Outgoing president of the Economic Development Council of Maine, Amy Landry, welcomes her successor, Paul Schumacher, following his election to the position Jan. 7. Schumacher is the longtime executive director of the Saco-based Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission. Courtesy Photo

SACO — Longtime planning professional Paul Schumacher is the new president of the board of directors of the Economic Development Council of Maine.

Schumacher, executive director of Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, which is based in Saco, was elected to the position Jan. 7, at the EDCM annual meeting in Lewiston.

The nonprofit agency promotes the exchange of ideas and best practices in the field of economic development and provides continuing education programs for its 100 statewide members.

Schumacher takes the reins for the two-year appointment from outgoing President Amy Landry, executive director of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments.

Schumacher has been executive director of SMPDC for 23 years. The agency provides regional planning for 39 towns in southern Maine.

“It’s exciting to be heading up the only statewide professional economic development association in Maine. As we begin this new decade, I’m looking forward to helping implement the new state strategic economic development plan,” said Schumacher. “This new state plan provides a great opportunity to integrate planning and economic development as we work to diversify Maine’s economy.”

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Schumacher said the EDCM also hosts educational forums for its membership and brings together the public and private sectors to foster economic development.

“We try to (host) programming based on what we see coming as far as economic development opportunities, initiatives or concerns, he said. “We try to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors.”

And while it does not undertake lobbying, EDCM does keep its membership informed of upcoming legislation that might interest them.

He said a recent meeting on the state’s strategic plan saw members learn more in-depth information on the program and explored how people at the local, regional or other levels of government can help get the plan implemented.

Landry welcomed her successor. “As an association of economic development professionals in the state, it is important that EDCM serve as a conduit for engagement to address our statewide economic development challenges as well as create opportunities for growth and collaboration among our members,” she said. “I am confident that EDCM will continue to accomplish this goal under Paul’s leadership.”

The Economic Development Council of Maine was founded in 1956 as the Industrial Development Council of Maine.

 

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