NHBR's editors met recently at our offices in Manchester with a group of businesspeople from the Queen City to discuss the issues and developments they see as essential to the future of the city and the surrounding region. The participants were:Robert Cruess, president and CEO, TFMoran Inc.Paul LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire UniversityMike L'Ecuyer, president and CEO, Bellwether Community Credit UnionStephanie Lewry, executive director, InTown ManchesterJay Minkarah, economic development director, city of ManchesterE.J. Powers, vice president, strategic communications, Montagne Communications, and chairman, Manchester Young Professionals Network
Michele Petersen, vice president of operations, abi Innovation HubCharlie Sherman, executive director, New Horizons Joni Taube, co-owner, Art 3 GalleryWhat do you think is the biggest need in the area, from your perspective?Jay Minkarah: It's kind of hard to say that there's a one thing. If you wanted a quick, flip answer I guess it would have to be having JetBlue come to Manchester. But there are a number of things that we need. Overall, we do need to see a general economic revival. We need to see it reach the point where employers are willing to hire, and they're willing to expand their operations.I think we see increased optimism out there, I'm sensing that, but we need to see that translate into real facts on the ground -- people actually signing leases for more space, new development actually occurring.It does come back to when we look at the broader issues, many of them are infrastructure. Access matters, transportation matters, highway access, air access -- those are some of the types of things that I would like to see happen, but it's hard to say one thing.Paul LeBlanc: If you take a look at regions and cities across the country that have experienced a renewal and reinvention of themselves, they have been better than we have here of integrating the larger ecosystem. It's saying, "Let's pull together" -- major employers, government, education providers, because we deal with a lot that bubbles up.Simple example -- we're looking at a massive biomass heating/cooling system, but shouldn't we be plugging that into broader areas than the university alone? Shouldn't we be leveraging to the Derryfield School next door, the Hooksett elementary school next door, the residential areas, and leveraging some of our alternative energy purchases?This year we chipped in to help pay for a bus line because it is important to our students, and the city was prepared to cut it. That is a simple subsidy, but shouldn't we have a more coordinated local transportation system, considering the refugee population that needs public transportation?Where does that conversation happen in a coordinated environment? It could be the chamber, it could be local government, it could be the mayor's office -- it could be any number of offices -- but it's not happening.E.J. Powers: I think branding and coordination are important. From what I understand, Manchester has the largest student population of any city north of Boston. Who really knows that who doesn't sit at this table?When you think of big university cities, you think of Durham, you think of Burlington -- there is a bit of a story that has yet to be told about Manchester in that respect, and when you brand Manchester as an attractive place to go to school, then you try to keep those students around to be part of the community, become young professionals and grow your economy from there.I think we have all the pieces in place. It's just a matter of coordinating it and telling the story.Michele Petersen: To build on what E.J.said, in addition to attracting students and keeping them here, next come the startups and building that whole ecosystem of startups.What's going to attract them is capital, so it's a catch-22. We need to attract the startups but we also need to attract venture capitalists and angels who are willing to help fund those startups. Where do you begin?Robert Cruess: I want to get a governor or someone to say this is the place you do business. I can't believe how much work we're doing in Massachusetts right now. Even when they come and look up here, somehow they get lured back there.I think what's missing is, we need to say New Hampshire means business. Get the image and get people coming here to live and work and build and do stuff in New Hampshire -- we mean business. Short of that, all the other stuff will come. JetBlue will come, and we'll have sites and be building again if people come and decide to locate here again.Joni Taube: It's interesting, because I was just at a business in Portsmouth the other day -- the company is an international company that had some venture capital from New York -- and I said, "Why are you opening here?" They said, "It's the place I want to live." So maybe one of things we can look at is to try and draw some of the venture capital companies to look at Manchester as a place that's viable to set up a company. Use the young professionals that you have coming out of all these schools and try and hold them here. There's plenty of space to rent. There's lots of good, young talent. You have big-city proximity, and you have the airport.Mike L'Ecuyer: You asked if there was any one need in the region. I would say I can't think of one, but I believe if we had a series of one things, we would create momentum. We had some individual success along the way, even when times were tough. If we could have a series of those things in a row, I think people's perception of us in our area would change.Look at the baseball analogy, we've got our singles and our doubles. It would be nice if we had a batting