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Archive for September, 2009

Steve Forbes to Make Rare Radio Appearance on WTPL

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Just wanted to give all of my economic and business peeps a heads-up about a special rare radio appearance by Forbes Magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes on Jack Heath’s “New Hampshire Today” program this Friday at 4:30 p.m.

steve-forbesForbes will discuss federal spending and how it affects the current business climate in the United States, a forecast of the nation’s real estate prospects and his thoughts on how New Hampshire will fare economically in 2010.

Make plans to join the “New Hampshire Today” show on Friday for this rare appearance!

NSF $1.2M Grant to Support Hanover-Plymouth-Manchester High Bandwidth Research and Education Network

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Plans for high speed linkages that connect Northern New Hampshire to Manchester and extend into additional networks in Northern New England received a major boost when the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $1.2 million grant to support building this fiber path.  The funds will create new linkages among higher education institutions in New Hampshire, including the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and Dartmouth College to help support collaborative research and education initiatives regionally, nationally, and internationally.

broadband-1Funds are being awarded through the NSF’s EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Office’s Research Infrastructure Improvement Program Track-2 grant (RII Track-2).  The University of New Hampshire, which hosts the New Hampshire EPSCoR Office, is the grant recipient.  The University System of New Hampshire operates the current network that serves its four institutions and provides Internet and connectivity services to the Community College System of New Hampshire, and several K-12 schools, libraries, public service centers, and public health and safety organizations across the state.  These funds will, in part, help advance larger efforts to develop a regional optical network that will have significantly greater bandwidth speed and help address current and future bandwidth demands. 

“This research and corresponding network development will thrust New Hampshire and the northeast region into the international research stage with the ability to collaborate with cyber-enabled tools and resources in ways that have not yet been possible,” said Scott Valcourt, UNH director of project management and consulting services for information technology and the New Hampshire principal investigator.  “That research will have other economic development and quality of life benefits for New Hampshire citizens.”

The grant is a result of collaborative work by multiple NSF EPSCoR states that helped form the Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (NECC) in 2006.  Officials in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Delaware initiated two related efforts to identify and promote the shared use of research facilities across the region and assess and address cyber-infrastructure needs. The NSF EPSCoR grant, combined with the National Institutes of Health Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Supplement grant award to Dartmouth in August 2009, adds research infrastructure in a region of the country where the lack of bandwidth presents a significant barrier to tapping regional and national resources. The COBRE Supplement will extend the core research network to include Keene State College.

“Many of our leading academic centers that are constrained by the current fiber capacity will benefit, including the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at UNH, the Northern New England Computing Grid that is led by Dartmouth, and the Plymouth State University Meteorology Program,” said Tom Franke, the USNH chief information officer.  “The fiber optic path will also continue to the University of Vermont, creating another significant opportunity for research collaboration.”

The NECC states have created NEBC (North East Bioinformatics Collaborative), a virtual organization that facilitates research projects that require data analysis for large data sets. Pilot projects on issues such as algae blooms are planned and the regional network will enable participating states to collaborate, exchange students, and work together from remote locations by taking advantage of video conferencing and other high speed services not currently available. The majority of the funds will be used for 12 fiber strands from Manchester to Plymouth to Hanover, the electronic equipment to operate the fiber network, and support for student participants in the algae bloom studies taking place in the NECC states. 

The NSF established EPSCoR to assist states that traditionally have received lower levels of federal funding. Since New Hampshire became an EPSCoR jurisdiction in 2004, more than $15 million in EPSCoR research grants have been awarded by NSF, NASA, and the departments of energy and defense. NH EPSCoR is administered by the University of New Hampshire with oversight by a 14-member committee composed of representatives from industry, government and academia.

Few Slots Left for Free “Maximizing Your Web Presence” Workshop

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Just a quick reminder that there are a few slots left for this Thursday’s “Maximizing Your Web Presence” workshop to be held at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, 172 Pembroke Road in Concord from 9 a.m.-noon.

glassglobeDuring this interactive workshop, Link Moser of Windhill Design will help participants develop valuable skills in keyword research, discover how their site stands now in comparison to their online competition and gain an introduction to Pay-Per-Click, local search and social media.

With 90 percent of online traffic being generated via search engines, it’s imperative for companies to ensure that their business’ names fight their way to the top of the Web pile.

To pre-register, contact Leslie Sherman at 271-2591 or lsherman@dred.state.nh.us.

