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.
Alexander (Sandy) Spaulding, Chair
Sector Represented – Composite Technology
Mr. Spaulding is the President of Hodgdon Yacht Services and an officer of Hodgdon Group, the parent company. Hodgdon Group is a Maine based, diversified marine company with operations including custom boat building, high end interiors for yachts, planes and buildings, defense composites and yacht service and repair. Sandy also spent eight years at Hinckley Yachts, one of America’s premier builders of semi-custom sail and power yachts, in various roles, including as President of Hinckley Yachts and EVP and CFO of the parent company.
Mr. Spaulding is also the Chairman and Co‐Founder of Barton & Gray Mariners Club BGMC is the leading luxury day boat membership club in the United States. Membership in the Club gives members access to a fleet of Hinckley Picnic Boats along the Eastern seaboard without any ownership obligations. He is a Board Member of Waynflete School, a private elementary and college preparatory school in Portland, Maine. He is also a Board Member and Co‐Founder of Maine Built Boats, Inc., a non‐profit organization focused on promoting the Maine boat building industry; and Chairman of the Board of Portland Community Squash, a Maine non‐profit focused on developing junior squash programs in Maine.
Chris Davis, Vice Chair
Sector Represented – Aquaculture & Marine Technology
Chris Davis is a founding partner of the Pemaquid Oyster Company, a shellfish aquaculture business established in 1988. He also serves as Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, a not for profit organization supporting research and educational efforts that advance the economic development of marine and freshwater aquaculture in Maine.
Chris is also an adjunct associate professor of Marine Sciences for the University of Maine and teaches courses in aquaculture and shellfish biology at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center. His research interests include new aquaculture species development, selective breeding of bivalves and developing improved husbandry methods. He currently serves as President of the National Shellfisheries Association and serves on the boards of the Watershed School, Edwards A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund and the Maine Aquaculture Association.
Chris received his BA from Colby College and Ph.D. from the University of Maine and lives in Waldoboro with his wife and their two daughters.
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 – 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 – 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 – Biotechnology
Linda Richardson Diou joined Meridian Life Science, Inc. in 1998 as General Manager, supplying antibodies, purified antigens, assay development reagents and custom antibody services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic companies.
Linda Diou started her working career performing research in herpes simplex virus at Pennsylvania State University followed by hepatitis research at The New York Blood Center. She transitioned into the commercial biotechnology market in 1983 when she joined Ventrex Laboratories’ marketing and sales organization bringing new clinical and physician office products to market through progressive product and marketing management positions. In 1992, Linda joined Immunotech (Beckman‐Coulter) and moved into the flow cytometry, cytokine and retrovirology markets.
Sector Represented – Precision Manufacturing
Paul Edmonds was the Vice President of Operations at National Semiconductor and the Operations Manager Fairchild Semiconductor until his retirement in 2010. He is an experienced semiconductor professional with 42 years of Wafer Fab engineering, operations management, Greenfield Construction, and global technology transfers. His specialties are Wafer Fab turnarounds to improve cost performance, project management, Wafer Fab construction and start‐up and benchmarking.
Paul currently consults in the semiconductor industry and is an Adjunct professor at USM. He is a SCORE mentor with the Portland Maine chapter. Education: Applied Science, Forestry, BS in Business Management, MBA in Engineering Management, Global Technology Management accelerated MBA from Stanford.
Sector Represented – Finance/Lending/Venture Capital
Stephen K. Smith is an experienced board member, strategic advisor and investor with a proven record of success in identifying and enhancing shareholder value. He is a former all‐star technology analyst and successful venture capital investor. Steve is currently a partner at Masthead Venture Partners and has been a board member, lead investor or board observer responsible for investments in the following sectors: Online & Mobile Marketing, Cloud Computing, Network Infrastructure and Cybersecurity, Electronic Payments and Supply Chain Management.
Steve twice served as chairman of Maine’s Small Enterprise Growth Fund Board. Prior to Masthead, Steve was a top ranked analyst at PaineWebber, following large publicly traded technology stocks including Apple, EMC, Hewlett‐Packard, IBM and Oracle. He was ten times voted an Institutional Investor All‐Star Analyst by leading money managers and twice named the top analyst of computer stocks by the Wall Street Journal. He is featured in the book “Wall Street Meat” by Andy Kessler (Harper Collins, 2003). Steve was previously a management consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton and a systems engineer and account manager with ICL.
Steve has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a First Class Honors Degree in Computer Science from Brighton University.
Sector Represented – Information Technology
Joe Kumiszcza is President of Online Associates, a marketing consulting company, and Director of TechMaine, an organization supporting Maine’s technology sectors. He has been named a New England High Tech All‐Star and one of the New England Top Ten Techies to Watch. He has served on the USM Computer Science Advisory Board and as a Board member of the Technology Councils of North America. He is currently Vice President of the Cumberland North Yarmouth Lions Club. Joe is an eighth generation Maine native, a graduate of the University of Maine, and lives in Cumberland with his wife and two cats.
George Gervais has been the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) since May 2011. In his capacity as leader, Gervais is charged with developing economic sectors, promoting new businesses, and growing existing businesses.
Working closely with the Governor, the Legislature, and the private sector, he and his staff strive every day to create economic opportunity for all Maine citizens in every part of the state.
A graduate of the University of Maine at Orono, Gervais has been with the DECD since 2008, serving as Development Program Manager and Business Development Specialist, Assistant Commissioner, and Acting Commissioner before his current appointment. Prior to joining the DECD, he served as senior loan officer at Carteret Mortgage Corp. and Dedicated Mortgage Associates, LLC. He also founded Grill Concepts, Inc., and EVO, Inc. Gervais resides in North Yarmouth with his wife and children and enjoys family camping trips throughout Maine.
Community College Designate
Nina Fisher serves as the representative for the Maine Community College System (MCCS). The mission of MCCS, set forth in Maine statute, is to provide associate degree, and certificate programs directed at the educational and occupational needs of the State’s citizens, and the workforce needs of the State’s employers. The primary goals of the System are to create an educated, skilled and adaptable labor force which is responsive to the changing needs of the economy of the State, and to promote local, regional and statewide economic development through workforce development. MCCS is comprised of seven colleges across the state with six off-campus centers. Over 17,000 students on average are enrolled in credit courses each semester.
Nina serves as the Director of Government Relations for MCCS and is a native of Aroostook County having been born and raised in Madawaska. She lives in the Augusta area with her husband, and three children.
Director of the Office of Policy and Management
Jonathan LaBonte earned his BS in chemical engineering at the University of Maine in Orono and began his career as a consulting engineer in Massachusetts. He returned to Maine to take graduate courses in public policy and administration at the University of Maine. Later roles have included working in higher education, transportation planning and studying municipal service delivery. Jonathan previously served as an Androscoggin County Commissioner and is currently in his second term as Mayor of the City of Auburn.
Sector Represented – At Large Industry
Biography Coming Soon!
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 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.