A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Amy Frets

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Amy Frets

Amy Frets works for a city that is just like her: family-oriented, unique, and excited to grow. As Director of Communications for the City of Whiting, she markets every event and renovation project that makes it past development.

Pierogi Fest put Whiting on the map but it is one event, held once a year.

“We’re trying to expand. We want to be a place where families can come and stay. There is a lot of history here, we have a lot of qualities of a tourist town. What makes us unique is coming to Whiting to see things you can’t see anywhere else. We’re trying to build on that.”

The plan is to make Whiting a spot that you can visit any day of the year and find fun things to do.

The Whiting repertoire of events is already quirky and prolific. Summer Celebrations run from June through to August, each adding their own personality to traditional city functions.

Their Fourth of July Parade features nationally recognized children’s characters and is the oldest parade in the state of Indiana. It is also the longest. The night before, they hold a fireworks party in the park, with live music and refreshments. Cruise Nights, sponsored by local businesses, are attracting cars that kids can appreciate.

“It’s really cool to be a part of it. We always have a lot of things in the works and it’s great to see them come to life. You have a city staff that makes it happen, and makes it happen right. That’s the goal: do it big, do it right. With that positive energy, it doesn’t feel like work.”

Whiting’s more permanent projects include adding on to the recreational value of existing playgrounds and beaches. The City wants to build a hotel on the Lakefront.

“A lot of cities do not have a lakefront, we want to really embrace that.”

Amy uses social media, press releases, and City websites to keep the people updated. She is always looking for new ways to promote Whiting. City Hall has three main areas of focus: tourism, business, and fun. Mayor Joe Stahura gets personally involved with marketing, by giving weekly announcements to the public on WGLB radio. Amy sometimes fills in when he cannot make it. Whatever she can do to get the word out and get people excited about Whiting, Amy does.

amy-frets-2Her biggest project right now is the National Mascot Hall of Fame, scheduled to open in 2018. The first induction of a mascot will be in 2017, with another one occurring annually. The museum will be interactive, exciting for children and parents of all ages, and an attraction for people from all over the globe.

“The entire region is a wacky, fun, unique setting and that’s what mascots are,” says Amy. “Families come all year to enjoy Whiting events, everything we have to do here encompasses family fun. It makes it a perfect place for the [Mascot Hall of Fame] to be.”

Whiting is one of the most walk-able cities in the state. From your home or hotel you can stroll to the stores, see the lake, and have a good time. Contractors are redeveloping homes and building new ones. Amy says the city is all about family.

“A lot of the people here have been here for a while. Even me, as a young girl I grew up visiting my grandparents in Whiting. Now, 25 years down the road, I have a full time position with the city. I’ve seen how it was and the way it is now. It’s always been about history, and about family. It’s a very heartwarming community.”

Amy sees a future for herself in Whiting.

“I’ve always been a really sociable person. I love to talk. The creative arts part [of Broadcasting] got me. I can come up with ideas and put them into production.”

Amy studied Broadcasting, a Communication and Arts degree, at the Calumet campus of Purdue Northwest. She traveled to work at Disney right after graduation, and a local Minor League Baseball team when she came back home. She learned the communication skills and necessity for marketing that would one day land her a job with the City of Whiting.

“That’s the fun of it,” she says. “Getting the word out. It’s important to know who your target is, and ours is families. It’s all of Northwest Indiana. This is a place we want people to drive to. We are growing an atmosphere that people will want to experience.”