Board and Staff
Chief Executive Officer
Nancy E. Smith has lived and worked in Maine since 1981 and joined GrowSmart Maine in April 2010. Nancy maintains the fiscal health of the organization while overseeing programming at the local level, statewide convenings, and leading advocacy for smart growth outcomes at the state, local, and federal levels. In addition, she secured for GrowSmart Maine the USDA: Rural Development designation as Maine’s State Rural Development Council and is an active board member for Partners for Rural America.
She served four terms in the Maine State House of Representatives while farming on her family’s diversified livestock farm in Monmouth. She was appointed House Chair of the Legislative Committee on Business, Research, and Economic Development and as a member of the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. In addition, Nancy worked as a forester for over twenty years for a large industrial landowner in northern and central Maine and for a consulting firm serving woodlot owners in central Maine. Nancy also serves on the Ellsworth City Council.
EMAIL NANCY | (207) 250-0220
Harald Bredesen joined GrowSmart in February 2023 as Program Director. Bredesen will support communities navigating change by convening to action, sharing thought leadership, and advocating in line with smart growth principles. His work will include leading community outreach to integrate smart growth principles in municipal planning processes.
A priority is Planning for Ag, an initiative in partnership with American Farmland Trust, to make information and tools available to municipalities and organizations to plan and implement long-term, sustainable solutions supporting farmland protection and farm viability. His portfolio includes GrowSmart Maine’s technical assistance to communities enrolling in the Community Resilience Partnership, a technical support program to expand housing opportunities, as well as Building Community Strength – a three-year program to build local planning capacity.
Bredesen earned his Master’s degree in organizational and social psychology at the London School of Economics and has 15-plus years of experience at the United Nations working with donors, national governments, and local partners to address development needs and build resilient communities. Since moving to Maine in 2018, Bredesen has established a diversified farm serving local markets and is the president of the nonprofit Neighbors Driving Neighbors.
EMAIL HARALD | (207) 248-8166
Kennebec Broadband Partnership Director
Hildie Lipson joined GrowSmart in February 2023 as the Kennebec Broadband Partnership Director. Lipson will build on existing and establish new relationships to build and lead digital inclusion efforts while providing support for community and regional-scale broadband infrastructure solutions and investments as part of GrowSmart’s Regional & Tribal Broadband Partnership, an initiative of the Maine Connectivity Authority. This initiative supports community-driven broadband solutions that ensure universal connectivity by strengthening and growing the number of partners thinking about digital equity and inclusion and creating alignment and coordination between communities, regions, and the state.
Lipson lives in Wayne and has spent her professional career leading nonprofits working to increase economic, racial, and environmental justice such as Maine Equal Justice, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting (The Maine Monitor), and MaineShare.
EMAIL HILDIE | (207) 705-3306
Development & Operations Associate
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.
Outreach & Communications Director
In his role with GrowSmart Maine, Joe will be responsible for GrowSmart’s website, social media, and newsletters, while working with board and staff to create impactful events, and manage advocacy outreach with the goal of carrying the organization’s programming to a growing audience.
Joe looks forward to creating and maintaining a set of communications and outreach channels that membership can use to stay up to date, learn more about smart growth, and become confident advocates for their communities.
Joe is a Mainer through and through, having been born, raised, and educated in the state he feels very lucky to call home. He resides in Portland. In addition to his recent experience at the Maine Broadband Coalition, Joe has spent time behind a deli counter, pouring beers at a brewery, and organizing on a political campaign. Each of these experiences brought a new love and appreciation for the people, places, and ways of being that make Maine special.
Dayea Shim joined GrowSmart in January 2024 as a part-time Program Coordinator. In her role, Dayea provides technical assistance related to land use and development, engages stakeholders and the community, and supports workshops, meetings, and events. She focuses on key programs such as the Community Resilience Partnership, Housing Opportunity Program, Building Community Strength, and initiatives related to Saving Farmland and Building Local Food Systems.
