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December 23, 2013 From the Editor

Fortified for the year ahead

It's a coincidence that we put together this issue with its focus on safety and security just as the latest remake of “Bonnie and Clyde” hits the movie theaters. The notorious duo robbed dozens of banks during their 1932-1934 crime spree. Back then, banks relied on armed guards to keep deposits safe (although they were useless against panicked depositors who made bank runs at the start of the Great Depression). In the '30s, there were plenty of reasons to be nervous about where you kept your money.

In response, the federal government created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 1933 to ensure deposits were protected up to $2,500. Today that cap is $250,000.

I'm pretty sure no one then could have imagined what bank security would look like 80 years hence.

Nowadays, the threats are not from gun-toting molls and masked bandits so much as anonymous hackers who get access to secure networks and databases and try to make illicit transfers armed with a mouse and hacking software. Aite Group, a Boston-based advisory firm, estimates cyber fraud will result in $523 million in losses globally this year and projects it will reach $794 million in 2016.

Although it's a global problem, a small Maine company has had significant impact in the cybercrime arena. Patco, a property development and contracting company in Sanford, had hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred out of its company accounts by a cyber thief back in 2009. Its bank covered a portion of the losses, but refused to reimburse Patco for the full amount. A lawsuit ensued that eventually landed in the federal appeals court before deciding in Patco's favor. Staff Writer Lori Valigra talks to Patco co-owner Mark Patterson and his lawyer Dan Mitchell about the suit and the ramifications it's had on security practices at both banks and businesses around the country. Check out “Online liabilities,” which starts on the cover.

Also as part of our focus on safety and security, we hear from two aviation entrepreneurs who were spurred to action in the wake of a fatal airport accident in 2012. The pair, Ron Cote and John Guimond, developed a recording device that captures and preserves radio transmissions between pilots and airport personnel — transmissions that are not typically preserved in smaller airports. They talk about the market for their invention with Online Editor Darren Fishell in “Safety check,” starting on page 20.

And two risk experts at Baker Newman & Noyes share some advice on how you can mitigate risk — to your reputation, your market, your company's security and more — on page 19.

I wonder what Mike Dubyak thought of mitigating risk when he was hired by Wright Express back in 1986 as vice president of marketing? Mike will step down from his role as CEO of WEX — as the fleet card and corporate payments company is now called — in January. In an hour-long interview with Senior Writer Jim McCarthy, Mike talks about the milestones along his nearly 30 years with the company.

One of my favorite takeaways — WEX didn't turn a profit for the first seven years of its existence. That shows a lot of gumption and vision within WEX's management team; it's difficult to stay the course and keep refining a business model until it works. But that perseverance offers a great perspective for business people everywhere. The company now reports annual revenue in excess of $700 million. Talk about patience paying off.

Learn more from Mike in “Chasing a dream,” starting on the cover.

And finally, as you get ready to flip your calendars to 2014, could you also update your contact info for Mainebiz? We've moved! Our new address is 48 Free St., Portland, 04101. Phone and email contacts are unchanged. If you'd like to check out our spiffy new space, drop by sometime. We're still in the hub of Portland.

Hopefully, we will continue to figure prominently in your business' hub. We look forward to enhancing our efforts to bring you relevant business news and information every day. From all of us here at Mainebiz, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous new year.

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Baker Newman Noyes merges with NH company

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