Thomas College to Feature Five Entrepreneurs for Pardon the Innovation Event Web Director | March 29, 2018

WATERVILLE, MAINE, April 2018 —Come hear the innovative steps that these entrepreneurs have taken in their businesses which have made them leaders in their fields. This event, Pardon the Innovation, is April 17, 5-8 p.m. at Thomas College in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room. This event, hosted by Thomas College’s Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

Five Entrepreneur panelists will provide a 15-20 minute “Ted Talk Style” presentation on innovative ways their businesses are facing challenges in today’s market, i.e. developing online communities, adapting to new ways to connect with consumers, product development, and thinking for tomorrow and not just today in brand/business development.

Attendees will also be able to visit with the Entrepreneurs at the end of the event to ask more directed questions.

Join us as we get up close and personal with five entrepreneurs that are innovating the way we connect and grow in Maine and beyond. Also, help us recognize innovative practices as we announce the winning student team of the inaugural Thomas College Innovation Challenge.

Featured entrepreneurs include: Hoa Hoang, Hoang Realty Founder & Broker, Alex Serra, Serra Public Affairs Founder & Principal, Kyle Poissonnier, Catalyst for Change Founder, Tobias Parkhurst, Co-Founder of Cushnoc Brewing, and James Morin, COO of FlowFold.

Hoa Hoang is the owner and operator of Hoang Realty, established in August of 2013 and located at 31 Western Avenue in Augusta. Hoa has been a full-time Realtor for 14 years. She is originally from Saigon, South Vietnam, and is fluent in Vietnamese. Hoa is the youngest of 6 children; her family immigrated to Sidney, Maine in 1975 with the help of Charles Priest, an Augusta attorney, and his wife Peggy. Her family then moved to Augusta in 1976. She has lived and worked in the Central Maine area for most of her life. She also spent approximately 10 years in Northport, Maine, where she worked for MBNA Bank after graduating from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Business Management.

In 1978, her family purchased a home on Chapel Street in Augusta from Charles and Peggy Priest. She believes this was a pivotal point in her life because her family was able to establish some “roots” and obtain their “American Dream”. She still owns that home today, and she is passionate about assisting others in obtaining their own “American Dream”.

Over the last 20 years, Alex Serra has gained expertise in all areas of Public Affairs. In her time as Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations in the Northern New England region for a Fortune 50 company, she coordinated numerous initiatives ranging from targeted non-profit giving programs to local governmental outreach initiatives, to state legislative efforts. Alex began as a registered lobbyist in Maine in 2006, has worked on a variety of successful campaigns in Maine and New York and is a former television news reporter and assignment desk editor. In her time at a PR firm, she gained experience in multi-media messaging and strategic campaign management. Serra has held numerous board seats on state retail associations and state chambers throughout New England.

Kyle Poissonnier is the Owner of Catalyst for Change (CFC Wear). He grew up in the small town of Smithfield and attended Husson University where he graduated with a degree in business. In fact, Kyle is the youngest person to ever be inducted into the Husson Hall of Fame. His Just A Kid From Maine collection has been worn by New England Patriots Player, Trevor Bates, Baltimore Orioles player, Ryan Flaherty, and New York Knicks coaching staff member, Josh Longstaff.

James Morin, a Maine native and 2010 UMaine alum, started his sales career at a fortune 500 Medical Device company. From there, he joined a Portland based startup specialty pharmaceutical company that raised $60M in fundraising and sold for $200M in 2016. Following the acquisition, James joined Flowfold full time, a company he’s been affiliated with since college, as COO and President of Sales. Flowfold is a startup retail company making lifestyle bags, packs, and accessories for the outdoor industry and is based out of Portland Maine.

Tobias Parkhurst earned his BA at the University of Hartford and for 10 years traveled the world as a professional skateboarder. He returned to Maine in 2008 and is now the President of Oakes & Parkhurst Glass. Since 2009 he has bought and refurbished three Water Street historical buildings and enticed two successful restaurants downtown. He is also the landlord and a partner in Cushnoc Brewing Co., which opened in late 2017. He currently serves on the Augusta Board of Trade, The Colonial Theater Board, The Augusta Parking District, and the Augusta Boys and Girls Club. In his spare time Tobias still likes riding his skateboard and going on motorcycle trips with his friends. Past motorcycle destinations include Peru, Vietnam, Spain, and Morocco. Tobias lives in Augusta with his wife Jennifer and two little boys, Xavier and Julien.

About Thomas College: Founded in 1894, Thomas College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in programs ranging from business, entrepreneurship, and technology, to education, criminal justice, and psychology. Its Guaranteed Job Program, the first of its kind in the nation, is built on student’s academic, career, and leadership preparation. Thomas is also home to the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation and the Center for Innovation in Education. Money Magazine recently ranked Thomas 23rd in the Country for adding the most value to their degrees, and data reported by the New York Times ranks Thomas in the top 15 percent of all college and universities in the U.S. for upward mobility of its graduates. For more information, visit or contact MacKenzie Riley at [email protected] or 207-859-1313.