President & CEO
Dana Totman was raised on a dairy farm in Topsham, Maine by his father, a Maine farmer, and his mother, a war bride from England. His parents’ backgrounds set the stage for a career grounded in hard work and a passion for immigrants’ issues. In addition to his roots on the farm, Dana’s career has been defined by choosing tough projects and building the right teams to improve communities.
Dana became the President of Avesta Housing in 2000 and has led the organization through incredible growth. Under his leadership, Avesta has increased assets from $60,000,000 to $275,000,000, grown its staff from 60 to 250, and expanded the number of homes managed from 700 to 2,500. While at Avesta, Dana has led many large initiatives: he created Maine’s only Housing First communities for chronically homeless individuals, founded the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, and spearheaded the passage of statewide affordable housing bonds.
Prior to Avesta, Dana served as the Deputy Director of MaineHousing and Executive Director of the Coastal Economic Development Corporation. Throughout his career, Dana has found ways to strategically join people’s strengths and passions for a greater good. Whether it is a young staffer or a seasoned Board member, Dana puts the right people in the right seats to further an organization’s mission.
Dana’s expertise are tapped often for committee/board work. He currently serves on several boards, including United Way of Greater Portland, Maine Real Estate and Development Association, and his favorite, Topsham Riverview Cemetery Association, where his parents are buried. Previously, he chaired the Bath Chamber of Commerce Board, Maine Interagency Task Force on Homelessness, the Maine Community Action Association, and the Midcoast Senior Health Services Board and served on numerous other boards.
Dana earned a BA in Public Management from the University of Maine, Orono and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. He attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Dana is a quiet, humble leader who is as interested in emerging talent as he is in his senior staff. He appreciates the dedicated staff he has worked with and is proud that numerous former employees moved on to other executive housing positions following his tutelage. Despite his gentle manner, Dana is notoriously competitive and is the guy to beat in staff softball games and bowling tournaments.
Outside of work, Dana is an avid hiker. He completed the Appalachian Trail, John Muir Trail in California, and all 48 4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire; he hiked half the Pacific Crest Trail and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and several peaks in the Andes. A passionate sports fan, Dana lives in Portland with his wife, Donna. They have two adult sons: Andrew an attorney in Boston and Adam an educator in Washington, DC. He spends a great deal of his time mentoring New Mainer high school students.
Dana thanks Junior Achievement of Maine for this award and is honored to join so many great leaders in the Business Hall of Fame.