CONCORD — The Executive Council yesterday unanimously confirmed Governor Maggie Hassan's nomination of Carmen Lorentz, the executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council (BEDC), as the director of the Division of Economic Development at the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED).
"We're very excited to add Carmen to the team," said Jeff Rose, the commissioner of DRED. "She understands 'the New Hampshire Advantage" and possesses the creative skills to attract new businesses to the state and assist our businesses to grow and prosper."
Noting that while at BEDC, Lorentz developed several initiatives aimed at fostering the skilled workforce advanced manufactured require, he said that workforce development has been a consistent theme among manufacturers throughout the state. He anticipated that the division will be expanding partnerships with the University System of New Hampshire, the Community College System and vocational and technical centers, like those Lorentz fostered in Belknap County, across the state.
Last year Governor Hassan restored funding in her budget for the position of director of the Division of Economic Development, which has been filled internally by interim directors for the past five years. Lorentz, a resident of Gilmanton, has been appointed to a four-term.
"I'm very pleased to have been confirmed by a unanimous vote," said Lorentz, who added that "I very much look forward to working with Commissioner Rose and the staff of the division in contributing to the growth and prosperity of the state."
A native of Gilmanton, Lorentz graduated from Gilford High School in 1995 then earned her bachelor's degree in international affairs from George Washington University, graduating summa cum laude, and master's degree in public policy from the University of Maryland. Between 1999 and 2005 she advocated on human rights issues in Latin America for Amnesty International and managed grant programs for non-profit organizations in Latin America for the Open Society Institute.
After a spell as an analyst with the New York State Division of the Budget in Albany, Lorentz joined Camoin Associates, Inc., a consulting firm headquartered in Saratoga Springs, New York which provides community and economic development services to small and mid-sized municipalities throughout the Northeast.
Lorentz joined the BEDC in March 2011. During her two-and-a-half years at the helm the organization developed a strategic plan and assembled a team of staff, partners and contractors to pursue it. She created a internship program, matching teens with opportunities, in partnership with a local information technology company and initiated Lakes Region Manufacturing Week, which drew some 550 visitors to firms in the area. At her initiative the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center reestablished its presence in the Lakes Region and the BEDC was awarded more than $1-million in grants for a variety of projects.
BEDC has begun a search for a new executive director.