Each year at our annual event, “Showcase Maine,” FAME awards the “At Work for Maine” awards to recognize individuals and organizations who have distinguished themselves through their commitment to advancing Maine’s economy and quality higher education. Through their efforts, these individuals and organizations help make Maine a better place in which to live, learn and work. The 2022 award recipients included:
Business at Work for Maine Award: MedRhythms, Inc.
Located in Portland, MedRhythms is a cutting-edge digital therapeutics company that uses sensors, music, and software to build evidence-based, neurologic interventions to measure and improve walking for individuals suffering from certain neurological conditions including stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. The two founders, Brian Harris, and Owen McCarthy, are both Alfond Leaders (an education loan repayment program designed to attract and retain STEM focused professionals in Maine, funded by the Alfond Foundation and administered by FAME), and their business has taken advantage of FAME’s Seed Capital and New Markets Tax Credit Programs to assist them in raising investments to grow their business and contribute in a material way to the Maine economy.
Education at Work for Maine Award: Next Gen Personal Finance
FAME recognized Next Gen Personal Finance for their commitment to improving the financial lives of the next generation of Mainers by partnering with teachers, schools, districts, and other like-minded organizations. The nonprofit company has developed free training, resources, and curriculum to support educators both locally and nationally, including professional development that is offered both in-person and virtually, an annual State of Financial Education report, and grants to support schools to expand financial education. Their mission is that by 2030, all U.S. high schoolers will have guaranteed access to at least one semester-long personal finance course before graduation.
Dirigo Lifetime Achievement Award: Ron Milliken
Ron Milliken, longtime Director of Financial Aid who recently retired from the University of Maine at Farmington, was honored by FAME for his forty-seven-year career helping Maine students afford and achieve higher education. He has been a tireless advocate for students and families in pursuit of higher education and worked tirelessly for improvements to and expansion of the FAME-administered Educators for Maine Program and the Maine State Grant Program.
Lender at Work for Maine Award (over $1.5 billion in assets): Camden National Bank
This was the bank’s twelfth time as an awardee. Over the past year, Camden National partnered with FAME on 67 loans totaling approximately $24 million. This in turn helped to create 115 Maine jobs and retain an additional 884 jobs. FAME and Camden recently partnered on financing for Scarborough-based Blue Barn, LLC, a company producing sparkling blueberry wine made from Maine wild blueberries.
Lender at Work for Maine Award (up to $1.5 billion in assets): Evergreen Credit Union
Evergreen Credit Union was recognized in the category for lenders with less than $1.5 billion in assets. This past year, FAME partnered with Evergreen on 12 loans to Maine companies totaling approximately $7 million. This helped to create 34 Maine jobs and retain an additional 132 jobs. One of the largest credit unions in Maine, FAME recently partnered with Evergreen on financing for Westbrook-based Atlantic Transport and Rustler’s Steakhouse in Windham.
Lender at Work for Maine Award (most enhanced partnership): Norway Savings Bank
Over the past year, Norway Savings Bank has increased its partnership with FAME more than any other lender in the state. This past year, FAME partnered with Norway Savings on 20 loans to Maine companies totaling approximately $12 million. This helped to create 139 Maine jobs and retain an additional 145 jobs. Norway Savings partnered with FAME to provide a loan to Veggie Life, located in Freeport, which produces vegan and plant-based food products. With locations throughout Maine, the bank has achieved the FDIC’s highest “Outstanding” rating for lending, service, and investment for the two most recent three-year Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) assessment periods.
A Message from Janet T. Mills, Governor of the State of Maine
Governor Mills recognizes FAME and its partners for accomplishing economic and higher education development. In 2021, FAME and its partners helped 211 businesses create or retain 2,623 jobs. In its lifetime, FAME has also worked with partners to award $414 million to over 250,000 students. Congratulations to the 2021 At Work for Maine Award recipients!
