LACONIA — Aavid Thermalloy called Laconia its home when it opened for business in 1964 as Aavid Engineering and 50 years later is home to the corporate headquarters of a firm which has grown from a small manufacturing and engineering firm to one which literally spans the globe and is a recognized leader in devising ways of cooling high tech equipment.
It has grown from a firm with a handful of employees to one which employs more than 2,800 people, including 100 engineers, at its manufacturing and engineering facilities located in North America, Europe and Asia.
Aavid marked its 50 the anniversary at a ceremony held at its Laconia headquarters Friday night which was attended by customers and local officials which featured its global art challenge "The Intersections of Art and Engineering", tours of its manufacturing facility and the presentation of two $10,000 checks to the City of Laconia for distribution to local charities.
One of the checks came from the company itself and the other from Alan Wong, its president and CEO, who said that the company's move last year to relocate its corporate headquarters and design center from Concord to Laconia brought it back to its roots for a very good reason.
''We've been through some tough times and some really good times over the last seven years. This is the most successful plant we've ever had and the most profitable plant we have globally,'' said Wong, who cited the purchase of two homes in Laconia by he and his wife as proof the firm's commitment to the city of its birth.
He said that over the next two years the company plans to hire more people for better paid jobs at its Laconia plant and bring in more professionals to the area and show its involvement in the city through efforts involving the Huot Technical Center at Laconia High School and Lakes Region Community College.
In accepting the checks on behalf of the city, Laconia Mayor Ed Engler said that the city was fortunate to have Aavid here and that it will help shape a better future for the city of Laconia.
He said that as the editor of a local newspaper he was struck by the irony that Aavid got it's name from a typographical error when it's trade name, which was supposed to be Arvid in honor of the middle name of it's founder, was registered.
Arthur Karageorges, Aavid's project manager, says that he has been with the company for 31 years and seen it grown from 1984, when it shipped $1 million a month in products to the point where it now ships $1 million a day.
''We've provided thermal management solutions for hundreds of customers,'' said Karageorges, who recalled that when he was first with the firm it had a warehouse facility in what is now the area of the former Laconia Shoe Company plant on Water Street occupied by Hector's restaurant, where it was all hands on deck to unload shipments of aluminum extruded bars used in the manufacture of heat sinks (devices that draw heat away from devices — like computer processors — that overheat.
He recalled that Ken St. Jacques, who formerly had run the Boulevard Drive-In, famous for its fried seafood and home made ice cream, joined the firm as a partner with Phil Johnson around 1970 and once surprised all of the workers by providing them with breakfast.
''I showed up at work and could smell bacon cooking. Ken had decided to give all the workers bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast.
Later Aavid would become famous for its generous Christmas profit-sharing bonuses, which at first included silver dollars and crumpled bills and became the bane of local banks.
One year, when the company decided to hand out $100,000 in bonuses, it hired two police officers to guard the cash overnight, one of whom was Bob Soucy of Woodland Avenue in Laconia.
He said that Soucy decided it was profitable to work for Aavid than remain in law enforcement and went to work for Aavid, where he is still employed. Sauce's son, Norm is now the company's vice president and general manager of the Global Transportation and Industrial Systems Division and served as master of ceremonies at Friday's celebration.
Aavid Thermalloy employees Julie Wescott and Norm Soucy present a check for $10,000 to Laconia Mayor Ed Engler at a celebration of Aavid's 50th anniversary held at the firm's corporate headquarters in Laconia Friday evening. (Alan MacRae photo)
Laconia Mayor Ed Engler accepts a check for $10,000 from Aavid Thermalloy President and CEO Alan Wong, right, as Brian Bryne, Aavid's vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer looks on. Wong matched a $10,000 gift to the city that the corporation made at a celebration of Aavid's 50th anniversary, held at the firm's corporate headquarters in Laconia Friday evening. (Alan MacRae photo)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 12:36
CIRCUIT COURT — Police arrested a Gilmanton woman early Friday morning after she allegedly attacked her fiance while he slept.
Police said they were called to the home by the fiance who reported Elizabeth Berry, 25, of Crystal Lake Road, was attacking him.
He left the house to call 911 at Berry allegedly retrieved a handgun from the house and went outside and pointed it at him.
