PARIS – If there’s one thing Jeffrey Fagan doesn’t have a lot of, it’s free time.
With a wife and four kids, his own business, and responsibilities as an Oxford County commissioner, the Paris resident has finely-tuned organizational skills.
“It’s about prioritizing,” Fagan said Wednesday. “I do everything in my power not to sacrifice my weekends. “The really important thing for me is making sure when I’m home, the family comes first.”
Being home is not always easy. Fagan is the founder and owner of The Inner Circle, a real estate sales and marketing firm with about 20 employees in Paris.
The business has him logging 200,000 miles a year in air travel, including one trip each year to Europe. He passes the time in airplanes by indulging in legal thrillers by authors including John Grisham and Stuart Woods. “It takes me away from my spreadsheets,” he said with a laugh.
Fagan was sworn in last December as the county’s newest commissioner. He replaced Albert “Jim” Carey of Paris, who resigned due to ill health.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Fagan came to Maine to work for American Skiing Co., the parent of Sunday River Ski Area.
There, he served as vice president of marketing and national director of real estate from 1994 to 1999 before starting his business in 2001, the week of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Like many Americans, the events of that day touched his life in a personal way. He was scheduled to be on the same Portland-to-Boston flight taken by two of the terrorists, who then hijacked one of two planes that flew into the World Trade Center.
He had canceled that flight so he could travel a week later. Following the attack, he learned that he lost a college fraternity brother at the World Trade Center.
The events, he said, gave him perspective, not only in his personal life but in business as well. “It gave me a level of empathy and understanding, and helped me to understand my customers and clients better as well,” he said.
Weekends are family time. Many weekends are spent coaching and staying involved with soccer, a sport he played growing up in Massachusetts.
Three of his four kids – Ryan, 11, Emily, 8, and Jake, 5 – play the game. “It’s just a great sport,” said Fagan. “There’s the right level of individual achievement, teamwork and competition. You get to teach kids so many things that are valuable.”
Meanwhile, the other two women in his life are focusing on education. Daughter Sarah, 18, attends Central Maine Community College in Auburn, while wife, Melissa, is taking a leave of absence from her teaching position at Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway to complete a master’s degree.
A moderate Republican and self-described “information junkie” who listens to the news more than music, Fagan counts Ronald Reagan as someone who influenced him in his formative years.
“I’m a firm believer in small government,” he said. “Generally I think we all would like to be able to do more with less.”
As county commissioner, he hopes to help steer government toward finding creative ways to drive economic growth. “In Maine, we’re less reliant on the paper industry, we’re less reliant on the timber industry. We have to be adaptable, we have to be more nimble. I think we need to be more creative,” he said.