For Immediate Release
December 13, 2021

Media Contact:
Christine Schilke
Marketing & Development Director
860.280.2356
christine@ctmainstreet.org

 

HARTFORD, December 13, 2021Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) is thrilled to announce the addition of two new staff members. Carl Rosa will take on the role of Field Services Director and Kristen Lopez will serve as Education & Training Director. With these new additions, CMSC will offer more in-depth services to its member communities and a wider array of education and resources to downtowns throughout Connecticut. Both Mr. Rosa and Ms. Lopez will begin their tenure with CMSC on December 15th.

Mr. Rosa will be a familiar name to many CMSC members, having served as CEO of Main Street Waterbury (a CMSC member community) since 2004. Known as “Mr. Main Street” in the Waterbury community, he has extensive experience with the Main Street process, having spent the better part of 17 years presenting the Main Street program and the importance of CMSC’s role to various neighborhood and business networking groups and other local organizations.

“We knew immediately that Carl would be the perfect person to head up our member engagement program,” said Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker, Interim CEO of CMSC. “Between his extensive knowledge of the Main Street program and his passion for Connecticut’s downtowns, we know he’ll be able to hit the ground running and our members will love him.”

As Field Services Director, Mr. Rosa will provide direct guidance and technical assistance to the over 80 communities in CMSC’s CT Main Street Network. CMSC members include municipalities, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), regional members (such as through a Council of Government (COG)), and downtown management programs (both professionally managed and volunteer). In this role, Mr. Rosa will visit CMSC members to provide customized guidance relevant to their specific needs. CMSC is especially pleased to resume and deepen this assistance as the organization was forced to suspend in-person community visits during Covid.

Meanwhile, CMSC’s new Education & Training Director, Kristen Lopez, will help broaden CMSC’s educational offerings, a service for which CMSC is well known. Ms. Lopez will also develop a new Fellowship Program that will provide targeted resources at the intersection of historic preservation, economic development, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“When we met with Kristen, it was immediately apparent that she had a unique skill set in developing training programs and would do an incredible job developing our new Fellowship Program,” said Ms. Parsons-Whitaker. “We’re looking forward to her input and leadership on our educational programming and as we create a new program at the intersection of four key areas of downtown management.”

Indeed, with her experience in economic development – primarily supporting small businesses, training and development, and marketing, Ms. Lopez has a dynamic background well suited to CMSC and its members. Prior to joining CMSC, Ms. Lopez served as VP of Maker Growth at Makerhoods in New Jersey, a place-making real estate development startup, where she developed the curriculum and materials for a 10-week virtual small business bootcamp. She also has firsthand Main Street experience as a volunteer with Alberta Main Street in Portland, Oregon, as part of their Business Development Committee, and previously worked at the CT Small Business Development Center (SBDC) doing marketing and communications.

“To say that we’re excited to expand our CMSC team is an understatement,” said Ms. Parsons-Whitaker. “The Covid pandemic took a toll on Connecticut’s downtowns and Main Streets, and on CMSC. To be able to get back out in the field – in-person – to be with our members and provide even more resources and education has certainly put the spark back in our work. We can’t wait for Kristen and Carl to get started and for us all to roll up our sleeves and dig in!”

 

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About Connecticut Main Street Center

CMSC is the expert resource for developing and sustaining vibrant downtowns that fuel our state’s prosperity. Our mission is to assess, educate, convene, and advocate to develop and grow our traditional downtowns, village centers, and urban mixed-use neighborhoods. We provide education and training, resources and technical assistance, and function as the statewide champion for downtowns and Main Streets of all sizes.

CMSC is supported by its Founding Sponsors, the CT Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and Eversource Energy.  CMSC is also supported by its Growth Sponsors,  UIL Holdings Corp.   and the State Historic Preservation Office . More information is available at www.ctmainstreet.org.