average in the mid-.300s and have that consistency. I think then, Robert, we would be seen as "New Hampshire means business."Charlie Sherman: When we were talking about businesses that prefer to go to Massachusetts, I'm curious -- has anyone had the opportunity to talk about their overall perception of New Hampshire, particularly of the greater Manchester area?I talk to a lot of people, and I think we have one perception of what Manchester is. We view it as vibrant, growing and a good place to raise a family and to live. But I've always been curious about the businesses considering moving here, what is their perception? Is that question asked a lot, is it the same perception that we have of this community?Minkarah: I think I can answer that at least in part from our experience. We've gone looking to recruit businesses specifically out of Massachusetts. First of all, most people have very little perception of Manchester at all. We asked the question, "Have you ever been to Manchester?" The answer is almost always no. We ask if they have ever been to the Lakes Region or to the mountains -- it's often yes.They think we are far smaller than we are, and they think we are at least two hours farther away than we are. The point ultimately that I'm going to make is that it is far more important for us to be creating and growing new business here rather than try to attract them from elsewhere.We've gone to recruit tech companies in the Boston area. You can say taxes are lower here, you can say the quality of life is better here, but the reality is that many of those institutions are staying where they are or orbiting in that same vicinity because the proximity to the higher education institutions and research hospitals where most of them and their principals are tied to. It's very difficult for them to break those ties. That is where their labor force is, and that's what matters.That's a reality that's hard to break, but I think our focus needs to be in creating that ecosystem here, whether working with the higher educational institutions, tracking the venture capital -- and, by the way, we have tremendous wealth in this state that could be pushed frankly to a more effective use by investing.How do we make that happen? Actually it is happening, we need to appreciate it more, support it more and tell that story.Petersen: Look at a company like Dyn -- the epitome of a startup gone amazingly well. When you look at their top staff, they are very entrepreneurial. Those guys are having these offshoot companies that they're developing on their own, we have one of them in the abi right now that is doing quite well. They've moved into a larger office, so I think they're sort of breeding and spreading.Today I was with a gentleman who just received $10 million in financing. It's for a new application that they've developed. They are in Boston, but came to the abi, took a tour, and I think he was pretty impressed with what's going on in Manchester. I think that he was totally unaware.When you start pulling in people like that, then they tell other people, it's going to spread, and it's going to grow.Taube: I do think Manchester has an image problem in terms of its downtown area and what it has to offer. I think that's been an ongoing problem for years and years.Part of it is a selling point and branding point. We have the Verizon, the Fisher Cats. We have one of the best small museums in the Northeast. We have universities, but we don't have the same kind of attractions downtown that people see. We're starting to have some restaurants, but there has to be a way to draw them in and for people to say, "Wow, this sounds kind of fun and funky." We could do a lot here.Powers: I went to Saint Anselm College, and leading up to graduation I did not want to live in Manchester. I ended up getting an internship, which ended up turning into a great job, and then another good job, but I had no intention of staying in Manchester, I really didn't want to.I didn't feel as much connectivity to Manchester, even just being over at Saint A's. I'm not from New Hampshire -- I'm from western Massachusetts. Manchester wasn't my first choice of where I wanted to be, but since I've been here I couldn't be a bigger advocate.Stephanie Lewry: I'm not from Manchester either, and I agree that Manchester is a bit off-putting to the average person who has had any experience in a different city where there's a lot of shopping and a lot of activity. But it's a great location if you haven't had the experience. If you're from a different area in the Midwest or a rural area, Manchester is quite exciting.I do know for years we have wondered why people don't get off the highway and come in to see Manchester when they're going up to the lakes or mountains, like you said Jay. I often wondered if we should just have a big billboard right on the highway that says, "Get off here for excellent food, excellent entertainment, baseball, and hockey." We need to have some signage that just puts it right out there in front of people.LeBlanc: Great baseball team, great hockey, but these are events. If you were to invite somebody to get out and walk downtown Manchester, it would not be a pleasant stroll like what you may have in Portsmouth. You don't have the smart shops, don't have a bookstore, don't have an art movie house, or even a regular movie house, downtown.You're right. It's about who you want to attract. We've hired a hundred new full-time people in the last 12 months. The 20-somethings can have a good time hanging out at Strange Brew or J.W. Hill's once in a while, but it isn't the environment that says to them, "Hey, you want to come live in this town."Another cohort is the bunch