I have enjoyed my time in McHenry County over the past six years. Gina and I felt welcomed back to the community.
I have taken a new position in Ohio and I want to say thank you before I depart.
For those of you who don’t know, I lived here in the 90’s in Algonquin. I helped to start the economic development program in Algonquin with Ted Spella and Bill Ganek. I also worked as a consultant to start the Harvard EDC. I moved away for 15 years and relocated back to the community to start this job.
What I was impressed with is the sophistication and development that occurred in McHenry County during my absence. It was remarkable to see the amount of new job growth, advanced political systems, and the amazing investment in the schools.
I am pleased to have had a small part in the next decade of development for McHenry County. When I return to visit friends and family, I am sure I will be equally impressed with the positive growth and development. Many of you will carry on the traditions of creating a strong local economy.
The Board and I are particularly pleased with some of the legacy activities during my tenure.
The EDGE group, Economic Development Growth Experts, are a group of Chamber presidents, municipal economic development leadership, and other significant economic and workforce contributors. They meet periodically to advance and coordinate regional efforts for advancing economic growth in the community. I hope they have found it valuable and will continue the practice.
I have chaired Naturally McHenry County for 6 years, and am pleased to say, under Jaki Berggren’s leadership, it has developed into a powerhouse organization driving tremendous increases in the visitor based economic development portion of the program. She and her staff have converted Naturally McHenry County into an organization that not only markets what we have in the community but helps to develop visitor-based activities. Thank you to the Board for their time, effort and ideas during this transformational change.
We connected with the Chicagoland market through the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership, which took two years to pull off. Many international businesses or others may want to put headquarters downtown, but they want their manufacturing operations out here where the workers are. This coordinated effort has conditioned us to see a relocation in McHenry County as a win for the entire region.
We also connected to Region 1 Planning. This is the central northern half of the State including the Rockford area and all areas in between. R1 is a data and grant making shop which gives us great access to tools and money that we didn’t have before the partnership.
I also want to thank the public electeds that have supported us and economic development. They are good people helping their communities advance in planned growth strategy.
The County Board also is a friend of economic development. I have formed many close relationships with past and current Board members, and I will miss them a great deal. A special thank you to Mike Beuhler and Mike Skala, Pete Austin and Scott Hartman, and I can’t forget Alicia Schuller. They are instrumental in the economic development program. I have worked with many county administrators and their staff, and these people get it done.
My board, past and present, have led the way for this transformational change in economic development in the region, they support the organization with time and treasure, but most important, their thought leadership. We are on the right path, at the right pace because of them.
Finally, thanks to Jean, Ed, James, and a host of part timers, Karen, Jill, Carrie and others. They keep the organization humming along with their efforts and intellect. Thank you all for being a great part of a successful economic program in McHenry County.
Gina joins me in wishing you all the success in the next decade of economic growth for you and your children.