Denise Taaffe '78
Baker Newman & Noyes, LLC.
Denise is an audit principal with the public accounting and consulting firm of Baker Newman & Noyes, LLC. In addition to serving clients, Denise leads the firm’s audit practice as its Director. She provides accounting, auditing and consulting services to companies in northern New England primarily in the financial services sectors, including commercial enterprises and governmental finance agencies, as well as employee benefit plans.
She began her career in public accounting with the international firm of KPMG and named a partner at KPMG prior to becoming a founding principal of Baker Newman Noyes in January 1995.
Denise is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, where she earned a degree in Accounting. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Denise is a member of the USM Business Advisory Council. She is also a board member and Treasurer of the Girl Scouts of Maine, a member of the Susan Curtis Foundation advisors board, having previously served as president and treasurer.
Tony Payne is the Business Development Director for Clark Insurance, an employee owned insurance agency headquartered in Portland, Maine. He is the former executive director of the Alliance for Maine's Future, advocates for a strong Maine economy. Before joining the Alliance, he served as vice president of underwriting and marketing with Maine Employers' Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) and later, as New England Region vice president of communications for OneBeacon Insurance, the state's two largest insurance companies for independent agents. He also was president of Maine Media, an advertising, market research, and public relations company. Tony has been involved in civic affairs for more than 30 years including service as the chairman of the board of the Institute for Civic Leadership. Tony is a graduate of Cheverus High School and Hobart College where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science. He is a native of Portland and a resident of Falmouth where he and his wife are raising three boys.
Bill has worked at Oakhurst Dairy for forty years. He started by working summers on retail delivery routes (door to door), as well as in the Production Department. After spending some time working as a Store Merchandiser (called a packer in those days), Bill worked in the Shipping Department, first as the Lisbon Depot Manager and then as an Assistant Shipping Manager in Portland. He then moved into the office to help administer personnel, safety and benefit areas of the business. In 1983 he became Vice President and in 1993 he was made Vice President of Operations. In 2006 he became Executive Vice President and COO. In 2010 he took over the role of President and CEO. Upon his brother Stanley’s passing, Bill was appointed President, CEO and Chairman of the Board. With John Bennett and Tom Brigham being elected Co-Presidents of the company, Bill is relinquishing the day to day management of the company. Over the years Bill has helped make our family business the successful organization it is today. He has scrutinized every aspect of our operations and helped develop strategies for continuous improvement of quality and efficiency. Whether it is better or more efficient ways to make our products, innovative methods for getting them to market faster, or new ideas for making Oakhurst a safer and better place to work, Bill has and will continue in his new role to make sure that we are always improving.
He is the former Chairperson and currently a board member of the Portland Salvation Army Advisory Board. He has served on the board of the Greater Portland V Workers’ Compensation Trust for almost twenty years and is currently a member of the University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Maine, Orono. Bill lives on Little Sebago Lake in Windham with his wife Susan. They have two grown children, Aaron and Lea.
Mark H. C. Bessire
Director, Portland Museum of Art
Mark H. C. Bessire became Director of the Portland Museum of Art on March 1, 2009. Previously, Bessire was the Director of the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine where he initiated a Collections Project Series, worked with departments to create cross-disciplinary exhibitions through a Synergy Fund, exhibited Chinese art to support Bates’s strong Asian Studies Program, and strengthened the Friends of the Museum program. At Bates, he was also a lecturer in the Humanities and Chair of the Committee on Public Art. As the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine from 1998 to 2003, he organized many exhibitions there, including The Photography of Ike Ude and Eracism: William Pope.L, which traveled nationally and was accompanied by an MIT Press Publication.
Bessire holds a M.B.A. from Columbia University, a M.A. in art history from Hunter College, and a B.A. from New York University. He was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of Art and a Fulbright Fellow in Tanzania. He has published widely, including three books with MIT Press, has organized numerous traveling exhibitions, and has participated on national art juries. He is active in local, community, and national public art programs and also lectures on museum studies.
Bessire is a founding board member of the non-profit organization Africa Schoolhouse, which is dedicated to building schools in rural Africa. He is a member of the Maine Arts Commission, the Board of Advisors at SPACE Gallery, and the University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors. He resides with his family in Portland.
