In our November 2016 issue: LifeFlight of Maine is establishing a new hub at Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport; Congratulations to Sanford winners at YCCC's annual York County Business Awards; Planning for Phase II of Sanford's school construction is underway; and more!

News & Events

Sanford Businesses Win at YCCC's Annual York County Business Awards

At York County Community College's 12th Annual York County Business Awards, Sanford's home-grown businesses walked away with two of the top prizes. Heidi's Heavenly Pot Pies won the 2016 Small Business of the Year award, while Above and Beyond Catering won the 2016 Medium Business of the Year Award. The awards dinner was held November 10 at Duffy’s Tavern & Grill in Old Orchard Beach. The Courtesy Photo above shows this year's winners (left to right): Marc Feldman/ ThinkTank Coworking, Sarah Mace Diment/Beachmere Inn, Kathy Baker representing Gail Arnold/Kennebunk Beach Realty, Gina Sawtelle/Above & Beyond Catering, Heidi Maurais/Heidi’s Heavenly Pies, Jessica Ricker/Got Baked Bakery, Margen Soliman/Mug Buddy Cookies.

Mill 67 Restaurant, another Sanford favorite, was also among the nominees this year.

Sanford winners Gina Sawtelle of Above and Beyond Catering (left) and Heidi Maurais of Heidi's Heavenly Pot pies are shown here with their awards (photo courtesy of Gina Sawtelle).

More details about the York County Business Awards and a full list of this year's winning businesses can be found on YCCC's website here.

Shedding Light on High Speed Fiber
Part 1:
What's in a Name?

In order to make some of the concepts about the SanfordNet Fiber project easier to digest, we are dedicating a spot each month to high speed fiber: what it is, what it can do and how it has impacted other communities that have installed networks like the one that Sanford is building.

This month as a first step, we need to clarify the difference between a Gigabyte and a Gigabit. These terms are easily confused because they look and sound similar, but while both are units of measurement for digital data, they are very different and it's important to tell them apart.

A byte is used for measuring data capacity, as in how much information can be stored on a hard drive. One Gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 bytes. A full-length high-definition movie is 1.5 Gigabytes worth of data.

A bit is the most basic unit for computing and is generally used for measuring the rate of data transfer (i.e. how fast we can upload or download a file). A 1-Gigabit internet connection - the minimum speed offered by SanfordNet Fiber - means that you are downloading 1,000,000,000 bits per second. So that 1.5 Gigabyte movie we mentioned above could be downloaded in less than 20 seconds with a 1 Gigabit connection. This is 100 times faster than the average Internet speed in the US! Using traditional cable Internet, this download would take 3 to 5 minutes. With this example, we can begin to see what a difference a fiber network can create.

To distinguish between the two terms when abbreviating them, the lower-case “b” traditionally represents “bit”, whereas the upper-case “B” represents “byte”. So the abbreviation for a Gigabit is Gb and the abbreviation for a Gigabyte is GB.

Next month: what does it mean to be a "Gigabit City"?
Planning for Phase II of Sanford School Construction

With the largest school construction project in Maine well underway and scheduled for completion in 2018, Sanford is now making big plans for improvements to its K-8 school infrastructure as well. Sanford has received approval from the Maine Department of Education (DOE) for additional state funding to cover the cost of renovating and expanding its elementary schools and for renovating and reusing the current Sanford High School facility as a new grade 5-8 middle school. At the Sanford Junior High School on Tuesday, November 29, following a public information session with Harriman Associates, Sanford residents in attendance participated in a straw poll and voted their unanimous approval to support the proposed projects. The results will be shared with DOE in early December.

As with the high school and technical center project, there will be a series of opportunities for the public to ask questions and to comment. The straw poll on November 29 was a required step, and there will be another in the spring once the final concept for the project is complete. A formal public referendum for final project acceptance is tentatively scheduled for June 2017.

For more information, visit the Growth Council website.
SBDC Sets up Office Hours in Sanford

The Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) program helps build and strengthen small businesses through business advising, training and educational resources. Certified business advisors provide free guidance on topics such as business feasibility, business plan development, capital acquisition, financial management, marketing and sales, e-commerce, customer service, personnel management, small business strategic planning and more.

Sanford shares an SBDC business advisor, Roy Hebert (pictured above), with Saco and Biddeford. Roy has a background as a senior executive in the global technology industry and was also the founder of a consulting practice focusing on growth strategies. Roy now has an office in Sanford City Hall with walk-in office hours on the first Friday of every month. He can also be contacted for appointments by email: or by phone: 207-282-1748. To learn more about Roy, visit the SBDC's website.

