News : December 2011

Cultural Chemistry Helps Organizations Form Common Goals, Find Success

Dec 27, 2011

From Portsmouth Patch

By Jim Cavan

Here in the U.S., a business’ growth is almost always couched in terms of improved efficiency and productivity, and the never-ending challenge of bolstering the bottom line.

But for Mirjam IJtsma, careful accounting, creative marketing, and effective business-to-business strategies aren’t the only things a company needs in order to take its product or service to the next level – as crucial as all of these elements no doubt are.

Just as important, she claims, is an effective “cultural chemistry,” or the fostering of a positive, dynamic, and forward-thinking workplace environment. Instead of simply giving people individualized “jobs” or “tasks,” she argues, employers and managers should instead be looking to empower workers towards a collective, organizational purpose.

To read the full story in Portsmouth Patch, click here!

Kennebunk Savings helps local food pantries

Dec 27, 2011

from Portsmouth Herald

KENNEBUNK, Maine — As part of its "Community Promise" program, Kennebunk Savings has announced that it has made $5,000 in contributions to area nonprofit food pantries.

Kennebunk Savings made the donations knowing that this time of year can be particularly difficult given the holidays, the upswing in the need for food and the painful choices that many families must face.

According to Bradford C. Paige, president and chief executive officer of the bank, "It's very gratifying to be able to contribute to organizations that will have an immediate impact in reducing the burden families are facing. It is our mission to help strengthen our communities; putting food on tables, especially during the holiday season, is just one way we can contribute."

The bank made $1,000 donations to York County Food Rescue, York County Shelters Programs Inc., York Community Food Pantry, the Kennebunk Community Food Pantry, and the Seacoast Family Food Pantry in Portsmouth, N.H.

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald by clicking here!

Small businesses and responsiveness key to Kennebunk Savings vision

Dec 26, 2011

From Portsmouth Herald

By Jim Cavan

PORTSMOUTH — With criticism of large financial institutions at an all-time high, few seem willing to make the distinction between big regional banks and the more local community banks.

Here in Portsmouth, Kennebunk Savings — one of the region's oldest community banks — is planning for growth within its industry, choosing to hitch on to what has always been a tried and true wagon of growth: small businesses.

In late July, Kennebunk Savings officially announced the configuration of a new small-business lending program. Rather than house all of its lending under one, all-encompassing umbrella, Maine-based Kennebunk Savings will instead have separate offices for businesses large (anything more than $1 million) and small (anything between $5,000 and a $1 million)....

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald by clicking here!

November Brings New Showroom, Third Green Designer for Visions Kitchens

Dec 19, 2011

From Portsmouth Patch

By Jim Cavan

Certain businesses can get away with conducting their trade without the luxury of a showroom. But for Nathan Johnson, co-owner of Visions Kitchens, it was only a matter of time before such accommodations became a necessity.

This past month, Visions – a company which specializes in affordable green design and products – officially moved into their new showroom on High Street in Hampton.

At less than 1,000 square feet, Visions’ new by-appointment space isn’t exactly sprawling. But the visual exposure, combined with a more central Seacoast location near a bevy of other local, independent businesses added up to a winning formula for a company in the midst of a recession-defying boom.

To read the full story in Portsmouth Patch, click here!

GA Law Firm Helps Fund Restoration of Strawbery Banke Sites

Dec 19, 2011

From Portsmouth Patch and Granite State Sentinel

By Jim Cavan

When Portsmouth law firm Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy and Lown (CRML) decided to renovate their Middle Street office, they did so out of a steadfast commitment to preserving a little slice of the Port City’s unique historical heritage.

So it came as no surprise when the team decided to donate $1000 to the Heritage House Program (HHP), an initiative launched to help renovate underutilized buildings in and around Strawbery Banke and provide affordable housing for area residents.

HHP calls for at least 10 houses in and around the Strawbery Banke campus to be restored to their original period condition within the next few years.

