Gov. Janet Mills, second from left in front, announced the four winners of the recipients of the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence last month in Augusta. Contributed

Governor’s Award for Business Excellence recipients announced

Gov. Janet Mills recognized four Maine businesses as recipients of the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence (GABE) at the Blaine House in Augusta on Dec. 18. Two of the four are local to southern Maine.

Rwanda Bean, located in South Portland, won the Welcome Home Award, which recognizes business excellence in Maine’s underrepresented business community. Owner Mike Mwendata operates two retail coffee shops in southern Maine and manufactures and distributes coffee products to customers throughout New England. Half of Rwanda Bean’s net profits are reinvested back into Rwandan farm communities.

Luke’s Lobster was bestowed with the Heritage Industry Award, which recognizes and celebrates business excellence in the forest industry, manufacturing sector or marine economy. The company has locations in Portland and St. George, with 38 global locations in total and also operates a lobster and crab processing facility in Saco. Luke’s Lobster launched two consumer packaged goods products at Whole Foods Market in late 2018, and also works closely with several lobster and fish cooperatives in Knox County to ensure that all seafood is 100 percent traceable.

Bigelow Brewing Company of Skowhegan was given the Rural Revitalization Award and CourseStorm in Orono was named the Innovation Award winner.

“With ingenuity and imagination, hard work and dedication, these four businesses are transforming communities across Maine into hubs of excellence where talented workers can get good-paying jobs and raise their families,” Mills said. “As we work to implement our state’s new strategic economic development plan and ensure Maine is known as a place of innovation and excellence, these businesses will serve as a model for economic success.”

Rebekah Sirois, industrial pretreatment supervisor at the Portland Water District, presents the 2019 Pretreatment Excellence Award award to Luke Truman, facilities manager at Allagash Brewing. Contributed

Allagash Brewing recognized for excellence

Allagash Brewing was recently recognized for its outstanding efforts in industrial wastewater pretreatment with the 2019 Pretreatment Excellence Award presented by the Maine Water Environment Association.

As with any industrial user connected to the Portland sewer system, Allagash’s wastewater has the potential to disrupt treatment and impact the quality of water being released into Casco Bay.

“Allagash does an outstanding job maintaining its facility and is committed to environmental excellence and complying with their industrial pretreatment permit,” according to a press release by the Portland Water District.

According to the release, brewery wastewater is a potential concern because it can be more concentrated than residential wastewater. Allagash uses a whirlpool to separate spent grain and a centrifuge to remove yeast following fermentation. These solids are side-streamed to local farmers for reuse. To address the challenge of pH fluctuation from the cleaners and sanitizers, Allagash operates an equalization tank with automated pH adjustment.