SKOWHEGAN — It’s official: Jason Gayne, a part-time police officer who was appointed interim director at the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce in June, is now the new executive director.

The executive board chose Gayne Sept. 7 from a field of several candidates.

The full-time position will have Gayne, 29, in the office and at meetings all week. The Chamber office will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gayne also is a part-time police officer in Skowhegan and the executive director of Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County. He has been a substitute school teacher, worked in alternative and special education, has worked as a security guard and organized the local leg of the Torch Run for Special Olympics.

He also is the father of a baby boy born May 2.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Gayne said this week. “I know that we can do a lot and get membership back.”

A membership meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Masonic hall on Water Street. Gayne said the executive director makes sure the chamber stays open, works with membership on current issues, including increasing membership, while working on attracting tourism and trying to get more businesses and more visitors into the region.

There are 185 chamber members from the 11 towns from Skowhegan to Madison, Norridgewock and Athens.

Don Plante, president of the chamber’s five-member board of directors, said Gayne was a perfect fit.

“We were looking for somebody that had executive director experience and somebody local,” Plante said in June. “He fit the bill in both areas. It was a good fit.”

Gayne replaces Cory King who took over the Skowhegan job almost 10 years ago and stepped down in May to become the executive director of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber of Commerce in Brunswick.

The chamber represents its membership at all regional meetings of such groups as the Tourism Council, Main Street Skowhegan, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, Somerset Public Health and other organizations.

Gayne grew up in Skowhegan, graduating from Skowhegan Area High School in 2004. He attended the University of Maine at Fort Kent where he earned an associate degree in criminal justice and later a bachelor’s degree in public administration. He began work with the Skowhegan Police Department in 2008 and worked as a substitute teacher in Bingham. He has been head of hospice since 2014, a position he said he intends to keep.

The Skowhegan Chamber operates on an annual budget of about $75,000, which is paid for with member dues, fundraisers and money raised by voters at the Skowhegan annual Town Meeting. Fundraising events include Moonlight Madness at Riverfest, the annual FAB Fair and haunted hay rides in the fall.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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