Gentry hired as new DDA director

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Anne Gentry addresses the Alpena Downtown Development Authority during its meeting Monday. Both the DDA and Alpena Municipal Council voted to hire Gentry as the new DDA cirector. She is expected to start her new job before the end of the month.

ALPENA — Alpena Municipal Council and the Alpena Downtown Development Authority voted Monday to hire a new DDA director to replace Lesslee Dort, who stepped down last month.

Their choice was Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Visitors Experience Manager Anne Gentry.

Gentry was born and raised in Alpena and after going away to college moved home and became employed at the sanctuary, and ultimately promoted to her current position. She sat on the DDA promotions committee and is familiar with the goals, objectives and challenges facing the DDA.

While doing a downtown blog for the DDA and working with Dort, Gentry said she decided if the director’s position ever opened up, she would apply for it. It did and she was chosen over seven other candidates to land the job.

“This is my dream job,” she said. “I’m excited to get started and taking the passion I have always had in my personal life for Alpena and work with people who have the same type of passion as I do.”

Gentry said her employment at the sanctuary has allowed her to get a perspective of the downtown from people who live outside the area and are visiting Alpena.

“I think getting the feedback from them and what they need or may want is important,” Gentry said.

DDA board President Mike Mahler said Gentry still must pass background and drug tests before the hire will become official, but he didn’t expect there to be any issues. He said it is likely Gentry will begin work before the end of the month. He said her wage to start would be $38,000 a year.

Gentry said one of the first things she is going to do is get to know the business owners in the DDA better and see what their vision is for the downtown.

“In my first 30 days I want to go around and introduce myself to the business and property owners and see what they want DDA to work with them on,” she said. “I really want to get their insight and be able to use it.”

In other business:

∫ council voted to pay bills totalling $366,289.

∫ council approved renting the bandshell at Bay View Park for a dog show to benefit Huron Humane Society.

∫ Mayor Matt Waligora proclaimed the week of April 10-16 Theater Education Week in the city.

∫ council approved a resolution of support for the federal government to restore funding for Great Lakes Initiative.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.