2009-2010 Speaker Series

Speaker Bios



Oct 14

Grid Solar: A Smart-Energy Alternative.

Rich Silkman


Dr. Richard Silkman , founding and co-managing partner of GridSolar, LLC, is also a founding partner of Competitive Energy Services, a thriving energy services firm in Portland, Maine. He is a Ph.D. economist and a nationally recognized expert in the regulation of public utilities, the development of competitive energy markets and the development, licensing and operation of power plants, including hydroelectric generating stations. Dr. Silkman has extensive experience in a wide range of settings, including education, government, consulting and the private sector. He has served as an expert witness before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a number of state public utilities regulatory commissions, as well as advised state legislatures on matters related to electric utility regulation and deregulation.

The first private citizen member of the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL), he remains a Participant in NEPOOL. Previously, Dr. Silkman was appointed by Governor John R. McKernan, Jr. to direct the Maine State Planning Office, a cabinet-level office. He served as the chief policy advisor to the Governor on matters related to economic policy, energy, hydropower and river management policy, telecommunications regulation, state tax policy, health care regulation and cost-containment and land-use and natural resources policy.

Education: Ph.D., Economics, Yale University, New Haven, CT; M.A., Economics, Yale University, New Haven, CT; B.S. (w/ Distinction), Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.


Nov. 11

Tapped-The Movie

Emily Posner




Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right or is water a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce?


From the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car and I.O.U.S.A., this timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never become a commodity: our water.


From the plastic production to the ocean in which so many of these bottles end up, this inspiring documentary trails the path of the bottled water industry and the communities which were the unwitting chips on the table. A powerful portrait of the lives affected by the bottled water industry, this relevatory film features those caught at the intersection of big business and the public’s right to water.

Emily Posner is a committed organizer and activist living in Montville, ME. She is coordinator for Defending Water for Life in Maine, a project of the Alliance for Democracy. What DWLM Does:

  • Connect Maine communities that want to protect their water
  • Help Mainers learn about how people are mobilizing to protect their water in Maine, across the country and around the world
  • Support towns that want to protect their water from corporate mining and export by asserting the rights of communities and nature over the rights of corporations
  • Build bridges with others who want to preserve Maine’s ecology and way of life
  • Make the links between the global water crisis, climate change and the importance of protecting Maine’s water legacy
  • Give you a voice in Augusta on state water policies
  • Stand up to Nestlé and others commodifying Maine’s water


Dec. 9

Canine Carnivores

Geri Vistein


Geri Vistein is a Conservation Biologist whose focus is carnivores and our relationship with them. She resides in Maine where her conservation efforts on behalf of Project Coyote involve creative outreach projects, and collaboration with state and federal biologists, non-government organizations, university professors, and talented artists in the community.

Ms. Vistein received her undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, and her Master’s of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. Her Masters work focused on the conflict over hunting at Cape Cod National Seashore and the social psychology of human belief systems.

While living in Montana she participated in research projects concerning carnivores: The Grizzly Bear DNA Study in and around Glacier National Park, The Elk Calf Mortality Study (determining the carnivores that caused their deaths) in the Blackfoot Valley of Montana, and a Snowshoe Hare Study (in reference to an ongoing Lynx study) in Yellowstone National Park. In addition to her field work in the West, she was employed by Red Lodge Clearinghouse, a collaborative effort in the West that brings diverse groups of stakeholders together. Participants create projects that involve “thinking out of the box” in order to find solutions on behalf of land and wildlife protection.

Prior to pursuing her wildlife degree, Ms. Vistein had earned a Masters in Education. In addition to her experience educating children in the mainstream classroom, she also gave presentations to diverse audiences throughout Maine on behalf of Living Earth Learning Programs out of Boston concerning environmental, animal welfare, and endangered species issues.



Project Coyote

Project Coyote, a sponsored project of Earth Island Institute, promotes educated coexistence between people and coyotes; we do this by championing progressive management policies that reduce human-coyote conflict, supporting innovative scientific research, and by fostering respect for and understanding of America's native wild "song dog."


