Friday, September 2, 2016

Ashley Cousens named Boyne Chamber exec director

The Boyne Area Chamber board of directors has hired Ashley Cousens as their next executive director. Her first day in the Chamber office will be Tuesday, Sept. 13th. 

Board President Michael Doumanian noted that Cousens was hired on a Tuesday and she immediately enrolled in Leadership Charlevoix County and attended their orientation two days later. "We had more than 20 applications for this position, we interviewed six finalists, and Ashley was our consensus choice," Doumanian said. "We're confident that she will do a great job and everyone who meets her will be as enthusiastic as we are."

Chamber members are invited to meet Cousens at the Chamber's Business After Hours on Thursday, Sept. 15th. That event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Good Neighbors Food Pantry and Boyne Area Free Clinic, 624 State St.

Cousens will work with outgoing Executive Director Jim Baumann until early November, when Baumann will retire after 8 years in the position.

Cousens has a strong background in community and workforce development. She grew up in New Hampshire, attended college at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, where she earned her B.A. in Spanish and revived a Peer Advising program on campus. 

After graduation, she spent the next decade in Plattsburgh, close to the Adirondack Mountains, working in community and workforce development. She specializes in working collaboratively with community partners and developing unique programs to enrich the quality of life for community residents. 

She has worked with high schools to incorporate work training programs, she has counseled youth who have dropped out of school to help them improve their skills and find jobs, and she has worked with employers and community organizations on grants and projects and on all sides of the workforce development relationship. She has also worked for and with non-profit organizations.

Cousens relocated to Northern Michigan in February with her partner, Matthew, when he began working for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. Soon after arriving, Ashley began working for the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed as the Program Director and has spent the spring and summer working to further the mission and goals of that organization. 

In her spare time, Ashley loves to be in the great outdoors; whether she is hiking, kayaking, boating, mountain biking, skiing, or camping. She also enjoys reading, baking, attending community events, volunteering, and meeting new and interesting people. 

Ashley Cousens' LinkedIn profile.

"40 Under 40" article on Cousens from Strictly Business magazine in Plattsburgh NY, 2013.

Officials dedicate first phase of BC-Charlevoix trail

Michael Sheean
Officials from numerous state, county, city and township governments and agencies were on hand Thursday, Sept. 1, for a dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting at the new Boyne City to Charlevoix non-motorized trail. The ceremony was held along the trail where it passes through Young State Park. Boyne City trail advocate Mike Sheean was one of the speakers, who commented, “I am very happy that I have lived long enough to see the first phase of this trail completed, after 11 years of effort by many dedicated people here today. This is only the first phase that will make Boyne City the “Trail Town of Northern Michigan” along with the Boyne Valley Trailway, the new mountain bike trails at the Boyne City School Forest Property and the major new mountain bike trail-building project beginning this month at the Avalanche Preserve.”
Boyne City Manager Mike Cain said, “If you ever need an example of what perseverance and cooperation can accomplish, look about you at this beautiful trail. What began as a vision well over a decade ago by people like Michael Sheehan we now come together to dedicate as a reality. But this trail is not the work of any one person, it is the combined effort of many. And while I am proud that Boyne City was the first governmental entity to step forward and commit to this project by agreeing to apply for the first major grant, this was truly a team effort. Partners included the Charlevoix County Planning Dept., the Charlevoix County Parks and Recreation Committee, Evangeline Township, the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners, the Charlevoix County Road Commission, and the State of Michigan through MDOT and the MDNR, whose grants largely made this project possible. And of course the staffs, the property owners and many private donors who all worked so hard. Again a true team effort."
"Even though we are here to officially open the trail today I’m getting reports from local businesses that are already seeing very real positive economic impacts. More customers mean more business and more jobs throughout the region. On so many levels this trail and its future phases will help improve the quality of life in Charlevoix County and beyond.
As I said almost 5 months ago a lot of the credit for this trail becoming the reality that it is goes to Ross Maxwell. Thru seemingly endless challenges, setbacks and distractions Ross calmly worked towards solutions. Ross took what at times seemed like impossibilities and made the trail a reality; it just took a bit longer than some of us might have wanted. Some of them could have driven him literally batty, but Ross persevered and prevailed.
So here it is and soon it will be joined by future phases of this trail and the other trails in and around Boyne City and the County that have the real potential to make this area a nationally recognized hub of quality trails opening the door even wider for continues improvements to our quality of life and economic opportunities. That reality is within our grasp. Let’s takes today's momentum and continue to build on it."
"Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped transform a vision into reality."
Petoskey News-Review story.