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Harnois Appointed as Director of NH’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development

January 14th, 2020

Tourism industry leader Lori Harnois was confirmed by the Executive Council Jan. 8 as the first state tourism director appointed by the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, and will begin Jan. 31.

Lori Harnois

For the past five years, Harnois served as executive director of Discover New England, a six-state collaborative international travel and tourism marketing organization based in Portsmouth. She has deep knowledge of New Hampshire’s tourism industry having previously served at the former Department of Resource and Economic Development.

“We are pleased to have Lori in this role as she brings tremendous knowledge, experience, and a forward-thinking approach,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “Tourism is critically important in New Hampshire as our second-largest revenue generator and Lori’s skillset, strategic vision, and expertise make her an easy choice for this critical state position.”

Under the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA), the tourism director role includes the execution of the state’s Tourist to Talent talent attraction plan. Under this strategy, Harnois will develop associated strategies to support business and workforce recruitment, using marketing and branding created for tourism to drive workforce development and strengthen New Hampshire’s growing economy

“Lori has more than 20 years of leadership promoting New Hampshire and New England as domestic and international tourism destinations, making her uniquely qualified to assume the role of state tourism director,” said BEA Commissioner Taylor Caswell. “With keen marketing insights from the entire region, Lori will allow New Hampshire to refine its marketing, stand apart in the region and draw more visitors as we continue to reinforce that the Granite State is the premier destination in the northeast for living, working and playing.”

During her tenure at Discover New England, Harnois developed and executed a strategic direction for the promotion and marketing of New England, which resulted in a 22 percent increase in international visitation and a 41 percent increase in international visitor spending. Harnois also oversaw a full rebranding of Discover New England, while presiding over the region’s largest travel trade conference.

“New Hampshire is a unique and special place, I’m excited to have the opportunity to work for the division again,” Harnois said. “I look forward to sharing my passion for New Hampshire and applying my two decades of experience to attract people to the Granite State both from a tourism and an economic development perspective.”

Amy Bassett, deputy director of DTTD, has served as acting director since April 2019.

NH Tourism Officials Expect Travelers to Make More Than 1 Million Visits this Winter

December 19th, 2019

The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development forecasts travelers will make more than 1 million visits to the state this winter and will spend more than $1 billion.  

“New Hampshire is the premier travel destination in the northeast throughout the year, but nothing compares to winter in the Granite State,” said Commissioner Taylor Caswell of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs. “During the winter season, visitors can experience world class skiing and riding, unique culinary experiences, tax-free shopping, and the beautiful scenery New Hampshire is known for.”

DTTD will launch its winter advertising campaign in early January, which targets the New England markets of Boston, Hartford, Portland and Providence, as well as New York, Toronto and Montreal.

To generate excitement for the skiing and snowboarding opportunities in New Hampshire, DTTD will display Powder Alert messages on social media and on digital billboards in key markets during snowstorms. DTTD will focus on skiing and snowboarding, family fun and snowmobiling as core winter activities, while also showcasing après ski activities and off-slope activities, such as snowshoeing, dining and shopping.

Explore www.visitnh.gov for New Hampshire winter inspiration, including:

Stay connected with New Hampshire tourism on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube; follow the #LiveFreeNH tag to see what other people are saying about winter in New Hampshire.

Happy 2020! Keep in Touch with Us Throughout the Year

December 18th, 2019

There’s a lot we do at the Department of Business and Economic Affairs and we want to make sure you know about all of it.

And New Hampshire businesses do great things, too. We want to connect with you to hear about it so we can tell the world by way of the thousands of people who are already connected to us.

Here’s where you can hook up with us out on the WWW:

Facebook – NH Economy

Facebook – Visit NH

LinkedIn

Twitter – NH Economy

Twitter – VisitNH

YouTube

NHEconomy.com newsletter

NH Business Matters blog

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Yes, we’re connected with the web, but we’re also connected by that time-honored instrument, the telephone. You call, we answer: 603-271-2341.

