People & Business: March 22

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Local hospitality executive tapped for Forsley Award

The Gourmet Gala to benefit Mercy’s Gary’s House program will heat up the Ocean Gateway in downtown Portland on April 1, when Gerard Kiladjian will become the third recipient of the Forsley Award. The award, named for Fred Forsley, founder of Shipyard Brewing Co., and long-time supporter of Mercy’s Gary’s House program, recognizes a  corporate citizen who has made a difference in the communities that Mercy serves.

Kiladjian is the general manager of Hart Hotels, which includes The Inn at Diamond Cove, Diamond’s Edge Restaurant and Marina, the Portland Harbor Hotel and its restaurant, Eve’s at the Garden. With 25 years of experience as a hotel and hospitality executive, Kiladjian is known for his commitment to superior customer service that has kept customers returning to his properties. Kiladjian helped establish the Portland Harbor Hotel’s Annual Ice Bar. Designed to celebrate Portland’s long winter and give back to the community through charitable donations, the event has raised more than $75,000 for local organizations over the years. Kiladjian is also responsible for leading the hotel to its well-respected position in the Portland community.

Kiladjian is a board member of the Piper Shores retirement community and president and founder of the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine. He previously served as a board member of the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau, Portland Downtown and the city of Portland business advisory committee.

The Gourmet Gala brings together more than 300 food, beer and wine enthusiasts as well as Portland’s favorite restaurants, caterers and brewers, in support of Gary’s House. Gary’s House is Mercy Hospital’s home away from home for families with a hospitalized loved one. Named after Gary Pike, the home is a tribute to a young man’s final wish before succumbing to cancer at just 21 years old.


Jan Kearce will be leaving her post as executive director of Lift360 in mid-April to take a position at the Maine Development Foundation as vice president of program impact. In the newly created position, Kearce, of Falmouth, will oversee the delivery of MDF’s programs and develop strategic ideas and initiatives to fulfill MDF’s mission. Created by state statute in 1978, the MDF is a private, non-partisan organization that drives sustainable, long-term economic growth for the state of Maine. The Lift360 board has formed a five-member transition team that will appoint an interim executive director and then conduct a search for a permanent replacement. 

Maine’s only professional opera company, founded in 1995 as Portland Opera Repertory Theater and commonly known as PORTopera, has changed its name to Opera Maine. The Young Artist program, launched in 1996 as an educational endeavor to help the careers of emerging young singers, has been renamed the Studio Artist Program.

Opera Maine is the only opera company in Maine to perform fully staged operas with nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, and the new name more accurately describes the mission, programs, and scope of the organization. Artistic Director Dona D. Vaughn explained, “Although 2017 marks our 23rd year of producing professional opera, there still are residents of the state, as well opera lovers across the nation, who confuse us with Portland Opera on the west coast. They are surprised to hear there is a professional opera company in Maine.”

Hires, promotion, appointments

Lambert Coffin law firm, with offices in Portland and Blue Hill, has promoted three associates to partner effective in January: Jeffrey D. Russell, who joined the practice as an associate in 2009 and focuses his practice on civil litigation; Maureen M. Sturtevant, who was hired as an associate in 2010 and focuses her practice on civil litigation with an emphasis on representing health care providers; and Abigail C. Varga, who joined the staff as an associate in 2011 practices civil litigation.

New Ventures

A new, full-service salon will soon be opening at 337 Ocean House Road in Pond Cove Plaza in Cape Elizabeth. Cape Nails & Spa will offer a comprehensive menu that includes everything from nails to massage. Pending state licenses, the spa was scheduled to open March 23.

The salon is owned by Quang Nguyen, a Vietnamese native who came to the United States 10 years ago to attend school. But, Nguyen says, “Entrepreneur has been in my blood since I was a little boy.” Besides his latest endeavor, he also owns and manages a nail salon in Windham and an Asian take-out and convenience store in Red Bank, South Portland, “where we are famous for the Vietnamese sandwiches.”

“The salon in Cape will bring an excitement to the community, as we will offer a high quality, friendly, professional atmosphere,” Nguyen said.

In addition to his retail businesses, Nguyen is a financial adviser who counsels his clients about retirement planning. A few months ago he was chosen as one of 10 guest speakers at a Tedx event sponsored by Cape Elizabeth High School and Southern Maine Community College. Nguyen shared his experience as an immigrant and the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, which can be viewed at

Jordan Shiers of Gorham and Annette Siler of Scarborough were two of four women chosen during a Go Red Casting Call as official Go Red spokeswomen. Their stories were unveiled during a video presentation at the Go Red Luncheon held March 7 that attracted 640 guests at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland in support of the American Heart Association in Maine’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.