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Archive for April, 2011

Tender Corp. and Division of Economic Development Partner on Online Photo Contest

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Tender Corp., a leading developer of skincare and first aid products designed for active lifestyles, today announced the official launch of the second annual ‘Ditch the DEET’ online photo contest.

natrapelFollowing the success of the inaugural 2010 contest, which drew broad participation from outdoor enthusiasts across the country, Tender has assembled an even more ambitious and generous program for 2011, which includes the chance to win the top prize of a free vacation in New Hampshire’s White Mountains Region.

To enter the ‘Ditch the DEET’ contest*, consumers need to upload a photo that captures their favorite bug-free moment in the outdoors to http://www.ditchthedeet.com. On the same site, people will be encouraged to vote on which photos they like the most. The winners will be decided by the photos that receive the most positive votes.

“Our original goals for the contest were and remain two-fold — to motivate people to get active in the outdoors this spring and summer and to raise awareness on the benefits of using an effective DEET-free insect repellent, like Natrapel 8 hour,” said Tender Brand Manager Dave Anderson.

He continued, “The consumer reception to the 2010 ‘Ditch the DEET’ contest was overwhelming and we anticipate an even greater response this year, given the stature of the new partners and additional prizes we’ve added.”

The grand prize for the contest will award free lodging for five nights for four in New Hampshire’s picturesque White Mountains region, one of the country’s premiere vacation spots, which Tender is offering through its special partnership with the White Mountains Attractions Association. There are also 50 secondary prizes (double the number from last year) up for grabs, including essential outdoor gear items from partners Eastern Mountain Sports® and Tender’s sister company Adventure® Medical Kits, as well as free passes to various White Mountains-area attractions.

For the 2011 edition of the contest, Tender has enlisted two new major partners — the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development and the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport –- to help promote the contest through their network channels.

“The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development is extremely excited to be part of the ‘Ditch the DEET’ contest,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “We fully support the initiative’s goal of encouraging families to get active in the outdoors and recognize how important it is to support great local businesses like Tender Corp. that are innovating and growing in the Granite State.”

Containing 20% of the CDC-recommended active ingredient Picaridin, Natrapel® 8 hour offers outdoor enthusiasts eight hours of protection from mosquitoes, black flies, ticks and other biting and stinging insects. While it provides protection that’s every bit as effective as DEET, unlike DEET, Natrapel® 8 hour’s formula is gear safe, non-greasy and mildly scented, making it a much desired alternative to insect repellents currently available. Natrapel® 8 hour is currently sold through Eastern Mountain Sports®, Rite Aid, and The Sports Authority®, among other leading outdoor, sporting goods and drug retailers.

Tender Corp. will announce the winners to the ‘Ditch the DEET’ contest when the promotion concludes on August 24th. Full contest details can be obtained from http://www.ditchthedeet.com.

*Contest is available to U.S. residents only.

Hypertherm Announces $35M Investment for New Heater Road Facility

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Hypertherm has announced that it expects construction costs for its new 156,000 SF Heater Road facility to top $35 million dollars. The company will award the first bids, overseen by Middlebury, Vermont-based Bread Loaf Construction, this week.  Construction for the building is expected to get underway by the end of the month, and will eventually contain over 150 advanced manufacturing production machines and create up to 500 new jobs.

hypertherm-operatorOn hearing the news about the new facility, Governor John Lynch stated that, “Hypertherm has a well deserved reputation for being a strong innovator on all fronts and great place to work. The owners are second to none in their commitment to their country, their community and to their employees. We will do everything we can to help Hypertherm succeed in their goals.”

Hypertherm, an employee owned company, is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certification for the new facility and is taking other steps to make the facility a model of environmental sustainability as part of its core values.

“Hypertherm’s success is built on the effort of our associates and the resources available to us. We have a responsibility to treat the world respectfully and responsibly,” stated Barbara Couch, Hypertherm’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility.  “Leadership in community and environmental stewardship are core values at Hypertherm – a business model we hope others will follow.  Simply stated, businesses do well while doing good.”

