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Michael R. Cote, Look’s Gourmet Food Co. SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year “We were ready to go ahead and really sink our teeth into a challenge. And that’s exactly what we got ... Now we’ve developed a platform, we’ve developed a process, we’re improving upon the process all the time. I just think that there’s a tremendous opportunity.”

By David M. Fitzpatrick

to work learning how to apply her marketing skills to canned food. “We’re going to make sure that the conMike Cote is always on the go, traveling 200sumer knows that the food in the can is really plus days a year and appearing at over two good,” Fisher said. “We’ve… changed the perdozen distributor shows on behalf of the comception from food in a can being kind of that pany he bought nine years ago. The Whiting last-resort emergency food to it being an easy businessman was in Anaheim, heading to a go-to item.” board meeting, when he got the call that he’d Part of that has been getting the public to won the SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year use Look’s products not only as final food but award. as an ingredient in broader recipes. For that, “That was pretty exciting,” he said. “It was Fisher took to social networking sites such as really a nice platform to go into a board meet-Michael R. Cote Facebook to talk to the customers and offer ing on.” President & CEO new recipes. This includes using Look’s An Auburn native, Cote has been in the salmon chowder to make salmon pie, or food business all his life. He started with a using its clam juice with a bloody Mary to route truck for Pepperidge Farms in western make a bloody Caesar. The runaway hit has BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS been clam-chowder pizza, where clam chowMaine, handling a historically unsuccessful Michael R. Cote bought Look’s nine years ago, and has brought the Maine seafood cannery der takes the place of sauce. route — and turned that route around. This back from the brink to become highly profitable and very successful. caught Pepperidge Farms’ eye, which hired “It’s about using ingenuity and being him on to travel the country and revitalize extremely resourceful when you think about similar trouble spots for the company. Willard Look started Look’s Canning Company in 1917, back the products that you have,” Cote said. “And then thinking about “He became known as the guy that, if you’ve got a place that’s when seafood canneries were a staple on the Maine coast. But 84 different ways to market them that other people may enjoy using really down in the toilet, give it to Cote,” said Cynthia Fisher, the years later, it was one of the last, and struggling financially. But them then.” company’s marketing director and Cote’s significant other. “He with its well-known brands, Cote saw amazing potential in the Consumers have clearly taken notice. For the past five years, turned every single one of them around.” company, and bought it. the company has made Inc. Magazine’s list of 5,000 fastest“I am a bit of a mechanic; I really enjoy taking things that aren’t “We were ready to go ahead and really sink our teeth into a chal- growing companies. Meanwhile, Bar Harbor Clam Juice has working and fixing them in business,” Cote said. “And I’ve been lenge,” Cote said. “And that’s exactly what we got.” climbed to the number-two spot in American grocery stores. very successful all my life doing that.” It took lots of hard work to get it there. The old plant had a non- And while Cote began by focusing on the East and West Coasts, He left as a vice president after 18 years with the company, and moving line; workers moved cans by hand to be filled and into and expanding gradually inland, today Look’s products are in worked for Odwalla for a few years as senior VP of sales and oper- seaming machines. Cote and Fisher brought in some automation 30 percent of American supermarkets. ations, helping the company expand its juice business before sell- equipment and transformed the plant. There’s little wonder why Cote won the SBA award, but he’s ing to Coca-Cola. Then, while looking into buying a business, he Marketing came next. With Cote on the road, connecting with adamant that it was a team effort. heard about Look’s. his contacts in the food world and building relationships, Fisher set See COTE, Page 5

BANGOR DAILY NEWS

INSIDE THIS SUPPLEMENT: The 2012 Small Business Administration Maine Award Winners Page 1: Mike Cote, Look’s Gourmet Food, Small Business Person of the Year Page 2: Howell Laboratories, Small Business Exporter of the Year Page 3: Key4Women, Women in Business Champion Page 4: Kate & Steve Shaffer, Black Dinah Chocolatiers Home-Based Small Business Champions

