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VFDA Executive Director Matt Cota grew up in southern Vermont and attended schools in Westminster, Bellows Falls, and Saxtons River. Cota earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from California State University Northridge and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Communication from the George Washington University.

Prior to joining VFDA in 2007, Cota worked as a journalist and school teacher in Santa Barbara, California. In 2021, Cota was elected to the South Burlington City Council. Cota has volunteered his time on numerous Boards and Commissions, including the South Burlington Development Review Board, the Vermont Climate Action Commission, the Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund Advisory Committee, and the Vermont Home Energy Assistance Task Force.

In 2012, Cota received an Environmental Excellence Award from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and in 2009 was named “Financial Services Champion of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2013, VFDA was awarded a Rural Enterprise Development Grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assess the feasibility of producing a renewable liquid heating fuel derived from oleaginous algae with raw materials from Vermont dairy farms and breweries. Cota is a frequent speaker on the emergence of biofuels in home heating and a contributing author of “Bioenergy” published by Academic Press.