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Governor Phil Scott Makes Key Appointments at the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Liquor and Lottery

November 29, 2021

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today announced that he has appointed Sabina Haskell as the chair of the Natural Resources Board (NRB), Wendy Knight as commissioner of the Department of Liquor and Lottery (DLL), and Andrew Collier as deputy commissioner of DLL.

The three appointments will be effective Monday, December 13.

Sabina Haskell, chair, Natural Resources Board

“Sabina will bring significant management experience and a fresh perspective to the Board that will help deliver consistent, clear and predictable outcomes to Vermont’s legacy land-use law,” said Governor Scott. “She will be focused on bringing clarity to the Act 250 process and streamlining permits, which will be essential in moving projects forward, especially under ARPA funding and deadlines.” 

Haskell returned to state government earlier this year when she was appointed deputy commissioner at the Department of Liquor and Lottery. She previously served as deputy secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources under Governor Jim Douglas.

Haskell’s wide-ranging business background in Vermont includes both the public and private sectors across a variety of industries. She was director of public affairs at Vermont Student Assistance Corp., regional communications director for FairPoint Communications, and has over a decade of experience as a newspaper editor with the Manchester Journal, Bennington Banner, Rutland Herald, and Brattleboro Reformer.

She was president of the Vermont Press Association for three terms, a founding member of the Vermont Coalition for Open Government and has served on school and municipal boards in Sunderland, Montpelier, and Burlington. Appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin in 2014, Haskell also served on the board of directors for SerVermont, the state’s AmeriCorps program.

“I thank Governor Scott for the opportunity to play a leadership role in Vermont’s environmental future, where we protect all that is important and cherished by Vermonters, and where we also make everyday life more affordable, accessible and inclusive for all Vermonters. It is doable if everyone comes to the table to work together to meet the opportunities - and finite timelines - of federal funding to make both strategic investments in our economic future while protecting our Vermont environmental heritage.”

In July, Governor Scott appointed Don Rendall as interim chair of the NRB, following the retirement of Dianne Snelling. Rendall was asked to assess current operations and systems, and to recommend improvements and other considerations while a permanent replacement was sought.

“I want to thank Don for all his hard work over the past several months, and his willingness to help out as we searched for a permanent chair,” said Governor Scott. “His knowledge, commitment and expertise has been greatly appreciated, and I am tremendously grateful he agreed to support us in this interim role.”

Wendy Knight, commissioner, Department of Liquor and Lottery

Knight was appointed deputy commissioner of DLL in April of this year.

“Over the last eight months, Deputy Commissioner Knight has served the department and state with commitment and determination,” said Governor Scott. “She has shown passion, leadership, and a desire to make continuous improvements to our operations. She has earned this elevation to commissioner and I’m confident will do the job well.”

From 2017 to 2019, Knight served as Vermont’s commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing and vice chair of the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative. She was also part of the senior leadership team at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and a strategic lead for ThinkVermont, a State economic development initiative.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a team of hardworking, innovative, and collaborative employees whose dedication to one another, and their fellow Vermonters, helps the Department contribute over $75M annually to the state,” said Knight.

Knight is a former craft beer store owner who has significant international experience in the hospitality and food and beverage sectors, working with distilled spirits companies, wineries, cider makers, brewers, restaurants, and lodging properties. In 2020, she was a consultant for On the Fly, a collective of experts providing technical assistance to Vermont’s hospitality businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Knight is also a former journalist and author who has written 100+ articles for the New York Times and four non-fiction books.

She currently serves on the Vermont Commission on Women, and on the board of directors for the Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance, as well as their equity and diversity committee.

Andrew Collier, deputy commissioner, Department of Liquor and Lottery

To fill the vacancy left by Haskell’s transition, Governor Scott has appointed Andrew Collier as deputy commissioner at the Department. Collier has spent the last 11 years serving the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in a variety of roles with substantial responsibilities.

“Andrew has the experience and skills necessary to hit the ground running in this new role,” said Governor Scott. “He also brings a relevant and valuable knowledge from his experience as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and DUI Enforcement Trooper to the DPS, with an important enforcement component.”

Andrew Collier has been a trooper with the Vermont State Police (VSP) for the past 11 years, during which time he acted as a Drug Recognition Expert and as a DUI Enforcement officer. During Andrew’s time with VSP, he led the department’s efforts in diversity and inclusion through community outreach and worked to train and teach new recruits joining the force. He is a former member of the Vermont Natural Resources Board. He is currently a member of the Howard Center Board and the Westford Development Review Board. He has also participated in Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford (VIEW). Andrew has been inspired since a very young age to serve his community through his membership, teamwork, and interest to listen, learn, and implement.

Andrew graduated from Westfield State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Concentration in Business and Communication.

“I am extremely excited and honored to serve in this role and appreciate the Governor for placing his confidence in me,” said Collier. “I look forward to working with Commissioner Knight and the rest of the Department with finding innovative ways to serve the people of Vermont.”

“I also want to thank Chair Manahan and the entire Board of Liquor and Lottery for their support of these appointments and service to the state,” said Governor Scott. “Their hard work is greatly appreciated.”

Photographs of Haskell, Knight and Collier can be found by clicking below: