Leadership Team

Introducing the Maine Early Learning Investment Group (MELIG)

Jim Clair

“If we like the results that we are getting in Maine in terms of economic production, gross state product growth, employment levels and income growth then we should keep on doing what we are doing. But if we want to see a more prosperous Maine with our children fully prepared to maximize their potential in a highly competitive economy, then we need to pay careful attention to what is happening during early childhood.”
Jim Clair, Co-Chair, MELIG
Former President, Goold Health Systems, an Emdeon Company

James Clair (Jim) is former CEO of Goold Health Systems in Augusta,  and currently President of Goold Health Systems, an Emdeon company.  This company offers pharmacy, clinical and business process outsourcing services throughout the United States. GHS partners with clients in Maine and 14 other states. In Maine, GHS is the pharmacy benefits vendor for the MaineCare (Medicaid) programs and also conducts State of Maine Long-term Care Assessments, among other activities. Jim holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University, Master of Science degree from the State University of New York and a BS degree from the University of Massachusetts. Jim is co-chair of MELIG and also served on the Governor’s Business Roundtable on Early Childhood and the Maine Children’s Growth Council. Jim and wife, Jennifer, have two children, Allison (a graduate of the University of Maine now working for Dirigo Capital Advisor, a commercial real estate firm in Portland) and Andrea (a student at Messalonskee High School).


Ellie Baker

“From the very beginning of a child’s life the groundwork is laid for the future. If we shortchange our children at any stage of their critical physical and mental growth, we shortchange ourselves. It saves our state money in the long run to invest in the youngest children, rather than pay for problems that develop down the line– from high school dropouts to crime to health problems. Our state depends on these young people, and we must invest in them for the sake of our future economic health.”

Ellie Baker, Retired Managing Principal
Baker Newman Noyes
Portland, ME 04101-4177

Eleanor M. Baker (Ellie), CPA, JD, LL.M. is a co-founder of Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) in Portland, a company known regionally and nationally as one of the leading accounting and advisory firms in the Northeast. Baker holds a J.D. from the University of Maine School Of Law, an LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University School of law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine. Formed in 1995 after a merger between Newman, Noyes & Associates and the Portland office of KPMG Peat Marwick, BNN has grown to become one of the largest professional services firms in New England. Ellie and her husband, Tom Saturley, live in Cape Elizabeth with their daughter Hannah.


Chris Emmons

“As an employer, I am concerned when I see so many young people who are not prepared to enter the workforce with the skills they need. I know that if these young people had gotten on the right path from the start, they would be better prepared to succeed. They should have gotten the support and education they needed when it mattered most—during their earliest childhood years. I feel strongly that early learning programs that support parents are the place to concentrate our resources so that we can set children on the right path.”
Chris Emmons, MELIG Co-Chair
President, CEO, Gorham Savings Bank
Gorham, ME 04038

Christopher Emmons (Chris) received his Bachelors Degree from the University of Maine Orono in 1976. He began his banking career with Maine National Bank in 1977, spent eight years at BayBank, and later joined TD Banknorth. With nearly thirty years of banking experience, Chris joined Gorham Savings Bank in 2003 as the Bank’s twelfth President and CEO. In addition to his work at Gorham Savings Bank, Mr. Emmons has been actively involved with several local non-profit organizations over the years. Currently, Chris is Chairman of the Board of Maine Medical Center and is a board member of MaineHealth. He also serves on the University of Maine Board of Visitors and is a member and former Chairman of the University of Southern Maine Foundation. Chris is former Chairman of the Board of the United Way of Greater Portland and is a past laureate in the Maine Business Hall of Fame. Chris, who has two grown children and one grandson, lives in Yarmouth with his wife Marybeth and their daughter Sophia.


