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Archive for December, 2010

Keene Area Employers Recruiting Candidates for Machining Training

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Keene area employers Corning NetOptics, New Hampshire Ball Bearing, Tidland and Knappe & Koester, in partnership with River Valley Community College (RVCC) and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) announced today that they are recruiting candidates for a unique training opportunity for CNC Machining. The training will be provided free to participants and will lead directly to full-time positions.

cnc_machining“New Hampshire is leading the region and the nation in economic recovery, and our economic strategy is making a difference. That strategy includes ensuring we have a highly skilled, educated workforce in New Hampshire,” Gov. Lynch said. “By making wise investments in our workers through job training we are helping to ensure we have the workforce companies need to compete and to grow right here in New Hampshire.”

The CNC machinist positions are for first, second and third shift operations, depending on the sponsoring employer. Workers will earn a starting wage of $12 per hour with full benefits. Wages may increase incrementally over two years to $14-16 per hour, based on each individual’s performance.

“We are fortunate to have the challenge of expanding our workforce needs to meet growing demand for our products,” said Michael Platt, Plant Manager at Corning NetOptics.

“How well we meet this challenge will be determined by how well we can hire and educate a trained workforce,” said Donna Marcin, PHR, Human Resources Manager at New Hampshire Ball Bearings.

The initiative will be the first program implemented under the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM). “The Regional Center for Advance Manufacturing is excited to offer this program and we are looking forward to the possibilities that this kind of program offers the Keene area and its employers,” said Susan Newcomer, Workforce Development Coordinator, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce.  “This program nicely compliments our mission to support and enhance advanced manufacturing is the Keene area.” 

The hiring will be conducted through their partnership with the River Valley Community College’s STAR program. The STAR program launched in December of 2008 offers workers an accelerated, two-year advanced manufacturing apprenticeship while being employed with the employer. At the same time, these workers will earn college credits which can be applied towards an associate’s degree at the college.

“River Valley Community College is committed to the creation of education and training that serve the needs of employers, the New Hampshire workforce, and the economic development needs of the state and our region. This partnership represents a strategy that builds upon the strengths of the college, our state economic development agencies, and the private sector in delivering a truly comprehensive program leading to job placement,” stated Steve Budd, President, River Valley Community College.

“It’s exciting to see the state’s most innovative manufacturers continue to grow and add jobs,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “As manufacturing is the state’s number one industry, offering good paying jobs with opportunities for career growth, this is great news.”

Program participants will be selected through a rigorous recruitment process beginning with a mandatory orientation to be held on Monday, January 17th at the River Valley Community College Keene Campus, Keene, NH. The orientation will include presentations from the sponsoring employers’ staffs as well as from River Valley Community College.

Participants will also have the opportunity to receive a nationally recognized industry certification through the USDOL Apprenticeship Division. “The New Hampshire State Apprenticeship Council is proud to be a part of this program,” says Charles Vaughan, of the New Hampshire US/DOL apprenticeship office. “The STAR education model is unique and will give us an opportunity to evaluate a different way of thinking about training apprentices throughout the state.”

The STAR program is funded by two grants from the US Department of Labor, one secured through the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development and one secured through the office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Applications are encouraged as soon as possible. Individuals interested in applying to the program must visit the college website at www.rivervalley.edu to fill out an online application on or before January 17, 2011. Questions and inquiries can be directed to Jim Britton, River Valley Community College, at (603) 542-7744 x5346, or email at jbritton@ccsnh.edu. Up-to-date program information will be posted regularly on the website.

New Hampshire Companies Boast Positive Outlook

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Last week, our own Christine Davis was the host of a New Hampshire Public Television “Outlook” special program titled “Recession Business Success Stories” where she visited four companies that not only survived but thrived during challenging economic times. Now you can check out the segment here:

Watch the full episode. See more NH Outlook.

Excellent job Christine and thanks NHPTV for the opportunity!

Cookson Named Executive Director of High Tech Council

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

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.   

Matt Cookson

Matt Cookson

“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.

Globe Manufacturing Named December “Innovation Rocks!” Winner

Monday, December 13th, 2010

A dynamic new bodyworn electronics system for firefighters and first responders has led to Globe Manufacturing being named the “Innovation Rocks!” award winner by the New Hampshire Business Resource Center for the month of December.

