Stuart Smith, Seguin Software, and life with Alex

Posted:  Monday, March 20, 2017 - 8:00am
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Stuart and Alex Smith get ready to assemble bikes for kids who read voraciously. Courtesy of Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith of Edgecomb is a busy man.

A former selectman, his last term ended in 2015. Now he spends a lot of his time at home with son Alex, 18, a senior at Boothbay Region High School.

But that time isn’t spent sitting back watching movies. Stuart Smith is driven. His software company, Seguin Software, was developed mainly for health organizations and behavioral health professionals.

Smith has a college degree in computer science. He worked for a retail systems software development company in Portland during his last semester. There he developed systems for True Value hardware stores and Paris Farmers Union. He then worked for the Maine Credit Union, where he spearheaded an initiative to bring in small PC-based systems.

From there, Smith went into business for himself, contracting with General Electric and Unisys, a global information technology company. In the early ’90s, he developed the initial software that resided on smart meters, the electronic devices that record electric energy consumption, for General Electric. One of the test cases was a utilities company, Public Service of New Hampshire. “We could sit in our offices in Dover and control a house in Portsmouth, through power lines. We could turn devices on and off and monitor usage.”

Smith said the impetus for starting his own business grew out of a necessity to work from home, when his wife left shortly after their son was born. He didn’t want Alex spending his childhood in daycare programs.

Seguin Software was named for the island in the Gulf of Maine 2.5 miles off the mouth of the Kennebec River. It features the highest and second oldest lighthouse in Maine. Smith has a special place in his heart for that island.

“When Alex was young we used to go out there in our boat and just hang out. We befriended the lighthouse keepers.” There’s a beach that a boat can be pulled up on. One day, father and son went out and beached the boat. It was during a full moon tide, when high and low tide are much more extreme. The tide went out, leaving the boat high and dry. They were stuck on the island and high tide, when the boat would float again, wasn't due until nightfall. “So the lighthouse keeper took us in, and we sat up at the top of the lighthouse and watched the sun go down. It was gorgeous.”

Seguin Software has been working for the Weber (grills) family from Germany. “They have a machine tool division making compactors and other machines,” Smith said. “And we have developed software that runs that division, covering the U.S., Canada and Brazil.”

Smith is looking into expanding his business and moving his office to a space at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. He said he loves working in his hometown, but he has younger people working for him who want to be closer to Portland.

A new Seguin Softwware package under development for 17 years is almost ready for release. “In the life cycle of it, we’re almost at the end of the development cycle, when we’ll be ready to move this out to the world. We're now ready to expand this thing.”

Smith is also president of the board of the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, and for three years has been the coordinator for the Bikes for Books program run by the local Masonic Lodge. His son helps with that program, which awards bikes to voracious readers at local schools. Last year, over 60 bikes were awarded to the elementary schools in Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Southport.

If all that’s not enough to keep him occupied, Smith has also worked with BRCTV, local Channel 7, as a sports announcer. “Stuart’s commitment to the basketball program was really impressive and inspiring,” Station Manager Cody Mitchell said. “Together with Smith Climo, they made a mighty team. They traveled hundreds of miles all over the state to capture the adrenaline, emotion and stories of the boys’ latest basketball season. Without Stuart and his cohort, these things could only be experienced at home games, never to be relived.”

Smith, who is dyslexic, said he probably wouldn't have earned a bike when he was a kid. He had a hard time reading when he was young, but he is developing software being used all over Maine, and soon, the world. “Math and science come easier to a dyslexic person than reading does. I was slow at reading, but great at math.”