of 30-somethings who have kids, and in that case it isn't very good either when they're looking at schools. So they go to the outlying communities, and they live their lives there and come into Manchester -- which adds to Manchester's vibrancy on Elm Street. But there are some things about the vibrancy of downtown that really confines our thinking, because I don't know what Manchester's overarching narrative is.To some extent, the power of storytelling is that people become what they pretend to be. In other words, craft a narrative with branding and let's see if we can challenge the community to live up to it and coordinate to it and build towards it and then we'll actually look like the thing we want to be and people will actually start being attracted to it.Cruess: The other thing I'm a little worried about is keeping business. We've seen Verizon pull out -- we can all speculate as to why. You've seen National Grid now basically selling off to somebody that will probably provide a lesser service. And relative to attractions, three years ago we could have had a Cabela's at the toll booth exit there bringing in 4 million people a year. Over in Maine they started after us, they had the building built Scarborough, and we were still talking about how much the state would charge them for the curb cutoff at Hackett Hill.Scarborough, Maine, got the 4 million people a year. Just look at the toll booth -- that's 4 million bucks just coming in at the toll booth, for God's sake. And you couldn't get these people to move -- talk about heartbreak. Your billboards -- Cabela's is a living billboard.Lewry: I just want to say one thing about Manchester, and that is that we have a fabulous business community. We work very hard to try and make sure that we keep that as strong as we possibly can.Minkarah: The strength of Manchester downtown and the strength of Manchester is that it is the business center. That is message we put out in our office. We will never be Portsmouth, and we can't pretend to be. We do need to brand, we do need to understand what our goals are and put the right message out, but we can't be what we're not.In fact, thousands of people do come to Manchester. The difference is -- and I could be wrong on this -- but when you go to an event at the Verizon, you say, "I'm going to the Verizon" or, "I'm going to this concert." You don't say, "I'm going to Manchester." People do say, "I'm going to Portsmouth." People go to the Currier, but they don't say they're going to Manchester -- they're going to the Currier. I think that is an image issue and something that I think we do need to massage, but they are coming. They just aren't saying so.Taube: We have the art trolley that goes around three times a year. At first, we thought, "We'll see what happens." It has really grown and brought people in. We've funded it ourselves but it brings people into the community. I've talked people into to coming up from Massachusetts to come up for the evening and go and bring their children to the museums. And they said, "You have wonderful museums up here." It's a surprise to them, but the city does offer a lot, and if there was a way to get that out you may get more people willing to move up into the area.L'Ecuyer: Two things. One is I think we recognize that not one city or one entity can be all things to all people. You've got to pick and choose what you're going to be good at. Being in the business community here for more than a decade I think of downtown here and I think business. Having said that -- and full disclosure, I am on the Palace Theatre's board of directors -- the downtown area over my 10 years here has evolved immensely.Manchester has made some spectacular choices with the mill buildings, the reinvestment downtown -- I'm not saying that it has been easy to get some of those accomplishments downtown over the years, but we have a lot to offer. I'm downtown three or four times a week -- I have no office there. I am doing something downtown, inevitably I am spending my dollars and my company's dollars or someone else's dollars while we're down there.The Palace brings in 125,000-plus people a year. Some research was done by Southern New Hampshire University, and it's a $5 million impact on the businesses in the area. We have some pretty good things going on.LeBlanc: I tell people all the time to name me another New England mill city that's not on the water that has had this kind of renaissance and rebirth. Lowell had it for a little while during the heyday of Wang and slipped back into big-city problems, which really don't afflict us here still.I would agree with all the positives that have been said, but it feels like we're at this point where it wouldn't take a lot to get the downtown vibrancy to the next level.It's fantasy that on Friday nights in the summer we would close down Elm Street. I know it would kill the guys on the Harleys that love to go up and down, but close Elm Street and make it a street festival. You would have live music. You would have people coming downtown. You'd have to figure out how to move traffic around, but it would be a vibrant scene on a Friday night.I think the Art Institute has been a great success story for bringing art students. Young people in a downtown area just liven it up, and in our case we have 900 to 1,000 international students at any given time, and a lot of them are living at the corner of Bridge and Elm. They would be hungry for the types of things one could do at the next level.Cruess: I think the idea of shutting off downtown the way Burlington, Vt., does, I think we have something to build on there. I think it could be very successful and help give us an image here.Sherman: It's