LEWISTON — Rich Surace revealed Tuesday night that Lewiston had been in competition with nine other cities for Carbonite's new tech call center before that company settled here last year.
Pressed by Mike Miclon, he also revealed that sadly, no, the company's name had nothing to do with Star Wars.
"That is what Han Solo was frozen in and I cannot wait to meet these guys," Miclon said, opening The L-A Tonight Show at the Ramada Inn, the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council's annual awards dinner.
For the third year it featured Miclon as host and the Tardy brothers as co-host and band in a "Tonight Show" theme.
In front of an audience of hundreds, special guests took to Miclon's couch between juggling performances.
LAEGC board chairman Dan Thayer said he looked forward to the work of the Future Forum, a business collaboration underway and announced at last year's dinner.
"We have so much activity in Lewiston-Auburn but a lot of that exists as silos," he said. "If we can bring that together, it's powerful."
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud said he was keeping an eye on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to make sure that trade deal, in opening the door to Vietnam, doesn't jeopardize shoe-making jobs here.
"It could put them (New Balance) out of business if it's not done correctly," he said.
Surace, vice president of services at Carbonite, said that company moved quickly after announcing last spring it would relocate tech call center operations from India to Lewiston. Carbonite specializes in computer data backup with customers in 99 countries.
"You were one of 10 cities in the United States — two others were in Maine, Bangor and Portland," Surace said. "Two hours from Boston versus 17,500 miles away ... We're very proud of calling Lewiston home."
He said 185 people work at Carbonite in the business park on Mollison Way, with room to grow.
Lewiston Auburn Film Festival spokeswoman Molly McGill shared details of a bigger LAFF planned for next year, April 5-7. The event will kick off with either an actor or singer, she said, feature more movies on Sunday, more after-parties and offer a new student film competition for young filmmakers. It will also have the world premiere of "The Peloton Project," a documentary on bike riders whose lives have been touched by cancer making the trek from Canada to the Dempsey Challenge.
Another LAFF organizer said for every $1 spent putting on the event, $8.25 came into the community.
Miclon said he was shooting a film this summer and hoped to submit it to LAFF 2014.
Twin Cities representatives also handed out Economic Achievement Awards to Center Street Dental, Gritty McDuff's, Lamey-Wellehan, Art Walk Lewiston Auburn, Carbonite, the Vault and the Lewiston CareerCenter.