Give for Shared Prosperity!

Like you, we believe that investing in people and businesses strengthens communities.

Every day, we work with women, immigrants and refugees, first-time entrepreneurs and people who have lost their jobs or are in danger of losing their homes, who are striving hard to move down the path to economic self-sufficiency. We also help businesses improve the quality of the jobs they can provide with training resources, connections to resource providers, and advisory services.


Sustainable economic development has been at the heart of CEI’s work since 1977. We:

• finance businesses that otherwise cannot get loans or investments,

• work with entrepreneurs so their companies can be more profitable,

• connect employers with people looking for work,

• help jobseekers connect with training and jobs,

• counsel individuals and families looking to buy a new home or stay in a home where they live,

• support growth and innovation in Maine’s natural resource-based industries,

• support the growth of green businesses, and

• work to advance policies and partnerships that help ensure that all people, particularly those with low incomes and those living in rural communities, have the opportunity to work and achieve a decent livelihood for themselves and their family.

Your financial contribution will allow us to grow this critical work in a time of ongoing economic uncertainty and change. Please click here to donate.

Thank you for your generosity and compassion.

Betsy Biemann's Signature

Betsy Biemann

Keith Bisson's Signature

Keith Bisson

US Treasury Awards $80 Million in New Markets Tax Credit Capacity to CEI Capital Management

(NOVEMBER 17, 2015 – Portland, Maine) – Today, the U.S. Department of Treasury allocated $80 million in New Markets Tax Credit capacity to CEI Capital Management. The firm will deploy the tax credits to economic development projects that create opportunity in rural communities with low incomes across Maine and the nation.

A leading practitioner of the program, CEI Capital Management has employed New Markets Tax Credits for 90 projects since 2004, creating or preserving 4,699 permanent jobs for positions in primarily rural places. These projects have supported the growth and economic viability of enterprises across industries spanning manufacturing, the arts, healthcare, agriculture, conservation, hospitality, technology and more.

“We are grateful and encouraged to receive this award. It allows us to identify new opportunities to strengthen rural economies so the effect of each newly created or saved job ripples through the community. In our dozen years working with this program we have crisscrossed the nation, working on the ground and getting to know the people in rural places who are dedicated to bringing positive change to their communities. We share their vision of renewal and are glad to be their partners in building a path to prosperity for themselves and their families.”–Charlie Spies, CEO, CEI Capital Management

Altogether, the U.S. Department of Treasury made allocations to 120 organizations nationwide for a total of $7 billion in New Markets Tax Credit awards. This is the largest single award round since the New Markets Tax Credit Program was created in 2001. It is fitting that Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the 2015-2016 awards at Educare DC, an innovative, state-of-the-art preschool in the nation’s capital, offering early childhood educational programs which benefited from an NMTC investment; CEI Capital Management also used New Markets Tax Credits to help finance an Educare facility in Waterville, Maine.

CEI Capital Management carries the triple bottom line mission of its parent, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI).

“This award will enable us to work with community leaders to understand the long-term needs of their regions  and to help grow businesses that create jobs and provide avenues to economic opportunity for individuals and families, particularly those with low-incomes, who live there.” –Betsy Biemann, CEO, CEI

The project partners working with CEI Capital Management have shared numerous testimonials highlighting the economic benefits that they have experienced because of New Markets projects. This summer, the owners and employees of St. Croix Tissue in rural Baileyville, Maine celebrated the grand opening of a new papermaking facility with state-of-the-art equipment that positions the company to be successful in a globally competitive market. As a result, the project not only creates 80 new, skilled jobs, it preserves hundreds more, keeping livelihoods intact, and creating a ripple effect that benefits the entire region.

Similarly, Premium Peanut in Georgia is using the program to build a shelling facility for 225 member farms, and help them to access market opportunities. Through guaranteed contracts and profit distribution, farms will see better overall profitability and smooth out the vagaries of boom and bust cycles that are notorious in the peanut industry.

On the island of Lana’i, Hawaii, CEI Capital Management worked with the community health center to open its doors, bringing affordable, on-island healthcare, including maternity services, to the local population.

The new allocation announced today will be deployed to projects in rural places that create or preserve jobs and further contribute to revitalizing the community.

Renovation of Neglected Rosa True School Expands Affordable Housing Options in Portland

October 25, 2016—As the proverb goes, big things often come in small packages. For Portland developer Kevin Bunker, the City of Portland, Maine Housing, and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), the historic Rosa True School in the city’s East End represents not just an architecturally important building, but a resource to society as well.

