40 under 40 Nominees - 2018

Building LA

Hunter Steele

Building LA

Student
Lewiston High School

Nominator’s Comments:
“”Hunter Steele is a student at Lewiston High School who displays leadership, passion and commitment for people and our community. He has been involved in school, in the community and with building the image of our community to the outside world.

Serving as the vice-chairperson for the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, a group that works with municipal staff, state/local officials, and members of the community on various initiatives, he has been working on projects to engage residents to know about their community and reaching out to students about what it positive for the City of Lewiston. Currently they are working on a project to survey students about what they feel is positive about Lewiston and what would keep them in the community after graduation.

In addition, he serves as Vice-President of his junior class and has been active with the monthly Mugs and Kisses Award which recognizes a teacher for their service and commitment. He is also involved with a program through Bates College that brings students from area high schools together to discuss and look at contemporary issues.

As a member the LHS mock trail team, he has worked with various community leaders and notes that “”it is important to be involved.”” Stepping up to what he believes in, he has presented before the school board with several of his peers about student concerns and last year traveled to Washington DC to meet and speak with Maine’s Senators and Representatives.

For many our involvement in the community is something that we take upon ourselves in addition to our other responsibilities. As a student this is no different, Hunter is a member of the National Honor Society, a student varsity athlete, works part time after school and volunteers as a junior counselor as a mentor with younger students for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in lacrosse and hockey.”

Allie Smith

Building LA

Director of Education | Education Specialist
Healthy Homeworks | New Beginnings

Nominator’s Comments:
“To know Allie Smith is a special experience to witness the bright future and possibility Lewiston offers. Allie has bold energy, positivity, intelligence, courage, and tenacity that she applies to every effort she pursues. Along side her mother, Allie dove into building the non-profit healthy homeworks to help residents learn basic carpentry skills through their build a bed program Allie is not just development director for the organization she also empowers residents through hands on teaching and curriculum development. As her love for downtown Lewiston grew, she seized the opportunity to purchase a condemned downtown apartment building and rehabbed the building not just for her own home but also to provide two additional safe and affordable housing units to the neighborhood. Allie’s awesomeness does not stop there. Allie applies her positivity to everything thing she does as well as her ability to teach. Allie naturally builds relationships wherever she goes and her positive demeanor is instantly spread to all she encounters. In addition to all the great things mentioned here, she also spends her days working with youth at risk and she is an artist.”

Chip Neilson

Building LA

Director of Contracting and Business Development
Central Maine Healthcare Corporation

Nominator’s Comments:
“Chip Neilson has been working at Central Maine Healthcare since 1/2/17. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Chip was drawn to CMH because of his focus on community service. Chip has worked over the last year to help reposition CMH within the community on a number of business development initiatives. In his role, Chip has overseen all of the business and vendor contracting on behalf of CMH. He has worked to expand CMH’s reach into new markets such as Topsham, has helped CMH introduce new MRI technology at its main campus in Lewiston and has been instrumental in executing a number of new partnerships with senior leadership that is allowing CMH to transform its business model in order to sustain itself for the future.

In summary, Chip is a young leader inspired to do well for the community and organization he serves. He is a leader of unquestionable integrity and moral background.”

Benjamin Gray

Building LA

Owner/GM | Owner/GM | Owner/President
Twin City Thunder, Maine Moose Hockey and Merit Pools & Spas

Nominator’s Comments:
“Ben, holds a full-time job as a commercial loan officer while simultaneously building multiple businesses. Recently, bringing the first USPHL Hockey Team to Maine, Twin City Thunder-to play out of Norway Savings Bank Arena. The Twin City Thunder are the first non-youth tenant to call the NSBA home, and will play an integral role in bringing new visitors/tourists to LAMaine.

In his time as owner of the Maine Moose, Ben has mentored and coached hundreds of youth hockey players, and has coached teams to four National Titles!

Ben is a graduate of St. Dominic Academy, where he played goalie before going on to play high-level competitive hockey.

Ben is committed to growing youth hockey and providing a cost-effective way for kids to develop without having to leave the state. He’s also dedicated to growing the local economy and profile by bringing teams and fans to the LA area that wouldn’t have come otherwise.

Ben also volunteers for the following organizations:
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Meaha, Vice President and Travel Director”

Jennie Malloy

Building LA

Owner, Co-founder, Director of Story
The Brand Collective

Nominator’s Comments:
“Jennie Malloy is a force of nature. With the help of her partner, Aimee Goodwin, she has built, grown, and nurtured a business from nothing to one of the most unique, respected, and innovative in L/A. Jennie is a model to other residents and one of the most truly humble people in our community.”

Creative Geniuses

Sheri Withers- Hollenbeck

Creative Geniuses

Owner/Founder
The Hive Artisan Co-op

Nominator’s Comments:
“Sheri is an artistic force to be reckoned with! She owns Downtown Handmade (screen printing, mixed media art, jewelry, and more), founded the Hive Artisan Co-Op, is an active member of the Union of Maine Visual Artists L/A, is a founder and coordinator for the Sunday Indie Market, is a driving force behind public art murals, and commits herself daily to growing the arts and culture community in Lewiston.”

Johnny Mehler

Creative Geniuses

Marketing Specialist
Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Nominator’s Comments:
“Johnny is an incredibly talented, creative, kind and generous. All qualities that make him exceptional at everything he does. He’s an exceptional member of a team and is also incredibly self-directed and driven.

Johnny works in Marketing and PR at Spectrum Healthcare Partners, he’s produced some of the most amazing video content I’ve ever seen. He has a unique ability to tell stories with heart and compassion, and often humor. Frankly, he’s brilliant.

He also owns his own business, Mehler Productions, he shoots weddings and they’re incredible. He’s destined for BIG things. He moonlights with MBR, shooting video of high school athletic events, where again his ability to get incredibly artful shots and to capture the heart of the story are evident and have helped grow the presence of MBR in the community.

