Recognizing those who made – and make – a difference

Two initiatives by The Telegraph seek to honor a number of people who have left a remarkable impact on the city.

Titled “Nashua 50 / The Next 20,” the first project is a yearlong effort to showcase business leaders and events that shaped local commerce during the past 50 years. The project also will present 20 people highly likely to play significant business roles in the future.

Most recognize that Nashua, the state’s second-largest city, is the economic engine of New Hampshire. Many factors contribute to this, including the city’s proximity to the strong business base in Massachusetts; a particularly strong retail environment made possible by no sales tax; Nashua’s own vibrant economic foundation; a strong and innovative workforce; and its attractiveness as a place to live.

Taking advantage of or creating these conditions have been made possible by those with the foresight to see how such attributes could meld together into something meaningful.

During the past five decades, The Telegraph has chronicled many of these businesses through its annual Progress Edition, which this year ran 150 pages and was printed over four days. Progress turned 50, and it seems opportune to reflect on business past and future.

For the rest of 2012, the newspaper will feature 50 stories that reflect the city’s business growth and innovation, with a focus on companies and business events.

So far, we have published articles on two hidden business assets: Transparent Language, a language-learning software company, and Flir, a provider of thermal imaging equipment. A third story was an historical piece on Simoneau Plaza, the city’s first major shopping center.

At the end of the year and the project, an 80- to 100-page magazine will be published that will feature “Nashua 50,” a collection of profiles of those who have led the city’s business community during the past 50 years.

And the magazine will introduce 20 more business people to watch in the coming years. That component, “The Next 20,” we hope to make into an annual magazine to help introduce the new “movers and shakers.”

We are not selecting these people on our own. Helping to choose the Nashua 50 are Mayor Donnalee Lozeau; Ed Lecius, community policing coordinator for the Nashua Police Department; former Mayor Mo Arel and former Alderman-at-Large Joyce Arel; Claudie Mahar, former vice president at St. Joseph Hospital; Nashua attorney Morgan Hollis; John Koutsos, owner of Alec’s Shoes; and Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce President Christopher Williams. They will be joined by Telegraph longtime reporter Dean Shalhoup and Publisher Terrence Williams.

Making selections for “The Next 20” are Maryse Wirbal, executive director of the Front Door Agency; Paul Hebert, president of the Greater Nashua United Way; local attorney Scott Flegal; Scott Westover, a vice president with Southern New Hampshire Medical Center; Nashua Youth Council Executive Director Betsy Abrahams; Jeff Rose, director of community affairs with BAE Systems; Fou Mahfuz from the Persian Rug Gallery; former Alderman-at-Large Ben Clemons; and G. Frank Tees, president of The Nashua Bank. From The Telegraph are correspondent Stacy Milbouer and Williams.

There will be multimedia components with each article in the paper and with the magazine, too. We will include an iPad app with the magazine that will feature more content than we can include on the printed pages.

Telegraph subscribers will receive all of this, including the magazine, as part of their subscription. We hope to underwrite the project with advertising and sponsorships from local companies.

Our second initiative, focusing on Nashua people doing great things, is an effort to recognize heroes in this community.

Announced last Sunday, The Telegraph is looking for everyday people who give of themselves in a manner totally unexpected but completely appreciated.

Eight categories of Nashua heroes will be honored with a special publication to be printed in August. Those categories are:

Community volunteer.

Business volunteer.

Mentor/coach.

Emergency responder.

Military personnel.

Youth.

Lifetime achievement.

Educator.

We are asking readers to make nominations by July 6. A panel here will sift through the submissions and recognize winners in each category with profiles in the special Nashua heroes section that will be published Aug. 14.

Names, the category in which the nomination is made, and a brief description of why the person should be considered for recognition can be sent to Susan Clark, The Telegraph, 17 Executive Drive, Hudson, NH 03051. (Or you can nominate someone online by following the link on our website, www.nashuatelegraph.com.)

The strength of any community is its people. We hope, in some small way, to recognize those who have made many contributions to making Nashua a better place.