The Heater Road facility is designed to accommodate Hypertherm’s growth in a number of areas. It will expand Hypertherm’s current manufacturing space and complete a host of customer focused needs including a meeting space, a showcase for Hypertherm products, two state-of-the-art training classrooms and an amphitheater. The space will allow for an integrated team – everything from engineering to production—under one roof. It will also include an Innovative Product Application Center (IPAC), a state-of-the-art lab to meet the needs of research and development, testing and prototyping, and a new data center. 

The focus on sustainability will lower costs and improve efficiency while being sensitive to the environment and larger community. For example, the LEED certification, monitored through an ongoing dashboard, requires vendors and materials to be acquired within a 500 miles radius of the project; the new lab will recycle water through filtration and heat capture instead of flushing 40,000 gallons of water a day, and the new machines will run at a lower level of power with increased production capacity.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen applauded Hypertherm’s efforts to focus on sustainability saying that “the company is committed to a set of core values that will help our country maintain its ability create products here at home and at the same time preserve the environment necessary to create those products.”

Once complete, the 156,000 square foot facility will provide full-time jobs for up to 500 New Hampshire and Vermont residents. The jobs will include research and development, engineering and marketing, CNC machining and assembly positions. Hypertherm will rely heavily on support from its partnerships with River Valley Community College and the federal and states government of New Hampshire and Vermont to provide a well trained workforce.

According to George Bald, Commissioner of New Hampshire’s Department of Resources & Economic Development, “Hypertherm has been an excellent partner in pursuing state policy goals to employ and train individuals in need of good paying jobs and in helping to refuel the stagnant economy.”

Hypertherm designs and manufactures advanced metal cutting systems for use in a variety of industries such as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and automotive repair. Its product line includes handheld and mechanized plasma and laser systems, consumables, as well as CNC motion and height controls and cutting software. Hypertherm systems are trusted for performance and reliability that results in increased productivity and profitability for tens of thousands of businesses. The New Hampshire based company’s reputation for metal cutting innovation dates back more than 40 years, to 1968, with Hypertherm’s invention of water injection plasma cutting. The company, consistently named one of the best places to work in America, has more than 1,000 associates along with operations and partner representation worldwide.

Senator Shaheen confirmed as Keynote Speaker for Manchester Small Business Week Forum

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Senator Jeanne Shaheen will be the keynote speaker at the first annual Small Business Week Forum hosted by Mayor Ted Gatsas and Manchester’s Economic Development Office.  The kick-off event will be held on Monday, May 16th from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University.  The Forum will also feature a panel discussion on financing options for small businesses, followed by a Small Business Resource Fair.  Manchester’s Small Business Week is presented by Citizens Bank.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

As a past Governor and current Senator, Jeanne Shaheen understands the important role small businesses play in our City and State’s economy.  “Innovative small businesses are the drivers of job creation in Manchester, in New Hampshire, and across the nation,” said Senator Shaheen.  “Their creativity and ingenuity are important keys to America’s future economic prosperity and international competitiveness.” During the event, Senator Shaheen will discuss how she and her colleagues in Washington are working to help small businesses grow and prosper in New Hampshire.

“This week-long event celebrates the contributions small businesses make to our city’s economic vitality, and will provide business owners with resources to help them succeed,” said Chris Wellington, City of Manchester, Economic Development Office.  “If you own your own business, or are thinking of starting one in Manchester, this is a great opportunity to network and learn.”

The Small Business Week Forum’s panel will include Kimberly Dee, Senior Vice President, Business Banking Group at Citizens Bank; John Hamilton, Vice President of Economic Opportunity and Managing Director, Vested for Growth at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund; Marilyn Bogue, Acting District Director at the NH Small Business Administration; and Robert Schwartz Jr., a corporate attorney with Devine Millimet.   

Other programming events of Small Business Week include small business workshops at Devine Millimet and FairPoint Communications, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Pecha Kucha; tour of downtown office space by Intown Manchester; New Hampshire High Technology Council Entrepreneurial forum; and a networking event hosted by DYN. The week culminates in the Mayor’s Small Business Awards Breakfast which will recognize three businesses that have demonstrated strong business growth, an innovative approach within their business model, and a commitment to community service.  For more information about the activities taking place during Small Business Week, visit www.yourmanchesternh.com

The Small Business Resource Fair following the Forum will feature local and statewide business resource organizations that provide assistance and support to small businesses.  Representatives from the various organizations will be available to provide information and advice for a number of topics important to small businesses including financing, healthcare options, city regulations, creating a business plan, legal issues, legislative issues, “greening” your business, social media, marketing plans and much more.  Registration forms for the Small Business Week Forum are now available online by visiting www.yourmanchesternh.com and clicking on the Small Business Week link.

