LineSync, but also Lineberger and Cincotta’s new venture, Wheel Pad L3C, which manufactures “temporary universally-accessible housing that is both excellent quality and eco-friendly,” according to the new venture’s website.

Linking up at the LineSync/Wheel Pad offices in a beautifully designed old clapboard farmhouse on Castle Hill just steps south of South Main Street proved once again that magic does happen behind so many picket fences throughout our corner of Vermont.

Cincotta was facing a hard deadline and would hopefully catch up with me later, so Lineberger and I started.

* * *

Jerry Goldberg: Julie, please tell me how you got here. Take us on your journey.

Julie Lineberger: I’m from Los Angeles — a fifth-generation Californian. I always thought I’d live there forever. I loved the ocean, the mountains, the desert — all within a short drive. I was a true California girl.

J.G.: I lived in L.A. for 11 years. I get it.

J.L.: In 1975, I enrolled in the University of California San Diego to major in sociology and communications as well as to earn a bilingual teaching credential. In my third year, I studied abroad at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

After graduation, one of my UCSD professors was tapped for a United Nations Development Programme research project in Papua, New Guinea. He arranged for me to assist in evaluating the trial of a mathematics curriculum he developed.

When I got back to San Diego, María Díaz, the woman I student-taught under, declared, “You should be at Harvard.” I shook my head and laughed, “Harvard. Yeah, right.” She would not let me leave her house until we completed the application that weekend.

In early spring, I received an acceptance letter dated April 1. I thought that was the cruelest April Fools’ joke anyone ever played on me. However, it was real. At the new student orientation, we learned two-thirds of the students had the same reaction.

J.G.: What were you majoring in this time?

J.L.: International education.

The day I drove to the Cronkhite Graduate Center, the second person I met was Joseph, who was enrolling at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Two years through his 3{1/2}-year program, Joseph was selected to work on a major project in the Sultanate of Oman. It was an incredible opportunity for him. He left me.

So what’s a girl to do? I took a job on the Thai-Cambodian border to work for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at Khao I Dang!

J.G.: What prompted you to seek out that kind of work? Had you always been a student of how life is for those who haven’t enjoyed the blessings you have?

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