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Ready, Willing and Able

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

John Murray, left, John Patten ~ Murdawg Custom and Everything Automotive

Several hundred people came out to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center here in Concord to recognize businesses from around the state that reach out with opportunity and encouragement to assist people with disabilities in finding a job.

“This event is a wonderful way to raise awareness with businesses about the importance of promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce,” says Jim Hinson, who is with New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation. “By sharing the successful experiences of New Hampshire employers, we hope more will follow.”

We heard a few of those stories this morning, of how employers large and small hired men and women for jobs in their organizations and finding them as enthusiastic, dependable and reliable as the rest of their workers.

John Murray of Murdawg Custom and Everything Automotive in Ossipee told a great story – of how he and his wife, Maggie, believe in giving back to their community and how, one day, he was introduced to John Patten by way of Northern Human Services.

Over the next few minutes, Murray explained how, having no positions available, he agreed to mentor Patten one evening a week. How mentoring turned in a full-time position, how Patten is more than just an employee.

“He’s a part of my family,” Murray said.

The 2012 Employment Leadership Award winners are:

– Murdawg Custom and Everything Automotive, Ossipee

Chartwells, a food service company in Concord

Pete & Gerry’s Organics, Monroe

Remcon North Corp., Meredith

Rita Mae’s restaurant, Manchester

Rounding out the top 10 were Constantly Pizza, Concord; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, Manchester; Kellermeyer Bergensons Services; Sodexo at St. Joseph Hospital, Nashua and T-Bones, Laconia.

Gov. Lynch received the first Individual Employment Leadership award, for his work in recognizing that those with disabilities can make a difference in the state’s economy and understanding the unique issues involved in hiring.

Hinson said employers’ fears about lost productivity, increased liability and the cost to accommodate disabled workers are misconceptions.

Ten employers this morning said their business is all the more for reaching out to this workforce, and that they, and their customers, would be less had they not.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development

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.