Chris Wellington is the CEO of the Grafton County Economic Development Council based in Plymouth. In addition to his professional experience in economic development throughout NH, Chris knows the importance of giving back to his community. His nominator said, “Chris does all of the ‘little things’ that others don’t want to do or are too busy to do.”
Most recently, Chris was a member of the inaugural class of the Hoffman-Haas Fellowship and a graduate of Leadership NH. A recipient of the Manchester Union Leader’s “40 Under Forty” awards and the 2014 Volunteer of the Year with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Manchester, Chris also plays an active role with the state’s young professional networks. Chris’ nominator was on point when stating, “His excellence is what he does when no one is looking; when no one is there to shine a light on him. He is truly NH’s renaissance man.”
Corey MacDonald, Deputy Chief of Police, Portsmouth Police Department and Attorney, MacDonald & Black Law Firm
Corey is from Portsmouth and an attorney at MacDonald and Black Law Firm, and also the youngest-ever Deputy Chief of Police in Portsmouth. In addition to his professional roles and being a father of two young daughters, Corey serves on a number of local boards and committees including as a committee member for Leadership Seacoast, as a board member for the Friends of NH Drug Court, as a trustee for both the Child Advocacy Center of Rockingham County and the Fuller Foundation. Corey was named one of Catapult’s “10 to watch” in its inaugural competition this year. As his reference said, “I think he was born to do what he does” and we are grateful he is doing it in NH.
Ryan Barton, Founder & CEO, Mainstay Technologies
Ryan is a resident of Laconia and is the owner and founder of Mainstay Technologies in Belmont NH whose mission is, “To empower our clients to succeed by providing world-class, comprehensive IT services with extreme excellence.” In addition to founding and running Mainstay, Ryan is the principle of Fragged Nation, a large online gaming community; co-founder of “Beyond the Belt Martial Arts and Fitness Center;” founder of GovSites, a business dedicated to providing website design, development and hosting for municipalities throughout New England; and owner of Landmark Self-Storage, a multi-location self-storage business. According to one of his references, “Ryan has also come to be widely respected in the community for his personal integrity, the kind, honest way he deals with his clients, the dignity with which he treats his employees, and the generosity he has shown to many local charities and nonprofits.” When Ryan founded Mainstay Technologies, he was only 20 years old. Now 29, Ryan continues to impress with his enviable creative and innovative thinking, and strong values, but also with his dedication to giving back to his community. As one of his references stated, “Ryan’s vision, work ethic, intelligence, and integrity truly make him one of the brightest lights in New Hampshire. Positivity and success seem to naturally flow from whatever he puts his hands to.”
Laura Jacobi, Chief Financial Officer, Lake Sunapee Bank, Newport
It’s not just boy scouts and girl scouts that live by the motto “Be Prepared.” Laura has moved from staff accountant at Lake Sunapee Bank to chief financial officer and she’s only 36. She says she received some key advice from a boss earlier in her career who said “You don’t know when the opportunity is going to arise so be ready for it.” Taking that advice to heart, she went back to college while working at the bank in her early 20s to receive a bachelor’s degree. She says the bank, which oversees 29 locations in NH and Vermont and $1 billion in assets, has exposed her to new concepts and challenges on a regular basis. Our 2012 Rising Star continues to grow and expand her talents. In fact, she went back to school again to earn an MBA. The president and CEO of the bank says that Laura operates with a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition. Our young professional of the year has been integrally involved in the bank’s acquisitions of the McCrillis & Eldridge Insurance Company and The Nashua Bank. As if her job didn’t keep her busy enough, she is also active in the Newport Chamber of Commerce, where she has served not once, but twice, as president.
Thad Guldbrandsen, Director, Center for Rural Partnerships, Plymouth State University, Plymouth
During the warmer months, Thad often uses his lunch break in an unusual way. He leaves his office to take a 30-minute paddleboard trip down the Pemigewasset River. After reconnecting with nature, Thad says he feels renewed to continue with his job. Ironically, his career is defined by connections. Thad works to connect people, communities and programs to enhance the economic and cultural vitality of rural NH. At 38, Thad is the founding director of Plymouth State University’s Center for Rural Partnerships and an anthropologist by trade. He joined the center when it started in 2006, and he says his goal is: To sustain and enhance the quality of life in rural NH. Few of the projects Thad works on are his own, but few would have come to fruition without his involvement. He is part of Beyond Brown Paper, an online project that brings Berlin’s mill history to the Web. He also works with the Northern Forest Higher Education Resource Network, which brings together higher education leaders to enhance the health and wellbeing of many rural communities. Thad also has a hand in the Coos County Outreach Initiative, which connects Plymouth State faculty, staff and students with economic development projects that benefit Coos County. Beyond his work at the Center and as a nationally recognized author and professor, Thad gets involved in the community. He has served as a basketball coach in Alton, and is an active volunteer for the school, from helping to hire school administrators to planning a new school building. He is also a trustee of Sterling College in Vermont and a 2011 graduate of Leadership NH. The father of two, the lessons he teaches his sons epitomize his personal and professional philosophies: First, leave things better than you found them. Second, leave a legacy of positive relationships. And third, every person you meet is an expert in his or her own experiences and has something to teach you. He says New Hampshire “can become known as the strongest, hippest, coolest, most educated rural region on the planet.” He’s on a mission to make that happen.
At 32, Errik has several start-ups under his belt including Seven West Ventures and his latest endeavor, Adimab, which is worth more than $200 million. The three-year-old Lebanon-based biotech firm was selected as a 2011 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and its founders, of which our winner is one, received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the NH High Tech Council earlier this year. Dr. Tillman Gerngross, who nominated our winner, says he met this year’s recipient when he was a student at Dartmouth. Gerngross found Errik to be highly intelligent, hard working, and very personable. In fact, Gerngross said that he was able to challenge conventional wisdom without arrogance, and approach problem solving with a clear-headed focus that is rare. In addition to his astounding business ventures, this young professional of the year makes an effort to give back to the community. He launched the Kaiser Education Fund, which provides scholarships to purchase textbooks for Dartmouth students. And in this biography, we have only scratched the surface of what this person has accomplished.
Jaime Kuczewski, Vice President, Ride-Away Handicap Equipment Corporation, Londonderry
Described as driven, perceptive and community-minded by colleagues, Jaime is one of those people who refuse to let life’s hurdles obstruct her goals. With President Mark Lore, Jaime is responsible for overseeing a national provider of modified vehicles and adaptive equipment for people with disabilities, with more than 200 employees and operations in nine states. Mark Lore can’t say enough about the success of his vice president. In early 2007, performance issues forced him to terminate his top four executives. “Being new to the company… no one cut her any slack,” he says. “She became the leader in the company, handling all of the human resources issues, managing the IT department, overseeing marketing and most importantly, taking on all of the legal issues of the company. In short, she became the glue that held the company together through the toughest and most trying time in our history.” At the same time, Jaime expanded the firm’s charitable giving, increasing community participation by employees from 75 percent to 98 percent within a year of her arrival in 2006.