When police arrived, Berry was in the driveway but she retreated when police approached. They took her into custody before she got back into the house.
The man was treated for cuts to his face and back caused allegedly by Berry's hands.
She is charged with one count of simple assault and one felony count of criminal threatening.
Police said they have recovered the gun.
Berry was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to appear in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division on November 6.
Gilmanton Police were assisted by police from Belmont and Alton.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:45
Belmont Middle School students will get separate grades in each class for subject mastery & behavior
BELMONT — Although parents of middle-schoolers will still see a letter grade for academic performance, behavior and effort will, going forward, be reflected in a separate grade for each class, school administrators said this week.
Administrators said that each letter grade for academic material will reflect a student's mastery of the subject matter.
For example, said Superintendent Maria Dreyer, say a third grader doesn't understand multiplication and most of his or her other classmates do. Dreyer said two components will be examined — if the student genuinely doesn't understand the concept, or if the student has behavioral issues that are inhibiting his or her mastery of multiplication.
"We take this kid by kid," she said.
She said for the student who is struggling with the concept, there will be remedial education and a reassessment once the child has demonstrated that he or she has completed the necessary formative assignments — like homework and quizzes — to gain mastery of the subject matter.
She said each student will also be graded on behavior by every teacher. Those behaviors are responsibility, work completion, participation, and respect.
Dreyer believes a grade for each student regarding behavior from each teacher will give the district insight into both the child and the teachers teaching the child.
She said the old grading system combined both behavior and subject mastery, making it difficult for a parent to understand if their child wasn't learning the subject material, or if he or she didn't want to learn the subject material, or just wasn't trying.
Dreyer said separating the two will make it easier for the teachers to work with parents to assist their children in subject mastery.
Report cards will be issued for each trimester.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:42
LACONIA — Gunstock General Manager Gregg Goddard told members of the Belknap County Convention last night that the county-owned recreational facility hopes to bring the Tough Mudder competition back next year.
Goddard said that abut 16,000 people attended the first Tough Mudder event hosted by Gunstock last summer but a conflict with the second NASCAR race being held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this month caused the event to be moved to Berwick, Maine.
Goddard explained that the event requires parking for 5,700 cars and that Gunstock only has space or 2,000.
''Last year they used the New Hampshire Motor Speedway lot for parking and had 105 school buses bring the competitors here. But this year the event coincided with the start of the September race week and the speedway decided that they didn't want to get involved in having their parking spaces used by simultaneously for another event,'' said Goddard.
He said that Gunstock would have earned $75,000 for hosting the event as well as money from concessions and that he is hoping that an agreement can be reached with Tough Mudder organizers on scheduling an event which will not conflict with either Gunstock's schedule of that of the Speedway.
Tough Mudder is an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10–12-mile-long military-style obstacle courses. Designed and created by British Special Forces to test mental as well as physical strength, obstacles often play on common human fears, such as fire, water, electricity and heights.
The first Tough Mudder challenge was held in the United States in 2010. To date, more than 1.3 million people worldwide have participated in Tough Mudder events.
Goddard said that despite the loss of the Tough Mudder event and the Lakeside Living Expo that Gunstock's summer revenues were dead even with last year.
He said that for the second year in a row Gunstock had record revenues, topping the $11 million mark, which included $2.5 million in summer sales and attracting 182,595 skiers, an increase of 12,000 over the previous winter.
The convention unanimously approved Goddard's request for a $650,000 revenue anticipation note, which he said was down $100,000 from last year's request. He said the note would be used to fund November and December operations and would be repaid from skiing receipts in February.
The convention also approved by a unanimous vote the nomination of Bob Durfee, current Gunstock Area Commission chairman, to another five-year term. Durfee was the only candidate.
Earlier the convention's executive committee met to review county spending from this year's budget. Chairman Frank Tilton and County Convention Chairman Colette Worsman said they were not pleased that Belknap County Commissioners were not at the meeting to answer questions about the budget.
Tilton said that there were several line items in the budget for which spending had exceeded the amount appropriated and questioned the authority of the commissioners to encumber funds without receiving approval from the executive committee.
Belknap County Superior Court Justice James D. O'Neill III recently issued an injunction prohibiting the commission from transferring funds within the budget without approval of the executive committee. The commissioners have filed a motion asking for that decision to be reconsidered.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:36
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