Four Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) employees were honored by the Agency recently for having reached the significant 40-year milestone anniversary of service. Mary Duff of Houlton, Randy Rattray of Presque Isle, Sue Powers of Mapleton, and Linda Slauenwhite of Dyer Brook were honored by Agency leadership and Aroostook County’s two State Senators at a ceremony in Dyer Brook on November 19, 2021.
“When I think about the collective and individual impact these four amazing ACAP team members have made in their four decades of service, I reflect on the countless number of lives changed for the better because of the efforts of Mary, Randy, Sue and Linda,” said Jason Parent, ACAP Executive Director/CEO. “They have each dedicated their professional careers to ‘making life better’ for the people of northern Maine. Although each do different work, serving different customers, among the many attributes all four share is their dedication and drive to meet the needs of individuals and families. ACAP is most fortunate to have them as part of our team. Most importantly, the people of Aroostook County are blessed to have them to turn to.”
State Senator Trey Stewart of Presque Isle attended the ceremony to present official Legislative Sentiments to all four that were sponsored by both him and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash, who participated in the ceremony remotely via Zoom to add his congratulations. The two Senators, who serve on ACAP’s Board of Directors, also presented an official Sentiment to Parent and Board Chair Trudy Gorneault recognizing ACAP for 50 years of service to The County, in preparation for the Agency’s upcoming 50th Anniversary in 2022.
Mary Duff has dedicated her career to ensuring youth and adults in northern Maine, especially southern Aroostook County, are connected with education and employment opportunities. Duff is a Job Counselor administering Workforce Development programs for ACAP. She has held several positions within the Agency. She began her career as a Summer Job Coach in what was then known as Employment and Training. She was then appointed to an Employability Developer position, first in Presque Isle and then in Houlton. In 1987, she was promoted to Employability Developer II and in 1995 her job title changed to Job Counselor. Duff is widely known to be an advocate for, and encouragement to, her customers to achieve their employment goals through job training services. In her role she provides assistance with program recruitment, application completion, assessment, occupational plan development, case monitoring, job development, job placement and follow-up services.
Randy Rattray, who actually marks his 41st year of service with ACAP in 2021, has held various roles on the ACAP Housing and Energy team, and currently serves as the Agency leader. Rattray has been an instrumental force in ensuring northern Maine’s most vulnerable residents have warm and safe places to call home. His quiet, but effective approach as a leader and in his interaction with customers, have been hallmarks of his effectiveness in serving the region’s population and leading to ACAP’s Housing and Energy Programs being recognized statewide as a leader in efficient and effective service. Prior to his current role as Program Coordinator, the first 40 years of his career with ACAP have seen him hold the titles of carpenter, crew leader, estimator, and foreman. Rattray is known for his strong organizational skills and is very knowledgeable in his field of work. Accordingly, he has developed great working relationships with a large number of Aroostook County contractors and technicians.
Through her career, Sue Powers, who currently serves as ACAP’s Senior Director of Programs, has become highly respected statewide as a leader in early childhood development as evidenced by the roles she has held as a past chair of the Maine Head Start Directors Association, her current service on the Early Childhood Task Force of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, and numerous other groups. During the first 40 years of her distinguished career with ACAP, she has been the driving force behind several initiatives and innovative partnerships that have most certainly benefitted young children and families across the lifespan. Such efforts initiated in northern Maine by Powers and her team are lauded by community partners, advocates for early childhood education and government officials at the regional, state and national level. Many of these partnerships have been used as best practices and adopted in other parts of Aroostook County and Maine. In this 40th year of employment with ACAP, she has been instrumental in creating a new comprehensive model partnership program between ACAP and the Presque Isle Housing Authority, expanding childcare openings to offer more than three dozen families County-wide, and establishing a new facility in Presque Isle to house ACAP’s Early Care and Education leadership offices – a facility which ACAP named in her honor to recognize her many accomplishments and contributions to Early Care and Education in Maine over the years. Powers is also a key member of the ACAP Team credited with the Agency’s successful transformation using the Whole Family Approach, which has been recognized nationally.
Linda Slauenwhite is a Family Advocate in the ACAP-Regional School Unit 50 Head Start/Pre-Kindergarten partnership in Dyer Brook. She was a key part of the team that designed the innovative and collaborative program that has since been used as a model in other parts of Maine. Through her years with ACAP’s Head Start program she has served in various roles, including Teacher Aide, Teacher, Bus Monitor and Family Service Worker. A true life-long learner, Ms. Slauenwhite has participated in numerous trainings and certification programs, including successfully completing college courses to better serve the families with young children entrusted to her care.
The four ACAP team members were recognized at the Regional School Unit 50 - Southern Aroostook Community School, where ACAP offers a unique Head Start-Public Preschool collaboration classroom. RSU 50 leaders joined in the celebration to recognize Slauenwhite, who works on-site. Also in attendance was ACAP’s other four decade (plus) employee, Pat Good of Presque Isle, who has served ACAP for 43 years and was honored when she reached her milestone anniversary a few years ago.
In addition to Duff, Rattray, Powers and Slauenwhite, seven ACAP team members are honored this fall for five years of service to the Agency and two are recognized for ten years of service. Celebrating five years of service are: Dave Bubar, Facilities Technician of Easton; Marci Driscoll, Enrollment and Disability Specialist of Washburn; Candy Fletcher, Receptionist of Presque Isle; Amanda McNeal-Saed, Teacher of Caribou; Stacey Michaud, Ed Tech II of Presque Isle; Jenna Norton, Community Educator of Presque Isle and Michael O’Beck, Bus Driver of Merrill. Ten-year honorees are: Addy Beck-Bell, Program Coordinator Health and Wellness Programs of Presque Isle; and Scott Walton, Weatherization Crew Leader of Presque Isle.