Maine Venture Fund Board members are talented, knowledgeable, experienced individuals who volunteer their time in service of the mission of the Fund, and they seldom are recognized for that selfless valuable contribution.  At this moment we have some tenures coming to an end, and new Board members joining, so it gives us an opportunity to recognize and thank these amazing individuals.  Please join us in thanking those departing board members for their valuable service and in welcoming our newest Board members.

The Board of Directors of Maine Venture Fund, officially the “Small Enterprise Growth Board”, consists of eleven members, ten appointed by the Governor, and an ExOfficio seat for the Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development or her designee.

The departing members have given so generously of their time, talents, experience, and energy. Collectively, they served for over 33 years supporting the Fund’s mission: 

  • Brian Whitney, President of the Maine Technology Institute, a publicly financed, private, nonprofit organization established to diversify and grow Maine’s economy by encouraging, promoting, stimulating and supporting innovation and its transformation into new products, services and companies, leading to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Maine.  Brian has extensive experience in economic development and legislative matters at both the state and federal level.   Brian served in the ex officio seat for the Department of Economic and Community Development.  
  • Corson “Corky” Ellis, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Kepware Technologies, a Portland company that writes industrial communications software for the factory, Smart Grid, and building automation and oil and gas sector, until the sale of Kepware to PTC in 2016. Corky is very involved in technology economic development in Maine. 
  • Timothy Agnew, a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners, a venture capital firm located in Cambridge and Portland.  Prior to joining Masthead, Mr. Agnew was the Chief Executive Officer of the Finance Authority of Maine from 1988 to 1999.  Tim served as an officer of the Board of the Portland Development Corporation, is a member of the Maine Angels and served as Chair of the Maine Technology Institute.  
  • Christopher Pizey has held various management positions over the past thirty years, involving computing technologies, interactive media and new business development. Chris led corporate new media ventures, including the founding of uclick LLC while at Andrews McMeel Universal. While CEO of uclick, Chris engineered new business initiatives including digital content syndication, web publishing, wireless content licensing and distribution deals with over 300 of the web’s premier publishers, portals and mobile phone networks. 

Thank you Brian, Corky, Tim and Chris.  Your invaluable dedication and service to the Fund and the State of Maine is greatly appreciated.

We, then, would like to welcome our new members:

  • Charlotte Mace, Director of the Office of Business Development at the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development.  Charlotte was previously the Executive Director of the manufacturing trade association Biobased Maine.  Her Office is responsible for investment attraction, tax incentive programs, and business retention and expansion for Maine businesses.  Charlotte is also leading the development of the State’s new domestic trade assistance program for Maine businesses. Charlotte serves in the ex officio seat for the Department of Economic and Community Development.   
  • Helen Sterling Coburn, a corporate and securities attorney at Bernstein Shur, where she co-chairs the firm’s private capital group. In that role, she counsels start-up companies raising investment capital and also represents investors making investments in early-stage companies.  Helen is also on the Board of Directors of Startup Maine, Inc., on the investment committee of the Indus Fund, and has served on advisory boards of several enterprises.   
  • Susan Hammond, a Penobscot tribal member, is a founder and long-standing Executive Director of Four Directions Development Corporation (FDDC), a Native-governed Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) serving the four tribes of Maine. Hammond is well connected in both the local Wabanaki communities and national Native American organizations.  Prior to Four Directions, she worked for the Penobscot tribe for ten years in various positions including the Vocation Education Coordinator for the Economic Development Department, the Financial Manager for the Health Department and the Director of the Tribal Housing Authority.  She served on the Penobscot Nation Tribal Council and was president of the Board of Alnabak Corporation, which was the parent company of Olamon Industries, a tribally-affiliated company.  Ms. Hammond serves on numerous Maine boards: Maine Community Foundation, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, MaineStream Finance, Coastal Enterprises Inc., and Oweesta Corporation, a national intermediary Native American CDFI.   Ms. Hammond has been awarded the Maine SBA Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year Award.  She is also a recipient of the Visionary Leader Award and Circle of Honor Award from the national CDFI association, Opportunity Finance Network and Oweesta Corporation. 
  • Brien Walton, CEO of Acadia Capital Management, LLC, a non-profit, strategic advisory firm that works directly with municipal leaders of economically-distressed communities (“Opportunity Zones”).  In that role, Brien creates innovative funding pathways that enable communities to attract social impact investments that can eliminate poverty through sustainable job growth and permanent job creation.  Brien is also a professor of entrepreneurship at Husson University, which provides experiential leadership development opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.  A former corporate tax attorney, Brien was the founding CEO of the first university-based, EdTech venture capital fund in the U.S. at the University of Pennsylvania.  In that role, he created an award-wining shared space innovation hub in downtown Philadelphia, and more than half of the inaugural cohort was acquired by large or publicly-traded companies within seven years.

Welcome Charlotte, Helen, Susan and Brien!  We appreciate your willingness to serve on Maine Venture Fund’s Board and believe you will find it a rewarding experience. 

We look forward to working with you.

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