The Manchester Small Business Week is made possible by presenting sponsor Citizens Bank and supporting sponsors Devine Millimet, DYN Inc, Fairpoint Communications, Public Service of New Hampshire, MVP Healthcare, WEDU and Printer’s Square. 

For more information about the programs and events scheduled during Manchester Small Business Week or to register for an event please contact Chris Wellington at 603-624-6505 or visit http://www.yourmanchesternh.com/smallbusinessweek/default.aspx.

Exhibitors for the Small Business Resource Fair scheduled for the kickoff event at Southern New Hampshire University include: Citizens Bank, Devine Millimet, MVP Healthcare, Public Service of New Hampshire, Fairpoint Communications, WEDU, Printers Square, NH Small Business Development Center, NH Division of Economic Development, abi Innovation HUB, NH Community Loan Fund- Vested For Growth, Manchester Young Professional Network (MYPN), Interface Financial Group, City of Manchester Fire Department, City of Manchester Health Department, City of Manchester Building & Planning Department, City of Manchester City Clerk’s Office, Manchester Economic Development Office, SCORE, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Intown Manchester, NH High Technology Council, NH Small Business Administration, Business and Industry Association of NH, StayWorkPlay NH, New Hampshire Businesses For Social Responsibility, and Capital Regional Development Center.

NH MEP Survey Finds Job, Sales Payoff

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Here’s a great Nashua Telegraph story about the effect of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership on the state economy.

Survey finds job, sales payoff

A total of 885 jobs and $232.3 million in sales: That, says the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is how it has benefited the state in the past five years.

mep-logoBetween April 2006 and February 2011, companies working with the MEP have created 425 jobs and retained 460 that “otherwise would not exist,” according to a survey of 204 companies.

Those companies also reported $232.3 million in increased sales, spent $81.8 million on new investment, and experienced $36.3 million in cost savings.

New Hampshire MEP is a federally funded nonprofit that provides assistance to small manufacturers. It is a network of technical, manufacturing and business specialists linked together by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards.

The five-year executive summary released last week estimates the total economic contribution to the New Hampshire economy from firms whose employment, sales or investment activity changed as a direct result of assistance provided by the New Hampshire MEP. It comes at a time when funding for MEP is on the chopping block amid federal budget negotiations.

light-manufacturingMEP’s job, executive director Zenagui Brahim said, is to “help New Hampshire manufacturers in productivity so they can compete globally.”

It does that, he said, by working directly with companies, but not just at the management level.

“We go in the field at the shops, on their floor and front office, and work with a team there, from senior management to technicians, the whole process of making the product,” Brahim said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The idea is to keep companies competitive by helping them streamline their operations and cut down on costs, he said.

“Every time they see an opportunity to cut down on costs and render the services or product and ship it on time with very good quality, they have a competitive advantage,” Brahim said.

A year after MEP works with them, companies respond to a survey conducted by an independent, third-party survey company. Clients are asked a number of questions relating to changes in efficiency and output as well as the quality of the MEP services they received.

According to the MEP, it’s not only the clients who are benefitting from MEP services. Increased sales by New Hampshire MEP clients require that they increase their purchases of goods and services from other companies. The supplying companies, in turn, generate additional demands of their own, the MEP said.

“In this way, dollar expenditures for final demand can be traced to all of the affected industries in the regional economy,” a press release from MEP said. “In addition, the income from new jobs generated by New Hampshire MEP clients and the supplying firms results in increased demand for consumer goods. Each of these effects, in turn, generates subsequent ripples throughout the New Hampshire economy.”

According to the five-year summary, the sum of these direct, indirect and induced effects are responsible for:

*Creating or retaining 3,794 jobs that paid $187.5 million in employee wages and benefits.

*Increasing or retaining economic output worth $719.4 million.

*Contributing or retaining $297.8 million of gross state product.

