The Staunton Downtown Development Association announced Wednesday the resignation of Executive Director Julie Markowitz.
According to a press release, Markowitz “announced her intentions to resign” at the association’s Tuesday night board meeting.
“Serving the Staunton Downtown Development Association has been both an honor and a privilege,” said Markowitz in the press release. “The opportunities offered to me in the past 14 years have helped me to grow in ways that I never imagined, and watching downtown blossom into the Main Street that is today has been the source of great pride.”
Markowitz decided to resign in order to “explore some new career options and to devote more energy to my personal life.” Her last day with SDDA will be Jan. 1, 2020.
She served the SDDA for 14 years, and, the press release stated, “guided the SDDA and Downtown Staunton through new branding and website, the gift card program and the downtown dig of 2010, the dawn of social and digital media, the economic downturn and the new normal.”
She also saw the advent of “buy locally” campaigns, Small Business Saturday, StauntoNites grants, BRIGHT Idea Grants and the BRIGHT Rewired Business Plan Competition in downtown Staunton, as well as the Extended Hours program and street entertainment.
“The Board is eternally grateful to Julie for her years of service as the Executive Director,” said Anna Schoenduby, SDDA Board President, in the press release. “Julie has dedicated her life to our downtown community over the past 14 years and we are stronger for it. Downtown Staunton has been re-energized and seen incredible growth over the past decade. We are proud of where our community has come from and excited about where it is going next.”
SDDA also credits Markowitz with obtaining grant funding and other fundraising for light upgrades, new banners, the flower basket program, purchasing pedestrian and parking deck maps and refurbishing sign kiosks, the press release stated.
Markowitz’s relationships with local media and business sponsors brought downtown an annual average of $60,000 in cash and in-kind donations. She was responsible for the awards of more than $300,000 in grants and scholarships.
Markowitz lives in Bridgewater with her husband, James Clough.
Her resignation is “an opportunity to usher in a new era of development for downtown and invite new talent to the table to lead and be proud in the service of one of the best Main Street communities in the nation,” the press release stated.
A regional search will begin, and information will be posted online at www.StauntonDowntown.org, as well as on job recruitment and social media sites.