Dayea holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, complemented by a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Psychology. Bringing her expertise in land use planning and community engagement, Dayea has been actively involved in connecting with diverse community members on planning issues since she relocated to Maine in 2023.
Finn Bondeson is a civil and environmental engineer interested in providing public, private, and municipal clients with solutions which improve the built environment for humans and for natural systems. His initial interest in the human-environment interface, and his understanding of the important roles that small town Maine is gifted with, was borne from his first job on his parents’ farm and greenhouse business in Woodland, Aroostook County. In his current role as project engineer with Acorn Engineering and previously with the Sewall Company (both Maine-based companies), Finn has been dedicated to ensuring Maine’s future, by virtue of its infrastructure and schemes of development, continues to be informed and built by those who call our wonderful state home.
Finn holds civil and environmental engineering degrees from The University of Maine (BS) and The University of Vermont (MS). Through academic and career work over the past decade, Finn has served Maine and New England in the renewable energy, aviation, site civil, watershed analysis, infrastructure improvement, and agricultural research sectors. It is Finn’s assertion that change and growth are best achieved through conversation, connection, and understanding of community identity and community needs.
When not at work, Finn can usually be found outside; on cross country skis, in running shoes, on most any type of bicycle, or in a kayak. His favorite book (or at least the most worn out) is the Maine Gazetteer. Finn currently lives in Falmouth, enjoys visiting friends and family throughout Maine and beyond, and can make most anything in the King Arthur baking cookbook when he gives himself the time
Jon Boynton is the City Planner for Belfast. As City Planner, Jon works with Developers to help guide them through the Planning Board permitting process. Jon also works with various local and regional organizations on planning issues such as the housing crisis, active transportation, and climate change.
Jon grew up in the Moosehead Lake Region during the permitting review for the controversial Plum Creek Concept Plan. After studying Geography and Economics at the University of Maine at Farmington and working for Eastern Maine Development Corporation, Jon saw how a lack of land use planning plays a detrimental effect on the economic vitality of our rural communities. Jon and his partner split their time between Bangor and Jon’s hometown of Greenville. Jon and his partner like to visit friends, travel, hike, and ski during their free time.
Rebecca Casey, AIA, WELL AP, is a Principal with SMRT Architects and Engineers, specializing in health & wellness environments. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Tulane University in New Orleans – one of the first cities to deeply imprint her passions for a sense of place, community, diversity, and food. One of the first WELL AP’s in the region, she is determined to push for healthier buildings and communities.
In addition to her involvement with GrowSmart Maine, Becca is a Maine Licensed Architect, a candidate of the American College of Healthcare Architects, a founding member of the Portland Society for Architecture and alumnus of Lift 360’s Leadership Intensive.
Becca grew up in a small coastal Maine town and a college town in central Florida. She now resides in Falmouth with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.
Jean Claveau is Vice President, Senior Business Relationship Banker, at Machias Savings Bank. Jean has 25 years of experience working with business owners on their lending needs throughout the state of Maine. Jean moved to Maine in 1994 and started his career in economic development working for not-for-profit agencies (Penquis CAP and Coastal Enterprises, Inc.) involved in non-traditional financing. Jean is the past co-chair of Synergy, the Augusta young professional group, a Kiwanis and Elks Lodge member, and treasurer of the Augusta Kiwanis Scholarship Foundation.
Jean obtained a certificate in Political Sciences at Laval University in Canada and his masters in business administration from Thomas College in Maine. He enjoys reading, traveling on the East Coast, and spending time with his family. Jean lives in Hallowell with his wife, daughter, and their dog.
grew up in and around her family’s Maine-based small business, working on all aspects of business growth and management. She has an intimate understanding of the realities and requirements of running a business in Maine. She focuses her professional practice on government relations, lobbying, business advocacy, and environmental and land use policy at Pierce Atwood LLP.
