Bettencourt Assembles City Business Council
The mayor argues the city can do more to market itself as an attractive home for local businesses, whether they are start-ups or looking to relocate or expand. Bettencourt wants most of that attention on the downtown and Centennial Park.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt's office today unveiled the new city business council Bettencourt had made one of his signature campaign pledges this past fall. He hosted an introductory meeting with the group on April 4.
The 18-member Economic Development Advisory Committee includes small business owners, major industry executives and city officials, all coming together to help spur economic development and revitalization within Peabody.
Bettencourt has said the group will be tasked with focusing on the downtown and Centennial Industrial Park, in particular, to better promote and attract new business to those areas. The announcement Tuesday characterized those efforts as "rejuvenating Peabody’s underutilized assets" as well as "retention" and "recruitment" in those commercial districts.
Bettencourt has said Route 1 will also receive close attention.
In all, he argues the city could do more to attract businesses to Peabody (be they just starting up, relocating or expanding existing operations) and aggressively seek to stimulate the downtown business district and address the high vacancy rate in the industrial park.
“The mission of the committee is to promote Peabody as an ideal location for businesses to flourish. Our city has much to offer in terms of easy access to major highways, competitive tax and utility rates, and a built-in workforce of well-educated, highly skilled men and women who call Peabody home,” he said in Tuesday's announcement.
“The key is getting the word out there to the decision makers that not only do we want you to come here or expand here, but we want to help you be successful,” he said. “I believe we have assembled a group of very talented, very influential people to do just that, and they are ready to hit the ground running.”
Bettencourt said some preliminary ideas were discussed on April 4, but the advisory council will begin brainstorming in earnest during its next meeting.
The committee members are:
- Doug Rosenfeld, Vice President of Global Human Resources and Administration at Analogic Corp.
- Warren Waugh, co-founder of the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group
- Mark Whiting, Property Manager for Simon Property Group, Inc. at the Northshore Mall
- Tom Walsh, Funeral Director at Conway, Cahill & Brodeur Funeral Home
- Phil Richard, CEO of the Phil Richard Insurance Agency
- Jim Wingardner, Executive Director of Brooksby Village
- Bob Croce, Product Director at Wellesley Information Services
- Bob Schneider, COO of Lahey Clinic North
- Brian McCarthy, CEO of Energi
- Dave Gravel, city councilor and CEO of GraVoc Associates Inc.
- Deanne Healey, President and CEO of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce
- Ed Lomasney, Assistant Vice President of Business Banking at Eastern Bank
- Greg Klemmer, Executive Vice President of NAI Hunneman
- Greg Regazzini, Vice President and Director of Leasing at Combined Properties, Inc.
- Mike Zellen, Vice President at North Shore Bank
- Tom Gould, city councilor and owner of Treadwell’s Ice Cream
- Joel Saslaw, Multimedia Consultant at Idearc Media
- Karen Sawyer, Director of Community Development for the city of Peabody
“I think this group is extremely well qualified to help figure out how to best develop and promote the city of Peabody,” said Rosenfeld in the announcement. “The will to expand business investment is clearly present, we just need to focus our resources and come up with a good game plan.”