Joshua Cyr is one of the best new candidates for Portsmouth City Council in years, but he certainly isn’t new to Portsmouth. In fact, in a community with new talent constantly flowing inward, Joshua has done as much as anybody in the last 15+ years to make a positive difference in civic life, the economy, the arts, and local government.
Jumping into Portsmouth with Both Feet
After growing up in Idaho, Joshua came to New Hampshire in the early 1990s as a student at UNH. In 1997, he moved to Portsmouth, and started working for Harbour Light, a local web design and digital marketing firm. He quickly helped found eCoast, a high-tech networking group still here 16 years later. He joined the Board of Directors of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, serving as chair of their Technology Committee. He helped launch WSCA 106.1 FM, a locally-based radio station. He joined the board of Pro Portsmouth, eventually becoming the board president. All of this was in less than a decade of making Portsmouth home.
Strengthening Our Economy and Culture Simultaneously
After helping co-found Savvy Software about 10 years ago as its CTO, and building experience and longevity on the various boards on which he sat, the combination of experiences made him, at an early age, a unique contributor to the community. From his website:
My passion is building community and fostering collaboration; specifically via the intersection of arts, technology, and business.
After a relatively short amount of time in Portsmouth, Joshua was getting involved in about everything civic you could do. Leading on nonprofit boards. Running fundraising efforts for local arts and cultural organizations. Starting companies locally. It is the combination of experiences that is key to Joshua’s unique value to the next City Council.
Joshua understands that part of improving our economy and tax base is encouraging entrepreneurs and new businesses to come to Portsmouth to live, work, create, and recreate. A vibrant arts community is central to making this a place where creative people and businesses want to be.
About five years ago, in a search for work space for himself as he moved to freelance work, Joshua rented some large open space off of McDonough Street that was vacant. It was available, but was far bigger than he needed, so he started renting out some of that floor space to other young technology professionals, until demand exceeded the space he had. The atmosphere was collaborative, and highly creative – and it was fulfilling a need in the community.
Eventually, he was able to move his space downtown, and in 2011, founded Alpha Loft. It quickly became the Seacoast’s hub for startups and tech groups, with meetups and other programming in the technology world.
Combined with his six years (and counting) on the city’s Economic Development Commission, Joshua’s understanding of the local business community is as strong as anybody in Portsmouth. In 2014, this was recognized when the abiHub, a statewide incubator and accelerator for startup and early-stage companies, acquired Joshua’s venture and renamed the entire network Alpha Loft. Joshua now serves as Alpha Loft’s Director of Education and Acceleration.
Joshua has been married for about nine years to his wife, Jen, and they have two young children. In many ways, Joshua and his family represent what we say we want more of in Portsmouth, and in New Hampshire: Talented young people who choose our community because they love the history, culture, and vibrancy of Portsmouth, and then make a commitment to raise their family and get very involved in making Portsmouth an even better place to live.
I would urge you to take a moment to visit Joshua’s website, like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter, and offer to help his campaign my taking a yard sign, offering to knock on doors, writing a letter to the editor, or making a modest contribution to his campaign.
He’s been a great member of community for many years, and he’ll make an outstanding member of the next City Council. Please give him your vote on November 3rd!