In the newly created role of communications coordinator for the city of Bexley, Sam Metcalf will work to provide more information to residents about the issues in which they're most interested, and in the formats they find most user-friendly.
"I have a huge passion for communications," said Metcalf, who officially started the job July 13. "I love seeing people having meaningful conversations that can move a community forward."
Metcalf holds a bachelor's degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations from Capital University. While attending Capital in summer 2015, he worked as a public relations intern with the city.
During his internship, Metcalf's duties included helping to create the "Bexley Arboretum" book, serving on the Main Event Planning Committee, assisting in social media management, taking photos and working on the BexTalks community dialogue series at the Bexley Public Library.
The importance of community pride is one of the main takeaways he learned during his internship, said Metcalf, who graduated in May.
"I think everyone is interested in seeing the community grow," he said.
Metcalf's previous experience is part of what made him stand out from the 10 other candidates who applied for the communications coordinator position, Mayor Ben Kessler said.
Metcalf's main focus will be on social media as well as printed materials and event coordination, Kessler said.
"The amount of communication with the city is ever-increasing," he said. "In the past six years, that has fallen on my shoulders."
The city had created a deputy director of development and communications position in March 2014 and hired Beth Sharb to fill it. However, the city eliminated the position after Sharb left for another job after six months. Metcalf's position focuses solely on communications.
The new position was partly inspired by the recently released 2017 Bexley Community Survey that Capital University's Public Relations Research class conducted, Kessler said. The survey asked respondents to rate the city of Bexley on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score, on areas such as the effectiveness of the police and recreation departments, code enforcement, communication and responsiveness to residents. Eighty-eight percent rated the city's communication efforts at a 4 or 5, for a mean score of 4.42.
Kessler said he still plans to stay active in communications, including posting updates and responding to questions on his mayoral Facebook page. Metcalf will help the city be more responsive to residents, whether they prefer to communicate online or receive print publications, Kessler added.
"It's going to be a huge asset having this help with communications," he said.
A Mount Vernon native, Metcalf said he became familiar with Bexley not only as a Capital student, but also when he was younger and would visit Michael Garcia's, the East Main Street hair salon where his sister, Katey, works.
"I would go there to get my hair cut," he said. "Every time I'd go there, seeing improvements on East Main Street was really cool."
The communications coordinator position was listed with an annual salary range of $37,000 to $55,000, depending on the experience level of the successful candidate. Metcalf was hired at a starting annual salary of $37,500.