50 People

July 2014

By: Katy Kelleher
Photography: Greta Rybus

Stephen King, Maine author

 

In 2013, we published our first list of 50 Mainers who have made a difference in our state. This feature story gathered together an assortment of bold thinkers and generous spirits, people who have contributed to their communities in deep and lasting ways. While we remain proud of our inaugural list, we knew that it was far from comprehensive. There are many more remarkable individuals living and working in Maine. Many more to learn from and be inspired by. Many more to honor and thank. Here, we celebrate a fraction of that illustrious population, those who are moving Maine forward through their innovative business practices, commitment to purpose-driven education, lifelong support of the arts, and groundbreaking medical research. We highlight philanthropists who have spent decades improving the inner workings of nonprofits, doctors who have found new ways to combat childhood obesity, and CEOs who are striving to create safer and more community-minded workplaces. We present to you 50 people who have changed our world, improved our lives, and broadened our horizons. 


*****

Aaron T Stephan
While perhaps best known for his playful-yet-smart sculptures, artist Aaron T Stephan works in many mediums, from audio pieces to printmaking to performance art. “A brilliant and original artist, Aaron’s unique blend of high aesthetics, superior craftsmanship, and good sense has fed his success,” says Donna McNeil, former executive director at the Maine Arts Commission, an organization that awarded Stephan Good Idea Grants in 2009 and 2011. In the past year, Stephan’s work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick, Samson Projects in Boston, and at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Stephan, who is currently preparing for an upcoming exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art, has been the recipient of many awards, including a Zorach Fellowship for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Louise Bourgeois Residency for Sculpture. “One of the greatest privileges of being an artist is to function outside of conventional norms,” says Stephan. “I make artwork to affect change, find poetry, and maintain a public conversation.” And, as Stephen points out, “Maine is a great place to make art. You can hunker down in the long winters and just…work.”


*****



Jill McGowan
The white button-down shirt is a classic, but the difficulty of finding one that doesn’t bunch, gap, or pull has resulted in many women simply giving up on the garment. That was, at least, until Jill McGowan, a former menswear patternmaker with an exceptional eye for tailoring, launched her eponymous brand in 1994. The company started with a line of six shirt styles, all constructed from basic, beautiful Egyptian cotton, and a brick-and-mortar store in Freeport soon followed. “In design school and while working in the men’s apparel business I developed a hyper-critical eye for the construction and quality of clothing,” McGowan explains. “I recognized the need to improve standards for women’s apparel.” Today, her line includes dozens of styles as well as seasonal collections. An active participant in her local community, McGowan is a founding member of the youth writing program The Telling Room, and she annually sponsors the Blue Wrap Project Runway, a fashion show to benefit for Partners for World Health, which donates medical supplies to clinics in need. More recently, at the age of 50, McGowan has been donning another, decidedly less chic accessory: hockey skates. “I fell in love with the sport,” she says. “It took me completely by surprise—it’s just so dang fun!”


*****

Chris Kilgour
When Chris Kilgour first opened the Bangor office of C&L Aviation Group in 2010, he intended to use it as a satellite office. A native of Australia, Kilgour could have located this arm of his business anywhere, yet the C&L CEO chose Maine. “I was so impressed by the work ethic of the people of Maine, and by the support I received from the local city, that I decided to move C&L’s headquarters (as well as my family) to Bangor and grow the business there,” he says. What started as an office of just 20 quickly grew and now employs over 120 skilled workers. This year, C&L moved the company to a $5 million expansion at Bangor International Airport, which will provide space to service larger aircrafts, and more of them. Kilgour says that the company’s success has allowed him to branch out into charitable giving through the Making a Difference program at C&L, and he continues his altruistic efforts off the clock at his local church. However, just the choice to locate his business in Bangor has had a noticeable positive effect on the central Maine community. “Chris has succeeded in putting a generation of aircraft mechanics and technicians back to work in Bangor and is training many more,” says attorney Jon Block of Pierce Atwood. “In short, the state of Maine is very fortunate that Chris landed here.”


*****


Andy Shepard
Andy Shepard credits his early days at L.L. Bean for giving him the drive to turn Maine Winter Sports Center into the dynamic institution it is today. Now the president and CEO of Maine Winter Sports Center, Shepard got his start at L.L. Bean, working first as a product manager, and later as a merchandise manager. “At L.L. Bean I was surrounded by exceptional leaders. It was clear that Leon Gorman had created a culture that encouraged every employee to give back to their community, as well as an expectation of excellence on the job,” says Shepard. He applied these principles—hard work, altruism, and a passion for the outdoors—to his role at Maine Winter Sports. Founded in 1999, the center is run by a small staff and a network of over 1,000 volunteers. Seeking to address childhood obesity and promote healthy activity among children and adults, the center focuses on youth and family outdoor programs, trail development, and hosting national and international competitions. Recently, the center was hit with a financial hardship when one of its biggest supporters eliminated its funding. Instead of conceding defeat, Shepard has made it his goal to create a Maine Winter Sports Center Foundation, with a board dedicated to generating an endowment capable of ensuring long-term sustainability. “Andy has re-ignited Maine’s historical passion for skiing, particularly Nordic skiing,” says Andrew Beahm, vice president of internal audit at L.L. Bean. “He has been an enthusiastic mentor to thousands of young Mainers, teaching them to make the best of this great place by living an active and healthy outdoor lifestyle.”

*****



George Kinghorn
“Bangor is experiencing a renaissance,” says George Kinghorn, resident of downtown Bangor since 2008 and director and curator of the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA). Formerly the director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in Florida, Kinghorn has made it his mission to bring contemporary art to Maine viewers. UMMA stands out for its focus on modern and contemporary art, created by both Maine natives and nationally recognized artists. “Over the past five years, we have changed the culture of the museum,” Kinghorn says. The museum has seen a dramatic increase in visitors during this time, which is due in part to Kinghorn’s desire to make it “more dynamic, warm, and accessible.” Through popular events and diverse, changing exhibits, the museum has contributed to the growth of arts in Bangor, drawing visitors from across state borders. Even outside his position at UMaine, Kinghorn is working to put Bangor on the cultural map. As acting chair of the City of Bangor’s Commission for Cultural Development (and former president of the Downtown Bangor Partnership), Kinghorn is responsible for working with city council on advancing downtown revitalization projects. Kinghorn has been recognized by the Bangor Chamber of Commerce for his efforts and was the 2013 recipient of the Fusion Leadership and Vision Award.


*****


Ben Shaw
Ben Shaw is the founder and CEO of Vets First Choice, a company that provides online pharmacy services to veterinarians and veterinary hospitals around the country. This innovative start-up enables prescription management and home delivery of FDA- and EPA-approved pharmaceuticals, therapeutic diets, and compound medications on behalf of more than 10,000 veterinary practices. “We live in an age of entrepreneurship and it is very rewarding to be part of a creative, entrepreneurial, and committed team on a mission to improve the world,” says Shaw. “We’ve had some great achievements in the past year, including major business milestones. But I derive a lot of pride from evidence of one-on-one customer satisfaction.” Judging by the numbers, his customers are very satisfied. Since its inception in 2010, Vets First Choice has twice been named one of the fastest growing companies in the United States by Inc. magazine. Shaw is also a founding partner of Black Point Group, a private investment partnership that focuses on companies in the health care, internet media, and technology sectors. Not only have his business ventures provided jobs to many Mainers, Shaw also gives back to his local community through his work at Maine Huts and Trails, where he served as a founding director, and as a trustee at Jackson Laboratory. “Ben is one of the most visionary entrepreneurs I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my ten years in venture capital,” says Kevin Bitterman of Polaris Partners. “He has a work ethic that is surpassed by very few CEOs I’ve ever encountered.”


