COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Cameron Mains completes his second interview with the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority board on May 5. The 23-year-old Mains was selected by the board Wednesday to be the DDA’s new executive director, succeeding Tricia Meyer.

Mains selected as new DDA director

THREE RIVERS — The Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority will officially have its new director in the near future.

During a special meeting Wednesday, the DDA completed the second round of interviews with the other of their two finalist candidates, ultimately selecting Three Rivers native Cameron Mains to be its new director by a 5-1 voice vote.

The 23-year-old Mains is currently the operations manager at GG’s Cookies in Three Rivers, and will succeed outgoing director Tricia Meyer, who resigned to take a job as an independent consultant in Holland. Mains is a graduate of Three Rivers High School, and is working on completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Central Michigan University in December, with a focus in hospitality services.

Other candidates that applied for the job were Jacob Young, the other finalist for the position, and Betty Kerley.

DDA Board Chair Andrew George said in an interview after the meeting he was glad to select Mains as the new director.

“I have the utmost faith in Cameron Mains to do the job. He showed so much potential in his interviews and he’s done his due diligence in regards to researching the role,” George said. “There’s a lot of relief and a lot of confidence in our new hire. I look forward to getting to know Cameron a little bit better, showing him the ropes of what the DDA is all about, and I’m excited to open up a new chapter in the DDA story.”

Mains, in a statement Thursday, said he was excited to be selected and looks forward to guiding downtown.

“I’m so excited to be named the new DDA Director, and the selection has reinvigorated my passion for our community. I can’t wait to get started bettering our downtown district,” Mains said.

In his second interview on May 5, Mains talked a bit about how he would grow and strengthen the existing business mix downtown if hired and how his skillset would assist in the effort. He said he previously worked as a resort concierge on Mackinac Island, and likened the director position to being the “concierge toward downtown,” adding that while the downtown has a “healthy” mix of businesses, there were opportunities for growth.

“There are opportunities for growth in terms of retail, and I think another restaurant might be helpful as well,” Mains said. “The best way to promote that is to help out who we already have and showing other businesses this is a place where they can come and have success.”

When asked about relationships between downtown business owners, property owners, the Chamber and other community groups, Mains said the most important thing about building such relationships is each one having a hand in all aspects of the community, including reaching out to local organizations. He said he’s met and been in contact with downtown business owners already, and have even spoke to them to get a feel of what they would think of him potentially becoming the DDA director.

Mains said the DDA should hire him because he is a “committed member of the community” and has plenty of connections to the community that would be a benefit if he became director.

“I’ve grown up in Three Rivers, my parents and grandparents are from here, and I’ve already been involved,” Mains said. “I have a lot of connections in the community I can already lean on for support and questions stepping into the new role. I expect to be asking for advice from a lot of people, mostly [the board], but there’s also things out in the community I want to source and bring to the table.”

Board members said following the May 5 interview they were impressed with Mains as a candidate.

“The one thing that jumps out immediately is that getting up to speed with him isn’t as steep as it would be, since he knows a lot about Three Rivers and a lot about what happens in downtown,” board member Rick Cordes said.

“At first I was a little hesitant, but the more he spoke, he addressed every single question we asked in a calm and concise manner and was able to explain his thought processes,” board member Jason Ballew said. “Overall, he did a great job, and having been born and raised in Three Rivers, having gone to school here, going off to college and coming back, having experience at Mackinac Island, he brings a lot to the table.”

The praise for Mains continued following the final interview on Wednesday, with board members saying it was a tough choice between him and Young for the position.

“I think both candidates were strong, and it is a selection between two great candidates. But I still feel strongly that Cameron’s the stronger candidate,” George said. “I do think [Young] did pretty well during the second interview.”

“To me, they’re almost 50/50,” board member Charlie Wolgamood said. “Cameron, I love his attitude, he’s got a lot of varied experience, he has experience raising money, he’s got connections downtown, which will probably be good. I guess I’m going 51-49 Cameron. I don’t think we’d go wrong with either candidate.”

City Manager Joe Bippus, the lone dissenter in the Wednesday vote, preferred Young slightly more over Mains, bringing up Young’s background in market research, surveys, and using grants to help with fundraising.

Mains’ hire is contingent on a background check and a final contract to be approved by the DDA board. Bippus and George are expected to negotiate the contract, with a salary expected to be in the range of $40,000 to $47,000.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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