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Archive for August, 2011

10 Rousing Reasons Google+ Is Worth Your Time and Action

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Lani and Allen Voivod of Epiphanies, Inc., a social marketing and success strategies firm in Gilford. Lani and Allen speak at events and lead workshops and webinars for entrepreneurs, bold brands, and mission-driven organizations (including their annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summits). They’ve also served as advisors and collaborators on the Division’s social presence since May 2009.

You can follow @LaniVoivod, @AllenVoivod, and @EpiphaniesInc on Twitter, ask questions on their Facebook Wall, and connect with +Lani and +Allen on Google+.

At twenty million users and growing since its beta launch on June 28, 2011, Google+ is definitely making waves.

Not the lifeless ripples of Google’s previous attempts at social – including Wave, Buzz, even Orkut – but waves of the Hawaii Five-O kind. Waves that thrill and inspire the adventure seekers, risk takers, and trailblazers of this dynamic new-world economy.

Even though it’s early days yet, please know Google+ is not only surviving, but already thriving as THE new social network contender to rival Facebook. If you haven’t been swept into its current yet, which is still on an invite-only basis, Google+ does seem a bit copycat-ish to the reigning champion of social networks.

“[Google+] is a collection of different social products,” explains Ben Parr in Mashable’s Google+: The Complete Guide. “These features include Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Huddle (a group texting service), Circles (a friend management service) and Photos.”

But the whole of Google+ and its implications for business and professional success are much, much more than the sum of their parts. With that in mind, dive in with us as we share 10 smart, strategic reasons why Google+ deserves your attention.

1. It’s Baggage-free (so far)

How many times has Facebook annoyed YOU with unannounced user interface changes, lack of customer service responsiveness, or one privacy incident after another? Google+ carries none of that baggage.

And you know what other baggage it doesn’t carry? All the relationships you have on Facebook. You get to start all over again. Maybe do things a little differently this time. It’s an attractive idea for a lot of people, especially those who feel like they’re stuck under Facebook’s thumb.

2. It *Looks* Simple

“They” used to say that MySpace looked like the Vegas Strip when compared to Facebook’s cool, crisp design. Now it’s Facebook that looks like a Lady Gaga rodeo, while Google+ looks like a clean, well-lighted place. Early adopters have cited this clean, simple design aesthetic as one of the big reasons they’re singing the praises of Google+ over Facebook.

Google has always celebrated simplicity as part of its brand experience. Dig the home page, which currently has no superfluous text, and back when it did, it wasn’t more than the length of a tweet. Only the absolute necessities remain, like navigation choices for search, plus advertising and business programs, because that’s where the bucks come from.

3. Lists Are Square, Circles Aren’t

Google has People, Facebook has Friends. Google has Circles, Facebook has Lists. You can add up to 5,000 People into your Google Circles, and you can have up to 5,000 Friends on Facebook. Big whoop.

How they work, though, is a whole different story. The unsung hero of web design is UI – the User Interface. Consider the seminal book on UI, Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. You have to think reeeeeeeeeal hard about creating a List in Facebook. Lists aren’t even mentioned in any of the “Using Facebook” links in the main help browsing page! (Psst – click “Account” in the top right, then “Edit Friends,” then look in the top right corner of the center column for the “+Create a List” button.)

Google’s got it dialed. Click the Circles button. Find people. Drag and drop into Circles. Easy. Intuitive. Done.

4. Stream Control

Head’s up for the Facebook gamer haters sick of seeing your Friends’ Farmville and Mafia Wars updates and requests in your feed. (You do know you can block those, right?) What happens in Google+ Games stays on a Google+ Games Stream. No mixing it in with your other Circles.

Plus, so far there’s no secret formula about what appears in your Stream (a la Facebook’s “EdgeRank” news feed algorithm). The latest posts from peeps in your Circles are what appear at the tops of your Streams. In other words, you’ve got more control over what you see and what you want to see. Yippee!

