January 23. 2018 3:50PM

Andrew Cushing • 28 • Grafton

What is the best career advice you ever received?

My mother’s a public school teacher and my father does auto body. They encouraged my siblings and me to pursue interests, not paychecks.

Why did you choose your profession?

I love old buildings. They are our community identifiers, tell great stories, and harbor incredible potential for reuse. No one Instagrams or sends postcards of the state’s South Willow Streets. I decided fairly early on that I wanted to be involved in making our state look better, not more generic. I’m very fortunate to work for the NH Preservation Alliance doing exactly this work.

What motivates you to give back to your community?

Its need. I made the conscious choice to return and give back to my hometown and home state knowing that too few people do, or can. It’s nice to get thank you notes, too. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note.

What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?

I took my schooling very seriously and missed out on the education that happens outside of the classroom. I’d encourage younger me to let loose.

What would make New Hampshire more attractive to young professionals?

Is it not already? I always tell my friends that they’re missing out by living in Colorado, Manhattan, or Vermont. If we don’t like what we see in our towns, the onus is on us to craft that more attractive community.

What would you like to be doing when you’re 40?

I have two old houses I’m trying to restore in East Grafton. It doesn’t leave me much time for a personal life. Hopefully by the time I’m 40, at least one of the houses is done. (But then again, I’d probably just feel compelled to buy another old house …)

What was your last major achievement?

I seriously question if it’s an achievement most days, but I bought a second old house next door to my first old house. This “new” one has plumbing and heating, which has come in handy.

Volunteer activities: Secretary, Grafton Historical Society; board member, Friends of Mascoma Foundation.