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Posts Tagged ‘No Bull Business Blog’

The Second Tuesday in March … It’s All About Traditions

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Being that this is the second Tuesday in March in New Hampshire, there are two things of note happening, both involving time-honored traditions that make you glad you live here.

Sugarhouses across the state are fired up now and boiling into syrup the first gallons of sap running from the maple trees. 

And today is Town Meeting Day, when residents get fired up (a few even boil) but within a few hours, the municipal business for another year is decided. It’s here where there are great lessons in frugality, generosity and oratory.

Ask Granite Staters what Town Meeting is all about and they’ll tell you it’s grassroots democracy. It’s the day when the ledger is opened on what it costs to run a community and decisions will be made on how to spend on things like road repairs and water line construction, upkeep of town properties, how much to save over the next few years to buy a fire truck or police car and whether to build a new school.

Town Meeting Tuesday

It’s a day when anyone can become an accountant, delving into the spending of a town, scrutinizing bottom lines, making a case to spend or save in the forum of a voting booth or the middle of a gym floor turned meeting place. It’s a chance for everyone to become a CEO of sorts in the business of running a town.

Here is where the priorities of a town are set for the coming year and where each voter can weigh in. As investments go, spending a couple of hours at Town Meeting is always a good one.

On a sweeter note, maple syrup.

The first bottles of the season have been put up and, since it takes warm days and cool nights to get the sap running, it must mean that spring is gaining ground.

Maple syrup production is not one of our huge industries, but it’s an important one. Our neighbors down the hall at the Division of Forest and Lands note that maple syrup production is part of New Hampshire’s forest economy, which contributes $2.26 billion annually.

(According to the 2011 report, The Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forest-Based Economy, the sale of maple syrup, along with Christmas trees and wreaths, was valued at over $7 million in 2009.)

More than revenue, the stewards of our forests maintain many things that are dear to New Hampshire – environmental health, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and the preservation of our rural character.

So here’s to March in New Hampshire and two great traditions.

Go forth and vote and then have a pancake … with maple syrup, of course.


Lorna Colquhoun

Communications Director

Division of Economic Development

Take a STEP into Exporting

Monday, June 4th, 2012

The global market for aerospace and defense industry products made right here in New Hampshire is heating up.

             At the same time, the state’s Office of International Commerce has a key ingredient for businesses looking to take advantage of overseas opportunities – grants to help them make that leap.

            Investing some time and using the funding to check out what the world has to offer can have these businesses flying high and landing products around the globe.

            The OIC received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant that can help small and medium sized companies serving the aerospace and defense sectors cover the cost of market research overseas.  For eligible companies, these grants, provided in partnership with US Commercial Services, can save up to $700, as they begin the process of marketing their product in foreign markets and screening the responses.

            “We know there is an intimidation factor,” said Tina Kasim, program manager for the OIC. “We know that some of the regulatory aspects for many exports are a barrier for companies. But now is the time for many of them to jump into the overseas market and there is financial help available to make that happen.”

            In 2011, aerospace components were the ninth largest commodity exported from New Hampshire to countries around the world. Trade missions from China, Turkey and Taiwan to the Granite State in the past month illustrate the interest there is in products made here.

            “They look here, specifically, for US-made products and they know that New Hampshire is on the leading edge of new technology,” Kasim said.

            The assistance available, and underwritten by the STEP grant, provides individualized research on the markets where a company’s product is in demand.

            “We have the money for market research specifically for aerospace and defense,” she said. “This STEP grant for these sectors does the initial ground work for the companies, like determining whether certain countries have the right market for those components and products, what the competition looks like and a look at local regulations there and how it affects companies here.”

            Despite a soft global economy over the past year, New Hampshire companies that export have been doing well.

            “During our economic downturn, companies and manufacturers looked overseas to secure and diversify their markets,” Kasim said. “In many cases, this enabled them to retain their workforce, if not create more jobs right here at home.”

            For more information about how the STEP grant can help your business, contact Kasim at 603-271-8444 or tina.kasim@dred.state.nh.us or Justin Oslowski of the US Department of Commerce at Justin.Oslowski@trade.gov or 603-953-0210.

