Planning commission director to lead Eastman Community Association

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2020 9:25:47 PM
Modified: 4/2/2020 9:25:36 PM

LEBANON — Steve Schneider’s 13-year tenure with the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission will end this month as he steps down from the executive director post and takes up a job managing one of the region’s largest private residential communities.

Schneider, who previously served 11 years as Enfield’s town manager, has accepted a job as CEO and general manager of the Eastman Community Association. He starts May 1.

“Eastman, as a community, has many of the same things that a small municipality will have in terms of public utilities, parks and rec and behind the scenes collections and billing,” Schneider said in a phone interview Thursday.

“The only new adventure for me is that Eastman does have its own restaurant,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t know of a municipality that has one of those.”

Schneider will succeed Ken Ryder, who came to Eastman in 2001 and oversaw its growth from a community of mostly second homeowners to an association of more than 1,500 residences in Grantham, Enfield and Springfield, N.H.

Ryder, who was unavailable for comment on Thursday, will retire after a transition period in June.

“Many of our basic facilities — the rec center, the new maintenance facility — all of those have been improved dramatically during Ken’s time here,” said Bill Matson, chairman of Eastman’s board of directors. “He developed very strong fiscal discipline and we have strong reserves that serve the community well.”

Schneider was chosen from a pool of 30 candidates. His decades of municipal experience and good relationships with officials Enfield made him a standout, Matson said.

“They had glowing things to say about him — outgoing, engaged in the community,” he said.

Schneider joined the regional planning commission as a member in 2007. He later served as the head of its planning committee before being elected chairman.

In 2017, he was hired to succeed Executive Director Nate Miller, who stepped down in 2016 to take a job at the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.

Schneider’s three years have seen the commission create a nonprofit foundation, oversee a $300,000 brownfield remediation program and begin seeking solutions to the region’s housing shortage.

“We continue to do a lot of boots-on-the-ground work in our communities, helping them do traffic counts, culvert inventories, hazard mitigation planning” he added.

Planning commission member Dan Nash called Schneider a “great administrator” whose municipal background aided Upper Valley communities.

“He understands well what the needs are and what services the commission should provide,” said Nash, Lebanon’s former city engineer.

He went on to praise Schneider’s fundraising and revenue-generating skills, saying those traits helped keep the organization afloat.

Ryan Aylesworth, the commission’s vice chairman, characterized Schneider as “gregarious” and “easy to work with” during a phone interview Thursday.

“I think everybody who’s a member of the commission or works with the commission enjoys working with Steve,” said Aylesworth, who succeeded Schneider as Enfield town manager.

The planning commission will soon start searching for a new executive director, Aylesworth said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.

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