All Sections
Welcome guest, you have 2 views left. | Register | Sign In


Meet 40 who are making a difference

WE ARE PROUD to introduce our readers to 40 young people who are helping make New Hampshire a better place to live.

The 25 men and 15 women chosen for the 12th class of the New Hampshire Union Leader's "40 Under Forty" are some of New Hampshire's up-and-coming citizens who are helping make our state a great place to live.

The program is presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader in cooperation with the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire to profile 40 of the state's brightest young achievers under the age of 40. An awards ceremony will be held March 21 at the Grappone Center in Concord presented with the generous sponsorship of Citizens Bank. Tickets to that event are $45 per person or $35 for members of a Young Professionals organization or for immediate family members of the honorees. To obtain tickets, contact Christy DeTrude in the Union Leader's Community Relations Office at 206-7834 or by email at

All 40 of today's class join the 440 men and women who have been named members of the 11 previous classes of "40 Under Forty," chosen since the program's inception in 2002. Previous members include luminaries such as Chris Carpenter of Bedford, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals (named to 40 Under Forty in 2002); Olympic skier Bode Miller of Franconia (named in 2003); U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (2002); former Congressman and Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (2002); and Attorney General Michael Delaney (2005).

And there have been more than a few heroes, including Lebanon's U.S. Army Capt. Ryan Welch, who strapped himself along with a wounded man to the outside of his helicopter gunship in October 2004 while flying a mission in Iraq (named in 2005); and N.H. Army National Guard C Company 3-172 Infantry (Mountain) commander Daniel Newman, who not only served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, but continues saving lives as a firefighter for Merrimack Fire Rescue (named in 2011). U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Meegan continues the tradition of representing our military heroes in this year's class.

There have also been a fair number of policemen, teachers, doctors, attorneys and many who have donated thousands of hours to charitable causes that have made New Hampshire a better place to live. More join their ranks today.

Their giving natures, chiefly, are the reason that this year's class of "40 Under Forty" has been selected from all the nominations received. The criteria for selection include that the person cannot turn 40 by Feb. 1, has lived in New Hampshire at least three years, and is helping to make New Hampshire a better place to live. They were nominated by family, friends, co-workers and themselves and culled by our judges to the 40 people you will read about within these pages today.

And for those those who are thinking ahead and would like to nominate someone for next year's class, to be named in January of 2014, visit

One of the themes echoed throughout these pages in the comments by this year's recipients is the fact that our state needs to do more to keep its young talent within these borders. Too many are escaping to other places after growing up in the Granite State, many have said.

Union Leader Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid has a different take on that: "Several of our 12th class note that New Hampshire needs to do more to attract bright, young achievers. That's a great goal, of course, and we think in its own small way, our 40 Under Forty program has helped do just that. I continue to be bowled over by the level of talent, achievement, and devotion to community these men and women have.''

So, here are the men and women of New Hampshire, all under the age of 40, who this year have been selected because of their unselfish natures and good work on behalf of their communities.

Several of this year's honorees were not born in New Hampshire (Some weren't even born in this country), but they have adopted their home state in a major way, joining organizations and becoming a part of charities that are improving lives. They include Tika Acharya, 35, of Manchester, who was born in Bhutan and went to school in India. He is now the executive director of the Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire. There's also Bartlomiej "Bart" Sapeta, 39, born in Wroclaw, Poland, now a professor of architecture at Keene State College who volunteers at design sessions and is helping establish Keene Listens, an organization modeled after N.H. Listens with a session on higher education planned next month.

Several others are working in the field of education as well, including Kate Baker, 38, of Manchester, executive director of Network for Educational Opportunity, an education networking organization and the first scholarship organization to implement the recently passed N.H. Education Tax Credit Scholarships. There's also Jim Burke, 39, of Manchester, who is chairman of the Illustration Department at the New Hampshire Institute of Art as well as an illustrator and art director; along with Kelly L. Kelly, 39, of Hooksett, the director/owner of Tic-Tac-Tots Preschool Inc. in Hooksett since 1996; and Scott Solsky, 38, of Concord, a music educator at the Shaker Road School in Concord and executive director of the Granite State Music Festival.