*****



Edison Liu
Edison Liu, MD is the president and CEO of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, an organization that has one goal: to lead the search for cures for human diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders. Before Liu joined JAX in 2011, he spent almost ten years working as the founding executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore, where he turned a staff of three into a major research institute of 27 laboratory groups and a staff of 270. Before that, he was the scientific director for the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Although he has been in Maine for only two years, Liu has already sharpened and furthered the mission of JAX. “The Jackson Laboratory is at the forefront of a new approach to understanding and treating human disease,” he says. “Ultimately, the goal of our science is to transform medicine toward improving care and increasing both lifespan and healthspan.” Working to solve one of humanity’s greatest puzzles—the mechanisms and functional genomics of human cancers—has been the focus of Liu’s entire career. Yet this global goal also has an impact close to home: “I’m proud to note our positive impact on Maine through programs that enhance science and education in the state, and through our role as a major employer,” Liu says.


*****



Amy Bouchard
As the founder of Wicked Whoopies, Amy Bouchard has made a wildly successful business out of a favorite childhood treat. Many people are surprised to learn that despite the impressive numbers—the gourmet bakery line generated $2.5 million in sales last year—Bouchard has no formal business background. She launched her company as a 26-year-old stay-at-home mom with a GED, baking out of her Gardiner home. While her husband worked in a shipyard, she squeezed in time between her infant daughter’s naps, taking her along on deliveries with a basket full of pies, and was amazed when she tallied up her first year’s profit of $1,900. Twenty years later, Wicked Whoopies has 30 employees, two retail locations, and a commercial bakery that bakes 10,000 whoopie pies a day. Bouchard’s husband runs customer service and shipping and her son and daughter help out in the retail shop. Perhaps most incredibly, she says, “I still love baking.” Her company has been included on the Inc. 5000 list for one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, the pies were a featured gift idea on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and this year, Bouchard will be receiving Maine’s Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award. One of her career’s biggest thrills was when, after creating the world’s largest whoopie pie (which weighed in at 1,067 pounds and bested Pennsylvania’s previous record of 250 pounds) for a charity radio event, whoopie pies were formally named Maine’s official state treat.

*****


Olympia Snowe
“When I first ran for Congress in 1978, I was motivated by one principle and overriding purpose—to fight for the ideals, the views, the values, and the concerns of the people of Maine,” explains Olympia J. Snowe. From 1979 to 1995, Snowe served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Maine’s second district. On January 3, 1995, Snowe was sworn into office as a U.S. senator, a position she held until 2013 when she decided not to run for reelection and instead focus her efforts on creating Olympia’s List, a multi-candidate political action committee that identifies and supports candidates and elected officials who follow the principles of consensus-building. With a following of over 14,000, Olympia’s List is many things: a social media forum for those interested in “putting the country ahead of politics,” a way to disseminate information about candidates who are furthering this cause, and a way to mobilize support. Last year, Snowe published Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress, which she followed up with a “media blitz to promote its message. And I have been literally crisscrossing the country,” she says. Back in Washington, D.C., Snowe serves as a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she is a member of the board and co-chairs its Commission on Political Reform, which advocates for specific reforms that will improve the political process and is scheduled to release their recommendations on June 24, 2014. In addition to her work on a national level, Snowe is currently in the process of creating the nonprofit Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute in Maine, a project that will motivate young women to develop the leadership and consensus-building skills needed to be successful in the modern workplace. “The intent is to engage 300 (or more) Maine high school girls each year, creating a forum where they can interact with successful Maine women in all fields,” Snowe explains. While Snowe has received too many awards to list here, a few stand out. In 1999, Snowe was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 2006 she was named one of the top ten U.S. senators by Time magazine. Snowe has also received the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal and in 2013 she was named Auburn Citizen of the Year.


*****



Greg Powell 
Greg Powell took the reins at the Harold Alfond Foundation in 2007, after Mr. Alfond passed away. Powell had worked with Alfond for over 13 years to build Dexter Enterprises, the family wealth management firm, and counsel Alfond on his grantmaking. Since Alfond’s estate transferred to the foundation, under Powell’s leadership, annual grantmaking has increased seven-fold to a budgeted $35 million in 2014. Powell also led the build-out and diversification of the foundation’s investment portfolio. Since 2007, while grants of over $200 million have been awarded, the foundation’s investment portfolio has grown from $550 to $756 million. Health care and education entities in Maine have been major beneficiaries. In 2010, Powell announced a grant of $35 million to MaineGeneral Medical Center to build a new regional hospital in North Augusta. The project, which was completed in November of 2013 ahead of time and under budget, injected $322 million into the central Maine economy, and over 90 percent of the contractors hired were from Maine. While Powell and the foundation have many laudable achievements, one of the most well-known initiatives is the Harold Alfond College Challenge, a first-in-the-nation program, which has offered every Maine resident baby a $500 grant for college when their parents open a NextGen College Savings Plan® account. There are nearly 24,000 children enrolled in the program today. On March 6, 2014—Harold Alfond’s 100th birthday—Powell announced that all Maine resident babies will now automatically be awarded a $500 Alfond grant for college, regardless of whether a NextGen account is opened.


*****




Deborah A. Deatrick
Deborah Deatrick, MPH decided to pursue a career as a public health professional following a family tragedy. “My dad was a pediatrician who passed away when he was only 59 from lung cancer,” she recalls. “It was an ugly way to die and totally unnecessary. I made a pact with myself that I would devote my professional life to getting rid of tobacco and helping people stay healthy.” Deatrick found that it was important to effect change at the community level, working directly with local coalitions from her position as the senior vice president for community health improvement at MaineHealth. In 2001, Deatrick created the Center for Tobacco Independence, an award-winning tobacco treatment center that functions within the MaineHealth system. “CTI helps smokers quit and helps doctors learn how to encourage quitting among their patients,” Deatrick explains. Thousands of Mainers have used the CTI’s resources to quit smoking. In collaboration with Owen Wells at the Libra Foundation, Deatrick founded the Raising Readers program, which is now the largest, longest enduring early childhood literacy program in the country. Raising Readers provides newborns with high-quality books, and continues supplying them with literature at every checkup until they are five years old. For her work, Deatrick has received many awards, including accolades from the American Lung Association of Maine, the Konbit Sante Cap-Haitien Health Partnership, Maine Women’s Lobby, and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, among others. “Deb Deatrick’s ability to take any public health issue, quickly grasp the implications for Maine, connect the right people to grapple with the problem, and to identify and procure resources to address a solution is phenomenal,” says Karen Heck of the Bingham Program.


