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Posts Tagged ‘Fred Kocher’

Manufacturing/High Tech Driving State’s Economy

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The smart manufacturing/high technology (SMHT) sector is New Hampshire’s economic engine, bringing more wealth into New Hampshire than any other sector-including tourism and retail-according to a recent New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies report sponsored by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIA), in collaboration with the New Hampshire High Technology Council (NHHTC) and several BIA members. Results of the study also show that New Hampshire’s business costs are high relative to other states and countries with which the state competes for SMHT companies and employment. 

According to the center’s study, in 2009 the SMHT sector, which includes 3,700 companies in New Hampshire employing almost 80,000 people, paid out $6.4 billion in wages and benefits, making it the largest single sector of New Hampshire’s economy (19 percent). The next largest sector is government and government enterprises (15 percent), followed by healthcare and social assistance (14 percent). 

manufacturing-study“As important as other sectors are, there is no question that the smart manufacturing/high technology sector drives New Hampshire’s economy and is absolutely critical to the state’s long-term economic prosperity,” said BIA President Jim Roche. “SMHT companies generate more wealth for New Hampshire, pay more in compensation to employees, export more and pay more in state taxes than any other sector.” 

Economic Impact

SMHT is defined as manufacturers engaged in the transformation of materials into new products using advanced technology and skilled labor, as well as high technology companies engaged in software publishing, computer systems design and scientific research. 

Paying an average wage of $1,200 per week, which is 40 percent higher than the average weekly wage for all private sector employees working in New Hampshire, SMHT companies account for 9 percent of New Hampshire’s private sector employers, but they employ more than 15 percent of New Hampshire’s private sector workers. 

According to the report’s author, Dennis Delay, an economist with the center, SMHT employers are an important source of high-wage jobs for New Hampshire workers. “The average compensation per SMHT employee has exceeded average wages and benefits paid in every other industry sector, including construction, healthcare, education, retail trade and even financial services. This is important to note because it demonstrates that New Hampshire’s affluence, high standard of living and quality of life are in large part attributable to the state’s SMHT sector.” 

Exports Generate Wealth

Manufacturing is New Hampshire’s most important export industry. Exports from the state’s manufacturers directly support more than 77,000 jobs, compared to about 52,000 jobs in travel and tourism. New Hampshire imports four times as much wealth from in-state manufacturing facilities as from tourism – manufacturing supports $18.5 billion in GSP while tourism supports $4.2 billion. Notably, in FY2008 manufacturing companies represented 8 percent of the companies paying business profits and business enterprise taxes; however, those same companies accounted for 23 percent of total business tax revenue. 

The Value of an SMHT Job

Economic modeling shows that for every 100 new manufacturing jobs, the state would see an additional 138 indirect and induced jobs, which would generate $11 million in earnings, $18 million in gross domestic product, and $1.2 million in state and local tax revenue. Compare this to healthcare (55 indirect and induced jobs per 100 new jobs) and tourism (32 indirect and induced per 100 new jobs) and one can see the value of investing in New Hampshire’s SMHT sector. 

New Hampshire High Technology Council President Fred Kocher agrees. “One of the most important findings in our study is that SMHT employers are the largest source of high-wage jobs for New Hampshire. That one fact has implications for the public policies we enact, the workforce development we undertake, the education we promote and the collaborations we forge on job-related issues facing the SMHT sector. The state’s economic health depends on it.” 

Competitiveness and the Future of SMHT in New Hampshire

The center’s study also compared New Hampshire’s cost of doing business relative to top competitor states and countries, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Mexico, India, China and Malaysia. Among the findings:

Wages in New Hampshire are slightly higher than in competitor states and dramatically higher than in competitor countries

Healthcare costs are higher in New Hampshire than in most states and 10 times higher than in the nearest competitor country

Electric rates in New Hampshire are almost twice as high as in competitor states and about even with Mexico and China

New Hampshire’s corporate income tax rate is highest among the state’s competitors and highest compared to competitor countries when the U.S. corporate tax rate is included

BIA and NHHTC Recommendations for Promoting SMHT in New Hampshire

As a companion to the study, the BIA and NHHTC released a set of recommendations to policy makers to promote smart manufacturing/high technology growth in New Hampshire. Roche of the BIA and Kocher of the NHHTC feel that the future of New Hampshire’s SMHT sector depends upon policy makers’ willingness to embrace policies and initiatives that will spur growth and innovation in this economic sector. 

Among BIA and NHHTC recommendations are:

Work to lower healthcare costs by opposing new or expanded healthcare benefit mandates and supporting adequate Medicaid reimbursements to healthcare providers

Lower the business profits and business enterprise taxes, increase the R&D tax credit, improve net operating loss and BET credit carry-forward provisions, and adopt single sales factor BPT apportionment

Improve New Hampshire’s labor and environmental regulatory environment

Work to lower energy costs by supporting policies that promote energy efficiency, preserve dedicated funds for business energy needs, leverage regional strengths and help ratepayers access competitive supply options

Support policies and initiatives aimed at developing and maintaining an educated, skilled workforce in New Hampshire and that ensure businesses have access to talent and resources 

“We realize these recommendations will not be embraced or implemented by lawmakers overnight, especially given the state’s dire fiscal condition,” said Roche. “Nonetheless, we believe these are attainable goals-goals we will be working toward for the next several years.”

