Monday, March 10, 2014
WATERVILLE -- Trustworthy and loyal.
Bert Languet has been recognized as 2012 Outstanding Professional by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce.
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
Those are the words that best describe Bert Languet, according to a lifelong friend.
Languet is winner of the 2012 Outstanding Professional award from the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce. Languet, who is co-owner of Golden Pond Wealth Management and a volunteer on many area organizations, is one of eight area individuals and organizations that will be honored at the chamber's 50th annual Awards Dinner in April.
Languet, 46, and his business partner at Golden Pond have been friends since they were both 4 years old, riding bicycles in their hometown, Belgrade.
"Our business is built on trust, and I have the utmost trust in Bert," Brian Bernatchez said. "Not only does he do the right thing for everybody here, but more importantly, he does the right thing for our clients."
Languet and Bernatchez are the two financial advisers at Golden Pond Wealth Management on Silver Street. Together they help people meet retirement goals. The company manages $187 million assets for about 600 households.
Christian Savage, program assistant for the chamber, said Languet was a natural choice for the award, because of his business sense and sense of community.
"Golden Pond has a great reputation statewide. They're at the top of their class in their industry and what they do," Savage said. "(Languet) has also been all over the region and community, offering support and involvement this year. We thought it was a no-brainer."
Languet sits on boards for the Waterville Opera House, the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, Central Maine Youth Hockey and the Mount Merici Investment Committee. He was also heavily involved in the creation of two outdoor hockey rinks.
"He's a super volunteer," said Ken Walsh, executive director at the Alfond Youth Center -- the site of one of the rinks.
Languet has spent "hundreds of hours" volunteering at the rink -- hosing down the ice early in the morning, shoveling snow and building the hockey boards in his basement with money he helped raise, Walsh said.
"He just makes things happen," Walsh said. "He's just an incredible guy. Every community needs someone like Bert."
Languet grew up in Belgrade and graduated from Messalonskee High School in 1984. Afterward, he attended Colby College, where he graduated in 1988 with a biology degree.
For a year, Languet served as a research technician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where ran a laboratory. The laboratory was small and he got to know his fellow employees well, Languet said. Those co-workers inspired him to pursue another career path.
"They said, 'Jeez, the way you're managing the lab, you probably ought to get into business,'" Languet recalled. "I thought about it and decided I didn't want to go on to med school."
Languet worked for a year at State Street Bank in Boston, then moved back to central Maine in 1992 to start Belgrade Rental, a construction equipment rental business he shared with his brother. At the same time, Languet began attending Thomas College, where he earned his master's degree in business administration in 1994, and met his wife, Sara.
The couple moved to Tennessee and Michigan for short stints, but had their sights on returning to central Maine.
Around that time, Bernatchez was starting Golden Pond in Belgrade Lakes -- the company's original home. When Bernatchez learned that Languet was hoping to return home, he offered his lifelong friend a job in 1996.
"The timing was perfect," Bernatchez said.
The Languets have three children -- Jose, 17, Gabriella, 14, and Josh, 11 -- all of whom play hockey. His children's interest soon became his own.
This year, Languet helped organize the first-ever Maine Pond Hockey Classic -- a 15-team hockey tournament held earlier this month on China Lake. He also helped install an outdoor community ice rink in Winslow, in addition to his continuing work at the Alfond Youth Center's rink.
"If you go over there any afternoon, it's really amazing to see all the kids -- little kids and big kids -- out skating," he said. "When you do something and you see people using it, it makes it all worthwhile."
Ben McCanna -- 861-9239