University and energy company celebrate, seek to continue expanding partnership

Monday, August 21, 2023
UNH graduates gather outside of Eversource in Manchester.

UNH President Jim Dean stands alongside a group of UNH graduates and students who work at Eversource in Manchester as part of a visit Aug. 10. Photo credit: Mike Howard/Eversource.

Several UNH leaders, including President Jim Dean, visited Eversource in Manchester on Aug. 10, discussing opportunities to further strengthen a prospering partnership and learning a little about what it takes to keep the power on in communities throughout New Hampshire – as well as how many UNH students and graduates have a hand in that endeavor.

Dean was joined by Mike Decelle, dean of the UNH College of Professional Studies, and Brad Kinsey, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, for a visit that included a presentation on advances in the power industry and a tour of Eversource’s two power grid control rooms. The day wrapped up with a panel discussion featuring UNH alumni who are working at Eversource as well as current UNH students completing internships there.

More than 135 UNH graduates are currently working at Eversource in New Hampshire, several dozen of whom filled the room as audience members during the panel discussion (there are more than 220 UNH graduates employed at Eversource company-wide).

“What we’re trying to do at UNH is bring opportunity to talented people like these, and that’s what you are trying to do, as well,” Dean said as he addressed the Eversource crowd following the discussion. “We’re about helping people to be successful, and we’ve got the evidence of that right here, but we can’t do it unless we have partnerships with organizations like yours.”

Liliana Vornehm '25 speaks as part of a panel at Eversource
Liliana Vornehm ’25 speaks as part of a panel featuring unh students and gradautes at Eversource.

That partnership is thriving, a sentiment driven home by the panel of five graduates and two current students working at Eversource – Annette Conticchio ’15, Connor Skane ’22, Patrick Chang ’20, Michael Wilkins ’14, Thor Bartlett ’20, Matthew Hamilton ’24 and Liliana Vornehm ’25.

UNH has long been a leading provider of interns for the energy company – including six in 2022 – and recently established a new internship-scholarship program that provides UNH students who participate the chance to gain real-world experience through a paid internship while receiving a $2,500 scholarship for two years from Eversource.

“The internships are really helpful because they give you that hands-on experience. Without this internship, Eversource never would have been one of my career considerations, but now it’s one of my top ones,” Vornehm, a recipient of the newly developed scholarship, says. “I think there is so much benefit to be gained from being able to experience a work environment, even for just a few months.”

That benefit was well-represented on the panel, as several of the current employees noted that their first exposure to Eversource came as interns – and for many of them it was the leading factor in choosing to stay.

“A lot of it is the people you work with,” Bartlett says. “There’s a reason people keep staying – there’s a culture and community among the people at Eversource. It’s really a great place to work.”

The preparation to enter the workforce confidently came from UNH. Several panelists highlighted the critical thinking and interpersonal skills they gained at UNH as key elements that eased the transition, and many began work with specific proficiencies that directly aided them on the job.

“Working in the field, I was surprised at how much you actually use what you learned in school. As a field engineer, I’m very hands-on, and I can think of specific examples of what I learned in the lab at school and showed up day one and used on the job,” Skane, who graduated last year from UNH Manchester with a degree in electrical engineering technology, says. “Going to UNH made the transition to the work world so much easier.”

That work world at Eversource includes opportunities beyond engineering, as well, including positions in areas like communications, legal, finance, human resources and sustainability. Vornehm is a junior studying community and environmental planning as well as sustainability, working in Eversource’s energy efficiency department.

UNH recently completed a broad three-year energy efficiency partnership with Eversource – the first of its kind among New Hampshire colleges and universities – that saved approximately 3% to 4% of energy purchased and cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,100 tons. To build on those efforts, Eversource continues to work with UNH on new projects and strategic energy-saving opportunities to support the university’s sustainability efforts.

"I can think of specific examples of what I learned in the lab at school and showed up day one and used on the job. Going to UNH made the transition to the work world so much easier." 

“It’s made me prouder of UNH – working in energy efficiency has helped me realize that UNH’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency is real, it’s not just marketing,” she says. “I think it’s important that large organizations like Eversource and UNH that have a big impact on the community show they are working together and working together to benefit everyone.”

Those present from both organizations stressed a desire to continue building on the existing partnership, reaching even more students at UNH. Panelists floated ideas like bringing a bucket truck to campus as a way to generate interest and encouraged spreading the word about opportunities to both under and upperclassmen, across all majors and disciplines, and connecting with more student organizations.

“I think if we get even the tiniest bit of exposure to the student body, regardless of major, I think this stuff is so cool that people would realize, hey, Eversource is a great place to work.”

Realizations like that have had long-lasting impacts for some, including Eversource employee Mike Busby ’89, who said he chose a job at Eversource over other competitors after graduating from UNH because it would allow him to work in the field rather than in a cubicle. It was the last job decision he’s had to make.

“That really excited me because I was more of a hands-on kind of guy. I was restoring power to people and maintaining power to people, so working here really made me feel like I was contributing to the community by keeping the lights on,” Busby, who has a son and daughter who have since graduated from UNH, as well, says. “That’s something I took a lot of pride in, and after 30 years I still take a lot of pride in it.”

Eversource and UNH Career and Professional Success have curated many opportunities for current students and recent alumni to engage this fall. See the latest jobs and events from Eversource in Handshake or reach out to Career & Professional Success at