Economic development chief to leave post

Stuart Arnett, who has served as director of the state Division of Economic Development for more than seven years, has announced his plans to step down from the job.

Arnett said he will be leaving in early August, when he will start his new career in opening the Concord office of GSFA Consulting, a Lebanon-based research and economic development firm specializing in strategic planning and marketing for communities and corporations.

After a 15-year career in economic development – before working for the state, Arnett spent some 7-1/2 years working for the city of Claremont – Arnett said he “felt it was time to take it to the next step.”

In his tenure under three governors, Arnett led development of two award-winning offices — the New Hampshire Business Resource Center in Concord and the International Trade Resource Center in Portsmouth. He also served as chair of the state’s telecommunications effort, coordinated the economic development response to the recent floods and been a strong advocate in building the state’s manufacturing base.

“Stuart has done an outstanding job in developing an effective economic development network in our state,” said Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “He is forward-thinking, innovative and always made all decisions with the best interests of the business community in mind. He will be missed here and we wish him all of the best in his new career endeavors.”

Arnett said GSFA has tapped him to form a new organization that will offer economic and project development services – “more of the implementation side of things,” he said.

Arnett, whose most recent term as economic development director officially ended last month, said he has been “kicking around” the idea of entering the private sector “for a couple of years.”

“I just said, ‘It’s time to do it,’ but it’s definitely something I was planning to do.”

He did say he would miss the agency that he has worked for since 1999, adding, “it’s really a wonderful job. You get to represent a wonderful product, the state of New Hampshire.” He added that he was “most appreciative of the chance to work with so many talented colleagues at the Division of Economic Development. This is a team in every sense of the word, and the people of New Hampshire are in excellent hands with this top notch group of professionals.”

As for a possible replacement, Arnett said, “I haven’t heard anything and I haven’t asked.”

He added: “I would guess George (Bald) would have a decision relatively soon.” – JEFF FEINGOLD

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