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Alec O'Meara by day is the face of Unitil, by night a new dad and active volunteer

By GRETYL MACALASTER
Union Leader Correspondent

January 28. 2013 1:23AM

Alec O'Meara, 34
Home: Raymond

Birthplace: Wolfeboro

Family: Wife, Jessica O'Meara; daughter, Molly O'Meara, five months old

High school: Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter

College/post-grad degrees: B.A. from New York University

Current job: Media relations manager, Unitil

Key past positions held: Executive editor, Salmon Press, 2004-2007, launched Gilford weekly newspaper in 2004, simultaneously managed operations of weekly papers in Gilford, Meredith and Winnisquam areas as editor; Londonderry correspondent for New Hampshire Union Leader, 2008-2010

Volunteer activities: Currently serving as chair of Lamprey River Elementary School Building Committee in Raymond. The committee is charged by the school board to bring a proposal to renovate school and build new addition to voters.

Most admired person (outside your family): Abraham Lincoln

Key current professional challenge: Working to keep the public informed on how electric restoration works before, during and after severe storms.

Last major achievement: N.H. PUC report on response to October Snowstorm of 2011 called Unitil's response effort a model for other utilities to follow, and I am proud to be a part of that team. Report was released in November 2012.
Two peers who know you well: Carol Valianti, vice president of communications at Unitil; Sarah Grazier, public relations manager, Calypso Communications

Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Lack of participation in local government. Some of the most important decisions in our towns, those impacting schools, public safety and property taxes, are being made by an increasingly smaller group of people due to a lack of participation and voter apathy.

Favorite place in New Hampshire: Lakes Region and Lake Winnipesaukee is general, specifically a camp on Jolly Island owned by extended family.

What book are you reading now? 11/22/63” by Stephen King

How do you relax? Spend time with family, golf poorly, play Xbox games.

What websites do you visit most often? I'm reading CNN.com, Grantland.com and Unionleader.com, order varies depending on the news of the day.

Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: Favorite TV show right now is probably “Doctor Who.” I grew up watching grainy BBC reruns on N.H. Public Television and love how the show has become so popular today.



HAMPTON - When storms strike in New Hampshire, one of the first people usually contacted by the media is Alec O'Meara, media relations manager for Unitil Corp.

As a former journalist, O'Meara understands the immediate need to get information to the public about power outages and road closures.

He also has a deeper understanding of what readers and television viewers want, namely, detailed information about what crews are doing to restore power and what it takes to make it happen.

In his two years at Unitil, he has used the power of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to get information out even faster and more efficiently to the public.

When not in the office or on the front lines of power restoration, O'Meara can be found relaxing at the Raymond home he purchased with his wife two years ago.

They have since welcomed their first daughter, five-month-old Molly.

Soon after moving to town, O'Meara knew he wanted to get involved at the local level and joined the Lamprey River Elementary School Building Committee and was soon named chairman.

The committee has been charged with researching and recommending improvements for Raymond's only elementary school, which has been dealing with space issues for years.

He said the plan is to bring a bond before voters in 2014. They had hoped to bring something forward this year but have stalled the process as the state figures out school building funding issues.

Aside from that issue, O'Meara said one of his biggest concerns for the state is voter apathy at the local level.

O'Meara said he wished he had the solution that would bring more people out to town meetings.

"You see a few less folks come out to meetings every year and it cuts down on the number of people participating in these very important decisions," O'Meara said. "If we don't as a community pay attention to and participate in major decisions that affect towns every year, we will lose what makes our communities special."

O'Meara said he is humbled to have been honored for this year's class of New Hampshire Union Leader 40 Under 40 nominees and has tremendous respect for the nominees he has seen come before him.

"I feel I haven't done enough yet to be on that list, but it's an amazing honor to be part of it," O'Meara said.


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