Will Stewart arrived in New Hampshire, sight unseen, as a twenty-something in 2004. Now 38, he’s married, bought a home and is raising a child here.
In short, it’s exactly the scenario his new employer Stay Work Play wants to duplicate around the state.
Stewart will take over as executive director of the non-profit early next month.
Stay Work Play is dedicated to retaining and attracting young professionals to the state, doing so through events, partnerships and advocacy.
As New Hampshire’s population continues to age, drawing in and keeping younger residents is seen as a way to round out the workforce and grow the economy.
But Stewart says there are obvious challenges.
“I think there is a perception among some that New Hampshire can be a boring place, which couldn’t be further from the truth.”
While that may be a common impression of life in New Hampshire, there are also very real challenges in keeping younger residents in the state. He points to New Hampshire college graduates consistently carrying some of the highest debt loads in the country.
“When people graduate that much in debt, they think they have to go to Boston or New York or D.C., or some other large city where they can make a lot more money to pay off that debt,” he says.
Stewart is taking over the executive director post from Kate Luczko, who has been with Stay Work Play since 2009.
Stewart is currently president of the Greater Derry/Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. He’s also running as an Independent candidate for alderman in Manchester, where he recently helped launch a bike sharing program.