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October 9, 2018

Kennebec Valley expo to feature more than 100 companies

Photo / Fred J. Field Katie Doherty is CEO and president of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the business expo Wednesday featuring more than 100 businesses at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Expo Wednesday will feature more than 100 businesses, with a focus on hiring, and is expected to draw a “diverse crowd” to the Augusta Civic Center.

The chamber changed the length and format of the expo from previous years, said Katie Doherty, CEO and president.

“We reviewed the needs of our members and region and changed our focus on helping our businesses with hiring and trainings,” she said Tuesday.

The new format puts a variety of options on one floor — business-to-business, business-to-client, a job fair and 30-minute presentations.

“We heard from our members of the struggles of filling positions — that’s why we made hiring a focus,” she said. She said more than half of the vendors are hiring, and there are onsite interview booths available.

She said with the expansion of the expo, ”We are expecting to see a more diverse crowd.” Attendance is free with a business card or resume.

The increased length of the expo, from three to five hours hours, will allow those attending will have more time to connect with potential clients and customers, interact with potential new employers, hear from the speakers and network, she said.

Exhibitors are from across central Maine and range from service groups, professional organizations, municipal representatives, to technology and fuel companies, real estate agencies, hospitality businesses and auto dealers. and even the civic center itself. Even the civic center itself has a booth — and it’s hiring.

Balloons at booths will indicate which companies are hiring.

In addition to the business booths, the expo features a two-track speaker schedule. The speakers will be on the expo floor, making them more accessible to those who attend, Doherty said. The peaker schedule runs from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The hiring stage will include Cathy DeMerchant of Capital Area Staffing Solutions, speaking about interview trends; Tamara Lilly of Burgess Technology Services, on interview and personal presentation speaking skills; and Nancy Marshall of Marshall Communications, on how to build a brand online.

The business stage will feature Craig Garofalo of Kennebec Savings Bank on preventing fraud for business; Mike Duguay of Thomas College on preparing the workforce for today’s economy, and Leah Baldacci and Caleb Gannon of the Lipman & Katz law firm on what’s discoverable in a business dispute.

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