TROY — The Troy Main Street Board of Directors recently hired Andrea Keller to serve as the new executive director following the resignation of Nicole Loy. Keller began her career with the organization in October of 2019.
Keller, 27, was born and raised in Greenville, graduating from Greenville High School in 2010. She then attended Manchester University in Indiana prior to relocating to Troy.
“My parents moved here when I was in college, so I moved back to the area about a year after graduating,” Keller said.
While in college, Keller studied Spanish and religion. In 2012, she studied abroad in Ecuador for five months.
“I felt like I should go to college, but I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I studied things that were interesting to me,” she said. “I’ve never been a person who had a career path set in stone; I always felt unsure. It’s funny now because I’ve often thought if I would’ve known that jobs like this one existed, I would have studied something a little different.”
After graduating from college, Keller participated in the Brethren Volunteer Service, which placed her in upstate New York throughout the year-long program.
“My position was to work with high school students who lived in a town that was really struggling economically,” she said. “The students had created their own cooperative business designing, screen printing and selling t-shirts, so I worked with them.”
Once her year was up, Keller decided to return home.
“After being in college, studying abroad then volunteering, I was ready to be home and closer to family again,” she said.
Keller settled in Troy and began working for Partners in Hope, where she remained for about two years. During this time, she participated in Leadership Troy, a personal and professional development program. As part of the program, participants serve on a board of a local organization for a year.
At the time of her participation in Leadership Troy, Keller said she was reading a book called, “This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are,” by Melody Warnick.
The non-fiction “self-help” book depicts Warnick’s journey to find “home.” The story examines attachments to places and what draws people to where they live, as well as what makes them want to say.
After several relocations, the author decides to become involved in her new community, in the hopes to feel more at home, which resonated with Keller’s recent relocation to Troy.
“She was choosing to love where she lived,” Keller said. “I was reading the book when I started Leadership Troy, and I chose Troy Main Street because it’s very similar to the things Warnick talked about in the book.”
After her year of service on the TMS board, Keller said she was asked to stay. She continued to serve for just under a year before the executive director position became available.
“I thought I would try for it,” she said. “I was at a time where I was ready for something a little more challenging.”
Keller said the position has certainly fulfilled her desire for something more challenging and has given her the opportunity to learn more about the city, its businesses and its residents.
“So far it’s been really busy, and there is a lot to learn,” she said. “It’s keeping me on my toes, and there’s always something to do, which I like. It’s a lot of maintaining relationships and forming relationships, whether it be with the downtown businesses or with the city, who we work a lot with, as well as sponsors and donors.”
Keller said the goals of Troy Main Street focus around four main points, including organization, promotion, design, and economic vitality.
“The idea behind the organization is to help revitalize the downtown and get people interested in living and working downtown, starting businesses and investing to create that vibrancy,” she said.
Keller said she’s looking forward to serving as executive director for years to come.
“When I started, I wanted something that was more long-term that I could really invest time in,” she said. “I definitely want to be here a while.”