Elizabeth was engaged early with the work of the Maine Climate Council and has worked with clients from diverse sectors of the economy to navigate this emerging policy arena, including real estate and development; industrial and manufacturing processes; municipal land use; and energy infrastructure. As a former staff member of Maine’s First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Elizabeth understands what resonates with Maine policy makers and how to shape a legislative strategy to achieve her client’s objectives.
In her personal life, Elizabeth is active in Maine Democratic politics. She recently joined the Board of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. Elizabeth also serves on the board of Maine’s Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program. Elizabeth resides in the heart of Portland’s Old Port – living and working on the waterfront.
Christine Grimando, AICP, is the Director of the Department of Planning & Urban Development for the City of Portland. Joining the City of Portland in 2014, she has overseen planning initiatives for Maine’s largest city over a period of intensive growth and change, including transformative redevelopment projects, the creation of Portland’s award winning comprehensive plan, housing, land use, climate, and transportation policy implementation, and the first rewriting of the City’s Land Use Code in over half a century. Prior to Portland, she worked as a planner in Maine, Massachusetts and New York. She received her M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University and is a former Urban and Regional Policy Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She’s worked in Maine since 2007 and happily called Portland home since 2010, where she lives with her wife and young son.
Larissa Holland is an infrastructure sustainability professional with cross-sector experience in stakeholder engagement, community development, and project/energy management. In addition to working as an Aviation Sustainability Consultant with C&S Companies, Larissa serves as the Development Advisor for JustME for JustUS, a youth-led and rural-led nonprofit ensuring young people in rural Maine have their voices heard throughout our state, especially around issues of climate, environment, and economic opportunities. Larissa was the first in her family to attend college and has since graduated from Smith College with a degree in Environmental Science & Policy (ES&P) and Architecture. She thoroughly enjoys helping necessary projects become critical solutions to complex, urgent problems, as well as hosting dinner dress-up parties, riding her second-hand road bike, and hiking Maine’s coast.
Samantha Horn has spent three decades focused on science, policy and planning that recognize the inherent connections between a sound environment and place-based human community goals. Her career interest was sparked in the early 90s by a field experience in the midst of the Spotted Owl controversy and her path ultimately led to the establishment of her consulting practice, Braided Planet Consulting, LLC, in 2023. That path took Samantha to a graduate degree in wildlife and fisheries conservation that focused on natural resource conflict resolution; a nearly 20 year career in leadership roles in Maine natural resource and planning agencies; and most recently, several years as Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Maine.
Samantha’s experiences have shown her the power and durability of creating policy with the deep involvement of those most affected, and with a strong base of information that is built by participants. Her current interests include rural community capacity, renewable energy siting practice, and integrated policy development. Samantha is on the boards of directors of the Maine Association of Planners and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and volunteers for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. She lives in an old farmhouse in Readfield with her youngest son who is training to be an electrician and always seems to be building (or unbuilding) something new.
Eric is the Executive Director of E2Tech, an energy, environmental, and clean technology business and economic development organization. His career in the environmental and energy world began in 1990 at the IUCN’s Environmental Law Center in Bonn, Germany, and since then he has managed institutional partnerships, memberships, and programs for institutions such as Maine Wood Products Association, Northeastern University’s College of Engineering, Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals, Maine Center for Innovation in Biotechnology, Benchmark Environmental Consulting, and the U.N. Information Unit on Climate Change. For three years, he worked with college and university leaders on campus decarbonization initiatives and for ten years, he was the founding director of the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology, a global network for alumni of the Fulbright Exchange Program.
Eric grew up in Massachusetts, with many trips to New Hampshire and to Belgium to visit his bi-national family. His academic background is a B.A. with honors in Geology from Wesleyan University and a M.E.M. with a focus on environmental policy from Duke University. When he was turning 50, he returned as a part-time student at Northeastern University to earn a Doctorate in Education with a focus in organizational leadership studies and the knowledge-sharing practices of entrepreneurs. Eric had fellowships with the US EPA-Region 2 in New York City, World Wildlife Fund in Washington, and the Institute for Agricultural Policy at the University of Bonn.He is also a 4th generation steward of a 500+ acre tree farm in New Hampshire.