The Maine SBDC is a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and the University of Southern Maine. Learn more about the SBDC's low and no cost workshops, free advising services and other resources here.

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Letter from Executive Director Jim Nimon - November 2016

We spent some time near Baltimore last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family living there. The next day we went out to find the perfect Christmas Tree. I got to push Taylor, our fourteen month old granddaughter, along a bumpy path as we made our way through the tree farm. She was overcome by the combination of fresh air and uneven terrain and slumped over for her morning nap. As I write, I'm reminded not only how grateful I am for family but also how certain I am that, like Taylor, we can calm ourselves down even when the road is difficult. The growth council was about six months old when I got here in 2011. We've certainly witnessed some some challenging times in Sanford over the past five years and those times go back decades for some of you that I've met. We've made considerable progress on a lot of different fronts, as we've regularly chronicled and shared with you in our newsletter. Should we all take naps now and rest on our laurels? Of course not. But I'd like to keep encouraging all of us to have faith that, if we trust in each other and work hard together, we can achieve our goals for economic growth and community prosperity.

In this newsletter issue, we congratulate two successful Sanford businesses - Heidi's Heavenly Pot Pies and Above and Beyond Catering - that received acclaim earlier this month at YCCC's annual business awards night. Also, if you missed it, and given the success of many Sanford manufacturers, we believe you will enjoy the recent Portland Press Herald Maine Voices column written by YCCC president Barbara Finkelstein, who writes, "Modern manufacturing has had a profound impact on both our country and our economy. I cannot think of a more appropriate year to truly celebrate this than 2016, as we are in the midst right now of another manufacturing renaissance, right here at home".

Speaking of manufacturers, the growth council invited CEOs from the six largest companies in South Sanford to attend a meeting, co-hosted with YCCC at their expanded Sanford facility, to allow them to directly share their workforce issues with president Finkelstein and staff from the Maine DECD and DOL and Maine Quality Centers. Follow-up action has already occurred between one company and the college - we believe there is much more to do to support the employment growth of these companies in Sanford and we'll report more in upcoming issues.

Please check out the article below on the newest enterprise - LifeFlight of Maine - to begin operations at the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport. This is one more example of how the airport is becoming a thriving area of growth in our community.

We have begun a conversation among Sanford educators and broadband experts to determine whether we can set and reach a community goal of becoming #1 in Digital Literacy. This goal is meant to parallel the installation of SanfordNet Fiber as we strive to optimally use the new technology. Stay tuned for more details. Regarding fiber optics and digital literacy, this month we begin a new column that tries to simplify the technical conversation by reviewing basic terminology. Future issues will provide more basics and share stories about how broadband projects are enhancing economic growth around the country.

Roy Hebert, our region's business advisor for the Maine Small Business Development Centers, is introduced this month as he sets up regular office hours in Sanford (see article below left).

Finally, we offer a significant challenge to you, our readers: please help us today by forwarding this newsletter to at least one friend or colleague and invite them to "opt in" to receive future issues. Thank you in advance for your assistance. We aim to increase our readership as we set our resolutions for 2017.

LifeFlight of  Maine Establishing New Hub at Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport

Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport is soon to be home to Maine's newest LifeFlight of Maine hub. The Growth Council recently had the opportunity to speak with Tom Judge, Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine, to learn more about the organization and its plans in Sanford.

GC: For those who may not know, can you tell us a little bit about LifeFlight of Maine and its mission?

LifeFlight was formed in 1998 to provide critical care helicopter services to the entire state of Maine. LifeFlight is a unique healthcare provider literally touching every community and hospital in Maine. While an ambulance brings a patient to the hospital, LifeFlight quite literally brings the tertiary hospital directly to the patient. Since it began, LifeFlight has transported 21,000 patients from every hospital and community in Maine.

Over the years we have expanded into ground critical care and have added a King Air 200 fixed wing airplane to provide more all weather capability and long distance transport, including to Cleveland Clinic and Duke University in the last year along with the mid-Atlantic states.

LifeFlight of Maine is a non profit charity supported by the LifeFlight Foundation, an independent charity, with a Board comprised of medical, business, and community leaders from across the state.

GC: LifeFlight is a non-profit service, but helicopters are not cheap to purchase or operate – can you explain how the organization works?

