From the Editor: March 2017
An acquaintance wrote to me the other day complaining about a recent string of bad-news business stories that appeared in the Valley News, our parent publication.
“It gets depressing for business owners to constantly read about failures whereas publicized success stories are few and far between,” he wrote.
I get it. We all get it. The financial crisis of 2007-2008 that begat the Great Recession led to a near-constant drumbeat of bad business news that continued for years. Technology in all its forms, from automation to online shopping, has undercut business models and undermined whatever sense of job security workers had left. The scourge of illegal drugs has destroyed lives and made it even harder for employers to find able and qualified workers than it already was in a region with a 2 or 3 percent unemployment rate.
And while the Upper Valley has always seemed somewhat insulated from the bad news that roils the larger economy, it is by no means immune. Right before I wrote this, in fact, I had to work up a quick item for the Valley News website about embattled retail giant J.C. Penney Co.’s plans to shutter 130-140 of its 1,000 stores around the country. (No word yet if the West Lebanon location will be affected.) But, as I told my acquaintance, the notion that Upper Valley “success stories” go unreported just isn’t supported by the facts.
Which brings me to Enterprise. Since its inception almost two years ago, this magazine has been on a mission to highlight the Upper Valley’s vibrant business community while not shying away from difficult issues. Our first edition, for example, noted both the region’s emergence from the Great Recession along with its shortage of qualified workers. This month’s edition continues that balanced approach.
Our cover story, by contributor Rebecca Perkins Hanissian, is about Dartmouth College computer science professor Hany Farid. Known as the father of digital forensics, Farid — among his many other interests — is developing the tools to help tech companies and others combat the online proliferation of extremist propaganda and child pornography. He’s also an inspiring instructor. “He made an entirely new discipline accessible,” one student told Hanissian.
Contributor Lynn Luczkowski documents the growth — and success — of the Clover Gift Shop in Woodstock in this month’s SCORE Stories column, and contributor Allison E. Rogers Furbish talks with the folks at West Lebanon Feed and Supply, who took on a major expansion just as the financial meltdown was getting underway. Another success story, it turns out. Steve Taylor writes about one of the most successful programs in American history — the land-grant college program — and how that led to the highly successful teaching and research farms at the universities of New Hampshire and Vermont. And HR Pro Jon Stearns describes how an inclusive and diverse workforce can help a company achieve success.
We hope you find this issue a success. Thanks for reading.