There's also Kate Erskine, 38, of Manchester, the executive director of Breakthrough Manchester at The Derryfield School in Manchester, whose current challenge is increasing educational access and quality for highly-motivated Manchester students with limited opportunities.

Rounding out this year's selected education sector representatives is Jay Hauser, 36, of Concord, senior college planning counselor for the N.H. Higher Education Assistance Foundation/Center for College Planning. And Hauser speaks for many when he says, "We have a first-class educational system, great employers, small businesses, college and universities, and a great place to raise a family."

From the field of law, we present Anthony I. Blenkinsop, 39, of Portsmouth, director of the Charitable Trusts Unit at the Office of the Attorney General; and Jason E. Cole, 36, of Bedford, a corporate attorney at Devine, Millimet & Branch, P.A. for six and a half years. Both he and Blenkinsop repeated a familiar theme when asked to name New Hampshire's biggest problem. They, along with several others, said it was attracting and keeping younger generations to live and work in New Hampshire. Also from the law community is Enrique F. Mesa Jr., 34, of Nashua, who for the past four years has been representing clients on immigration matters with LawServe in downtown Manchester. He has been involved with the N.H. Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs as a member and for the past three years as its chair.

We also include in today's class Brian D. Thomas, 34, of Bedford, an attorney with Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA, who has been involved with Manchester Moves, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to converting abandoned rail beds into trails, as well as the N.H. Catholic Charities Finance Committee; along with John F. Weaver, 33, of Portsmouth, an attorney at McLane, Graf, Raulerson, and Middleton, P.A., who is on the boards of Pro Portsmouth, Inc. and the Portsmouth Public Library board of trustees.

From the world of finance, we have Kelli Boyle, 38, of Deerfield, CPA principal at Nathan Wechsler & Company, P.A.; Hannah Kate Sullivan, 38, of Canterbury, vice president and associate general counsel at Fidelity Investments; and Laura Jacobi, 37, of Springfield, senior vice president and chief financial officer, chief accounting officer for Lake Sunapee Bank and its parent company, New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc. There's also Brian S. Lavoie, 33, of Hudson, financial adviser and owner of Lavoie Wealth Management, who advocates for and consults with families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations on their various financial needs, helping them to grow, protect, and distribute their wealth. Also, Benjamin S. Wheeler, 33, of Rye, vice president and commercial loan officer with First Colebrook Bank. Among his various volunteer commitments is lead gift solicitor for the Clipper Foundation, helping that organization raise over $5 million in six months.

Keeping us safe are Manchester Fire Capt. Brendan Burns, 37, of Londonderry, who sees his key professional challenge right now as maintaining the level of service the department provides the Queen City and keeping current employees motivated and prospective employees interested in public service.

From the other side of municipal public safety is Concord Police Officer Scot Fanjoy, 32, of Barnstead, who has worked for the city of Concord for the past 10 years and also at Pats Peak as a ski patroller for the past 17 years.

In national defense, we have David J. Harrold, 38, of Amherst, product line director at BAE Systems, and information warfare officer for the U.S. Navy Reserve. There's also U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Meegan, 27, of Farmington, assistant plans officer for the 1st Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment, who has successfully led dozens of small unit operations with both U.S. and NATO partners during Operation Sabre Junction (Oct. 12), the largest military exercise in Europe since 1989, involving 16 countries and more than 100 square kilometers of German countryside.

Several of this year's honorees were asked to name a favorite radio station, and many chose Greg and the Morning Buzz broadcast on several local radio stations. And one of the people they would be listening to on the Buzz is Laura Boyce, 30, of Hooksett, co-host and one of this year's 40 Under Forty honorees.

