A Business Milestone.

September 27th, 2013

SEPTEMBER 27, 2013

A BUSINESS MILESTONE
With the turmoil in the nation’s economy in the past five years, it’s no minor feat for a small business to have survived and thrived. I was delighted to learn that one of my family portrait clients, Dr. Brent Reiche, owner of Active Chiropractic in Saco, Maine, will be celebrating his 10th anniversary in business this weekend.

Like me, Brent is a transplant to Maine. He grew up in the tiny town of Montello, Wisconsin — about two square miles, one stoplight, and a population of 1,392 when he lived there. In junior high he had thought of becoming a doctor, but in his high school guidance counselor’s office, he saw a flyer about chiropractic. It described it as a non-surgical, drugless, healing profession. That piqued his curiosity.

On his daily drives to school with his mother, who was a teacher, they drove past the town chiropractor’s office. “One day I decided to stop in after school,” says Brent, “and began asking the chiropractor ’20 questions.’ She gave me opportunities over time to observe treatments and to ask patients questions about their experiences. Their enthusiastic responses sealed the deal for me.”

Brent didn’t get his own first chiropractic adjustment, though, until he was in his junior year at University of Wisconsin/Platteville. “Our family had planned a skiing trip over Christmas break,” he says. “I woke up one morning and was having a hard time walking. All the stresses of school and exams had caught up with me. I was able to get an appointment for treatment, and a half hour later, I was mobile again and able to join my family for our trip.” After graduating from Wisconsin, Brent attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, the first such school of its kind in the world.

He began his career in Dublin, Ireland. “After six months, I got homesick and came back to the U.S.,” says Brent. He worked in northern Wisconsin for a year before moving to Portland, Maine, where he joined a large practice. After a year there, Brent decided to open his own practice in Saco and saw his first patient in July 2003. Shortly thereafter, he met his wife, Rachel, when they both attended a band concert of mutual friends. They have two children, Andrew, 5, and Renee, almost 3. Brent says the biggest challenge in getting his business off the ground is that he didn’t have any “business sense.” “We really didn’t get much training in that in school,” he says. “I just started getting out, meeting people, and explaining what chiropractic is good for.” He says that resistance to chiropractic by doctors in the regular medical community is waning, and they are more accepting of the benefits of chiropractic.

Brent says that his biggest reward is seeing the results of things getting better for his patients. “Little miracles happen every day,” he says. “But I’m only 50% of the equation. The other half comes from clients walking in the door and making a commitment to be treated. For them, this is a small part of their journey to health.”

Brent is having a 10 Years in Business Party, Saturday Sept 28th, 5:30 -7:30 p.m. at Saco Sport & Fitness, and all are welcome. October is National Chiropractic Health Month.

A Look Back In Time

July 30th, 2013

JULY 29, 2013

Andy Chase is an artist who works with fabric and makes bow ties. He is from Splendid Toad Art Farm in Massachusetts.

My father and I didn’t get along. That’s putting it mildly. We were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, so when our views clashed, he was quick to point out that I “didn’t know anything.” If he came home from work in a bad mood or became angry with me or my siblings, he could become violent. If we couldn’t run fast enough to get away, he’d take out his frustrations on us at the end of a leather belt. But, oddly enough, the thing about him that really drove me crazy was his habit of striking up conversations with complete strangers when we were out in public.

I was mortified by what I felt was his “nosiness.” I would tell him that “it wasn’t any of his business,” and that he should “leave people alone.” I thought about this today as I found myself striking up a conversation, not for the first time, with a stranger as I was doing my monthly beach survey for SEANET, a citizen science project to collect data from East Coast beaches about dead birds that wash up on shore.

My assigned section of waterfront extends north from Old Orchard Beach into Pine Point Beach in Scarborough, ME. This long, sandy stretch of beach is popular with local residents all year long, but it gets packed during the summer with the addition of vacationers. Among all the people I passed wading in the waves, building sand castles, and dozing in beach chairs, one person caught my eye. He looked like a picture post card from Atlantic City in the 1920s. He had a robust, bushy beard and was sporting a boater hat and a striped t-shirt, reminiscent of those old-time woolen bathing suits. Was he an actor readying himself for a role? Was he participating in a beard-growing contest? Was he Amish? Was it any of my business? No, but having spent 20 years working as a news photographer, I was going to find out.