As with hospital emergency departments and ambulances, LifeFlight bills patients insurance for services but provides care regardless if a patient has insurance or any means to cover the cost of care. The Foundation raises funds from hospitals, individuals, foundations and businesses across Maine. These funds help to support the aircraft fund which allows LifeFlight to acquire and operate state of the art, high performance helicopters. The new helicopter coming to Maine is a $6.2M investment in a fully “next gen” capable aircraft. The entire start-up project is an $8.5M investment, which includes establishing the new base in Sanford.   

GC: Lifeflight has two other bases in Bangor and Lewiston. What made you decide to locate a base here in Sanford?

LifeFlight is not a traditional business which looks for opportunity to grow. We instead look for need: critically ill and injured patients who need our unique services. Mathematically looking at coverage, we identified Sanford as a needed expansion point and have finally developed the resources to meet the need.

For the past few years the number of requests from physicians in hospitals needing LifeFlight has continued to outpace our ability to deliver resources.  We performed a multi-year planning effort to match capacity with need.  We have maximized the efficiency of the two helicopters we have presently, added a new ground critical care specialty ambulance, added the fixed wing, and are now adding the third helicopter to meet the increasing need in southern Maine.

GC: When do you expect the Sanford location to be operational?  What services are being offered from the Sanford location and how far do your helicopters usually travel?

We expect to start operations in the first part of January. Clinical and aviation staff are in training and we are working with the City and the Airport to develop the needed facility to support operations.

The Sanford-based helicopter could go anywhere in the state. It will have all of the same equipment and crew, with the same level of expertise and experience. A helicopter in Sanford means patients in southern Maine will have quicker access to care, and it means patients in other regions of the state will have an additional source of care if a closer helicopter is busy.

Our helicopters travel all across New England and provide mutual aid to colleagues in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. The two LifeFlight helicopters flew 290,000 miles last year.

GC: At your other two locations, staff are based at hospitals and leave when necessary to go on flights. Is that the same model used here in Sanford?

We will be primarily starting operations from the airport which is a bit different from our traditional model in which the clinical team is shared between the hospitals and LifeFlight. We are working closely with Southern Maine Healthcare, York Hospital, and Maine Medical Center to integrate operations.

GC: Can you explain how LifeFlight integrates with more traditional emergency services?

LifeFlight doesn't begin to replace the emergency system. 9-1-1, EMS, municipal first responders are the front line. Every 60 seconds a 911 dispatcher takes a call about an emergency medical situation.  Every 2.5 minutes, an ambulance delivers a patient for emergency care. What LifeFlight uniquely does is care for people with time-based injury and illness who need the hospital to come to them or who need to maintain a hospital level of care. It gives these patients a chance they wouldn't otherwise have - about 3,500 per year in Maine. Without LifeFlight, we just couldn't bridge the geography in time to make it happen.
"What LifeFlight uniquely does is care for people with time-based injury and illness who need the hospital to come to them or who need to maintain a hospital level of care. It gives these patients a chance they wouldn't otherwise have." - Tom Judge

GC: The LifeFlight of Maine website has some incredible stories about the service and the people whose lives it has impacted. Do you have a favorite you would like to share?

Obviously we have to respect confidentiality so I can't share too many details but one of the stories on the website really illustrates what we do. Several years ago we were on the island of Vinalhaven doing some teaching with emergency services personnel. Beepers started to go off and the EMTs jumped in an ambulance and left. A couple of minutes later, the fire department beepers went off and they left. A couple of minutes after that, we got a call that LifeFlight was needed. A young mother who was otherwise healthy and full term in her pregnancy was unconscious and bleeding out in her house, with very faint pulse and no fetal heart tones. The personnel from the clinic had started an IV but the mother was dying and needed immediate care. It was a 22 minute flight from Vinalhaven to Bangor, 27 minutes to Portland, and that was too long. We called Pen Bay Hospital across the bay and told them we would be there in five minutes. They were able to save both the mother and the child. Every year we get a photograph from the family of the girl, who is now 12.

Two weeks after she was born, everyone got together again and people were telling us it was a miracle. But that miracle was really wathe system that we have worked so hard to get in place working the way it should. 150 people did exactly the right thing at the right time to save those lives: the 9-1-1 dispatcher, emergency services, EMS, the doctors. Four of those people were LifeFlight. When we've saved a life, it's because the system really worked. The sum of all our efforts, the whole, is greater than our individual efforts.

To learn more about LifeFlight of Maine, visit their website.

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