Giving gelato a new, local twist

Bored and perhaps craving something sweet, Josh Davis traded in his property development business for an artisan gelato shop.

Inspired by the idea of picking one thing and doing it really well, Davis and his friend Bruno Tropeano journeyed across the U.S. and Europe with spoons in hand. They returned with a game plan and a grocery list that included Maine milk and natural cane sugar.

“We wanted to make gelato from scratch, with the best local ingredients,” said Davis. In 2007, The Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick was born.

“We started out on a wing and a prayer,” said Davis, 28. “I mean, we started a frozen dessert company in a state with an eight- to nine-month winter!”

Today, The Gelato Fiasco offers generous scoops of mouth-watering flavors such as Brownie Batter, Apple Lemon Ginger Sorbetto, Blueberry Pancakes, Toasted Coconut and Sicilian Pistachio. Pints are also sold at over a hundred supermarkets and other partner locations.

“People think they need to invent something new to be successful,” said Davis. “But often the best opportunities are in taking something that’s already there and helping it live up to its full potential.” Despite the slow economy, The Gelato Fiasco’s in-store sales have grown more than 200 percent in the past 18 months.

The company, which has been featured in Down East and Rachael Ray’s magazine, among others, is also known for its customer-centric philosophy and fundraisers for local organizations, such as the Brunswick Teen Center.


Family law magistrate for state

Lindsay Cadwallader, 39, said a good sense of humor and a healthy dose of chocolate help her manage the challenges of being a family law magistrate for the State of Maine.

Cadwallader, who graduated cum laude from Boston University School of Law in 1997, handles divorce and custody cases in York and Cumberland County.

“I am an optimist,” she said. “I pursued a law career out of a desire to help people.”

Cadwallader moved to Maine in 1998 and worked for 10 years as an attorney at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, where she advocated for victims of domestic violence.

She was appointed to the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse in 2007 and served for three years. She has also been a board member for both the Kids First Center and the Maine Women’s Fund.

Cadwallader said she is grateful for the inspirational support of her family, friends and colleagues. She lives in Portland with her husband, Jeremy, and their two daughters. In her free time, she is a member of a book club and enjoys hiking, running and kayaking.


Started documentary film festival

Benjamin Fowlie brought his passion for documentaries back to his hometown when he founded the acclaimed Camden International Film Festival in 2005.

Fowlie, who studied film at Emerson, wanted to make the local population aware of incredible international documentaries, and to draw the film industry’s attention to the quality work being created in New England.

“There are very few strictly documentary film festivals,” said Fowlie, 31. “Why not try to coin this area as a documentary hub?”

Fowlie believes there is something powerful about documentaries and their ability to expose social and environmental issues, start conversations in communities and, over time, serve as snapshots of where we have been as a culture.

“You’re also seeing the training of great storytellers,” said Fowlie. “Since the dawn of time, that’s what we’ve always wanted.”

Each year, about 50 films from Maine and all around the world are shown at the Camden festival, most followed by Q & A sessions with the filmmaker. This year, the festival will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland.

The festival also features the Points North Forum, where aspiring filmmakers can attend workshops and pitch their works-in-progress to representatives from major media organizations such as BBC, HBO, the Sundance Institute and PBS for feedback. “It’s a major opportunity for growth for filmmakers,” said Fowlie.


Entrepreneur of website design

In a matter of months, Becky McKinnell made the leap from college student to entrepreneur. McKinnell, 27, is founder and president of iBec Creative, a Web design and online marketing company in Portland.

In 2006, fresh out of college, McKinnell started iBec based on a business plan she wrote while at USM. Now McKinnell and her team of eight employees design websites, smart phone apps and social media strategies to help over 200 small businesses develop their online presence and bring in customers.

“My whole life I have always loved art,” said McKinnell. “I turned to digital media and became fascinated with the Web.” McKinnell said the Web has both an artistic side with design and a scientific side with coding. “I love that challenge,” said McKinnell, who hopes to continue expanding the company in the future.

The young businesswoman, originally from Scituate, Mass., moved to Maine to study art and entrepreneurial studies in 2002 and stayed to start iBec Creative. She and her husband live in Portland and enjoy skiing and trying new restaurants.

McKinnell was featured in BusinessWeek’s Twenty-Five U.S. Entrepreneurs Ages 25 and Under in 2009, and was named the Maine Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010. When she’s not coding websites, McKinnell is also involved with PROPEL, Maine Center for Enterprise Development, Port Resources, the Maine Women’s Network and Tech Maine.


United Way marketing manager

A talkative child, Liz Smith loved to organize family dinners with placecards and carefully folded napkins. Today, her career at the United Way of Greater Portland involves all of those things, from event-planning to design work and communications.

Smith works in marketing, managing relations with the public, volunteers and vendors for the United Way.

“I’m lucky because I really enjoy what I do — connecting people to the things I believe in and telling stories,” she said.

