The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce has appointed a new executive director, Steve Ringel, a recent transplant from Nashville, Tennessee.
The 56-year-old replaces Marina Van after her retirement in October. Mr. Ringel moved to East Hampton with his wife and son that same month. He previously worked as an event producer and three years as a location manager for the hit television show “Nashville.”
“We wanted to live in paradise,” Mr. Ringel said of his family. “We wanted to raise our child in a healthy, positive, beautiful environment. We wanted to live in an artistic community, and really in a community—in a place that considers itself a community.”
Mr. Ringel has a diverse resume. He’s a second-generation professional magician, performing magic tricks since he was 5 years old and going pro at age 20. During his time in Nashville, he worked at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce—where he was the director of sponsorship and membership for a year—and spoke with Ms. Van about career opportunities in the East Hampton area involving event planning and community outreach.
Mr. Ringel brings a wide range of ideas to the East Hampton Chamber for fostering community, including more family-friendly events, an upscale art and wine festival, a music festival, and a street fair on Newtown Lane in the springtime.
“I know the value of being able to bring people downtown to an event where part of the street is actually closed to traffic and you can walk around and talk to people,” Mr. Ringel said. “For me, events are all about creating community and bringing people together in a family-friendly event.”
Mr. Ringel’s inaugural event as executive director will be the annual Santa Parade taking place on Saturday, December 3, and he said any local groups or businesses looking to participate are welcome to call the chamber office for more information. Following that will be the annual Holiday Walking Tour of East Hampton on Saturday, December 10, where participants will visit well-known places of interest in East Hampton including the Pollock-Krasner House, Guild Hall, and various inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments for no charge.
He said he is looking forward to finding creative ways to bring people downtown during the winter and spring to support local businesses.
Even with all the new responsibilities he has on his plate, Mr. Ringel said he feels right at home in East Hampton.
“We really love being a part of the community …” he said. “I moved a bunch in my life and I’ve never lived anywhere where people have been so accepting and welcoming and made me feel at home right away.”