Steven Ringel, a recent Tennessee transplant who is a former location manager for the television show “Nashville,” has been appointed the new executive director of the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce.
He said he plans to “reinvent” the organization with the help of more upscale events that would attract participants from throughout Long Island, not just the East End.
Ringel, 56, spent the last year with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, where he was manager of the corporate sponsorship department. He succeeds Marina Van in the East Hampton position.
“After more than 20 years [with the chamber], Marina retired and got married and moved to Texas,” Ringel said. “Now she’s traveling in Russia.”
Ringel made his comments during an interview Wednesday — his fourth day in his new volunteer post. He said he and his family were ready to get away from city life so the chamber executive position fit in perfectly.
“I couldn’t be happier — it’s a perfect fit for my life and for my skill set,” Ringel said. “We moved to East Hampton because of the exquisite beauty of the area and the wonderful community that is here.”
His wife is singer-songwriter and recording artist Celeste Alayne Wellman-Ringel, and the couple has a 7-year-old son, Dylan. The family moved to East Hampton in October.
Ringel, who also lived in Hollywood, California, said he brings with him a wide range of ideas 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. He added he is happy to be starting work in the offseason to give him a chance to get to know the area and to plan for the future.
“I’m looking forward to growing the chamber into a profitable enterprise,” Ringel said.
Ringel added the chamber also needs to pay attention to East Hampton’s changing demographics and on how to attract new businesses.
“There are a lot of year-round families here and businesses are open” during the off season, Ringel said. “We need to promote East Hampton to the greater community of Long Island and to businesses that are not part of the chamber.”
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he looks forward to working with Ringel.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with the chamber and I look forward to a great relationship with him,” Cantwell said.