HERMON – Bangor is just a restaurant and a couple of cafes away from being a city where young professionals want to work, live and raise families.
That’s the assessment of Chris Frank, a native of Burlington, Vt.
Frank, who was named Maine Entrepreneur of 2006 by the U.S. Small Business Administration, chose to start his business, Intelligent Spatial Technologies, in Greater Bangor after graduating from the University of Maine.
“Bangor has its own culture,” Frank, 29, of Orono said Friday night at a dinner marking the first year of Fusion:Bangor. “We want Bangor to be the place for us – young professionals. Bangor has opened its arms to us. People are listening to us, so we will have an impact.”
A member of the Fusion steering committee, he was one of more than 270 people who on Friday attended the group’s dinner at the Morgan Hill Event Center.
Sponsored by the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, the group was organized last year to bring together Bangor’s under-40 set and to help curb the migration of college graduates leaving northern Maine for jobs out of state.
Fusion’s mission is to “forge a connection between residents and students who are interested in enjoying our community and creating energy to make a positive impact on the growth and development of our region.”
After spending its first year getting organized and looking inward, the group recently added a new goal to its original four – “Enact change and-or support initiatives that enhance the vitality of the region.”
To help Fusion meet its goals, Bangor Savings Bank announced Friday that it was making a three-year commitment to fund the organization with a gift of $10,000 the first year. The bank has sponsored similar groups in Portland and Lewiston-Auburn.
“Bangor Savings Bank considers its investment in tomorrow’s leaders a very important strategic initiative,” Yellow Light Breen, senior vice president and chief strategic officer for the bank, said Friday in a press release. “We are actively supporting the efforts throughout the state that will strengthen Maine’s future leaders and allow young people to remain and prosper right here at home.”
Fifty years ago, the members of Fusion:Bangor would have joined the Junior Chamber of Commerce, also called the Jaycees. There has not been a chapter of that organization in Bangor since the mid-1990s.
For decades the Jaycees was the group men, and later women, between the ages of 18 and 35 joined to make business connections. A structured organization with local, state and national levels, the focus of the Bangor chapter was on community service rather than networking and shaping Bangor’s image.
Fusion:Bangor’s impatience to make its mark on the city was evident Friday night.
“Fusion stands at the forefront of the rebirth of the Bangor area,” said Cary Weston, chairman of Fusion:Bangor and head of Marketing Communications for Sutherland Weston. “We are going to make sure that our voices are heard and our passions fulfilled.”
For more information, visit www.fusionbangor.com.
? Enjoy each other’s company and our region.
? Form a network of support among young residents and urge those poised to leave or return to the Bangor region to realize opportunity here.
? Enact change and-or support initiatives that enhance the vitality of the region.
? Exemplify and promote a positive image of our region.
? Help make the Bangor region more attractive economically, culturally and aesthetically.
Nov. 16, 5 – 7 p.m., Happy hour at Thistle’s Restaurant in Bangor
Nov. 30, 6 – 8 p.m., Holiday Cocktail Reception and Art Auction at the Isaac Farrar Mansion in Bangor