The complete SMHT study may be viewed on the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies’ Web site at http://www.nhpolicy.org/reports/smrtmfgfinal.pdf. The recommendations to legislators for promoting SMHT growth in New Hampshire may be viewed on the BIA’s Web site at http://bianhassoc.weblinkconnect.com/cwt/external/wcpages/newsroom/SMHT_Report.aspx.

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.

Business Resource Center’s Allain Honored by AARP

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Congratulations are in order to our own Fran Allain who was recently honored with AARP’s Community Partner of the Year Award.  Great job Fran – we’re very proud of you!!

AARP Honors Volunteers at Celebratory Luncheon

AARP New Hampshire honored nearly 100 volunteers at a celebratory luncheon held Thursday, November 4 at the Manchester Country Club.  The most prestigious volunteer award, the Andrus Award for Community Service, was presented to Mary Ireland, a dedicated AARP volunteer and community leader.  Others honored were Andrus Award finalists; Tax-Aide, Driver Safety and Advocacy Volunteers of the Year; Retired Educator of the Year; and Community Partner of the Year.

The Andrus Award for Community Service, named after AARP’s founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, recognizes outstanding AARP volunteers who are making a powerful difference in their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP’s mission, vision and strategic direction.

AARP Associate State Director - Communications Jamie Bulen, NH Division of Economic Development Employee Retention Project Manager Fran Allain, AARP NH State Director Kelly Clark and AARP NH State President Fred Kocher celebrate Allain's selection as AARP Community Partner of the Year.

AARP Associate State Director - Communications Jamie Bulen, NH Division of Economic Development Employee Retention Project Manager Fran Allain, AARP NH State Director Kelly Clark and AARP NH State President Fred Kocher celebrate Allain's selection as AARP Community Partner of the Year.

“We’re thrilled to bestow upon Mary Ireland the most celebrated volunteer award given by AARP,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Kelly Clark.  “Mary has spent an incredible amount of time and energy helping people and is very deserving of this award.”

Mary is a current board member and founding member of the AARP Souhegan Valley Chapter 1235 that engages in a variety of community-based projects.  She is also a past president of the Milford VFW Auxiliary; long-time member of the Milford Historical Society; and active participant at the Milford Senior Center.

“And then there’s Mary’s voice,” stated AARP New Hampshire State President Fred Kocher.  “For 16 years, she sang with the Golden Smoothies, an all-volunteer singing group that performed at nursing homes, chapter meetings, historical societies, and the Grange.”  

Others honored at the premier volunteer recognition event were:

Andrus Award finalists:  Margaret Berry, Durham; Barbara Cameron, Loudon; Barbara Coish, Windham; Alan Cooper, Londonderry; Virginia Hallisey, Nashua; Elaine Kellerman, Concord; Preston Lawrance, Loudon; Lorraine Lindenberg, Salem; Ernest “Mick” Mawn, Hudson; Roger Packard, Harrisville; Frank Rawa, Salem; John Sapienza, Stratham; Francis Talbot, Greenville; Joseph “Jay” Tivnan, Laconia; and Ileana Valentine, Manchester

Advocacy Volunteer of the Year:  Chuck Engborg, Ashland

Community Partner of the Year:  Fran Allain, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development.  Resident of Merrimack.

Driver Safety Volunteer of the Year:  Robert “Bob” Bloomfield, Amherst

Retired Educator of the Year:  Virginia Hallisey, Nashua

Tax-Aide Volunteer of the Year:  Les Scammon, Concord

The day’s festivities also included a surprise “award” given to retiring AARP Executive Council member and active volunteer, Tim Gormley.  Tim was awarded a compilation of photographs, representing his participation at AARP events over the past several years.  “Even though Tim’s leadership position at AARP New Hampshire has expired, we know Tim’s dedication to the issues facing an aging population will never expire,” concluded Clark.

EDAC to be Featured on “New Hampshire’s Business”

Friday, June 19th, 2009

UPDATED – This segment will actually run next Sunday, June 28th at the same time. The status of business taxes will be featured this Sunday.

The work of the New Hampshire Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) will be in the spotlight on WMUR’s “New Hampshire’s Business” segment on Sunday, June 21st as part of the 7-9 a.m. newscast.


Hosted by Fred Kocher (who serves as a key member of the Advisory Council), the segment will feature New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy as well as Council member Mark Godfrey, President of Felton Brush.

The duo will discuss the formation and work of the EDAC and provide an update on the progress of the five Action Teams assembled to tackle subjects as varied as the development of a “green” economy and the refining of the state’s workforce development system.

For the uninitiated, the EDAC is a 25-member board legislatively created to provide counsel to the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development on all aspects of doing business in the Granite State.

Do your Dad a favor and wake him up early on Sunday with this Father’s Day present – coffee with WMUR, Fred Kocher and the EDAC!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director