interesting to listen to this conversation evolve from everything that's wrong with Manchester to everything that's right with Manchester. I find it interesting because I have this conversation with a lot of people who are both from New Hampshire and not from New Hampshire.When I started at Channel 9 a little over 20 years ago, we were at the old mill on Philippe Cote upstairs from what is now Jillian's. We were one of the few tenants in these old mills and I remember walking through all those old mills, and all you saw were pigeons. And we thought, if they only would develop the mills. And one by one we saw the transformation of those mills into what it is now just a vibrant business community with law firms and CPAs and UNH Manchester.Then it was, "If only something could happen in downtown Manchester." And then the Verizon rose like a phoenix. Then we became the restaurant capital of New Hampshire, which I think we still are -- and, quite frankly, I'm quite proud to bring people from outside of New Hampshire as guests of mine and go to downtown Manchester to any one of many restaurants.I think we've really come a long way in the 20 years I've been working in Manchester. I think we need to just continue to build on that, and I think forums like this where we come out of it talking about what's good about New Hampshire and what's good about our state are real important because we're the people that talk to a lot of people, and I think it just builds from there.Taube: We were out vacationing in Santa Barbara. They had a film festival, with six or eight theaters in the downtown area. It drew people in. Is there any way to get a movie theater in downtown Manchester?LeBlanc: I introduced an owner of a movie theater to Ted Gatsas. He said he wanted to build a theater in downtown Manchester, but you have to solve the parking issues for me. People will not go to the movies if they can't park next to the theater.I don't know how much of that is a pattern to a problem -- "Oh, I would love to go to dinner at Mint, but I can't find a parking place." Part of me is unsympathetic -- come on, walk, it's not that big of a deal.There is also a perception that there is sort of a sketchy element to downtown Manchester, I think. It's uncomfortable to talk about, but you need to make sure that public safety feels like it's something that's under control.Minkarah: There is a perception of a sketchy element downtown, but what downtown is that not true in? The key element for downtown is more residential. Some of that is happening, but to get us to that next level, you need to see more people living downtown, more young people living downtown.But one of the points that want to make is that we've talked a lot about downtown. I love downtown. I work downtown, and I spend most of my time downtown. But Manchester isn't only downtown, and it's important to remember that.When we look at the city, certainly from an economic perspective, there's East Industrial Park Drive. We have major employers in very important industries thriving in areas like that or around our airport. Downtown is vital, but it's not the only thing happening in Manchester.Lewry: A vision is a good thing to have, and Manchester created a vision 15 years ago. And that vision, I would say, is 95 percent complete -- maybe even more than that now. Maybe it's time for another collective vision to take this into the next two decades or so. I would be the first to sign up. I've already got a lot of things in my mind, so this is a wonderful opportunity to begin that conversation.Sherman: It's interesting you say that Stephanie, because maybe that vision needs to be including a lot of new blood. When you think of the vision of 15 years ago and the Ray Wieczoreks and Dick Anagnosts, and whoever was part of that vision, they now have moved up and have lived their vision. Who is that next group of leaders and developers and political leaders, the next generation of those visionaries? Maybe that's what needs to be done -- those people should sit down with a few who have been there, done that and then map out the next 15 years.Powers: You started off with a question of, what does Manchester need? I always thought, "What's the next Verizon?" That was such a catalyst for the community. Is there something big like that, that will help shape that vision and bring us to the next level? What are we striving to do next?LeBlanc: I was in Silicon Valley last week and the question was posed, "Why does Silicon Valley work?" To get back to the notion of the ecosystem, if you were coming to Silicon Valley to do a startup, all of the pieces were there in a coherent way. You could readily know where to go for space, you could readily find out where to go for capital, you could readily find talent, you could readily know where you could build infrastructure. You need services or you needed something in the cloud -- those services are right there and accessible.A lot of the moving parts are here, and yet it doesn't cohere into a compelling narrative, and it isn't an ecosystem that people can plug into easily. I do think there needs to be a convenient entity that says, "I will take responsibility to get my arms around it." Ideally, that's the mayor's role. He is the type of guy who may actually embrace that role, but it's got to be someone who comes in and says, "I'm going to bring the parties together and I'm going to pull this together in a systematic, integrated way."L'Ecuyer: In my view, a public-private partnership would be best, because branding is critical, but branding requires dollars and it's not an instant ROI. The payback on that is months, quarters, years and we happen to operate sometimes in a much