This year, WEX is proud to continue our support of the program “Greenlight Maine” and to lend our President of Corporate Payments, Jay Dearborn, to serve as a guest judge on season four of the program. The show is the only one of its kind in New England that showcases local companies looking to further their organizations. Each season, Maine companies vie for a $100,000 grand prize.
On its most recent episode, Michael Brooks of 7 Umbrellas and Sascha Deri of bluShift Aerospace each pitched their companies to a panel of judges that included Jay; Nancy Marshall, CEO of Marshall Communications; and Tobias Parkhurst, president of O&P Glass and co-founder of Cushnoc Brewing Co.
“I couldn’t have been more excited to be there to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the state of Maine,” Jay told us. “The companies we heard from both have products with a lot of merit, and I could see both being very successful one day.”
Together, the judges first heard the pitch of Sascha Deri, whose company is designing safe, low-cost launch vehicles that use a proprietary, bio-derived solid fuel. bluShift’s new line of rockets will be built and launched in Maine, creating 20-30 aerospace jobs in-state over the next five years.
They also heard from Michael Brooks, whose Maine-based technology company is focused on providing sophisticated and well-designed business and compliance solutions to the emerging cannabis industry. 7 Umbrellas is currently developing a native mobile-first application designed to be utilized within the entire cannabis business vertical: cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, wholesaling, retailing and state regulated compliance.
The judges then shared their overall impressions of the pitches and thoughts on the viability of each product in the market, before revealing their top pick. To see which company Jay and the other judges selected as the winner, watch the entire episode here:
The episode also featured a pre-taped interview with WEX CEO Melissa Smith, who discussed how our company hit the billion-dollar revenue mark in 2017, gave an overview of some current WEX initiatives in the community, and celebrated how we were certified as a Great Place to Work based on employee feedback of the culture at WEX.
“[Our great culture] has a lot to do with our Maine roots—the fact that we were started and originated in Maine,” said Melissa. “That’s amazing to me as we do acquisitions and grow globally—how you can create that same sense of community in each of our offices.”
See WEX SVP and Chief Corporate Development Officer Nicola Morris serve as a guest judge on a previous season of “Greenlight Maine.”