David Ruedig named Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year 

  • David Ruedig is the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Citizen of the Year. Courtesy of Dave White Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 10/10/2018 5:38:52 PM

David Ruedig, his associates agree, possesses great leadership skills, allowing the local financial adviser to guide large commissions through major changes around the city.

But, those who know him say, “don’t forget about the kids,” because they’re the ones who soften his heart, and they’re part of the reason why the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce named Ruedig as its latest Citizen of the Year.

“That’s the way to get to David,” said Clint Cogswell, the former Concord School Board president and current member. “Mention that something is for the kids and he’ll respond.”

The announcement came Wednesday as part of a revised format that reveals the winner ahead of time, rather than waiting for an Oscar-style presentation. The award will be given at the 99th annual awards banquet Nov. 7 at the Grappone Conference Center.

Since changing the forma last year, Chamber President Tim Sink no longer needs to stretch the truth to ensure that winners show up at the dinner, held in a spacious ballroom and attended by about 300 people.

“I think it’s a good idea this way,” Sink said. “I enjoyed the drama of the surprise, but I found myself telling blatant lies to confuse people and get them to come thinking they were honoring other people, so it did not make sense to do it that way. And also people who know the recipient would like to be there, so it was a courtesy to them.”

Ruedig was on vacation in Chicago and unavailable for comment Wednesday. Adam Ruedig, his son and business partner, said his father had been notified about the award and was “thrilled and humbled.”

Ruedig has been on more boards than Olympian Shaun White, and his volunteer work in other areas made the voting committee’s choice relatively easy.

Sink mentioned three qualifying elements, including giving to the community in a variety of ways over a long period of time. “David hits that criteria accurately,” Sink said.

Ruedig has been affiliated with the Red Cross, the Concord Public Library, the United Way, the Historical Society and Merrimack Valley Daycare.

His contributions in three other areas stood out even more, Sink said. Ruedig was the president of the Concord School Board and chairman of the New Hampshire Board of Education, and he’s currently the chairman of the board of trustees at Concord Hospital.

“Dave is passionate about serving the vulnerable in our service area, especially children,” said Bob Steigmeyer, CEO of Concord Hospital.

Cogswell cited one example of Ruedig’s allegiance to children, saying money was needed to help the grant-funded preschool program.

“I needed some cash someplace and I went to David and asked if he could find a few bucks because we were going through a building project,” Cogswell said.” He got us the money and then threw in some of his own.”

Cogswell said Ruedig raised $15,000 from Concord Hospital and added $5,000 himself.

Concord attorney Bill Chapman, last year’s winner, had always heard about Ruedig’s various contributions connected to school boards. Then he worked with him on the Concord Hospital board and realized what all the fuss was about.

“I read about him in the newspaper and thought the groups he was involved with had good leadership and they did things I agreed with,” Chapman said. “Then I met him and he was marvelous, someone who combines not only common sense but vision and good leadership skills, and he absolutely has the softest touch. He is able to blend humor into leadership in a way very few people are able to do.”

Chris Rath, the former superintendent of the Concord School District, said Ruedig led the effort to renovate Concord High and add grade nine to the high school and grade six to the middle school, an arduous task that saw Ruedig direct a 40-person task force.

“In terms of helping the group come to some decisions and make commitments, he had vision and courage to take these things on,” Rath said. “He helped the community realize that the conditions were right for that to happen at that time. This was a huge undertaking.”

As with others who commented for this story, it wasn’t long before Rath cited his connection to children, saying the number of kids playing soccer at Rundlett Middle School is directly connected to a policy change inspired by Ruedig.

Students can no longer be cut from the school’s soccer teams. “He advocated for all kids to play on all their teams,” Rath said. “And that idea has existed to this very day.”

Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.

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