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Northwest Illinois Development Alliance - Executive Director

Executive Director, Northwest Illinois Development Alliance (NIDA), (Regional pop. 50,000+). A consortium of communities and businesses in northwestern Illinois, the Northwest Illinois Development Alliance serves Stephenson County, the City of Freeport and other member municipalities and businesses in an area 25 miles west of Rockford, and 20 miles south of the Wisconsin border. The area is easily accessible to major metropolitan areas in every direction. Site of an 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate, known for more than 150 years as “Pretzel City” and home to several Fortune 500 companies, Freeport and its adjoining communities  combine history and progress in an area offering both urban and rural living.

The Northwest Illinois Development Alliance is a public/private economic development corporation focused on retaining and expanding business, and diversifying the economic base of the City of Freeport and Stephenson County area in northwest Illinois. The Alliance is at an exciting time in its history, as it and three other organizations of similar missions are in advanced discussions about merging efforts to form what may become known as the Freeport Area Economic Development Corporation. In addition to NIDA, the organizations include the Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce, the Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Freeport Downtown Development Foundation. The Executive Director of NIDA will oversee the newly formed corporation, and will manage the operations of a 501 C (6) organization focused on business advocacy at the local, state and national level.

Candidates will find all quarters of the region – private and public sector interests – aligned to assure the success of the next Director. Value-added agriculture and manufacturing comprise 25% of the local economy; more retail and industrial development is desired. Workforce development and business-education partnerships are goals for the region, as jobs are in good supply.

Candidates with initiative, creativity and a proven track-record of retaining, expanding and recruiting businesses are encouraged to apply. The ideal candidate is a people-person adept at building relationships, and will have:

  • High energy, enthusiasm and passion;
  • Strong communication and strategic planning skills;
  • The ability to direct a multi-disciplinary staff in the areas of planning and development, tourism, membership and business development;
  • Fund-raising skills and the ability to broaden the organization’s investor base;
  • A demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders including government officials and staff, brokers, developers, and local business owners; 
  • A Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications, planning, real estate, public administration or related disciplines; a Master’s degree is a plus;
  • Five years of progressively responsible experience in economic development, redevelopment, marketing or real estate in either the public or private sector, or association work in the related fields, is preferred; and
  • Knowledge about the operations of a 501 C (3)/501 C (6) organization.

The position will report to an independent Board of Directors with representatives from the private and public sector. Salary is $130,000 +/- DOQ, and competitive benefits. Residency in Stephenson County is encouraged, and a high degree of visibility is expected.

Candidates should apply online by March 19, 2018, with resume, cover letter, and contact information for five professional references to: Lee Szymborski, Senior Vice President, GovHR USA, 630 Dundee Road, Suite 130, Northbrook IL 60062 at   Phone 847-380-3240.


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