To read the full story in Portsmouth Patch, click here! Or pick up the 1/13/2012 edition of Granite State Sentinel at a location near you!

MetalWave keeps consumer electronics out of the ground

Dec 15, 2011

Published in Portsmouth Patch and Exeter Patch

by Scott Szycher

Given the abundance of new consumer-oriented electronics on the market each holiday season, it begs the question: what to do with the old televisions, cell phones, and computer hard drives that snappy new flat screens, iPhones, and laptops have replaced?

One thing’s for sure: electronics that end up in a local landfill not only costs cities money, but can leach harmful chemicals and flame retardants that can contaminate groundwater supplies. And far too much of the country’s “e-waste” ends up overseas, where lax environmental laws in developing nations create an incentive to extract metals, toners, and plastics from these components  in ways that pollute the environment and jeopardize workers’ health, many of whom are under age.

But Amesbury, MA-based MetalWave is providing area residents and businesses with a safe, cost-effective alternative to "dumping" consumer and industrial e-waste, including everything from cell phones to the large microwave drums that transmit cellular signals

Success is passion, hard work

Dec 13, 2011

From Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online

By Kelly Hearn

Mike Myers is a co-founder of Jewett Farms and Co. cabinetmakers, based in York, Maine.

What was the spark that ignited your business?

Myers: For me, it's about an ideal. I guess it is best summed up by the word "quality." An experience that at its essence embodies quality throughout the process of what we do. But more concretely, it's about a desire to continue and to build upon the tradition of unsurpassed design and quality of cabinet and furniture makers of years past...

Read the full interview in the Portsmouth Herald by clicking here!

Dover energy company sees future in new hot air technology

Dec 12, 2011

DOVER — What if you were able to heat a building using little more than a small array of solar panels? Until recently, such options were virtually non-existent. But one New England company aims to change the way we think about the sun; what it can provide; how; and what it might mean for the future of solar energy.

Launched in 2008, Dover-based Revolution Energy has since installed nearly a half-dozen solar systems. As such, their expertise ranges from standard alternative energy systems to lesser-known, burgeoning technologies -- one of which they're betting will become a game changer in their ever-changing industry. It's called solar hot air technology, and it's poised to redefine how we think about heating large-scale buildings.

To read the full story, visit Foster's Daily Democrat!

Growing market: Green Alliance membership expanding steadily

Dec 12, 2011

PORTSMOUTH — Sarah Brown remembers that the first holiday party for the Green Alliance a few years ago was a modest affair.

"I think we had about 10 business owners and ourselves," said Brown, a co-founder and the project director of the Green Alliance. But on Dec. 15 at the Two Ceres Street martini bar, the Green Alliance Holiday Bash will be considerably larger. The growth is a reflection of how much the organization's ideal — creating a green economic community for businesses and consumers — has taken hold in the region and beyond.

"I think we will have about 50 Green Alliance businesses and more than 100 consumer members," Brown said of the expected attendance for the 2011 holiday gathering. Altogether, there are nearly 100 participating businesses and more than 2,800 consumer "Green Card" members in the Green Alliance. What began as one founding business in 2008 (Simply Green Biofuels) has grown from its Seacoast region roots into a network of green-minded companies located as far north as Portland, Maine, as far west as Concord and as far south as Newburyport, Mass.

Read the full story from the Portsmouth Herald by clicking here!

Volkswagen’s National Drive Towards Green Mirrored at Greenland Dealership

Dec 7, 2011

From Portsmouth Patch

By Jim Cavan

Between government bailouts and burgeoning green technologies, it’s been easy over the last few years to get lost in the American automotive world’s two extremes – the good and bad of an industry searching for a new identity.

All the while, German automaker Volkswagen has been quietly grown into a major player in the American market.

Of course, Part of the company’s resulting growth can be attributed to its well-honed reputation for durable, efficient, affordable cars.

But with the company’s massive Chattanooga, Tennessee plant having been recently awarded Platinum certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – the nation’s top building efficiency standard – it’s clear that Volkswagen is beginning to stake its own claim to green...