In his spare time, Johnny is a volunteer board member for the Maine Sports Commission, and spends time with his puppy, Walker, whom he adopted, the lone survivor of a litter found abandoned.”

Tom Deschenes

Creative Geniuses

Director of Strategic Partnerships – Northeast Region
Purdue University Global formerly Kaplan University

Nominator’s Comments:
“Tom Deschenes is a Lewiston Native and Harvard University graduate. He had been working on his new board game: “”Quest for the Antidote”” (Illustrated by Scott Sherman) for the last 6 years before Upper Deck purchased the game in 2017. It was an instant hit – earning him an interview with Maine Public Radio, and features in DownEast Magazine, the Sun Journal, the Portland Press Herald, Cool Stuff Inc, and Board Game Geek. Quest for the Antidote was also an “”Amazon Choice”” product and if that wasn’t enough, this last summer he was even an honorary celebrity guest on a board game themed cruise!

Anyone who knows Tom, knows that he is a unique mix of intelligent, loyal, humble, and compassionate. The only thing that means more to him than his love of underground board games, is his family and friends. So, it makes sense that Quest for the Antidote (although one of survival) is a cross-generational, engaging game that you can play for hours… whether you’re with your friends, or your grandma.

Aside from being generally helpful and kind to everyone he meets, Tom has also been a quiet but enthusiastic community helper in Maine, and the Lewiston/Auburn area. He has spent time volunteering for organizations such as Camp Sunshine and STRIVE, as well as serving on local workforce development boards through the Lewiston Career Center. When anyone needs a helping hand or a creative solution, they can usually count on Tom to be there thinking outside of the box!”

Katy Labbe

Creative Geniuses

Stylist
Hair Station

Nominator’s Comments:
“Katy has been a licensed cosmetologist for eight years and has been working at the Hair Station since July of 2015. She enjoys doing fashion colors, corrective colors, ombrés and balayages. There is no hair challenge she wont tackle. Katy definitely contributes to the artist beauty of the LA area by creating magic on living canvases. Just ask any of her clients, they all love what she does!”

Benjamin Santos

Creative Geniuses

Co-Founder
Tea & Lobster Productions

Nominator’s Comments:
“Ben has started a landmark website for those who enjoy comic and game conventions, as well as given the Lewiston/Auburn area it’s very own convention with the Great Falls Comic Con.

I would mention that I brought the first ever Comic Convention to Lewiston last fall and this spring I am bringing an even larger show to Auburn which is attracting attendees from around New England. I’m an active member in the Chamber, a member of UP Lift LA, I’m the cofounder of Tea & Lobster Productions which is currently working to organize events like the comic conventions to bring interest and tourism to the area. Tea & Lobster is also the backend support for Museum LA’s site, a service which we do as a donation to them. I also run www.cosplayconventioncenter.com which helps people discover conventions all over the country as well as right here in Maine. The site has over 95K users and grows daily. I’d say that I am passionate about seeing economic and artistic growth in LA continue and bringing passenger rail service to the area. I think if I were to choose a category I’d select economic development due to the nature of the conventions bringing people here from away.”

Economic Development

Kaitlin Gallagher

Economic Development

Photographer
Photo Finish

Nominator’s Comments:
“Kait joined Photo Finish a year ago but has been involved throughout the metro area for several years including operating her two businesses out of her studio on Court Street, KaitLavin Photography and GingerSnap Rentals capturing portraits and fun photo booth events. Her involvement throughout the LA metro area includes attending various chamber events, official event photographer at the Gendron Franco Center, a JV golf coach at Gardiner High School, lead counselor of Maine’s largest junior golf program at Apple Valley golf course. In her free time she also participates in a local bowling league, a ladies golf league and a co-ed golf league. She is a crochet master creating various items including blankets, zoo animals and unique gifts which she often donates for local fundraisers. On occasion you may see her bartending at Lost Valley and if your expecting a baby she will take photos of your adorable newborn baby at CMMC. Kait has a love and passion of the community which is reflected in her personality and business model. If you can stop her from running around for a minute you may see her frequenting one of our vast selection of restaurants throughout L/A.”

Zachary Pratt

Economic Development

Chef/Owner
Boba

Nominator’s Comments:
“Zack is an absolutely incredible chef and his restaurant, Boba has a loyal following. He has taped an episode of Chopped, which will be aired sometime in early 2018.

He is committed to the LA community. Has amazing ideas. Works hard. Is passionate about food, people, sustainability and buying local. Has big plans and the enthusiasm, smarts and drive to make them happen.

Zach, despite young age, had the maturity to develop a very successful eatery, Boba. As a chef he is outstanding, but as entrepreneur he is particularly innovative and effective.”

Michael Dostie

Economic Development

Owner/Jeweler
J. Dostie Jewelers

Nominator’s Comments:
“Presently Mike serves as a member of the board of directors Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and also serves on the Business Advocacy and the Executive Committees of this organization.

He, along with others, is currently in the process of creating a Lewiston Downtown Association that will focus on advocacy and marketing for the commercial and historical district.

Past accomplishments:
-For a span of 7 years he was involved with YPLAA in a position of events coordination.
In spring 2011,he assumed the role of Event Coordinator for Art Walk -Lewiston Auburn and was instrumental in it’s creation.
-Served for three years as board member of LA Arts during which time the popular Ice Festival was created.”

Photo courtesy of LA Metro Magazine

Rodney Crowley

Economic Development

Insurance Agent
Liberty Mutual Insurance

Nominator’s Comments:
“Rodney is a very dynamic personality who is focused on his customers. He goes above and beyond, even working through the night, to complete orders and make sure that the businesses he works with have no down time with their service.

Rodney is the epitome leader. He is the district area small to medium business sales manager for IM wireless, a premium Verizon Wireless authorized retailer. He leads a team of over 30 sales representatives, and store managers to success for small to medium business sale category. He provides coaching, trainings, in store visits, and mentoring to all of them. He is an inspiring role model to the entire IM wireless team. He is a highly motivated young individual with a bright and bold personality and the ability to make an impact in and out of the workplace.”