5. Picasa Power

An alternative to Flickr, Picasa Web Albums is Google’s photo app, and it used to be that you had a 1 GB storage limit. Not anymore! When you upload photos to Google+, it uses Picasa’s engine as your photo management system, and you can edit your photos right in G+. Bonus – those G+ photos don’t count toward your Picasa storage limit.

Even better, you can view photos shared by people in your Circles while seeing at a glance which ones are generating the most comments. In our image-driven culture, these tech tweaks are pretty big deals.

6. Hangouts Are Hip ‘n Happening

Maybe it’s just us, but it seems the world greeted the Facebook/Skype integration announcement last month with a collective “meh.” A week earlier, Google+ introduced its Hangouts video chat app, and hands down it’s the most acclaimed feature of the network to date.

“The ten-person video chats (Hangouts) are awesome and a wonderful way to add more intimacy to real-time connecting/social networking,” says Mari Smith, one of the world’s leading relationship marketing experts and our own social media mentor, in What’s So Exciting About Google+ – An Overview. “I’m seeing and hearing about many cool, creative uses of Hangouts, such as: cooking demos, live tattooing, seven-hour concerts, pizza parties, and live news broadcasts.”

7. Search Plus One = INFLUENCE

Where do people do the lion’s share of their Internet searches? Yup, in Google. So when you see the search results, do you see Facebook’s Like Button? Nope! You see the Google +1s.

It’s been widely reported (and just makes good common sense) how much we all trust opinions posted online – from friends and strangers both – far more than we trust advertisements. So think of your own behavior. If you search for a baby stroller, and in the results, one site shows 3 +1s and another site shows 30 +1s, which are you more likely to trust, and click through to? This tiny little “+1” box becomes quite the power player in the world of social influence, sales, and ultimately, business success.

8. Algorithms, Anyone?

If people +1 your webpages and blog posts, doesn’t that make you more relevant in your industry than someone who isn’t getting those +1s? It sure does. What should Google make of that? They’re in the business of serving up relevant content on search engine results pages (SERPs). Raise your hand if you think Google will start factoring +1s into its search algorithms. Okay, now put your hand down and keep reading.

9. It’s Smart Business

Early reports claim that Google+ is filled predominantly with male geeks in tech-related jobs. These reports remind me of a marketing seminar I attended years ago, where one piece of advice was to be the only marketing expert in a roomful of dentists.

Right now, service professionals, business owners, self-employed go-getters, and brand mavens of all stripes have the chance to be real stand outs in their fields, before Google+ opens its doors to the masses. This is precious time during which savvy folks can make connections, boost visibility, nurture relationships, expand networks, and create opportunities with innovators, entrepreneurs, biz mavericks, and industry luminaries who are ahead of the curve in the social and tech realms. In these radically-shifting times, such a competitive and strategic edge can make all the difference.

These people – the Doers, Creators, Movers, and Shakers – understand the Bigger Picture. In many cases, Google+ pioneers know what’s going on – even live and breathe it! – and are forging the future of possibility for the sit-and-waiters and the let’s-see-what-happens-before-we-do-anything types.

It all adds up to invaluable connections with extraordinary, exponential, and infinite potential.

10. Tomorrow Is Coming…

Believe it or not, Google is still calling Google+ a “Project,” and it’s still officially in beta. Yet it’s probably the biggest-ever beta test in the world at this point, and it’s only getting bigger.

Think of what’s not in place yet: Ads, business pages, and integration with other Google features like Places, Latitude, Offers, Calendar, and Checkout. Google+ also has the unbelievable advantage of learning from Facebook’s trials and errors, and building tools and apps that are superior right out of the gate. Not to mention Google’s dominance in mobile (Android), video (YouTube), and search.

When it comes to the social space, Google may have been a little like Baby Huey in the past, but it looks like all its acquisitions and expansions are ready to step into their destinies and ascend to the next exciting level of purpose-driven ingenuity.

But What About Facebook?

