2008 NHBR Business Excellence Awards Script
Charlie Sherman – Emcee Opening Remarks
Good evening and welcome to the sixth annual New Hampshire Business Review Business Excellence Awards.
Tonight, 16 businesspeople from across New Hampshire will be singled out for the successful way they’ve run their businesses. Their success comes far more from their determination, innovation, industriousness and generosity than merely a positive bottom line.
Choosing tonight’s award winners was no easy task. With 60 nominations, including some who applied again from previous years, made the selection perhaps the most difficult it has ever been. Since the candidates were so strong, we’ve also named a number of finalists in many of our 14 categories.
Some of tonight’s honorees are fairly new to the business world, others have been contributing to New Hampshire’s economy for many years. Some, however, have given decades of service to New Hampshire. We have again chosen 3 individuals to be inductees into our NHBR Business Excellence Hall of Fame for making an indelible mark in the Granite State.
All of tonight’s winners, finalists and nominees ought to be congratulated for their hard work. And a special thanks also goes to the nominators for putting together and submitting the biographies of some of the state’s most noteworthy businesspeople. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.
You are all vital in making New Hampshire a place of excellence, not only for business, but for living as well.
Business Services: James Grady – LighTec Inc., Merrimack
James Grady saw the advantage of energy efficiency and solar power well before it was a plank in presidential candidate platforms.
Like so many great companies, LighTec began in Grady’s basement some 17 years ago. This industrial engineer devoted his time to designing the most efficient lighting systems possible. But these would be worthless if companies couldn’t afford them. The systems he sought to create had to be efficient — and cost effective.
Today, LighTec is New Hampshire’s largest provider of high efficiency lighting systems, saving companies small and large, schools and other organizations tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of thousands of kilowatts on their bills.
But more than cutting costs, LighTec has saved enough energy to remove 4,445 tons of CO2 from the air; light 4,984 homes; take 771 cars from the road; and plant more than 1,250 acres of trees.
For seeing the light in lighting efficiency, we have named Jim Grady our winner for Business Services Excellence.
Construction: Brian Hooper – MSI Mechanical Systems Inc., Salem
Certainly, running a profitable business is a prerequisite for Business Excellence winners, and certainly, Brian has done that.
MSI has made over $7 million in revenue for 2008, nearly 20 percent above 2007.
But what makes Brian so deserving of our award for Excellence in Construction this year is his tireless advocacy of the HVAC trades as a career option for New Hampshire’s young men and women.
Since 2003, Brian has assisted high schools and community colleges in developing their HVAC curricula.
And he practices what he preaches — he has hired several graduates from these programs.
Brian and MSI are also supportive of the community, making donations to such organizations as Boys & Girls Club of Salem, New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, Linda Peters Memorial Fund-Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts, the Salem Police Department, New Hampshire Red Cross, and the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity.
Brian was once quoted as saying, “We’d rather be the best than the biggest.”
We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Brian.
Financial Services: Jim Dunphy – Hampshire First Bank, Manchester & Matthew Masiello – SAN Group Inc., Swanzey
We now congratulation our first TIE of the evening. Just the fact that we have not one but two winners in Financial Services in such a trying year for that sector is a victory in and of itself.
Many of you know how tough business has been recently. Imagine starting a new business — and that business is a bank — in November 2006. At a time when larger banks have been swallowing up smaller ones, when credit crunched, then those big banks themselves crunched, Jim Dunphy has steered Hampshire First Bank, a state-chartered commercial community bank, through some mighty turbulent waters indeed.
While Hampshire First is still feeling some birth trauma, it has grown to 3 branches in just the few months it has been chartered, with a 4th in the works.
Just as quickly, the bank has become an established partner in the community supporting such groups as the Kiwanis of Manchester and even exhibiting paintings by local artists in the lobby of its Nashua branch and lending assistance to many more. Jim is also a board member of the Special Olympics, the Institute of Management Accountants and many others.
Matt Masiello had a similar tough task in his business. In recent years disasters of the natural and financial kind have struck country abroad and in New Hampshire, forcing insurance companies to ply the same rough waters as the banking industry. Matt, however, has helped grow the SAN Group to a current membership of over 180 agencies writing in excess of $240 million of premiums in 7 states — the largest network of agents in the Northeast — all run from the tiny New Hampshire town of Swanzey.
