Harpswell dedication

The Rotary Club of Brunswick on Dec. 28 commemorated the site of the former Skolfield Shipyard and Farm with the installation of a historic plaque and marker on Skolfield Drive in Harpswell, near which more than 100 wooden ships were built and launched from1799-1875. The land reverted to farming by the 20th century, when wooden ships were no longer profitable. Contributed / Rotary Club of Brunswick

Avesta president/CEO to retire after more than 20 years

The longtime president and CEO of Avesta Housing announced he will be retiring later this year as the organization celebrates 50 years since its inception.


A lifelong Mainer, Dana Totman has led Avesta for more than 20 years, during which the nonprofit affordable housing organization underwent tremendous growth, according to a prepared release. Under Totman’s leadership, the number of staff has increased from 60 to 300, affordable homes in the Avesta portfolio have increased from 700 to 3,200 and assets have increased from $60 million to $350 million.

“He has been integral in the creation of multiple statewide affordable housing bonds, the formation of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and the creation of the first Housing First communities in Maine,” Avesta Communications Manager Rod Harmon said in the release.

As Avesta Housing celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it does so as the largest nonprofit affordable housing provider in northern New England. It is a leader in advocacy, real estate development, property management and resident services, residential care and assisted living, and financial counseling and education.

Totman said these factors played heavily in his decision to retire.

“It’s never easy to know the perfect time to step back from a role like mine, but what crystallizes it for me is knowing Avesta is stronger than ever,” Totman said. “This milestone year symbolizes a half-century of community impact through affordable housing. It also feels like the fitting time for me to step down and pass the reins to a new leader to launch this organization into the next 50 years.”

Hires, promotions, appointments


An outdoor industry veteran of over 25 years has been hired as the new Maine Outdoor Brands Program coordinator at Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.

After starting as an educator and Wilderness Trip leader, Ponch Membreno worked for the Chewonki Foundation, Patagonia, Toad&Co, Lincoln Canoe & Kayak, and Intrinsic Provisions. Membreno lives on Peaks Island with his wife, two daughters and two dogs. He’s a board member of the Chewonki Foundation, Maine Outdoor Brands, Portland Parks Conservancy and Portland Greendrinks.

A Yarmouth man who became a certified chef as a teen is the new general manager of Catering and Food Services at Falmouth-based OceanView.

Jeffrey Stewart started cooking at the age of 14 and was a certified chef by 17; he now brings 25 years of professional experience to OceanView’s Dining Services.

Prior to OceanView, Stewart held positions of executive chef, restaurant general manager and culinary specialist for National Foodservice Distributors. Stewart was named Chef of the Year by the Portland Maine March of Dimes for three consecutive years and was a first-place finisher in the Maine State Commercial Baking Championship.

Stewart resides with his wife Tori, sons Jackson and Talon, and Australian shepherd, Stella. When not at OceanView, he can be found coaching youth sports, playing hockey or looking for wilderness adventures.


Debra Bateman is a new agent in the RE/MAX Shoreline Portland office. Her practice focuses on waterfront real estate sales, vacation homes, investment properties, home improvement, property management, property rentals, commercial real estate representation and insurance.