PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has nominated the head of his economic development “account executives” team to lead the Maine Technology Institute, six months after he fired its previous president.
LePage’s office confirmed in a news release Friday that he will ask the Maine Senate to make Brian Whitney, a manager at the Department of Economic and Community Development, the next MTI president. Whitney has served as the acting director of the agency since August 2014, where he was authorized to signed grant and loan awards from the state-funded nonprofit.
“I am eager to continue to work with MTI’s exceptional staff and board to more fully leverage MTI’s capabilities,” Whitney said in a prepared statement.
He said in an email that MTI will set up “key performance indicators” for measuring its effect on the state’s economy and to guide the organization’s work.
In nominating Whitney, LePage reiterated a previous stance that he wants MTI to focus on technologies that have the potential to be sold commercially.
“We are looking forward to focusing on helping to create long-term jobs not only through research and development, but also by concentrating on commercialization,” LePage said.
The institute started in 1999 and gives funding to early-stage companies in specific technology sectors.
Since 2000, MTI has funded 1,295 technology projects in Maine, “a financial commitment of $106 million that has leveraged over $173 million in additional funding for a total of $280 million,” according to its website.
Before serving as the director of business development and innovation at the Department of Economic and Community Development, Whitney was director of outreach and economic development for Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and a business development specialist with the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Whitney’s nomination will go before the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee, the State Senate and then to MTI’s 15-member board of directors for final approval.