New Hampshire’s Own Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off Slated for January

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It’s no secret that the No Bull Business Blog is a big fan and advocate of New Hampshire’s farming industry. The New Hampshire dairy industry impacts state and local economies with more than $141 million in total output, 3,717 jobs and more than $19 million in labor income. Dairy farming also helps support many businesses related to the production of milk such as feed stores, milking equipment suppliers and tractor dealerships.

Thankfully, there’s an incredible organization that works tireless to ensure that the dairy industry remains active and vibrant in the state.  The mission of Granite State Dairy Promotion (GSDP) is to increase the sale and use of milk and other dairy products through promotional activities, nutrition education, and to enhance the image of the dairy industry in New Hampshire.

Now, for the second year, GSDP is organizing its very creative and absolutely yummy signature event, the New Hampshire’s Own Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off. Below you’ll see the press release for the Bake Off – I urge the New Hampshire business community to support this event through sponsorship and citizens to go and enjoy some of the best comfort food the Granite State has to offer. Heck, you can even cast a vote for your own favorite in the “People’s Choice” category. Save up your appetite – this is going to be a good one!!

New Hampshire’s Own Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off Slated for January

Once again, Granite State Dairy Promotion is on a quest to find NH’s best macaroni and cheese. The competition is open to all who think they can impress NH’s dairy farmers, the leading experts on all things cheese. On January 14th, 2012, New Hampshire’s Own Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off will be held at the Holiday Inn in Concord, NH. The event begins at 2:00pm.

Contestants can enter into one of four categories; best traditional, most creative exotic, best restaurant/café or best NH made. Contestants entering the NH Made category must use 100% NH made milk and cheese in their dish.

Entries will be judged on texture, taste and overall cheesiness. Each category will have 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes. The winner of each category will move on for their chance to be the 2012 Grand Champion of Macaroni and Cheese.

Local celebrity judges will include Chef Jeffrey Paige of Cotton Restaurant; Chef Edward Aloise of Republic Café and Bistro; Charlie Burke, President of the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection, Helen Ryba of Good Eats NH, Angel Roy of the Hippo Press, Kristy Stephens Ammann owner of Butters Fine Food and Wine and of course, NH’s dairy farmers.

The winner of the “NH Made” category will have his or her recipe prepared by Master Chef Jeffrey Paige and featured on Cotton’s menu.

For those who would like to taste and not bake, tickets will be at the door for $10. The public will have their shot at judging and cast their vote for the “People’s Choice award.”

New Hampshire’s second annual Macaroni & Cheese Bake Off promises to warm your soul on a cold January day. Get those recipe books out NH and show us what you’ve got. Deadline to enter is December 21st. For rules and registration information, visit www.nhdairypromo.org.

Expand, Engage, and Lead at the 3rd Annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The word is in and the pace of change in social media has now eclipsed the speed of light. With Google+ on the scene, Facebook has responded to the pressure by rolling out powerful new features to stay competitive. What’s more, Facebook is announcing even more changes to their platform at the huge annual “f8” conference.

To help New Hampshire-based professionals get focused, spark conversations, tune into the energy of the almighty “A-Ha!”, and ignite positive, purpose-fueled action on the Social Web, Epiphanies, Inc., in coordination with the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, will host the 3rd Annual “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, NH.

“Social media is no longer an option for businesses and organizations,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Chris Way. “The business case has been made that these tools are just as necessary as traditional marketing methods – and in most cases even more effective. Our own “No Bull” Business Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and SlideShare channels have been terrific for our visibility, and we’re proud to partner with Epiphanies on this signature event for the third year in a row.”

Lani and Allen Voivod, co-owners of Epiphanies Inc. and co-founders of the “A-Ha!” NH Social Media Business Summit, will again design and deliver the Summit, and serve as featured speakers for the day-long event. Other speakers at the Summit include:

–Abby Fichtner (Keynote), Evangelist for Startups at Microsoft and a highly regarding blogger in the Agile development field. “I have the most excellent job of getting to help startups build out the next generation of software,” she says. “I’m extremely passionate about how we can develop better software and am always seeking new ways to share knowledge with the community.”

–Lou Bortone, online visibility expert and YouTube video pro with more than 20 years under his belt as a marketing and branding executive with national media including Fox, E! Entertainment Television, The Family Channel and NBC.