“With low income housing in high demand in Portland, our aim was to save the building while increasing the efficiency and number of units in the space,” said Kevin Bunker, principal at Developers Collaborative, an association of independent real estate developers interested in projects that build community. “This was a relatively small project, but the 1844 school is worth stepping in and preserving.”

Adding affordable units on the Peninsula was a high priority for the City of Portland, who deferred the existing debt on the project and provide additional resources to help the project achieve feasibility.  Housing is considered “affordable” if the household spends no more than 30% of its income on housing-related costs (mortgage or rent, utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance). The median rent in Portland is $1,183. Rent at Rosa True is $990 for a two bedroom apartment and $1,139 for a three bedroom apartment. The building is fully rented. Financing for the project was made possible through a $308,000 State Historic Tax Credit equity investment from CEI, which has provided loans since 1992 for property maintenance and repairs.

We are thrilled to see this building getting the attention that it needs and deserves, as both an historic property, and a long-term, high quality solution for Portland’s affordable housing needs.This is exactly the kind of project that exemplifies the mission of the State Historic Tax Credit program—where we are giving new life to an old building, supporting downtown revitalization, and also providing housing for people with low incomes.– John Egan, SVP of Lending and Investment at CEI

Named for a longtime teacher and principal who died in in 1917, the Rosa E. True School is an historic property at 140 Park Street. When it was closed in 1972 after 128 years, it was the longest serving public school building in contiguous use. In 1987, Greater Portland Landmarks launched a $5,000 revolving loan to help convert the property into a multi-unit apartment building.

The renovation involved building two additional two bedroom units, and converting another into ADA accessible. Much of the building envelope was in great need of repair to maintain a watertight environment and keeping the historic integrity of the building.  Significant repointing of the brickwork needed to be completed to keep the building weather tight.

people gather at the Rosa True opening event on October 25

People gather to celebrate the opening of the Rosa True School affordable housing.

In 1992, anti-gentrification efforts and the availability of tax credits contributed to the new life of the property as an eight-unit low income apartment building. All of the historic fabric retained in the rehabilitation of 1992 remains today. On the exterior, a majority of the building has been re-pointed while original windows and doors have been repaired.  On the interior, the two historic main staircases remain. The corridors feature beaded board wainscoting, historic door casings and picture rails.  Within the units themselves, the wainscoting remain with historic chalkboards and window trim.

The greatest challenge to the project was accomplishing a total rehabilitation of an unfinished basement while the majority of the units above were occupied. This resulted in a lot of coordination between the Contractor Hardy Pond, the Property Manager Avesta and the occupants.  Every water turn off and electrical turn off was executed with the tenants in mind.  The largest inconvenience was the spray insulation where upon tenants had to be housed in local hotels for a few days and children transported to school.

The foundation has been completely waterproofed around the two new units and new utility tie-ins were accomplished as well.  The two new units, having started from scratch, have more modern amenities and are flush with light from restored or replaced windows.  The original stone exterior wall was left exposed in one of the units showing an outline of the original window locations, now an interior wall since the 1900 expansion.


Developers Collaborative is an association of like-minded independent real estate developers interested in projects that build community. While this can mean different things, core themes like smart growth, environmental sustainability, affordable housing, and innovative design are central in our work.

Just the Beginning: A $12 Miniumum Wage for Maine

“This initiated bill raises the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour in 2017 and by $1.00 per hour each year after that until it is $12.00 per hour in 2020.  The minimum wage then increases at the same rate as the cost of living.  The minimum wage for workers who receive tips increases to $5.00 per hour in 2017 and then by $1.00 per hour each year until it matches the minimum wage for all other workers, which occurs no sooner than 2024.”

-Summary, proposed amendment (Sec. 1.  26 MRSA §664, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2007, c. 640, §4)

CEI supports the 2016 minimum wage referendum, viewing a significant increase in Maine’s minimum wage as a starting point for an inclusive economy.

Working Mainers have coped with stagnant wages for many years, despite their rising productivity and educational attainment.  Meanwhile, inflation has shrunk the purchasing power of Maine’s minimum wage by about 15% since it was last raised in 2009. A minimum wage increase will lift thousands of hard working Mainers and their families out of poverty and move a quarter of Maine’s workforce closer to the goal of a “living wage.”

