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Archive for September, 2012

Parlez Vous Aerospace? Mais Oui!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As we’ve said here before, New Hampshire may not have a company that builds entire airplanes, but we do have companies that supply components used to construct them.

So it makes sense that there should be a Granite State presence at an aerospace trade show a short hop over the border — the international border.

And there was.

Five Granite State companies were part of theNew   Hampshire delegation attending the Aero Montreal Global Supply Chain Summit this week, including Gov. John Lynch and Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald.

The group represented the largest contingent of any state and the only state to attend the summit from New England.

Aero Montreal is Quebec’s aerospace cluster, so it brings together the minds and associations of the sector. The summit brings together aerospace companies from around the world and the result is a whirlwind couple of days of seminars, networking and, most importantly, appointments with the decision makers at some of the biggest names in the air – Lockheed, Boeing, Bombardier.

“Sometimes it can take years to meet with the right people, but in this one trip, I’m meeting with people from Bombardier and Lockheed,” said Michael Barrett of Tech Resources in Milford, adding that meetings were arranged by Lynch and staff at the Division of Economic Development’s International Trade Resource Center. “We’re introducing a new product and looking at substantive growth.”

Jeff Stimson of Orion Wire in North Haverhill employs seven people at the company, which specializes in custom engineered wire and cable applications.

“We probably would not have been able to get our foot in the door and I don’t think we would ever meet the same level of people on our own,” Stimson said.

He, like the other Granite State companies represented, say the aim of attending the summit is to get more work and grow their businesses.

It’s the kind of domino effect that also includes hiring more workers.

The other companies represented included Axenics in Nashua, which employs 40 people; EPTAM Plastics of Northfield, with 108 employees and Corfin Industries of Salem, with about 80 workers.

The trade mission to the aerospace summit was underwritten by the State Trade and Export Promotion grant.

Earlier this week, we wrote about New Hampshire receiving nearly $300,000 in the second year of the STEP program, which is administered by the Small Business Administration.

Our International Trade Resource Center reached out to these companies to let them know about the summit. As the STEP program continues, there are a number of opportunities available for companies considering exporting their products, so if that’s you, reach out to the ITRC for more information.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development

The Next STEP

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Monday started off quite nicely, thank you, with the announcement that New Hampshire will receive nearly $300,000 for the second year of funding of the State Trade Export Promotion.

This money will be used just like the acronym says – to help small businesses here in the Granite State take a STEP toward exporting their products overseas.

The announcement, which included remarks from US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Jeanne A. Hulit, the Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator for Capital Access, was made at Axenics inNashua, a small manufacturer that makes specialized assemblies, clean piping products and gas systems. Right now, the company exports less than 10 percent of its annual sales, but it has worked with the International Trade Resource Center and made use of funding in the first year of the grant to investigate and increase its export potential.

“STEP is working for us,” said Haywood Schmidt, president of Axenics, who added that the 28-year-old company intends to grow over the next two years and create 35 new jobs.

Christopher Way, interim Director of the Division of Economic Development, said the STEP program, at the conclusion of its first year, “has provided a valuable infusion of assistance to small businesses and funding for state export programs.”

In the first year of the STEP program, 24 New Hampshirecompanies received assistance from the grant and in the second year, that will continue. Matching grants will be available to qualified businesses to offset the cost of export promotion, including tradeshow fees, translation of websites and developing marketing materials.

On Thursday, representatives of six New Hampshire companies, including Axenics, Corfin Industries of Salem, EPTAM Plastics of Northfield, Orion Wire of Haverhill, Tech Resources of Milford and Wall Industries of Exeter, head to Montreal.

Gov. John Lynch is leading the Aerospace and Tourism Trade Mission on Thursday and Friday, during which the Granite Staters will take part in the Montreal Aerospace Global Supply Chain Summit .

By stepping up to this mission, the participating companies will receive a wealth of information and make valuable connections that will, ultimately, open trade opportunities.

“Those of you familiar withNew Hampshire government know one thing – we don’t like to sit on the sidelines and our businesses have no interest in standing still while the global economy swirls around us,” Way said. “ This is why STEP is important.”


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development




Crib Notes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The Civil War-era building in the heart of downtown Keene belies the lean, green, sophisticated 21st century manufacturing operation inside the brick walls, with its state-of-the-art computer numerical controlled machinery operated by 43 skilled workers.

Whitney Brothers makes superior quality wood furniture, storage, display and educational play products for children. Their products can be found in schools, childcare centers, libraries and churches around the world.

Today, the plant hums at near capacity as it works to fulfill the largest single contract in its history and it’s an unlikely one: An order from the US Army.

It’s for a total of 3,614 cribs needed to upgrade its child development centers, located on military bases around the world. The order is a 3-year-contract, with two, one-year renewable options. The first year totals $866,000.

Production is humming at Whitney Brothers in Keene.

“Our company believes that childcare and early learning in a child’s first five years are critical to develop into productive citizens and we applaud the US Army for its support of those same values,” said David Stabler, president of Whitney Brothers. “We appreciate that the army recognized our American-made products represent better quality, safety and overall value vs. low-cost imports.”

Winning the contract took patience and perseverance and required meticulous preparation. It began in 2003, when Stabler met with Martha Keene of NH-PTAP, a program of the Division of Economic Development that helps New Hampshire companies sell their products and services to federal, state and local governments. He evaluated the government market, performed the necessary registrations and developed a strategy to generate government sales through the company’s existing network of distributors versus selling directly to the federal government.

The pivotal event in the process would not happen for another eight years. In 2011, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted standards that necessitated the replacement of older cribs in public and private childcare centers with newer, safety-compliant units by the end of 2012. This included childcare facilities sponsored by the government, such as the US Army worldwide Childcare Development Centers. Whitney Brothers had prepared diligently for this opportunity, resulting in the US Army contract award in May 2012.

“We acknowledge the vital role that the NHPTAP and (the Department of Resources and Economic Development) played in helping us win this important contract,” said Brian Vaillancourt, director of sales and marketing. “These publicly funded organizations and the programs, training and assistance they provide helped us gain full visibility in front of the federal government customer and acquire this order. We advocate the current federal administration continue to support these invaluable resources.”

To fulfill the contract, Whitney Brothers hired 13 new employees – a 32 percent increase to its existing workforce.


Dave Pease, CCAS

Program Manager

NH Procurement Technical Assistance Program