Jared Golden

Economic Development

State Representative
Citizen’s of Lewiston, HD 60

Nominator’s Comments:
“As a state legislator, Jared Golden has fought tirelessly for our community in Augusta. Now he’s running for Congress to do the same thing in Washington. If he wins, Jared will be the first member of Congress from LA in decades.”

Sasha Vurnakes

Economic Development

Owner
Sasha Lee’s Romance Boutique

Nominator’s Comments:
“Because of her dedication to the community and her positive message of sexy at any size! She hosts her annual lingerie fashion show featuring real, local women (not paid models) that she choreographs and plans. She also holds various workshops at her store such as burlesque dancing and boudoir photography sessions. Her dedication and hard work ethic are second to none!”

Kevin Morin

Economic Development

Owner
PoMo & Co.

Nominator’s Comments:
“Kevin grew up in Lewiston and left to seek new opportunities. He returned as an experienced architect and with a determination to help mold the future of downtown Lewiston. Kevin and his wife applied their creativity and experience as architects into the development company PoMo & Co. They took on the challenge of redeveloping a downtown historic building, 46 Lisbon St into high quality market rate apartments and commercial space. Kevin is making a difference in building a stronger Lewiston through his development work and volunteer work on the historic preservation review board.”

Marlo Hewitt-Carpenter

Economic Development

Cosmetologist / Owner
Hair Station

Nominator’s Comments:
“Marlo opened Hair Station in July of 2015 and it quickly became one of the most popular salons in the area. She has revived a previously run-down gas station and built it into a very successful business. Her salon is truly a bright spot in the LA area.”

Education

Stephannie Couture

Education

Teacher, Middle School
Lewiston Public Schools

Nominator’s Comments:
“This teacher has been a huge help to me and has made my school experience great she is always willing to help she dedicates time and effort to her students.

She has really made science interesting and I actually enjoy my time at LMS because of her. She has spent a lot time with me and encouraged me to be open and honest. She deserves to be recognized for everything that she does.

I really feel that Mrs. Couture needs to be recognized for all the effort she puts into her teaching and to her students. She spends countless hours working with students and families to make sure students have the best education possible. She has been there for me and helped me be successful.

Because of this teacher I come to school everyday with a smile on my face. She not only is a good teacher but she is compassionate and willing to listen when I am struggling through typical teenage issues. I have also become more involved in school and after school activities because of her. She is rarely recognized for her efforts, if ever.”

Andrew Bard

Education

Principal, Washburn Elementary School
Auburn School Department

Nominator’s Comments:
“”As President of the Lewiston-Auburn Rotary Lunch Club, I am delighted to nominate Washburn School Principal, Andrew Bard. Andrew graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He started on his journey as a teacher in a small private school in Portland teaching technology and middle school mathematics. After three years in the private setting, he decided to come back to his hometown where he taught for the Lewiston School system. Throughout his teaching career, he participated in many district initiatives such as teacher evaluation – where he presented at the statewide superintendent & school board summit. In 2008, he earned his Master’s Degree in Literacy from the University of New England in Portland. As a lifelong learner, he continued to educate himself as he completed several certificates of advanced studies in educational leadership, ethics and change and special education inclusion. In 2012, he began his path as the Assistant Principal at Fairview School in Auburn. He worked closely with colleagues to understand technology, curriculum, and what effective teaching looks like through the work of Dr. Robert Marzano. Over the last fifteen years, Andrew has seen first-hand how the community can impact the children of the Twin Cities. This school year he embarked on a his new position as Principal of Washburn School. He has embraced this challenge of being a first year as a Principal with energy and passion. Andrew collaborated and partnered with our Lewiston/Auburn Rotary Club to help strengthen the bonds of community involvement and share the love of literacy. Together we have embarked on numerous projects benefiting his students and their families and other members of the community with his students participating.

To date, we have joined forces with fire prevention, food collections, adopt a family, hearts and flowers and shamrocks for seniors, and a Dr. Seuss event. Andrew was born, raised and resides in Lewiston. Principal Bard recently completed the Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute through the Chamber of Commerce. It is an absolute pleasure and honor to collaborate with Principal Bard. He is a dedicated, hard working young man and is a role model to his students.”

Jaci Peterson

Education

Educational Director
Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services

Nominator’s Comments:
“Jaci is a dedicated educator who in recent years was promoted to Educational Director at Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services. She is a valuable asset to the leadership team. Jaci is a graduate of Oak Hill High school and the University of Maine where she studied Social and Behavioral Sciences.”

Tara Moore

Education

Special Education Teacher – Day Treatment Program, McMahon School
Lewiston Public Schools

Nominator’s Comments:
“Tara is an outstanding teacher in Lewiston. She gives 110% to her behaviorally challenged on a daily basis. She is a leader in her field and a great role model for Lewiston education. She is also a TCI trainer and a teacher mentor. She lives in Auburn with her husband and 2 children.”

Keith Morin

Education

CPA
Ouellette & Associates

Nominator’s Comments:
“Keith Morin is president of the Lewiston Education Fund and is passionate about providing quality education in our local community and the success of our teachers and students in the Lewiston School Department. LEF provides support to Lewiston Schools through an organized, skilled, and robust volunteer board dedicated to funding: teacher mini-grants, sustainable signature projects (that impact whole grade levels) and an annual fundraising campaign to support the mission and vision of LEF.

The Lewiston Education Fund promotes excellence by generating funding for academic enrichment opportunities that fall outside the standard school budget. They support educators in their development of creative and innovative curriculum that challenge the student to think beyond the status quo, inspire student engagement and enhance the overall learning experience.”

