Trevor Crafton, a Jefferson County native and co-owner of Cozy Acres Golf Complex, has been hired as executive director of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce. His job began Monday.

Crafton, 33, joined the Chamber board in 2010. He said he resigned about eight weeks ago. He has been a member of the board of Madison Future Young Professionals, a division of the Chamber.

Also in the past few months, his family sold 35 percent of the business, which he said relieved him of day-to-day duties. "I had a lot of free time that needed to be filled," he said.

Crafton said he is executive director of the Chamber alone and not also of Economic Development Partners. The Chamber and EDP announced an alliance last year and launched it in August with Corey Murphy the executive director of both business organizations.

Crafton said the two organizations still have an alliance. He was on a committee that studied merging the two groups, but rather than merge they aligned.

Crafton, the son of Dale and Kathy Crafton of Hanover, is a 1998 graduate of Southwestern High School, where he was a standout basketball player.

He graduated in 2002 from Cumberland University, where he played basketball on a scholarship, and received a master's degree in kinesiology from Indiana University in 2004.

Crafton, his wife, Sara, and their 3-year-old son, Nash, live at Cozy Acres.

It has been a lonely two months, Crafton said, because the Chamber board members had no contact with him while he was being considered for the job, except for two interviews.

That arm's-length approach should dispel any notion that "the good-old-boy network" was in play, he said.

"Nobody would even talk to me for the last two months," Crafton said. It was akin to losing a best friend, he said, but it also made the hiring process "very above-board."

"I compliment the board" for the way it was handled, Crafton said.

"As a human being, it was difficult," he said.

Crafton said he is eager to "get out there and be visible," visiting large and small businesses, and visiting former and current Chamber members to carry out the Chamber's primary goal of advocating for business.

As he visits, he said, he will be asking, "What can we do for you?"

In the beginning, he said, he will be gathering data from his visits, "then putting a plan together that benefits Madison as a whole and benefits the business community."

Crafton said he has an advantage over previous staff leaders of the Chamber because he owns a small business, and will continue being a businessman, with a nights and weekends role at the golf complex on Old State Road 62. The Craftons still have controlling interest in Cozy Acres, which his parents bought in the early 2000s.