Janine Bisaillon-Cary will step down as president of the Maine International Trade Center next month after a decade at the helm of the organization.

In an interview Friday, Bisaillon-Cary said she wants to move on to other projects and felt she was leaving the agency in a stronger position than when she took over as president in 2006.

“The timing is good strategically for the trade center. We are more robust than we have ever been and have a more seasoned staff,” Bisaillon-Cary said.

Vice President Wade Merritt is expected to take over the reins of the agency and become the new state director of international trade, a position under the Department of Economic and Community Development. The trade center’s board of directors supports the succession plan and Gov. Paul LePage appointed Merritt as trade director, pending legislative approval, according to Bisaillon-Cary.

Bisaillon-Cary declined to discuss what’s next for her, but said she was staying in the area and taking a few months off over the summer. She started at the trade center in 2000 and was appointed center president and state director of international trade in 2006.

“There are some things I wanted to do. It is always good to have new blood,” she said. “This is a very positive thing.”

Bisaillon-Cary has been “a tireless leader in her efforts to champion Maine exports and attract international businesses to Maine,” LePage said in a statement Friday. “I am confident the Trade Center is well positioned for continued success in the future.”

The trade center was created by the Legislature two decades ago to grow Maine’s economy through increased international trade. The agency is a public-private partnership, which receives funding from the state and membership dues from 300 businesses and other private funds. The organization helps Maine companies get into international markets with training and technical assistance, and tries to attract foreign investment.

The center has aided more than 20,000 people with trade education and business assistance in subjects like export compliance, international finance and logistics. More than 340 Maine delegates have gone to trade shows or on trade missions to five continents through the trade center in the past 10 years and it has hosted investment group visits from Europe, Asia, Canada and Latin America. The organization has also launched programs such as StudyMaine, to attract international students; Invest in Maine, to court foreign investment; and the Maine North Atlantic Development Office, to develop opportunities for the state in the North Atlantic and Arctic.

“We appreciate all the growth and energy that Janine has brought to the organization,” said the trade center’s board chairman, John Wolanski. “We have worked together as a board on this succession plan and are pleased that the governor has selected Wade as the new director of international trade.”

Merritt started at the trade center as a trade specialist in 1997. He has been vice president since 2006, after six years as director of the trade center’s Bangor office. As vice president, he supervises staff and day-to-day operations and oversees assistance to the state’s education sector.

Bisaillon-Cary said June 16 will be her last day at the center.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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