Kashina Cusson

Education

Regional Director of Student Management
Purdue University Global formerly Kaplan University

Nominator’s Comments:
“Kashina has worked for Purdue University Global (formerly Kaplan University) for over a decade. In that time she has helped thousands of students achieve their educational goals both directly and indirectly. Kashina is a fierce advocate for access to education and going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a student’s success. In addition to her work in the field of education, Kashina is a committed member of the L/A community. She’s served for several years on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) board, is active in the Chamber, and is raising a young family in the community”

Emerging Leaders

Natalie Michaud

Emerging Leaders

Branch Manager
Community Credit Union

Nominator’s Comments:
“Natalie continues to build herself as an asset to the team of Community Credit Union as well as the community. As a coworker of Natalie’s, I’ve witnessed her interactions with the members of her team and the entire team; as well as the members of our Credit Union. Her commitment to her team, her work and our community continues to grow and shine in her everyday endeavors and behaviors.

When I think of an emerging leader, I think of someone who continues to push themselves to be better, more well-rounded, gaining knowledge by experiences as well as through self-initiated learning and one who continues to share their experiences with others. Natalie does this day in and day out as a Branch Manager as well as an individual.

She is a recent graduate of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s ALDI Program, has and still leads Community Credit Union’s Recycle Day event which provides safe and secure shredding for the entire community as well as a way for the community to ‘Do Your Part’ by recycling items that might normally end up in a landfill and she continues to attend various community events and volunteer to assist and take part in almost all Credit Union led initiatives and community events.

Natalie leads her branch with kindness and an upbeat attitude. She comes into work everyday with a mission to make not only her staff, but her members feel happy to be there. She leads Community Credit Union on their annual Recycle Day, allowing members of the community to dispose of recyclable goods. She works alongside her staff, never expecting them to complete a task that she would not do herself. Most days you can find Natalie bouncing back and forth between her office and the lobby of the branch, welcoming and assisting all members like they are a personal friend, not just another face. When a new staff member joins the Credit Union, Natalie’s branch is there first stop for training. She gives these employees the foundation and knowledge to be successful. Additionally, she is always there to help her staff grow and feel confident in their roles. All and all, Natalie’s management style is an important part of what makes Community Credit Union such a great team to be a part of.”

Pam Ashby

Emerging Leaders

Editor-In-Chief
LA Metro Magazine

Nominator’s Comments:
“Pam is a quiet leader and likes to be involved in the area happenings. She is heavily involved (planning committee and volunteering at the event) in the annual Summer Block Party that benefits Make-A-Wish Maine. Which has raised over $100,000 in its first three years to grant 14 Wishes to local children facing a critical illness. She also helps plan the Heart of Hope event, a fundraiser for Breast Cancer. Pam is a member of Maine Women’s Network and also a member of the LA Metro Chamber.

She is a hard worker, has a great head on her shoulders, and is a joy to have as part of our team. We need more people like Pam Ashby to step up and show that LA has many upcoming Emerging Leaders. Rising stars from the next generation to make a difference, and grow where they’re planted.”

Jessica Donovan

Emerging Leaders

General Manager
Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch

Nominator’s Comments:
“Jessica has been promoted through the Hilton Garden Inn multiple times over the last 4 years and has most recently accepted the position of General Manager. During her 4 month tenure, she has created an environment of collaboration and empowerment. Jessica’s presences is always noticed, whether she is cleaning rooms, bussing tables, checking in guests or just being an ear for the employees to talk with. Prior to her role as the General Manager, she was the Director of Sales for the Hilton Garden Inn where she was an integral part of the Chamber of Commerce and has been a part of the Chamber Tourism Committee and the Mayor’s Economic Development and Marketing Committee since their inceptions. She has also been a member of the Central Maine Medical Center Associate Volunteers since 2016. Jessica also realizes how important tourism is to the State of Maine as a whole and frequently attends tourism and leadership conference for state initiatives including the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Inn Keeper’s Association. Being born and raised in Lewiston/Auburn, Jessica is dedicated to the growth and development of tourism of the area, she is a dedicated employee and an empowering manager any young woman would look up to as a professional role model.”

Joline Dubuc

Emerging Leaders

Assistant Banking Center Manager
Mechanics Savings Bank

Nominator’s Comments:
“Joline is a rising star. She began her journey serving the community through AmeriCorps completing over 1900 service hours traveling abroad. She started a career in the banking industry as a teller and has worked her way through the ranks to become an assistant manager. She is a single mom who is working on completing her Master’s degree in business. Joline has a positive attitude and smile that can light up the room. She is dedicated to her team and strives each day to work hard and make people happy. Through her leadership she has convinced staff to better themselves through higher education. She has taken part in Uplift events and looks for ways to continue to be involved in her community. She has a passion and drive to succeed and see her community succeed. She has only just begun her journey but she is a rising star that will only continue to shine and lead.”

Nicole Mailhot

Emerging Leaders

VP, Marketing & Business Development
Dirigo FCU

Nominator’s Comments:
“Nicole is deserving of this award because she is an amazing leader not only in our workplace, but in our community and to her family. She has been in the banking industry for over 15 years and at our credit union for 5 years. She serves on our management team and is helping our credit union grow into one of the leading credit unions in Lewiston Auburn. She most recently managed the project of rebranding our credit union from Rainbow to Dirigo. She also manages all of our branch locations and overseas many staff who look to her for leadership and guidance. In addition, she has served on many boards and volunteers at nonprofits, most recently serving on the Franco Center Board of Directors, and volunteering for the Whitings farm to family project. In addition to her professional accomplishments she is the mother of four children (two of them under the age of one!!) and we all know that being a mom is the greatest leader there is.”

Jodi Redmun

Emerging Leaders

Administrative Support to the MOT Program
University of Southern Maine

Nominator’s Comments:
“Jodi has served as the chair of Uplift L.A. for well over a year and is doing an incredible job. Under her leadership, Uplift has come back from near extinction to a group that is actively looking for new ways to attract and engage rising professionals in the L-A area. Jodi demonstrates strong leadership skills and never backs down when the going gets tough. She’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and put in the effort needed to ensure Uplift events are organized and run as smoothly as possible. Her organizational skills and strategic planning mindset have given Uplift’s committees a defined plan to work from and clear expectations. I think she’s very deserving of this award and should be recognized for all she does for Uplift and the Chamber.”

