The New Hampshire High Technology Council (NHHTC) Board of Directors has selected Matt Cookson as its new executive director. He has taken over this role from Carol Stephens, who recently stepped down after 12 years of service. Cookson is president and founder of Cookson Stephens Corporation, which was selected by the Board to handle the management of the NHHTC. The NHHTC will be co-locating its offices in downtown Manchester with Cookson Stephens beginning in January 2011.
“At a time when the NHHTC has evolved into the voice of NH’s technology sector, Matt Cookson brings to the Council valuable experience in NH’s business and education communities that will serve member business interests and our number one priority, which is the education of NH’s workforce and future leaders,” said Fred Kocher, president of the NHHTC.
The NHHTC engages, connects and serves member companies in technology-related fields. Since 1983, the Council has supported education, training and economic development efforts that have helped New Hampshire become a leader nationally in technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Some of its premier programming includes the Product of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Entrepreneur Forum events, among others.
Cookson Stephens Corp. (CSC) is a strategic communications firm that serves as a valued and integrated extension of client organizations to help them plan, refine, and achieve their communications and organizational objectives. Services focus on public relations, web/social media, and marketing, as well as non-profit services and management. Cookson will be dividing his time between the NHHTC and the work of running the company and managing additional accounts. He has been involved in the NHHTC for many years, most recently as a member of the board and chair of its education committee.
“I am grateful to the Council Board for entrusting me with this leadership role at such an important time for the organization. Technology is a huge economic driver in New Hampshire, and education helps drive technology. I plan to use my experience in both sectors to help advance the organization and assist workforce and economic development goals across the state,” Cookson said. “In addition, I want to thank the City of Manchester for providing financial support through its revolving loan fund to help launch my new company and relocate it to downtown Manchester.”
The NHHTC and CSC will be located on the second floor at 36 Lowell Street, directly above Richard’s Bistro. The space is being completely renovated to accommodate meetings and small events, as well as for office space.
“We are excited to have the High Tech Council become an active and visible part of the Manchester business community, and about CSC relocating to the downtown area. This move serves as a great example of Greater Manchester’s growing role as a technological hub of New Hampshire. The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) was established for the express purposes of expanding business in the city, and the loan we made to CSC essentially brought in two business entities for the price of one,” said Jay Minkarah, director of the Manchester Economic Development Office.
Cookson Stephens Corporation was born out of a partnership in 2010 between Matt Cookson and Carol Stephens. This partnership saw Cookson join Stephens’ firm, CC Stephens & Co., as president. In November, Cookson took over the company and changed the name.
Cookson has held several senior level communications positions over the past 25 years, the last 15 in New Hampshire. From 2005-2010, he served as associate vice chancellor for external relations at the University System of New Hampshire.
He has previously worked for New England College, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, PC Connection, and the University of Connecticut. He has also provided consulting services to numerous organizations and worked in government affairs in Connecticut, Washington DC and New Hampshire.
Cookson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Connecticut and is a 2003 Leadership New Hampshire Associate. In 2009, he was named as one of the “25 Leaders of the Future” by Business NH Magazine. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Hampshire – Manchester, where he teaches public relations courses.