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Archive for March, 2015

5 Questions with Tina Kasim: Opening the Door to Exporting NH Goods

Friday, March 27th, 2015

On first blush, the idea of exporting products and services to another country can seem daunting, overwhelming, or confusing to businesses that have never done it before. However, New Hampshire has a prolific network of resources to support new and currently exporting businesses with financing, insurance, export controls, market research, logistics, and other specialized aspects of the exporting business.

To get an introduction to the world of exporting opportunities, we interviewed Tina Kasim, international program manager for the Office of International Commerce. Tina has more than 10 years of experience in international economic development programs. She started her career with the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, before moving to Jordan and later to Washington, DC, where she worked on internationally funded economic development programs in the Middle East-North Africa Region. She then brought this diverse range of expertise back to New Hampshire and the OIC, a part of the Division of Economic Development.

Tina Kasim, NH Office of International Commerce, and Justin Oslowski, US Department of Commerce, at the Paris International Air Show, where five NH businesses exhibited in 2013.

Tina Kasim, NH Office of International Commerce, and Justin Oslowski, US Department of Commerce, at the Paris International Air Show, where five NH businesses exhibited in 2013.

With the assistance of the OIC and the support of STEP Grants, many companies have been able to participate in international business events over the last several years. Can you share some brief success stories from companies that attended those events?

Over the last few years, the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant has enabled our program to offer several opportunities to New Hampshire exporters, including access to and attendance at key international trade activities, in order to build a presence in a variety of markets.

Whether funding was put toward a State of New Hampshire pavilion made up of several New Hampshire exporters at a trade show or funding provided via a matching grant dedicated a company’s sales mission to Europe, OIC’s approach to put the STEP grant to use effectively centered on the needs of New Hampshire businesses.

Their successes range from signing distributors and agents in new markets, which allows them to increase sales, to connecting with numerous existing and potential clients in a single arena that allows them to nurture the relationship they have been cultivating for many years. After all, a lot, if not all, business is based on relationships.

Additional successes include the increased make-up of international sales in the revenues of participating businesses, which have resulted in the creation of new jobs in the state.

OIC is one piece of a larger infrastructure that supports businesses in their exporting efforts. Can you share a bit about the other public and private sector organizations all working together to serve New Hampshire’s exporting businesses?

The OIC is one link to a global network supported by the US Department of Commerce/US Commercial Service. Wherever in the world there is a US embassy or consulate, there is a team on hand that works to advocate and promote US businesses in that market.

OIC is also closely connected to SBDC, SBA, Export-Import Bank, and SCORE, all of which help tackle issues related to developing an international marketing plan and finding the financing for your export plans.

OIC also has a key partnership with the Granite State District Export Council (an affiliate of the US Department of Commerce, made up of mostly private sector business people), which offers peer-to- peer counseling to all things related to international business.

The great thing though about all these resources is the fact that there is no wrong door to knock on when you want to get into this line of business. Everything you may need is only a phone call or an email away.

Why, in your opinion, is New Hampshire such a great place for exporters to start or expand their businesses?

New Hampshire companies are run by savvy business owners and teams. They’re aggressive in identifying new markets and opportunities and they have great products and services to export that are innovative and really customized based on client requests. There is also this tight-knit network of resources available to businesses for the vast array of questions or obstacles that might pop up for business owners when developing international markets.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth for New Hampshire businesses?

There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question; it really does depend on the sector/industry on which a business focuses and which markets are best suited to the product or service.

Trends are pointing to areas in the Middle East for the medical sector, where there is a high demand for solutions, monitoring equipment and delivery of medications related to diabetes. The region is also experiencing the construction of new and big hospitals in various parts of the countries and has a need to monitor patients remotely.

The aviation industry as a whole is and will continue to see the need for components for airplanes, as airliners replace aging fleets with more fuel efficient and lightweight materials. There are also several new airports and airport expansions under construction in various parts of the world, many connected to major world sporting events. These airports and the event organizers and cities need safety and security equipment and tools.

There is a growing interest in East Coast seafood from China and Japan, where the clean and high quality of our seafood is held in very high regard.

There are also demands for water recycling, treatment, conservation, and management, not only in the world’s driest locations but also in areas prone to flooding.

Again, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution or answer for New Hampshire businesses, but we can help narrow things down in order to see what is the best fit and to be successful.

What programs do you have coming up for companies wanting to start or expand their exporting activities?

Keep an eye out for our on going webinar series. We select the topics based on feedback from the businesses, so if there is a particular area you think is a challenge to your business and others in the international realm (i.e., what is an ATA Carnet, Incoterms, etc.), just let us know. In the fall, we’ll have a couple of export compliance trainings available to businesses.

We also have the Export Expansion Fund, available to businesses looking to find and vet in-country partners; run a background check on a potential partner; or conduct a preliminary search of interest for a particular product in a market. This is all done in partnership with the US Department Commerce/US Commercial Service.

If you have any questions about these upcoming and ongoing activities, please contact Tina Kasim at tina.kasim@dred.nh.gov or visit ExportNH.org

5 Questions with Dawn Wivell, New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium

Friday, March 20th, 2015

New Hampshire has seen dramatic success in recent years in the aerospace and defense industries. The expansion and co-location of Albany Engineered Composites and Safran USA to Rochester are just two high-profile examples of the manufacturing renaissance happening right now in the Granite State.

To learn more about the opportunities within this high-tech industry, we spoke with Dawn Wivell, consortium manager for the New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium. As Dawn notes, “NHADEC is the ‘go-to’ organization for the A&D sector. We have a very close relationship with the Congressional Delegation, whose various staff members attend every meeting.”


What does the aerospace market look like for New Hampshire businesses in 2015? Where are the opportunities?

The overall global aerospace and defense industry is expected to grow in the 3 percent range in 2015, similar to growth in 2014. Much of the growth is in the commercial aerospace sector, which is expected to sustain its significant revenue and earnings growth in 2015, underlined by extended record-setting production levels. This growth is likely to be driven primarily by increased production rates attributed to the accelerated replacement cycle of obsolete aircraft with next generation fuel-efficient aircraft.

Growth is also attributed to the continued increases in passenger travel demand, especially in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. This increase in production rates by major aircraft makers will place intense pressure on every part of the supply chain, ultimately affecting delivery schedules and costs. OEMs and suppliers will need to conduct analyses of their supply chain capabilities to assess risks and to identify and address weak links.
And the defense market? How does that look by comparison?

In the global defense sector, continued declines in revenues are expected. The United States defense budget is a key driver of this decline. Despite calls for increases in defense spending, sales revenues lag outlays, appropriations and budget authorizations. Budget cuts and the suspension of the armed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan have been key factors over the last three years.

Regional tensions in the Middle East, North Korea, and the East and South China Seas are considered as potentially leading to increased defense budgets, but that is still uncertain. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and other affected governments have and are expected to continue to increase purchases of next generation military equipment. The F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) will remain one of the few large weapons platforms achieving meaningful growth.

Other areas that are fairly safe bets include cybersecurity, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Defense suppliers should consider migrating their business models toward commercial applications to offset defense spending declines.
What does NHADEC do for NH exporters above and beyond what the OIC and US Commercial Service offer?

The ITRC and the USEAC are intensely involved with NHADEC, bringing resources and programs directly to the organization. Tina Kasim, program manager for the OIC, is a member of the NHADEC board and the OIC, along with the USEAC, are involved at every level of our operation.

That said, NHADEC offers many additional benefits to members, including but not limited to:

• Individual company profiles on the NHADEC member portal and on the NHADEC website
• Quarterly newsletter
• Member meetings every alternate month
• Additional export consulting and expertise
• Links to local, national, and international institutions and special NHADEC partners worldwide
• Bespoke training activities, assistance with compliance and regulatory issues
• Common information system
• Industry and supply chain access
• Collective participation in exhibitions and trade shows, domestic and international
• Trade missions abroad, private and public
• Participation in incoming buyers’ missions
• Collective hosting of potential clients
• Bespoke market research
• Identification of distributors and clients
• Negotiation of preferential agreements with service providers
• Joint bidding on projects, domestic and international
• Invaluable tribal knowledge and networking with and leveraging of statewide and regional players

NHADEC also provides an opportunity to service providers, who have a viable service to provide the core membership, to become members and network directly with said core members.
What’s happening with our neighbors to the north, in terms of New Hampshire companies doing business with Quebec aerospace and defense companies?

The focus seems to be somewhat more in the aerospace sector in terms of Canada at present. Canada has the world’s fifth largest aerospace market. In 2011, Canada generated roughly $22 billion in revenues, over 80 percent of which were from Quebec and Ontario. Canada is home to large OEMS such as Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls Royce Canada, Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, Boeing Canada, CAE and L-3. Approximately 83 percent of the industry is in civil aircraft manufacturing, while 17 percent is in military aircraft manufacturing.

