QHS Alumni Spotlight: Holly (Points) Cain ’90

Holly (Points) Cain, QHS Class of 1990, Executive Director of See Quincy

By: Katie Rodemich

You may have encountered Holly (Points) Cain ’90, Executive Director of See Quincy, at some point in our lovely “Gem City” that we call Quincy. For her, it’s more than just a job – it’s a lifestyle. She is the ideal person to be your travel liaison for Quincy’s exciting adventures that include exploring the local architecture, enjoying food tours, kayaking, attending music and historical events, or indulging in leisure activities and wine tastings. With her expertise, you can experience all that Quincy has to offer.

“I was born and raised here in Quincy. I thought I was going to leave after graduation from QHS. I was held up at gun point back in Chicago, which brought me right back to Quincy. It’s a great turn of events how things work out,” said Holly in a recent interview. “My family lives here and I feel very safe. I’m glad to live in Quincy and be able to sell the city for my job. I’m selling Quincy, and I’m glad that I was turned around and came back.”

Holly at her QHS graduation, 1990.
Holly at her graduation party, 1990.
Holly at a soccer game, 1990.

After high school, Holly went to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston and received a degree in speech communication and relations. “Taking speech communications trained me become confident when speaking to a group. I think a lot of people have a fear of talking in front of an audience. I also have that fear and it doesn’t go away.”

Studying speech communication and relations proved to be very beneficial for her current position as Executive Director of See Quincy. She began her career as an Event Coordinator at the Oakley Lindsay Center. After working as an Event Coordinator, she was able to transition into the tourism side of the Oakley Lindsay Center in 1998. “I basically had one real job after college. I started in May of 1998, and I’ve just been promoting tourism ever since.”

Holly appreciates how tourism has a positive impact on the city, not just for visitors but also for its residents. Tourism helps to pay for a portion of the taxes of those who live in the city. For business owners, tourists often make use of multiple services, which boosts the local economy. The Quincy Convention and Visitors Bureau was established in 1985 to promote tourism in Adams, Pike, and Hancock counties.

“As a Destination Management Organization (DMO) our bureau offers a variety of services, including marketing tourism for sports, meetings and conventions, motor coaches, and leisure visitors,” said Holly. “See Quincy’s primary objective is to attract visitors to our area and ensure they have a wonderful and memorable stay by providing full assistance and support. This helps visitors to better understand what See Quincy is and how we can enhance their experience while they are in the Quincy area.”

Holly is thrilled about the upcoming events that are taking place in Quincy. She’s particularly excited about the Lego Masters, Summer Flavors Tours, and the Kayak Quincy program that launched this spring. “These attractions are significant drivers of tourism, as they provide visitors with new activities to enjoy and give them another reason to come and explore Quincy.”

Lego Masters was held in early May at the Oakley Lindsay Center.  Contestants from the hit show LEGO Masters, along with vendors and local and regional LEGO displayers, came together for the first ever Ultimate Brick Show. There was an all-day Lego building event where local builders showcased their creations. Additionally, four LEGO Masters from the TV show also attended the event, displaying their life-sized Lego creations. The event was a success and Holly hopes to make it an annual event in Quincy. Holly also hopes to introduce Lego robotics to schools in the area. Lego robotics is not just about building with Lego bricks. It also involves programming and robotics, which are skills that employers are looking for. It is a rapidly evolving field that is becoming more important in the tech industry.

The Summer Flavors Tours is an event that has been running successfully for the past five years and is returning this year. Every Saturday during the summer, downtown Quincy chefs handpick seasonal brunch and lunch items to serve, along with house-made coffee, cocktails, and beer. The tour begins at The Pour Haus and takes you through Quincy’s District, where a Food Ambassador provides interesting insights along the way. The adventure includes visits to The Pour Haus, Platt Daddy BBQ, BoodaLu Steakhouse, Krazy Cakes Café, Tiramisu, and Quincy Brewing Co. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to take a leisurely walk through the Farmers Market located in Washington Park and visit a charming boutique shop.

