Given that we didn’t get an eNewsletter out in November and given that December and the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year,” I want to reflect on some MTI activity from the past few weeks and to highlight the great work that is achieved by the dedicated staff and volunteers who help make MTI operate effectively.
First, MTI has a small but exceptional staff that is passionate about helping to propel Maine’s innovation economy forward. You can view all of their biographies here. I marvel daily at the level of knowledge, commitment and dedication that each brings to the MTI team and I want to commend them all for their efforts. Thank you, Emily Cordray, Joe Migliaccio, Martha Bentley, Scott Bursey, Shane Beckim, Lou Simms, April Finkenhoefer, Kim Doughty, Patti Sutter and Sandra Marquis.
The staff and organization is guided by an impressive 15-person Board of Directors, made up of private and public sector representatives, who freely give of their time, talents and expertise to make funding decisions, guide the strategic direction of MTI, and shape the delivery of the organization’s programs. Capably led by Chairman Sandy Spaulding, the biographies of each of the Directors can be found here. My profound appreciation goes out to each of them: Sandy, Chris Davis, Chip Kelley, Jake Ward, George Gervais, Linda Diou, Steve Smith, Donna Cassese, Paul Edmonds, Sebastian Belle, Jonathan LaBonte, Joe Kumiszcza, Nina Fisher, and Scott Bourget.
The Maine Technology Institute invests its funds in Maine’s seven targeted technology sectors. Each of those sectors is assigned a board of subject matter experts within the sector who meet at least three times a year to review MTI’s Seed Grant and Development Loan applications. I am continuously impressed by the caliber of the individuals serving on these boards and the depth and breadth of the sector-related knowledge they possess. There are over 100 Tech Board members advising MTI at this time and the organization is indebted to each of them for sharing their expertise and advice with us. Find a list of our Tech Board members here.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention MTI’s amazing team of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR). Our EIRs are experienced entrepreneurs who have invested and advised start-ups and later stage businesses, experienced the challenges, frustration and joys of building and growing a company and bringing a product to market, and have made meaningful contributions to our economy. MTI deploys the EIRs to companies within the MTI portfolio to provide peer guidance to entrepreneurs. Their assistance is invaluable and helps MTI immeasurably. The biographies of the EIRs can be found here but I want to specifically commend each of them – – Roger Brooks, Carl Spang, Kerem Durdag, John Karp and Paul Myers – – for their service to MTI.
Given it’s the holiday season, we have all been invited to attend many work-related gatherings over the past few weeks. All these parties provide opportunities to commemorate the holiday and engage in fun and valuable networking opportunities. The Maine Technology Institute held its own get together last week following our December board meeting. It was a nice opportunity to recognize the value of MTI’s public-private partnerships and to appropriately acknowledge the instrumental efforts of so many volunteer board members, strategic partners, and, of course, our funded companies. It was a terrific evening.
The holiday is also the season for giving and MTI was happy to play a small role recently in giving back to the community. The entire team spent the day at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP) in Brunswick. In order for MCHPP to achieve its vision of providing food to all in need in the area they serve, over 600 volunteer hours are required each week. MTI staff was divvied up and assisted in a number of ways over the course of the day. From serving lunch in the soup kitchen, to assisting clients in the food pantry, to sorting and organizing food donations in the food bank, to helping with routine cleaning, everyone worked hard to do their part. It was a very rewarding experience and a valuable team building exercise.
During this “hap-happiest season of all,” I hope you have an opportunity to gather with friends and loved ones to embrace and celebrate this “most wonderful time of the year.”
All the best from your friends at MTI.