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Archive for November, 2009

State Business Recruitment Team Up to the TASK

Monday, November 30th, 2009

We are consistently touting the fact that our two person business recruitment team comprised of Michael Bergeron, State Business Development Manager and Cindy Harrington, State Business Recruiter, is the best in the country. With expertise, determination and perseverance, Mike and Cindy consistently develop new opportunities to help businesses expand and relocate to the Granite State.

A perfect example is the recent expansion of the Canadian firm TASK Micro-electronics Inc. to the Pease International Tradeport. Cindy worked tirelessly to ensure that this growing company could not only find “a” U.S. base of operations, but rather “the” perfect location for their company expansion.

Here’s the text of a recent Portsmouth Herald story by Michael McCord detailing TASK’s recent expansion:

TASK Comes to Pease for Defense Contracting Work

For TASK Micro-electronics Corp., setting down operations at Pease International Tradeport recently was a matter of the old read estate adage — location, location, location.

TASK is the American subsidiary of a 23-year-old Canadian contract manufacturing firm, TASK Micro-Electronics Inc., which serves the defense, medical and avionics industries.

task-usa1Dan Graveson, president of U.S. operations, said the company moved to 222 International Drive at Pease to take advantage of subcontracting opportunities with major defense contractors — a more difficult challenge for foreign companies due to International Trade and Arms Regulations.

“It’s a lot easier to get (subcontracting work) if you’re located in the United States,” said Graveson, a New Hampshire native who was TASK’s vice president of corporate development at the company’s Montreal headquarters. “We needed a presence in the United States.”

TASK is a private company with revenues in the $15 million to $20 million range and it makes customer-specified components for hearing aids, robotics, lasers and optics, sensors, cameras, diagnostic devices for medical and military industries. Graveson said TASK expects to begin contract manufacturing in the next few months and will concentrate on the defense industry — though it eventually could branch out into the medical devices field as well, given the concentration of defense and medical manufacturing companies in New England.

The firm already has 10 workers and is preparing for initial defense contracts by having 20 assemblers, technicians and engineers on standby ready to start. “You sometimes have to wait a while for a (defense-related) contract but when you get one, they want the product yesterday,” Graveson said.

TASK landed in Portsmouth after an extensive search to meet three main needs — be within a day’s drive of Montreal, be within an hour of Boston where defense and medical manufacturers are located, and have a low tax burden.

“We chose Portsmouth because of its amazing quality of life and the low cost of living we can offer our employees,” Graveson said. The N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development was instrumental, he said, in helping the company find a home.

“They (DRED) treated us as though we were bringing 5,000 jobs here,” he said. During one 3½-day exploration trip in late 2008, Graveson and a DRED official visited 14 cities and saw 35 buildings in southern New Hampshire.

“Financially, we could have made it work in Nashua or Salem, but it came down to locations in Dover or Portsmouth,” he said. “I love the ocean and, frankly, we believe this is a great location to attract talented workers.”

Because of a potential surge in defense subcontracting work, Graveson believes the American subsidiary can thrive and surpass its Canadian counterpart in revenue size and eventually grow to more than 100 employees.

The company currently has 11,000 square feet of space but can expand to 25,000 square feet if necessary for manufacturing operations. TASK specializes in miniaturization of almost anything electronics related and is known for its avionics and medical hearing aid manufacturing — and for making the smallest camera in the world, Graveson said.

“We take a customer’s design and can miniaturize it to help add to the technology they have,” he said. “For military contractors, it’s vital to meet SWAP (size, weight, and power) specifications to decrease the amount of power used in equipment used by soldiers on the battlefield. We don’t want them to have to choose between batteries and bullets.”

Welcome to TASK and great work Cindy!

Common Man Donates Over $45,000 to Local Charities

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the State of New Hampshire can give thanks to great companies that embody the spirit of corporate citizenship. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at a press conference celebrating The Common Man Family of Restaurants charitable efforts. Owner Alex Ray, who was recently honored with the Cornerstone Humanitarian Award by the National Restaurant Association, has been a great friend and partner to the economic development community and we salute him and his team for their commitment to the Granite State. Here’s the press release that emanated from yesterday’s event:

The Common Man family of restaurants in New Hampshire celebrated receiving a national humanitarian award by joining with local business partners in donating more than $45,000 to five Granite State charities.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray and Judy Gove of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op join New Hampshire Governor John Lynch in presenting a donation of $15,345 to New Hampshire Food Bank Executive Director Melanie Gosselin.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray and Judy Gove of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op join New Hampshire Governor John Lynch in presenting a donation of $15,345 to New Hampshire Food Bank Executive Director Melanie Gosselin.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray, CEO Jason Lyon and Vice President Diane Downing announced the largest donation of the award event to the New Hampshire Food Bank of Manchester, which received $15,345 from the Common Man family, raised at an annual golf tournament and through sales in nine restaurants of bottles of water filtered with the Common Man’s new sustainable AquaHealth filtration system.   That donation was matched in full with a presentation by Judy Gove of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op Foundation, bringing the total gifted to the food bank to $30,690.

