LIMESTONE – Anne Pringle of Portland has been appointed chairman of the Loring Development Authority board of directors.
“We now have someone from outside The County leading the charge,” Brian Hamel, LDA president, said Monday. “It just feeds on the positive impact of Loring development being felt outside The County.”
Jill St. Peter of Caribou was appointed vice chairman, Bob Umphrey of Presque Isle was appointed secretary and Jim Donnelly of Presque Isle was appointed treasurer during the LDA annual meeting last Wednesday.
Pringle first was appointed to the LDA board in 1995 by Gov. Angus King. She has served on the board’s executive committee since 1999, most recently as its vice chairman. She is a former city councilor and mayor of Portland as well as an executive for Maine Savings Bank.
Pringle replaces Al Watt of Sinclair, who no longer was eligible to serve because of a three-year term limit on the executive board.
Hamel said Pringle’s appointment is “a major milestone in our development efforts and is a clear indication that Loring’s redevelopment is a statewide initiative.
“Anne has always been a strong advocate for Loring and Aroostook County and clearly recognizes that our successes are a direct result of positive attitude, can-do County spirit and a teamwork approach to development,” Hamel said.
Reached in Portland on Monday, Pringle said that during her time as chairman she would like to find a way to spread the word about the success the LDA has had in attracting new and diverse businesses to the Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone, including Sitel, the Job Corps, the U.S. Army rebuild facility and the Telford-Volvo partnership to refurbish aircraft parts.
“I’d like to find a way to get our message around to different parts of the state,” Pringle said, adding that people are both pleased and surprised when she tells them about what the LDA is doing.
A major key to future expansion and development at the former Air Force base is its runway, which once was used by B-52 bombers and KC-135 tankers.
“I think it could be a very big thing,” she said, noting that current negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration to have the commerce center’s instrument landing system, or ILS, certified will provide expanded opportunities for aviation-related businesses there.
Hamel said the Telford Group/Volvo Aero Services partnership to disassemble, repair and reassemble aircraft holds major promise for the Loring Commerce Centre.
That operation, which currently involves prop and turboprop aircraft and employs about a dozen people, will be expanded as larger aircraft such as the Boeing 747 are brought in. That will happen once the FAA certifies the center’s ILS.
Those operations will be handled in a 145,000-square-foot arch hangar on which final renovations are being completed.
Hamel said the Telford-Volvo operation has “put us on the map in terms of aviation development. Things are beginning to take shape.”
He said a Florida company that does aircraft engine refurbishment recently contacted the LDA to express interest in setting up shop at Loring.