Staff Spotlight: Marian Wilson

You may know Marian Wilson as one of the friendly faces who welcomes you into the Land Bank office, or who answers your phone calls. Did you know she also processes property transfers, assists attorneys with questions regarding Land Bank forms, orders memorial benches and plaques, records minutes at Land Bank meetings, helps ensure bills are paid on a timely basis, and so much more? We sat down with Marian, the Land Bank’s Assistant Administrator, to learn more about her life and time at the Land Bank.  

Tell us about your background. 

I went to Ohio State University, and graduated with a BS in hospitality management. I worked for Hyatt Hotels for 10 years in catering sales, and food & beverage management. I am married and chose to be a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. I started working here 10 years ago as the Assistant Administrator.  

What drew you to work for the Land Bank? 

As a stay-at-home mom, I volunteered a lot within the community, and I was the President of the Friends of the Nantucket Public Schools. I met Susan Campese when she also served on the “FONPS” board, as Treasurer, and our daughters played soccer on the same team. One day on the sideline of a soccer game, she asked me when I was going to start getting paid for all my hard work [laughs]. Fortunately, I had just revised my resume, qualified for the job, interviewed and was offered a part-time position. 

What’s the most interesting thing about working at the Land Bank? 

I’ve learned a great deal about environmental issues. When I first started, I can remember sitting in a meeting and [thinking], “what the heck are Phragmites?”  I was completely unfamiliar with plant terminology. Over the years, I’ve educated myself on various topics related to conservation organizations, you know… everything from beach access issues to hunting season guidelines to pond quality and property maintenance involving invasive species management and prescribed burns, coastal resiliency, you name it!  Not to overlook the importance of strategic planning involved in bringing a property from the point of acquisition to the point of being ready for the public to enjoy; the amount of collaboration involved in each project is impressive. 

What Land Bank project are you most proud of? 

I enjoy organizing the ribbon cutting ceremonies. It’s a fun way to welcome the public to one of our new properties which has been improved by a great deal of collaboration and planning. I love participating in the Cross-Island Hike each year, it’s such a great way to spend a day meeting new people and sharing an appreciation for the island, as it provides so many vast and beautiful views in distinct locations. I spend a great deal of time looking at properties on the computer, so I love it when I can get out onto a property and say “oh, that’s what I was looking at!” 

What’s your favorite Land Bank Property? 

I love Shawkemo Hills. It’s a unique and unexpected terrain, never crowded, and I love how it links up with other properties. You can start there and loop all around the Moors. But equally I also love Cisco Beach. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I was there a lot with my kids surfing, playing, and having hot dogs and ice cream. I love Maxcy Pond because I just think it’s a real hidden gem. It’s been a long time, but I love that all the youth hockey team and the Whalers go out and play on [the pond] if it freezes enough. 

Shawkemo Hills by Bill Hoenk

Tell us something people might not know about you. 

I have 2 yellow labs, 3 young adult children, and a husband who works off island. I love to travel, I love to read, and I love the small community of Nantucket. I love younger children and I probably should’ve been a kindergarten teacher! 

Is there anything else about your time at the Land Bank that you wanted to share? 

The huge appreciation [I have] for the staff. The length of time that people have worked for this organization, the Commissioners, the broad base of knowledge, and the amount of productive work that everybody churns out is amazing. I have a huge respect for the field crew. I just think our properties look amazing, it’s a small number of guys that make it all happen.