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Archive for January, 2014

That’s Knights with a K, as in Keene State College

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Business Resource Specialist Chris Wellington, who covers western New Hampshire for the Division of Economic Development, is today’s guest blogger. Ed.

What happens when creative minds start thinking?

In the Monadnock region, Thursday nights get a makeover.

Keene State College is well-known for its liberal arts and teacher preparation programs, but over the past few years it has become a statewide leader for training the next generation of designers, manufacturers, engineers and machinists.

With the creation of the TDS Center in 2012 and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in 2010, Keene State College is on the front line of economic development in the manufacturing sector in New Hampshire. RCAM is a collaborative partnership between the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Keene State College, River Valley Community College, the Keene School District and the business community.

Team Thursday Knights

Team Thursday Knights

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Manufacturing Enterprise Capstone  presentation by 15 Keene State seniors.  The Manufacturing Enterprise Capstone is part of the Sustainable Product Design and Innovation major, which is a relatively new, four-year major at Keene State College, which was built on the foundation of the Manufacturing, Design and Technology Education majors that have been at Keene State for decades.

The new SPDI major incorporates a strong emphasis on sustainable design and how it impacts manufacturing and engineering. For the Manufacturing Enterprise capstone project, students are given $500 to come up with an enterprise where they must create, design and develop a product, then market and sell it to their target audience.

Nights Out Belt Buckle

This year’s class created the entity Thursday Knights Inc. and developed the Knights Out belt buckle.  It serves a dual role as a belt buckle and carrying case, which included a personalized engraved front and a money/credit card clip, for the low price of $20.  During the presentation, the students explained how they wanted to create a product that allowed students to leave their wallets and purses at home when they went out on ‘Thursday Knights.’

At the start of the semester, students took on a particular role, as they would within any local manufacturing company. Whether they were the materials manager, Lean coordinator, engineer, quality control manager or marketing manager, they had to work in unison with the team to produce the finished product, with the goal of earning a profit at the end of the semester.

“This program provides our students with hands on experience and places them in real world situations that showcase the rewards and challenges of working in the manufacturing industry,” said Professor Christopher Gray.

Aside from the enthusiasm the students expressed throughout the presentation, one of the best aspects of the program is the support and encouragement from the business community. Ray Anderson from Knappe & Koester donated $700 worth of aluminum; NE Metal Finishing provided low cost tumbling and finishing  services and additional support in the form of tooling came from True Tool Innovations and Vic Kissel from Maxcess International.

“Support from the business community is vital to the SPDI program and provides our students with valuable contacts once they graduate,” Gray said.

There is a myth in the US that manufacturing is a dying industry, but in western New Hampshire, advanced manufacturing is alive and thriving. Thanks to programs like SDPI, educators like Gray, the support of the business community and eager young students, manufacturing in New Hampshire has a very bright future.

To learn more about the SPDI program and opportunities to collaborate with RCAM and Keene State College please contact Chris Gray at 603-358-2951 or cgray@keene.edu

Chris Wellington

Business Resource Specialist

NH Division of Economic Development


Great Day in the Morning! Congrats to Our 40 Under 40 Class Members

Monday, January 27th, 2014

We like our morning coffee with a side of newsprint and we especially liked it this morning because of the announcement of this year’s 40 Under 40 class in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

nhEconomy.com is well-represented this year

nhEconomy.com is well-represented this year

Two members work right here in the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development and we are very proud of them and their accomplishments and we hope you are, too.

Chris Wellington is one of our business resource specialists and on most days, you can find him out in western New Hampshire, assisting businesses and manufacturers, whether through a visit to understand what they do or providing expertise and resources to help them grow and thrive in the Granite State. Chris is very passionate about his home state, especially about the opportunities in advanced manufacturing and for his peers to realize that it is possible to find and follow their dreams right here, right now.

Carmen Lorentz is already having a great day today, as she begins her brand new job as director of the Division of Economic Development. She, too, is New Hampshire born and bred and comes to us from the Belknap County Economic Development Council.

So today is a good day all the way around as we offer our heartiest congratulations to our team members.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development

New Director Carmen Lorentz Sworn-in as Chief of Economic Development

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Carmen Lorentz sworn in as director of the Division of Economic Development

The Division of Economic Development gets down to business Monday morning with a new director at the helm, following the swearing-in of Carmen Lorentz on Thursday afternoon. Her husband, Jonathan, and son, Julius, stood by her and, in fact, 5-year-old Julius also raised his hand to take the oath.

Lorentz, who grew up in the Lakes Region, most recently the executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council, brings her experience to the state level, overseeing a staff of 20 that works with thousands of businesses each year in the areas of business retention, recruitment, international trade, government procurement and broadband development.

Nominated by Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose, Lorentz was unanimously confirmed earlier this month by the Governor and Executive Council.

“I’m excited to join the outstanding team at the Division,” she said, “and I look forward to working with everyone to address the needs of New Hampshire’s business community.”

