Emily “Em” Caswell, 37, is the brand manager for View Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group and is pleased to call the city of Fenton her home. She lives near downtown with her husband, Matt, a mechanical engineer and their shih tzu mix rescue dog, Yeti. She is a 2000 graduate of Lapeer East High School and a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism.
What exactly is a brand manager?
My job is to strengthen the brand of the View Newspaper Group, owner of the Tri-County Times and 16 other newspapers throughout mid-Michigan. That means I’m responsible for important details as small as having advertising specialty items, like pens with our names on them, to planning huge community events where we partner with local nonprofit groups. At the end of the day, I want everyone to know who we are and what we do to serve our communities.
How did you end up living in Fenton?
After earning my degree, I started my career as a staff writer for a specialty magazine published by the Lansing State Journal, then worked in several different branding/public relations positions. That’s where I learned about the power of event planning. When my dad, View Newspaper Group Publisher Wes Smith and View Newspaper Group owner Rick Burrough started bringing new newspapers into the family of newspapers, I knew it was time to come home and use these marketing principles at View Newspaper Group. I work most closely with our Genesee and Lapeer counties publications, including the Times.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
We’re in downtown Fenton all the time. I love the walkability of the shopping and dining experiences here. We also walk our dog a lot. He’s 6 and we’ve had him since he was 3 months old. He was rescued from a serious hoarding situation, and I think we may have “overcompensated” a bit by spoiling him. I also have a passion for shopping, dining out and socializing.
Do you like to travel?
We travel a lot, mostly to places in the U.S. that mean something special to us, like Daytona Beach, Florida, where we got engaged, Mackinac Island, where we got married, Chicago to visit good friends and Nashville, most recently. My other favorite spot in Michigan is Grand Haven, and we also go to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit my sister.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Personally, it’s definitely my marriage. We got married relatively young (mid-20s) and it was a big adjustment. I’m just so proud of “us.” We’ve been friends since junior high, but weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend until we were 24. I think being married is the best.
Work-related, it’s the thousands of dollars we raise through partnerships with nonprofits. It’s a pretty cool feeling to hand out a big check to a deserving group. It’s not a personal accomplishment, because there are dozens of people involved in making these events happen. But it never gets old for me. Watch for an event coming this fall to Fenton.
As a journalist, who would you like most to write a story about?
My grandfather, Jim Fitzgerald, who was a newspaper columnist and editor at the Lapeer County Press for 25 years and then in the Detroit Free Press, writing “If it Fitz,” for more than two decades. If he was still alive, I would love to interview him. He’s the reason our entire family is in the newspaper business. Of course, he’d read what I wrote with a red pen in his hand — no pass for me as his granddaughter.
What is something about you most people probably don’t know?
I’m a lake and pool person and I’ll jump in and get my hair wet every time.