Kiernan Majerus-Collins

Emerging Leaders

Field Director | Student
Zak Ringelstein for Senate | Bates College

Nominator’s Comments:
“Kiernan, in his capacity as chair of the Lewiston Democratic Party, has begun to put Lewiston on the map as a political powerhouse in the state. It has been a pleasure to watch him mature into this role and work diligently to cement the status of Lewiston as a great place for young people to move to and stick around. He has done this while balancing his senior year at Bates College and while embarking on an ambitious job on a political campaign. He is definitely a person to watch!”

Hawo Abdille

Emerging Leaders

District Community Relations Coordinator
Lewiston Public Schools

Nominator’s Comments:
“Hawo is an incredible young leader in our community. In her job at the Lewiston Public Schools, she works relentlessly to ensure that all students and families have equitable access to educational opportunities. She is a leader with the Lewistion School Community Integration Initiative, a project to increase parent and community involvement with the schools. Outside work, Hawo serves on many boards and committees, including the CDBG Committee, the Immigrant Taskforce, the YWCA board of directors, and many more. Hawo also works part-time for Community Concepts as a representative for the Community Hub. All of her work is directed at ensuring that the New Mainer community and everyone in Lewiston has equitable access to opportunities, resources, and success.”

Amy Jose

Emerging Leaders

Marketing & PR Operations Partner
Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Nominator’s Comments:
“I met Amy when she was just months out of college. She demonstrates maturity and leadership well beyond her years. Amy recognizes the importance of working incredibly hard, taking accountability and giving back to her community.

Amy is typically the first one in and the last one out of the office, she shatters any millennial sterotype I’ve ever read. Amy is adept at working with senior leaders and executives, including counseling them in regard to communications and accompanying them on media interviews. Amy is regarded by her peers as a steady leader. She mentors team members, often much more experienced than she. She exercises incredible judgment and ALWAYS acts with integrity.

While working 60 hours a week Amy is attending Masters Classes and hopes to earn her Masters in analytics soon. She aspires to be a leader in healthcare marketing and communications.

In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a Wish Granter with Make-a-Wish Maine, she’ll grant her first wish this month. She also has volunteered with Maine Cancer Foundation, American Heart Association and K9’s on the Frontline.”

Entrepreneurs

Cat Haley

Entrepreneurs

Owner/Coach
Cat Haley Cheerleading, LLC.

Nominator’s Comments:
“Cat has traveled the world coaching cheering and has come back to Maine to establish her business and help L/A have a thriving all star cheering program. She is amazing with the kids she works with and professional with the families she works for.”

Meghan Levesque

Entrepreneurs

Owner | Project Manager
Kiddos | TD Bank

Nominator’s Comments:
“Meghan Levesque is the creator and owner of Kiddo’s Indoor Playground. As an active mother of 3 children, Meghan sought out avenues in which to entertain and provide a platform for their social development. With limited resources available, she began to research opportunities for like minded mothers in the L/A area. Meghan came up with the idea to provide a clean and safe indoor play center for children up to six years of age. A business plan was developed and Meghan designed every aspect of Kiddos. Her labor of love has been open since April 2015.

Meghan continues to promote and support other small businesses in the L/A area. The contests held at Kiddos offer customers to tag and post their favorite small business. Meghan then picks a winner or two and they receive a $25.00 gift card to that business.

Further Meghan has continued her out reach to the community as a member of the board of directors of a mental health facilities in Lewiston. Meghan has certainly put a spotlight on our littlest ones by building and maintaining a safe, clean and fun environment for our Kiddo’s and their families!”

Dianna Pozdniakov

Entrepreneurs

Founder & CEO
Sofia Fima

Nominator’s Comments:
“Dianna is committed to growing her economic footprint in LA. Her luxury handbag business is sold online, bringing in out of state revenue. She (and her husband Kevin) has purchased, renovated and opened a beautiful storefront on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Dianna is committed to empowering women by offering her space for community and networking events. Dianna has a vision and a passion to thrive, while giving back in a meaningful way to her community.”

Corrie Bernatchez

Entrepreneurs

Owner | Educational Technician
Top It Frozen Dessert Bar | Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services

Nominator’s Comments:
“I am nominating Corrie because at the young age of 21, working full time and going to school full time she decided she wanted to open a frozen yogurt bar in her home town, and she accomplished just that. Corrie’s frozen yogurt bar, Top It Frozen Dessert Bar was brainstormed in the middle of the night at her Aunt & Uncle’s house in Wisconsin after visiting a local frozen yogurt shop in the area. It was the night before we flew back to Maine when Corrie couldn’t fall asleep, she was too eager to share and brainstorm all the ideas that had clearly been running through her mind all day. Corrie has always loved ice cream and other frozen treats, we have a picture of her on the front steps of our home with her wooden Corrie’s Snack Shack filled with popsicles and treats selling for .25 to .75 cents to the neighborhood kids. Maybe she was born to be an entrepreneur all along.

When we arrived back to Maine Corrie didn’t waste any time researching and writing a business proposal. She struggled to find funding, being so young with little credit and savings made it difficult. Corrie met with the City of Auburn who then led her to Community Concepts and LAEGC. Between the three resources, myself, my husband, and her grandparents as guarantors Corrie received the funding to open Top It, it took her 6 months from the time she vocalized the idea to the time she signed the paperwork for the loans.

