AROOSTOOK COUNTY — Ten finalists are vying for the title of Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year for 2017.
The finalists, of the Aroostook Partnership sponsored competition, will be honored and a winner announced at an awards dinner Thursday, May 18, at Northern Maine Community College.
A panel of judges, representing the supporting organizations of Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Presque Isle, plus four business representatives, reviewed the nominees May 5 to select the finalists.
“The selection committee was very impressed with quality of all the nominees,” said Jon McLaughlin of the Southern Aroostook Development Corporation. “It was extremely difficult narrowing down the nominees to only 10 finalists.”
The finalists are, in alphabetical order: Peter Chase, Buildings Etc.; Cameron Clark, Cameron’s Lawncare and Chainsaw Carving; Bradley Frank, Big Cheese Pizza; David Gordon, Katahdin Cedar Log Homes; Douglas Lerman, Ken. L. Electric; Paul Morgan, Dodo’s Market; Jonathan and Tristan Noyes, Gromaine; Kevin Pelletier and Scott Colton, K-Pel and Fort Steel; Josh Rich, JL Rich Timber Harvesting; and Bruce Sargent, Falcon Transportation.
The winner will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000. Second and third runners up will receive $500 and $250 respectively. The winner will also receive a customized training module from the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Employer U. In 2015, the University created its Employer U program, designed to provide ongoing professional development opportunities for employees of area businesses.
Partnership President and CEO Robert Dorsey said Entrepreneur of the Year is very important for the organization and Aroostook.
“It is important to recognize entrepreneurs to encourage people to start or grow their businesses in Aroostook as those actions create jobs and grow our economy and as I’ve said before, small and medium businesses make up a sizable percentage of our economy, so they are very important,” exclaimed Dorsey.
Previous winners include David Harbison of Bison Pumps in Houlton, Matt Bell of Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Northern Maine Distilling’s Jessica Jewell and Scott Galbiati (formerly of Houlton), Troy Haney of Haney Building Specialties in Caribou, Corey LaPlante of Northern Prosthetics in Presque Isle, Josh McLaughlin of J. McLaughlin Construction in Houlton and last year’s winner the Buck Family of Mapleton for the Maine Malt House.
The nominees, finalists and winner will be celebrated May 18 at the Edmunds Conference Center at Northern Maine Community College.
The Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year dinner will feature local produce, products and highlight the cultural diversity of the region. There will also be a vegetarian option. Prior to the meal and program, a social hour with hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. The price per person is $45.
Electronic pre-registration is required by 3 p.m. May 12. The registration link can be found here