2 Perspective: Business & Banking | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/
Statoil moves forward with
Gulf of Maine wind project By Robert Long, BDN Staff
AUGUSTA — An international energy
development firm announced April 8 that it's moving ahead with plans for an offshore wind energy pilot project in the Gulf of Maine, with a goal of making a final decision on the project next year. As a test site for more extensive development of offshore wind energy production, Statoil North America proposes to moor four floating turbines in federal waters off the coast of Maine to generate 12 megawatts of energy. The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 in January to accept Statoil's revised terms to sell electricity generated by the project, called Hywind Maine, to Central Maine Power Co. The next phase of project planning includes environmental impact studies and conversations about potential impacts with Maine's fishing community. "We are aiming at a final investment decision in late 2014," Kristin Aamodt, Statoil's project manager for Hywind Maine, said in a phone interview on April 8. Securing state permits and a federal lease to moor turbines in federal waters off Boothbay Harbor represent the next key regulatory challenges. Statoil also continues to evaluate the project's financial viability, although a $4 million U.S. Department of Energy grant award in December and the potential for more federal grants helps on that front, Aamodt said. If Statoil decides in 2014 to move ahead with Hywind
“As an energy producer,
we see that floating offshore wind is a promising technology for generating energy on a large scale...”
Statoil's project manager for Hywind Maine,
Maine, the target date for installation of floating turbines would be 2016, Aamodt said. Results of the Hywind Maine floating turbine testing then would allow Statoil to make a decision on development of a largescale commercial offshore wind energy farm using that type of technology within five years, she said. "I think if you see a pilot park in 2016, we would aim at having a large park in the water within five years of that," Aamodt said. "It depends on having a business case for the large park. We are quite confident in the technology. It's a matter of making the income match the cost." As part of revisions made to an August 2012 term
sheet that drew opposition from Gov. Paul LePage's administration and raised concerns for Public Utilities Commission's Chairman Thomas Welch, Statoil lowered the pilot project's energy cost from $290/Mhw to $270/ Mhw, which opponents criticized as still being well above current market prices. "What's important to highlight is that the cost of a pilot project is much higher than the cost of a mature technology," Aamodt said April 8. "This is a stepping stone to a future large park. We are looking at a target of 10 to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour for the large park." The revised term sheet, submitted to the PUC on Jan. 14, added a "good faith" commitment to involve Maine contractors in any commercial wind farm Statoil develops along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Maryland before 2025. Conversations continue with Maine businesses that could become part of a "supply chain" for floating turbine wind energy generation, Aamodt said April 8. "A significant portion of the supply contract will be with people in Maine," she said. Statoil has contracted with Tetra Tech's Portland office to work on the environmental surveys and with Barton Gingold to handle communications related to Hywind Maine. Statoil also continues to work with the University of Maine to test materials and hone floating turbine technology, which has not been tried in U.S. waters.
A fisherman from the Boothbay region will facilitate conversations between Statoil representatives and local fishermen, Aamodt said. A format for those discussions has yet to be determined, she said. Aamodt cited the PUC's approval of the revised term sheet and Hywind Maine's receipt of the U.S. Department of Energy grant as important recent developments that pushed the project forward. In light of LePage's characterization of the PUC's decision to accept the term sheet as an "irresponsible" act that will raise costs for Maine electricity ratepayers, support from Maine businesses and residents also buoyed Statoil's decision to move ahead with Hywind Maine, according to Aamodt. "This is a project that a lot of Maine citizens want to see, recognizing that [offshore wind energy] can be an industry that Maine can benefit from in the future," she said. "We are happy that so many Maine citizens share that view with us." Statoil is working on similar floating turbine offshore wind energy projects in Europe and Asia, but Aamodt said those projects aren't competing directly with Hywind Maine. "As an energy producer, we see that floating offshore wind is a promising technology for generating energy on a large scale," she said. "We may end up doing several projects if it makes good business sense."
Working Together: Maine’s Congressional Delegates Discuss How They Cooperate for SUSAN COLLINS “On issues that affect the State of Maine, we work as a team,” said Collins. “As the senior member of the delegation, I’ve been taking the lead on a lot of issues, but it’s a team approach.” All the delegates have different philosophies or viewpoints, but that doesn’t change their commitment to working together on strengthening Maine’s economy, she says — and she already has good feelings about Maine’s junior senator. “So far I’ve found my new colleague, Angus King, to be very easy to work with,” she said. “We’ve coordinated our committee choices to make sure that we cover Maine’s interests. It’s a team approach.”
ANGUS KING “I’m excited. I think we’ve got a great team. Susan Collins and I are going to spend the day tomorrow together, going to Bath Iron Works and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, because they’re so important to Maine’s economy. I’ve known Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree for 20 years. Both of them were in the Legislature when I was governor. We didn’t always agree; we scrapped over a few issues, but I think we all have a respect for each other, and right now it’s all Team Maine.”
MIKE MICHAUD “We work together on a regular basis and have ever since I was first elected,” said Michaud. When Maine was faced with the Base Realignment and Closure Commission process early in his first term, the delegation split duties and focused on building Maine’s case. Recently, the delegation signed a letter he wrote pushing the FAA to keep the Bangor International Airport’s air traffic control tower open 24/7. Michaud said he knows that he, Sen. Collins, Sen. King, and Rep. Pingree will work side by side. “It’s really the only way to do it if you want to get things done,” he said. “I wish Washington as a whole could work the same way.”
CHELLIE PINGREE “Maine has a very well aligned delegation, and our staffs are in touch with each other constantly,” Pingree said. “There’s just a lot of Republican and Democrat, and now we have an Independent, working together.” When it comes to federal funding and legislation impacting their states, Pingree says that larger delegations in more geographically diverse states might not enjoy the kind of close working relationship that Maine’s delegation has in a relatively small state with a small population. “I think we’re focused on what we can do for the Maine economy and we work well together,” she said.
bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/ | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | Perspective: Business & Banking
Trucking industry faces
national driver shortage Employment prospects are good for new drivers
By Brian Swartz, BDN Maine Special Sections Editor
BDN Photo by Brian Swartz
Hauling a fuel tanker decorated with a Boston cityscape and the phrase "Greater Boston Breathes Better at Burke," a Freightliner tractor rolls west on Route 1 through Machias. The trucking industry employs about 33,000 people in Maine — and employment opportunities are expanding for commercial truck drivers as a national shortage in this field reaches the state.
