Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Brett Austin — Senior Vice President, Kepware Platform

Brett Austin is the President of Kepware Technologies. He is driven by the challenge of building great businesses, and has spent most of the past 20 years working for high-growth technology companies. He is passionate about creating progressive organizations by fostering a culture of collaboration, learning, and accountability.

At Kepware, he has the opportunity to take a long-term approach to growth, which enables him to cultivate his fundamental belief that by focusing on employees and partners first, resulting customer loyalty and shareholder returns will exceed expectations.

When not working, he spends time with his wife and children, preferably participating in outdoor activities like skiing, biking, and hiking. His community involvement has focused on supporting causes that benefit children, education, and entrepreneurship, including organizations such as Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, United Way, Make-A-Wish, Maine International Trade Center, Spurwink, and Growing Portland.

Charlie Emmons — Senior Commercial Loan Officer, FAME

Charlie Emmons is the Senior Commercial Loan Officer at the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Charlie has been at FAME since 2003 and in conjunction with Scott Weber, the Senior Credit Officer, is responsible for FAME’s commercial loan portfolio of existing customers while looking for new opportunities. 

He and his team He and his team (Sally Garand, Roxanne Broughton, John Endicott, and Matthew Lindquist) work together with Maine financial institutions and other interest groups such as Accountants and Lawyers to help Maine companies succeed in start-up, expansion and growth modes. Prior to working for FAME, Charlie spent 33 years in banking for the Bank of America and its predecessors in Baltimore Maryland.

He lives in Yarmouth with his wife. They have three grown children, and five grandchildren.

Sam Fratoni — Board Chair, Maine Angels

Sam is a business executive with over 30 years of global, technical corporate leadership, focused on helping organizations apply technology to real customer needs to produce results for the company and employees. He led business units, international regions and global business functions for Hewlett Packard and as Corporate Vice President for IDEXX Laboratories. Sam is very involved in leadership, educational and entrepreneurial development activities based on solid understanding of best practice application. He utilizes his chemistry background to define fundamental models for best practices to help individuals and teams become "consciously competent" and gain measured results. He is currently Breakwater School Board of Trustees President, a member of the Maine Angles and actively involve with Envision Maine.

Todd Keiller -  Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Todd brings thirty years of experience in licensing, business development, and marketing. He has established several technology transfer offices, including at Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Vermont. He has managed the technology transfer affairs at Maine Medical Center for the last 13 years and the same for the University of New England for the last 8 years.

Todd’s private sector experience includes ten years in the Science and Medical Products divisions of Corning Glass Works in sales, marketing, and business development roles. He has also worked in startup and early stage companies. Todd’s twenty years of academic licensing experience includes the position of Vice President for Ventures at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and consulting to numerous non-profit institutions throughout New England. He has been an active member of the BioScience Association of Maine. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.

Fletcher Kittredge — CEO, GWI

Fletcher founded telecommunications company, GWI in 1994 which now is considered a leader in Northern New England's telecommunications industry. Fletcher grew up in Arundel, Maine and went to Colby College, where he majored in English. He graduated in 1984 and in the same year, went to Cambridge, Massachusetts and started working at the research lab, Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN). The following year Fletcher started graduate work at Harvard University in Computer Science.

In 1993, the New York Times had a front page article about the Internet and how it was going to be very big. Fletcher took a small inheritance of $48,000, moved to Maine, and started Biddeford Internet Corporation in 1994, a company which still operates today as GWI. A passionate advocate for broadband growth and network neutrality, Fletcher serves on the ConnectMaine advisory board in addition to his role at GWI. He led GWI's efforts to obtain a $25 million Federal grant to deploy 1,110 miles of high capacity fiber optic in rural Maine as part of the Three Ring Binder project, later transitioning those funds to independent Maine Fiber Company in order to foster competition and lower broadband costs for rural Maine. In 2011, Fletcher was recognized by MaineBiz as Business Leader of the Year for his leadership of GWI and bringing funding for Three Ring Binder to Maine.

Robert A. Martin — Managing Partner, Strategic Equity Partners LLC 

Robert A. Martin – Bob, is the Managing Partner of Strategic Equity Partners LLC, a consultancy providing strategic counsel, financial restructuring, M & A due diligence, brand architecture, marketing and operations analysis to help enterprises focus on those matters most significant to their success. A leader in the world of innovation, Bob became widely known throughout the state as the former President of the Maine Technology Institute, and has assisted in the development of entrepreneurial programs in the US and the United Kingdom. He also serves as an advisor to Eliot Cutler, the CEO of the new Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, a division of the University of Maine System, where one of his assignments is the creation of experiential learning programs that will include an incubator/accelerator integrated with the Center’s law, business, and public policy curricula.

