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Economic Potpourri

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

All sorts of good, interesting and useful news is crossing our desk this week, so without further adieu:

Hats off to the Hannah Grimes Center over in Keene, which received the first Champion in Action award of 2013, presented by Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV, in the category of strengthening communities. The prize includes a $35,000 grant.

Hannah Grimes Center: Champion in Action

Hannah Grimes, for which the center is named, was born in 1776 in Keene and lived on a farm in neighboring Roxbury. What she and her family could not produce on their land, they bought and bartered for from friends, keeping the 18th century economy moving and growing.

With her life as inspiration, the organization bearing her name began in 1997 as a retail marketplace for local products. More than 15 years later, it includes a business incubator providing office space for new and emerging businesses to start, grow, thrive and move out on their own.

Hannah Grimes’ Entrepreneurship Program is a six-month intensive program focusing on raising current businesses to the next level of operation. Graduates of the program report an average sales increase of 68 percent in one year.

The original Hannah Grimes Marketplace continues to grow and now supports more than 270 local artisans, cooks and farmers. The center recently established a partnership to strengthen and support the area’s growing regional food system, which will help improve farm income, create jobs in the food production industry, and stimulate economic productivity and food self-sufficiency in the region.

The Champions in Action program was launched in 2002 by Citizens Bank and WMUR to support nonprofit organizations in their efforts in local communities.

Congratulations to everyone at Hannah Grimes.

We’ve been talking trade a lot here at the Division of Economic Development because there is so much interest in the opportunities the world over has for New Hampshire companies.

For companies that have made the leap overseas, the International Trade Resource Center has a terrific seminar coming up on Feb. 13, International Marketing: Putting Your Best Face Forward. It’s a full day of tips including how to increase website traffic and using social media in other parts of the world.

Speakers include Nancy Clark, president of Glen Group in North Conway; Allen Voivod of Epiphanies Inc., in Gilford, and Wendy Pease of Rapport International in Sudbury, Mass.

Cost is $95 and includes breakfast and lunch. Go ahead and click over to register here.

(We’ll wait for you to come back.)

It’s lights, camera, action next week for an Amherst company, which will be featured on the popular television series, World’s Greatest, which is produced by How2Media.

Vibrac is a small manufacturer marking its 53rd year and it makes the world’s most sensitive torque measurement instruments, used in aerospace, military, defense, medical, bearing and the automotive industry.

We are especially pleased with this recognition, as our folks at the New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance program has worked with Vibrac. The piece is set to air Feb. 4 and 11.

“Very importantly, they are not resting on their longevity,” said GordonFreeman, executive producer of the show. “They continue to launch new product lines of precision measurement instruments to help multiple industries. That makes them a company we like to feature on World’s Greatest. We think their story will be meaningful to our viewers.”

We think so, too. Click on the media link above to see where it will air near you.

We’re heading over to the 8th annual Small Business Day next Friday, Feb. 8. Brought to you by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the half-day event will take a look at federal health care reform, financing strategies for your small business, the new LLC act and an update on policy issues from legislators.
Gov. Maggie Hassan will also attend.
Cost is $15 and you need to register. Call 224-5388×116 or click here.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

NH Division of Economic Development

Winners Honored at 9th Business Excellence Awards

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Thirteen businesspeople were honored Thursday night at the New Hampshire Business Review’s ninth annual Business Excellence Awards, which recognize the efforts and achievements owners and operators of companies with 100 employees or fewer.

More than 300 people attended the Oct. 27 event, which was held at the Radisson in Manchester.

NHBR also announced two inductees into the Business Excellence Hall of Fame, which singles out people whose entire careers have been marked by a consistent and impressive record of accomplishments, both in their chosen fields, in their communities, and across the state and beyond. These honorees were selected by a separate panel of judges.

The 2011 Hall of Fame inductees were Howard Brodsky, co-founder of CCA Global Partners, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States and one of the largest cooperatives in the world, and the Singer Family, owner of Merchants Automotive Group, a multifaceted, $200 million auto company, including a long-term fleet leasing division that is one of the largest in the Northeast.

