Elli Travis, economic development specialist at the Center for Economic and Community Engagement, recently received a 40 Under 40 award from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

“We believe as a chamber of commerce, our business members should be celebrating the talent we have in our community,” the chamber said on its website. “As a part of our 2021 Leadership Conference, we celebrated the fantastic young talent that live and work in our community for businesses that are making a difference right here. These young leaders can be ambassadors for our community and help attract and retain talent.”

Travis is vice president of Downtown Christiansburg Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission supports the revitalization and promotion of downtown Christiansburg as a destination for visitors, a warm home for residents, and a vibrant economic center for businesses. As vice president, she has spearheaded initiatives to gain critical feedback from community members to shape future plans for Christiansburg.

Her work led to the receipt of a grant from Real Action Leadership Learning (Rally) Southwest Virginia. Through this grant, the community designed and funded a project called the Great Little Park on Main Street. The park will be a place for people to gather and will celebrate the history, culture, and diversity of Christiansburg.

Earlier this month, Downtown Christiansburg Inc. broke ground on the park.

“Building community here in the New River Valley has been the highlight of my time at Virginia Tech,” Travis said. “I am honored to be recognized as the only Virginia Tech employee to receive this award. I look forward to continuing to develop connections, inspire people to build their best future, and bring new voices and fresh perspectives to tackle the complex challenges we face.”