Women leaders named in state SBA awards

Pamela Laskey, founder of Maine Foodie Tours in Portland, received the U.S. Small Business Administration’s  Woman Owned Small Business of the Year Award for Maine for 2017.

In addition, the SBA announced that Ann Marie Swenson, senior vice president and regional manager of Business Banking at People’s United Bank, has received the SBA’s 2017 Financial Services Champion Award for Maine.

Maine Foodie Tours was founded in 2009 and has grown to more than 20 employees. The company features educational, entertaining and tasty tours showcasing local, sustainable foods and the rich culinary artistry and entrepreneurial talent in Maine. Maine Foodie Tours works with restaurant owners, chefs, bakers, chocolatiers, fish handlers, brewers and others.

Laskey and Swensen will be honored at the 2017 SBA Small Business Awards Celebration on May 15, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport.

“The story of Pamela Laskey and Maine Foodie Tours perfectly illustrates the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity necessary to start and grow a thriving business in Maine,” said SBA’s Maine District Director Amy K. Bassett.

“I am very honored to receive this award from the SBA,” said Laskey.

Laskey was nominated by Nancy Strojny, Chapter chairwoman of the Portland Chapter of SCORE. “I have benefited from SBA programs like SCORE ever since I started the business in 2009,” Laskey said.

In addition to serving as senior vice president and regional manager of Business Banking at People’s United Bank, Swenson serves as a co-mentor at the Portland chapter of SCORE, is treasurer of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, a member of the steering committee for House of Genius, and supports various statewide economic development programs.

“Swenson has demonstrated a willingness to continually go above and beyond in her support of small businesses here in Maine,” said Amy Bassett, SBA District Director for Maine.

Summer season sees new GM on Chebeague

Chebeague Island Inn announces the appointment of Jason Schlosser as general manager effective immediately. Schlosser oversees all operations at the Inn, including sales and marketing, food and beverage, accommodations, on site activities, and assuring a pleasant and memorable stay for guests and group clientele.

“Not only is Jason an experienced and savvy hotelier, but is also extremely well-versed in Maine’s bustling hospitality scene,” said Casey Prentice, president of Prentice Hospitality Group, owner of Chebeague Island Inn. “We’re excited to have him on board managing our premier property on Chebeague Island for the 2017 summer season.”

Bringing a wealth of experience, Schlosser arrived at Chebeague Island Inn from TurnKey Vacation Rentals, where he oversaw local markets, including Kennebunkport, Portland and Sugarloaf. Previously, Schlosser launched the Maine market for the vacation rental company Vacasa; managed Newagen Seaside Inn in Southport, where he led a property-wide renovation; and was director of sales for Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa in Boothbay Harbor. Schlosser got his start in hospitality at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

A native of Akron, Ohio, who has called Maine home since 1996, Schlosser resides in Boothbay Harbor with his wife and two children.

MMC unveils ‘Tree of Life’

In conjunction with National Donate Life month in April, Maine Medical Center dedicated the “Tree of Life,” a new sculpture at the hospital’s main entrance. The tree depicts growth and represents life that is given to another through the donation of an organ or tissue. It was created in the memory of C.J. Twomey, an organ donor who passed away in 2010. Maine Medical Center is recognized as a leader among New England hospitals in the number of organ donations each year.

New Ventures

Nicola Manganello, owner of Nicola’s Home in Yarmouth, Annie Stickney of Annie Stickney Design, and Bronwyn Huffard of Huffard House, both in Cape Elizabeth, were among a dozen interior designers to design tents at Sandy Pines Campground. The Kennebunkport camping destination offers resort-level amenities, including an opportunity for campers to sleep under the stars in a professionally decorated and outfitted safari tent.

Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution has opened its first Portland location and its new Business Banking Office at 136 Commercial St.


Top Gun Entrepreneur Joan Drappeau has been selected as the recipient of the Victoria Hilliard Donovan Award, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development announced. The award is meant to encourage women entrepreneurs. Drappeau is the co-founder of Codeweaving Inc., which is developing, Hover8, a promotional platform offering an innovative marketing channel for e-commerce. This patent-pending channel allows marketers a quick, easy choice to interactively display products, attach stories, videos and shape their image and brand recognition.

Tilson President and CEO Joshua Broder has been named a Top Young Professional in New England by Engineering News-Record, the magazine of record for stakeholders in the commercial engineering and construction industries since 1917. Broder, a former U.S. Army Signal Officer, is one of nine professionals in New England who will be recognized in the July 24-31 issue of ENR New England for their model leadership, community service, and contributions to the industry before age 40.


Pamela Laskey, founder of Maine Foodie Tours in Portland, will be recognized as the Woman Owned Small Business of the Year at the 2017 SBA Small Business Awards Celebration on May 15 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport.