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5 Questions: Chris Wellington, Grafton County Economic Development Council

Regional development corporations are located in each of New Hampshire’s 10 counties and are a valuable resource to businesses. RDCs are another layer of business assistance whose goal is to help companies thrive and prosper. can provide financing for machinery and equipment; business or real estate acquisitions; working capital; gap financing and other business assistance. Today’s 5 Questions’ guest is an old friend of the Division of Economic Development, where he worked for two years before heading up to Grafton County.

Chris Wellington ~ Grafton County EDC

Chris Wellington ~ Grafton County EDC

1. Can you explain a bit about what the GCEDC does for the region, and your role within it?

The Grafton County Economic Development Council is a 501(c)3 economic development organization and is one of 10 regional development corporations (RDCs) in the state. We provide financial solutions and technical assistance to businesses and assist the 39 municipalities in Grafton County with their economic development initiatives and projects.

Over the last five years, GCEDC has provided more than $2.9 million in financing to businesses throughout Grafton County, helping to retain more than 200 full-time jobs and creating 153 additional full-time jobs. All of our work is geared toward job retention and creation, and one of the best ways to create jobs is by supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Most of our initiatives supporting entrepreneurs and the small business community are run through our two business incubators, the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon and the Enterprise Center at Plymouth. GCEDC’s motto is Economic Development through Partnerships and we are very fortunate to partner with Plymouth State University at the ECP and Dartmouth College at the DRTC. Each institution brings so many resources to the table that can be leveraged for the benefit of the business community.

As the CEO of GCEDC, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations and strategic direction of the organization. It’s a very rewarding job where no day is ever the same.

2. You’ve worked in economic development for a number of years, and across many regions of the state. What is it about Grafton County that makes it uniquely attractive for businesses?

Grafton County has all the features and amenities needed for a company in any industry to succeed. The pharmaceutical, high tech and healthcare industries are thriving in the Upper Valley. Northern Grafton County has a strong and growing manufacturing base and the tourism industry reigns supreme in the Pemi Valley. Grafton County’s business landscape is very diverse and no matter what business you’re in, there’s a place for you in the county.

Grafton County is also home to Dartmouth College, Plymouth State University, River Valley Community College and White Mountain Community College, which provide unparalleled access to a skilled and educated workforce. This is all in addition to the county’s scenic beauty and the ability to truly play where you work.

3. You’ve been nominated for Young Professional of the Year for Stay Work Play’s Rising Stars Awards. How are young professionals playing a role in the success of Grafton County’s economy?

Young professionals are making a huge difference throughout the state of New Hampshire and especially in Grafton County. In northern Grafton County, you have young professionals like Lauren Anderson, executive director of the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce and Courtney Wrigley of NH Listens transforming Littleton into a destination for young professionals.

In the Upper Valley, you have young professionals like Jamie Coughlin, director of entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College; Erikk Anderson, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Compass Therapeutics and Todd Boucher, founder of Leading Edge Design Group, building businesses, creating jobs and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

And in the Pemi Valley area, you have PSU graduates Chad Johansen, owner of NH iPhone Repair, and Spirit Seeker, owner of Affirm Community Accounting, taking the leap into entrepreurship and building their businesses at the ECP. At every corner of Grafton County there are young professionals supporting the community and economy. I am very excited for the opportunity to work with these individuals and the many others who support our young professional community.

4. Putting yourself in the shoes of a business considering moving or expanding to Grafton County from out of state, what are two or three things they should consider, or for which they should plan, to make the transition easy? And how does the GCEDC help with those things?

I always encourage businesses to connect with local leadership and the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. Beno Lamontagne, Michael Bergeron and Cindy Harrington are excellent resources and can help a business in a number of ways, including helping them navigate through the permitting process at the state level. It is also critical to meet with local leaders to make sure you understand the process for operating a business in that particular community. I am fortunate to work in an area of the state where all the communities welcome businesses with open arms, which isn’t always the case in more urban communities.

GCEDC has played a role in helping a number of businesses move or expand into Grafton County and we can provide a wide range of services. Since we provide financing options, we can work with the business to help them access the capital they need to expand. The recruitment and retention of a business is a team effort and GCEDC can’t act alone and be successful when assisting a business looking to relocate or expand. Each business’ needs are different and we would find out what those needs are and with the assistance of our partners, develop a plan that’s unique to those needs so their chances of success are greatly increased.

5. What’s new or exciting on the horizon for GCEDC?

Change is the only constant. Like in business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards and GCEDC is moving forward with force. My predecessor, Mark Scarano, left the organization in a very strong place and my goal is to build on that foundation and provide a greater array of services to municipalities and our small business community.

I am really excited to share that we will soon be undertaking a rebranding effort that includes a new logo and redesigned website. We will also be creating a monthly newsletter to stay more connected to our stakeholders. We can’t help a business if they don’t know about the services we provide. If we can increase our profile throughout Grafton County we will be able to help support more businesses, which is what it’s all about.

Connect with Chris Wellington:

603-536-2011 x10
or toll free at


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