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January 26. 2014 8:17AM

Chris Wellington wants young people to see state's opportunities

Chris Wellington 

Chris Wellington, 31

Home: Manchester

Birthplace: New Brunswick, N.J.

Family: Father and stepmother, Bob and Angi Wellington of Hooksett; mother, Liz Gammon of Meredith; brother and sister-in-law Jon and Jenny Wellington of Deerfield; brother Geoff Wellington of Washington; dog, Mattingly

High school: West High – Manchester, 2000

College/post grad degrees: University of New Hampshire, 2004, B.S., kinesiology; University of New Hampshire, 2011, master of public administration

Current job: Business development specialist, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, March 2013 to present

Key past positions held: Marketing and retention specialist, Economic Development Office, City of Manchester, 2009-2013; community executive, Fund Development – American Cancer Society, 2009; associate manager, fundraising and special events, American Diabetes Association, 2008-2009 Volunteer activities: Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Manchester, board of directors president; Manchester Young Professionals Network (MYPN), board of directors and business committee chairman; Leadership Greater Manchester Alumni Committee chairman; TEDxAmoskeagMillyard Organizing Committee, 2012 lead organizer; volunteer at New Horizons, Manchester Historical Society and American Cancer Society

Most admired person (outside your family): Sylvio Dupuis and Barbara Couch of Hypertherm

Key current professional challenge: Properly addressing workforce issues affecting New Hampshire high-tech and manufacturing businesses 

Last major achievement: Elected president of Big Brothers Big Sisters board of directors in July; lead organizer for 2012 TEDxAmoskeagMillyard, securing Manchester as the host city for the 2010 and 2011 World Championship Chili Cookoff (had an economic impact of $2.5-plus million to city businesses, hotels and airport)

Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Retention of college graduates and highly skilled workers 

Favorite place in New Hampshire: White Mountains

What book are you reading now? "Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity," by Michael Shuman

How do you relax? Hanging out with my brothers, friends and dog. Watching sports and cooking.

Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: "Breaking Bad" and "Real Time with Bill Maher;" Radio: NHPR

One of the greatest challenges facing the Granite State, public policy experts say, is getting its younger, educated residents to stick around and set down roots. In his professional and personal life, Chris Wellington, 31, has been at the forefront of this challenge. 

He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2004, but instead of moving to Boston or further afield, Wellington stayed in Manchester and later landed a job at the Manchester Economic Development Office. There he worked with businesses in the effort to revitalize downtown, which has steadily become a restaurant and entertainment mecca. 

Last year, Wellington took a job with the state economic development office as the business development specialist for the western region of the state. There, Wellington said, the challenge is getting young people to recognize the opportunities that exist in advanced manufacturing.

"This is not your father's manufacturing," he said, noting that the jobs require sophisticated training and offer salaries that can reach six figures. 

At the same time, Wellington has remained in Manchester — he recently purchased a home in the city — and he has stayed active in young adult networking groups and events. He's the board president of the Manchester Young Professionals Network. Wellington began his career in the nonprofit sector, and he continues to volunteer with Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Manchester and other groups.

Wellington said New Hampshire has the natural resources to keep and attract young people to state. 

But more could be done, he said, to make graduates aware of the opportunities that exist in the state. "I think there can be a better relationship (between colleges and schools) with the business community," he said. "I think students just don't see the opportunities in New Hampshire."

And that's just what he's working to remedy. 

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