SPI News

Hospitality and technology welcome new NH SPI sector champions

By NH Sector Partnerships | February 7, 2019
Hospitality and technology welcome new NH SPI sector champions

New NH SPI sector champions continue to diversify SPI network

SPI recently welcomed four new sector champions to its network. Kipp Johnson, Brian Ferguson and Lisa Whitaker joined the ranks of the hospitality sector champions, and Rick Dupuis joins David Lemaire and Derek Barka as a technology sector champion. The new champions are business leaders who are dedicated to helping the SPI team build the partnerships necessary to develop training programs and meet workforce needs.

“Each of the new sector champions has taken on this role and responsibility because they see the workforce needs in the everyday operations of their own businesses, and they’re committed to helping,” said Phil Przybyszewski, workforce solutions project director for the Community College System of New Hampshire. “Our new sector champions were selected because they have the drive, commitment and personality for the job, and we’re excited to see the impact we will make together to help companies identify resources and training programs to help them address their workforce challenges.”


New hospitality sector champions

Kipp Johnson is the director of human resources at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.
Kipp Johnson is the director of human resources at Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Johnson began his career in operations management at Taco Bell, where he worked for 17 years before transitioning to Qdoba Restaurant Corporation. During his career at Qdoba, he filled the roles of recruiter, people and organization effectiveness manager, learning and development manager and HR business partner, where he was responsible for serving as a business partner and resource for employee relations, workforce planning and talent acquisition.

Brian Ferguson is the head distiller and owner of Flag Hill Distillery and Winery

Brian Ferguson is the head distiller and owner of Flag Hill Distillery and Winery. Ferguson joined Flag Hill in 2013 and acquired the business in 2015. He began his career in upstate New York, working at Finger Lakes Distilling where he learned how to craft spirits by working beside Thomas McKenzie, a leader in the craft distillery industry. Following this position, he moved to Grand Cayman to be head distiller for Cayman Spirits Co. Ferguson returned to New England and has introduced new products to the Flag Hill spirit line, including rums and whiskeys, and has re-focused the business to produce exceptional and award-winning wines. He is a graduate of Penn State University.

Lisa Whitaker, HR Director, from Omni Mount Washington Resort and Bretton Woods Ski Area

Lisa Whitaker is the human resources director of the Omni Mount Washington Resort and Bretton Woods Ski Area. She joined the Omni Mount Washington team in 2017. Whitaker began her career in hospitality by working in operations at The BALSAMS. In 2005, she worked in human resources and was promoted to director in 2009. After the closure of The BALSAMS in 2011, she served as vice president and human resources director at Granite Bank, where she was responsible for the human resources teams at five offices throughout New Hampshire.

New technology sector champion

Rick Dupuis is the senior systems administrator at Mainstay Technologies

Rick Dupuis is the senior systems administrator at Mainstay Technologies. In his role at Mainstay, he oversees and engineers many of the company’s client networks and works directly with their customers to assist with CIO level planning. Dupuis specializes in Microsoft technologies, strategic planning, training, project planning and implementation. He has been a Microsoft certified trainer for 12 years and holds numerous certifications. Dupuis has traveled the world while providing computer certification training for the U.S. Air Force.

These new partnerships and sector champions showcase SPI’s dedication to the community and to solving New Hampshire’s workforce challenges. Learn more here.