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This week’s edition!

It’s better to both live and work in L-A

By Nathan Tsukroff

Working for a company in Lewiston or Auburn is great. And both living and working in the Lewiston-Auburn area is even better.

  That’s the message from Katy Sperl, Chief Administrative Officer at Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice in Auburn.

Speaking to members of the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce at the group’s July breakfast meeting at the Ramada Inn in Lewistion, Sperl said moving to the L-A area some years ago meant, “I could now work in the community. I could be a part of the community.”

“I wasn’t having to leave in the middle of the day to go to a board meeting, or race after work to get to an activity, because I was right here,” she said. “And I also felt that I could support local businesses with my dollars.”

RJ Gagnon, the Chief Financial Officer at Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice in Auburn, and Katy Sperl, Chief Administrative Officer at Androscoggin, spoke about the benefits of both living and working in the Lewiston-Auburn area in a question and answer session with members of the L-A Metro Chamber of Commerce at the chamber’s recent July breakfast meeting at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston. (Tsukroff photo)

Sperl and RJ Gagnon, the Chief Financial Officer at Androscoggin, were the featured speakers at the recent L-A Metro breakfast, which was a relaxed in-person event for the organization after more than a year of remote or hybrid meetings under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Vaccinated members were not required to wear masks, following recent Maine CDC guidelines.

Chamber members meet on a Thursday morning each month, usually seeing several hundred members mingling for breakfast. The group moved to the remote and hybrid events early in 2020. This breakfast was a return to the pre-pandemic style of breakfast meetings, although with a live video feed that still allowed members to attend remotely.

Sperl and Gagnon were part of a question and answer session for the July breakfast, after new Chamber members were welcomed to the group.

Moving back from Bridgton to live and work in the same area means Sperl “can go to lunch anywhere in the community, and, it just feels right! I don’t feel like I have a foot in two buckets,” she said. “It just feels like everything comes together.”

Gagnon grew up in Presque Isle and said he met his wife, a Lewiston-Auburn native, while attending Thomas College in Waterville. They moved to the L-A area, and “It was very clear, that the support system, her system that she had . . . her knowledge of the Lewiston-Auburn area, really helped me to understand that there’s something here that’s really kind of special,” he said.

As their two sons were growing up, and “we started to do things in the Lewiston-Auburn area, it became very clear there’s so much of value here,” Sperl said. They could find events locally without a lot of travel, which “made me feel I could see my kids kind of growing up like my wife and her family did, in the Lewiston-Auburn area.”

Sperl said living locally allowed her connect with the women at Sophia’s House, a residential community that opened in Lewiston in 2019 for woman who have experienced trauma and imprisonment from drug addiction, abuse and human trafficking. Sperl is on the steering committee and operations team for that facility. “If I had stayed in Bridgton, I know for sure I would not have been able to have as much interaction with the women that are living there, with the center, and with the hard work that went into building” the center.

Gagnon said he sees people “wanting to move to Maine,” and he recently spoke with a woman who had researched the L-A area as part of her moving plans. “When we had that conversation about ‘What did you see, and what did you like, and what do you like, and what does this area have to offer you,’ we quickly talked about the restaurants (and) we talked about specific areas that are really great to be part of.”

He said he pointed out the variety of activities in the area, such as the annual Balloon Festival and local hiking trails, and “she was really surprised about the things that the area and the region that’s really doing within the community, that are very unique, (which) she did not realize or understand.”

New Chamber Members

Michelle Gosselin and Dave Foster with Fontaine Family – The Real Estate Leader were welcomed as new members of the Chamber at the meeting. The Fontaine Family consists of a highly-skilled team of real estate professionals who are nationally recognized for results and high quality service.

Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shanna Cox, left, with new Chamber members Dave Foster and Michelle Gosselin of the Fontaine Family – The Real Estate Leader, who were introduced by Betsy Sibley of Community Credit Union at the Chamber’s July breakfast meeting. (Tsukroff photo)

Also coming on board as a Chamber member was Peter Ouellette with Oldcaste APG, a company that manufactures and delivers quality mulch, soil, decorative stone, and lime products throughout the United States.

Peter Oullette of Oldcastle APG, center, is welcomed to the L-A Metro Chamber of Commerce by Chamber President and CEO Shanna Cox and Stephanie Gelinas, with Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services, at the Chamber’s July breakfast meeting. (Tsukroff photo)

Cameron Shorey with The Breakwater Group at Morgan Stanley joined the Chamber as a new member. The Breakwater Group provides modern wealth planning and investment advisory resources.

Cameron Shorey with The Breakwater Group at Morgan Stanley, center, was welcomed as a new member of the L-A Metro Chamber of Commerce by Chamber President and CEO Shanna Cox and John Rice of Schooner Estates at the Chamber’s July breakfast meeting. (Tsukroff photo)

Ralf Andersson with Transcendia Inc. was also introduced as a new member. Transcendia manufactures antistatic, conductive, static shielding, and non-chemical natural anti-corrosive flexible films.

L-A Metro Chamber President and CEO Shanna Cox, left, welcomed Ralf Andersson of Transcendia Inc, as a new member of the Chamber after an introduction by Matthew Shaw, with Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch, at the Chamber’s recent July breakfast meeting. (Tsukroff photo)

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