Quigley leaves Gunstock to join Speedway

LOUDON — After a decade as director of marketing and sales at Gunstock Mountain Resort, Bill Quigley has left the ski slopes for the magic mile to become vice president of marketing an events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to stay in the Lakes Region and expand my relationships with the tourist industry," Quigley said. "And my commute has only risen from 12 minutes to 19 minutes."

Quigley is no stranger to the speedway, where he has served as an original member of the board of the New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities for the past six years.

"Bill brings more than 30 years of senior level marketing experience to the table and we couldn't be more excited to add him to our team," said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. "Bill has a proven record track record of developing strong promotional initiatives, cultivating a strong and motivated staff, and increasing sales, all of which will serve him well as head of our marketing and events teams."

Quigley said "My job has been to turn things around," and looked forward to drawing on the relationships he developed during his spell at Gunstock as the speedway strengthens its partnerships with other entertainment, recreation and hospitality venues in the Lakes Region.

"Going from an iconic ski facility to the center of racing in New England, I cherish the opportunity that I have to continue building on the community relationships I have with the same vendors who are also near and dear to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway," he said.

Quigley will be responsible for virtually everything fans experience on a race weekends, including FanFest to kick off the festivities and competition, the NASCAR show before the green flag drops and the celebration in victory lane.

A graduate of Babson College, Quigley joined Gunstock in 2005 after serving on the senior management teams of several retail corporations and chief executive officer of Wisp Mountain, a golf and ski resort in Deep Creek, Maryland.

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City superintendent search down to three

