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Alton resident earns statewide honor

THAD GULDBRANDSEN was recently given the 2011 Young Professional of the Year from Business NH Magazine. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
November 15, 2011
ALTON — A resident of Alton has been named the Young Professional of the Year by Business NH Magazine.

Thad Guldbrandsen graduated from Alton Central School in 1991, continued his education at the University of Wyoming, went on to receive a bachelor's in Anthropology at University of New Hampshire and later a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Guldbrandsen is the founding director of the Center for Rural Partnerships at Plymouth State University and is a member of the Social Science faculty at PSU.

Guldbrandsen explained what the Center for Rural Partnerships does.

"It's a university center, devoted to research and public engagement," Guldbrandsen said. "We work on projects that sustain the quality of life in rural New Hampshire."

Guldbrandsen sees the award given to by the magazine, which honors an outstanding professional, age 40 or younger, who is a rising star in their industry, and who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to giving back to the community, as a reward of collaboration.

"It's interesting because it has caused me to reflect on what success means. This award shows me that collaboration is valued," he added. "The projects and things that I am most proud of are the projects where collaboration is involved. It gets me pretty excited."

Guldbrandsen talked about one of the more interesting projects that the center helped out on.

They went into Berlin and worked with a research development building that was pretty run down.

The building needed several windows replaced and the group worked with the PSU art department and constructed 24 painted four by eight-foot murals that have become an attraction in town.

"We took a building that was not looking that great and we turned into something that is not only attractive, but is so attractive that it is a sense of community pride," Guldbrandsen said.

He has also worked on projects that involve agri-tourism and helping farmers survive during these tough economic times.

The center is also concentrated on working on projects in the fields of alternative energy, local food, forest management and the history of heritage and culture in the state.

Guldbrandsen really stresses the importance or working with people in your community.

"In this day in age, there are so many smart people and so many resources that it just makes sense to use collaboration," Guldbrandsen added.

Guldbrandsen is the co-author of the award winning book, Local Democracy Under Siege: Activism, Public Interests and Private Politics and several other articles and book chapters on topics related to globalization, local democracy, regionalism, sustainable development and social inequality.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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