The minimum wage legislation proposed by the referendum question can be strengthened by: 1) linking the minimum wage increase schedule to economic cycles of recovery and recession; 2) recognizing stark differences in Maine’s regional labor markets; and 3) reducing pressure on small businesses, which can find it difficult to absorb a large or sudden increase in their payrolls.  CEI supports consideration of measures like these, which other states have included to temper potential negative effects on businesses or workers, in future years.

While raising the floor for lower-wage workers is essential, it is also crucial to build ladders so that more low-wage workers have opportunities to move up to higher levels of employment, compensation, and career advancement. This will require increased and strategic investment in education and training, as well as improvements in how education and training prepares students and workers for jobs of the future. It also requires working with employers, industry associations, and labor unions to develop career paths through skills training, internships and apprenticeship programs that offer on-the-job learning.

As a source of capital and business advisory services to small and medium-sized businesses across the state, CEI will reach out to these and other companies that are affected by a potential change in law and assist them in minimizing adverse effects on their enterprises, workers and customers.  At the same time, we will build out the next phase of our quality jobs strategy to help workers take steps up the skills and income ladder.


Maine Delegates Trained on Japanese Aquaculture Equipment

Delegates have been observing key pieces of equipment used in Japanese scallop aquaculture, with plans to secure three machines that would help bring the Japanese ear-hanging method of scallop farming to Maine. This scallop cleaning machine clears the biofouling off of scallop shells to help increase growth rates.

Maine Scallop Delegates Welcomed to Aomori, Japan

October 6, 2016- The Maine Scallop Delegation is off to an exciting start. The week began with a welcome reception dinner in Aomori, followed by visits to the largest scallop processing facilities, tours of local fish markets, scallop harvesting in Mutsu Bay and shucking lessons from the experts!

USDA Rural Development Announces Coastal Enterprises, Inc. will receive $20 Million Loan to Reduce Rural Poverty

Please note that CEI is finalizing program details for the USDA loan award. Please check back for more information or call 207-504-5900. 

Oct. 6, 2016 (Berea, KY) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled an innovative partnership with community development organizations from across the country, providing $401 million of Community Facilities program funds to recipients with a track record of successful programs to help reduce poverty in some of the nation’s poorest and most isolated rural communities. Twenty-six community development organizations have been approved to draw upon the funding to provide long-term financing to be “re-lent” to local entities to build, acquire, maintain or renovate essential community facilities. The funds also can be used for capacity building and to finance essential community services, such as education, health care and infrastructure.

“This effort builds on our commitment to lifting up the economic prospects of communities that have not benefited from the revitalization of rural America,” Vilsack said. “By engaging with local and national partners, private-sector financial institutions and philanthropic organizations, USDA will inject a game-changing level of investment capital to reduce poverty in targeted rural areas where the capacity for growth has not been realized. As we have seen with the Obama Administration’s Promise Zone initiative and USDA’s StrikeForce effort, targeted, place-based investments can have a real impact on reducing poverty. This funding adds another important tool in that fight.”

In Maine, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) of Brunswick has been selected to receive a Community Facility Direct Relending Program Loan in the amount of $20,000,000 for relending in rural communities in Maine and other states.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said, “Maine people are hardworking, creative and full of ingenuity, but too often rural areas just don’t get the investment and don’t have access they to capital that they need to build the local economy.  This money is going to help make sure that the resources we have in rural Maine can be put to work creating jobs for the community.  This is a great economic development investment and is going to pay real dividends for Maine.”

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “I am thrilled with this landmark $20 million investment by USDA Rural Development in Coastal Enterprises Inc. The long-standing partnership USDA Rural Development has with CEI represents the immense value of the organization and its vital role in supporting our rural Maine communities. This significant funding will enable CEI to bolster opportunity to our vibrant communities through relending, thereby supporting essential community facilities that Maine’s rural residents rely on.”

“CEI is best-known across Maine as a mission-driven business lender, but vibrant rural communities need more than individual businesses to thrive. They also need community resources that contribute to quality of life and help to retain and attract families and entrepreneurs,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s chief executive officer.  “CEI has financed childcare centers, a non-profit school serving youth with behavioral challenges, federally-qualified health centers and other non-profit facilities, and looks forward to working with the USDA Rural Development to channel more funding to facilities like these in small urban centers and rural communities in Maine and in other regions of the U.S.”