These are exciting times for New Hampshire, especially as we learn this morning that Politico Magazine ranks us as the strongest state in the Union. There are great opportunities for our businesses, companies and manufacturers to thrive and prosper in 2014.

So we are excited, too, Carmen, and we’ll see you Monday.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development



Getting Down to Business at the 9th Annual Small Business Day

Friday, January 17th, 2014

When a good business program gets going, it makes sense to start a tradition.

Small Business Day, presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is one such tradition that business owners, civic leaders and legislators have come to count on at the start of each new year.

Now in its ninth year, this year’s incarnation is from 7:30 am to noon, Jan. 24, at the Holiday Inn, Concord, in partnership with our agency (the Division of Economic Development), the Business and Industry Association and the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and the generous sponsorship of TD Bank and Usource.

The morning’s agenda begins with remarks from Gov. Maggie Hassan and continues with a panel discussion featuring Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Andy Sanborn, House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff and House Republican Leader Gene Chandler and focus specifically on top small business issues of 2014 and how state elected leaders will resolve them.

Three educational sessions follow. The first, Vital Resources for Growing Your Small Business, is moderated by our own Chris Way, deputy director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. Panelists are Steve Webb, TD Bank; Mary Collins, Small Business Development Center; Angela Martin, Devine Millimet, and Stephanie Phillips of Louis Karno. They will discuss essential resources to the success of a small business, including free legal help for start-ups, financing options, marketing strategies and tactics to improve profitability.

The next session, The ACA and Beyond: Navigating the New Health Insurance Landscape, will cover new strategies and opportunities for meeting a company’s healthcare and health insurance needs in the post-ACA economy. Small businesses are challenged with navigating the complex and ever-changing health insurance landscape, particularly now that the Affordable Care Act is fully in effect and plans in the new online marketplaces kicked in Jan. 1. Panelists Marie Proulx, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Steve Gerlach, Bernstein Shur will discuss what small businesses need to know in 2014 and beyond.

In response to long-standing unease by business leaders about the state’s economic future, the BIA recently completed a strategic economic plan for New Hampshire, aimed at capitalizing on the state’s strengths and addressing growing weaknesses. In this final panel, small business owners will learn more about this important plan and how it will impact the state’s business environment and their small business.

The cost to attend Small Business Day is $15 per person and includes continental breakfast. Register here or call the BIA at 603.224.5388 x116.

Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

NH Division of Economic Development

Brew Hampshire: NH Toasts Microbrew Industry

Monday, January 13th, 2014

It may be a Monday morning, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about beer. Especially when it comes to our economy.

Good things are brewing in the beer economy and last week, we joined Gov. Hassan, Commissioner Rose and a host of brewmasters to toast our state’s breweries. We saw the launch of a new trade organization, Brew New Hampshire, and the unveiling of the new brewery map and itineraries now available online at our sister agency, VisitNH.gov. Brew NH is a partnership between distributors, brewers and the Department of Resources and Economic Development that will work to promote the state’s beer industry.

New Hampshire is gaining a reputation of creating some really great beers and people from all over are coming here to check it out. How much of a demand is there for beer tourism? The brewery map is the number 1 download on the VisitNH.gov website and, said Peter Egelston, who hosted the party last week at his Smuttynose Brewery (which will open soon at its new digs in Hampton), “You can plan an entire vacation visiting breweries and, not surprisingly, more and more people are.”

By the numbers, our microbreweries have over 3,100 employees, earning an average wage of $34,500, with an economic impact of over $362 million.

But more than numbers, they give us something intangible. Our local breweries give us the local flavor of the places we get to call home. Microbrewers have done much to revitalize their communities, embracing their identities and all that makes them special and it gives us a place to go, meet friends, raise a glass and make us glad we live here.

So cheers to Brew New Hampshire and to all you microbrewers across the Granite State.

Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

NH Division of Economic Development



For a Prosperous New Year, Check Out nhEconomy.com

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The New Year is here and it is sparkling with opportunity, especially if you’ve decided that 2014 is the year you’ll finally do it – open your own business here in New Hampshire. It’s a great time for this particular resolution, as the economy here in the Granite State has a skip in its step as spending – and optimism – increases.

Is it time for you to open for business?

As with any dream, it’s one thing imagining yourself turning the ‘open’ sign to face the world every morning, but if trying to figure out how to get to that point is an obstacle, we have a solution.

It can be found on our website, www.nhEconomy.com, where the Starting a Business in New Hampshire page is, month after month, one of the most popular destinations. From creating a business plan and finding financing to obtaining necessary permits and hiring employees, this web page is hugely valuable in turning your dream into reality.

There is – and frankly, always has been – a great air of entrepreneurship and innovation in New Hampshire. From its earliest days of statehood, through the Industrial Revolution and into the 21st century, generations of Granite Staters followed their dream of making things better for their neighbors today and tomorrow and beyond.

If you are looking to join them, your journey begins by clicking over here.

Happy 2014!

Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

NH Division of Economic Development