*****


Carl Soderberg
Carl Soderberg is “not a man who seeks public recognition for his efforts,” says Frank McElwain, superintendent of schools in Eastern Aroostook RSU 39. “He has been recognized as the Outstanding Community Supporter on two different occasions, but could have been recognized many more times.” Soderberg, president of Soderberg Construction, has been quietly changing the landscape of northern Maine for years now, establishing miles of trails, building ski hills, and aiding in the construction of tennis courts, locker rooms, athlete quarters, and more. He first became involved with Caribou High School in the late 1990s, when he realized that the students had nowhere nearby to practice skiing. “Kids who wanted to ski would have to get on a bus and go over to the country club,” Soderberg remembers. “I owned the land around where I built my house, which abutted the Caribou High School property. So between the high school property, my land, and a few neighbors, we built a Nordic trail system right behind the school.” This project was just the beginning. Over the next few decades, Soderberg would build ski trails in New Sweden, help create mountain biking trails in Aroostook County, purchase a farmhouse and donate it to the Maine Winter Sports Center to house athletes and equipment, and create miles of trails accessible to elementary, middle, and high school-aged kids. “The Nordic and Alpine skiing community in Aroostook county has benefited significantly from his contributions,” says Jeff Dubis, instructor of forestry at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. “Despite his business success, Carl is a very modest, down-to-earth person. He is highly respected by the northern Maine community.”


*****



Eleanor M. Baker
Eleanor M. Baker is one of the founders of Baker Newman Noyes, a nationally recognized leader in accounting with offices in Portland, Boston, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Baker Newman Noyes supports a variety of clients, with a focus on health care, banking and financial services, not-for-profit, high wealth/income individuals, and commercial enterprises. “Ellie Baker followed me from the University of Maine School of Law into a career in public accounting, and I am honored to have been her partner in our tax practice for the past 30 years,” says Peter L. Chandler, principal at Baker Newman Noyes. “Ellie is committed to making her community a better place; her generous gifts of time and wisdom to the United Way and many other civic organizations are inspirational.” A graduate of the University of Maine, the University of Maine School of Law, and Boston University School of Law, Baker says her career choices were inspired in part by her grandfather, Richard Baker. “I affirmatively choose to live in Maine, like my grandfather,” she says. Among her proudest accomplishments, Baker cites her role as a mentor to women in the accounting and business worlds. “There’s nothing I enjoy more than to assist women (and men!) to reach their full potential.” She has served on the boards of Maine Medical Center, the University of Maine System, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and The Park Danforth, among many others.


*****



Doug Welch
Few people can speak about the Maine coastline with such reverence as Doug Welch. As executive director at the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA), Welch works to protect a network of over 200 islands and remote mainland sites, encouraging visitors and volunteers to keep them pristine while promoting travel on America’s first recreational water trail. “To my mind the coast of Maine is a national treasure with its thousands of tiny wild islands,” explains Welch. “They form a constellation of sorts—a Milky Way of minute planets scattered offshore.” In visiting, studying, and enjoying these islands, Welch argues that we “learn about both the world and ourselves. MITA makes these experiences possible.” “Even though it had existed for two decades, it was on Doug’s watch that the Maine Island Trail was named one of the 50 Best American Adventures (National Geographic Adventure, April/May 2009) and the Best Sea-kayaking Trail in America (Outside, July 2011),” says Brian Marcaurelle, program director at MITA. “That’s no coincidence.” An award-winning project conducted by Harvard University graduate students found that out-of-state visitors to the Maine Island Trail alone contribute over $2.1 million in gross output to the state economy each year.  Welch is using his interest in technology to connect MITA’s loyal founding members with the next generation of coastal stewards. To make the islands more accessible to younger people, he is currently working to develop an app, due out in the summer of 2014.

*****


Stephen King
Few public figures have brought attention to Maine quite like author Stephen King. Over the past 41 years, the prolific and internationally beloved author has written over 50 books and hundreds of short stories. Many of his most famous novels have been set in Maine, driving tourism to the state—his Bangor home is now widely considered a tourist attraction. But while most people know his fear-inducing fiction, many are unaware of King’s extensive charity work. In 1986 King and his wife, Tabitha, founded the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to provide financial support for Maine communities and community services. The foundation awards multiple grants per year, ranging from $500 to $50,000. Past donations have included $50,000 to the Dyer Library in Saco, $50,000 to Telstar High School in Bethel, $50,000 to the Winterport Memorial Library—and the list goes on. While King routinely gives thousands of dollars to schools, libraries, and nonprofits, the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation made news in 2013 when it pledged $3 million to the Bangor Public Library, which was planning a $9 million modernization. King also vocally supports the Coalition for a Safer Maine, an organization that seeks stricter gun control laws. King has spoken out about the issue of gun safety in Maine, and in April 2013, he made a “substantial donation” to the coalition. King told the Associated Press that the gift was “five figures” but wouldn’t comment further. “Charity’s supposed to be a private thing,” he said.

*****


Lisa DeSisto
Lisa DeSisto may be new to Maine, but in the few years she has lived here, she has made a big impact. “After spending 49 years in Boston, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to move with my family and become CEO for MaineToday Media,” DeSisto says. “Every community should have a trusted, credible newspaper that reports on the issues important to its citizens.” After working for many years at the Boston Globe and Boston.com, she took her considerable talents north, and has worked to expand the newsroom, build a consumer marketing function, and install new leadership in the advertising department. To help make MaineToday Media’s top-notch reporting even more accessible, DeSisto built a team of digital developers to improve the user experience and presentation of journalism on the websites. Recently, the Press Herald hired their first-ever video reporter, broadcast veteran Susan Kimball. “We now have the largest newsroom in Maine filled with the most dedicated journalists you will find anywhere,” she says of her Portland office. Under her leadership, MaineToday Media has created a soon-to-launch system of payment for online news, which will provide subscribers with unlimited access to all MaineToday’s digital products. “While our goal to improve our newspapers (and websites) is an ongoing effort, we have made significant progress with the launch of Source, the creation of web-only video content, and the publication of special reports like ‘The Challenge of Our Age,’ which told the story of Maine’s aging population and the challenges they face,” DeSisto explains. Outside MTM, DeSisto is involved in several nonprofits and community-focused organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce.


*****



Rafael Grossman
In 2013, Rafael J. Grossmann, MD, FACS became the first surgeon to ever use Google Glass in an operating room, an achievement that landed him on the TED Talks circuit and helped Grossmann receive international recognition for his futuristic approach to health care. “I’m a general surgeon,” Grossmann clarifies, “but in addition to caring for my patients, I see myself as a health care futurist. My passion lies in the intersection of technology, innovation, and health care.” A true forward-thinker, Grossmann has championed the use of Google’s wearable computer in hospital settings, arguing that the device will allow greater collaboration between doctors and hands-free access to relevant information like the patient’s medical history. Even before Grossmann became a global figure in the medical community, he and his team had made significant strides to improve access to emergency services in Maine. “Dr. Grossmann belongs among the rarest of groups: the international celebrity trauma surgeon,” says Pret Bjorn, trauma coordinator at Eastern Maine Medical Center. “But I’d begin by stressing his more direct impact on his community: Rafael’s one of a team of trauma surgeons who helped to build and support Maine’s first verified trauma center at EMMC.” He continues, “Rafael sees himself as part of a greater whole, and clearly lives his life to contribute.” Grossmann frequently posts updates about his latest work at Rgrosssz.com.

