PEABODY — The executive director of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce is stepping down to join Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s office.
Beth Amico, who has been PACC’s executive director since November 2020, will take over as the executive assistant to the mayor, as of July 6.
“It is a different opportunity to maintain my work with Peabody businesses and residents, and assist the community as a whole in this new role, which is what I enjoy most about my current role,” Amico said in a recent interview.
The executive assistant position has been vacant since Mary Bellavance retired from her 35-year career in City Hall in September 2019. With the pandemic hitting six months later, Bettencourt said he held off on finding a new executive assistant due to budget concerns from COVID-19. Amico joins Administrative Assistant Darryl McCarthy and Chief of Staff Chris Ryder in the mayor’s office.
Bettencourt called Amico a “quality” candidate for the position.
“I’m impressed with her ability to work in groups to accomplish goals and get programs started,” he said. “She’s excellent with working with people, and that’s a big part of her job; her people skills.
Along with office work and organizing city events, Amico will assist the mayor in constituent services and work with businesses — something she is already well acquainted with.
“Her background working with the Chamber for the last few years and her corporate work in the past helps set her up nicely for the role,” Bettencourt said.
Amico took over the Chamber before vaccines were widely available. Some businesses were still shuttered due to the pandemic, and many others were struggling to stay afloat.
It was a time of uncertainty. But Amico and her team at the Chamber worked hard to help its 283 members secure funding to stay open, said David Olson, vice-chair of the Chamber and former editor of The Salem News. When the time finally came, she also helped the Chamber adjust to a new normal.
“We came out of (the pandemic) really strong,” Olson said.
Amico first joined the Chamber in August 2019 as the office manager and previously spent more than 17 years in human resources at Clarks Americas and HP Hood. She was also the point-of-contact liaison for 15 communities during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the North Shore-Cape Ann Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coalition. She succeeded Julie Daigle as PACC executive director when Daigle left to work at Mills 58.
Amico’s team brought back the Chamber’s annual legislative breakfast this spring after canceling last year’s event due to the pandemic. Local businesses were able to network in-person again, and joined Massachusetts politicians and local officials to discuss the state of the local business climate at the breakfast.
“That was our big coming back event from COVID,” Olson said. “She kept us pointed in the right direction and kept us calm and focused. Her work was invaluable.”
The Chamber has already begun the search process for a new executive director. Some people from Peabody are already interested in the position, Olson said.
“We’re hoping to not drag our feet on this because we have a lot of events coming up in the fall,” he continued. “We don’t want to lose the momentum we had with Beth.”
Looking back, Amico — who lives in Peabody with her husband Joe, who is a School Committee member, and their two children — is proud of the connections she made at the Chamber, she said.
“I’m most proud of the success that the Chamber has seen and the relationships that we’ve made with not only those in Peabody, but those in surrounding communities, as well,” Amico said.
Contact Caroline Enos at CEnos@northofboston.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.