Page 5: Harold Clossey, Sunrise County Economic Council, Financial Services Champion (Maine and New England) Page 6: Scott Robinett, Maine Small Business Development Corporation, Veteran Small Business Champion Page 7: Patricia Rice, Bangor SCORE, Minority Small Business Champion

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2, Monday | May 14, 2012, Salute to Small Business

Howell Laboratories, SBA’s Small Business Exporter award By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS

In rural Bridgton, Maine, one might not expect to find a company that has enjoyed international success for nearly 50 years. But there you’ll find two such companies, in effect, in Howell Laboratories and its Shively Laboratories division. For its long track record of success, Howell/Shively has won the SBA’s Small Business Exporter Award. “It’s really an honor,” said President David Allen. “We’re an employee-owned company… We take a lot of pride in what we do… And to get some recognition for that is an honor, it’s a real pleasure.” Howell Laboratories was founded in Bridgton in 1964, primarily manufacturing air and water disinfection equipment primarily for the United States Navy. At about the same time, Ed Shively, a pioneer in FM broadcast antennas and radio-transmission equipment, founded Shively Laboratories in nearby Raymond to manufacture FM broadcast equipment for commercial markets. In 1981, the two companies merged. The company’s presence in both military and commercial markets has provided stability; when one market is up, the other is often down, so the company is always busy with something. Allen was raised in the area and came to work there in 1982, and he’s done just about everything there, from purchasing to production to engineering to sales, before the president of 34 years retired

in 2011 and Allen took the helm. “I didn’t start in the mailroom, but I was right next to it,” he said. “It’s one of those small companies where you kind of touch all the pieces.” That has helped him better understand other departments and has resulted in a smoother operation overall, which can only be a bonus in the world of international sales. Howell/Shively’s sales staff stays busy 24/7, particularly in working with Shively clients in other countries. Email, instant messaging, and video chats with clients are commonplace. “When I came to work here, we used to use a Telex,” Allen recalled. “We thought the fax was a big advancement.” For instance, in the middle of the night, it’s the middle of the day halfway around the world. And in the Middle East, Saturday and Sunday are normal working days; Thursday and Friday is their weekend. “We’re available all the time,” said Angela Gillespie, international sales manager and Sabattus native. “You need to make it easy on them instead of just our ‘nine to five’ convenient hours.” Being well-known in one country doesn’t matter when entering a new one. The company can’t merely coast along on longevity, because many of their competitors have been around just as long. Instead, service and quality build that trust, but it can be a long road. “It takes time to build the reputation that you

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need before people will order systems costing many hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Vice President Martyn Gregory, UK native and former BBC engineer. “It’s a 20- to 25-year investment for them, so they need to have the level of trust in who they’re buying it from. And that’s really what it comes down to: building that reputation and forging some kind of bond of trust between you and the ultiBANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTOS BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK mate customer.” Top: The staff at employee-owned Howell Laboratories and its The company breaks all division, Shively Laboratories, pose at the company’s test platthe molds, from computermodeling how an antenna form. Above, from left: Dale Ladner, regional sales manager, who will work in an area to build- nominated his employer for the award; Angela Gillespie, internaing and testing scale models. tional sales manager; Martyn Gregory, vice president; and David Allen, president. Sometimes, it means investing in up-front engineering help for new customers to earn their loyalty and to technical perspective,” said Gregory. “And I think get the chance to show them Howell/Shively’s level this is probably why some of our competitors have failed.” of service and quality. The staff at Howell/Shively is very pleased to win “A lot of the other companies won’t do that in the beginning; they want to collect a lot of money the award. “I don’t think people realize a small first,” Gillespie said. “We like to… say, ‘Here, this is company in Bridgton is as international as we are, what we can offer you, this is what we can do.’ It so it’s nice,” Gillespie said. Allen said the company’s success is built on its usually sells itself from there.” Working in so many countries is challenging, employee ownership. “It’s a very important part of our corporate culespecially when dealing with local broadcasting laws, which differ from place to place. Howell/Shiv- ture; I think it informs just about everything we do ely relies on strong partnerships with brokers in and decisions we make,” he said. “Employees who work here are owners of the company, and we take those other countries to represent them. “The key factor in being successful, particularly a lot of pride in that.” For more information, visit Howell/Shively in new markets, is understanding what the customers want from a regulatory perspective and a online at www.HowellLabs.com.