Over 80 percent of production is exported; over 50 percent of imports are from the United States. Sub-sector best prospects are:

• Civil and military aircraft, and aircraft parts
• Aircraft engines and engine parts
• Avionics and instrumentation
• Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul
• Air defense and combat technology
• Air surveillance systems
• Simulation software Opportunities
• Bombardier Platforms: CSeries, Challenger 7000/8000, Learjet 85 (over $4 billion)
• Bell Helicopter Textron Platforms: Bell 427 and Bell 429 Helicopters
• Boeing Platforms: Dreamliner 787, Chinook (over $1 billion)
• LM F-35 in Canada: approximately $9 billion in contracts over the next 20 years

What’s next for NHADEC and its member businesses?

NHADEC membership continues to grow every month. Our first quarterly newsletter will be coming out shortly. Some of the upcoming events are:

• Hosting the aerospace and defense specialist from the U.S. Commercial Service in Malaysia in March, who will be conducting one-on-one meetings and facility tours of our members;
• Hosting the defense attache’ from the British Embassy at an upcoming meeting;
• NHADEC’s first event in June 2015, with member exhibits, and attendees from the OEMs and key players throughout the region;
• NHADEC members participating in the Dubai Airshow in the fall, which is being coordinated by the state;
• Participating in a trade show to a prime export location for defense, and safety and security.

A Look at Where Businesses Start-up and Accelerate in NH

Thursday, March 19th, 2015


Every third Wednesday of the month (at 3 pm), NH Economy hosts New Hampshire Business Matters on WTPL.FM.

Our guest yesterday was Mark Kaplan, president and CEO of Alpha Loft in Manchester, who gave us a great overview of the start-up ecosystem in New Hampshire.

It’s worth a listen.


Lorna Colquhoun
Communications Director
NH Division of Economic Development



Grogan Named NH SBDC State Director; Begins April 6

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Rich Grogan

Rich Grogan

Following a nationwide search, Dr. Rich Grogan, PhD has been named the new state director for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, succeeding Mary Collins.

The NH SBDC is a co-operative program partnership between SBA, the University Of New Hampshire Peter T. Paul School Of Business and Economics and the Department of Resources and Economic Development. Since 1984, it has provided assistance in more than 200 communities throughout the state and assisted more than 39,000 Granite State entrepreneurs representing over 18,000 businesses.

“The New Hampshire Small Business Development Center is a key link for businesses in various stages of their growth here in the state and one of our valued partners,” said Jeff Rose, Commissioner of NH Department of Resources and Economic Development. “Rich brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new position and will be a great benefit for businesses working with SBDC.”

Grogan, most recently the Keene regional manager for NH SBDC, begins his new position on April 6.

He is a native of North Carolina and before joining the NH SBDC, Grogan was a professor in the MBA in organizational and environmental sustainability program at Antioch University New England. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in business from Wake Forest University; an MPA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and he earned his PhD in organizational sustainability from Michigan State University.

“I am ecstatic to transition into a leadership position in this organization, especially because I feel that we are in a position of strength. We have an amazingly talented staff, and current State Director Mary Collins’ leadership has positioned us well for the future,” he said. “Entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses are hot topics right now, and the SBDC, which has been in this business for 30 years in the state, is well positioned to lead the conversation about the growth of this community for the next 30 years and beyond.”

The NH SBDC Lead Center located in Durham, oversees the day to day operations, with satellite offices throughout the state. Its full-time certified business advisors provide one-on-one long-term management advising to small businesses, at no cost to the client. They are experienced business owners or managers, and have been certified through the New England SBDC Professional Development Program.

For more information visit: nhsbdc.org.

5 Questions with High Liner Foods

Friday, March 13th, 2015

High Liner Foods is the largest prepared seafood processing operation in North America. Last year, the company reported $1 billion in annual sales for the first time in its 115-year history and capped a terrific 2014 by moving its US headquarters from Danvers, Mass. to the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth.

Keith Decker, president and COO of High Liner Foods, said of moving the business from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, “The relocation and design of the new building will help us serve our customers better and attract and retain the top talent required for continued growth into the future.”

To get some valuable insights into the business relocation process, we interviewed Jim LaBelle, vice president of food service marketing, and Mark Leslie, vice president of business integration and special projects, at High Liner Foods. Both worked directly with Michael Bergeron, senior business development manager at the Division of Economic Development, to facilitate the move.

High Liner Foods invested $1 million in its test kitchen.

