Making It Work is a live, interactive online series that brings together business leaders who are finding new ways to retain and generate revenue.

For many Maine businesses, the cost to ship product to the British Isles and Scandinavia is the same as trucking  goods to Virginia. That’s according to an analysis by the Maine Port Authority, which launched a first-pallet free program to tempt businesses thinking of exploring trade opportunities. The program comes at an interesting time: Maine has been investing millions in the International Marine Terminal as Icelandic shipper Eimskip increases its service to Europe, the Maritimes and even Asian markets. And a new administration means new U.S. trade policies. What could this mean for Maine business?

Discussion will be moderated by Business Projects Editor Carol Coultas.

On the panel:

Janine Bisaillon-Cary, Founder & President, Montserrat Group

Janine Bisaillon-Cary is President of Montserrat Group, LLC, an international consulting company providing business development and market entry strategies for growing companies, economic development groups and government entities.  She brings over 25 years of experience helping businesses expand in the U.S. and globally with a focus on advanced manufacturing, food processing, consumer goods, and life science sectors. Ms. Cary served as State Director of International Trade and President of the Maine International Trade Center (MITC) from 2006-2017 and Vice President 2001-06 where she worked on increasing Maine’s export development and international trade services. She initiated the state’s “Invest in Maine” foreign direct investment program leading business attraction efforts in Europe, Canada, Latin America, and Asia.

Ms. Cary serves as a board member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s District Export Council, the New England Canadian Business Council, and Bristol Seafood, LLC. She also manages the MarketShare food accelerator program at the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.  She holds a B.A. in Economics and French from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; a Certificate of French History and Literature from the Sorbonne University, and a Global Leaders Executive Education Certificate from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

Jon Nass, CEO, Maine Port Authority

Prior to joining the MPA, Jon was Deputy Commissioner at the Maine Department of Transportation. Jon worked as a senior policy advisor in the State of Maine Governor’s Office, collaborating with stakeholders on issues including transportation, education, emergency management, tax policy, and general government services. Jon served for seven years in the U.S. Congress, most recently as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security where he worked on restructuring the national intelligence apparatus and reform of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  He previously advised U.S. Senator Susan Collins on transportation, natural resources, and international trade matters. In 2008, Jon deployed to Iraq to serve on a U.S. Department of State Provincial Reconstruction Team as a field officer embedded in a U.S. Army infantry battalion operating in the city of Baqubah. While in Iraq, Jon also served as a rule of law advisor working with the Iraqi judiciary and the Diyala provincial council before returning to Maine in 2010. Jon received his Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America where he was a member of the Law Review. He majored in history and government at St. Lawrence University.

Wade Merritt, President, Maine International Trade Center

In 2017, Wade Merritt was appointed President of Maine International Trade Center and State Director of International Trade within the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development. In this role, he is responsible for the directing the trade and investment policy for the state, including the delivery of international trade services to Maine’s business and academic community.

His appointment is the culmination of 22 years at MITC, progressing up the organization from frontline staff to regional office director, followed by 11 years as Vice President. During his time, Wade has served Maine’s business community through the creation and development of several major subprograms including the Canada Desk and Invest in Maine, MITC’s investment attraction initiative. He also was the creator of MITC’s StudyMaine consortium, which promotes Maine’s secondary and post-secondary educational institutions to a global audience. During his time with MITC, he has organized multiple trade missions to 15 different markets on 4 continents.

As past president, Wade serves on the board of directors of SIDO, the national association of state trade offices, and has advocated for greater cooperation between state trade offices, the federal government, and small- and medium-sized businesses nationwide. For this work, Mr. Merritt was given the Distinguished Service to the States Award from the Council of State Governments in 2014.

A native of Bangor and graduate of the University of Maine, Wade recently completed a program on Nonprofit Leadership at Stanford University.

Brian Cote, National Sales Director, Bar Harbor Foods

Brian joined the firm founded by his father in 2016 and is now sales director for the premium, all natural seafood company that serves grocery and other food retail outlets. The Whiting-based company exports its upscale chowders, bisques and other products to markets in Mexico and Canada, Prior to joining Bar Harbor Foods, Brian was an account executive with BI Inc. an electronic monitoring services firm for six years, He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University.

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