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Salute to Small Business, Monday | May 14, 2012, 3

Key4Women leaders: SBA’s Women in Business Champions Sherry Brown, Jane Harmon, Susan Pope, and Bonnie Pothier of Key Bank win award By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS

This year’s Women in Business Champions award is shared by four women representing the interests of Maine women in small business through Key Bank’s landmark Key4Women program: Sherry Brown, Jane Harmon, Susan Pope, and Bonnie Pothier. The women were nominated for the award by Gillian Britt, owner of gBritt PR — they’re her clients. As a woman who owns a small business, she’s attended many of the Key4Women events and has gotten to know the women very well. “I’ve always found that all of the Key4Women events are just so empowering, and the dedication that these women have to the program… is so impressive,” Britt said. “They’re really deserving of this award. They’ve worked really hard for it.” “The purpose behind Key4Women is to engage women in conversation and education around their business needs and struggles and provide resources for growth in their company — to be able to connect them to others that can help them in areas of concern,” said Jane Harmon, vice president of Key Private Bank. “And, quite frankly, to provide capital for women in business where, in the past, it’s been a difficult area for women.” “It was nice to see the program recognized by the state, because we’ve been working hard since 2005 to get it in there and really get it up and running,” said Susan Pope, vice president of business banking. “We’re... really pleased to see the program, and all the things that the program supports, be recognized,” added Sherry Brown, vice president of marketing. A lot has changed for women in business recently. For Bonita Pothier, the Key@Work relationship manager, the Key4Women program resonates on a personal level. She started a business in the 1980s and was in business for nearly 30 years, one of just three women in business on Main Street in Biddeford when she began. “Everybody else was male,” she recalled. “And in order to get financing, my husband had to sign. If I wanted education for a particular aspect of my business, I had to find a sitter at night and come to Portland and go to the University of Southern Maine to take a class. Now, under Key4Women, all

of that is offered to women. All of it on their terms, at their time.” Today, the Key4Women program ensures women have what they need to start and expand their small businesses, based on a foundation of four key parts: access to capital, customized financial solutions, financial education, and networking opportunities. To attract women, Key4Women hosts events that get women together with other women and with financial and business professionals who can answer their questions. The high-energy events feature lots of conversation, learning, and networking — and are super-productive. “Since we tend to be more emotionally charged, everybody’s pouring their hearts out so that there’s no lost time,” said Harmon. Since its inception in 2005, Key Bank has loaned over $6 billion to Key4Women participants. In 2011, Key committed to lending another $5 billion over the next three years. Meanwhile, Key Bank practices what it preaches, with women leading the way: Maria Coyne oversees the Key4Women program at the corporate level, and CEO Beth Mooney is the first woman to ever head a Top 20 bank. And while the national average of banks lending to women and minorities is 8 percent, Key is 19 percent. That’s good news, since 70 percent of new small businesses are womenowned. Women in small business in Maine have the benefit of the power and resources of a national bank in Key, but with decisions made locally at its 61 Maine branches. And lest anyone wonder why Key only focuses on women, it doesn’t. While the program is geared towards women in small business, it’s open to men, too. “It’s not an exclusive club of any kind,” Pothier said. “It’s a way to really reach out to the businesses in Maine and make them more successful.” Pope said the award is especially nice because Key has been a strong partner with the SBA for years, and the bank is a preferred SBA lender. “We couldn’t have done a lot of the lending over the past few years without the enhancement from the SBA,” she said. To get involved with Key4Women, visit www.Key4Women.com and enroll for free.

BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK

The winners, leading Key Bank of Maine’s Key4Women program, from left: Sherry Brown, vice president of marketing; Bonnie Pothier, Key@Work relationship manager; Susan Pope, vice president of business banking; and Jane Harmon, vice president, Key Private Bank.