–Steve Boucher, Communications and Legislative Director for the NH Division of Economic Development, whose “No Bull Business Blog” was rated “Best in Show” and “Excellent” over the last two years by the nine-state Northeast Economic Developers Association.

–Nancy Clark, Chief Strategist and President of Glen Group, a “fearlessly creative” and award-winning NH ad agency based in North Conway. Nancy is often nicknamed the “Owner Girl” at “New Hampshire’s Best Agency with Big Ideas.”

–Ric Pratte, Director of the Meltwater Buzz Social CRM platform for The Meltwater Group, a global reputation management firm with 800+ employees in 55 offices on six continents (including one in Bedford, NH).

–Corissa St. Laurent, Regional Development Director for Constant Contact, the undisputed leader of Engagement Marketing™ for hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the world.

–Kevin Skarritt, serial entrepreneur, founder of Flock Marketing, and Communications Director for Michigan CHI, the Michigan Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.

“This is NOT a ‘101’ training-type event, though it’s definitely suitable for both newbies and experienced users, too,” adds Lani Voivod. “While there will be countless and specific tactics and strategies shared throughout the day by our featured speakers and many other New Hampshire business leaders and new media trailblazers, the Summit will showcase what’s happening and what’s possible in the social space throughout the Granite State and the world at large.”

Continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments are included for all attendees. In addition, popular NH singer/songwriter Jim Tyrrell will make an encore appearance at this year’s Summit, playing great music throughout the day. A networking reception, door prizes, Segway demonstrations, and (conditions pending) a demonstration of the longest zip line in the continental U.S. are also in store. Space is limited, and the previous two Summits sold out weeks in advance. To learn more, and get 50% off tickets by the early-bird deadline, go to http://www.AhaNH.com.

Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics Named U.S. Chamber Award Winner

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

It’s always nice to see one of our “Innovation Rocks!” winners get recognized on a national scale. In addition to being named a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winner by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Manchester-based Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics is also in the running for a Community Excellence Award which will be determined by public online voting. We at the No Bull Business Blog urge all of our followers to vote for Next Step prior to the March 11th deadline date at www.uschambersummit.com.  Congrats on making New Hampshire proud Next Step!!


Citing the company’s critical role in job creation and economic growth, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today named Manchester, NH-based Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winner.

The "Luke Arm" is just one of Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics' many accomplishments.

The "Luke Arm" is just one of Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics' many accomplishments.

“The recipients of this year’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award are on the forefront of our economic recovery,” U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said. “Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics represents our nation’s job creators, and this award recognizes their significant contributions to our economy.”

The Blue Ribbon Small Business Award, sponsored by Sam’s Club, honors businesses that demonstrate excellent business practices in several areas including strategy, employee development, community involvement and customer service.

“We are truly honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” said Next Step President and CPO Matt Albuquerque. “This award is testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff and the importance of our mission – to consistently innovate so that our clients may lead happier, active and more fulfilled lives.”

Next Step President & CPO Matt Albuquerque

Next Step President & CPO Matt Albuquerque

A privately held company headquartered in Manchester, NH with offices in Newton, MA and Warwick, RI, Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics provides orthotic and prosthetic devices to clients of all ages – from pediatric to geriatric. The company is practitioner owned and operated, and some staff members are amputees themselves. Known for their innovation, Next Step prosthetists and clinicians work with research facilities and prosthetic manufacturers in developing new prosthetic technologies and components.

This year’s 75 Blue Ribbon winners were selected from a record number of nationwide applicants and will be honored at America’s Small Business Summit 2011 from May 23-25 in Washington, D.C. On March 14, seven of the Blue Ribbon businesses will be announced as award finalists and one will be named the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year during America’s Small Business Summit. The winner will be presented with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Blue Ribbon businesses are also eligible for the Community Excellence Award decided by online public voting at www.uschambersummit.com.  The deadline for the online vote is March 11th.

