Fry says farewell to Hudson Chamber
For the last three years, Blake Fry has been Hudson's biggest cheerleader.
It's been his job, as the president of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
"The chance to be Hudson's biggest cheerleader as the chamber president was such a great opportunity because what a magnificent community to get to tell people about," Fry said.
Fry is leaving his position as president, with his last day on Thursday, Aug. 9.
He is taking a position with Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce in Missouri. The move brings him and his family closer to extended family in the Kansas City area. Here in Hudson, Fry is eight hours away from his closest family member.
"There's a lot of excited family and friends back in Kansas City," Fry said.
Fry said he wasn't looking for another job, but a friend sent him the opening in Lee's Summit, the town located about halfway between his family and his wife's.
"It just happened to work out," he said.
Fry started with the chamber in 2015, after working at UW-River Falls for 10 years.
The chamber role was similar to what he was doing for the university, focusing on external relations like economic development, marketing and government relations. He was also familiar with Hudson after opening the UW-River Falls Hudson center in 2010.
"I had been in higher education for 20 years and it was time for something different," Fry said.
The chamber allowed him more flexibility in the same sort of work.
Fry's time as president has seen the continued growth of Hudson, and he's helped take on new projects and challenges like parking and public transportation. For Fry, though, it's the little things that have defined his time in the position.
"It's been a culmination of a lot of smaller victories that may not be in the public eye," Fry said. "It's more these smaller things that are helping make this a better place to live and a safer place to live that I'm most proud of being able to do."
The responsibilities of Fry's new job aren't much different from what he's leaving behind, but he said he will miss the people he works with here in Hudson.
Every initiative the chamber has undertaken has been supported not only by members but also by the city officials and staff, a relationship that Fry says isn't always so good in other towns.
"The people here are really special in that regard," Fry said.
It's been the people, and their contributions that has helped Fry have a lasting impact on the chamber and community. His accomplishments, Fry said, are a result of collaboration with others.
"That's probably what I hope will last the longest is some of these groups that have come together to collaborate on projects continue to do so," Fry said. "That's been what's so great about being around here is that when you need partners to take on something people are willing to step up to the plate."
One of Fry's favorite examples of this is the Helping Hands Through HIBA event. Started in 2016, the event help raises funds for local nonprofits.
"What a great example of what comm leaders and civic pride looks like," he said. "I smile every time I think about that event."
Though he'll no longer serve as president of the chamber, Fry is still one of Hudson's biggest fans.
"This is my favorite place I've ever lived, it really is," Fry said.
A search for the next chamber president is underway.