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Business Notes: Hypertherm’s Time Capsules Reflect Milestones



Valley News Business Writer
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hanover — It wasn’t exactly a “capsule” and technically it had already been opened, but Hypertherm convened a ceremony on Thursday to inspect a time capsule that had been buried 15 years ago in recognition of the company’s 35th anniversary.

Thursday’s ceremony was held to mark festivities surrounding Hypertherm’s current 50th anniversary, and to bury another time capsule that will be unearthed at the company’s 75th anniversary. More than 100 Hypertherm employees and retirees as well as company co-founder Dick Couch, his wife, Barbara Couch, and Gov. Chris Sununu attended.

Dick Couch mused about what he might have put in a time capsule when he and former Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering professor Bob Dean founded Hypertherm in a garage across the road in 1968.

“One thing I would not have put in was cash,” he said to laughter. “I had an extremely short supply.”

On a serious note, he emphasized the importance that funding and financial assistance from federal, state and local government has had on Hypertherm’s expansion and success over the years.

He noted the initial plasma technology was developed out of equipment at Thayer provided by the U.S. Air Force and the company’s first building later was constructed with help from the Small Business Administration.

Couch said municipal water and sewer lines upgrade to connect with Hypertherm’s many locations within the city and the state’s program on workforce development have been key in helping the 1,400-employee company recruit and train workers.

Couch half-jokingly noted that he thought it was important to emphasize those points about the positive role government had played in Hypertherm’s success “when I have the governor’s ear.”

“This is my first time capsule,” said Sununu, who trumpeted performance of New Hampshire’s economy, noting that companies like Hypertherm exemplify how the state should approach aiding the private sector.

“It’s a partnership, not just handing out money,” Sununu said.

Although the time capsule — actually a wooden box — had been dug up and already opened for inspection earlier by Hypertherm’s facilities crew, the display of its contents still elicited memories from the pre-iPhone era.

Hypertherm President and CEO Evan Smith held up one item that was ubiquitous at the time but today is a memory: a floppy disc.

“I hope all the company’s secrets are on here because nobody would be able to read them,” he said.

Hanover Rotary Distributes$144,000 After Fundraiser

Thanks to a phenomenal fundraising auction earlier this month, the Rotary Club of Hanover has donated $100,000 to the Twin Pines Housing Trust along with $44,000 in grants to be shared among 17 local nonprofits in the Upper Valley.

The well-attended ceremony and reception was held in the atrium of the Mascoma Bank in Hanover.

The 2017 silent and live auction in November grossed $230,000 in proceeds, of which the Rotary netted $200,000 after costs, reported Rotary treasurer Todd Allen.

The amount raised was boosted by a $75,000 matching grant from the John and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Allen said, which has also promised to provide similar matching grants this year and in 2019.

Another $10,000 matching grant was provided by Peter McLaughlin and Jane Kitchel McLaughlin.

Allen said distribution of the remaining $56,000 is to be determined.

Twin Pines Housing, as the Rotary’s “auction partner” helped out with the 2017 auction and was designated to receive half the net proceeds. WISE of the Upper Valley has been selected to be the Rotary’s 2018 auction partn er.

News items of interest to the local business community are published in the Business & Money section of the Sunday Valley News. Submissions may be sent by email to: biznotes@vnews.com (high-resolution photographs may be attached in .jpg format). Items are edited for clarity and space.

Correction

Evan Smith is president and CEO of Hypertherm. He was incompletely identified in an earlier version of this story.