News

CEI Names David Wedick as New Chief Financial Officer

Wiscasset, Maine—Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) has hired David Wedick of South Portland, Maine, to become its new CFO, starting May 18th. Since 2009, David has worked at MicroVest Capital Management, most recently as Director of Strategic Operations and Business Development. MicroVest is an asset management group headquartered in Bethesda, MD, that invests private capital into under-banked emerging markets to increase access to capital for micro, small and medium enterprises.

“We landed an individual we believe has exceptional talent to help CEI in its growth and impact,” said Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO.  “David’s range of analytic skills is applicable to CEI’s complex array of financial accounting, asset management, capital formation, and strategic modeling and forecasting. David has demonstrated a personal commitment to an underlying mission of creating access to finance for people, places and economic sectors aspiring to greater economic opportunity. He is a great communicator and we believe will firmly enhance both CEI’s internal financial management requirements as well as external relationships with funders and investors.”

David Wedick

David Wedick

David graduated with a Master’s degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a CFA® charterholder and is a member of the CFA Society Maine. A native of the United Kingdom, David launched his career as an equity research analyst at J.P. Morgan in London, and was subsequently recruited by Trade Aid Tanzania to help establish a microfinance lending program in the rural southern region of Mtwara.  In Tanzania, he met his future American wife, originally from Fairfield, Maine, who was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in a neighboring village, and who is now an Masters in Public Health candidate at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to joining MicroVest, David was the general manager of E-Fulusi Africa, a mobile banking technology startup, also located in Tanzania.

“For the last eight years I have focused on building financial markets that work to serve low income communities in a profitable, sustainable and ethical manner,” said David Wedick. “I am excited by the opportunity to join the CEI senior staff at a crucial juncture in the organization’s growth path and to directly contribute to preserving the integrity of both CEI’s financial strength and mission.”

CEI’s Board of Directors Elects New Leadership

March 24, 2015 – At its 37th Annual Meeting on March 10, 2015, CEI was pleased to announce the election of Ellen Seidman as the new Chair of its Board of Directors, Betsy Biemann as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, and Chip Newell as a new Member of the Board of Directors.

Ellen Seidman is currently a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, focusing on housing finance and community development. She is also a Research Fellow of the Filene Research Institute. In 2012, she was appointed to the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ms. Seidman directed the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Thrift Supervision from 1997 to 2001. From 2002 through 2010, Ms. Seidman held various positions at ShoreBank Corporation and its affiliates. Ms. Seidman has also been Senior Counsel to the Democratic Staff, House Financial Services Committee (2001-02), Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (1993-1997), and has held senior positions at Fannie Mae, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Transportation. She chairs the board of Aeris Insight , which is the assessment and ratings system for the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) industry, is a founder and a member of the board of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and is on the Board of City First Bank of DC, a CDFI bank. Ellen graduated with an A.B. from Radcliffe College, a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University. She is a resident of Washington, D.C., and Spruce Head, Maine.

Betsy Biemann advises companies, nonprofit organizations, foundations and government agencies on strategies to drive innovation, growth and economic opportunity. She currently leads the Maine Food Cluster Project of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard University. From 2005 to 2012 she served as president of the Maine Technology Institute (MTI). Under her leadership, MTI’s focus shifted from investing in promising technologies to growing technology companies, and its portfolio of investments and grants expanded from $15M to $75M. Betsy joined MTI after serving as an associate director at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, where she managed a national grant and investment program aiming to increase employment in low-income communities. She also oversaw Rockefeller’s equity investments in community development venture capital funds and loans to social enterprises. Betsy joined Rockefeller’s staff in 1996, after working in international development, principally in Africa. Betsy serves on the CEI Investment Notes Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and is a member of the Maine Angel network. Betsy graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.P.A from Princeton University. She lives in Brunswick, Maine, with her husband, Sean Callahan, and two children. Betsy joined the CEI board in 2012.

