SKOWHEGAN — She was a farm girl from North Anson who went off to college in Boston, then came home to Maine to work in the communications office at Colby College.

As of Wednesday, Kristina Cannon, a 2003 graduate of Carrabec High School, is the new executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, a nonprofit downtown revitalization program. Cannon, 30, takes over for former director Dugan Murphy, who left in August to start a new consulting business in Portland.

Cannon said she worked in Boston after college, but the quiet of central Maine beckoned her home.

“The pace of life up here is certainly different,” she said from her new office above The Bankery on Water Street. “I love the small-town feel, like going into the bank and knowing who you are talking to or going into the local convenience store and having them already know what you want. That type of lifestyle didn’t happen in Boston. It was a much faster pace and it wasn’t welcoming, and that’s what I find here.”

She also likes being close to her parents, dairy farmers Richard and Lorelei Williams, who still run the farm with other family members. She said she remembers getting up at 2 a.m. on Saturday mornings as a girl to help milk the cows.

“Not during the week, only on weekends — my dad spared us from that,” she said. She has a sister, Marcie, who is a teacher in Whitefield.

After high school, Cannon enrolled for two years at the University of Connecticut, then transferred to Emerson College in Boston, where she earned a degree in marketing and communications. She later received a master’s degree in marketing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Cannon was hired as an assistant media planner at an advertising agency in Boston upon graduation from Emerson. She worked in the admissions office and did some marketing at Unity College from 2009 to 2012, when she started at Colby as the associate director for admissions communications.

Cannon was a three-sport athlete at Carrabec. She married former Madison Area Memorial High School football linebacker John Cannon. John Cannon, a graduate of the University of Maine, is now sales manager at Cousineau Wood Products, also in North Anson.

“We both came back and we’re really happy here,” she said.

Cannon said she is ready to get to work, collaborating with the town and the Chamber of Commerce and doing what she can to help local and area businesses prosper as Main Street Skowhegan director. She said she also wants to help make central Maine a place where young people want to return after college.

“I’m excited to tackle River Fest next year,” she said of the annual event that highlights the town’s plans for a whitewater park through the Kennebec Gorge downtown with its Run of River project. “I’m also excited to get other people involved in volunteering and helping with the town. Getting the younger generation involved — I think that is kind of a lost thing. People are so involved in social media and technology that they don’t get out and give their time as much as they potentially could.”

Matt Dubois, of The Bankery, a member of the Main Street executive board who was on the six-member search committee, said there were nine applicants for the job, three of them strong candidates.

“She came prepared by having read the downtown strategic plan and the town strategic plan and came with questions,” Dubois said. “Her energy and her knowledge were really what set her above the rest. Her background seemed really strong in marketing. All of her credentials lined up in what we were looking for in a new director.”

Having grown up in the area also was “one of the tick marks” the search committee was looking for, he said.

Cannon plans to be at The Pickup Cafe in the Somerset Grist Mill at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to meet with volunteers and members of the community.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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