Lorna Colquhoun
Communications Director
Division of Economic Development

Thinking Outside of the Box to Attract, Retain Workers

December 18th, 2019
Will Arvelo, left, and John Randolph

With a mission to provide affordable assisted living services on New Hampshire’s Seacoast, John Randolph founded Harmony Homes, to assure elder citizens would be cared for with dignity and respect.

New Hampshire Business Matters airs at 2:05 pm, every third Wednesday of the month on WTPL-FM 107.7.

To do that, he knew he would need employees who shared his vision, and that he would need to meet their needs.

Next spring, he plans to break ground on a project to meet the needs of his workforce: Affordable housing and childcare.

Join Will Arvelo, director of the Division of Economic Development, on this month’s New Hampshire Business Matters to talk with Randolph about his plans to meet the biggest challenge to today’s workers.

Tune in here to listen.

A Check of High Tech on this Month’s New Hampshire Business Matters

November 21st, 2019
NH Business Matters with Ken Cail, WTPL-FM;
Julie Demers, NH Tech Alliance; Carol Miller, BEA

Does New Hampshire have entrepreneurs and startups? Check!

What about growing biomed tech clusters? Check!

What about dynamic partnerships advancing high technology and all the opportunities there are in the state? Tech, yeah!

Tune in to New Hampshire Business Matters the third Wednesday of each month on WTPL-FM 107.7.

On this month’s edition of New Hampshire Business Matters, our guest is Julie Demers, executive director of the NH Tech Alliance, the statewide association with over 300 members employing more than 50,000 people.

Carol Miller of Business and Economic Affairs co-hosts a lively and enthusiastic conversation about all this tech in New Hampshire. Tune in here to listen.

Director Arvelo Honored as Distinguished Leader by Great Bay Community College

November 4th, 2019
NH Division of Economic Development Director Will Arvelo honored by Great Bay Community College as a Distinguished Leader on 11/1/19. A scholarship in his name has been established at the college.

Will Arvelo, director of the Division of Economic Development, was honored earlier this month at Great Bay Community College’s annual Distinguished Leaders Gala. The following is from the evening’s program.-ED.

Dr. Wildolfo Arvelo is the director of the Division of Economic Development, which is part of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. In this role, he works with a team that focuses on state-wide issues related to economic development and strategy; business recruitment, expansion and retention; workforce training and development; business and education outreach; and diversity and inclusion.

Prior to his appointment by Gov. Sununu, Arvelo served 33 years in leadership positions within higher education at public and private colleges. From 2007-2017, he served as president of Great Bay Community College, where he transformed the college to be outwardly focused and on developing products/programs to better serve the needs of business and industry.

Arvelo oversaw the building of the Portsmouth campus, as well as the subsequent move of the college from Stratham. In 2012, he oversaw the construction of a satellite campus in Rochester that focused on manufacturing education and in 2015, the addition of the college’s Student Success Center.

Arvelo is dedicated to the exploration of collaborations and partnerships between New Hampshire’s business and industry sector and higher education, recognizing that an educated workforce is the best hope for economic development and New Hampshire’s future.

From 2011-2015, he was principal investigator for the $20 million U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT grant for capacity building in advance manufacturing education for New Hampshire. He also worked to enhance science, technology, engineering and math education at the college and to build articulation pathways with the University System of New Hampshire and other colleges and universities in the state. He also encouraged and supported faculty involvement in National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health efforts to increase undergraduate research at Great Bay, in partnership with Dartmouth College and UNH.

He has served on numerous regional and state-wide education, business development and non-profit boards. In 2012, the City of Portsmouth Business Chamber selected him the Citizen of the Year, citing his strong support of business and education.

