By Miranda Piedra
CONWAY — Josh McAllister had dreamt of being knee-deep in mud since he attended the Mud Bowl Parade in North Conway as an 8-year-old.
While he didn't get to fulfill that dream until later in life, McAllister, 37, has kept himself waist-deep in commitments to local boards and committees.
In addition to working at HEB Engineers in North Conway, McAllister also serves on Conway Area Humane Society's board of directors; Mt. Washington Valley Housing Coalition's Board of Directors; MWV's Economic Council board; MWV Regional Collaboration; Kennett High School's Career Center on the advisory committee for the drafting program; World Championships of Mud Football Planning Committee; as team captain of MWV Hogs mud football team; and as a volunteer coach for the MWV Cal Ripken League.
The community at large recognized McAllister's contributions when he received the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award in 2016, but now the acclaim has gone statewide, as McAllister has been named one of The Union Leader's 2017 class of "40 under Forty."
This program recognizes "some of the state's brightest young achievers who have a record of professional and volunteer accomplishments in New Hampshire," according to unionleader.com.
Jac Cuddy, executive director of the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council, shared the same sentiment when asked about nominating McAllister.
"I think he is one of the greatest examples of a person that contributes in a professional and very community-oriented way," Cuddy said.
McAllister explains that growing up in the valley, he feels it is a responsibility of the people who live here to give back to the community, especially the younger generation.
"I give back because I love this community, the entire valley, and I have the energy," he said.
When asked about his volunteer activities, McAllister had a story for most of them.
"I'm actually an engineer because I went through the career and technical center at Kennett (High School) myself. Everything that happened with the drafting classes at Kennett is the reason I am here."
After graduating in 1998, he attended upstate New York's Clarkson University, earning a bachelor's of science degree in civil and environmental engineering in 2002.
McAllister then took a job in Washington, D.C., and then in Albany, N.Y. Those were great experiences, he said, but along with growing up here, "those two opportunities let us (McAllister and his wife, Alyce) both know it was time to come back. It made the decision pretty easy."
The McAllisters moved back to the valley in August 2004, and Josh began working for HEB, where he is now vice president and senior civil engineer.
Since that time, they have stayed busy and don't know what to do with a free weekend.
"This time of year gets a little tricky," McAllister said. "I'm also the high school baseball coach, and our practices start in March and continue through June ... I work during the day, leave, go to practices or games and get home late, for the next three or so months. It's challenging, but we make it work."
Pencil into this schedule the eventual delivery of the McAllisters' baby girl, who is due March 26, and it's easy to admire all that juggling the busy coach/engineer has to do.
Because of his wife's condition, McAllister is limiting all travel this month and will not make it to the Union Leader's reception, which is in Concord today, to receive his "40 under Forty" award. Instead, he plans on staying as close as possible to Alyson and 6-year-old son, Jack, who live in Center Conway.
So, while he may not be surrounded by applause today, he will be in close proximity to another "40 under Forty" recipient: Jay Poulin, president of HEB Engineers, who was recognized back in 2014 and joined in the firm's heartfelt congratulations to McAllister for his achievement.