Robert S. Blackwood, Jr. '78, '82 (Accounting and M.B.A)
A native of South Portland, Maine, Bob Blackwood received an M.B.A. in 1978 and a Bachelor of Science in accounting in 1982 from the University of Southern Maine. Prior to earning his USM degrees, Bob graduated from Bowdoin College in 1969 with a BA in history.
Bob served five years in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of captain. He spent most of his time in the Army in the Special Forces stationed in Thailand and Germany. After leaving the military Blackwood returned to Maine in 1974.
His professional life was in the banking industry in Portland, Lewiston/Auburn, and Bangor with a focus on commercial lending. Bob retired in 2009 as an SVP at Norway Savings Bank.
Bob currently serves as the Chair of the USM Alumni Board in additional to serving on USM’s Athletic Development Council. His extensive university advocacy includes current service on the USM Board of Visitors and prior Alumni Association Board of Directors, including terms as chairman/president respectively. He has worked on the USM Annual Fund campaign, USM's 21st Century Campaign for Excellence, and the Alumni Skywalk for the Joel and Linda Abromson Community Education Center. Currently, he is involved in completing fund raising for the new all-weather turf athletic field and stadium. He was the founding chair of the USM Advocacy Steering Committee. Bob and his wife Jill, also an alum, endow a scholarship at USM for graduates of South Portland High School.
In 2011, Bob was awarded USM’s Distinguished Achievement Award at Commencement recognizing Bob’s extensive commitment to the university. Previously, Bob was a recipient of the Alumni Association’s Hilltop Award.
Bob and his wife, Jill, reside in South Portland. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Maria is the Director of Professional Services and Software Solutions at Systems Engineering providing business process analysis, customer experience evaluation and design, and software
development services to local and regional businesses.
Prior to joining Systems Engineering last fall, Maria worked at IDEXX Laboratories as a marketing executive, and was a Strategic Principal at VIA, a full service marketing agency headquartered in Portland. Maria moved to Portland in 1996 to found Propel Technologies, after starting her career at Intel and Silicon Graphics in Silicon Valley. Maria is an active supporter of the Arts in Portland. She serves on the Advisory Board of Portland Ovations and has served on the Board of Directors for Port Opera and the Atlantic Chamber Orchestra. Maria was a past supporter of USM's School of Music, serving on the Annual Scholarship Gala host committee. Maria is also very active in the local sailing community and serves on the Board of Directors of the Portland Yacht Club.
Maria lives in Cape Elizabeth with her two young daughters, Lidiya and Katya.
Roxane founded the firm Roxane Cole Commercial Real Estate LLC in February 2010. Previously, she was co-owner of a leading Portland commercial brokerage firm where she was a broker for 23 years. Prior to brokerage, she entered the business as a commercial property manager—responsible for office and retail properties and condominium projects. At age twenty-five she founded and co-owned a chain of retail stores and a mail-order business that she sold prior to entering the field of commercial real estate.
After graduating from the University of Maine at Orono, she taught school and dabbled in several entrepreneurial ventures.
Roxane is a Certified Commercial Investment Member, CCIM, having completed the curriculum and professional-experience requirements for the prestigious international designation held by only six percent of commercial real estate professionals nationally.
She is the recipient of the 1999 Commercial Broker of the Year Award from the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors and is a 2002 recipient of YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award. She received the 2009 Public Policy award from the Maine Real Estate and Development Association.
Roxane is Past President of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, is past Chair of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce and served as president of the Portland Rotary Club. Roxane is a founding board member of the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors and a founding board member of the University of Southern Maine Foundation.
Lisa became Executive Director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in November of 2010. Originally from Edina, Minnesota, Lisa was the Chief Operating Officer of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Prior to moving to Memphis in 2006, she completed an executive level orchestra leadership program through the League of American Orchestras. This intensive one-year fellowship program included residencies with the Boston Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. Lisa has also worked with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, and the Rochester Philharmonic in a variety of administrative capacities. Lisa graduated from the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY) in clarinet performance and music education, and also received an Arts Leadership Program Certificate.
