Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

Working as an Industry Liaison for the North Star by wyf14327



Many thanks for including Thomaston Boat and Engine Works, Inc. in the considerations of the NSAI. As a
newcomer into the state and as a start up business in midcoast Maine, every little bit of help made all the
difference in the beginning getting started. Thomaston Boat was able to train two new employees who were
never involved in the Marine engine business before. The grant helped pay for their in house on the job
training at a time when income was little to none. During that time, your extraordinary team of professionals
was very helpful and took personal interest in our success. It was a great feeling to know that I was not out
there all alone and knowing that you and your team cared about my well being. Thanks to you and the
NSAI, Thomaston Boat and engine has made it past the hardest years of start up and is now recognized as
a significant player in this region. We are accepted by all the other local industry leaders and this all could
not have been accomplished with out your help. I am very grateful for your support and please extend my
thanks to all the powers to be that helped make it all possible for Thomaston Boat and Engine Works. You
have made my dream of having a business in Maine come true! I can take it from here and grow the
business in Maine and do my part to grow Maine's economy. The torch has been passed and I can make it
from here.

Many Many Many Thanks to all!!!!!!!!!!!

Patrick J Ricci, President, Thomaston Boat & Engine Works, Inc.

Working as an Industry Liaison for the North Star Alliance has been a wonderful learning experience in
coordinated workforce and economic development. It has been a tremendous experience working with
businesses and collaborating with many partners to problem solve a host of issues. Helping incumbent
workers achieve an AYBC Certification or people interested in field gain new skills has been very rewarding.
We have educated businesses to the resources available to them even after the grant has commenced. I
hope we have broken down barriers and elevated trust, even a little bit.

By far the best program, I have worked on is the “Building Bridges” program taking educators into local
business, so they can see the skills, interests and values desired in a particular field. Hearing educators
say, “Wow, I never knew this existed”, “It is all about the soft skills that companies are most looking for”, or
“Now I can talk to my students with real world knowledge” is very gratifying.

Finally, I am also proud of the work done to create two lasting legacies, and
the career video developed by Nomad Pictures. I hope these resources influence young students for years
to come.

James Westhoff, North Star Alliance Industry Liaison, Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment

Custom Composite Technologies Inc. benefited from the NSAI grant by receiving funding assistance for in-
house training and by being part of industry networking events and improved communications. The NSAI
grant helped to define composites to those outside the industry as well as putting Maine at the forefront as
the best choice for composite fabrication and research and development. Thanks!

Maureen Hasset, Vice President and General Manager, Custom Composite Technologies, Inc., Bath,

                                          January 2010 – page 1 of 4
                       WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANT

Our small company (now 6 employees) has used NSAI funding in the following ways:

      We have sent our lamination crew (two people) for infusion molding trainings.
      Our management staff (two of us) has been able to complete the 7 Habits Training. I found this very
       helpful in our efforts to better manage our business.
      For the past two years we have taken advantage of the expertise of a business counselor, Brad
       Swanson. We were able to do this because he was supported by NSAI funding. This is probably
       the single most important benefit for us as Brad was able to work with us and nudge us (sometimes
       kicking and screaming) to better focus and productivity. He was also instrumental in steering us to
       taking advantage of another NSAI opportunity, Lean Training.
      In the past 3 months we have completely transformed the way our business looks and operates
       through the completion of the Lean training. This process has been expensive for us (even with the
       NSAI money) but we see it as a worthwhile investment in our future.

These are the main ways that we have taken advantage of NSAI opportunities. We are currently more
productive and profitable that we ever were, and feel that we are poised to take advantage of future
opportunities as economic opportunities improve.

Douglas Goldhirsch, Owner, Southport Island Marine, LLC

The grant was instrumental in informing the people of Maine of the importance of the marine industry. I am
pleased that we played a role in that process, first in enrolling students who had access to NSAI
scholarships which allowed them to study at The Landing School, and, secondly, by providing so much of
the training in marine systems at MSTC and other venues.

Barry Acker, President, The Landing School

A few years ago the NSAI program sponsored Navocean LLC as its first grantee in cooperation with the MTI
Seed Grant program. At the time we may technically have been Duncan Design. As the director of
Navocean/Duncan Design my budget and resources were quite limited. The matching grant provided by
NSAI was a small but crucial funding element that helped Navocean keep going. Maine is a small economic
state and those of us in Maine driving hard for business success duly appreciated the direct help of NSAI.

Perhaps even more importantly to a small but potentially fast growing company like Navocean LLC., NSAI
has substantially improved the quality and performance of the local Maine boat building industry. For
example, I previously struggled to find quality training in the Rhino 3d modeling program which is integral to
the naval architecture industry today. Due to NSAI programs I now have multiple, quality Rhino 3d training
programs to choose from in Maine.

Navocean LLC. is now a partner in a Maine State Asset funded program called the Maine Center for
Autonomous Marine Survey (MCAMS). Navocean will be designing and building sail powered autonomous
surface vehicles for oceanographic data collection. This new technology will contribute to data collection via
the national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and related programs both nationally and
internationally. NSAI's important match funding contributed to this end.

Christina Sklarz-Libby personally visited our business startup location in South Portland and her enthusiasm
and sincerity were confidence building. Navocean's experience with Christina and the NSAI program has
been, in substantial ways, extremely helpful. Thank you!

