Olsen has served as the executive director of Main Street Skowhegan since March of 2010, and in that time, has achieved a number of successes, including developing a downtown strategic plan, leading and implementing a community-wide branding initiative, and helping the town secure a $400,000 Community for Maine’s Future grant to redesign the pedestrian corridors in downtown.
“Jen clearly has first-hand knowledge of the Main Street program and the experience necessary to step into the executive director position and continue the good work of our organization,” Emilie van Eeghen, President of Waterville Main Street said. “We feel very fortunate to have found such an outstanding candidate and we look forward to working with her.”
Olsen was one of 30 applicants from across the state and the country who applied for the position.
Outgoing executive director, Shannon Haines, also speaks highly of Olsen. “Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of working closely with Jen as a fellow Main Street Manager, and I have always found her to be not only professional and effective, but also very creative and fun to work with. I think she is going to be a wonderful fit for our community,” Olsen said.
Olsen and Haines worked together to bring consultants Arnett Muldrow to Central Maine to develop community branding for both Skowhegan and Waterville. Olsen will begin work in Waterville the week of Oct. 8.
Olsen said she looks forward to the challenge, citing the progress Waterville has made as a Main Street program community. “Shannon’s leadership inspires all of us who are involved in this work, the community is very engaged in strong collaborations, and that’s really healthy. Although I will miss working in Skowhegan and with the fantastic people who have supported Main Street while I worked there, it’s still my home and it’s ready to grow in new ways.”
Gene Rouse, board President of Main Street Skowhegan, agrees. “Jen has built a great foundation for the organization, and put us in a good place to move forward. We are sad to see her go and are happy for her in her new endeavor.”
The board will be announcing its transition strategy in the coming weeks.