The 21st annual meeting of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development is in the books and what a terrific day it was at the Grappone Center in Concord on Dec. 1.
A highlight every year is the presentation of awards to businesses selected by Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose. The awards recognize the valuable contributions businesses and agencies make each year that keep our state economy strong and vibrant.
This year’s selections were:
Commissioner Jeffrey Rose recognized Methuen Construction for Excellence in Government Contracting at the annual meeting Dec. 1 of the Division of Economic Development. Accepting the award was Joe Barbone, company president and CEO. Methuen Construction, which recently opened a new facility in Plaistow, has worked with the New Hampshire Government Contracting Assistance Center for over five years, winning bids to do extensive work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Rose presented the Teamwork award to Micheline Dufour and Matt Cookson of the NH High Technology Council, praising the council for its advocacy of the state’s growing hi tech scene and its leadership in the launch of the technology talent partnership to bolster the sector’s workforce.
Rose’s MVP award went to Bob Chapman. He praised Chapman for the work he is done in revitalizing the former paper mill sites in Groveton. Rose noted that Chapman recognized the value of the property and its value for future economic development in the region. Chapman’s hard work has paid off, with the expansion of St. Johnsbury, Vt. – based NSA Industries at the site.
Rose recognized Bittware of Concord for Excellence in Exporting. Accepting the award was Darren Taylor, senior vice president of marketing and sales. Bittware has worked with the Office of International Commerce to find new global markets. The company, which employs 35 people, designs and manufactures high-performance computer boards.
Joined by Jim Hinson, left, of NH Vocational Rehabilitation, Rose presented the Employment Leadership award to Karen Clough and Gisele Thibeault of Warwick Mills in New Ipswich. The Employment Leadership Award is presented each year to a New Hampshire business that recognize the skills and contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workforce and who have adopted inclusive policies and hiring practices that allow people with disabilities to fairly compete for employment.
Rose selected Jack Donovan of the NH Business Finance Authority for the Granite Growth Award; board member Jeff Hayes accepted for Donovan, who is retiring this month after 23 years. During his tenure, the NH BFA helped over 5,000 companies access more than $1.6 billion in credit for operations and expansions and business debt financing helped saved thousands of jobs. Rose noted the NH BFA worked with the division on notable expansions and relocations.
Cannon Mountain, located in Franconia Notch State Park, is owned and operated by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.
Crews and contractors at Cannon Mountain are wrapping up a $5 million energy-efficiency and capital improvement project at the state-owned ski area.
Installation of more than 400 new and upgraded high-tech snowmaking guns on Cannon Mountain is expected to be completed in time for ski season.
The most significant upgrade to Cannon’s snowmaking system in the history of the ski area, this new arsenal of guns will enable the ski area to make more snow and save up to 30 percent on energy costs.
The energy-efficiency initiative also involved installation of a new main trunk power line, upgrades to transformers, as well as insulation and lighting improvements to lodges and facilities.
“The new guns are so efficient, we were able to use most of our available water while only using one of our compressors,” said John DeVivo, Cannon’s general manager. “The snowmakers were almost jumping for joy at the amount of snow we were able to make in marginal temperatures for just a short period of time.”
Along with the energy savings, the Mittersill improvement project is expected to be completed this month. The project used money raised by Franconia Ski Club and donated to Cannon Mountain, the state of New Hampshire and a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission to fund the installation of snowmaking on six major routes on Cannon’s Mittersill slopes. The project also involved significant trail improvements, the creation of the Taft Training Slope and the installation of the Valar T-Bar.
Dr. Roxana Wright , Dr. Chen Wu ~ Plymouth State University
New Hampshire companies looking for new business suppliers and international partnerships, as well as companies aiming to understand their contribution to the state economy, will be interested in a new globalization study underway at Plymouth State University, in collaboration with the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development.
We have created the project New Hampshire Economic Globalization Report: Contributions and Opportunities for the Local Economy, which will use data on international trade transactions and direct investment from foreign companies to map the distribution of foreign direct investments (FDI) and international trade within the state and across counties. This information will enable us to explore the impact FDI and trade flows have on the economy across counties and industries, and the performance of domestic and foreign subsidiaries.
This study is important because it provides valuable information that can help shape state policy and assist exporters and importers in identifying markets. This study includes a survey, in which we encourage business owners and executives to participate.