AUGUSTA — With Maine so dependent
on surface transportation, the trucking industry naturally employs a significant number of people — about 33,000 or so in 2010, according to the Maine Motor Transport Association. That’s one truckingrelated job for every 15 jobs in Maine. And more employment opportunities are becoming available as a national trend reaches the Pine Tree State. “There is a national shortage of drivers,” said Brian Parke, the MMTA president and CEO. Writing in a November 2012 “Truck Driver Shortage Update,” Bob Costello of the American Trucking Associations noted that “motor carriers continue to struggle to find qualified, professional drivers.” Referring to “a study released this year,” he wrote that “90 percent of for-hire truckload carriers say they cannot find enough drivers who are capable of meeting [U.S.] Department of Transportation requirements.” According to Costello, who is the ATA’s chief economist, the national organization “estimates the current shortage of drivers to be in the 20,000 to 25,000
“You can make really,
really good money if you go [driving] over the road, but you can be gone for long periods of time...” Tim Doyle, MMTA Vice President
range in the for-hire market.” Approximately 750,000 trucks are involved in over-the-road (OTR) operations in the United States, “so the 20,000 to 25,000 [driver] shortage is significant,” he wrote. “This trend is carrying over into Maine,” said MMTA Vice President Tim Doyle. Aging drivers are retiring in greater numbers; younger drivers are not joining the fleet in sufficient numbers to offset those retirements, he indicated. And economic improvement, if only slight, boosts the
BDN Photo by Brian Swartz
A Peterbilt tractor hauls a fully loaded flatbed trailer westbound across the Machias Dike in mid-April 2013.
demand for drivers, especially in Maine, where “over 84 percent of our communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods,” according to the MMTA. “The combination of industry growth, driver retirements, and people leaving the industry for other reasons means that we will need to bring on nearly 100,000 new drivers each year, on average, for the next 10 years,” Costello wrote. “That means there are many opportunities for safe, responsible, and dedicated professional drivers.” According to the MMTA, “drivers with experience can make between $60,000 and $65,000 per year,” and drivers employed in “more specialized driving, such as being part of a sleeper team … can make $100,000 per year.” “You can make really, really good money if you go [driving] over the road, but you can be gone for long periods of time,” Doyle said. Although people often equate trucking with long hauls on interstate highways, “many trucking jobs do let drivers be home at night,” he said. Jobs exist for local and in-state drivers, who average about 48,000
miles per year. Long-haul drivers may travel 100,000 to 110,000 miles per year, according to the MMTA. Efforts are under way to educate Maine students and older workers about employment opportunities in the trucking industry. On March 7, Parke and Doyle met with high school guidance counselors during a conference organized by the Melmac Education Foundation and held at the Augusta Civic Center. “We talked about truck driving as a career,” Parke said. He and Doyle discussed the many job opportunities available in surface transportation. “You’d be surprised at the [good] reception we got from the guidance counselors,” Parke said. He explained that with so much emphasis placed on sending Maine high school graduates to college, “there is not nearly enough focus on vocational studies. “College is not for everyone,” Parke said. Many Maine students “want to be outdoors and get their hands dirty” by working in such fields as transportation, fishing, and the construction trades. “There are other vocational jobs that are quite attractive,” Doyle said. “Trucking is one.”
4 Perspective: Business & Banking | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/
Maine's congressional delegates talk about Maine's economy in many different ways During separate interviews, I spoke with Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Mike Michaud, and Rep. Chellie Pingree. I asked them the same four questions:
By David M. Fitzpatrick, BDN Special Sections
Sen. Susan Collins, Republican Interviewed in person on Feb. 19, 2013
Would an east-west highway help Maine’s economy?
Sen. Angus King, Independent Interviewed in person on Feb. 20, 2013
What are you doing to help Maine’s economy?
Collins is aware of Pete Vigue’s plan to establish a privately funded east-west corridor across Maine, but says it isn’t something she has a particular stance on. “I think that’s a decision that’s best made by the people of Maine,” she stressed. “It seems to be that [it] deserves study and consideration, but it’s up to the people of Maine.” That being said, she champions improvements in Maine’s infrastructure in general. A few years ago, when the rail service was on the verge of being abandoned in Penobscot and Aroostook counties, she worked with state and federal officials to put together a support package. “Now that system has been upgraded and is working far better,” she said. “Infrastructure throughout the state is really important,” Collins said. The Port of Eastport is another example she says is indicative of how infrastructure improvements can produce real-world success. That port is now shipping cattle as well as pulp. “Through some federal funding, we were able to help upgrade that port,” she said. “I think keeping our infrastructure strong and vital, and giving employers’ businesses options — whether it’s shipping by rail, by barge, or by truck — is very important to our economic competitiveness.”
What are you doing to help Maine’s economy?
“I have been supporting programs that will help Maine get a leap ahead in research and development on areas where we can use our natural resources in particular and combine them with high technology to produce new products,” Collins said. She cited the wood-composite research at UMaine as a great example and something she’s supported. “I’m really excited about that,” she said. “I’ve been able to secure some federal funding for that, and I have visited businesses in the state that have been able to use that technology that was developed at the University of Maine to launch a new business and to create jobs. That’s the kind of investment that makes a real difference.” One of the things she’s most proud of is the increase in truck weights on I-95. Collins fought for years in Congress to make that happen, and she says the results have been extremely important for Maine’s economy, with incredibly reduced operating costs for companies trucking product on the highway. “For any kind of manufacturer, that legislation has helped to speed the delivery of raw materials and finished products — not to mention the fact that it keeps the heaviest trucks out of our busy downtowns,” she said. “It was amazing how difficult [the legislation] was to get it through, when, if you live in Maine, it was just common sense. And when you would see a large truck struggling to turn through the streets of downtown Bangor, you thought, ‘How could anyone be opposed to this?’” When asked if the solution would have been to load Congress on a bus to tour downtown Bangor when big log trucks rumble through, she laughed. “I think that would have done it,” she said.
