Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes July 17, 2023

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
Date: July 17, 2023
Time: 10:30 AM to 3 PM
Location: 220 Libby Hall, Orono Campus

Facilitator: Hannah Carter
Note taker: Jim Dill (Prichard)

Please note: Due to the confidentiality and sensitivity of some agenda items, these ELT minutes do not represent the full content of each meeting.

Meeting Focus

Agenda items relate to one of these three goals with corresponding action items and/or priorities.

  • Make Extension a sustainable, equitable and enjoyable place to work
  • Work on structural, (county offices, staffing patterns), cultural and leadership issues that will lead to this
  • Focus on employee experience
  • Restructure Extension
  • Right size based on budget
  • Mission delivery that is current, and responsive to changing demographics/community needs
  • Overall efficiency and effectiveness
  • Define focus areas
  • Make PFAS a priority for Extension (define what this means; not necessarily a piece of everyone’s job, but an organizational priority nevertheless).


Associate Provost/Dean Dr. Carter

  • Award winners
    • Sarah Sparks was selected UMaine’s Outstanding Professional Employee
    • Kathy Savoie was selected as the winner of the 2023 Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) Exceptional Local Program Award
  • Leslie Hyde Building Dedication event at Blueberry Cove was a success and wonderful tribute
  • Deans’ meeting update
  • ME Potato Board Dinner
  • Next week – KY Leadership Program will be visiting UMaine, hosted by Hannah
  • Position management process in changing


  • Good B2B farm tour in Farmington last Tuesday. Met Sean Horan (NRCS)
  • Identified all Program Coordinators (6). Lots of Questions.
  • Ornamental Horticulture Specialist RTF this week
  • Urban Ag Professional starting soon at NRCS in Scarborough
  • Hort Team meeting on Wednesday w/ statewide support staff re: gardening programs


  • Was part of the legislative tour in the County last week in addition to attending the Maine Potato Board dinner; interviewed with Maine Public Radio


  • Enforce the need for staff to contact Fran/Beth about the potential for added compensation for staff before offering staff members compensation for work outside of their job description. And discuss with the relevant Program Administrator/Program Leader/Supervisor.


  • Needs Assessment Focus group this week
  • Readvertising the Seafood Safety Faculty position
  • LD 1767 – An Act to Develop and Provide Technical Assistance for Meat Slaughtering and Processing
  • Blueberry Legislation day – August 4 – BB Hill. Extension collaboration with NFSA
  • All Earmark proposals will be submitted by Aug. 1
    • EPA – PFAS – JB Lead
    • SBA – Food Innovation Center – JB Lead
    • SBA – Ag Roadmap – Hannah Lead


  • Met with our new Climate Smart Ag Professional Sean Horan (NRCS) on July 10 to welcome and begin orientation; office location is South Paris and Scarborough
  • Working on Provost Annual Report; Faculty/Professional scholarship info due 7/20
  • Oxford County staff changes in 4-H
  • Continuing with 2023 Planning and Reporting transition.


  • Sarah Sparks UMaine Outstanding Professional Award
  • Maine 4-H Days is July 21-23 at the Windsor Fairgrounds.
  • Fair season has begun
  • The July 11th Community First Responder Program zoom training was successful with 30 participants including some from the UMaine System.
  • Ryder, Kristy and Lisa had their first 4-H Leadership Meeting
  • Ryder, Kristy and Lisa met with Laurie Bragg, Exec Director Maine 4-H Foundation


  • Leslie Hyde Center for Environmental Education
  • LD 1817 update
    • LD 1817 did not receive funding at the appropriations table. The coalition plans to keep raising private funds to continue with advocacy efforts in advance of the next legislative session.
    • RS leading a small group continuing to design the Extension program administration in anticipation of ultimate passage of the bill.
  • Bob Norman visits – County EMAs
    • Summer Camp has exceeded 2019 enrollment (2000 +) – Baby Proulx has arrived.
    • HR onboarding and payroll issues (particularly with Student Employment)
  • Education Partnerships
  • Beth Clarke resignation – Betterment Fund
  • Quimby Foundation $13,000 (Jess Decke)
  • UMaine Bridgeweek will include students spending time some days at Bryant Pond and Blueberry Cove


  • Grants announcements below
  • Finance Meeting Update: E&G to remain flat for foreseeable future
    • E&G Budgetary Pressure: Wages
      • Equity Adjustments → Significant Number this early in FY24
      • Hourly to Professional → Professional Career Ladder Budget
      • Heightened Oversight of Vacant Positions from OBBS


  • Pending successful background checks, we’ve hired Daisy Ratzlaff from Los Angeles, CA as our Communications Professional. She has worked as a newspaper and TV reporter in LA and the search committee found her very engaging and innovative in her submitted samples. She starts August 15.