*****



Bill Ryan

Bill Ryan moved to Maine in 1989 to take on the role of CEO at Peoples Heritage Bank. At the time, the bank was struggling, and Ryan was hired to help turn that around. Turn it around he did. “Since 1993, the company has been very profitable and has added thousands of jobs in the state,” says Ryan. “Along the way, Peoples Heritage acquired 28 other banks in New England, changed its name to Banknorth, and in 2006, Forbesmagazine voted it the best managed bank in America.” During his time at Banknorth (now TD Bank), Ryan oversaw the growth of the bank from a $2 billion regional institution to a large, $45 billion franchise. Ryan is understandably proud of Banknorth’s financial success, but he is also quick to mention his former company’s involvement with the Special Olympics and Strive. Ryan has retired, but he remains active in the community, serving on the board of advisors at the University of New England, as the director of WellPoint, Inc., and as chairman of the board at Unum. Ryan is also a trustee of the Libra Foundation. Ryan has received numerous awards for both his professional accomplishments and his charitable work, including the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness Person of the Year award in 2010. Ryan has been a supporter of the center, which seeks to educate people about living with disabilities, since its inception in 2003.


*****



Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch
Supporting Maine, quite literally, at the ground level, Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch are the owners and operators of Four Season Farm, an experimental market garden and nationally recognized model of small-scale sustainable agriculture in Harborside. The farm uses “very local and very Maine” soil-improving inputs such as seaweed and crab shells. Currently, Coleman is on the national board of Slow Money, which finds funding for small-scale food and farm projects, and Damrosch is on the board of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). The two co-hosted the television series Gardening Naturally on the Learning Channel and have consulted for numerous companies and projects, including Smith and Hawken, New York’s Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Maine’s Johnny’s Selected Seeds, for whom Coleman designs tools. Damrosch writes the Washington Post’s weekly column “A Cook’s Garden.” Coleman’s books include The New Organic Grower and The Winter Harvest Handbook. Damrosch’s include the classic Garden Primer. Together they wrote 2013’s The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook. “Much of what I do is with the goal of educating a new generation of farmers, so many of whom are now farming in Maine,” says Coleman. Adds Damrosch, “What I’ve done is given people the confidence to start gardening. People thank me for putting a spade in their hands.”

*****



George Denney
George Denney is perhaps best known as the former CEO of Cole Haan, but the Freeport-based businessman has had a hand in many different projects, from real estate development to community service work. “Cole Haan was good to me and I was good to it,” he says with characteristic good humor. In the 1970s and 1980s, Denney turned the line of leather goods into an internationally recognized fashion powerhouse. Although he got his start cutting leather, Denney found that he was a natural when it came to the finer points of business—including the necessary risk-taking required to create an innovative, forward-thinking organization with a dedicated team of employees and a strong focus on customer service. In the 1980s Denney founded the Freeport Merchants Association, a group that was instrumental in turning Freeport into the retail destination it is today, which has evolved into Freeport USA. Visitors to the area might notice the Denney Block, marked by a clock bearing that inscription, which is Denney’s swath of commercial property in downtown Freeport. They might also notice the flowerbeds planted around town, or the sign that welcomes visitors to the town. These, like the Denney Block, are his work. “It was important to me to make this town clean and beautiful, not just for the people who visit, but for us,” he says. “While I’ve traveled all over the world, I always enjoyed coming home to Freeport. I want to make it a better place to visit.” While he is officially retired, Denney continues to lend his efforts to community events, beautification projects, and local nonprofits.



*****



Dorothy Foote

If she could, Dr. Dorothy Foote would put a diploma in the hands of every teenager in Maine. She would also show them how to put it to use in the community. Foote is the CEO and Head of Schools at Wayfinder Schools, an alternative high school that provides a progressive education to youth who have struggled in  traditional school settings. Foote started her career as a banker, but after caring for her brother, who died of HIV, she founded the Diversity Coalition, an after-school social justice program that encouraged teens to be active and implement changes in their community. “Adolescence is the time to awaken a social justice consciousness,” says Foote. “It’s an amazing time for students to wake up and engage with their learning and their world through emotions, intellect, and social learning.” Her passion for education and inspiring teens led her to obtain her Ph.D. in Psychology and Education. Foote co-founded The Restorative Justice Institute of Maine and also serves as the Chair of The Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Truancy, Dropout and Alternative Education. In 2008, Foote took the helm at Wayfinder Schools and has since seen it grow to serve over 70 students throughout Maine. According to Foote, the schools are “quickly gaining recognition as a viable new model for reducing high school drop out.” Foote believes that empowering adolescents to see their strengths and give them motivation will, in the end, help the entire state. “We are a kind and beautiful state with tremendous natural resources and tremendous potential for young people.” She adds, “All students should have equal access to a high quality education. Economically, politically, socially, we’re all impacted when one student isn’t able to graduate. We need our young people to graduate, and we need them to stay here.”

*****


Jamie Wyeth
While often referenced as part of the prolific and talented Wyeth family trio, Jamie Wyeth deserves celebration and praise in his own right. “Jamie Wyeth works in his own version of realism, which is hard to pin down,” says Elliot Davis, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. “His most dynamic and energized work comes his ability to connect the world of contemporary art to his long understanding of both American art and art from around the world.” Davis should know—as the curator for the upcoming retrospective of Wyeth’s work at the MFA Boston, she has had the unique opportunity to examine six decades of his artistic output as a cohesive whole, something that has never been done before in a single exhibition. However, Wyeth’s work has been shown frequently at the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Portland Museum of Art, among other locales. Having spent summers at his family home off the coast, Wyeth feels a strong affinity for the landscape and people of Maine. “What I love about Maine is the edginess. The danger of Maine is that it can be emblematic, pretty lobster buoys and seagulls that look like pigeons, but if you actually tune in, there’s a lot of angst and anxiety and it’s not all pretty,” he says. “Visitors see it in the summer, but the winters are the bare bones of Maine, when it’s brutal and the winds howl.” Monhegan Island, in particular, has long been a source of inspiration. Yet Wyeth doesn’t simply paint the islands—he also seeks to preserve and protect them. Wyeth and his wife, Phyllis, have been involved in philanthropic efforts to provide affordable housing for the working families of Monhegan Island and they both continue to support the kids educational program, Herring Gut Learning Center, which Phyllis Wyeth founded. “Having grown up here, I’ve seen how fishing is the main industry,” he says. “Any way to encourage and enhance it, we do.” When he speaks of the Maine islands, a reverence creeps into his voice. “I’m drawn to the sea and the islands and the light and the isolation. That’s what I relish.” He continues, “There is something about how the light is reflected from the water—it gives things a remarkable clarity. It intrigues the hell out of me.”


