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October 5, 2015 Next 2015

Next 2015: The business leaders helping shape the future of Maine

Mainebiz is proud to present our NEXT List for 2015. We're often asked what it means to be a NEXTer and the reality is there's no one definition.

Yet if there's one characteristic this year, the NEXT honorees we present in these pages know how to get things done, either through previously defined paths or by making their own paths.

Time and again in the profiles presented here, you'll read accounts of someone who was faced with a major professional challenge — whether it was losing a job, being short on necessary capital or having to challenge industry norms. In each case, the entrepreneurs here were able to find a way. You might also notice that the NEXTers share some common traits: They're skillful communicators, they know how to collaborate and they aren't afraid to try a new direction. We think you'll agree that the NEXTers are helping shape the future of Maine.

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Eastport Port Authority's Chris Gardner is looking forward in Eastport

Benjamin Shaw's Vets First Choice bites into traditional distribution

Holy Donut owner Leigh Kellis leverages doughnut sales with smart data collection

Thomas College President Laurie Lachance tackles student debt

Community Health Options' founders take a consumer-oriented approach to health insurance

GrandyOats' production soars under Nat Peirce and Aaron Anker

Volk Packaging Corp. co-owner Derek Volk focuses on community

Waterville Main Street leader is giving hope to Maine downtowns

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