We talked to Becca Eiland, the Sweetland Amphitheatre Board Director, about how she came to LaGrange and what she loves about her job.
LDN: How long have you lived in Troup County/ LaGrange?
Eiland: I have lived in Troup County for seven years. I met my husband in college, and he was from here. We lived in Atlanta and we lived in Miami and decided to move to LaGrange sort of as a temporary move. [We] fell in love with it and decided to stay.
LDN: What college did you and your husband both attend? Where are you from originally?
Eiland: We both went to Emory University in Atlanta. I’m from Sarasota, Florida originally. After graduation (from Emory), I worked for the Atlanta Olympic Committee. I then worked for Nike in Philadelphia.
LDN: Tell us about your family.
Eiland: I have three children. I have a freshman in high school who’s 14-years-old, Ella. I have an eighth grader, Addie, she’s 13-years-old. And I have a third grader, Finn Duke, and he’s nine.
LDN: What do you like the most about Troup County/ LaGrange?
Eiland: I think it’s most definitely the overall quality of life. It’s access to the outdoors, access to the amenities and certainly the people. We pinch ourselves every day when we look at how close we are to the outdoors and hiking, and now The Thread. And with our children, they all attend public schools and get a great education and just the sense of community. There’s a tremendous community that often gets lost or overlooked in these major cities.
LDN: What would you say makes the community unique?
Eiland: I think it’s in a way nostalgic. It’s kind of the way [my generation] grew up. I think it’s in a place where kids have the freedom to play outside safely, neighbors knew each other and there wasn’t a lot of traffic to get places.
I think it’s knowing your neighbors, knowing people in the community, having that sense of involvement and finding things to get involved with inside the community that make it just so appealing.
The other thing that is exciting is, we got here seven years ago and while there was growth and things were happening, I think now we’re on the cusp of great things and even greater things. I think that’s what has been more exciting for people [my] age with young children and seeing new faces that are here because they see the possibility and opportunity that LaGrange and Troup County has to offer is super exciting.
LDN: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Eiland: What I love most about my job is honestly seeing it’s impact on some of the community. It’s on any given concert night or event night when everything is in place and happening, and I can turn around and on the rare occasion and look up and I can see over 2,000 people and their faces, and they’re captured by what’s happening on that stage. To think that these people — half might be local, half might be coming out of town and enjoying LaGrange for the very first time — there’s no greater sense of accomplishment. That’s not just for me, but it’s my entire team. It’s the volunteers. It’s our downtown development authority team. It’s everyone.
And then people who stop me in the streets and go “This is among the greatest things that have happened in LaGrange,” and are so complimentary of what we are doing down there that, despite the challenges, it makes it all worth it for sure.
LDN: What are some of the challenges of your job?
Eiland: It is very high pressure. There’s never a dull moment and your constantly juggling countless balls. Whether it’s as soon as you figure out which artists you’re booking for and have determined for one year, you’re working on the next year and you’re working on executing that year. There are tons of other opportunities you might want to get involved in.
LDN: How do you envision LaGrange growing in the future?
Eiland: I see great things. I think there’s going to be a lot of families and individuals that tire of the hassles of large town living and city living. They’re going to try to become more creative with their professional careers and figure out ways to make communities like LaGrange work. They’re going to look at industries that we already have in place or look to bring businesses here so that they can have that quality of life that often times you cannot maintain or achieve in a larger city setting. I think that would be very exciting for LaGrange to start to attract those types of families, individuals and businesses and create a real dynamic committee.