Paul LeBlanc from SNHU and Robert Goldstein, Jody Holt and Stephen Singlar of Single Digits recognized as innovators in their industries
Before a crowd of over 300 people, four entrepreneurs from two organizations were recognized as 2015’s Entrepreneurs of the Year (EOY) at the NH High Tech Council’s (Council) award event on Friday, May 8. Robert Goldstein, CEO, Jody Holt, CFO, and Stephen Singlar, President, of Single Digits, Inc. of Bedford and Paul LeBlanc, President and CEO of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in Manchester received this year’s honor.
“The two companies we recognized tonight are utilizing technology in truly unique, powerful and very different ways,” said Matt Benson, chair of the Council’s EOY committee and an attorney with Cook, Little, Rosenblatt and Manson. “By recognizing both Single Digits and Southern New Hampshire University as 2015’s top entrepreneurs, we’re celebrating both technology and its application to think differently about how we access the Internet and education, two crucial components that drive future innovation.”
Single Digits enables property owners to monetize their IP infrastructure with managed services and business access portal software, specifically for the hospitality industry, malls, transportation companies and small box retail. Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit accredited institution with more than 60,000 students across its three main programs, making it one of the fastest growing universities in the United States. The university has become a national leader in developing innovative and affordable pathways to a degree, mainly through online education.
This year’s competition was extremely competitive, with two additional finalist companies vying for the honor: Marjorie and Stephen Thorpe the president and vice president of finance, respectively, of Adaptive Communications LLC of Stratham and Travis Warren, CEO of WhippleHill/Blackbaud K-12 of Bedford. Any founder, owner, or manager of a business in New Hampshire who successfully organized, developed, or managed a technology-based concept into a commercial product or service was eligible for nomination, and winners were judged based on their contributions to the advancement the technology ecosystem in New Hampshire and beyond.
“What’s unique about the Council’s EOY program is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or have been around for 25 years, or if you have six employees or 6,000; what matters is your commitment to take the leap, grow a company, innovate, and help others do the same,” said Matt Cookson, the Council’s executive director. “New Hampshire has a thriving technology sector, and it’s so rewarding to see it in action at our annual EOY event.”
The event’s keynote speaker Carly Fiorina echoed the support for entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation in her remarks, which attracted politicos and business leaders from across the region. Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company addressed an audience comprised not only of current business leaders, but also female STEM high school and college students who represent the state’s future generation of innovators.
Governor Maggie Hassan also spoke to the audience and emphasized the power of the tech sector and the future potential to drive the state’s economy.
“New Hampshire’s thriving high tech sector is helping drive our economy forward, creating good jobs and laying the foundation for innovative economic growth,” said Governor Hassan. “The NH High Tech Council and the innovative businesses that we honor tonight exemplify New Hampshire’s entrepreneurial spirit. I am proud to join in celebrating their success, which is expanding middle class opportunity and helps make New Hampshire a special place to live, work and start a business.”
Single Digits and SNHU will join the 50+ past EOY winners who demonstrate leadership, ingenuity and innovation among the technology sector. These entrepreneurs have employed thousands of individuals in New Hampshire’s tech sector and helped pump billions into the state’s economy.
About Single Digits
Single Digits is a company that enables property owners to monetize their IP infrastructure with managed services and business access portal software, specifically for the hospitality industry, malls, transportation companies and small box retail. From its inception, with one local hotel to now supporting more 2,500 properties including seven of the country’s 20 largest hotels and authenticating over 160,000 users daily, Single Digits is one of the greatest decade-long “overnight successes” in the state. It was founded in 2003 and now employs about 150 people. It won the Council’s Product of the Year award in 2013, was a finalist for Stay Work Play’s Rising Stars Award’s Coolest Company for Young Professionals in 2014 and a Gaming & Leisure Platinum Award in 2013. Singlar, who is responsible for the company’s goals and strategic partnerships, has more than a decade of experience in technology sales, marketing, support and management. Prior roles include global sales positions for Entrasys, Cisco, Arrowpoint Communications, and Cabletron. Goldstein holds a BA in political science from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA in finance from Plymouth State University. He is a co-founder of the company and has 15 years of industry leadership and entrepreneurial experience, and also built and managed RGS Communications Inc., another successful startup. Holt, who was voted New Hampshire Business Review’s Financial Executive of the Year in 2013, has extensive experience in the financial management of the company and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
About Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit accredited institution with more than 60,000 students across its three main programs, making it one of the fastest growing universities in the United States. The university has become a national leader in developing innovative and affordable pathways to a degree. Founded in 1932, SNHU employs 6,086 people and is on target to become the country’s largest online nonprofit college by 2017. LeBlanc, who immigrated to the US as a child, was the first in his family to attend college. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Framingham State College, an MA from Boston College and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He implemented new systems and ways of thinking about learning relationship software to SNHU to optimize student outcomes while using data analytics technology to predict student trends. His accolades include being named a Classroom Revolutionary by Forbes Magazine, an “Innovator” by Bloomberg TV, and one of Fast Company’s 1,000 Most Creative People, among numerous other academic, technology and innovation awards.