Jeremy Fischer High Res Headshot

Jeremy R. Fischer
Drummond Woodsum
Portland, ME 04101

Jeremy R. Fischer grew up in Presque Isle, ME, attending Head Start and public schools.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and was then elected to represent Presque Isle in the Maine House of Representatives in 2002.  During his three terms in the Legislature, Jeremy focused education and workforce development issues impacting rural Maine.  He served on the Education Committee and later chaired the Appropriations Committee, where he successfully led efforts to pass several bipartisan budgets and the largest bonded investment package in Maine history.  Jeremy graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in 2008 and is now an attorney at Drummond Woodsum in Portland, ME and Manchester, NH, where he serves as the chair of the firm’s Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors’ Rights practice.  He resides in Yarmouth, ME with his wife and children.


Jackson A. Parker

“In business and in investing, we are always looking for opportunities to maximize the return on our investments. So when I saw firsthand the payoff for investing in early childcare development it was easy to support this program. It provides long term benefits to the children and to society as a whole and is the kind of initiative where the business community can play a leadership role.”
Jackson Parker, President and CEO
Reed & Reed, Inc
Woolwich, ME 04579

Jackson Parker (Jack) joined Reed & Reed in 1982 as CFO and was elected President and CEO in 1985. He has held that position since then. During his tenure, Reed & Reed has grown many times over by expanding into new markets, acquiring two competitor companies, forming joint ventures for several major projects, establishing a new business unit in the Caribbean and becoming the premier wind power services contractor in New England.

Reed & Reed, Inc is one of northern New England’s largest and most versatile general contractors. Founded as a bridge building firm in 1928 by Captain Josiah W. Reed and his son Carlton Day Reed, the company has prospered under four generations of family-leadership to build a long-standing reputation as one of Northern New England’s top-heavy contractors.

Jack is a 1976 graduate of Colby College where he earned a BA in Government and he received an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College in 1979. He took a position with FMC Corporation in Chicago in corporate finance from 1979 to 1980 working on mergers and acquisitions, capital investment analysis and reviewing operating performance of the company’s various businesses. From 1980-1982 Jack was Material Cost Control Manager at Bath Iron Works Corporation where his department tracked the cost of materials used in the construction of guided missile frigates.

Jack grew up in Bath, Maine and he and his wife Susan now live in Woolwich. Jack and Susan have four grown children.


Kevin Matson PhotoUntil we invest in high-quality early care and education, especially for our lowest-income children starting at birth, we will never end the cycle of poverty in Maine.”

Kevin Mattson, Managing Partner
Dirigo Capital Advisors, Inc.
Topsham, ME

Kevin Mattson is the Managing Partner of Dirigo Capital Advisors. Having entered the field of commercial real estate in 1997, he has since overseen the execution and development of many large-scale, award-winning projects. Mattson has been appointed to positions by Governors King and Baldacci, and he has served on the board of the Maine Children’s Home in Waterville, Maine. Prior to his career in real estate development, Mattson worked for the Maine Legislature as the Chief of Staff for the House Majority Leader.  He was awarded a BA in Accounting from Skidmore College and received an MBA from the University of Maine. He resides in Freeport with his wife Jeannie, and their two sons, Fionn and Ronan.


Larry Shaw

“Too many of Maine’s children are starting school without the basic tools they need to succeed. As a society, we spend far too much time, money and energy fixing problems rather than preventing them from happening. We’ve all see children who don’t get the chance at a successful education; we see everyday how hard-and costly–it is to turn this around. I want to help these children get on the path to learning, help them become intrigued with education and grasp the desire for learning at the earliest time in life when we know it matters. The relationships children have, the activities they have opportunities to engage in, and the places in which they live, learn, and play are critical in developing a strong foundation for learning. When children have had opportunities for an education both they and society experience lifelong benefits.”
Larry Shaw, President and CEO
MMG Insurance
Presque Isle, Maine 04769-0729

Larry Shaw is President and CEO of MMG Insurance located in Presque Isle with licensed independent agents in 5 states. Started in 1897 in Houlton-then a tiny logging and farming community–by a group of citizens concerned about the cost and availability of insurance in Aroostook County, MMG has grown to a thriving company that writes $125 million in premiums and has more than 2,000 licensed Independent Agents in over 380 agency locations throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Larry holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maine and a Master of Science Degree from Husson College. Larry also attended the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School. Larry and his wife, Taffy, have three sons currently pursuing college degrees.


