Guest Opinion: IT keeps on going in New Hampshire

As chairman of the Software Association of NH (SwANH) for the last three years, I have had the privilege of overseeing the tremendous growth of the organization from its humble beginnings in 1994.

SwANH was an outgrowth of the New Hampshire Software Conference put on by then-Governor Merrill in an effort to understand the significance of software companies to the state. Today we are an organization of more than 130 members supporting over 8,000 New Hampshire employees.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we take pride in what we as an industry have achieved. New Hampshire has created a name for itself around the world as a leader in the development and use of information technology as recognized by the American Electronics Association, the Information Technology Association and others. This has come about because of the gallant efforts of our organization’s past leaders, including Jay Wood, our first president, Paul Crème, who put our annual conference on the map, and Jesse Devitte, who propelled us onto the national stage.

In recent years, we have evolved our structure to encourage more member participation and address truly statewide issues, such as legislation around spam and illegal network usage and the layoffs of IT professionals. But, as a state, though small compared with some, we are still divided by what I call “psychological geographic boundaries.” Folks from Nashua will not go to the Seacoast, and vice versa. Folks from the Monadnock Region will not go to the Seacoast and vice versa. Folks in the North Country are “locked” on the other side of Lake Winnipesaukee. Thus, many regional IT groups have been established. Yet, they rarely, if ever, interact with one another.

It is my hope that various SwANH events, our Web site ( and many special interest group meetings will help foster true statewide collaboration that will grow our information technology industry as the perfect complement to our tourism base and our wonderful quality of life.

James McKim is chairman of the Software Association of New Hampshire.

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