Hundreds turned out Saturday to remember a former utility executive and honor his contributions to the state of Maine.
David Flanagan, who died on Oct. 13 at age 74, was best known for his executive roles with Central Maine Power, leading the utility through the infamous ice storm of 1998 and returning two decades later to serve as executive chair amid a string of missteps including a botched billing system rollout and slow response to storm damage.
He also served as chair of the University of Maine System trustees and the Maine chapter of the Nature Conservancy, along with a stint as president of the University of Southern Maine. He earned a reputation as a turnaround specialist later in his career.
“In government, business, education, and charitable roles, David was a hands-on doer who demonstrated the maxim, ‘You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.’ His special style of leadership combined intellect and vision, with good old hard work and the capacity to inspire others,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, one of the speakers, along with Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and others.
The memorial service was held Saturday at Hannaford Hall at the University of Southern Maine. A pair of CMP bucket trucks were outside the building, holding aloft a large U.S. flag.
Late in his career, Flanagan served as general counsel to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during the investigation into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
He stayed on as CMP’s executive chair long enough to help choose a new leader, CEO Joe Purington, who was appointed in August.