Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, emcees the chamber's annual awards dinner at the Augusta Civic Center on Nov. 15, 2013. Credit: Whit Richardson / BDN

Maine’s top business advocate will step down from the state chamber of commerce by the year’s end.

Dana Connors has helmed the Maine State Chamber of Commerce as president for nearly 30 years, advocating on behalf of the state’s business community.

“After nearly 30 years with the Maine State Chamber and a career spanning more than 50 years — all of it right here in Maine — the decision to retire from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce was extremely difficult. It has been a tremendous honor and pleasure to serve Maine and Maine’s business community at this level for this long,” Connors said Monday in announcing his approaching departure.

The Aroostook County native graduated from the University of Maine in Orono in 1965. Not long after graduating, Connors was hired as Presque Isle’s city manager, a position he held for 16 years.

He later served as transportation commissioner under Govs. Joseph Brennan and John “Jock” McKernan. Connors also held post as the transition director under Gov. Angus King before joining the chamber of commerce in 1994.

Connors was later selected to serve on Gov. Janet Mills’ economic recovery committee, which came up with policies to stabilize Maine’s economy after the COVID-19 pandemic brought business to a standstill.

Clif Greim, the chair of the chamber of commerce’s board of directors and the president of Frosty Hill Consulting in Auburn, called Connors a “great example” of leadership and represented the organization’s members well.

“Dana’s leadership has served us all well and has also allowed him to attract and assemble an outstanding advocacy team and chamber staff. Dana is seen as a valuable resource for legislators and administrations. His positive impact on this State and our collective interests are so very appreciated,” Griem said.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills applauded Connors for his tireless work to support Maine’s business community and to improve the state’s economy.

“For more than fifty years, Dana Connors has dedicated his life to making Maine the best place to live, work, and start and grow a business. His advocacy on behalf of Maine’s business community, and his previous service in state and local government, has played a vital role in making our economy stronger,” Mills said.