Newest Pease Development Authority board members laud 'economic engine'By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
May 20. 2018 10:39PM
PORTSMOUTH — The two newest members of Pease Development Authority’s board of directors say the business and aviation community is an economic engine of the Seacoast.
“Pease is a shining example of how to do an Air Force base closure the right way. They’ve had great success,” Chairman Kevin Smith said Monday.
Smith became chairman of PDA’s board of directors in October when George Bald stepped down. Gov. Chris Sununu reached out to him in September about taking over the responsibility, Smith said.
Neil Levesque, who serves as the executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and chief of staff for St. Anselm College President Steven R. DiSalvo, will attend his first board meeting this week as its newest member, according to PDA Executive Director David Mullen.
Levesque said he is happy to have been named to the board by New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse.
“I think the PDA oversees one of the most important economic development engines in the state of New Hampshire,” Levesque said last week.
“I’m honored that Sen. Morse was interested in me for this responsibility. Coming from him, it’s even more important because of his extensive experience in New Hampshire.”
About 250 companies employ over 10,500 people at Pease. Those companies provide an estimated $650 million a year in wages for their workers, Mullen said.
The Pease community includes Pease International Tradeport, Portsmouth International Airport, the Division of Ports and Harbors and a 27-hole golf course, according to the PDA website.
Since the PDA took over in 1991, all but 11 acres of developable land has been built on. Smith said they are looking to focus on the 120 acres of developable land at the airport.
“It’s figuring out how to make the airport self-sustaining. As a board, that’s one of the things we’re looking at right now,” Smith said.
Smith is the town manager in Londonderry, one of the two communities where Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is located.
He said Pease has the longest runway in the state and sees opportunities for smaller aircraft companies to thrive there.