LACONIA — The search for a new superintendent of city schools has been narrowed to three candidates, and all three met with residents and others this week.
Two of the sessions were held Tuesday, while the final session was held Wednesday. School Board members did not attend the sessions but held them so parents, residents, teachers and other school district personnel could have their own sessions and ask their own questions.
•Russell Holden is currently the superintendent at the Sunapee School District who earned his bachelor’s degree at Springfield College, his master’s in education at Fitchburg State College and his Certificate of Advance Graduate Studies and Plymouth State College.
A former physical education teacher, Holden was the assistant principal at Spaulding High School, the principal at Alton Central School K-12, the principal of Prospect Mountain High School, the principal at Belmont High School, and the assistance superintendent of the Camden/Rockport School District in Rockport, Maine.
He told the audience of about 15 people that some of the challenges faced by the Laconia School District are very appealing to him. He also said that from the minute he walked in, he realized what a sense of pride all of the Laconia schools had.
In his previous roles and if he were selected to be superintendent in Laconia, he said individual education and making sure that every child had one adult in the school system he or she could trust and go to for advice.
He recalled that Laconia High School is “much different” than the last time he was there and that the improvements “shows that you care.”
“This community values its school,” he said.
When one parent asked why he would pick Laconia when the local and state-side media give it “such a bad rap” as far as drugs and poverty are concerned, he said he appreciates the underdog. He added that to countering bad press, the district should tell the story of all good things that happen, primarily by using social media like Twitter.
He said that technology is a tool and an agent for change and it should be integrated with curriculum and education. He said the district has a technology director who is there to make the systems run properly, to understand the education and watch how the two go together.
When asked about collective bargaining agreements and managing to get a budget passed by the Laconia City Council, Holden said he worked extensively with that in Rochester, which is also a tax-cap city. He said the school district must work with the taxpayers both to help them understand how important the school is but to also understand how important their tax dollars are to them.
He said teachers make a “good living” but not a “great one,” and good negotiations and contracts help both the unions and the taxpayers and above all it must be “fair and equitable.”
• Mary Moriarty was the second candidate interviewed by the residents at Monday’s event and is the current assistant superintendent in the Rochester School District. A long-time Laconia resident, she has taught math at the Winnisquam Regional School District, was the head of the Math Department at the Gilford School District and was the assistance principal at the Gilford High School. She was the principal of the Newfound Area School District/Bridgewater-Hebron Village School and the Curriculum Director at the Rochester School District.
She earned her bachelor’s degree at Plymouth State College, her master’s in education at Plymouth State College and her CAGS at Plymouth State University.
Moriarty told the audience she has been part of the budget process, participated in collective bargaining agreements and worked in curriculum assessment. She said she began her career as a high school math teacher, became the math chair in Gilford, but then became an elementary school principal because she wanted to better understand why the students performed as they did once the got to high school.
While she is a natural math teacher, she said student emphasis on reading is paramount.
“The most critical thing we can do is to have good strong readers,” Moriarty said.
A first-generation American, she said her parents placed at lot of emphasis on education from her childhood.
“My job is to fight for opportunities for students even if they don’t have anyone working for them at home,” she said.
She said she doesn’t know enough yet about the Laconia School District but noted one of the key problems faced in Rochester was attendance. Moriarty met with families continually who had children with attendance problems and wasn’t afraid to involve the police in her endeavors.
She said she was really impressed with the facilities in the Laconia School District and said they appear very well maintained “Laconia had continually chipped away despite losing building aid,” Moriarty said.
As to technology, she feels its not a separate piece to education and feels programs for integrating technology and curriculum should be well packaged for both teachers and students.
As for Stand Up Laconia, she said she is not personally involved but her husband is. She described the grassroots program designed to keep young people off drugs and alcohol as another example of Laconia pride.
•Brandan Minnihan is currently the Superintendent of the Conval or Contoocook School District which in in the Peterborough area of the state. Previous to this, he was the assistant superintendent of the Fall Mountain Regional School District, the assistant principal at the Hampstead Middle School and the computer integration teacher at the Hampstead Middle School.
He earned a degree in economic management from Carnegie-Mellon University, his master’s at the University of Pennsylvania and his Ed. D at Indiana University.
During his time in Sunapee, he was the first superintendent of a smaller school district that had broken away from a larger one. As such he said he was highly involved in curriculum development, student services and grant writing.
If Minnihan were to describe his management style, he said he would be a service leader. “I will support the staff in whatever way I can to support the kids,” he said.
He said that at the end of every school year, he picks a name from a hat and gives that teacher a day off while he teaches the class. While he primarily taught at the middle school level, he said this past year he taught a class of young elementary students which was quite a learning experience.
Minnihan said he has taught math, science, technology integration and religion while at a private school.
When asked why he wanted to come to Laconia, he said he likes the idea that it is it’s own community, that the School Board size is “doable” and that Laconia holds a lot of things at basic levels. He said of the 10 or so superintendent openings throughout the state, he only applied to Laconia.
He said he’s had a lot of experience working with Laconia School District administrators noting especially that when former State Director of Education Lionel Tracy designed its Follow the Child program, Laconia schools were already using the model.
He said his strengths include building relationships with the community and with parents. He also likes that much of the “key” staff members have been there a long time, including Business Administrator Ed Emond, former Superintendent Terri Forsten who spent 20 years in the district and Bob Champlin before her who worked his way up from being an elementary school teacher her.
When asked about his perceived weaknesses, he said he sees things in the “big picture” and can be slow to make decisions.
His goal is to tailor education to each individual student, which he knows will take time but thinks it’s something everyone in the district should be working towards.
Minnihan has developed budgets but has never worked with a City Council before. He said it is his job to make sure the council understands why the district needs the requests so they can feel good about funding them.
He said he has negotiated two three-year collective bargaining contracts while at Sunapee.
As to working with a poorer population than he is used to, he said his goals aren’t just to work with the easiest students but to be the champion of every staff member who teaches all of the students. He said he’s learned that Laconia has a number or organizations like Freedom Found that appeal to students and likes to see those kinds of programming.
As to STEM education, he said he supports it as long as the students who want to take those kind of classes are interested in them. “But if kids have a passion for the arts, history or the humanities that’s good, too,” he said.
Minnihan also said the learning to do math, read and perform other language arts are the basic keys to any education, whether it’s in the humanities, language, STEM or arts.

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Parking garage fix leaves city stumped

LACONIA — "I don't think we have the option of doing nothing," said Mayor Ed Engler, speaking of the future of the downtown parking garage, "but I'm not sure what something is."

When the City Council addressed the issue this week, several city councilors appeared reluctant to make a significant investment in the garage, but a number of property owners and business operators urged the council not only to repair but also to improve the facility.

After a lengthy discussion, the council referred the issue to its Land and Buildings Committee, consisting of Councilors Bob Hamel (Ward 5), Henry Lipman (Ward 3) and Armand Bolduc (Ward 6), with directions to obtain more detailed estimates of the cost of necessary repairs and potential improvements to the facility.

In September, the parking garage was closed when an inspection found that the structural steel supporting the ramps was weakened by corrosion from exposure to water and salt. Emergency repairs were made to open the garage to the second level, but the third level has remained closed. Dubois & King Inc. completed an assessment of the condition of the parking garage last month and estimates the cost of repairs required to ensure long-term use of the facility at $1.2 million.

