People have navigated our industrial base through larger economic forces. Between 1990 and 2019, private local owners of firms have tended to sell out to distant ownership by the stock market or by private equity. Our class is developing theory to understand how such ownership affects the community. Like the US as a whole, New Hampshire was hard hit by the loss of one-third of US industrial jobs between 2001 and 2009. Far from being backwards in technology, Keene is at the cutting edge of optics. Private equity and a focus on shareholder value have not been kind to local plant managers. Yet smaller high technology machine tool firms in Keene expanded in the midst of the Great Recession. The students’ research is at the links below. Keene is an industrial community of 25,000 people in rural New Hampshire, as shown in the map below.
- Jesse Labarre discusses the role of education and on the job training in ultra-precision firms.
- Finn Callihan discusses the global reach of one ultra-precision firm.
- Lindsey Ljungberg considers the acquisition of MPB by Timken Superprecision, as well as the acquisitions MPB itself made.
- Puja Thapa explains what a difference management made at MPB and Timken Superprecision.
- Virginia Van Zandt considers the human ties linking MPB to Pneumo, Precitech, and ABTech.
- Chloe Labrie explores philanthropy from Markem and the Putnam Family in the creation of Keene State’s Science Center.
- Jackson Brannen explores the changing tie between workers and owners at Markem (pre-2006) and Markem-Imaje (2006 to Present).
Credits: Featured photographs by Kiana Wright show from April 23, 2019 Professor Marie Duggan, student Puja Thapa speaking with Bob and Mary Rooney and Don Sporborg, students Lindsey Ljungberg, Finn Callihan, Virginia Van Zandt and Jesse Lebarre talking amongst themselves. Alex Clark took in 2017 the photo of Joe and Stephanie Baute. Other photographs of students in this site are by Bernhard Rufenacht. Sound clip of Reggie Clark was made by Jesse Calcagni and Cecilia Sica in 2015.