Lobstah Rolls, Blueberries & Civic Innovation

Anywhere you go – when you tell people that you live and work in Maine – almost always the reaction is “Ooooo – I LOVE Maine.”  Chances are if you have been to Maine – let alone live here – you have a deep affinity for the place and people. Whether it is the picturesque pine lined coast, the perfect peeping foliage, powder laden mountains, the ridiculous amount of delicious cuisine or the quant draw of classic New England communities – there is a lot to love about this place.  

What you may not know is that there is a frothy tidal pool of local government innovation seeping into tributaries of infrastructure, technology, policy and economic development that led to a State at truly a watershed moment.  To that extent I am grateful to find myself navigating the frontiers of these territories as Fourth Economy takes on a growing role helping facilitate smart, connected, and resilient policies and practices throughout the State.

Having helped define and distill the City of Portland’s Innovation Agenda in 2018 – we now find ourselves helping The City of Lewiston develop a first of a kind Smart Infrastructure Strategy.  As Lewiston seeks to leverage a significant housing and neighborhood transformation plan – the City seeks to establish a comprehensive smart city overlay of policy, infrastructure and operations.  It is an exciting opportunity to work with civic innovators already investing in street light upgrades and advanced water meter networks.

Through the work with The State’s two largest cities – we are excited to be working with the Maine Technology Institute, GrowSmart Maine, and The Island Institute in the launching of a Smart Communities Maine a network of Maine municipalities, regional agencies, nonprofits, private companies, developers, and universities converging around the need to address smart infrastructure development opportunities at a regional scale. The aim of the initiative is to both develop local capacity to design place-based strategies that reflect community priorities to inform smart infrastructure investments, public policy, and economic development partnerships.

Due to these projects and partnerships we are proud to help support two unique events taking shape in June that contribute to the growing momentum across multiple sectors to foster smart, connected, innovative and resilient communities across Maine.  

June 5-6 The Build Maine Conference hosted in Lewiston will be a unique opportunity to introduce cutting edge business practices and focused conversations with leaders in transportation planning, real estate development, and public service, demonstrating a breadth of knowledge we can apply locally.  

June 20-21 The StartUp Maine Annual Conference will seek to align the robust Maine startup ecosystem with local government and policy innovators.  I am proud to be producing a series of conversations around how smart and connected infrastructure is percolating in multiple sectors across the state.