The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce is governed by an 18-person Board of Directors. Each board member is elected to a three-year term on the board, and each year our Chamber Members collectively have the opportunity to elect three board members. Our annual election is now open, and will run through 5PM on Monday, October 2. Please review the candidates below, and vote for up to three candidates. Each member business gets just one ballot to vote for up to three candidates.
Christopher Austin, a seasoned banking and financial services expert, leads Ardiah Managed Services as its President. With an illustrious career spanning over two decades, Christopher brings a wealth of leadership experience and a deep understanding of financial technology to drive Ardiah’s diverse suite of services.
A Visionary Leader in Financial Services: With an impressive track record in the banking industry, Christopher’s journey began as a banker for prestigious institutions such as MBNA/Bank of America, Huntington National Bank, KeyBank, and MidFlorida FCU. His extensive experience across various financial domains, including leadership, consumer and business lending, branch and business banking, and underwriting oversight, has given him unique insights into the intricacies of the financial landscape.
Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovator: Christopher’s entrepreneurial drive led him to establish Austin Payment Solutions, a venture that demonstrated his knack for innovation and commitment to delivering cutting-edge payment solutions. This endeavor not only showcased his ability to identify industry gaps but also solidified his position as a forward-thinking strategist.
Empowering Businesses through Ardiah Managed Services: As President of Ardiah Managed Services, Christopher’s strategic vision is centered on empowering businesses through an integrated approach to accounting, payment solutions, payroll, tax, and technology. His deep understanding of financial services, coupled with his passion for technology, positions Ardiah as a dynamic partner for organizations seeking comprehensive and efficient solutions.
Leadership and Mentorship: Throughout his distinguished career, Christopher has been an inspiring leader, guiding teams to success and fostering growth. His expertise as a teacher of underwriting and financial services has not only enriched his own career but has also contributed to the development of countless professionals in the field.
A Commitment to Community: Beyond his professional accomplishments, Christopher is dedicated to giving back to the community. He actively engages in initiatives aimed at promoting financial literacy and inclusion, contributing to a more equitable financial landscape for all. He is a mentor for the Maine Center of Entrepreneurs and donates his time with his board role with Penobscot Chamber of Commerce. He also is a proud Rotarian.
Connect with Christopher Austin: Stay informed about Christopher’s insights, industry perspectives, and the latest developments in financial technology by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
Christopher Austin’s unwavering dedication, extensive experience, and visionary leadership make him an invaluable asset to Ardiah Managed Services. Under his guidance, Ardiah is poised to continue its tradition of excellence, innovation, and client-focused solutions in the realm of financial services and technology.
Maine Estate Planning and Elderlaw Attorney Jesse Bifulco is passionate about helping his clients protect their family and property. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, he is admitted to practice law in Maine, and New York. He also served as legal counsel to a NYS legislator for two sessions. In 1997 he decided to concentrate his legal practice on what was then the relatively new field in “Elderlaw” and Estate Planning. Many of his first clients were the “greatest generation” WWII veterans. They had accumulated property, had children and grandchildren, and needed good estate plans in an increasingly complicated world. “Our clients want to protect what they’ve earned. I believe that is right,” says Jesse. “In twenty-six years of Elderlaw and Estate Planning practice I’ve seen the loss that comes from poor planning. A good plan not only protects assets but maintains family unity.” He began practicing in partnership with his father in New York city. “My father taught me to listen to my clients, and to look out for them. I’ve embodied his wisdom in my practice.”
Over the course of his career, he has drafted and maintained thousands of estate plans. He has helped save his clients millions of dollars in estate taxes and unnecessary administrative costs. Jesse belongs to national organizations devoted to the advancement of estate planning and elder law, as well as the Elder Law and Trusts & Estates sections of the Maine state Bar Association. He undertakes many hours of continuous training, far more than the state required minimum each year to offer his clients the benefit of years of experience as well as the latest techniques in an ever changing and complex legal practice area. Jesse has lectured in estate planning workshops since 1998. His classes are designed to teach people how estate planning techniques can be used to preserve their family wealth and prevent needless family conflict.