The Baker Company, Inc.
Dennis Eagleson has worked with The Baker Company, Inc. for 45 years. He now serves as the CEO and Board Chair of the company in Sanford, Maine. The Baker Company, Inc. is a family owned and operated laboratory equipment manufacturer, specializing in design and fabrication of Biological Safety Cabinets used in the Biomedical research and health care industries.
Dennis is chair and President of the John M. Eagleson Jr. Institute: a non-profit corporation with a mission to promote the principals and practices of laboratory safety. He is a member of the Laboratory Products Association, where he previously served on the Board of Directors, as well as a member of the American Biological Safety Association and the Glove Box Society of America.
Dennis is active in many community organizations. He has held positions with the Board of Directors of Goodall Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine. Dennis served on United Way of York County’s Board of Directors and is a recipient of the Kitteridge award. He is a past Chairman of Sanford-Springvale Chamber of Commerce and the University of Southern Maine’s ASET Advisory Council. Dennis currently sits on the Board of Directors of Sweetser. He also served on the Board of Directors for Foundation for Blood Research a not-for-profit medical research, service and education institute in Scarborough, Maine.
Dennis is a 1967 graduate of Bates College with a B.A. in Economics. He grew up in Kennebunk, Maine and still resides there today.
Laura C. Foye '87
TD Bank, Group
Laura C. Foye has worked in the Southern Maine banking community since 1973. She joined TD Bank, Group in 2000 and is currently Regional Vice President in the Commercial Lending Group, servicing the Southern Maine Market.
Laura is currently the board chair of CEI Capital Management LLC and serves on the board of Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) and its Investment Committee. She also serves on the advisory board of PCA Great Performances. Laura graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a B.A. in accounting. She has two grown children; Jill and Greg, both graduates of University of Maine, Orono. She lives with her husband, Chip, in Cape Elizabeth.
Gray came to Portland in 1969 and took a job in the City of Portland’s Planning Office. He was the Director of the Portland's Model Cities program, Deputy Director of the Portland Renewal Authority and then Director of Planning and Urban Development prior to becoming the City Manager, a post he held for 10 years. He is most proud of the Shoreway Access Plan, which grew into a network of more than 50 miles of trails throughout the city. Gray is also proud of his role in overseeing the process to develop the Ocean Gateway cruise ship terminal and a deep-water berth for larger ships; the expansion of the Portland International Jetport; the development of a downtown arts district and preservation of the city's neighborhoods.
Gray has always been very supportive of University of Southern Maine and its initiatives particularly in relation to the Portland Campus and the contributions USM makes to the cultural and economic health of the city.
Clifton Greim, P.E.
Harriman, Architects + Engineers
Clifton Greim joined Harriman in 1981 and became an owner of the 76-person architecture and engineering firm in 1994. For three decades, he has led the firm’s mechanical engineering department and has designed mechanical systems for a wide range of projects including several on a national level. Clif has always had a special interest in sustainable design and has developed innovative and energy-efficient systems that incorporate leading-edge technology. He has designed numerous sustainable buildings including several LEED Registered and Certified projects.
Considered an expert in his field, Clif has lectured extensively about renovating and updating mechanical systems for energy efficiency. He has also authored numerous articles appearing in national magazines on similar topics including energy efficiency, commissioning, and air quality.
In 2008, Clif was named President and CEO of the 140-year-old firm. As President he is responsible for the strategic planning of the firm and implementation of the company’s vision.
Clif earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Maine at Orono. He is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council; the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Past President of the Maine Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and a member of the New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society.
Valerie R. Landry
Landry & Associates
Valerie Landry has more than 20 years experience in senior executive positions in both the public and nonprofit sectors. She is the founder of Landry & Associates specializing in strategic planning and organizational development. Recent consulting work has included an emphasis on mergers and collaboration.