Jeff Levine, AICP, is an urban planner who has worked in New England for 25 years. Currently, he is the owner and principle of Levine Planning Strategies. He is a Lecturer in Economic Development & Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jeff also serves on the Greater Portland METRO Board of Directors and was the Director of Planning & Urban Development for the City of Portland.
Prior to working in Portland, Jeff served as the director of Planning & Community Development for the Town of Brookline (MA.). He also worked in the City of Somerville (MA), where he focused on transit-oriented development in the new mixed-use Assembly Square district of the city. Jeff has a masters in planning from the University of Minnesota and a bachelors of arts from Wesleyan University. He lives in Portland, with his wife and two children.
Mehuman means, “The Faithful One.” Artist, activist, advocate, adventurer and true to her ancient name, Mehuman’s songs invite the listener into her fearless transparency. Veteran SESAC songwriter, Mehuman’s signature sound, “folk hop for hip folk” is Affrilachia – Americana, is rooted in the traditional rhythms of Gospel, Jazz, and Blues. With keening spirit-filled melodies enveloping folky lyricism Mehuman sings from her soul with a sacred conviction that lovingly ministers to troubled and despairing hearts with one tested truth, “There is always Hope.” In times when the world needs more grace, and a lot more love, both are found in rare abundance in Mehuman’s way of life and music. In addition, Mehuman was a hand selected, juried artist who participated in the 2023 Music To Life Changemaker Accelerator Program, resulting in the founding of The Gourd and the launching of an annual event, GourdFest: Celebrating of Making Music & Growing Food Together! A community effort to raise awareness of the intersection of local arts and agriculture and their resources.
“MY LIFE IS LIKE A PHOENIX ON FIRE AND I’VE FOUND BEAUTY IN THE ASHES MAKING IT WORTH THE BURNING.”
Zoe Miller, MPH, has 20+ years of experience building healthy, equitable communities through inclusive engagement and collaborative strategies. As Principal of Zoe Miller Strategies, she provides planning, engagement, and organizational development services that are grounded in inquiry, trust, and inclusion. Her areas of expertise include transportation and land use planning, community public health improvement, and public involvement. Zoe is Facilitator of the Moving Maine Network, a statewide coalition focused on improving transportation access. She worked for the Greater Portland Council of Governments from 2017-2021 as a Project Manager and then the Director of Community Engagement. Before that, she worked at the Opportunity Alliance as a Healthy Maine Partnerships Coalition Director. Zoe lives in Portland and walks or takes the bus for transportation whenever possible.
Danielle Moriarty is a Program Director for the Maine Arts Commission, where her work is focused on building better communities through arts and culture across the state. Danielle
previously worked for the City of Newton, MA as the Associate Director of Cultural Development. In this role, she was actively involved in arts and culture planning, supporting the local creative community, facilitating cultural events and programming, and cross-sector collaboration through the arts. Danielle’s dedication to connecting people to creative ideas and places has been a lifelong passion. She is a strong advocate for integrated cultural resources and programming and for fostering spaces for arts and culture in our communities. She is particularly interested in creative placemaking/keeping efforts, public art, and socially engaged art.
Danielle lives in Bath and spends her time taking care of her houseplants, checking out local art and cultural experiences, trying new restaurants, or you might find her at a bakery searching for the world’s greatest almond croissant. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Cultural Studies and a Master of Public Administration in Public Humanities and Arts from UMass Lowell.
Lauren grew up in the green rolling hills of Vermont. She fell into farming and food production in college and the lifestyle that surrounds it. Her undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University made her appreciate the communities that produce quality local foods and a Master’s Certificate in Food Studies from the University of Southern Maine made her want to pursue a career in the food system and work with and in rural communities.
