Is it possible to take a good thing and make it even better? Today we speak with three entrepreneurs who are taking a unique approach to helping people have happier homes. Joe Walsh is the founder and CEO of Green Clean Maine, an innovative, environmentally friendly home cleaning company; Amy and Allie Smith offer an “earn-a-bed” program through their nonprofit, Healthy Homeworks.
Amy Smith’s 32-year career in high tech has been all about designing, delivering, and nurturing exceptional user experiences. A serial entrepreneur, she has founded and managed for-profit companies (Propel Technologies and Old Port Innovations), divisions within large companies (Silicon Graphics and IDEXX Laboratories), and a nonprofit youth rowing program (Friends of Yarmouth Rowing).
In 2015 Amy and her husband rehabbed a 1912 triple decker in Portland, where they now live on the third floor, rent the second floor to a young family, and run an AirBnB on the first floor. In 2016 they purchased and rehabbed similar multi-family homes in Lewiston in an effort to create clean, safe, affordable housing in Lewiston’s downtown core. As they became familiar with the neighborhood and its unique challenges, they identified a need for a nonprofit entity that would engage tenants, landlords, and other community members in a model of shared stewardship for the aging housing stock. She founded Healthy Homeworks in March of 2016 and has been serving as its executive director since then. Amy is a 1984 graduate of Dartmouth College, with a B.A. in cognitive psychology.
Allie Smith is a builder by nature: of relationships, programs, organizations… and now beds. She manages development, communications, and volunteer coordination for Healthy Homeworks. Allie comes from an education background, with experience teaching large classes, small groups, and individuals in settings ranging from classrooms to shelters. She leads small teams of builders in the Earn-a-Bed program, where she teaches basic carpentry skills in a growth-oriented learning environment that is based in positive reinforcement and designed to build confidence and self-esteem. In addition to her work with Healthy Homeworks, Allie also currently works as an education specialist with a shelter serving runaway and at-risk youth. Her experience spans corporate and nonprofit settings. Allie is certified to teach English as a second language, and has experience working across cultures including leading cross-cultural teams. She is a graduate of Yarmouth High School and has a B.A. from Dickinson College in English and a minor in studio art.
Joe Walsh is the founder and CEO of Green Clean Maine, an environmentally friendly home cleaning company serving greater Portland since 2007. He is a 2016 graduate of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development‘s Top Gun program and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Babson College and has consulted nationally for service-based businesses. He moved to Maine from his native Rhode Island in 2006, drawn by Portland’s independent spirit, affordable housing, lively food and brewing scene, and the proximity of outdoor recreation options (skiing, hiking, and boating are three favorites). He lives in the East Deering neighborhood with his wife, Kate, and their black lab, Cleo.