Matt’s fund-raising efforts also helped raise over $40,000 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund supporting veterans, and he has lent his talents supporting other veterans’ organizations and children’s charities.
Both Jim and Matt show just what it means to offer financial SERVICE. Jim, as a bank president, helps businesses and families build wealth for a brighter future. Matt, as principal of an insurance network, helps protect the assets built by those businesses and families from catastrophe.
That is why they are our 2008 winners for Excellence in Financial Services.
Health Care: Dr. Ronald Lanzara Sr. – Lanzara Chiropractic Clinic, Nashua
Dr. Ronald Lanzara’s life has been one of service, whether to his family, his patients or his community.
Having lost his father at an early age, he supported his family as a teenager.
Lanzara has served the Nashua community and beyond for some 30 years as a chiropractor, helping his patients achieve optimal health and wellness.
He has served on many industry and charitable boards including the New Hampshire Chiropractic Society, the New Hampshire Multiple Sclerosis Society, and served a term in the state House of Representatives from 1987 to 1988.
No bones about it — with a lifetime of service Dr. Lanzara is most deserving of our Excellence in Health Care award.
Hospitality: Jeff Eisenberg – Manchester Monarchs, Manchester
It can truly be said that few things in Manchester have spurred economic development in the Queen City like its attendant hockey team, the Manchester Monarchs.
But the winning force behind the Monarchs isn’t necessarily on the ice but in the office — that winning force is Jeff Eisenberg.
When Jeff arrived in Manchester nearly 9 years ago, the Verizon Wireless Arena was still a hole in the ground. As the Monarchs first employee and president, he built the championship team from scratch. He helped to lead them to the Calder Cup playoffs each season with an average attendance of 8,500 cheering fans.
Besides providing great family entertainment, Jeff and the Monarchs have distributed $1.4 million in cash, merchandise and tickets back to the community, benefiting the Ace Bailey Children’s Fund, Big Brother Big Sisters Manchester, Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, Catholic Medical Center, and many others.
Jeff has personally contributed to the community by holding board positions with Catholic Medical Center, Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and serving as a professor at Southern New Hampshire University’s sports management program, just to give a few examples.
For running such a strong organization that has helped New Hampshire far beyond the rink, we give Jeff Eisenberg our Excellence in Hospitality award.
Manufacturing: Frank Reinhold Jr. – Flag Hill Winery & Distillery, Lee
Not many have the vision to see a centuries-old dairy farm as a vineyard — especially in New Hampshire. But Frank certain did.
Selling wine to the public in 1996 as one of the first wineries in the Granite State, Frank not only helped to prove that you could make wine in New Hampshire, but you could make damn good wine!
Wine isn’t the only libation produced at Flag Hill. With the launch of General John Stark Vodka — made from local apples — Flag Hill also became one of the state’s first distilleries. Flag Hill also produces port, liqueurs and fruit wines, and has a line of olive oils as well.
Frank has also many accomplishments outside of the bottle. In 2004, he sold the development rights of the farm to the Land and Community Heritage Program to protect the property from future development, preserving its agricultural heritage. And he donated $100,000 to conservation program to boot.
While you might think red and white at Frank’s winery, you should also think green. The farm has been using solar, thermal and radiant systems for 10 years to decrease its carbon footprint, and reuses all the byproducts of the operation.
Frank also is very active in the local community, donating land for a playing soccer and lacrosse field, supporting the Habitat for Humanity, New Hampshire Public Television and several veterans’ organizations.
With such true innovation and compassion, we say “Cheers!” to Frank as our winner in Manufacturing Excellence.
Media & Marketing: B. Allan Sprague – Bedford Granite Group Advertising, Bedford
Editor’s Note: B. Allan Sprague passed away in November 2008.
Anyone who has seen 5 minutes of AMC’s hit show “Mad Men,” knows the knife’s edge advertising executives walk on each day. But to keep clients — and the company’s own executives — around for decades does say something about integrity of bGG and the man behind it.