Corrie envisioned Top It as a family fun establishment where kids are one of the main focuses. With games on every table, coloring sheets, and a giant whiteboard wall kids definitely enjoy their time at Top It. It’s a place for family and friends to gather, put down their phones and play a friendly game of connect 4 or giant jenga to name just a few. It’s interactive since it’s self serve allowing customers to customize their dessert. Aside from the atmosphere and decor Corrie’s business participates in the Festival of Trees, hosts an annual Free Easter Egg Hunt, and puts on a free summer event to celebrate the store’s anniversary each year. Corrie has also participated in the downtown trick or treat events handing out free candy and frozen yogurt samples, had a float in the New Auburn Christmas parade passing out bubbles to the kids, and passed out free yogurt samples at an Advocates for Children event. Corrie does fundraising events at the shop and with her mobile cart for non profits and gives donations in the form of gift certificates for any fundraising event who approaches her. Opening her business on Main St in downtown Auburn was the cherry on top of her sundae! The location allows her to be a part of so many community events, The Great Falls Balloon Festival, The 4th of July Celebration, Winter Festival, Auburn’s Summer Festival, The Dempsey Challenge, The Auburn Community Band Performances, and National Night Out just to name some! Corrie actively participates by offering discounts to patrons, giveaway contests, games and or crafts for kids, as well as outdoor seating if the weather permits! This August will mark Corrie’s 5th year in business with Top It Frozen Dessert Bar.

She is a role model to her peers! She is a small business owner and works with preschool aged students with special needs. Corrie’s positivity is infectious and her goals to expand her business within the L/A community are impressive.”

Isaiah Washington

Entrepreneurs

Blacksmith, Knifemaker & Owner
Zay Knives

Nominator’s Comments:
“Isaiah is a self-taught blacksmith who has had to overcome many obstacles to turn his craft from a hobby into a business. Rather than graduating high school and leaving the state like many of our youth do, Isaiah graduated from ELHS and the LRTC program 2 years ago and stayed in Lewiston Auburn trying to build his business. He interns at the Maine school of metal works in Auburn and he recently opened his own blacksmith shop in Lisbon, and works hard every day to have a successful and sustainable business in Lewiston Auburn. In addition to being an amazing young entrepreneur his craftsmanship as a blacksmith is outstanding. The knives he makes will blow you away they can be found on his Facebook page @zayknives or his website www.zayknives.com”

Luke Parent

Entrepreneurs

Owner
Cleanco Commercial Cleaning Inc

Nominator’s Comments:
“Luke is a great business owner, he has built up his business over the last 4 years. Luke also working with John Murphy homes to find work for there students.”

Colby Michaud

Entrepreneurs

President
Praxis Production Studios

Nominator’s Comments:
“Colby is an inventive, creative, ambitious young man. He looks beyond today. He thinks and sees outside the box. He works hard and always puts forth his best effort. As a young business owner on his own, he works diligently to keep his business afloat. He will go back and rework a piece of video until he believes it is as good as it can possibly be. Even if it means working many extra hours. As he did on his Make-a -Wish videos. He has tremendous work ethic and will do last minute projects with a very quick turn around without batting an eye. For instance, Colby recently did a video for Proctor and Gamble with a turn around of 24 hours. The video was professional with the highest quality and was lauded by many. He always puts others first. Colby also does wedding videos and always captures the love that is shared by the bride and groom. Colby puts so much care and thought into his wedding videos that the emotions felt by the couple are almost tangible for anyone viewing the videos. The videos are always very moving and very much appreciated. On a personal note, and knowing him his entire life, I can honestly say that he is also a very caring, kind, thoughtful, and compassionate person who does his work with the forethought that what he does is also for the greater good and will only be a positive for others.

Colby put together a team of people from the Lewiston-Auburn area to write, film and debut a full-length movie in our own backyard. He also created the music for it, and filmed much of it himself.

This individual has done something incredible for Lewiston/Auburn by producing a Maine made film entitled The Damned One; with Maine actors, and filming it locally. I believe it is the start of much more to come from his creativity here in Lewiston/Auburn.”

Matt Mocciola

Entrepreneurs

Owner
iSolution Pros

Nominator’s Comments:
“Matt has responsibly taken the plunge into self employment after 1+ years of running his Iphone repair business part time while working a full time job. He started the business as an at-home sideline and saw the need and potential for his business to be a thriving full time operation. At 27 he sought out a downtown store front office where he could more easily service the bulk of his word of mouth customers. The office location provided the visibility to grow and legitimize his business. Smart advertising and signage also contributed to the expanding of his business to the point where he was able to leave his job and dedicate his attentions to his own business. I commend his confidence, foresight and ambition.”

Health & Wellness

Emily Dooling Hamilton

Health & Wellness

Health Promotion Coordinator
Healthy Androscoggin

Nominator’s Comments:
“Emily has shown a great passion for creating a healthier community. From working with Auburn Housing Authority to create one of the nation’s first tobacco-free housing complexes, to holding tobacco cessations classes for people who are ready to quit, to providing education in schools, Emily addresses the number one preventable chronic health cause. In addition, Emily’s work with community organizations to create tobacco-free workplaces has influenced the health of the entire county.”

Dr. Cory St. Denis

Health & Wellness

House Call Doctor of Chiropractic
Dr. Cory House Calls, LLC

Nominator’s Comments:
“Dr. Cory is devoted to the health of his patients. He sees people of all ages and commits the longest time per session with each individual for his profession. He is truly looking to enhance their lives through his services as his top priority.”

Lauren Breau

Health & Wellness

Acupuncturist/Herbalist
L/A Community Acupuncture

Nominator’s Comments:
“She grew up in Lewiston, is a graduate of Bowdoin College, worked as an acupuncturist in Portland before returning to Lewiston to found the non-profit, L/A Community Acupuncture. A mission statement for her practice is: ‘L/A Community Acupuncture is dedicated to nurturing the health of our patients and our community. We strive to make our clinic a place of respite. We do not tolerate hate speech, bullying, or discrimination. We welcome people of all races, genders, colors, income levels, national origins, ages, abilities, religions, sizes, and sexual orientations. Your care will never be based on any of these factors.’ A future goal of hers is to open an herbal apothecary on Lisbon St.”

Erica Dostie

Health & Wellness

Client Relationship Manager
Austin Associates, P.A.

