Mills Picks Woman Director of Economic Development as State ‘Glass Ceiling’ Continues to Shatter!

Heather Johnson, 48, Has Been Tapped to be the Next Commissioner of Economic and Community Development by Governor-elect Janet Mills.

Governor-elect Janet Mills announced today in Augusta that she will nominate Heather Johnson, to be the next Director of the Economic and Community Development (DECD) office.

“Heather brings decades worth of private and public sector experience to the Department of Economic and Community Development office all of which will be tremendously beneficial to marketing Maine, attracting and retaining people, growing businesses and strengthening our economy,” said Governor-elect Janet Mills. “I look forward to working with Heather in the years to come to see that Maine, especially rural Maine, is able to grow, thrive and compete in today’s global economy,” said Mills.

“I am honored to be Governor-elect Mills’ selection to lead the Department of Economic and Community Development,” said Johnson. “I have dedicated my career to fostering economic development, both in private and companies and in rural communities across Maine and I am excited not only by the opportunity to work with economic development agencies, businesses and communities across the state, but by the great potential we have to find sustainable growth strategies for all parts of Maine.”

Johnson has more than twenty-five (25) years of experience in both private and public realms. As director of the ConnectME Authority, a position she has held since January 2018, she is focused on expanding access to and increasing adoption of broadband community in Maine. In the role, she is responsible for completing and executing a statewide action plan to expand broadband infrastructure; managing a grant program, mapping key assets, working with communities and businesses to help identify needs and opportunities; and support communities in their broadband planning needs and encouraging providers to engage in needed projects.

For three years prior to this position, Johnson served as the Economic Director to the Somerset Economic Development Corporation (2015 – 2018). Prior to that she had management roles with Nokia, Gateway and Polaroid. She lives in Norridgewock, with her husband and son.

Johnson is the sixth woman to be selected to serve in Governor-elect Mills’ cabinet. It is an example of the Governor-elect’s effort to select the best qualified to fill important roles in her State government, man or woman – inadvertently digging deeply into the well of talented Maine women to take on these challenges from the previous administration.