Employee-Owner Spotlight: Donna Larson, Community Planner

Donna LarsonWe are pleased to welcome Donna Larson as our new Community Planner. She brings over 30 years of experience in comprehensive planning, strategic planning, ordinance development, economic and community development and grant writing.

During her career, Donna has led the creation of municipal and residential energy conservation programs/projects, developed countless municipal zoning and development ordinances, reviewed hundreds of development projects, led a variety of community engagement processes, written multiple grant applications, coordinated the development and implementation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, worked with Portland Metro to bring bus service to Freeport, and many other projects. In addition to her planning experience she is skilled at the use of GIS analysis as a decision making tool.

Ms. Larson holds a B.S. in Soil Science from the University of Maine and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Planning from the University of Southern Maine.

What is your role at Sebago Technics?

Community Planner.

What made you want to become a Community Planner?

 I like knowing that I played a role in making a community a better place to live, work or play in.  Maybe by writing an ordinance that allowed more affordable housing to be built or that required open space to be preserved.   Community planning requires having knowledge in many disciplines; no two days are alike.

What places have you lived in throughout your life?

Lifelong New Englander.  I grew up in central Connecticut.  I went to UMO and have lived in Maine ever since.

Before working at Sebago, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I tend to stay at jobs for a long period of time, so I haven’t had a lot of jobs.  All of my jobs have given me the opportunity to work on so many different projects.

What three traits define you? 

Creative, problem solver, loyal.

What are your hobbies outside the office?

Gardening in the spring and summer, preserving garden produce in the fall, reading seed catalogs in the winter.  I also cook, quilt, sew, read and travel whenever possible.  I’ve been known to binge watch Netflix on occasion.   I like to turn old things into something new, for example, I make market bags out of old tablecloths and shower curtains. 

What is your favorite part of the type of work that you do?

Being able to see a project through from beginning to end.

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That would be sad, I really like to cook.

Top three life highlights?

Being a mother, not much can top that but I am proud to say that my house is solar powered.

If you were an animal what would you be?

A bird.

Where would you like to go on a dream vacation?

Scandinavia.

What is the best concert you attended?

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at Red Rocks in Colorado.

What are you excited about at Sebago?

The ability to be able to work with many communities.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.  

 I really like to make costumes.

Favorite place(s) to go in Maine?

Rangeley and the western mountains.

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