*Generating or retaining $97.9 million in additional tax and non-tax revenues at the federal, state and local government levels, including $21.8 million at the state and local level.

Quebec Company Expands Operations in Claremont

Monday, April 25th, 2011

A Quebec-based firm has found that expanding their operation to New Hampshire has helped them build a bridge to ongoing company success.

Structal –Bridges Plant Manager Robert Petrino and New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron visit the newly renovated Structal location.

Structal –Bridges Plant Manager Robert Petrino and New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron visit the newly renovated Structal location.

Structal-Bridges, a division of Montreal-based Canam Steel Corp., has expanded its Claremont operation where it has renovated and expanded to a new 226,000 square foot steel plant and plans to hire 100 new employees over the next year.

Structal-Bridges, established more than 50 years ago, is a leading North American manufacturer of steel bridges, structural bearings and expansion joints for the highway, railway and forestry industries in both Canada and the United States. It operates plants with a combined annual production capacity of close to 75,000 tons in Quebec City, Laval and St. Gédéon de Beauce in Canada, as well as in Claremont and Point of Rocks, MD in the United States.

The NH Division of Economic Development is assisting the company with its expansion plans through tax credit incentives, job training and workforce recruitment.

“Structal’s Claremont operation has invested millions of dollars into a new high tech steel plant overlooking the beautiful Connecticut River,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron.  “This new location symbolizes not only the great selection of Claremont as an innovative and progressive place to do business but also a great opportunity for an excellent company to continue with its growth strategy.”

Structal-Bridges Plant Manager Robert Petrino is currently looking to hire experienced welders and fitters and is offering relocation assistance for those who qualify.  To learn more about this great opportunity, call (603) 542-5202.

Companies interested in learning more about the advantages of expanding or relocating to New Hampshire are asked to call Michael Bergeron at (603) 271-2341.

Adding a Little Sunshine to Miles Smith Farm

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Here’s some great news from a friend of the No Bull Business Blog, Miles Smith Farm:

Grass-fed beef, land leased out to keep it green and an anticipated soon-to-arrive windmill allow Miles Smith Farm to rightfully lay claim for being environmentally friendly and fiscally sound.  That new bright spot at Miles Smith Farm, however, will be a solar powered green store.

miles-smith-storesignIn 2010, Miles Smith Farm was awarded a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant to help produce solar thermal energy for the new farm store to be added to the south side of the Miles Smith Farm barn. The NH Community Loan Fund also provided Miles Smith Farm with a loan and grant to help with the project to make the 1850s barn solar efficient.  Solar collectors on the roof of the barn will provide hot water to heat a concrete slab on the floor of the new store, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of April.

“We are creating a 100% solar store,” said Miles Smith Farm owner Carole Soule.  “Solar will be the only source of heat and electricity.  We know our ‘eco-efforts’ will pay off in many ways.”

The benefits are plentiful on both the environmental and financial sides.  The combination of having a super-insulated retail space and a photovoltaic system to offset power needs will save an estimated $890 per year in electricity costs.  In addition, the estimated 5,400 kWh of solar power generated each year avoids an estimated 3.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of 362 gallons of gasoline or 7.5 barrels of oil.

Replacing the electric heaters in the sales room extension off the barn with a solar thermal system is estimated to save the farm another $800-plus per year.  This savings further equates to reducing 3.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent carbon sequestered by 79.6 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

“The Community Loan Fund is proud to be financing the Miles Smith Farm solar store.  The energy efficiency built into this old barn should be great for the business, its customers, and the environment,” said Rick Minard, the Community Loan Fund’s vice president for policy.

The public is invited to attend the Grand Opening on May 20th from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Miles Smith Farm, 56 Whitehouse Road, Loudon.  Enjoy a free lunch of grilled burgers to celebrate.  For more information, visit www.milessmithfarm or call 603 783 5159.

Wage Reimbursement Available to Employers

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Small business owners looking to hire new trainees can receive up to 90% reimbursement of wages for up to six months with a program being offered by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Office of Workforce Opportunity.

The special program has been well-received by employers since it was introduced last fall and some funds remain for businesses getting ready to hire new workers, according to George Bald, Commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development.