Social Networking – It’s Smart Business

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

As you are well aware, the No Bull Business Blog is a huge fan of social networking. We know of its power to link people and to serve as a tremendous business tool for the business community.

tomorrows-business-advice-logoWith that in mind, we’re pleased to present this month’s “Tomorrow’s Business Advice Today” column by Dr. Russ Ouellette of Sojourn Partners. In this column, Russ talks about “embracing the new realities of social relationships for results” and the importance of expanding our networks.

Still not sure what Facebook, Twitter and blogs can do to help your bottom line? Check out this link as Russ pulls all of the pieces together for you:  http://nheconomy.com/Tommorrows-Business-Advice-Today.aspx.

No Bull TV Launches – Ole!!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

At this stage of my professional career, vanity is out the window. It’s all about creating the type of stir that will drive results in a creative, non-traditional fashion.

That’s why on one warm August afternoon, I found myself in the middle of a field at Miles Smith Farm (www.milessmithfarm.com)  in Loudon wearing a matador outfit (complete with Jerry Seinfeld “puffy shirt”) and waving a red cape in front of 1,500 pound Scottish Highlander cattle.

Square Spot Design Creative Director Lisa Williams and "El Matador" Steve Boucher

Square Spot Design Creative Director Lisa Williams and "El Matador" Steve Boucher

The reason I was partaking in this activity was relatively simple – the NH Division of Economic Development needed to kick off its “No Bull TV” YouTube campaign in high energy, full speed ahead fashion. What better way to tell the New Hampshire business community about our desire to provide them with the best possible information (minus the bull) than by driving all of the “bull” out of the state?

Considering the fact that there appear to be few or no live, breathing bulls in the state and the mechanical variety seem to be in short supply, the Scottish Highland Cattle at Miles Smith Farm were a more than suitable substitute. With the tremendous assistance of Farm Co-Owner Carole Soule, we were able to craft a fun YouTube spot with the great setting of a farm that has been in operation since the 1850’s. Miles Smith Farm is a historic jewel in our state with 36 acres and a tremendous view that allows its owners to view the July 4th fireworks from five neighboring towns.

Our message of the YouTube campaign is simple – we’re listening to you. In every interaction with business leaders and private sector partners, we’ve heard the same refrain, Give us something different….present information to us in a way that no one else is so that we can stand up and take notice.

NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher and Miles Smith Farm Co-Owner Carol Soule (sporting the "No Bull Business Blog" baseball cap)

NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher and Miles Smith Farm Co-Owner Carol Soule (sporting the "No Bull Business Blog" baseball cap)

The job of a State Communications Director is to inform, entertain and interpret and somewhere down the line, the whole notion of entertaining and challenging our audience got lost. Let’s face it – there are millions of communications vehicles available to business owners so it is not only our mission but our mandate to reach out to our audience in ways that make them want to come back to us again.

So if our “No Bull TV” spots lead folks to the door, here’s what they’ll find on this blog – information about new grant opportunities, news about training sessions and economic development tools that save businesses time and money and invitations to events that increase the knowledge base of CEOs and line workers alike.

With that in mind, please take a moment to view our two new “No Bull TV” spots on our Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/nobulltv. Make this channel a regular stop while you surf the Web or really go out on a limb and become a subscriber. In the days and months ahead, we’ll be featuring some “Innovation Rocks!” winners, shining a spotlight on some emerging business leaders and hyping some pretty awesome events.

Much thanks to Carole Soule at Miles Smith Farm for her assistance in bringing a neat idea to fruition, to Jud Bartlett and Lisa Williams at Square Spot Design for their logistical and creative assistance, to Allen Voivod at Epiphanies, Inc. for expertly setting up our YouTube channel and to John Herman whose excellent artistic direction and filming made for a great shoot. And oh, by the way, John is the guy you see in the second spot getting the rough treatment after “speaking in bull.”

Welcome to the debut of “No Bull TV” and please be sure to tell your friends about it!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Economic Development Officials “Heroes in Hard Times”

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Congratulations are in order for New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald and New Hampshire Division of Economic Development North Country Business Resource Specialist Beno Lamontagne for their role in the state being mentioned in People Magazine’s “Heroes in Hard Times” section (9/14/09 issue).

Both Commissioner Bald and Beno were instrumental in saving a Colebrook eatery by helping the owner work through visa issues, and though the Commissioner wasn’t named in the article, everyone “in the know” recognizes his vital role in the effort. Here’s the text of the article:

Bonding Over Baguettes

Every morning for the past eight years, French-born couple Verlaine Daeron, 51, and Marc Ounis, 62, have risen at 3 a.m. to roll dough and mold madelines for customers of their bakery Le Rendez-Vous Cafe. But their American dream came crashing down in March, when Verlaine went to Paris to renew her U.S. visa and was denied because her business was deemed “marginal.”

