KILLINGTON — The local chamber of commerce has a new executive director.
Killington Pico Area Association Executive Director Matthew Halik said Friday he had started work at the beginning of the week.
Halik has lived most of his 50-plus years in Woodstock. He attended Woodstock High School and graduated from Lyndon State College (now Northern Vermont University), where he also met his wife.
“Right around that time, I started to work for Dartmouth Printing Co. I started in customer service and was trained on offset lithography, which is the printing method we used,” he said.
Halik has spent most of his working life with Dartmouth Printing Co., working his way into sales administration then into sales, “which took me to the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. My wife and I were starting a family then, and we realized we had the desire to come back to New England. We were down there for three years and then I got a territory back here in New England, and we’ve been back ever since.”
He worked for FedEx for a few years, but returned to Dartmouth Printing Co. in 1997.
“With the invention of the internet and then smartphones, ad-based printed media has really been under the gun, and we certainly were seeing it at Dartmouth Printing Co.,” he said. “I just thought that I’m not going to be able to end my career in this because we’re really seeing a dramatic effect on the publishers we did business with, and then COVID hit and that didn’t help at all, so I basically started looking for jobs.”
Halik said he loves outdoor activities of all kinds, including golf, skiing and snowmobiles, making a job in the Killington area, known primarily for the Killington Ski Resort, a neat fit.
He’s only been on the job for a week, but he said a few things already are apparent to him.
“The organization is a nonprofit and we really rely on membership and membership dues, so my goal is to grow that,” he said. “I see a large part of my responsibilities being in sales and trying to articulate the benefits of being a member of the association, and then having businesses want to join.”
Given that the majority of the Killington area’s businesses are rooted in the hospitality world, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact, something the KPAA will have to respond to. Halik said KPAA raises funds via two signature events. One is the Killington Wine Festival, which happens in the summer and was called off this year. The other is the Vermont Holiday Festival, which Halik said will happen this year.
The only question is how, given the COVID-19 precautions that will have to be in place, he said.
“It’s going to look very different this year,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like. We are thinking of fireworks and something outside.”
He said the KPAA also wants to add a third event to its repertoire. Committees are being formed and ideas are being bandied about, but what’s certain is that KPAA wants an event that will draw visitors to the area. He said the group also wants to do more with sponsorships, which it can leverage with its relationship to Killington Ski Resort.
The previous KPAA executive director was Mike Coppinger, who left July 17 for a position with another company, after serving KPAA for three years.