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4, Monday | May 14, 2012, Salute to Small Business

Kate & Steve Shaffer, SBA’s Home-Based Small Business Champions By Debra Bell

remaining island communities. With a year-round populaWhen Black Dinah tion of 50 that swells Chocolatiers, located on the to over 300 in the island of Isle au Haut, was summer, Isle au in its first year, Kate Shaffer Haut allows resirecalls life was like “living in dents and businesses a chocolate factory.” to get in on someFor the chef turned thing special. chocolatier, immersion in While Steve conthe sweet treat has become tinued to work as a her recipe for success. construction worker, And it’s an award-winthe couple made ning one, because Kate and their home at the Steve Shaffer were named base of Black Dinah the Maine Small Business Mountain. Administration’s HomeBut cooking at the BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DEBRA BELL Inn took a toll. Her Based Business Champions. Shaffer, a California Above: Steve and Kate Shaffer. Right: A box of massage therapist native, and her husband Black Dinah chocolates, wrapped in a ribbon gave her some advice and including a map of Isle au Haut. that resonates today: Steve, a Pennsylvania native, moved from Cali“You need to stop fornia to Isle au Haut when Kate became the chef at putting tension in, and start putting love into what the Keepers House Inn in 2001. The couple moved you do.” onto the island from Bucksport in 2004. Then, in 2005, Kate lost her job. During that final “How often do you get a chance to move onto an year, Kate had started working with chocolate as island like this,” Steve noted. one of the ingredients at the Inn. Isle au Haut, accessible only by boat is one of 15 The couple knew immediately that they didn’t

BANGOR DAILY NEWS

want to leave the island. So they started planning. “We wanted to think about a business that we could do out of our house, year round,” she said. “Steve’s background is in business and my background is in cooking. [The idea for Black Dinah Chocolatiers] wasn’t because we had a passion for chocolate, but because it was a small, shippable product we could produce in our home which had a busy season in the wintertime. That’s how this all began.” The couple worked on a business plan and tapping the resources of CEI. They were referred to Ruth Cash-Smith of the Women’s Business Center in Machias. With her guidance, the couple finished the business plan and anticipated that in the chocolate industry, summer was “deadski”. “We thought this [business] could be an anomaly,” Kate said. The couple opened a café attached to their home kitchen to serve hikers, island residents, and visitors. Combine chocolate with coffee and baked goods and the stage was set to become a destination on the island. Cash-Smith isn’t surprised that the company is succeeding. “When I work with clients over a longer period of time … I get to be part of the magic that they’re able to create,” Cash-Smith said. “I get to see

them go from a fledgling business all the way to a business that has great sales and national attention, and a reputation that can’t be beat… They embody the spirit of the creative economy in Maine.” In its first several years, Black Dinah continued to gain a stellar reputation and buzz was heightened by some regional and national recognition. Kate gained training from Ecole Chocolat as well as other professionals who were willing to share anything. Sales began to soar when the business website launched and their email list was notified. “We didn’t sleep for three days,” Kate recalled. According to Kate and Steve, what sets Black

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Salute to Small Business, Monday | May 14, 2012, 5

Harold W. Clossey, SBA’s Financial Services Champion Director of Washington County agency wins awards for Maine and New England By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS

First, Harold Clossey, the executive director of Sunrise County Economic Council in Machias, was named the SBA Financial Services Champion for Maine. Then, he won the New England-level award, bringing widespread attention to Washington County, which has often been perceived as economically failing but has been making great strides in economic resurgence. “It was certainly very nice, very humbling,” Clossey said. “There are a lot of good people out there doing a lot of good work… This is more an agency award, in my mind, than it is a Harold Clossey award.” SCEC is a secondary lender providing loans, resources, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, including start-ups and expansions, with a goal for creating and retaining jobs in Washington County. SCEC is often a subordinate lender providing gap financing; for example, if you need $100,000 and your bank will only finance $90,000, you’d go to a secondary lender like SCEC for the other $10,000. Even when providing small gap financing, SCEC’s piece can be the critical link that makes the loan package work. It’s often SCEC’s commitment to a local project that convinces major lenders that the risk is worthy.

