Barry County Chamber/EDA director steps down
Travis Alden, executive director of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Alliance, will be stepping down to accept a new job at The Right Place in Kent County.
Alden, 40, of Irving Township, has been with the chamber since April 2016.
“While I am extremely excited about this new opportunity to continue my community and economic development work at a regional level with The Right Place, it was a very difficult decision to leave this role,” Alden wrote in an email to Barry County Chamber members. “I care deeply about this organization and am very proud of the relationships we've built, the collaborations we've fostered and the positive impacts we've had throughout Barry County.”
In his new role, Alden will be responsible for five rural counties that contract with The Right Place for economic development services: Ionia, Montcalm, Newaygo, Lake and Oceana.
“I have been a squeaky wheel advocating for rural since I got here,” he said in an interview with the Banner last week. “When you promote Pure Michigan, you're showing rural. ... That's so much of what this state is. ... In creating this position, they wanted someone who's been working in small towns their whole career.”
Alden said he sees the job as an opportunity to do what he's doing in Hastings on a larger scale, with the resources.
“I know I'm going to learn a lot in that role, and it's just going to make me better at what I'm doing,” he said.
Prior to his post in Hastings, he was executive director of the Manistee Main Street Downtown Development Authority.
“Barry County has welcomed me and my family with open arms since Day 1, and we couldn't be more grateful,” Alden said. “We're fortunate to have truly found 'home' here, and I'm happy to say that we're staying put. I'm eager to remain engaged with our community as a volunteer and citizen.”
A native of southwestern Michigan, Alden is involved in multiple community organizations in Barry County, including the Hastings Rotary Club and Barry County United Way. He also is an Odyssey of the Mind coach at Thornapple Kellogg High School.
He and his wife and two daughters in Irving Township.