Maine’s Governor appoints ten voting directors, eight of whom must be representatives of targeted technologies. The other two directors must have demonstrated significant experience in finance, lending or venture capital. In making the appointments from targeted technologies, the Governor considers recommendations submitted by representatives of targeted technology sectors.
The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development or the commissioner’s designee, the President of the Maine Community College System or the president’s designee and the Chancellor of the University of Maine System or the chancellor’s designee are ex officio voting directors. The Director of the State Planning Office or the director’s designee is an ex officio nonvoting director. The Maine Technology Institute Director is a nonvoting director who is recommended by the MTI Board, appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate, and employed by the Department of Economic and Community Development. Click on the names below to read each Board Member’s biography.
Donna Cassese, Chair
Sector Represented – Advanced Technologies for Forestry and Agriculture
Donna Cassese graduated from UMO with a B.S. in Forest Management and has been with Sappi for 38 years. She has had diverse roles within forestry, operations, and manufacturing. After nearly 15 years as a forester in both Maine and Alabama she transitioned into managerial roles in the Woodyard, Waste Treatment, Pulp Sales and Human Resources at the Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine. Following these roles, Donna held the position of Plant Manager at Sappi’s Allentown Pennsylvania converting facility and then transitioned into the Supply Chain group at the Somerset Mill. In 2006 Donna became the Director of Inside Sales for Sappi’s North American operations. In 2008, Donna assumed responsibility for the Westbrook Mill as Managing Director. In 2015 Donna returned to her forestry roots and is now the Director of Wood Resource Strategy.
Current Board Affiliations – Chairman of the Maine Pulp & Paper Association and Board member of the University of Maine Pulp & Paper Foundation.
Sector Represented – Composite Technology
Sector Represented – Aquaculture & Marine Technology
Meredith Mendelson has served as Deputy Commissioner for the Maine Department of Marine Resources since May 2012, with a focus on the interface of state and federal marine resources policy. The agency has a broad mission that includes conservation of marine and estuarine resources, conducting research, and promotion and development of coastal fisheries and aquaculture. In prior work, Meredith staffed Senator Olympia J. Snowe on the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, managed a groundfish sector, and worked for the Community Program at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
Meredith is a graduate of Bates College and Maine Law, and resides in Camden with her husband and daughter.
Raymond (Chip) Kelley, Treasurer
Sector Represented – Finance/Lending/Venture Capital
Raymond (Chip) Kelley is the Team Leader (RTM) for Commercial Banking of Key’s Maine District, responsible for middle market banking in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He joined Key in 2005 after 13 years at Bank of America in Portland. Chip began his banking career with Shawmut Bank in Boston in 1985. He also spent two years in the early 1990’s with Bank South in Atlanta.
Chip currently serves on the Boards of North Atlantic Venture Capital Corporation, Maine & Company, and The United Way of Greater Portland. He also served on the Mercy Hospital Finance Committee. In the past he has served as a fundraiser on the annual campaigns for Maine Medical Center, The American Heart Association, and the Greater Portland YMCA. Previously he has also served on The Portland Community Chamber of Commerce and as Treasurer for St. Albans Episcopal Church.
Chip is a graduate of Colby College and he lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife and three boys.
Jake Ward, Secretary
University of Maine System Designate
James S. (Jake) Ward IV is the Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at the University of Maine. His office supports economic development by acting as a liaison for business and industry, facilitating technology transfer, and handling patenting, licensing and commercialization activities. The office also supports federal and state government relations for the university’s R&D mission.
Vice President Ward has been the Assistant Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Government Relations since 2006. He has served UMaine in various roles within the Department of Industrial Cooperation and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship since joining the University in 1990.
Prior to joining the University of Maine, Vice President Ward worked in private industry in software development and manufacturing. He is a member of national organizations, including the Association of University Technology Mangers and American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He also serves on the boards of many state organizations including the Maine Technology Institute, the Maine Development Foundation and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. Originally from Saco, he holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in ocean engineering from the University of New Hampshire.
Sector Represented – Environmental Technology
Sebastian Belle began his career as a commercial fisherman, working his way through university as a mate on offshore lobster boats. Currently, Mr. Belle is the Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Association, a private non‐profit association representing Maine shellfish, finfish and sea plant growers. Mr. Belle sits on the National Organics Standards Board Aquaculture Task Force, the Standards Oversight Committee of the Global Aquaculture Alliance and the Boards of Directors for the USDA Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center, the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, The Maine Technology Institute, The Maine Fishermen’s Forum, and the International Salmon Farmers Association. As a founding member of the Maine Working Waterfront Coalition and The Maine Natural Resources Network. Mr. Belle has a long commitment to the balanced and sustainable use of Maine’s natural resources and working landscapes and waterfronts. Prior to joining the Maine Aquaculture Association, Mr. Belle was the state aquaculture coordinator working for the Maine Department of Marine Resources and managed commercial salmon and tuna farms for over twenty years. Mr. Belle holds degrees in fisheries biology and agricultural economics and has served as a technical consultant and manager on over twenty commercial aquaculture ventures in nine countries. In addition to his role as the Maine Aquaculture Association’s Executive Director, Mr. Belle is President of Econ‐Aqua, a consulting firm specializing in aquaculture project design, operations management, financial due diligence and risk analysis and control.
