Mentors With A Mission


Mentors Making a Difference

Karen and Jay share thoughts on the importance of mentors and their role in shaping the lives of so many.


Mentors are among the most important people in our lives. How many of us can look back on a sage piece of advice given to us many years ago that we still remember? Advice that we internalized, acted upon and as a result, changed our life in some profound way. The interesting thing is that it happens all day, every day shaping lives of people all throughout the world. Mentors imparting advice, sharing insights from their rich reservoir of experience.

Throughout our lives, it’s been estimated that each of us will directly interact with over 50,000 people. Most of those interactions will be simple intersections where we meet once and never cross paths with that person again. Yet there are some of those interactions that develop into meaningful relationships, relationships that have the possibility of changing the course of our lives or the lives of others. As a young man growing up in Newport playing football or when I first started my career in Boston, there were individuals I had the good fortune of meeting who served as incredible mentors in my life. Individuals whose guidance, insight, and even a little tough love at times inspired me, directed me, and eventually allowed the transition from childhood to adolescence, and eventually adulthood. It’s fair to say that without my mentors, I likely would not have been afforded many of the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy.

Unfortunately, there’s also research that suggests a majority of young people may never have a mentor, even though it’s been empirically demonstrated just how essential mentoring is to our communities and our young people. For both mentor and mentee, it can improve mental health, reinforce our resiliency, and instill the values of honesty, integrity, and a strong work ethic. Not only that, it has the ability to overwhelmingly influence the choices we make in a positive way, particularly amongst the most vulnerable. I’m reminded of a quote from Oprah Winfrey, a woman herself who credits a variety of mentors who helped her get on her feet following a difficult childhood, “a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself”.

Yet what makes for a good mentor? It’s fair to say that sometimes we may look up to someone, but their influence can fail to help, if not fully understood and properly applied. Generally, I find it starts by looking at someone's aspirations in all areas of their lives. From their personal relationships, to school, or work, a good mentor understands where their mentee is versus where they want to go and holds them accountable, while also giving praise when they’ve surpassed a benchmark or achieved a desired goal.


And, the truth is that it works both ways. The person being advised receives the benefit of sage guidance, while the mentor enjoys a reward potentially of even greater value – knowing that he or she has helped shape a positive future for the next generation and beyond!


Pease Air Force Base – A New Hampshire Success

Here’s a positive, Granite State ‘success story.’ Although it been a number of years in the making, what was once known as Pease Air Force Base has been fully transformed into a thriving center of commercial and aviation activity – now housing approximately 250 businesses, employing more than 7,000 people. Spanning 3,000 acres and in close proximity to New Hampshire’s scenic seacoast, Pease has achieved a remarkable transformation since its decommissioning as an active military base with a quite uncertain future in 1988.

Importantly, it is also the home of the ‘Pease Greeters,’ a truly remarkable organization whose mission includes providing a welcoming/greeting service for the numerous military planes and service men and women that stop in Portsmouth on their way back from destinations far away, such as most recently, welcoming troops on their return home from Afghanistan. The ‘Greeters’ can be seen at all hours of the day and night – providing a warm welcome, supporting our veterans and also involving and education children on our patriotic values.

As background, Pease was originally established as a municipal airport in the 1930’s, and was taken over by the Air Force from the U.S. Navy in 1951 – thus becoming ‘Pease Air Force Base.’ While operating as an Air Force base, Pease served primarily as a bomber base, housing the B-52 Stratofortress among other aircraft.

However, ‘unfortunately’ in 1988, Pease was one of 86 military installations selected for closure under the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, also known as ‘BRAC.’ The base officially closed in 1991, although today the New Hampshire Air National Guard still uses a portion of the former base.

To chart a future for the base, the Pease Development Authority (PDA) was established to oversee its development. The PDA board has seven members; one member (the chair) is appointed by the Governor and Executive Council; one member is appointed by the Mayor and City Council of Portsmouth; one member is appointed by the Board of Selectmen of Newington; one member is appointed by the President of the N.H. Senate; one member appointed by the Speaker of the N.H. House of Representatives; one member is appointed jointly by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Greenland and Selectmen in Newington; and one member is nominated by a majority vote of the Legislative Delegation of Strafford County.

Located on the property is the Pease Tradeport which has two zones for development – the airport zone, where development is specific to aeronautics, and the commercial zone of office buildings and light manufacturing including biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare facilities, financial agencies, law offices, realtors, small cafes and even a golf course! Business tenants of the development and their employees are in close proximity to amenities, accommodations, and growth opportunities, with more developments on the way!

My long-time friend and well-known New Hampshire Granite Stater, Steve Duprey, president of Concord-based The Duprey Companies, is Gov. Chris Sununu’s recent pick to Chair the Pease Development Authority Board of Directors. He was confirmed by the Governor’s Executive Council on March 9, succeeding Kevin Smith, who resigned as chair in February.

Steve’s first meeting as chairman will be the board’s regular monthly session on Thursday, April 21. Duprey’s arrival at the PDA comes as the board is starting a potentially lengthy review of a dual proposal to develop parcels at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease for handling air cargo.

