Biz Beat

Michael W. Aube

Katahdin, Bangor regions tied through history, future

By Michael W. Aube, Special to the BDN on April 21, 2011, at 8:46 p.m.
In the early 1820s, territory was cleared for farm land in the Katahdin region. It remained a silent, gentle and quiet set of family farms that grew into a small but vibrant region. The industrial revolution expanded throughout the successful new “Union” and all of Maine. The transportation of commodities …
Larry Wold

Simple steps help small businesses avoid stress

By Larry Wold, Maine Market president at TD Bank. on April 20, 2011, at 5:50 p.m.
The financial and emotional impact of the Great Recession has probably made many Maine small-business owners ask themselves, “Is owning a business even worth it anymore?” The answer can, and should be, “Absolutely!” According to the TD Small Business Happiness Index, a survey that examined the attitudes and behaviors of …

Touting tourism through technology

By Harold Daniel on April 15, 2011, at 8:49 p.m.
In an earlier column, Dean Ron Nykiel of Husson University highlighted the importance of Maine’s tourism and hospitality industry to the state as a tax revenue generator. He correctly identified the attraction of more out-of-state tourists and the money they spend as a major goal for the industry. We know …
Gigi Guyton

Women taking the helm in marine trades

By Gigi Guyton on April 14, 2011, at 12:46 p.m.
When we think of the work force along Maine’s coastline and marinas, it’s usually a male figure that comes to mind: salty lobstermen, guys working the docks and building boats. “I’ve been in the industry for 30 years. I can remember a time when I was an oddity,” says Susan …
Joshua Hayward

Inefficiencies around debt add up quickly

By Joshua Hayward on April 13, 2011, at 3:05 p.m.
It’s just a couple of hundred bucks on dinner. That was the defense line used by the executive director of the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, Robert Lenna, last Friday in a special board meeting where State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin questioned expenses incurred during the closing of a bond issue in …

Effecting change through effective, adaptive leadership

By James Shaffer on April 08, 2011, at 4:47 p.m.
Perhaps there is a leadership lesson for all of us as we watch Gov. Paul LePage struggle to set an appropriate tone for change. I’m reminded of water. As an object of resistance, water can be either hard or soft. Smack into it at high speed, as from jumping off …

Whoopie pies, murals and Maine’s economy

By Michael W. Aube on April 07, 2011, at 5:39 p.m.
The water cooler. Often a hub of office conversation, it is where colleagues gather and talk about things other than cash flow projections or marketing strategy. Typically, in March, water-cooler topics are almost exclusively related to NCAA basketball “bracketology.” This year in Maine, however, we’ve mixed it up a bit. …
Joshua Hayward

The Bangor arena – we love it, we love it not…

By Joshua Hayward on April 06, 2011, at 9:07 a.m.
Anyone that has listened to me on the radio in the past few years knows I am a fiscal hawk, which means I really dislike big government spending and the often “porkulus” ways of politicians – right or left. Unfortunately the Great American experiment of “taxation with representation” has not …

Airline PR seldom covers flight delays

By Russ Van Arsdale, executive director, Northeast CONTACT on April 03, 2011, at 5:32 p.m.
There’s a small category of humor involving airlines. A favorite involves the prelanding announcement: “Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than West Jet Airlines.” …

Keeping customers beyond service excellence

By Ronald A. Nykiel on April 01, 2011, at 8:40 p.m.
Be it Maine or Marrakech, staying in touch with your customers is necessary to achieve service excellence. In a marketplace rampant with cynicism, it is often necessary for even superior companies to reach beyond the excellence achieved by their point-of-encounter employees. For no matter how perfect the execution, there are …
Erica Quin-Easter

The Tax (Wo)man Cometh: Have No Fear

By Erica Quin-Easter on March 31, 2011, at 2:04 p.m.
The first time I prepared my own taxes, I was blissfully unaware of what a W-2 was – until the forms arrived a few weeks after I mailed my return, sporting numbers that didn’t quite match those I pulled from my pay stubs. Next skill learned: how to file an …
Joshua Hayward

Stripping politics from the math of debt

By Joshua Hayward on March 29, 2011, at 12:20 p.m.
Fellow Mainers, are you as frustrated and tired of political warfare taking precedence over our financial well-being as I am? It really comes down to simple math, tied up in complex politics and perhaps a sincere lack of understanding of the math by the people in political positions and by …

Hidden transaction fees boosting costs for consumers

By Russ Van Arsdale on March 27, 2011, at 5:41 p.m.
I don’t put bumper stickers on my car. If I did, the first one would say “Real Mainers Pay Cash.” The phrase captures an idea whose time has surely come. Hidden fees that fuel the plastic transaction industry are driving up costs for everyone, including small businesses that can hardly …

Making I-95 a Maine innovation highway

By Ivan Manev on March 25, 2011, at 5:43 p.m.
In his column last weekend, Dean James Shaffer of the University of Southern Maine wrote about the role of business clusters for stimulating innovation and economic development. As clusters are indeed very important, I would like to elaborate further on the theory behind them and how it relates to Maine. …
Michael W. Aube is President of Eastern Maine Development Corporation located in Bangor. He is a past Commissioner of Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development and former State Director of Maine USDA Rural Development.

Maine economic development that’s built to last

By Michael Aube on March 24, 2011, at 6:13 p.m.
Editor’s note: Michael Aube’s column will appear every other week in the Bangor Daily News’ Friday Business section and online at What is economic development? By definition, it’s “anything that can be done to stimulate the economy of any population.” Seems simple enough. It’s the deeper question of whose …
Joshua Hayward

What do massive stockpiles of corporate cash mean for Maine businesses?

By Joshua Hayward on March 22, 2011, at 11:45 a.m.
OK, my fellow Maine businessmen and businesswomen, here’s the deal on this one: the current buzz of “record levels of corporate cash” — the $1.9 trillion — which is being splashed about by financial media completely ignores the facts and is heavily skewed by the largest corporations. First of all, …

Wire scams all too common

By Russ Van Arsdale on March 20, 2011, at 6:06 p.m.
They’re all too common, and some can be heartbreaking. They’re stories of older citizens who open their hearts and their wallets and hand over money to people they’ve never met. All the while, they believe they’re helping a family member or someone else who’s truly in need. There were at …

Cluster together to expand Maine’s economy

By James Shaffer on March 18, 2011, at 11:23 p.m.
In his “The Deans of Business” column from March 4, Dean Ivan Manev of the University of Maine wrote about how Maine could best position itself to compete in a global economy. One of his suggested action steps was: “Target sectors in which Maine has good positions … and develop …

Half the sky: Women’s voices

By Eloise Vitelli on March 17, 2011, at 9:01 p.m.
Editor’s Note: The Women@Work column, written by the staff at the Maine Center for Women, Work and Community, is a new Bangor Daily News business feature appearing every other week. The story goes something like this: An elephant was walking through the forest and nearly stepped on a tiny hummingbird …

Inflation – what’s the real number and what’s the future?

By Joshua Hayward on March 16, 2011, at 6:03 p.m.
Is inflation hurting Maine people and businesses? Inflation is the overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy.  Normal citizens like you and me measure it on a personal level as we go to the gas pump, grocery store, or shopping. The federal government and its …