James Wilfong

After a successful business, government and civic career, Jim has returned to the western Maine mountains, where he grew up, and is directing his energy to revitalizing rural communities while operating the Wilfong Family Tree Farm in Stow, a town of 385 people.

Before retiring, Jim was an entrepreneur in the winter and outdoor sports business, both in the United States and in the export market, and was board chair of Innovative Applied Sciences, a software engineering company.  He has served as a director of the Small Business Exporter’s Association; as a member of VET-Force, an advocacy group promoting veteran-owned businesses, and as entrepreneur in residence at the Kauffman Foundation.

In government, he has been a member of the Maine House of Representatives, a campaign staffer for Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine), and the Small Business Administration’s Assistant Administrator for International Trade.  Jim has been a member of the Export/Import Bank’s advisory board, the White House Conference on Small Business, and the White House Inter-Agency Task Force for Veterans Business Development.

In Maine, Jim has served as a member of the Commission on Maine’s Future, president of the H2O for ME water policy group, a trustee of the Greater Lovell Land Trust, and as a member of the Small Woodlot Owners of Maine and the White Mountain Interpretive Association.  In 2021 he was elected head selectman of Stow.  

He taught for 15 years in the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Maine and currently chairs the entrepreneurial studies programs at Fryeburg Academy and Lincoln Academy, high schools for day and boarding students that serve largely rural areas of the state.


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The Banyan Project is built on the thinking and experience of 32 senior journalists, academics, Web developers, sociologists and researchers, business and financial strategists, and advocates for strengthening democracy brought together by Tom Stites. Members of this Board of Advisors are listed below; click on names to see bios.

Stites shaped Banyan's model as a fellow of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

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