Bowling Green hires specialist to help boost town’s economy
BOWLING GREEN—A retired National Guard soldier has been hired to lure new businesses and soldiers to Bowling Green, Mayor David Storke said.
Janis Albuquerque, who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan while in the National Guard, was hired on the spot after the Bowling Green Town Council interviewed her on Wednesday night. Her title is business development specialist/events coordinator.
She has a background in marketing, event planning, graphic design and social media, Storke said. Originally, the Bowling Green Economic Development Authority and Town Manager Steve Manster interviewed six candidates and they recommended the council hire Albuquerque.
She will not be an actual employee with health insurance, but will instead be a contract worker, the mayor said.
“I think she’ll fit well with our town and business community,” he added. “One thing huge is that 20 years ago, she trained at Fort A.P. Hill. She knows soldiers’ mind. We hope to get those guys off the post to come to town and spend money.”
The mayor noted that Albuquerque “was qualified for the job without the military experience. It pleased me to hear her say she needs to get into the business community and find out what is working now and learn from people what it is they currently need. A business might need to have a Facebook page and website. She would help write posts.”
“She understands how she needs to come in and work with our town,” the mayor added. “She absolutely loves the town. We needed someone with a fresh set of eyes. I’ve been here a long time. She’s been all around the world to big towns and small towns.”
For over two years, the Town Council had been talking about creating the new position. The primary duties of the new position will be to plan and coordinate all town events and publicize those events to increase tourism to Bowling Green.
It took two years because it “was a budgeting thing to work out,” the mayor said. “This past July we had our budget discussions. That kind of position can pay for itself.”
Duties also will include “improving the business climate in the town and attracting new business to Bowling Green and assisting existing businesses to be sustainable and viable,” Manster has said.
The town was hurt when the 207 Bypass opened in the early 1990s. More traffic was on Main Street before the bypass. The traveling public didn’t come through town anymore.
Another blow to the town’s economy occurred when Union Bankshares outgrew its Main Street building and merged with First Market Bank and moved its 80 employees to Carmel Church. No longer were those employees eating lunch in town, shopping or dropping off clothes for dry cleaning.