As a Re-Lender, CEI will loan funds to applicants primarily for projects in or serving high poverty areas or persistent poverty counties eligible under the Community Facility Loan Program. CEI’s rural lending maintains a focus on micro and small businesses, including natural resources-based industries, as well as community facilities (such as health care, childcare, arts, and social services), affordable housing, renewable energy and microlending. Of the current $39.1 million loan portfolio, $26.9 million, or 68%, is invested in rural regions.

Eligible applicants for the loans financed through the Community Facilities Re-Lending Program may use the funds from CEI to purchase, construct, and/or improve essential community facilities, purchase equipment, and pay related project expenses. Examples of allowable facilities include: health care facilities (such as hospitals, medical or dental clinics, or assisted-living facilities); public facilities such as town halls or courthouses; street improvements; community support facilities such as child care or community centers, fairgrounds, or transitional housing; public safety facilities; and educational facilities such as museums, libraries, colleges, and public or private schools.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and the U.S. Since 1977, CEI and its subsidiaries have provided nearly $1.2 billion in financing to over 2,500 enterprises with over 33,000 jobs; created/preserved over 1,800 units of affordable housing; provided training and counseling to nearly 50,000 individuals and businesses; and created/preserved over 5,800 child care slots. CEI was the first organization in Maine certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution and is a NeighborWorks Organization, and a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

The Community Facility Direct Relending Program has two unique features. First, private financial institutions, including Bank of America and others, will be providing guarantees for a portion of the loans. Second, the recipient community development organizations, or “re-lenders,” may also have an opportunity to receive grants provided by seven of the nation’s premier philanthropic organizations through a $22 million fund to assist in managing and capacity building. The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation will manage this grant fund.

Vilsack made the announcement at Berea College, which has received USDA funding to help businesses become more energy efficient. Earlier this year, the town of Berea received a $10 million Community Facilities loan to renovate and expand the city hall and public safety facilities.

The project is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with USDA, the Department of Labor, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and other philanthropic partners. The members of this public/private partnership have selected 10 local and tribal communities and placed AmeriCorps VISTA members there to provide technical assistance and capacity-building resources to reduce child poverty. At a White House Rural Forum convened in State College, Pa., earlier this week, the partners announced that the AmeriCorps VISTA members will remain in the 10 communities for a second year.

USDA expects the financing announced today will serve as a catalyst for additional investment. Many of the community developers already have established relationships with other private and philanthropic funders. The ability to relend money could foster greater leveraging of private and philanthropic investments in rural communities.

USDA Rural Development has a $215 billion loan portfolio and offices in every state in the nation. The agency annually invests $30 billion, on average, in rural communities.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD) has funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit

To read more about USDA’s investments in rural America and its successful turnaround, visit USDA’s entry on, Rural America Is Back in Business.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


Bringing Broadband to Maine’s Rural Communities


Bringing Broadband to Maine’s Rural Communities:
Insights for Maine from National Success Stories

Maple Hill Farm
11 Inn Road, Hallowell, Maine
October 25, 2016

Broadband access is a critical driver of economic growth and prosperity, and necessary for rural Maine’s future. Our speakers are leaders in creating and implementing innovative rural broadband models.  They will share their stories and discuss how they engaged stakeholders, providers, funders, businesses, and state, local and county government to bring broadband to their communities and spur economic growth. Thank you to our co-sponsors: Island Institute and NeighborWorks America.

8:00 -8:30 Registration, Coffee and Muffins
8:30 -8:45 Welcome and Introductions, Carla Dickstein, Senior Vice President, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
8:45 -10:00 Municipal Broadband Network Models:  Islesboro, ME and Leverett, MA.  Page Clason, Integrated Knowledge Solutions, Islesboro; Denzel Hankinson, Chair of the Leverett Municipal Light Plant Board; and Peggy Schaffer, Moderator, Office of Maine Secretary of State
10:00 -10:15 Break
10:15 -12:00 Regional Broadband Network Models:  RsFiber, West-Central Minnesota and EcFiber, East-Central Vermont; Carlos Mello, Moderator, Chief Risk Officer, Finance Authority of Maine; Mark Erickson, Board member, RsFiber, and Director, EDA Director, City of Winthrop, Minnesota Economic Development Authority; Tim Herwig, Central District Community Affairs Officer, Office of Comptroller of Currency, Chicago ; Carole Monroe, CEO, and Stan Williams, CFO of Valley Net, operating company of EcFiber
12:00 -12:45 Lunch
12:45 -2:00 Next Steps for Maine, facilitated discussion with panelists and audience: Tim Schneider, Maine Public Advocate, Moderator; Don Williams, Ph.D., Senior Broadband Development Officer, BroadbandUSA, NTIA, US Department of Commerce –comments on morning panels.

