The Innovators: Caitlin Bacon
How did you come to be in Waterville? Why did you return?
How did you come to be in Waterville? Why did you return?
I grew up in Sidney attending the schools in the Messalonskee school district. I left for a few years for college (Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH) and my first two jobs in Southern Maine. My parents still live in Sidney, and I actually met my (now) husband during one of my visits back home. He had his roots already established here, so I moved back to Sidney. When I returned, I worked as a Pharmacy Tech for Savage Drug, and then attended Thomas College for my MBA. After attaining my MBA, I was hired by Collaborative Consulting, which was then acquired by CGI.
How has Waterville changed during your time here?
Waterville has changed drastically over my entire life span! I grew up going to the “Inside-Outside Playground”, shopping downtown, and performing dance recitals at the Opera House. Around junior high/high school, a lot of the shops started shutting down and it became very vacant, which was sad to see. Now that I am back in the Waterville area, and working downtown at CGI, it makes me so happy to see life being brought back to the street and the businesses here. I’m so excited to see what else comes to the Downtown area to help return it to the way it used to be!
Tell me about your work in tech. What do you do and why?
I work at CGI as Head of Operations for the New England Business Unit. CGI is a global IT Consulting company. Our services span from software development to business process engineering to project management and business analysis work. I started in the tech industry as a Business Analyst with Collaborative Consulting in June of 2016, and then CGI after the acquisition. I worked on Information Access Management solutions for a financial company, and then moved on to an internal Operations Analyst position with CGI. I have been in this role since February of 2017, taking on many hats in the Operations department, from Financial Assistant, Workforce Manager, and now head of Operations. I help manage the operational aspects of the tech company, ensuring the company runs smoothly on a daily basis.
Tell me about the tech industry outside and inside Waterville. How does it compare?
I honestly only began working in the tech industry when I was hired by Collaborative Consulting. I first applied to be a Business Analyst due to my two degrees in Business (Bachelors and Masters), and knew that the technology field was only going to get bigger and more advanced as time progressed. I have always known my way around a computer and have enjoyed learning software in my past, so I figured I’d give the technology industry a try. I have come to love it! I have learned so much in my role at CGI, from the development side to business intelligence to analytical work. I learn more every day and it all still fascinates me!
Where do you think Waterville will be in 5-10 years?
At the rate that it’s going right now, and with the help of the Alfond Foundation, Colby College and Thomas College, I can see Waterville being the next “place to be” in Maine in the next five to ten years. The colleges bring in a number of people to the area, but I think students will start attending these colleges not just for the school but for the surrounding community as well! Who doesn’t love a fun and exciting place to live outside of your studies and work? Having a lot of fun things to do, great places to eat, etc. in the area will keep students here, which will only help grow the area!
Where will the tech field be in Waterville in 5-10 years?
I plan to remain in the IT industry, specifically the Operations role or a higher role at CGI for the foreseeable future.
Why should young people get involved in a small, rural city like Waterville?
Young people should get involved in a small, rural city like Waterville because there is so much opportunity here! Just as people tell students to attend a smaller college, you are known here – you’re not just a number. The events around town bring so many people together and provide amazing networking opportunities. You turn into a family. It’s awesome to walk into the grocery store or a local restaurant and know so many people! You can get involved in so many activities, committees, and groups in a small city, and you rarely get put on a waiting list. It’s just a nice way to meet people and be known around town!
What are the challenges you face as a young leader in your field?
I’d say the biggest challenge is getting other young people interested in this location in the IT field. The IT field is so broad that you can literally work from anywhere. That’s one great thing about the revitalization of Waterville – we are bringing back the excitement to the city and making people want to visit, work, and live here! Since revitalizations don’t happen overnight, it’s been a struggle to get people from outside the area, specifically out of Maine, to want to come live and work here. Once they experienced the town and what we have to offer, we’ve had some great talent relocate here and remain in the area! I’m looking forward to the finalization of the revitalization to see what other amazing talent we can pull into the Waterville area and CGI!
What advice do you have for Millennials deciding where to put down roots and get involved?
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! There are so many fun activities and people here, and everyone is very accepting of new people with similar interests! As for putting down roots – this area of the country is beautiful! We have everything you could ask for: seacoast and beaches, mountain ranges, and lakes! There is an abundance of activities just in Maine, and the Waterville area is right in the middle of it all! What’s not to love?
What’s your pitch for greater Waterville?
Waterville is going through an exciting time! The downtown area is being revitalized and there are already so many new restaurants, activities, and events to attend! It’s a beautiful old mill town that now houses breweries, amazing living spaces, and so much more. We are minutes away from multiple lakes, an hour from the coastline and mountains, plus we have all the seasons and everything that comes with them! We also have two amazing colleges here in town! There is so much to offer here in Waterville, and so much more is coming!