Plan Unveiled Tackling New Hampshire’s Housing Shortage

October 30th, 2019

Gov. Chris Sununu, along with state and local officials, a bipartisan group of young legislators, and housing activists, released a comprehensive plan to address New Hampshire’s housing shortage.

Gov. Chris Sununu

“This past summer I assembled a housing task force to develop recommendations to address our shortage, which has risen to crisis levels,” Sununu said. “Today, I am proud to say that as a result of the work of the task force, my office, and a bipartisan group of young legislators, we are releasing the most comprehensive plan on housing that this State has ever seen. I look forward to a productive conversation with the legislature and all interested stakeholders, and to working together to pass a plan that will be a win for our workforce, our communities, and our entire state.”

Earlier this summer, Sununu established a task force to develop recommendations to address New Hampshire’s housing crisis. The group consisted of state and local officials, and industry experts: Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell; Dean Christon, executive director of New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority; Ben Frost, policy and public affairs director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority; Noah Hodgetts, assistant planner at Office of Strategic Initiatives; Portsmouth City Councilor Rebecca Perkins; Matt Sullivan, director of Planning and Community Development in Wolfeboro, and Mike Claflin, workforce housing developer.

BEA Commissioner Taylor Caswell

“Housing and economic development must go hand in hand,” Caswell said. “If we are going to continue our success in attracting a younger workforce to New Hampshire, we must have a much broader spectrum of housing for people at all stages in life. Enactment of these proposals will put us light years ahead of where we are right now in addressing this crisis.”

There is a critical housing shortage in New Hampshire. As of the summer of 2019, the vacancy rate for two bedroom apartments fell below 1 percent in all but one New Hampshire county. The inventory of homes for sale is near record lows.


The housing plan can be viewed here and a set of FAQs for the plan can be viewed here.


The legislative piece of the plan includes two bills. The first one focuses on enhancing local control and improving predictability of the development process, and the second focuses on accelerating investment in housing.

The prime sponsor of the first bill is Rep. Willis Griffith (D-Manchester), chairman of the Young Democrats Caucus. The prime sponsor of the second bill is Rep. Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown). Griffith and Alexander, together with Rep. Tom Loughman (D-Hampton) and Rep. Gates Lucas (R-Sunapee), worked with the housing task force crafting legislation to implement the plan issued today (10/30/19) .

“This plan is a strong step forward in addressing the housing crisis in New Hampshire and is a result of bipartisan collaboration with housing experts,” Griffith said. “This package of bills will be the beginning of a thoughtful discussion in which I invite all stakeholders, community members, and legislators to participate. I am confident that, together, we will make meaningful progress on one of the most significant issues facing our state.”

Alexander said the bills represent months of research and discussion by stakeholders and policy leaders.

“We are in a position to pass legislation that will solve one of the greatest problems facing New Hampshire,” he said. “I look forward to a robust and comprehensive conversation around the crisis of affordable housing in New Hampshire and welcome any and all feedback from policy leaders, stakeholders, and the public.”

Final text of the bills will be available 11/1/19, after final sign off for House bills.

October is Manufacturing Month in New Hampshire

October 17th, 2019

Earlier this month, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu proclaimed October as Manufacturing Month.

Tune into this month’s New Hampshire Business Matters with Will Arvelo, director of the Division of Economic Development, and Zenaugi Brahim of the NH MEP.

Manufacturing is the backbone of the state’s economy, employing more than 70,000 people – over 10 percent of the workforce – and accounting for 11.6 percent of the gross state product and it was the topic this week of our monthly radio show, New Hampshire Business Matters.

There are more than 2,000 manufacturers here and to keep this important sector thriving, it’s important to make sure these companies are able to hire the workers they need to grow and be competitive. During Manufacturing Month, hundreds of students across the state visit their local manufacturers to learn about the industry and the opportunities it offers.

Tune into New Hampshire Business Matters here.

Brothers David and Scott Metzemaekers/Scott Electronics

Scott Electronics in Salem hosted this year’s national Manufacturing Day celebration on Oct. 4.