Smith said the United Way is currently gearing up for “campaign season.” The annual campaign, which kicks off this fall, raises money to fund better programs related to health, income and education to improve the Greater Portland community.

For Smith, this means organizing everything from raffle tickets to pledge cards and posters. She is also securing permits to hang United Way banners in the Portland area, as well as writing electronic newsletters for the organization.

“Every day is different, and that keeps it exciting to say the least,” said Smith, who has a background in journalism and mass communications.

Smith is also an insightful, respected member of PROPEL, Maine Public Relations Council and the Maine Red Claw’s Young Leaders Group. She is the public relations vice president of the board of directors for the Junior League of Portland.


Aiding Aroostook businesswomen

Whether they are massage therapists, cloth diaper vendors, veterinarians or chefs, Mainers in Aroostook County can seek counsel from Erica Quin-Easter about how to get their small businesses off the ground.

Quin-Easter, 34, is the micro-enterprise coordinator at the Preque Isle Center for Women, Work and Community. Since 2008, she has provided nearly 500 small businesses with everything from group training to one-on-one technical support.

“Our primary focus is women, as a strategy to help women and their families achieve economic success,” said Quin-Easter.

Quin-Easter said her background is in fundraising and development for nonprofits, but she “jumped the fence to business” when she began at the center three years ago. She said she loves teaching and empowering others to develop the skills that make a successful business.

“There’s never a dull moment,” she said.

The daughter of a piano teacher, Quin-Easter has also performed and composed vocal music for years. A recent collaboration between Quin-Easter and two poets from Arizona, “(F)light: a borderlands song cycle,” was funded by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission and performed in Portland this spring by Women in Harmony.

Quin-Easter, the Maine Small Business Association 2011 Women in Business Champion, is currently pursuing a doctorate in Canadian-American history. She and her wife, Kate, live on a 20-acre horse farm in Caribou.


Attorney for intellectual property

Chelsea Callanan, 27, a business and intellectual property attorney, works with writers, designers, artists, photographers and others in the entertainment and technology sectors to protect their inventions, creations and trade secrets.

Callanan said she prides herself on educating and empowering people.

“We make sure from day one there’s a protection strategy in place for anything they might create, manage or license,” she said.

She also strives to make access to legal counsel affordable to all clients. Callanan serves on the board of the Maine Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, run by her husband, Zeke Callanan. The organization provides counsel and referral services for artists. Lawyers donate their time to offer consultations to low-income artists for a reduced fee.

“We want to create a dialogue where clients aren’t afraid they’ll be charged for every breath,” said Callanan.

In her spare time this year, while also planning her wedding earlier this summer, Callanan teamed up with her sister, a massage therapist, to enter Lewiston Economic Growth Counsel’s first $100,000 contest for young entrepreneurs. Their business plan for a massage therapy center won the prize, and Callanan is now coordinating the finances for “Lifestyles Massage Inc.,” which will open in Auburn this fall.


Working for Maine Preservation

Robert O’Brien, a Maine native, doesn’t just enjoy the quality of life in his home state. He also gives back to it.

When he isn’t working at Maine Preservation, a historic heritage protection organization, he is active in local politics and serves on various committees dedicated to improving the Portland community.

At Maine Preservation, O’Brien strives to protect historic real estate, from residential houses to commercial mills. “These historic buildings are very much the brand of our Main Streets, working landscapes, and neighborhoods,” he said, “They make Maine unique. That brand is what we all call home.”

O’Brien served most recently on the Portland Charter Commission, which ultimately recommended reinstating Portland’s elected mayor. O’Brien said he hopes the new mayor will be able to bring vision to City Hall and encourage smart growth in Portland.

O’Brien was elected to Portland’s school board in 2006. He chaired the policy committee before participating in the Facilities Task Force and then the Finance Committee.

He was also the president of the West End Neighborhood Association in 2006 and is proud to have organized the first Commercial Street parade in Portland for St. Patrick’s Day in 2005.

O’Brien enjoys spending time with his young family and restoring their historic home.


Doctor of developmental disorders

Matthew Siegel, M.D., is committed to improving the level of care for children with developmental disorders.

He moved to Maine in 2008, following a triple board residency at Brown University, to join the team at Spring Harbor Hospital.

Siegel, 39, said he became interested in pediatrics during medical school at Stanford.

“It seemed the earlier you intervened, the more chance you had of affecting the long-term outcome,” he said. “Working with kids, there’s always hope and opportunity for improvement.”

At Spring Harbor, Siegel leads a team of psychiatrists, social workers, speech therapists and special education teachers. He does everything from examining and working with patients to conducting research on autism and designing long-term strategies for the developmental disorders program.

He is currently fundraising to build a special playground for autistic children and recently co-authored a new national practice guideline for child psychiatrists on the treatment of autism.

Originally from Chicago, Siegel enjoys running, hiking, reading and spending time with his family.

Staff Writer Sophie Gould can be contacted at 791-6354 or at:

[email protected]