How do we improve the most impoverished areas of Maine?
Collins again stressed the importance of infrastructure — particularly in more economically depressed areas of the state. She has also assisted in identifying sources of federal funding specifically for municipalities — one key example being Bangor’s waterfront redevelopment, for which she has deep pride and appreciation. “Over the years, I’ve helped them get over $800,000 that went directly to redeveloping the waterfront,” she said. “Look how vibrant it is. I love going to the Folk Festival. Each year, the Waterfront Concerts have brought new energy to Bangor and people from all over — plus, it’s beautiful down by the waterfront.”
Rep. Mike Michaud, Democrat, Maine’s 2nd District Interviewed in person on March 1, 2013 What are you doing to help Maine’s economy?
Michaud said perhaps the most important thing he’s done was to help pass legislation as part of the 2008 Farm Bill that created the Northern Border Regional Commission in 2007. So far, Maine has benefited from more than $825,000 in NBRC funds, which allow for matching those funds with other federal funds. “That has made a huge impact throughout Maine in different areas,” said Michaud. “It focuses on naturalresource-based industry, agriculture, forestry — it’s a great program.” Michaud also cited the Economic Development Assistance grant he worked to secure for the Knowledge Transfer Alliance at the University of Maine, which helps communities and businesses deal with recessioncaused hardships and natural disasters. “They have done a phenomenal job,” Michaud said of the KTA, which he says has helped businesses hire UMaine graduates. He fought to impose a permanent tariff on Chinese coated paper that was saturating the U.S. market and undercutting Maine producers. Meanwhile, he’s fighting a Department of Defense loophole that lets service members use an allowance to purchase athletic footwear, circumventing a law requiring the military to buy American-made clothing. Closing this loophole, Michaud says, would benefit Maine footwear manufacturer producer New Balance — and its 900 employees in three Maine facilities. “That’s something we don’t need legislation on; all we need is to have the president direct the Secretary of Defense to deal with it,” he said.
How do we improve the most impoverished areas of Maine?
Improve Maine as a whole, Michaud says, and ensure everybody plays fair. He’s currently fighting what he says is a serious situation. Last year, the BDN reported that the Nova Scotian government provided a $124.5 million subsidy for its Port Hawkesbury mill, which makes “supercalendared” paper — in violation of the World Trade Organization and possibly NAFTA. With the mill undercutting Maine mills, jobs are at risk. So far, Michaud hasn’t been able to convince federal authorities to act. “Ultimately, I think you’ll see some paper machines and probably mills close if we can’t get this addressed soon,” Michaud said. He supports alternative-energy solutions and has worked with the USDA Rural Development and the EDA in hopes of securing federal money to help build natural-gas infrastructure in Maine, which he says will become very important — especially for many Maine mills, which won’t incur the expense of trucking it in. And, with ongoing cuts to LIHEAP heating assistance,
You voted against Obamacare. Will it help or hurt Maine’s economy? “I believe that Obamacare is going to hurt Maine’s economy,” she said, quickly and bluntly. Maine’s hospitals already rank very high for quality, but get a very low reimbursement rate, she says, and Obamacare’s going to take some $500 billion out of Medicare, which she says will hurt Maine hospitals. And new taxes, penalties, and fines associated with Obamacare will, she believes, further drive up healthinsurance costs. “For many small businesses, it will be cheaper to pay the fine than to meet the new standards that are established by this law, so I fear that a lot of small businesses will stop providing health insurance for their employees and instead pay the fine,” Collins said. But Obamacare isn’t all bad, she says; there are many great features, such as young people being allowed to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26. “So it’s a mixed bag, but on balance, I don’t think it will be good for the state of Maine,” she said.
establishing natural-gas infrastructure will make it attainable for needy Mainers. Michaud also helped secure funding for wind studies at the University of Maine and has worked to develop wind power, tidal power, and biomass fuel, sourced in Maine — although local considerations, such as wind turbines spoiling people’s view, should be taken into consideration. “When you look at the whole issue with offshore wind, I think that’s the great advantage with the offshore wind because it’s way out there,” he said.
Could an east-west highway help Maine’s economy? “I’ve always been a strong supporter of increasing our infrastructure, whether it’s highway, rail, air, or ports,” Michaud said. When he was first elected to Congress, he worked to help designate a federal high-priority corridor from Calais, Maine to Watertown, New York that would bring in federal dollars, but the specifics of which would be up to the states. Pete Vigue’s proposed east-west highway, however, is private. “My big concern, and what I’ve heard from a lot of constituents, is eminent domain,” he said. “I’m not in favor of eminent domain power for a private entity.” Private entities can’t exert eminent domain, but a government entity could on behalf of a private project. Michaud says the project must be scrutinized and such questions answered. So do the impacts on other economic forces in Maine, such as its impact on ports and other projects and what might happen in the long term if the private highway doesn’t raise the needed revenue. “There’s definitely a lot of questions that still have to be answered,” he said. You voted for Obamacare. Will it help or hurt Maine’s economy? “I think it will help, but it’s not a perfect piece of legislation,” he said. “We definitely should keep a close eye on it.” He’s disappointed that states will decide how the exchanges operate. He’d prefer a lowering of the Medicare age and using that system: It’s already in place, everyone understands it, and the health-care industry already knows how to bill it. That method would also create jobs, he says; currently, people who might otherwise retire are continuing to work in order to have health insurance, leaving jobs unavailable for others. “If they can get done earlier, that will open up job opportunities and it definitely will help economically,” Michaud said.
