Three Amazing Projects Celebrated

It’s hard to believe that, like a blink of an eye, the end of summer in Maine is upon us. I hope you all had an opportunity to fully enjoy this splendid place that we are all so fortunate to call home.

Here at the Maine Technology Institute, in addition to the team enjoying a vacation here and there, we were able to see several significant MTI-funded projects through to completion in August. It is incredibly rewarding to work with amazing organizations from project concept to fruition.

UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship in Orono

On August 9th, we were on hand in Orono to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship. MTI’s $344,000 award as part of a larger Economic Development Administration-funded project helped provide matching funds to renovate and convert 4,050 sq. ft. within the facility to a wet laboratory, lab-ready space, and flex assembly/office space for environmental and other technology companies. The newly renovated space provides an even better facility for the UpStart Center’s team of Rod McKay, Renee Kelly, Veena Dinesh, and Emma Wilson to coach and mentor the center’s clients as well as connecting them to much-needed resources and services including the Top Gun and Maine Accelerates Growth Programs.

MTI has been thrilled to play a small role over the years in helping to grow this facility’s influence and infrastructure. Since its inception, MTI has provided grants and assistance to help usher in improvements inside this essential business incubation center as well as providing support to many of the startup entities conducting business there, including Cerahelix, Environetix and Advanced Infrastructure Technologies (AIT), to name a few.

Downeast Institute’s Marine Research Laboratory and Education Center in Beals

On August 11th, we attended the grand opening of the Easternmost Marine Research Laboratory and Education Center in the United States at the Downeast Institute. The $6.6 million project at Great Wass Island in Beals will help build capacity to conduct applied marine research and increase the prospects for additional tech transfer projects with marine industry members located in Maine’s most marine dependent communities. MTI’s $2 million award, as part of this larger project, was the result of some great foresight by Maine lawmakers and voters who approved the $7 million Marine Economy Jobs bond in November 2014 that laid the foundation for the renovation and expansion. The new facility will enable greater public-private collaborations where researchers and scientists can work hand-in-glove with local fishermen and marine entrepreneurs to, as the original funding request proposed,

  • Test new ideas and experiment with adding value to their harvest;
  • Encourage product development to examine new uses for cultured lobster juveniles, soft-shell clams, green crabs, or to enhance roe production in sea urchins out-of-season; and
  • Create a local hub of activity for entrepreneurs to access information about the marine environment, test aquaculture techniques and simulate environmental conditions in a controlled environment.

 The Jackson Laboratory’s Charles E. Hewett Center in Ellsworth, Maine

On August 23rd, the Jackson Laboratory held a ribbon cutting to commemorate the Phase I completion of its $200 million Charles E. Hewett Center in Ellsworth, Maine. The new state-of-the-art research mouse production facility is the first of its kind in the world.  MTI provided $1.74 million in funding in 2015 to conduct a pilot project to prove out some of the new automation at the facility and earlier this year committed $12.5 million toward completion of Phase II of the project.

The economic impacts related to the Jackson Lab project are extraordinary – – 350 high quality jobs to be created in Ellsworth and nearly 150 more at its Bar Harbor facility, and over $550 million in economic activity over the next 8 years. Additionally, the impacts on human health are also remarkable as JAX mice are used by over 25,000 researchers in 75 countries as they seek to unlock the mysteries associated with, and identify cures for, the most confounding health problems known to humankind.

Again, the team at MTI is humbled and honored to play a role in helping to make projects like these a reality. They will inevitably help foster the creation and growth of new businesses and provide well-paying, high quality jobs for Mainers. And, that’s terrific news for all of us.

It’s been a great summer in Maine. And, we’re looking forward to celebrating the completion of more terrific projects this fall.