Chip Newell is a principal in The NewHeight Group, a real estate development and marketing consulting firm. Chip’s 35-year real estate career includes extensive experience from complex mixed-use urban projects to single-family homes. In the spring of 2015, NewHeight is completing development of 118 on Munjoy Hill, a 12-unit condominium building that is bringing a new level of building quality and energy efficiency to Portland, Maine’s multifamily market. Chip graduated with an A.B. from Bowdoin College in Economics and M.B.A in Finance and Accounting from Rutgers University. Chip is currently on the board and is Treasurer of Maine Center for Economic Development. He is also on the board of Community Housing of Maine, on the finance committee for the Boothbay Region Land Trust, and is on the Maine Community Foundation Cumberland County Committee, and the boards of Community Investments of Maine and CEI Investment Notes. Chip is a resident of Portland, Maine.

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI creates economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at www.ceimaine.org.

CEI’s Ellen Golden Inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame

March 19, 2015 — In observation of Women’s History Month, the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame honors two new inductees: Ellen F. Golden, Senior Vice President at CEI, Founder of the Women’s Business Center at CEI, and a Founding Board Member of the Maine Women’s Policy Center; and Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee of Vassalboro, longtime president of Kennebec Valley Community College, who has helped pave the way for women in higher education. The nomination of Ellen F. Golden was sponsored by Ronald L. Phillips, President and CEO of CEI. The nomination of Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee was sponsored by Dr. John Fitzsimmons, President of the Maine Community College System.

Ellen Golden, Managing Director, CEI Notes

Ellen Golden, Managing Director, CEI Notes

Ellen Golden, Senior Vice President at CEI, oversees CEI Investment Notes, LLC, a 501(c)(3) CEI affiliate that mobilizes capital from individual and institutional investors to support CEI’s financing activity. The struggle for the recognition and achievement of the rights of women has a dedicated champion in Ellen Golden. Her decision to make a positive difference in women’s rights comes from a lifetime commitment to social and economic justice and knowledge of the history and current conditions of women in our society. In both her personal and professional lives, Ellen has been an advocate for the needs and rights of women in general and for the needs and rights of women business owners in particular.

In the mid-1980s, with the aid and support of CEI, a private nonprofit community development corporation, Ellen found an ideal position from which to work on behalf of Maine’s women business owners. She discovered that although women were starting businesses at twice the rate of men, there was little information about their experiences. Her subsequent pioneering research helped to define the characteristics of and challenges facing Maine women entering a traditionally man’s world.

Action followed research. In collaboration with Maine technical college system, Ellen organized a statewide series of seminars for women business owners. For a more permanent resource, Ellen started the state’s first targeted business counseling program for women at CEI. Its Women’s Business Center, with funding from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), has helped over 15,000 Maine women start and manage their businesses. To ensure the continuity of this work, Ellen has hired and coached younger women who currently staff the WBC. Ellen has also promoted micro and small business financing—at CEI, in Maine and nationally—to increase financing for women business owners. As a result, more than 1,000 women entrepreneurs across the state have received over $46 million in capital from CEI.

Her tenure as a board member of the Maine Women’s Lobby illustrates her role as a volunteer. In the early 1990’s, she chaired an Economics Task Force which turned its attention to sexual harassment as a barrier to economic security. The result was first in the nation legislation mandating workplace training in sexual harassment. Ultimately, the task force led to the founding of the Maine Women’s Policy Center, the Lobby’s sister organization which improves the social, political and economic status of Maine women and girls through research, education and leadership development. When she returned to the Lobby Board in 2008, her experience with organizational development helped the Lobby through a leadership transition and prepared it to move forward as an important resource for Maine women and girls.

Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee’s long and successful career in education has been defined by her commitment to improving the lives of her students. At Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, where she served as president for 28 years, the majority of those students were women, many of them low-income, many of them single mothers, who Barbara believed in and on whose behalf she worked tirelessly. Her goal: to help them achieve their educational goals and build a more secure future for themselves and their families.

Throughout her presidency, Dr. Woodlee sought to increase access to education for Maine women by designing and building programs—in health care and other fields—that met their needs and held the promise of good paying jobs. Many women from throughout Maine jump-started their lives and careers by earning a credential from Kennebec Valley Community College.

