2009 NHBR Business Excellence Award Winner Profiles
Fourteen businesspeople in 13 different industries and two Business Excellence Hall of Fame inductees were honored Wednesday night at the seventh annual NHBR Business Excellence Awards, held Oct. 7, 2009, at The Event Center at C.R. Sparks in Bedford.
Competition was so close in a number of categories this year, the judges also selected several finalists.
Because there were not enough nominations received for the Manufacturing category, a winner was not chosen for this award.
Excellence in Business Services — Steven Ryder, True North Networks, Keene
Steven founded True North Networks in 2002. Since then, his company has provided computer network solutions for businesses in 21 states — with a staff of just 7 people, including himself.
Along with running a successful business, Steven gives of his time and talents to the community serving on the boards of Stonewall Farm, a nonprofit educational farm and dairy, Hannah Grimes Business Center, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic in Keene, and many others. His philanthropy reaches as far as Latin America, where he assists with building houses and providing technology consulting in El Salvador and Ecuador.
His nominators spoke of Steven personally touching their lives. For example, one person said she was hired despite the fact that there wasn’t even an opening at True North Networks. Another, a client, related a time when Steven was working on a computer issue until 3 o’clock in the morning even though Steven would be leaving for vacation in just hours.
For his support, both technical and in the community, we have chosen Steven Ryder as our winner for Excellence in Business Services.
<b>FINALIST:</b> Edward B. Hopkins, Urban Tree Service/A Tree Health Company Inc., Rochester
Excellence in Construction — William Jordan, Jordan Signature Heating, Exeter
Jordan Signature Heating opened in 2005, and in just 4 short years, business has grown to over 3,000 customers.
Keeping thousands warm on the Seacoast by providing oil and gas heating installation and maintenance is just the beginning of the impact Bill has made in the community. He supports a number of programs through the Seacoast School of Technology, including having students design his company logo. He donated his services to clean the heating system at New Generation Inc., a shelter for pregnant and parenting women, just months after he opened the business. He has also donated thousands of dollars in services and time to such organizations as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, children’s charities David’s House and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, and even the Exeter High School Drama Club.
His nominator remarked, “Bill’s parents, even though poor, taught Bill that if you live in a community, it is important to contribute to it. Be thankful for what you have regardless of little, and help others.”
We think Bill learned that lesson well, so we have selected Bill Jordan as our winner in Construction Excellence.
<b>FINALIST:</b> Jerry Kingwell, Cobb Hill Construction Inc., Concord
Excellence in Financial Services — Joe Reilly, Centrix Bank, Bedford
In 1998, bank consolidations left few locally owned banks and none solely focused on business needs.
In just 90 days, he raised $8 million and opened Centrix Bank in 11 months, with the bank reaching profitability less than a year later.
In the last 10 years, Centrix has grown to some $600 million in assets, helping hundreds of businesses to start and grow. Even more recently, when the current financial crisis threatened the loans of thousands of New Hampshire students, Centrix committed $5 million to support education funding in the Granite State.
Joe has also been highly visible in the community, serving on the boards of Catholic Medical Center, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage United Way in Manchester as well as the New Hampshire Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The Way Home, a nonprofit housing assistance agency, and the Manchester Community Music School.
Excellence in Health Care — Charles Fanaras, The Prescription Center, Concord
“In an era of ‘big box’ drug stores, [Charles Fanaras] has shown creativity, focus and success in his self-determined role as an independent pharmacist. [He] illustrates excellence by every standard.” — That is what one of the Business Excellence Awards judges wrote about Charles after reading his nomination.
Charles started the independent Concord-based pharmacy chain The Prescription Center determined to be different from those big-box stores. An early adopter of health technology, Charles has been one of the first pharmacists to install a number of systems to enhance patient safety and increase efficiency.
As a founder and officer of the New Hampshire Independent Pharmacy Association, Charles has also been a loud, and sometimes, lone voice for independent pharmacists in New Hampshire and beyond.
He also supports many organizations in the community including the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Concord and the American Cancer Society, and is a board member of the Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association and the Concord Hospital Trust.
