Brian Whitney | President
Brian Whitney is President of the Maine Technology Institute, an organization established to diversify and grow Maine’s economy by encouraging, promoting, stimulating and supporting innovation and its transformation into new products, services and companies and, ultimately, the creation of quality jobs for Maine people.
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, Maine Venture Fund and the Maine Rural Development Authority. He is currently a board member of the 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.
Shane Beckim | Senior Investment Officer
As an Investment Officer, Shane works with entrepreneurs and innovators throughout the investment process and oversees MTI’s investment programs. Shane has been with MTI since 2004 in various capacities. His focus is to work with potential applicants who are in search of funding to help add valuable resources needed to conduct market research, develop business plans, and to conduct early stage research and development of new and innovative technologies.
Shane has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs and companies in various stages of development to formulate strategies and concentrate on efforts that both fit the need of the company and fit to the programs that MTI offers. You can see him around the state participating in MTI and partner sponsored workshops to help connect Maine’s growing entrepreneurial community to the resources and funding they need to succeed and grow.
Emily Braley | Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps Coordinator
Emily joined the MTI team in 2022. As the Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps (MERC) Coordinator, she helps Maine entrepreneurs succeed by connecting them with reliable and affordable consulting services. Emily matches the professional consulting needs of start-up companies with qualified businesses across the state and works closely with consultants which provide specific services such as accounting, sales, legal, organizational development, marketing, IT assistance, and more. She manages the MERC program and actively represents MTI throughout the Maine business community.
Emily is a Maine native and holds a BA in Religion and a BA/MA in Economics (focusing extensively on economic analysis) from the University of Florida. Her desire to study economics stems from her passion for economic development in Maine as well as internationally. She has volunteered in community development projects around the globe, including India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Nepal. Currently she is an ambassador to an economic development NGO, PISC-Nepal, located in Kathmandu, Nepal. Additionally, she worked with USAID to research and develop a gender analysis used to direct gender mainstreaming into USAID/Mongolia’s programming efforts.
In her free time, Emily loves skiing, learning about diverse cultures and traveling to Nepal.
Scott Bursey | Senior Investment Officer
Scott joined MTI in February of 2015, and is responsible for working with MTI portfolio companies with Development Loans. Scott has over 21 years of high risk lending experience, and has spent 17 years in commercial lending and economic development. He has an MBA from New Hampshire College and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Maine at Machias. Scott lives with his wife in the Brunswick area.
Barb Ford | Lending and Grant Associate
Barb joined MTI in April of 2019. With deep roots in the marine and software industries, Barb has over 25 years of experience working with Maine small businesses and startups.
Barb loves working with entrepreneurs. The best part of her job watching good ideas come to fruition. She has a degree in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire. When not working with clients, Barb can be found sailing on the lakes of Central Maine with her husband and her dog, Lily.
Tom Kittredge | Investment Officer
Tom Kittredge joined MTI as an Investment Officer in January of 2020. In this role, Tom works closely with innovators across every stage of MTI’s investment processes. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation as drivers of economic development and is deeply interested in sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and triple-bottom line models. Tom has an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, where he organized two major conferences on entrepreneurship and sustainable business – TechStars Startup Weekend and the Doing Good, Doing Well conference.
Tom has five years’ experience as an account specialist at the Council on International Education Exchange and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Development from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Tom has spent considerable time overseas, including stints in Kenya, Brazil, Peru, Cuba, and Spain.
Tom serves on the organizing committee of Startup Maine and is a Lead Mentor for the Maine Center for Entrepreneur’s Top Gun program. He is part of Leadership Portland and is on the Natural Resource Council of Maine Rising’s leadership team. When not working with clients, Tom can be found backpacking, sea kayaking, sailing, and getting lost in the Maine woods.
Bianca Kowal | Investment Officer
Bianca joined MTI as an Investment Officer in January of 2020. Bianca brings extensive experience in financial services with a focus in relationship management. Previously, Bianca worked for a registered investment adviser and has held positions with fund companies and broker-dealers. Bianca also has experience in sales, marketing and compliance.
Bianca holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, and a Certificate in Financial Planning from Bryant University.
Greg Lee | Director of Finance and Administration
As Director of Finance and Administration, Greg oversees most of the day-to-day back office functions at MTI, and serves a senior management role as the head of the finance team. Greg has a background in public accounting and spent several years in finance leadership roles in local Maine companies.
Greg graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a B.S. in Accounting and maintains his CPA license. Greg and his family reside in Yarmouth.
Amy Leshure | Senior Investment Officer
Amy Leshure joined MTI early in 2019 and serves as a Senior Investment Officer. She brings extensive experience in financial analysis, market analysis and risk management. Previously she worked in private equity banking at RBS Citizens in Boston before moving to Maine and spending the past 12 years in commercial lending and small business financial management. An avid supporter of entrepreneurs, she aims to connect local startups with the resources they need for success.
Amy has held various board roles including advisory, not-for-profit, business attraction committees and an elected town council seat. She resides with her family in the greater Portland area.
Wanda McNeil | Media Manager
As Media Manager, Wanda contributes to MTI’s mission of supporting Maine’s innovation economy by handling its external, corporate, and operational media functions. She also provides essential administrative support to the MTI team.
Wanda joined MTI in 2020 and brings a wide range of professional experience to the team including public relations & marketing, office management, financial auditing, and teaching. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education / Language Arts from Andrews University in Michigan. After spending years studying and working in multiple states, she happily returned to her New England roots.
