Living Free


New Hampshire is attracting manufacturers with all it has to offer in terms of a quality business climate, strong workforce and geographic excellence. By Staci Davidson

New Hampshire may be primarily known for its beautiful scenery and being first chair during the presidential primary races, but it’s quite the hot spot for manufacturing, as well. Some of the country’s first textile mills were established along the Merrimac River in New Hampshire, and manufacturing continues to be the backbone of the state’s economy, employing 70,000 people or 13 percent of the private sector workforce, according to Jeff Rose, commissioner of the state’s Department of Resources and Economic Development.

“It’s a unique state and a fantastic state for manufacturing,” Rose says. “New Hampshire always has had a rich tradition in manufacturing and it’s adapted in a fluid fashion to reflect modern manufacturing. The old skeletons of the state’s old mill buildings are now home to the most high-tech companies and universities.”

Rose explains New Hampshire has three distinct advantages for manufacturers:

* The Granite State’s world-class workforce and talent, as the result of its high high-school graduation rate and high attainment rates of education after high school.

* The business-friendly environment that stems from the low costs of doing business and easy access to decision makers.

* The first-rate quality of life.

“People who live here stay here,” Rose says. “New Hampshire has amazing diversity in close proximity. We are close to Boston and the ocean’s coastline, but we also have a great lakes region, amazing rivers and the White Mountains. All of the best things about New England are here.”


Aerospace Authority

The aerospace and defense sectors of manufacturing have found great success in New Hampshire. The state has more than 10,000 employees in these two markets as it is home to hundreds of companies in aerospace and defense, as well as many more related suppliers. For example:

* BAE Systems employs more than 4,800 across three New Hampshire operations. Much of the company’s R&D takes place at its Nashua headquarters, including the majority of the $11 million contract it has with the U.S. Navy to develop special radio frequency-detection technology.

* GE Aviation employs 1,100 people in the state and completed a $50 million expansion of its Hooksett facility in 2015. The Hooksett plant’s growth is being driven by a record backlog on the company’s CFM engines.

* Albany International is a supplier of composite parts for the aerospace market and last year opened a joint manufacturing plant with French aerospace giant Safran in Rochester, N.H. Albany is the sole-source provider of 3-D woven RTM fan blades and fan cases for the CFM LEAP engine, which are only manufactured at the facility in New Hampshire and a sister plant in France.

“New Hampshire is a state where businesses can focus on growing their top line without beating up their bottom lines,” Rose says. “We have a good strategic location, a deep-water port, a good airport and we are close to Boston. We also have fantastic school system.

“With our ‘live free or die motto,’ we really believe in the individual opportunities of a business, and this state fosters a background for businesses to be successful. This is not just where you want to have your business, it is where you want to raise your family."

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