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Ed McKersie of ProSearch and LiveandWorkinMaine.com

Ed McKersie

Ed McKersie is the founder and CEO of ProSearch Inc., which has been locating talent for Maine based companies – from across the street and across the country – since 1994.

I’ve been looking to get Ed on the show forever. He’s founded a large successful Maine company, and now he helps other Maine companies find talent, so he’s got a heck of a perspective.

Don’t forget: If you believe in firsts, and startups, and want to put a startup guy in Congress, visit my campaign website and make a contribution at martygrohman.com.

Make sure to check out Ed’s amazing project liveandworkinmaine.com, which he runs together with Nate Wildes. This site is one of Maine’s best workforce recruiting tools, and includes a job board and success stories.

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Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing Company

Kai Adams Sebago Brewing Company

Sebago Brewing Company is celebrating 20 years in business, a remarkable thing in any industry. But it didn’t happen by chance – the founding partners have relentlessly worked on their business and their partnership, finding ways to work together that have made them all successful.

And the impetus for Kai to become an entrepreneur gets even more interesting: diagnosed with lymphoma as a young man, Kai realized that it was now or never to pursue his dream. With 250 employees, six locations and as one of Maine’s leading breweries, I’d say it has worked out. What is holding you back from kicking it in?

My brother Owen, the family beer aficionado, met and recorded this interview with Kai at Sebago’s new destination brewery on Main Street in Gorham. This is a great spot to meet and I highly recommend it. You can get a free tour of the working brewery, taste some new beers (and fan favorites), and even grab some lunch or dinner.

And if you’d like to put an entrepreneur in Congress to represent you, please check out my campaign page at martygrohman.com!

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Maddie Purcell of Fyood Kitchen

Maddie Purcell cooking

Fyood Kitchen of Portland, Maine is a social cooking competition. Maddie Purcell is founder and ceo. Fyood’s team sets you up in a professional kitchen with a full pantry and gives you a mystery basket with four secret ingredients. Your challenge is to make it into something that will impress your friends.

If you’ve never participated, you’ve really got to give it a try – either as a judge or as a cook, it’s a blast.

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.

Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle Play Music, or Stitcher.

I love how Maddie is #allin on this concept of Fyood Kitchen. I think it’s especially valuable how she talks about doing everything herself, when it could better be done by someone who is a specialist. Man, I made that same mistake getting this podcast going. I continually make the mistake of not asking for help – I think we all do. My ask today is that if you enjoyed this episode and got something from it, share it with one other person who will benefit from it too!



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Heather Blease, CEO of SaviLinx

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.



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Adam Burk of Treehouse Institute

Adam Burk of Treehouse Institute

Adam is a social innovator and cultural architect. His life and work is dedicated to living well in this place with others. He creates spaces – physical and programmatic – that raise the level of resilience, and improve communication in communities. Adam made a big leap by launching TEDxDirigo in 2010 and hasn’t stopped since, also producing MaineLive and other events in conjunction with his nonprofit Treehouse Institute.

Listen to the episode for an offercode to register for TEDxDirigo RISE coming up on Saturday November 4, and take a look here for guides to creating comfortable spaces for challenging conversations.

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Helping people with big ideas to know where and how to start: Mike Sobol, CEO of Venture Hall Startup Accelerator

Mike Sobol CEO of Venture Hall Show Logo

Mike Sobol has been growing businesses of all kinds, everything from SEO to dog training, for close to 20 years. Together with Jess Knox and Elizabeth Buckley (local startup/venture legends in their own right), he recently launched Venture Hall, a new educational nonprofit in Maine. It’s built on the premise that no one owns the best ideas.

Here’s the concept: the power to innovate and create rapid, large-scale change is not a magical quality of the chosen few. It’s a process that can be taught and applied by anyone, anywhere, in any business.

After interviewing Mike, I believe it.

Venture Hall views their job as expanding the ‘geography of opportunity’ to ensure more people can access the training, funding and support they need to create exciting new innovations, whether they work within a “startup” or not.

In addition to their first startup accelerator program this summer (developed in close partnership with major health care and insurance players MaineHealth and Unum), Mike, Jess and Elizabeth are building more mechanisms to grow our Maine innovation ecosystem. That includes local startup support programs, more corporate partnerships, and a code school geared toward adults who are considering a career in software development.

The podcast (although it turned into something more) was planned in order to promote Venture Hall’s upcoming Demo Day. Demo Day is not a pitch contest. It’s actually a chance to see the technology that the four startups currently in residence at Venture Hall are developing. Demonstrated live in person, possibly on you. You’ll see amazing tech at work, and think, how in the heck did they do that? Then, you’ll get to see that question answered. That’s the plan. Helping people with big ideas, like you, know where and how to start (I think you know the when part).

Plus, a keynote by Silicon Valley venture capital legend Dave Roux and a mixer afterwards. Friday September 8, 3PM. Free tickets here.


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Luke Shorty of Maine School of Science and Mathematics

Luke Shorty with Rocky

Luke Shorty is a remarkable Maine entrepreneur. As the leader of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone Maine, he’s made the moves to grow the school and enhance and expand its mission and role in the community. Luke is also a longtime fan and supporter of podcasts, including The Grow Maine Show, and I really appreciate his encouragement over the years. I actually left a little bit of our pre-show chat in the episode, since I thought it was kind of fun review of Maine podcasts, so we started with that. Here are the podcasts we mention:

Love Maine Radio

The Maine Show Podcast

Manager Tools

Relentlessly positive and known for his work all over the state, Luke Shorty has the kind of upbeat attitude that you just can’t get enough of. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did!

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Jess Knox of Maine Startup and Create Week

Jess Knox Show Logo

Jess Knox is the co-founder and chair of Maine Startup and Create Week, an amazing and visionary convening of everything startup for the week of June 19-23 in Portland, Maine. Jess has a long background with startups and economic development, having worked for President Obama’s Small Business Administration. He’s a big thinker and not afraid to swing for the fences. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

MSCW is full of opportunities. If I had to pick just one (besides my talk), I would go with Maine Technology Institute’s Tech Walk, which is the networking opportunity of the year. From there, fill out your schedule with workshops and keynotes. If you stay in the coffee shop and do email, I guarantee you’ll regret it – in this case, the entrepreneurial opportunities are going to come to you, and since there are so many to choose from, most of the events are not crowded and you will have a chance to deeply engage.

Due to my work as a legislator at budget crunch time, I cannot participate as fully as I would like, but I know you’ll enjoy it, and I’m jealous of you.

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Maine Technology Institute’s Tech Walk

I walked into MTI’s Tech Walk with the ol’ Zoom H4N at the ready and conducted some on the spot interviews. It was fun to do, and I met some powerful entrepreneurs created success statewide. In this episode I also put in a plug for a Biddeford based pitch contest called Pitch York County, which I hope you’ll participate in.

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