Lyon also noted that AquaHealth President Barclay Hansen partnered with the Common Man in its charitable efforts earlier in the month, donating $100 per Common Man location using the sustainable water filtration system to the New Hampshire Food Bank, for a total of $900.

“We will make our goals for the holiday after today’s donations, so for that, I thank you,” said Melanie Gosselin, executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. “There are only a few events that leave you speechless, and today was one of them.”

Common Man owner Alex Ray was named the Cornerstone Humanitarian of the Year by the National Restaurant Association in a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C., and said he wanted to continue the spirit of the award here at home by helping non-profits that make a difference in the state.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch congratulated Ray and the Common Man family with a proclamation, citing the good works the restaurant’s staff and employees do in local communities.

“Alex understands he has a responsibility to the community, and I don’t know anyone in New Hampshire who takes that more seriously than Alex,” said Governor Lynch.

Also receiving a significant donation was Webster Place Center of Franklin, a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center founded by Ray after he saved the historic property from demolition and made extensive renovations to open it as a treatment facility.

Ray presented a check to Webster Place Center Executive Director John Knowles for $5,000 from the National Restaurant Association, as Ray’s work building the center was the focus of the Cornerstone Humanitarian Award, and a matching donation of $5,000 from The Common Man family for a total gift of $10,000.

Downing welcomed representatives of the American Cancer Society in New Hampshire and its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign to accept a $4,514 donation from a summer promotion that included the sale of “Strides Salads” at all Common Man-named restaurants. The salad was created by Common Man Concord Chef Shane Milianes and a portion of proceeds of each salad sold was designated for Making Strides.

Rounding out the organizations receiving donations were the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter (NSKS), which received $500 to help continue its efforts to fight hunger and homelessness in the greater Nashua area. The donation was a result of a gift card ad done by the Common Man family, which pledged $2 of every card redeemed at The Common Man restaurant in Merrimack to NSKS.

The Easter Seals of New Hampshire Veterans Count fund also received a $100 donation, the final tally from a Veteran’s Day “American as Apple Pie” promotion done by some of the Common Man’s locations in southern New Hampshire, which pledged $1 per slice of apple pie sold to benefit the fund in memory of U.S. Marines Cpl. Michael Ouellette, a Manchester native who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in March.

NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher lauds the Common Man's charitable efforts.

NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher lauds the Common Man's charitable efforts.

During the donation event, Steve Boucher, Communications and Legislative Director for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, named The Common Man family the department’s “First Class Business” for December, recognizing its 38 year history of community involvement and calling it a role model for other businesses to emulate.

Lyon closed the event noting that the restaurant family’s support of the New Hampshire Food Bank during this time of increased demand continues with the sale of a holiday coupon book sold at all Common Man family locations during the holiday season. Each $10 coupon book is full of offers – from a free entrée to discounted overnight rates at the Common Man Inns, and the entire purchase price goes to the New Hampshire Food Bank, said Lyon.

“If there was ever a time to feel hopeful, thankful and grateful, it’s the holidays,” said Lyon. “We hope this helps you kick off the season in a wonderful way, and inspires residents, businesses and organizations across the state to follow the mantra The Common Man family lives by, ‘Do well by doing good’,” said Lyon. “Stop and think, have you done good today? Your efforts really do make a difference.”

Northeast’s First Harley-Davidson Retail Outlet Opens in Tilton

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Great news from our friends at Laconia Harley Davidson – congratulations Anne and Steve Deli and the rest of the LHD family!

Harley-Davidson enthusiasts now have a new place to shop for great deals, just in time for the holiday season as a Laconia Harley-Davison Merchandise Outlet opened Saturday at Tanger Outlet Center in Tilton, NH.

“The opening of Laconia Harley’s Outlet Store at Tanger Outlets represents a milestone for Harley-Davidson,” according to Anne Deli, President of Laconia Harley-Davidson. “This is the only Harley-Davidson Outlet in the northeast and the first expansion of Laconia Harley-Davidson stores.”

laconia-harley-davidsonAccording to Deli, the Tanger location was strategically chosen because of the ability to introduce the Harley-Davidson brand to an entirely new customer base. Shoppers can expect to receive great offers on current Harley fashions and merchandise.