Outside of MTI, Wanda can be found exploring hiking trails or kayaking the coastal waters of Maine. She also enjoys wildlife photography and singing. Wanda lives in West Bath with her husband Mark.
Joseph Migliaccio | Director of Portfolio Advancement
Joe is MTI’s Director of Portfolio Advancement. He helps further MTI’s positive impact within Maine’s innovation economy through outreach, increasing awareness leading to quality deal flow, and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. Joe also assists portfolio companies with the process of successful commercialization and to improve returns on investment. An original member of the startup team at MTI in 2000, he is well-connected in Maine’s entrepreneurial community, and serves on the Maine Accelerates Growth leadership team.
Joe has been involved with small business throughout his life, including ownership in specialty foods and retail service. He has formal and practical training in immunology, bioassays, product development and business leadership. During 10 years at IDEXX Laboratories in Westbrook, Maine, he worked as an assay development project leader in R&D, a supervisor of global technical support and managed a multi-million dollar line of tests and equipment. He has had primary responsibility for product-line strategy, product launch, customer satisfaction and achievement of revenue goals.
Joe initially studied engineering at the University of Maine and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Southern Maine. He holds an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH and serves on various business boards and committees.
Lou Simms | Senior Investment Officer
Lou Simms serves as a Senior Investment Officer at Maine Technology Institute. Lou joined MTI in 2015 and truly relishes the opportunities to work with Maine’s aspiring entrepreneurs – dedicated to supporting the growth of Maine’s innovation economy on a daily basis.
Lou joined MTI after finishing his Master’s work at the University of New Hampshire’s Sustainability Institute and Organic Dairy Research Farm – and Lou has prior experience running small businesses in Portland, ranging from rocking bowling alleys to financial literacy counseling.
Originally from Kentucky, Lou is inspired by the natural beauty and unique sense of community here in Southern Maine – and he can think of no better place for he and his wife to raise their young son!
John Eldredge (2018 - Present)
John has significant experience in general strategy, marketing strategy, brand building, new product development, licensing, and sales and distribution channel management. He is a founding partner of Innovative Natural Products Group, a boutique consultancy providing support to early stage natural products companies.
John began his career in consumer foods marketing at General Mills—working on Betty Crocker dessert and Big G cereal brands—before moving into senior management positions at leading natural products companies. John served as VP of marketing at Tom’s of Maine and acting VP of marketing at Earth’s Best organic baby food.
Most recently, John was a senior leader at Guiding Stars Licensing Company (a subsidiary of global food retailer Hannaford/Delhaize Group) where he was responsible for licensing the proprietary Guiding Stars in-store nutrition guidance program to grocery chains, college dining halls, hospital cafeterias, and a major regional health plan.
John received his AB degree in psychology from Dartmouth College and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. In the community, he is an assistant coach for local high school and college Nordic ski teams, and does volunteer work with Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. John enjoys running, cycling, Nordic skiing, vegetable gardening, and film.
Matthew Hoffner (2017 - Present) - Lead
Matt currently serves part time as an ER with MTI working with their portfolio companies and applicants to develop success strategies for their individual companies. He also serves on a number of other civic boards and is a part time math instructor in Portland.
Matt graduated as an engineer started his career with Exxon where he was a field engineer and eventually a senior manager with their industrial and chemical divisions throughout the US. He has been involved with a number of start-up companies and organizations since coming to ME in 1987. For 10 years, he was one of the original senior managers for WEX in South Portland. He later started a B2B marketing and sales outsourcing company that had over 100 professionals at client locations throughout the US. He was the President and CEO of JobsInTheUS, the parent company of JobsInME that realized exceptional growth before a successful sale in 2006. In 2008, he joined with a partner in the UK to start an international job board marketplace called Jobg8 which has grown to be a major trading platform within that industry. He was appointed to the board of the Maine Venture Fund for 6 years and was the chairman of that fund from 2014 through 2016. Upon leaving that board he became chairman and managing director for one of its portfolio company that needed assistance. That turnaround was successful and the company returned to profitability and growth and was successfully sold in 2017.
Matt has expertise in developing and implementing growth strategies, especially for businesses in the B2B marketplace. He has experience in the funding of start-up companies and developing growth strategies that address the challenges of high growth companies.
Matt lives at Diamond Cove on Great Diamond Island in the Casco Bay and enjoys all the benefits of island living in Maine.
John Karp (2016 - Present)
John Karp is a Mechanical Engineer by training. He has broad experience in many aspects of business growth and has worked in business management since 1987. Since 2005, John has consulted in business management with a focus on strategy formation and implementation for growing his client companies. Additionally he served as CEO to turn around Bourgeois Guitars, a legendary brand of acoustic guitar distributed worldwide.
As a serial entrepreneur, John has served many functions including positioning for funding, new product feasibility analysis, investment due diligence, strategic planning, program management, marketing and sales programs. With several startups and a major turnaround to his credit ranging from a truck accessory business in his garage to a major technology spinout from Harvard Medical School, John brings unique national and international experience to clients. Most recently John doubled the revenues of a client company which was already in 7 figure revenues in 16 months by planning and implementing a structured growth strategy.
John works primarily with companies up to $10 million in revenues, keeping a sharp focus on client’s bottom line growth. As a member of Maine Angels, John is familiar with funding growth from both the investor and solicitation sides of deals.
Please see more detail at www.karpstrategic.com.
John Pavan (2017 - Present)
John 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 specialized 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.
In addition his E-Resident role at MTI, he 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.