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Home | 40 Under Forty

Colin Van Ostern found home for him when he moved to NH

By GARRY RAYNO
State House Bureau

January 28. 2013 1:23AM

Colin Van Ostern, 33
Home: Concord

Birthplace: Carlsbad, Calif.

Family: Wife, Kristyn; son, Peter; dog, Moses

High school: Governor's School for Government & International Studies, Richmond, Va.

College/post-grad degrees: B.A., The George Washington University. Washington, D.C.; MBA, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Hanover

Current job: Executive Councilor, State of New Hampshire, and brand manager, Stonyfield, Inc.

Key past positions held: Owner, Washington Street Consulting (marketing consulting for nonprofits and small business); campaign manager, Ann McLane Kuster for Congress; associate director, public relations, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; communications director, Gov. Jeanne Shaheen

Volunteer activities: The Friendly Kitchen, Dinner for Hope Organizing Committee; Tuck School of Business, class secretary

Most admired person (outside your family): President Bill Clinton

Key current professional challenge: Launching Stonyfield YoKids Smoothies - real yogurt smoothies with organic fruits and vegetables - in over 13,000 grocery stores nationwide this winter.

Last major achievement: Being elected this past fall to represent 265,000 New Hampshire citizens on the Executive Council.

Two peers who know you well: Mike Vlacich, state director for U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Gray Chynoweth, COO of Dyn, Inc.

Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: After decades of population migration into New Hampshire, the new trend of population outflow, especially of college students and young workers.

Favorite place in New Hampshire: Hellgate Gorge, Second College Grant

What book are you reading now? "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen and "The Victory Lab" by Sasha Issenberg

How do you relax? Cooking, jogging with my dog Moses in the woods around Concord, skiing at Cannon, down time on the couch.

What websites do you visit most often? Twitter, Facebook

Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: Lately: “The Walking Dead,” Pandora, Passion Pit

CONCORD - For decades New Hampshire thrived by attracting young, highly educated people to join the state's workforce, and Colin Van Ostern was one.

Born in California 33 years ago, Van Ostern moved every couple of years with his family until 1993 when he moved to Washington, D.C., on the day former President Bill Clinton was sworn into office for the first time.

"It was an amazing experience to see a million people come out and to see the optimism for our country," he said. "It was really about embracing our county's future."

Van Ostern, who was recently elected as the District 2 Executive Councilor and is a brand manager for Stonyfield, Inc., later served as a White House intern.

His love of politics led him to New Hampshire in the summer of 2001 to be former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen's communications director for her 2002 U.S. Senate campaign.

"Until that point, I moved around my whole life," Van Ostern said. "I.fell in love with New Hampshire and I've lived here longer than anywhere else. I met my wife, Kristyn, here - she also worked on Jeanne Shaheen's campaign in 2001."

The Concord resident did not leave after the Shaheen campaign, but instead went to Dartmouth and earned his MBA while serving as associate director of public relations for the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Soon after he graduated, he was offered a job at Apple in California not far from where he went to elementary school. He said he was really tempted because he always loved technology and worked as an intern on a start-up technology firm when he was in college.

"After I went to Apple, I visited the house we used to live in and spent a lot of time thinking," Van Ostern said. "When I got back to New Hampshire, I bought a puppy and proposed to my wife and decided I was going to stay in New Hampshire."

While in New Hampshire, Van Ostern has run his own consulting and marketing firm, Washington Street Consulting, advising nonprofits and small businesses, and was campaign manager for Annie McLane Kuster's 2010 campaign for the 2nd District Congressional seat.

Now his focus is on the Executive Council and his job at Stoneyfield. ?"This is a particularly important time with a new governor, and I look forward to working with her and the other councilors to focus as much as possible on strengthening our economy," he said.

He called Stonyfield a fantastic company to work for and said he is working hard to grow its business, most recently by helping launch Stonyfield YoKids Smoothies - real yogurt smoothies with organic fruits and vegetables - that he said is doing very well.

But he worries the state is not attracting young professionals and their families like it used to when he came to New Hampshire.

"It's a huge challenge for us and something the government can't fix," Van Ostern said. "It has to be driven by the private sector and strengthening communities."

Van Ostern lives in Concord with his wife, son Peter and dog Moses.


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