Bob’s experience includes senior leadership roles at The Washington Post, The Hartford Courant, and Dai Nippon Ink & Chemicals. He did his undergraduate studies at The George Washington University and earned his MBA at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Becky McKinnell — President, IBEC Creative

Becky McKinnell is President of iBec Creative, a digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. iBec Creative helps companies who are embarrassed and frustrated with their existing website and would like to feel proud of it realize what a powerful tool it can be for their bottom line.

In 2006, Becky started iBec Creative after graduating from college with a degree in Art and Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Southern Maine and joined the business incubator at Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. Becky felt that Maine was the perfect place to start her company. The opportunity to build a business that combines her passions for art, technology and strategy has been, and still is, exciting and rewarding for her. Becky and her team have developed over 250 websites for businesses around the country.

In 2010, Becky combined forces with Mark Girr to start her second company, iKNO Intranet, a social intranet designed for companies between 50 and 1,000 employees that need an easy and intuitive way to communicate online.

Becky has been featured in Business Week's Top 25 Entrepreneurs 25 and Under, awarded Small Business Administrations's Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and she's a recipient of the 2011 Women in Business Award.

Anthony E. Perkins — Board Chair, Shareholder, Bernstein Shur

Tony Perkins, a Bernstein Shur shareholder, chairs the firm's Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Group and is co-chair of the Business Law Practice Group.

Over the last fifteen years he has assisted numerous clients raise angel, venture capital and other private funding and advise and assist many of these clients with sales to private and public company acquirers. As the manager of TechVentures Group, a business advisory division of Bernstein, Shur, Tony works with early and growth stage clients to assemble outsourced management teams designed to assist innovation-oriented businesses with plans for growth, equity and debt financing, strategic alliances, product commercialization, sales and mergers. Many of these business planning engagements involve transactions that cross state and national borders.

Tony is a Board member of the Maine Investment Exchange and the ''Top Gun'': Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. Tony was formerly Chair of the Computer Law and Internet Committee of the Maine State Bar Association and a member of the State of Maine's Blue Ribbon Internet Commission to Establish a Comprehensive Internet Policy. He is a member of various intellectual property and technology sections of the Maine and American Bar Associations. Tony has been recognized byChambers USA and is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell.

Chris Sauer — President & CEO, Ocean Renewable Power

Chris Sauer is President and CEO and a founding member of Ocean Renewable Power Company, an international industry leading developer of technology and projects that generate clean, predictable power from ocean and river currents. A professional manager, energy entrepreneur, and strategic development consultant, Chris has more than 40 years of experience in executive management, engineering, construction, project development, marketing, financing, and startup company formation in the electricity, cogeneration, renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. He has held senior management positions with two major U.S. corporations and led three startup energy/environmental technology companies. Involved in the energy transaction business since 1977, Chris has played an instrumental role in the development of more than $2 billion in energy assets and companies. He is a registered professional engineer in Colorado and a lifetime Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

James(Jake)Ward — Vice-President, University of Maine

Jake Ward is the Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at UMaine. The Office of Research and Economic Development acts as the liaison office for business and industry, supporting economic development with the assistance of University of Maine resources. The department also acts as the University technology transfer office, handling patenting, licensing, and commercialization activities for the University of Maine. The University of Maine averages 10 new patent applications per year, 2-3 new technology licenses, 2-3 new spin-off companies and hundreds of joint R&D projects with existing companies.

In addition, the office runs two small business incubators in information technology and aquaculture. The office supports federal and state government relations for the University's R&D and Economic Development mission.

Jake actively supports economic development projects at the University of Maine and in partnerships with many state and non-profit programs. He sits on the boards of the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Applied Technology Development Centers, the Composites Technology Development Center, the Bangor Area Target Development Corporation, Maine Development Foundation (MDF), Maine Rural Partners (MRP) and the Maine Composites Alliance.

Jake is a member of many national organizations including the Association of University Technology Mangers, the National Council of University Research Administrators, the National Business Incubation Association and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Ocean Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.

Brian Whitney - President, Maine Technology Institute

Brian Whitney is President of the Maine Technology Institute, a publicly funded, private, nonprofit organization established to stimulate research and development leading to the development of innovative new products, processes and services.

Brian has extensive experience in economic development. He previously served as a private sector manager and as Maine’s Director of Business Development & Innovation at the Department of Economic and Community Development. Prior to his work in state government, Brian was Director of Outreach and Economic Development for U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, and served as Chief of Staff to Maine’s Senate President. He is currently a board member of the Maine Venture Fund and the Economic Development Council of Maine. Brian is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine (USM).

Michael Wing — University of Southern Maine

Michael Wing of Gorham, holds a B.S. in Industrial Technology from USM and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing, operations and business management at both small and multi-national companies. More recently, he has taught in USM's Department of Technology and is a member and past chair of the USM School of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (ASET) Executive Advisory Council.

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