Scott Duncan, Director, Navocean LLC

                                         January 2010 – page 2 of 4

During my tenure as administrator of The Boat School in Eastport Maine I had the privilege and pleasure to
work with Maine's North Star Alliance Initiative in providing education and training opportunities at multiple
levels with the school and Maine's 400 + year old Marine Trades Industry. The Boat School in Eastport is
America's oldest and most comprehensive boat building school. Teaming up with Maine's North Star
Alliance Initiative (NSAI) to expand opportunities for students, faculty and industry was a life changing and
industry                                         changing                                          opportunity

Over the two plus years that I worked with the North Star Alliance Initiative, funding provided Education
Awards for over 80% of the Maine students enrolled in the one and two year programs at the school.
This made a big difference for our Maine students and their ability to pursue a great education in marine
trades training without the worry of financial burden. This was a great benefit to the students and to the

North Star Alliance Initiative funding also provided funding for professional development of The Boat School
faculty. Lead instructor Bret Blanchard and senior instructor Dean Pike both received grants to participate in
American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) certification in their areas of expertise. As a result Both Pike and
Blanchard are close to having their Master Chevrons from ABYC. Both instructors were able to upgrade
delivery of teaching skill-sets that reflected the ABYC established standards. Those added skill-sets allow
for students to sit for the ABYC certification tests at the completion of related courses.

Thanks to the NSAI funding, The Boat School was also able to deliver over a dozen one, two and three day
seminars for professional development of the employees of Maine's marine trades industry. It also provided
for a fast track 3 month master composites training program with multiple cross over opportunities within
many job sectors here in Maine. The Boat School was able to welcome industry workers from all over Maine
to participate in programs that have included Straddle Lift Operations, Marine Painting, Marine Finishing,
the American Composite Manufacturers Association (ACMA) Certified Composite Technician (CCT) training
and the Master Composite Training Program. Twice we were able to offer seminars on Marine Finishing.
The two and three day seminars were designed for members of the Maine Marine Trades Industry. The
seminars were taught by Daniel MacNaughton, an established expert on maintenance and boat repair.

Christina Sklarz-Libby and Maine's North Star Alliance Initiative staff with special acknowledgement to
Ginny Carroll, Steve Von Vogt, and Susan Swanton delivered the goods. America got their biggest bang for
their buck. NSAI raised the bar of excellence and should be the benchmark for other workforce grants that

John H. Miller, Former Administrator, The Boat School - Eastport, Maine

The NSAI workforce grant has made a tremendous impact on the boat building and marine industry in the
Downeast region of the State of Maine. The effects of this program will be enduring because of the way it
was administered; the impact on this industry will continue to be felt for many years to come. It is the one
program that has changed the lay of the land by bringing opportunities directly to this industry which is
individualistic by nature. The companies never would have availed themselves of any programs if not for
the people in the field, walking across doorsteps and explaining the program in such ways as to encourage
participation. The NSAI has laid the ground work that will allow the marine industry to move towards
diversification should the market dictate. Because of the NSAI, these companies now have a skilled and
educated workforce, the confidence and knowledge of where and who to turn to for resources that will
empower them to be creative in their plans for the future of their businesses.

Janet Toth, Community Development Coordinator, City of Ellsworth

                                         January 2010 – page 3 of 4

We boat builders of Maine have been challenged by the economic situation which has befallen us over the
past couple of years. Receiving the various training opportunities funded by NSAI has been a contributing
factor that has made it possible for our company to become skilled in many current techniques and
processes of our industry.

Boat building is a very fulfilling job; one has to learn about each and every system along with a number of
components in the building process. For a certainty, receiving the training in Closed-molding (infusion) was
major among the programs that we were able to participate in. In addition, we received training in the areas
of hydraulics, alignment of engines, electrical AC/DC power, which also have proven to be of great benefit
to our company.

Additionally, we have been able to network with various agencies which may prove beneficial with regards
to future aspects of our working career and growth for our company. Thank you to the ones working behind
the scenes of NSAI; it was a pleasure to get to know you.

Paul E. West, President, West Bay Boats

The three years of NSAI grant activity were at times exciting, interesting and some times frustrating. There
is no doubt in my mind that this grant effort has changed composites in Maine forever and for the better
thanks to the dedication and hard work of the North Star team.

We’ll look back a few years from now and realize what a milestone this grant represented. The best way to
sum it up perhaps is the comment that an attendee of the Maine Wind Seminar said to me last week, "You
have no idea how much our shop culture has changed in the past two years. When we first started with
closed molding every part was a battle and now the guys don't even want to get a roller or brush out
because they want to keep the shop clean."

I only was a small part of the total grant effort and I don't have the broad view but I know one thing for sure;
the North Star grant has made the Maine composite work place cleaner, better, and healthier.

It is thanks to the creation of the MATC that we were able to teach and show hands on what state of the art
composites can be. Without that unique environment that combined classroom and lab we could never
even have hoped to reach the hundreds of composites technicians and teach them new ways.

The Maine composites industry is now getting on par with the best shops in the USA and ready for growth.
 I hope the efforts don't stop here and I will continue to support any and all the initiatives to grow the Maine
composites industry.

Andre Cocquyt, President, ACSM, Inc. DBA

                                          January 2010 – page 4 of 4

To top