Press Release
Thomas College Student Wins Second Place on Greenlight Maine Season 9 College Edition MacKenzie Riley Young | June 26, 2024

WATERVILLE, MAINE, June 2024 — Thomas College student and Searsport, ME native Cole Ellis won second place of Season 9 of Greenlight Maine’s College Edition business competition show this weekend. He won $7,500 and competed against two Colby College student teams.

Ellis is heading into his second year at Thomas College studying marketing and entrepreneurship. He pitched his business, Keep it Clean Heat Pumps, a service and cleaning company out of Searsport, ME.

“It feels amazing to receive second place in a competition with other very talented individuals. The hard work and sleepless nights running my business are starting to pay off,” said Ellis. “Thomas College has been a great resource for my company’s growth.”

Ellis comes from humble beginnings and has always had the entrepreneurial bug – from selling eraser tops to kids in first grade and chicken tenders for a profit to his classmates in middle school to creating and selling hydro drip designed electronics in high school.

Now, he has two employees for his business and is studying full-time in college- things he never thought possible.

He will be using his earnings to purchase a utility van for his company.

“We are so proud of Cole and his success on Greenlight Maine,” said Executive Director of Thomas College’s Harold Alfond® Institute for Business Innovation. “It’s been such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Cole. Not only is he an exceptional student but he is an exceptional entrepreneur. He’s incredibly customer focused, truly working hard to understand the needs of his customers, and he’s incredibly coachable. In my experience, these are two of the most important ingredients for being successful in business and Cole has both of them in abundance.”

Thomas College’s Harold Alfond® Institute for Business Innovation is an official partner of Greenlight Maine.

Greenlight Maine College Edition highlights innovative college students who have a business idea in any stage of development, from a simple idea to a well-constructed business plan. The 10 contestants square off in a televised pitch-off to determine the three finalists. Those three finalists then pitch off against one another in the Greenlight Maine Collegiate Finale to compete for a cash prize. The cash prizes include: first place – $10,000, second place – $7,500, and third place – $5,000.

The television series kicked off on April 6 and aired on several television markets throughout the state: WGME CBS 13 – Portland, WABI TV5 CBS – Bangor, WWPI-LD NBC – Presque Isle and Maine Public – Statewide.

About Thomas College:  

U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Thomas College as a top college in Maine for social mobility. Our clear career focus and one-of-a-kind Guaranteed Job Program™ makes it possible to advance faster in the arts and sciences, business, and education. Earn an undergraduate degree in three years and then choose from a variety of in-person or online graduate degree programs that can be completed in one-year or two. Located in Waterville, Maine, Thomas College is your pathway to a promising future, guaranteed. For more information, visit or contact MacKenzie Riley Young at [email protected] or 207-859-1313. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and TikTok