High Liner Foods invested $1 million in its test kitchen.

Thinking back to the beginning of your relocation process, what were the biggest factors that inspired you to explore the idea of relocating?

The biggest factor for us was we sold our existing facility to a company that needed our production space, which we no longer needed. That necessitated a need to find a new office facility for our US headquarters team.

What were the main reasons New Hampshire came out on top for you?

We wanted to be closer to our production facility, which is in Portsmouth. We wanted a modern but affordable solution that could be a showcase facility for our employees and customers. And we wanted a standalone building. New Hampshire rose to the top with all three of our criteria.

You worked with Michael Bergeron at DED during your relocation project. What were two or three of the most helpful things he did for you?

Michael helped us put together an initial meeting with city officials to discuss a couple of outstanding issues before we selected the site, put us in touch with local health officials to work through permitting issues, and explained potential government economic development incentives available to us in New Hampshire. He was invaluable throughout the process.
What advice would you give to other companies exploring a move to another state?

It’s important to develop a network of local experts and officials that you can reach out to when issues arise for resolution input. It’s also helpful to understand what economic development opportunities and incentives might be available.

What’s next for High Liner Foods? What big things do you have planned for 2015?

At High Liner Foods, we’re focused on bringing our customers innovative, on-trend seafood products to help them succeed, so that is always our main priority. We’re also excited to now be able to host our customers in a world-class facility in a world-class community.

Five Questions with Bill Boynton, New Hampshire Department of Transportation

Friday, March 6th, 2015

New Hampshire’s location at the crossroads of New England makes it the perfect spot for manufacturing and distribution businesses seeking to ship products to the Northeast, Canada and beyond. A thriving manufacturing sector and a skilled workforce demand a solid transportation infrastructure to help drive the economic engine of the Granite State.

To learn more about how the government’s work on transportation issues affects the world of work for New Hampshire businesses and professionals, we talked to Bill Boynton, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Unlike the Division of Economic Development, it’s not in the DOT’s mandate to help recruit new businesses to the state; that said, some of the goals of both agencies have a significant overlap.

Bill Boynton NH DOT

Bill Boynton

What’s one project either recently completed, or in progress right now, that you think will have a significant positive impact on the business community in New Hampshire?

That’s easy – the ongoing Interstate 93 project between Salem and Manchester. The $800 million project to rebuild and widen the 20-mile corridor was designated by the Legislature as New Hampshire’s most important transportation project. Former Commissioner Chris Clement called I-93 “the road paved with gold” in reference to its economic importance to the state. I-93 runs through the center of New Hampshire, from the Merrimack Valley through the Lakes and White Mountains Regions. It’s critical to the economic vitality of the state, the region and local communities.

What role does the DOT play in helping keep talented workers from exploring jobs outside of the state?

New Hampshire is a very desirable place to live, work, play and enjoy. The mission of the NHDOT: “Transportation excellence enhancing the quality of life in New Hampshire.” By working every day to provide that transportation excellence and to support the state’s economic growth and vitality, the NHDOT helps make it easier for talented workers to decide to call New Hampshire home.

What would you say to a business looking to expand to New Hampshire, if that business had questions about the state’s ability to support its shipping and logistics needs?

New Hampshire’s highway and bridge system (4,600 miles) continues to rank high in quality, enhanced by major corridors that include interstate highways (i.e. I-93, I-293, I-95, I-89) and 90 miles of turnpikes (i.e. Everett, Spaulding and Blue Star). We have 25 public use airports, including Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, which is a major hub for freight shipments. Rail in New Hampshire transports about 7 percent of all freight tonnage. The ports of Portsmouth and Newington loaded or discharged 3.1 million tons of cargo in 2011, valued at $1.7 billion.

What are the DOT’s priorities in terms of public transportation for New Hampshire’s workforce?

Our priorities are to maintain New Hampshire’s existing system of local public transit, intercity bus service and state-contracted commuter and express bus service, to study what that system should look like in the future, and to provide information and support to our policymakers on additional modes of transportation for New Hampshire’s workforce going forward.

How do you see the Department of Transportation’s role in fostering a favorable business climate?

Former NHDOT Commissioner Carol Murray once said, “Transportation is the game board upon which all others play.” Whether it’s keeping the roads plowed during winter snow events, continuous capital improvements to improve mobility, or the increased emphasis on maintenance and preservation, providing a safe and reliable transportation system for the movement of people, goods, and services is fundamental to what the NHDOT does, and what the traveling public expects and deserves in the Granite State.