Read the full story in Portsmouth Patch by clicking here!

The Origins of Occupy Wall Street

Dec 5, 2011

Published in Exeter Patch and Portsmouth Patch

by Scott Szycher

The Occupy Wall Street movement means many things to many people.  To some, this movement is about the increasing disparity of wealth in this country.  To others, it’s about the extraordinary privileges and bailouts given to major multinational financial institutions which, in large part, caused the “Great Recession”.

But no one can say our society wasn’t forewarned about the financial crisis which came to a head in October 2008.  Prior to the real estate bubble bursting and the sub-sequent financial crisis, economists and responsible investment houses were raising red flags regarding systemic risk posed by mortgage-backed securities backed by derivatives.  In addition they warned that the consolidation of assets into a handful of U.S. banks was rife with conflicts of interests and the potential for financial collapse.

“99% of us should be upset.  Irresponsible risks taken by 'too-big-to-fail' firms had a huge effect on the entire economy,” said Michael Smith, a member of the Progressive Asset Management (PAM) Group, the socially responsible investment division of Financial West Group with an office in Newfields, New Hampshire.  The PAM Group warned of corporate abuses and excessive risks in the run-up to the financial crisis and has since advocated for meaningful reform which would give shareholders of public companies more influence in the behavior of the companies in which they are invested.

To read the full storyin Exeter Patch, click here! To read the full story in Portsmouth Patch, click here!

NH’s Only Cloth Diaper Service Determined to Show Green Way Forward

Dec 5, 2011

From Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth Patch and Exeter Patch

By Jim Cavan

During the 1950s, few consumer products hit the shelves with a more welcome thud of convenience than the disposable diaper.

And with good reason: What had for centuries been a thanklessly necessary ritual had suddenly transformed into one as easy as flipping open the trash can.

The next five decades would find industry giants Pampers and Huggies engaged in all-out war, with both sides out to prove theirs were the cleanest, cheapest, and most convenient.

But as with so many other once nagging tasks suddenly rendered simple, it took a while before the true implications of all those plastic-based diapers – anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 per child – began to reveal themselves...

To read the full story in Portsmouth Patch, click here! For Exeter Patch, click here! For the Portsmouth Herald, click here!

Green Alliance and N.H. Coast partner to improve water quality in Seacoast area

Dec 1, 2011

Published in The New Hampshire

by Dave Anderson

Studies have shown that local businesses tend to be more supportive of local nonprofits than big box stores and retail chains, a fact demonstrated by the growing relationship between the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership (N.H. Coast) and the Green Alliance. 

In 2008, a group of citizens came together to form N.H. Coast out of a shared concern about declining water quality in the Great Bay estuary. That same year, the Green Alliance was launched by local journalist Sarah Brown and business partner Andrew Kellar, then the owner and founder of Simply Green Biofuels, to promote local green businesses and foster the growth of a green economy in southern New Hampshire and Maine. 

Over the years, the two organizations have developed a natural friendship based on a shared desire to restore the clean water and thriving ecosystems that have defined quality of life on the Seacoast for generations. Green Alliance business partners have donated thousands of dollars to help support N.H. Coast's nonprofit mission to combine sound science with education, collaboration and advocacy to protect the natural resources of the Granite State's coastal watershed.

To read the full story, click here!

Harbor Lights Moves On Up

Dec 1, 2011

Published in Portsmouth Patch, Exeter Patch, Hampton Patch

by Scott Szycher

Goodbye, Hampton. Hello, Newington.

Harbor Lights, the venerable retail lighting store on Route 1 in Hampton Falls, is poised to co-locate with its parent company, the Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric on January 1 at their flagship location at the foot of the Sullivan Bridge.

“Bringing Harbor Lights into the Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric will be the best of both worlds,” exclaimed Jim Pender, Rockingham Electric’s affable President and CEO. “We can offer a larger selection, better service, and more competitive pricing, all under one roof.”