2012-05-11 / People

New opportunity is a ‘perfect mesh’

Seashore Trolley Museum names its first executive director
By Adam Chabot
Staff Writer

Sally A. Bates shows off her 1982 Suzuki GN125 motorcycle outside the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Bates was recently hired as the museum’s first executive director. (Adam Chabot photo) Sally A. Bates shows off her 1982 Suzuki GN125 motorcycle outside the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Bates was recently hired as the museum’s first executive director. (Adam Chabot photo) Sally A. Bates, the first executive director in the history of the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, believes she has found the perfect fit between her interest in art and background in business. Bates will focus her efforts on development, marketing, public programs and external relations after beginning her tenure as executive director at the end of April.

“When the opportunity arose to explore working at Seashore Trolley, I was excited because for me it is a perfect mesh of my interests and background in business and economic development and creative activities,” Bates said.

She hopes to extend Seashore’s reach and make it a center of the community.

Bates, who grew up in Livermore Falls, said her primary goal as executive director is to help raise the trolley museum’s profile and increase the numbers of members and visitors. Bates holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from the University of Maine, a Master’s of Science in Business from Thomas College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Studio Art from the University of Maine.

Bates said she had visited the Seashore Trolley Museum a few times before with her husband Chuck after they had moved to their current home in Biddeford. She really liked the museum and even painted a picture of one of the buildings long before she was ever hired as director. Her painting currently hangs in her new office.

“Seashore Trolley is unique,” Bates said. “Organizations like Seashore Trolley Museum are what give communities and regions their unique character. So I believe in the importance of arts and culture and humanities in general, and this is a history museum.”

After working in the economic development office for approximately 10 years for the city of Bangor, Bates also worked as a freelance consultant to the city of Biddeford; taught business courses at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland; taught leadership courses and programs for Kennebec Valley Community College at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta and worked as a financial analyst for General Dynamics in Saco.

Bates said she is thrilled with the opportunity to work in Kennebunkport, and the surrounding communities, because of the region’s strong focus on small, local businesses.

“I try to do business with local merchants and my definition of local is small towns within the area,” Bates said. “If you don’t support small local retailers on a regular basis, they may not be there later on when you decide you want them.”

Bates believes that becoming acquainted with local businesses and extending Seashore’s outreach is the most important part of her duties. She hopes to develop programs and events that will further heighten children’s interest in the museum.

“It’s time to cultivate an interest,” she said, adding that another goal of hers is to continue providing value for the members and visitors. Exact plans have not yet been specified, but Bates said she eager to begin working.

Bates also said another reason this area appealed to her is because of the “absolutely contagious” passion the workers, visitors and volunteers bring to the museum. She stressed that coming to work at a place where people love what they do is one of the most important things for any business to do in order to be successful.

“You know if you’re in a place where people aren’t having fun how tired you are at the end of the day?” she said. “Well, here you could get absolutely hyper in a positive way because you are surrounded by people who are just enthralled with what they’re doing.”

The Seashore Trolley Museum is open only on weekends through Memorial Day and will begin its regular operating season on May 28.

Staff Writer Adam Chabot can be reached at 282-4337 ext. 233.

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