Prior to MCE, Thomas was President of Rainey & Associates; a consultancy specialized in planning and implementing innovation-based development initiatives. Mr. Rainey brings 25 years of experience in building and managing successful business incubators and accelerators for start-up companies in seven states. Mr. Rainey’s experience in rural business development, international trade, aerospace, defense and life sciences combined with a broad national and international business network provides unique capabilities.
Since 1990, Mr. Rainey has been involved in a number of pioneering Defense Adjustment programs including the decommissioning of a military port in in a rural area of California; launching new export assistance programs through the World Trade Center he managed in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, and serving as Director of Business Development for the Defense Adjustment Program in St. Louis in 1993. In 1998 Mr. Rainey was recruited by the State of Florida and Kennedy Space Center to establish a network of six NASA-funded incubators to assist laid-off aerospace workers in the wake of the Challenger disaster. From 2001-2012 Mr. Rainey developed a biotechnology strategy for New Hampshire; plans for a Health Care Institute for Wisconsin and award-winning incubators at the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College, Northern Arizona University, and the BioInspire accelerator in Phoenix. Mr. Rainey developed business accelerator plans for the Cities of Goodyear and Sierra Vista, two rural communities in Arizona affected by major defense industry downsizing.
Mr. Rainey holds a Master's Degree in Science and Technology Policy (March 1988) from Lund University, Sweden; a Graduate Degree in Social Sciences, (June 1986) from the University of Stockholm, Sweden; and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science (August 1985) from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Rainey can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurie is the manager of the Top Gun Program and is responsible for MCE’s workshop series. Laurie grew up in Maine working in a family-owned small business where she served as company treasurer for a number of years until the company was sold in 2003. She is a graduate of Mt. Ida College in Boston, MA and Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY where she received degrees for an Associates program in Graphic Design and a Bachelors program in Commercial Photography respectively. She lives in Westbrook with her husband and children and is active in many community organizations. Laurie can be reached by email at email@example.com.
As Program Manager for the Cultivator Food, Beverage & Agriculture Program, Sue is responsible for launching and managing all operations of the program which focuses on providing the necessary skills and resources to food, beverage and agriculture manufacturers looking to successfully scale-up their companies. Sue has over 20 years experience in the food business starting with Barber Foods in Portland, Maine and expanding into other operations in Ohio, Oklahoma, and the Carolinas through the acquisition of Barber by AdvancePierre Foods in 2011. She previously held the position of Continuous Improvement Director at AdvancePierre partnering with ten manufacturing facilities to deploy Lean Manufacturing and build best practices to deliver $10+ million year over year productivity savings. Sue also has experience, and been responsible for, Strategic Planning, Project Management, Marketing, and Phase Gate Product Development throughout her career.
Sue graduated from the University of Maine with a BS degree in Business Administration. She lives with her husband and children in Brunswick and is a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Northern New England Chapter. Sue can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maine Mentor Network Manager
Terry manages the Maine Mentor Network and is responsible for ensuring that the network has the skills and experience needed to support companies and entrepreneurs in all the MCE programs. Terry over 30 years experience in product design, technology development, customer support and enabling new product line growth at Texas Instruments, Fairchild Semiconductor, and National Semiconductor. Terry is an experienced manager, consultant, and product and technology development professional. He is experienced in all aspects of design - product, program, process, and organizations. Terry’s current focus is to assist growing companies in transition to improved profitability and larger scales. He brings a business process and systems perspective to tie the needs of the business and needs of the customer to appropriate systems and methods ensuring high productivity and cost effective solutions.
Terry graduated from Montana State University with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Philosophy. He and his wife Karen live in Cape Elizabeth where they are active supporters of Special Olympics, Goodwill Industries, and all causes concerning adults with disabilities. Terry can be reached by email at email@example.com.
As MCE’s Operations Manager, Cindy supports the Executive Director and staff with grant and financial management services. Cindy is also the Principal of CJTalbot Services, a woman-owned business that provides grant writing, technical writing/editing, and other freelance project support services to a range of clients from startup entrepreneurs to established environmental consulting firms and government agencies. Prior to launching her own business, she managed large environmental investigation projects at E.C. Jordan/ABB Environmental Services, currently, AMEC Foster Wheeler, in Portland and also worked in direct marketing at LL Bean. Cindy holds a BS from the University of Maine and an MS in Hazardous Materials Management from Tufts University.
