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.
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.
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.
The University of Maine’s DeepCwind Consortium was featured in an IEEE Spectrum article about developments in prototype testing of offshore wind turbines. UMaine’s prototype offshore turbine, currently floating in Penobscot Bay, is one of only five in operation around the world and the only one in the U.S. Habib Dagher, director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and leader of the consortium, was interviewed for the article and discussed the powerful capabilities of the turbine, which is in hopes to cut the cost of offshore wind power by more than half by the mid-2020s.
A Sun Journal article about the 2014 Business to Business Trade Show mentioned Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) as a resource for future economic growth and development in the Lewiston-Auburn region, as well as statewide. BxG is committed to building a community of entrepreneurs and innovators throughout Maine by providing advisory services, investment funds, entrepreneurial coaching and support through partnerships with the University of Maine, Maine Technology Institute and Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED). Mainebiz also carried a report about the Top Gun Entrepreneurship Acceleration program, a BxG program offered by MCED, planning to add a midcoast location to its current Portland and Bangor sites. The article also stated BxG plans to start an innovation hub in Lewiston, adding to its Portland, Bangor and midcoast sites.
Dan Kerluke, a former associate head coach for the University of Maine men’s hockey team, was featured in the Bangor Daily News article “Three groundbreaking Maine entrepreneurs share how they did it.” Kerluke spoke about how he and Tim Westbaker, co-founder and chief technical officer of Double Blue Sports Analytics, created the 360 Save Review System, a digital interface to help track goalie statistics within seconds. “I think the biggest thing for us has been the immediate connection and support within the state of Maine,” Kerluke said, adding that Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, became the company’s “guardian angel” for helping them understand how to expand their business. Kerluke also participated in the Top Gun Entrepreneurship Acceleration program, which is sponsored by Blackstone Accelerates Growth and hosted by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development.
Jake Ward, vice president for innovation and economic development at the University of Maine, was interviewed by Mainebiz for an article about how the state is being inventive with limited resources. Ward said continuous innovation is key to driving economic growth in Maine, and the state lacks the critical mass where innovation is seen as necessary. He said UMaine contributes to the state’s economic development by having 300–400 collaborations with private-sector companies that bring in about $4 million in revenue a year; signing seven or eight agreements a year to license its technology to companies such as Advanced Infrastructure Technologies of Orono, which is developing the university’s Composite Arch Bridge technology; and spinning out two to three companies a year, so far totaling 25–30.
Renee Kelly, director of Economic Development Initiatives and co-director of the Foster Center for Student Innovation at the University of Maine, wrote an article for Mainebiz on how to validate a business idea. Kelly wrote the first step to validate an idea is to give it more definition. She recommends writing out the elements, as opposed to only thinking through concepts.
The Morning Sentinel reported on Waterville-based chemical processing company, Cerealus Holdings LLC, unveiling an additive it says can save paper mills money by improving the papermaking process. The product — Cerenano — was developed in the University of Maine’s Process Development Center in Orono. Cerenano enhances the properties of nanocellulose — nano-sized wood fiber — providing a more efficient way to make paper, the article states. A statement from Mike Bilodeau, director of UMaine’s Process Development Center who worked with Cerealus as a chief scientific adviser, said Cerenano “represents a significant break-through in the ability to leverage the unique properties of cellulose nanofibrils in paper and paperboard products.”
The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece titled “Maine inventors have a natural advantage,” by David Kappos, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York who also served as under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 2009 to 2013. “Continued promulgation of fabrication labs is crucial to Maine’s ascent in innovation. The University of Maine has wisely made bold investments in such facilities,” the article states. The complete version of the article first appeared in Maine Policy Review, published by UMaine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.