Discussion Items

Extension Statewide Needs Assessment

Today, the ELT met with staff from UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education as they began their first round of needs assessment activities with Extension.  These consultants were in Maine for 3 days and engaged with staff and interested parties across the state.

Extension Roadmap and Organizational Structure

The ELT continued to move forward on plans on organizational structure and changes that will be forthcoming.  Portions of these have already become public and we expect a more complete rollout in the late summer/early fall.

Announcements & Congratulations

Congratulations to Sarah Sparks for being recognized as UMaine’s Outstanding Professional Employee!  This award is given to a professional employee whose actions and achievements beyond normal work responsibilities have provided outstanding service to their field, the University of Maine, and the community as a whole. Sarah is a 4-H Science Professional in our Andy/Sag office and part of the 4-H STEM team.

Congratulations to Kathy Savoie for being selected as the winner of the 2023 Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) Exceptional Local Program Award! This award is given annually to celebrate an Extension educator  who provides leadership for the delivery of an exceptional program that is focused on the community level, responds directly to local issues or needs, and engages in exceptional program planning and assessment. Kathy is an Extension Professor in our Cumberland County office who provides education and outreach in the areas of food safety, food presentation and nutrition.

Grants Announcements

Congratulations to Elizabeth Clarke for the award of $282,863 from the US Dept of Transportation for the Maine DOT Maine West 21 Century Workforce Development Initiative.  The project will address workforce needs in the Maine West region by building relationships with stakeholders, establishing workforce development and training for teens and employers, creating extended learning opportunities for teens, organizing site visits to in-state businesses, offering college visits, and organizing job/career fairs.

Congratulations to Dr. Lily Calderwood for the award of $43,353 from Cornell University for the Weed Management Decision Making for Wild Blueberry Growers in Maine project.  The knowledge developed through this project will incorporate IPM into the current wild blueberry weed management recommendations, ultimately reducing the economic and environmental impact on farm families and the unique wild blueberry ecosystem. Outreach and education will occur throughout the research process, farmer-Extension exchanges, and an agricultural service provider herbicide education webinar series.

Congratulations to Carla Scocchi for the award of $3,600 from the Maine Technology Institute for the Increasing Accessibility to Aquaculture: Creation of virtual tours for Maine Aquaculture Facilities project.  Funds will be used to purchase photography and videography equipment needed to create 360° images and videos in order to create high-quality VFTs that will be incorporated into existing 4-H aquaculture programming as well as be shared widely for aquaculture exploration education.

Congratulations to Gary Proulx for the award of $8,310 from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for the DHHS Youth Opportunities program.  This partnership with DHHS and the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) to provide virtual and in-person programming, for youth from DHHS programs throughout Maine, consistent with YLAT groups, and recruited by the OCFS Youth Transition Program.

Congratulations to Caragh Fitzgerald for the award of $50,000 from the University of Delaware for the Boots-2-Bushels Program. The program will build on lessons learned from the 2021-2022 project, which includes expanding the geographic reach of online participants and homework that culminates in a farm business plan.  This grant will provide support for two years of hands-on field days at demonstration farms, farm coaching on communication and resolving conflict, incentives to participate in programs, adaptive equipment for demonstration, and one and a half years of remote, online instruction.

Search Updates


  • Labor Education Professional, Penobscot (CE/BLE)
  • Admin Specialist CL3 4-H, Cumberland (*previously approved as CL2, changed to CL3 in July)


  • Research Assistant in Sustainable Agriculture, Penobscot
  • Parent Education Professional, Maine Families, Knox/Lincoln
  • Oh YEA! 4-H Professional, Cumberland
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Seafood Technology, Food Safety Specialist, Penobscot (Extended posting in July)
  • Open Air Classroom Program Coordinator, Tanglewood (Rating applicants) 


  • Oh YEA! 4-H Professional,  And/Sag (Interviewing June 23) 
  • Parent Education Professional, Maine Families Visitor Cumberland (Interviewing)
  • Asst Professor Sustainable Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture Educator, Faculty, York County / Southern ME (Interviewing 2nd week of July) 
  • Asst Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Farm Business Management Educator Knox/Lincoln/Waldo (Interviewing July)
  • Communications Professional, Penobscot (Offering)
  • Assistant Diagnostician and Accreditation Program Manager, Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab (Offering)
  • Asst Extension Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Educator, Hancock/Washington (Offering)
  • AgrAbility Coordinator, statewide (Offering)


  • Oh YEA! 4-H Professional, Washington – Jason Palomo, July 21
  • Urban Agriculture Professional, Scarborough NRCS office – Carrick Gamble, July 17
  • Parent Education Professional, Maine Families, Waldo – Sarah Hogencamp Gaia, July 17
  • Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry Professional, NRCS office – Sean Horan, July 10

2023 ELT In-Person Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
September 20 Harrington Jackson Hancock
October 18 Jackson Prichard Knox/Lincoln
November 15 Prichard Phelps York
December 20 Phelps Scott Virtual