Lauren developed her love of good food in Maine by working various agriculture jobs and by creating freelance graphic designs for farmers and food producers. She then decided to pursue a position as a Local Foods Marketing Extension Educator in Northern New York, supporting small business owners with their marketing and business needs. Currently Lauren is a Communications Manager with the Maine Food Convergence Project, a network or networks that develops relationships and trust for an equitable and thriving food system in Maine. When she’s not working you can find her camping most weekends, sewing up naturally dyed textile goods under the name thymelineprintco.com or playing with her dogs and exploring western Maine.
Lynne Seeley is a community-planning consultant with 30+ years of experience in comprehensive planning, public participation, and land use assessment of transportation projects. Lynne is working on the New Ruralism: We Know it When We See It project, researching rural planning initiatives for the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA). She is involved in community planning work with the Town of Yarmouth, currently leading the efforts to draft a Historic Preservation Ordinance to help protect and strengthen the Town’s historic village area. She recently led the effort to develop a new form-based code for Yarmouth’s Village and Route One corridor. The Character-Based Development code was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Town Council. As a consultant, she provided planning services for community planning and transportation projects for the engineering firm Sebago Technics. For 15+ years Lynne worked for Boston based Wallace, Floyd, Associates (WFA), managing transportation planning projects, conducting Comprehensive Plan projects for communities, and developing and managing multi-dimensional public participation programs. She established and ran a branch WFA office in Maine for 8 years, focusing on community planning and public engagement.
As a past GrowSmart Maine board member, Lynne chaired the former Education Committee that wrote the original Educational Briefs for GrowSmart on a variety of “smart growth” topics. Lynne was awarded Professional Planner of the Year by Maine Association of Planners in 2018. She is currently Vice President of Maine Association of Planners. She was a member of the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) Regional Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) 6 for seven years; she chaired the committee in 1995. She is a graduate of Colby College, has an M.A. from Tufts University in Urban and Environmental Policy, and is an accredited member of the Congress for the New Urbanism. She has lived in Yarmouth for 30 years with her husband, raising two now-grown sons.
Ben Smith (AICP) launched North Star Planning in 2017, following more than a decade as planner in Windham, one of the fastest growing communities in the state. At North Star Planning, Ben works with the public, municipalities and private companies around the state to create and sustain the places that make Maine special. Ben is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners through the American Planning Association. Born and raised in Caribou, Ben loves to explore, fish, bike, hike, kayak, and camp all around northern New England with his family and friends.
Galen Weibley is a resident of Chapman, Aroostook County where he serves as Economic & Community Development Director for the City of Presque Isle and a Governor-appointed Loring Development Authority Trustee. Prior to him moving to Maine, Galen served multiple professional roles in Pennsylvania state government including Constituent Outreach Director for the Lieutenant Governor and to a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives before concluding his state service as Constituent & Legislative Director for the Pennsylvania State Senate. During this time, Galen was involved with multiple projects and conversations to expand broadband efforts to rural communities, develop policy solutions to workforce challenges facing the state, write legislation to preserve the state’s rich agricultural tradition.
Galen became active in understanding smart growth policies as Hellam Township’s youngest elected Township Supervisor and Board Chairman where he led much needed reforms to the township’s Transferable Development Rights Program and local zoning to encourage economic growth where infrastructure existed and preserve the rural character of the community. Galen enjoys gardening, reading, learning languages/history/culture, traveling, and taking in the vast outdoor opportunities with his dog.
Ex Officio Members
Rhiannon Hampson is the Biden-Harris Administration’s appointed State Director for Maine, USDA Rural Development. She is also the Co-Owner of Grace Pond Farm, an organic (MOFGA certified) pasture based livestock and dairy farm in Thomaston, Maine on Wawenock Tribal Land. For several years Rhiannon has enjoyed working on, and supporting, policy relating to processing and financial support for Maine’s small farms, and continues to advocate for assisting in the sustainability of Maine’s farming community via thoughtful legislation.
