People and Business

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New Hires, Promotions and Appointments

Kara Aleixo Johnson was appointed as the new director of development for Mid Coast Health Services. Johnson will lead the planning, implementation and administration of all development activities including fundraising appeals, endowment campaigns, gift planning, grateful patient giving and donor appreciation events. A Mid Coast Hospital board member and committee chairwoman for the Mid Coast Hospital Auxiliary Board, Johnson brings with her a deep understanding of the organization and its commitment to deliver high quality patient-centered care.

Cheryl Hagmann was promoted to financial services manager at the Falmouth office of People’s United Bank. Hagmann will be responsible for business development, small business relationships and loans origination. She is also a licensed investment associate and will assist with investment and retirement needs. Hagmann has been with People’s United Bank for 10 years, previously working in the Yarmouth office.

Tonya Beckwith was promoted to financial services manager at the Scarborough office of People’s United Bank. Beckwith will be responsible for community development, consumer and business lending, and managing daily operations at the branch located on U.S. Route 1.

Elizabeth Gittinger joined All About Women, a specialty practice within Mercy Health System of Maine. Gittinger is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. A native of Massachusetts, Gittinger received her undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She completed her residency at Boston Medical Center. Gittinger worked in the Boston area for the last eight years, most recently at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Benjamin C. Grasso was named the medical director of behavioral health, a department of Mercy Hospital. He will be responsible for clinical and administrative oversight for Mercy’s Recovery Center, Psychiatric Consulting Service and the New England Eating Disorders Program. A New Jersey native, he earned his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Binghamton and received his medical degree from Albany Medical College. Grasso did his psychiatry residency at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed his fellowship at the National Institutes of Mental Health, Neuropsychiatry Branch in Washington, D.C. Grasso most recently worked with the Veterans’ Administration.

David Machesney, owner and operator of Pratt-Abbott Cleaners, Maine’s largest drycleaning company, was named president of the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute June 20 in New Orleans. The Institute has been an international trade association for garment care professionals since 1883. As president of DLI, Machesney will be responsible for member development, strategic direction, and guiding DLI’s legislative and regulatory policy agenda. He is DLI’s first president from Maine.

Winxnet, a Portland-based IT services and outsourcing firm added Kristin Gooch as marketing director, John Fitzpatrick as network support specialist, Shannon Fournier as project coordinator and Cormac Frost as application developer.

David Ford joined Portland’s Choice Realty as a sales agent.

Scarborough Family Chiropractic, a health and wellness practice, welcomed chiropractor Jonathan Emlet and acupuncturist and herbalist Elizabeth Doane to the practice. Emlet and Doane will help meet the growing demand among new and existing patients.

Bernstein Shur hired Helen Sterling to its business law practice group. Sterling earned her J.D. from Boston College Law School and her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, and she lives in Portland.


Justin Lamontagne, an associate broker with NAI Dunham Group, in Portland, was named realtor of the year by the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors. 

The Food Network Magazine named the Afigato, Gelato Fiasco’s combination of espresso and gelato, Maine’s most delicious frozen dessert. The periodical conducted a nation-wide search for top desserts, naming one winner from each state. The “50 States, 50 Ice Cream Treats” feature ran in the magazine’s July/August issue.

Bowdoin College Board of Trustees approved naming the new college art and dance facility in honor of former college president Robert Edwards and his wife, Blythe Bickel Edwards. Both were instrumental in the resurgence of the arts that continues today at the 219-year-old college. The Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance will open in late August at the site of the former Longfellow Elementary School. The building was acquired by the college in 2011 in a trade with the town of Brunswick for the McLellan Building at 85 Union St.

Mergers and Partnerships

The Cox Insurance Agency merged with Down East Insurance Agency. The staff of the Cox Agency will relocate later this summer to new offices at 94 Main St., in Topsham.

Avesta Housing’s HomeOwnership Center and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland have established a partnership to help prepare incoming and current homeowners in the Habitat program. The Avesta HomeOwnership Center provides first-time home buyer education and ongoing support to the families buying homes through Habitat of Humanity of Greater Portland. The HomeOwnership Center is also providing support and one-on-one counseling to existing homeowners in the program.

New Locations

Androscoggin Bank has signed a lease and is beginning renovations for a business office in Scarborough. The new office, located at 152 Route 1, is in the early stages of renovation. A November opening is anticipated by bank officials.

Good Deeds

People’s United Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of People’s United Bank, awarded $2,500 to Wayside Food Programs of Portland. Wayside Food Programs gathers and redistributes more than 1 million pounds of food annually to more than 60 food pantries, soup kitchens and social service agencies throughout Cumberland County. The organization both serves prepared meals and collaborates with other hunger agencies to develop efficient networks for the collection and distribution of food. The grant from People’s United Community Foundation will help support Wayside’s Food Rescue Program.