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County Commission District 3  -  Alton / Barnstead / Gilford / Laconia Ward 2


Ms. Leadbeater is a candidate for County Commissioner

Eliza Leadbeater’s career spans forty years as an economic developer, entrepreneur, and educator


After receiving her degree in Recreation Management from the State University of NY at Cortland, Eliza served as Assistant Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for Brattleboro, Vermont.  Moving to Britain in the late 60’s, she earned her teaching qualifications from the University of Keele College of Education in Crewe, England.  She has taught in UK and USA in one room village schools to inner city high schools.


In the early 70’s, Eliza launched her own manufacturing and mail-order business in rural England exporting hand-textile equipment and products to over 35 countries annually.  While residing in Britain at the request of publishers, she authored two books, numerous feature articles, and a regular column for an American textile magazine.  In 1982, she sold the company and returned to family in Newport, RI and began importing containers of European antiques, textiles, and other products. 


After being the featured presenter at a textile workshop in New Hampshire, Eliza realized how much she missed rural New England, so in 1985 she sold her import business and accepted a temporary teaching position at Fall Mountain High School in Alstead, NH. She has served as Director of Conferences and Special Programs at New England College, Assistant to the President at Keene State College, Assistant Director of Continuing Education at University of Vermont, and Economic Development Manager for Addison County Vermont Chamber of Commerce.


While in Addison County, many of her businesses were agricultural.  She helped organize a continuing education program for dairy farmers, so they would be exposed to new farm and business management practices.  She was a board member for a statewide marketing program, Vermont Makes It Special and used that experience to help NH Rural Development Council launch NH Made. She authored for the state a strategic plan for the creation of a World Trade organization and was contracted to the Vermont Folklife Center for the development of a strategic plan that addressed sustainability.  Eliza also was invited to serve on the Vermont Educational Television (now PBS) advisory panel for the entrepreneur series: Venturing: The Entrepreneurial Challenge. This thirteen-part series featured many of the businesses that Eliza assisted.  In 1992 it was awarded an Emmy.


She retired in 2007 after serving fifteen years as the founding Executive Director of the Belknap County Economic Development Council.  During her tenure at the BCEDC, Eliza established a revolving loan fund that lent over $6 million to entrepreneurs and local businesses, in addition, to assisting businesses in securing millions in conventional loans.  She also helped secure millions in grants for businesses, non-profits, and communities.  The organization under Eliza’s leadership became a model for rural development activities in New Hampshire and garnered over twenty national and state recognitions most notably the NH Small Business Administration’s Financial Service Advocate of the Year (2000)– the first non-profit to receive this award; International Economic Development Council’s Economic Development Program Award (2004); and the USDA-Rural Development Partner of the Year (2006).


Eliza is recognized as the visionary and driving force behind the renovation of many under-utilized properties in the region as well as her work in securing grants for workforce training and developing programs such as Making It in the Lakes Region, Insights into Industry, NH First Job, and Live, Work, and Play NH.  She also played a part in initiatives such as Leadership Lakes Region and NH Made and launched the NH Alliance of Regional Development Organizations.  Governor Merrill asked her to serve on the steering committee for the formation of the NH Rural Development and later appointed her to the Board.  In 1998 she was appointed by Governor Shaheen to serve on the newly created Workforce Opportunity Council (now Workforce Investment Board) and her appointment was renewed until she stepped down in 2017. Eliza also represented economic development on numerous other state boards, advisory committees, and focus groups including NH Forum on Higher Education Board of Directors, Community Development Advisory Committee for NH Housing Finance Authority, Office of State Planning, and the advisory board of the National Association of Development Organization/Economic Development Finance Service.


Her work of behalf of Belknap County has been recognized in the Congressional Record of the US Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the NH Senate, House, and Office of the Governor.  Also, she has been awarded the NH Excellence in Business Award for Public Service (2004), NH Outstanding Woman in Business (2007), Citizens Bank’s “Not Your Typical Partner” Award (2007), a broker’s license in recognition of her work by the NH Real Estate Commission, and an honorary degree from the Lakes Region Community College.  Eliza is also included in Ray Carbone’s book, Legendary Locals of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.


In her retirement, Eliza continues to assist non-profits behind the scenes. She enjoys volunteering, gardening, kayaking, and a variety of crafts.


Candidate’s Website:

Eliza Leadbeater: Actions of county commissioner should not be influenced by party affiliation


Don Morrissey: Eliza Leadbeater is ready to serve as county commissioner


Sept 2018: The challenge is to maximize our investment in Gunstock


March 2017: Lawmakers personal agendas & posturing will be damaging immediately


Excerpt from Laconia Daily Sun


Feb 3, 2007 BCEDC honored by USDA Rural Development

The Belknap County Economic Development Council (BCEDC) was named "New Hampshire Partner of the Year" for 2006 by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development in a ceremony at the council's headquarters yesterday. In presenting the award, Steven Epstein of USDA, said "Eliza used every program." "She doesn't let go of things. She finds ways to make them happen.”

Representing Governor John Lynch, who marked the occasion with a citation, Executive Councilor Ray Burton remarked that "a long time ago we learned in Concord that when Eliza calls, we just do it. It's easier that way."

Since 2001, USDA Rural Development has invested $36.3-million in Belknap County, including $3.1-million in 2006. "Not bad for a county with less than 60,000 people," Epstein remarked.Top of Form

Mar 29, 2007Governor helps economic development council thank Leadbeater for her leadership

Governor John Lynch joined the Belknap County Economic Development Council (BCEDC) to celebrate its 15th birthday at Church Landing last evening and to honor Eliza Leadbeater, who is retiring as executive director after leading the organization since it was founded.

Chairman Greg Dickinson introduced Leadbeater as "the captain of the ship" to a thunderous standing ovation.

"Eliza has dragged me, willingly I might add, to many of the businesses in Belknap County," Lynch said, adding that "the BCEDC is a model of what economic development is all about and we are fortunate to have people like you in the community." The governor presented Leadbeater with a scrapbook, filled with reminders of her work to enrich and enliven the economy of the Lakes Region.

"It's a special bonus to have the governor here," Dickinson said, "especially for Eliza."

Jolinda LeClair director of Rural Development for New Hampshire and Vermont, called Leadbeater "the most energetic, intelligent, creative enthusiastic out-of-the-box economic director in two states." The package Leadbeater fashioned with Rural Development to finance construction of new quarters for the New Hampshire Humane Society in Laconia, she said, was so innovative that it made the front page of a report by the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington. "I offer a huge thank you to Eliza, one of the most powerful economic developers we know," Le Clair said.

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