Presentations and Resources:












About our Speakers and Moderators

Page Clason – Page Clason is a member of the Broadband Committee for the Town of Islesboro.  He was heavily involved in engaging community members in a discovery process finding the island community’s best solution to their broadband access challenge.  The FTTP network currently under construction will provide universal access with gigabit service to every property in the town.  The Town will own the network and will contract GWI to operate and maintain the network. Page supported corporate computer and communication networks in the 1980s while working for banking, manufacturing, insurance and pharmaceutical companies in the Los Angeles area.  In the 1990s he focused on the use of computers and networks for various corporate and military aviation training projects in the Denver area.  In 2003 he abandoned the cubicle life returning to Maine to be part of the island community on Islesboro.  Since then he has been supporting computing, communication, and entertainment systems for the town government, businesses, and residents of the island.  He has a B.S. degree in Instructional Technology from California State University.

Denzel Hankinson – Denzel Hankinson is Chair of the Leverett Municipal Light Plant Board and was involved in much of the subscriber outreach efforts leading to more than 80% take rate as well as several other projects in support of the build. Denzel is retired from James River Corp after 28 years working with and managing various divisions in NH, MA, CA and NY in various capacities including Research and Development, Dynamic Recording and V.P. of Electronic Imaging, Business Development, and Book Papers Division.  Since retirement he founded and was CEO of Computer Stuff an imaging media supplier. Denzel was raised and educated in Massachusetts. 

Peggy Schaffer – Peggy Schaffer serves as the Small Business Advocate in the Secretary of State’s Office.  For eight years, she was the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Policy Specialist, where she advocated on behalf of Maine’s businesses and economic development community, helping develop many of the State’s key economic initiatives under both the King and Baldacci administrations.  Recognizing the importance of high speed internet access for Maine businesses and Maine communities, Ms. Schaffer helped create the Maine Broadband Coalition, which successfully lobbied for significant changes to the ConnectME Authority, the program that oversees the state’s efforts to expand broadband.  She continues to serve as co-chair of the Coalition, organizing its legislative and outreach efforts.  

Mark Erickson – Mark Erickson is the EDA Director for the city of Winthrop, Minnesota and has been helping organize and promote the RS Fiber project in West Central Minnesota since 2009. Prior to Winthrop he was employed by Hiawatha Broadband Communications in Winona, Minnesota, working with communities interested in building advanced telecommunication networks. He currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association and is a past member of the Blandin Foundation’s Telecommunications Strategy Board.

Carole D. Monroe  – Carole Monroe is the CEO of ValleyNet, the operations company of ECFiber. ECFiber is a community-owned, fiber-optic network in East Central Vermont. ECFiber delivers high-speed internet access to the homes, businesses, and civic institutions of 24 member towns. Their top priority is reaching the unserved and underserved locations, with a focus on back roads and outlying neighborhoods.  As a Broadband Consultant, Carole worked with the City of Keene, NH on a Gigabit City vision. As the Executive Director of  New Hampshire FastRoads, she lead the build of the regional fiber-optic network in western New Hampshire delivering gigabit broadband to community anchor institutions, businesses, and residents.  Carole has 30 years of technology and leadership experience. Prior to her work with New Hampshire FastRoads, she spent ten years as the CIO for Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. and the previous two decades at BankBoston as a Vice President and Sr. Technical Manager Networking Services. Carole Monroe was co-chair of Monadnock Connect, a predecessor to New Hampshire FastRoads, founded in 2001. She holds a MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Western Connecticut University.

Stan Williams – Stan Williams is the CFO of ValleyNet in central Vermont, has 20 years of international telecommunications experience, beginning with Cellular Communications, Inc. (one of the original applicants for US cellular licenses in 1983), and continuing with various spinoffs, Cellular Communications of Puerto Rico (CCPR), Cellular Communications International (CCIL), and NTL. Stan was Chief Financial Officer of both CCPR and CCIL when they were sold to SBC/Cingular and Mannesmann/Vodafone, respectively, in 1999. CCPR was a cellular operator in Puerto Rico, and CCIL was instrumental in helping the Omnitel consortium secure the second Italian cellular license in 1994. NTL (now Virgin Media) is the largest cable company in the United Kingdom. He lives in Norwich, Vermont with his wife, Jenny, and three children, and is a board member of The Upper Valley Land Trust and Vital communities, as well as a former member of the Norwich and Dresden school boards. 