The flip side of running a successful business for your customers is being a compassionate employer. Al provides his staff with a health and wellness coach, rewards employees for workplace longevity, plans agency outings and educational events.
Al also gives back to the community, serving on the board of Drug-Free NH, United Cerebral Palsy Association, Palace Theatre and the High Hopes Foundation, an organization dedicated to granting the wishes of New Hampshire’s severely and chronically ill children.
Al is also a Vietnam veteran, and served as the co-host and executive producer of Operation Welcome Home Telethon supporting the troops of Desert Storm in 1991.
About the only thing Al doesn’t do is sell granite.
Join me in congratulating Al Sprague as NHBR’s 2008 winner of Media & Marketing Excellence.
Non-Profits: Robert Chambers – Bonnie CLAC & Melanie Gosselin – New Hampshire Food Bank, Manchester
We have another TIE – Robert Chambers of Bonnie CLAC, and Melanie Gosselin of the New Hampshire Food Bank.
Robert Chambers’ Bonnie Car Loans and Counseling, or Bonnie CLAC, provides low-income individuals with below-market-rate car loans through indirect lending — the only non-profit organization in the country to do so. Since 2001, Bonnie CLAC has helped more than 1,120 people obtain safe, reliable transportation, originating and guaranteeing more than $12 million in low-interest car loans, with less than $62,000 in loan losses.
Melanie Gosselin, who has led the New Hampshire Food Bank as its executive director since 2003, also provides a basic necessity, but also provides so very much more.
Yes, keeping people fed and pantry shelves stocked with 4 million pounds of food distributed each year is at the heart of what Melanie does. But with programs aimed at helping people regaining self-sufficiency, the NH Food bank also nourishes the soul and feeds the dignity of some 95,000 men, women and children in the Granite State who rely on the its services.
One would think providing such essential resources as food and transportation would be enough caring for an individual, but both Robert and Melanie find time to give back beyond those they already serve.
Robert helped Dartmouth College start its own computer software company and helped to raise major gifts for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital. He was also awarded the New Hampshire Women’s Lobby 2008 Spring Celebs Citizen Award for making a difference in the lives of Granite State women and families.
Melanie also donates her time to the NH Volunteer Organization Against Disaster, assisting organizations during local disasters. She serves on the steering committee for the Center For A Food-Secure Future, within UNH, and volunteers at Nesenkeag Farms, a nonprofit organic co-operative farm in Litchfield.
Because they do so much for so many, we feel Robert and Melanie perfect examples of Excellence in Non-Profits.
Professionals Services: Eileen Pannetier – Comprehensive Environmental Inc., Merrimack
Eileen founded CEI in 1987 focusing on watershed protection and water resource management, and has been breaking the mold ever since. Despite the availability of federal funds for subcontracting opportunities for women-owned businesses, more times than not, CEI is not only a Prime Contract, but gains less than 10 percent of its business from diversity grants to become one of New England’s leading engineering firms.
But more than building a successful business, Eileen also had a goal of providing a great place to work. Her employees enjoy educational support, flexible working hours, competitive benefits, internal promotions and family outings. She also leads her employees’ efforts in an annual holiday food drive.
Eileen is also a strong supporter of her community. She was elected director of the Green Infrastructure Foundation, a national organization promoting greater awareness and resources for environmentally friend public systems. She can also be found volunteering at the UNH Cooperative Extension’s Family, Home and Garden Education Center, where she will be completing her master gardener program.
For nurturing the environment both within and outside the office, we name Eileen our 2008 Excellence in Professional Services award winner.
Public Service: Roy Duddy & Michael Vlacich – New Hampshire Business Resource Center, Concord
The nominator for these two individuals really hit the nail on the head saying the BRC’s motto of “We do business differently” wasn’t merely just a clever tagline: It’s the truth.
Just two of the many examples of some of the innovative programs the two have been involved in include bringing Rich “El Guapo” Garces to Nashua interested in moving their operations north; and the inaugural Business Bowl and where the BRC, NHBR and the Manchester Wolves had teams from businesses across the state competing in office chair races.
Whether it’s helping to keep a linen business running after a devastating fire or putting together the state’s first Greenerpolooza promoting sustainable business initiatives, Roy and Michael are there, feet on the ground, cell phones to ear getting the job done.
