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.
Mainebiz reported on the 12 panelists who have been named for the 2014 Top Gun Showcase on June 4. At the showcase, 12 of the 20 companies that went through the Top Gun entrepreneur mentor program will have their pitches evaluated by the panelists who come from a variety of industries. The University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator is co-hosting the event with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, which runs the Top Gun program. The event is supported by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, business sponsors, mentors and program advisers.
The Portland Press Herald published an article on a startup founded by two former University of Maine hockey coaches Dan Kerluke and David Alexander, along with Tim Westbaker, a computer programmer and UMaine alumnus. The trio created Double Blue Sports Analytics to create an iPad app that allows hockey goalies and goaltending coaches to easily capture performance data and analytics. The startup is the first to market with such a goalie-specific data analytics product, but already has plans to tap into the much broader global market for sports science and training, the article states. The company is a tenant of the Target Technology Incubator, an Orono facility that was developed by UMaine and the Bangor Target Area Development Corporation to provide an environment for business development and commercialization activities for innovation-based startups. Kerluke told the Press Herald he met Westbaker through Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. Kerluke calls Moriarity the company’s “guardian angel.”
David Handley, a vegetable and small fruit specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension, spoke to the Bangor Daily News for an article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture offering new crop insurance options to cover fruits and vegetables. According to the article, the program will extend coverage to smaller farms as opposed to only benefiting growers of commodity crops, such as corn and soybeans. Previous insurance programs gave little incentive for farmers to diversify their crops, the article states. Handley said in previous Farm Bills, crop insurance appeared to cover the same crops that crop subsidies covered, and the new options appear to be an effort by the USDA to try to fix some of the current issues that haven’t been popular with farmers. “We are seeing a real resurgence in growth of diversified farms,” Rebar said. “They need some risk protection.”