Now, you could read this all and think, “Should I just ditch Facebook and head over to Google+?” Fact remains, Facebook is still the world’s largest social network. More than 150 million people in the U.S. have an account. What’s even crazier is that for every U.S. account, there are four non-U.S. ones.

It’s gonna take a HUGE mistake on Facebook’s part for them to lose that #1 position. So regardless of whether you or your company engages with consumers, other businesses, the government, or non-profits, you still need a business presence on Facebook. (Unless you’re Apple, the company that once again and always proves there’s an exception to every rule.)

What’s more, Google has a history of doing things not to become #1 in a field, but to give the #1 player a kick in the coding. The Chrome browser is a prime example. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari work just fine, right? What’s the point of Google making its own browser? To keep the other three from resting on their laurels. To ensure that you and I have a great Internet usage experience. That, of course, benefits Google, where nearly all Internet search roads lead.

Hopefully by now, you’ve got Facebook handled well enough that you can spare a few of those social media moments you spend each day to start playing with Google+.

If not…please don’t let anymore time go by. All this social media brouhaha may be overwhelming, frustrating, or confusing, but it’s part of a bigger shift in how people are connecting, sharing, and communicating.

Be brave. Be bold. Play around and be patient with yourself. You can do this. And if you need an invite, post a message on our Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Wall and we’ll do what we can to help you out. Or, if you’re already on Google+, please connect with us there: Lani Voivod, Allen Voivod.

After all, we’re all riding the curl of this ever-evolving socio-economic ecosystem together!

Tool Manufacturer Relocating to South Hampton

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

The seacoast can celebrate the arrival of a new jewel to the area as NBR Diamond Tool Corporation has relocated from New York to South Hampton.

NH Division of Economic Development Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron assisted in the relocation of NBR Diamond Tool Corporation.

This manufacturer of diamond impregnated, metal bonded tools for the ceramic glass industry was formerly located in Lagrangeville, NY and is a small family run business that traces its roots to 1976. The company has purchased 2,300 square feet of industrial condominium space and will employ four workers.

“This is another example of a small company that is interested in moving to a state that has a great message of low taxes, great quality of life and responsive government,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron who assisted Diamond Tool’s relocation. “New Hampshire is a perfect place for a family run business like Diamond to make great things happen.”

“I love New Hampshire,” said N.B.R. Diamond Tool Corporation President Phil Renzi. “I couldn’t wait to leave New York and the high taxes. New Hampshire also has better schools and a great quality of life.”

With an expected opening date of September, NBR Diamond Tool is looking to hire machinists for metal lathing, cutting and grinding.  The company offers excellent wages and benefits.  For more details, call Phil Renzi for more details at (845) 223-3163.

FreePriceAlerts.com Named August “Innovation Rocks!” Award Winner

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

As consumers tighten their belts in this tough economy, finding the best online price becomes an imperative. A New Hampshire entrepreneur has met the challenge by developing a free plug-in for the web or mobile apps that installs instantly and enables consumers to find the best possible price.

To recognize this achievement, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development announced today that MyVBO has been named August “Innovation Rocks!” award winner for FreePrice Alerts’ free plug-in that was developed as one of several apps offered in a suite through MyVBO and the website FreePriceAlerts.com.

Using the app is simple. Users start shopping the way they always do on sites like Amazon, Overstock, Walmart and others. If the product they’re looking at is offered at a better price elsewhere, FreePriceAlert pops up with details on the savings and a link to where the item can be purchased at a better price. The app also offers consumers the ability to set a price alert for a particular item, and when the item hits that price, they will be notified by e-mail or through a mobile app. 

MyVBO Owner Bob Wilkins, who spent more than a decade as executive vice president of PC Connection, has started five companies during his career, which has been primarily in the technology and reseller industry. Wilkins has three pending patents on the FreePriceAlerts, and affiliate agreements with numerous vendors, which enable his company to receive revenue on every sale in which the consumer uses the price alert to make a purchase through a participating vendor. 

