Alabama native adds marketing experience to Cullman, St. Clair counties

Feb. 28—Katherine Miller, group publisher for the Alabama media group has named Heather Casillas as the new Alabama group sales manager. Casillas will lead the sales and marketing teams for the group of newspapers that includes two dailies, a weekly newspaper and dozens of magazines and special sections published each year.

Add in the dedicated websites associated with each product, and it would take a person endowed with enormous organizational skills, market savvy and a local knowledge of the communities those newspapers, magazines and products serve — Limestone, Cullman and St. Clair counties — to be successful in the role.

Casillas is that person, Miller said.

A glimpse at the career journey Casillas has undertaken during her quarter-century of experience explains Miller's confidence.

A Limestone County native who graduated from Clements High School and raised two children in her hometown, Casillas began working at The (Athens) News Courier 24 years ago as a clerk in the classifieds department before moving into retail sales. Recognizing she had an aptitude — and passion — for forming business relationships with their marketing partners, Casillas was moved up through the ranks, today serving as the sales manager for the Courier.

That hometown experience, a willingness to embrace new technology and marketing solutions, and "can-do" attitude made Casillas the No. 1 choice to cover the media groups' coverage areas in Athens, Cullman and Pell City, Miller said.

"Heather has been an essential member of the Athens News Courier for more than 20 years," Miller said. "We look forward to sharing her experience and dedication with our other Alabama locations. I know the business communities of Cullman and Pell City will appreciate her expertise and dedication as much as they do in Limestone County, and especially as she helps our marketing partners work toward the best advertising solutions they can get in Alabama."

Taking on the expanded duties as the Alabama group sales manager won't be easy, Casillas said, but that's exactly why she accepted the new role.

"I love meeting new people and forming new relationships," she said. "I have formed a lot of Limestone friendships and business partnerships over the past 24 years, and I'm excited about taking that to Cullman and Pell City as well."

Something she will also be taking to those communities is her ever-growing arsenal of marketing solutions for whatever needs a business might have.

"It's important, especially today with the advance of technology and new digital and print products, that we let our partners know we are more than a 'newspaper,'" Casillas said. "We are a multi-media company that has myriad products to offer to our communities; that we have something for everyone."

"And now," she said, "with our wide array of magazines and ever-expanding digital footprint, we have something for every type of business — even those outside of our own products, such as billboards and digital displays."

As group sale manager over a wide range of Alabama territory, Casillas said that she knows she'll have to work hard to get to know other communities as well as she has Limestone County, and she's looking forward to the opportunity.

"I'll be pounding the pavement and getting out into our communities," she said. "Simply put, that's the ideal method for reaching our partners, followed by email and phone calls."

"I'm always available," Casillas said. "Call me in Cullman at 256-734-2131 or Athens at 256-232-2720, or email me at and we'll get to work helping you promote your business, together."