MaineBiz is the undisputed authority on the Maine business scene and each year since 2013, its staff has nominated the business leaders who are "changing Maine's economy and changing Maine."
In October, our founder and President Trevor Kenkel was one of seven Mainers named to this prestigious list.
It's an incredible honor for Trevor that he received thanks in large part to our outstanding relationship with Hannaford Supermarkets. Beginning with direct delivery to a few local stores, we now have four different products on the shelves of all 180+ Hannaford supermarkets throughout the northeast. During his remarks, Trevor had the opportunity to share how Springworks Farm is the largest aquaponic greenhouse in the northeast, what aquaponics is, and how we're planning to continue growing our business.
Six other remarkable Maine business leaders were named to the Next List and we got the opportunity to meet just about all of them.
During the reception, we especially enjoyed chatting with Sascha Deri, the CEO of bluShift Aerospace. Not only are Sascha and his team designing and building rockets right here in Maine, they're doing so with a sustainably-farmed, bio-derived fuels that will not harm the environment during launch or when the engine falls back to earth. bluShift Aerospace has a goal of launching their first rocket from Maine this year and we can't wait to follow their progress.
Lisa Sockabasin, the Director of Programs and External Affairs for Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness was recognized for the sweeping changes she's made in less than four years to improve the health and wellness of Wabanki communities throughout Maine. Under Lisa's leadership, her organization has grown from seven employees to about 100 employees and developed programs for clean water, housing, addiction and recover services, violence prevention, and food insecurity.
Mike Mwendata, the founder and CEO of Rwanda Bean Co. in Portland was unable to attend the reception but we were awed by his dedication to gives back 50% of his company's profits his growers in Rwanda. In addition to subscription services that make his coffee available to anyone, Mike has two retail locations in Portland at 290 Thompson's Point Road and 463 Stevens Avenue and at Cape Whoopies at 185 Cottage Road in South Portland.
We also enjoyed chatting with Amy VanHaren who, like Trevor, started her company after a profound experience that inspired immediate action. In Amy's case, she was frustrated by the lack of support for working mothers struggling to breastfeed their babies while doing their jobs. In addition to support services for moms, Pumpspotting works with HR and benefits teams to provide lactation benefits that have increased employee retention and cut absenteeism by as much as 50%.
Having started our business in Lisbon, we've benefitted immensely from the guidance and support of our local economic and community development office. That's why we were so impressed with Garvan Donegan and the success he's had in towns like Fairfield, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow through his leadership at the Central Maine Growth Council. Here in Maine, Portland gets a lot of the spotlight given how many businesses are concentrated in Cumberland County. As a business that's proud to be outside the lines, we were excited to see Gavan and the Central Maine Growth Council recognized for their great work to lift up companies that are doing great things off the beaten path.
Whether you're a fan of Maine's most popular culinary delicacy or an admirer of innovative business people, there's a lot to love about Luke Holden. Luke and his team have managed to take charm and freshness of Maine lobster straight from the shack and replicate it across the United States. Luke's Lobster also operates three locations in Singapore and six in Japan. It's an incredible business born out of concern for the long-term well-being of the lobstermen and women who make it all happen. After weathering the myriad challenges of the pandemic. Luke's Lobster now has eight branded products in 1,000 grocery stores with plans for more products that support Maine's seafood community.
Attending the Next List reception just weeks after receiving the People's United Bank Innovation and Technology Award from the Institute for Family-Owned Business was an exciting way to begin winding down an incredibly busy year for the entire Springworks Farm team. We can't wait to continue our expansion plans in '22 and we look forward to sharing more news with you soon!