Barn Door Screen Printers hosts Chamber After Hours/Attendees learn how to make T-shirts

11-25-barn-door-screen-printers-chamber-qfter-hours-img 1407Bert Weiss of Bertglass Insurance of Chatham (right) tries his hand at making a T-shirt with the assistance of Barn Door Screen Printers staffer Brandi McClelland as Kathleen Harrigan and Susie Laskin share a conversation. (TOM EASTMAN PHOTO)CONWAY — Barn Door Screen Printers (; 603-447-5369) of Conway hosted the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce's November Chamber After Hours, held at the company's quarters within Glass Graphics on Pleasant Street in Conway Nov. 17.

The company offers printed glassware in conjunction with Glass Graphics, along with printed ceramic mugs, custom-printed T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Horsefeathers catered the event, while Tuckerman Brewery and White Mountain Winery provided refreshments. The selected non-profit for the evening was Conway Area Humane Society. The next Chamber After Hours is set for Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. at a location to be announced.

For more information, call the chamber at (603) 356-5701 or visit


Economic council elects officers, ponders future


By Tom Eastman

CONWAY — In addition to the Bob Morrell Award, other awards were presented at the 25th annual meeting of the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council on Nov. 19 at the Red Jacket.

Honored were:

• Dick Ficke of the S.C.O.R.E. chapter and Angels & Elves was named "Volunteer of the Year."

• Nancy Clark was tapped as "Board Member of the Year."

• Memorial Hospital CEO and President Scott McKinnon was honored as past president, as well as Dan Kennedy as education chair, George Epstein as debate moderator and Linda Fox Phillips as Eggs & Issues chair.

A panel discussion was held to recount the history of the MWVEC. Clark, fellow board member John Bruni of Jackson and former board member Tom Deans of South Conway were joined by Rick and Celia Wilcox of International Mountain Equipment.

Deans, former senior vice president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and past president of the Northern New Hampshire Foundation, told how the foundation was founded in 1990 and was given a sustainable communities grant from the Ford Foundation.

Two communities were awarded the grants apiece in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Groveton, whose mill had closed, was the other community chosen in New Hampshire, Deans said.

"I don't know if people remember how tough and bleak it was here for the economy of the valley back in 1989 and 1990," said Deans.

The Wilcoxes related how they were able to use a loan from the council's Revolving Loan Fund to get the working capital to build their four climbing-related businesses. They now serve as their own landlords at the building that houses their store, climbing school and international guiding business.

Bruni spoke of the MWVEC's First Run Angel Investors group, founded in 2002 to provide capital to technology start-up companies. He said Rapid Insight Inc. is one of the success stories for that endeavor, going from two employees to 15, and Animetrics Inc. is another. Both companies are housed at the MWV Technology Village Business Incubator.

"After the recession of 2007-09, we weren't finding enough players on either end — investor, or start-up businesses — so it kind of dwindled, and it lost energy," said Bruni. 

But, he said, "we started anew this year with a group of about 16 investors. We are holding meetings Dec. 1 with presentations by about five companies. We have made no decisions yet, but we are starting to build a backlog with companies interested in talking to us.

"Once we built the Technology Village, we looked for ways to fill it — that was the impetus," added Bruni. "They come here, start up businesses and hopefully hire people which will allow some of the people who grew up here and who are graduating from here the chance to come back and work jobs that are not hospitality-oriented."

In addition to the incubator, which houses the council and 14 other entities, Technology Village is also home to Granite State College.

Jac Cuddy, executive director of the MWVEC, noted that Tech Village last year extended the access road, Technology Lane, and that the road is serviced by underground utilities, water and sewer. The council has planning board site-plan approval for four lots. He said the council is marketing those lots to try and bring more businesses to the area.

During the business portion of the meeting, officers elected were:

• Paul Chant, new president; Josh McAllister, president-elect; Ted Kramer, vice president; Dan Ouellette, treasurer; Pat Jones, secretary.

Founded in 1990, the council was created to address a need for long-range economic planning for the region. Conceived as a public/private partnership, the council identified the need to go beyond town borders and create a larger, more regional identity.

The 12 valley towns making up the council are Albany, Bartlett, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Freedom, Jackson, Madison, Ossipee, Tamworth, Brownfield and Fryeburg. For more information, visit or call (603) 447-6622.