*****


Kristen Miale
In 2010, Kristen Miale left a 15-year career in finance to dedicate her time and efforts to ending hunger in Maine. That same year, she launched Cooking Matters for Maine, an educational program that teaches low-income families how to eat healthily on a limited budget. As the president of Good Shepherd Food Bank, Miale has taken the talents she once employed as a financial analyst with the Black Point Group and turned them toward finding creative solutions to end food insecurity. Miale changed the focus and mission of the Good Shepherd Food Bank to include a greater emphasis on nutrition and health, turning the venerable institution into a food bank
and a nutrition bank. “For 30 years, Good Shepherd has been a leader in feeding people in need,” she says. “But we cannot solve hunger alone. There are so many incredible organizations doing amazing work to improve the well being of all Mainers. Through collaboration we can do so much more.” The Good Shepherd Food Bank is currently collaborating with over 75 schools in order to improve access to healthful food for working families and their children. In the past year, they have distributed more food than ever before—over 15 million pounds, or 13 million meals. “We are the only food bank in the country where 100 percent of the produce we purchase is local,” Miale adds proudly. “This commitment resulted in our investment of almost $300,000 into the local farm economy.” Miale has also served as a board member and treasurer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine and is on the board of the Cumberland County Extension Association.


*****



Hugh French

Hugh French describes his goal at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art succinctly: “where business is, art needs to be.” This simple statement belies the innovative nature of French’s approach as the director at the Eastport-based art space. Seeking to promote cross-cultural exchange in a rural, economically challenged part of the state, the Tides Institute exhibits art works, builds cross-border collections, hosts events like lectures and artists’ talks, and provides studio space for letterpress, printmaking, and digital operations. French was also instrumental in bringing about the Artsipelago project, which made the Tides Institute the first and only organization in Maine to receive a $250,000 grant from the national ArtPlace initiative in 2012. Artsipelago is a year-round effort to increase vibrancy and tourism in the easternmost part of the United States through residency programs and community workshops. French also played a leadership role in establishing a Maine-New Brunswick Cultural Agreement in 2010. This took six years to achieve, and established a cross-border cultural task force of which French is still a member. “We want Maine to look outward as much as inward,” French says. “Canada is America’s largest trading partner. We want to show the benefits of reaching out beyond the art box, of engaging with a range of different partners and interests.”  

*****


Clayton Spencer
Clayton Spencer’s career has taken her from a staff position in the U.S. Senate to Harvard University to the beautiful brick halls of Bates College. In 2012, Spencer was named Bates’s eighth president. Before that, she had served as vice president for policy at Harvard University, as the chief education counsel for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and as an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston. At Harvard, Spencer worked to redesign the financial aid system, which greatly expanded aid to low- and moderate-income families. She is proud to now lead Bates, a college founded by abolitionists, and one of the first coed colleges in New England. “I have always had a deep love and appreciation for the liberal arts,” she says. “I genuinely believe higher education is key to the American dream.” Her ultimate goal is to set the standard for the “engaged liberal arts” by recruiting highly talented, diverse students to Bates with generous financial aid and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Bates is also developing original programs to prepare students for lives of “purposeful work.” “This lies at the heart of the liberal arts mission,” says Spencer. To support the implementation of her priorities, she helped raise the largest gift in Bates history. “Clayton Spencer is passionate about education and she is passionate about Maine,” says Drew Faust, president of Harvard University. “At Bates she is able to contribute to the remarkable heritage of an institution that has stood for the ideals of opportunity and justice since the time of its founding. There could be no more perfect match.”


*****


Harold C. Pachios
Harold C. Pachios is many things—attorney, former deputy director of congressional relations at the Peace Corps, former associate White House press secretary, chairman of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and Maine Business Hall of Fame Laureate, just to name a few—but first and foremost, he is a promoter of Maine. “I take great pride in my state and particularly downtown Portland, which is the economic core of southern Maine, which in turn is the economic core of the entire state,” he says. “For the past 45 years, I have had fun being part of the civic action of one of greatest small cities in America.” A founding partner at Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau and Pachios, Pachios was listed in the Woodward/White 2008 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Throughout his career, Pachios has been driven to improve the state of Maine. As a lobbyist for environmental groups in the earliest days of Maine's environmental movement, he brought about the initial enactment of Maine’s landmark site location and coastal pollution laws. In addition, Pachios has served on the Common Cause National Governing Board and as the Northeast regional co-chairman of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Pachios just recently stepped down from his position as chairman of the University of Maine School of Law board. He currently serves on the board of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce.


*****



Fatuma Hussein
Fatuma Hussein first came up with the idea to start an organization devoted to helping Somali immigrants settle in Maine in early 2001. Hussein, herself an immigrant from the East African country, had moved to the Lewiston-Auburn area that year and noticed that while there were many French-speaking Africans from West Africa who seemed to fit right in, Somalis faced a few more challenges. “Nobody knew what to do with the Somalis. One day, I went to city hall, and there were 47 refugees with nowhere to go. I wanted to help them,” she says. Hussein began meeting with other immigrants and discussing what kind of assistance they might need, what kind of funding would be necessary, and how they could best work with the city and state. Hussein and her group of supporters were able to secure $40,000 in 2001 for a refugee center, and the movement snowballed from there. The United Somali Women of Maine now boasts eight staff members, a wide network of volunteers, and a statewide advisory council. They provide housing resettlement services, helping refugees secure all the house goods they need from microwaves to kitchenware, comprehensive outreach services, an ongoing program that checks in on families who have relocated to the area, and community education, which provides information for recent immigrants. “We want people to understand the system so they can advocate on their own behalf, and on their children’s behalf,” says Hussein. “We empower people so we can eliminate the middleman.” In addition to serving as the director of the United Somali Women’s Fund, Hussein also works closely with the Maine Community Foundation’s People of Color Fund advisory committee, and spoke at the 2012 TEDxDirigo event.

*****


Amy Belisle
Currently the director of Child Health Quality Improvement at Maine Quality Counts, Amy Belisle, MD is at the forefront of the movement to improve childhood health. Quality Counts is an independent, regional health improvement collaborative that brings together doctors, health care workers, patients, and financers who are working to improve health care quality in Maine. She is currently directing a four-year learning collaborative called First STEPS (Strengthening Together Early Preventive Services). “Through strong collaborative efforts and measurement-driven quality improvement support for primary care practices, the First STEPS effort has resulted in significant improvement in child preventive services in participating sites, including increasing child immunization rates from 74 percent to 81 percent and tripling developmental screening rates,” Belisle explains. Belisle, along with her team at Maine Quality Counts, is also building a Maine Child Health Improvement Partnership to identify child health care priorities and provide leadership on child health metrics and projects. In April of 2014, Belisle was named by the Center for Disease Control as Maine’s winner of the 2014 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award. “Amy Belisle is enormously respected and appreciated as a quiet hero for children’s health in Maine,” says Dr. Lisa M. Letourneau, executive director at Maine Quality Counts. “Amy’s dogged determination and commitment to improving health for children has made a significant impact for thousands of children in this state. She is a role model, and a true asset for the state of Maine.”

*****


Katherine S. Pope
As an anesthesiologist and one of the founders of the Spectrum Medical Group, which is the largest independent physician group in Maine, Katherine S. Pope, MD says she practices in Maine because it is her family’s home, but also because, “the state is large enough for quality of both personal and professional life, but small enough for individuals to engage deeply and have a real impact.” Beyond her work at Spectrum, her influence is deeply felt throughout the community because of her involvement with Hospice of Southern Maine. Implementing a vision for improved end-of-life care and to address Maine’s low standing in hospice services, Pope led the founding of the organization ten years ago. It now provides all levels of residential and inpatient hospice care to thousands of patients and their families, as well as offering community education, family support, and bereavement services. Pope has received numerous awards for her work. She was inducted into the Maine chapter of the International Women’s Forum in 2006, and the Deborah Morton Society of the University of New England in 2010. She has served on multiple community boards, and currently serves on the board of Maine Medical Center, the board of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and is on the Colby College board of overseers.