I learned that Andy Chase and his wife live on a farm in central Massachusetts, but that his family has been coming for decades to spend part of their summer at Pine Point. They’re both artists. His wife is an illustrator, and Andy works with fabric. He makes, totally apropos of someone who looks like a man from an earlier era, bowties. Samples of some of his work can be found on the website for Splendid Toad Art Farm. The ties are pretty cool-looking. We chatted for a few moments, and then I snapped a photo of him with the “point & shoot” camera that I carry with me to record survey data from the beach. I could have enjoyed my time by the ocean without pausing to talk to this man, but the walk was made memorable because I did stop. Just to be “nosey.”

I believe those curious instincts that goaded my father to talk to anyone out of the blue have been imprinted on me, despite the years in my youth I was humiliated by them. And what I learned later from my career in photojournalism is this. First, that if you approach people the right way, you find that many, if not most of them, enjoy the chance to talk about themselves. Second, that you might find that you have things in common that you wouldn’t have guessed off the bat. Third, that you might actually learn something interesting or useful by talking to a stranger. Fourth, that we spend way too much time walling ourselves off and being afraid of strangers. Those instincts were honed into skills by my photojournalism instructor, Joe Lippincott, who would make us students go back and ask more questions if we turned in photos with insufficient caption information.

It has been my career in photography that has shown me how multi-dimensional people are – that they’re not all good or all bad, and that you can learn a lot, even from people you don’t get along with. That’s a lesson I could have learned from my dad a long time ago.

Emotional Memories

June 21st, 2013

JUNE 21, 2013

I could learn a few things about the discipline of making regular blog posts from my portrait client Diane Atwood. Recently, Diane received a Gold Lamplighter Award for her health and wellness blog, “Catching Health”. The honor was bestowed by the New England Society for Healthcare Communications.

A resident of Gorham, ME, Atwood is a former health care professional and television health reporter. She began writing her blog two years ago as a way to market her new freelance writing business, but Diane says the blog quickly took on a life of its own. She has updated it with a fresh design and some fun new features, like a recipe section she calls “Nom, Nom” and, my personal favorite, “I’m Not Your Mother, But…” Diane says she enjoys interviewing people, researching all things related to health and wellness and sharing information that might make a difference in someone’s life. “In short, I love what I do,” she says.

As I set up lights for our photo session, Diane shared the story of an experience she had two weeks earlier with her mother, Beverly, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She had taken her for a walk on the Eastern Promenade in Portland. Her mother admired the blooming daffodils and was able to recall the words of William Wordsworth’s poem about the flowers, which she had learned 75 years earlier while in the third grade. Her mother observed a dog playing in the water, a ferry boat sailing across it, and gulls flying overhead. A few days later, Diane was going to take her mother to spend a day at an adult day care center. When she picked her up in the morning, her mother’s caregivers told Diane that Beverly had talked every day about her walk in the park with her daughter and the things they saw. When she retrieved her mother from day care at the end of the day, she asked her mother how the day had gone. Beverly replied, “I’m sure I had a good time. I just can’t remember anything I did.” Diane said she is learning about the importance for Alzheimer’s patients of creating emotional memories. For her mother, a day became memorable because she had shared it with her daughter. A day of activities with strangers was forgettable.

Events don’t have to be significant in order to be memorable. Sometimes it’s the ordinary, the stuff of our daily routines, which can be most precious. My web designer, Becky, asked me to do a portrait session a few weeks ago with her and her daughter, Piper. She wanted to give a print to her husband as a Father’s Day present. But Becky didn’t want a static photo of her posing with her daughter. Instead, she asked if I would document their morning routine together, before Becky heads out to work and Piper goes off to day care. I arrived around 6:30 a.m., and began photographing as Becky got Piper from her crib. We spent an hour together, with Becky getting her daughter dressed, singing songs, reading stories, and playing – starting the day as they do every day. Becky wanted to document this time for her daughter’s future, so that when she grows up, she can look back and see what her life was like in the time before she could form her own memories. This event became an emotional memory for me, as well. From my newspaper days up till now, I’ve always been amazed and felt a sense of privilege when people have allowed me into their homes to share some of their life stories with me. Those have ranged from times of enormous grief – such as one of my earliest assignments, going to the family home of a young Marine who was killed in the 1983 embassy bombing in Beirut – to happy events – such as college graduations – to an ordinary day, like any other – such as a mother and daughter spending time together. I designed a photo book for Becky of our morning together, and when she saw the story unfold across each page, she said she wants to do this every year. Me, too.