“This is tremendous news for the state of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “Since assuming ownership of Laconia Harley Davidson, Anne and Steve Deli have been tremendous partners in stimulating economic development and building upon the Granite State’s excellent business atmosphere. Being the home of the only Harley-Davidson retail outlet in the northeast is a tremendous coup for New Hampshire and we thank the Deli’s for their commitment to our state.”

The Laconia Harley-Davidson Outlet Store in Tilton is American Road Group’s latest business move in New Hampshire.  American Road Group, which purchased the Laconia Harley-Davidson and White Mountain Harley-Davidson dealerships in late 2008, now operates 17 Harley-Davidson dealerships and merchandise stores around the country.  

“There’s a bright future for Harley-Davidson in New Hampshire,” said Deli. “We see great promise in New Hampshire. The state’s business climate lends itself well to our company, and we look forward to continuing to build our brand here.”

A New Hotspot and a Punchline to Boot

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

As we all know, quality of life considerations play a large role in a business’ decision to expand or relocate to a state.

Standing alongside favorable tax structure, government assistance and infrastructure are school quality, recreational opportunities and entertainment offerings in a CEO’s list of “must haves” as they relate to establishing a business home.

taproom_headerBearing that in mind, my blog on the NHBR Network this week celebrates the opening of Boynton’s Taproom, a new business that embodies some of the best “quality of life attributes” that the Granite State is known for.

To read the posting, visit http://www.nhbrnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-hotspotwith-a-punchline-1. And if you haven’t signed up as a member of the NHBR Network, the state’s first business-to-business networking site, what are you waiting for??

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Workforce Housing Forum Scheduled

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

As we all know, workforce housing is of great importance to the health of a community and economic development efforts. The good folks at the Rockingham Planning Commission and the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast are partnering to hold a great forum that will help local officials learn about the state’s new workforce housing law. Here’s the text of the flyer we received: 

The Rockingham Planning Commission and the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast have partnered to present a forum on November 30th from 5-7  p.m. at RiverWoods at Exeter – The Ridge Campus on municipal responses to New Hampshire’s new workforce housing law, which takes effect January 1, 2010.

workforce-housingThe goal of the workshop is to provide guidance to local officials working to meet their community’s obligations under the statute. Learn about how to assess your current regulatory environment, and hear from your peers about how they’re working to provide opportunities for workforce housing.

The forum will be broken into two parts:

Community Housing Audits – Brian Groth and Glenn Greenwood of the RPC will outline an audit process that helps to determine if a community provides adequate opportunity for workforce housing or if additional steps need to be taken in order to ensure compliance with the law.

Community Responses to the Workforce Housing Law – Philip Wilson (Town of North Hampton), Kim Reed (Town of Rye), and a member of the Deerfield Workforce Housing Advisory Committee will share their experiences as they have attempted to expand workforce housing opportunities in their communities. How did they determine what kind of regulatory response to pursue? What were lessons learned in the process? Were they successful with voters? What’s next? Time will be allotted to allow audience members to ask questions of the panelists.

There is no cost for this workshop but pre-registration is required. Refreshments will be provided. Contact Roxanne Rines to pre-register at 603-778-0885.

Cobham Defense Electronic Systems Named November “Innovation Rocks!” Award Winner

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Cobham Defense Electronics Systems, a major manufacturer of cable systems sold to the U.S. government and major aerospace and defense companies, has captured the New Hampshire Business Resource Center’s “Innovation Rocks!” award for the month of November.

cobham1Cobham, a U.S. subsidiary of Cobham plc, a publicly traded, U.K. aerospace and defense company with over 75 years experience in avionics, flight operation services and manufacturing, was recognized for its custom solutions and integrated assemblies for radar, electronic warfare and communication systems for the aerospace and defense industries. Soon, the company’s Exeter presence will expand even further as the company celebrates a ribbon cutting symbolizing the creation of 80 new jobs related to the creation of cable systems. 

“We applaud Cobham’s ongoing commitment to New Hampshire and to creating products that keep our nation safe,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “ This company, which employs more than 12,000 people on five continents, is an excellent example of an ongoing commitment to innovation and job creation.”

For more information about Cobham, visit www.cobhamdes.com

“Innovation Rocks!” is an initiative sponsored by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center in coordination with Rock 101 (WGIR-FM) and the The Pavilion at the Hilton Garden Inn Manchester Downtown to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of New Hampshire innovators.

Deadline Nears For SBA Disaster Loans

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Just received this from the folks over at the U.S. Small Business Administration:

The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding businesses in New Hampshire that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are still available to small businesses economically impacted by the severe ice storm that occurred December 11, 2008.

“Businesses that suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster and want to apply for low­interest loans from the SBA are urged to do so before the December 5 deadline,” said Frank Skaggs, Director of SBA Field Operations Center East.

ice-stormSmall businesses in the following counties are eligible to apply: Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan in New Hampshire; Essex, Middlesex and Worcester counties in Massachusetts; York County in Maine and Caledonia, Essex, Orange and Windsor counties in Vermont.

Loans are available up to $2 million for small businesses that suffered substantial economic injury from the disaster. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. These loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

The interest rate on these loans is 4 percent, with a maximum term of 30 years. The SBA determines the amount of economic injury and the terms of each loan based on the financial circumstances of each borrower. The SBA determines eligibility for the program based on the size and type of business and its financial resources.

To obtain a loan application, interested business owners should contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing-impaired) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Business disaster loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Victims may visit the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ to apply for disaster loans.

The deadline for economic injury applications is December 5, 2009.

The Network Instinct – Go With It

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Famed management consultant Peter Drucker once wryly observed that “More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject.”

russ-ouellette-2Networking is not only a skill, it is an art form with nuances, tactics and goals. In this month’s “Tomorrow’s Business Advice Today,” Dr. Russ Ouellette, DM of Bedford, NH-based Sojourn Partners discusses the value of networking and how good relationships result in positive Return on Investment (ROI).

To read this great column, visit http://www.nheconomy.com/tomorrows-business-advice-today/.

Welcome to My Planet

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Baffled by “government speak”? Not sure where your “cheese” got moved or whether “agreeance” is an actual term or some tripe that was uttered in the latest episode of “The Office”?

kirkIf you’ve ever wondered why bureaucrats and corporate America often speak a language that only dogs can hear when they tilt their heads at a 90 degree angle, you might want to check out “Welcome to My Planet,” my newest post on the NH Business Review Network. The NH Business Review Network is the first online business-to-business networking site in New Hampshire and provides businesspeople around New Hampshire with a new platform with which to network, learn and share information.

To check out my newest post as well as all of the other great content, visit www.nhbrnetwork.com.

-Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

“Life in the Years” the Focus of “First Class Business”

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

What happens when music and message collide in a glorious explosion of sound and social awareness? If you want to find out, you should make plans to listen to WTPL’s “First Class Business” segment on Wednesday, November 4th at 4 p.m. when Moore Center Services President & CEO Paul Boynton is featured.

Moore Center Services President & CEO Paul Boynton

Moore Center Services President & CEO Paul Boynton

Boynton, whose Manchester-based agency supports services for individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries, will be discussing Life in the Years, a new national health care initiative to develop innovative community-based care options for our nation’s elderly. The first program under this initiative is a national Adult Foster Care for Elderly program that will provide seniors with significant cost savings over nursing home placement and a better quality of life.

In a unique twist, the initiative uses music to create awareness and provide financial support. Moore Center Services has joined with Musicians for a Cause to develop the most comprehensive compilation of music in the world focused on creating compassion for the elderly called Life in the Years, a CD which is being sold nationwide through a grassroots network of Life in the Years Champions as well as on Amazon. The initiative’s goal is a Gold Record – 500,000 copies, which will enable funding of the implementation of at least one new program in every state.

Nationally known recording artists Natalie Merchant, Livingston Taylor, Carly Simon joined songwriters selected from an international competition on this project in which entries were selected based on their ability to create emotion, awareness and compassion. 

“With services to the elderly commanding top attention nationally, this is an excellent time to learn more about an initiative that’s trying to provide solutions,” said New Hampshire Today Host Jack Heath who, along with NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald, will host this month’s “First Class Business” segment. “The elderly are one of our nation’s greatest resources and Life in the Years is an innovative way of shedding light on many aspects associated with aging.”

“First Class Business” appears on a monthly basis as part of the “New Hampshire Today” program that runs from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on “The Pulse.” “New Hampshire Today” host Jack Heath and New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald share good news about innovative new products created by New Hampshire companies, community service projects undertaken by local businesses and firms that are thriving despite a tough economic climate.

To listen live, tune in to WTPL 107.7 on Wednesday, November 4th at 4 p.m. or visit WTPL online at www.wtplfm.com.