City Manager Scott Myers explained that ownership of the garage is "a little bit unique." The ramps and north end of the second and third levels, including the northernmost stairwell, are owned by the city. The ground floor of the garage, except for the ramps, and the south end of the second and third levels, including the southernmost stairwell, along with seven commercial units on the ground level, are privately owned. In other words, the city is responsible for maintaining most of the garage, particularly the ramps to access the privately owned spaces on the second and third levels.

To complicate matters further, Downtown Crossing LLC, which owns the private portion of the facility, has entered a purchase-and-sales agreement to sell its interest to Genesis Behavioral Health, which expires at the end of this year. Furthermore, Maggie Pritchard, executive director of Genesis, advised the council that, along with the time constraint on the purchase-and-sales agreement, the $5.5 million bond issued by the New Hampshire Health and Educational Facilities Authority to fund the purchase and renovation of the property expires in May 2016.

Pritchard told the council that her agency would not acquire the property if the city fails to repair the garage and ensure its long-term use. "I'm not going to buy the building without you," she said.

Likewise, Daniel Disangro of Downtown Crossing LLC said, "Let's do something – and quickly. If you do nothing," he asked, "what happens to me?"

Both Pritchard and Disangro politely declined offers from city councilors to purchase the city's share of the garage for $1.

Engler cautioned Pritchard and Disangro not to expect the council to reach a decision before the end of the year and advised them that the process was likely to take between 90 and 120 days.

Myers told the councilors that because some sections of garage are obscured by fire suppression materials and cannot be inspected, but likely also require repair, he preferred to estimate the cost of repairs at $1.5 million. He said such repairs would extend the life of the ramps between 25 and 30 years, and the decks between 30 and 40 years. In addition, he expected annual maintenance costs to average about $10,000 over the life of the facility.

In addition, the private section of the garage is also in disrepair, though the damage is less extensive. Dubois & King Inc. provided Genesis with an assessment of the private section of the facility, but did not include an estimate of the cost of repairs.

Reading from the assessment of the garage, Hamel warned that "it's going to be a money pit" and called the estimate of $1.5 million for repairs "a low ball." He also reminded the council that for years residents have complained about the condition of the parking garage and many have refused to use it.

Likewise, Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) said that the city has spent nearly $500,000 repairing the garage in the last 10 years.

Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) questioned why the city should invest $1.5 million in repairing the garage, then provide free parking to Genesis. Pritchard replied that Genesis would require about 100 of the 228 spaces in the garage, 36 of which it would own and the remainder it would offer to lease from the city.

"We're not about to let it collapse," said Lipman, who suggested that the parking garage has a role to play in the economic development of downtown.

"Something has to be done, " agreed Councilor Ava Doyle (Ward 1). "We're can't let it crumble or get worse. We have to fix it."

They were echoed by Randy Eifert of the Beknap Economic Development Council, which in partnership with the city is in the process of renovating and reopening the Colonial Theatre. In an email to the mayor, Eifert stressed the availability of "adequate and quality parking" and encouraged the council to weigh "all options, including a new garage."

Downtown landlords and businessmen joined the chorus, with many stressing the importance of ensuring the presence of Genesis downtown. Pritchard said that the agency intends to house its administrative and clinical services in 26,000 square feet, most of which is currently leased to Grace Capital Church, and the rest is in two vacant units. Genesis would own and lease the space occupied by the Soda Shoppe, Tangerine Green, Wedbush Securities and Moods of Manhattan.

"I'm happy as long as she says she's not going to kick me out," said Mike Soucy of the Soda Shoppe. He went on to say that after rebuilding the Main Street Bridge and constructing the gateway plaza, the city should renovate the garage to extend the improvements up Main Street.

Bob Sawyer said that "the city has an obligation to maintain the garage" and urged the council to "move forward in in a somewhat timely fashion." He noted that a number of downtown businesses, including one of his tenants — the Empire Beauty School — rely on the garage, and the demand for parking will only grow with the reopening of the Colonial Theatre. He called the prospect of Genesis moving "an opportunity" that would bring between 70 and 100 professional people downtown five days a week. Sawyer suggested that the city consider adding an exterior staircase, glassed and lighted, and perhaps an elevator.

Attorney Pat Wood agreed.

"Look at this as an opportunity," he said. "Genesis is a long-term economic boost to downtown. We should move this as quickly as we can."

Closing the discussion, Engler said that along with the support for addressing the structural deficiencies of the garage he sensed that some favor "sprucing it up" and "improving the amenity," which of course would add to the cost of the project.

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