Atlantic City Alliance Announces CEO Elizabeth Cartmell

The newly created non-profit marketing agency for Atlantic City announces CEO Liza Cartmell, a former Aramark executive, just weeks after a new head of the CRDA was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie.

By Jeff Schwachter
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 13, 2011

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(All photos Lew Steiner)

Photo by Lew Steiner

ATLANTIC CITY — It may be three months past the July 2011 deadline, a date New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expected Atlantic City to get its act together with regard to attracting non-gaming industries into town, with the hopes that the resort could be transformed back into the premier tourist destination it once was — just watch an episode of Boardwak Empire and see how many shows were going on in town and who was there hanging out (Eddie Cantor, Eubie Blake, Sophie Tucker, to name a few from the period, and that's just scratching the surface with regard to the city's rich entertainment history) — but things are starting to happen with regard to Atlantic City's somewhat controversial tourism district.

 (BELOW: New ACA CEO Liza Cartmell)


The latest move with regard to marketing Atlantic City's new tourism district (and hopefully the city as a whole as the city's mayor Lorenzo Langford feels strongly about) has been the creation of a new non-profit agency "dedicated to the marketing of Atlantic City and the promotion of its tourism district," according to a press statement.

"The ACA’s primary goal is to develop a marketing strategy that continues Atlantic City’s transformation into a premier destination resort," it continues.

Weeks after the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), a state funding mechanism created to divert a percentage of Atlantic City casino revenue into projects around the state, got a new chief — John Palmieri, picked and announced by Gov. Chris Christie not long before he officially announced he would not seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 U.S. Presidential run — the ACA will announce its new CEO, Liza Cartmell, at a press conference at 10am inside Boardwalk Hall this morning, Oct. 13.

Cartmell, according to reports, is an ex-Aramark executive who has experience dealing with attractions,  "including amphitheaters, convention centers, state parks, and cultural attractions such as museums," according to one report.

Cartmell, whose name we will be hearing a lot in the coming months (and perhaps years) says her experience with Aramark has given her the ability to become familiar with a resort destination marketplace as well as the key figures in the relevant industries nationwide.

“My experience … has shown to me the underlying criteria of success in terms of creating an [inviting] environment and draw,” she said in an interview on Wednesday.

The portion of casino revenues the CRDA once subsidized the horse-racing industry with ($30 million annually) will now fund the ACA. Cartmell says she will use some of the funds for widespread marketing campaigns that not only focus on the city's gaming industry.

“[People] think gaming,” Cartmell said of Atlantic City's perception. “Our mission is to make people realize there’s so much more here in terms of great food, entertainment, natural settings, and a great variety of all of those.”

No word on what this means in the short-term or long-term for the Atlantic City Convention & Business Authority, Atlantic City's long-time state-funded marketing arm of the city and region.

Further, as Atlantic City Weekly has learned earlier this week that two key associates at the CRDA who were spearheading an Arts District campaign for Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown neighborhood of the resort, are both no longer with the CRDA, many — especially those local artists, residents and community leaders, including Freeholder Frank Formica who owns a bakery around the corner from Dante Hall, a church-turned performing arts center that has been closed for years, who attended a special Arts District presentation and forum at the hall in April.

There has been no word about the arts district, the artspace survey that local and regional artists were asked to take online this past spring, or about who at the CRDA is taking over the project once led by Jordan Cox and Jeremy Sunkett.

However, ArtC, a local arts organization that aims to market the region's artists with 21st century technology and a very impressive Web site, recently spoke to Sunkett, prior to this departure.

Stockton College's Noyes Museum is affiliated with ArtC and Stockton also is leasing Dante Hall to turn it back into the performing arts center jewel it had been in the mid-to-late '00s.

Caesars Entertainment president of Eastern Operations Don Marrandino is the chair of the ACA.

Here is video from that interview, courtesy of ArtC:


Click here for more about the last public Arts District meeting and here and here for related articles.

(Full Disclosure: AC Weekly editor Jeff Schwachter sits on the ArtC board)

 What do you think about the creation of the ACA? What do you think this means for the ACCVA? And are you hoping Dante Hall opens again with a full line-up of entertainment?

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