Job Opening: Vice President, Economic Development

Choose DuPage, a 501(c)(6) organization seeks a qualified candidate to fill the role of Vice President of Economic Development.  The Vice President of Economic Development will serve on the Choose DuPage leadership team and report directly to the President of Choose DuPage.  The Vice President, Economic Development will work closely with other members of the Choose DuPage team, its consultants, and Board of Directors.

This frontline, senior leadership position is responsible for implementing and leading the overall economic development strategy designed to accomplish the organization’s mission. 

Responsibilities

  • Oversee implementation and updates to the Choose DuPage strategic plan and, in collaboration with the county, oversee the development of an ED strategic plan for the county including any future developments or initiatives.
  • Assist in the day-to-day operations of Choose DuPage including managing staff, overseeing marketing activities including social media activity, updates to the website, newsletter, etc., and manage membership in associations.
  • Develop in collaboration with the CEO, an annual budget
  • Plan and oversee programming and events in support of the agency’s economic development initiatives.
  • Regularly update members, government officials and non-profits regarding programs and goals of Choose DuPage and solicit feedback and support for initiatives.
  • Engage in business attraction activities including outreach to domestic and international companies and site selectors, relationship building, and tracking prospects.
  • Respond daily to prospect inquiries and prepare responses to RFIs and RFPs, as appropriate.
  • Coordinate and host prospect tours.
  • Monitor needs of existing DuPage County businesses by scheduling meeting with businesses and other outreach activities.
  • Work with marketing team to develop materials for business attraction and retention.
  • Conduct all research and prepare analytical reports for Choose DuPage, municipalities, and other key stakeholders in support of economic development. This includes, but is not limited to, industry specific analytics, municipal economic overview reports and municipal profiles, supply chain analyses, job/occupation/wage trends, demographic reports, retail gap analyses, project economic impact reports, quarterly economic indicators, and Co-Star real estate reports. Oversee the purchase and maintenance of database contracts.
  • Track and monitor new projects in DuPage County, across all industry sectors.
  • Provide business attraction, retention, and expansion updates to the Choose DuPage Board on a regular basis, as well as updates on the agency’s economic development initiatives.
  • Serve on boards as a representative of Choose DuPage, as approved by the President, and participate in community events to promote the organization or business community at-large.
  • Be able to work flexible and a non-traditional schedule.  Attend morning and evening functions, such as networking events, that would increase member engagement or sponsorships.
  • Attend trade shows and conventions to promote the county

Key Relationships

County level:

  • Develop relationship with administrative staff responsible for key departments including administration, planning, engineering, and transportation.
  • Attend subcommittee meetings, as requested.
  • Foster collaboration with the Workforce Development staff and board.
  • Foster relationships with the DuPage Business Community, across all industry sectors.

Municipal level:

  • Present at municipal EDC meetings and municipal governing board meetings, as requested.
  • Survey employers as needed.

State level:

  • Develop and maintain relationships with the IEDA/IEDC, DCEO, Intersect Illinois, Illinois Department of Transportation, and other government partners to connect the business community of DuPage County with resources available at the state level as appropriate.
  • Maintain knowledge of state incentive programs.

Other industry and non-profit partners:

  • Work with other key economic development stakeholders including utility companies, CMAP, World Business Chicago, and other county economic development agencies, as well as industry sector groups, on issues that impact DuPage County and northeastern Illinois.
  • Establish relationships with development and commercial real estate firms, banks and lending institutions, utilities, site selectors, and relocation consultants.
  • Identify, develop, and maintain relationships with other strategic partners such as the Tourism Bureau, the Regional Office of Education, and institutions of higher education.
  • Work with Innovation DuPage to create a more robust entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem in the county.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in economic development, political science, public policy, urban studies, real estate, government administration, land development or master planning, or similar field. 
  • Master’s degree preferred but not required.
  • Five to seven years of progressively more responsible experience in the field of economic development, preferable at a local or county level.
  • An equivalent combination of education, training and experience may be considered when competency is demonstrated.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Expertise in the use of data to analyze demographics and industry related information to understand local economic conditions and forecasting.
  • Exhibit a strong attention to detail, high level customer service, problem solving, and project management abilities.
  • Keen analytical and organizational skills are required to direct data gathering and analysis, formulation of reports and presentations.
  • Maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion and judgement in dealing with sensitive and confidential information.
  • Possess the ability to perform well under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Must be able and willing to travel.
  • Knowledge of DuPage County and Illinois preferred.

