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Director Arvelo Honored as Distinguished Leader by Great Bay Community College

Monday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Thursday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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.


A Day Worth Celebrating: National PTAC Day Sept. 18

Friday, September 13th, 2019
NH PTAC Team: Jane Brezosky; Dave Pease; Danielle Bishop

Sept. 18 is National PTAC Day, so this is a great time to put the spotlight on our team at the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Program manager Dave Pease, Danielle Bishop and Jane Brezosky work with hundreds of New Hampshire businesses each year to help them bid on – and win – contracts with local, state and federal agencies. These are great clients to have, but unlike regular B2B, contracting with the government involves complex processes and procedures, to ensure transparency and fairness.


If you think you don’t, you probably do have a product the government wants to buy. Just ask the Country Braid House of Tilton. See its story here.


Is it worth it? It sure is to our economy. Last year, New Hampshire businesses scored $2.7 billion in federal contracts.

When you think about government contracting, you may think about aerospace and defense – that’s what the government is interested in, right?

Wrong! Government needs what any business needs, so if your business provides goods and services, there could be a market for it.

For instance, the NH PTAC team has worked with these businesses to secure government contracts:

  • Stacey Thomson of Orford is contracted for tree clearing and planting at the New Boston Air Station and Saint Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish.
  • Granite Commercial Real Estate of Nashua provides warehousing for Hanscomb Air Force Base, and classroom space rental in Washington, DC  for the US Department of Treasury.
  • Normandeau Trucking, Inc. of Groveton has a contract with the US Fish and Wildlife Service for dumpster hauling.
  • O’Connor Legal, Medical and Media Services in Manchester provides federal grand jury transcription services.
  • Radiation Safety & Control Services in Seabrook conducts radiation safety audits for the US Food and Drug Administration
  • Prenax, Inc. in Concord provides annual newspaper subscriptions to inmates at the Federal Correctional Complex, Florence, Colo.

Ready to see if your business is ready for government contracting? Check out the NH PTAC website; call 603-271-7581 or via email.

Happy National PTAC Day!




Location, Live Free Spirit, Workforce Behind Company Relocation

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Cirrus Systems Inc, a startup electronics manufacturer of outdoor LED video screens, has relocated to from Saco, Maine to Portsmouth.

Cirrus LED is leasing 32,000 square feet at 200 West Rd. and will employ 50 people in the next year.

“We source electronic components and assemble them into large high resolution outdoor screens used by business owners to promote their message,” said CEO S. David Rycyna III.  “ I chose Portsmouth because it attracts young talent; we found the perfect building; and I love New Hampshire’s business friendly, live free attitude.”

The company’s products allow companies with brick and mortar locations to use LED screens, such as sophisticated websites that not only display images, but provides real time analytic data 24 hours a day on customer behavior, ranging from movement of cars to in-store foot traffic and demographics.

Cirrus Systems CEO David Rycyna III and Michael Bergeron, business development manager, New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs

“Technology companies like David’s are gravitating to smaller cities that offer a nearby ocean, mountains, lakes, universities, and hip fun things to do – and Portsmouth fits this profile,” said Michael Bergeron, business development manager with the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, who assisted in the company’s relocation.

Cirrus LED plans to hire a number of positions including manufacturing technicians, software developers, customer support representatives and others. 

For more information, visit the company’s website.

Export Boot Camp Helps Businesses Shape Up to Ship Out to International Markets

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Did you know New Hampshire exports had their second record breaking year in 2018? Businesses sent $5.2 billion worth of parts, equipment, components and other items to global market last year – 2.68 percent higher than 2017.

If your export program has been on the sidelines, it may be time to get it back in the game by enrolling in the third annual Export Boot Camp this fall, covering the most important aspects of doing business in international market.

For more information and to register, visit our website.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR), CFIUS Regulations and Tariff Updates
Wednesday, Oct. 2
9am – 3 pm
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord
Presented by: Evolutions in Business

International Traffic Arms Regulations (ITAR)
Wednesday, Oct. 16
9am – 3 pm
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord
Presented by: Department of Homeland Security – Manchester Field Office; Mohawk Global Trade Advisors; LK Trade Consulting

Export Logistics and Financing
Wednesday, Oct. 30
9am – 3 pm
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord
Presented by: Highland ForwardingU.S. Small Business Association – NH District Office; The Provident Bank

International Marketing and Intellectual Property Protection
Wednesday, Nov. 20
9am – 3 pm
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord
Presented by: Savoir Fair Marketing Communications; Rapport International; McLane Middleton

Questions? Contact Rachel Adams.

*Seminars are supported through the STEP grant. You may be eligible to attend these sessions free of charge.  Click here to check your eligibility.*

Fall is just around the Corner and Visitors will Follow, according to Fall Season Forecast

Friday, September 6th, 2019

As summer winds down, New Hampshire tourism officials say they expect a robust fall travel season, with more than 3 million out-of-state, overnight visitors projected, who will spend more than $1.5 billion.

During an event this week at Hazelton Orchards in Chester, the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development unveiled its fall marketing campaign, which highlights activities such as  hiking, leaf peeping, agritourism, dining and shopping.

“New Hampshire is the premier travel destination in the northeast all year round, but the vibrant colors of our tremendous foliage truly sets us apart during the fall travel season, drawing millions of people to all corners of the Granite State,” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. “The fall travel season is an incredible economic driver for our state and we are constantly working to maximize and expand visitation for the benefit of our partners and the people of New Hampshire.”

Gov. Chris Sununu, joined by Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell, left, and Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food Commissioner Shawn Jasper, kicked off what is expected to be a busy fall tourism season by picking the ceremonial first apple of autumn at Hazelton Orchards in Chester.

Representing about 25 percent total annual visitation, fall is New Hampshire’s second-largest travel season, behind summer.

Foliage, scenic drives and pick-your-own options dominate the fall season but historically fall is also popular for visiting attractions, college homecomings, fairs and festivals, shopping, and visiting friends and relatives. In addition, fall tends to draw the largest percentage of visitors from outside New England.

Visitors to New Hampshire this fall can experience fall activities and events  including:

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



Radically Rural Summit Sept. 19-20 Topic of this Month’s NH Business Matters

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Our monthly radio show, New Hampshire Business Matters, covered an upcoming event next month that puts rural New Hampshire in the spotlight for opportunities and possibilities rural America offers.


Tune in at 2:05 pm to WTPL-FM 107.7 on the third Wednesday of the month for New Hampshire Business Matters.


Radically Rural is getting noticed; last week it was featured in this article posted at Forbes.com.

Mary Ann Kristiansen and Lorna Colquhoun

The second annual Radically Rural summit launches Sept. 19-20, which is speared-headed by Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director of the Hannah Grimes Center in Keene and Terry Williams, president of The Keene Sentinel. She founded the event two years ago to gather leaders and others interested in rural economic development to talk about, and find solutions fore, the challenges these communities face, not just in New Hampshire, but in small communities far from urban areas around the country.

Tune in to this month’s program to hear more about this event and how you can become involved.