Jan. 13

Healthy Rivers/ Healthy Gulf

Nate Gray, Jeff Pierce, Kathleen McGee


Nate Gray is a fisheries biologist with theMaine Department of Marine Resources’

Bureau of Sea-Run Fisheries and Habitat. Nate coordinates diadromous fish restoration efforts in the Kennebec River watershed. He is also on the FOMB Steering Committee


Jeff Pierce is a builder and commercial alewife harvester living and fishing in Dresden. He is president of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine.


Kathleen McGee is former director of the Maine Toxics Action Coalition and has for many years been a political and community organizer. A former FOMB Steering Committee member, she is currently on the FOMB Research & Advocacy Committee.


Healthy Rivers/Healthy Gulf

Migratory fish living within our rivers create a delicate balance within the habitats they visit. Whether they are providing food for the ground fish that entice our appetites, are improving water quality, supplying us with ample recreational opportunities or transporting much needed nutrients from the ocean to rivers and back out again, they are creating economic, ecological and cultural services for us. Once abundant within all our major rivers these fish are threatened by pollution, over-fishing, and dams. Maine has made ambitious efforts regulating pollution and over-fishing but dams remain one of the largest barriers to the successful restoration of our fisheries. Migratory fish must access spawning grounds presently blocked by existing dams in order to reproduce. Without safe passage in both directions past these dams, our migratory fish will not thrive within our rivers or continue providing much needed food for our Gulf of Maine fisheries and us! The need for action is now! And Healthy Rivers/Healthy Gulf is the grassroots movement dedicated to establishing safe fish passage on Maine’s rivers!



Feb. 13

On Deposit: Maine Vessels and the 19th Century Guano Trade

Bud Warren


Bud Warren, a native of the coast, knows Maine well.

For nearly forty years he’s led heritage tours of the area for Smithsonian Associates, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Elderhostel and other significant groups.  He’s studied, written and lectured about the region’s maritime history, its geography, its environment and culture.  He works by poking behind the scenes to understand Maine’s people and their way of life and then finding ways to share that appreciation with visitors. 


As a youth he lobstered some.  He’s climbed Maine’s peaks and rowed and sailed along much of its coastline.  After Yale, he taught for twenty years in independent schools (Massachusetts, Hawaii, and at Hyde School in Bath), worked fourteen more at Bath Iron Works - even did a stint in a lumber mill.  He was active for more than a quarter of a century as a teaching volunteer and staff member at the prestigious Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, where he developed and conducted a successful coastal heritage cruise program. He’s researched and lectured extensively on maritime topics such as the 19th century guano trade, the ships of the Sewall fleet of Bath, and the tide mills of New England.  He co-produced a popular video about the history of Bath.  He has been active in several archaeological explorations of Maine’s colonial sites, including the recent successful verification of Fort St. George, the first English settlement in New England.  As president of “Maine’s First Ship,” he is currently heading up an effort to build a replica of the 30-ton vessel built in 1607 by those colonists.




March 10

An Evening of Stories by Ruth Moore

Senator Dennis Damon

Senator Dennis S. Damon, D-Hancock, was elected to public office in November of 1992, as a Hancock County Commissioner. He was elected to the Maine Senate in 2002 and is currently serving his fourth and final term in the Senate.

While in the Senate, he has served as the Senate Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources for three terms and the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation for two terms. He has also chaired numerous Joint Select Committees including; Regionalization and Community Cooperation and Maine’s Future Prosperity. Prior to the start of major legislative business in the 122nd Maine Legislature, Damon was asked to serve as the Senate Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Property Tax Reform. He was recognized by Governor John Baldacci and Republican and Democratic lawmakers as being a key figure to the success in the passage of Maine’s most historic tax reform in 30 years.

