When Steven Aiken was growing up on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, his hometown and worldview were a far cry from what they look like today. Presently a successful financial advisor and leader in the financial services industry in New Hampshire, Steven credits NHTI with fueling his desire to succeed.
“I grew up in Meredith, and at the time, it was kind of a blue-collar community and not as tourism-focused as it is today. When you grow up in a blue-collar household, if you want something you have to earn it yourself. I was initially unsure about attending college and most of my high school classmates were going to nearby Plymouth State University, which at the time was very much the local college for us in Meredith.”
Steven’s high school hosted presenters from various colleges during his senior year. It was here that a representative from NHTI-Concord’s Community College showed his class the first CAD system and thus piqued his interest in an educational alternative to that of his peers. Obtaining a degree in two years was highly appealing to Steven and he enrolled at NHTI upon graduating from high school.
While Steven was attending NHTI, he enjoyed a balance of guidance and independence that enabled him to venture beyond his comfort zone while still participating in the subjects and activities with which he was familiar.
“I was fairly quiet – just a normal guy and a “B” student. I worked [while in high school] and was the guy mowing lawns, washing windows, nothing special…and then I was the president of NHTI’s student council and more involved in the community. You had to have the drive to start, but there was always someone there to help push you along. Everybody was pushing each other in the same direction for a positive outcome.”
While the desire to grow already existed within Steven, the personal connections he made at NHTI helped him harness and apply it. One such individual was the beloved Bill Miller, a soccer coach who Steven describes as “fun, funny, and utterly devoted to his team” and an inspiration even today when Steven is out on the field coaching a team of his own. Similarly, he credits the late business professor Joe Gula with helping him to continuously grow and advance not only as a student, but also a person, as he worked his way through the NHTI program. The impact of these mentors was complemented by a group of equally aspirational classmates that Steven counts as some of his closest friends now, 30 years later.
After completing his associate degree in business management from NHTI, Steven transferred to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance and financial management services from Franklin Pierce University, also earning the designation of Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CPRC). That experience ultimately led Steven to a career as a Financial Advisor with Fidelity Investments before moving on to TD Bank as an Investment Advisor. Following a successful tenure at each institution, he returned to his hometown of Meredith to join NH Trust Financial Advisors at Meredith Village Savings Bank.
For the past decade, Steven has served as VP of Financial Advisors and provides day-to-day leadership of the Financial Advisory team. In this role, he works directly with many of his long-time personal clients to assist them with their investment and financial planning needs. When reflecting on his experience decades later, the positive legacy of his two short years at NHTI is apparent:
“I was able to provide a lot for [my son] fairly early on because I pushed and pushed and pushed. As I’ve watched him grow up and compete in sports, my friends from NHTI, many of whom are similarly successful and now own their own businesses, would be right there with me to cheer him on. NHTI was a place where we were connected by a common goal: we wanted to make our lives better.”