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Thu, Nov. 21

Sebra Choe leaves Camp Verde for private sector

Sebra Choe, right, talks with Camp Verde Visitor Center employee Gerry Dillinger. Choe is leaving the Town of Camp Verde’s Economic Development Department to work in the private sector. VVN/Bill Helm

Sebra Choe, right, talks with Camp Verde Visitor Center employee Gerry Dillinger. Choe is leaving the Town of Camp Verde’s Economic Development Department to work in the private sector. VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – After six years at the Town of Camp Verde, Sebra Choe is on her way to the business world.

From transcriptionist for town council meetings, to youth advocate at the library, to Steve Ayers’ right hand in Economic Development, Choe decided that although she loves Camp Verde, she can serve the community better as a private citizen.

“I’d pitch ideas to Steve, and he’d tell me ‘That’s not the role of government. You have to be in the private sector to do that,’” she said. “I guess the private sector is where I belong.”

But she’s “not going anywhere,” she said Thursday. “My paycheck will just come from a different place.”

Projects Choe talked of working with include the Wee Hollow tiny homes subdivision, as well as independent contract work with Buddy Rocha with the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

“A lot of possible opportunities,” Choe said. “I’m continuing with my community building.”

Working with other people, not so much working for them, Ayers said that Choe has “an opportunity to not be obligated to anyone.”

“Sebra has the ability to take a good thing and not just make it a great idea but make it an entire movement,” Ayers said. “But I told her, ‘If you think you can go in this direction, you should do it.’”

In her three-plus years in Economic Development, the past year as the department’s projects manager, Choe said she “outgrew my job description here.”

“I’ve accomplished all the goals I’d set for myself, the primary goal was changing Camp Verde’s reputation,” Choe said. “At least two new positions have been created for me, and I’m so thankful,” Choe said.

Though she looks to take her skills into the community, Choe said she’s “still an economic developer at heart.”

“Going into the private sector would allow me to do what I’m passionate about at the pace and the budget with which I’d like to operate,” Choe said. “I’m passing the ball to myself in the private sector and finishing out the projects with the partners I’ve been working with all along.”

Thursday, Halloween, was Choe’s last day at the Town of Camp Verde. “I wanted a fun send off,” she said.

For lunch, she attended a roast. Despite copious amounts of food, Choe was the main course. Various coworkers and friends told stories of how they had been “Sebranated” by Choe.

In so many words, they said it meant Choe has a way of getting things done by soliciting the help of other people.

“’You said you could do that, right?’” Parks and Recreation Division Manager Mike Marshal said Choe asked once. His response: “I remember us talking about it. But I don’t remember agreeing to it.”

But her coworkers blended sincerity and appreciation with humor. Community Development Director Carmen Howard told Choe that she “pushed the creative things we’ve wanted to get going here.”

Howard and Ayers each explained that in time, Choe’s position would likely be filled by someone who would work for both Economic Development and Community Development.

“The past three years, our departments have worked very closely together to change efficiencies and processes,” Howard said. “We’re at the point after working together so integrally that both of our departments will benefit from a more complete joining.”

Ayers said he doesn’t expect Choe’s position to be filled before Jan. 1.

“We could hire someone first, and then change the role, but I’m not going to do that,” Ayers said. “We’ll first reassess what the structure of that position might be.”

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