President's Office
Dana Connors

As the leader of the state's largest and most diverse business association, Dana oversees a broad range of activities, including advocacy efforts, economic and workforce development initiatives, and a wide variety of member services for the business community. 

A Maine native, he received a bachelor's degree in public management from the University of Maine in 1965.  He began his career as the city manager of Presque Isle and later served as Commissioner of Transportation under 2 governors and as leader of Governor Angus King's transition team before becoming president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in 1994. 

He has received numerous awards for his service and leadership to the state of Maine throughout his career. Most recently, he was inducted into Junior Achievement's Maine Business Hall of Fame (2014) and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Maine, Orono (2015).

Rita Stoddard
Office and Database Manager, Executive Assistant to the President

Rita Stoddard joined the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in 2007, where she currently serves as Executive Assistant to the President, as well as the Office and Database Manager. She previously worked as the office manager for the Augusta office of Domtar, Inc., and for Computer Software Architects. Prior to moving to Maine, Rita had been employed by an international construction company, Fisher Development, Inc., where she held a similar position. Rita also enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in the mortgage industry as a loan officer, senior underwriter, and operations manager. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and on the steering committee for the Best Place's to Work in Maine. She also enjoys working on a variety of community projects as well, such as the renovation of Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center and the Maine Hospice Council, Inc.
Peter Gore
Vice President of Government Relations

Peter has been with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce since 1994, serving initially as the Senior Governmental Affairs Specialist, and since 2008, as the Vice President for Advocacy and Government Relations. In this capacity, Gore represents the Chamber's network of more than 5,000 business members before the Maine Legislature, the Office of the Governor, and the public in the specific areas of workers' compensation law, labor/management issues, and healthcare/health insurance and economic development topics. Peter is a graduate of the University of Maine at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a minor in Sociology.
Ben Gilman
Senior Government Relations Specialist

Ben joined the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in 2010. In his capacity at the Chamber, Ben focuses primarily on utilities and energy, natural resources, and business regulation issues. Previously, he served as director of Government Affairs with the Maine Energy Marketers Association, director of Government Affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors, and as director of Outreach and Economic Development for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. Ben received his BA from the University of Maine, Orono, JD from the University of Maine's School of Law, holds a certificate in International Law from Santa Clara University School of Law, and is a licensed attorney in the State of Maine.
Linda Caprara
Senior Government Relations Specialist in Taxation/Director of Grassroots Advocacy

Linda joined the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in January 2008, and serves as the Senior Government Relations Specialist in Taxation and the Director of Grassroots Advocacy. Previously, she held the position of director of Government and Public Affairs at the Maine Pulp and Paper . She is a graduate of Saint Anselm College, with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. Linda attended Central Connecticut State University for additional studies in taxation and accounting and is a graduate of Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
Membership & Marketing
Joyce LaRoche
Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Joyce LaRoche currently holds the position of vice president of Membership & Marketing for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. In that capacity, she also serves as executive director of the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance, Inc., and acting director for InternHelpMe.com. Prior to joining the Chamber in 2001, Joyce managed customer relations in the telecom industry, and previously enjoyed a lengthy career in safety management. She recently completed a term as president of the Association of State Chamber Professionals, a national board. Additionally, Joyce has been involved with various local and statewide organizations and non-profit agencies, such as American Red Cross Blood Services, United Way, March of Dimes, and Junior Achievement.
Melody Rousseau
Sponsorship & Advertising Sales Manager

Melody Rousseau serves as Advertising and Sponsorship Manager for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Hired as our receptionist in 1996, she was quickly promoted and has been responsible for the organization's advertising and sponsorship sales since 1997. Among her diverse responsibilities are advertising sales for all of our various events, publications, and websites, as well as providing many support functions for our finance department. In addition, Melody has held several leadership roles for the Waterville High School's Girls Basketball Boosters, as well as serving on the Athletic Council.
Amy Downing
Member Services & Program Manager

Amy Downing joined the staff of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in 2008 as its Membership and Marketing Specialist, and has since been promoted to Member Services and Program Manager. She serves as Program Coordinator for the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance and InternHelpME.com, as well as Program Director for the Maine Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Previously, she worked in the advertising and marketing industry as a media strategist and buyer, promotional field manager, public relations specialist and account executive at Rinck Advertising. Amy currently serves on the review team for the Governor's Business Friendly Community Certification Program. She has volunteered significant time to cancer awareness and community theater efforts.
Melanie Baillargeon
Director of Communications

Melanie Baillargeon serves as the Director of Communications for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held there since late 1999. Hired by the Chamber in March 1995, she initially served as its Communications Assistant. With a major in commercial art and a minor in communications, Melanie received her bachelor's degree from Notre Dame College. In addition to a lengthy role in the Calumet Educational Foundation, she currently serves on the Friends of Lithgow Library board and is vice president of the board of the Augusta Downtown Alliance. Melanie has previously served on the board of directors for the Maine Public Relations Council, and participated in several professional groups.
Finance & Operations
Scott Samson
Financial Coordinator

Scott Samson serves as the Financial Coordinator for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a position he has held since 2010, after working on a contract basis since 2003. A graduate of the University of Maine-Augusta with a BA in Accounting, he also received his MBA from the Keller Graduate School. In addition, Scott is currently the treasurer and membership director with the Pilgrim Henry Samson Kindred, and assistant historian with the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Maine. He has previously served as treasurer for several non-profit organizations.
Lyndsay Taylor
Finance Assistant

Lyndsay Taylor joined the staff of the Maine State Chamber in January 2016, moving to Maine from Texas. As the chamber's finance assistant, Lyndsay provides support in the preparation of financial reports, account transactions, and member services. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting from Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas, and is currently pursuing her Master's of Science in Accounting with a specialization in Taxation. While in college, she worked for a CPA firm in Gonzales, Texas, assisting individuals and businesses with their tax accounts and has extensive experience in retail and customer service.