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November 16, 2015 From the Editor

'Fastest Growing' companies have some common threads

This is our first year with a new feature, “Fastest Growing Companies in Maine.”

There are truly no runners-up among this bunch. We offer nine companies that have had organic growth. We had a strong field of nominations. Many of the names will be familiar to our readers. A few might be less known, for now. Three are in the pharmaceutical industry and two of those are in veterinary pharmaceuticals.

The fastest growing of the companies in the three size categories — Apothecary by Design, in the large category; Landry/French Construction in the medium group; and Rising Tide Brewing in the small category — share a common trait. All three were founded when the economy was at a low point, between 2008 and 2010.

What happens after a company is incorporated is where the fun starts. At Apothecary by Design, a company that expects $165 million in sales this year, things were so tight the first two years principals drew either a half-salary or no salary. Founders of Landry/French, whose signs are now on construction projects throughout Portland, considered no job too small. In the spirit of craft breweries everywhere, Rising Tide Brewing's startup costs were self-funded by the founders.

I think you'll enjoy reading the stories and the companies' own responses to how they grew.

The law beat

The focus in this issue is law.

For starters, we have made some changes to the list of Maine's largest law firms. Driven by data collected by our new head researcher, Stephanie Meagher, the firms are now ranked by the number of lawyers in Maine. In past years, firms had been ranked by total attorneys. The result is a reshuffling at the top.

Bernstein Shur jumps from No. 4 in last year's list to No. 1 this year. With 95 Maine attorneys, it holds the slimmest edge over Verrill Dana, which has 94.

Also in the focus section, Senior Writer James McCarthy delves into a rapidly emerging field: drone law. As these automated, camera-carrying aircraft become more common, selling on Amazon for $1,200 or so, the applications for business have been endless. Realtors use them for aerial photographs of property. Police are using them to seek out illegal activity and monitor traffic. But the drones are creating havoc with airports and interfering with commercial aircraft.

Elsewhere in the section, correspondent Laurie Schreiber looks at Maine School of Law's class of 2014 to get a read on where they have ended up. More than a third are in private practice, but you might be surprised how many are working in business and industry. Looking ahead, Maine Law Dean Danielle Conway, who started July 1, says the school is making a concerted effort to attract a greater range of students, including foreign students.

“As a newcomer to Maine myself, I noticed there are many other newcomers. This population will grow. Students from other countries can make our understanding of issues around immigration and economic development much more vibrant,” she says.

Well said.

NEXT reception a reminder of what Maine is doing right

Mainebiz honored the 10 businesspeople from its NEXT List at a reception on Nov. 5.

I was struck by the sincerity of the honorees, including family and mentors in the celebration, but also by how they themselves connected.

Aaron Anker, one of the owners of Grandy Oats, made the comment that, having met fellow honoree Derek Volk, a co-owner of Volk Packaging Corp., he thought to himself, “Well, we need boxes — why not get them from someone in Maine?”

Read more

Six Maine companies receive Good Food Awards

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