This is a full-time, salaried position, salary commensurate with experience. Bonus(es) may be awarded at the discretion of the President with Board approval.  Mileage, cell phone (fixed amount) and any entertainment expenses will be reimbursed based on approval of the President.  The successful candidate must carry automobile insurance on his/her personal vehicle.

To apply, send resume and cover letter, including salary requirements, to tobrien@choosedupage.com.


About Choose DuPage

Choose DuPage is an Economic Development Corporation in partnership with business, government and non-profits dedicated to growing the economy of DuPage County Illinois through programs and services that result in business attraction, retention, and expansion. Website: www.choosedupage.com

Choose DuPage serves DuPage County, a county consisting of thirty-nine (39) municipalities with more than 900,000 residents.  DuPage County consistently ranks in the top counties in the country.

 

 

 

Recognition in Sustainability

On April 21, 2022, Choose DuPage and the DuPage County Environmental Division hosted a Zoom & Learn as part of an ongoing, Sustainable DuPage program series. In the webinar, we learned how businesses can achieve recognition and accolades for sustainable practices. We also discussed the opportunities that exist and the impact it can have on your business. 

GUEST SPEAKERS

Audrie Hicks Washington, Environmental Protection Specialist,
Energy Star Program Lead
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 5

Paul Feith, President
Paul Gregory Media, a Certified B Corporation

Ben Mjolsness, Sustainability Coordinator
City of Naperville

View Speaker Bios

View Webinar

Sustainable DuPage Program Series

In honor of Earth Month 2022 (April), Choose DuPage and the DuPage County Environmental Division have partnered to host a series of sustainability-focused events. Featuring fresh topics and guest speakers every Thursday in April, this series covers topics at the intersection of business, economic development, life, and sustainability, while focusing on the DuPage region. By bringing together local thought-leaders and influential members of the community, we hope to spark new connections and fresh thinking as we all work toward a brighter future—for our planet and for DuPage.

Sustainable DuPage

Illinois Ranks Third in Nation for Corporate Investment

480 projects accounted for 21,000 jobs and $3.5B in investment in 2021

Illinois ranks third in the nation for number of corporate expansion and relocation projects in 2021 in Site Selection’s annual Governor’s Cup report on economic development efforts across the country. The publication noted 480 Illinois projects in 2021 accounting for 21,000 jobs and $3.5B in investment, moving the state up from the number four spot in the previous year’s rankings.

“Companies want to be in Illinois to take advantage of our central location and productive workforce,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. “These rankings also reflect our focus on key industries like electric vehicles and healthcare, where Illinois has particular strengths.”

The issue also named the Chicago metropolitan area as the Top Metro for corporate investment for areas with populations over 1 million for the 9th straight year. The magazine sites food, e-commerce, manufacturing, life sciences and tech as being drivers for nationwide growth and notes that the Chicago region’s diverse economy makes it well-positioned to accommodate projects in these sectors.

“Illinois is the best place to live, work and do business and our state continues to be a national leader when it comes to having the ingredients businesses need to succeed,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. “Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, Illinois continues to be a leader in world class talent, strong infrastructure and high quality of life.”

“The Governor’s Cups recognize not only the winning governors, but their entire economic development teams, and by extension, the many professionals throughout their states who work every day to attract new investment and retain and grow existing businesses,” says Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection.

Site Selection’s yearly analyses are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” To qualify, projects must meet one or more of these criteria: investment of $1M or more, creation of 20 or more new jobs or 20,000 sq. ft. or more of new space.


INTERSECT ILLINOIS is the statewide economic development organization focused on bringing new jobs and investment to the state. Intersect collaborates with industry, academic and government partners throughout the state. To date, Intersect Illinois has helped bring over 15,800 jobs and $4.7 billion in investment to Illinois.