Nominator’s Comments:
“Erica is currently a Healthy Androscoggin Advisory Board Member, an Event committee member for the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center Soiree, a recent ALDI graduate, a previous Good Food Council Advisory Committee Member, a spevious CMHC Associate Volunteer, a liaison for Adopt-a-School Program for Park Ave Elementary School and a previous planning committee member for the Central Maine Heart Walk”

Larissa Brown

Health & Wellness

Founder
Women’s Trauma Recovery & Empowerment Group of Maine

Nominator’s Comments:
“I am nominating Larissa Brown due to her focus on helping families with her chosen career and her ambition to improve herself in order to do so.

Larissa received her Masters of Science degree in Family Therapy in May of 2014. She worked hard to open her own practice on Main Street in Auburn in August of 2015. Her office is bright and comfortable, an inviting place for those who may need help with current or past issues in their lives. Larissa attends one or two conferences annually in order to learn more from her peers around the country and add to her skills by learning new ways to help her clients.

She has served as a director on the board for the Maine Association of Marriage & Family Therapy and also took over as the Chairperson when it was converted to the Maine AAMFT Network. In October of 2017 Larissa received a Leadership Award from the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy.

Larissa is currently participating in the 18 month TIP L/A Leader program with Project Tipping Point a local group working to strengthen the community of Lewiston and Auburn.

In the past couple of years, Larissa has implemented a Women’s Trauma Recovery & Empowerment Group in her practice. This focused group session is a means for women to work together towards their recovery in a safe and friendly environment.

Larissa does all this while being married and raising two young daughters. She even found the time to fill the role of PTO President for Fiddlehead School of Arts and Sciences in Gray, Maine. She is ambitious and focused on making a difference in our community through the work she does, whether it be community work in some way or individually with her clients.”

Local Government & Civic Leaders

Austin Albert

Local Government & Civic Leaders

Partner / Financial Advisor
Twin City Financial Group

Nominator’s Comments:
“Austin co-founded Twin City Financial Group in June 2012. Beyond his work as a leading financial advisor in the Lewiston-Auburn area, Austin is deeply dedicated to a number of local organizations. Currently, he is a member of Central Maine Health’s Board of Directors (where he also sits on the Finance Committee), Community Credit Union’s Board of Directors, and sits on the Finance Committee for the Franco American Heritage Center. Over the years, he’s also served on the boards of LA Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Lewiston Education Fund (as Vice President), and the Board of Directors of the Franco American Heritage Center.”

Alicia Rea

Local Government & Civic Leaders

Assist Director of Annual Giving
Bates College

Nominator’s Comments:
“Alicia Rea serves Lewiston-Auburn in a number of different ways. By day, she works as an assistant director of annual giving at Bates College, helping to raise money for LA’s premier educational institution. In 2017, Alicia was elected to the Lewiston City Council from Ward 3. Despite being a Council newcomer, she was appointed as the Council’s representative on the School Committee. In both of her roles in local government, Alicia is a relentless advocate for better schools, economic development, and a community where everyone feels welcome.”

Safiya Khalid

Local Government & Civic Leaders

Manufacturing
L.L.Bean

Nominator’s Comments:
“Safiya is a rising star in Lewiston. Between balancing work at L.L. Bean and her coursework as a student at the University of Southern Maine, Safiya also makes time to enhance her community through her leadership of the Lewiston Democrats and as a Library Board Trustee. At her young age, having grown up in Lewiston and already investing in its future, it is clear that Safiya will continue to be an Emerging Leader for years to come.”

Molly Shukie

Local Government & Civic Leaders

Attorney
Linnell, Choate & Webber, LLP

Nominator’s Comments:
“Molly is an excellent lawyer who cares about people’s lives. In addition to being a responsible young parent, she volunteers in the community.”

Zack Pettengill

Local Government & Civic Leaders

Owner/School Manager
Pettengill Academy

Nominator’s Comments:
“Zack along with myself, have built a successful business in Lewiston Maine. Along with building the business he has become involved in local government starting with the Lewiston Planning Board and in 2017 running for ward 2 Lewiston City Council and winning. Zack shares a vision for Lewiston to be vibrant and happening. He believes in pro-business policies. He also envision a vibrant city that is pro- pedestrian/bike as well as a vibrant night life for its citizens. He shares the vision of revitalizing Bates Mill Number 5 and saw the value of giving a 3 year extension rather than the typical one year. He also serves on the Youth Advisory Council and Airport Board.”

Local Heroes

Rosie Moreau

Local Heroes

Program Coordinator
New Beginnings

Nominator’s Comments:
“I’m nominating Rosie as a local hero because of her work with homeless and at risk youth. Rosie is the coordinator at new beginnings but her fight started years before as advocate and ally to youth who have no voice. She is unstoppable at getting them what they need and no job is to big. She is a warrior for change in a system that is broken. And she deserves recognition for that.”

Courtney Pelletier

Local Heroes

Universal Services Advocate
Veterans Inc.

Nominator’s Comments:
“-Courtney is truly dedicated to helping Maine’s most vulnerable veteran population in Lewiston and Auburn; homeless veterans. She currently manages nearly 45 homeless veteran (and/or at-risk) cases; over the years, she’s assisted more than 150 veterans.

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Courtney Pelletier – one of the best and brightest young leaders in Lewiston Maine. Courtney became part of our team in January of 2017, but it feels like she has always been part of the organization. She has already proven herself to be a dedicated employee who helps our veterans in need and their family members.

She takes pride in delivering supportive services to veterans in the areas of homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing. Her position provides case management and outreach services to assist veteran clients and their families enrolled in Veterans Inc. programs.

Having a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from the University of Maine at Orono and previous experience in case management has given her the knowledge and tools needed to help our population. Since day one she continues to show that she is dependable, has effective time management, and excellent customer service skills to make our organization shine.

Courtney always strives to inspire others, leads by example, and is genuinely passionate about the work she does.”

Shelley Kruszewski

Local Heroes

Conservation/Executive Director
Androscoggin Land Trust

Nominator’s Comments:
“Shelley is a local hero because she works tirelessly in dynamic ways to improve the quality of life for the people and the health of the environment in the twin cities and beyond. As ED of the Androscoggin Land Trust, she works long hours with a wide variety of community partners, volunteers, and landowners to steward, protect, and conserve over 5000 acres of the important natural areas, traditional landscapes, and outdoor experiences in the Androscoggin River watershed. Shelley lives in New Auburn and in her free time, when not on the trails with her puppy, she also serves part time as a fitness instructor for Cardio Sport in Auburn.”

