UNH Extension staff are in the field every day, working with Granite State residents to make life better in New Hampshire. Because they’re so often on the go, getting to know our specialists and educators can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created In the Weeds, an ongoing series of interviews with Extension staff. Get to know the people behind our programs, discover new opportunities and pick up a few music recommendations along the way.

Name: Jared Reynolds

Title: Community and Economic Development Field Specialist

Start Date at Extension: August 2017

Why did you choose your field of work?

I worked in a few different specific policy areas before economic development. I was really drawn to economic development because it’s the intersection of so many different components. It was always challenging for me to think about education, healthcare or workforce development in isolation because they are all impacted by each other. Community and economic development recognizes the role of the local business environment, education and workforce development, quality of life, natural assets and so much more in any given community. It’s both interesting and challenging to look at how all of these components interact, the priorities and vision of individual communities, and what steps they can take to move forward.

If you were told that you could only have one tool to do your job at Extension, what would it be?

In community and economic development, that would have to be a flip chart and markers. They’re an important component of the work we do to accurately capture the thoughts and ideas that come out of our community programs and conversations.

If you had to make a playlist to accompany your program, what five songs would you add first?

The only album I own is the free U2 one, so I would suggest five podcast episodes that are a mix of interesting and informative.

1. Planet Money, The Dollar at the Center of the World: New Hampshire played a vital role in the formation of the modern economy.

2. Planet Money, The Invention of ‘The Economy’

3. NHPR's The Exchange, What Kind of Housing Does NH Need and Why Don’t we Have Enough Of It?

4. NHPR's The Exchange, Preserving Our State’s Past

5. Brookings Institution, How Pittsburgh Went from Steel Town to Innovation City

If there was one thing you would want everyone to know about your field of expertise, what would it be?

Community and economic development is about a lot more than just land development or business attraction. It’s about improving quality of life so that you have a community that people want to live and spend time in, talking with your existing businesses to ensure you’re meeting their needs and making New Hampshire’s downtowns a central part of their communities. One of the most important components of our work is helping communities engage residents to ensure their voices are heard and economic development goals are an accurate reflection of the broader community’s vision.

How can people get in touch with you or learn more about your programming?

Send me an email at jared.reynolds@unh.edu or call me at 603-796-2151.

Do you have any events coming up that you are excited about?

1 Million Cups Central NH. This event is the first Wednesday of each month from 8 to 9 a.m. Two local entrepreneurs will discuss their business or idea, talk about their successes and challenges as an entrepreneur, and answer questions from the audience. The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend regardless of background. The goal is to build our entrepreneurial ecosystem and support structure in the region and increase communication and collaboration between entrepreneurs and their communities. It’s exciting to be partnering with Making Matters NH and NHTI for this event and implementing an innovative national program to improve entrepreneurship in the region.

What Extension program, outside of your program area, would we most likely find you at in your free time?

There’s a lot of great programming I’d like to attend more of. At the top of my list is Speaking for Wildlife. The topics look really interesting and I like that they are presented by knowledgeable volunteers.


Former Marketing & Communication Assistant Producer