New leader of Salt announced

Annie Avilés has been selected as the new chairwoman of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Maine College of Art announced late last month. Avilés brings with her a wealth of experience telling in-depth stories for national and international media outlet

Dean Ian Anderson, MECA’s vice president of Academic Affairs said, “Annie has an unusual combination of skills – as a writer, journalist, radio producer, and teacher – that makes her uniquely positioned to lead Salt. Annie, in collaboration with all of us at MECA, will provide the vision for Salt’s future, ensure the excellence of our graduate certificate in documentary studies, and teach the next generation of documentarians …”

Since 1973, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies has taught students from all over the art of storytelling. A year ago, Salt formally became part of MECA.

Avilés spent much of her career in South America, working as a foreign correspondent for NPR and PRI’s The World, and as a contributing editor at an award-winning podcast. She’s also held positions as a fellow in investigative reporting at UC Berkeley, as a visiting scholar at NYU, and as managing editor of the Life of the Law podcast. In addition to her work in radio, Annie’s long form nonfiction is published by Harper’s Magazine, Smithsonian, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She previously taught at Boston University, Salt, USM, and UC Berkeley.

Holy Donut owner SBA person of the year 

Leigh Kellis, owner of The Holy Donut, was named the Small Business Person of the Year for Maine by the Small Business Administration.

The Holy Donut is a donut shop specializing in potato-based donuts, with two locations in Portland and one in Scarborough. The business also sells its donuts wholesale to Whole Foods and Coffee by Design. Kellis was selected based on the continued growth of her business and the contributions she has made to the local community.

“Small Business Week provides SBA with the opportunity to celebrate the achievements and successes of a number of deserving small business owners,” said SBA’s Maine District Director, Amy K. Bassett. “The story of Leigh Kellis and The Holy Donut perfectly illustrates the entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity necessary to start and grow a thriving business in Maine.”

Kellis will compete with the nation’s top small businesses for the honor of National Small Business Person of the Year during the SBA’s National Small Business Week celebration, April 30 to May 1. The winner will be selected from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. 

The Maine District Office of the Small Business Administration will recognize Kellis and the other 2017 Maine Small Business Award recipients at a May 15 presentation at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport.

Other local award winners to be recognized include: 

  • Maine and New England Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year, Joshua Broder, Tilson Technology Management, LLC of Portland
  • Maine Small Business Exporter of the Year, James Banfield and Terra Speakers of Brunswick
  • Maine Woman Owned Small Business of the Year, Pamela Laskey, Maine Foodie Tours of Portland
  • Maine Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, Devin McNeill and Charles Friedman, Flowfold of Scarborough
  • Maine Minority Owned Small Business of the Year, Naima Abdirhmon. ARWO Learning Center, LLC of Portland
  • Maine Financial Services Champion of the Year, Ann Marie Swenson, People’s United Bank

Hires, promotions, appointments

Portland Museum of Art announced that Nat May, a Cape Elizabeth native, is the guest curator for the 2018 Portland Museum of Art Biennial. May has been the executive director of SPACE Gallery, one of the state’s leading venues for contemporary, emerging, and unconventional artists, for 13 years, and will bring together work from living artists with connections to the state for the exhibition. The Biennial opens Jan. 26, 2018.

Joseph D. Leland, who joined Norway Savings Bank in 2012 as a teller before working his way to assistant branch manager of the Scarborough office in January 2015, was promoted to branch manager of the Falmouth office. In his new role Leland is responsible for business development of the Falmouth market, with a focus on helping customers finance a new home.

RE/MAX Shoreline welcomed Carolyn Willard to its Portland office and mentorship program. Willard came to RE/MAX Shoreline with over 20 years of sales experience in hotel sales, hospitality, and event planning.


Joshua Berry, of Union Restaurant in the Press Hotel in downtown Portland, was chosen as Chef of the Year by The Maine Restaurant Association on March 28. According to a prepared announcement, Berry made Union Restaurant “a go-to spot on the Portland dining scene. He is noted for his creative menu served in a beautiful and elegant setting.”

Portland nonprofit The Telling Room presented Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, with its Red Buoy Award on April 6. The annual award is given to those who make a positive impact on Portland’s arts community and help prepare Maine youth for success.

Annie Aviles is the new chairwoman of Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland. Aviles spent most of her career in South America, working as a foreign correspondent for NPR and PRI’s The World.

LelandMayState Rep. Dale Denno, D-Cumberland, left, with Cumberland physician Romeo Lucas, who was the doctor of the day at the State House March 28. Since 1996, a physician has been present for each day of the legislative session in the event of a medical emergency. Kellis