Mother’s Day.

April 15th, 2013

I love this portrait of my mother holding my sister. It’s a beautiful, old, sepia-toned print — the type of thing we don’t see much of nowadays. But this image is precious for other, more important, reasons. You see, by the time my brother and I came along, my mom had stopped having formal portrait sessions done. I’m not sure why. Certainly, my parents had more disposable income by then to afford going to a portrait studio — they weren’t getting by on my dad’s Army pay anymore. Perhaps life just got too busy, with children going off to school and infants at home.

Whatever the reasons, though, we have no companion pieces to this portrait — not of my mom with each of her other children individually, nor of her with all of us together, or of the whole family with mom and dad. My mother was almost 35 when I was born. I don’t have clear memories of my youth until the age of 5, so the only way I remember my mother being was as a middle aged and older woman. In this portrait, though, she was still in her 20’s. It gives me a view of a young woman, a young mother, happy, aglow, looking out on her future — a time before worries and struggle and age and illness took their toll. My mom passed away quite a number of years ago. I wonder if she knows how much I treasure this photograph of her.

We can always find excuses not to have a formal portrait done. “It has been crazy busy at work;” “It’s hard to coordinate the kids’ schedules with all the after school activities they’re in;” “I want to lose 10 pounds before I have a photograph taken;” “I really need to have my hair cut first” … We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make things look “perfect.” As much as I appreciate the beauty of a formal, posed portrait, I get even more enjoyment out of photographing families in their candid moments, when they’re enjoying each other’s company. If I can capture the nature of a relationship, and not just the way people are dressed or how they look, then I’ve succeeded in creating a portrait with real meaning. And if I can design a beautiful piece of artwork that someone can hang on their wall or hold in their hands and treasure in years to come, then I’ve created something of real value.

Announcing “A New Year — A New You” Contest

November 30th, 2012

ANNOUNCING “A NEW YEAR—A NEW YOU” CONTEST

So to start the new year you’d really like to get a fresh portrait done for your social media profiles or to give to your significant other as a gift, but you’re too stressed out from Christmas shopping, holiday parties, baking cookies, and decorating your home to make time for it. Have we got a contest for you! The owners of Kathleen Kelly Photo, Bello In Home Salon, Heart Path Massage, and Liz’s Personal Chef Service are giving away a package of services that will de-stress the hectic holidays and have you feeling like “a new you.” Read on to find out how you can be the lucky winner of this contest.

WHAT WILL YOU WIN?

1. A one-hour deep tissue massage by Andrew O’Connell Shevenell at Heart Path Massage in Portland. (valued at $60)

2. This will be followed by a hair styling and professional makeup application (for the ladies) or a hair trim and style, with an optional manicure, (for the gentlemen) done by Hydie Knuckles, of Bello In Home Salon. (valued at $120)

3. You will then have your portrait photographed by Kathleen Kelly, of Kathleen Kelly Photo. You will receive one web-ready file for use on social media sites as well as one fine art print, suitable for framing. (valued at $175)

4. When you return home, you will find dinner and dessert for 4 that has been prepared for you by Liz Sawicki, of Liz’s Personal Chef Service. You just have to heat and eat! (valued at $120).

A total package valued at $475! Are you interested? Here is how you can have the chance to win.

HOW DO YOU ENTER THE CONTEST?

Go to the websites of Andrew, Hydie, Kathy and Liz. Check the “About Me” sections to find the answers to the following questions. Submit your answers by email to maine.photo.special@gmail.com. Put “A New You” in the subject line. You must include your name, phone number and email address with your answers. If you’ve answered all 4 questions correctly, your name will be entered to win in a random drawing from all the correct responses.

