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Back To Work…

Excitement in the Air – Getting Back to Work 

Karen and Jay share the excitement of getting ‘back to work’ on the road, as they head to meetings on the west coast.

The time has finally come – for us all to get ‘Back to Work!’  And, it truly is exciting.  A little bit of fall is in the air.  Kids getting back into the swing of school.  And, all of us feeling as though it’s time to put our shoulder back to wheel – and make good things happen.  The thrill of achieving, fighting the good fight and making positive progress – doing the things we love to do.  In other words, time to put the malaise of Covid in the rearview mirror.

In a real sense, we’re entering a new phase of this incredibly historic year. We’re finding new ways to adapt to the challenges posed by Covid in an unprecedented way. Digital solutions pioneered right here in the U.S. are helping get schools back in full swing and businesses to reopen. As a result, we’re even discovering ways to improve work-life balances for both families and individuals, perhaps one of the silver-linings of this pandemic. It’s an incredibly positive step forward after many months of uncertainty. And while we need to proceed with caution and take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our communities, I am so very encouraged by how folks all over the country are embracing a “can-do” spirit and what getting back to work means for all of us. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to travel once again and begin getting back into the flow.  Maybe not entirely in the same way as in the ‘pre-Covid’ world, but still it is refreshing and exciting.  And as I have been traveling, it’s given me some perspective.  I’ve had the opportunity to look back on the last few months and have asked myself what we can take from the past few months?  At a minimum, it has given each of us a period of personal reflection, to appreciate what it is we have and what we aspire to. Perhaps finding a new-found appreciation for the loved ones in our lives or discovering you’d like to begin a new pursuit. Maybe it’s finding a better balance between your home life and work life. Whatever it is, the present moment calls us into action, to reconnect with personal achievement, to serve others and, to contribute to the prospering of our communities once again. 

Newport- ‘On the Move!’

Despite the challenges of recent months, Newport has continued to gain momentum.

Businesses receiving Paycheck Protection Plan loans have been barreling ahead and have been enjoying strong summers. Local restaurants are expanding their facilities and services. Newport manufacturers such as Ruger Firearms, Cole-TAC and Hartford Eichenauer are growing and looking for workers. Ruger even held an outdoor job fair last week!

In very exciting news, we have also welcomed several hospitality businesses to the community in recent months, including a Bed and Breakfast, a Downtown Café, and a Hot Dog & Ice Cream Shop to name a few.  Meanwhile, investors and developers are continuing to look to Newport with housing and solar projects already in the works.

This growth really shows the ‘can do’ spirit of the Newport community. Throughout 2020, Newporter’s have gone above and beyond to stick together and overcome the odds. When Covid hit, our school district immediately sprang into action and adopted remote learning and delivered lunches throughout the community in the early days of the pandemic. Businesses came together to make personal protective equipment. Our community banks worked with local businesses to help with PPP loans.  In essence, Newport’s recovery and resurgence really has been and continues to be an ‘all hands on deck’ effort.  Not surprisingly, this commitment to hard work and our spirit of optimism are propelling our wonderful town forward.

Back To School

As people are getting back to work - so too are our children heading back to school. I think we all remember our own first days of school each year – as we transitioned from the summer into the excitement of fall.  And, even more exciting for ‘first graders.’  I remember my own first day of school ever – and that wonderful first grade teacher, Mrs. Stearns – who had such a profound impact on me.  Same too, when taking each of our children to their first day of school.  Kids in their best new school clothes, a photo on the front steps.  Great stuff. 

This year, in one way or another, the classroom will be quite different than in years past – but the excitement will remain much the same.  Some schools will be remote, some hybrid, and some full-time in-school learning with new protocols for safety. The way our children will be taught will be different as well. The transition to chrome books and cloud-based learning versus traditional textbooks is giving many children the ability to still have access to a quality education with the latest technology.  

I couldn’t be prouder of what I am seeing from kids in Newport, throughout New Hampshire and across the country in how they are embracing this moment. The changes in education can be put to good use beyond the current circumstances.  As someone who grew up in the northeast, harsh winters meant days off from school disrupting the education flow. I remember our own children staring at the TV in the living room watching intently to see their school come across the ticker – nervously cheering for snow closures. Now with distant learning tools in place, the snow day may be a thing of the past and education can continue no matter the weather condition.  Thus, continuing the ability to enrich our children with knowledge they need to succeed.

To all the students heading back to school, we all wish you great success to the start of a new school year. And to all the parents, we commend you for continuing to work hard give your kids the opportunities to be successful. 

Positive Profile of the Week:  Kurt Strandson

Writing the Profile of the Week is one of my favorite things to do each week,  mainly because it gives me the opportunity to share powerful stories about great people and the wonderful things they are doing.  This week, we profile a very special person, Kurt Strandson. 

Kurt Strandson of Manchester is the President and Founder of the Pinnacle Mortgage company. When Kurt founded Pinnacle, he had a very specific vision: to create an opportunity for people to obtain mortgages with simplicity and ease. Which he has so successfully achieved.  But there is so much more to Kurt’s company and his role in the community.  Kurt is a proud father and advocate for kids throughout the greater Manchester area. Thanks to Kurt’s business achievements and his big heart, numerous charities have been able to meet their fundraising and organizational goals – and make a positive impact in the community.  

When Kurt founded Pinnacle, he and his team began in a single office space. Today, Pinnacle has branches all across New England. Through hard work and determination, Kurt’s vision to simplify the mortgage process has become a reality. When you hear the motto “hard work pays off”, Kurt is its archetype. 

I got to know Kurt thru his involvement in political and public affairs. We would see each other at various events around the state and as we chatted more, he and I found out how much we share in common, including our passion for American security. Kurt is someone who never shies away from saying what is on his mind. And, what stands out to me about Kurt is that he is truly a man of his word, never backing away from a challenge or a commitment he’s made. This past year he hosted what I thought would be a small house party for a few of us to discuss the growing threat from Communist China. Well, it wasn’t a small event by any means. Kurt packed a banquet hall and provided audio visual technology, helping our group – including several national experts on the topic - have an incredibly substantive evening on an issue of vital importance.

One of my favorite quotes an old friend used to say to me was “Behold the turtle, for he accomplishes nothing unless he sticks his neck out”. Kurt has accomplished great things, organizations have benefited from his success, and important issues have been advanced, because Kurt has courage and does not fear sticking his neck out for a cause that he believes in. 

I am proud to profile a great friend, Kurt Strandson.

Quotes of the Week: Back to Work

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.”

Ronald Reagan

“That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Steve Jobs

“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”

Colin Powell

“What I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all - the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”

Barack Obama

“Read the Bible. Work hard and honestly. And don't complain.”

Billy Graham


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