Business Notes: Sept. 27, 2015
Hanover — The architecture firm UK Architects, which has designed some of the most recognizable buildings in the Upper Valley, has formed a partnership with Charrette Venture Group to help advise and expand the five-person architecture firm.
Charrette, based in the college town of Grinnell, Iowa, specializes in advising and investing in small design firms and helping grow their business and develop new markets.
UK Architects principal Christopher P. Kennedy said the alliance with Charrette will allow his firm to operate more efficiently and effectively and help it with a range of consulting services, from internal management to digital marketing.
“About 85 percent of our business has been within a 35-mile to 50-mile radius, from Montpelier to Concord,” Kennedy said. Charrette will help UK Architects “reach out to more people,” he added, noting “we’ve developed a lot of expertise that can go farther afield. … Our primary goal is to grow more solidly and this will give us the capability.”
The lingering effects of the recession continue to be felt among architecture firms as businesses, institutions and custom home builders remain cautious about spending on large capital projects. Kennedy said UK Architects today does about 25 percent of the business it did at its peak, although he hopes to be adding another position or two next year toward a goal of rebuilding the firm to eight members.
“We’re really rebooting ourselves,” he said.
Buildings in the Upper Valley that UK Architects designed include the renovation of the Hanover Co-op Community Market, renovation of a former one-room schoolhouse into the Pomfret Town Offices, the KUA Campus Center, the Water Street Mill District project in Claremont, and the offices for Dartmouth Health Connect, to name a few.
Three Upper Valley high-tech startups have been chosen to be among seven finalists competing for a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case during a Shark Tank-like pitch competition on Thursday in Manchester. The competition, organized to spotlight the emerging “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in New Hampshire, is part of a 10-city bus tour that Case is making to highlight areas in the country that are growing tech centers. The three companies are FreshAir Sensor Corp., of Lebanon, which has developed a novel device to detect smoking; Calibrater Health, of Hanover, which has developed a technology to improve patient care through real-time feedback; and Fliq, also of Hanover, which has developed an app to transfer contact and social network information between enabled devices quickly without the need for Wi-Fi or cell data. Each startup will each have four minutes to make its pitch to a panel of four judges, which includes Case, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Hanover venture capitalist Matt Rightmire and intellectual property lawyer Julie Samuels. The pitches will be followed by questions from the judges, who will then make a decision and award the funding on the spot. Jamie Coughlin, executive director of the DEN Innovation Center at Dartmouth, will moderate the panel.
Upper Valley chapter of SCORE is offering a workshop on Quickbooks on Thursday, from 6-9 p.m., at 20 West Park St., Lebanon, Suite 316, in the Citizens Bank Building. The workshop focuses on using Quickbooks financial software to help plan and run a business. No previous knowledge of Quickbooks is required, although a basic understanding of bookkeeping would be helpful. Quickbooks examples are shown and discussed throughout the program, though there is no need to bring a laptop to the session. It will be presented by Will Hepworth, a professional bookkeeper and a certified Quickbooks adviser. Cost is $30, two for $45. Veterans free. For more information or to reserve a spot, visit http://www.uppervalley.score.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 603-448-3491.
The fifth annual Woodstock Digital Media Festival is scheduled for Oct. 16, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., with speakers and workshops held around town. The free event will feature activists, artists and innovators from a wide range of fields under the umbrella of “digital media in the public interest.” For more information or to register, visit http://www.woodstockdigital.com.
The Northern Woodlands Writers and Readers Conference will be held Oct. 16-18 at the Hulbert Outdoor Center, 2968 Lake Morey Road, in Fairlee. The event will feature workshops, panel discussions and nature walks with well-known writers, editors and educators, including Bernd Heinrich, David Macaulay, Peter Forbes, Ben Kilham, Robin Brickman and David Sobel. Cost is $200-$350. For more information or to register, visit northernwoodlands.org/writersconference or email Emily Rowe at Emily@northernwoodlands.org.
The Green Mountain Economic Development Corp. annual meeting will be held on Oct. 21, beginning at 5 p.m., in the Freight House Hall, 188 S. Main St., White River Junction. Pat Moulton, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and Wendy Hallgren, president of Provisions International, will speak. The event is free for members, $40 for others. Register by Oct. 14. at http://www.gmedc.com or by calling 802-295-3710.
The Vermont Association of Realtors will hold a Green Real Estate Symposium on Oct. 29, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., at Lake Morey Resort, 1 Clubhouse Road, in Fairlee. The day of workshops and seminars will focus on the green home movement for Realtors, appraisers, mortgage lenders, MLS and home builders. Cost is $100. For more information or to register, visit http://www.vermontrealtors.com or call 802-229-0513.
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