“I think one of the most important things we can do is to get the budget situation straightened out, because the uncertainty that the budget situation has created is, I think, a drag on the economy,” King said. King’s concern is that Congress is affecting people’s perceptions, which in turn affects their actions. People are unsure and distrustful of the government, he says, and as such as less willing to make investments, to hire people, or to make purchases. “That is what, I think, is holding us back as much as anything right now,” he said. “I think the lack of congressional action on getting the financial situation straightened out is probably the biggest impediment to the growth of the economy right now.”
How do we improve the most impoverished areas of Maine? Improve Maine’s infrastructure, King says, particularly with a focus on the railroads and through improving existing roads. He cited two of the biggest highway projects in state history that he helped initiate as Maine’s governor: Route 9 between Brewer and Calais and Route 11 into Aroostook County. “That Route 9 project essentially moved Calais a half hour closer to Bangor,” he said. “That’s a big deal — by making it just a much easier trip.” The Port of Eastport is a key example of how infra-structure investment in an impoverished area has worked. “That was a deliberate decision to make to give to the people of Washington County a piece of infrastructure that is now finally starting to pay off,” he said. “They’re shipping a lot of products out. Eastport, when I was there this summer, had more life than I’d seen in many years.” Improvements are also about education and good ideas, King said. “We have to be alert to whatever opportunities — education [and] training… are important, and… we have to make use of what we have,” he said. He cited the McCain plant in Aroostook County, which is based on the potato resource there. That was tied to asking what there is available and how it could be used. “That’s a huge asset to The County,” he said. “We have to take value from what it is that we have, and that I think is very important.” King believes that a big part of Maine’s energy future will involve local resources as opposed to importing our energy — things like wood pellets; biomass; and wind, hydro, and solar power. Those are all key to getting off
Rep. Chellie Pingree, Democrat, Maine’s 1st District Interviewed by telephone Feb. 25, 2013 What are you doing to help Maine’s economy? “One of my focuses over the last couple of years on agriculture is to place an emphasis on food and farming,” said Pingree. She’s a supporter of the U.S. Farm Bill that has passed the Senate. Among many things, the bill will affect many aspects of U.S. agricultural policy, as well continuing the nation’s long-standing agricultural subsidies. This will help create agricultural jobs in Maine, Pingree says. “Part of my interest in that is that Maine has had, traditionally, a strong rural economy, but we slid behind a little bit as there’s been less and less assistance to farmers and young farmers,” she said. She noted that there’s a “tremendous interest in buying food locally” at outlets such as farmers’ markets, around the country and certainly in Maine. “Local food sales, and things that are grown through sustainable agriculture, is like a $5 billion business nationwide,” she said. “We’ve been really focusing on that and taking a real interest in that in Maine. I think it holds even greater opportunities than we’ve seen taken advantage of.” She spoke highly of the staff at the agricultural staff at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, who have been responsible for getting money into the hands of farmersor university research and generally doing a lot with little funds. “They’re great people,” she said. “They’ve been around a long time. They have the farmers interests at heart.”
Could an east-west highway help Maine’s economy? As the east-west highway project is out of her district, she hasn’t been very involved in it. But such a highway would impact all of Maine. Pingree said she feels environmental-impact studies are needed for this project, as with any other. But she said Maine definitely needs improvements in that area. “I do agree that we have a shortage of infrastructure in our state,” she said, but noted that she advocates working to fund the enhancement of train service and train capacity. “If it was a question of limited resources, I’d focus more of my interest on trains.”
How do we improve the most impoverished areas of Maine? Pingree again focused on agriculture as a key solution: We need to focus on reopening farmland in rural areas and increasing fishing in Washington County, she says. New management techniques, marketing, and other common-sense planning can do more to help sustain impoverished communities. She also advocates stronger focus on tourism, which many people think needs no help. But there are many parts of Maine tourists never see, she says. “Tourism isn’t a business that we think of as the highest value; it is usually considered the largest
oil — which, he says, is not only expensive and inefficient but directly hurts Maine’s economy. “Every time you see gasoline or fuel go up by a dollar, it’s a very easy calculation: You’ll know that a billion dollars has just disappeared from the Maine economy,” he said. Relying on Maine energy solutions and getting away from oil means that “We’re just going to be a lot better off economically and also environmentally,” he said.
Would an east-west highway help Maine’s economy? King has never seen details of Pete Vigue’s east-west highway plan, and admits he knows little about it, but is inherently skeptical about something he feels isn’t likely necessary. “We have an east-west corridor in Maine right now — it’s called the railroad,” he said, “Runs right across Maine, right out into Canada, to the Midwest, and I’d prefer to see that developed along with our ports.” There are other major considerations with such a project, not the least of which is the impact it would have on the environment and the Maine communities it passes through and directly impacts. Still, King is willing to listen, and wants to learn more. “I’m not ready to say I’m dead set against it, but I must say I’m a skeptic,” he said.
Will Obamacare help or hurt Maine’s economy? According to a statement from King’s office, he supports the Affordable Care Act. “It was designed to provide every person in this country with affordable health care, and I believe that is essential,” he said in the statement. He stressed that, as with any legislation, the bill’s passage is the first step; implementation is equally important. King sees his role as listening to his constituents and experts and identifying whether aspects work well or not. If they aren’t, he says it’s crucial not just to object, but to determine the goal and provide alternative information that will work. For example, he’s learned that the term “medical device” includes software for medical records, meaning software changes must have FDA review. “That may make sense for implantable heart valves and knees, but I am not sure it is necessary for computer software,” he said in the statement. “We are looking into that now.”
industry in Maine,” Pingree said. “I think opening up tourism to areas where we don’t often see visitors but are still beautiful — fishing, hiking, camping, snowmobiling, all those things — is always good to do.” We should also aggressively seek new manufacturing opportunities in Maine, she says. We’re embracing some with new mills starting up, a focus on wood products, and other kinds of manufacturing, but there’s more to be done. “We’re seeing, as the result in changes in other countries, that some companies are moving their manufacturing back,” she said. In her district, Bath Iron Works and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard remain key examples of the strength of manufacturing that provides good, high-paying jobs in Maine. “I consider them extremely critical to our industrial capacity nationally,” Pingree said. She says we need to seek similar opportunities, including alternative-energy solutions that can create jobs and stimulate the economy, such as wind, tidal, and solar power and energy conservation. “There are a lot of opportunities that we’re not exploring,” she said. “[It would be] good for jobs and good for bringing down the cost of energy and bringing down our dependence on foreign oil.” Pingree is also an advocate for small business. In tandem with expanding manufacturing and tourism comes the need for innovative thinkers to help that happen. “I think entrepreneurship and supporting Maine small businesses is a really critical part of growing the economy,” she said.
