FAME recognizes business innovators and leaders

Steve Levesque, executive director of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, received a Lifetime Achievement Award when the Finance Authority of Maine presented awards to business, lending and higher education partners during a virtual event this month.

Levesque was recognized for years of service to economic development in Maine, both at MRRA and as former commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Levesque has been MRRA’s only executive director since the organization was formed in 2008. MRRA is nationally recognized for being one of the most successful military base re-use initiatives.

John Burns, longtime managing director of Maine Venture Fund, was also honored as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Burns led Maine Venture Fund for 20 years, growing it from a small, unknown organization tasked with investing in early-stage Maine companies to a cornerstone of the state’s innovation ecosystem.

Other local honorees included the joint winners of the Education at Work for Maine Award: Rosa Redonnett, associate vice chancellor for Student Success and Credential Attainment, University of Maine System; and Janet Sortor, vice president and chief academic officer of the Maine Community College System.

In addition, The Lender at Work for Maine Award for most increased partnership was given to Bath Savings in recognition of its partnership with FAME and commitment to Maine people and businesses.

FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that focuses on economic and educational development.

Hires, promotions, appointments


Dawn LaRochelle, a Harvard Law School graduate who most recently worked at the Center for Women and Enterprise, has been named the fourth executive director in Maine Jewish Museum’s history. Celebrating its bar mitzvah 13th birthday this year, the museum was founded to celebrate and honor the contributions and diversity of Maine’s Jewish immigrants in the context of the American experience.

Shoreline welcomes Dominic DePatsy as an agent in its Portland and Falmouth offices. Dominic’s real estate background includes property renovation, investment property purchases, sales and management, rental management, commercial property management, and commercial sales.
The John T. Gorman Foundation Board of Directors has named Nicole Witherbee as the foundation’s president and chief executive officer. In her 10th year with foundation, most recently as chief program officer, Witherbee replaces Tony Cipollone, who will retire Feb. 1.


Lucas Tree Experts announced the sale of its local lawn care and residential tree services division to Davey Tree, a residential tree services company with over 40 years of employee ownership. The sale will mean Lucas Tree Experts can focus on the utility services industry. Davey Tree is a national residential tree company that has a longstanding division in Maine. All 13 employees of Lucas Tree Experts’ lawncare and residential tree division have been offered and accepted positions with Davey Tree, which plans to honor their tenure and years of service. Financial terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Giving back

Meals were served to frontline health care workers over the New Year’s Day holiday by Town & Country Federal Credit Union to those working in the COVID units at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland and Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford. In doing so, the credit union also supported local businesses Sisters Gourmet Deli in Portland and The Deli and Company in Saco by partnering with them to have the meals prepared and delivered.