Encouraging globalization is good for the New Hampshire economy, as 43,400 people were employed by 456 foreign subsidiaries, and trade supported 183,900 (or 22 percent of) New Hampshire jobs in 2014. The importance of these investigations is far reaching in terms of state policy, such as serving the needs of New Hampshire exporters and stimulating trade and FDI as a means for economic development, income growth and improving our business climate.
The analysis will result in measurement and prediction of contributions that FDI and trade bring to the local economies in terms of employment, investment promotion, exports facilitation, labor conditions, technology/know-how spillovers and social welfare. This FDI mapping is meaningful to policy makers who intend to support the development of certain locations/counties or of particular industries and provides key information to foreign companies looking to establish operations in New Hampshire.
We highly appreciate your participation in the survey. Should you have any question about the survey, please contact Dr. Chen Wu at or Dr. Roxana Wright.
The New Hampshire winter forecast calls more visitors and more spending, according to the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development.
During the months of December, January and February, DTTD projects 8.2 million people, 6 percent more than last year, will spend $1.2 billion, up 5 percent from last winter.
The announcement was made last weekend at the Boston.com Ski and Snowboard Expo, where visitors noticed New Hampshire’s expanded presence differentiating the state’s ski and snowboarding experiences from regional and global competitors.
To drive continued visitation with key target audiences throughout the winter season, DTTD is highlighting the activities and backdrops available throughout New Hampshire, on the slopes and off, through a variety of media and with an emphasis on digital media.
“With so much to do in such close proximity, New Hampshire is the center of winter outdoor recreation in the Northeast,” said Victoria Cimino, director of DTTD. “With positive economic factors in place, coupled with the division’s strategic and innovative marketing initiatives, we fully expect New Hampshire’s travel-related businesses and attractions to experience a strong winter season.”
For more information about winter activities in New Hampshire, click over to www.VisitNH.gov
Think your company doesn’t have what the government needs? Check out this video for New Hampshire businesses attending the New England Region Matchmaker earlier this year.
The 2016 New Hampshire Small Business Matchmaker is bearing down and if you are small business in New Hampshire, set aside Dec. 2 at Manchester Community College on your calendar for this rare opportunity to get started in government contracting.
Government contracting is a great way for small businesses to diversify their bottom line. Government agencies are just like the public sector; they likely need the same goods and services. The caveat is that there is a process to go through before Uncle Sam et al can join your list of customers.
Matchmaker events fast-forward you through the process. For one day, you can access the right people at the primes exhibiting. (Outside of matchmakers, it could take months to make the right connection.)
Ninth grade girls in Berlin last year got to see rime ice from the top of Mount Washington during last year’s TechWomen Ambassador Week.
Science, technology, engineering and math mix with ninth grade girls across the state later this month during TechWomen Ambassador Week.
Now in its second year, schools across New Hampshire host special sessions for ninth grade girls to discuss STEM careers with women working in those fields.
GET INVOLVED! The TechWomen committee seeks volunteers in STEM, bio/medical and advanced manufacturing to volunteer as mentors and workshop leaders with students.
The two-hour sessions, taking place in Lebanon, Nashua, Plaistow, Rochester, Manchester, Derry and Berlin during the week of Nov. 14, are the center of the newly-launched TechWomen Ambassador initiative, born out of the New Hampshire High Tech Council’s TechWomen|TechGirls committee.
“The theme of our event is STEMspiration – inspiring girls to explore STEM careers,” said Carol Miller, director of broadband technology at the NH Division of Economic Development and chairman of the TechWomen Ambassador committee. “We are looking for strong role models to show these 9th grade girls that they can aspire to a technical career while balancing their personal lives. We know that making an impact now will ensure that New Hampshire women can pass the baton to generations of STEMinspired girls in the future.”
TechWomen|TechGirls is a forum focused on building a strong community of women enthusiastic about technology and supporting efforts for young women to explore STEM careers. Launched in early 2015, the committee has become an integral part of the council’s outreach and engagement activities; and TechWomen Ambassador Week organizers hope to borrow the group’s vast expertise to help inspire young women.
