Waterville, Maine — Waterville Creates!, one of Maine’s leading arts and cultural organizations and a key driver in making the city a vibrant destination in central Maine, has elected Jim LaLiberty to the role of chair of the Waterville Creates! board of directors as of January 2019. As chair, Jim will lead the board’s efforts to support Waterville Creates!’ goals to strengthen and promote Waterville’s arts and cultural organizations and offerings and advance plans to develop a new Downtown Arts Center. The organization has also recently added two new board members, each bringing a unique skill and experience set to the board: Don Cragen from Thomas College, and Debra Susi from Maine Central Institute.

Jim is currently an attorney at Jabar, LaLiberty & Dubord LLC and has practiced law in Waterville for 39 years. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Maine School of Law. His practice is concentrated in the areas of business and commercial law. In addition to his role as president of the Waterville Creates! board, Jim is also a member of the board of directors of MaineGeneral Health. He lives in Waterville with his wife, Julie, a seventh-grade teacher at Waterville Junior High School.

“Jim brings an invaluable amount of experience to the Waterville Creates! board, and we are incredibly grateful he’s willing to take on this expanded role,” says Waterville Creates! president and CEO, Shannon Haines. “We look forward to working with Jim and our entire board to bring sustainable, positive growth to Waterville’s collaborative arts community.”

Don Cragen is professor and chair of the H. Allen Ryan School of Business at Thomas College, where his current research focus is in business strategy incorporating innovation adoption along with the use of a systems approach for business education. Don holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accountancy and Finance from Salem State University, a Master of Science in Athletic Training from Illinois State University, an M.B.A. from Thomas College, a Master of Science in Project Management from Purdue University, and a Global Doctorate in Sport Management from the United States Sports Academy.  In addition, he holds a Graduate certification in Innovation Engineering from the University of Maine at Orono, and a Graduate certification in Design Thinking from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Prior to joining Thomas College, Professor Cragen held the positions of Collegiate Athletic Director, Certified Athletic Trainer, and Union President. Dr. Cragen was a member of the editorial board for the national magazine Exercise for Men from 1999 – 2014.

Debra Susi is a teacher and arts educator with over 38 years of teaching students and actors from grades five through adults. In addition to directing over 200 productions on a variety of school and community stages, Debra has served on a number of arts organization boards including New England Theatre Council Board of Directors (2005-2009), Waterville Opera House Board of Directors (2016-2018), and Maine Drama Council (2005 – present). In 2009, Debra received a Maine Arts Teacher Fellowship to attend the La Mama Umbria International Symposium for Directors in Italy. In addition to teaching and directing, Debra has worked as BBT Adjunct Faculty and Stage Manager, Antioch NE Graduate School Adjunct Faculty and Chicago Director’s Lab Attendee (2007 & 2008).

About Waterville Creates!
Waterville Creates! is a non-profit on a mission to promote, support, and grow greater Waterville’s arts and cultural scene. Collaborating with regional arts and culture institutions and their supporters, together we are strengthening our community as a vibrant creative center, increasing access to creative opportunities. Learn more at https://www.watervillecreates.org and learn more about our ongoing community capital campaign for the Downtown Arts Center at http://www.downtownartscenter.org.