Prior to launching Landry & Associates, Valerie served as commissioner of labor under Maine Governor Angus King. During this period, Valerie led a comprehensive reorganization of workforce programs to improve public access and to strengthen the quality of services. Also, Valerie was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift to the MassPort Commission to make recommendations regarding the organizational structure of MassPort, which includes Logan Airport, after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Commission made sweeping recommendations regarding ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
Valerie also has held senior posts in the nonprofit sector and has served as an elected official at the municipal level. She serves on several Boards including the Greater Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Board of Visitors of the University of Southern Maine, GrowSmart Maine, and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.
Nancy Magee '82
Vice President IDI and LTC Benefits, UNUM
Nancy Magee became Vice President of IDI and LTC Benefits in June of 2012. Magee with over 28 years of experience in the insurance industry has held a variety of positions in the company over the years including positions in marketing, product development, underwriting, global services and claims operations.
Active in her community, Magee is a current member of the Board of Visitors, an Advisory Council to the President of the University of Southern Maine and a member of the Business Advisory Council of the University of Southern Maine.
Lisa Martin '88
Manufacturers Association of Maine
Lisa G. Martin is executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Maine and has over 20 years in economic, workforce and business development.
Lisa directs the association with emphasis on economic development, membership growth and liaisons with associations, government, business leaders, legislature and state and national agencies.
Lisa chairs the Precision Manufacturing Board at the Maine Technology Institute, is a member of the UM Advanced Manufacturing Center Board of Advisors, a member of the USM Board of Visitors and is an Alumni of the Maine Development Foundation’s Leadership Maine Mu Class.
Lisa holds a BA from University of Southern Maine, a Master of Science degree in Community Economic Development (CED) from New Hampshire College and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. Lisa lives in her home town of Portland.
Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce
Chip Morrison has been president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce since the fall of 1995. Prior to joining the Chamber he was city manager of Auburn and commissioner of the state Departments of Administration and Labor. He has a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Over the course of his career Chip has won several honors including the State of Maine Public Administrator of the Year, the Ken Curtis Leadership Award from the Maine Development Foundation, the Auburn Citizen of the Year, the Chamber Executive of the Year, and this year the Mainebiz CEO of the Year.
Chip is a resident of Auburn where he lives with his wife Jane. They have two grown children who graduated from Edward Little High School, went on to college and graduate school, and who are now in successful careers in the arts and medicine.
Mr. Laurenz Schmidt
Partner of FutureMetrics, LLC and FutureEnergy Partners
Mr. Schmidt served as Chief Technology Officer of Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. from May 2008 to January 2011. He served as Executive Vice President of Global Operations of Fairchild Semiconductor from February 2004 to May 2008 and Senior Vice President of Global Operations from October 2001 to February 2004. Mr. Schmidt has over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. He held various management positions over the preceding eight years, including Vice President of Wafer Fabrication Manufacturing, Vice President of Operations for Discrete Products Group and Managing Director of the South Portland, Maine wafer fabrication facility. Prior to joining Fairchild in 1983, he spent six years with Texas Instruments. He serves as a Director of Ocean Energy Institute.
MaineFab Manager, Texas Instruments
Education and Continuous Learning
University of Maine, BS Engineering Physics
USM, MS Electrical Engineering - Courses
MIT, Sloan School of Management, Technical Professional Management Series
Chris was promoted to lead the MaineFab site on April 2012.
With more than 31 years in the semiconductor industry, Chris has held a number of development and engineering roles with Texas Instruments, Fairchild and National Semiconductor. Most recently, Chris served as the Engineering Manager for the MaineFab Process Development organization. In this role, his group supported technology developments, qualifications and transfers, contributing significant revenue growth for the company.
Chris and his wife, Becky, live in Yarmouth. They have 3 children, all married, and one grandchild who resides in Falmouth.
Affiliated Organization Representatives
Todd Chamberlain, Chair, Ex Officio, USM Corporate Partners
Kelsea Dunham, Ex Officio, USM Student Body President
Elizabeth Hart, Chair, Ex Officio, USM Classified Staff Senate Representative
Amy Amico, Chair, Ex Officio, USM Professional Staff Senate Representative
Jerry LaSala, Chair, Ex Officio, USM Faculty Senate
Rick Vail '76, Ex Officio, Chair, USM Foundation Board
Bob Petitt, Advisory Member, Ex Officio, USM College of Science, Technology and Health