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Brian Thomas: 'If you're passionate about something, you find the time'

By KATHY REMILLARD
Union Leader Correspondent

January 28. 2013 1:23AM

Brian D. Thomas, 34
Hometown: Bedford

Birthplace: Manchester

Family: Wife, Liana; daughter, Mira

High school: Manchester West

College/post-grad degrees: B.A., Boston College; J.D., Suffolk Law

Current job: Attorney, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA

Key past positions held: Regional account executive, SkillSoft; account executive, General Electric

Volunteer activities: Director, Manchester Moves, Inc. (non-profit organization committed to converting abandoned rail trails into trails); member, N.H. Catholic Charities Finance Committee; member, N.H. State Board for the Licensing and Regulation of Plumbers (appointed by Governor Lynch); member, Manchester Bar Executive Committee

Most admired person (outside your family): My colleague Peter Cowan. He's a good person, an exceptional lawyer and through his work he has shown me what it means to practice law with integrity.

Key current professional challenge: Guiding clients through the electronic discovery phase of a lawsuit.

Last major achievement: Promotion to shareholder at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA.

Two peers who know you well: James “JP” Harris (colleague at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA), and
Jason Gregoire (colleague at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA)

Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Maintaining New Hampshire's heritage during a time of change.

Favorite place in New Hampshire: A little-known peak in the Ossipee Mountains that shall remain unnamed.

What book are you reading now? “The New Father Book.” I have a lot to learn.

How do you relax? Spending time with my wife Liana and daughter Mira.

What websites do you visit most often? Unionleader.com and Boston.com

Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: Any show having to do with nature.

BEDFORD - Brian Thomas' work as an attorney for Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green may keep him inside much of the time, but whenever possible, his attention turns toward the outdoors.

He is director and co-founder of Manchester Moves, a nonprofit organization that seeks to convert abandoned rail beds into recreational trails.

The group's goal is to connect a group of four trail systems - the Piscataquoq Trail, the Heritage Trial, the South Manchester Rail Trial and the Rockingham Trial - and make Manchester the hub to connect them all.

"The group is committed to reconnecting and converting a network of abandoned rail trials into trails that will encourage biking, walking, running and other alternative forms of transportation," Thomas said. "Creating a network of trails in Manchester and throughout the state will make our communities more livable and desirable and will provide opportunities for fitness and physical health."

Thomas said he'd like to find ways to attract young people to New Hampshire.

"I'd like to see a city that you can walk around, similar to Boston, that has a downtown," he said.

Thomas, a new father, credits much of his desire to be active in his community to his own father.

"My dad is a doctor, and he really devoted his life to helping others - that had a really big impact on me," he said. "If I can make half the impact on the people of this city and state that he has, I will be a success."

Thomas said he is lucky to work for a firm that also shares his philosophy on community service.

"The firm encourages community involvement - from day one you are encouraged to contribute to the local community and the state, and doors are opened that allow you to do that," he said. "Some of the most meaningful work I've done as an attorney has been devoting my time to non-for-profits."

Between balancing work, a young family and volunteering, Thomas said time is a commodity for him.

"You need to pick what's important to you and then you make the time," he said. "If you're passionate about something, you can find the time."


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