“Already tens of thousands of people are using the FreePriceAlerts app and saving money,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher. “It’s exciting that a New Hampshire company has been able to develop a truly innovative product and offer it for free to consumers, while creating a solid, income-producing business model.”

For more information about the free application, visit www.FreePriceAlerts.com. For more on MyVBO (My Virtual Business Office), visit www.myvbo.com.

“Innovation Rocks!” is an initiative to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of New Hampshire innovators. The program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development in coordination with Rock 101 (WGIR-FM). For more information, visit www.nheconomy.com.

NH Business Resource Center Partners with Celebrate NH Tour

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
Vacationers are good news for New Hampshire’s economic development, says Michael Bergeron, Business Development Manager at the NH Division of Economic Development.
“Many family-owned companies from other states move to New Hampshire because the owners (who are usually second or third generation owners) have experienced the quality of life while vacationing here. That’s why it makes such good sense for us to partner with 107.7 WTPL/The Pulse and Jack Heath on the Cold Springs RV Celebrate New Hampshire Tour. We’ll be able to reach visitors to northern New Hampshire and let them know that – if you love visiting here, you’ll love doing business here.” 

"New Hampshire Today Show" host Jack Heath stands by the custom RV on the first day of the "Celebrate NH Tour."

From August 8th to 12th, Heath is touring northern New Hampshire in the Cold Springs RV, stopping at five of the state’s most population attractions for a live broadcast that will be heard on WTPL each day from 3pm to 6pm. The attractions are Franconia Notch State Park/The Flume (Monday), Lancaster Fairgrounds/NH Dairy Cattle Association State Show (Tuesday), Conway Scenic Railroad (Wednesday), Settlers’ Green Outlet Village (Thursday) and Clark’s Trading Post (Friday). 

The public is invited to stop by the live broadcasts to sample New Hampshire products, see demonstrations and enter to win prizes.  

Local Businesses Invited to Be On Air

Local businesses interested in being on air should contact Heath in advance by emailing heath.jack@comcast.net or calling (603) 545-0777. 

“New Hampshire tourism is an asset to the state’s economic development. Not only does tourism create jobs, it introduces the state to businesspeople from out of state,” concludes Bergeron. “Hearing the success stories of businesses in our North Country could inspire a visiting business owner to consider a move here.” 

For more information on the NH Division of Economic Development’s business recruitment programs, contact Michael Bergeron at (603) 271-2591.

Interim Economic Development Director to Explore New Opportunity

Monday, August 8th, 2011

New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy announced today that he will be leaving the Department of Resources & Economic Development to take a consulting position in the Public Service of New Hampshire Economic & Community Development Department effective August 19th.

“I’m certainly sad to leave a great group that has accomplished so much over my ten years with the Division of Economic Development, but am extremely excited to take on a new challenge in creating jobs and helping businesses grow,” Duddy said. “I leave steadfast in the belief that the team we’ve built is well prepared to keep moving the economy forward and feel blessed to have served with such dedicated professionals.”

Under Duddy’s direction, the State economic development office has garnered both local and national awards and served thousands of local companies looking to become more energy efficient, explore export opportunities, secure financing and pursue expansion.

In his two years as Interim Division Director, Duddy shepherded the Department of Resources & Economic Development’s participation in the state’s broadband application, presided over the Division’s foray into social media with the development of an award-winning presence on Facebook and Twitter, coordinated the activities of the State’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program that helped local companies secure 940 contracts totaling over $200M and managed the expansion of the state’s energy efficiency options. He also served on a number of boards including the Community Development Finance Authority, New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing, the Economic Development Advisory Council and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network.

“Roy has been a tremendous advocate for the state’s business community and brought an energy and passion to the position that resulted in some great programs and services,” said New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “He deserves a great deal of praise for all that he has done for New Hampshire.”

In his new position with PSNH’s Economic and Community Development Department, Duddy will assist companies with their growth plans and carry out initiatives that create economic activity and jobs.

Green Scene Night an Excellent Pitch for Recycling

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Blankets from bottles – talk about a home run for the environment and for a local Manchester charity.

