by Susan Baracco and Bryan Roche
We at Maine Icons are excited to continue our work highlighting the leaders, innovators and rising stars in the world of Maine business. As we dive into the new year, we’re happy to share with you our first Icon Update of 2018. Let’s take a look at what a few of these amazing folks are up to…
Help Maine Icons Grow!
Maine Icon, David Banks, and the David Banks Team are celebrating a record-setting 2017. Banks and company closed 288 transactions last year, bringing in $164,266,731 in sales volume. The sales volume is a record for the State of Maine, making Banks Maine’s top real estate agent for 18 consecutive years. Congratulations to the David Banks team!
Maine Icon, Jess Knox, president of Venture Hall, has just been awarded a grant to continue their work championing Maine entrepreneurs and startups. The $475k grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is part of a new initiative intended to remove policy barriers that get in the way of new business creation. During a recent interview with Mainebiz, Knox said, “It’s a validation of the efforts being made already here in Maine, of which we’re very proud to be a part of.” Congratulations to Jess and his team on this grant and their work and dedication to Maine.
Maine Icon, Josh Broder, and Tilson Technology wrapped up what he has called a “breakout year for growth” by announcing an additional $1.5 million investment in the company by publicly-traded firm Rand Capital Corp. With the additional investment, Tilson was able to attract a total of $5 million from investors in this latest financing round. “We’re having a big growth year and we’re anticipating an even bigger year in 2018,” mentioned Broder in a Mainebiz article on the announcement.
Emerging Maine Icon, Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers Guild, is gearing up for the 3rd New England Brew Summit being held on March 29, 2018 in Portland. Last year’s event was supported by a wide variety of sponsors drawing nearly 500 attendees. This full day conference features world-class speakers and more than 15 workshops focusing on technical and business tracks that include sourcing hops, protecting intellectual property and telling your brand’s story. More than just a trade-show, this event is all about bringing people in the craft beer industry together to share ideas and knowledge that will move the industry forward in a sustainable way.
Maine Icon, Laura Davis Rinck, president of Rinck Advertising, was recently awarded the Midge Vreeland Public Service Award from the Maine Public Relations Council (MPRC). This honor recognizes a public relations professional or organization whose efforts help the greater good and embodies the core principles held by Midge Vreeland—integrity, commitment to community service and a willingness to advance organizations and their causes.
On the business side, her firm recently hired both local talent and recruits from California, Oregon and New York to join their Lewiston and Annapolis offices. Rinck stated, “We hired several new team members and still have 4-5 jobs open. The cool thing about our new hires is that we attracted them from all over the country to Lewiston, Maine.” Congratulations to Laura and the team at Rinck.
Maine Icon, Fred Forsley, owner of Shipyard Brewing, announced a new partnership with an outdoor adventure and rafting company, Three Rivers Whitewater. The two companies are joining forces to promote and operate the Sugarloaf Shipyard Brew Haus in Carrabassett Valley. The partnership began developing last spring, and the restaurant, which is located at the Sugarloaf Inn, opened in November. The two companies view this partnership as a natural fit because of their brands’ appeal to a similar audience of customers. Joe Christopher, owner of Three Rivers Whitewater, explains in this Mainebiz article that the partnership “is a good opportunity for friends of Shipyard and guests of Three Rivers to get together.”
Maine Icon, Heather Blease, CEO of SaviLinx, is once again gearing up to expand her team here in Maine in 2018. Her company has contact centers in Brunswick and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Blease hopes to increase staff by about 50 percent to over 600 workers and grow its revenue, currently about $11 million a year, by up to 60 percent. In this recent Press Herald article, Blease stated, “SaviLinx is an employment engine. For us to grow, we need to hire people.” And that is terrific news for Maine.
Emerging Maine Icon, Noah Bissell, and Bissell Brothers celebrated their four-year anniversary of producing quality, local craft beer by throwing a party fit for the occasion. The December celebration, held at Aura in downtown Portland, featured bands Tokyo Police Club, Armies and Fort Gorgeous, helping to mark another year of growth for the innovative brewers. Congratulation to Noah, Peter and the Bissell Brother’s team!