Globe Manufacturing, the nation’s largest manufacturer of firefighter suits and emergency responder gear, recently teamed with Zephyr Technology Corporation and TRX Systems to develop an electronics system that helps firefighters and first responders to answer the questions “Where am I?” and “How am I?” The new system will utilize a unified graphical user interface in flame resistant base-layer shirts for monitoring both physiology and location/tracking.

globe-logo1Beta field-testing of the new Globe system, that is expected to be immediately useful for Workplace Assessment, Training, Rehab, Incident Command, HazMat, SWAT and RIT operations, will start in early 2011 with commercial deployment slated for early 2012.

“Globe Manufacturing, has once again developed a product that will save lives and improve the operations of those we trust to protect us,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “Their continued ingenuity is the hallmark of their business and they continue to prove that when it comes to innovation and creativity, they are tops in their industry.”

For more information about Globe Manufacturing Company, visit www.globefiresuits.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.

NH’s Fiscal Responsibility Cited

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Check out this article from yesterday’s USA Today:

In what is being billed as an unprecedented look at financial behavior in all 50 states, a study out today rates New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire as having the most fiscally responsible residents.

The Investor Education Foundation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) asked 28,000 people questions on five key issues and used the results to produce a state-by-state look at financial capability.

fiscal_responsibilityWhile consumers in New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire ranked high in all categories, the news was not as good elsewhere. People in Oklahoma and South Dakota are more likely to be struggling to make ends meet. And residents of Texas and Kentucky are less likely to comparison shop for credit cards.

Experts say the study’s findings could prove valuable. “If there has been a silver lining to the recession, it has refocused consumers’ attention on their own personal financial habits, and this will be a wonderful tool,” says Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “It may be another wake-up call.”

There is much financial disparity across state lines, partly related to each state’s economy, including the local housing market and unemployment rate, says Annamaria Lusardi, director of the Financial Literacy Center, which helped design the survey.

Financial knowledge is another important factor. “One of the clear problems here is an absence in financial literacy,” says FINRA Foundation CEO Rick Ketchum. It may not be the only problem, but it makes it easy for people to be misled in a variety of ways, from risky investments to costly loans, he says.

One issue measured in the state-by-state aptitude study was financial literacy, and that found people who live in New Hampshire, Minnesota and South Dakota rate higher than those who live in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee. (FINRA has an interactive look at each state at usfinancialcapability.org.)

The study also examined age and gender differences and found that the young tend to rely on payday loans and advances on tax refunds rather than bank loans. They also are less likely to have emergency funds. It may not be surprising, but it’s distressing, because they are starting their careers overwhelmed by credit card and student loan debt, Lusardi says.

Way to go Granite State!!

Export Documentation Seminar Offered to NH Businesses

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

The New Hampshire International Trade Resource Center will host a seminar titled “Export Documentation” on December 14th from 9 am to 12:30 p.m. at 172 Pembroke Drive in Concord. Registration and breakfast will begin at 8:30am.

exportingThe seminar is designed to help those who are considering exporting their products, and answer questions such as: How do you ensure that your products get from your facility to your customer without any issues? What about getting paid? Do you know what forms you need to fill out, and how? Packaging, labeling, documentation and insurance are crucial to a successful interaction with international customers.

Speakers will include Jeanette Reed of Evolutions in Business, a firm that specializes in training companies in export regulatory compliance, and Cal Clucas of Dachser USA, one of the world’s largest freight forwarders.

The half-day seminar will cover everything businesses need to know to handle the logistics of exporting, including proper documentation; Automated Export System (AES) Filing Mandate; government-required recordkeeping; Incoterms 2010 (note that new changes are effective 1/1/11); methods of payment; the Denied Persons List (DPL) and Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) lists; determining the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN); classifying products (Schedule Bs, Harmonized Tariff Schedule, ECCN); commercial invoices; bills of lading; certificates of origin; and the role of the freight forwarder.

To register and pay online, go to http://www.exportnh.org/registration.aspx. To register and pay by check (payable to SNHU/IIB), mail your check to: ITRC Seminar, PO Box 1856, Concord, NH 03301-1856. For questions, call Ellie White at 603-271-8444 or email ellie.white@dred.state.nh.us.

Common Man Captures Top Economic Development Honors

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Excellent customer service, delicious food and commitment to the community was all part of the recipe that led to the Common Man Family of Restaurants being named “Company of the Year” as part of the “2010 Commissioner’s Awards for Economic Development Excellence” recently announced at the 15th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit held at Southern New Hampshire University.

Common Man Owner Alex Ray (center) receives the “Commissioner’s Company of the Year” award from New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald (l.) and New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy (r.).

Common Man Owner Alex Ray (center) receives the “Commissioner’s Company of the Year” award from New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald (l.) and New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy (r.).