shorter timeframe for returns.Minkarah: I like the point that Stephanie made -- 15 years ago this happened and most of it was implemented. That's very telling, and I think it goes to your point that the reason I believe it was implemented was because we did have a consensus about the business community and the leadership and that's really what is critical. If it's going to happen, it can't be one component pushing against the tide, it has to be this collective product that there is widespread buy-in, a commitment to seeing it move forward. But those conversations should happen. You go into it with a general willingness to have a conversation and listen and to bring in a broad base of the community; I think we could accomplish amazing things.LeBlanc: I think if we were to look at, for example, at the various ideas I've put on the table today. Housing -- we have big demand for housing and have been asked to consider building a downtown dormitory as opposed to an on-campus dormitory. A lot students would prefer to live downtown, frankly, and they are always looking for rental space.There are developers that say if I know you will feed me X number of students first so I know I have some reasonable guarantee. Then those students need to know, can I get a bus on a pretty routine basis back to campus to take my classes? If you start to bring all those pieces together in interesting ways, in a systemic way, because we're not going to sit there and make that dormitory decision all by ourselves in isolation. It's just too much trouble right now -- there isn't the ecosystem as in Silicon Valley that one could easily plug into and say, "Hey, can I quickly search to see if this makes sense or not?"Earlier, someone mentioned the airport. What is your perception of it?Cruess: I was in California last week, but I came back through Chicago, and what a nightmare. They moved that United flight from Chicago to Manchester three different gates. We had a hundred people running all around. The pilot was apologizing, but there were no other people being shuffled around. I think we're starting to become the low person on the totem pole. This is my third straight bad adventure. We got in at 2 a.m. -- give me a break. I could have flown direct to Boston and would have been in at 8, home at 10.We need JetBlue. I also think what we're seeing with Southwest is something they've done before. They go into the outliers, they build up the business, then they go to Boston and reduce the fare and now it's expensive to fly Southwest out of Manchester. They are cheaper now in Boston. So I think we've got ourselves an issue here.Sherman: I agree, it's unfortunate, I remember the day they cut the ribbon for the airport. It was a wonderful event and one of the best parties I've ever been to. To have watched the airport grow and now to watch what it's becoming. But I also talk to Brian O'Neil and Dave Wihby and everyone involved out there trying to recruit and trying to bring in other airlines. Unfortunately, at least with my conversations with them, it's nothing that we can really do. You have mergers that have cut back the number of airlines.You're really held captive by the few airlines that are hefty out there. What do you do? Jay, that's got to be tough for you because everybody says, "Jay, go get us some airlines."Minkarah: That's not just a Manchester problem -- it's a New Hampshire problem. It is something that all of us need to be really focused on.LeBlanc: We've got a down economy, which reduced their travel. You've got mergers, you've got Logan, which used to be a nightmare to people, but Logan is actually pretty easy -- it's not an unpleasant experience. Fuel prices, the ability to get a direct flight to the west coast from Boston versus here, it's a tough one.Lewry: Since the subject is Manchester, and I love to talk about downtown all the time, I do want to say that some of my frustration with downtown is I can see projects that need to happen. Those big things, I know in my mind what those are. The resources for the city have been focused in other directions, and I have to say that's good. The planning department and some of the opportunities I think maybe in your office Jay have been focused on redeveloping some areas of the city that have really lacked some development for a long time. We're talking about building a whole community.Does anyone want to share what he/she thinks is a big idea for Manchester?Sherman: A convention center, not necessarily downtown but somewhere in the community, maybe the outskirts. I would prefer to see it where Market Basket is going, but it seems like a lot of people think that Market Basket is the next big thing. This is the only community I've ever been around where everybody was so damn excited about a supermarket.I would much rather have seen a convention center at that location because I think that's the type of next big thing that could draw a lot of people to Manchester -- trade shows, industrial shows, visitors who may look around and say, "Hey, that's pretty nice. I might come back."Somebody said to me fairly recently, well there's nowhere to put it. I don't buy that for a second, I think somebody somewhere could figure out where it could be and how it could be done.Minkarah: We did. We did a feasibility study, we then did an economic impact analysis, and we narrowed it down to five sites in the downtown area. We had it sized, we showed how we could finance it, roughly what it would cost, what it would draw. So, that's actually all been done.Sherman: Where is it?Minkarah: We don't have the collective will at this point to move it forward.How big of a convention center are we talking about?Minkarah: It wasn't