Despite not being a native Mainer, Cindy has spent all of her adult life here, raising her two sons and several dogs, growing gardens, fixing up an old house, and enjoying camping, skiing, cycling and the beautiful Maine coast.
Board of Directors
ANTHONY E. PERKINS
Board Chair, Shareholder, Bernstein Shur
Tony Perkins is a shareholder at Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, a 110-attorney firm with offices in Portland and Augusta, Maine, and Manchester, New Hampshire, where he is a member of the firm’s Business Law Practice Group, Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group and Food & Beverage Group.
Tony's work includes day-to-day counseling and transactional assistance to start-up, growth and established businesses involved with product development, intellectual property protection, national and international commercialization and distribution agreements, angel and venture capital financing, joint ventures, and company sales and merger transactions in a variety of industries.
Since the late 1990’s Tony has assisted numerous clients with raising angel capital, venture capital and other private funding and advise and assist many clients with sales to private and public company acquirers. Many of these engagements involve transactions that cross state and national borders.
Tony is the Chair of the Board of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs and a member of the Board of the Bioscience Association of Maine. Tony is also an active mentor and speaker for the MCE’s Top Gun business accelerator program.
Brett Austin is an angel investor, experienced technology executive team leader and entrepreneur. Most recently, he was the President of Kepware Technologies, leading the company to a $120M sale to PTC, a global Industrial Internet of Things software company. Brett is driven by the challenge of scaling great businesses, and has spent more than two decades developing a profound passion for creating progressive organizations that foster trust, collaboration, learning, creativity, and community engagement. Driven by a belief in conducting business in unconventional and creative ways as a force for good; a vision for advanced business is not only more scalable, sustainable, human, and courageous, but also more profitable.
His community involvement has focused on supporting causes that benefit children, education, and entrepreneurship, including organizations such as Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, 1% for the Planet, World of Change, Protect our Winters, United Way of Greater Portland, Seattle Works, and Greater Boston Food Bank.
Brett earned a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.
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 (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.
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 involved with Envision Maine.
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 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.
President, IBEC Creative
Becky McKinnell is President of iBec Creative, a digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. iBec Creative helps companies who are embarrassed by 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.
President & CEO, Ocean Renewable Power
Chris Sauer is President, 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.
CPA, MST, Tax Manager, Macpage LLC
Cory Vargo joined MacPage as a tax manager in 2016; he is a certified public accountant and has practiced in public accounting since 2009.
Cory focuses his tax practice on private equity and corporate acquisition and divestiture due diligence, international tax structuring, and tax compliance. Cory received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting from the University of Delaware in 2009, as well as a Masters in Taxation from Suffolk University in 2012. He is a certified public accountant and member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Massachusetts Society of CPAs.
JAMES (JAKE) WARD
Vice-President, University of Maine
Jake Ward is the Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at UMaine. The Office of Innovation 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.
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).
President, Accelera Inc.
Mike is the president of a startup company called Accelera, Inc. A company that is developing a licensed and patented technology discovered and developed at Harvard University. This new technology is being developed into wearable health tech devices to be used for joint and balance rehabilitation for both the athletic and aging markets.
Mike’s background is in manufacturing and business and his experience includes executive management as well as manufacturing and operations management, including the management of turn-around projects, new product launch, plant relocation and re-design, staffing and training and re-engineering of operations to improve efficiency and profitability. Additionally also has teaching experience in the field of operations and manufacturing management at the university level as well as experience in designing, developing and executing experiential education programs for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students.
Education includes an MBA with a concentration in Operations Management from the Whittimore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire as well as a B.S. in Industrial Management from the University of Southern Maine and a degree in Machine Tooling. Mike also serves as an advisor and director for several private and non-profit boards.
OWNER, PORTLAND HUNT AND ALPINE CLUB and Little Giant
Briana Volk is the owner of the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, Little Giant and is a short film/music video writer and director. Briana’s work has been shown in film festivals around the world. She is the founder of the New England Cocktail Conference and was named one of the "50 Most Influential Mainers" of 2015. Briana is also on the board of Creative Portland and the founding Vice President of the Maine Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.