As New Hampshire’s most ardent cheerleaders, Roy and Michael tell the rest of the country, and even the world, what a great place our state is to do business and live in.
Roy was once quoted as saying, “We’re both 911 and 411 for businesses.” Well, for us, Roy, Michael and the BRC are “Number 1” for Excellence in Public Service.
Real Estate: Michael Reed – Stebbins Commercial Properties, Manchester
Michael has been providing businesses commercial real estate services in Manchester for some 23 years, and has made a significant impact on the revitalization of the Queen City. Any economy, good or bad, has challenges and it requires someone like Michael with vision to take advantage of the market. Just last year, he represented over $10 million-worth of property, $8 million of which was located in Manchester’s downtown.
Michael also gives back to the community. He has been president of the Greater Manchester Board of Realtors and a director of the state organization as well as the state Commercial Investment Board of Realtors. Michael has also spent many years volunteering on the boards of such nonprofit organizations as Easter Seals New Hampshire, St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Moore Center and many others.
You’ve heard the old axiom of “Location, location, location” to sell a property. Well, for Michael that could be changed to “Vocation” — his dedication and passion to his profession and community have made him our 2008 winner for Real Estate Excellence.
Retail: Cathy Tedesco – La Mia Felicita Bead Boutique, Plaistow
Beads have been an expression of creativity, beauty and wealth since mankind climbed down from trees. Cathy and her bead shop and studio La Mia Felicita have captured all of those ideals.
Starting with the name, which means “My Happiness,” she makes a statement for the passion she has for beading but also for spreading that happiness to her customers as they learn about making jewelry.
But the happiness Cathy shares goes far beyond her studio. She has created a program where customers can create a piece of jewelry then leave it at the shop so Cathy can donate it to Dress for Success, an organization supporting disadvantaged women by offering professional attire and career development. She also encourages her customers to help create beads that are donated to Beads for Courage, helping children cope with serious illness by using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of achievement during their treatment.
Cathy also donates her time and talent to such organizations as the N.H. Food Bank, Toys for Tots, N.H. SPCA as well as many other women’s and children’s charities.
Cathy’s expression of happiness has touched so many others, so we have named her our 2008 Excellence in Retail winner.
Technology: Jeremy Hitchcock – Dynamic Network Services, Manchester
Jeremy is a true example of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Young, bright, energetic, as CEO and CFO, he has helped to grow DNS from a technology start-up to a multi-million company with data centers in Amsterdam and Frankfurt and 2 million customers across the globe.
But beyond the racks of little black boxes that few besides Jeremy know what they do, he also is very active in the community. He sits on the board of the Manchester Young Professionals Network, the Amoskeag Business Incubator, the (Manchester) West High School Endowment Board, and many others. Jeremy and DNS also support the FIRST Robotics organization which fosters interest in high technology careers in high-school students, and have helped to design Web sites pro bono for other organizations.
For true innovation inside and outside of the box, we’ve selected Jeremy as our winner for Excellence in Technology.
Transportation: Mark Lore – Ride Away, Londonderry
Mark’s company Ride Away customizes vehicles for those with mobility impairments. In a nutshell, he gives those who have disabilities the freedom to travel. That alone is a worthy accomplishment. But his company also has 24-hour roadside assistance, specially trained technicians and a program that provides free operational maintenance on adaptive equipment for disabled veterans. Ride Away also donates 10 percent of its earnings to charity. And this is just the business!
The list of the charities and nonprofit organizations Mark has been personally involved with literally took up well more than half a page in his nomination packet. Just to name are: the Moore Center, Easter Seals New Hampshire, Granite State Independent Living and Big Brothers & Big Sisters.
Mark and Ride Away also show that the best just keep getting better. Last year, we honored Mark with our 2007 Excellence in Transportation Award. Since that time, Ride Away has given away a converted van to the Vitale Family of Athens, Vt., whose home and life story were featured on last year’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The van allows the family to safely and easily move their son Louie, who was born with multiple handicaps.
Mark proves that good guys can indeed finish first. And so we have again selected him as our 2008 winner of Transportation Excellence.