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Manchester-Nashua area touted as tech hot spot

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 14. 2015 7:37PM

MANCHESTER — Drive past Manchester’s Millyard and see the signs belonging to tech companies that have set up shop over the years, including Dyn, Autodesk and Texas Instruments. Other smaller tech companies, meanwhile, are attracting millions in venture capital to hire more staff and expand.

Now, outside people are starting to take notice.

The Manchester-Nashua area made a top 10 list for “up and coming cities for tech jobs,” compiled by the website, ZipRecruiter, an online job board.

“That was a little surprising just in the sense it wasn’t the first thing that jumped into your mind,” Scott Garner, the site’s communications and content marketing manager, said Tuesday by phone from Santa Monica, Calif. “In New England, you might think Boston.”

Fast Company, a business magazine with an eye on technology, featured the survey results, but only listed “Manchester” rather than the state’s two most populated cities, in its story.

Jeff McPherson said it’s been years in the making for Manchester.

“It’s a vibe,” said the chief digital officer at SilverTech, a Manchester tech firm. “It’s taken a while to get here.”

ZipRecruiter — which ranked Manchester-Nashua eighth — studied its jobs data as well as statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to assemble its rankings.

The website used such criteria as the number of tech jobs filled and the number available per thousand residents. The area, which includes about 400,000 people, has 2,700 tech job openings, Garner said.

“Nashua has a history of success in the tech industry, leading in floppy disk production in the 1990s. Their development has advanced to match the pace of the industry, and the city continues to employ more tech jobs than the national average,” the survey results state.

ZipRecruiter also looked in a more general sense at the quality of life in communities.

“All of these places are considered great places to live,” Garner said. “That’s definitely important.”

Topping the list was Austin-Round Rock, Texas, followed by Raleigh-Cary, N.C., Provo-Orem, Utah, Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo., and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn, the only other New England locale.

Matt Cookson, executive director of the New Hampshire High Tech Council (NHHTC), said the national attention should help lure firms or startups here.

“I think we should use it as a sales tool, absolutely,” Cookson said. “We have the infrastructure. We have some stars, and we are seeing a larger startup community.”

Kyle York, Dyn’s chief marketing Officer, called the ranking a “tremendous recognition for the many great people working hard at building the technology ecosystem in New Hampshire.”

“We at Dyn have always been committed to building a technology ecosystem in Manchester and throughout NH,” he said via email.

“First and foremost by scaling the company and creating great job opportunities, but secondly, we deeply support many organizations focused on technology and innovation in our state including NHHTC, Alpha Loft & STEAM Ahead NH,” he said, referring to organizations encouraging learning and/or tech startup businesses.

“Being from New Hampshire, I am very proud of this recognition and as CMO of Dyn, chairman of Alpha Loft, and angel investor, plan to continue to put my time and money deeply into ensuring we are successful and sustained in our entrepreneurial efforts,” he said. “You will continue to see Dyn lead this charge.”

Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development, applauded the rankings.

“Being at the forefront of industry and technology, from its earliest beginnings in textiles to today’s high-tech world, is part of Manchester’s pedigree. I’m not surprised that the city appears on this list as the one of the next top 10 cities for tech jobs,” he said in an email.

“It’s gratifying to see Manchester through an outside lens — that it is up and coming and ready for tech business,” Rose said.

McPherson said when he is recruiting to fill jobs, he mentions Dyn, which also is one of his customers, to show Manchester as a tech destination.

He said SilverTech, formed in the 1990s, and Dyn have helped cultivate the tech community.

“I definitely think it’s a different tech job these days,” McPherson said. “It’s less on the production side and more on the marketing services side.”

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