Gov. Lynch Speaks in Hampton at Foss Manufacturing

Technology on Mind of Foss Officials

By Jason Schreiber

Hampton Union, Friday, August 31, 2007

Gov. John Lynch talks with employees at Foss Manufacturing in Hampton on Wednesday.
[Photo by Jackie Ricciardi]

HAMPTON -- Officials at Foss Manufacturing told Gov. John Lynch Wednesday they could use help from the state as they try to improve technology and attract young skilled workers to keep the company moving forward.

The push came as the governor greeted dozens of workers during a tour of the facility aimed at giving Lynch a close-up look at the manufacturing process and issues facing the company and its employees.

"We want to penetrate the university system to get more people in here with brighter minds and young, more technological minds," Foss principal James Magruder told Lynch.

Lynch said the state could partner with Foss to find and train workers in a variety of skills like computer technology.

"We've still got employees on Windows 95," Magruder said.

Lynch stressed the importance of establishing internship programs at Foss, which manufactures fabrics and synthetic fibers.

The state has made an effort to help businesses grow, Lynch said, pointing to a research-and-development tax credit now in place to help more companies manufacture products in New Hampshire rather than overseas.

Lynch said the state has also tried to stabilize cost of health insurance for small businesses as well.

Lynch applauded Foss for looking at renewable energy sources like possibly installing a wind turbine. Approximately 25 percent of the state's power is expected to come from renewable energy by 2025, Lynch said.

"Renewable energy is perfect for New Hampshire. We have an abundance of timber," Lynch said. "It will create jobs. It's environmentally friendly and over time it will stabilize the cost of energy because were diversifying our sources."

Foss officials used Lynch's visit to share some of the company's recent successes. David Rowell, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said Foss is expected to get approval soon from the Food and Drug Administration to produce a unique antimicrobial face mask. The mask is made with copper and silver in the fiber to fight off potential illness.

Rowell said the masks will be used by hospitals, government agencies and other companies. Foss has already received orders for the masks from around the world, Rowell said.

Workers like Bill McDonnell had school funding and expanded gambling on their minds. McDonnell, of North Hampton, asked if the state would ever seriously consider casino gambling.

"I really wouldn't even entertain it unless I saw compelling evidence that it would not jeopardize our quality of life in New Hampshire," Lynch said.

He reminded workers New Hampshire has been named the most livable state for the last four years. A legislative committee is studying gambling and is expected to issue a report by the end of next year, Lynch said.

When it comes to education funding, Lynch said he feels the state needs to divert money to the communities that need it more than others.

"I think the money is there to support that goal," he said.