Beno Lamontagne

Beno Lamontagne

Not to residents of Colebrook (pop. 2,600) who loved their little piece of Paris and considered its French proprietors their own. “They’re good, decent people, and there’s not too many of those left,” says Caleb Skousen, a Rendez-Vous regular.

After the couple’s friend Beno Lamontagne persuaded the local paper to do a story on their plight, hundreds of people sent letters of support; Verlaine forwarded a 2-lb. stack of testimonials to the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Her visa renewal was granted in May and she and Marc are back to baking. The publicity has led to a flood of tourists and much-needed business for the town.

“In a small town,” Verlaine says, “everyone’s behind you.”

Great job by Commissioner Bald, Beno, the citizens of Colebrook and the Rendez-Vous Cafe!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

LRCC and Division of Economic Development Partner on Energy Grant

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) has received a $168,500 (grant through the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) with the NH Division of Economic Development as the sponsoring partner.  The grant will be used to develop an Energy Auditor Training Program statewide to increase the number of trained energy auditors in the NH workforce.

The first two-week intensive training will be held at LRCC beginning on Monday, September 14, 2009.

168500-energy-auditor-training-2009“College personnel are very pleased to partner with the Division of Economic Development to provide energy auditor training throughout New Hampshire,” says LRCC President, Dr. Mark Edelstein (Laconia).  “The partnership will enable us to offer the course at a significantly reduced cost, making it much easier for people to get this training and prepare for jobs in the rapidly expanding green economy.”

“Given the rise of green jobs and the need for energy auditors statewide, this grant is tremendous news for New Hampshire,” says New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director, Roy Duddy. “This training will not only allow more New Hampshire businesses and residents to become more energy efficient, it will also provide an excellent career path for interested students.”

Students completing the training satisfactorily will be able to apply for the coveted Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst certification allowing them to become energy auditors, analysts, building operators, resource conservation managers, technical service representatives, measurement and verification technicians, and many other related professions.

LRCC will function as the hub site but will also provide the training at five other sites around the state between September and December.

The LRCC Energy Auditor Training Program will be taught by Building Energy Technologies, LLC, Principal, Andy Duncan, Ph.D. (Bow), and other energy specialists from his company headquartered in Bow.  Duncan plans to cover building science, professional energy assessments, infrared thermal imaging, types of heat transfer, blower door/ air leakage testing, insulation basics, domestic hot water efficiency, moisture issues, and fuel combustion safety.

“The course is an excellent opportunity for those interested in becoming building energy analysts,” says Duncan, who was a professor of Environmental Science at New England College (Henniker) from 1997 to 2003. “It is short but intensive, and can be demanding for students who are not already familiar with building energy diagnostic equipment.”

For additional information, contact LRCC Academic Affairs Vice President, Tom Goulette (Belmont), or Administrative Secretary, Andree Thibault (Concord), at 524-3207. Registrations are now being accepted.

State Tourism Officials Name Winner of NH Dream Vacation Promotion

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I love great promotions and in that spirit, I’d like to tip my hat to my Travel & Tourism counterpart Tai Freligh, Director Alice DeSouza and the rest of their team for this tremendous contest. Great job folks!


Concord, NH, September 4, 2009 – The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development has announced the winner of the New Hampshire Dream Vacation Promotion held this summer.  Kristen Bucaria, of Smithtown, N.Y., won the contest for her “LakeLover” entry: a photo of herself waterskiing on Lake Winnipesaukee holding the “I Love it Here” sign.  Bucaria, who is 19 years old, has vacationed with her family every summer for a week on Lake Winnipesaukee since she was three months old.  She wins the prize of a custom-designed New Hampshire Dream Vacation worth $2,500.

iloveithere“Lake Winnipesaukee is my favorite place in the world!” said Bucaria, an enthusiastic sophomore at Bucknell University and a member of its swim team.  “We’ve never won anything like this before and my family is so excited – we always can’t wait to come back to New Hampshire, but now next summer will be even more special!’

The Division of Travel and Tourism kicked off the contest in early May at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism at Waterville Valley, and it ran through August 16.  According to officials, hundreds of participants from around the country joined in the fun, uploading more than 700 photos.

“I entered the contest for the fun of it really; we saw the I Love it Here cards in our realtor’s office when we picked up the keys to our rental,” said Bucaria.  “I taped up the sign with clear packing tape so it wouldn’t get wet and tucked it into my life vest. Dad drove the boat. My brother was the spotter. My mom snapped the photo! And I got really tired arms from holding the sign above my head – but it was worth it! It really was a family effort – and we’ll enjoy the prize as a family too!”