Cote Continued from Page 1 “It’s a very prestigious award from the SBA, but it’s not an award for any single one person,” Cote said. “I happen to be the guy that gets the glory here, but it’s all about the people who make the company.” After nine years of moving a storied Maine company out of bankruptcy and to the top of its game, Cote looks forward to the near future: increasing product awareness, streamlining operations, adding jobs, and growing — probably doubling its revenues in five years. “I think that this brand has got legs,” Cote said.

“At times, in some of the larger financial packages, our role can be relatively small compared to the entire project, making me wonder if we may be just in the way,” Clossey said. “And when I have brought up this concern in meetings, every one of those other lenders strongly indicate, ‘No, it’s your investment which is making us feel a little bit better about this.’” Clossey was born in Eastport and raised in Calais, and joined the Navy out of high school.“I’m a Washington County boy, and I’m fortunate to see a lot of interesting people and businesses,” he said. “I think that’s what makes the flavor of Washington County.” As an older, nontraditional student, he returned to school at Washington County Community College in 1998. He was named WCCC’s 1999 Student of the Year, and earned a small-business-management degree in 2000. His first job was with the Washington-Hancock Community Agency as the coordinator for the Incubators Without Walls program for microentrepreneurs, working out of a WCCC office as a business counselor. He moved to SCEC in 2006, where he works closely with other organizations and lenders to find solutions for its clients. “We want to be able to help people with services here… in our own economy in Washington County, which has ripple effects across the state,” he said. SCEC works very closely with many local banks, including Machias Savings Bank, which services the agency’s loans. Larry Barker, president of Machias

“Now we’ve developed a platform, we’ve developed a process, we’re improving upon the process all the time. I just think that there’s a tremendous opportunity.” While Cote is on the road, he entrusts Fisher, his management team, and his staff to bolster the company’s ongoing success. “You put together a team, you give them the reins, and you keep close watch of those reins from afar,” Cote said. “I have the confidence in the people that are here [to] make sure that they’re steering the ship correctly. It’s my job to keep fueling it. It all works.” Visit www.BarHarborFoods.com, where you can find great foods, connect with the company via social media, and learn about great recipies using its products.

Savings Bank, said in a statement that the bank is excited about Clossey’s award. “Harold has been a steward of Washington County and beyond for many years,” Barker said. “Harold works tirelessly for the betterment of Washington County and Maine. Machias Savings Bank congratulates Harold in his success.” In a statement, Josh Bragg, vice president of the Machias branch of CES Inc. and the SCEC board chair, who nominated Clossey for the award, called Clossey “a terrific leader” who has “worked late BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK nights, weekends, and holidays to pull together financing that keeps Harold Clossey at SCEC in Machias, posing with his framed poster of “A Tradition of Innovation” in Washington County. businesses open.” “I nominated Harold because he doesn’t like to take credit for his own successes, even it’s about growth and job creation for Washington though he’s built an exceptional reputation as a County, and that we have resources here to help financial champion for Down East Maine and grow businesses and/or retain businesses.” deserves widespread recognition for his work ethic The SCEC is always interested in talking with and Yankee ingenuity,” Bragg said. small-business owners and those seeking to start “This award isn’t about me — it’s about our businesses. For more information, visit the SCEC organization,” Clossey said. “It’s about SCEC and online at www.SunriseCounty.org.


