Kay Aikin is CEO of Introspective Systems, a developer of electrical grid management software based in Portland, Maine. The company takes on complex systems and makes them simpler. Somewhere between the internet of things and artificial intelligence, there is an immense opportunity to reduce costs and gain efficiency in electrical systems, communications, medicine, and smart homes. And just about everything else.
This is clearly an immense opportunity. What is not immediately obvious is that Introspective Systems doesn’t seek to take on those complex problems themselves, but rather to build the systems that let others do it. It’s like running the trading post at the gold rush.
If this topic is for you, Introspective Systems is convening a series of artificial intelligence and cutting edge software tech get togethers called ‘Edge Talk’. Kay and others will lead the discussion. The next Edge Talk, “AI is the New Bacon” will explore differences between general and specific artificial intelligence applications and some of the many ways it can be used to solve complex problems in business. The event will take place on May 15 at noon. For information and to register click here.
Sean Sullivan, executive director of Maine Brewer’s Guild, is a great speaker and entrepreneur who happens to think that Maine craft beer is key to growing our economy. Brewing is a manufacturing business, and everything from ocean freight to a good local malthouse is in our favor.
This episode of The Grow Maine Show is brought to you by The Dunham Group. The real estate market is tight. Even if you’re not outgrowing your space now, if you think you will, why not check their property listings right now?
Breweries also revitalize Maine’s downtowns, especially in rural Maine, by creating destinations and building supply chains that spur other business growth. After listening to this… you know what you need to do to help out!!
Heather Blease (rhymes with “skis”) is CEO of SaviLinx. SaviLinx is a contact center – that’s them on the other end of the phone when you want to enroll in a new dental plan or have problems with your student financial aid. Savilinx was just ranked #28 on the Inc. 500. May I say, that is just incredible. One of the highest listings achieved by any Maine company ever.
This episode is brought to you by The Dunham Group. To get on that Inc 500 list, you need to grow your business fast. That means a good office, a good building. Don’t wait around – visit our custom link to straight to the property listings.
Recording this episode was the first time I met Heather, she’s really been someone I’ve looked to over as a Maine entrepreneur’s role model. Not too many people reach 2500 employees in just a few years, as she did with her first business; and SaviLinx is poised for strong growth as well. I especially appreciated Heather’s progressive views on hiring people in recovery – I am passionate about this in my work in the Legislature, and employers who are willing to give people a second chance are so important.
Have you ever wondered if you could go for it, and make a living as an artist? Angela Ferrari is a children’s book author & illustrator based in Portland Maine, and the host of the of Story Spectacular podcast. We discuss how she got her business off the ground, what the first steps were, and Maine business resources like CEI and Small Business Development Centers.
Do you know why you do what you do? Have you found your why?
We’ve had Haj Carr on before. Through his entrepreneurship journey he has pivoted away from purely focusing on making money to running a business with a purpose. He creates believers, naturally and intuitively. That partnership has been part of TrueLine Publishing, which tends to work with national clients. But how can Maine businesses amplify their online presence? That’s the intention of his new venture, TrueLine Public Relations. So we invited the head of this new local business, PJ Rose, on with us too.
This is an interesting contrast to the previous episode with Steve Woods of TideSmart Global, who focuses on out of state clients, bringing in ‘traded dollars’ from outside the Maine economy. In fact, we started with a great discussion of traded dollars. The question is: are donut shops good for the Maine economy?
Then we get going with Haj and PJ on how they coach clients to start with why. This company goes deep with their clients. They’re not mechanics, “if this then that” guys. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe, who stand for what you stand for.
Plus, PJ gives up his best fly fishing spots. That’s nuts, PJ! You’re way too giving!
Steve Woods is CEO of TideSmart Global, a Falmouth, Maine based experiential marketing company. Seems like someone in marketing could come up with a shorter term for the field, but anyway, it’s a growing and important area of marketing – actually experiencing and interacting with a product, in a live setting in which you have to put down your phone. It’s what many CMO’s in the world of automotive and retail are looking for, and TideSmart Global provides it, all over the world. The company also has a strong focus on environmental sustainability, and developed and built Maine’s first Net Zero office on the campus, where the interview was recorded (using batteries! really!).
Steve has hosted his own podcast and radio show for many years, ran for Governor in 2014, and has strong opinions about the growth and direction of Maine’s economy. We’ll explore them more deeply in the episode, but the basic question is, do we let growth and entrepreneurship bubble up, or do we pick winners and losers?
I’d love to hear your opinion. Which approach will net greater growth for Maine’s economy?
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.
In 2016: 2,264 Maine companies exported $2.8 billion in goods and services to 168 countries. International trade supports nearly 1 in 4 Maine jobs. The Maine International Trade Center, led since 2005 by my guest Janine Cary, makes it all happen by advising Maine companies on both the technical and the operational sides of exporting.
If your growing business is looking to begin exporting, Maine International Trade Day on May 25, 2017 presents a unique opportunity to get a rocket start. Sign up here.
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.