“We welcome the support of the citizens of New Hampshire as we seek the community excellence designation,” Albuquerque said. “We value our role in being a community partner in the Granite State and would love to ensure that New Hampshire is recognized on a national level for our community engagement.”  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

No Bull Business Blog Named Best of Class in Northeast

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

When all was said and done, the business and economic development community decided that a “bull free” news diet was in order. The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s “No Bull Business Blog” has been named “Best of Class” in the “News Communications” category of the Northeastern Economic Developers Association’s (NEDA) 2010 Literature and Promotions Competition.

brc_nhbr_nobull1The Division of Economic Development’s communications efforts were recognized at NEDA’s recent 54th Annual Conference at the Renaissance Providence in Rhode Island with three awards in total, an “excellent” rating in the “Single Print Ad” category as well as a “best of class” rating in both the “News Communications” and “Print Ad Campaign” categories. The print ad campaign was designed by Square Spot Design of Manchester, New Hampshire.

“This is great news for the New Hampshire business community,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher. “We’ve learned that businesses want a departure from acronyms and jargon and favor having their news presented to them in an entertaining way. By standing out, we’re delivering the message that New Hampshire welcomes innovation and celebrates creativity.”

The Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) was formed in 1956 to promote economic and industrial development in the Northeastern region of the United States. The association encourages an informal exchange of ideas and serves as a medium by which its members can benefit from the experiences of other professionals.

Diversification Leading to a New North Country Economy

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Economic diversification is the key to building a world class state economy. To that end, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development would very much like to tip its hat to The Balsams Vice President of Sales and New Business Development Gary Armitage, a visionary thinker who is bringing a world class film festival to the North Country.

For years, we have been preaching the gospel of communities taking a community inventory of assets that are unique to their region, and through the creation of this festival, Gary has embraced that message. The North Country economy isn’t just about paper mills and machine shops (though they are certainly a big piece of the puzzle); it’s also about the Jericho Park ATV Festival in July that brought 2,000 visitors into the region and gave a quick boost to local stores, restaurants and motels; it’s about entrepreneurs with great ideas choosing the scenic North Country as a great launching pad for their business; and yes, it’s now about the First Annual FLICKERS North Country Film Festival as well.

The Balsams' Gary ArmitageI was fortunate enough to join Gary at lunch along with WTPL’s Jack Heath and Shelly Breer who have been spreading the word about this great event. I was incredibly impressed with everyone’s enthusiasm for creating a festival that would develop a new regional awareness of the beauty of the North Country as well as the untapped opportunities for its economic potential.

Good luck to Gary and the rest of The Balsam’s team for great success with the Festival. We at Economic Development and the “No Bull Business Blog” stand firmly behind this effort and will do our best to make it as successful as possible. By giving new visitors a ticket to a first class event, Gary is doing his part to build a new economic reality in an area that is about to learn how positive and profitable diversification can be.

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director


Dixville Notch, N.H. – The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel is pleased to announce that it will host the first annual FLICKERS North Country Film Festival.  The non-profit festival aims to promote New Hampshire’s Great North Woods as a regional center for the arts, and is expected to bring celebrities, audiences and international filmmakers to the area.  This exciting event will be held September 30 – October 3, 2010 with screenings of a variety of films in multiple locations and gala events.

The FLICKERS North Country Film Festival is in partnership with the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIF) one of the most respected in the country, and is a qualifying event for Academy Award short film submissions. 

north_country_film_festival_logo“We are thrilled to be bringing this film festival to the North Country,” said Gary Armitage, Vice President of Sales and New Business Development at The BALSAMS.  “Through this unique event, we hope to encourage cultural tourism and support area businesses.  The beauty of our area is a natural draw for filmmakers and producers, and we aim to bring them here.  The film festival is a first step in what we hope to grow over time, spreading the event into our local communities.  Also, the date allows us to extend the tourism calendar beyond the end of the typical season and our goal is to attract visitors to experience Coös County and the North Country of New Hampshire.”

There are multiple events planned during the festival.  Audiences will be treated to the world premier screening of “Indian Stream Schoolhouse,” produced by Pittsburg, NH resident Roy Amey.  The “best of” winners from the August 2010 RIIF will also be screened along with the work of outstanding independent filmmakers from across the globe. As many as five films will be projected at once in areas throughout The BALSAMS, including the Ballot Room and The Switzerland of America Ballroom.  Shorts, feature length films and animated films across several genres including comedy, drama, fantasy and romance, to North Country and Franco-American culture will be screened. Watch for updates and announcements at http://northcountryfilmfestival.org/index.htm.

The non-profit festival is seeking individual and corporate sponsors. Contact Gary Armitage at 603-255-2669 or garmitage@thebalsams.com for more details. 