“With great attention directed toward creating the perfect customer experience and an unyielding desire to be a true community partner, the Common Man has become a New Hampshire treasure,” New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald said. “This is a company that has incorporated charitable giving and service to others as part of its corporate philosophy resulting in a world class business worthy of emulation.”

What started as a small Ashland restaurant with only enough room for 35 customers, the Common Man has grown to 17 restaurants, two inns, a company story and a movie house. However, Alex Ray and his staff are known just as much for their community service and charitable endeavors as they are for their award-winning eateries. In January 2010, upon learning of the devastation caused in Haiti after a massive earthquake, the Common Man Family of Restaurants put forth a “Common Effort for Haiti,” event, donating 50 percent of all food sales at 15 of its locations to disaster relief efforts.

Closer to home, the Common Man has supported countless non-profit agencies with funding, food donations and even the creation of Webster Place Center, a non-profit, residential treatment facility to assist those struggling to overcome alcohol and other drug abuse and dependence.

Other category winners are as follows:

“Commissioner’s Special Achievement Award” – Stay Work Play organization for their efforts in youth retention and letting young people know about all of the work and cultural amenities available in New Hampshire.

“Commissioner’s Exemplary Effort Award” – Jim Hinson, State Program Coordinator/Corporate Relations for New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation for his advocacy work in helping people with disabilities to secure employment.

“Commissioner’s Teamwork Award” – New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for its efforts to streamline permitting processes for New Hampshire businesses.

“Commissioner’s Award for Media Excellence” – Business New Hampshire Magazine for fashioning a 26-year history of exemplary journalism.

The 15th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit was sponsored by Public Service of New Hampshire and Sales Protocol with support from media sponsor New Hampshire Business Review.

Thriving During the Recession

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Please be sure to check out the Division of Economic Development’s own Christine Davis who will be hosting a special edition of NH Public Television’s “Outlook” program this Friday on Channel 11 at 6 p.m. to discuss businesses that not only survived, but thrived during the recession. Here’s a background piece that Christine recently wrote about the experience:

The recession impacted just about every business in New Hampshire. Some of those businesses are now closed, some are still struggling and others are growing. I wanted to know more about those that are growing and what they were doing to get there.

I don’t often get lucky, but I certainly felt lucky (and flattered) when I received a call from N.H. Public Television asking me if I would like to guest host a special edition of “N.H. Outlook.” Since it was up to me to choose the topic, I decided to seek out businesses that used the challenges of the recession to rethink how they were running their businesses, take some risks and make changes.

NH Division of Economic Development Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

NH Division of Economic Development Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

Many businesses weathered the recession through cutbacks, dipping into financial reserves or picking up customers from businesses that closed. That’s all well and fine, but I wanted to meet with people who took a risk and made changes to how they ran their business. It takes courage to take a risk, especially when you have staff that is counting on your decision-making abilities for their livelihood.

I met with four very different businesses with very different stories. They did possess one common trait — a willingness to overcome adversity by taking risks and making changes to how they ran their businesses.

The owners of The Governor’s Inn in Rochester, Herman and Anthony Ejarque, did a complete 180 in the type of atmosphere that they offer their patrons. Gone are the linen napkins and menus loaded with French words. Now you will find walls covered in Spaulding High School sports memorabilia and hamburgers on the menu. Their other initiatives will also be discussed during the broadcast on Dec. 10.

I also spent time speaking with Geoff Martin, owner of the Cedar Mill Group in Webster. Martin’s home remodeling business was on the brink of disaster when he decided he had to go against the status quo for his industry. His competitors thought he was crazy, but Martin’s business is now thriving, and his only regret is that he didn’t make the change sooner.

Another great story is Goss International in Durham. Known for manufacturing print presses, Goss is taking its manufacturing capabilities in some new directions, including wind turbines. While they still manufacture print presses as their core business, they are using their resources in ways that might surprise you and most certainly will inspire.

My fourth guest is a real bundle of energy and determination. Scott Johnson started Certified Parts Warehouse on the second floor of the old Stratham Town Hall in 1992. He now has two buildings in Dover and a rapidly growing business due to his willingness to take risks and embrace change. Johnson’s story is about how developing all potential aspects of your business — combined with a commitment to the highest quality products and services — can only lead to good things.

I hope you will join me by tuning into this special edition of “N.H. Outlook” to learn more about these insightful and inspiring stories. The show airs on N.H. Public Television, Channel 11, at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10. Repeat showings will be at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12 and on Monday, Dec. 13 at 5:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Christine J. Davis is a business resource specialist with the N.H. Division of Economic Development. She can be reached at 271-2591 or Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us.