GrowSmart Maine announces the addition of two new members to its team, (AJ) Aqeel Mohialdeen and Amanda Vermillion.
Aqeel “AJ” Mohialdeen is originally from Baghdad, Iraq. In 2010, he came to the United States with a special immigrant visa for his outstanding international development work USAID in Iraq. Since earning his bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of Baghdad, he has worked as a graphic designer, a photographer, a journalist, a documentary filmmaker, marketing specialist, campaign strategist, cross-cultural consultant, and an outreach and multimedia expert.
After coming to Maine, AJ published Maine’s first Arabic printed paper (The Hanging Gardens of Babylon) to educate newcomers who don’t yet speak English about their new home, customs, and laws to make them aware of their rights and responsibilities. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern Maine and has worked and volunteered for Preble Street, League of Women Voters of Maine, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s office, and the Maine GOP Multicultural Center, as well as a multimedia producer, and a marketing & communication consultant for Microfinance projects overseas.
In joining GrowSmart Maine as the outreach & communication director, he believes the most effective way to deal with our challenges is by sharing thoughts, exchanging experiences, and having a willingness to collaborate. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future depends on what you do today.” AJ believes GrowSmart Maine is living this ethic as we work hard to ensure a better future for all Mainers by taking action, sharing thought leadership, and advocating.
Amanda Vermillion is a West Gardiner, Maine native. She is a certified nursing assistant, medical assistant, and a recent college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration. With her experience in the healthcare field, she also brings organization, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Amanda came to GrowSmart Maine because she believes that Maine is a beautiful place to live. She enjoys camping with her family, swimming at the alluring beaches, and visiting the stunning lighthouses that Maine has to offer and she wants to improve and maintain Maine’s beauty for future generations.
Vermillion said, “I am honored to be joining the Grow Smart Maine organization. As a Maine native, I believe in our culture and beauty. I look forward to supporting communities in the quality of life here in Maine.”
Nancy Smith, Chief Executive Officer, is thrilled with the ability to expand GrowSmart’s team.
Smith says, “For GrowSmart Maine, adding AJ and Amanda to our team means we have greater capacity and a broader set of perspectives to inform our statewide work. I’m excited to see them dig into their roles with enthusiasm and commitment.”
AJ and Amanda join Harald Bredesen, program director for Planning for Ag; and Hildie Lipson, program director for Kennebec Broadband Partnership.