“Each of the businesspeople who receive these honors has a different story to tell,” said Sharron McCarthy, president of McLean Communications and publisher of NHBR. “But what they have in common is determination, industriousness and the ability to come up with innovative solutions that have allowed their businesses to survive and thrive, regardless of economic conditions, and a commitment to serving their communities.”

Jeff Feingold, editor of NHBR, said, “We would like to salute all of the nominees, the people who nominated them and the winners themselves for their contributions toward making New Hampshire a great place to do business.”

Emcee was Erin Fehlau, WMUR’s weekday morning and noon news anchor. A portion of the proceeds from the evening benefited Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, which advocates for New Hampshire children in the state’s court system in cases of neglect and abuse.

The winners of the 2011 NHBR Business Excellences Awards were:

Excellence in Business Services — Guy Sylvester, Absolute Resource Associates, Portsmouth
Excellence in Construction (tie) — Jerry Kingwill, Cobb Hill Construction, Concord; Jason Foster, Foster’s Professional Painting Plus LLC, Claremont
Excellence in Financial Services — Michael L’Ecuyer, Bellwether Community Credit Union, Manchester
Excellence in Health Care — Paula Gagne, Regency Nursing Care, Manchester
Excellence in Hospitality — Emeran Langmaid, A&E Custom Coffee Roastery, Amherst
Excellence in Media & Marketing — Erik Dodier, PixelMEDIA Inc., Portsmouth
Excellence in Nonprofits — Brian Young, Nashua Center for the Multiply Handicapped
Excellence in Professional Services — Thomas Brueckner, Senior Financial Resources Inc., Nashua
Excellence in Real Estate — Dick Anagnost, Anagnost Investments Inc., Manchester
Excellence in Retail (tie) — Sy Mahfuz, Persian Rug Galleries, Nashua; Lynda Nelson, Quest Martial Arts Academy, Barrington
Excellence in Technology — Cheryl Gamst, CCS New England, Nashua

The judges for the 2011 NHBR Business Excellence Awards were:

Chris Bernard, vice president, business banking relationship manager, Citizens Bank
Steve Boucher, communications manager, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development
Mary Collins, state director, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center
Bob Esau, executive vice president of Wealth Management, Laconia Savings Bank
Greta Johansson, New Hampshire district director, U.S. Small Business Administration
Patrick F. McDermott, economic and community development manager, Public Service of New Hampshire
Dr. Russ Ouellette, managing partner, Sojourn Partners, Bedford
Michele Petersen, vice president of operations, abi Innovation Hub, Manchester
Joe Reilly, cofounder and president, Centrix Bank
Chip Underhill, executive director of public relations and external affairs, Pinkerton Academy, Derry
Sponsors of the event were FairPoint Communications, Laconia Savings Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, J Maze Design, Public Service of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Merrimack Street Volvo, WGIR-AM 610 and New Hampshire Public Television.

On behalf of all of us at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, thanks to our friends at the New Hampshire Business Review for a great awards celebration and congratulation to the winners and nominees!!

Romance, Recycling and No Bull TV

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Romance, recycling and a healthy dose of frontier justice – that’s what’s on tap in the newest “Earth friendly” entries on No Bull TV.

For those of you who’ve forgotten (which is understandable as we haven’t been posting a ton of videos lately in advance of our latest extravagonzos), No Bull TV is the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s YouTube station featuring vids on Greenerpalooza, the WMUR Project Economy Job Fair and Career Expo, the Jericho ATV Park and more.

This year, as previously referenced on the No Bull Business Blog, we have partnered with the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, Citizens Bank, Public Service of NH, Epiphanies Inc., New Hampshire Business Review and The Mountain to not only present Greenerpalooza III on August 12th, but to unveil the Granite Green Team, very much in evidence at select Meadowbrook concerts.

