Brian Whitney | President

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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.

Celina Gauthier | Office Coordinator

Celina joined MTI in 2023. Originally from Milo, ME, she has experienced the rural Maine lifestyle. Growing up, her family instilled in her the importance of keeping limited resources sustainable. She is excited to work for an organization that works with local entrepreneurs to assist in stimulating growth and development for many years to come. At MTI, she will be responsible for managing various administrative tasks, coordinating schedules, streamlining processes, fostering effective communications, and facilitating the overall functioning of the office.

After graduating from high school, she worked in manufacturing for several years before she became interested in a post secondary education. While raising her son and working full-time, she attended night classes at Central Maine Community College. After receiving her Associates Degree in Business and Computer Applications, she quickly changed career paths and began working as a medical receptionist.  While gaining experience working in an office environment, she also enrolled at the University of Southern Maine. In May 2016, she graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership and minored in Information Technology.

Celina currently lives in Auburn with her significant other, Randy Herbest, daughter, son, and two fur babies, Bentley and Bella.

Tom Kittredge | Senior Investment Officer

Tom Kittredge joined MTI in January of 2020. As a Senior Investment Officer, Tom works closely with innovators across every stage of MTI’s investment processes, including Maine’s startup ecosystem partners. Tom 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 | Senior Investment Officer

Bianca joined MTI in January of 2020. She serves as the liaison between MTI staff members and E-Residents. 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.

Wanda McNeil | Contracts and System Manager

As Contracts and System Manager, Wanda contributes to MTI’s mission of strengthening Maine’s innovation economy by working closely with entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations interested in securing tailored MTI funding and assistance. She provides essential program support to the MTI team, helping to increase quality deal flow, and promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation throughout the state.

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.

Abigail Naana Osei | Investment Officer

Abigail (Abby) Naana Osei joined MTI in 2022 and serves as an Investment Officer. She brings considerable experience in financial analysis, administration, and business support. Previously, she worked in various roles and volunteered with organizations which promoted development and growth in marginalized communities throughout Ghana. She also held a position with the start-up non-profit, ACES Ghana.

Abby holds a BA in Economics from the University of Ghana and an MS in Economics from the University of Maine, Orono, with a research interest in Development Economics and Sustainability projects.

Outside of MTI, Abby enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, dancing, and sight-seeing.

Bria Ryder | Staff Accountant

Bria joined MTI in May of 2024 as Staff Accountant. Bria started her career in banking and credit analysis; from there she moved onto payroll where her interest in accounting grew.  Bria obtained her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maine, Presque Isle and went on to earn her MBA with a concentration in Finance from Southern New Hampshire University.

In her spare time Bria enjoys tending to her vegetable garden and cooking.

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!


Merritt Carey | MTI Media Manager

Merritt joined MTI in 2024 to help with marketing and communications at both the strategic and tactical level.  By building increased awareness of MTI’s programs through marketing, communication and engagement, she will help drive Maine’s innovation economy. 

Merritt is a lawyer turned consultant with a wide breadth of experience. After leaving the formal practice of law over a decade ago, she has worked on a diverse range of projects and developed an expertise in marketing and communications as well as working waterfront, fisheries and rural economic development. Merritt’s clients have included Penobscot River Restoration Trust, Coastal Enterprises Inc., Island Institute,  Glidden Point Oysters, among others. Merritt worked for several years as Luke’s Lobster Director of Community Relations (and ran its Tenants Harbor lobster shack seasonally) and for Acadian Seaplants as Director of Maine Operations. 

Merritt graduated from Brown University, was a member of the second all female team to race in the Volvo Ocean Challenge round-the-world yacht race and a member of the first all female America’s Cup Sailing team.  She attended University of Auckland School of Law in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lived for several years, and graduated from the University of Maine School of Law. In addition to her academic and professional experience, Merritt knows her way around the shore and has worked along the waterfront in one capacity or another her entire life. An avid equestrian, Merritt lives in Yarmouth, Maine with her husband Chris and three children.

Visible Logic | External Marketing Contractor

Visible Logic is a B2B branding agency for startups preparing to launch, companies that are pivoting, and organizations in transition. Whether you need a redesigned website, refreshed brand, or new product launch marketing, we bring the brand and marketing strategy to support your growth. Visible Logic is based in Portland, Maine and has a long, successful history of helping B2B companies, associations, startups, technology-based products and businesses in niche industries.


Grace Chen (2024 – Present)

Grace Chen worked in the tech industry in Silicon Valley for 20 years, building technology products and businesses. She has developed products for consumers, small businesses, and enterprise companies at several tech companies, including Google, Meta, and Square.

In 2016 Grace co-founded a VC-backed start-up that provided an affordable high-speed internet alternative to cable. In 2020, she negotiated the split and sale of the company to a Bay Area internet provider and Meta. At Meta, she worked on internet connectivity initiatives as well as Virtual Reality & Mixed Reality on the Quest gaming headset.

Grace holds a B.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and began her career as an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Grace now lives in Camden, Maine with her husband (a native of Union, Maine) and two kids. She loves the feeling of community within the state and is excited to help Maine companies build great products and bring them to market.

Ben Chesler (2022 – Present)

Ben has significant experience creating and scaling mission-driven businesses across the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He understands how to launch impact-focused businesses and connect with customers. Ben is the founder of Imperfect Foods, the largest mission-driven online grocery store in the US.

Currently, Ben is the Director of Venture Creation and Acceleration at the Roux Institute. He holds a BA in economics from Brown University and resides in Yarmouth.

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.

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Colleen McCracken (2022 – Present)

Colleen is a strategic business advisor with extensive experience in family and non-family businesses.  She held CEO positions with highly successful companies and has particular expertise in strategic planning, finance, leadership team coaching and development, business improvement, governance, restructuring and buy/sell.

Colleen is energized by working with companies to solve complex problems and develop sustainable, long-term solutions for business success.

Colleen earned her MBA from Boston University, serves as Chair on the Board of Junior Achievement of Maine and lives in Scarborough.