Pemi River Consulting is a flexible, scalable consulting firm, able to assemble the right team for specific client needs.


The firm is led by Thad Guldbrandsen, a higher education innovator, nonprofit leader, and anthropologist with more than two decades of experience working in partnership with community organizations, government agencies, businesses, and higher education partners in the United States and internationally.


Pemi River Consulting is especially interested in helping colleges and universities develop projects, programs, and initiatives that involve community-economic development, faculty scholarship, and hands-on learning opportunities for students.

Other areas of expertise include workforce development, research administration, partnership development, strategic planning, and assessment.


Thad Guldbrandsen

President, CEO, and

Lead Catalyst

I am drawn to consulting because I like working with others to help them to achieve their goals. That’s why I became an educator. That’s been the basis of my research. That’s why I became a university administrator. That’s why I launched my consulting firm.

I have always worked collaboratively with colleagues, partners, and students to create new programs and help make existing programs better. In fact, I have never had a professional job that someone else had before me (at least not since I finished graduate school and left my waiter’s apron and bow tie behind).

I am most comfortable in the creative, collaborative spaces where I can help people achieve their goals. As an anthropologist, my work revolves around the age-old anthropological questions: How do social systems work? In what ways does leadership matter? How can small groups of individuals create changes in their communities in the face of forces much bigger than themselves? 

As a researcher, university administrator, and community development practitioner, I have studied and learned about what makes initiatives work and what makes them fail. What enables people to come together to achieve their goals, and where are the hidden pitfalls that derail projects. At every opportunity, I am eager to learn lessons from others, and now I want to share those lessons perspectives with people in other organizations and institutions.


"During my fifty years of active engagement in our state’s hospitality industry, higher education system, and non-profit organizations, I have never encountered a more impressive person than Thad Guldbrandsen. Despite a generation of difference in our ages, I am frequently inspired by Thad’s knowledge, insight, critical thinking prowess, and tireless commitment to do good work. He is truly driven to make a positive difference in his community, but he is a kind and considerate colleague."

President, Balsams Corp., New Hampshire Business Person of the Year 2006, Executive Director of University Relations (retired) Plymouth State University

''Thad has a unique perspective on higher education because of the range of expertise that he has developed over time. Whenever I was lucky enough to serve on a project with him, I was always grateful for his ability to encourage productive conversation across disciplines, and to link the work of the university to the challenges and resources of our region. He is an innovator in the best sense of the word: informed, thoughtful, and measured, but ready to lead his teams in new directions in order to find sustainable pathways and new ways that the academy can serve the public.''

"Over the course of the past five years, I have relied on Thad to support the board in thinking deeply about the complex challenges facing Sterling and all of higher education. He's been able to facilitate discussions that have led us to think creatively and make informed decisions."

''Thad is a creative problem-solver and excellent collaborator who really understands the challenges and opportunities facing higher education today.''

President, Great Lakes Colleges Association

''I have collaborated with Thad on a number of issues within the higher education arena over the years, most notably within the realm of sponsored research, research collaborations, intellectual property issues and infrastructure development.  I have come to appreciate three of Thad's professional strengths in particular.  First, Thad is excellent at assessing situations and landscapes so as to imagine potentially beneficial collaborations that should be pursued.  Second, in approaching collaborations, he is naturally predisposed to ensuring all constituents' needs are at the heart of collaborative efforts so that those efforts don't become one-sided in their focus.  And finally, Thad understands resource-limited environments and how to approach infrastructure limitations creatively. ''

Director, Office of Sponsored Projects & Research, Keene State College

''In my four decades as an academic, I have found Thad Guldbrandsen to have achieved an unsurpassed level of comprehension of the interrelationship among academic and community/regional partners. He is an astute listener, has an innate sense of what paths need to be taken, and has the necessary patience and energy to reach workable solutions.''

Principal, OakLee Consulting, Emeritus Professor of Tourism Management & Policy, Plymouth State University

“In today’s landscape of higher education, partnerships between a college or university and the constituencies it serves are not simply mutually beneficial but even critical.  Thad Guldbrandsen is a gifted ‘convener of interests’, a person who recognizes that it is at that intersection of interests between an academic institution and its neighbors that economic development, cultural enrichment, and real-world educational experience are to be found.  His track record speaks impressively for his talent and dedication.”

“Thad Guldbrandsen has a keen eye for detail without losing track of the big picture. His work provides a platform for creative engagement with community partners, and he takes great care to maintain a collaborative, collegial environment while doing the difficult work that surrounds such efforts. I’ve benefitted both personally and professionally from my engagement with Thad.”

''The complex problems that our institutions and society face can only be solved through collaboration. Thad Guldbrandsen is able to listen and find the common ground that allows people of varied backgrounds and interests to develop a strategy and move forward together with energy and purpose. He is genuinely gifted, with an impressive record of achievement.''

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1746 Wolfeboro Highway, Alton, New Hampshire 03809  USA | +1-603-236-1402 | info@pemiriverconsulting.com

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