“We’re seeing an increased hiring by employers as New Hampshire recovers from the recent economic downturn, so this special On-the-Job (OJT) training program is timely and provides real financial incentives to hire people who are looking to rejoin the workforce,” said Bald.

The OJT program offers up to 90% wage reimbursement for businesses with up to 50 employees, and companies with up to 250 workers can receive 75% wage reimbursement when they hire a dislocated worker who has been unemployed for 18 weeks or longer, and who undergo a company-designed training program.

Southern New Hampshire Services (SNHS) administers the U.S. Dept. of Labor-funded program for the state and has job placement specialists who will work with the employer in the design of the training program. There is even one-time support payment for tools and other work-related necessities not generally provided by the employer, said Bald.

Maggie Hinkle, the OJT Job Placement Coordinator at SNHS, said 34 employers throughout the state have utilized the program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). “The companies represent a cross-section of our diverse economic base, from manufacturing to information technology, construction and service companies,” said Hinkle.

The average age of trainees in the program is 46, and many of them started with the participating companies under the state’s Return to Work program, which also helps employers with trainee wages.

“There are many out-of-work people who can become great employees, and the OJT program will match employers with those prospective employees, with minimal paperwork and a maximum return for the participating company.”

For information on the program, contact Maggie Hinkle, Job Placement Coordinator at mhinkle@snhs.org or 603-477-4913.

Inspiring Women in Business Conference Scheduled for National Small Business Week

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

woman-entrepreneurWith American Express reporting that the number of businesses owned by women in New Hampshire has grown by 37.2 percent in the last 14 years, there is no better time to be a female entrepreneur in the Granite State.

Recognizing that fact, Women Inspiring Women will present “Inspiring Women in Business” on Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at SERESC Conference and Training Center, 29 Commerce Drive in Bedford. The day will celebrate National Small Business Week and include five educational sessions, exhibitors and networking.

Workshops include “Tap Into Your Inspiration” with Deb Titus of Dale Carnegie-NH, “Master Your Money Mindset” with Kathleen Burns Kingsbury of KBK Wealth Connection, “Fearless Marketing” with Nancy Clark of the Glen Group and “Growing a Successful Business” with Dr. Deborah Osgood of the Knowledge Institute. “We Mean Business,” a panel discussion featuring NH Business Review’s 2011 “Outstanding Women in Business” will also be held. These honorees and panelists include Maureen Beauregard of Families in Transition, Maren Boothby of Boothby Therapy Services, Robin Comstock of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Andrea Johnstone, Esq. of Bernstein Shur and Karen Pollard of the Rochester Department of Economic Development.  It will be moderated by Leslie Sturgeon of Women Inspiring Women, also an “Outstanding Women in Business” honoree.

“We felt the perfect way to recognize National Small Business Week and the fact more women are starting businesses than men in NH was to bring business women from around NH together for a day of education and inspiration,” according to Leslie Sturgeon, founder and president of Women Inspiring Women.”

As a result of a generous contribution from Microsoft BizSpark, NH Division of Economic Development, Public Service of New Hampshire, and Exeter Health Resources, the registration price is only $40 and includes lunch. Reservations are needed and space is limited. Contact Women Inspiring Women at (603) 744-0400 or visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=jtyn8ccab&oeidk=a07e3npt4qia831e39f for more information and to register.

Women Inspiring Women was founded in 2007 in the Lakes Region by Sturgeon to give women of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to get together at educational, fun and inspirational events on a monthly basis. Since that time the organization has expanded to Concord, Nashua, Manchester, Bedford and the Seacoast, hosts bi-weekly events including the NH Conference for Women in November, and quickly become the state’s largest organization for women’s empowerment, personal development and networking.

Network New Hampshire Now to Break Ground on Statewide High-Speed Broadband Network

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Network New Hampshire Now (NNHN) has begun the first phase in bringing affordable broadband access to the state’s under-served citizens, schools and businesses by awarding a NH-based company a contract to construct a middle-mile fiber-optic network.

high-speed-broadbandNashua-based New Hampshire Optical Systems (NHOS) will soon begin construction of a 500+ mile high-speed network stretching from the seacoast to the southwest region, up to the northwest, the North Country, and through the lakes region. The $34 million project, one of the largest fiber networks in the country, is expected to bring many new construction and technology jobs to the state. When complete, the middle mile network aims to improve economic development in NH communities with little to no access to affordable broadband today.  

