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Maine Business Executive and Entrepreneur Theresa Sutton To Lead University of Maine System’s Maine Center Ventures

Maine Center Ventures established to help bring transformational change and
responsiveness to graduate and professional education through engagement and
among University educators, academic leaders, and Maine employers.

ORONO, MAINE – University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page will welcome Theresa (Terry) Sutton, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Maine Center Ventures, to today’s Board of Trustees meeting at the University of Maine.  Maine Center Ventures is a new tax exempt entity developed as part of the plan for the Maine Center for Graduate and Professional Studies (the Maine Center) to expand partnerships and strengthen the responsiveness of University graduate and professional programs to Maine’s civic, business, and legal communities.

Last summer the Harold Alfond Foundation announced a $7.5 million challenge grant to the University of Maine System to support the Maine Center. The award is the largest private gift to a multi-campus effort in the System’s history.  Grant resources are being invested in a number of activities including the development of relevant academic programming, assessments of market demand, and the creation of Maine Center Ventures to respond more nimbly to student and employer needs.   

Sutton’s track record of entrepreneurial accomplishment includes helping guide Maine-based technology and E-commerce startups through periods of dynamic growth and acquisition. Sutton is also a former senior vice-president for business transformation at L.L. Bean where she successfully led enterprise-wide, cross-functional change at one of Maine’s largest employers. She has also held executive positions at Portland-area employers WEX, Inc. and CashStar.

A resident of Portland, Maine, Sutton was chosen as the first on-going CEO of Maine Center Ventures following an extensive national executive search.  She holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Her Maine-based public service includes service as a former trustee of the University of Maine System, a board member of the Preble Street Resource Center and the executive committee co-chair of the Maine Math and Science Alliance.

“Maine’s professional and business leaders need employees with cross-disciplinary graduate education and professional training to grow and compete in today’s global marketplace,” said James H. Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “Terry Sutton, the new CEO of Maine Center Ventures, will lead our efforts to develop these opportunities and achieve a new level of university responsiveness to state workforce needs.

“Terry is an accomplished Maine business executive, entrepreneur and highly regarded leader who understands Maine’s economic landscape.  She has led change across large Maine enterprises and driven growth in developing companies. We are very pleased to put Terry’s skills and enthusiasm for the Maine Center initiative to work, engaging our faculty and helping to leverage their talents so that, working closely with our employer partners, we can build a stronger workforce and create competitive opportunity and advantages for Maine businesses.”

Sutton begins work immediately with a focus on engagement with campus-based program leaders and faculty leaders.  

“We have all the pieces in place to achieve cutting-edge innovation in graduate and professional education in Maine,” said Maine Center Ventures CEO Terry Sutton.  “We have a talented and committed public university faculty, the engagement of Maine’s professional and business community, and the support of philanthropic, community and University leaders.  Maine Center Ventures, which I am honored to now lead, was created to serve as liaison among these stakeholders and as a catalyst for change.

“Servant leadership is how I have managed change and successfully implemented new initiatives across large, long-established enterprises and small, seat-of-your-pants start-ups.  We will take the same approach at Maine Center Ventures, committing our team to manufacturing the goodwill, trust and empowerment needed to collaborate with our faculty colleagues and be a high-performing, responsive partner to Maine’s business and professional communities.”   

“No matter the industry — you can build hotels or bill by the hour — the competition and pace of economic change facing Maine employers has never been more severe,” said Bobby Monks, a Maine entrepreneur who is leading fundraising efforts for Maine Center Ventures.  “The Maine Center Initiative is a unique opportunity to achieve ongoing alignment between the programs and services of our public university system and the workforce needs of Maine’s employers. Terry Sutton has the right business experience, the leadership skills and the devotion to public service needed to serve as the first on-going CEO of Maine Center Ventures.”   

Additional Background

The plan for the Maine Center includes combining the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine Masters in Business Administration (MBA) programs into a single MBA program within the new Maine Graduate School of Business.  The appointment of Dr. J. Michael Weber as the inaugural Dean of the new Graduate School of Business was announced at the end of the academic year.

The Maine Center will also bring the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service graduate programs and its Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy together as a unique consortium to maximize cross-disciplinary opportunities for students.  

The Compliance Certificate Program first offered by the University of Maine School of Law in the 2017-2018 academic year is a template for the type of workforce engagement and innovation that will be developed as part of the consortium.  Developed in partnership between USM’s Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center and the Maine School of Law, the Compliance Certificate Program is delivered as executive education to provide professionals across Maine’s business, not-for-profit, and government sectors the background and skills needed to navigate the modern regulatory landscape.  

Additional early initiatives of Maine Center Ventures and the programs brought together under the Maine Center initiative have included co-sponsorship of the 2018 Information Privacy Summer Institute at Maine Law and the 2018 Arctic Summer Institute with UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and Maine Law’s Center for Ocean and Coastal Law.  

Photos and Resumes

Click these links for Theresa Sutton’s CV and a photo.