Today’s Class focused on New Hampshire Business and the Economy. We were welcomed to Nashuaby Chris Williams, LNH ’10 , President & CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, and Amanda Grappone Osmer, LNH ’10, COO Grappone Automotive.
Nashua Telegraph columnist Dean Shalhoup gave us a historical background on Nashua.
We then listened to Economic Coordinator’s from both Manchesterand Nashuaas to how this region is New Hampshire’s Economic Backbone, with it’s size, proximity to large markets such as Boston, and Infrastructure. Looking at this Nashua, the economy consists of three area’s: high-tech manufacturing, healthcare, and retail. Future initiatives for Nashuainclude the technologyPark, Passenger rail from Boston, and Community Branding. For Manchester, the economy is built around Auto Manufacturing, Defense Manufacturing, and Financial Services. Their future initiatives revolve around filling vacant buildings and storefronts.
Looking at the New Hampshire Advantage, we see that it revolves around the lack of a sales or income tax, access to officials, an educated workforce, and a great quality of life. Things endangering this advantage include a high amount of regulations, high business taxes, high healthcare cost’s, and high energy costs.
DR. Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire, also commented on this, adding rankings that we have the highest Per-capita income in the country, low unemployment, lowest poverty rate, ranked 7th in the country for technology, and have the strongest economy in New Hampshire. He added that we have great clusters, both of people (educated, skilled, entrepreneurial, innovative) and industry (shared resources and labor pool help for a great alignment and speed to react to an ever changing economy). Looking Forward, we have a slowly recovering economy, which we need to prepare for by aligning the skills of our workforce with the needs of industry.
Speaker Fred Kocher echoed many of the comments already made, and added that access to state officials and the small size of the state and ability to bring key officials together quick to make big decisions was a huge advantage.
Grant Bosse also echoed many items, but also added that I93 was a huge boost to NH when it was built, and continues to be a great asset. He also warned that we need to lessen regulation so that we can bring in small businesses, cut government spending, and solve the budget/pension problem.
Our lunch talks with state business owners resulted in great compliments to our state, such as a great workforce, critical thinking skills, having a “2-call” network where you can reach anyone in two calls, the giving nature of residents, and the need to learn & adapt.
Our final panel further discussed doing business in New Hampshire, adding that relationships in New Hampshireare key. Whether they are your customers, colleagues, or community, all relationships are very important. The 5 pillars of the economy revolve around education, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, and high-tech. Other items that are of importance are employee retention, partnerships, internships, and being engaged.
Lastly, we went over a presentation of Stay/Work/Play, which is the initiative to retainNew Hampshire’s youth in the state. This addresses the fact that we have an aging population (which is not good for the economy), as well as the difficulty in retaining a qualified workforce.