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March 8, 2016

CEI's new CEO is a familiar face in Maine

File Photo/Tim Greenway Betsy Biemann in a file photo from 2010, Biemann was chosen in a unanimous vote to serve as Chief Executive Officer of Coastal Enterprises Inc. on Tuesday

Coastal Enterprises Inc. announced that its board of directors has unanimously chosen Betsy Biemann as the organization’s next CEO.

It also promoted Keith Bisson to the position of president.

Biemann, the former president of the Maine Technology Institute, currently serves as a consultant to the nonprofit FocusMaine, a nonpartisan, private-sector effort that focuses on traded jobs — positions at companies that are exporting products and services from Maine. She also has served in various capacities on CEI’s board of directors including vice chair since 2012, before she stepped down from the board at the end of 2015.

Bisson is senior vice president of program management and development at CEI, in addition to managing the Brunswick-based nonprofit’s small business counseling, natural resources and workforce development programs.

The appointment of Biemann and Keith Bisson follows a year-long transition and search process to find a replacement for CEI’s founder, President and CEO Ron Phillips, who will retire this spring after founding the nonprofit 38 years ago. The introduction of the new executives came a week before the nonprofit’s annual meeting, which will be March 15.

“With Betsy and Keith, CEI will have the leadership strength to continue and grow CEI’s impact in communities in Maine and across the rural United States,” said Ellen Seidman, chair of CEI’s board of directors. “Both Betsy and Keith share a deep commitment to rural community and economic development and to social justice, and they have the talent, imagination and networks — in Maine and nationally — as well as the management and financial skills that are needed to lead this dynamic organization in an increasingly challenging world.”

“Betsy’s track record of strong leadership and extensive connections to regional and national foundation networks are vital to CEI’s growth and impact,” Phillips said in a prepared statement. “Keith’s years of experience at CEI and in community development locally and nationally make him the perfect choice to take operational responsibility for CEI’s activities.”

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