By Sandy Belknap
A few weeks ago, I was asked if I might be interested in becoming a Patchwork Nation Blogger from the City of Nashua, NH. Since I was already planning to start a personal blog, after a few years of corporate blogging via my previous employer, I immediately accepted the invitation.
I've been active in my local community of Nashua for the past decade via work on a Superfund project to cleanup the Mohawk Tannery (located in my immediate neighborhood). After receiving the invitation to participate in the Patchwork Nation project, I knew that this would be a great platform to share the stories of the citizens across my community, including my own, since Nashua has the honor to be chosen as one of the highlighted cities for the project.
Nashua has been categorized as a "Monied 'Burb" by the Patchwork Nation project. This wasn't too surprising to me with the city's proximity to Boston and strong connection to the high tech industry. I have worked in the tech sector for the past 15+ years with both local start up and California-based companies.
Of course, the current economic situation has changed things over the past year. Many of my colleagues, as well as I, saw our tech jobs based in Nashua go away due to corporate downsizing. For me, this has provided the opportunity to do consulting work and not have travel from coast to coast for my job. For many of my local colleagues, it has provided the opportunity to follow their passions to begin new careers. That's not to say that it has been easy. The stress related to uncertainty about one's job security, as well as worries about continued healthcare insurance, and other corporate benefits that many of us in a "monied 'burb" have become accustomed to (and in some cases, taken for granted) can take its toll.
And, the implications of these employment changes have a trickle down effect to local businesses and organizations in the area. Local shop owners and restaurants are affected and have to rethink their business and marketing models to keep and attact new customers. Non-profits are stuggling to keep donors engaged and opening their wallets.
Over the next several months, I will share real stories from across the Nashua community. And, one of the best ways to start this conversation is to share a recent round table discussion that Richard Ager, of NHPTV, led with some leaders from Nashua's business community.
In this video, you will meet Nashua's mayor, Donnalee Lozeau; Chris Williams, Exec. Director of Nashua's Chamber of Commerce; Nick Pappas, Editorial Page Director of the Nashua Telegraph and Michael Buckley, proprietor and chef of Michael Timothy's Bistro (one of my favorite places to dine in in Nashua's downtown!) Listen in as they discuss the revitalization of Nashua's downtown and share their thoughts about the challenges the city faces and how they envision Nashua's future.
I look forward to your input and comments on this blogging effort. Feel free to submit comments to ask questions and provide suggestions for topics that you would like to see covered as we share the story of Nashua with others across the Patchwork Nation.