AROOSTOOK COUNTY - From a field of 12 nominees, three finalists have been selected for the 2015 Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year award sponsored by LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development, Momentum Aroostook, University of Maine Fort Kent, Northern Maine Community College, University of Maine Presque Isle and Husson University.
There is a slight twist to the competition this year. The finalists are not being announced until the awards dinner later this month at the Northern Maine Community College.
"The committee concluded its work and once again it was a very smooth process," said LEAD Executive Director Ryan Pelletier. "The committee unanimously selected their choices for second and first runners-up, and the winner. The committee would like to withhold the names of the top three and simply invite all 12 nominees to this year's event with the names being announced only that night. The committee feels this will draw more participation to the event and also keep the suspense going for all deserving nominees."
The nominees are: Andrew Birden of Fort Kent (Fiddlehead Focus), Jenny Gagnon of Frenchville (Avon Consultant), Andrew Marquis of St. Agatha (Marquis Tree Works), Joshua McLaughlin of Houlton (J. McLaughlin Construction LLC), Joe and Greg Hedrich of Presque Isle (Northeastland Hotel, Bonanza Restaurant and Town and Country Apartments), Mark and Dale Chamberland of St. Agatha (R.F. Chamberland), Dave DeMerchant of Presque Isle (Rosella's Restaurant and Northeast Trophy and Norogala Show Ribbons), Jonathan Kelley of Presque Isle (CompetitorME), Amy Murphy of Presque Isle (Amy's Flowers), Patrick Vaillancourt of Van Buren (Northern Turf Management), Brian Plavnick of Caribou (G-Force Laser Tag) and Ricky Nadeau of Madawaska (County Connection Pub and Nightclub).
A panel of six judges, representing LEAD and the supporting organizations, Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the 2014 Aroostook Entrepreneur winner Cory LaPlante of Northern Prosthetics and Orthotics, selected the 2015 finalists.
"I have been a judge for this award for a number of years and each year I always look forward to reading the nominations because they never fail to provide great insight into the exceptional quality of hard work, ingenuity and entrepreneurialism in Aroostook County," said Scott Voisine, UMFK Dean of Community Education.
"This event truly celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in Aroostook County," added Pelletier.
The nominees, finalists and winner will be celebrated May 28 at the Edmunds Conference Center at NMCC. Prior to the meal and program, a social hour with hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. May 22. To register, contact Judy Dinsmore at Northern Maine Development Commission, 498-8736 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.