You voted for Obamacare. Do you feel it will help or hurt Maine’s economy? “Oh, absolutely, especially in the next couple of years when we see it fully enacted,” she said. “It’s one of the number-one issues people talk to me about.” It will be huge for small businesses, too, she says. With many prospective small-business employees afraid to leave their jobs for lack of affordable health insurance, Obamacare will be a game-changer. “If they knew they could get affordable health-care coverage, it would be a huge benefit in a state like ours,” she said.
ďƒœbangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/ | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | Perspective: Business & Banking
6 Perspective: Business & Banking | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/
Select the right insurance for your home-based business
Photo courtesy BrandPoint
Choosing the right insurance for your home-based business is important to protecting your assets and your clients. By BRANDPOINT
ome-based businesses are booming. About 36.6 million businesses operate from U.S. households, according to the Home Based Business Institute. And the Small Business Administration notes that 53 percent of all small businesses located in the U.S. are home-based, with those numbers expected to grow substantially in the near future. But before you start planning your home-based bakery, personal training studio or computer repair venture, there's one important thing to think about. Charles Valinotti, head of underwriting & product with insurer QBE, says that you should make sure you have the right insurance to protect your at-home enterprise. A homeowner's or renter's insurance policy might provide some coverage for a business that operates out of the home, he says. "If someone is running a small accounting business with little-to-no customer foot traffic and doesn't have expensive office equipment, the homeowner's or renter's insurance would probably be acceptable to most insurance providers," Valinotti points out. "But if you have a pottery school with customers coming and going, and are using pottery ovens that might be a fire hazard, most insurers don't want to take on those kinds of risks." Depending on what type of business you're brewing, Valinotti says there are three insurance options you'll want to consider: • Homeowner's policy endorsement: An endorsement is a special provision added to an insurance policy to enhance or restrict its coverage. Adding a simple endorsement can increase coverage for business
equipment, such as computers. You'll also want to look into buying a homeowner's liability endorsement - available in most states - to cover on-site injuries to customers or delivery people. A liability endorsement is usually available to in-home operations with few business-related visitors. • In-home business policy: Valinotti says this policy is also known as an in-home business endorsement. Coverage can vary significantly between insurers. It provides more protection than what's found in a typical homeowner's policy. That includes more comprehensive property and equipment coverage, as well as protection for loss of income, extra expenses incurred, and liability for injuries caused by the products and services you offer. • Business owner's policy: If your home-based business is in more than one location, this policy might fit the bill, Valinotti says. It gives broader property and liability coverage than the in-home business policy. However, if you have employees, it doesn't include workers' compensation, health or disability insurance. Valinotti also suggests you don't forget about auto insurance if you're using your car for business to transport supplies or products, or to visit customers. He recommends contacting your agent for more information on the right insurance for your home-based business. "If you're doing business at home, you need insurance. Finding the right coverage will go a long way to give you peace of mind and help make your special business possible."
ďƒœbangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/ | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | Perspective: Business & Banking
8 Perspective: Business & Banking | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/
Truck driving students
undergo rigorous training
By Brian Swartz, BDN Maine Special Sections Editor more at NTINow.edu
ainers seeking employment as commercial truck drivers can find the appropriate training — and employment opportunities await successful graduates. But the training is rigorous. Aspiring truckers receive “intensive hands-on training” during a five-week, 200-hour CDL (commercial driver license) training program offered by Northeast Technical Institute, said Director of Student Services Cory Thibodeau. “It’s accelerated training. Students can come in and in five weeks’ time go for their [CDL] license. “We are an accredited truck driving training facility and a member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association,” he noted. Northeast Technical Institute offers commercial driver training for Class A and Class B licenses at its Bangor and Scarborough campuses. For students who work during the week, a part-time course spread across 10 weekends is offered at NTI in Scarborough. Classes run from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Students spend their first two weeks (78 hours) “in the classroom with our [licensed] CDL instructors,” said Thibodeau. The instructors in Bangor are Robert Daigle and Michael Francis. Students learn such subjects as maintaining accurate log books, driving safety, and driver professionalism. The Maine Railroad Association provides instructors who teach students how to approaching and cross railroad crossings. Class instruction also focuses on developing effective resumes, contacting prospective employers, and interviewing effectively with them. “Career building is an important service we offer our students,” Thibodeau said. After the first two weeks, students start training at an NTI yard, where a truck cab gradually becomes the classroom. Each student obtains a state permit to train not only in the NTI yard, but also on local highways. Initial training includes teaching students how to maneuver a truck and park it in an alley. According to Thibodeau, students train at the wheel of a commercial tractor combined with a 40- or 45-foot trailer. “Before going out [to train] on the road, a student must demonstrate proficiency in the yard,” he said. Once qualified to venture onto the highway, students spend 23 hours operating different equipment combinations in different driving situations, including interstate, local roads, and intown. “We try to give them exposure to everything we can because they never know what they’re going to be driving for equipment,” he said. Students also spend 26 hours in a laboratory held at
the NTI yard (the Bangor campus uses a yard on the Coldbrook Road in Hampden). During the lab, students learn how to perform pre-trip inspections and observe what other students and the instructors are doing. After finishing the CDL training program, NTI students can take the CDL test with a truck and trailer provided by NTI. If a student fails the state-mandated road test, NTI instructors work with that student to develop the requisite driving skills to pass it. “We are committed to our students successfully passing our [CDL] program and becoming licensed drivers,” Thibodeau said. “The NTI staff is focused on the quality of instruction and the individual learning needs of every student.” He discussed the employment opportunities that await graduates of the commercial driver training program. To help students find post-graduation employment, NTI has “partnered with numerous companies throughout the industry” to “bring recruiters” to Bangor and Scarborough “and speak to the CDL classes,” he said. Among the freight carriers collaborating with NTI are Central Maine Transport, H.O. Wolding, Schneider National Inc., and Werner Enterprises. As with freight carriers across the country, these companies review a driver applicant’s criminal history, job history, health history, and driving record. Different factors can disqualify a job applicant. “The [NTI] Commercial Driver Training Department believes that its reputation is built on providing companies with the finest trained, safety-conscious drivers the school industry has to offer,” Thibodeau said. “Our dedication and commitment to student safety becomes the primary objective for those entrusted with operating the biggest and heaviest vehicles in the nation’s highway transportation system. “If a student decides to become a long-haul driver, it’s virtually impossible not to get a job, contingent on them acquiring their license and passing a drug-screening, background check, and DOT physical,” Thibodeau said. “The majority of students willing to accept a long-haul driving position typically have job offers before they even complete their program with NTI. For example, Roehl, Werner, Prime, U.S. Express, [and] Stephens Transport” all hire NTI graduates, he said. Thibodeau estimated that 80 percent of the graduates become long-haul drivers. “They know that pay and benefits are good at many trucking companies,” he explained. Some freight carriers offer full tuition reimbursement for NTI graduates who join those firms and stay with them for a specific time period.
