Archive for the ‘Economic Development’ Category

Summer Technology Camp Mentioned in Press Herald Article

Monday, June 30th, 2014

A University of Maine-affiliated Summer Technology Camp offered in Orono by the startup High Touch Courses was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about the business and its founder Elizabeth Chabe.

High Touch Courses aims to create online courses for middle and high school students who want to learn about computer programming, Web development and video game design, according to the article. The summer camp, co-located at UMaine, is an intensive, project-based overnight and day camp for students who want to change the world with technology. Four weeklong courses will be offered on topics including Web design, 3-D art and graphic design, game development, and hardware architecture.

A Shingle Every Second

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 The University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) and Ecoshel, a company that produces cedar shingle panels, recently completed their UMaine-based project, Smart Shingle Production. AMC, along with private and public partners, designed, developed and built a manufacturing assembly line for the company. The line, which includes custom manufacturing equipment, blends conventional woodworking systems with state-of-the-art controls and laser-scanning technology.

“Developing this new type of shingle manufacturing system will greatly increase safety and production efficiency over current systems,” says AMC director John Belding, talking about the assembly line that will be operated in Ecoshel’s new production facility in Ashland, Maine.

The Ecoshel project created more than 11 jobs and provided a learning experience for UMaine engineering students.

Bryan Kirkey, owner and CEO of Ecoshel, was referred to the AMC by the Maine Technology Institute. He met with AMC staff and engineering student interns to discuss how to reach his goal of having a cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Maine. With support from AMC’s innovative engineering and manufacturing services, Kirkey opened the production facility in Ashland.

AMC sought private industry partners such as Dana Hodgkin, owner of Manchester, Maine-based Progress Engineering, for additional system integration and controls support.

Working with Ecoshel and Progress Engineering over the past six months, AMC developed an automated system that can scan, optimize and cut raw lumber to produce a shingle every second with the specialized features of Ecoshel’s system. Once the shingles are made, they are assembled into Ecoshel’s cedar siding panels that use a unique, patented installation system that minimizes installation effort, waste, extra weight and materials, and extends shingle life.

This is the first of many assembly lines Ecoshel plans to use based on the specifications and prints developed by the AMC, according to Belding. AMC plans to share information and assist Ecoshel’s private partners with building the remaining systems.

More about Ecoshel is online.

WVII, WABI Cover Ecoshel Event at Advanced Manufacturing Center

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the completion and demonstration of the Ecoshel — Smart Shingle Production Project at the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center. The AMC, engineering students, and private and public partners designed, developed and built a manufacturing assembly line for Ecoshel, a company that produces cedar shingle panels. The assembly line will be operated in Ecoshel’s new production facility in Ashland, Maine. The project created more than 11 jobs and provided a learning experience for the students. Ben White, a mechanical engineering student, told WABI he was happy to see the project come together and run smoothly. “This facility has really been essential to being able to experiment, develop, have a work-in-progress kind of relationship with the team here and get it off the ground,” said Bryan Kirkey, owner and CEO of Ecoshel.

Media Report on Gabe’s Updated Waterfront Concerts Study

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News and WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on an updated study conducted by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe on the economic impact of Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts series. Gabe first released the study in early 2013, which estimated the first three years of the concert series brought more than $30 million into the local economy. Gabe recently released an update to include data from the 2013 season, which surpassed each previous year in terms of attendance, number of performances, impact on local businesses and people’s willingness to travel long distances to see a show, according to the article. The 19 shows in 2013 had a total economic impact of nearly $17.5 million — more than half the total of the first three years combined, according to the study. Gabe’s journal article on the study is scheduled to be published in the Review of Regional Studies. Mainebiz also cited the BDN report. 

Gabe’s Economic Impact Study for Downeast LNG Cited in Press Herald Article

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

An economic impact study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in a Portland Press Herald article about Downeast LNG altering plans for a proposed liquefied natural gas import terminal in Washington County. Downeast LNG commissioned Gabe to conduct the study. Gabe found the new project would create 2,350 jobs and $375 million in labor income during its three-year construction period. He also estimated the terminal would support 337 jobs in the state and have an annual economic impact of $68 million.

UMaine Hosts 70 High School Students for Stormwater Research Institute

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

About 70 high school students and teachers from Portland, Bangor, Auburn and local Native American communities will gather at the University of Maine for a five-day UMaine Stormwater Management Research Team (SMART) Institute.

UMaine scientists and students, city water planners, and representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and businesses including Woodard & Curran and IDEXX will also take part in the institute that runs from Monday, June 23 through Friday, June 27.

The SMART Institute aims to engage a diverse group of students and teachers in training for the implementation of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) core values in their schools while addressing an important environmental issue.

The institute is supported by a more than $735,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to empower female and minority high school students, their teachers and communities to create innovative solutions to the environmental problems related to stormwater management.

Throughout the conference, students will take part in hands-on projects led by STEM professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling and information technology to monitor and map water quality. Participants will tour UMaine labs and stormwater areas on campus, hear from guest speakers, and learn how to use wireless sensors to test water, as well as collect, enter and analyze data.

The institute will cap off with a field trip to the Arctic Brook watershed area in Bangor where students will install the wireless sensors they built and collect data as citizen scientists. An awards ceremony will be held on campus before students depart.

Researchers, Students to Participate in Down East Economic Impact Study, BDN Reports

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News reported the Down East Research and Education Network has commissioned a study to determine the economic impact of conservation effort in Washington and Hancock counties. Two University of Maine economics researchers and several UMaine students will work with Phillips Consulting in Clinton to conduct the study. The study will analyze the economic value of conservation, research and education of the regional land trust and conservation organizations as employers and of the region’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems for their natural resources, said Barbara Arter, director of the network.

Burton’s Guidance Mentioned in Mainebiz Report on Top Gun Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Kris Burton, director of technology commercialization at the University of Maine, was mentioned in the Mainebiz article, “Top Gun entrepreneurs gain an edge with expert guidance on avoiding mistakes while growing.” The Top Gun Entrepreneurship Acceleration program is a Blackstone Accelerates Growth program offered by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development in Portland and Bangor. Kat Taylor, director of business development at GenoTyping Center of America in Bangor, said she went to Top Gun to network and refine her company’s business strategy. She said she especially found Burton helpful in understanding the unique elements of her business and the best way to emphasize them.

Trostel’s Fiscal Return on Higher Education Research Focus of Mainebiz Report

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Research conducted by Philip Trostel, a University of Maine professor of economics and public policy, is the focus of the Mainebiz article, “Maine’s colleges and universities struggle with shrinking budgets.” Trostel was the author of “The Fiscal Return on Higher Education in Maine,” which looks at the state benefits of greater educational attainment, such as increased tax revenue and reduced social costs. The report was released in May by the Maine Development Foundation and UMaine’s School of Economics, and is the third quarterly report analyzing critical economic indicators in Maine. The study shows a bachelor’s degree creates a 75 percent earnings increase over a lifetime, and more education translates into higher pay at every level.

Press Herald Interviews Counihan About Job Placement of Graduates

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Patty Counihan, director of the Career Center at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for the article, “Finding a job isn’t getting any easier for Maine teens.” Counihan said hiring plunged five or six years ago, but “it seems like it is coming back slowly but surely.” In 2009, she told the Press Herald, about 60 companies signed up to recruit workers on campus, and this year it was back up to the normal level of around 100. She said the university doesn’t compile overall job placement figures until about six months after a class graduates, but knows IBM hired a handful of UMaine graduates this year, while Enterprise Rent-A-Car hired nine. She said a substantial number of other graduates had offers or interest from potential employers, as well.