Meet our Board of Directors
The Yankee board consists of 12 members: nine are elected by Yankee members and three are appointed by the board. As elected officials, directors are responsible for representing the best interest of the organization and its borrowers.
The Yankee election procedure includes a regional nominating process that ensures sound representation from throughout our lending area. Stockholders from each of our three regions vote for the open position in their region each year.
Paul B. Franklin, Chairperson (Region 3)
Paul B. Franklin, age 64, has served as director since 2011. He grew up on a small dairy farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, Mr. Franklin and his wife Nancy started a pick-your-own (PYO) strawberry operation. Forty years later, with the enlisted help of their three children, they own and operate Riverview Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire, a 45-acre fruit and vegetable operation specializing in PYO apples, blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins. Mr. Franklin manages field operations and cider pressing, and Nancy, with the help of daughter Amy, oversees the retail barn, PYO, and school tours. In addition, they own a 170-acre wood lot managed for timber and firewood production, recreation, and wildlife habitat. For 22 years, Mr. Franklin was a member and Chairman of the New Hampshire Board of Tax and Land Appeals, serving as tax administrative judge. Currently, he is Treasurer of the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association, a Director of the New Hampshire Statewide Program of Action to Conserve our Environment, and the Plainfield Town and School Moderator.
Rocklyn A. Giroux, Vice Chairperson (Region 1)
Rocklyn A. Giroux, age 71, has served as director since 2003. He co-owns Adirondack Farms LLC in Peru, New York, with Jon Rulfs and Jake Swyers. The dairy farm has 2,350 milking cows and raises all of its crops on 5,700 acres of land. From 1972 to 1995, Mr. Giroux operated Giroux Bros. Inc., a John Deere dealership in Plattsburgh and Malone, New York. From 1985 to 1986 he was President of the New York Equipment Dealers Association. Mr. Giroux serves on the boards of the Clinton County One Work Force employment training organization, Mountain View Equipment LLC farm equipment dealership, the William H. Miner Institute agricultural research facility, and the CVPH Medical Center Foundation. In addition, Mr. Giroux is a Beekmantown Fire Department Commissioner. He and his wife Chris reside in Plattsburgh, where they enjoyed raising their five children and now enjoy being grandparents to their 11 grandchildren.
Alan J. Bourbeau (Region 1)
Alan J. Bourbeau, age 56, has served as a director since 2007. Mr. Bourbeau owns and operates a third-generation farm located on Pond Road in Swanton, Vermont. Mr. Bourbeau and his wife Kimberly have been married for 36 years and have three children and five grandchildren. Mr. Bourbeau and his two sons operate Bourbeau & Sons, Inc., which has a 260 cow milking herd and raises all its own replacement livestock. In 2007, the Bourbeau family built a sugarhouse and expanded the sugar woods to 35,000 taps. In addition to managing Bourbeau & Sons, Inc., Bourbeau Farm LLP, and Greens Corners Maple Products, LLC, Mr. and Mrs. Bourbeau and buy and sell 700,000 to 1,000,000 pounds of syrup per year from other maple producers. Mr. Bourbeau currently serves as St. Albans Cooperative Creamery Chair of the Audit Committee and Director on the Nominating Committee. He also has served nine years with the Swanton Planning Commission (seven as Chairman); 18 years as Franklin County Field Days Director (four as Vice-Chairman); six years as a Young Cooperator Member for the St. Albans Cooperative; 17 years as a member of the St. Albans Elks Lodge #1566 (12 years an officer, five as Chairman of the Trustees, and Exalted Ruler 2004-2005); and seven years as the President of the former Sheldon Jack O’Lopes snowmobile club.
Thomas J. Colgan (Appointed Director)
Thomas J. Colgan, age 63, was appointed as a director in 2012. Since 1997, Mr. Colgan has served as President and CEO of Wagner Forest Management, Ltd., a timber management company headquartered in Lyme, New Hampshire. He previously worked for Scott Paper Company in Maine. Mr. Colgan holds multiple degrees from Duke University, including a M.S. in Forestry. He serves as a senior officer of Wagner Forest Management, Ltd. (a forest management company that serves as the manager for Bayroot, LLC, Wagner Energy, LLC, and Yankee Forest, LLC); Wagner Wind Energy III, LLC, an electrical generation company; and Bright Lake, LLLP, and Mirage Flats Holding, LLC, real estate holding companies. Mr. Colgan as serves on the Boards of Directors of RAS-Tech, LLC, a recycler of asphalt shingles; Woodbrowser, Inc., a lumber brokerage firm in Grantham, New Hampshire; North Country Procurement, a biomass procurement organization based in Rumney, New Hampshire; and the National Alliance of Forest Owners, a trade association. Mr. Colgan also is a member of the Town of Lyme Conservation Commission. While Yankee’s second largest industry concentration is the timber industry, the association has not previously had a director from this industry. Mr. Colgan is the Association’s first appointed director, and the first director to represent the timber industry.
