You wouldn’t expect a global company that serves the neuroscience community to be headquartered in rural Maine. And you wouldn’t expect that company to provide a daycare facility and community gym right on-site. And you wouldn’t expect the owner of such a company to eschew the let’s-position-the-company-to-go-public-or-be-bought-out-so-we-can-make-millions mindset of today’s entrepreneurs.

Brunswick resident Fred Haer, President and CEO of FHC in Bowdoin, Maine, is not your ordinary executive — or citizen. A native of the midwest, Fred and Jill Haer founded FHC.Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1970 and moved the company to Maine in 1977. The company was headquartered on sites in Brunswick and Bowdoinham until 2003, when the decision was made to move to Bowdoin on the site of the Bowdoin Central School.

According to the company website, “FHC products are used in therapies such as deep brain stimulation, ablation, resection and for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, Dystonia, and Essential Tremor. With products varying from consumables to complete systems, FHC presents a complete catalog of customizable cost-effective solutions for clinical and research setting.”

In addition to manufacturing state-of-the-art products, FHC offers an unusual work environment. Employees and area citizens can put their children in the on-site, company-run daycare center; moreover they can use the gym, a carryover from the Bowdoin Central School. Fred, himself, still suits up to play rousing basketball games against FHC employees, most of whom are many years younger.

Fred Haer’s commitment to his company and his employees extends to his passion for the environment. My friend Tom Settlemire, a local environmentalist who introduced me to Fred, says, “I’ve known Fred since he moved to Maine. He’s always believed in conserving the environment and to making sure that citizens have access to public lands.”

Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, is most appreciative of all that Fred Haer has done for the environment and for the local community. “Fred Haer is one of the most generous and humble people I have had the pleasure of getting to know through my work at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. He and his wife Jill quietly do so much for so many in our community: from perennially sponsoring youth sports teams, food pantries, art centers, fire departments, schools, and so much more Fred and his wife Jill also have generously supported to the work of the Land Trust and have especially helped with our focused work over the last decade to conserve land along the Cathance River in Topsham and Bowdoin. Their generous philanthropy has made the conservation of more than 1,000 acres along this special river possible as well as the construction of public trails to get the people out on the land and enjoying this extraordinary river. We are so lucky to have Fred Haer in our community.”

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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