Ten nominees are vying for the title of Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016.
The long-time LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development competition is now sponsored by the Aroostook Partnership, which was formed in November of 2015, by combining LEAD and Aroostook Partnership for Progress.
The nominees will be honored and a winner announced at an awards dinner Thursday, May 26, at Northern Maine Community College.
A panel of judges, representing the supporting organizations Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Presque Isle reviewed the nominees Wednesday, May 10, but the name of the winner, first and second runners up will not be announced until the May 26 event.
“The selection committee was very impressed with the level of ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurial foresight shown by this year’s nominees,” said Scott Voisine of UMFK. “While there were many great applicants, the finalists quickly rose to the top of the list during scoring and deliberation and the committee quickly came to a consensus on the winners. It is exciting to see entrepreneurialism is alive and well in The County.”
The nominees are Alete Salon and Spa owner Jenney Dionne; Rodney McCrum of Pineland Farms Potato Company; Steve Adams of Boondocks Grille; Jacob, Joshua, Jared, Bruce, Brent and Barry Buck of Maine Malt House; North Country Auto owner Randy Norsworthy; Justin and Alicia Burby of Reliant Repair; Leisure Gardens owner Albert Cyr, Tristan and Jonathan Noyes of GroMaine; Patrick Vaillancourt of Northern Turf Management; and Stairs Welding owner Roger Larson.
Partnership Chairman Chris Anderson said Entrepreneur of the Year is very important for the organization and Aroostook.
“The Aroostook Partnership is about fostering prosperity,” he said. “Prosperity occurs when organizations grow and employ people. Communities thrive when prosperity occurs. Entrepreneurs create new organizations therefore; the Aroostook Partnership celebrates our entrepreneurs as catalysts for our communities’ future prosperity.”
Previous winners include David Harbison of Bison Pumps in Houlton, Matt Bell of Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Northern Maine Distilling’s Jessica Jewell and Scott Galbiati (formerly of Houlton), Troy Haney of Haney Building Specialties in Caribou, Corey LaPlante of Northern Prosthetics in Presque Isle and Josh McLaughlin of J. McLaughlin Construction in Houlton.
The nominees, finalists and winner will be celebrated May 26 at the Edmunds Conference Center at Northern Maine Community College. The Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year dinner will feature local produce, products and highlight the cultural diversity of the region. There will also be a vegetarian option. Prior to the meal and program, a social hour with hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. The price per person is $45. Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. May 20. To register, contact Jon Gulliver at 493-5851 or by email at [email protected]