By Bill Parry
Sunnyside Shines announced last week that it had hired Rachel Thieme as its new executive director.
Thieme, a 32-year-old native of Seattle, started work on Monday after several years working in the non-profit and public sector. She replaces James Bray, who left in September after being there 2 1/2 years.
Thieme’s role will be to promote restaurants and stores in the Sunnyside business improvement district—which covers Queens Boulevard (38th to 49th Street) and Greenpoint Ave. (from 43rd to 48th Streets).
This will be her first time running a business improvement district.
Thieme started her career working for the San Francisco Food Bank, where she was a program manager in charge of distributing food.
After five years at the food bank, she moved to New York and earned a masters degree at the Pratt Institute in the field of City and Regional Planning.
Upon graduating, Thieme went to work for the Brooklyn Economic Development Corp. for about a year coordinating Brooklyn-based Business Improvement Districts.
Her last job was as a project manager at Innovations in Technology for 2 ½ years, dealing with public transit technology.
“I got interested in economic development at Pratt,” Thieme said, who lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Thieme said her first priority is to reach out to local business leaders and residents for input. “I don’t want to plan anything in a vacuum,” she said. “I’d like to get an idea of what the community wants and needs.”
Thieme said she plans to update the website and social media presence so the community can be better informed.