1. What massage school did Andrew attend?
(look for the answer at www.heartpath.co)

2. Who did Hydie help produce a fashion show for?
(look for the answer at www.belloinhomesalon.com)

3. Name one of the magazines where Kathleen’s photos have been published.
(look for the answer at www.kathleenkellyphoto.com)

4. When did Liz open Liz’s Personal Chef Service
(look for the answer at www.lizpersonalchef.com)

Your answers must be received during the contest period from Sunday Dec. 2nd 2012 at 12:01 a.m. through Tuesday Dec. 11th 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST. You must be available to redeem your prize on either Monday Dec. 17th or Tuesday Dec. 18th. Only one entry per person is allowed. The winning entry will be drawn randomly from all the correct responses on Wednesday Dec. 12th 2012. The winner will be notified by email that day. He or she must respond to the notification by noon on Thursday Dec. 13th. We will also make one attempt to call you by phone. If we do not hear back from you by the deadline, a new winner will be drawn randomly from the remaining contest entries.

WHAT ARE THE CONTEST RULES FOR “A NEW YEAR—A NEW YOU”?

1. ELIGIBILITY: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Open to legal residents of the United States and District of Columbia at least 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are binding and final on matters relating to this contest. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws.

2. TO ENTER: Contest begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on December 2, 2012 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on December 11, 2012 (the Entry Period). There is a limit of one (1) entry per person during the Entry Period. Multiple entries received from any person or email address after the first entry received from that person will be void.

3. DRAWING AND WINNER NOTIFICATION: Potential winner will be selected in a random drawing held on December 12, 2012 from all the eligible entries received. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor will send the potential winner an email from Kathleen Kelly Photo to the email used to enter the contest with instructions on how to claim the prize. If the potential winner does not respond and comply with the instructions in the direct message by noon on December 13, 2012 after the Sponsor sent the email message, prize notification is returned as undeliverable, or a potential winner is not in compliance with these rules, prize will be forfeited and, at Sponsor’s discretion, an alternate winner selected.

4. PRIZES (1): One combo prize package of services. Total ARV of prize: $475. Prize is awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied. Winner may not substitute, assign or transfer prize or redeem prize for cash. Winner is responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes, if any, as well as any other costs and expenses associated with prize acceptance and use not specified herein as being provided. All prize details are at Sponsor’s sole discretion.

5. GENERAL CONDITIONS: The winner, by acceptance of prize, except where legally prohibited, grants permission for Sponsor and its designees to use his/her name, photograph and/or other likeness and prize information for advertising, trade and promotional purposes, including announcing his/her name on various Social Media platforms, without further compensation, in all media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide in perpetuity, without notice or review or approval. Released Parties (as defined below) are not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, stolen, misdirected, undelivered, garbled entries, tweets or retweets or email; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the sweepstakes, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the sweepstakes, the processing of entries, the announcement of the prizes or in any contest-related materials. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the contest. Released Parties are not responsible for injury or damage to participants’ or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in this contest or downloading materials from or use of the web site. Persons who tamper with or abuse any aspect of the contest or website, who act in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and all associated entries will be void. Should any portion of the contest be, in Sponsor’s sole opinion, compromised by virus, worms, bugs, non-authorized human intervention or other causes which, in the sole opinion of the Sponsor, corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper play, or submission of entries, Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to suspend, modify or terminate the contest and, if terminated, at its discretion, select the potential winners from all eligible, non-suspect entries received prior to action taken or as otherwise deemed fair and appropriate by Sponsor. Entrants, by participating, agree that Sponsor, Facebook, and their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies and all of their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents (collectively, “Released Parties”) will have no liability whatsoever for, and shall be held harmless by entrants against, any liability, for any injuries, losses or damages of any kind, including death, to persons, or property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, misuse or use of any prize or participation in this contest. In the event of a dispute regarding entries received from multiple users having the same e-mail account, the authorized subscriber of the e-mail account at the time of entry will be deemed to be the entrant and must comply with these rules. Authorized account subscriber is the natural person who is assigned the e-mail address by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), on-line service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses.

Scarborough Marsh Soars.