Meredith Strang BurgessMeredith Strang Burgess is President and CEO of Burgess Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company located in Portland. The company has received the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence and was named the Best Place to Work in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Meredith has received numerous awards for her business and civic leadership and is the past president of the Maine Cancer Foundation and the Portland Ronald McDonald House. In 2006, she was elected the Maine State House of Representatives, where during her three terms she served on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee, which she chaired in her final term. She served on the commission to create the Maine Children’s Growth Council and has served four years on the Council. A University of Maine graduate, Meredith is the past president of the University’s Board of Visitors and currently serves as a trustee at Hebron Academy. She is also a board member of the Maine Cancer Consortium and the Maine Public Health Association. Meredith resides in Cumberland, has three adult sons and is proud to have her son, Matthew, beginning the second generation at Burgess Advertising.


Susan Corbett is the owner and CEO of Axiom Technologies, a Susan Corbetttelecommunications, and information technology company headquartered in Machias, Maine that has been creating and developing solutions for rural broadband deployment since 2005. Axiom has brought high-speed Internet service to Washington County with over 90 Access Points, creating an umbrella of coverage over 2,500 square miles. Ms. Corbett is a 2010 MaineBiz “Women to Watch” awardee, was recognized by Bangor Daily News as “1 of 11 People to Watch in 2011” and received the 2011 WIPP AT&T Technology Innovator of the Year award. Axiom Technologies received the 2010 Maine Development Foundation “Champion of Economic Development Award”; in 2010 was the Recipient of a Senate Congressional Record and in 2011 received Coastal Enterprises, Inc. “Founders Award” and Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 and 2014 “Business of the Year” award.  Axiom was awarded a $1.4 million BTOP grant award from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in September 2010 for the “Washington County Education and Employment through Sustainable Broadband Adoption” Project that provided educational and employment opportunities for farmers, fishermen, and nursing. In 2014, Ms. Corbett formed a non-profit, the Axiom Education & Training Center answering the call for more digital literacy, adult education, workforce development, and STEM education for our youth in Washington County and throughout Maine, and with the Sunrise County Economic Council, received funding from the John T. Gorman Foundation to provide free computer skills classes to the residents of Washington County and has provided training to over 2,500 adult learners and 350 businesses at over 43 locations. Axiom is one of 10 designated “TechHire” companies in Maine, and Maine is one of four states recognized by the White House as a “TechHire” state. Axiom Technologies and the Axiom Education & Training Center are currently involved in 5 White House initiatives.

Paula Silsby

Paula Silsby-2Paula is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Maine School of Law. After serving a year as a law clerk for the Maine Superior Court, Paula joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine.  During her 33-year career in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Paula handled both civil and criminal cases.  She served as the United States Attorney for ten years until her retirement in 2010.  During this time, Paula also co-founded and owned Pine Grove Child Development Center a Montessori pre-school and kindergarten in Falmouth.  Paula is currently a member of the board of directors of Gorham Savings Bank and the University of Maine School of Law Foundation, and is an adjunct professor at the law school.

Outreach and Philanthropy Support

Lauren Primary Head ShotLauren Sterling provides part-time collaboration and philanthropy consultation to the Maine Early Learning Investment Group, which in turn supports high-quality early childhood education in partnership with exemplary programs like Educare Central Maine. Previously, Lauren directed the Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet during the King and Baldacci Administrations providing staffing, program and facilitation coordination to its various cross-system, statewide initiatives. Lauren, under First Lady Karen Baldacci’s leadership, staffed the Educare Maine development process. Lauren has consulted with the DC-based Forum for Youth Development, led membership activities for the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, and was Executive Director of the former Families First Kennebec County Child Abuse and Neglect Council, among other positions in Maine.  Lauren has a Bachelor in University Studies focused on child and youth policy and communications, and has a Certificate of Completion from the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in California.