Board of Directors

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.

Melissa LaCasse

Sector Represented – Advanced Technologies for Forestry and Agriculture

Bio coming soon!


Sector Represented – Composite Technology



Meredith Mendelson

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.

Amberlynn Esperanza

Sector Represented – Finance/Lending/Venture Capital

Bio coming soon!

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.

Michael Cassata

Sector Represented – Environmental Technology

Bio coming soon!

Ian Swanberg

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.

Rob Pierson

Sector Represented – Precision Manufacturing

Bio coming soon!

John Pavan

Sector Represented – Finance/Lending/Venture Capital

John Pavan works with entrepreneurial endeavors at growth stage or inflection points that are developing a unique approach or product. He is active in several market sectors, all of which are niche or limited-entry and address a societal, sustainability or environmental challenge.

He serves as advisor, co-investor, non-executive director and/or in C-level roles, all in collaborative support of the entrepreneur. He creates value through capital, market and operational strategies with the goal of multiple bottom-line success.

John’s “first career” was in capitalizing and managing operating entities, primarily in institutional quality real estate development and integrated operating ventures. Within this space he specailized in the then-emerging service-enriched senior housing sector. He was the CEO/COO of a $30 million vertically-integrated development company, and as an entrepreneur co-founded and ran the development function of 2 companies that developed, owned and operated multi-site, service-enriched senior housing portfolios of over $125 million each. He has had performance responsibility for dozens of initiatives as well as several vertically-integrated operating companies.

John also assists institutional owners, investors and lenders in designing and implementing asset turnaround and workout plans, having recovered over $100 million in capital for his clients.

For 5 years John served MTI in an E-Resident capacity, and volunteers his expertise supporting small and scaling businesses as a mentor at the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs and as a certified counselor at SCORE.

John is also a registered professional civil and environmental engineer and a licensed real estate broker.

Heather Johnson

DECD Commissioner

Bio coming soon!

Dan Belyea

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.

Scott Kleiman

Director of Office of Innovation Policy and the Future or Director’s designate

Bio coming soon!

Jed Beach

Sector Represented – Advanced Technologies for Forestry and Agriculture

Bio coming soon!

Susan Tapley

Sector Represented – Biotechnology

Bio coming soon!

Brian Whitney

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.