Meet the Team

Shanna Cox

President + CEO

Shanna Cox was named President + CEO in 2019. Shanna is in charge with overseeing strategic growth and direction of the Chamber, maintaining strong relationships with our members, and creating new relationships with organizations and businesses who will benefit from the support, programming and services the Chamber offers.

Shanna has been pursuing economic and community development goals for the LA region for nearly 10 years. As a small business owner, Shanna worked with businesses and groups across the state to find solutions for complex community and social problems. Her statewide work grew her experience and exposure to addressing the important issues the Chamber, our members, and businesses in our communities’ face: workforce development, technology and innovation, cluster and sector development, educational outcomes and economic development and growth. While working statewide, Shanna has always been a champion and advocate for the LA region- a place she is proud to call home and raise her family. Her work history weaves experiences on both business and community issues together, and leverages her Economics Degree from the University of Maine.

Sam Chamberlain

Director of Systems + Operations

Sam joined the Chamber in 2019 as the Director of Program Innovation where he focused on supporting the Chamber’s community engagement and community-driven programming efforts. In 2020, Sam shifted into the role of Director of Systems + Operations where he supports the Chamber’s fiscal, strategic, and internal goals.

Sam joined the Chamber shortly after returning home to Maine from Michigan where he was attending graduate school. Sam holds a Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Maine, and a Masters of Social Work with a focus in Management from the University of Michigan.

Sam brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Chamber with a background in nonprofit management, social work, youth engagement, and marketing. Pulling on his background, experience, and passion for our community, Sam supports our members through member and community-driven initiatives targeted to help our community build, thrive, and lead.

Scott Benson

Director of Economic Development

Scott Benson became the LA Metropolitan Chamber’s first Director of Economic Development in early 2018. As Director, Scott is responsible for providing direct assistance to businesses across a variety of platforms, including entrepreneurial development, commercial lending, international trade, site location services, and referral to and deployment of business resources.

Scott joined the Chamber after it acquired the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council. Scott joined LAEGC in 2015 as Economic and Business Development Director after twenty years supporting Maine development initiatives on the statewide, regional and municipal levels.

Prior to joining LAEGC, Scott served as Senior Program Director for the Midcoast Economic Development District, a federally-designated development district where he oversaw regional strategy development, business lending and established a municipal consulting practice. Scott was previously Development Director for the Town of Lisbon, and Associate Development Director for the City of Augusta, two municipal positions where he focused on business retention, expansion and attraction. His duties included providing direct assistance to businesses, grant and proposal writing, and staff support to various municipal boards and committees. Scott also worked for several years as an economic development consultant with the Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, where he represented both municipal and business clients. At Eaton Peabody, Scott specialized in the design, development and implementation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to support both private and public investment and job creation. Over his career, Scott has contributed to the establishment of more than 40 TIF districts across Maine.

Scott began his career in his home town of Brunswick, where he was instrumental in the establishment and maturation of the operations and services of the Mid-Coast Council for Business Development and Planning (MCBDP), a public-private non-profit economic and community development corporation serving the Bath-Brunswick-Topsham region.

Scott lives in Augusta with his wife Elizabeth. He is a devoted father of four and doting grandfather to two sets of twins.

Scott is a member of the Economic Development Council of Maine and the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, and he is a certified Community Development Block Grant administrator. He is presently serving his third term on the City of Augusta’s Board of Assessment Review.

John Belisle

Loan Portfolio Manager

John was born and raised in Lewiston where he attended and graduated from local schools.  After acquiring his Associates degree in Marketing and Business Administration from a junior college in Boston, he began his banking career in 1970 with Fleet Bank in consumer lending and branch management.

In 1976, John joined TD Bank (formerly Peoples Heritage Bank) as a Branch Manager expanding his lending experience in residential mortgage and consumer loans.  After completing various commercial lending courses through the American Institute of Banking and the Risk Management Association (RMA), John began his career in commercial lending in 1986.

In January 2000, John was hired by Mechanics Savings Bank to manage and develop a commercial loan department. Responsibilities included business development, meeting with potential clients, originate, underwrite, approve and close commercial transactions.

Upon his retirement in June 2011, John had originated and was managing a commercial loan portfolio of up to $44,000,000.00 in loan volume, consisting of 275 individual and business clients and concluding his 27 years of experience in commercial lending in the Lewiston and Auburn and surrounding communities.

John joined the Chamber after it acquired the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council. John joined LAEGC in 2012, following his retirement, as the Loan Portfolio Manager. As the Loan Portfolio Manager, he is responsible for managing all of the loan programs for the Growth Council and its affiliates.  Responsibilities include business development, meeting with potential clients, negotiating transactions, performing loan analyses, closing business transaction, collection and determining the eligibility of applicants as required by USDA and FAME.

Involvement in community organizations, John has been a member of the Lewiston-Auburn Rotary Club since 1981 serving as Chairman of the International Committee, Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee and past President.  He is a former board member and Chairman of the LAEGC Loan Committee.  In 2007, John was the recipient of the Small Business Advocate award given by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Katie Palmer

Member Relations Manager

Katie Palmer joined the L/A Metropolitan Chamber team in 2019 and is the Member Relations Manager. She welcomes and connects new members with the chamber’s services and is our members easily accessible resource. Katie also supports our membership by organizing and supporting their own events, training, and seminars. Additionally, she choreographs the Chamber’s monthly breakfast, Business After Hours, special events, seminars, and ongoing professional development programming
As a lifelong resident, she is proud of our community’s current growth and is excited to be part of our even brighter future!
You may recognize Katie as the former manager of Fuel Restaurant that was located on Lisbon St. in Lewiston. While at Fuel, she earned her diverse skill set and is recognized for her planning coordination, attentiveness and customer service.
Katie is married to Joseph Philippon and is the proud mother of two children. She enjoys spending her time with family and friends. Some of the things she enjoys the most in our community are attending theater, concerts and dining out at many of our fine restaurants.