*****


John T. Woods
John T. Woods believes every child should have access to nutritious food. Soon after moving his family to Maine in 2003, John and his wife Diane attended a Taste of the Nation culinary benefit. “Having worked in the food and beverage industry for almost ten years, and then in corporate America for ten more, it was obvious to me that my background could help Share Our Strength’s fundraising efforts in Maine,” he says. With a history of running popular events and a deep interest in food and family, Woods was a natural fit for the nonprofit. “When you make your living in the food business, the idea of a child being hungry is just unacceptable,” Woods says. This view—that child hunger is more than a tragedy, it is unacceptable and solvable—has driven his work at Share Our Strength ever since. As the Maine committee chairman of the national organization (a volunteer position), Woods plays a crucial role in building the No Kid Hungry campaign that raises awareness about childhood hunger, as well as funds grants to beneficiaries here in Maine. Woods has also been involved in the creation of an educational program called Cooking Matters, now part of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, that teaches low-income families how to make healthy, nutritious meals on a budget. Woods believes that giving kids access to free and reduced school meals is crucial to ending childhood hunger, which is why Share Our Strength has been working with federal programs to make sure all kids in need have access. “Although we reach many food-insecure students while at school, it’s clear we can reach more,” he says. “I believe that making sure a child has enough nutritious food to eat is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Investing in a child so they can fully participate as adults will pay back many times for our state and our country.”

******

Meg Shorette
Meg Shorette has been with KahBang Music and Art Festival since its inception six years ago. For years, Shorette has been a vital part of creating this massive cultural event, which brings over 65 performers to multiple stages on the Bangor Waterfront for four days in August. Through her work as the cultural curator for the annual festival, Shorette came to see that the region needed more cultural events year round, and in 2011, Shorette branched out to create KahBang Arts, a nonprofit sister organization to the festival, where she now serves as executive director. While it shares the festival’s mission of spotlighting developing and independent artists, musicians, and filmmakers, KahBang Arts has worked to become a resource and hub for creatives from all over the region. In May 2014, Shorette saw the opening of their first permanent art space. Central Gallery, located in downtown Bangor, will feature at least 12 artists per year for three weeklong exhibits. The organization also plans to host artist talks, workshops, concerts, and other creative events throughout the year. In addition, Shorette serves as the music programmer from the KahBang Music Festival, the director of the KahBang Film Festival, on the finance and development committee of the Maine Science Festival, on the organizing committee for Downtown Countdown in downtown Bangor, and as an account manager with the American Red Cross Biomedical Services.

*****


Sharon Corwin
As the director and chief curator at the Colby College Museum of Art, Sharon Corwin has made it her mission to make the arts more accessible to communities throughout Maine, with a particular focus on Waterville. In July 2013, Corwin managed the opening of the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, a three-story glass pavilion designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners that increased the museum’s gallery space by an additional 10,000 square feet. This impressive addition made the Colby College Museum of Art the largest exhibition space in the state of Maine. Out of the many exhibits Corwin has worked on over the years, she cites the founding of Current, an exhibition program for emerging artists with ties to Maine, as among her proudest accomplishments. “The collegial and collaborative nature that exists between Maine’s museums and art institutions is unique to the state,” says Corwin, who has also worked to create connections between various Waterville art institutions. One such initiative is Waterville Creates, a partnership between the Maine Film Center, the Waterville Public Library, the Waterville Opera House, Common Street Arts, Waterville Main Street, and the Colby College Museum of Art that has helped turn Waterville into the vibrant arts destination it is today.


*****


Tom Chappell
In 1970 Tom Chappell, alongside his wife Kate, founded Tom’s of Maine in Kennebunk with just $5,000. In 2006, they sold a controlling stake in the company, which produces natural alternatives to oral- and body-care products, to Colgate-Palmolive for $100 million with the stipulation that the policies and company culture of the Tom’s of Maine brand remain in place. “As a young man, I chose to build my enterprises in Maine because I wanted to create a place where the environment and people could make a difference in the marketplace,” says Chappell. “Maine’s beautiful and wild environment, from pastures to harbors to mountains, drew my wife, Kate, and me to settle down. We found to our delight that Maine people are honest, straightforward, hard-working, and resourceful. These are the qualities that create a successful business culture.” Chappell was successful in creating a positive workplace, a process he details in his books
Managing Upside Down and The Soul of a Business. More recently, Chappell created Ramblers Way Farm. Inspired by Chappell’s trip to the Welsh countryside, Ramblers Way is a revolutionary line of lightweight, American-made wool apparel. Today, the company employs 20 people to produce sustainable clothing that is chemical-free and uses no synthetic dyes or chlorine. Chappell has overseen the distribution of 5,000 of the warm, beautiful garments to homeless individuals throughout Maine.

*****



Tim Sample
When asked for his job description, Tim Sample responded like you might expect a humorist to: with a joke. “My business card has said the same thing for the last four decades,” he says. “‘Maine Humorist, Writer, Illustrator, Friend of Stray Dogs.’ With the notable exception of the last entry, which remains strictly a nonprofit endeavor, I’ve managed to avoid getting a ‘day job’ by forging a career practicing the items on that list.” Since the publication of
How To Talk Yankee in 1978—a truly funny book that Sample illustrated and Gerald Lewis penned—Sample has worked on eight titles, includingPostcards from Maine, Saturday Night at Moody’s Diner, and Maine Curiosities. Between 1993 and 2004, he appeared in approximately a hundred “Postcards from Maine,” a series that ran on the Emmy Award-winning television show CBS News Sunday Morning. When he’s not making people laugh, Sample is working to better his community. “My nonprofit involvement goes back to when Stephen King and I used to co-host the annual UCP Telethons in Bangor. I’ve also done numerous PSAs and performances.” Sample has worked with nonprofits like the Humane Society and NAMI Maine, and he serves as the vice president of Crossroads, a Maine-based addiction and behavioral health program. Sample is currently working on a new book, due out this fall.

*****

John Fitzsimmons
When Dr. John Fitzsimmons became president of the Maine Technical College System in 1990, enrollment was 3,300 students. In 2003, he led the transition from technical to community colleges.
Since then, the colleges have grown by 80 percent to over 18,000 students. While there are many reasons more students are turning to the Maine Community College System—a higher quality of education is certainly among them—Fitzsimmons’s commitment to keeping college as affordable as possible has helped many Mainers achieve their degrees and professional goals. Today, the MCCS offers the lowest tuition in New England. The system has received recognition from the National Alliance of Business and the University of Florida Futures Assembly, and is a recipient of the David Pierce Organizational Leadership Award. MaineBiz named Fitzsimmons the Nonprofit Business Leader of the Year in 2010; the Economic Development Council of Maine recognized him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and vision in the areas of higher education and workforce development; and in 2012 he was inducted into the Junior Achievement of Maine Hall of Fame. In 2009, the MCCS launched a new statewide foundation that in its first campaign raised over $23 million to support students and further enhance the quality of the colleges’ programs.