Portsmouth-based sustainable apparel manufacturer EARTHTEC will be converting all of the recycled bottles collected at next Thursday’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats/Erie SeaWolves game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium to blankets which will be donated to New Horizons for New Hampshire, Inc.

This initiative will be part of “Green Scene Night” at the ballpark, a collaborative effort between the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Public Service of New Hampshire, EARTHTEC, the Student Conservation Association and WTPL. “Green Scene” is a popular Public Service of New Hampshire sponsored radio segment that covers a variety of environmental topics on the “New Hampshire Today Show With Jack Heath.”

“It’s one thing to have PSAs on a video board encouraging people to take action, but it’s quite another to engage over 5,000 people in a fun and collaborative way,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher. “What better feeling than to know that the empty bottle you’re throwing away is going to be used to create a product that will provide warmth to the homeless this fall and winter?”

Turning recyclables into clothing is nothing new for EARTHTEC which develops apparel from cutting-edge recycled or renewable fabrics like recycled PET (plastic water bottles), organic cotton, and natural wool. Their EARTH 360 Program is designed to capture plastic bottles and other #1 plastic at sporting events, concerts, conferences, schools, etc. to then process them into flake, then fiber, then yarn, then fabric, and finally back into apparel and accessories.  With extensive experience in the garment industry, the EARTHTEC team is innovating with the combination of emerging textiles, fresh designs, and smart manufacturing techniques.

“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate to people the very real value of taking items that would typically be discarded and turning them into something very useful,” said EARTHTEC CEO Dennis Randall. “This isn’t just good for the environment, it also stimulates the economy and creates jobs.”

In an evening that will feature music from “green” artists on the public address system and scenes from movies about the environment on the video board, fans will be encouraged to throw their plastic bottles into special EARTHTEC containers or hand their recyclables to a team of Student Conservation Association volunteers. Fisher Cats officials estimate that on an average game night, approximately 1,000-1,500 plastic bottles are thrown away.

“This is an incredibly exciting night for us and we’re pleased to do our part to reduce waste and encourage recycling,” said Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner. “To the best of my knowledge, this might be one of the first attempts to turn recyclable items collected at a stadium and turn them into products that directly impact a local community. Hopefully, this will turn into a tradition and grow each and every year.”

Public Service of New Hampshire Economic and Community Development Manager Pat McDermott will not only be hosting 25 clients at the event, he’ll also have the honor of throwing out the first pitch – appropriately enough, a baseball fashioned of rolled up EARTHTEC socks.

“The Fisher Cats and our other partners have really gone all out to make this a truly ‘green’ night,” McDermott said. “It’s these little touches that will hopefully resonate and stick with folks so that they’ll understand that recycling and energy efficiency aren’t a one night thing, but a lifestyle choice that benefits all.”

At the conclusion of the game, EARTHTEC will collect and transport all of the recyclables which will then ultimately be turned over in the form of blankets to the New Horizons staff. New Horizons is an adult homeless shelter, a soup kitchen and a food pantry and also operates Angie’s, a homelike residence for women experiencing homelessness.

“These blankets are welcomed and will definitely come in handy for our clients,” said New Horizons for New Hampshire, Inc. Executive Director Charlie Sherman. “We thank all of the ‘Green Scene Night’ partners in advance for their generosity and commend them for their commitment to the community.”

For tickets to “Green Scene Night,” visit www.nhfishercats.com.

Ask CJ – Opening a Restaurant: The Bitter and the Sweet

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

“I’m interested in opening up my own restaurant and I’ve heard that it is really tough to get financing to do so.  What might be available, if anything?”

Well, you’re quite right in that it’s often more challenging to secure financing for a restaurant.  The reason, as many people know, is due in part to the perception of a high failure rate for new restaurants.  I myself have heard countless times that 9 out of 10 restaurants fail within the first year of operation.  I was about to cite that “statistic” when I decided to do a little digging to see if it was still valid.  Boy am I glad I did!  A professor from Ohio State University’s hospitality program, H.G. Parsa, had trouble believing those statistics (and couldn’t find a source for the data) so he decided to research the failure rate himself. 

