The leader of Maine’s largest hospitality trade group will leave the organization at the end of the year.

Steve Hewins oversaw the merger of Maine’s restaurant and lodging trade groups and helped direct the merged organization’s response to the pandemic during his four-and-a-half-year tenure.

HospitalityMaine President and CEO Steve Hewins Photo courtesy of HospitalityMaine

“It’s been an honor to lead such a vital and dynamic organization,” Hewins said in a statement. “I’ve learned so much working alongside Maine’s incredibly resilient and innovative hospitality leaders. It is now time for new leadership of the organization.”

Hewins became president and CEO of the now-defunct Maine Innkeepers Association and Maine Restaurant Association in 2016. The two groups merged into a single organization, HospitalityMaine, the following year.

Restaurants, hotels, inns and other hospitality businesses had 11 years of record growth and were headed into another strong year when the pandemic hit. Hewins helped direct HospitalityMaine’s lobbying efforts to open the state to more out-of-state tourists and deliver relief funds to the industry this spring.

“Steve Hewins has done a great job leading our ever-changing industry during these challenging times,” said HospitalityMaine board Chairman Steve DiMillo. “We will miss his vision and leadership, but are confident that we will have a successor to build on all that’s been accomplished during Steve’s tenure.”

Hewins is a former executive director of Portland Downtown and executive at AAA Northern New England. He anticipates continuing to work with the HospitalityMaine Education Foundation, aimed at supporting a new generation of hospitality professionals.

The trade group said it has started a search for Hewins’ replacement.

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