How Diversity Creates Business Opportunities in DuPage

diversity in business

What makes a city, county or region a good place for a business expansion or business relocation?

Or how about a more basic question: What makes an economy strong?

While you may think that the answer to that second question is obvious, the world in which economies operate has changed drastically, as has our definition of economic strength.

Understanding how that definition has changed—and what makes for a strong economy in the 2020’s—is critical to finding the right place to grow your business.

Why Top Economies Have Shifted from Specialization to Diversity

Let’s start with the definition: What is a strong economy?

If you asked someone a century ago, they would probably point you to a place like Detroit, where the city’s economy was almost entirely driven by the automotive industry.

At the time, they were correct: Globalization wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as it is now, supply chains were simpler, and, in general, markets changed at a slower rate. By specializing in a single industry—or, in the case of many “factory towns” across America, a single business—a region could focus its workforce, recruiting efforts, education and resources on that industry. By doing so, they could outcompete other regions in that space.

Clearly, this is no longer the case. The collapse of Detroit’s automotive industry was shocking. However, after seeing much the same occur in factory town after factory town across America, it isn’t altogether surprising that a region couldn’t afford to be so specialized.

The Detroit automotive industry was robust and, in its heyday, untouchable. But its greatest strength in the 20th century—an acute focus on a single sector—proved to be a fatal flaw in the 21st.

Why is this? Why is extreme specialization no longer the hallmark of a strong economy? And what economic models have arisen to dethrone it?

The short answer is that everything is more connected than it has ever been. Our world economy is no longer divided into distinct regions; it’s globalized. The economy is like a three-dimensional spider web, where every point is connected to every other through complex and layered networks—AKA supply chains—that are often hard to see and harder to unravel. When a disruption occurs along one strand, it’s felt across all the others.

This is why it feels like change is occurring at such a rapid pace. It’s not necessarily that more change is occurring—though it may be—but that we feel every vibration.

The End of the Factory Town

Not surprisingly, the economies that flourish in today’s intricately connected markets are often the opposite of those that dominated yesterday’s siloed economies. While the image of a robust economy in America was once the “factory town”—a place where a single business or small group of businesses dominated the local economy—today’s most successful economies are characterized by their diversity.

What makes these diverse economies so powerful is that they have the flexibility to withstand fluctuations in today’s global economy, where markets experience disruptions at a greater frequency.

When a disruption occurs, more rigid economies tend to succeed or snap, either experiencing a boom period or giving way beneath the pressure. Diverse economies react differently. When a disruption occurs, certain sub-sectors may be negatively impacted; however, others may flourish within the new conditions, and their success will uphold the economy at large.

Rather than watching the market fearfully, hoping it will turn in their favor, diverse economies focus on succeeding within whatever conditions they are given, knowing their flexibility will keep them resilient through whatever change comes their way.

DuPage County: Diverse, Resilient and Ready

One example of an area with the economic diversity and resiliency to succeed in today’s market is DuPage County, Illinois.

Located just west of Chicago, DuPage is home to thousands of businesses from a wide range of industries. And while certain sectors—like healthcare, manufacturing and data centers—play a leading role in the region’s economy, no single industry represents more than 10% of the area’s GDP. No single sector dominates DuPage.

Instead, it’s the diversity of industries—as well as the conditions that help attract, retain and grow businesses—that make DuPage County a resilient economy today with a promising outlook for tomorrow.

There are numerous factors driving the success of DuPage’s diverse economy. There’s the strategic location; DuPage is located at the heart of a global freight gateway, a hub where numerous supply chains intersect at three international airports, the nation’s busiest rail gateway, the largest inland port in North America, and several major interstates.

There’s the high quality of life, with beautiful neighbors alongside culturally rich downtowns and some of the best school systems in the nation.

And there’s the commercial collaboration. DuPage businesses have a proud history of working together to solve shared problems and help one another reach their goals. Since the pandemic, those bonds have only strengthened, as businesses across the region work together, alongside community organizations like Choose DuPage, to solve supply chain challenges.

