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December 31, 2018

'Game on!' for 2019: Maine business and nonprofit leaders share their New Year's resolutions

Photo graphic / Matt Selva, Mainebiz
Photo graphic / Matt Selva, Mainebiz
Mainebiz asked more than a dozen Maine business and nonprofit leaders to share their business resolutions for 2019. Pictured from left, starting with the top row, are: Joshua Broder, Dinah Minot, Whitney Reynolds and Ben Waxman, Crystal Hamlin and Heather Peel, Jim Brady. Middle row: Susan V. Morris, Don Littlefield, Alain J. Nahimana, Patricia Weigel, Nancy Strojny. Bottom row: Gene Ardito, Becky McKinnell, Quincy Hentzel, Keven Higgins.

With the New Year soon upon us, Mainebiz asked more than a dozen business and nonprofit leaders about their business resolutions for 2019, including hiring and growth plans. Here in no particular order is our resolution roundup.

Tilson CEO Joshua Broder, 2018 Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year in the Large Company category: "We resolve to hire 250 great people, double the business, and have fun working with peers who love what they do — building America's information infrastructure!" [He says the current workforce count is 490, including 160 in Maine.]

Dinah Minot, executive director, Creative Portland: "We have big plans for the new year and will start out by launching our first co-production with the City, "Hear, Here!," a showcase of Portland's local musicians and amazing performing arts talent on the big stage on Sunday, Feb. 17, at Merrill Auditorium. On a larger landscape, now that we have completed the process of updating the cultural plan of 1998, Creative Portland will continue our growing role as a convener, funnel of information, and provider to the arts community.

"We will also solicit deeper private investment in the creative economy. We will take the lead in planning an Arts & Culture Summit, hopefully in tandem with StartUp Maine's program schedule, to strategically maximize impact. We will also pursue grant opportunities, including a National Endowment for the Arts 'Our Town' grant and a Maine Arts Commission cultural plan implementation grant to benefit the entire community."

American Roots co-founders Ben Waxman and Whitney Reynolds, 2017 Mainebiz Next honorees: "American Roots is planning to add 10 new employees to our workforce of 20 by year's end. We also plan to overhaul our machines to a more modern, automated fleet of industrial sewing machines to increase our production capacity by 40%. We are excited for 2019. Game on!"

Entrepreneurs Heather Peel and Crystal Hamlin, the sisters behind natural tick and insect repellent Flick the Tick: "Our goals for 2019 are to encourage more people to play outside, and to honor our mission for sustainability by giving back to our communities consistently … and to always eat good chocolate."

Real estate developer Jim Brady, Fathom Cos. president and director and a 2017 Mainebiz Next honoree: "In a return to my founding principles in the ways in which I aim to create change with business, in 2019 I am resolving to focus on three pillars: environmental sustainability, community and local focus, and the creation of opportunities for others. I believe that these values have shaped the work I have done, and they will guide my investments and decisions this coming year. "

Susan V. Morris, principal, NewHeight Group: "In 2019 as we build Verdante at Lincoln Park condos in Portland's East End, we intend to commute on our electric bikes, meet new neighbors (hello, WEX!) at new local spots in nearby neighborhoods and encourage others to make a move to a pedestrian- and cycling-friendly lifestyle."

Don Littlefield, general manager, Maine Brew Bus: "2019 will be a year of connecting more individuals and groups to taste their way through Maine's amazing craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries. We plan to add more staff to conduct more tours by bus — but also tours by bikes, boats, running sneakers and walking shoes."

Alain J. Nahimana, Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center executive director and a 2018 Mainebiz Next honoree: "In 2019, we are committed to sustaining the Center's vision through enhanced leadership and technical capabilities, all in an effort to achieve our mission. On a bigger picture, 2019 is a pivotal year in showing a new narrative for immigrants in Maine and beyond: a workforce unparalleled to any before, building on Maine's work ethic and the importance of family — the Power of We."

Patricia Weigel, Norway Savings Bank president and CEO: "In this fast-paced technology-driven economy, I hope to continue fostering the adoption of an innovation mindset across the bank. I also hope to continue building on our achievement and support corporate culture to ensure we remain an employer of choice in this tight labor market."

Nancy Strojny, SCORE Portland chapter chair and a 2017 Mainebiz Woman to Watch: "My 2019 resolution for SCORE: Offer knowledge, support, perspective and connections to help your business thrive — find your SCORE mentor!"

Gene Ardito, cPort Credit Union president and CEO: "With the addition of our new Middle Street branch [in Portland] which will employ eight people full-time, cPort will employ 80 individuals at our five-branch network. We will grow our membership at a double-digit rate and remain the fastest-growing credit union in Maine. We will provide a highly personalized, 'people first' banking experience when our members visit our branches or contact our call center and, at the same time, provide a leading-edge online and mobile banking capability to our members who do not need to visit one of our locations. We will also continue to focus on making a meaningful difference in the communities in which we live and work, by leveraging the skills of our diverse and talented employees."

Becky McKinnell, iBec Creative founder and CEO: "Online shoppers demand a more personalized experience from brands that entertain or educate them. iBec is expanding our services beyond web development and digital marketing to help retailers and manufacturers examine every touchpoint in their customers' shopping experience to make it more fun, memorable or educational. In 2019 we are excited to grow — we will be focusing on expanding branding and print services for our clients."

Quincy Hentzel, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO: "To continue to be more reflective and inclusive of the community around us and to help support our new immigrants to find meaningful employment and economic opportunities. Also focus on building our workforce and supporting the needs of our business community to ensure it remains healthy and vibrant!"

Woodworker/entrepreneur Keven Higgins, founder of Higgins Fabrication in Bangor: "My resolution for 2019 is to make myself redundant through better training and more delegating to employees."

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