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Winners Honored at 9th Business Excellence Awards

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Thirteen businesspeople were honored Thursday night at the New Hampshire Business Review’s ninth annual Business Excellence Awards, which recognize the efforts and achievements owners and operators of companies with 100 employees or fewer.

More than 300 people attended the Oct. 27 event, which was held at the Radisson in Manchester.

NHBR also announced two inductees into the Business Excellence Hall of Fame, which singles out people whose entire careers have been marked by a consistent and impressive record of accomplishments, both in their chosen fields, in their communities, and across the state and beyond. These honorees were selected by a separate panel of judges.

The 2011 Hall of Fame inductees were Howard Brodsky, co-founder of CCA Global Partners, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States and one of the largest cooperatives in the world, and the Singer Family, owner of Merchants Automotive Group, a multifaceted, $200 million auto company, including a long-term fleet leasing division that is one of the largest in the Northeast.

“Each of the businesspeople who receive these honors has a different story to tell,” said Sharron McCarthy, president of McLean Communications and publisher of NHBR. “But what they have in common is determination, industriousness and the ability to come up with innovative solutions that have allowed their businesses to survive and thrive, regardless of economic conditions, and a commitment to serving their communities.”

Jeff Feingold, editor of NHBR, said, “We would like to salute all of the nominees, the people who nominated them and the winners themselves for their contributions toward making New Hampshire a great place to do business.”

Emcee was Erin Fehlau, WMUR’s weekday morning and noon news anchor. A portion of the proceeds from the evening benefited Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, which advocates for New Hampshire children in the state’s court system in cases of neglect and abuse.

The winners of the 2011 NHBR Business Excellences Awards were:

Excellence in Business Services — Guy Sylvester, Absolute Resource Associates, Portsmouth
Excellence in Construction (tie) — Jerry Kingwill, Cobb Hill Construction, Concord; Jason Foster, Foster’s Professional Painting Plus LLC, Claremont
Excellence in Financial Services — Michael L’Ecuyer, Bellwether Community Credit Union, Manchester
Excellence in Health Care — Paula Gagne, Regency Nursing Care, Manchester
Excellence in Hospitality — Emeran Langmaid, A&E Custom Coffee Roastery, Amherst
Excellence in Media & Marketing — Erik Dodier, PixelMEDIA Inc., Portsmouth
Excellence in Nonprofits — Brian Young, Nashua Center for the Multiply Handicapped
Excellence in Professional Services — Thomas Brueckner, Senior Financial Resources Inc., Nashua
Excellence in Real Estate — Dick Anagnost, Anagnost Investments Inc., Manchester
Excellence in Retail (tie) — Sy Mahfuz, Persian Rug Galleries, Nashua; Lynda Nelson, Quest Martial Arts Academy, Barrington
Excellence in Technology — Cheryl Gamst, CCS New England, Nashua

The judges for the 2011 NHBR Business Excellence Awards were:

Chris Bernard, vice president, business banking relationship manager, Citizens Bank
Steve Boucher, communications manager, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development
Mary Collins, state director, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center
Bob Esau, executive vice president of Wealth Management, Laconia Savings Bank
Greta Johansson, New Hampshire district director, U.S. Small Business Administration
Patrick F. McDermott, economic and community development manager, Public Service of New Hampshire
Dr. Russ Ouellette, managing partner, Sojourn Partners, Bedford
Michele Petersen, vice president of operations, abi Innovation Hub, Manchester
Joe Reilly, cofounder and president, Centrix Bank
Chip Underhill, executive director of public relations and external affairs, Pinkerton Academy, Derry
Sponsors of the event were FairPoint Communications, Laconia Savings Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, J Maze Design, Public Service of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Merrimack Street Volvo, WGIR-AM 610 and New Hampshire Public Television.

On behalf of all of us at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, thanks to our friends at the New Hampshire Business Review for a great awards celebration and congratulation to the winners and nominees!!

Amoskeag Business Incubator Relaunches as abi Innovation Hub

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Congrats to our friends at the abi Innovation Hub!!

The abi Innovation Hub (abi) (formerly Amoskeag Business Incubator) has unveiled its formal rebranding and 2011 strategic plan focused on technology innovation. The 14-year-old 501(c)(3), originally formed as a collaboration between Southern New Hampshire University and the City of Manchester, believes its stable foundation coupled with its new vision will elevate its relevance and attract the most innovative minds, ideas and businesses in New England. 

abi-innovation-hub“It’s invigorating to have the abi back on the path to changing the business landscape in New Hampshire by creating jobs and wealth, fostering the area’s entrepreneurial climate and accelerating growth of local industry. The rediscovered energy is contagious,” said Ed French, long standing board member and MBA Director from Franklin Pierce University. 

In October 2010, the abi brought on Jamie Coughlin as VP, Strategic Initiatives & Entrepreneur in Residence focused on strategic growth, recruitment of technology startups and innovation, strengthening of affiliate programs, formation of business and non-profit partnerships, building of support programs and services for members, and the creation of a national voice representing the abi and innovation out of New Hampshire.  Working alongside Michele Petersen, VP, Operations, who has been with the abi for three years, Coughlin, a serial entrepreneur and graduate of Princeton University, will lead a new vision of open source entrepreneurship.  

“These are exciting times for people with big ideas and the new abi will literally be a hub for all things startup,” added Coughlin. “In recent years, there has been an influx of new innovation centers, business mentor programs, next generation incubators, angel and venture capital portfolios forming and seeing great success. We recognize that we’ve been behind the times a bit and that many of these organizations have thrived in larger cities, but our new leadership and board is dedicated to harnessing and catapulting innovation in our region.”  

Manchester-based marketing and advertising agency, Griffin York & Krause (GY&K), provided the new branding, packaging and positioning for the abi free of charge, displaying its commitment to entrepreneurship and technology in New England. Touted as a marketing innovation firm, GY&K, dove in with both feet helping to create the abi’s new vision and tagline, “ideas | innovation | impact.” 

The abi has also increased its board of directors from six to 10 members, many focused on Internet startups with specialties in venture capital and strategic investments, patent and IP law, technology operations and production, real estate and property management, sales, marketing, customer service and finance and accounting. Each director brings a shared focus of sustainability and long-term viability, fueled by revenue growth and profitability, which yields continued relevancy for the abi. 

“We knew that we needed to evolve and shift our positioning to return to prominence. Rebuilding our board was our starting point,” said Pete Lachance, Board Chair of the abi and CPA at Howe, Riley & Howe. “We’ve rebranded, are building out a socially connected website, assembled a stable and engaged board, livened up and wired our space, partnered with key technology companies and VC firms, and even have an event series in the works. You will see our board serve as a moving board of mentors for all abi companies past, present and future. Do you have an idea? Are you a startup or early phase business looking to work amongst likeminded entrepreneurs? Join the abi community.”