News Flash


Posted on: May 25, 2023

Branch County Economic Growth Alliance Announces New Director

Photo of Audrey Tappenden in Downtown Coldwater

Coldwater, Mich. (25 May 2023) – Keith Baker, President of the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance (BCEGA), announced today that Audrey Tappenden, will take over as the BCEGA Executive Director effective July 1st, 2023. Tappenden will replace Lisa Miller who has worked in the position since January of 2009.

The BCEGA Director is focused on providing technical assistance, business retention and attraction, redeveloping underutilized sites, connecting talent with jobs, and working to meet strategic goals within the county. Additionally, Ms. Tappenden will continue to serve as the Coldwater Main Street Director and assist Branch County communities with downtown redevelopment projects.

Audrey Tappenden is a graduate of Coldwater High School and Grand Valley State University. Tappenden was hired in the fall of 2018 as the assistant to the Economic Development Director and was quickly promoted to the Economic Development Coordinator/Main Street Director.

“When we hired Audrey, it was with the intention to immerse her in all levels of economic development in the County,” Miller said, “It quickly became apparent that Audrey had the skill set, work ethic and dedication that is needed to be the next Executive Director for the BCEGA. This position has been my passion since 2009. Leaving Audrey at the helm gives me great comfort that all the work we have done to foster relationships with the County, cities, region, State and our businesses will be left in good hands,” said Miller. 

Keith Baker, City Manager of Coldwater and President of the BCEGA said, “Audrey is a great asset to our organization. Her knowledge and training in economic development will help Coldwater and Branch County continue to grow and prosper.” Tappenden’s recent collaborations include working with developers and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to secure $1,000,000 of funding for downtown redevelopment projects, fundraising for the relocation and expansion of the Children’s Museum of Branch County, and leading the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in its application, and acceptance to, the Michigan Main Street program. Tappenden is the staff liaison to the DDA Board of Directors and recently supervised and supported Coldwater's Economic Development Fellow during the 15-month program placement.

As an employee, she has engaged in ongoing education by completing the Economic Development Basic Course and achieving the Economic Development Finance Professional certification. She has continually participated in economic development training workshops held by the MEDC, Michigan Main Street, and the Michigan Downtown Association. Tappenden is currently enrolled in a Public Management Certificate Program through Indiana University and was recently awarded the Young Professional of the Year by the Coldwater Area Chamber of Commerce.

About the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance.: The Branch County Economic Growth Alliance (BCEGA) was created in 1989 to oversee economic development for Branch County. Its primary purpose is to retain and recruit businesses in the cities of Bronson, Coldwater, and the villages of Quincy and Union City.

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