The story of ‘Pease’ provides an exciting and inspirational story of what can be achieved when state and local business and government leaders work together, leveraging the ‘New Hampshire Advantage, to attract business - providing growth and opportunity for so very many.

While many have been involved in this success story, none have been more important than our great friends, Dan and Renee Plummer who have been key to the growth and vitality of Pease.

So, extending a heartfelt ‘well done’ to all involved – and a warm welcome to Steve Duprey, who will be leading the next exciting chapter in the evolution of Pease.


Breakfast Spots – NH Favorites, Creating Memories

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jumpstarts our day and gives us the fuel we need to tackle the tasks at hand.

As Karen and I have been traveling throughout New Hampshire especially in the last couple years developing the Sunshine Initiative, we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy some incredible breakfast establishments. Here are just a few to highlight and share.

In a previous Sunshine Report, I made a mention of Chez Vachon. This classic restaurant is a Manchester Westside institution and has been the ‘go-to-spot’ for political candidates every election season and church-goers every Sunday now for decades. Definitely worth a visit!

Another one of my Westside favorites is Blake’s. It’s open all day and you can get an outstanding meal in a traditional diner setting. And make sure you leave room for their delicious ice cream!

Speaking of diners, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give prominent mention to several of my personal favorites - the Tilton Diner, the Manchester Airport Diner, and of course the 24 hour location and breakfast all-day hot spots that are the Red Arrow Diners - where in downtown Manchester, many a politician and well-known figure has stopped over the years- you can actually see tags where they’ve sat including Manchester’s own Adam Sandler!

Meanwhile, Karen and I have enjoyed Sundays at the Friendly Toast in beautiful downtown Portsmouth. They have excellent creative selections, including their eggs benedict, and we are determined to try ‘em all! Plus, I also just really like their name – the ‘Friendly Toast’ – just seems so inviting. And, the atmosphere and service do live up to the name!

And, just last week, I visited the Airport Café in Hampton for the first time, along with my good friend Jack Heath. What a venue – you can watch planes take off and land at the Hampton Airport – while enjoying a really super breakfast – or lunch, if you prefer.

I could go on and on about some great breakfast spots (NH has so many!) but it’s not just about great meals and kicking off your day right. It’s really about the people - creating long lasting memories and opportunities to bringing family and friends and the community together over something we all can enjoy – food and great conversation!


Positive Profile of the Week: Lou D’Allesandro

This week we are delighted to highlight a great friend and true ‘New Hampshire Legend’ – Senator Lou D’Allesandro as our Profile of the Week.

In fact, I was recently watching a great movie, ‘Hoosiers’ and one of the quotes made me think of Lou. The quote goes:

“Don't get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book, we're gonna be winners!”

In many ways this quote captures the mindset of a great man who many, including me, call ‘Senator Lou.’ A man who has risen above partisanship and is widely admired across the political spectrum.

Lou is a member of the New Hampshire State Senate representing Manchester. He has served in this position since the late 1990s. While working hard in Concord for the people of Queen City, he has also served on the Manchester City School Board. Two different positions at the same time – dong ‘double duty as a selfless public servant. Here are a couple fun facts about Senator Lou that many probably don't know. He and I served together in the 1974 State Constitutional Though now a Democrat, Lou served as a Republican on the Executive Council and ran for Governor in the early 1980’s also as a Republican. While ultimately not winning, it didn't stop him from standing up and wanting to serve. His never-ending commitment to “being a voice for all” and his dedication to playing up to his potential is why he is one of the most revered public servants in our state. But why do we reference ‘Hoosiers’ when talking about Senator Lou?

Prior to being known as SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University), a small college in North Manchester was emerging and was called New Hampshire College. In 1963, Lou became Athletic Director of this up and coming college and as Head Coach of the basketball team where he led his team to three division conferences and achieved NCAA status for the school.

There truly are great people in public service, while there are also athletic superstars as well as individuals making a difference in their community every day; however, it's rare that you find someone to do all three – but this is the life story of Lou D’Allesandro!

And if you are a regular listener of Jack Heath’s radio show, at least once a week you’ll hear Senator Lou inspire those listening and encourage everyone to have a “Great, Great, American Day!” Gotta love the spirit – and gotta love the dedicated service and leadership of our friend, Senator Lou!

Quotes of the Week: Mentors

“While I made my living as a coach, I have lived my life to be a mentor, and to be mentored! Constantly. Everything in the world has been passed down. Every piece of knowledge is something that has been shared by someone else. If you understand it as I do, mentoring becomes your true legacy. It is the greatest inheritance you can give to others. It is why you get up every day—to teach and be taught.” John Wooden

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Robert Frost

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

“Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like. It's the only way we grow.” George Lucas, Star Wars: Episode 2 Attack of the Clones

“In every person there is a seed of greatness. Understanding your uniqueness, your values, your natural strengths, and your authenticity is vital to finding your success.” T W Lewis, Solid Ground: A Foundation for Winning in Life

“There is no greater feeling in the world than knowing that you’ve had a truly positive impact on the lives of others.” Michael ONeill, Road Work: Images And Insights Of A Modern Day Explorer