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Sen. Shaheen hosts veterans roundtable, tours Granite State Manufacturing

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 28. 2014 8:05PM
Glenn Lawton, president of Granite State Manufacturing, demonstrates the zeroG4, a device which can lift tools as heavy as 36 pounds, to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen toured the Manchester manufacturing company on Friday. (PAT GROSSMITH/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., on Friday proved adept at maneuvering a robot made at Granite State Manufacturing that is used to disarm and/or blow up improvised explosive devices.

She doesn’t play video games and said her grandchildren easily can beat her at them. But she had a slight advantage, just having come from Nashua High School South, where the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition was happening. She had the opportunity to try out some of the students’ creations.

“They weren’t as sophisticated as this one,” she said.

The senator toured the West Side company that has been in business since 1937 and is located on Joliette Street, individually greeting more than a dozen employees, all veterans, and posed for photographs with them in front of the company’s largest machine — a Kuraki CNC horizontal boring/milling machine.

Accompanying her on the 30-minute tour were representatives of veterans groups, the Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development Center.

After the tour, she hosted a roundtable discussion concerning the need for businesses to hire veterans and talked about proposed Senate legislation that would provide a larger payroll tax credit for businesses that hire veterans.

Among the items GSM produces is an electric current security system to prevent theft. Last year, the company outfitted a full-sized cargo container with the system for a secret project of the U.S. Navy.

President Glenn Lawton demonstrated the zeroG4, which can lift tools as heavy as 36 pounds for assembly work employees, increasing productivity while reducing injuries, and showed the senator a drone helicopter — fitted with cameras — with replaceable parts that the company makes.

GSM is a company that makes many devices for the military or military contractors and makes a point of employing veterans.

Laurie Glaude, GSM director of human resources, said the company employs 23 veterans, 16 percent of its workforce. The company works closely with James Goss, executive director of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program, in finding veterans to fill the positions.

David Sheridan, GSM’s director of business development, said the war veterans have that “boots on the ground” experience a company like GSM needs when producing new tech products designed for the military.

“They got it,” he said. “They can help us.”

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