Governor Charlie Baker recently appointed Richard Doucette as the executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, the agency responsible for promoting the $18.5 billion tourism industry in the state. Doucette, 63, has built a long career in advertising and marketing and steps into the new role with an eye on refining the agency’s message. Doucette spoke about his background and vision for the office.
1. Doucette describes himself as a “classically trained advertising guy.” He’s worked at more than a dozen firms since he entered the business in 1970. His first job was a co-op at Hill Holliday while a sophomore at Northeastern. He continued to work there throughout college and was hired full time after graduation.
“When I was a senior at Northeastern, I was a full account executive with clients,” Doucette said. “I was told that if I quit Northeastern, I would get fired and if my clients knew I went to Northeastern, I would get fired. So, nobody knew I was still in school. It really wasn’t that big of a deal because I had lived there and grown up there. I was like a piece of clay they could shape.”
2. Doucette, who lives in Swampscott, said he has known the governor since Baker ran for selectman in the North Shore community in 2004 and worked on a number of Baker’s campaigns.
“When he got elected [governor] I thought of how I could make a contribution and this is probably the only job that I’m really qualified for, out of all the other jobs. This is a tourism job. Tourism is important. I know tourism. I know marketing.”
3. The new executive director enjoys Swampscott so much that he forgoes a summer vacation because he says he already lives in what he considers “a resort town.”
“We pretty much stay in Swampscott. Why would I want to leave? If I lived in downtown Boston, yeah I could see that. People love to go to the Cape or New Hampshire or whatever, but I don’t see any need to do that.”
4. Doucette has already launched a campaign to come up with a new state slogan to replace “It’s all here.” The agency is asking for idea submissions on its website, and several news outlets have also joined in to pool pitches.
“Historically, this office has kind of been like a Ping-Pong ball with all the different slogans, unlike New York, which has been ‘I love New York’ forever. I’d like to come up with something that has permanence, that they are using 40 years from now. Something that captures the past, the present, and the future.”
5. Doucette hopes to have a new slogan by the fall, but he’s not going to suggest one of his own. He’s consulted with friends in advertising and is waiting to see what the public comes up with. In the meantime, he’s venturing beyond Swampscott, touring the state and encouraging people to come to Massachusetts, whether for the first time or repeat visits.
“This is a communications and marketing role. Our job is to communicate what’s going on here. The trick is to make it easy. If someone is considering coming here, let’s make it as easy as possible for them.”