People & Business: Nov. 30

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Individuals, businesses, faith-based and community organizations were honored at the At Catholic Charities Maine’s 50th anniversary Nov. 9, when the agency’s inaugural RICHES Awards Dinner was held.

The RICHES Awards are reflects Catholic Charities’ core values of Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Hospitality, Excellence and Stewardship. A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to founding CEO Neil Michaud in recognition of his inspiration and dedication in the creation of Catholic Charities Maine. The Inspiration Award was presented to Nancy Pierce of Cumberland Foreside, in recognition of her hard work and dedication in enhancing a resource to those in need in the community via the Good as New Thrift Store. The Healthcare Partner Award was presented to HealthInfoNet an independent, nonprofit organization that manages Maine’s statewide health information exchange. Since 1966, Catholic Charities Maine has been focusing on some of Maine’s most complex issues — mental health, substance abuse, quality care for children and seniors, food insecurity and helping refugees rebuild their lives.

Melissa Richter of Keller Williams Realty in Portland was featured as a top real estate agent in the November issue of Top Agent Magazine. The publication features the foremost real estate agents and mortgage professionals in the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Natalya Robbins of Prudential’s Greater New England Financial Group in South Portland recently completed a training course at Prudential’s Tower in Newark, New Jersey, and met the company’s standards to qualify as a financial planner.

Mid Coast Hospital earned an A from The Leapfrog Group, and has been awarded Straight A’s since the inception of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade in 2012. Mid Coast Hospital is one of 72 hospitals out of over 2,600 across the country to get straight A’s. Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades assign letter grades A to F to provide the most complete picture of patient safety in the U.S.

Maine Preservation announced Thompson’s Point in Portland and the award-winning Halfway Rock Light Station Harpswell are winners of the 2016 Honor Awards, given out Nov. 16 at Portland Country Club in Falmouth.

Three local Portland businesses were recognized Nov. 17 by the city of Portland and the Portland Development Corporation for their role in expanding the city’s economic vitality. The 2016 Business of the Year is Diversified Communications, a global media company with headquarters in Portland. Maine College of Art was given the 2016 Economic Development Achievement Award. MECA, founded in 1882, was an early catalyst in the Downtown Arts District with its 1993 purchase of the five-story landmark Porteous Building. The 2016 Small Business of the Year is Maine Standard Biofuels, which is Maine’s only full-service used cooking oil collector and biodiesel manufacturer.

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which manages the transition of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick from military to civilian use, recognized two Brunswick Landing companies for innovative business practices at the MRRA annual meeting and dinner held at the Hilton Garden Inn. SaviLinx, a contact center headquartered in Brunswick, was named the most innovative business in the larger company category. InSphero, a Swiss biotech firm with its U.S. headquarters located at TechPlace, was honored as most innovative micro business.


Family Crisis Services, the Cumberland County domestic violence resource center, recently received four significant grant awards. A grant from the Maine Department of Public Safety to will place a domestic violence advocate within the correctional system to provide re-entry advocacy and support for women who are moving to the community after incarceration. The Maine Department of Public Safety also awarded a grant that will expand the partnership with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, by expanding domestic violence first responder outreach efforts to fire and rescue departments. A grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will help victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need transitional housing and help with short-term housing. A grant provided through Pine Tree Legal Assistance will provide resources to coordinate a campus safety project to ensure that survivors receive referrals to legal assistance.

Coffee By Design announced that annual Rebel Blend Fund Awards were given to 240 Strings, LumenARRT! and New Fruit on Nov. 15 in grants totaling $5,700.

Hires, Promotions, Appointments

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland announced that Andrew Smith of Portland has been appointed manager of ReStore. He has worked in several positions in ReStore, beginning in 2006.

The Bowdoin International Music Festival has appointed Daniel Nitsch as the new executive director. Nitsch joined the staff in 2015 as director of Admissions and Operations and served as acting executive director for the 2016 summer season. 

Maine’s Farm to Table restaurant Vignola Cinque promoted Mitchell Ryan to executive chef. Born in California and raised in Maine, Ryan began his culinary career at a catering company in Brunswick.