BRISTOL - Promoting, marketing and bringing new business to Bristol will be major tasks for the two new people hired by the Bristol Development Authority.
Ani Chaghatzbanian is the BDA’s new economic development specialist and Mark E. Thomas is taking on the job of marketing and public relations specialist. The two were hired just after New Year’s and are now settling into their positions, said BDA Executive Director Justin Malley Tuesday.
“I’ll be corny but we’re just really happy to have them on board, and specifically, these two,” Malley said. “We’re so thankful to have these positions in the BDA.”
The BDA is the agency tasked to “improve the physical, economic, and social environment of the Bristol community.” It is the primary governmental organization dedicated to promoting commercial development, and preserving and improving the city’s housing.
“We’re not just settling for status quo here,” Malley added. “We’re setting our sights on the North Star and these two positions are crucial to getting there.”
With the development of Centre Square, downtown as a whole, the Memorial Boulevard School, the upgrading of the Route 6 corridor, the West End, and repurposing of existing buildings, the BDA is a busy office.
“If you had to put it in a nutshell, there are several different audiences Bristol needs to reach … people who live in Bristol and getting people to come to Bristol,” Thomas said.
“We’ll be working to get new businesses into the city, revitalize our downtown and market the downtown and city,” Chaghatzbanian said. “We’ll be looking to get more people involved in the development, not just outsiders, but local people as well.”
Chaghatzbanian, 33, of Milford, said she took the job because she sees this as an exciting time for the city.
“It’s very exciting. We’re essentially starting from the ground up. It will be exciting to see it grow and everyone is so optimistic,” she said.
Thomas, 58, of Granby, said he took the position because he sees the potential for the city.
“I thought it was an extremely interesting position because it is a hidden gem of Connecticut,” Thomas said. “It’s a very friendly place and Bristol has so many different things to offer. Bristol has a lot of good stories and I don’t think we’ve done such a good job of telling those stories.”
Thomas said he will be running the allheart.com website, social media platforms and visiting events and tradeshows.
“I’ll be getting out the message to someone who is already living here, who’s asking, ‘what’s the city doing for me?’ and for the outsiders who are asking, ‘why come here?’” Thomas said. “And there are other audiences, CEOs, politicians … we’ve got to figure out how to communicate with all of them, what’s the best messaging system.”
Malley said he now has a complete team to work with, and with the right funding, he can provide the kind of development Bristol residents and business owners need and want.
“Ideas are great, then you have to implement them” Malley said. “That takes a little bit of money, but there’s a big return there.”
Eve Britton can be reached at .