Only a few short months into his new job, Corey Kearsley is feeling the pulse of the Sherwood business community and enjoying the experience.
Kearsley serves as executive director of the Sherwood Area Chamber of Commerce. He started his position in December, taking over from Lana Painter. Kearsley has called Sherwood home for about 15 years.
Prior to his current position, Kearsley was director of sales for the Washington County Visitors Association. Recalling his passion for sports, Kearsley said, "The Washington County Visitors Association was looking for a sports sales person to recruit sporting events — such as soccer tournaments and marathons — that bring in travelers and visitors who stimulate our local economy by shopping, dining and staying in a paid accommodation."
Then Kearsley "got this itch" to better serve his local community.
"I felt like I wanted to do more for the community that I lived in," Kearsley said. "My kids are older and I just felt like I could be a little bit more involved in the community."
Settling into his new position, Kearsley said the chamber's goals are "to be a catalyst for business growth, to put influencers and leaders together that can make positive things happen, then be a champion for our community."
Currently, there are about 200 members of the Sherwood chamber, both businesses and non-profits, Kearsley said. "We are always open to having more members," he added.
The chamber holds a breakfast the second Tuesday of every month. It's a chance for members to do a bit of networking. At the breakfast, a presenter may appear to speak on a topic that is of interest to businesses.
Kearsley's responsibilities are many at the chamber, but lately he has been focusing on Cruisin' Sherwood, a classic and custom car show that takes place Saturday, June 8.
"With Cruisin' being our big event, right now that's where the bulk of my time is spent, trying to make sure that we meet all of the deadlines, to get sponsors on board, to get the registration going," Kearsley said. "Lana, my predecessor, did a great job making that event happen and making it a successful event, one that hopefully the community is proud to host."
Aside from Cruisin' Sherwood, Kearsley fields questions on several aspects of the Sherwood community. Visitors will stop by the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce to ask where to eat or what to visit.
As an example, Kearsley recalled, "I was on the phone with someone (from Las Vegas) who was trying to help her son find a place to live."
Kearsley is quick to point out the benefits of living in Sherwood, a city that is inching closer to a population of 20,000.
"I kind of enjoy the small-town feel that Sherwood has," he said. "That's something that is an attractive feature for a lot of people here in Sherwood. It's a tight-knit community, I think, for the most part — there's a lot to offer here in Sherwood. We've enjoyed it."
As with any chamber of commerce, there will be challenges. Growth is one of them. "That's what I see in the near future, just trying to manage that growth that we're seeing here in Sherwood to a degree that everybody feels satisfied that what they enjoy about Sherwood doesn't get taken away," he said.
Even though Kearsley is new on the job, he anticipates "helping people be proud and continue to be proud. I think we have a very proud community to start with."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.