The Granite Green Team, a squad of eco-volunteers clad in very cool t-shirts designed by our friends at The Mountain, hands out seed cards with recycling and energy efficiency information on them at concerts throughout the Meadowbrook season. Located on the card is information that can also be used to sponsor the planting of a tree, a great way to build sustainability and encourage green practices.

To ensure that concert goers get the message about the benefits of recycling and observe eco-friendliness while visiting Meadowbrook, the Green Team pulled together a series of Public Service Announcements that make an important point while being entertaining at the same time.

In the following clips, Allen Voivod of Epiphanies Inc. fame, plays our resident rocker while PSNH Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott, Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion Marketing Director and I comprise the green jumpsuit stylin’ Granite Green Team. In the “Romance and Recycling” clip, Dan Freund of Kinney Hill (the video production team that did such a great job on this shoot) and Meadowbrook’s Kate Lilly play the couple who find love through recycling.

Special thanks to Emma Womack, Vice President of Corporate Development at Meadowbrook, for arranging the shoot and ensuring that these PSAs will run on the venue’s video wall throughout the 2010 season. Never thought that my buddies and I would be sharing the stage with Sugarland, Heart, Cheap Trick and the Zac Brown Band!!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Sig Sauer Captures Top State Economic Development Honors

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Sig Sauer was named “Company of the Year” as part of the “2009 Commissioner’s Awards for Economic Development Excellence” announced Tuesday at the 14th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit held at the Radisson Hotel Nashua.

NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald (l.) and Governor John Lynch (r.) congratulate Sig Sauer Counsel Steve Shawver on Sig's designation as "Commissioner's Company of the Year."

NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald (l.) and Governor John Lynch (r.) congratulate Sig Sauer Counsel Steve Shawver on Sig's designation as "Commissioner's Company of the Year."

“Sig Sauer is a company that truly exemplifies the meaning of the word ‘innovation’,” New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald said. “With a skilled workforce that is forward thinking and dedicated to creative product development, Sig Sauer has built a world class firm that New Hampshire can be proud of.”

The Exeter-based handgun manufacturer and distributor is an ISO 9001 certified company with over 380 employees. Sig Sauer has more than tripled its workforce in the past 30 months, invested $18M U.S. dollars in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and equipment and significantly expanded its engineering base.

Other category winners are as follows:

“Commissioner’s Special Achievement Award” – The Town of Colebrook for their community commitment to keeping Le Rendez-Vous bakery open when the business was in danger of closing due to a visa issue.

“Commissioner’s Exemplary Effort Award” – New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership Director of Operations Zenagui Brahim for his leadership in spearheading the Governor’s Manufacturing Leadership Series and the New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing & High Technology Summit.

Pat McDermott (c.) was given a special commendation for his years of exemplary service to the economic development community.

Pat McDermott (c.) was given a special commendation for his years of exemplary service to the economic development community.

“Commissioner’s Teamwork Award” – WMUR, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Southern New Hampshire University for organizing the two WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expos that helped to re-employ hundreds of New Hampshire workers.

“Commissioner’s Award for Media Excellence” – Jack Heath of WTPL for his outstanding “New Hampshire Today” program and his “First Class Business” segment which highlights positive business happenings in the state.

“Special Governor’s Commendation” – Public Service of New Hampshire Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott for his support of State business recruitment efforts and ongoing commitment to the New Hampshire business community.

The 14th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit was sponsored by Public Service of New Hampshire with support from media sponsor New Hampshire Business Review.

Hopes, Dreams and New Hampshire Spirit

Friday, August 28th, 2009

They arrived at 6 a.m. full of positive energy, good humor and the hope that today might be the day.  They arrived in business suits, jeans, dresses and shorts. They arrived knowing that there were over 1,000 available jobs and 150 companies looking for skilled workers.

wmur-job-fair-ii-015Over 5,000 job seekers made their way to the WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo sponsored by the State of New Hampshire, WMUR and New Hampshire Motor Speedway at the track yesterday. Several of the faces at the Job Fair seemed familiar – there was a bit of overlap from the First Project Economy Job Fair earlier in the year at Southern New Hampshire University. That event was notable for having to be closed down hours early when approximately 10,000 job seekers clogged streets and brought traffic to a standstill. It was also notable for employing over 500 citizens with many more hirings going unrecorded.