Economic development and Maine’s economic future are his central focus. He is committed to advancing the dialog and policies that will define and develop Maine’s economy. Other areas of interest include promoting and strengthening Maine’s foundation for growth, education, transportation, energy, information, technology, the environment and tax reform.

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Damon served on the board of County Commissioners of Hancock County, the Governor's Intergovernmental Restructuring Task Force, the Brewer to Calais Railroad Study Commission, and the Maine Ferry Service Advisory Committee. He also chaired the Maine Rural Development Council. His work on these committees played a major role in preparing, and prompting him to run for the State Senate.

Senator Damon was born in Bar Harbor, Maine in 1948. He attended Stetson Grammar School and graduated from Mount Desert High School, both in Northeast Harbor. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Maine at Orono.

He has worked as a schoolteacher, coach, entrepreneur, and small business owner. He was named Maine high school “Baseball Coach of the Year” and as American Legion baseball coach, Zone 1 “Coach of the Year”. He presently serves as Field Director for the Department of Maine – American Legion Baseball program. Damon is a fourth-generation commercial fisherman with extensive experience in many fisheries including ground fish, shrimp, scallops, lobsters, and herring. He is Maine’s legislative appointee to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Senator Damon is a resident of Trenton, Maine, where he lives with his wife Bonnie. The couple has three grown children; Erin, Sadie and Doyle.

Ruth Moore (1903-1989) was an important Maine author of the twentieth century. She is best known for her honest portrayals of Maine people and evocative descriptions of the state. Now primarily thought of as a regional writer, Moore was a significant literary figure on the national stage during her career. Her second novel Spoonhandle spent fourteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in the company of George Orwell, W. Somerset Maugham and Robert Penn Warren. In her time, Moore was hailed as "New England's only answer to Faulkner".



Apr. 14

Local Food Perspectives: Kitchen & Market

Sam Hayward & John Naylor




Sam Hayward has been called Maine’s Food Hero. The award-winning chef, who also co-owns an award-winning restaurant (Fore Street) and a bustling seafood lunch place and fish market (Scales) in Portland, has perhaps done more than any single person in the past 30 years to promote the cause of good food in Maine. Few of Maine's food artisans would exist without a viable market. And Hayward has fostered it by buying their ingredients, featuring them on menus, encouraging other chefs to do the same, offering advice and simply being an extraordinary role model. As Russell Libby, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, explains, Hayward's influence has led to "a whole group of farmers who think about what a chef wants as they're planning their year." Not only is Sam a great chef and winner of the James Beard award, but Sam, living in Bowdoinham, has been a long-time FOMB member.


John Naylor for years managed the popular Portland Greengrocer ensuring a fine supply of fresh food and wines. When the Greengrocer finally closed, John and Greengrocer baker, Scott Anderson opened their own neighborhood market Rosemont, on Portland’s Brighton Ave. Featuring fresh baked goods, great wines and local foods whenever possible, Rosemont has been so successful that the partners opened another branch in Yarmouth and more recently, one on Munjoy Hill in Portland’s west end. John is currently working on plans for a Portland wholesale produce market featuring Maine goods including vegetables, cheeses and meats. The market plans to feature a full butcher shop and is meant to provide one-stop services for Maine farmers and chefs.




May 12

FOMB Research Update

Ed Friedman, Kermit Smyth


Ed Friedman is the long time Chair of FOMB and also chairs the Research & Advocacy Committee. He has a B.S. and broad background in environmental sciences and has supervised such innovative FOMB projects as using caged mussels to monitor and detect contaminants, an aerial photo/ GIS study comparing tidal Bay vegetation and land use over many years, and a circulation study of water flows in the Bay and tributaries. Ed has  worked in wildlife biology and glaciology from the arctic to Antarctica.


Kermit Smyth has been an active FOMB volunteer for quite some time and has recently led our first invasive plant eradication project. Kermit also coordinates our group of volunteers monitoring for bacteria in waters around the Bay. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford and worked as a research chemist specializing in flame chemistry, for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler
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