The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) celebrated successful business and educational partnerships at its annual meeting and awards event, Showcase Maine, which was held on Thursday, November 21, 2019, 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 a keynote speech by Maine’s own U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Retired) Travis Mills entitled “Never Give Up. Never Quit.”
River Tree Arts student Maggie McEwen, a freshman at Kennebunk High School, sang the National Anthem to begin the night. River Tree Arts, located in Kennebunk, is a non-profit center for the arts that has provided quality arts education to the Southern Maine community for over 30 years.
A large crowd of approximately 350 individuals listened raptly to Mills, a recalibrated warrior, motivational speaker, actor, author and an advocate for veterans and amputees. Despite losing portions of both arms and legs from an IED while on active duty in Afghanistan, Travis continues to overcome life’s challenges, breaking physical barriers and defying odds. In September 2013, Travis and his wife Kelsey founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to benefit and assist post-9/11 veterans who have been injured in active duty or as a result of their service to our nation. Veterans and their families receive an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid, barrier-free vacation to Maine where they participate in adaptive activities, bond with other veteran families, and enjoy much-needed rest and relaxation in Maine’s great outdoors.
“FAME enjoyed celebrating the successes of the past year with our partners in Maine’s business, lending, governmental, and higher education communities,” said Jay Violette, chair of the FAME board of directors. “Travis Mills inspired us all and we were pleased to honor our partners who help to make Maine’s economic and educational futures brighter.”
Earlier in the day, the FAME Board re-elected its current slate of officers to new terms of one-year each: James “Jay” Violette as chair; David Daigler as vice-chair; and James Howard as treasurer.
This year’s award recipients included:
- Business at Work for Maine Award: Amplify Additive: Amplify, Inc., d/b/a AmplifyAdditive, was recognized as a leader in the “4th Industrial Revolution” for its innovative manufacturing and as a service provider leveraging its experience to help other companies choose the right technology for the right application. Amplify Additive’s technology leverages GE Additive’s Arcam Metal 3D Printing technology to engineer, design, and manufacture solid Titanium products such as implants for the human body and aerospace components. Based in Scarborough, the growing company benefitted from a unique partnership involving not only a FAME Direct Loan but also financing from other partners such as the Maine Venture Fund, Maine Technology Institute, and Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
- Education at Work for Maine Award: Professional Logging Contractors of Maine: The Professional Logging Contractors of Maine (PLC) is the state’s only trade organization that exists to give independent logging contractors and sole proprietors a voice in Maine’s rapidly changing forest industry. The organization focuses on logger advocacy, safety, quality operations, and business innovation. The PLC was recognized for offering Maine’s only postsecondary training program for operators of mechanized logging equipment. Launched in 2017, the program involves a partnership between the Maine Community College System, the PLC, and industry partners.
- Education at Work for Maine Award: Ronald Milliken and UMF Financial Literacy Peer Education Program: Ron Milliken, longtime Director of Financial Aid at University of Maine Farmington, as well as champion of financial literacy and responsible borrowing, was recognized along with the Financial Literacy Peer Education Program, which he helped to found. The program provides comprehensive personal financial education to students, delivered by their peers, with the goal of helping to improve financial well-being and reduce student loan indebtedness. The program’s mission is to increase the financial literacy capability of students by providing them with student-led informational programming regarding personal finance, student loan borrowing, default prevention, and financial aid. Although University of Maine Farmington is the home base for the program and host of the annual Peer Educator training camp, the group has begun a statewide expansion of the program, which will ultimately be offered at all seven campuses of the University of Maine System.
- Lender at Work for Maine Award ($1.5 billion or above in assets): Camden National Bank: This was the bank’s tenth time as an awardee. Over the past year, Camden National partnered with FAME on 48 loans totaling approximately $13.6 million. This in turn helped to create 109 Maine jobs and retain an additional 484 jobs. In addition to being a top partner in stimulating economic development in Maine, Camden National is actively committed to the communities in which it operates. Founded in 1875, the bank encourages employee volunteerism and makes donations to local nonprofits.
- Lender at Work for Maine Award (up to $1.5 billion in assets): Skowhegan Savings: Skowhegan Savings is currently celebrating its 150th year of doing business in Maine. This past year, FAME partnered with Skowhegan Savings on 8 loans to Maine companies totaling approximately $6 million. This helped to retain 53 Maine jobs. In partnership with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG), Skowhegan Savings has developed a unique career preparation and financial literacy program designed to give all students in Somerset and Franklin Counties the skills and experience needed to success in today’s workforce.
- Lender at Work for Maine Award: Bar Harbor Bank & Trust: Founded in 1887, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is a community bank offering a full-range of financial services for families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. FAME partnered this year with the bank on 20 loans totaling approximately $5.1 million. This helped to create 39 Maine jobs and retain an additional 112 Maine jobs. The bank was recognized for its increased partnership with FAME this past year utilizing the agency’s commercial loan insurance program. Deeply committed to community service, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust raises funds for worthy causes and its employees volunteer hundreds of hours per year as members of local nonprofit boards, coaches of youth teams, and participants in various community events.
Also during the event Greenlight Maine host Julene Gervais announced the names of the twenty-six Maine Collegiate Challenge semi-finalists, who were in attendance. Greenlight Maine is a statewide collaboration of entrepreneurial catalysts and corporate leaders, designed to promote and mentor the development and growth of businesses in the state. FAME has sponsored the show in the past and was pleased to welcome the budding college entrepreneurs to join in the night’s festivities.
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 fifth year in a row as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com