According to state tourism officials, the NH Dream Vacation contest encouraged NH residents and visitors to get out and explore the state, snap photos with the “I Love it Here” signs, and upload them to the website.

“This contest was one of the most popular promotions I have ever been a part of,” said Alice DeSouza, Director of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development.  “It engaged residents and visitors to express what they love about New Hampshire; it energized our hospitality partners including inns, B&Bs, restaurants and attractions who came up with creative ways to promote the contest; and it even generated a great deal of excitement from celebrities with connections to New Hampshire!  We also used social media networks for the first time to promote this contest, and we had outstanding results, especially on our new Facebook page.”

During the four months that the contest ran, the www.nhdreamvacation.com website saw more than 44,000 visits and over 863,000 page views.  The vast majority of entrants were New Hampshire residents, followed by Massachusetts.  There were also entrants from several other states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Maine and New York.

The top 25 vote-getting photos, including the winner, can be viewed at the contest website.  The NH Dream Vacation photo galleries, including the top 25 and all of the celebrity photos, will remain on the fan page at www.facebook.com/VisitNH.  You can also view the photo on the VisitNH Flickr page here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26514027@N04/3886559129/.

“Ten Grand to Grow” Contest Announced

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Small businesses in the Granite State would be wise to consider entering the following contest which is providing “Ten Grand to Grow.” Here are the details from the nice folks over at Perry Banks:

Wright Express Reaches Out to ME and NH Small Businesses,
Calls for Entries to its “Ten Grand to Grow” Contest

Wright Express Corporation [NYSE:WXS], a leading provider of payment processing and information management services to the U.S. commercial and government vehicle fleet industry, is calling for entries to its “Ten Grand to Grow” contest for small businesses.

As the country’s economic recession continues to be a hot topic of discussion, Wright Express acknowledges the importance of supporting local small businesses during a time they need it the most.

wright-expressTo help small businesses, Wright Express has created its first-ever contest targeted specifically at Maine- and New Hampshire-based small businesses.  To enter, each business must submit a brief description of how it would use $10,000 to boost its company in the country’s current tough economic environment.  Entries will be ranked by a panel of judges, including Wright Express president and CEO Mike Dubyak, and will be scored based on the most compelling responses.  Former Maine governor Angus King and WGME news anchor Kim Block have signed on to judge the competition.

“Small businesses are vital to any local environment, but are often hit hardest in an economic recession,” Dubyak said.  “We are excited to provide this unique opportunity to Maine and New Hampshire’s small business community, and are pleased to add Angus King to our panel of judges, as he has seen firsthand the need for small business support in the region.  We hope our contest will give the winners the momentum necessary to thrive.”

Think you’re eligible?  If your business owns between 4-30 company-affiliated vehicles and is located in Maine or New Hampshire, then you’re already halfway to the finish line.  Entry forms are available online at www.10grandtogrow.com or at Wright Express, 225 Gorham Road in South Portland, Maine.  The deadline for entries is noon on September 9, 2009.

The contest’s grand prize winner will receive $10,000 to fuel their business needs, and one runner up will receive 4 WEXSmart GPS units plus a complimentary year of service. 

Winners will be announced September 17, 2009 at a grand finale celebration hosted at Wright Express, and will be featured on WGME.

A Great Opportunity to “Stay, Work & Play”

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Now more than ever, states are working diligently to keep their best and brightest talent right at home. Thankfully, in New Hampshire, there is a new initiative that has made youth retention top priority.

With that in mind, we have some great news to share as the temporary Stay Work Play web site is now live at www.stayworkplay.org.  Our good friend Matt Cookson at the University System of New Hampshire has been a tremendous leader on this project and is currently seeking to feature content on the planned permanent site that includes stories, images and video of individual’s stories.  This is the ongoing effort that is building on the 55% Initiative and encouraging more young workers to look carefully at NH as a place to stay, work, and play.   The temporary site was designed to hold background information on the SWP organization as it works toward building the larger site and launching it later this year.   

stay-work-playDesigned as a destination site for the 20-30 year old market, this website will include robust content around the three major themes, links to employment tools and opportunities, and social marketing tools and services. The group wants to include as much original content in this site as possible.  As a result, they are soliciting content suggestions through their Facebook group called “Stay Work Play NH”.  They are encouraging people to post on this group page brief testimonials about why they chose to settle in NH and what they like best about the state, photos of them in one of their favorite NH places or doing one of their favorite activities in the state, and links to videos posted on You Tube that showcase something special about NH.  Please consider joining the group, posting content, and sharing this with others.  Content and linkages can also be sent directly to Matt Cookson at matt.cookson@usnh.edu. Great job Matt and company!