BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE; LEARNING FROM THE PAST

The 2014 B2B will provide many of us with a chance to say good-bye and bon voyage to Lucien Gosselin, long-serving president of Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, one of its original founders, a founder of the B2B shows, and a mainstay of civic and business life in the Twin Cities for a half century.

The collaborative approach to economic development that has characterized the Lewiston-Auburn community for the past generation has been the envy of every municipality in Maine, many of which have tried to copy the local formula. Long before there was widespread chatter about encouraging business in Maine, LAEGC was doing something about it, and in a way that created more jobs, both in real terms and per capita, in this region than anywhere else in the state.

For more than three decades, LAEGC has been the catalyst that has enabled complex, sophisticated financial investments and oversight, cooperation between the two cities and between the public sector and a wide range of private sector businesses. And from the inception, the driving force behind the Council has been Gosselin. It’s not a stretch to say that Gosselin has been closely associated with all of the economic development activity and achievements in this community for a generation.

LAEGC originated the B2B and continues, with its partners, to produce the most impactful business event in Maine. The outpouring of farewell messages has already begun, and event organizers are hoping that Gosselin’s last tradeshow will be as meaningful and memorable as the 18 that have preceded it. All the elements are in place, from the Chamber’s entrepreneurial panel at the monthly breakfast scheduled for the Ramada Conference Center, right through to the Business After Hours on the concourse of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee at the show’s close. Thousands are expected to engage in the business community’s most robust networking event and to take the chance to send Gosselin off in style.

Among the legacies at the end of Gosselin’s tenure is LAEGC’S Future Forum, perfectly aligned with the theme of the 2014 show.

“We are especially proud of the Future Forum,” Gosselin said. “This is the best example of true civic leadership gathering some of the most prominent business and civic leaders in L-A to address public policy around the three most vital economic development issues in our future: Our riverfront as a unique asset; ensuring accessible, affordable and meaningful educational opportunities for our residents and the workforce requirements of our employers; and the imperatives of a comprehensive immigration policy to ensure that we continue to offer a steady stream of talented and committed employees to both expanding businesses and those that will be attracted by that supply.”

Finally, Gosselin concluded, “We’re busy. I’ll miss being at the center of the action,” he said, “but the Growth Council will continue to provide the leverage the cities need to continue to grow and prosper.”

We will miss him. Bon voyage!


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