September 22nd, 2011

Laura Watson, of Cleveland OH, is a regular summer visitor at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center in Maine. When she made her first solo flight earlier this year, she wore a logo t-shirt from the marsh for good luck.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

When Memorial Weekend rolls around, I look forward to the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center opening for the season. I have volunteered there for six summers now, helping to man the register in the gift store and assisting visitors who come to canoe on the river. We get to meet people from all over the world — Mexico, Germany, and Taiwan, to name a few places. We get to hear their stories as well: a man from northern California was excited to observe cardinals (a bird we take for granted here); a young woman who had served in the Coast Guard in South Portland, but who now lives in Washington state, was visiting with her husband, who had always been enchanted by the way she talks about Maine; and a couple from Rhode Island, who moved to the US after they had to leave their home in the Ukraine after the nuclear reactor explosion at Chernobyl, came to spend time with their son, who is doing his residency in emergency medicine at Maine Medical Center.

There was one story this year, though, that stood out for me because it was about how a memento from Scarborough Marsh played a significant role in the lives of one of our regular visitors. Laura Watson, of Cleveland OH, has been coming to Scarborough every summer since 1969, when she was 12. Her mom, Betsy, had had a childhood friend who used to tell stories about spending summers in Old Orchard Beach. On their first visit, the family wound up finding a spot to stay a couple of miles down the road at the Sun & Sand Motel on Pine Point Beach, and that’s where they’ve returned every year since.

The nature center at Scarborough Marsh is about two miles west of the beach. Laura says, “The marsh became part of my growing up.” She enjoyed canoeing, hiking, and bird watching. She met her husband, Joe, at Brown University, and they enjoyed many romantic evening canoe tours on the marsh in the summer. Laura and Betsy usually stop by the gift store at the center to pick up souvenirs. Betsy enjoys the jewelry pins shaped as animals, and Laura says that she and Joe drink their coffee each Sunday morning in mugs they brought home from the marsh. It was a favorite Scarborough Marsh logo t-shirt, though, that Laura wore for luck when she made her first solo flight between airports in a Cessna 172 this spring.

Watson had taken a couple of flying lessons in the late 1990s when she and Joe were living and working in Chicago, but it wasn’t until January of this year, when Joe gave her flying lessons as a 25th wedding anniversary present and encouraged her, that she went ahead and got her student pilot’s license. By March she had done her first solo, circling over the runway at Lorain (OH) County Airport. In June she soloed from there to the 5A1 airport in Norwalk, OH.

Laura says that in the early days of flight, when students sat in the front of the plane and their instructors behind them, the cockpits were open and there was no radio communication. In order to guide their students, instructors would pull on their shirttails to get their attention and then yell in their ears.

“The tradition was that once you had completed your solo flight, your shirttail was cut off,” says Laura, “because at that point you didn’t need the guiding hand of your instructor anymore. I wanted to have my Scarborough Marsh t-shirt on for the flight, though. Since it doesn’t have a shirttail to cut off, I had it signed, instead, by the instructors and students who were waiting in Lorain when I returned from the round trip.” Watson will test for her private pilot’s license later this fall.

Besides our attachment to the marsh, Laura and I share a connection of being photographers, both having switched from other careers. Laura had worked as a corporate executive for University of Chicago Hospitals. Her love of nature and an interest in conservation, however, led her to ask the head of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago if she could tag along on a trip to a scientific research station in the rainforests of Ecuador. Even though she didn’t own a camera at the time and knew nothing about photography, she volunteered to take pictures of the leaves of the tree specimens that the research group was counting. Talk about flying by the seat of your pants!

She went out and bought a camera and a macro lens and began learning as she went. Laura says, “When I started photographing the leaves, I was able to see insects up close. It was like falling in love.” She became fascinated by crawling into tight spots and finding exotic insects, snakes and spiders. Her love of photographing them was compelling, but she was afraid of breaking off from her life in the corporate world to take this up as a career. Wise words from her mother got her to take that leap of faith.

Betsy told her, “Don’t keep pushing and looking for what you should be doing in life. Just watch for doors to open. And when a door opens, step through it.”

Since then Laura has traveled extensively in Central and South America and worked with local biologists to document insects and other creatures living under the forest canopy. Her photographs have been published in field guides and scientific articles, and her first photographic exhibition hung on the walls of the Cuban Natural History Museum in Havana in 2001. Samples of her work may be seen on her website at www.natures-edge.org.