Alison Freeborn joined the law firm of Harmon, Jones & Sanford, LLP in early 2023 and is now a partner with the firm. Alison moved from Clearwater, Florida, where she was born and raised. Alison is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Wisconsin Law School. After graduation, Alison practiced at McDermott, Will & Emery, a large Chicago law firm, and later at Burke, Bosselman & Weaver, a boutique litigation firm. In 1994, she returned to Florida to join her family’s law firm, focusing on transactional work including real estate, trust and estates planning and administration, and corporate formation where she remained until her move to Midcoast Maine to join Harmon, Jones & Sanford practicing in the areas of real estate transactions, probate and trust matters, advising on business formation and civil disputes. She is licensed to practice in Maine, Florida & Illinois and has over 30 years experience as an attorney.
Alison has served on various community boards including as a director at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, President of the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, and as Director of the Dunedin Public Library Foundation Board and has represented the Downtown Dunedin Merchants Association. Since moving to Hope, Maine, Alison has become active in her community with involvement in the Maine Women’s Network, the Camden Garden Club, the Junior League of Portland in addition to the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Alison, her husband Ed, and three dogs enjoy all that the Penobscot Bay area offers including local events and activities. Alison enjoys hiking, tennis, swimming, gardening, reading, knitting and swimming.
Brenda Garrand is CEO of Rockland, Maine-based Garrand Partners, Intl, a business consulting firm focusing in communication, strategic planning, and public and community relations. Most recently, Garrand was Chairman and Founder of Garrand Moehlenkamp – a Portland, Maine-based marketing communications firm now entering its 37th year. The agency has been recognized by Ad Age as one of the top ten places to work in marketing and media in the US and was named the winning 2010 “Best Place to Work in Maine.” In 2021, Garrand completed an ownership transition of her firm to partner, Kevin Moehlenkamp and a group of senior executives. The agency continues to thrive as an industry leader.
Brenda has over 44 years of experience in marketing communications including expertise in brand development, mass communications, public relations, and public affairs.
Garrand has represented many hallmark companies including Bangor Hydro, Georgia Pacific, Dexter Shoe, Fairpoint Communications, Portland Glass, Unicel, Oxford Networks, The Maine Lobster Promotion Council, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine, Maine Medical Partners, White Rock Distilleries, LL Bean, Eastern Maine Medical Center, The Maine Department of Transportation, The University of Maine, St. Mary’s Hospital, Mechanics Savings Bank, Northeast Bank, Androscoggin Bank, Norway Savings and Gorham Savings.
Other recent local and national clients include Maine Medical Center, MaineHealth, New England Coffee, Blue Harbor Tuna, Maine Coast Lobster, Bristol Seafood, Cozy Harbor, The Lewiston Mainiacs, The Portland Pirates, Central Maine Power Company, Nordic Aquafarms, Nestle Waters North America, Cooke Aquaculture, Hannaford Supermarkets, Wyman’s Blueberries, Osram Sylvania (worldwide), Dunkin’ Donuts, (regional and national,) and national representation for the H.P. Hood family of brands including Hood branded products plus Helluva Good, Bailey’s Irish Cream Coffee Creamers, Lactaid, and Brigham’s Ice Cream.
Recently, Garrand served as Honorary Consul of Canada in Maine for two terms under Consul General, David Alward, and continues to be an active business consultant representing national and local clients in business and non-profit endeavors.
An active community volunteer throughout her career, Brenda has served on the boards of a wide range of entities from The Lewiston/Auburn Chamber, The United Ways of Lewiston/Auburn and Greater Portland, The Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council, The Portland Symphony, The Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges, The Camp Susan Curtis Foundation, The Mitchell Institute, Maine International Trade Center, Maine & Co., and Maine Public.
