“Boomerang” Spotlight: Mike Giacomo

Name:

Mike Giacomo

Current City/Town:

Keene

Native City/Town:

Nelson

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a chemical engineer at Markem-Imaje, where I support ink manufacturing operations. In the community, I am the president of Keene Young Professionals Network, I moonlight as a pub trivia host and have volunteer emceed for a number of non-profit events. I also volunteer with Rotary/Interact, Destination Imagination, and I was recently elected to Keene City Council. I played rugby for over 10 years, but following recent knee surgery, I now spend my free time disc golfing, hiking, mushroom foraging, and singing.

Why did you leave New Hampshire?

I left for college, then following college, for a job.

What did you miss most about New Hampshire?

Having real seasons.

Why did you choose to “boomerang” back to the Granite State?

I was dissatisfied with (and not very good at) my job selling industrial lubricants, and decided to leave. My father was working for Markem at the time, and told me they were looking for a chemical engineer. Although I faced a significant (20%+) pay cut, I did the math and realized I could actually have a higher standard of living, at a higher quality of living, and pay my college debt off faster by moving back to NH.

In your travels, what were some cool or unique things you came across that you wish were in New Hampshire?

I wish more railroad connections existed in NH. Most of the rails in western NH were pulled up decades ago, and as the demand for public transit grows, it would be great to have more connectivity potential to the more rural parts of the state.

What keeps you in the state?

I am very prideful of my state and my city. I love nearly everything about living here – weather, cost of living, attitude, proximity to everything I need (recreational and otherwise). While I recognize the shortcomings of our region, those are not as aligned with my life priorities as the benefits are. Wherever I went, New Hampshire always felt like home.

Tell us some of your favorite places in the state or your region? i.e. restaurants, recreational or cultural activities, etc.

State-wide, my happy place is camping up in Errol, on the banks of the Androscoggin River. No cell service – just you, the water, and the deer flies. Regionally, I understand why Mount Monadnock is the most-climbed mountain in the country – it’s spectacular, and you never have to hike the same trail twice. For restaurants, I’ve fallen in love with Machina Kitchen and ArtBar in Keene, and all the great breweries and food turcks that have popped up in the last couple of years. For cultural activities, I have a long connection to the Keene Pumpkin Festival, and I miss it immensely, but the new, smaller, kid-focused festival is a great event that I hope will continue.

Why would you consider leaving the state again?

I wouldn’t, unless forced to due to family. I made the choice to forgo a higher salary to be in New Hampshire once, and I would do it again.

What do you believe to be the “New Hampshire” advantage?

I think New Hampshire’s advantage is that we are a respite from the chaos of metropolitan life. We are close enough to the action that we can get there easily if we have to, but far enough away that we don’t have to deal with it if we don’t want to. Beyond that, with Keene especially, it’s great how the city (or the state, even) is small enough that one person can easily make a difference, yet large enough that the difference you make matters.
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