Seacoast Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

Parsa used records from the health department to track 2,500 restaurants in the Columbus, Ohio area over a three year period.  He found that about one in four restaurants close or change ownership within the first year of business.  Over three years, that number rises to three in five (Bloomberg Businessweek, April 16, 2007).  The success rate for chain restaurants isn’t much higher.  New businesses in general face similar failure rates.  It is also worth noting that the failure rate was higher when located in an area with a high concentration of restaurants.

The good news is that you have a better chance at success than commonly perceived.  The not-so-good news is that securing financing for your restaurant is still going to be a challenge.  I spoke with Carol Estes from Optima Bank in Portsmouth to see what she recommends for an aspiring restaurateur.  Carol noted that like any business seeking funding, you will have a better chance of getting funded if you have good credit, collateral, a fall back position (cash in the bank) and 10-15 years of experience in the industry.  Previous successful restaurant ownership will also build your case for financing.

Carol pointed out the SBA’s 504 loan program that provides a fixed rate commercial loan for businesses acquiring property.  If you are planning on buying the building, this might be a good option for you.  The program offers a fixed rate for 20 years for real estate and a 10 year fixed rate for equipment. The customer can purchase the property with as little as 10% down with the bank taking 50% of the loan and the SBA covering the other 40%.  A start-up business would require 15% equity.  The banks like this program as they are able to mitigate their risk while still taking care of their customer’s needs.  Funds can be used to purchase land or purchase or construct a building as well as renovate an existing structure.

I also spoke with Fred Palazzolo of the Granite State Development Corporation, www.granitestatedev.com, in Portsmouth about the SBA’s 504 program.  The GSDC focuses solely on the SBA 504 program and Fred noted that the 20 year rate guarantee in conjunction with the low down payment can be a real help to business owners who are looking to preserve cash and have a predictable loan payment.  Fred also shared with me that a start-up is defined as a business with less than two years in existence.  Single purpose facilities would require an additional 5% equity.  Unlike some other SBA programs, the 504 is not an SBA guarantee on a bank loan but actually a loan that is separate from the bank.  To learn the specifics about this program, you can visit the SBA’s website, www.sba.gov, and click on “loan and grants” under the navigation bar. 

Securing financing for a restaurant is going to be as challenging if not more so than for other types of businesses.  However, if you have the experience, credit and the necessary collateral you have a much better chance of getting the financing you need.  My hat goes off to those who are willing and able to open and maintain a restaurant.  As much as I love to eat, I could never take on that endeavor based on family obligations alone.  Restaurant ownership demands an immense investment of time and energy in addition to the knowledge and funds that are required. 

Christine J. Davis works for the NH Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to provide the support needed for businesses so that they may remain viable and growing entities in the community. Ms. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters.  When not performing her work or parenting duties, she likes to spend time outdoors and discovering news places and activities in the community with her girls.  She can be reached at Christine.davis@dred.state.nh.us.

Deadline for Rising Stars Awards Extended to August 12

Monday, August 1st, 2011

There are just two weeks left to apply for the Rising Stars Awards, which honors young professionals, and the companies and programs that employ and support them. So if you just got back from vacation or finished another project, now is the time to act.

Business NH Magazine is working with Stay, Work Play, the state’s Young Professionals organizations and the NH Division of Economic Development on the 2011 awards ceremony. This award is critical for the NH economy, which depends on the retention and recruitment of young professionals statewide.
There are six Young Professionals Awards. Companies and individuals are invited to apply online, and applying for more than one award is encouraged.
The awards are:
1. The Coolest Companies for Young Professionals will honor one small company, one medium-sized company and one large company, all in NH.
2. The Young Professional of the Year award honors an outstanding professional 40 years old or younger.
3. The Young Professionals Network Program of the Year will honor an innovative program developed by a young professional group.
4. The Stay, Work, Play Leadership Award will be given to an individual, organization, initiative or program in NH that supports young professionals in NH.
Applications are due online only by Friday, August 12. Winners will be honored at a ceremony on Monday, Nov. 7 at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. Please visit www.businessNHmagazine.com and click on the competitions button for a link to the online applications.
For questions email Associate Editor Erika Cohen at ecohen@businessNHmagazine.com or call 626-6354 x211.