6, Monday | May 14, 2012, Salute to Small Business

Scott Robinett, SBA’s Veteran Small Business Champion

By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS

The SBA’s Veteran Small Business Champion award usually goes to a business counselor who has worked with veterans to help them start or expand their small businesses. This year, it has gone to someone behind the scenes who doesn’t work directly with clients but whose work makes today’s veterans’ small-business services possible. Scott Robinett is the informationtechnology manager for the Maine Small Business Development Centers. In addition to providing computer support in the Maine SBDC’s 25 statewide offices and outreach centers, he’s long been the driving force to the organization’s online presence. “I was really kind of like, well, look, I don’t really deserve this; this is not something that I think I should be given,” Robinett said. “It should be given to a counselor or somebody who’s on the front line with the client.” But without the extensive research, some technical stills, and behind-thescenes work on his part, the Maine SBDC wouldn’t be the same, and it’s likely many veterans — which currently comprise about 10 percent of Maine

SBDC’s clients — would not have benefited from its services. Robinett was born in Japan to his active-duty father, a 30-year Army veteran who had served in France during WWII and the Korean War. As a child, Robinett moved a lot, including to Germany for his father’s deployment, where Robinett graduated high school. He understands the military life from a family standpoint. “I’ve been around it long enough to know that it’s not an easy life, certainly not for the soldier but for the family as well,” Robinett said. “When I was growing up, I learned that ‘a military family endures.’ That’s what we do. So whatever it took, you pick up and leave when the time comes, no questions asked.” After returning from Germany, Robinett relocated with a friend from Texas to southern Maine in 1979, where he ultimately secured a job as an electrician. He later started a business with his friend, then worked on his own until closing his business in 1992 and sought his next challenge. “I’d always had this thing for computers,” he recalled, from the time he had his Commodore 64 and most people hadn’t imagined what a home computer was. “I thought, that’s really what

Shaffers Continued from Page 4 Dinah Chocolatiers apart is the attention to flavor and ingredients. Ingredients are locally sourced from a network of Maine farms and vendors. Kate, who Steve notes has a “refined palate”, decided early on that oils, ground spices, and artificial flavorings wouldn’t do. “It’s very labor intensive, but the flavor is so different from anything else,” she said. Over time, and with the help of a grant, the couple built an industrial kitchen. The kitchen enables Kate and her small staff to create and package in a controlled envi-

I wanted to do.” Eventually, he landed a job maintaining databases for the Maine SBDC. Robinett soon convinced his boss that the organization needed a computer bulletin-board system to allow people to dial in and access documents and information. It seemed like a great idea — and then the World Wide Web arrived. Robinett scrapped the BBS idea and began building the Maine SBDC’s first Web site. Since then, he’s built and maintained several sites, including Maine Business Works, On Your Own in Business, and the Maine Veterans Business Initiative, always with an eye on providing as much information as possible to those who need it. For the last few years, he’s been working on developing online workshops — essentially, interactive primers that do the jobs of brochures and regulations books without boring the user senseless. The online workshops are free to anyone — and they’re extremely popular, attracting over 60,000 from around the world, thanks to the Maine SBDC’s close association with the SBA. “I always saw most of my life as an adventure, scary sometimes, but that’s what it was,” Robinett said. “I like what I do, and I like being the close support for

ronment. Using solar technology to heat the water, compostable and eco-friendly packaging, and flooring made from recycled car seats the business footprint is green. Black Dinah is considered the largest employer on Isle au Haut and the Shaffers believe it’s important to envision the local picture for each business decision. “Statistics prove that when dollars stay in the community the community benefits,” Kate said. “You really see it on an island. There are lots of organizations and important programs that exist to preserve small communities on islands, but we also need to focus on small businesses to preserve community. It increases interest from the outside world and invest-

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Scott Robinett in his office at Maine SBDC on Forest Avenue in Portland. Robinett maintains several Web sites and works to generate free, interactive, educational content. The Maine SBDC’s online workshops are so popular that they garner worldwide enrollment. the people that are on the line.” His military familiarity has certainly aided in his attachment to the work he’s done and how it’s helped veterans. “I think one of the reasons I’ve been here as long as I have is just the dedication of the people to what they do,” he

ment in that community from people who have never heard of it before.” That means using produce and foods from Maine farms, from employing local people, and being responsible in packaging. The couple also is mindful of growing their business at a sustainable pace. “We want to build a business that is sustainable after we’re gone,” Steve said. “It’s not about serving us. It’s about serving community. We have a responsibility not just to our employees, but to the community as well. It is a slow process because we evaluate so much more than the bottom line.” The Shaffers will soon be opening a store in Blue Hill. To learn more, visit Black Dinah online at www.blackdinahchocolatiers.com.

said. “The Maine SBDC has a long history of success and good performance with small business in Maine, and there’s a lot of veterans that have been involved with that, I’d like to see more.” For more information, visit www.MaineSBDC.org.

