Meet The Entrepreneurs

Episode #8 | Sponsored by MEMIC

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Susan MacKay

Cerahelix combines DNA biotechnology and ceramic chemistry to create a ceramic filter that achieves ten times higher purity than current commercial ceramic filters. Susan has more than 20 years’ experience in materials science R&D and product development including 6 years at 3M.

Founders: Susan MacKay, Karl Bishop, Donald McKay
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Steve Musica

Water scarcity has become the critical issue of this decade in the dry and sunny regions of the world. Beltane Solar was formed by engineers and business leaders who believe scalable, solar powered systems are the best way to provide water and energy for off-grid and rural areas. Their system combines recent innovations to produce low cost water for drinking and irrigation.

Founders: Steve Musica, Laurenz Schmidt

Meet The Judges

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Karem Durdag
Karem is Chief Executive Officer for Biovation (, and also currently a partner of a small private equity firm BlueWave Investments. Previously he was the Director of Sales and Marketing of SenGenuity, a division of Vectron International responsible for global sales, marketing and product management initiatives. Prior to joining SenGenuity, he was the Chief Executive Officer of a BiODE, responsible for the coordination and direction of operations, sales, marketing, manufacturing and business development activities for viscometer sensors for multiple scalable markets and eventually led the company to an acquisition event by Dover Corporation (NYSE:DOV). He is a holder of several patents and has presented and published in numerous conferences, trade magazines and peer reviewed journals. He has served on several for-profit and non-profit as member of Board of Directors. Mr. Durdag is also a published essayist, poet and past editor of poetry magazines.
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Michael Bourque
Michael Bourque is senior vice president for External Affairs at The MEMIC Group, Maine's largest and leading workers' compensation insurance company. A graduate of the University of Maine, Bourque first joined MEMIC in 1995 in the communications department, rising to senior vice president in 2011. He is responsible for the company's corporate communications, branding and government affairs, and serves as the company's corporate secretary. He currently serves as chair of the board of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce and is a past board chair of the Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine, Southern Maine Community College Foundation, and the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Portland with his 14-year old twins.
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Danielle Ripich
Danielle N. Ripich, Ph.D., assumed the University of New England presidency on July 1, 2006. Since her arrival, enrollment has grown by 83%. She has launched the College of Pharmacy and College of Dental Medicine on the Portland campus, the University of New England’s school in Tangier, Morocco and numerous expansions on the Biddeford, Maine campus. Under President Ripich’s direction, the University has also created Centers of Excellence in Research and Scholarship that build on UNE’s strengths in marine sciences, neuroscience, humanities, interprofessional education and teaching.
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