Rusty D

“Heard you tonight with my daughter Olivia and her friend Lily.- Thanks so much for the inspiration - the timing was excellent.. - Rebecca, Mother & Registered ER Nurse


Effective public speaking relies on several key ingredients, but the most important is holding your audience's attention. Rusty Dewees began speaking at the request of schools and colleges in the region and has expanded to corporate team building events, annual presentations and special occasions.

Skillfully blending humor with life lessons, Rusty is able to paint meaningful images that resonate with listeners; the familiar and the foreign merging to create a synergistic puree of two parts gifted stand up entertainer, one part old time crusader and one part journeyman seeker.

Of the many gifts Rusty brings to speaking events is to bring the audience into the story and into itself. The whole being greater than the sum of its parts, if you will. Another ability is to recognize, very quickly, the rippling moods of a group and adjust message, stories and humor on the fly. Not many can adapt to a room as effectively: it is why so many organizations seek Rusty out to put the finishing touch on their events. From hosting duties to graduation speeches, anti substance abuse perspectives to corporate retreats, Rusty Dewees will make a difference for all who attend.



"I found when you visited our school, you encouraged me to connect to my "inner self" and that gave me a sense of self confidence in my life."— Elliot, Student


"Rusty's a trouper--and he delivers. He's become a Vermont icon but he's like a country music singer that never forgets his audience, including young people in every corner of the state. He's one of us because he stays close to the grass roots that have fed his craft. And he gives back in spades."
Jay C., Artistic Director / Kingdom County Productions

"Thank you for coming. I loved your jokes and your life story was very inspiring. Your words simple but meaningful and sincere."
Carino, student

"Rusty is an inspirational speaker for young people because he relates to them on their level and encourages them to find their own voice."
Bess O., Kingdom County Productions

"You taught me that I can be whatever I set my mind to."
Monica, student

"I loved how I could relate to everything you said. I can't wait to see what you do next." — Branden, student

"Rusty came to our school to be the keynote speaker for an academic honors ceremony. I was unsure what to expect having only seen him do his Logger shows and his anti-substance talks, both of these were excellent and effective for their audience. This was a different type of crowd, gathered together for a different reason. Rusty hit it out of the park - he started by making the audience laugh and getting them to focus on him and then he got to his message - which was do what you love. For this group of students & families this message is spot on, to many of them are doing what others want and Rusty's challenge to use their skills, abilities, and intellect to do what they love is message they need to hear and hopefully remember. Thanks Rusty for a fun and hopefully memorable evening!!" — Mike W., Principal, Mount Mansfield Union High School

"Rusty Dewees connected very well with our students. His charismatic delivery and funny stories hold students' attention so that his message of perseverance and living a positive, healthy-lifestyle can be heard. I particularly appreciate his honest and direct perspective on the dangers connected with substance use and abuse. As he says regarding alcohol, 'its a liquid that can tear your life, your family, and community to shreds.' I could feel that statement really hit home amongst our students."
Mike M. / High School Guidance Counselor

"Rusty delivered a message of individuality and heroism to our high school students. He stood in front of 400 students and told them they were all different and this made them special; they were cowards if they bullied one another and that they all had to find what inspired them. Rusty uses humor and song to inspire students, touching many of our students on an individual level when he spoke about his own struggles in school — and how he faced those challenges. He was an inspiration! These students are still asking for him to come back! Thank you, Rusty, for your visit to our high school."
Kristin B., Faculty Member / Behavior Specialist

"...this winter Rusty led an assembly with our high school students. Through costume, jokes and music, he gained the full attention of the audience. Rusty’s rapport with students kept them open to a discussion that they sometimes tune out. During the talk, he asked students to write about what made them happy, and several students volunteered to share their writing with the group. The environment he established made this kind of sharing feel safe. Following the presentation, I interviewed several students and teachers about the event. All comments were positive. Rusty’s talk was authentic and they knew it; the themes were important and they listened. He stressed the importance of willpower and determination and encouraged them not to put obstacles like drugs or debt in their path. Approaching goal setting through a focus on a happy life worked so well that the staff decided to make “The Pursuit of Happiness” the topic for a school-wide thematic study. If you are looking for a powerful way to hook students into a life planning discussion, I recommend Rusty Dewees.
Merri G., Principal, Craftsbury Schools


"We decided to ask Rusty to do a presentation at our annual All Staff Day. Since the key focus is team building and fun - I was delighted to hear that a local celebrity often spoke at work functions as a keynote. Rusty was very responsive to our request and asked many questions to ensure he understood our culture and what the day represents for us. Rusty was funny and inspiring. I have heard repeatedly [from our team] since that it was by far, the best All Staff Day ever, thanks to him."
-- Cynthia T. / VP of HR - Vermont Federal Credit Union

"Finding an exciting speaker to reach students and parents about the importance of a healthy, substance-free lifestyle as a prerequisite to attaining one's hopes and dreams is not easy. Trading another lecture on the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain, Leland and Gray brought in Rusty DeWees to draw in a large crowd. Students listened and laughed and pondered Rusty's message promoting motivation over talent, drive over luck, and the health and focus they need to succeed. Many parents thanked me, appreciative of the fun mixed with the serious, saying, 'I really think he had important messages to share, and these really got through to our students.' "
-- Dr. Dorinne D. / Principal, Leland & Gray

Rusty D