Chamber hosts site tour of growing local manufacturing business

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a site tour of the Origin facility on High Street in Farmington. There were approximately 25 people in attendance and all were interested in what this local business has to share.

Origin boots in progress. Photo courtesy of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce

Origin has most recently released boots for retail sales and they have had an incredible response. Farmington is fortunate to have forward-thinking business people in its midst, such as the leadership at Origin. Pete Roberts is doing quite a stroke of business and has a vision for continued growth, all in Franklin County, according to a news release from the chamber.

The tour was given by Jon Milan, who has been with the company since it started.

Having a presence in a state that has historically been steeped in shoe manufacturing made finding machinery and equipment an interesting challenge, full of useful finds in mills that had long since been closed. Putting these finds to good use is part of this local success story. To learn more, visit



Jody Fletcher Promoted to President of Maine Wood Concepts

Jody Fletcher has been promoted to the position of company president at Maine Wood Concepts in New Vineyard. He was promoted from his former position as vice president of the family owned and operated company. He is the younger brother of former President, Douglas Fletcher, and the next in line to be the successor of the wood products business, according to a news release from the company.

Douglas, who turns 65 next year, has assumed the role of CEO and will assist with the transition. His plans are to retire from the family business once the transition is complete. He had this to say about the change in leadership, “Although the change in leadership may seem sudden to some, this has actually been a work in progress for quite some time now. Over the past few years we’ve worked hard to bring on the right talent necessary for us to move forward with our succession plans. Jody has been intimately involved with the senior management of the business for a very long time and we’ve worked closely over the past three decades to strengthen and grow the family business. I have every confidence in his ability to handle the challenges associated with the position of president,” according to the release.

Maine Wood Concepts was originally called Maine Wood Turning and was created by Douglas and Jody’s father, Wayne G. “Buddy” Fletcher and his brother Earl C. Fletcher in 1971. Along with the many custom wood products they manufacture for hundreds of various customers the business also comprises the Lutz File & Tool Co. which manufactures and distributes a full line of wooden file handles and cleaners, as well as Fletchers’ Mill which manufactures and distributes a line of pepper mills and rolling pins along with other assorted kitchen tools.

Since 1971 family-owned Maine Wood Concepts has been manufacturing custom wood turnings and moldings such as wooden nickels, craft items, toy parts, wooden knobs, handles and many various industrial wood components from Maine hardwoods. The company’s clients are primarily businesses nationwide that resell or use the products in the creation of other items.

In early 2005 Maine Wood Concepts acquired Cincinnati-based Lutz File & Tool Co., a file handle company that has been in business since 1904. Later in 2005 they also purchased the custom wood turning and molding division of Pride Mfg. Co. located in Guilford. In 2013 they purchased the gourmet division of well known drumstick manufacturer Vic Firth located in Newport. That line consisted of pepper mills, rolling pins and other related kitchen tools. All of the acquired companies were merged into one of two Maine Wood Concepts facilities, both located in New Vineyard. The company currently employs approximately 80 workers.



Franklin Memorial Hospital recognizes Nicole Emery, Stephen Smith, Sarah Dyar

Nicole Emery Photo courtesy of Franklin Memorial Hospital

Nicole Emery RN, CMSRN, a nurse in charge at Franklin Memorial Hospital, recently earned the certified medical-surgical registered nurse credential from the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board. Emery joins a prestigious group of more than 24,000 CMSRNs.

Emery received her nursing degree at Kennebec Valley Community College. After becoming a registered nurse, she started on the hospital’s Medical/Surgical Unit where she has provided patient care for 10 years.

Stephen Smith, WNR-Paramedic, NorthStar supervisor and performance improvement coordinator, has been appointed by Gov. Janet Mills to serve on the board of directors for Maine Emergency Medical Services. Maine EMS is part of the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Steve Smith Photo courtesy of Franklin Memorial Hospital

Smith is the Tri-County regional representative on the Maine EMS board and attended his first meeting in Augusta in September. The board meets monthly and is responsible for disseminating the EMS rules and monitoring the EMS system. The 18-member board is appointed by the governor and each representative serves three-year terms.