For over three decades, Dr. Woodlee has worked to remove barriers to higher education for Maine people. She has built numerous partnerships among colleges and worked to ease transfer between two- and four-year degree programs, not only for students from KVCC but for those enrolled in all of Maine’s community colleges. Again and again, she has taken strong stands on issues she believes to be in the best interest of students. She has been a strong advocate for low- and moderate-income students and has worked to keep tuition low, even when her college faced extremely challenging budget realities. Community college students from throughout the state have benefited from this advocacy for low tuition rates and greater financial assistance, and today, the Maine Community Colleges have the lowest tuition and fees in New England.

Dr. Woodlee holds the distinction of being the first woman president within the Maine Community College System, and she now serves as the System’s chief academic officer. By taking on these challenges (while raising four children), she has opened the door to other women to assume leadership positions within the System. To them, she has served as a mentor, a coach, and a supportive colleague.

Throughout her career, Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee has demonstrated that women can use the power of kindness, confidence, persistence and personal presence to lead and advance in their careers, to support the careers of others, and to fight for a cause. In addition to her work at KVCC, she has given her time and energy to improving the lives of others in her community and across the state, serving as Chair of the Board of MaineGeneral Health; on the inaugural Board of Displaced Homemakers (now Women, Work, and Community); and in volunteer leadership positions with the Maine Science and Technology Foundation, State Workforce Incentive Board, and Jobs for Maine’s Graduates. In the process, she has earned the deep respect and affection of those who have had the good fortunate to work with her.

Dr. Woodlee is a proven leader, reliable friend, and dedicated colleague, who has contributed significantly to the welfare of others, leaving an indelible mark on the State of Maine.

The Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women established the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990, to honor women who have made an outstanding contribution to improving opportunities for all Maine women. The BPW/Maine Futurama Foundation and the University of Maine at Augusta are co-sponsors of the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame.

The three criteria for selection to be included are (1) woman’s achievements have had a significant statewide impact, (2) woman’s achievements significantly improved the lives of women in Maine, and (3) woman’s contribution has enduring value for women.

Innovative Maine Project Attracts Funding from FHLB of Boston

Wiscasset, ME—Bragdon Farm in Waterville, ME, has been awarded a loan from CEI to purchase and renovate the former Harris Bakery in Waterville and expand their production of hay firelogs, an innovative product turning hay that is unusable for feed into firelogs. The $160,000 of funding for the loan was an advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. CEI was the first Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) member of the Bank, providing for short-and long-term credit, reduced financing costs, and help with managing liquidity and interest rate risk. Recently, CEI was featured in the Bank’s Results magazine, and in a video profile on the Bank’s website. Click here for a tour of the Bragdon Farms project with Peter Bragdon and CEI’s Loan & Investment Officer Cole Palmer.

“Our mission is to provide our members reliable funding for housing, community development, and economic growth. We’re pleased to provide CEI low-cost, long-term financing to meet Bragdon Farm’s financing needs,” said Kenneth A. Willis, First Vice President/Director, Housing and Community Investment, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

The carbon neutral fireplace logs made by Bragdon Farm from waste hay (aka hay logs) offer a nearly identical energy output to hardwood, with no artificial or petroleum-based binders, and an extremely low carbon footprint after one growing season.

“Thanks to CEI and other funding from organizations like FAME, the USDA, Maine Department of Agriculture, Maine Technology Institute, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, we will continue, in the short-term, to perfect our formula and test for critical durability, emissions and safety in a new commercial briquetting press as we head down the final stretch to commercialization,” said Peter Bragdon, founder and owner of Bragdon Farm. “In the near future we will be assembling a state of the art briquetting plant right here in Central Maine. We hope to have Bragdon Farm hay firelogs on retail shelves this year. Needless to say, none of this would be possible without the extensive support that is available to the small business community in Maine from organizations like CEI.”