Tim Herwig – Tim Herwig is a District Community Affairs Officer in the Central District of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, located in Chicago, Illinois.  In this capacity he provides community development outreach, training, and partnership development to national banks and federal thrifts, training and technical support to examiners, and other outreach services to organizations representing the interests of low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.  Tim has focused his work to the extent possible on rural community and economic development in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.  Prior to joining the OCC, Tim was the Central Region Community Affairs Liaison with the Office of Thrift Supervision.  He also served ten years as a Vice President of Community Affairs and CRA Officer for TCF National Bank in Chicago.  He has served on a variety of boards in Chicago including Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, and the Donors Forum.  Tim holds a B.A. from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and an M.A. from the University of Virginia, both in English Literature. 

Carlos Mello – Carlos Mello has over 35 years of banking, lending, investment, finance and accounting experience. He is currently the Chief Risk Officer at the Finance Authority of Maine. Mr. Mello was the President and CEO of Prudential Bank & Trust, FSB and held other leadership positions at Prudential Financial (2005-2012).  He has held senior vice president and managing director positions at People’s United Bank (1987-2005) and Mr. Mello currently serves as emeritus board member of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and recently served as its chief volunteer officer (2011-2013). Mr. Mello is a certified financial planner and has held investment representative, investment advisor, and securities principal licenses. He is a former certified public accountant and received his B.S. in accounting from Boston College. 

Timothy Schneider – Tim Schneider was appointed Public Advocate by Governor Paul LePage, and confirmed by the Maine Legislature in May of 2013 for a four year term. Prior to becoming Public Advocate, Tim represented clients in a wide range of matters before the Maine Public Utilities Commission and FERC, focused primarily on natural gas and electricity. Tim received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law. 

Don C. Williams, PhD – Dr. Williams serves as a Senior Specialist for Broadband Development for the new BroadbandUSA program, at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, United States Department of Commerce. He serves as a strategic advisor to communities as they implement broadband deployment and adoption programs to advance economic development, education, healthcare and public safety. Prior to the new program he provided support to NTIA by overseeing $300 million in grants for large telecommunications infrastructure projects in the South and Northwest in the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) program. Prior to NTIA, Dr. Williams was COO and Director of Research for Rice Williams Associates, a telecommunications consulting firm serving over 200 client cities, counties and state governments. Services included design and conduct of telecommunication market surveys on customer service, new technologies and willingness to pay; design and conduct of community needs assessments to determine current capabilities and future communications needs; right of way cost studies; municipal ownership feasibility studies; analysis of transfers of ownership; telecommunications regulation; rate cases; ordinance and franchise agreements and negotiations.  Dr. Williams taught at the College Of William and Mary and the University Of Massachusetts



CEI Leads Maine Delegation to Aomori, Japan to Learn Scallop Farming Practices

September 28, 2016 – A delegation of Maine-based aquaculture and fisheries professionals will travel to Aomori, Japan October 1 through 10, 2016 to learn best practices for scallop farming with the goal of importing that knowledge and technology to Maine.

Maine has been exchanging information and sharing insights into fisheries, energy practices, art, culture and education with its “sister state’ of Aomori Prefecture since 1994, although the origins of the relationship traces back to 1889. That year the 1,500-ton Cheseborough ship, sailing from Bath, wrecked off the coast of Aomori. Local citizens from the village of Shariki rescued four survivors and buried those who died, including Peter Erickson, the captain.

Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) is a lead organizer of the current trip, assembling the ten-member delegation based on their backgrounds and expertise. “We want to get key people there to see what’s possible in scallop farming and to believe it can be replicated in Maine, although at a much smaller scale” said Hugh Cowperthwaite, Fisheries Project Director for CEI who made his first delegation visit to Aomori in 2010. “When I first saw what the Japanese are doing to commercialize scallop farming I was blown away. The Japanese have been sustainably growing and harvesting scallops for decades and have nearly perfected their grow out techniques over the past 85 years. Maine has the capacity to grow our shellfish industry by adding farm raised scallops to our offerings. This exchange allows us to make new and deeper connections with the business community. Can this industry find its footing and create jobs in Maine?”

