Richard Smith 

Richard Smith is the President of the VCIA, a member-based association whose mission is to educate, communicate, and advocate on behalf of the Vermont-domiciled captive insurance industry. Richard has led the association as President since October of 2009. 

Prior to his work at VCIA, Richard served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Public Service Department for the State of Vermont. During his five years at the department, he was the primary liaison with Vermont's general assembly on energy and telecommunications issues. In addition to policy development, Richard also managed the day to day operations of the department including the development of its $10 million annual budget and direction of its 40 staff.

From 1998 - 2005, Richard was the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development for the State of Vermont. He was appointed by a Democratic and a Republican governor to this post. He was responsible for managing the department's $4 million annual budget and overseeing the work of 15 staff.

Richard holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also completed a Strategic Leadership for State Executives program from Duke University in 1999 and the Vermont Leadership Institute in 2000.


Diane Leach

Diane Leach joined the Vermont Captive Insurance Association in 1987 and is the Director of Education and Program Planning. She started her captive insurance career in 1984, working for American Risk Management, Corp. in the accounting and administration areas. Her involvement with the Association began during its early stages and has continued through its current maturity. She is a past Board member of the Vermont Society of Association Executives and a member of the American Society of Association Executives.



jv photoJanice Valgoi

Janice Valgoi joined VCIA in January 2012 as VCIA’s Director of Membership and Development. Prior to this position, Janice was a Project Manager with Delaney Meeting & Event Management in Vermont. Janice was in the hotel business for over 20 years in Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia, before being transferred to Vermont to work at the Radisson Hotel Burlington in 1990. Janice was the Director of Sales for 16 years responsible for conventions and marketing and assisted the hotel with the transition from a Radisson Hotel to the Wyndham Hotel in 2003.

She was an adjunct professor at Champlain College for Destination Management. Janice served on the Board of Directors of the Vermont Convention Bureau and the YMCA Camp Committee. She is a past President of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International and the past Chair of the Vermont Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Marketing Committee. She graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management. 


Elizabeth Halpern

Elizabeth Halpern joined VCIA in 1999 and is our Director of Communications. She is responsible for the coordination and design of all the Association's marketing and educational materials. In addition, she manages the VCIA website, electronic promotions and social networking sites. Elizabeth directs the association's media planning and press activities, does lots of writing and editing, and is the staff liaison to the Communications Committee.

Elizabeth has worked in marketing and design for 20 years, working previously in advertising firms, as a self-employed graphic designer, and in marketing management positions.

Elizabeth holds a B.S. degree from the University of Vermont and completed a year of coursework at the University of Nice, France.


Peggy Companion

Peggy Companion joined the VCIA in February 2006 and is our Director of Finance. In this capacity, she is responsible for all the financial proceedings of the association. She is also the staff liaison for the Finance Committee.

Peggy is a graduate of Champlain College where she graduated summa cum laude and has received several awards recognizing her outstanding achievements as a non-traditional student. She was an accounting tutor at Champlain College as well, a role reserved for top students.

While earning her accounting degree at Champlain, Peggy worked as a paralegal for attorney Sarah Gentry Tischler, P.C.

Peggy lived for many years in Florida where she worked for Merrill Lynch. She moved to Vermont in 1998, and became the co-owner of Jerihill Hardware Store in Jericho.