Charles E. Hewett, Phd | Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Engineering + Life Sciences + Former Executive Vice President + Chief Operating Officer of Jackson Laboratories
Charles Hewett was born in Lewiston and moved back to Maine in 1983 to create high-quality jobs for Mainers. “Great employment opportunities in Maine have been elusive,” Hewett says. “That’s why I am committed to enhancing the quality of life for my fellow Maine people.” Hewett is the executive director and a founding board member of the Institute for Digital Engineering and Life Sciences, a Portland-based professional graduate program that plans to open in 2021. The school will focus on training digital engineers in areas such as cyber-security and life sciences analysts in areas such as bioinformatics. Before working on the graduate program, Hewett worked for 15 years as executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Jackson Laboratory (JAX). The Bar Harbor–based biomedical research nonprofit works to find genomic solutions to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, addiction, and other diseases. During his time at JAX, Hewett established a strong financial and organization foundation for the institution. JAX currently employs more than 1,400 people in Maine and contributed more than $630 million to the state’s economy in Hewett’s last year there. During his time at the institution, Hewett created the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative, which introduced Maine’s oncology practices to a new approach to cancer treatments. He also supported his team as they executed preclinical trials for the first drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, a life-threatening spinal cord disease. “I take pride in the teams I have built and all that they have achieved working together,” Hewett says. In 2018 JAX opened the Charles E. Hewett Center, a state-of-the-art research mouse production facility named after Hewett.