The Japanese have been sharing their processes and techniques Maine’s industry for nearly two decades dating back to 1999 with a focus on wild seed collection and farming techniques to grow scallops from juveniles to adult sizes. The current visit will focus heavily on learning about machinery used to farm scallops, lease site set up, vessels used and interacting directly with fishermen and fishing cooperatives. There will also be exploration of shellfish processing and value added products associated with the scallop industry. Unlike in the United States the Japanese often eat the entire scallop animal whereas the US only eats the abductor muscle.

Cowperthwaite says during his 2010 visit he was introduced to equipment manufacturer Mutsu Kaden Tokki Co. that builds machines to mechanize several labor intensive steps to farming scallops. Their techniques and machines are not currently in use in Maine. With grant support from the Maine Technology Institute, CEI is seeking to purchase three different machines addressing different aspects of scallop farming to put to use in Maine.

In addition to Cowperthwaite the nine delegates for this October’s visit are experienced aquaculture practitioners and fishermen:

  • Don Hudson of Arrowsic, Chair of the Maine Aomori Sister-State Advisory Council, who made his first delegation visit in 2010;
  • Dana Morse, Extension Associate, Maine Sea Grant College Program and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension of Walpole;
  • Sebastian Belle, Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Association, of Hallowell;
  • Chris Davis, Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, of Orono;
  • Nate Perry, Pine Point Oyster Company, LLC of Cape Elizabeth;
  • Gordon Connell, F/V Zephyr, Commercial Fishermen, Spruce Head Island;
  • Marsden Brewer, F/V Lindsay Marie, Commercial Fishermen and Aquaculturists, Stonington;
  • Robert Brewer, Commercial Fishermen and Aquaculturists of Deer Isle;
  • Matthew Moretti is the President of Wild Ocean Aquaculture, LLC (WOA) of Portland.

The delegation’s intensive one-week itinerary was funded by the United States Japan Foundation and will include visits with a series of marine scientists, private business, fishing cooperatives and government officials, as well as the company from which CEI will purchase the three automated machines.


Read more in Mainebiz’s recent article: Maine Fisheries Experts Head to Japan to Learn Scallop Practices, Buy Machinery

CEI Receives $1.75 Million Financial Assistance Award from U. S. Treasury

September 28, 2016 — The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) today announced a $1.75 million Financial Assistance Award to Maine-based Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) to expand its mission-driven community lending and economic development work.

“I am so glad that this federal funding will allow CEI to make critical investments in Maine communities,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “This funding means opportunity—for the entrepreneur who wants to start a business, the family in need of affordable housing, and many low-income Mainers hoping to make better lives for themselves. I appreciate the committed work of CEI in making that all happen.”

Over 80 percent of CEI’s lending activity targets low-income people and communities, through loans to low-income entrepreneurs and business owners as well as companies that create jobs, affordable housing units, childcare slots, and health care for people and regions that qualify as low-income. Since 1997, CEI has received a total of 14 awards from the CDFI Fund.

“On behalf of CEI, I’d like to thank our federal delegation – Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin – for their unified support for our application and for our work in Maine,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our Congressional leaders are doing everything they can to promote a vision for Maine’s future that includes quality jobs and economic prosperity for all.”

“We are grateful to be helping to make that vision a reality, along with our Maine colleagues at Four Directions Development Corporation, Genesis Fund, Inc., MaineStream Finance, and Northern Maine Development Commission, who also received awards,” noted Keith Bisson, CEI’s President.

CEI was one of 196 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country that received $185.7 million in grants and loans. The awards, based on a competitive application process, have enabled CDFIs to increase lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities across the nation since the program was established in 1994.

With today’s announcement, the CDFI Fund crossed the $2 billion threshold in collective investments to CDFIs through the CDFI and Native American CDFI Assistance programs bringing capital to low-income, distressed, and underserved communities and areas of persistent poverty. A total of 457 applications were received requesting more than $675 million under this round of the CDFI program.

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S. CEI combines financing, advising services and policy leadership to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.

CEI works closely with small and medium-sized businesses that strengthen local economies and support quality jobs, including natural resource-based industries in the farm, fishery, aquaculture, forestry, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism sectors. We also finance community facilities and affordable housing development. For more information, visit