The middle mile network is the first and largest part of a three-phase initiative resulting from New Hampshire’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) federal grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which NNHN spearheaded. NNHN is a collaboration of NH-based public and private partners focused on building and interconnecting high-speed broadband networks in all 10 state counties. Additional projects include an enhanced wireless public safety network and public television network, connectivity for an intelligent transportation system, and last mile “fiber to the home” in two pilot communities. As the core component supporting many of these projects, the middle mile network is the recipient of the largest portion of the BTOP grant.

New Hampshire Optical Systems was chosen from among five finalists following an intensive, five-month open bid and evaluation process.

“It was a highly competitive process with tough federal grant requirements. NHOS met or exceeded all of the NTIA requirements soundly, while also submitting the lowest cost bid,” said Scott Valcourt, who leads New Hampshire’s BTOP grant for NNHN. “We believe NHOS will be a strong partner who will complete the project on time and on budget.”

NHOS is a for-profit fiber communications firm who is teaming with Waveguide, a Chelmsford, MA company with expertise in engineering, management, construction and maintenance of fiber optic networks. The companies’ executive teams have a strong track record of assembling fiber networks across N.H. and the northeastern U.S., including many of the Fortune 500 network providers, wireless carriers, and municipalities.  NHOS is investing $10 million of its own capital into the project, bringing the total investment in the middle mile initiative to $34 million. Along with this financial investment, the company plans to invest in NH workforce development with the establishment of an apprenticeship program in support of the project to help students in the state gain career training, experience, and jobs in advanced networking technologies.

“We are proud to be part of the effort to expand broadband throughout the state and the country,” said Dave Reusch, general manager of New Hampshire Optical Systems. “We believe our team is uniquely qualified to develop and manage the middle mile network.”

The “middle mile” forms the communications backbone linking a network operator’s core network to local systems and their user base – the same way Interstate 93 provides the corridor for traffic to and from other roads and their surrounding communities. The network will be open to any organization wanting to provide Internet services to end-users, including homes, schools, healthcare facilities, businesses and other enterprises. NHOS will build, own, and manage the middle mile fiber network, and will sell wholesale fiber connectivity along the route, as mandated by the BTOP grant requirements.

The NNHN project aims to dramatically increase broadband access throughout the state by creating an open access network, which will increase choice and competition among network providers, making it economically feasible for them deliver service to end-user communities across the state. It will also try to capitalize on as much existing, available fiber network assets in the state as possible.

NNHN has received $44.5 million in economic stimulus money from the NTIA to fund critically needed broadband expansion across the state. Led by the University of New Hampshire, Network New Hampshire Now was brought together by the NH Division of Economic Development. It was guided by the Governor’s Telecommunications Advisory Board (TAB), and the 2008 New Hampshire Broadband Action Plan. The grant will be matched with nearly $22 million in private cash and in-kind funding.

Finalists for 2011 NHHTC Entrepreneur of the Year Announced

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The current founders of three successful New Hampshire technology companies have been selected by a panel of judges as finalists for the 2011 NH Entrepreneur of the Year.  They are: Erik Dodier, co-founder of PixelMEDIA, Bill Rogers, founder of Ektron, and Jeff Sercel, founder of JPSA.  The winner will be announced at the NH High Technology Council’s 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Awards Dinner. 

high-tech-council-logoThe 23rd annual NHHTC EOY celebration will be held on Monday, May 9, at 5:30 pm at the Radisson, Center of New Hampshire in Manchester. Bill Warner, super-angel investor, serial entrepreneur and founder of Avid Technology, Inc. and Wildfire Communications, will be the keynote speaker. Several FIRST Robotics teams will also be on hand to demonstrate their robots during the reception.

