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Sam Rowse: Innovator and altruist
Growing up in a family where his parents gave him confidence that "you could do whatever you wanted to do," Sam Rowse is as driven to do the right things in retirement as he was during his career in business. That includes helping improve the lives of people in northern New England.
The retired president of Veryfine Products, Inc., an innovative New England-based corporation, Rowse spent almost 30 years with the firm. His grandfather, Arthur Rowse, started working for the company in 1894 and bought it in 1900. Sam Rowse became Veryfine's president in 1989 and retired when the firm was sold to Kraft Foods in 2004.
Under his family's direction, Veryfine was the first company to create a vending machine for juices, the first to package juice in aluminum cans, the first to package single-serve juices and fruit drinks in plastic, and the first to market zero-calorie, full-flavored water—Fruit2O.
As leaders of one of the nation's most successful businesses, Rowse and his family understood the importance of giving their employees a way to be a part of the enterprise. "We never said our employees worked for us," Rowse explains. "We wanted them working with us, and that's a very real distinction. It was one of the keys to our success. "When the company was sold, Rowse and his family carved out millions of dollars from the proceeds to give back to the employees.
Positive family values and working with people clearly influence how Rowse chooses to spend his time today as well. Understandably proud of his business acumen, the retired executive is now eagerly applying his skills to help DHMC advance its work, especially in children's care and cancer. "My children use the hospital," he says. "And my grandson was born at CHaD [the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth]. Another grandchild is on the way, too, so that brings all that [caring for children] to the fore."
Making a difference
Losing a brother to an aggressive form of brain cancer some years ago led Rowse to also volunteer to help Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center. He is a member of the Cancer Center Director's Advisory Board and of the NCCC Working Group, which is raising money for the Transforming Medicine Campaign. Rowse sees these activities as ways he can help contribute to finding solutions to cancer.
He also contributes to DHMC in a more direct fashion, having made generous donations to the Medical Center's annual fund, to the James W. Varnum Quality Health Care Endowment Fund, and to the 2005 Transforming Medicine Campaign Gala.
Rowse explains his focus on DHMC this way:"I guess you'd say I have a real . . . altruistic kind of bent, an interest in being able to make a difference—not just [in] helping, but in making a difference."
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Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DHMC
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