Justin Starbird

Local Heroes

CEO
The Aebli Group

Nominator’s Comments:
“”Justin Starbird has been successfully running The Aebli Group since 2014. His marketing company is located in Mechanic Falls. Justin and his team provide services to customers throughout the U.S. and overseas.

When Justin isn’t working with clients or spending time with his family, you will find him on a basketball court, softball or soccer field. He is the Board Chair of the Mechanic Falls Rec Department. He works to see that all children in the community get the opportunity to partake in recreational sports. Not only does he serve as the Board Chair, he also coaches two basketball teams, two soccer teams, a softball team, a tee-ball team and he referees games in the evenings.

Finding volunteers to coach, coordinating tournaments, maintaining facilities and keeping both the players, the families happy is not an easy task. Justin does it with everything he has. Justin has stepped up to the plate as a lead volunteer in the Mechanic Falls Community.”

Erica Ackley

Local Heroes

Core Agent
TD Bank N.A.

Nominator’s Comments:
“Erica is always smiling and such an inspiration to everyone. She is always thinking of others and sets the bar high. When I first started at TD Bank I was impressed that she was helping another manager with a fundraiser for the ASPCA on Strawberry Ave in Lewiston. From there it only got better. She spear headed a drive in which she asked for donations to be made for the local schools. She knew the importance of children needing supplies, saw an opportunity and did not hesitate to help fill the gap. She called this a “Pack 2 School” event. I do believe she completely filled backpacks and hand delivered them to area schools. She brought the diversity committee back to the Auburn call center and many more. I can not tell you how infectious she is as a person and is a huge shinning star!”

Volunteers

Andrea Wessling

Volunteers

Fraud & Asset Specialist
Community Credit Union

Nominator’s Comments:
“Andrea has worked for the Credit Union for a couple years and in October 2017 we celebrated our Ending Hunger efforts by having 100% of our staff volunteer in local hunger organizations in the month of October. Andrea volunteered at the Turner Food Pantry in Turner, Maine helping unload food at the pantry and also helping members of the community load up their items and place them in their vehicles. I’m proud to say that Andrea made a commitment to continue volunteering even after the October initiative ended and still puts in a few hours per month assisting the volunteers at the food pantry and the local residents using the services. Maine Credit Union’s Campaign for Ending Hunger was a cause that resonated with Andrea and she built relationships with the volunteers at the Turner Pantry that has developed into an on-going volunteer commitment. Andrea also participates in several other Community Credit Union events and projects to support our local community. I think she is deserving of a Community Volunteer honor.”

Heidi Bisson

Volunteers

Student Finance Advisor
Purdue University Global formerly Kaplan University

Nominator’s Comments:
“Heidi is a previous 40 under 40 recipient. She attends Uplift LA meetings and has joined the Chamber. She volunteers on the Lewiston High School Football Boosters.”

Jaime-Lyn Allie

Volunteers

Office Administrator
DeBlois Electric, Inc.

Nominator’s Comments:
“I am nominating Jaime for her dedicated service to Sasha Lee’s Fashion Show. Her selfless dedication to this show helps empower countless men and women as they journey down a path toward self confidence.

The amount of work, the countless hours that she puts into making a body positive vibe for all ages with the everyBODYisbeautiful campaign. Allowing woman and men young and old to be comfortable in their own skin!! And stomping body shaming for all! Her creativity and dedication to this wonderful movement is only a few of the many reasons I am nominating Jaime

When I think of someone who loves their community and actively participates to make it a better place Jaime Allie is the first person who comes to my mind. Jaime volunteers copious amounts of time working on a project to help empower others to feel an increased amount of self worth. She works as a volunteer and right hand to Sasha Vurnakes on Sasha Lee’s Lingerie Fashion Show that happens yearly. This will be Jaime’s fourth year working on this project. She works with everyday locals of all shapes and sizes to increase their confidence and build their value. Jaime believes in the message that every BODY is beautiful and she actively works on projects to showcase her body positive beliefs.

Every year. Jamie volunteers her time a to be the assistant show manager for the Sasha Lee Fashion show. This show is so empowering to woman and men of all shapes and sizes as their image is to promote that you can be sexy at every size and every body is beautiful. She spends countless hours making sure this show runs smoothly, and to promote this extremely empowering message.

Jaime is an incredibly active member in the Lewiston/Auburn community. She has volunteered countless hours to help put on the largest body positive event in the area for the last four years. She is always super upbeat and positive.”

Marcus Talarico

Volunteers

Administrator
Albert & Burpee Funeral Home, Inc.

Nominator’s Comments:
“Marcus has been making a difference in Lewiston & Auburn since before he even graduated high school. At merely 22 years old you can count on Marcus to go above and beyond to make Lewiston & Auburn a place that people want to visit. For years he has been involved with the very small group of people planning and executing the annual Liberty Festival, and for several years was a planning member of the Great Falls Balloon Festival. In addition to taking on volunteer roles of leadership for those two major citywide events, Marcus is always one to raise his hand to help out in our community. LA is very lucky to have someone like Marcus getting actively involved at such a young age. Thank you Marcus for all you do!”

Kristine Kittridge

Volunteers

Clinical Dietician
Metz Culinary Management at St. Mary’s Health System

Nominator’s Comments:
“Kristine’s day job is working in a team of healthcare professionals at St. Mary’s Hospital to help patients address their dietary needs and achieve their healthy nutrition goals as a Clinical Dietician. In her other waking hours Kristine volunteers to lead in numerous other community organizations and projects. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Central Maine, whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women while promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Kristine also serves as a valued member of the Planning Board for the City of Lewiston. There is more, but this is more than enough to know that we are lucky to have Kristine as part of our vibrant community in LA!”