County Face: Steve Pelletier
ST. JOHN PLANTATION, Maine — A man with four jobs who graduated summa cum laude from college in his fifties, Steve Pelletier of St. John embodies the work ethic for which folks from The County are notorious throughout northern New England.
Pelletier, 56, is also a family man quick to point out that his wife of 29 years, Colette, and their daughters, Blair and Meagan, also are industrious high-achievers.
“I thank our upbringing, both my parents and my wife’s parents; their backgrounds are hardworking. My wife has the Carons and Daigles, and on my side my father of course is a Pelletier and my mother was a Macpherson,” he said. “They were very hardworking and that carried on down to us and we incorporated it with our daughters. We really can’t complain; we’ve got two very hard working girls.”
Steve Pelletier is the director of planning and economic development, the code enforcement officer, and the residential building inspector for the town of Fort Kent, and first selectman for St. John Plantation.
In his role as economic development director he has successfully written grants to bring in somewhere in the ballpark of $3 million for the town over the past five years.
“It requires a great deal of paperwork,” he said. “You don’t get them unless you apply for them. I do a lot of research to see what grant matches our needs. Since it’s also tax money that pays my personal salary I’d rather spend my time wisely.”
Colette Pelletier is the regional manager for Subway, and in 2015 Subway Development of Maine named her manager of the year for the state of Maine.
Together Steve and Blair made University of Maine at Fort Kent history in 2013 as the first father and daughter on record to graduate from the university at the same time, in business administration and elementary education respectively.
At the time, Steve credited Colette with anchoring the family so he could leave a 20-year job as a lead scaler at Great Northern Paper Co. to pursue his education.
“It was tough on my wife being the only one working, and we had to budget closely for three years,” he said
Meagan currently attends UMFK where she earns top grades and was recently recognized with a John L. Martin Environmental Scholarship.
Steve grew up in St. Francis, the son of Reuben Pelletier, a forester for Great Northern Paper, and the late Lona Pelletier, a dental hygienist for Dr. Lucien Daigle. Steve’s siblings are Gordon Pelletier and Roxanne Pelletier Smith.
“It was much different than today; all the kids gathered together whether it was summer or in the winter after school. We would slide, play hide-and-seek, swim, play sports. There wasn’t a lot of this electronic inside stuff. Kids were more active. It was just a great time to grow up,” Steve said of his childhood.
He still retains that love of playing outside, describing himself as an “avid outdoorsman.”
“I enjoy fishing, hunting, I like to garden, pretty much anything outdoors, four-wheeling, camping,” he said. “It’s my getaway, my stress-relief. No phones, no deadlines.”
However Pelletier admitted to checking his work emails during his time off in case a work emergency arises.
“I try to be reachable,” he said.