This Salute to Small Business supplement was produced and published by the

Editor/Layout: David M. Fitzpatrick Writers: Debra Bell, David M. Fitzpatrick Photos: Debra Bell, David M. Fitzpatrick, John Clarke Russ Front-page Banner: John Koladish Sales: Linda Hayes Special thanks to the Small Business Administration If you’d like to participate in next year’s Salute to Small Business, contact Linda Hayes at (207) 990-8136 or lhayes@bangordailynews.com.


Salute to Small Business, Monday | May 14, 2012, 7

Patricia Rice, SBA’s Minority Small Business Champion By David M. Fitzpatrick BANGOR DAILY NEWS

For her work with Maine’s Native American tribes, Patricia Rice, former director of the Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center and current SCORE Association chapter chair, has been named the SBA Minority Small Business Champion. “I’m deeply honored to have this award,” said Rice. “You do your things, you do your work day by day and day and it’s nice to get an award.” Nominating Rice was Timothy Love, the then-president and CEO of Federal Program Integrators. Love cited Rice’s “tireless assistance over several years” through her work with the Maine PTAC to help the manufacturing company enter the world of federal contracting, which has totaled over $100 million since 2009. FPI, located in a 32,000square-foot facility on Indian Island, the seat of the Penobscot Nation, is a designbuild manufacturer of wood, composites, and other advanced technologies. Through Maine PTAC, Rice traveled a lot to assist clients, which includes all

four of Maine’s four Native American tribes through her work with Four Directions Development Corporation, which provides housing and business support to the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribes. In her letter of support for Rice’s nomination, Four Directions Executive Director Susan Hammond praised Rice’s assistance, and noted that Rice drove two to three hours to meet with the three tribes in Aroostook and Washington Counties. “What impressed me about Pat was her strong and unwavering commitment to helping the tribal people and her extensive knowledge and expertise in the complex world of government contracting,” Hammond wrote. “She was a dedicated champion of the tribes.” Rice worked to educate the tribes about government contracting and guide them through the massive red tape involved with that venture. It’s a lot to take in. “The federal regulations for contracting is over 2,000 pages long,” Rice said. “If you can’t fall asleep, you start reading the Federal Acquisition Regulations.” Rice has a lot of experience facilitat-

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ing businesses. After years in research and marketing with a chemical/pharmaceutical company, she taught for 10 years before moving to Maine. For the past dozen years she’s worked with small businesses, mostly as the director of Maine PTAC. She’s currently a business consultant with the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program. When she left Maine PTAC, she wanted to get into volunteering, and found the Bangor chapter of SCORE, of which she soon became the chapter chair. SCORE’s wide range of volunteers educate and assist people in their smallbusiness endeavors. “I always look at the talent — who has the talent, and what volunteers can bring to the table?” Rice said. “And her in the Bangor SCORE chapter, we have over a dozen committed and talented volunteers of all ages and a variety of backgrounds.” SCORE offers workshops on everything from writing business plans to learning QuickBooks. And in the process of learning, a potential small-business owner might discover he’s not ready to be in business. And that’s a good thing,

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BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK

Patricia Rice, chair of Bangor SCORE chapter. Through her work at the Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center, helping Maine’s Native American tribes navigate the challenging world of government contracting, Rice has won the SBA Minority Small Business Champion award. Rice said. “We’re not in the business of having people fail,” she said. “It’s all about teaming and working together and collabo-

rating so that we can help Maine businesses succeed.” For more info, visit www.SCOREMaine.org.


8, Monday | May 14, 2012, Salute to Small Business

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Salute to Small Business