I thoroughly enjoyed the day at Hypertherm discussing business in NH. One of my greatest takeaways was that there is far more segregation that I ever imagined there to be in the state. A reoccurring theme amongst our small state is that we just plain don’t communicate and work together enough from town to town. We could likely make some major headway if we could work even region to region with in the state. That said, one could make a case for there being a greater need in our global market for all of New England to work together to increase the business growth and market share amongst the nation and the world.
Sadly the greatest concern with regard to New Hampshire in the business segment is workforce development. The lack of affordable housing for the desired skilled workforce is not robust enough. Although I think that investment in the mixed use sector, such as that proposed in Salem at the Rockingham Park is a large step in the direction for increased gain in the workforce development sector in New Hampshire.
Additionally, it was refreshing to see a nonprofit like Families in Transition moving forward in the manner it does within the state. It’s making great strides for families and children who have be displaced. The fact that it persists to exist by owning most, if not all of it’s own assets, speaks volumes to it’s continued success. Maureen is a rockstar in the nonprofit sector and I was happy to meet her and look forward to hopefully working with her in the future.
It was still in the morning when I remarked to Steve, wow another head swelling day! I say that in the most positive and interesting way.
Hypertherm, a great NH story.
The power and impact of Non-Profits! Entrepreneurs! Having been around local politics for a while, I believe as was touched on in Exeter, the power, climate and mindset/community vision of local planning boards, zoning boards and conservation commissions has a direct impact on whether businesses choose to locate in NH towns. Consider exit 20 and 22 on I-93? Tilton embraced development at exit 20. Sanbornton did not at exit 22. Who is better off? It depends…….on your perspective. In Berlin, how do you improve local economics? are people in Berlin willing to adapt to a new model ? (great conversation that was started with James from Berlin).
If a business is going to develop a site, consider all of the permitting and site requirements necessary at the state and local level. Consider the time and money needed before the actual work can begin. It all fits into the fear of population explosion, the NH way of life. Remember the cartoon, the difference between a developer and a conservationist is the conservationist already has their cabin in the woods!
A component relevant to business development is the Internet wired and wireless. Grafton and Coos county are clearly in the rear of the pack. That thread did not weave into the conversations.
I wonder if in the future, Business and Economy should be a 2 day session?
What starts out as a mind swelling day resolves to a day of intellectual stimulation and reflection. Thank you!
- I found Fidelity’s practice of bringing back retirees with specialized knowledge to work part-time training employees a great business policy.
- I appreciated Badger’s hiring question about what non-professional abilities prospective hires bring to the company. I’m also suggesting to my employer that we supply our lunch room with board games, based on Badger’s example.
- Several LNH associates’ Christmas lists grew after we toured Hypertherm’s factory and saw the handheld welding machines they sell.
- This fact blew me away: there are 2,000 tech jobs that average $110,000 in annual pay currently unfilled in NH.
- Another interesting fact: Almost 700 non-profit organizations in NH have budgets of $500,000 or more.
The Business: Profits & Nonprofits day was an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience for me. Numerous times throughout the day, business leaders cited the relatively high quality of life New Hampshire’s natural environment helps to provide as reasons that their employees—and their families—come to and stay in New Hampshire. As a leader of a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping our state’s lakes healthy, clean, and safe, I am now more motivated to forge partnerships with the business sector to help raise both of our boats.
Hypertherm was a great location for the Business & Economy Day. The tour and background information about the Couch Family, philosophy of the company as it related to NH and its community provided a great example for success in New Hampshire. I was especially appreciative of learning more about the collaborative and shared model developing under the leadership of Families in Transition to address the needs of homeless children and families in the Manchester area.
Our New Hampshire Business, Nonprofits and the Economy Day took place in the Upper Valley at Hypertherm’s impressive manufacturing facility. Let me say, if I had seen that place when I was in school, I would have gone into manufacturing. Dick Couch, President of Hypertherm, graciously welcomed us to kick off the day, and he was followed by some encouraging word from Amanda Grappone Osmer from Grappone Automotive Group and Craig Jewett of Jewett Construction.
We started the substantive portion of the program with, Steve Norton, because Dennis Delay was unable to attend due to illness (please keep Dennis in your thoughts). Steve, as usual, presented a wide array of statistical information about where the economy has been and where it is heading. These trends show significant demographic challenges. Some of the highlights were that NH’s success is tied to Massachusetts, and that as a State, NH needs to refresh its brand. It is a good place to work and a great place to live, and we don’t seem to get that message out enough. This branding issue came up in several other conversations throughout the day as we discussed attracting and retaining employees.
The other theme that I noticed was that in NH individuals can make a difference, and anything is possible. From the story of Dick Couch starting Hypertherm in his garage, to the comments that business owners can get things done with one call, to the fact that the NH business community is a supportive environment rather than a ruthless, cutthroat, bottom line driven environment that exists in other areas of the country. Maybe this is tied to the citizens of NH understanding that NH is just a big town, where reputation matters and sticks with you and we like to take the long view.
This anything is possible attitude was highlighted again at the end of the day with Maureen Beauregard from Families in Transition. What an amazing program. My take away from this discussion was that collaboration in the non-profit sector can happen and needs to happen. Clearly, this is a scary proposition for nonprofit organizations, but I was encouraged to see that it can be done.
Like every program day so far, I left tired but inspired.