“In its second year, the Ambassador Week program continues to amaze and engage,” said Michelline Dufort, director of business relations for the New Hampshire High Tech Council. “The TechWomen|TechGirls committee is delivering a product that the industry has a huge appetite for – connecting female technologists across the state with 9th grade girls. The program is inspiring and is quickly becoming a cornerstone of the industry’s STEM pipeline-filling efforts.”
Meetings will begin with a 30-minute opening talk where students will hear from professionals in many different tech fields, followed by roundtable discussions with other students and mentors designed to encourage aspirations of STEM related career goals and discuss the path to realize them.
Becoming unemployed unleashes a series of emotions: Diminishing self-esteem; financial concerns and the perceived stigma of being unemployed. Sure, it’s a setback, but not for long. With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, New Hampshire is teeming with jobs that need to be filled.
So the question that needs to come at the end of one job should be “What do I do next?” This is where WorkReadyNH, which is paid through the NH Job Training Fund, comes in. This is a three-week course offered at the state’s community colleges, in partnership with NH Works, to help those looking for employment to improve their hard (traditional educational courses such as reading comprehension and math) and soft skills (how to interact with others, active listening, conflict resolution).
WorkReadyNH evaluates existing hard skills and helps people improve, via through online homework, while providing a comprehensive 60-hour classroom course to flesh out and enhance soft skills.
I popped into a WorkReady NH classroom recently, where Christina Wall, the program director for WorkReady NH at Great Bay Community College, arranged for me to go through the course on the day the class was receiving an assessment for reading comprehension and math abilities. Throughout the three week class, the students would learn tips to improve their marketability to potential employers and receive a National Career Readiness Certificate, which is a credential recognized industry-wide to show your strengths in certain subjects.
The first half of the class was about active listening and this is a vital skill employers seek in employees. Both a student and the teacher taught this section, and it generated a great deal of discussion. I used it to evaluate my skills in this area, and found ways I could be more engaged in my approach to conversations.
A subsquent assessment, WorkKeys, evaluated my aptitude in reading, math and research. This was challenging and the results indicated areas in which I can improve, like math. Who knew?
Participating in this WorkReady NH class was enlightening – it made me think how valuable this is to people moving forward from one job into another … and to employers who need the skills these folks now have.
There were a couple of good news events this week, happening on both ends of the state.
Tuesday, our friends at Methuen Construction celebrated the opening of its new headquarters in Plaistow. Our Cynthia Harrington has worked with the company since it made the decision to relocate from Salem and expand its operations.
Gov. Hassan and Business Development Manager Cynthia Harrington joined dignitaries during the ribbon cutting at Methuen Construction.
In her remarks during the ribbon cutting, Harrington praised President and CEO Joe Barbone Jr.
“Today represents the start of a new era for your company, for the town of Plaistow and for the state of New Hampshire,” she said. “You are the visionary that was needed to transform and revitalize this property. As a result of that, we see a $10 million investment; 75 new jobs in just a little over a year and over the next decade, we look forward to seeing another 250 jobs added — jobs that will bring more people, more spending and more growth to the area. Methuen Construction is a catalyst for economic activity and a good neighbor for Plaistow and the region.”
On Wednesday, in the North Country community of Groveton, NSA Industries of St. Johnsbury, Vt., announced its expansion to the former paper mill site, which went down more than a decade ago, taking over 400 jobs with it.
This is great news for Groveton, which has worked hard to turn the site into a location where businesses can locate, grow and expand.
Beno Lamontagne, left, and Michael Bergeron were involved with the expansion of NSA Industries into Groveton.
To start, the company will bring about 60 jobs into a 73,000-square-foot space. Company officials made the decision to move ahead with the expansion following a series of job fairs, after which they determined there was a skilled and enthusiastic work force available.
Bergeron, right, talks with Bill Markman of Dallas-based Site Selection Group.
Michael Bergeron, senior business development manager, is just back from CoreNet Global in Philadelphia, where he met with corporate real estate professionals and site selectors to tell them about the benefits of doing business in New Hampshire.
Director Perry Plummer of New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Commissioner Denis Goulet of the Department of Information Technology; Director Carmen Lorentz, Division of Economic Development
October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and that was the subject of this month’s New Hampshire Business Matters radio show on WTPL – 107.7 FM.
Guests for the show were Director Perry Plummer of New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Commissioner Denis Goulet of the Department of Information Technology, who provided information and resources aimed at business owners and how they can keep their online presence safe and secure.