“The event keeps expanding and changing every year. It is a great opportunity for people to learn, interact, and enjoy some delicious food. The chefs share their personal experiences and talk about what they have made that week. Last year, we had some new restaurants such as Wicked Thyme Charcuterie and The Axe Company. We also had The Patio for the first time. Every restaurant has about 30 minutes per stop, and then we keep moving to the next one,” said Holly. “The event takes place every Saturday from June to August, and the costs is $50 per ticket. People can sign up for the dates they want on See Quincy’s website or call to book a spot 800.978.4748.  The Summer Flavors Tours guide will accompany a group of twenty people each weekend, and it is a walking tour. It is a valuable experience, and we highly recommend it.”

This spring, Quincy residents and visitors can now rent kayaks on the Quincy riverfront through a new program called Kayak Quincy. This program was launched in partnership with See Quincy, the Quincy Park District, and the City of Quincy. It is the only program of its kind in the area, offering a unique opportunity to explore the Mississippi River and Quincy Bay up close and personal.

The kayaks are available for rent through a self-checkout system located in Kesler Park at 800 Bonansinga Drive. Kayaks can be rented from sunup to sundown at a rate of $25 for the first two hours, and $15 per hour thereafter. To rent a kayak, simply download the Rent Fun mobile app and follow the instructions. Paddles and U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are provided, and renters must be 18 years or older.

“We’re thrilled to offer both visitors and locals an opportunity to explore Quincy Bay and experience the beauty of the Mississippi at their own pace. The kayaks are ready and waiting for self-checkout in the bay, courtesy of Rent.”

When Holly is not endorsing Quincy in her free time, her hobbies involve anything related to the outdoors. “I love to play pickleball, biking, and walking the trails because I love nature. I also love golf, when I find the time for it. Our daughter, Paige, plays golf competitively and it is fun to watch her.”

Upon reflecting on her time away from school, Holly considered the changes that current students are experiencing in high school.

“I wasn’t sure what career I wanted to pursue. I never really thought about it until I started working in retail during high school, at a shoe store in the mall. However, during an annual tour with the Rotary, I was amazed by the Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center (QAVTC) and its offerings. I wish I had taken a class there during my high school days. The graphic design program was particularly impressive, though I’m not sure if it was available back then.

“I feel like there are now more good options and relevant classes that prepare students for real life and jobs. The schools are doing a great job in working with employers in Quincy to meet their needs. However, I wish there were more specialty classes like graphic design offered. The education system is evolving for the better to meet the demands of employers and the changing world.

“We’ve also learned from COVID-19 that certain changes work better and we need to adapt accordingly. I have noticed that schools have become more flexible for students in recent times. When my daughter was a senior, she had the opportunity to meet with her counselor on a one-on-one basis. This allowed her to explore options such as graduating early, changing classes, or taking up new courses. This flexibility is a good thing and I see it in my daughter’s college as well. She can take many courses online or opt to be in the classroom. I didn’t have this kind of flexibility in college or high school.”

One of Holly’s favorite memories from her high school days was leaving the school during lunch hour. She recalls, “How great it was to be able to leave school and go to a restaurant, something that students today don’t have the privilege of doing.” Despite having only 30 minutes to leave school, get to the eatery, eat, and return, Holly and her friends always made it work. She never ate in the cafeteria even once and cherished those moments of freedom and independence.

When asked about her favorite high school teacher, Holly fondly remembered Mr. Humphrey. “He was kind, intelligent, soft-spoken, and made learning enjoyable.”

Holly’s advice to students is “Take high school seriously because what to do in high school carries over to your future. You’re going to be working your entire life. Enjoy the time of learning and socializing, but also learning new skills, and try to take classes that create different opportunities. Take something that could be outside of your comfort zone and try it. That’s why I considered speech communication. I took a class in college because I was scared to death of public speaking. I think the more you learn, the more confident you become. So, try something new.”

For more information with what is happening in Quincy, check out seequincy.com


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