Chad Oliver started work Friday as the new Princeton/Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce executive director.
"It's rewarding to be able to give back to my community," said Oliver, 42, a Princeton resident. "This is where I grew up, went to school, made friends and met my wife, Kasey. We've been married for 16 years and we have a 15-year-old daughter, Izabella. It's easily a place where I wanted to give back."
Oliver began his college studies at Paducah Community College -- now West Kentucky Community and Technical College. He graduated in 2001 with an associate's degree in graphic design and multimedia. He graduated in 2007 from Murray State with an art education degree.
While attending PCC, he worked as a graphic designer at The Paducah Sun. He began working as a graphic designer at The Times Leader when he moved back to Princeton.
He also worked at the Cadiz Record and The Herald Ledger, and freelanced. He created the Chamber guide for Lake Barkley and was a substitute teacher for more than 10 years.
"The experience I have in design and marketing is a big aspect that's going to help me in this new role," Oliver told The Times Leader. "Being a substitute teacher, of course, I love working with kids, but just being a part of this community as I've been for years, I think that's going to be a big plus as well."
Oliver said he hopes to implement more activities for youth within the community.
"I feel like they kind of get pushed to the wayside a lot," Oliver said. "So hopefully, in time, I'll be able to incorporate some more things here for the youth to be involved in so they know that they're appreciated."
"I do hope to see more positive change. I think that with our current mayor, we have young and fresh ideas being implemented,"
Oliver said he will strive to use his background to bring the small town of Princeton up-to-date.
"I'd like to thank the community for allowing me to be in this position," Oliver said. "Be on the look out for positive changes because it's going to be a fun ride."
There are currently 137 Chamber members, an increase from previous years.
Chamber President Allee Coleman said four people applied to become the organization's next director, but Oliver stood out.
"Chad had a lot of the experience of what we were looking for," Coleman said.
"He showed positivity and had great ideas for what we are wanting the Chamber to turn into. He was just a good fit overall."
She said the board is ready to see Oliver grow within the community and the chamber.
"I've seen nothing but excitement from him on the things he can do for the community and our local business owners," Coleman said.