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March 19, 2012 | last updated March 29, 2012 11:35 am

Introducing Mainebiz's 2012 Business Leaders of the Year

The job description for a business leader is dynamic and varied but always includes one key element: making the tough decisions. These days, as our nation's economy continues its sluggish pace toward recovery, decision-making centers on finding creative ways to grow.

This year's Business Leaders of the Year know that growth isn't always easy — but the rewards are well-earned.

David Stone, CEO and co-founder of CashStar, has resisted pressure from investors to relocate his digital gift card company from Portland to Silicon Valley, wooing them with a slice of Maine life: an island lobster bake. In 2011, the company secured $28 million in venture capital that helped it expand into the Canadian market.

Jean Hoffman, president and CEO of Putney Inc. in Portland, made chasing down investment money a top priority in order to attract the right talent to grow her generic pet medication company. The $21 million in venture capital Putney secured last year will help the company compete with its much-larger rivals.

In his two decades of nonprofit leadership, Michael Tarpinian has overseen two mergers, most recently last year's merger of Youth Alternatives Ingraham with the People's Regional Opportunity Program. Now, as CEO of the renamed Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, he's implementing a three-year plan that prioritizes services to those in need while respecting organizational cultures.

And while their companies benefit from their vision, we believe these Business Leaders of the Year play an important role in strengthening Maine's economy. Let us show you why.

Register for the Business Leaders of the Year reception.

Read more

2012 Business Leaders of the Year: ‘Leap of faith' paying off for digital gift card pioneer David Stone

2012 Business Leaders of the Year: Jean Hoffman blends a love of animals with fierce determination and a focused strategy

2012 Business Leaders of the Year: Michael Tarpinian's acute attention to culture and symbols smoothes the merger of major nonprofits

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