PRESQUE ISLE — A Caribou restauranteur is the 2018 Aroostook Entrepreneur of the Year. Michelle Hanson of Frederick’s Southside and Mascoto’s restaurants received the award from the Aroostook Partnership at a banquet held Thursday, May 24, at Northern Maine Community College.
Finishing as the first runner-up was Scott Nash and Alan Nash-Pelletier of Orchids restaurant in Madawaska, and the second runner-up was Michelle Hersey of County Environmental Engineering in Caribou.
Hanson received a plaque and $1,000 award. Nash and Nash-Pelletier received a $500 check and Hersey received $250.
This is the second time in two years Hanson has been honored. In 2016, she was named the Small Business Administration Woman Owned Small Business of the Year for Maine.
Hanson was already a successful entrepreneur with her Frederick’s Southside restaurant, but according to Dave Spooner of Northern Maine Development Commission, who nominated her, “Hanson’s entrepreneurial spirit outweighed the risk and she and her partner Scott Doody are helping to revitalize a section of the downtown.”
The start-up venture is creating 12-15 part-time jobs in Caribou.
Aroostook Partnership President Bob Dorsey, who also served as one of eight judges in the competition, said ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ is important to the region’s economy, as highlighting entrepreneurial success encourages future generations to take the plunge and pursue the business world.
“This year we had many nominees that were new start-ups or expanding businesses and that is exactly what is needed to help our economy grow,” said Dorsey. “I really hope by highlighting these successful entrepreneurs that more folks will get the urge to start their own business.”
The other finalists were Pierre and Donna Dubay of Cove Corner Kennels; Paul Morgan of Dodo’s Market and Access 89 Pub; First Mile Brewery’s Travis Jandreau, David Saucier, Travis Guy, Rod Lahren and Matt Deprey; Loryn Moran of House of Handsome, Interior Accent’s Tina Boucher; Rick and Cassie Daigle of Too Far North Fitness; and Jim Bell of Wired Houlton.
Also, at the event, the second ever Vanguard Award, saluting an established entrepreneur who has contributed to economic development in Aroostook County, was presented to Lois Dickson of TEMPO Employment. Dickson purchased TEMPO in 1996 after managing the company for four years. She has been instrumental in serving County business employment needs and employs about 400 employees every year. Many of her ‘temporary’ employees have found permanent jobs as a result of their experience working for TEMPO.
Previous ‘Entrpreneur of the Year’ winners include David Harbison of Bison Pumps in Houlton, Matt Bell of Northeast Pellets in Ashland, Northern Maine Distilling’s Jessica Jewell and Scott Galbiati (formerly of Houlton), Troy Haney of Haney Building Specialties in Caribou, Corey LaPlante of Northern Prosthetics in Presque Isle, Josh McLaughlin of J. McLaughlin Construction in Houlton, the Buck Family of Mapleton for the Maine Malt House and last year’s winner Josh Rich, of JL Rich Timber Harvesting in Fort Kent.
Aroostook Partnership, a nonprofit corporation, is a private-public partnership. AP focuses on the economy, jobs, image, promoting new and existing businesses, natural resources and legislation. The Partnership is dedicated to aggressive economic development for the region.