Lachance leaves MDF to become Thomas College president

Laurie Lachance, president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation, announced Friday she was leaving her post to become the first female president of Thomas College in Waterville.

Lachance will replace George Spann, who is retiring after 23 as president of Thomas.

Lachance, who was Maine’s state economist for 11 years before taking over at the MDF almost eight years ago, and was Central Maine Power’s economist prior to that, said in a letter that the move “feels like a completely natural extension of the work I’ve been doing for so many years.”

“For any who know me, you know how much I love Maine. For my entire work life, I have been blessed to be able to analyze, forecast, write and speak about Maine’s economy,” Lachance wrote. “ Over nearly 3 decades of analyzing economic development, I have grown to understand that the most critically important investment that we can make to ensure economic prosperity is education, and the only way we will attain our vision of ‘A High Quality of Life for all Maine People’ is to help lift every Maine person to their highest potential.”

Lachance holds her MBA from Thomas, and in 2010, joined the college’s board of trustees.

“Laurie’s passion and commitment to educating Maine’s youth makes her the perfect choice as the next Thomas president,” said Conrad Ayotte co‐chair of the board of trustees, in a Thomas press release. “Throughout her career, Laurie has made education a priority. Thomas College and Maine will be the beneficiary of her dedication.”

The MDF is a private non-profit created by the governor and Legislature in 1978 “with a broad mandate to promote the economy,” according to the group’s website. It runs a number of well-know programs in the state, including economic tours of northern and southern Maine for lawmakers and the Leadership Maine program. It also produces the annual “measures of growth” report that analyzes how the state’s economy is progressing.

In recent years, the MDF has worked with the Maine State Chamber on a number of policy priority-setting reports known as the “Making Maine Work” series.

In a congratulatory letter, Maine State Chamber President Dana Connors said Lachange’s “insight and understanding of the complexities of the data are unparalleled.”

“She will be sorely missed at MDF, but we expect that she will make additional contributions to advancing our state’s economy in her new role at Thomas College,” Connors said.

The MDF board said in a release that it has appointed Ed Cervone, senior program director and operating officer, as interim president after Lachance leaves her post June 30. The board will search for a permanent president and CEO, it said.

Laurie and her husband Dave Lachance reside in Manchester with their two sons, Andrew and Michael.