Aavid Thermalloy sold to Boyd

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Mat Savage, who has worked for Aavid Thermalloy for eight months, nickel-plates components by dunking them into a series of chemical solutions. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Laconia tech company employs 150 locally


LACONIA — An international high technology company headquartered in Laconia has been purchased by a California corporation, but no major workforce changes are expected.
David Wall, chief financial officer for Aavid Thermalloy, said Wednesday the terms of its acquisition by Boyd Corporation, of Modesto, have not been released. Both companies are privately held.
Aavid employs 2,400 people, including 150 in Laconia. Its products are used to dissipate heat in computers, telecommunications equipment and a wide range of products.
It bills itself as “the oldest and largest design, engineering and manufacturing corporation focused on thermal management solutions in the world.”
Wall said strong research and development and design centers throughout the world are two important facets of the company. Aavid becomes a subsidiary of Boyd.
“The two companies are very complementary to each other,” he said. “It’s a win, win for both companies.”
No reductions in force are expected.
“The owners will dictate how we go,” he said. “They bought us for strengths in our products and people, so we don’t see anything changing. There continues to be growth.”
The company began as Aavid Engineering in 1964 on Arch Street in Laconia, which at that time was called Cook Court. It now operates out of a 180,000-square-foot facility at 1 Aavid Circle.
In 2014, on the company’s 50th anniversary, Arthur Karageorges, Aavid project manager, said it had grown from shipping $1 million a month in products in 1984 to shipping $1 million in products per day.
Aavid has manufacturing and engineering facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.
Locally, the company has worked with the Huot Regional Technical Education Center and Lakes Region Community College to foster opportunities for young people to work in advanced manufracturing.
“We are extremely excited to be coming together with Aavid, a true market leader in thermal management solutions,” Boyd Corporation President and CEO Mitch Aiello said.
“The integration of technology into today’s products is increasing at incredible rates across both traditional and non-traditional applications like network solutions, telematics, commercial lighting and avionics. Effective heat management continues to be critical to design innovation. Aavid has developed a powerful combination of technical talent and market brand-equity, both of which we plan to maintain and rely upon as we move the combined business forward and help fortify Boyd’s foundational commitment to solving customers’ energy management challenges.”
Phil Arvid Johnson, a digital equipment engineer, founded the company in his garage on Arch Street.
Karageorges said Johnson came up with the name Aavid based on his middle name but changed the “R” to an “A” to make sure Aavid would be first in the telephone book directory.
Kenny St. Jacques, who once owned and operated the Boulevard Drive-In restaurant joined Aavid in the early 1970s, working in operations, while Johnson worked in sales.
The company once had a warehouse where Hector’s Fine Food and Spirits is now located in the downtown area.

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Joseph Nicolato, vice president and general manager for the North American operations of Aavid Thermalloy, examines a rack of recently manufactured heat transfer units. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)


Mayor: More school cuts inevitable

Councilor suggests closing one of three elementary schools may be necessary

LACONIA — The focus of city and school leaders when they meet Friday will be finding a way to fund salary hikes for teachers, but even if they accomplish that, the Laconia School District is likely to face financial problems for years to come.

The council on Monday night agreed to postpone making a final decision on whether to fund a proposed bargaining agreement between the School District and the teachers’ union.

The district is seeking a guaranteed minimum of $850,000 per year in property tax cap space to fund the five-year contract, which would bring teacher compensation to a level equal to or slightly above most other area school systems. Under the tax cap formula that is written into the City Charter their 2017-2018 increase is limited to $508,000.

The problem is that this revenue, if used mainly for teacher pay hikes, would not be available to cover other increasing expenses, including cost of heating, health insurance and the retirement program, Mayor Ed Engler said at the City Council meeting.
"If you take a $500,000 hit, in two years on the retirement fund you're screwed again," he said during School Board member Mike Persson's presentation. "I'm just saying that for anybody in this room who thinks this is a cure-all to school budget issues, it's not."
Persson acknowledged that cuts in the coming years are likely to be necessary, even if the district gets the additional revenue it is seeking.
"We're going to need to look at making cuts each and every year moving forward," he said. "That's the reality."
The district may be forced to consider closing one of its three elementary schools, Councilor Brenda Baer said Wednesday.
"I kind of think that might be a do-able process," she said. "Divide up one of the schools, whichever has less students and less room, and send the students to the two schools that could probably absorb them."
There are 1,962 students in the high school, the middle school and the elementary schools, down from 2,288 a decade ago, Baer said. 
Stiff opposition would be expected from the community surrounding whatever school was slated for closure.
Such a closure would also boost class size. Class sizes in grades 2 through 5 are now about 20, five under the maximum allowed by the state.
Persson said it would be difficult to close one elementary school and stay within state class size requirements.
Some council members, School Board members and staff are to hold meetings at 3 p.m. in the council chambers Friday and June 2 to pursue ways to fund the teacher contract. The council will then meet on June 5 to consider the contract again.
A complication is the city's property tax cap.
Under the cap, a total of $508,000 in additional money could be applied to pay raises and other expenses in the School District in the first year of the contract.
A presentation to the School Board before it approved the contract indicated the agreement was contingent on a 2017-2018 tax cap override sufficient to fund a budget increase of at least $850,000.
It also called on the City Council to place a measure on the November ballot that would allow voters to place a floor on the tax cap for the next five years that would allow for district budget increases of at least $850,000 yearly.
City Council members have expressed opposition to altering the tax cap.

Four Bristol candidates jump into Grafton County District 9 race


BRISTOL — Former Republican state representatives Burt Williams and Paul Simard have filed for the Grafton County District 9 House seat vacated by Jeffrey Shackett (R-Bridgewater), and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway intends to file as an independent, according to Bristol Town Clerk Raymah Simpson.

Bristol Democrat Joshua Adjutant will be running as a write-in candidate after being denied the opportunity to file in Bridgewater because he is not a resident, and in Bristol because he had not registered as a voter there, according to Simpson. Adjutant has filed now, but will have to wait for the Supervisors of the Checklist to certify his residency, which will occur too late for the current filing period.

The governor and Executive Council last week approved a request by the town of Ashland to hold a special election, setting in motion a statutory process that allows candidates to file this week for a primary on July 18, with the general election set for Sept. 5. Candidates could file with their respective town clerks on Monday and Tuesday, or with the Secretary of State’s Office in Concord between Monday and the end of the day this Friday.

The seat opened up in February when Shackett, who had been sworn in for a new term just 30 days earlier, abruptly resigned, citing work commitments. The five towns of the district — Alexandria, Ashland, Bridgewater, Bristol and Grafton — initially declined to file for a special election, due to the expense and the fact that, by the time a new representative could take office, the most important business of this legislative session — the budget — will have been dealt with. They also took into account the fact that they still have representation from Robert Hull of Grafton.

Ashland selectmen reconsidered their decision and decided to call for the special election, after all. Their failure to let the other towns know irked Bristol selectmen when they learned an election had been scheduled. The statute governing special elections requires a request by only a single town to send it on to the governor and council for action.

The town clerks in other District 9 towns were not available for information on any other candidate filings, but Bridgewater’s Vincent Paul Migliore, who serves on the Newfound Area School Board, confirmed that he intended to file as a Republican candidate at the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.