WAUPUN -- A local woman is taking her dream of improving Waupun to the next level as the recently hired executive director of the Waupun Area Chamber of Commerce.
Casey Despres, a Waupun resident who formerly lived in Ladoga, was named to the position Aug. 6. She graduated from Laconia High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing, sales and entrepreneurship emphasis, from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Despres served as the Downtown Farmers Market manager for two seasons and was hired by the chamber earlier this year to assist with member relations and event promotion during previous Executive Director Ellie Tenpas’ maternity leave.
“This spring, Casey jumped in to the interim role with the chamber and successfully executed our Wine Walk and Golf Outing,” said Tyler Schulz of Werner-Harmsen, who serves as the president of the Waupun Area Chamber.
“At the same time, she partnered with the city’s Economic Development team to launch the 'Brave the Barrels Madison Street Loyalty Program' that encourages citizens to patronize downtown businesses in the path of construction. The chamber board voted in July to extend Casey’s interim position through the end of the calendar year to finish her work on this program. When we found out Ellie was not returning to the chamber and would be going back to work at REACH Waupun, we knew Casey would be an excellent permanent staff member for the chamber.”
In this expanded role, Despres will continue to serve as farmers market manager and be responsible for chamber communication, member relations, evaluating chamber membership and benefits. She'll serve as a liaison between the chamber and city for business-related topics, and work with the chamber’s Downtown Promotions Subcommittee to plan and promote events -- including Halloween on Main, Small Business Saturday, Avenue of Angels, the Waupunies business awards, wine walk, golf outing and Downtown Farmers Market.
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“I’ve met a wonderful group of business owners through my position with the farmers market and work with the chamber on an interim basis,” Despres said. “I’m thrilled to be the new executive director and to use this role to give back to Waupun. We have amazing businesses and I want to highlight our community as a great place to live, work and visit.”
Despres' roots are with the community.
“My entire work history took place in Waupun," she said." I connected with the chamber as a vendor for my canning business, The Pickled Patch, at the downtown farmers market."
“In my new position, I hope to help good things to happen in and around Waupun. It’s not going to happen overnight, but Waupun is a great city and I’ve always loved it. I’d like to see the whole area grow and flourish and I’m excited to be a part of making that happen.”