Through previous volunteer opportunities, such as creating summer programming for children, facilitating performing arts events for rural residents, and coordinating the use of an historic building in downtown Machias, Maine, Rhiannon has been fortunate to create connections with people from diverse backgrounds, allowing her to deepen her commitment to facilitating cooperation among all of Maine’s citizens, new and old, regardless of socio-economic status. Equity and Inclusion are values that she holds at the center of the work she does.
Rhiannon is a former District Representative for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree with a focus on Agriculture, the Environment, Health Care, and the Arts. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Machias where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and Community Studies and was a Public Policy Scholar through the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
Mark C. Weisendanger has been the Director of Development for the Maine State Housing Authority since 2016. Before returning to his home state, Mark worked for several years at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Multifamily Programs, both in Seattle, WA, and Washington, DC. Previously, Mark also worked in the residential and commercial construction industry in Southern Maine and Washington State.
Mark received a BS in Business Administration from the University of Southern Maine, an MBA from Seattle University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) Program. He is a member of the Maine Development Foundation’s latest Leadership Maine cohort, and is currently serving on the Board of Row House Inc., Hallowell, Maine’s historic society, and on the City of South Portland’s Arts and Historic Preservation Committee.
Mark is a 12th generation Mainer and lives with his wife and their Bernese Mountain Dog in South Portland. He greatly enjoys hiking, skiing, fishing, sailing, camping, canoeing, and eating his way through every nook and cranny of the Great State of Maine, visiting many friends and family members along the way.
Emeritus Board Members
Daniel Hildreth, Emeritus Board Member, is Board Chair of Diversified Communications, a family-owned trade media company based in Portland, with operations in North America, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Daniel became involved with GrowSmart Maine when it was publishing the Brookings Report, and served on the advisory board of that effort. He is a former member and chair of GrowSmart’s board, and has also served on the boards of Maine Audubon and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
One of the founding board members of GrowSmart Maine, Evan Richert began his professional planning career at GPCOG. Working with South Portland, he eventually left GPCOG to work full-time for the City. In 1981, he formed Portland Research and Communications and, shortly thereafter, joined with Mark Eyerman to form Market Decisions, Inc. (MDI). Together the team grew MDI into a premier consulting practice that bridged the gap between public planning and the development community. Anchoring planning, development, and public policy with direct market research and analysis, Evan demonstrated the importance of data in analyzing planning problems and identifying appropriate policies and strategies to address them.
In 1996, Evan became Director of the State Planning Office and led the State and its professional planners in developing a framework to understand and plan for Maine communities, regions and the state. Under his tutelage and using the that bully pulpit, Evan lead the State in a discussion and focus on the cost of sprawl, the importance and unique stresses of service center communities, and the importance of merging lines between land use, the environment, and the economy, He helped precipitate ongoing conversations about planning issues throughout the State from the Capitol to City Halls and neighborhood assemblies. Collaboration among the various sectors of the state — government organizations, chambers, NGOs, and professional associations – came together in unique ways that continue to affect how planners do business in Maine.
Reaching out to and inspiring professionals, as well as college and graduate students, Evan taught at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School for many years.
Over the years, Evan has received multiple awards that recognize his contribution to planning. To Maine’s planning community, Evan has been the “mind” of planning in Maine. He represents the analytical side of planning, reminding all that planning is immersed in facts, both hard statistics and scientific assessment, as well as in an understanding of cultural and social values. Evan’s gift is also the ability to translate complicated analysis in a way that not only informs, but touches the reader’s spirit.
David Webster co-founded PDT Architects (formerly Portland Design Team) in Portland in 1977 and was the president and managing partner until 2017. He holds a Bachelors of Architecture from Miami University (Ohio) and is a trained mediator and facilitator.
David’s work incorporates his interest in community based design, high performance construction, and sustainability in all his projects. His involvement with GrowSmart Maine is an extension of his design values and belief that change, if considered comprehensively, can be good for Maine.
David has considerable expertise in projects involving multiple buildings and multiple design teams. Since his retirement, he has continued pursuing his interests in design and the arts.