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Attending the Business and Industry Association's dinner Wednesday were, from left, Richard Ober, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Peter Bergh, vice chairman on the board of the NH Charitable Foundation; Wendell Jesseman, chairman of New England Wire Technologies, who was honored with the lifetime achievement award; Donna Sytek, former speaker of the NH House, who also was honored with a lifetime award; and Sharron McCarthy, who sits on the board of BIA and with Mclean Communications. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

BIA honors two with lifetime achievement award

MANCHESTER - A former N.H. House Speaker and a prominent manufacturing executive were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards as the state Business and Industry Association hosted its 100th annual dinner Wednesday night at the Center of New Hampshire.
New England Wire Technologies Chairman Wendell Jesseman and former New Hampshire Speaker of the House Donna Sytek received individual honors, while the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation received the Advantage Award, given annually to a business or organization that enhances the state's special character and quality of life.
Jesseman began his business career with New England Wire Technologies in Lisbon in 1956, and over the years rose through the ranks to become president in 1969. In 2004, he became chairman of the board of the electronic wire and cable company, established in 1898.
He has served on a variety of boards as director or trustee, including the Business and Industry Association, Littleton Regional Hospital, Lisbon Chamber of Commerce, Dartmouth Bank Corp., the Lisbon Regional School Foundation and many others.
Sytek was first elected a state representative from Salem in 1977 and was Speaker of the House from 1996 to 2000. She has served in leadership roles for several nonprofits, including the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies and New Hampshire Catholic Charities, and was recently appointed chair of the New Hampshire Adult Parole Board.
'I was frankly quite surprised when I got the call from (BIA President) Jim Roche,' Sytek said in an interview. 'Lifetime achievement suggests to me that you are wrapping things up. I plan to keep on participating in the civic life of New Hampshire as long as I can, continuing to do my civic work for the love of it and the impact it makes on people, and I feel blessed to be able to do so.'
Jesseman commended the BIA staff for their work in developing a consensus among a disparate group of members over the years he served on the board.

'The BIA and its board represent a broad spectrum of businesses,' he said. 'Representatives from these various businesses certainly have many and varied views as to what is best for New Hampshire and what, hopefully, is also favorable to existing businesses and the fostering of new ones. I congratulate Jim Roche, his staff and the board for their ability to get consensus on most issues and the staff's ability to present our views forcefully and successfully to the Legislature.'The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, founded in 1962, was honored for its effective management of 1,700 charitable funds established by New Hampshire families, organizations and businesses.

'In the past three years, the foundation has helped bring an additional $50 million into the state to augment the generosity of donors and supporters within New Hampshire,' said Adrienne Rupp, BIA vice president for communications.

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