Smith has worked in the field of emergency medical services for 14 years and in public safety for 16. Besides his supervisory role at NorthStar, Smith is a paramedic and licensed instructor coordinator who provides emergency patient care and also teaches EMS personnel licensure courses at Eastern Maine and Kennebec Valley Community colleges, as well as CPR, advanced life support, and pediatric advanced life support. Smith resides in Farmington with his wife Vanessa and their two children.

And, Sarah Dyar RN, recently earned a nursing certification in chemotherapy/biotherapy administration from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.

Sarah Dyar Photo courtesy of Franklin Memorial Hospital

The purpose of the credential is to promote excellence in patient care and professional practice by validating that the nurse possesses the knowledge and skills for safe administration of chemotherapy and biotherapy agents to patients in the outpatient setting.

Dyar received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Southern Maine in May 2019. She provides patient care in the hospital’s oncology/hematology and infusions clinics.


Downeast Insurance appoints Richmond woman as president


Stacy Johansen CIC, of Richmond, has been appointed Downeast Insurance LLC agency’s new president, as of Oct. 1. The agency is based in Topsham.

Johansen holds more than 14 years of experience in the insurance industry with nearly 13 years at Downeast Insurance. Previous work experience includes vice president, operations director and quality control manager, all at Downeast Insurance, according to a news release from the agency.

Stacy Johansen Photo courtesy of Downeast Insurance

She is a leader in the insurance industry with many connections across the state and nation. She holds a certified insurance counselor designation from the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research. Johansen is also the president of the Maine Chapter of the Applied Client Network, a group for those involved with the Applied Systems, an agency management system.

She is a graduate of Mt. Ararat High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College in communications. Stacy began her insurance career as a customer service representative at a community agency in Bowdoinham directly out of college. After obtaining her license, she began writing insurance and was recruited to Downeast Insurance in November of 2007.

Outgoing Downeast Insurance President, Melanie Munsey CIC, adds, “Stacy’s industry expertise, experience and dedication to our clients make her the perfect fit to lead Downeast Insurance into the future as the agency’s new president. Both our team members and clients are fortunate to have her in this role,” according to the release.

Munsey leaves Downeast Insurance after 13 years with the agency to begin an early retirement with her husband, Doug and pets Maggie (labradoodle) and Cooper (Persian cat) in Portland. She will remain on board in an advisory role at Downeast for the next few months.


Johansen is eager to start her new role as president and looks forward to continuing her efforts in serving the members of Downeast Credit Union and the local communities.

Stacy resides in Richmond, with husband, Kaj. They have four children, Bailey, Kyla, Taylor and Aiden and a dog, Tut.


Cindy Stevens named Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce program director

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce in Waterville welcomes Cindy Stevens as its new program director. Stevens replaces Kelly Smith who is leaving Oct. 16 to pursue employment at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts, following two-and-a-half years in her position.

Cindy Stevens Photo courtesy of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce

Stevens, who retired Oct. 1, had served 41 years in various sales, marketing, human resources, finance and management roles with the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, part of the Masthead Maine newspaper group. Her most recent position was regional advertising director for both papers, serving in that role since 2013. She was responsible for all advertising print and digital revenue, events and internal promotions. Stevens was a former member of the founding board of directors of Waterville Main Street.


A graduate of Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Stevens graduated from Kennebec Valley Community College with a degree in marketing, and from the University of Maine at Augusta with bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees in business and marketing. She holds a master’s degree in management/marketing from Thomas College and earned her real estate broker’s license while employed with Century 21 Surette Real Estate.

Included in her new duties as program director will be oversight of dozens of the Chamber’s signature events, working with multiple volunteer committees, as well as marketing and communications of these events. Mid-Maine Chamber President and CEO Kimberly Lindlof said of Stevens, “I have known Cindy since my days in ad sales when she was steering the ship of my competition. I have great admiration for Cindy, the wealth of experience she has compiled, and the relationships that she has built over the years with the regional business community. The Chamber is hoping to capitalize on that connectivity as well as Cindy’s vast understanding of the market in the mid-Maine area. Our team is pleased to welcome her aboard,” according to the release.

Stevens resides in Winslow with her husband, Gary, and son, Jonathan.


Compiled from contributed releases

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