Bryan E. Davis (Region 2)
Bryan E. Davis, age 61, has served as a director since 2010. He and his wife Susan have owned and operated Grand View Farm in Derby Line, Vermont since 1978. The farm consists of 135 milkers and 150 head of replacement cattle. They have a son, two daughters, and four grandchildren. After college, their son Jeremy and his wife Jen moved onto the farm and are an integral part of the operation. Mr. Davis holds an A.S. in Forestry Management and Land Surveying from Paul Smiths College. He currently serves as Director, Treasurer, and Chairman of the Quality Committee of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, a milk marketing co-operative; Chairman of the New England Dairy Promotion Board, and Director of The United Dairy Industry Association, both of which are involved in dairy promotion; Chair of the Derby School Board; member and past President of the Orleans County Farm Bureau; member of the Elks Club; and member of the Orleans County Sugarmakers.
Kenneth F. Deon (Appointed Director)
Kenneth F. Deon, 61, has served as a director since 2016. Mr. Deon grew up in Plattsburgh, New York and graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh. His career as a CPA was primarily at KPMG, which included managing partner of the offices in Burlington, Vermont; Albany, New York; and West Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Deon has over 30 years of experience providing audit and advisory services to clients in a number of industries, primarily focused in operations, processes, and technical accounting assistance, including business combinations, regulatory accounting, and financial reporting. His audit experience includes IPO/SEC and Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory requirements. He also was Adjunct Professor of Accounting at Union Graduate School and at Saint Michael’s College. After 32 years at KPMG, Ken retired in 2015. He currently lives in Greer, South Carolina.
Dr. Rocki-Lee DeWitt (Outside Director)
Dr. Rocki-Lee DeWitt, age 60, has served as a director since 2004. She received her Ph.D. in Strategic Management from Columbia University and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the Ohio State University. Dr. DeWitt is Professor of Management at the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont. She conducts research on strategies for sustaining family and closely-held businesses and has served as a business advisor to multiple family businesses. Her professional affiliations include the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Burlington Industrial Council, an economic development organization. Dr. DeWitt has been previously employed as Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont, Associate Dean of Professional Master’s Programs at the Pennsylvania State University, and as an agricultural parts sales manager with Case-IH. Raised on a dairy farm in Accord, New York, Dr. DeWitt was a 4-H member for ten years. Dr. DeWitt and her spouse, Josephine Herrera, reside in Charlotte, Vermont.
Kyle Thygesen (Region 2)
Kyle Thygesen, age 44, Kyle has been very involved in many aspects of Vermont's agricultural industry since moving back to Vermont with his wife Jennifer in 2000. In 2003, Kyle became a member of Yankee Farm Credit with the purchase of their dairy farm in Tunbridge.
From then to today, Kyle, his wife Jennifer and son Keenan own and operate the Farmstead at Falls Hill, LLC. From 2007 to 2011 their business included an organic dairy farm nationally recognized for their milk quality, genetics and organic management practices. In December 2011, they sold their herd to a beginning farmer, and have since focused on marketing, developing and breeding a small number of high quality registered dairy cattle for show, while also managing an organic hay business. They have developed nine All-American or All-Canadian nominations over the past several years. In 2013 a Guernsey cow they boarded was awarded the Grand Champion cow at World Dairy Expo. Their Ayrshire five-year-old was Honorable Mention Grand Champion at World Dairy Expo that year as well.
Currently, Kyle is currently the Director for Milk Sourcing and Procurement for Stonyfield Organic, the nation’s largest organic yogurt company. In his role, Kyle has grown the supply from 0 to 35 farm relationships throughout in New England. In that capacity seven farms started brand new operations, five generational transfer plans were completed and now a robust supply program is in place. In addition, to direct farm relationships Kyle also works with other Cooperatives that supply milk to Stonyfield.
