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Updated: June 9, 2022

FocusMaine appoints bioeconomy leader as new president

person smiling Courtesy / FocusMaine Dana O’Brien comes to FocusMaine from the Washington, D.C.-based Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

FocusMaine, a private sector-led initiative to promote job growth and the state’s economy, announced Wednesday that Dana O’Brien will become the organization’s next president, effective June 13.

He will succeed Kimberly Hamilton, who earlier this year said she would step down after serving as FocusMaine's inaugural president since 2017, three years after the founding of the organization. 

O’Brien brings significant experience in the private and government sectors, according to a news release.

For more than a decade, he served in management roles at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, an industry group headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Most recently, as BIO’s chief sustainability officer, O’Brien established the biotech industry’s first sustainability policy and thought-leadership program and helped guide its strategic overhaul. Previously, as BIO’s executive vice president, he helped develop bipartisan policies and partnerships for food, farm and environmental members. 

Prior to BIO, O’Brien spent more than 13 years on Capitol Hill in a senior policy role for a member of Congress.

O’Brien’s experience in building coalitions and partnerships, commitment to transparent leadership and industry knowledge align with FocusMaine’s strategy, said Andrea Cianchette Maker, co-chair of FocusMaine. 

He also brings perspective on innovation trends driving economic growth within key sectors, said Michael Dubyak, FocusMaine co-chair.

“This insight will help us support our sectors as they evolve and innovate to remain relevant in their global markets,” Dubyak said.

O’Brien said Maine’s economy is experiencing transformation. 

“The economic pressures associated with COVID-19 are leading to a renewed focus on resilience and innovation, particularly in science and technology,” he said. “It’s just the right time for Maine to enhance its effort to grow jobs within the sectors at the heart of FocusMaine’s mission.”

O’Brien is a graduate of the University of Missouri, holding a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. He grew up in rural Missouri and has family roots in Presque Isle. He and his husband reside in Ogunquit with their dog, Murphy.

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