However, the factor that has most influenced—and has been influenced by—DuPage’s diverse economy is its workforce ecosystem.

Workforce Opportunities in DuPage

DuPage is home to more than 640,000 workers representing a wide range of education levels, skillsets, and industry specialties. There is also a massive talent pool accessible in nearby Chicago and other surrounding areas.

But it’s not only the size or even the diversity of the DuPage workforce that makes it so well-suited for the DuPage economy. It’s the entire ecosystem of talented individuals, national-caliber educational institutions, businesses, and organizations—like Innovation DuPage—that help bridge the gap between talent and employers.

The synergy between the businesses, talent and institutions forms the foundation of DuPage’s resilient, sustainable economy. Its impact can be seen across DuPage’s leading sectors, including:

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance (employing 74,000+ workers)
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (employing 60,000+)
  • Retail Trade (employing 55,000+)
  • Food Processing & Distribution (employing 11,700+)
  • Administrative and Support, and Waste Management and Remediation Services (employing 54,000+)
  • Manufacturing (employing 54,000+)
  • Data Centers (with a 3.4% annual growth rate, the Chicagoland Region is ranked the #2 metro in the United States for this market)

How to find new business sites in DuPage

Looking for new business sites or business expansion sites in DuPage County, Illinois?

Choose DuPage has a number of resources to help:

View and learn more about some of the top sites in DuPage County on our featured properties page.

Explore an 800-acre West Chicago campus designed for a variety of sectors—including manufacturing, office, data centers and more—on our DuPage Business Center page.

Or, for assistance with site selection, business plans and expansion strategies, submit a Request Information form here.

Prairie Food Co-op Launches Naming Opportunities as Part of it’s Community Investment Program to Fund Storefront

Prairie Food Co-op raised over $1 million from the DuPage community as part of it’s nine-week spring Community Investment Program. To build upon that success, Prairie Food Co-op has added unique Naming Opportunities for local organizations, businesses, and benefactors to leave a lasting legacy as part of it’s fall Community Investment campaign.

“Maybe you’re an avid bicyclist and want to put your name on our bicycle rack. Or you’re a local brewer or wine enthusiast and would love for people to think of you when they enjoy a local brew? Consider putting your name on our Beer and Wine section! Or if you value community education and engagement, a great place for your name would be in our indoor cafe and classroom,” says Outreach Coordinator, Jerry Nash.

Prairie Food Co-op has been organizing since 2012 to open a community-owned, full service grocery store that will focus on selling local, organic, and sustainably produced food to retain and generate wealth within the local economy, employ 35-50 local residents, and spawn 10-12 new food-centric small businesses.

“Prairie Food Co-op will be a bright beautiful grocery store where anyone can shop. In addition to a weekly trip to stock your pantries, Prairie Food Co-op will be a destination for community gatherings, seasonal farmers markets, and educational workshops on healthy food preparation, meal planning, utilizing bulk foods, and more,” says Board President, Kathy Nash.

In late 2020, Prairie Food Co-op signed a 10-year lease with Holladay Properties for a 10,000 square foot building at 109 S. Main Street, Lombard, that will house the first, and only, community owned grocery store in DuPage County.  Construction on the site has begun and is expected to be complete by the end of 2022. 

With over 1500 Owners from all over DuPage County, Prairie Food Co-op invites all community members in the DuPage area to consider Prairie Food Co-op ownership, which is a one-time investment of $200. Ownership earns you a democratic vote in the running of the co-op plus certain perks, discounts, and benefits when the store is open.

“We are proud that over 30% of our Owners pledged more than $1M in our initial campaign, but we are still short of our goal,” said Kathy Nash. Prairie Food Co-op requires $4.4 million to fund the build-out, hire employees, stock shelves, and open the  store. 

To date, a total of $2.4 million has been secured via community investment and a bank loan.  With over half the funds secured for the project, Prairie Food Co-op encourages the community to reach out soon to learn more about the Naming Opportunities and Community Investment Program.

Additional information about Prairie Food Co-op and upcoming events can be found online at www.prairiefood.coop/events