Since becoming Cambridge Main Street’s executive director in June 2014, Brandon Hesson has worked tirelessly to make the historic town a vibrant destination for business owners, visitors and residents alike. From coordinating the community’s iconic bushel basket Christmas tree and year-round events – like this weekend’s 5th Annual Crawfish Boil & Muskrat Stew Fest* – to serving as an advocate for projects like Chesapeake’s recent Cambridge Center façade upgrades, Hesson has brought his skills as a hands-on problem solver to the position.
Brandon is also a proud Chesapeake alumni. After graduating from Easton High School in 1994, he chose to jumpstart his college career with a semester at our Wye Mills campus. Taking a full, five-course semester, he credits his time at Chesapeake with giving him the confidence to tackle a ‘big university.’
After earning his B.A. in English Literature from Salisbury University, Hesson co-founded two local theater groups while working first as a journalist and later as a (small) business manager. Learn what makes this nonprofit executive and arts entrepreneur tick in our #PeakeProud profile:
5 Questions for Brandon Hesson
Q: What stands out from your time at Chesapeake?
A: In addition to working hard and studying, I recall seeing my friends perform in the first theatrical performance at the (then new) Todd Performing Arts Center. It inspired us to form Cricket Theater in 1997. For almost ten years, we produced live performances across the Eastern Shore, managed a scholarship program, and ran a summer youth acting camp.
Q: Did you have an instructor who stands out in particular?
A: Mr. Marchand taught a Sociology class I had that semester. Of the five courses I took, his style and expectation that his students be independent, responsible and accountable, helped prepare me for the road ahead.
Q: How has technology changed the way you operate today?
A: I started college during the advent of the internet, so in a relatively short amount of time, practically everything I do is electronic. My cell phone and laptop are crucial tools in my professional life for scheduling, organizing, tracking, communicating and marketing.
Q: What career advice would you give your 20-year old self?
A: Ideas are important – but you have to be ready to implement them. Be someone who is willing to contribute to and work towards a goal. Don’t be someone who can point out what’s wrong, but isn’t willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work on a solution.
Q: Fill in the blank. Because of Chesapeake College …
A: Because of Chesapeake College, I learned the importance of social skills in an unfamiliar environment. I was able to develop those skills and alleviate some anxieties associated with being on a new campus while the pressures of academics and adulthood were still relatively low.
*The 5th Annual Crawfish Boil & Muskrat Stew Fest takes place Sunday, February 28 at Cannery Way Park in the 400 Block of Race Street from Noon to 5 pm. The festival features musical entertainment by Blackwater (12-2) and Tom Principato (2-5) and delicious fare for sale including Louisiana crawfish, muskrat stew, oyster bar, burgers and more. Admission is $5 for adults.