Kyle enjoys working to serve the agricultural industry and develop its present and future generations. He is active in volunteer work for 4-H and FFA. This past year he and his wife Jennifer were awarded the Ed Gould Memorial award by Vermont 4H for their work with their 4H club.
Celeste Kane-Stebbins (Region 1)
Celeste Kane-Stebbins, age 61, has served as a director since 2008. Ms. Kane-Stebbins grew up on the family dairy farm in Sheldon, Vermont, where she and her husband, Gregory, now reside. They became Farm Credit customers in 1976 when they financed their first dairy farm in West Enosburg with a loan from the Federal Land Bank of Springfield. Over the years they have expanded their business through the purchase of the Sheldon farm in 1993 and a neighboring farm in 2003; they lease two additional farms for crop land. They formed Stebbinshire Farms, Inc. in 2010. Ms. Kane-Stebbins serves as Secretary/Treasurer and her primary responsibilities include bookkeeping, payroll, and tax preparation. The farm employs five full-time and four part-time employees, including two of their sons, Sean and Michael. Stebbinshire Farms milks approximately 375 head and raises all replacements, has a 4,500-tap maple operation, and sells logs and firewood. In addition to her farm work, Ms. Kane-Stebbins works full-time as Director of Quality and Risk Management at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, Vermont. She earned a B.S. from the University of Vermont and a M.S. from the University of Phoenix. She is the mother of four children. She has served as a director of Sheldon School for 15 years, director on the Franklin County Farm Bureau Board, and director on the Cold Hollow Career Center Allied Health Advisory Board.
Bradley N. Maxwell (Region 2)
Bradley N. Maxwell, age 61, has served as director since 2012. Mr. Maxwell grew up in Coventry, Vermont, on the dairy farm that his parents started in 1959. He currently owns and operates Maxwells’ Neighborhood Farm, LLC and Neighborhood Equities, LLC with his parents and brothers. Mr. Maxwell and his family have been with Yankee Farm Credit for three generations. Over the past 15 years, the farm has grown from a 120-cow dairy to the current herd of 800 milking cows and 700 head of young stock. Ever-expanding and diversifying, Neighborhood Energy, LLC’s methane digester began operation in late 2008. Its newest ventures are a small sugaring operation and a greenhouse. Mr. Maxwell and his wife Jean have four children. Their oldest son, Matthew, began working on the farm as a full time employee in 2007. Neighborhood Farm employs seven other full-time employees. In addition to his work on the farm, Mr. Maxwell has been an integral part of the local and agricultural communities over the past 20 years, including coaching elementary and high school basketball, serving on the Coventry Selectboard, and serving as a director on the New England Dairy Promotion Board.
Rene M. Saenger (Region 3)
Rene Saenger, age 59, has served as a director since 2015. Ms. Saenger has been a member of Farm Credit since 1983 when she and her husband, Paul, purchased their first farm in Weybridge, Vermont. In 1988, the Saengers moved to Shoreham and for the next 26 years operated Cream Hill Farm, a 1600 acre, 1600 head capacity beef feeding facility. From 2001 to 2014, she was responsible for the day to day management of Cream Hill Farm. In April 2014, the real estate containing the improvements and infrastructure for feeding cattle were sold to a young farmer. Ms. Saenger retains approximately 1000 acres of agricultural land, which is leased to neighboring farms. Ms. Saenger has a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Illinois and holds a 50 Ton Master Captain’s license. From 1986 to 1992, she owned and operated Farm Management Services, a forage analysis lab. She currently is Zoning Administrator of the town of Shoreham, Vermont and is an Emergency Medical Technician for the Shoreham First Response team.
Stephen H. Taylor (Region 3)
Stephen H. Taylor, age 77, has served as director since 2009. Mr. Taylor lives in the Meriden Village section of Plainfield, New Hampshire, where he farms with his three sons, Jim, Bill and Rob. Their farm, begun in 1970, currently includes a 60-cow dairy herd, 7,000-tap maple operation, and a cheese-making venture. From 1982 to 2007 Mr. Taylor served as the New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture. Prior to that, in addition to developing the family farm enterprise, he worked many years as a daily newspaper reporter and editor and as a freelance writer for agricultural, forestry, and other publications. Mr. Taylor has served and continues to serve on many community and state-level boards and committees. He currently is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Cornish Fair Association and the Eastern States Exposition. He serves as the Moderator for the Meriden, New Hampshire Village Water District. He is a grandfather of seven.