*****


Donna McNeil
In 1999, Donna McNeil sold her gallery and home in Massachusetts, and moved her life and livelihood to Maine. Just four years later, she started working with the Maine Arts Commission, and in 2009, she was named the director of the organization. During her time there, McNeil initiated the Good Idea Grant, seed money that helped fund artist-led projects across the state. “That grant brought government into close correspondence with the creative process and built trust with makers,” McNeil explains. “In Maine, the artist-per-capita ratio is especially high, and I felt called to highlight their work as seers, original thinkers, and problem solvers.” Under McNeil’s leadership, the Maine Arts Commission helped to establish Maine as the state that boasted the highest individual award for artists—$13,000 in five genres, given annually. She oversaw the creation of Creative Communities Equal Economic Development, which provides funding for communities to “foster their creative industry and work collectively with government, business, and the arts.” After retiring from her post at the commission in 2013, McNeil has continued to support the arts in Maine, serving on the board of directors at Friends of the Blaine House, as a trustee at the Circus Conservatory of America, on the grant committee at Maine Women’s Fund, and on the Insight Committee at Space Gallery. She is currently working on mounting a retrospective of the work of Thomas Moser for the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA that will open in August 2015. McNeil was awarded an honorary PhD from the Maine College of Art in 2010.

*****


Peter Vigue
Peter Vigue joined Cianbro in 1970, accepting an entry-level position. Few would have predicted his meteoric rise; the Caribou and Pittsfield native climbed up through the ranks and is now the chairman of the board, president, and CEO of The Cianbro Companies. Vigue has worked to bring Cianbro into the 21st century, and his efforts have paid off. Cianbro is now ranked among the top 100 companies by
Engineering News Record. In 2004, the company became 100-percent employee owned through an employee stock ownership plan that now controls all of the stock for the benefit of all team members. Winner of multiple local and national awards, Vigue is most proud of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Corporate Health Achievement Award, which named Cianbro the “healthiest and safest company in America.” Not only did Vigue turn the small company into a large, multifaceted organization, but he did so without sacrificing employee health, safety, or security. In 1987, the company set out to become the safest construction company in the United States, and ended up setting an impressive record: 52 months and over 12 million work hours without a single lost workday. A champion of Maine and Maine workers, Vigue cites his “humble beginnings” as one of the many reasons he is so invested in the local workforce and economy. “I’ve learned that the people of Maine want nothing more than an opportunity—not a handout—an opportunity to contribute with meaningful work and to be able to provide for their families and enjoy living in Maine,” he says.

*****



Michael J. McCarthy
When Michael J. McCarthy started his position as principal of Portland’s King Middle School in 1988, the school was somewhat divided. “We were running two schools, one for the haves, one for the have-nots,” McCarthy said. To address the gap between the “gifted” curriculum and the standard curriculum, McCarthy spearheaded a mission to implement the Expeditionary Learning/Outward Bound Model. Full implementation of this innovative education style took several years, but the success of the model reaffirmed what McCarthy knew all along. “I began my teaching career in a maximum security prison,” he says. “It was there that I saw the examples of all the failures of American education. I began to ask the question: Can you create a school that works for all kids, and mean it?” King Middle School is one of the most demographically and economically diverse schools in northern New England, but under McCarthy’s leadership, it became “truly a school for all,” where all kids, regardless of abilities or backgrounds, are challenged and engaged by their schoolwork. For his work, McCarthy has received numerous awards and honors, including the 1996 Maine Principals’ Association Principal’s Award and the 2010 Maine Middle Level Principal of the Year award. In 1997, McCarthy was one of four finalists for the National Principal of the Year award, and in 2008 he received the Maine Public Health Association Phebe Conrey King Access to HealthCare Award.


*****


Maddy Corson

Few words capture philanthropist Maddy Corson better than “catalyst,” which also happens to be how the Maine Association of Nonprofits described her at their 2013 award ceremony and celebration. The granddaughter of Guy Gannett, founder of the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, and other media outlets, Corson has dedicated her life to serving the Maine community through generous donations of her time, her skills, and her financial resources. Corson’s career has been long and varied, taking her from the classroom, where she worked as an elementary school teacher, to the boardroom, serving as the chairman at Guy Gannett. “One thing I always say to people is to surround yourself with people who know what they are doing and you will be a success,” Corson says. “I was intent on having all the employees feel like they were family.” Her collaborative attitude paid off, and taught her many of the skills needed to become involved in the world of nonprofits. She has served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, the Maine chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Institute of Family-Owned Business. In addition, she has served on advisory boards of education institutions, including the University of New England. When asked about her involvement in the world of nonprofits, Corson says, “I am a start-up, turnaround person. I am drawn to new projects. I like watching nonprofits move toward success.” Among her proudest accomplishments she counts her work with the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, the oldest children’s theater in the United States, which Corson helped grow into a sustainable, unique, creative organization. For her work, she has received many awards, including the Mary Rines Thompson Award for exceptional volunteer service from the United Way of Greater Portland, the Maine Association of Nonprofits Community Catalyst Award, and the Edmund S. Muskie Access to Justice Award. Although she is widely recognized as a leader in Maine philanthropy, Corson doesn’t do it for the awards. “It’s all about love. Love for the state, love for the organization, love for the human being, love of the arts,” she says.

*****


Lauren Wayne 
“I love music,” says Lauren Wayne when asked why she has chosen her career path. “I love the connections people have to music, I love the emotional attachment people have to music, and I love watching people experience this connection and emotion at a live show.” As the general manager, talent buyer, and marketing director at State Theatre Presents, State Theatre, and the Port City Music Hall, Wayne is able to observe this emotional response on a near-daily basis. During her time at the State Theatre, Wayne has transformed the historic structure into one of the most active music venues in the country. Wayne and her team promote over 220 events per year and bring in close to 200,000 people to their shows annually. In many ways, Wayne views Portland as a prime example of what a difference location can make. “It was a deliberate choice to do this in Portland,” she says. “Portlanders are excited about the good life; they are excited about getting out and enjoying great food and great drinks and great music.” She has also played a major role in reshaping how musicians view Maine’s largest city, and through years of outreach, Wayne has helped turn Portland into a crucial stop on many national tours. Her work promoting both local and national musicians has been recognized by the City of Portland, which bestowed upon Wayne the 2012 Economic Development Achievement Award.

*****



Norm Dinerman and Thomas P. Judge
Maine is the second most rural state in the country by population density. In order to ensure that “every person, in every community, has access to critical care and medical transport when they need it” nonprofit medical helicopter service LifeFlight provides care throughout the entire state, including offshore islands and unorganized townships. Overseen by medical director Norm Dinerman, MD, FACEP and executive director Thomas P. Judge, CCTP since inception, the service has safely transported more than 15,000 patients and has been used by every hospital in the state. Dinerman, who previously was the associate director of the department of emergency medicine at Denver General Hospital and the chief of emergency medicine at Bangor’s Eastern Maine Medical Center, now currently serves as the medical director of EMMC’s Transfer Center and Telemedicine Program. He has won the Medical Director of the Year Award by the Air Medical Physician Association and the Ronald D. Stewart Award presented by the National Association of EMS Physicians. Judge, who has served in his role since LifeFlight was founded in 1998, has 30 years of experience in pre-hospital emergency medical services, has published dozens of articles on EMS and critical care transport, and has presented on air medical safety throughout the country, as well as in Japan, France, Scotland, and the Czech Republic. Says Dinerman, “Maine is a habitat in which passion, perseverance, principle, and pragmatism are seminal features of its people. LifeFlight is a product of this culture, and a manifestation of its love.”

