People & Business: Jan. 24

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Portland Chamber announces award winners

Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce announced the annual leadership award winners who were to be honored at the annual show Jan. 24 at Thompson’s Point.

For Leadership in the Private Sector, the Chamber selected WEX Inc. CEO Melissa Smith, who is overseeing the company’s new global headquarters in Portland.

For their work on Portland Referendums 1 & 2, the Public Sector Leadership Award was given to both Brit Vitalius, of Vitalius Real Estate Group, and Heather Sanborn, of Rising Tide Brewing Company. Vitalius worked to defeat a rent stabilization referendum in Portland, while Sanborn worked with OnePortland to defeat Portland Referendum Question 2, which, the chamber felt, would have stifled economic development in the city.

The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce staff selected the Visionary Volunteer Leadership Award recipient based on someone whose volunteer service has exceeded expectations, and this year they have named Michelle Raber, State Farm Insurance, as the recipient. Raber served as the volunteer president of the Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce and volunteered on various chamber committees.

Mercy’s Fore River project receives $6 million gift

Mercy’s work to consolidate operations at its Fore River campus received a significant boost at the hospital’s centennial annual meeting earlier this month.  Sr. Jacqueline Marie Kieslich, president of the Northeast Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, announced the completion of a $5 million pledge by the Mercy Endowment Foundation to the hospital’s $20 million “One Mercy” Fore River II capital campaign.

In addition, Sister Miriam Therese Callnan, president of the MEF, announced that the foundation will transfer its remaining balance of $1 million to the EMHS Foundation for the establishment of a permanent endowment for Mercy Hospital. It marks the first time in Mercy’s 100-year history that it will have a permanent fund to support its operations.

“We believe Mercy’s health care mission is vital to the greater Portland community,” said Kieslich. “These gifts underscore our confidence in the direction of the hospital and our conviction that the ministry of compassionate healthcare for all established in 1918 will continue to flourish through the many people who continue to make Mercy ‘Mercy.’”

Save the Date

The Language Exchange will host an open house 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, to introduce the community to its new location at 75 Market St., Suite 305 in Portland, to give current and potential students, and anyone interested in languages and cultural events an opportunity to visit before the winter session begins. Attendees will be able to take a tour, hear about the school’s programs – classes, workshops, and cultural events – and practice their language skills while enjoying hors d’œuvres and live music. Visitors will also be able to partake in a drawing to win a few language “treats” to use in the following session. 

The Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce annual awards will be presented at the Chamber’s annual meeting, auction and awards dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park St., Freeport, beginning at 5 p.m. The following local residents and businesses will be honored during the event: Volunteer of the Year, Jim Frey of Bow Street Market; Ed Bonney Community Contribution Award, Betsy Ruff; and LL Bean Community Involvement Award, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment. Tickets are available at  

New Ventures

Bigelow Investment Advisors is teaming up with Wind River Capital Management, an investment advisory firm with offices in Brunswick and Ellsworth. The combined organization will be known as Bigelow Investment Advisors. Based in Portland, Bigelow Investment Advisors was founded in 2007. With Wind River, the combined company will manage approximately $300 million in client assets. Wind River was incorporated in 1993 in Ellsworth before expanding to Brunswick in 2005.


Catholic Charities Maine has achieved national re-accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation, an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations. Accredited by the Council since 1988, Catholic Charities Maine continues to fulfill its mission to deliver excellence in all categories of services — from mental health and substance use disorder treatment to senior outreach and child development.

Connie Fortin, left, and Pat Marcotte of Sam’s Italian Sandwich Shoppe at Cook’s Corner in Brunswick accept an award, gift basket, and movie passes from St. Mary’s Food Pantry for the store’s outstanding effort in raising money to end hunger in Maine.