Garrand until recently served as a trustee of the University of New England. She is a member and has served as President of the International Women’s Forum —Maine chapter and has served as a Gubernatorial appointee and Treasurer of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority
Garrand is a University of New England “Deborah Morton Fellow”, is a recipient of Maine’s Girl Scout “Woman of Distinction” award, The Conwell Award for Career Achievement (From the Advertising Club of Maine,) the TWIN (“Tribute to Women in Industry”) award, is an honorand of the Maine Business Hall of Fame, and was included as one of 100 individuals recognized in Microsoft’s Tribute to Women Entrepreneurs exhibit at the National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC.
A graduate of Bates College, Garrand also holds a Master’s Degree from Syracuse University. She and her husband, attorney David Pierson, reside in Rockland and Portland, Maine. Pierson and Garrand have one son, Charles Pierson.
A proud Franco-American, Garrand is a “Filles-de-Roi ” descendant tracing her roots to seventeenth-century Quebec. An avid sailor, fiber enthusiast, home cook, musician, and dog parent, Garrand speaks one language well and three others with effort.
As a recently “retired” resident of Maine and Knox County, I would like to deepen my community involvement in a way that is helpful, meaningful and utilizes my business and communication skills.
A long-time history museum administrator, I also have extensive business experience as a founder, administrator and Board member of several start-up and existing non-profit organizations in three states. In addition, I created and ran several for-profit enterprises.
Earlier in my career, I served as a bank customer service rep and later as the business manager of a 40-partner law firm. Prior to those endeavors, I was the procurement and contracting officer for a multi-million dollar energy R&D grant at Virginia Tech’s Geology Department.
I moved to mid-coast Maine to establish a permanent home for the Museum of Maritime Pets, and soon thereafter was offered the opportunity to manage daily business affairs for Maine Windjammer Cruises. I am responsible for customer care, scheduling, community relations and troubleshooting.
Patricia Sullivan received her B.A. and M.A. in History from the George Washington University. She directed three notable American historic house museums and later became a consultant for the American Association of Museums and the Institute of Museum Services. In addition to curating several exhibits and developing major collections management strategies, Sullivan also created the action and organizational plan for the Newseum, a Washington DC museum of journalism, and also developed future operating plans for the U.S. Mint (Bureau of Engraving and Printing) and the Museum of Latin American Art, both in Washington D.C.
For several years, Sullivan was a member of the American Association of Museums Accreditation Visiting Committee and a Museum Assessment Program surveyor for the Institute of Museum Services.
Sullivan established the Museum of Maritime Pets in 2006 and is its Chief Operating Officer. The Museum enjoys a world-wide following and transitioned from virtual to “with walls” in the Fall of 2021. It is located in Rockland ME on the harbor at Sharp’s Point South Museum Complex.
Tyson Thornton is the Vice President of Operations for the Coastal Healthcare Alliance (PenBay Medical Center & Waldo Community General Hospital). A graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Tyson is a pharmacist by training and has held both clinical and operational leadership roles during his 15 years in healthcare.
Tyson is a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and a 2013 graduate of the ASHP Pharmacy Leadership Academy. Tyson earned his Masters in Business Administration from New England College and Fellowship designation (FACHE) with the American College of Healthcare Executives.
I am interested in serving on the board to share in all of our visions of working together to improve the communities where we live. I believe developing and maintaining strong relationships with other community leaders is a key part of this. Pen Bay Medical Center clearly has worked hard to improve the health of our community, from investing in expanding access to primary care to setting up vaccination clinics during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This work is essential to the community and its success is dependent on feedback not just from individual patients but from those, like Chamber members, who have a sense of the community as a whole. As a member of the Chamber’s board, I believe I can build on this feedback to help both the Chamber and PBMC fulfill our shared vision of working together to make our community the healthiest in America.