enormous. Roughly twice the size of the capacity of the existing Center of New Hampshire complex, including the armory, the ballrooms and the expo center. It would have essentially doubled exhibition space, doubled ballroom space, doubled meeting room space and doubled hotel room space.Some people did feel that that wasn't big enough, but based on the market feasibility I think it was realistic.The most viable location is adjacent to the existing Radisson, so you don't have to duplicate the enormously expensive infrastructure that's already there. Under that vision, you would probably build another hotel tower, new expo center, ballroom area and probably convert some of that existing space, maybe that goes back to retail or some other use. The second choice was where Market Basket is.All is needed is the money?Minkarah: You know what, that's not impossible -- it's not. There are alternative ways of financing major projects, and it's a matter of pursuing it. We could have said "end of discussion" when we talked about the Verizon. Sometimes you hit a roadblock, but knowing that you need to raise money shouldn't stop you from having the conversation and then pursuing the alternatives.Sherman: Let's assume that there's an angel somewhere who will finance it, what kind of economic impact are we looking at?Minkarah: I haven't looked at the study in a couple of years, but it is significant. It's not a game-changer, and it's not going to change the economy of the city.For downtown, it would have a very significant impact, generally and it's probably changed now, but for overnight stays we're looking at between $90 and $100 per person per day in direct spending in the community -- multiply that out, it's pretty significant. Day trippers it's more like $20 a person.Just as an example, when we did the chili cook-off, that wasn't the most monumental event, but you're talking about a million and a half dollars in direct spending that resulted because we had the judges and the cooks coming in and they were averaging two or three nights' stay -- that adds up.Is there anything that you think we should have mentioned that we haven't thus far?Sherman: As the one nonprofit sitting at the table, there are a lot of nonprofits in the Manchester area that are struggling. They are struggling as a result of the economy. I see what we do, and what we do has a direct impact. I see people I know from my previous lives who are coming in and have gone from making $75,000 a year to making $35,000 a year, and they come to us looking for either dinner or groceries for their families.My point is the nonprofits in our area, many of them are struggling, and we perceive that unemployment rate is great but the reality is that things aren't so great when it comes to a lot of people.As we sit around here and think things are pretty good, the numbers look like things are pretty good, the reality is that there's still a lot of people out there hurting, and our economy probably isn't as good as some of the stories we hear on the nightly news.Speaking for the nonprofits, we see it every day, things aren't real great. They may be getting better, although we don't see it in our numbers, but there's a lot of folks that are hurting out there who really only want a job and a place to live.LeBlanc: One thing we did not talk about is the changing nature of labor and work. A fair number of labor economists who theorize that we not only see an income gap, but we're going to see a work gap. The jobs in the middle that used to afford people wages good enough to buy a house and send their kids to college are disappearing.We can have the high-end jobs that pay really well and huge growth in low-end service jobs -- honorable work, just not very good-paying work. As we get into more and more technology and machine-augmented work, we're going to see more manufacturing work being technologized in some way. I don't think it's a Manchester question, but I do think that it's a state question.You have the anomalies of high unemployment still and yet lots of jobs go unfilled. We have 3 million jobs unfilled nationally. We now have to go further and further out for highly technical positions -- mobile programming, high-end fields of that sort.Somewhere in this and to Charlie's point, it's important to recognize that things go bad for a lot of people. It's not clear to me that things didn't get a lot better for a lot of people.Somewhere in this mix, in a conversation that is about a healthy business climate and creating jobs, is getting another macro-level conversation about what the future looks like and what the future work will look like in this state.Minkarah: I agree the nature of work is changing. I'm not sure that I entirely agree that those middle-level jobs are disappearing because I look at jobs that are available for skilled electricians, plumbers, or people with a CDL license. There are plenty of jobs out there that are paying $50,000, $60,000, $80,000 a year. They are going unfilled because people either do not want to take those jobs, don't wish to take training for those jobs -- but they're there.I also think that there are going to be fewer jobs where somebody is necessarily an employee of someone else working the so called 9-to-5 job. More and more people are becoming self-employed and are becoming engaged in multiple businesses and are being very entrepreneurial about it. I am constantly amazed at the number of people I run into who are solo practitioners or team up on this or that project. It's a very fluid situation, and they're doing incredible things in very creative ways to make money.
This article appears in the April 20 2012 issue of New Hampshire Business Review