Granite United Way, Carroll County Coalition for Public Health join forces

OSSIPEE — Granite United Way and the Carroll County Coalition for Public Health recently announced a formal partnership and said they will start working together to address community needs in that region of New Hampshire.

The coalition works with partners from all sectors of the community to maintain a Public Health Advisory Council that guides public health initiatives, including the development and oversight of a regional Community Health Improvement Plan.

Additional areas of focus currently include substance misuse prevention, public health emergency preparedness, suicide prevention and school-based flu immunization clinics. The coalition is one of 13 regional public health networks across the state funded by the state Department of Health and Human Services to convene, coordinate and facilitate an ongoing network of partners to address regional public health needs.

“Partnering with Granite United Way, and sharing administrative resources, will allow Carroll County Coalition for Public Health the chance to focus on our immediate community needs,” said Susan Ruka, board chair for the coalition.

“Our board of directors has wanted to advance this work, and Granite United Way was the perfect partner. The combination of retaining local ownership through the staff at the coalition and the benefit of joining with a strong lead agency like Granite United Way will offer us additional sustainability for the network.”

“The Carroll County Coalition for Public Health has been doing incredible work in this region and we know that working together will continue to strengthen this community,” said Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way. “Communities across New Hampshire are facing incredible challenges in the areas of public health, especially the substance misuse crisis. This collaboration is in direct alignment with our collective impact process, similar to the one we have had great success with in the Capital Region for over eight years.”

Jack Wozmak, senior director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health in the Governor’s Office, sees the partnership as a positive step in battling the substance misuse issue in the state.

“The partnership between these two strong organizations is leading the way in addressing community needs at a very local level,” said Wozmak. “By capitalizing on their strengths, both the Carroll County Coalition for Public Health and Granite United Way will help to bring more resources to the region. Their leadership will serve as a model for working collaboratively to help prevent substance misuse in the state.”

The Carroll County Coalition for Public Health’s office at 1230 Route 16 in Ossipee will remain open and all staff will be retained in the partnership.

For additional information, visit


Bicycling club gets generous donation from Auto Road




bicycling-club-donationFrom left: Howie Wemyss and Kim Hoyt from the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Ralph Fiore and Bob Heiges from the Mt. Washington Valley Bicycling Club. (COURTESY PHOTO)CONWAY — The Mount Washington Auto Road recently showed extraordinary generosity and support for the Mount Washington Valley Bicycling Club with a $4,000 donation.

The check was presented by Auto Road General Manager Howie Wemyss and Auto Road Events and Functions Director Kim Hoyt to Bicycling Club President Ralph Fiore and member and Newton’s Revenge volunteer Coordinator Bob Heiges.

The MWVBC said in a statement, "We are fortunate to have this level of annual support from such a terrific organization.

"This gift helps the club to present Kids Bike Safety Day, purchase helmets for local children, sponsor young riders in various cycling events, provide support for the MWV Trails Association and donate new bicycles to the Kiwanis Angels & Elves program."

These activities and donations help the club in its mission to promote safe cycling, unite cyclists and foster youth cycling throughout the Mount Washington Valley.


Phil Gravink honored for ski sector leadership, mentoring role

By Tom Eastman

CONWAY — Ski industry icon and community leader Phil Gravink was saluted as a mentor for legions in the ski industry when he was presented with the 2015 Bob Morrell Award for civic entrepreneurship at the 25th annual meeting of the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council.

The well-attended event was held at the Red Jacket Mountain View in North Conway.

Gravink, 80, a resident of Jackson for 29 years and a past president and CEO of Attitash Mountain Resort in Bartlett, was recognized for his and wife Shirley's years of community service and business leadership. They recently moved to a retirement community in Saco, Maine, to be closer to their family.

He was saluted not only for his work at Attitash but also for having served on various boards in the valley during his 23 years here, including the Mount Washington Observatory, for which he once was interim director; the New England Ski Museum, for whom he still serves as a board member; and the MWV Economic Council.

Gravink was introduced by Nancy Clark, owner of Drive Brand Studio of North Conway (formerly the Glen Group). She worked for Gravink right out of college as marketing director at Attitash, and she hailed him for his steady and quiet leadership.

