BANGOR – City staff last week said “farewell” to longtime development officer Sally Bates and welcomed her successor, Sally Bilancia.
Bates was employed by the city as a business and economic development officer for more than a decade and worked closely with the downtown business and arts communities. Among other things, she served as staff liaison to the city’s Commission on Cultural Development, Bangor Center Corp. and the downtown parking advisory committee.
Bates, whose last day on the job here was Wednesday, left her position with the city to move to southern Maine with her husband, Charles Bates, who has landed a new job with General Dynamics in Saco.
Bilancia, her replacement, is no stranger to City Hall.
For the last 81/2 years, Bilancia has been employed at city-owned Bass Park as coordinator of the Bangor State Fair. Her responsibilities there also involved working on Bass Park’s Web page, marketing and supervising security and bartending operations for events held at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center.
Bilancia is well-known for her work with the Maine affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, for which she served two terms as president from 2002 through 2004.
In 2004, she took on the position of race director for the affiliate’s top fundraiser, the Komen Maine Race for the Cure. Under her tenure, race revenues increased by 50 percent, and participation by more than 1,000 people.
Bilancia said she wasn’t really job hunting when the vacancy at City Hall opened up.
“It was just an opportunity that presented itself, a chance to work in a different direction,” Bilancia said in a recent interview.
“My first focus is going to be on getting used to the [new] job and maintaining the programs that [Bates] put into place,” said Bilancia, who temporarily is dividing her time between City Hall and Bass Park.
“A lot of development has been going on downtown recently. Ultimately, one of the things I am going to concentrate on is seeing downtown grow as a community,” she said.
“I think we just need to get the word out, not just to the people who live here. … I think it’s important to educate people about what downtown can offer,” not only in terms of the area’s growing number of shops, restaurants and pubs, but also its arts and culture.
The Penobscot Theatre Company, the Maine Discovery Museum, the Bangor Museum and History Center and the University of Maine Museum of Art are just a few of downtown Bangor’s key assets, she noted.
Bilancia is a graduate of Bates College, where she earned a degree in psychology. Before joining the staff at Bass Park, she was employed by the National Managed Health Care Congress, an organization based in Waltham, Mass., that organizes conferences and other educational events for health care providers.
Before that, she worked for U.S. FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, a nonprofit group headquartered in Manchester, N.H., that organizes robotics competitions for high school students.
Bilancia can be reached by phone at 992-4234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.