A black-tie gala event will also be held on Saturday, October 1 to benefit the Brattleboro Retreat, a mental health and addiction treatment center that provides a wide array of services for children and adults. Its newest program for uniformed service professionals is designed for police, firefighters, correctional officers, EMTs and military personnel who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of their duty.  The Retreat works with patients from Hollywood, CA to Hallowell, ME.  (www.brattlebororetreat.org)

For more information about the first annual FLICKERS North Country Film Festival, visit http://northcountryfilmfestival.org/index.htm.  The BALSAMS is pleased to be joined by Public Television of New Hampshire in supporting this first-ever event. 

The BALSAMS is a premier New Hampshire resort hotel, featuring award-winning dining, outdoor wilderness adventures, unique events, endless activities, and fun for the entire family.  Our 8,000-acre mountain resort features everything from golfing on a Top 100 ranked, Donald Ross designed course, a Top 25 ranked tennis program, hiking and biking, whitewater rafting, kids’ summer camp, private alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more.  For more information go to www.thebalsams.com or call 800-255-0600.

The FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), has secured its place in the global community as the portal for the best in international independent cinema, earning the respect of domestic and foreign filmmakers, filmgoers and trend watchers. This confluence of art and commerce brought together world-class celebrities, award-winning filmmakers, new talent and audience members in record numbers last year. Ranked as one of the top 12 Festivals in the United States, RIIFF is also a qualifying festival for the Short Film Academy Award through its affiliation with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. There are 65 film festivals worldwide which share this distinction and RIIFF is the only festival in New England. The next Festival will take place August 10-15, 2010. For more information about the festival, please visit www.rifilmfest.org.

Romance, Recycling and No Bull TV

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Romance, recycling and a healthy dose of frontier justice – that’s what’s on tap in the newest “Earth friendly” entries on No Bull TV.

For those of you who’ve forgotten (which is understandable as we haven’t been posting a ton of videos lately in advance of our latest extravagonzos), No Bull TV is the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s YouTube station featuring vids on Greenerpalooza, the WMUR Project Economy Job Fair and Career Expo, the Jericho ATV Park and more.

This year, as previously referenced on the No Bull Business Blog, we have partnered with the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, Citizens Bank, Public Service of NH, Epiphanies Inc., New Hampshire Business Review and The Mountain to not only present Greenerpalooza III on August 12th, but to unveil the Granite Green Team, very much in evidence at select Meadowbrook concerts.

The Granite Green Team, a squad of eco-volunteers clad in very cool t-shirts designed by our friends at The Mountain, hands out seed cards with recycling and energy efficiency information on them at concerts throughout the Meadowbrook season. Located on the card is information that can also be used to sponsor the planting of a tree, a great way to build sustainability and encourage green practices.

To ensure that concert goers get the message about the benefits of recycling and observe eco-friendliness while visiting Meadowbrook, the Green Team pulled together a series of Public Service Announcements that make an important point while being entertaining at the same time.

In the following clips, Allen Voivod of Epiphanies Inc. fame, plays our resident rocker while PSNH Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott, Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion Marketing Director and I comprise the green jumpsuit stylin’ Granite Green Team. In the “Romance and Recycling” clip, Dan Freund of Kinney Hill (the video production team that did such a great job on this shoot) and Meadowbrook’s Kate Lilly play the couple who find love through recycling.

Special thanks to Emma Womack, Vice President of Corporate Development at Meadowbrook, for arranging the shoot and ensuring that these PSAs will run on the venue’s video wall throughout the 2010 season. Never thought that my buddies and I would be sharing the stage with Sugarland, Heart, Cheap Trick and the Zac Brown Band!!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Rappin’ Bout the 603

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Well, as you know, the No Bull Business Blog tries to keep an open mind about all things, including music, and we’ve been known to bust a dope rhyme every once in awhile.

In that spirit, we’d like to introduce you to a new rap video created by two sons of the Granite State, St. Anselm English major Alex Letvinchuk and Fairfield University film major Dan Dunn.  These two young men used their creativity, musical skills and undeniable love of New Hampshire to create “The 603,” an homage to all things Granite State.

Special thanks to our comrade in arms Tai Freligh from the Division of Travel & Tourism Development for turning us on to this soon to be local classic and great job Alex and Dan!