OC Approves Revamped Sales Position

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this month signed off on a major overhaul of Ocean City’s economic development and marketing teams including a job description for the new position to direct the town’s strategy.

With an emphasis on economic development and sales in order to attract more family-friendly events, teams and groups to Ocean City to fill the resort’s hotel rooms and accommodations, the Mayor and Council last year directed City Manager Doug Miller to begin defining a job description for a future director of economic development and sales. In December, Miller returned with his proposal for the realignment of the town’s top tourism, marketing, sales and economic development team including the new position at the top of the food chain.

Although they wrestled somewhat over the semantics of the title of the new position, council members unanimously approved Miller’s vision for the overhaul, which also includes a new and greater responsibilities for the current Communications Director and acting-Tourism Director Jessica Waters. As far as the new director of economic development and sales goes, the new position would be at the top of an umbrella that also includes communication and marketing, special events, the convention center and recreation and parks, for example.

While the town already has talented people at the head of those departments, the new position would serve as a team leader of sorts. While the new position would oversee those departments, the real goal is sales. Essentially, the new executive director of economic development and sales would focus more on the latter. The intent is for the new hire to go out, hit the streets, knock on doors and really sell all the town has to offer with the goal of bringing more economic development to the resort such as conventions, large groups, sports tournaments and the like.

Miller also pitched the concept of creating an essentially new position of director of communications and marketing. When long-time Tourism Director Donna Abbott passed away, Waters stepped into the breach and assumed her duties along with her own responsibilities as communications manager and handled the interim arrangement with aplomb, according to city officials.

Miller’s plan calls for eliminating the old tourism director position and forging it with Waters’ role under the larger title of director of communications and marketing. Under the plan, Waters will continue to work with her team with her increased responsibilities.

Miller on Tuesday also presented a revised organizational chart for the town government with the Mayor and Council at the top, followed by the city manager. The new executive director of economic development and Sales would fall just below that in the pecking order with other major department heads.

Councilman Tony DeLuca said the new position should come with a rank and a salary commensurate with the responsibilities.

“It’s important to me the level this person comes in at and the salary he or she needs to be up at the level with the department heads,” he said. “It’s very important this person be a peer with the other department heads. This person needs to be a heavy hitter.”

Councilman Lloyd Martin used a timely football analogy to describe his vision of the new position.

“We already have a great team,” he said. “This position can be like getting a star quarterback. We just need a good team player to pick up the ball and bring it back home. The people we have in place are outstanding.”

For Mayor Rick Meehan, the new position is all about sales.

“The primary goal of this position is somebody who goes out and really sells the town,” he said. “We want this position to have a defined role. We don’t want to put them in a box. We need them to really go out and sell.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.