Margo Walsh is the founder and CEO of MaineWorks, which provides day labor to industrial construction sites. The company is growing quickly, not just in spite of – but because – it has a developed a specialty in working with people in recovery. Finding success by helping to solve a difficult, pressing problem. Remarkable. I hope you enjoy this episode.
I carried my podcast recorder to the Rural Maine’s Next Economy Envision Maine conference at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Friday February 10. The temperature outside was in the single digits, but inside the ideas were flowing. I captured two segments – the Rural Sparkplugs segment of four minute talks, and the One Minute Big Ideas, an off-the-cuff opportunity to pitch the crowd on your idea. Here the guests in order of appearance:
- Amanda Beal, President of the Maine Farmland Trust
- Lucas St. Clair, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc.
- George Smith, Author, Hunting/Fishing Activist
- Bonnie Rukin, Slow Money Maine
- Leah Cook, Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative
- Nancy Smith, GrowSmart Maine
- Vaughan Woodruff, Insource Renewables
On the One Big Idea Segment
- Ron Brown on Broadband
- Matt Delaney from Millinocket Library
- Mike Turcotte
- Ken from Arrowsic
- Matt Polstein from New England Outdoor Center
- Robin Zinchuk, Executive Director of Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce
- Kay from Lexington Township (note: what Kay wants to do is closely aligned to what Maine Farmland Trust’s Farmlink program does)
- Martha Bentley of Maine Technology Institute
- Mike Wilson of Northern Forest Center
- Jonah Fertig of Cooperative Development Institute
- Eric from Appleton with a cool idea: Uber for canoes. Or Zipcar for canoes. Zipcanoe.
- Scott Vlaun of Center for an Ecology Based Economy
- Brooks Winner of Island Institute
- Ivy from College of the Atlantic
Hope you enjoyed the episode – it was fun to do – which of the big ideas was your favorite and why?
Dream something big with Kerem Durdag of Biovation, Shannon Kinney of Dream Local, Shawn Moody of Moody’s Collision Centers, Melissa Smith of WEX, Jess Knox of Blackstone Accelerates Growth, Lisa Pohlmann of NRCM, Dana Connors of Maine Chamber of Commerce, John Piotti of Maine Farmland Trust, and Sean Sullivan of the Maine Brewer’s Guild.
Like what you hear? Register to hear Shawn Moody on Tuesday Dec. 16.
Karin Gregory and her law firm Furman Gregory Deptula provide legal counsel to entrepreneurs, and are known for their tag line ‘We Jump Start Start Ups’. They’ve developed an active specialty in health care and university spinouts, but provide services to all types of entrepreneurs, including tech and transportation. The firm has offices in Biddeford, Maine and Boston, Mass.
Key takeaways you will learn from this cast:
-Don’t let legal concerns prevent you from thinking bigger
-A university network and ecosystem exists from Bangor to Boston, and you can take advantage of it
-How to use your lawyer
Would you like to arrange a free one hour consultation with Karin and her team? Fill out this contact form and mention The Grow Maine Show!
I had a great interview with Pete and he was very generous with his time so I split it into two sections – this is the second half. We sat down at Cianbro HQ in Pittsfield, Maine. Here are some quick insights that I took away – what are some of yours?
-Maine people don’t want anything more than an opportunity. When I see the pain and suffering that exists in this state, I feel guilty for the success that I’ve had. I want to allow our people to be part of the success.
-We do some crazy stuff. When you work together and create the right environment, anything’s possible. We’ve been identified as the healthiest and safest company in the country. There is huge opportunity in the State, it just takes a little hard work.
-Say you’re in a situation where nobody can get enough welders to bid on a key job. You can complain about that. But if you train 250 welders, you’ll have 250 welders. The other guy won’t. The companies that have the people get the work.
-We can’t recreate the past. In Maine, we build things. If we look at the effect of the pulp and paper industry, 70-80% of our business was pulp and paper, now it’s 6%. We’ve had to reinvent ourselves. That’s how we can build components for oil fields in Brewer.
-There will be tremendous demand for well-educated and skilled people. This is a North American and European problem. It isn’t a Maine problem. We have good quality of life. We have good availability of people and resources. Our people can do anything you put in front of them. So we spend hugely in training, and we export our knowledge and our skill.
Lastly: Cianbro outfitted the leading search engine company’s oblong cargo vessel. Pete is not at liberty to talk about it. But do you wanna be invited to the party, when they finally let on what they’re doing with it? Like the show on Facebook – it’s as good of a chance as any.
This is a recording of David Stone’s talk at the Envision Maine series, originally recorded on 1/8/14. Register for the next Envision Maine talk at www.envisionmaine.org and use the discount code GrowMaine for 20% off!
David Stone is one of Maine’s most remarkable entrepreneurs. As co-founder of CashStar, his sixth startup, he put Maine’s tech startup community on the map. The company has grown quickly and in fact was recently ranked the 6th fastest growing tech startup in the country, handling hundreds of millions of dollars of online gift card sales.
David’s talk is an engaging review of his five previous startups (including one with guest #3 Les Otten) and how they led to the phenomenal success of CashStar.
David has since moved on to another venture but remains a wonderful supporter of Portland’s tech community, and can be reached via his website www.payments-207.com.
PS: Thanks to Mick Dunn of the podcast Risking Failure for making this recording.
Corky has great perspective and experience, and is passionate about the opportunity for Maine to make our educational system a sustained advantage. I hope you enjoy his presentation as much as I did! Remember “Why Not Us?”
And don’t forget to register for David Stone of Cashstar at Envision Maine on Wednesday January 8 at the Clarion Hotel in Portland! Enter discount “Grow Maine” at checkout to receive 20% off registration.
You’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.
The remarkable thing about Clayton Kyle: he has developed large-scale, successful businesses in two completely unrelated fields: commercial roofing insulation and beverage container recycling. In between, he started a venture fund, and is skilled at recognizing opportunities. When an insulation manufacturer consolidated, with no one left to serve the market, he put together a team and pursued the opportunity, developing a national business that still operates today. When container recycling was frustrating (ever try “reverse vending”? – if so, you’re probably still in line), he licensed the technology to build Clynk, now processing more than 80 million containers a month. These startups were not based on specific technical knowledge, but rather upon Clayton’s ability to recognize an opportunity, and expertise in the business of growing businesses.
Clynk takes the frustrating out of recycling. If you’ve seen Clynk’s branding, you know what I mean. It’s eyecatching, and it conveys a key message: “we make recycling easy and fun”. It even makes you feel a little virtuous (Clayton and I are both board members of The Upstream Policy Institute, which helps promote recycling legislation). But the thing that surprised everybody (although it seems obvious now) is that a shopper is more likely to visit a store that offers Clynk.
Plus, you’ll learn things you didn’t know about deposit bottles; what to expect if your son builds a motorized bike; and the right kind of container to buy your beer in!
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