Annie Tselikis, 29
Maine Lobstermen’s Association
When either her cell phone or the office phone rings these days, Annie Tselikis knows that a frustrated fisherman may well be on the other end.
“Some people don’t like those calls, but I like them,” says Tselikis, education director for the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “Every change in this industry impacts someone. I feel lucky to have the opportunity I have to help.”
Tselikis, 29, holds a key position in an organization at the forefront of Maine’s maritime industries. Her job is to design and administer training programs for lobstermen as they come to grips with new regulations, support programs, and ways of doing business in a changing market. She also is responsible for the organization’s social media strategies and community outreach.
“The Maine lobster industry is a critical part of our economy,” she says. “There are a lot of things fishermen have to think about today, from environmental concerns to better business practices. We try and facilitate getting that information to people.”
Tselikis’ position reflects the tremendous knowledge and experience she has gained over the past seven years since she graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in media and documentary studies.
Tselikis, who grew up in Cape Elizabeth, came back to Maine realizing her degree, which included a junior year abroad in South Africa, wasn’t going to land her a steady job right out of the gate. So she signed on as a deckhand with the Casco Bay Island Transit District in Portland and for the next two years learned about island communities from the inside out. This first experience, she says, really helped her understand how fishing communities work. It also has helped her connect with fishermen and their families in her current job.
From deckhand, she moved on to work with the Island Institute, and then with the Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington There, she ran training programs for fishermen and served as a liaison between that fishing community and the Department of Marine Resources. After short stints at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and as a coordinator with the Eliot Cutler campaign in 2010, Tselikis began her current position in February 2011.
Tselikis calls it a “bonus” to be a woman in her current position. The fishermen she works with seem to trust that she has their best interests at heart. They also welcome her and her colleagues into their families.
“I really love the Maine lobster industry,” says Tselikis, who will be commuting Down East for the next two months to administer training programs. “Every time I think about moving out of the fishing industry, I get called right back.”
– Joanne Lannin