Communications director retires after 29 years with city

By: 

News Reporter
Melissa Millicam, Director of Communications and Intergovernmental Relations, stands in the broadcasting room of City Hall. Millicam has managed the media output for the government of San Marcos since 1985.

Melissa Millecam, the San Marcos director of communications, retired Aug. 15 after a 29-year career with the city.

Millecam has lived in San Marcos for 44 years. In the ‘70s, she was a newspaper reporter for the city. In 1985, the city manager asked if she could assist him with media relations. Millecam began writing press releases and worked as somewhat of a contractor for the city. Three years later in 1988, she became a permanent employee.

The job has evolved from writing press releases on typewriters and a second-generation Mac computer and mailing them out to using e-mail in the digital age, Millecam said.

Mayor Daniel Guerrero said he has been “blessed” to work with Millecam. From funny pictures at the pool ending up on the front page of the newspaper to running into celebrities, Guerrero said he loved working with Millecam.

“We have a great relationship,” Guerrero said. “We’re going to miss her, but I know that she has her husband, Art and her children that will have more time with her.”

Millecam has many activities planned for her retirement. Millecam said she plans to travel, take some classes at Texas State, stay involved in community organizations, continue mentoring in the school district, practice yoga and go to a retreat for a month.

“I will miss my city colleagues, the city council and the staff, who have been wonderful,” Millecam said. “My husband and I have always been pretty engaged in the San Marcos community, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Jared Miller, city manager, said he is preparing for her replacement and will make the ultimate decision of who will be chosen for the position. A review committee comprised of representatives of different departments who have different and frequent communications needs will help choose, he said.

“It’s going to be a hard role to fill,” Miller said. “Finding someone in a communications position that lasts 30 years in a growing environment like this—that’s a feat to be noted.”

Through her 29 years with the city, Millecam has been through countless events and seen San Marcos grow. Millecam said she’s seen floods, tornadoes and train derailments.

Some big projects that stand out in her mind are the rebuilding of the Rio Vista Dam, the building of the Embassy Suites Hotel, Spa and Conference Center, the acquisition of 2,000 acres of parkland and green space over the years, the protection of the San Marcos River, the building of a new library and the formation of partnerships with the outlet malls.

“A lot of people see her as our press person, but she is beyond that,” Guerrero said. “She is our director of communications. She deals with press and media relations, updates our website and social media, prepares our talking points, (is an) inter-governmental director and she’s heavily involved with different social services.

Part of Millecam’s job is to handle governmental relations on state and federal levels on legislative issues. These include grants, federal programs and support for the airport and public safety agencies.

“Over the years we’ve got more that $16 million in federal funding for projects,” Millecam said. “I feel it’s been very rewarding for the city. I feel honored to have been a witness to a lot of these things and to help to whatever degree I can help.”

Guerrero has declared Aug. 15 Melissa Millecam Day in recognition of her hard work and service over the years, according to the city’s website.

“She is just well respected and talked real highly of by people,” Guerrero said. “We’re certainly going to miss her. She’s done a lot for us.”