The University of Maine at Presque Isle is pleased to welcome nine business leaders from throughout the region as new members to its Board of Visitors. UMPI’s Board of Visitors is an advisory board to the President of the University and serves as an advocate for the University of Maine System Board of Trustees; the group meets, studies, evaluates, and makes recommendations to the Trustees. Members generally serve two 3-year terms with the board.
Joining the board are: Rick Duncan, Chelsie Higgins, Jason House, John Lisnik, Jason Parent, Chantal Pelletier, Steve Richard, Adam Swanson, and Scott Violette.
“On behalf of the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Board of Visitors, it is my pleasure to welcome the new members to our board,” Carl Michaud, Chair of the Board of Visitors, said. “Their education and work experience will complement the current makeup of the board, which will allow us to support the University in its mission.”
Rick Duncan, President of the House of Comfort Foundation, is a graduate of Central Aroostook High School, University of Maine, and New England Institute in Boston. He owned and operated Duncan Funeral Home, Dorsey Funeral Home and Duncan-Graves Funeral Home for many years. Currently President of NMC, Inc., Duncan is a past president of: the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce, Presque Isle Kiwanis Club, Maine Funeral Directors Association, and Neighbors First International. He has served on several boards of directors for local civic and nonprofit organizations. He currently serves on the boards of directors for Eastern Maine Health Care, Presque Isle Rotary Club, Visiting Nurses of Aroostook, The Aroostook Medical Center, and Neighbors First International.
Chelsie Higgins, Outreach Coordinator for Hope and Justice Project, is an Aroostook County native and 2011 UMPI graduate. Upon receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from UMPI, she moved to Portland and began working at Maine Medical Center as a care management associate. During her time at Maine Medical Center, she volunteered for Family Crisis Services, and eventually began working for the organization full time. Higgins moved back to Presque Isle in 2014 to work at Hope and Justice Project as an advocate and outreach coordinator. She is passionate about helping people affected by abuse and violence and honored to now be able to do this important work in Aroostook County.
Jason House, Vice President with TD Bank, joined the bank after spending the first four years of his financial services career at a small community bank. He graduated from UMPI in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a concentration in History. He received the Outstanding Scholar Award in 1999, served as Senior Class President, and was the student representative to the Board of Trustees. House is currently a member of the Aroostook Partnership Board of Directors, Maine Forest Products Council Board of Directors, Presque Isle Rotary Club, Northern Maine Forestry Cluster Group, Mapleton Planning Board, Presque Isle Fish and Game Club, and American Mensa. He formerly served on the steering committee of Momentum Aroostook and the Maine Sporting Camp Association Board of Directors. He resides in Mapleton with his wife Trisha and their two daughters.
John Lisnik is a former Maine politician and University of Maine System administrator. He was born in Presque Isle and graduated from area schools in 1965 before enlisting in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He was a paratrooper and was honorably discharged in 1968 after serving in the 101st Airborne Division. He graduated from UMPI in 1972 and taught social studies in Falmouth for a year. He then received a fellowship to study at the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a Master’s degree in government and international affairs. He returned to Aroostook County and taught at Caribou High School before running for the Maine State Legislature. Lisnik served as Assistant to the Chancellor for Governmental Relations for the University of Maine System, where he represented the System in the Maine Legislature, until his retirement in 2015.
Jason Parent, Executive Director of the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP), is a 1996 UMPI graduate and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. Parent is a familiar face throughout Aroostook County, holding director-level public relations and fundraising positions in both central Aroostook County and the St. John Valley. He has served as Director of Development and College Relations at Northern Maine Community College, Director of Advancement at The Aroostook Medical Center, Director of University Relations at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Executive Director of the Greater Madawaska Chamber of Commerce, and began his professional career as a reporter for WAGM-TV. In his time at NMCC, Parent built strong partnerships between the college and local businesses and organizations, helped launch its first major gifts campaign, and helped lead a successful effort to double its endowment. He has been recognized at the regional and state levels for his work, including being named to the 2010 MaineBiz Next List of People Shaping Maine’s Economy. He lives in Caribou with his wife Kimberlee and their two children.
Chantal Pelletier is a member of the MMG Management Team and currently holds the position of Assistant Personal Lines Manager. She has an Associate’s degree in Legal Office Administration from NMCC, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Husson University, and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Husson. Pelletier obtained her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (Maine Chapter CPCU) designation in 2011 and is a 2010 graduate of the Young Professionals Institute. She is a licensed Property and Casualty producer and has earned numerous industry designations through the Institutes and LOMA. Pelletier is involved in the InVEST Insurance Program with MMG, and is a member of MMG’s CPCU Advisory Group, as well as the CPCU Society. She serves as Cub Scout Pack 171 Den Leader and was awarded the 2014-2015 Spirit of Scouting award as a volunteer. She is a Pre-K teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in its Faith Formation Program and serves on the Aroostook Relay for Life Committee. She is a past member of the Healthy Maine Partnership Coalition and served on MMG’s Wellness committee. Pelletier lives in Easton with her husband Matt and two children.
Steve Richard, Executive Director of the Central Aroostook Association, is a 1973 UMPI graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Recreation and a Doctor of Humane Letters in 2007. For more than 40 years, he has led the Central Aroostook Association, a non-profit organization providing services for the developmentally disabled. Richard serves as the Board Chair for ACAP. He is also a current board member of the Aroostook Regional Transportation System, Special Olympics Aroostook Area Management Team and Presque Isle Rotary Club. He is also a past member of many boards and committees, including the UMPI Board of Visitors from 2009-2015, on which he served as the Board Chair. Richard has been recognized for his many years of service by receiving: the Paul Harris Recipient of Rotary Group Study Exchange Award (1983), Paul Harris Fellowship (2000), UMPI Distinguished Alumni Award (2005), and Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce Co-Citizen of the Year (1998), as well as many others.
Adam Swanson, Principal Attorney with Swanson Law, P.A., is an Aroostook County native who returned to Presque Isle after his education to found Swanson Law in 2013. With his business and legal expertise, he endeavors to strengthen the community by helping citizens and businesses with diverse legal objectives.
Scott Violette, Investment Advisor Representative and Financial Services Representative with Barresi Financial Services, joined the Barresi firm in 2007. His professional achievements include the State of Maine Health and Life Insurance License and Securities Registrations including the FINRA Series 7 and 66. Violette achieved his Certified Financial Planner designation in June of 2010. He became a partner in 2015 and runs the financial services division. Violette graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. He is a past president of the Presque Isle Rotary Club and served as a steering committee member and past-chair of Momentum Aroostook. He is currently a board member of The Aroostook Medical Center, the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee, and the Presque Isle Country Club. He also served as the vice-chair on the Presque Isle Strategic Planning Committee. Prior to coming to work for Barresi Financial, he worked as a general manager for a Fortune 500 retailer for 12 years.