Now, all we need is a city-wide boost of self-esteem and a statewide push toward critical mass.
Two weeks ago the company unceremoniously planted a glowy red Oracle sign atop its new outpost in the millyard, replacing the short-lived iconic Dyn sign that, when hoisted four years ago, signaled a new high-tech era for this old mill town.
Kamen was invited to speak at Oracle’s official rebrand town hall event on May 15, during which he recapped his affection for New Hampshire, a love affair that began with good marketing.
“I grew up in the people’s republic of New York, a dense place in many ways,” said Kamen, who delivers remarks with the cadence of a seasoned Long Island comedian.
“I moved here having never been here, but when I was in Boston I saw New Hampshire license plates all over the place, ‘Live free or die.’ One time I was about to get back on a plane and head back to New York, but I made a turn to the left instead of a turn to the right,” he says. “Instead of sitting in that freaking tunnel, I came up here, and — the rest is history.”
That history includes establishing FIRST — a student incubator for future engineers — and DEKA research lab, from which he’s delivered a multitude of technological innovations with practical and medical implications — from stents, insulin pumps, gyroscopic Segways, LUKE arms and iBot wheelchairs, to the Slingshot water filtration system, and now ARMI, a biotech start-up poised to change everything we know about regenerative medicine.
Although Tuesday was not about Kamen, without him it’s reasonable to figure Oracle would be planting its glowy red sign on some other city’s skyline.
So it seemed about right that Kamen was the featured speaker as he told the group of Oracle employees — a mix of those who grew with Dyn from start-up to new corporate identity, as well as those hired in the past 18 months — that no matter how long they’ve been with the company, the good news is they are in the right place at the right time to be part of the next industrial revolution.
“Some of you may not be aware of this, but for 30 years — between about 1830 and 1860 — Amoskeag Mills were the largest single industrial complex operating in the United States,” said Kamen.
He said he invested in the millyard 30 years ago because he saw all the empty available industrial space — exactly what an inventor with big ideas needed to make big things happen. His vision included one day returning the millyard to its previous status, as a technological hub.
That time has come.
“We have these magnificent buildings. There’s millions of square feet here,” says Kamen, who just acquired another mill building, slated for more office space and workforce housing.
“But if we’re going to turn this place into what we all want it to be we’ve got to get to critical mass. Oracle coming out here is a pretty good confirmation that this is the place to be,” says Kamen. “Fact is, this millyard really could be the basis for building for the East Coast — particularly through regenerative medicine and the high tech stuff you guys are doing — what Silicon Valley did for the semiconductor industry, because it was the right place at the right time”
Getting to critical mass means continuing to be the magnetic force attracting more high-tech industrial players to the riverfront hub, said Kamen.
“And if we can get to critical mass in this community, the only thing that Manchester and New Hampshire lack is self-image. I don’t think people in New Hampshire realize how lucky they are — everyone I bring up here loves it. Or as I once heard the governor say, there are two kinds of people — those lucky enough to be born here, and those smart enough to move here,” a slogan Kamen says he borrowed from Sununu when he first heard it, and uses it all the time because, well, it’s true.
Kamen’s literal genius advice is for the “whole community” to have a louder voice about how incredible New Hampshire is, now that Oracle — a $38 billion company with nearly 140,000 employees worldwide —has found its way here and intends to add to our magnetic pull on other industrial innovators.
“New Hampshire has a lot to finally be loud about,” says Kamen. “I’m just happy there are other big guys that realize how unique New Hampshire is, and hope you help us grow it so it does become a hub and high-energy destination for the next generation of tech companies.”
Oracle’s history at a glance
Oracle arrived in New Hampshire in the1990s, beginning with the Nashua office and expanding to Manchester and Hanover in 2017 with the acquisition of Dyn, Inc.
- The Nashua office is home to developers who work on many of Oracle’s 1,200 software products, customer application support, product engineering, and other general and administrative functions. Oracle is an active supporter of the Nashua Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, Police Athletic League and Nashua Fire Department.
- Dyn, which Oracle acquired in April of 2017, was incorporated in 2001 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute by four students, two of whom were from Manchester, New Hampshire. In the early 2000s, the company moved to Manchester, New Hampshire after the encouragement of Mayor Bob Baines who had been founder Jeremy Hitchcock’s high school principal.
- In August 2011, Dyn moved to its current location on Dow Street. The location was once home to the Pandora sweater factory and connects Manchester’s industrial past to its digital future. The business expanded from 23,000 square feet to its current footprint of 95,000 square feet. Dyn was a pioneer in cultivating Manchester’s tech ecosystem and continues to host tech events as well as community service activities.
- Since 2001, companies from start-ups to enterprises have used Oracle Dyn’s world-leading Managed DNS, Web Application Security, and Email Delivery services to ensure their website traffic and essential customer communications get delivered faster, more safely, and more reliably than ever. Dyn does all of this by having a robust and redundant network, unrivaled data and analytics and a team focused on engineering excellence and customer success.
- In 2014, Dyn acquired Renesys, a business that monitors, collects, analyzes and correlates Internet routing and performance data which is based in Hanover. This division is staffed by data scientists, for the most case PhDs, who came from Dartmouth College. Their expertise is routinely sought to explain worldwide internet traffic issues.