50 Mainers Charting the State's Future
July 2016 by By Paul Koenig
MAINE — Maine is full of natural resources and resourceful people. But without planning, resources can be depleted or left untapped, an opportunity to move the state forward wasted. The following pages are filled with Mainers improving upon strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses, building upon the state’s numerous assets and finding ways to leverage them to improve the lives of others. They continuously ask themselves what they can do to make Maine a better place, and they go out and do it, investing their time, energy, and talents to advance the state they love. They’re developing and promoting new technologies to harness the state’s natural resources. They’re educating and training the next generation of workers, including a growing immigrant population. They’re reinventing industries, shining a national light on Maine’s best. Most of all, they’re looking ahead.
Susan Corbett | CEO at Axiom Technologies
Susan Corbett, CEO at Axiom Technologies in Machias, has led the expansion of broadband internet in Washington County over the last decade, while advocating for rural broadband throughout Maine and the country. Starting with one wireless connection in 2005, the company has grown to cover over 2,500 square miles of the state’s poorest county with high-speed wireless internet. “A broadband connection has the power to change a person’s life, but it can also change the economic status of a region,” Corbett says. With the help of a $1.4 million federal grant from 2010 to 2013, Axiom worked with the nursing, fishing, and farming industries to expand internet adoption and computer training. In 2014, Corbett started the nonprofit side of Axiom, Axiom Education and Training Center, to teach people how to use the internet. Since then, the organization has assisted nearly 400 businesses and over 4,000 individuals. Axiom and its nonprofit now employ nearly 50 people, all from Washington County. This spring Axiom received a $72,800 grant from Microsoft to provide internet access to over three dozen homes in Washington County. “We will not stop until every home is served with a broadband connection, opening new doors for both businesses and individuals,” Corbett says. “I am proud of the work we have accomplished to connect people to the internet.”