SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 7, 2013

Our view: Marblehead's loss is Essex County's gain


The Salem News

---- — The North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau made a good call in hiring Ann Marie Casey as the organization’s new executive director.

Casey has the background, connections and drive to move the organization forward. For the last six years, she has served as the executive director of the thriving, active Marblehead Chamber of Commerce. She has led Beverly Main Streets, taking over for Rinus Oosthoek, who is now executive director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce. She remains friends with her successor at Main Streets, Gin Wallace.

Importantly, she also has experience on Beacon Hill, working for state Rep. James Miceli and former state Sen. Bob Bernstein.

Casey will need to bring that experience to bear in what can be a challenging role, getting 34 cities and towns working together, while recognizing that each is a singular attraction in its own right.

Essex County has a lot to offer. Salem has embraced its maritime history and unfortunate role in the witch hysteria and also boasts one of the country’s best museums in the Peabody Essex. Gloucester has the nation’s oldest working seaport. Marblehead and Beverly both lay claim to the birthplace of the U.S. Navy. Many of the region’s communities also boast destination restaurants that stack up with the best Boston has to offer.

We agree with Casey when she says the communities “deserve and require their individuality because there is something special in all of them. I think I can afford them some certain opportunities from their current marketing efforts and really expand their reach, but I think there is a lot of opportunity for them to work together and to put together regional packaging and itineraries.

“What’s good for Salem is good for Marblehead; what’s good for Swampscott is good for Marblehead,” she said.

We couldn’t agree more.