Bragdon Farm seeks to meet market need with an economically and environmentally-conscious product, directly aligned with CEI’s mission of local, sustainable growth. Peter Bragdon has over 30 years of experience harvesting hay across 300 acres of land.

“CEI and many others worked closely with Peter Bragdon to help make a dream into a reality,” said CEI loan and investment officer Cole Palmer. “The City of Waterville identified the building on Harris Avenue as one that they wished to see developed after many years of neglect. In addition, the new company will produce ten good paying jobs. This is a triple-bottom-line win for people, profits and planet.”

“It is an honor for us to be able access capital for rural communities as the first CDFI member of the FHLB of Boston,” said Ron Phillips, President and CEO of CEI. “Membership allows for reliable, low-cost funding to expand our lending capacity and further our mission of achieving social and economic justice within sustainable communities. Bragdon Farm is a great example of economic development at work: a new Maine-based business that is creating jobs, and serving as a steward of the environment.”

CEI Awarded National NeighborWorks® Membership

March 10, 2015 — CEI announced its new membership in the national NeighborWorks® network during its annual meeting on March 10. In order to become a chartered NeighborWorks member, a significant achievement, CEI met high organizational health and performance standards, enabling the Maine-based organization to gain access to a powerful battery of training, research, technical assistance and funding opportunities. The announcement included a check presentation from NeighborWorks to CEI for $230,000, with $150,000 earmarked to support the construction of CEI’s new headquarters building in Brunswick, Maine.

(left to right) Chris Harper-Fahey, Relationship Manager, Partnership & Growth, NeighborWorks America; Deborah Boatright, Regional Vice President, Norheast Region, NeighborWorks America; Sue Inches, CEI Board Chair (Outgoing); Ellen Seidman, CEI Board Chair (Incoming); Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO

(left to right) Chris Harper-Fahey, Relationship Manager, Partnership & Growth, NeighborWorks America; Deborah Boatright, Regional Vice President, Norheast Region, NeighborWorks America; Sue Inches, CEI Board Chair (Outgoing); Ellen Seidman, CEI Board Chair (Incoming); Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO

“As a long time advocate to help all people, especially those with low incomes, to achieve their full potential, this partnership allows us to harnass NeighborWorks’ best practices in affordable housing development and expand reach to serve more Maine residents more efficiently,” said CEI CEO and President Ron Phillips.

CEI leads significant multi-family housing development work, having developed a current portfolio of 278 units of affordable rental housing serving over 1,000 households in 17 communities throughout Maine, and provides financing to other affordable housing developers. CEI is also the largest provider of housing counseling in the state, offering services including pre-purchase counseling, foreclosure prevention, financial capability coaching and homebuyer education to more than 600 residents annually.

NeighborWorks® America Regional Vice President Deborah Boatright congratulated Coastal Enterprises, Inc. for its high productivity, dedication to affordable housing and service within its community, and accountability, and brought special greetings from CEO Paul Weech.

“NeighborWorks network membership provides CEI access to resources that strengthen its ability to serve people throughout the great state of Maine, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth. We are proud to have this productive and effective organization join our network of excellence,” relayed Weech.

NeighborWorks America created the NeighborWorks network to improve housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income families; provide financial education and improve financial literacy; rebuild and repair properties; develop affordable multifamily homes; and use innovative strategies to improve safety and revitalize communities across the nation.

Collectively in Fiscal Year 2014, NeighborWorks America and the more than 240 members of the NeighborWorks network have been able to:

  • Assist 323,400 households with affordable housing;
  • Own or manage 118,200 rental homes;
  • Help 21,000 families of modest means to achieve their dream of homeownership;
  • Counsel and educate 108,500 customers about their finances and housing options;
  • Repair 58,600 homes using state-of-the-art methods, including green and healthy building techniques;
  • Create or sustain more than 35,000 jobs per year through local NeighborWorks-supported projects and activities;
  • Mobilize more than 1.5 million volunteer hours to revitalize communities;
  • Invest more than $6 billion in local communities, leveraging NeighborWorks’ federal appropriation by 44:1.