Certificate in Corporate Sustainability Announce Keynote, Agenda & Instructors

Monday, August 1st, 2011

The professional Certificate in Corporate Sustainability, launched this year by the University of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR), has announced its agenda and instructor list for the program’s three-day Institute, which will occur October 4-6, 2011 at the UNH Campus in Durham. The certificate program is directed toward mid-level and senior professionals seeking to increase knowledge and functional skills in the practices and principles of corporate sustainability. Information may also be found at the program’s newly launched web site www.sustainabilitycertificate.org.

The Institute focuses on tools, techniques and solutions for implementing environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

Mark Newton, Timberland’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), will deliver the opening keynote address on October 4, 2011. Newton leads Timberland’s global team responsible for managing the organization’s four areas of focus within CSR: environmental stewardship, global human rights, community engagement and transparency and reporting. Mark joins Timberland following eight years with Dell, Inc., most recently serving as Executive Director of Global Sustainability, as well as tenures at Apple, Motorola and DEKA Research and Development Corp.

A sampling of workshop topics:
• Defining Corporate Sustainability – what are the roots and key drivers? What challenges do today’s businesses face? What competencies are required of a sustainability leader?
• Developing a Corporate Sustainability Strategy – how to conduct materiality assessments and identify stakeholders; identify the best tools/metrics to measure within your organization
• Integrating HR into your Sustainability Strategy – how to create a sustainable culture and how to create sustainability accountability and support into the HR infrastructure
• Role of Environment in Decision-Making – how to conduct a life cycle analysis; intro into greenhouse gas, water and waste tracking methodologies and tools; and environmental inventorying
• Anticipating a Changing Landscape – how changing demographics and resource needs impact how to identify opportunities and anticipate challenges
• Community Investment Strategies – what are the expectations of communities for companies and how to identify the right opportunities
• CSR Reporting – building a CSR report and appropriate ways to articulate results
• Communicating Your Company’s Efforts – how to articulate your company’s successes, challenges and plans in the right way to the right audiences

Other elements will include offsite events such as an eco-gastronomy discussion at the Black Trumpet Bistro and a behind the scenes tour/discussion on supply chain and sourcing at Smuttynose Brewery.

The Certificate in Corporate Sustainability’s three day Institute is led by UNH faculty, regional business leaders and a supportive cohort of peers. A sampling of identified instructors:
• Jeff Allar, Vice President of Human Resources – Stonyfield Farms
• Betsy Blaisdell, Manager of Environmental Stewardship – Timberland
• Howard Brodsky, founder, CEO and Chairman of CCA Global Partners
• John Carroll, Professor of Natural Resources – University of New Hampshire
• Peter Egelston, Chief Executive Officer – Smuttynose Brewery
• Kevin Gardner, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering – University of New Hampshire
• Dr. Ross Gittell, Professor of Management – University of New Hampshire
• Tom Kelly, Chief Sustainability Officer – University of New Hampshire
• Brendan LeBlanc, Principal – LeBlanc Associates
• Pat McDermott, Manager of Economic Development – Public Service of New Hampshire
• Beth Tener, Principal – New Directions Collaborative
• Cameron Wake, Associate Professor @ Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space – University of New Hampshire
• Dan Winans,  Director of ecoGastronomy – University of New Hampshire

After completion of the Institute, students will conduct an independent, mentor-supported workplace project. The program offers continuing education credit for professionals.

Participants may register at www.sustainabilitycertificate.org – space is limited. NHBSR members receive a 15% discount.