Joshua Schwartz, executive director of the Mad River Valley Planning District, is the Mad River Valley Rotary Club’s 2024 Person of the Year.



“The Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) under Josh's leadership (and Bob Ackland and Jared Cadwell’s support and volunteer efforts), has brought nearly $6 million to Mad River Valley governmental entities (towns) in the form of grants since 2008. That's no small change - and the impact of those grants is felt by residents and visitors alike. In 2023 alone, that included $1.34 million toward multiple recreation trail development plans, and wastewater infrastructure,” the Rotarians wrote in their announcement. 

Schwartz will be feted at a May 15 dinner where former planning district steering committee members will stand in his stead as Schwartz is on sabbatical with his family.  

“I'm tremendously humbled by this honor. This is a tremendous community. I feel supported in the work that we do. Whether its sidewalks or wastewater, or different types of economic study work that it's appreciated. This is a creative place filled with very dynamic people, and I recognize that many times I am the one paid person in a meeting and am  surrounded by people who are volunteering their time. I don't take that lightly. I really recognize the priorities that people put towards their community and the sacrifices they make, to, to be a part of charting the future,” Schwartz said prior to leaving for sabbatical last week.  

“There are nonprofits and community organizations like the Rotary who do so much good, and have fun while they're doing it. That's a real inspiration. They are a group that's holding The Valley as a whole, and providing supports where they're needed. It's tremendous that we have so many people pulling in the same direction to make this a better place. And I take it as a true honor as somebody working in the civic world, to be recognized in this way by so many really wonderful and accomplished people,” he added. 

Rotarians praised Schwartz for having the deep respect of his current and past boards as well as the government officials with whom he interacts.  

“His calm, thoughtful and informed delivery of information both good and bad is presented with respect and confidence,” they said.

Schwartz came to The Valley from the city of Barre where he was the planning and zoning director. Prior to that he worked for the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission. He’s a native of update New York, near Saratoga Spring. He did his undergrad work at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina,and received a masters in urban and regional planning from Virginia Tech.  =He met his wife Elizabeth at Warren Wilson. They have two children Noah, 19, and Clara, 14. They live in Waitsfield. 

Also to be honored at the Person of the Year dinner in May are Ackland (Warren) and Cadwell (Fayston) who are both 20-plus year members of the MRVPD steering committee in their capacities as select board members.   

Schwartz and his family will lead the 75th annual Warren Fourth of July Parade as Grand Marshal, an esteemed honor bestowed upon each year's Person of the Year.