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Jim’s long involvement with high-profile, community-related companies makes him a natural for AmericanTowns, where he oversees development of content and outreach. He was Director of Development for Save the Children, and before that, a chief Sales Manager for Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing. These positions threw a big spotlight on his gifts for team-building, grassroots marketing and developing really cool content. Jim’s passion for community doesn’t end when he shuts the lights out in his office: he’s an active volunteer with Meals On Wheels, the Norwalk (CT) Emergency Shelter and other groups.
Ed Panian, Co-Founder and President, Technology - AmericanTowns
With over 15 years of senior digital strategy and experience, Ed combines a unique approach to identifying local trends and merging with cutting edge digital technologies. As President of AmericanTowns.com, Ed oversees the ‘local platform’ product strategy and development which is the local relevancy backbone for a number of companies, including AmericanTowns, AARP Local, WhatsGoodHere and GreenTowns. Ed has a degree from Fordham University in New York City and University College in Dublin, Ireland.
Mark Wratten, Chief Technology Officer
Mark has over 25 year experience in the Information Technology business. Prior to joining AmericanTowns, he was Vice President of Research & Development at ECS Network. He began his career at British Telecom where he was responsible for designing high-reliability amplifiers. Subsequently he was co-founder of one of the first companies in the U.K. to distribute and support the then new Personal Computers. After moving to the U.S. he worked at a number of prestigious firms including, J.P. Morgan and AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he was responsible for developing many large and complex software applications. Mr. Wratten received a BSc.(Eng) from London University.
Bekim Sejdic, Community Director
Bekim has been with AmericanTowns since 2000, working directly with community organizations nationwide. When he’s not working with our network of AmericanTowns community groups, he’s hip-deep in web design or growing his impressive collection of horror and cult movies.
Janice Gallick, Business Development
Janice comes to AmericanTowns.com after a successful Internet career that began at Prodigy, and included positions at Hearst New Media and its successors (Women.com and iVillage) as a Product Manager. Previously, she had developed and implemented advertising and marketing programs for Coca-Cola Foods, Procter & Gamble, Disney, and Mattel. Her volunteer experience is extensive as well. As a regional soccer commissioner for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), she managed the volunteer contributions of 120 adults in service to 630 child soccer players. She has also held volunteer positions with the Promotion Marketing Association (Co-chair, Interactive Promotions Council), the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (VP Communications, Board of Trustees, Fundraising), and the local school system in Pleasantville, NY (Scholarship Committee, Community Facilities Committee).
Victoria Bianchini, Social Media Manager
Victoria is the person for AmericanTowns’ social media channels and she loves every minute of it. How else could she find out about how Looneyville, TX got its name and where to see the best fall foliage in Delaware? Victoria is a big fan of start-ups, having worked at About.com from its founding until after its successful IPO. She also loves getting the word out for non-profit organizations and writes the weekly local hero story for AmericanTowns.
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What We Do
AmericanTowns offers communities a single online location for everything--and everyone -- needed to navigate daily life in their town. The AmericanTowns site is an indispensable practical tool and the most effective way to bring neighbors together.
By organizing a town’s many internet resources under a single umbrella, AmericanTowns helps people quickly find out what’s happening in their local government, schools, libraries and community groups. It’s the place to instantly find recreation, entertainment, fun places to take the kids, restaurants, movies, realtors, businesses and other professional services.
AmericanTowns is also the best way to stay up to date on that school amendment or zoning plan ---and make your voice heard.
LOTS HAPPENING, ONE PLACE TO FIND IT ALL
The heart of the AmericanTowns network is a community calendar. Any nonprofit group can submit events; individuals then add them to their personal AmericanTowns calendar. Use your AmericanTowns site to announce important dates: plays, games, meetings, election dates, fairs and festivals, school events and more.
SPREAD THE WORD
Our simple tools let a group or small business easily create its own content. AmericanTowns is the quickest way to spread the word about meetings, events, sales and important issues. Share your good news and post your press releases. And with additional features like polling and chat rooms, you can discover what the town is thinking and doing.
Everyone can use AmericanTowns - just sign up and create a page for almost anything. With a "personal profile" you can connect with others in the community who share your interests. Or use AmericanTowns to publicize an event. From theater groups, sports teams and garden clubs to historical society events, political and social activism or business chamber meetings, AmericanTowns is the virtual heart of YOUR community.
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It was 1999 in Pleasantville, NY, and a local school bond issue had just been narrowly defeated, leaving the community angry and divided. Ted Buerger was asked to co-chair a committee of 160 concerned citizens formed to evaluate all the alternatives to this thorny issue and present their findings... in just 11 weeks. It seemed impossible until the group had an inspiration: build a central website where the committee could share its progress, solicit opinions and create its final report all under the gaze of the public eye. That website helped the committee produce a detailed, 300-page report right on schedule. The report satisfied the school board (they chose one of the 13 alternatives) and because of its transparency, the community was satisfied as well.
Buerger was struck by the power of this digital "town square". Soon after citizen committee’s work was done, he met with Mike Kelly, award-winning publisher of Entertainment Weekly (and most recently President/CEO of The Weather Channel Companies), who sitting at his kitchen table had sketched out a business plan for an online tool that citizens, groups and merchants could use to build a better community. Four days later, they formed AmericanTowns. Buerger was named Chairman; among its first employees were Jim Maglione, now Co-President, Community, and Ed Panian, now Co-President, Technology.
Pleasantville was among the first "AmericanTowns" to go live. The easy-to-use resource has since become a part of daily life there and in the other communities the site serves. In fact, in many towns, monthly visits to the site total twice the number of local households, as folks regularly check everything from the train schedule, to the community calendar, rain dates for the soccer game or news about a successful fundraiser.
In 2006, the Company decided to expand from its regional base successfully serving communities around New York City. In 2007, it developed sites for more towns, with new content, including in aggregate over 10 million community events, over 100,000 listed community organizations, and over 100,000 items posted by the communities themselves.
In March 2008, AmericanTowns introduced the new AmericanTowns.com platform you see today: a "community webspace" for each town in America, with new features, new partners, wider distribution, new user interface, and the capability to add additional features, partners and distribution virtually without limit.
But its driving vision hasnâ€™t changed from those days in Pleasantville: to create a useful, shared and "open" webspace for the community, bringing people, places and events together like never before.
AmericanTowns.com is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut.
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20 million people rely on AmericanTowns each year to find & share local information