Middlebury partnership hires new marketer
MIDDLEBURY — Graphic designer and self-employed businesswoman Elizabeth J. Bartlett is set to assume the mantle of the Better Middlebury Partnership’s marketing director with high energy, new ideas and a growing love of the Middlebury area.
“I’m so excited about the opportunity,” she said of the position that will start Oct. 1. “It’ll be great once things get started… Right now I’m trying to get things in order at my graphic design business, while trying to hold things off at the BMP until the end of the month; but there’s already so much I want to do.”
Bartlett, 39, was hired by the BMP’s executive committee and approved by the board of directors last Friday. She is currently ramping down her graphic design business, EJ Creative, to 20 hours a week so she can focus on her new position for the Better Middlebury Partnership.
She fills the position that was temporarily taken by John Purcell earlier this summer.
“John made a quick and wise decision that the position wasn’t for him and made it soon enough that we could regroup and continue with that process without missing a beat,” said BMP President Donna Donahue. “All things considered, it has really worked out well for the MBP.”
Donahue noted that the association was in a strong position with the recent success of the Midd Summer Beer, Wine and Cheese Festival held in late August, a strong board and now an experienced and energetic marketing director.
“The Better Middlebury Partnership is truly in a great place. We have a board of directors who are totally engaged in the organization and its goals — the chief one being to make Middlebury a better place to live, work, play and do business … Last year we brought almost 6,000 people into our town. Between tourism dollars spent and the sale of Middlebury Money we contributed close to $90,000 to the local economy.”
“With EJ’s professional expertise,” Donahue added, “we hope to expand upon our events and develop at least two of them into weekend destination events, thereby adding rooms and meals to the dollars spent. But what I am most excited about is that EJ truly believes in this community… She brings to the table not only a really impressive résumé, but the enthusiasm and dedication it takes to make things work well.”
Bartlett has been working full-time as a graphic designer for more than 15 years. She got her start in film and photography at Virginia Tech, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications in 1994. After college, she moved to Washington, D.C., in 1995 where she was immersed in web design and development when the web was in its infancy.
After five years in the nation’s capital, she moved west to San Diego to work for a small advertising agency and design firm, where she worked with such clients as Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
Four years later, in the spring of 2004, she moved to Denver to work with McClain Finlon Advertising, where she managed a team of designers. She focused on developing broad-spectrum marketing campaigns, she said, for clients such as Qwest Communications, Excel Energy, Budget Truck Rental and many others. A skilled photographer, she became the in-house photographer for many of the company’s promotional projects.
In 2008, she left the corporate world and started her own design firm, partially because she had already met Stever Bartlett, head coach of the alpine ski teams at Middlebury College for the past six years, and had an inkling that she might want to have a more flexible career path. She moved to Middlebury later that year and the two were married in June 2010 at Kingsland Bay, “one of the best kept secrets in the area,” she says.
Since starting her own firm, she has continued to work with previous clients, including Qwest Communications, Vail Resorts, RockResorts, and others, while attracting new clients such as Middlebury College, Seventh Generation, Surgical Care Affiliates, Two Brother’s Tavern, Noonie’s and others. Today, Bartlett said her business includes helping develop business and marketing strategies for businesses, while continuing to design all the materials to support those strategies for her clients.
Concurrently, she also taught graphic design at Champlain College in 2010 and 2011, helped start the American Institute of Graphic Arts Vermont Chapter in 2008 and continues to serve on that association’s executive board of directors, and she sits on the Design and Illustration Advisory Board to the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury. And during a few years between all this, she took some time to be a “ski bum” while working in Vail for a couple winters (’94-’95), and worked as a white water rafting guide in Colorado and West Virginia (’95) — partially fulfilling her quest for adventure and her strong connection to outdoor recreation.
As a child, Bartlett’s father was a U.S. Navy test pilot and flew A-6s, she recalled, meaning, in part, that she moved frequently. Born in Washington state on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, she had lived in Japan, Maryland, back to Washington, then on to California, Florida and Virginia all before entering high school.
“I loved moving around. I got to see so much as a kid and experience so many different people and places, it was a huge life experience and made me who I am today,” she said. “That said, I am looking forward to staying in one place and being a part of a community. I love walking down the street and running into people I know.”
While she’s been more than busy throughout her career, taking on this new role at the Better Middlebury Partnership has Bartlett excited and energized.
“Being a part-time job is perfect,” she said. “I love what I do with my own work, but I also love the idea of working with the community and the challenges this position with the Better Middlebury Partnership will present… The town leaders and so many residents in the community really believe in this town and what they’re doing; it makes Middlebury a real special place to live.”
And even as Bartlett expects there will be growing pains in her new job, she says she plans to work through the small stuff and “keep my eyes focused on the prize.”
“I want to make a difference,” she said. “I can’t wait to get started. I think it will be an amazing experience.”