Manufacturing Month culminates with the 17th annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit on Oct. 31 in Concord. (Click here to register today – it’s typically a sell-out event!).

Forum on Foreign Direct Investment Explores Opportunities Globalization Brings to NH Economy

October 15th, 2019

Foreign Direct Investment is a dynamic and active part of the New Hampshire economy, of which more than 186 foreign companies, representing more than 24 countries-of-origin, and more than 45 industries are a part.

PSU Professors PSU professors Chen Wu, left, Jonathan Dapra, and Roxana Wright at last month’s foreign direct investment summit.

Collectively, these businesses support more than 43,300 jobs, as outlined in the 2019 New Hampshire Foreign Direct Investment Report prepared by researchers at Plymouth State University. Highlights from the latest study were shared last month at a PSU forum hosted by the university and the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs.

The forum was aimed at economic development professionals and others on the role of foreign direct investment in the state’s economy, and ways to attract FDI to their areas, touching on the state’s particular advantages, opportunities and challenges in attracting foreign companies to do business in the state.

A panel of experts, including Ryan Wallace, domestic portfolio investment specialist at SelectUSA; Leanne Spees, senior vice president of international finance at Provident Bank; Chuck Withee, president and chief lending officer of Provident Bank; Bruce Morrison, shareholder of Bernstein Shur; Marc Jacques, senior political and economic affairs officer and Consulate General of Canada, and Cynthia Harrington, business development manager at BEA, shared insights on attracting and growing FDI.

Ryan Wallace, SelectUSA, left; Cynthia Harrington, BEA; Marc Jacques, Consulate General of Canada at last month’s FDI Summit at Plymouth State University.

“(The day’s)conversation and sharing of information illuminated the incredible impact and potential FDI has in New Hampshire,” said Dr. Jonathan Dapra, assistant professor of management at PSU, who moderated the panel. “It will continue and deepen as professionals throughout the state explore the opportunities that our research is revealing.”

Introduced in 2018, the New Hampshire Foreign Direct Investment study is conducted annually by PSU professors Dapra, Dr. Roxana Wright, and Dr. Chen Wu. It provides an overview of foreign business presence in New Hampshire and analysis of the countries of origin of foreign subsidiaries represented across the state’s counties and industries.

Highlights of the 2019 New Hampshire Foreign Direct Investment Report include:
• Foreign businesses contribute to a varied economic landscape, with growing employment and easy integration among industry and supply chain partners;
• Most foreign subsidiaries in the state are local operations with fewer than 50 employees, and nearly half have fewer than 10;
• There has been a pattern of growth and expansion of foreign businesses in New Hampshire over the past two decades;
• While the majority of foreign businesses are concentrated within New Hampshire’s southern tier, potential exists for FDI to grow in the northern region of the state.

Click here for the complete 2018 and 2019 reports.

Upcoming Summit Looks at Foreign Direct Investment in New Hampshire

September 23rd, 2019

There’s a world of opportunity out there for businesses and New Hampshire is great example of that, to wit, foreign direct investment, or FDI.

FDI is present in all 10 New Hampshire counties, with more than 450 subsidiaries owned by 186 companies from 24 countries, according to research last year by Plymouth State University, and there is potential for more.

Click here to register for the FDI Summit Oct. 11.

That’s the topic of this month’s New Hampshire Business Matters on WTPL-FM 107.7, as well as a summit next month, hosted by PSU and the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs.

Christopher Way, deputy director of the Division of Economic Development, and PSU’s Dr. Chen Wu talked about the importance of FDI, and the upcoming seminar, The Future of Foreign Direct Investment in New Hampshire, set for Oct. 11 at PSU.

The program is geared toward municipal and economic development professionals, with an informative program planned to inform them about benefits of FDI and ways to attract it.

Click here for more information about FDI in the state and the FDI Summit next month.