BDN File Photo by Brian Swartz
Cory Thibodeau is the director of student services for Northeast Technical Institute in Bangor.
BDN File Photo by Brian Swartz
At the Northeast Technical Institute training yard on the Coldbrook Road in Hampden, CDL instructor Bob Daigle (left) explains pre-trip paperwork to Barry Wood of Old Town in May 2012. Wood was enrolled in the CDL program at NTI.
building Maine’s future Article contributed by Consigli Construction more at Consigli.com
Photo courtesy of Christopher Barnes Photography
In East Boothbay, Consigli Construction Co. Inc. was involved in a 27-month project at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. The project’s architects were WBRC Architects & Engineers in association with Perkin + Will, planning and design architect.
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences | East Boothbay , ME
Construction Managers & General Contractors 15 Franklin Street | Portland, ME 04101 | 207.773.3000 www.consigli.com
onsigli Construction Co., Inc.’s latest projects in greater Bangor, central, and midcoast Maine are clear examples of the revitalization and new growth that is taking place in the state’s higher education, cultural, and private sectors. As one of Maine’s leading builders, with the ability to successfully handle both large and small projects, Consigli continues to help drive the Maine economy and satisfy its clients. “We thrive on projects that are different — those that require a new kind of thinking,” says Matthew Tonello, Consigli’s Area Manager. Locally, Consigli recently completed renovations for two key building at the University of Maine: the Neville Hall Data Center and Nutting Hall. Both efforts required working around existing operations in occupied facilities. The Neville Hall Data Center continued its mission-critical 24-hour activity throughout construction, while the Nutting Hall energy upgrades were completed in the middle of an active campus. On the Midcoast, in East Boothbay, the new worldrenowned Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences campus illustrates Consigli’s expertise, customer focus, and impact on Maine’s economy. The 27-month long project provided more than 250 full- and part-time jobs with an estimated statewide impact of more than $57 million. Consigli’s extensive use of Building Information Modeling at Bigelow Laboratory not only ensured construction excellence, but also enabled ease of use and efficient operation of the finished building. As a result, the new laboratory building complex met all the criteria to be designated as a LEED Platinum facility, the first scientific laboratory and one of only four buildings in Maine to achieve that status. “We’ve been absolutely delighted,” said Graham B. Shimmield, PhD, executive director of Bigelow.
“We thrive on projects
that are different — those that require a new kind of thinking...”
MATTHEW TONELLO, CONSIGLI'S AREA MANAGER
“Consigli has performed above our expectations.” Consigli also recently completed the renovation of the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion at the Colby Museum of Art, constructing a new complex glass-clad curtain wall facade designed to reflect the museum’s surroundings and to showcase its art collection. The 26,000-squarefoot, three-story expansion with 10,000 square feet of new exhibition space makes Colby’s the largest museum in Maine. “They’ve gone way out of their way to accommodate our interests, our concerns and our anxieties,” said Colby College President William D. Adams. “They have done a great job of keeping us confident.” Consigli’s contributions go well beyond construction. At Neville Hall, they coordinated, scheduled, and installed critical computer room equipment and backup powergeneration equipment furnished by the school. During the pre-construction phase for Bigelow Laboratory, Consigli assisted in fundraising and securing federal grants for the three-building campus. Ultimately, the laboratory secured grants from the Maine Technology Asset Fund, the National Institute of Standards & Technology, and the National Science Foundation. “Our clients hire us because of our people, our problem-solving ability, our experience in solving challenging problems, and our unending desire to deliver the best quality buildings in the State of Maine,” says Tonello.
bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/ | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | Perspective: Business & Banking
Cross Insurance expands into new
sectors and new regions By CROSS INSURANCE STAFF more at CrossAgency.com
hat defines good business value in today’s society? For one Maine company, it is customer satisfaction, finding ways to progress and giving back to the community. Cross Insurance, a family-run insurance company founded more than 50 years ago, has enjoyed success due in large part to the company’s focus on its customers’ needs. This has allowed Cross Insurance to not only expand its office base throughout New England, but also to give back to the community. The culmination of those efforts is evident in Bangor’s new Cross Insurance Center. This year has seen Cross Insurance expand its business across new sectors, including colleges and universities. Cross Insurance Boston, located at 930 Commonwealth Ave., employs in its Higher Education Division more than a dozen specialists experienced in providing professional service and customized insurance-based risk management solutions and consulting in the areas of property and casualty, employee benefits, student accident and health, loss control and safety, independent claims handling, and OCIPs (Owner Control Insurance Program) to colleges and universities nationwide. Insurance industry veteran Beverly Costello, formally the Global Practice leader for an international broker, has been tapped to run Cross Insurance Boston, bringing with her more than 30 years’ experience. Cross Insurance also has expanded into Rhode Island with the addition of a Providence office headed by insurance expert Gary Heaslip. The Rhode Island office will focus on the insurance needs of a wide variety of clients, including three universities and the food services industry. Furthering the company’s expansion, Cross Insurance brought on Bob Shaw and his firm, Skillings, Shaw & Associates, a company focused on the unique specialty of fidelity and surety bonds serving clients from California to Maine. “Since 1954, we have built this organization ‘one policy at a time’ to become one of New England’s largest insurance providers. We have and will continue to be attentive to delivering the kind of professional insurance services you can trust, while taking charge of your insurance and risk management issues,” said Royce Cross, CEO of Cross Insurance. “With these strategic expansions, we look forward to serving clients in a broader and more tactical way,” Cross said. Along with its expansion, Cross Insurance is also supporting the Bangor community through the
“Since 1954, we have built
this organization ‘one policy at a time’ to become one of New England’s largest insurance providers. We have and will continue to be attentive to delivering the kind of professional insurance services you can trust, while taking charge of your insurance and risk management issues...
ROYCE CROSS, CEO OF CROSS INSURANCE
sponsorship of the Cross Insurance Center. The center will be a resource for the community, hosting local sporting events, concerts, and other civic happenings. The Cross Center is located minutes from Bangor International Airport and is poised to offer residents and travelers a gateway into many of the wonderful entertainment and recreational opportunities that are available in Maine. This state-of-the-art facility has easy access to diverse dining facilities and boutique and premier shopping and is just a scenic hour’s drive to magnificent ocean views at Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. With an eye toward the future, Brent Cross says, “Cross insurance is looking down the road to increasing our acquisitions in Massachusetts, as well as expansion into other states, while staffing these offices with experienced professionals who are well known in the industry. “In this manner, we should be able to provide a broader selection of product offerings. The Cross family is proud of our Maine roots, and we feel that opportunities abound in Maine and across New England. It is our hope to provide leadership in these changing times to maximize Cross Insurance’s potential,” he said.
Yes, Business, We Do That. Business Loans Real Estate Government Guaranteed Loans Term Loans Lines of Credit Construction Loans Deposit Services Business Checking with VISA Debit Card Business eDeposit Business Money Market Accounts Business Savings
Other Commercial Services Business Black VISA Credit Card Merchant Bankcard Deposit Overdraft Protection Financial Planning Night Depository Insurance Planning Letters of Credit Wire Transfers Bank by Mail Online Banking / Bill Pay Merchant Remote Deposit Capture Electronic Transfers (ACH)
Bangor | Bar Harbor | Brewer | Corinth | Ellsworth | Hampden | Milo | North Vassalboro
862-6500 | 800-273-6700 | mainesavings.com
We treat you like you own the place … because you do!
10 Perspective: Business & Banking | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/
Machias Savings Bank will introduce a
new mobile banking platform Technology extends customer service worldwide
By Brian Swartz, BDN Maine Special Sections Editor more at MachiasSavings.com
volving technology has turned the smart phone into a bank “branch,” as many customers of Machias Savings Bank will discover in a few weeks. With 14 branches located from Houlton to Rockland and from Bangor to Calais, Machias Savings Bank serves businesses and consumers in central, eastern, and northern Maine. Long distances separate some branches, yet the bank extends its services statewide — and, in fact, worldwide — through the use of modern banking technology. For a community bank based in rural Maine, “we do a lot with technology,” said Chris Lyford, senior vice president for operations. “Mobile banking is the big service,” he said. In early May, the bank will “roll out a new mobile banking platform” to supplant the initial product introduced in 2010 “for people with smart phones and Internet access,” Lyford said. That initial platform “was very well received, but it was limited to people with smart phones.” Among other features, the new mobile banking platform will add a Machias Savings Bank app. “Our customers will see an overall improvement in the usability of the mobile banking application,” Lyford pointed out. The new platform will offer MSB customers three ways to do their banking online: • Text message-based banking; • Browser-based banking (currently available with the original mobile banking platform); • App-based banking with an app downloaded from the Apple Store or the Android Market. This app will be available initially for smart phones; Machias Savings Bank plans to unveil a tablet app later this year. To access the full capabilities of the new mobile banking platform, Machias Savings Bank customers can enroll online at www.machiassavings.com. According to Lyford, customers can sign up for any or all the mobile banking methods. There is no charge for customers to sign up for mobile banking. Using his smart phone, Lyford demonstrated text message-based banking — which also works on a typical cell phone. After signing up this particular service, a customer receives a “short code unique to you,” he said. Using this “short code,” Lyford accessed his Machias Savings Bank accounts. He sent the text “bal” to check an account balance and the text “hist” to see a list of his most recent account transactions. “The advantage of text messaging is that it’s a few characters; it’s quicker,” Lyford said. The Machias Savings Bank app will offer capabilities not available with text message- or browser-based banking. For instance, “with our app, you can do mobile check capture,” Lyford pointed out. After receiving a check, a customer can use the app to photograph the front and back of the check with a smart phone’s camera and then deposit the check into their checking or savings account. “We’ve had people asking for this [capability] for some time, just for the convenience,” Lyford said. With the Machias Savings Bank app, a customer can locate the nearest bank branch or ATM via a smart phone’s GPS; the app can even map a route to a particular