Media Award Announced.

September 15th, 2011

Paula Mahony, left, marketing expert at Words@Work, project manager Lou Christen, and VNA business development director Lisa Fuller with the 2011 Media Award winning slide show.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2011

When Paula Mahony, marketing expert at Words@Work, comes up with what she calls one of her “harebrained schemes,” you never know where it can take you. Today it took us to the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, where one of her “schemes” was honored with the 2011 Media Award by the Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine.

The award went to a slide show called “Ask for VNA” that Paula and I produced for VNA Home Health & Hospice, based in South Portland. The project started when Paula casually approached me and asked if it was possible to put words on pictures. I said, yes, you could create text layers on digital images. She then asked me if I knew anything about digital picture frames. I had purchased one for myself about three years ago, but wasn’t up on what models were currently available. My curiosity piqued, I wondered why she wanted to know.

Paula had been doing market research for VNA and had found that patients didn’t know what services were provided by the agency or that they could ask for these services when they were at their doctors’ offices. She was looking for a cost-effective, clever way to educate the public and thought that if patients could see a short slide show while waiting in their doctors’ reception rooms, the message would be delivered directly to the people who could most benefit from it. It occurred to her that digital picture frames could fit in with the décor of most offices and could be placed on end tables or hung on walls. They would be visible, yet unobtrusive. She wasn’t sure, though, whether the vision she had in her head would translate well in reality. The challenge was to use existing client photographs to carry a verbal message in a way that would be easily readable and understandable.

So how did Kathleen Kelly Photo help Words@Work produce an effective message for VNA? We started by creating a small demo, using three images provided by VNA and a rough draft of the text provided by Words@Work and playing it for the client on my digital frame. When VNA saw what Paula had in mind, they gave us the go-ahead for the project and asked us to have it ready to debut for an open house celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Visiting Nurses Association.

I was tasked with researching current makers and models of digital frames and getting comparisons of prices and features. I looked for a frame that could render high image quality at a moderate price. Due to time and budget constraints, we weren’t able to go out and photograph fresh images, so Lisa Fuller, business development director at VNA, selected more photos from pictures nurses had taken in the field showing patient care and acquired additional stock images. I edited the images to make sure that all had similar file size, resolution, and proper color balance and selected fonts for the text display. Paula amended the text, and she, Lisa, and I conferred to determine which words and phrases needed to stand out on the screen. The client also wanted the “Ask for VNA” logo, designed by Judy Paolini of TPDA, to be displayed several times during the slide show. After a second demo, I suggested that we repurpose several of the portraits that I had photographed of a number of the staff two months earlier for the VNA website to be layered with the logo. I reduced the opacity of the portraits so that the logo would pop more on the screen, and now the words were backed up by warm, smiling faces of caregivers. After the third demo, I rebuilt the slides with new typefaces for the text and scanned a vintage photo of one of the nurses from the 1950s to incorporate into the show. With all revisions complete, I loaded the digital slides onto memory cards for all of the frames and set the slide show to play in continuous mode.

After the slide show debuted for the staff and board of VNA, the digital picture frames were placed in a half dozen primary care physicians’ offices in the greater Portland area. Ms. Fuller says that they have been well received and that offices are requesting even larger frames (we are using 8×10 inch now) in the future. VNA plans to expand their reach with slide shows that will target specific services, such as physical therapy or wound care, to be placed in specialists’ offices. I’ve posted a version of the slide show on YouTube that plays with a music track, but the show that runs continually in reception rooms plays without sound.

On Location with ikno Intranet

April 25th, 2011

APRIL 25, 2011

When Becky McKinnell, president and founder of iBec Creative, a web-design firm in Portland, told me she was collaborating with business communications consultant Mark Girr to launch a new company, ikno Intranet, she asked me to take some head shots of them with a high-tech feel. Of course, most of the Old Port looks … well … old. I went location scouting to see if I could find a backdrop that would have clean lines and something that would suggest interconnectivity. Still being a relative newcomer to Maine, I don’t know the lay of the land all that well, so I motored along, hoping something would catch my eye.

