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PSNH's Mike Skelton is spreading the good word about NH

MANCHESTER — Mike Skelton believes New Hampshire is a great place for young people to build their careers and start a family, and he's dedicated countless hours to spreading the word among his peers.

The 31-year-old spokesman for Public Service of New Hampshire is involved in many volunteer activities, but he is most focused on what he called the young professional movement in the state.

"There are so many issues that are deserving of our attention," he said, "but this one has really reached out to me and younger folks like me, because we see New Hampshire as this really special place, and in order for it to be as special for future generations, we need to have young people choosing to live here, come back here after college, and raise their families here."

Skelton recently stepped down from the board of the Manchester Young Professionals Network after seven years, and he is now co-chair of the Stay, Work, Play organization, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the state as a desirable place for young workers and recent college graduates.

His own experience illustrates the kind of opportunities New Hampshire can provide. Born in Manchester, Skelton was among the first graduates of the New Hampshire Institute for Politics at St. Anselm College, where he enjoyed a front-row seat to presidential primaries and elections.

A co-founder of the College Republican Club at St. Anselm, his first job, not counting internships, was Executive Council liaison for Gov. Craig Benson. After Benson's term ended in 2005, he was hired by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce as vice president of economic development and advocacy.

Skelton, who joined PSNH in 2010, called his five years at the chamber a "transformational experience" that brought him into contact with young business leaders such as Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn; Sean Owen, CEO of wedu, a Manchester advertising agency; and Chris Williams, now president and CEO of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

"I got to meet a whole new network of young leaders," he said, "and they opened my eyes to this issue that I have become very passionate about."

When asked the biggest problem facing New Hampshire, he answered, "Attracting and retaining young professionals and young families to New Hampshire. We need a healthy balance of young people in our state to ensure the competitiveness of our workforce, our unique culture, and to foster a growing and vibrant economy." 

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