location. Lyford queried his smart phone to find the bank’s Machias branch; the phone’s screen displayed a Google map that had placed a pin over the branch’s Center Street location. The app also “lists the branch details,” such as available banking services, phone number, and hours of operation, Lyford said. With mobile banking, a customer can also send “personal payments” to “other people without knowing their account number or banking information,” he said. Using MSB’s PopMoney feature, a customer can send another person money by knowing just that person’s cell phone or e-mail address. The recipient receives an email or a text message “asking you if you want to receive the money” from a particular person, Lyford explained. By responding “yes” to the payment query and supplying account information securely, a customer can authorize the electronic transfer of funds to the recipient’s customer’s account. However, “the sender and receiver never exchange account information directly,” Lyford stressed. “You can send these personal payments from anywhere in the country. We do charge a small 50 cent transfer fee for each payment,” he said. With so many Machias Savings Bank customers using smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices today, he expects that the new mobile banking services will be popular. “Our customers, they want more online services,” Lyford said. “We’ve had a number of people ask for the app-based services and about text messagingbased services.” Increased broadband accessibility has made mobile banking possible for many MSB customers who once lacked broadband service, he noted. “The infrastructure being developed in our end of the state” will potentially expand the bank’s customer base, he said. “We have a good mobile banking base today. I expect it to double with the new rollout, maybe grow even more” than that, Lyford said. “It is the way [that] society is moving. More people are doing their banking online, and they want to use their smart phones and tablets to do their banking,” he said. “You don’t need a phone connection; you just need Internet access.” Across the banking industry, in-branch transactions are declining as customers shift to online/mobile banking, Lyford indicated. “It’s definitely generational. Young people are shifting primarily to online banking. “We have seen younger customers move away from this area and maintain their banking relationships with us online,” he said. “You don’t need to go into a brickand-mortar branch today to do most of your banking.” Later this year, Machias Savings Bank will introduce “instant-issue debit cards” at its branches. Currently if a customer is applying for a debit card or trying to replace a lost card, that person can wait up to 10 days to receive
Photo courtesy of Machias Savings Bank
Gathered at the Machias Savings Bank headquarters in Machias are (from left) Paul Rudd, senior vice president, risk management; Chris Lyford, senior vice president, operations; Donald Reynolds; executive vice president; Danielle Caricofe, vice president, human resources; Larry Barker, president and CEO; J. Scott Whitney, senior vice president, retail lending; Edward L. Hennessey, chairman of the board; Traci Sanborn, senior vice president, retail banking and marketing; James Donnelly, executive vice president; and Chris Fitzpatrick, senior regional vice president.
a new card in the mail. With “instant issue,” a customer can receive a debit card at a nearby branch. The bank will roll out a new Business BillPay platform in June. This online service will be available to bookkeepers and other professionals who handle business finances. The new services being unveiled in 2013 come after “we had a decent year” in 2012, reported MSB President and CEO Larry Barker. “We generated respectable profits,” and assets rose by $30 million to $963.1 million. Net income was $6.5 million. When asked about the biggest challenge, Barker pointed to new rules and regulations and the economy. “The federal government released “new rules and regulations,” with “most … affecting the consumer side of banking,” especially home mortgages, he said. “Certainly the economy has continued to be a challenge,” but for the first time in a few years, “we are seeing some improvements,” Barker observed. Referring to bank records, he noted that MSB financed 219 homeacquisition mortgages, a 37 percent over 2011 levels. So far in 2013 in that same category, “we’re up over 50 percent compared to the same period a year ago,” he said. “People are buying houses. We’re seeing it across our service area,” Barker said. In 2012, another 424 homeowners refinanced $56.6 million in existing mortgages to lower their interest rates; this activity was up 40 percent from 2011. Small business lending has increased, too, with MSB’s Business Banking Team generating $133 million in new loans last year. Lobster fishermen had “a decent year” in 2012, and wild blueberry growers and processors did well, too, Barker said. In recognition of the bank’s lending activities, the Finance Authority of Maine presented Machias Savings
Bank with the Financial Institution of the Year Award for 2012. Writing in MSB’s 2012 annual report, Barker explained that “FAME provides loan guarantees, giving the Bank the ability to provide business loans when they may not otherwise be available.” And Machias Savings Bank also received an “outstanding” rating from the FDIC after undergoing a Community Reinvestment Act examination. This rating, made for 2011 and the highest available rating nationwide, came after federal examiners reviewed “the extent to which we are serving the needs of low-tomoderate income residents in our market areas,” Barker wrote in the 2012 annual report. Less than 5 percent of all banks in the United States received the “outstanding” rating for 2011. The FDIC issued its ratings in 2012. Machias Savings Bank opened its 14th branch at a new facility in Brewer last spring. Now efforts are under way to “rebrand” the 13 other branches “to achieve the same look and feel we have in Brewer,” Barker said. Branches in Bangor, Rockland, Mill Mall in Ellsworth, Bar Harbor Calais, and Columbia have been completed; the Princeton branch is currently being rebranded. Barker described the new Brewer branch as “a plus for us and the community. “It’s going well there for us,” he said. “We’re excited about the response we’ve received from the community so far: a lot of tremendous, positive feedback.” Machias Savings Bank recently announced an exciting four year partnership with Waterfront Concerts in Bangor. "Waterfront Concerts is just a few years old," Barker said and has been offering something "Exceptional" in Eastern Maine for fans of live music. The concerts have had an incredible positive impact on businesses in the City of Bangor and surrounding communities.We wanted to be part of this growing
Photo courtesy of Machias Savings Bank
Meredith Harmon is a customer service representative for Machias Savings Bank.
movement. This partnership brings new opportunities for our customers at the Darling's Waterfront Pavilion. Our customers will receive exclusive pre-sale opportunities before tickets go on sale to the general public using their MSB debit and visa cards.
bangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/ | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | Perspective: Business & Banking
Above & Beyond. Way Beyond.
“The bankers at Machias Savings Bank listen to me, are flexible, and work hard to meet my needs.”
Ron Dennis Dennis Paper & Food Service Hampden, Maine
At Machias Savings Bank we believe in going above and beyond the call of a traditional business banking relationship. We want to share in the vision of your business and be an active player in your success by offering you the right balance of products and services. Call us at 1-866-773-9394 or email BusinessBanking@machiassavings.com
© 2013 Machias Savings Bank. Member FDIC.
12 Perspective: Business & Banking | Saturday, April 27, 2013 | ďƒœbangordailynews.com/browse/special-sections/
The second in our series of supplements looking at Maine's business climate. This issue focuses on Business, Banking and Commerce issues in...