Stay Work Play Announces 2015 Rising Stars Awards Finalists and Keynote Speaker

Organizers for the Rising Stars Awards, an initiative of Stay Work Play and in partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), are pleased to announce the keynote speaker and finalists for the 2015 event, which will be held at 5:30-7:30 pm on Monday, October 5 at the Space Entertainment Center, 51 Zapora Drive in Hooksett. The finalists for six award categories, plus a new student video category, span cities and towns throughout the Granite State and will be joined by keynote speaker The Honorable Tina L. Nadeau, Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court.

“We look forward to celebrating New Hampshire’s unique combination of people, businesses and organizations that make our state a wonderful place for personal and professional pursuits,” said Kate Luczko, Stay Work Play’s President and CEO. “It is especially rare to see such strong partnerships between private and public initiatives for young professionals, and showcasing that is one of the many reasons we are so excited to feature Justice Nadeau’s insights at the Rising Stars Awards.”

Chosen by panels of volunteer judges, this year’s finalists are a remarkable group of young professionals, companies, college students, young entrepreneurs and organizations that exemplify civic and professional excellence. The 2015 Rising Stars Awards finalists are:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists

  • Alex Freid of Lee and Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)
  • Zach Luse of Keene and Paragon Digital Marketing
  • Tim Thyne of Nashua and Adored

This category honors an outstanding young entrepreneur who has “looked outside the box,” to shape the future of our state through their entrepreneurial venture. This award will be presented in partnership with the Alpha Loft  and the New Hampshire High Tech Council.

College Student of the Year Finalists

  • Alicia Frazier of Candia and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
  • Matthew Mayer of Windham and the University of New Hampshire (UNH)
  • Katerina Messologitis of Milford, Conn. and UNH
  • Kirsten Spooner of North Haverhill and SNHU

This category honors an outstanding college student between the ages of 18 and 24 living in and attending school in New Hampshire, who demonstrates academic and civic excellence.

College Video Submission Finalists

  • Alicia Frazier of Candia and SNHU
  • Kristina Velasquez of Merrimack and Plymouth State University

New for 2015, college students were asked to submit a 15-second video about why they deserve to be the College Student of the Year. Videos were scored by judges based upon students’ community involvement, originality and vision, and most of all, creativity.

Young Professional of the Year Finalists

  • Nicole Barreira of Manchester and Great NH Restaurants
  • Chris Wellington of Manchester and Grafton County Economic Development Council
  • Jeremy Woodward of Concord and Jeremy’s Boot Camp

This category honors an outstanding professional between the ages of 18 and 40 who works and lives in New Hampshire, and is rising in their industry while giving back to their community.

Civic Leader of the Year Finalists

  • Bryan Bouchard of Manchester and SNHU
  • Amanda Bouldin of Manchester and IdoVape
  • Serena Galleshaw of Somersworth
  • Zach Williams of Claremont and the City of Claremont

This category honors an individual between the ages of 21 and 40 who, through their volunteerism, philanthropy, and/or community involvement demonstrates a commitment to civic participation, strengthening their community, and developing personal leadership capacity to make New Hampshire a better place for future generations.

Coolest Companies for Young Professionals Finalists

  • Cranmore Mountain Resort of North Conway
  • Fidelity Investments of Merrimack
  • ICE Worldwide of Portsmouth
  • Red River Computers of Claremont
  • Single Digits of Bedford
  • Technology Seed of Salem

This award honors companies in New Hampshire that create environments to attract and retain young talent (specifically ages 40 and under).

Leadership Development Program of the Year Finalists

  • Hoffmann-Haas Fellowship, an initiative of the NH Center for Nonprofits
  • NH Bar Association Leadership Academy
  • Young Reporters Project, an initiative of Business NH Magazine

This award honors an innovative program initiated and conducted by a NH organization aimed at a young audience to propel their personal and professional growth.

Referred to as “the networking event of the year,” The Rising Stars Awards will offer food and a cash bar; six raffle baskets; each representing a region of New Hampshire; live music by Groove Lounge; lots of cool people to mingle with; a keynote address by the Honorable Tina Nadeau, Chief Justice of the NH Superior Court; and the announcement of the award winners! The emcee for the evening will be NHPR’s Taylor Quimby, producer of the popular Word of Mouth program. Reserve your ticket today and learn more at, on Facebook or @stayworkplay on Twitter.

The Rising Stars Awards are generously sponsored by: Antioch University New EnglandArts Industry AllianceBank of New HampshireBellwether Community Credit UnionBerryDunn,Chris Malloy EventsDynEastern BankFidelity InvestmentsGrappone Automotive Group,GYK AntlerHarvard Pilgrim Health CareHire AllianceHyperthermMint Printworks, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic DevelopmentNew Hampshire Distributors, Inc.; New Hampshire Public TelevisionSolidscape;Space Entertainment Center

About The Rising Stars Awards
The Rising Stars Awards are an initiative of Stay Work Play, in partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio, to celebrate and recognize New Hampshire’s remarkable young workers, entrepreneurs, and college students, initiatives to keep them here, and the businesses and programs that go the extra mile to recruit and retain them.

About Stay Work Play
Stay Work Play is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is “To work collaboratively across New Hampshire to support ongoing economic, workforce, and community development by promoting the state as a favorable place for young workers and recent college graduates to stay, work and play, when considering employment and lifestyle opportunities.” Additional information on the organization can be found on the website, or by contacting President & CEO Kate Luczko, or (603) 860-2245.

About New Hampshire Public Radio
Since 1981, NHPR has shaped the media landscape in the Granite State and beyond. Their mission is to help create a more informed public, one challenged and enriched by a deeper understanding and appreciation of state, national, and world events, ideas, and culture. NHPR is broadcast from thirteen different sites, making it by far New Hampshire’s largest (and only) statewide radio news service. Every week NHPR is the choice of more than 184,000 listeners as a primary source of in-depth and intelligent news coverage. Each day New Hampshire Public Radio delivers several hours of local news reported by NHPR’s award-winning News Department, locally produced shows such as The Exchange and Word of Mouth, and national and world news from NPR and the BBC. NHPR is the exclusive outlet for NPR News in the Granite State and broadcast national weekly programs such as Car Talk, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and This American Life.


Contact: Kate Luczko
President & CEO, Stay Work Play
(603) 860-2245

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