In-person event returns after two-year hiatus
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) celebrated successful business and educational partnerships at its annual meeting and awards event, Showcase Maine, held this year on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at Portland’s Holiday Inn By The Bay.
Showcase Maine is FAME’s annual celebration of its successful partnerships with Maine’s business, lending, governmental, 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 entertainment by comedian Juston McKinney. Ava Hackley, a junior at Kennebunk High School who studies voice at River Tree Arts, performed the national anthem, as well.
“It is through our partners in Maine’s business, lending, governmental, and higher education communities that we are able to celebrate the successes of the past year,” said Acting FAME CEO Carlos Mello. “We are proud to showcase the progress we are making together in educating our workforce and growing well-paying Maine jobs, despite the recent pandemic challenges. We were pleased, as well, to return to an in-person event to honor our partners who help to make Maine’s economic and educational future brighter.”
This year’s 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, 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.
Finally, the evening’s entertainment was provided by comedian Juston McKinney. Juston grew up in Portsmouth, NH and Kittery. He attended Southern Maine Community College and spent seven years as a York County deputy sheriff. Juston has appeared multiple times on The Tonight Show, Comedy Central specials, and two Amazon Prime specials, including his latest, “Parentally Challenged.”
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides financial solutions that help Maine people achieve their business and higher education goals. FAME helps to create a Maine workforce that with good-paying jobs by focusing on the nexus of economic and educational development. FAME recently was recognized for the eighth year in a row as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com.