Also a part of the class and keeping us entertained is Michael Ramshaw, 38, of Londonderry, vice president of sales with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Baseball Club. He is a member of the team that received the Larry MacPhail Award, naming the club as the top team for promotional effort and community involvement throughout all levels of minor league baseball.

Keeping us healthy are Pubali Chakravorty Campbell, 33, of Manchester, owner/director of Bikram Yoga in Manchester; and Dr. Katy Fader Lilly, 34, of Durham, a family physician with Woodbury Family Practice.

From the world of business are Joshua P. Auger, 33, of Manchester, a sales executive with the New Hampshire Business Review; and Jessica Beaudet, 29, of Auburn, recruiting manager for The Nagler Group in Bedford, who calls New Hampshire "a unique and thriving place to live, and more programs and opportunities need to be developed to not only develop young talent, but also to retain them within the state."

In agreement is Amy M. Chhom, 35, of Bedford, director of real estate and development for Anagnost Investments, Inc. since May, 2007 who counts among her greatest achievements as the opening of the Elliot at River's Edge Facility in Manchester, a project she was involved with from the beginning design stages through to the ribbon cutting. She posted on her Facebook page our question asking for New Hampshire's biggest problem, and she said, "I received several responses from various young professional and young business owners that all rang with the same theme and agreed with my views. They all related to and included workforce development and the retention of a skilled workforce. If New Hampshire could develop educational opportunities that created this type of workforce, then it would be easier to attract businesses who would benefit from the graduates."

Also from the world of business is John Hennessey, 36, of Littleton, vice president of marketing and human resources at Littleton Coin Company, who would like to ensure that New Hampshire protects its vibrant tourism economy.

Other up-and-coming business execs represented this year are Colleen C. Karpinsky, 33, of Manchester, vice president of talent and legal at Dyn and currently secretary of the Manchester Young Professionals Network; Matthew Paul Sullivan, 33, of Manchester, director of business development at Bridgeline Digital and very involved with the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity; and Eric Proulx, 33, of Goffstown, general manager of Tanger Outlets in Tilton, who was appointed to the N.H. Economic Development Advisory Council by Gov. John Lynch last January. There's also Tonya Rochette, 38, of Concord, vice president of human resource solutions at Human Resource Partners, LLC, and board president of Intown Concord.

And helping businesses thrive is the job of Laurel Bistany, 37, of Nottingham, executive director of the Regional Economic Development Center (REDC) of Southern N.H. since 2008. REDC is a private nonprofit whose mission is job creation, and construction is scheduled to start in April on a new regional training center in Raymond, so Bistany expects a very busy 2013.

Also assisting businesses with innovative ideas is Jamie Coughlin, 32, of Bedford, CEO/EIR of abi Innovation Hub and founder of PlusGrace, who answers this way when asked his way of relaxing: "I build companies."

From the nonprofit world, we have Laura Jamison, 37, of Berlin, a private guardian ad litem/child advocate and WREN (Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network) coordinator of Local Works Berlin Farmers Market. She is also working on an internship to be a certified mediator and once owned a small restaurant for seven years. We also honor Ian Brooks McSweeney, 36, of Weare, executive director of the Russell Foundation, a nonprofit foundation with a mission of land protection and a primary focus on working lands (farm and forest).

Keeping us energized is Alec O'Meara, 34, of Raymond, media relations manager for Unitil, the utility that serves several areas of the state. Once writing about past 40 Under Forty honorees as a former correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, he now is one. He currently serves as chair of the Lamprey River Elementary School Building Committee in Raymond.

And making sure government runs efficiently, rounding out our honorees this year, is newly elected Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, 33, of Concord, who is also brand manager for Stonyfield, Inc. in Londonderry and volunteers at The Friendly Kitchen, on the Dinner for Hope organizing committee, and as class secretary for the Tuck School of Business. He also worries about losing young talent from the Granite State: "After decades of population migration into New Hampshire, the new trend of population outflow, especially of college students and young workers" is New Hampshire's biggest problem.


Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required

More 40 Under Forty

NH Angle - 40 Under Forty