LGN Class 2023- High Tech and Media

By January 18, 2023No Comments

“Solving Complex Issues Across the World , right here in Nashua”


For the past four months – on the first Wednesday of the month – something special happens.


I turn on my car, and I’m met with an aura of intrigue and excitement for what the day ahead will bring me. What talented leaders will I meet? What concepts or innovations will I encounter for the first time today? What will I learn today that further helps me realize the immense impact that Nashua – and our region – has on the world (and way of life) around us?


Those are some of the many questions that bounce around as I head off to each Leadership Greater Nashua program. January 4 – High-Tech & Media and Communications Day – was certainly no exception.


While written words don’t do full justice, here are some of the key takeaways from the day:


1). Don’t leave coffee rings on your kitchen countertops. Sure, it may be something your parents used to scold you about, but if you visit Ripano Stoneworks on E. Hollis St in Nashua, you’ll get it. A staple in our community since 1987, Ripano offers some of the widest array of countertops (granite, marble, quart, you name it) to fit an even wider range of commercial or residential needs. Step into the modern showroom and you literally have the feeling of being in a high-end kitchen. And when you go back into the assembly area, your eyes open to just how intricate (and detailed) the whole experience and process is. No two pieces of granite are ever the same, and cutting slabs is never cookie cutter. Heavy-duty machinery – and top-notch staff – ensure that every order is customized to every customer. It’s a great example of how technology drives many of the everyday things that we may not even realize. A huge thanks to Owner Matt Laliberte for giving us an inside look!


2). BIG things are made right here in Nashua. The second stop of the day was BAE Systems’ Spit Brook Road office, one of three in Nashua, another place I’ve driven by so many times yet didn’t understand what exactly happens inside (well, at least the stuff that isn’t classified). We were met by Tom Bishop, director of legislative affairs, who gave us an impressive overview as we walked around an impressive lobby display that makes you feel you were inside the Smithsonian Museum. Known as a defense contractor, BAE is so much more – and the work being done here in Nashua spans the Gate City, the globe and even outer space!


Ever see those hybrid buses driving up and down Main St in Nashua with the distinct green in front? BAE is behind those. The Nashua and Merrimack facilities are known for the manufacturing of aircraft protection systems. And then there’s their missile seeker detection devices (check this out) and aircraft decoy anti-missile systems that make you go “wow.”  One perspective that stuck out – “The future is not understanding or not necessarily seeing what is coming at you.” And BAE is certainly shaping that future to keep us safe.


3). There’s an app for that. Okay, so that’s an Apple saying, but it’s a realization I discovered as we headed up Spit Brook Road took us to Nashua’s Oracle offices. Beyond the impressive employee-first environment – a cafeteria, gyms and some of the biggest server rooms you can find – there’s the innovation at this organization which develops more than 400 applications for uses such as enterprise planning, supply chain manufacturing, customer excellence, advertising and many other sectors.


Oracle in Nashua was born in 1994 with the acquisition of longstanding community pioneer Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)’s database systems group, which at the time was one of the largest employers in New Hampshire. Two fun history nuggets: this was the first acquisition by Oracle ahead of nearly 200 acquisitions since and established the first Oracle software development team outside of Redwood Shores, California


The Internet boom (1995-2000) brought significant growth, with the 1997 opening of its current facility and 70 new college hires that set the standard for the next 20 years of continued excellence. Today, more than 700 employees are based in Nashua, with service lines spanning the Oracle database, Oracle Spatial and Graph and so much more.


The Oracle Graph is a new data model and type analytics some of the world’s most powerful banks depend on to detect fraud and telecom organizations to depict network analysis. The Oracle Spatial leverages geographic information in creative ways, whether it’s helping businesses enhance their understanding of customers or logistics companies pinpointing the shortest routes for their fleets. Even the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomic Research is utilizing a lot of the work being done in Nashua to develop more sustainable forestry practices. As Melliyal Annamalai, Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle Nashua shared, “some of the most complex issues in the world are being solved here.”


A huge thanks to Roy Swonger, vice president of software development and Eric Carlson, building site manager (and LGN ’12) for the inside look!


4). The media is changing, and you have to work harder to stay ahead. The afternoon pivoted to the media industry but certainly not off the tone of innovation, as we had an excellent line of speakers. Kati MacFarline, Research & Instruction Librarian at Rivier University, shared the evolution of the media industry and the continual transformation of how consumers engage media, including younger audiences relying more on social/digital media vs. traditional media and the eye-opening (yet not surprising) fact that there’s no longer a model of media information people share.


Casey Cheshire, CEO at Ringmaster Conversation Marketing Co, stole the show with his view on the importance of podcasts in this changing media landscape. Think about this: more Americans listen to podcasts than watch Netflix. And there are 600 million blogs vs. 2 million podcasts. As Casey shared, “we are at the beginning of a podcast revolution, and now is the time to make of most of it.” We then heard from Amanda Schneck, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Pearl Marketing, who shared insightful marketing tips that any business – no matter your size or industry – needs to know.


Even though we’re “only” four months into our LGN experience, the things we’ve learned, the people we’ve met and the inside look into the many ways this city (and region) are changing the world around is truly inspiring –- and I can’t wait for the next first Wednesday!


Michael McDonough

Catholic Charities New Hampshire

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