<b>FINALISTS:</b> Adele & Frank Belfsky, Living at Home Senior Care, Amherst
Excellence in Hospitality — Tom Boucher and Mark Fenske, Great NH Restaurants, Bedford
As owners of Great NH Restaurants, Tom Boucher and Mark Fenske run southern New Hampshire eateries T-Bones and Cactus Jack’s. Known for casual family dining, the restaurants are also known for their creative charitable promotions such as “Let’s Trade A Meal,” where meals are provided to those who are needy based on coupon trade-ins from their customer loyalty program. They also make their restaurants a part of the national Great American Dine Out promotion working end childhood hunger.
In fact, Great NH Restaurants has donated more than $1 million over the last 25 years to support local organizations such as the New Hampshire Food Bank, Manchester high school sports programs, the CareGivers of NH, who provide in-home care to the elderly, and many others.
And not wanting to toot their own horn, Tom and Mark worked with Gov. John Lynch in founding NH Restaurant Recognition Day, honoring the service of restaurants in the Granite State.
<b>FINALIST:</b> Carol Sheehan, The Red Arrow 24 Hr. Diner Franchising Inc., Manchester
Excellence in Media & Marketing — Tammy Boucher, Boucher Public Relations, Pembroke
Walking away from a lucrative corporate communications position, Tammy chose to start her own firm to spend more time with her young family.
Certainly, some have made a similar decision, but instead of working for big-name companies with big wallets, she focuses most of her time working for her “heart clients” as she calls them — nonprofits whose missions she believes in. Moore Center Services, which supports those with developmental disabilities, Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics, and AARP’s Divided We Fail campaign for health-care reform are just a few of her clients.
And we’re not talking about just placing a small ad in a newspaper. Tammy has brokered interviews for her clients with New Hampshire Chronicle, CNN and the Wall Street Journal.
Paul Boynton, president and CEO of the Moore Center, said as part of her nomination, “Working with Tammy has been, without question, one of the best management decisions I’ve made in my tenure with the Moore Center.”
For her dedication to clients few PR firms represent, we have named Tammy Boucher our recipient of the 2009 Excellence in Media & Marketing award.
FINALIST: Laurie Ferguson, New Hampshire Made, Andover
Excellence in Nonprofits — Clyde Terry, Granite State Independent Living, Concord
Granite State Independent Living is a statewide nonprofit organization with a mission to help enable the elderly and those with disabilities to live their lives to their fullest potential through advocacy, information, education and support.
That tall order is one Clyde Terry has been carrying out as CEO of Granite State Independent Living. During his tenure, he has increased the organization’s revenues from $6 million to $15 million. While working for a nonprofit organization is often a labor of love for employees, Clyde has made sure GSIL offers progressive benefits, an employee recognition program, and continued training is a variety of programs.
In the past year alone, despite the recession, GSIL has placed 83 individuals with disabilities in jobs, some with salaries as high as $25 per hour.
Through Clyde’s and the organization’s hard work and dedication, Granite State Independent Living has received numerous awards including being named as one of the 2009 recipients of The Corporate Fund Nonprofit Management Awards.
Now, Clyde and Granite State Independent Living can add one more to the list, our award for Excellence in Nonprofits.
<b>FINALIST:</b> Peter Kelleher, Partnership for Successful Living, Nashua
Excellence in Professional Services — Greg Bryant, Bedford Cost Segregation LLC
Greg founded Bedford Cost Segregation in 2002 with just 3 employees providing engineering-based tax planning tools to accelerate depreciation deductions and improve cash flow. Today, his company has grown to nearly 50 employees, with 7 offices nationwide, saving clients over half a billion dollars in taxes.
Realizing this specialized industry needed a national voice, he helped to establish the American Society of Cost Segregation Professionals in 2006. Now the organization has more than 100 members.
Capitalizing on Bedford’s success, Greg is launching a new company, Bedford Sustainability Solutions, a consultancy for energy efficient and sustainable building improvements.
While Greg’s businesses might seem a little on the esoteric side, he is very grounded in charitable efforts. He supports such organizations as the YMCA Youth Camp Coniston in Grantham, New Horizons shelter and food pantry, and the Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual cycling event that raises money for charities.
Excellence in Public Service — Karol LaCroix, Granite State College, Concord
Since Karol was named president of Granite State College in 2004, she has helped transform the institution from the College of Lifelong Learning to its present form encompassing 9 education centers recognized as leaders in classroom and distance learning. She has also spearheaded the college’s efforts leading to historic enrollment numbers and endowments in excess of $2 million.
