6 Questions for Vermont Influencers- Commissioner Wanda Minoli

The Associated General Contractors of Vermont features a column focusing on remarks by influential Vermonters in response to a half dozen questions ranging from the serious to sublime. Entitled “6 Questions for Vermont Influencers,” prepared by Aimee Ziter, AGC/VT staff and Project RoadSafe Director. This column is intended to bring out the real person whose name is often in the news.

On October 2, 2018; Governor Phil Scott announced Wanda Minoli, of Montpelier, as the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Minoli served as interim commissioner since December 2017. Recognizing many Vermonters interact with the DMV throughout their lives, Governor Scott and Secretary Flynn asked Commissioner Minoli to focus on improving customer service and keeping costs as low as possible. “Under Commissioner Minoli’s leadership, the DMV made steady progress on complex modernization efforts that improved customer experience, lowed costs, and improved security and efficiency,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “Under Wanda’s leadership as interim commissioner, the Department advanced multiple projects, and has shown a commitment to better outcomes for Vermonters” said Scott. When AGC invited the Commissioners involvement in the article, she gratefully took on the task and stated, “Wow what insight to who you are!”

Q:        What in your life are you most grateful for and why?

A:         Family. There are many important things in life, most important to me is my family.   Many things in my life have changed, family is the one thing that has always stayed the same.  They always provide me unconditional love, support, most importantly they have influenced my framework of values throughout my life.  Our traditions have been the experiences that have created memories for me now and for the years to come.  Always giving me the sense of belonging and balance. My family is my life treasures and the most important gifts I have received.

Q.         What is your favorite Vista in Vermont?

A.      Camels Hump. I know I am home. When I see Camels Hump in a distance, it is the landmark that brings a smile and sense of comfort to me when it comes into my view. I can recognize Camels Hump from so many different locations throughout our beautiful State. It is familiar; it brings lifetime of memories to me from my earliest years traveling with my family to visit relatives or just Sunday drives, my father would always point it out to me as the “sleeping lion”. Camels Hump is the vista that always reflects our four seasons and the changing of the passing year. My favorite view is when the mountain demonstrates the arrival of autumn; bold and strong, its natural beauty showcasing the all the colors fall.

Q.     If you could UN-INVENT something what would it be and why?

A.     Plastic. I never imagined when I began using, purchasing and disposing of plastic products the damage I was contributing to our environment and the negative impact it has caused for our most valuable resources; land, water and air. Throughout my life plastic products have been a convenience and made my life easier. Plastic waste takes too long to decompose, everyday items we use and dispose in our landfills will take hundreds to thousands of years to decay. While I would un-invent plastic; I also must acknowledge use of plastic has not been eliminated from my everyday life. I am committed to giving up use of plastic bags, straws, plastic bottles, and consciously using environmentally friendly products and recycling.

Q.     If you were given $1,000,000.00 and had 72 hours to spend it what would you do? Why?

A.      I never imagined having a one million dollars to spend in 72 hours. College tuition and debt would be paid for the young adults in my life. I would ensure my father has all the comforts and care needed for the remaining time of his life. Donations to charities and youth programs that ignite a passion in me, such as Spectrum One Stop and Child Care Resources supporting Vermont Foster Care.  Donations to medical research to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes and early diagnosis for women with ovarian cancer.  I have been fortunate to have mentors that have influenced my personal and professional life; therefore, I would contribute to their choice of a charitable organization that has made difference to them. Lastly, I would retire and take the remaining money and travel the world with my husband. We love travelling and experiencing what so many other places have to offer, speaking with locals, eating foods and sampling cultures.  Our journey will include visiting: Madagascar the oldest island on earth, the ancient stone temples, hike the Andes in Peru, walk the Great Wall of China, hike the Grand Canyon, enjoy a train ride across the United States, experience the northern lights in Alaska and we would end our journey by simply relaxing on an island and enjoying life on a beach in the West Indies.

Q.     Given the choice of anyone in the world who would you like to have as a dinner guest?  Where would you dine? What would you order?

A.       I would have dinner with my deceased mother. Today I realize what an extraordinary influence my mother has been on my life. She always had time for her children, always interested in learning something new, she would sacrifice herself for her family, she was my biggest cheerleader.  She possessed more knowledge and wisdom than any other person I know; she never judged a person or their life situation, she had strength, determination and an unselfish soul. Her everlasting influence taught me to be kindhearted and a strong persistent woman. We would dine in Camp Ellis Maine at Huots Seafood Restaurant, our meal would start with a hot bowl of clam chowder; she would order the “fried seafood platter” and I would have the “fresh haddock sandwich”. After dinner we would order coffee milkshakes from Dairy Queen.

Q.      When did you last sing to yourself? What type of music?

A.          Today. Soft Rock. As I was answering the question on my favorite Vista; I burst out loud the verse which includes “Winter, spring, summer or fall” from You’ve Got A Friend” (James Taylor and Carole King).