For more information about CEI, contact Liz Rogers, 207-882-5139, erogers@ceimaine.org.

About CEI
CEI, one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, we create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at www.ceimaine.org.

 

Island Employee Cooperative Receives CEI’s Sustaining Community Award

March 10, 2015 — In recognition of its tremendous accomplishments in fostering a sustainable society, the Island Employee Cooperative was presented CEI’s Sustaining Community Award at the organization’s annual meeting on March 10.

The for-profit cooperative is now Maine’s largest worker co-op and the second largest in New England, employing 60 island residents, 45 of whom are member/ owners. A CEI loan and business development services client, the cooperative was singled out for the award for its triple bottom line approach to business, nurturing economy, equity and ecology.

Island Employee Cooperative (IEC) Receives CEI's Sustaining Community Award. (left to right) Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute; Cole Palmer, CEI Loan & Investment Officer; Alan White, IEC board chair; Gloria LaBrecque, Cooperative Fund of New England; Les Weed, V&S Variety store manager and IEC board secretary; Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO; Deanna Oliver, Administration and Finance Manager and IEC board treasurer; Scott Seile, store manager of The Galley; Mark Sprackland of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative; Daniel Wallace, Program Developer, CEI Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Program

Island Employee Cooperative (IEC) Receives CEI’s Sustaining Community Award. (left to right) Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute; Cole Palmer, CEI Loan & Investment Officer; Alan White, IEC board chair; Gloria LaBrecque, Cooperative Fund of New England; Les Weed, V&S Variety store manager and IEC board secretary; Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO; Deanna Oliver, Administration and Finance Manager and IEC board treasurer; Scott Seile, store manager of The Galley; Mark Sprackland of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative; Daniel Wallace, Program Developer, CEI Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Program

The cooperative is still a new business model for Deer Isle. Just over a year ago, Vernon Seile, owner of three stores—two grocery stores and a variety store—that are vitally important to the Deer Isle and Stonington communities, decided to sell. When a viable buyer failed to materialize, the store employees organized to form a co-op to purchase and manage the stores.

A team of financial institutions, service providers, and technical assistance providers worked over 2,800 hours to complete the conversion and purchase in 12 months, a short timeline given the complexity of the $5.6 million project. It is now a national model for worker co-op conversions, grocery store succession planning, and creative financing.

“Many of us have worked in these stores for decades and never imagined we could own them,” said Island Employee Cooperative board chair Alan White. “It’s no small matter to keep local ownership of the stores and the benefit of creating the cooperative continues to ripple through our community. We are still learning about leadership and management, co-op governance, and financing, and when it feels tough, I think about the single mothers who work in the stores and now have a stake in the ownership, and how much they are depending on me and my fellow board members to make this work.”

“This financial transaction represents the best kind of collaboration to build wealth and opportunities in Maine’s rural communities,” said CEI Loan and Investment Officer Cole Palmer. “There is no better example of what defines sustaining community.”

At the annual meeting, CEI also recognized key partners in the project: Mark Sprackland of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative, Rob Brown of the Cooperative Development Institute, and Gloria LaBreque of the Cooperative Fund of New England.

About CEI
CEI, one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, we create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at www.ceimaine.org.

CEI Survey Assesses New Chapter in Maine Textile Industry History

A survey conducted by CEI and the Manufacturer’s Association of Maine determined that approximately 8 percent of manufacturing jobs in Maine in 2013 were in textile-related industries, and 56 percent of the businesses surveyed planned to expand. Given Maine’s extraordinary history in textile manufacturing, the rebirth of fiber sourcing and production, dying, sewing, and manufacturing (which includes everything from eco-friendly, organic wool products to high-tech composites for camping and fishing gear) marks an evolution towards sustainability. A recent article in the Portland Press Herald examines the opportunities and challenges ahead: click here to read!