Rosa Redonnett and Janet Sortor
Education at Work for Maine Award
Chosen in recognition of their shared vision and commitment to working collaboratively to support Maine students transforming their lives through education, Rosa and Janet have been motivated by a deep belief in the power of education to transform lives. Rose is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Credential Attainment for the University of Maine System. Janet is the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for the Maine Community College System. The pair has partnered for decades working tirelessly to reduce barriers to higher education and help countless students succeed. Their shared vision and their commitment to working collaboratively in the best interests of students has led to far more seamless academic pathways between Maine’s community colleges and universities, among many other accomplishments.
Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC
Business at Work for Maine Award
In recognition of their efforts at resuming operations at Saddleback Mountain and benefitting area businesses and the local economy, FAME is recognizing Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC (Arctaris). Saddleback Mountain reopened in December 2020 thanks in large part to Arctaris, an impact investment firm, and multiple state and local financing agencies, including FAME. The mountain enjoyed a successful first year of resumed operations and has made significant improvements to the ski lifts and the lodge. The resort also has extended area hiking trails and added new mountain bike terrain trails, as well.
Farm Credit East
Lender at Work for Maine Award ($1.5 Billion or More in Assets)
In recognition of their outstanding commitment to providing credit and other services to Maine’s agricultural and related industries, FAME is recognizing Farm Credit East as its top lending partner of 2021 in the category of lenders with $1.5 billion or more in assets. Over the past fiscal year, Farm Credit East partnered with FAME on thirty-eight loans totaling approximately $9.2 million. This in turn helped to create and retain 131 Maine jobs.
Lender at Work for Maine Award (Less than $1.5 Billion in Asset)
FAME is honoring Skowhegan Savings in recognition of their outstanding commitment to making Maine’s communities better places in which to live and work. They were the top lending partner of FAME’s in the category of lenders with less than $1.5 billion in assets. Over the past year, Skowhegan Savings partnered with FAME on thirteen loans totaling approximately $3.9 million. This in turn helped to create and retain seventy-seven Maine jobs. Examples of businesses FAME assisted in partnership with Skowhegan Savings include: Bell Holdings; FHF Realty; MooMoo’s Playcare Center; Northern Lights Maine; and Ranger Contracting.
Lender at Work for Maine Award (Most Increased Partnership)
In recognition of their increased partnership with FAME and commitment to Maine people and businesses through innovative financial solutions and community engagement, FAME is pleased to recognize Bath Savings this year. Over the past year, Bath Savings partnered with FAME on four loans totaling approximately $2.5 million. This in turn helped to create and retain 128 Maine jobs. Examples of businesses assisted in partnership with Bath Savings: Oxbow Brewing Co; Ray Labbe & Sons Contractors; and Windham Pie.
John Burns, Longtime Managing Director, Maine Venture Fund
Dirigo Lifetime Achievement Award
In recognition of his many years of dedicated service at Maine Venture Fund supporting dynamic Maine businesses that have the potential for significant growth and impact, John is honored with a Dirigo Lifetime Achievement Award. John has led Maine Venture Fund for twenty years, growing it from a small, unknown quasi-governmental organization mandated with investing in early-stage Maine companies to a cornerstone of the state’s innovation ecosystem. To date, Maine Venture Fund has invested in approximately eighty-one companies and experienced several successful exits.
Steve Levesque, Executive Director, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA)
Dirigo Lifetime Achievement Award
In recognition of his many years of dedicated service to successful economic development in Maine, both at the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) and as former Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, FAME is pleased to honor Steve with a Dirigo Lifetime Achievement Award. Steve has been MRRA’s only Executive Director since its formation in 2008. MRRA has met or exceeded all of its original goals and objectives and is nationally recognized for being one of the most successful base re-use initiatives. FAME has helped to finance some of the companies located at Brunswick Landing, including SaviLinx, Molynlycke, and Blue Dog Daycare. We’ve also supported the students at the campuses of University of Maine System and Maine Community College System located there. Steve’s professional career has spanned over forty-one years in both the private and public sectors in the areas of economic and community development, land use planning, and environmental services.