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The Importance of Engineers in Growing Maine’s Economy, recorded at Maine State Chamber of Commerce Engineering Workforce Summit

Maine Engineering Workforce Summit

A little self-aggrandizing here, since I’m a chemical engineer myself, but I very much enjoyed this talk by Charles “Chuck” Lawton, well known newspaper columnist and consulting economist. The take is that engineers create jobs, and moving engineers into the Maine workforce is a good thing.

Special thanks to the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, who always put on good events, and Headlight Audio Visual, for the great work on the audio for the event.

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Derek Volk of Volk Packaging Corporation

Derek Volk with Rocky

Derek Volk is president of Volk Packaging Corporation, a Biddeford-based maker of custom packaging. He’s also the author of ‘Chasing the Rabbit – a Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum‘, about raising a child with autism.

This episode was a lot of fun to do, with a discussion of both business in Maine and adapting the workplace to the needs of employees. Derek and the entire company have remained leaders in this area and are to be commended for it.

Of note is that Derek’s son Dielawn Volk is now offering autism coaching services. This is a brand new, and I think very innovative service. It’s suitable for both prospective employees or for prospective employers. An initial 1/2 hour consult is free. You can get started here, at the YouTube Channel.



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Bill Dubay on Food Processing at Curran Company

Bill Dubay on Supply Chain

As you may have figured out by now, I just tool around with my Zoom H4N hooking it to soundboards and if I get something good, I publish it here.  And I think I got something good this time, especially if you’re a supply chain wonk like me. (I also do in-person interviews with Maine entrepreneurs).

Anyway… there is much that is interesting in the concept of getting food to market, especially a just-in-time item like broccoli florets. And Bill Dubay, former CEO of Curran Co. (and current CEO of Baxter Brewing) is an expert on getting food to market. With more than 100 employees and located in the Biddeford Industrial Park, this is a dynamic business that outperforms those with longer supply chains, by providing quicker service that reduces supermarket’s costs.

Thank you to the Maine Real Estate and Development Association for allowing me to record this talk. If you own or are looking to own (or lease) commercial real estate, you should get involved with them.

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Jon Gosier, TED Fellow and ODX Leader

It’s so refreshing to hear from Jon Gosier, TED fellow, tech entrepreneur and keynoter at Maine Startup & Create Week.  He’s a very amusing, engaging Philadelphia-based entrepreneur, and we have Jess Knox and the MSCW team to thank for bringing him to town.

Also: for the first time, the Grow Maine Show has a sponsor.  It’s called Hellocycle, and it’s actually my company.  It’s a subscription by mail recycling service.   If you’ve ever thrown a battery in the trash and wondered if it was the right thing to do, or spent time doing errands to return a burnt out twisty-light-bulb to the hardware store, you need us.  I’m looking  for 25 beta testers to try the service out for free, using offer code Hello.  Would you consider signing up?

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A Live Recording of Gorham Savings Bank’s $30,000 #GSBLaunchpad Pitch Contest

#GSBLaunchpad Contestants

This week I have something really different – a live, unedited recording of Gorham Savings Bank’s Launchpad event that took place on April 10th.  Five entrepreneurs, chosen from 130 submissions, 7 minutes to pitch, no slides, win or go home, $30,000 on the line.  Talk about excitement!

If you want your own piece of the entrepreneurial action, be sure to get involved with Maine Startup and Create Week, coming June 12-20 in venues all around Portland.

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On The Box!

DerekVolkBoxTalkRadioBox Talk Radio is a show hosted by Derek Volk of Volk Packaging.  Volk Packaging is this amazing company that has really diversified and serves many markets, from biotech to food to industrial all over the world, and Derek is the president.  He also hosts a weekly radio show on WLOB featuring Maine businesspeople from a diverse array of fields, and I was honored to have the chance to appear on it and post it here, so let’s take it away!

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#10: Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes Magazine

Kurt_Badenhausen_picYou’ve probably heard that Maine has been ranked the worst state in the union for business, but you may not know much about what’s behind those rankings. This week we dig deeper into the topic, with Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor of Forbes magazine, developer of the best known ranking. Kurt’s been doing this ranking for many years, really dives deep into the analysis, and offers lots of valuable perspective.
Maine is not actually last in any category, and scores better than New Hampshire in business costs, something that may surprise you. And what really surprised me was that a low cost of living won’t get you high in the ranking; and that access to education, arts and culture are among the most important factors in scoring well.
But still, I don’t know about having a worse quality of life than New Jersey.

So, do you think Maine deserves to be 50th?  Leave a comment below.

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