No two days are the same for outlet center manager Eric Proulx
"I was actually going to school to be an elementary school teacher," said Proulx.
After plans for student teaching fell through, he answered an ad in the Union Leader and became an assistant marketing manager for the shopping center.
When the company was sold to Tanger 18 months later, Proulx became an integral part of the transition, eventually working his way up to general manager.
Proulx said shopping is on everyone's agenda, whether they're on vacation or just planning day-to-day activities, and he loves the challenges his job brings.
"No two days are the same," he said. "I've been doing this since I was 22 - if I didn't love what I do, I wouldn't be here."
An advocate for breast cancer awareness, Proulx has been instrumental in helping to raise more than $350,000 for the cause through Tanger's annual breast cancer awareness campaign.
Each year, Proulx organizes a "Fit for a Cure" 5K road race on behalf of the company, to raise money for breast cancer research, with this year's event raising more than $12,000.
It wasn't until a few years ago that the issue became a personal one for him.
"One of my dad's three sisters got breast cancer," he said, followed by a second sister shortly after.
"Then it became more real," he said. "It was extremely emotional just to organize the race that year."
In 2011, Proulx was presented the U.S. Community Support Award for the Eastern Region by the International Council of Shopping Centers Foundation for his work on the race.
That same year, the Tanger Outlets of Tilton was presented with the 2011 Business Excellence Award by the New Hampshire Travel Council.
Proulx is on the board of directors for the Lakes Region Tourism Association and was appointed to the N.H. Economic Development Advisory Council by Gov. John Lynch in 2012.
A father of two, Proulx is an avid runner and is helping his wife train for this year's Boston Marathon, and said he only takes on what he can handle.
"Tanger lives by the philosophy that we should all have a work-life balance," he said.