I’ve driven along Congress St. numerous times, but this was the first time that I noticed the glass skylight and façade at the Portland Public Library. I entered the building and found a stairway leading me up to the skylight on the second floor where all sorts of pipes crisscross. Ah! Just the look I was hoping for. Sandy in the development office was kind enough to let us come in one morning before the library opened for the day to do the photo shoot.

I learned that the library was founded in 1867, but a renovation was completed just last year by Scott Simons Architects. I called Scott to ask what the function of the pipes is. I wondered if they were part of the heating system or if they housed electrical wiring. Scott explained that the trusses are structural elements. “The library used to be quite dark,” he said, “and it was hard to figure out where you were going. The skylight and glass façade bring more light into the space.” Scott said that the super high-performance glass retains heat better, but with less heat escaping, snow doesn’t melt as fast. In order to support the extra weight of the snow, the trusses are needed to reinforce the structure. Scott said he enjoys the challenges of taking old buildings and bringing them up to the 21st century. “Besides bringing in more light,” he says, “we were able to improve the visual readability of the space.” Sounds to me like his job is really to make a physical space communicate better with its users.

Improved communication is also the goal of ikno Intranet. An intranet is like a mini-Internet and is used by individual companies for employee communication. It is best suited to businesses that have more than 50 employees or that operate in multiple locations. It’s an interactive platform for sharing documents, ideas, and internal communications. It also incorporates its own form of social media. Mark Girr, head of Girr Corp., had a background in internal communications, but he was frustrated by available intranet platforms. He wanted to create a new format and knew that would require a strong, user-friendly website design, so he teamed up with Becky to design an interface. They did a test account for Norway Savings Bank, and they are now developing systems for Visiting Nurses Association and Green Buildings Strategies Group. Mark said, smiling, “Some day we’d like to be nipping at the heels of Microsoft.” Well, I believe he’s got the right partner. Last year Becky was named as one of Business Week’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under the Age of 25, and if anyone can do it, she can. Congratulations, Mark and Becky, on the launch of your new enterprise!

Team Volk.

November 2nd, 2010


NOVEMBER 2, 2010
I ran into one of my favorite clients, Derek (I Love Boxes!) Volk, of Volk Packaging, when I went to vote today at the high school. I had the pleasure of meeting his wife, Amy, who is running for the Maine House of Representatives. The Portland Press Herald called hers “one of the key races to watch.” Amy is a mother of four, who has been active in the community through organizations like Young Life Scarborough and Moms in Touch International, but she says it was her husband’s family-owned business that prompted her to enter the field of politics.

“We seem to be in such a hostile business climate nowadays,” said Amy. “I want to work to improve conditions for small businesses to operate in Maine.”

Amy began her campaign for office in March, but she says the last two weeks have been the hardest. “It has been such an intense, crunch time,” she said. “We’ve been doing everything we can to get out and talk to voters. That’s what’s made it the best time, though, as well – getting to meet so many of the people of Scarborough and spending time talking with them.”

Derek has been at Amy’s side all the way – just as he has since the age of 15, when they began dating. Whether it has been driving her to meetings, posting election signs around town, spearheading a letter campaign, or standing outside with her on a chilly election day from the time the polls opened at 6 a.m. until they will close tonight at 8, Derek has been Amy’s biggest supporter. Hang in there, guys — you’re almost at the finish line!

Music Maker.

October 26th, 2010

OCTOBER 26, 2010
When the town of Scarborough was celebrating its 350th anniversary, I made a series of blog posts about residents of the town I had come to know since moving here. One was on the Paradis family (6/28/08). I learned some wonderful news the other day about their son Noah, 14. He is one of 32 high school students from across the state of Maine who has been selected to be a member of the 2011 All-State Jazz Choir.

Two weeks ago he traveled to Augusta to compete with 80 students vying in the tenor category – eight were chosen. Along with the sopranos, altos, and basso, they will be doing intense rehearsals during the Christmas break for the All-State Jazz Festival, which will be held January 6-8, 2011, at Scarborough High School, which Noah attends. He’ll also be auditioning next month for the All-State Chorus. Go get ‘em, Noah! You have a beautiful voice!