Read more: Textile Survey of Maine

CEI’s Interactive Web Tool Aims to Integrate Seafood into Local Food Movement

Two year study of Maine’s seafood systems and infrastructure tracks from source to plate

January 28, 2015 — A two-year study of Maine Seafood Systems and Infrastructure conducted by CEI’s Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Program has been converted into an interactive web tool to connect consumers with Maine’s iconic seafood industry. The Study findings, available on CEI’s website, were announced in mid-January at the Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition 2015.

“As we were conducting our study of seafood, we saw just how many companies are adding value along the distribution chain,” said Hugh Cowperthwaite, Fisheries Project Director at CEI. “Maine lands about $450 million in seafood each year, the third-highest total in the U.S., and yet consumers do not know about the wide array of products that are harvested or caught, or where to get them. Our goal was to create a way to bring seafood into local and regional food systems, and promote fish and aquaculture as part of our vibrant local food movement.”

The report found that consumers are looking for quick easy to prepare meals, and also want to know where their food comes from. Given that 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, it seemed important to find ways to raise awareness among consumers of the location and function of the many businesses that bring Maine seafood from ocean to table.

“We also believe that there is a need to find ways to add value and processing opportunities for the species of fish that are in high demand and sustainably fished,” said Dick Clime, CEI’s Working Waterfront Project Developer, and co-researcher with Hugh Cowperthwaite for the Maine Seafood Study. “Our goal was to make the distribution system more open and transparent to anyone involved in local or regional food systems.”

The new web tool reflects the areas investigated in the Maine Seafood Study. While these areas are integral to the seafood industry, most consumers may be unaware of how they connect to the food they eat. The areas include: seafood landings data, commercially harvested marine resources, value added seafood products, seafood processors, ice producers, cold storage, transportation, destinations of Maine seafood projects, wholesalers, aquaculture, farmers markets, and New England food hubs.

The Maine Seafood Study is sponsored in part by Wholesome Wave Charitable Ventures, Inc. as part of a project known as the New England Food Hub Cluster Initiative, and funded by the Rural Jobs & Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a collaboration of USDA Rural Development and the Economic Development Administration.

About CEI
CEI, one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, we create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at www.ceimaine.org.

CEI Releases New Policy Directions for Maine

On December 10, 2014, CEI released new policy directions for Maine, intended to inform the governor, legislators, elected officials and others interested in the future of the Maine economy with the ultimate goal of influencing state policy for the benefit of the communities and people we serve, especially economically distressed communities and people with low incomes.

Despite the loss of manufacturing jobs, the shortage of quality jobs that pay a livable wage, and the slow pace of the recovery from the most recent recession, Maine has considerable assets on which the governor and legislature can capitalize to benefit the state and its citizens over the long run. Value-added products in Maine’s traditional natural resource sectors hold great promise as does using existing resources for renewable energy, biobased products, and tourism opportunities in the eco and cultural markets. Most importantly, Maine’s quality of place, i.e., its cultural and natural landscapes, is an invaluable asset worthy of preservation.

_MG_4920Maine has serious challenges, but challenges create opportunities for fresh thinking and new strategies. How do we create enough quality jobs to employ our young people, enable them to launch careers, buy homes and raise families? How do we meet the needs of the unemployed and underemployed? How do we attract talented young individuals and entrepreneurs to guarantee a future for the state? How do we integrate immigrants, refugees, asylees and foreign-born into our communities and workforce? Take a look at CEI’s recommendations  to address these and other critical questions for our state. Click here: CEI’s 2015 Policy Directions for Maine

 

Annual Meeting Info

“The Internet of Things” is the interconnection of computing devices advancing connectivity and automation in nearly all fields with far-reaching economic implications locally and globally.

We look forward to seeing you at CEI’s 2015 Annual Breakfast Meeting on March 10 for a conversation about The Internet of Things, Energy, and Future Economies. Our keynote speaker is Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of twenty books on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. PLEASE NOTE: Mr. Rifkin is unable to attend the event in person due to obligations in Europe but will present live via HD video.

Meeting Agenda:

7-8:20 Registration, breakfast and networking
8:20-9:30 CEI Welcome, speakers & award
9:30-10:30 Keynote presentation
10:35-11:00 Networking