*****


Nat May
As the executive director of Space Gallery, Nat May says, “It’s a thrill to be in a position to reach out to artists and idea people and tell them, ‘I like what you’re working on, can I help you share it with people?’” Through his multifaceted programming, he has helped put on more than 2,000 events and exhibits from artists, musicians, and thinkers as varied as street artist Swoon, writer Jonathan Lethem, and musician Andrew Bird. “Space is a unique cultural hub in Portland, and it wouldn’t be as successful and important without Nat’s intelligent, steady guidance,” says Heather Davis, the executive director of The Telling Room. “But Nat is also an asset to Maine because he does so much.” In addition to running Space, May is on the board of the Hewnoaks Artist Colony and a new yet-to-be-named national network of artist spaces. He has also served as a grant reviewer for the Maine Arts Commission, Creative Capital, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He combines his nonprofit and business skills with an interest in local food sustainability as a member of two committees for the Portland Food Co-op, which is working to build a retail grocery store.

*****


Sara J. Burns
“I think I have the best job in the state of Maine,” says Sara J. Burns, CEO of Central Maine Power (CMP), which delivers electricity to over 600,000 homes throughout central and southern Maine. “We’re part of their everyday lives, and we’re good at what we do.” Burns adds, “I really appreciate our customers. During the Christmas week ice storm, they were patient and supportive of our employees despite the disruption to their holiday plans, and they showed tremendous community spirit and kindness to their neighbors.” CMP has been ranked No. 1 for customer satisfaction seven times by J.D. Power and Associates, and earned four Emergency Response awards from Edison Electric Institute. Burns, who joined the company in 1987 as director of risk management, is working on two major projects to improve the electric delivery system. The Maine Power Reliability Program will create “a stronger, smarter grid that will be more reliable and will allow for better integration of energy from renewable sources.” It has put thousands to work and provided a boost to local business activity. The company is also leveraging its investment in smart meters and using the experience of colleagues throughout Iberdrola, its parent company, to tap the potential of new technology.
In 2013, MaineBiz magazine named Burns Business Leader of the Year. She is on the board of trustees of MaineHealth, and serves on the board of directors of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Mitchell Institute, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the Augusta Board of Trade.

*****



Scott Simons
“My work efforts are driven by a passion for creating beautiful buildings that will stand the test of time,” says architect Scott Simons. “In the studio we call them ‘buildings of great beauty and substance.’” His peers agree: his firm has received 12 AIA Design Awards. They have completed several hundred projects over the last 19 years. Notably, they have built the Portland Public Library, Casco Bay Ferry Terminal, and Waynflete Arts Center, and are currently working on the Portland Museum of Art master plan. Simons is also a founder and past president of Portland Society for Architecture, an AIA board member, and a former board member of the Waynflete School and Yarmouth Arts. “Maine is the genuine article,” he says. “There is a simplicity and power to the landscape and people that resonates through everything. We try to capture that simplicity and power in our buildings. The purity of the light, the power of the stones, the beauty of the wood, it’s all there, wherever you look in Maine.”

*****


Severin Beliveau
Severin Beliveau has a career that spans decades, states, and international borders. “When I started my political career, I was initially motivated by the desire to promote the Democratic Party, since it was a minority in Maine for many, many years,” he says. Beliveau came from a distinguished family of Maine lawyers and judges—his father, Albert J. Beliveau, Sr., was a justice of the Maine Supreme Court. During his time in the government, Beliveau served as district attorney, member of the Maine State Senate, member of the Maine House of Representatives, chair of the Maine Democratic Party, and as member on the Board of Governors of both the Maine State Bar Association and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association. A Mainer born and raised, Beliveau is quick to point to his Rumford roots: “I have a strong sense of what Maine is all about, having been raised in a paper mill town and experiencing all the ups and downs of that industry.” His personal past, coupled with his professional career, has put Beliveau in a unique position to effect change. “Together with my colleagues, we developed a very effective and successful law firm where we are now in a position to influence public policy,” Beliveau says of his firm, Preti Flaherty. What started as a few lawyers with offices in Augusta and Rumford has now grown to a firm of over 100 lawyers with offices in Portland and Boston. On a global level, Beliveau has been highly effective in promoting Franco-American relations. Over 20 years ago, he founded the international business organization the Forum Francophone des Affaires. The Maine committee now represents the FFA in communicating with 49 French-speaking regions around the world.


*****


Shannon Bard
After her youngest son went to school, Shannon Bard decided it was time for a change: “I was 40 years old when I decided that it was my time and that I would start being my own cheerleader and begin asking directly for what I want.” What Bard wanted, it turned out, was to be a chef, and so she enrolled in culinary school. Fast-forward two years, and she has already opened two restaurants, Zapoteca in Portland and Mixteca in Durham, New Hampshire, and is currently working on her third outpost, Toroso, a Spanish-inspired eatery on the Portland peninsula. Each of her restaurants has been widely praised for Bard’s unique, bold flavors and her impeccable technique. The James Beard House, New York City’s culinary mecca, took notice and invited Bard to cook for a group of 80 guests last January. Bard has been featured on the Food Network and on the website of Bon Appétit magazine. She recently spent three weeks as a stagier at Arzak in San Sebastian Spain, which is currently ranked the eighth best restaurant in the world. Yet with all this acclaim, Bard cites a letter of congratulations from the Maine Women’s Fund to be among the highlights of her career. “It’s incredibly humbling to think that all of the hard work that I have done might be inspiring other women to change careers and fulfill their dreams,” she says.

*****


Steve Podgajny
Spanning four decades and multiple institutions, including the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, the Dyer Library and Saco Museum, and now the Portland Public Library, Steve Podgajny’s career has been varied, but true to one central principle. “I have a very basic motivation to do the work that I do: to make a difference in the world,” explains Podgajny. He has been instrumental in the expansion, preservation, and renovation of both the Curtis Memorial Library and the Portland Public Library. “Maine’s libraries and cultural institutions function collaboratively, unlike any other state,” he says. “It is our scale and the opportunity—the necessity—that we build close collegial relationships that provide the energy for creativity.” Podgajny has put these words into action many times, but perhaps most effectively with his work on the New Century Community Program. As chair of the Maine Cultural Affairs Council, Podgajny led the process to create a statewide collaboration between the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Humanities Council, the Maine State Archives, the Maine State Library, and the Maine State Museum. These seven organizations worked to develop a strategy to advance the state’s economic, social, and educational development through the arts. Since its inception in 1999, the New Century program has raised more than six million dollars in matching funds, and was cited by the Pew Foundation and the Kennedy School as an example of effective government. On a more personal level, Podgajny has also been recognized for his good work within the stacks, and in 1999, he received the Maine Librarian of the Year award.