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Amanda O’Brien of 1820 Wines

Amanda and the Logo

Amanda started eighteen twenty wines in 2015 with a friend who had been home-brewing rhubarb wine. When she tried it, she had the same reaction everyone else does when they have it “this actually tastes good”.

Amanda has a strong background in marketing, had worked professionally in the wine industry, and wanted to take on the challenge of bringing a good wine to market made with local produce (rhubarb).

She has taken her love of wine and Maine, her digital marketing experience, and constant curiosity to keep eighteen twenty growing.

Amanda runs the business with a troupe of friends and family and some amazing local resources, including the Women’s Business Center at CEI.

Amanda also runs a monthly digital marketing event called Social Media Breakfast Maine, and is the mother to an awesome little boy named Emmett and a vizsla named Otto. She resides on Peaks Island.

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Jim Robbins of Robbins Lumber

Jim Robbins

Jim retired as President of Robbins Lumber in 2013. He is staying involved with the company as a consultant but also enjoying his retirement to the fullest. He’s very active with the following organizations: Katahdin Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Searsmont United Methodist Church, Maine Forest Products Council, and North American Wholesale Lumberman’s Association. Jim is married and has three children and 12 grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys hunting, fishing, white water canoeing, boating, hiking, cross country skiing, traveling, antique autos and spending time with his family.

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Dr. Sam Fratoni, Mentor and Angel Investor

Sam Fratoni

Sam is a business executive with over 30 years of corporate leadership with Hewlett Packard Company and as Corporate Vice President for IDEXX Laboratories. He holds a BSCH degree from Bucknell University and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Purdue University. He also attended the Advance Management Program at Wharton and has over forty publications and presentations on chemistry, leadership, education, quality and management.
After leaving the corporate world, Sam has focused on helping smaller organizations, both commercial and non-profit, apply proven leadership, management and growth techniques scaled to achieve success. This has included Board Chair for Breakwater Learning, Board Chair and mentor for The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, and founding board member of Maine Outdoor Brands. He is an advisor to several companies, and executive coach for business and non-profit leaders in the community. He has been a resident of South Portland for almost twenty five years. Sam is an active angel investor, joining Maine Angels in April 2013 and Chair from 2015-2019. He is currently Chair Emeritus and founding member of the group’s Dirigo Angel Fund I Investment Advisor Board. He believes the key to Maine’s (and America’s) future economic growth and the source of creative solutions to current global challenges (e.g. climate change) is entrepreneurship and new startups. Sam is actively involved with many incubators, accelerators, pitch contests and individual startups as a mentor, coach, and advisor, in addition to being an investor.

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Lisa DeSisto of Masthead Media

Lisa DeSisto

Lisa DeSisto is the Chief Executive Officer of Masthead Maine, the state’s largest media network. She oversees the companies that publish five daily newspapers in Maine – the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal, Sun Journal and Times Record – and their websites. The network also includes 23 weekly newspapers and two commercial printing operations in Lewiston and South Portland. Together the Masthead Maine papers constitute the largest newsgathering organization in northern New England and reach most of Maine’s residents. The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the state’s largest newspaper, has in recent years won some of journalism’s top awards, including the Loeb Award and the Polk Award, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer in 2016.

Lisa serves on the board of the Associated Press, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. She hosts a live event series, “Like A Boss,” in which she interviews other Maine CEOs on their leadership principles

Before joining Masthead Maine (then MaineToday Media) in November 2012, Lisa spent 17 years at The Boston Globe, where she served as Chief Advertising Officer and Vice President/General Manager for Boston.com.  She joined Boston.com as marketing manager in November 1995, just two days after the site’s launch. A native of Stoneham, Massachusetts, she is a 1985 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Lisa lives with her family and a herd of alpacas in North Yarmouth, Maine.

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Peter DelGreco of Maine & Co.

Peter DelGreco of Maine and Co

Peter serves as President and CEO of Maine & Co., a privately funded business attraction and economic development organization. Charged with helping companies establish successful and profitable operations in Maine, Maine & Co.’s Board of Directors consists of top executives from Maine’s business community. During Peter’s tenure, Maine & Co. has attracted numerous companies from various sectors, growth stages, and sizes to locations throughout the state of Maine. Through Peter’s leadership, Maine & Co. has attracted companies Portfolio companies include: athenahealth, Sun Life Financial, Carbonite, Grand Rounds, and Wayfair.

Prior to joining Maine & Co. in 2004 as the Director of Client Services, Peter worked in Boston and Washington, DC in the food industry. Peter was responsible for building new operations in those geographies. His responsibilities included: general management, sales, relationship building, inventory management, and forecasting.

Peter is a graduate of Colby College and he earned his MBA from the University of Southern Maine. Peter, his wife and their son reside in North Yarmouth, Maine.

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Chris Claudio, CEO of Winxnet

Chris Claudio

Chris Claudio is CEO of WinXNet of Portland, Maine. He is an extremely impressive entrepreneur that has built a company, together with his partner Mike Williams, into a national leader in the IT services and security space. The company has more than 125 employees and is at the top of many national rankings in their field.

Speaking of national leaders, did you know I’m running – yes, that’s me, Marty – am running for United States Congress? It is time we put an end to the partisanship that is crippling Congress. If you’d like to put a startup guy in Washington to represent you, I’d appreciate your support at martygrohman.com.

So back to the interview: what an amazing entrepreneur Chris is. It takes some serious chops to ‘install’ a business process in the way that WinXNet has, and I believe the company is an example of the success that dedicated, focused leadership can deliver. Enjoy!

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Sara Whalen Shifrin of the IDEAS Center

Sara Shifrin in treehouse

Got an intractable problem you need to break loose? Looking for some fresh ideas and new approaches? Design thinking could be the tool you need. My good friend Sara Whalen Shifrin, Director of the IDEAS Center, is your guide and expert. Rather than the solution you think might work, get to the innovation that your customers actually want.

Sara’s design thinking camp, known as Field Guide, is coming up. You can arrive on Tuesday morning June 27 with a formless, empty darkness of an idea moving upon the surface of the waters, and on the fourth day, you’ll have created something that is good for all mankind.

That’s the potential.

This June, take four days to unplug and connect with creative leaders at Field Guide: A Design Thinking Experience. Register at fieldguide.gouldacademy.org.

And please subscribe – next episode will feature Lucas St. Clair. I dunno, something about a national park. Thinking big is a beautiful thing.





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