There were no such logistical issues yesterday at a venue that seats over 120,000 race fans at NASCAR events. Traffic moved briskly both on the road and in the four garages used to house displays from employers offering jobs ranging from IT technician to retail manager.

wmur-job-fair-ii-009Not only were job seekers able to speak with employers and distribute resumes, they were also able to learn resume writing and other employability skills at workshops that were jam packed throughout the day. Shortly after 10 a.m. when Miss New Hampshire Lindsey Graham stirred the crowd with the National Anthem, the word went out quickly that if you wanted to sign up for a workshop, you needed to be fleet of foot.

The New Hampshire spirit of volunteerism and neighbors helping neighbors was perhaps the most heartening  aspect of the day. In addition to the State team that joined with WMUR and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, there was a group of volunteers that gave their time, energy and passion to ensure that job seekers had a positive experience. There were the National Guard volunteers who whooped and hollered every time that the trams delivering the job seekers from the parking lot to the venue rode by, keeping spirits high and creating smiles. There was the team of workers young and old who arrived the day before the fair to set up tables and spread linens. There were also the event guardian angels who dealt with language barriers, crossed signals and endless questions, all with a genuine desire to just be part of a solution.

The Job Fair was not a place for singlemindedness. During the course of the day, I was a parking lot attendant, media representative, set-up crew member, tram assistant and official greeter for the Governor and Miss New Hampshire. I wasn’t the only one….not by a long stretch. Every member of the 90 person volunteer army was required to take on a number of different roles – when you’re trying to get folks employed, no job is too small or insignificant.

For me to thank everyone who played a part in the success of the event would be nearly impossible. What I will say is that anyone who played any part in taking care of their neighbors, friends, brothers, sisters at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on August 27th 2009 gave a part of their spirit and their soul to ensure that others would have a chance to put food on the table, provide for their children and contribute to our state’s economy and well-being. They deserve your thanks and your respect.

In closing, I happened to sit on a curb with an older woman midway through the day. She had just gotten laid off from her job on Monday and was hoping to get re-employed quickly. She was understandably down about her situation, but hopeful that one of the resumes that she dropped off would catch an employer’s eye and lead to a new opportunity.  I pray that she and all of the other hopeful faces I saw yesterday will receive the calls that they’ve been waiting for and can celebrate again…..but until then, please know that we all owe it to each other to look out for our neighbors and to lend a helping hand. After all, isn’t that what the New Hampshire spirit is all about?

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Manchester/Nashua Region Capture Top Forbes Magazine Honor

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Over the weekend I had the good fortune of being interviewed by WMUR’s Adam Sexton about the excellent news that the Manchester/Nashua region was named first on the list of “America’s 100 Cheapest Places to Live.”

“Among the U.S. cities with the most affordable housing and lowest cost of living, the Queen City offers the best combination of safety, employment opportunity and general quality of life,” Forbes magazine wrote.

Here’s the write-up that appeared on www.wmur.com:

Forbes Magazine has named the Manchester-Nashua area the cheapest place to live in America based on the area’s affordable housing, low cost of living and high quality of life.

Sometimes a list is just a list, but state economic development officials said this No. 1 ranking represents a promotional goldmine, WMUR News 9’s Adam Sexton reported.

manchskyline“Obviously, this is great news not only for Manchester and Nashua, but for the state of New Hampshire,” said Steve Boucher, the state Division Of Economic Development’s communications and legislative director.

Boucher said Forbes Magazine is validating what many locals already know.

“It just speaks to the high quality of life and — even in challenging economic times these days — it just proves that New Hampshire is still ahead of the curve in terms of the economy,” Boucher said.

