FAME Celebrates Another Successful Year at Annual Dinner

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco Speaks to Crowd of 300

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) celebrated another year of successful business and educational partnerships at its annual meeting and awards event, Showcase Maine, on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at Portland’s Holiday Inn By The Bay.

Showcase Maine is FAME’s annual celebration of its successful partnerships with Maine’s business, lending, and higher education communities. The evening featured a reception, including a showcase of exhibits by Maine businesses and educational organizations that partner with FAME; a dinner and awards presentation; and a keynote speech by award-winning poet and part-time Maine resident Richard Blanco.

Blanco was the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history—the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, he is the author of three poetry collections and two memoirs: The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey. Blanco divides his time between Bethel, Maine and Concord, Massachusetts.

“FAME always enjoys celebrating the successes of the past year with our partners in Maine’s business and higher education communities,” said Ray Nowak, FAME Board Chair. “We were pleased to showcase some of Maine’s business and educational success stories, and to honor our partners who help to make bright Maine’s economic and educational future.”

This year’s award recipients included:

  • Beal Education, LLC, d/b/a Beal College (Business at Work for Maine Award): Founded in 1891 as the Bangor Business College, Beal College is a licensed and accredited career college located in Bangor. It offers a unique year-round school year with six individual terms. The majority of students are enrolled in medical/health care, criminal justice, business and welding associate degree programs. FAME partnered with Bangor Savings Bank to support the acquisition of the college by Sheryl DeWalt, who has expanded the college’s offerings and enrollment.
  • Maine Youth Transition Collaborative (Education at Work for Maine Award): Maine Youth Transition Collaborative is comprised of public and private partners from across the state. It works with young people, the state, and community members to ensure that youth transitioning from the foster care system to adulthood have the resources and personal connections they need to be successful. FAME honored the organization’s work on issues vital to a young person’s economic self-sufficiency, such as postsecondary education and employment.
  • Camden National Bank (Lender at Work for Maine Award—over $1.5 billion in assets): Over the past year, Camden National Bank partnered with FAME on 70 loans totaling over $27 million. This in turn helped to create 191 Maine jobs and retain an additional 1,034 jobs. In addition to being a top partner in bringing business to FAME, Camden National has grown remarkably in recent years and is actively committed to the communities in which it operates.
  • Machias Savings Bank (Lender at Work for Maine Award-under $1.5 billion in assets): Machias Savings Bank was recognized in the category for lenders with less than $1.5 billion in assets. This past year, FAME partnered with Machias Savings on 46 loans to Maine companies totaling over $6 million. This helped to create 73 Maine jobs and retain an additional 209 jobs. Machias Savings is actively committed to the communities in which it operates.

Prior to the dinner and awards ceremony, the FAME Board met for its monthly meeting and elected officers for the 2017 year. Raymond Nowak of Brunswick was re-elected to serve as chair; James Violette, Jr. of Waterville was re-elected as vice-chair; and Richard Roderick of Cape Elizabeth was elected as treasurer.

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Award-winning poet and part-time Maine resident Richard Blanco received a standing ovation for his keynote presentation.

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Business at Work for Maine awardee Beal Education, LLC, d/b/a Beal College. From left to right: Charlie Emmons, FAME Senior Commercial Loan Officer; Steve Villett, Beal’s Chief Operating Officer; Renee Dunton, Director of Finance at Beal; Maggie Magee, Director of Financial Aid at Beal; Debbie Crockett, Director of Education at Beal; Ron Roope, Senior Vice President at Bangor Savings Bank; Bruce Wagner, FAME CEO; and Ray Nowak, FAME Board Chair.

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Education at Work for Maine awardee Maine Youth Transition Collaborative. From left to right: Eva Giles, FAME College Savings Program Manager; five representatives of MYTC: Faith Mishkin, Kera Pingree, Alexander Buzzell, Monica Williams, and Ahmen Cabral; Ray Nowak, FAME Board Chair; and Bruce Wagner, FAME CEO.