Above all, like the late Bob Morrell, late co-founder of Story Land, Clark said Gravink was a mentor to all.

"It all comes back to vision," she said. "He is the type of leader who allows you fail, knowing you will learn from those lessons."

She cited several Attitash employees who learned under Gravink and went on to major positions in the resort industry, including former general manager Tom Chasse, now of Schweitzer Mountain of Idaho; John Urdi, now executive director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism in California; Ralph Lewis, now of Loon; Ben Wilcox, formerly of Attitash and Bretton Woods, and now president and general manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort; and Tom Caughey, former general manager of Wildcat Ski Area and now of White Mountain Oil and Propane.

"He gave us confidence. He let us fly," said Clark, a board member of the MWVEC in addition to running her marketing business.

Gravink was also saluted by Chuck Henderson, North Country assistant to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H) and a member of the Morrell Committee.

(Both Shaheen and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., sent video greetings to Gravink at the start of the meeting, saluting him for his work on behalf of the state of New Hampshire).

Henderson told of how late North Conway benefactor Harvey D. Gibson (1882-1950) mentored ski school and ski shop founder Carroll Reed (1905-1995). Reed then employed Morrell as a young man. Morrell, in turn helped others, such as 2005 Morrell Award winner and Mountain Ear co-founder Steve Eastman (1949-2008) and so many others.

In his remarks, Gravink noted he had learned much from his weekly lunches at Glen Junction with Morrell. Later on, he continued those lunches, helping Bob and Ruth Morrell's son Stoney as he took over Story Land. Sadly, he said, like his parents, Stoney Morrell died of cancer in 2006.

Gravink said while he was honored to receive the award, "the real trophies are not the ones that sit on a shelf, but the people" who have gone on to success in running or owning successful businesses.

In addition to Clark, Wilcox, Chasse, Urdi and Lewis, he included in the list of people he helped mentor his son Brad, director of operations at New York's Peek'n Peak Recreation Corp., the ski resort Phil ran as a young man.

He saluted his family, especially his wife of 59 years, Shirley. "As many times as I tell her I love her, not a day goes by — whether planting the garden, battling cancer or biking around the wold together, that we don't give each other a high five and say: We're a team!"

Gravink noted that in addition to his achievements, he was dismissed from two jobs in his life — though he said sometimes he wanted to thank those former bosses for having opened the door to the opportunities that followed. He added that he has been blessed to work in an industry he loves.

He also acknowledged one of his major disappointments in life was missing out on being an Olympian: His Cornell crew team narrowly lost in the Olympic trials to Yale, which went onto represent the United States at the 1956 Olympics in Australia and captured the gold medal.

Still, he has led a full career and has no regrets.

After graduating from Cornell with a degree in agriculture, he started out helping run his family’s farm in New York State before founding Peek'n Peak in 1963. In 1976, he became general manager of Gore Mountain, also in New York.

A year later, he and Shirley moved to New Hampshire, where he served as president and general manager of Loon Mountain for 14 years. Next he became a senior associate at Sno-Engineering.

He was director of skiing for the state-owned Cannon Mountain and Sunapee in 1991-92, and became president/CEO of Attitash Mountain Resort in 1992.

At Attitash, he worked for a board of directors that included Bob Morrell, Sandy McCulloch and the late Thad Thorne. After Sunday River's Les Otten purchased the area, in 1994 he oversaw the layout of Bear Peak in 1994-1995, as well as the building of the Skimobile Express quad chair at Cranmore Mountain Resort during the year that Otten owned the North Conway area. He retired in 1999.

A member of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame, Class of 2012, and the New York Ski Hall of Fame, Class of 2015, Gravink was a key player for 35 years at the national level in ski area management.

He said his and Shirley's time here was the best of their lives. "Our 23 years here were everything we could have hoped for," he said. "Thank you, Mount Washington Valley!"

He ended with a favorite poem, once shared with him by a Cornell teammate, which has guided him over the years. Written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), it is called "The Winds of Fate":

"One ship drives east and another drives west

With the self-same winds that blow;
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales 

That tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea
are the ways of fate

As we voyage along through life; 

'Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal

And not the calm or the strife."