The importance of technology in the future of the Maine economy is the subject of a new webinar co-hosted by IDEXX Laboratories founder David Shaw and USM President Glenn Cummings.
The one-hour video features an extraordinary panel of leaders, including engineer and Ethernet co-inventor Bob Metcalfe, software pioneer Bob Neveu, FocusMaine President Kim Hamilton, Maine State Economist Amanda Rector, Ovation co-founder and CEO Barry Wark and Dr. Edison Liu, the president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory.
It is titled “Maine Tech Economy at the Bicentennial.” It is free and available online.
“We’re delighted that David has assembled a group of amazingly accomplished and innovative entrepreneurs and thought leaders from throughout Maine and beyond,” Cummings said.
The wide-ranging discussion covers topics from the need to cultivate education and talent here in Maine to the wide variety of technologies available to Maine entrepreneurs and the ways that Maine’s culture and environment encourage business growth and sustainability.
"In many ways, I see Maine as a strategic advantage to us,” said Nevue, who highlighted his companies’ investment in people. “We end up with a workforce that is extremely pleased and happy to be on board in a tech company, and they’re beholden to the organization. People tend to stay with you.
“Today, the competition for talent is starting to heat up here in Maine, which is good,” he said.
As Maine's tech economy continues to grow, the state will need schools like USM to help provide education and research, said Shaw, an alumnus who earned his M.B.A. at USM in 1976. He founded IDEXX Laboratories in 1983 and served as its CEO until 2002.
“I think we’re starting to get there in southern Maine. I think part of the critical mass is the USM campus,” Shaw said. “To really thrive, typically public entities create campus environments for high-tech entities.”
USM has several such creative spaces working with the business community, including the John Mitchell Center, where engineering programs are headquartered, and the Michael E. Dubyak Center for Digital Science & Innovation, Cummings said.
“We are trying to set up the creative spaces on our campuses with an entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re linking together our programs on business, engineering and digital science so that our young entrepreneurs can also learn business basics needed to achieve,” Cummings said.
The webinar also includes Shaw’s work as a filmmaker with the short film, “Maine’s Tech Economy at the Bicentennial.”
David Shaw abandoned other career plans and plunged into the adventurous and fulfilling world of tech entrepreneurship by founding IDEXX Laboratories in 1983. Inspired by entrepreneurship and the game-changing science of our times, he has now helped build more than a dozen science-based organizations that generate billions of dollars of annual value to benefit their stakeholders and communities, including Maine. He is the recipient of two degrees from the University of Southern Maine. He earned his M.B.A. from USM and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from USM in 2015.
Kim Hamilton is President of FocusMaine, a 10-year, private sector-led initiative to accelerate the creation of quality jobs in Maine by investing in three of our state’s most globally competitive and high-growth fields: agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceuticals. More specifically, FocusMaine focuses on traded jobs, which are created by selling Maine’s goods and services outside of the state and which have a job-multiplier effect in the local economy. Kim is also a member of the University of Southern Maine’s Board of Visitors.
Dr. Edison Liu is president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory and director of JAX’s NCI Designated Cancer Center. JAX is a biomedical research institution that seeks to decipher the biological and genomic causes of human disease using the mouse as a model. Organ and bone marrow transplants, stem cell therapies and in vitro fertilization all have a foundation in research that originated at The Jackson Laboratory. Among his many degrees, Dr. Liu holds an honorary doctorate of humane letters from USM, which he received, virtually, as part of our online commencement celebration on May 9 of this year.
Bob Metcalfe is an engineer and entrepreneur who was an internet pioneer of the 1970s and co-inventor of Ethernet, an accomplishment that garnered him many awards, including the IEEE Medal of Honor and National Medal of Technology and Innovation. He also co-founded 3Com, a multibillion-dollar networking company that is now part of Hewlett Packard.
He is the Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.
Bob Neveu has been involved in Maine tech start-ups for over two decades. He founded Certify, a pioneer in cloud-based expense management software, in 2008 and served as CEO until January of 2020. Certify began as a four-person start-up based in the Old Port, and today, the company is headquartered in Portland, and has approximately 150 employees in Maine, with 11 offices around the globe with 750 employees in total and a business valuation of $1.1B. Bob is currently managing director of OurPeople, a software startup that provides a mobile-first employee communication platform designed for businesses with hourly or desk-less workers.
Amanda Rector is the State Economist for Maine. In this role that she’s held since 2011, she conducts ongoing analysis of Maine's economic and demographic conditions to help inform policy decisions. She is also a member of the State of Maine’s Revenue Forecasting Committee and serves as the Governor’s liaison to the U. S. Census Bureau. Amanda earned her Master's in Public Policy and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service, here at the University of Southern Maine.
And finally, Barry Wark is the co-founder and CEO of Ovation, a clinical informatics company providing operations software and data tools for next-generation precision diagnostic labs. Committed to redefining the role of laboratory information in delivering precision medicine, Ovation is creating products that make it easier for labs to bring innovative tests to the patients that need them. Ovation’s flagship product, Ovation Diagnostic, is a cloud-based Laboratory Information Management System purpose-built for molecular diagnostics that scales to accommodate needs for sample tracking, client relations, electronic health record integrations, revenue cycle management, reporting, operational intelligence and results analytics.