Karol supports the education sector and the greater community in a wide range of roles including serving as dean of the University of New Hampshire Manchester from 1996-2004, board member of the Concord Chamber of Commerce and New Hampshire Public Television and many others. Governor Lynch also named Karol as a member of the Executive Branch Ethics Committee.
For bringing learners of all ages to the classroom and the classroom to learners, we have chosen Karol LaCroix as our Excellence in Public Service Award winner.
Excellence in Real Estate — Stephen Duprey, Duprey Companies, Concord
For more than 2 decades, Stephen has been building communities in every sense of the words. He is noted for such projects as the Grappone Conference Center and the redevelopment of the vacant former Blue Cross Blue Shield campus in Concord.
Stephen also lends his expertise to the Concord Area Trust for Community Housing, which develops apartments for low- and moderate-income residents.
Not all of his energies go into buildings. People matter just as much. He helped to create the Rock’n Road Race benefiting Concord Hospital’s cancer center. His companies support the Concord Community Music School and the Capitol Center for the Arts, among many. He also hosts dinners for the homeless at the Grappone Center.
According to his nominator, he also made a donation ensuring Concord’s Fourth of July fireworks this past summer would take place.
Civic service is also holds importance to Stephen. He has served as Republican State chairman and donates to New Hampshire Political Library, which preserves our unique political tradition.
Excellence in Retail — Donna Buxton, Buxton Oil & Buxton Water, Exeter
Donna has been at the helm her family’s business for the past 2 decades. The multi-million dollar enterprise encompasses Buxton Oil, providing home heating services, and Buxton Water, which supplies water for pools, fire ponds, ice rinks and other uses.
They say oil and water don’t mix, but for Donna, they seem to work together perfectly.
Giving back to the community is part of the Buxton tradition. Donna’s company routinely supplies home heating oil to the needy. And when the town of Exeter experienced a water short¬age, Buxton Water supplied water free of charge to the town.
Donna’s company also takes part in a number of charitable events including donating holiday turkeys to food banks, dictionaries for school children, and even helped to build a playground at Swasey Elementary School in Brentwood, just to name a very few.
Donna will be adding another distinction to her growing list as one of just a handful of repeat Business Excellence Award winners, having brought home the 2004 Business Excellence Award for Retail.
Excellence in Technology — Peter Antoinette, Nanocomp Technologies, Concord
Peter Antoinette is the driving force behind New Hampshire’s biggest little company. Nanocomp Technologies creates novel materials from carbon nanotubes through a unique process that grows these very tiny structures longer than just about anybody else.
These materials have almost mythical properties, being extremely strong yet very lightweight, lending themselves to applications in the defense and safety industries.
Under Peter’s leadership, Nanocomp Tech has been awarded several Small Business Innovation Research grants as well as the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation award.
For being a true pioneer in this cutting-edge industry, we have named Peter Antoinette our recipient of the 2009 Business Excellence Award in Technology.
<b>FINALIST:</b> Wayne Croswell, ASA Tire Systems, Nashua
Excellence in Transportation — Mark Lore, Ride-Away Handicap Equipment Corp., Londonderry
Mark is tonight’s second repeat winner, being honored for transportation services for a record 3rd time. This proves that great companies just keep getting better.
Ride-Away is the nation’s largest provider of modified vehicles for people with disabilities, a worthy business model in and of itself.
But an equally worthy part of Mark’s business model is that the company donates 10 percent of its profits to charity. Some of those that have benefited from his donations include Region 10 Community Support Services based in Atkinson, Jett Foundation of Pembroke, Massachusetts, fighting against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and many other organizations supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.
But the best testimonials for Mark’s company come from his clients themselves:
“Ride-Away has become such an integral part of our Wheels for Warriors program [supporting injured service personnel],” says Mary Kay.
“I lost hope years ago that there were any medical equipment suppliers that felt a commitment to honor chronic equipment performance issues. Let me say that you alone have restored my faith,” writes Carroll M.
“Ride-Away is a true miracle,” say Sharon, Grace and Eve.
<b>— CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW</b>