During the past two years, Sebra Choe has worked for Camp Verde Community Library as its programs and outreach coordinator, moving into that position after her initial hire as teen programs manager.
On July 18, Choe took on her new role as economic development specialist, working under Economic Development Director Steve Ayers. There, she will assist Ayers in assisting businesses looking to locate or expand into the Camp Verde.
Q: How did you originally come to Camp Verde? What are your impressions of the community, then versus now?
A: I’m originally from South Korea and commissioned into the Army, following in my dad’s footsteps. I came to Arizona through the military and graduate school connections that led to the Verde Valley. I came upon Camp Verde through a newspaper ad for transcription work, when I was looking for a part-time gig while finishing up a master of divinity degree. All I knew about Camp Verde before working for the town was that I loved Crusty’s Pizza breadsticks.
Q: You left your mark on the library. How does it feel to leave?
A: My passion has always been for serving people and improving quality of life, so it doesn’t feel like leaving as much as expanding what I’ve been doing all along — from a neighboring office just down the road. Libraries have the power to transform communities and I plan to work with them as much as possible.
Q: What are the reasons you chose to pursue the role as economic development specialist?
A: I want to contribute as much as possible to see lives change for the better in the Verde Valley, and jumped at the opportunity to broaden my scope. It’s an honor to serve as Camp Verde’s economic development specialist. I’m humbled and immensely excited to be a part of Camp Verde’s evolution.
Q: To steal from your Facebook page: “Creative placemaking, sustainable river recreation, student entrepreneurship, affordable housing, social media marketing, visitor’s center, Tree Advisory Committee, Dark Skies initiative, business alliance, grant projects, event promotion and beautification are a few projects that will keep me busy this year. Chamber mixers, rural policy forums, tiny house research — it’s a whole new era.” Explain your plans and any projects you’re particularly excited about?
A: Tiny Houses and student entrepreneurship are two of my most exciting projects.
Tiny Houses are high-quality homes under 400 square feet with lots of personality, which creatively addresses the lack of affordable housing for various demographics. It’s also an opportunity to build pocket neighborhoods, each with a unique cultural identity, which may center around agriculture or the arts.
Student entrepreneurship is a hugely important program that will launch at Camp Verde High School this fall. The goal is for students to start an online store for the school that will sell student-made products and services. The idea is that customers would be able to buy goods produced from the wood shop, welding and culinary arts classes, and services from the graphics design and auto mechanic classes.
At the same time, we will equip young people with entrepreneurial skills, introduce them to emerging markets, connect them to local professionals and serve as a business incubator for Camp Verde.
Q: How has Camp Verde changed and how may it change in the future?
A: Camp Verde will grow organically into a vibrant center of it all by collaborating regionally, listening to residents, honoring heritage, and welcoming new opportunities. Camp Verde is a gem, rich in history, archaeology, natural beauty and down-to-earth generosity. There’s a reason why people come from all over the world and say, “I just love it here.”