Launched in 1988, the NHHTC EOY celebration is the signature event for the NHHTC.  Over the years, the NHHTC has recognized over 50 New Hampshire entrepreneurs for their significant contributions toward advancing technology and demonstrating leadership, ingenuity and innovation.  The evening event attracts more than 300 tech industry leaders from across the region and includes networking, a banquet, the keynote address, and an awards ceremony recognizing this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

“We had a lot of very good applications this year, demonstrating the strength of innovation across New Hampshire.  The selection committee had a hard time narrowing it down to three finalists.  Eric Dodier, Bill Rogers, and Jeff Sercel really demonstrated their innovative approaches to business success, and the committee selected these three as finalists for the 2011 honors,” said James Cook, chair of the NHHTC EOY Committee.

Erik Dodier is co-founder of PixelMEDIA Inc., the largest web development company in New Hampshire.  Located in Portsmouth and founded in 1994, PixelMEDIA has grown from a two-person multimedia company into the successful full service digital marketing studio that it is today.  Today, the company employs 60 people and has four facilities.  Spearheading the efforts to launch PixelMEDIA in 1994 at just 24 years old, Dodier assumed the responsibility as President and CEO while also acting as the only salesperson. The quick acquisition of area clients and the subsequent growth of PixelMEDIA demonstrate Dodier’s talent in each of these roles.


Dodier currently oversees all business activities while also remaining active in the New Hampshire community assisting both businesses and non-profits. Current positions include serving as a board member and entrepreneurship advisor at the UNH Whittemore School of Business, sitting on the Board for Optima Bank, partnering with New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center (NH-ICC) to continue to promote business in the state, and sponsoring technology events in New Hampshire such as TechWorld 2010, BarCamp Manchester, and regular eCoast events. In 2010 alone Erik donated over 740 pro-bono hours of PixelMEDIA time to worthy recipients.  

Bill Rogers founded Nashua-based Ektron in 1998 with a simple vision: enable business users to easily author and publish content on websites. Rogers has sparked a revolution in the way organizations create and manage interactive web, intra net and extranet sites. He recognized early on how important websites would become to companies’ business models, and guided Ektron in creating a web content management, marketing optimization and social software platform that provides all the functionality webmasters, designers and developers want in a single application. In his role as a hands-on chief executive officer, Rogers is actively engaged in keeping Ektron a market and technology leader. He sets the company’s strategic direction, aligns product development with his forward-looking vision for website technology and is involved in all aspects of Ektron’s operations. In addition, he frequently participates in industry events and solicits feedback from Ektron’s customers and partners to stay on the leading edge of web technology. 

Rogers also co-founded two other successful technology companies. At Global Telemedix, a telemedicine software developer, he led product development and spearheaded key strategic relationships with technical partners and investors, such as Hewlett Packard Medical Products. At Zydacron Inc., co-developer of the first video conferencing chip set, Rogers conceptualized and executed product development initiatives and pursued strategic partnering efforts with major technology firms, such as IBM. Early in his career, Rogers also worked on new technology development in DuPont Corporation’s desktop publishing group and at MIT Lincoln Labs. 

Jeffrey Sercel began his career in 1983, as a laser engineer at the first excimer laser applications lab and development facility In North America, Tachisto Inc. After receiving his BS degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Arizona, he has devoted over 25 years of his life to become a leading expert in excimer, DPSS and ultrafast industrial laser technology. Sercel was selected as the NHHTC EOY in 1994 for his pioneering work at Resonetics, Inc. an excimer laser micromachining company that he founded in 1987.   

In 1994, he started JP Sercel Associates, Inc. (JPSA) as a consulting service, from which he ran from his home, utilizing a virtual company of technology specialists. During this period, JPSA solved problems and developed processes for industrial laser applications using Sercel’s extensive knowledge of physics modeling, optical and opto-mechanical engineering, CAD, robotics, machine vision, and high accuracy motion control and automation. Located in Manchester, JPSA is a leading supplier of industrial grade UV excimer, DPSS, and ultrafast laser micromachining systems and services to customers worldwide. Applications include LED, solar, semiconductor, research and biomedical markets to name a few. JPSA’s novel laser systems operate at wavelengths from 157nm to 1064nm, and are essential to a growing set of today’s industrial micro-machining applications.   

The judges are successful business leaders and entrepreneurs selected by the NHHTC.  This year’s judges include Nancy Briefs, Jesse Devitte, Steve Boucher, Andy Lietz, Rajesh Nair, and Mark Galvin, and Matt Pierson.