World Acadian Congress economic components discussed at NMDC Annual Meeting
ST. AGATHA - Don Guimond will again serve as chair of the Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) Executive Board for the new fiscal year. The Fort Kent town manager was nominated for a second term as chair during the NMDC annual meeting held Thursday, June 26, at the Lakeview Restaurant in St. Agatha.
Christy Sirois, Town Manager of St. Agatha, was selected vice chair, Christina Therrian, town manager of Madawaska, treasurer and Austin Bleess, city manager of Caribou, is secretary for 2014-15.
Also at the annual meeting, NMDC Executive Director Bob Clark presented the annual report for the organization. Clark highlighted a number of programs that directly benefited the residents of Aroostook and Washington counties.
"Last year in the Jobs Innovation and Acceleration Challenge grant NMDC provided tuition assistance for 40 people studying engineering and related fields," said Clark. "We had initially planned on 30, but interest in the program was so great we expanded the number to 40."
Part of the grant was to increase the number of renewable energy workers, specifically in the mechanical and electrical engineering, biological technicians and engineering manager fields.
Other highlights include:
- Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) assistance lead to more than $14-million dollars in federal and state contracts in Aroostook and Washington counties.
- The cooperative purchasing of salt saved 51 municipalities in the region more than $126,000.
- The Northern Maine Brownfields Initiative paid for 10 Phase 1 environmental site assessments and two Phase 2 assessments. The primary goal is the cleanup of properties for future economic development.
- Awarded $275,000 to boost domestic manufacturing, specifically to assist the Forest Products Industry Cluster.
Clark pointed out only a few examples and urged NMDC members to take the opportunity to review the annual report, which can be found on www.nmdc.org.
Guest speaker Leo-Paul Charest, Executive Director of the World Acadian Congress, updated the members of the latest with the event.
The World Acadian Congress is a major celebration of Acadian culture and history held every five years since 1994. In 2014 from Aug. 8-24, more than 300 activities, including more than 100 family reunions, should attract up to 50,000 visitors to northern Maine, northwest New Brunswick and Temiscouata County in the Province of Quebec. The estimated economic impact is $55-million, but organizers want to make sure the ripple effects last for many years after the congress closes.
"We want to continue past 2014 and leave the Acadia of the Lands and Forest territory with a lasting economic legacy," Charest said.