Bill Scully '94 Renews Hydroelectric in Vermont
Originally from Whittier, California, “the birthplace of lowrider trucks and Richard Nixon,” Bill Scully ’94 knew as a freshman he wanted to settle in Bennington by Heather DiLeo
Originally from Whittier, California, “the birthplace of lowrider trucks and Richard Nixon,” Bill Scully ’94 knew as a freshman he wanted to settle in Bennington. “The town is well suited for a Bennington College mindset,” he says. “You have to have vision and you have to be a self-starter here because most things aren’t obvious.”
In 2002, Bill and his wife Maria opened their first restaurant, Pangaea. They also took over Powers Market in the village of North Bennington (later selling it) and later opened Allegro restaurant in Bennington, before also selling that establishment to focus on a new business.
The original idea for Pangaea was novel—bring the world (and international cuisine) to North Bennington in a restaurant where people could have great conversations.
“We were told we couldn’t do international cuisine, that fine dining would never work,” Scully says. “But what everybody else thought was impossible we saw as an opportunity.”
Pangaea’s formal, contemporary American-leaning French menu was successful from the start, attracting loyal patrons and dedicated staff. Scully opened The Lounge, Pangaea’s casual next-door neighbor, one year later and has expanded it several times to meet demand.
He plans for co-owners Nick Disorda and Lani DePonte-Disorda ’11 to take things over at some point, wanting the restaurants to “remain in the Bennington [College] family.”
In a move that would be very unexpected for any other restaurateur and chef, over the last decade Scully has turned his attention to hydroelectric power. He and his wife Maria bought and cleaned up the abandoned Vermont Tissue Mill on the Walloomsac River in Bennington, rebuilding and refitting the paper mill dam constructed in 1784.
“Hydro is the oldest technology: the state was founded on it,” he says. “Still, by the time we got the plan going only one other plant (six months prior) had come back on-line in 35 years. Although it seemed obvious, it wasn’t to everyone, so it took eight years to get it done.”
The new hydroelectric station produces 1.45 gigawatt hours per year, the equivalent of powering roughly 114 homes. It is enough to supply power to CAPA, Pangaea, and the surrounding area. This has helped to avoid the release of 658 tons of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere. Scully began another hydroelectric site in Pownal with several more opening throughout Vermont. With his range of interests, from food to sustainable fuel sources, Scully’s future is one to watch.