David Cole grew up in Lincoln, where “my father worked in the paper mill, like a lot of people. I was a runner, track and cross-country” at Mattanawcook Academy, from which he went to the University of Maine and earned a bachelor’s degree in public management and a master’s degree in public administration.
“I went to work for the Eastern Maine Development Corporation” in Bangor, Cole said. “I grew up with the organization,” which covered six counties and 211 municipalities. During his 24 years at EMDC, including the last seven years as its president and CEO, he saw it transition from a small organization to employing more than 50 people when he left.
“Our focus was community development, regional planning. I got a good grasp of municipal needs,” Cole said.
During Cole’s eight years as Maine Department of Transportation commissioner for Governor John Baldacci, the state built the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and the Down East Sunrise Trail, projects directly affecting Hancock County.
Ellsworth’s city manager for the last four years, Cole said that “I love being part of this community and this part of the state.”
“The city is on a good path,” Cole said. “This is one of the best locations in Maine. We’re the front door to the Acadia coast and the Downeast area. That’s a great place to be.”
He and his wife, Karen, live in Brewer. Their twin sons pursued engineering careers; Jonathan is a software engineer, and Alex works as a project engineer at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UM.
“We like to travel and see new places,” Cole said. “I do a lot of hiking, certainly in the summertime, all over” the coast and inland, and “I love to read, more into nonfiction” rather than fiction.