Forbes wrote, “Among the U.S. cities with the most affordable housing and the lowest cost of living, the Queen City offers the best combination of safety, employment opportunity and general quality of life.”

The article continued, calling the Manchester-Nashua area “a haven for those repelled by the high price of living and doing business in other New England states.”

“I think it’s a great place to live,” said Joanne Novak, of Manchester.

Novak and Darlene Ramsey said they think the ranking could prompt more people to move to the area.

“The more the merrier,” Ramsey said.

Aaron Daigneault said the difference is clear when he travels.

“Compared to New York City and other cities I’ve been to, it’s very cheap,” Daigneault said.

“I know my parents always talk about how it’s affordable and it’s close to other locations, and here, you have the White (Mountains) real close, Boston’s close,” said Peter Scheuermann, of Pittsburgh, Pa., which ranked 10th on the Forbes list.

Boucher is going to make sure the word gets out to businesses, investors and people across the country.

“I know we’re going to be promoting this for a good long time now. This is excellent news,” Boucher said.

With this list, cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Modesto, Calif., just squeaked in at No. 92, but it made a different Forbes list earlier this year, ranking as the fifth most miserable city in America.

To view the televised segment, visit http://www.wmur.com/money/20101927/detail.html.

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Online Registration Now Open for WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Governor John Lynch today announced that online registrations are now being accepted for the WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo to take place on Thursday, August 27th from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon.

john_lynch“This job fair is a great opportunity for anyone in the job market, whether they are first-time job seekers or are in search of a new career,” Governor Lynch said. “I urge anyone seeking employment to sign up online as soon as possible.”

Thus far, 105 area employers have signed up to take part in the event. The first WMUR Project Economy Job Fair & Career Expo held April 9th at Southern New Hampshire University, drew an overflow crowd and resulted in the hiring of at least 450 workers.

bartlett-head-shot“We are happy to do our part to help bring jobs to the people of New Hampshire,” said WMUR General Manager Jeff Bartlett.  “Our Project Economy initiative is all about getting people employed, helping them find ways to save money and thriving during challenging times. Partnering with the State and New Hampshire Motor Speedway on another job fair is a natural fit for WMUR.”

Once again, the Project Economy job fair team has assembled a team of state and local partners that will bring together employers and job seekers for a day of networking, workshops and career connections. Southern New Hampshire University and its State colleagues will join to present resume writing, interviewing and job readiness workshops as part of the day’s offerings.

gappens_193“New Hampshire Motor Speedway is thrilled to be able to do its part to assist local citizens in their efforts to find good jobs and provide for their families,” said NHMS General Manager Jerry Gappens. “Being a community partner is a large part of our mission and we’re very pleased to be part of the great team organizing what’s sure to be a tremendous event.”

Job seekers are invited to register online at http://www.nh.gov/nhes/news/jobfairs_expos.htm. Businesses interested in taking part in the event are asked to register at visiting www.wmur.com/nh-job-fair. All questions about business registration should be directed to Business Registration Coordinator Stuart Arnett at (603) 219-0043.

EDAC to be Featured on “New Hampshire’s Business”

Friday, June 19th, 2009

UPDATED – This segment will actually run next Sunday, June 28th at the same time. The status of business taxes will be featured this Sunday.

The work of the New Hampshire Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) will be in the spotlight on WMUR’s “New Hampshire’s Business” segment on Sunday, June 21st as part of the 7-9 a.m. newscast.


Hosted by Fred Kocher (who serves as a key member of the Advisory Council), the segment will feature New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy as well as Council member Mark Godfrey, President of Felton Brush.

The duo will discuss the formation and work of the EDAC and provide an update on the progress of the five Action Teams assembled to tackle subjects as varied as the development of a “green” economy and the refining of the state’s workforce development system.

For the uninitiated, the EDAC is a 25-member board legislatively created to provide counsel to the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development on all aspects of doing business in the Granite State.

Do your Dad a favor and wake him up early on Sunday with this Father’s Day present – coffee with WMUR, Fred Kocher and the EDAC!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director