Sector Represented – Information Technology
Ian Swanberg served as the Associate Commissioner for Policy and Finance for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services from 2018 to 2019. In that role, he assisted in the oversight of the department that managed the state government’s IT infrastructure and lead several key financial initiatives. He previously served as the Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs where he led the department’s interaction with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office.
Before returning to Maine, he worked for five years as an equity analyst with FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, Virginia. There he focused on the financial services sector, including the burgeoning financial technology space. He also advised on a number of initial capital raisings. He previously served five years as a legislative assistant and press secretary for U.S. Senator Susan Collins.
A native of Caribou, Swanberg holds an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and a BA in Economics and Political Science from McGill University in Montreal. He currently resides in Pownal.
Sector Represented – Precision Manufacturing
Sector Represented – Finance/Lending/Venture Capital
Richard (Rick) Ganong has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry with a focus on venture capital and hedge fund investing. He was a Partner at the Tudor Investment Corporation, an internationally recognized diversified investment management firm, and was a founding General Partner of the Tudor Venture Group which managed a series of funds providing growth capital to private companies in various information technology industries. Most recently, Mr. Ganong was the Senior Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations at Bowdoin College.
Mr. Ganong’s education background includes an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, 1992 and a BA from Bowdoin College, 1986.
Mr. Ganong has dedicated time and resources to many not-for-profit institutions. He is an emeritus member of the Board of Overseers at The Tuck School at Dartmouth. He is also the Chairman of the Corporation of The Belmont Hill School and is President Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the Belmont Hill School (2007-2012). From 2008-2012, he was an Overseer at Newton Wellesley Hospital and member of the finance committee. He has recently joined the Board of The Gulf of Maine Institute.
Mr. Ganong and his wife, Kristine are co-founders of Five Pine Farm in Brunswick.
Bio to come!
Community College Designate
Dan Belyea is the Chief Workforce Development Officer at the Maine Community College System (MCCS). He serves as a member of the senior management team and is responsible for providing state-wide leadership and coordination in support of MCCS’s statutory mission to meet Maine’s workforce needs with the goals of creating an educated, skilled and adaptable labor force that is responsive to changing economic needs and to promote local, regional and statewide economic development. In addition to managing the Maine Quality Centers grant program he works with colleges, businesses, associations and related public, private, and non-profit service providers to create partnerships that are responsive to that mission.
Dan has worked for the MCCS for over 31 years. If February 2020 he was appointed Chief Workforce Development Office for the MCCS.
Prior to that appointment he served as the Executive Director of Workforce Training for the MCCS. In 2016 and 2017, he served as the Director of Operational Support and advised colleges on capital facilities projects, real estate transactions, auxiliary business review and contracts. He has also worked in a variety of administrative positions at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine from 1988 to 2016 with his last position as the Director of Administrative, Student Services and Auxiliary Enterprises.
He currently serves on the State Workforce Board, as a non-voting advisory member representing the MCCS and serves as a public member on the Grievance Commission with the State of Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar since 2015. He has served as a member of the following boards in the past: Downtown Bangor Partnership Committee, Chair and Vice Chair on the Board of Commissioners Bangor Housing Authority, and a board member of the Bangor Housing Development Corporation.
Dan lives in Vassalboro, Maine with his husband Gregory Sereyko and their two cats Oliver and Olyvia.
Director of Office of Policy and Management or Director’s designate
Bio to come!
Sector Represented – Advanced Technologies for Forestry and Agriculture
With four decades of experience in the forest products industry, Rosaire Pelletier is an expert when it comes to anything related to manufacturing, management, marketing and innovation of forest products. He informs, connects and advises businesses to define goals and create a strategic plan to achieve them. As the Senior Forest Products Advisor for the State of Maine, a position Rosaire has held since 2007, the appointment as Governor’s Account Executive under the LePage administration was a natural extension of his ongoing work to enhance the forest products industry. Rosaire’s specific experience is centered in accounting and financial management of the pulp and paper industry. Employed by Fraser Papers Incorporated from 1966 to 2007, his résumé includes upper management positions like Group Controller of Government Affairs and Business Manager of Pulp and Paper Operations. A Madawaska native, Rosaire is bi-lingual, speaking both French and English fluently.
Sector Represented – Biotechnology
MTI President (non-voting)
Brian Whitney is President of the Maine Technology Institute, a publicly financed, private, nonprofit organization established to stimulate research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products, processes and services in the state’s seven targeted technology sectors.
He has extensive experience in economic development and legislative matters at both the state and federal level and has worked with innumerable companies, private and public sector research organizations, and entrepreneurial leaders throughout the State of Maine during his professional career. He served previously as a private sector manager and in the public sector as Maine’s Director of Business Development & Innovation, the Director of Outreach and Economic Development for U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), a Business Development Specialist for the State of Maine, and as Chief of Staff to Maine’s Senate President.
He has served on, or staffed, a number of statewide boards including the Maine State Workforce Investment Board, the Maine Economic Growth Council, Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board, and the Maine Rural Development Authority. He is currently a board member of the Maine Venture Fund, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine & Company, and the Economic Development Council of Maine.
Brian is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine (USM) and lives in Augusta with his wife and two daughters.