Thank you, Freeport and Stephenson County folks, for making me feel welcome for the first two weeks of my tenure. I am very happy to be here and am optimistic about the tremendous potential in this area of the state of Illinois.

A bit about me: I am an Illinois native, from the north suburbs of Chicago. After attending the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, I stayed in central Illinois for most of my professional career.

I have been a small-business banker, a nonprofit manager, a homebuilder, and a municipal contractor in economic development. One of my passions is involvement in the local community, with much of my volunteer time spent on ventures such as the downtown business association, urban garden youth workforce development and service clubs.

A hobby for me is yoga. My two daughters will remain in Champaign to finish school and will visit me often. Even though I plan to live in downtown Freeport, I also love small towns and this beautiful countryside — so different than the flatlands of central Illinois. I am really looking forward to eating and drinking my way through the great offerings of Stephenson County!

My first few months will be spent making my best effort to meet as many people as possible in the entire county. While the word Freeport is in the title of the partnership, the goal of the organization is to promote the whole region’s assets.

We have lots of opportunity to create additional tourism, with our destination weekends and great events and festivals. The Greater Freeport Partnership is responsible for promoting everything happening in our county, so please give us information about what is going on in your area.

In addition, new and existing businesses in our region will continue to have access to the (former) Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce’s benefits, and we will be working on new ideas to add to those.

I will also be hiring some staff. Our current job postings are on our website. I am very interested in having local people be part of our team. In September, we will be working on a strategic plan for the organization. I will be focusing on gathering input from all of our constituents.

A few Greater Freeport Partnership events coming up:

  • Cruise Night, downtown Freeport, Aug. 11.
  • Chamber Golf Outing, Park Hills Golf Club, Freeport, Aug. 30.
  • Pretzel City Brewfest, downtown Freeport, Sept. 22.

All event details are available on our website at We are happy to share your event — just go to the Events section of our website and add the information to the calendar.

I see so many great things here — from the low cost of living to the unique small businesses to the rolling landscape. We have much to be proud of and much to promote. I look forward to meeting you. Feel free to contact my office or email me directly if you’d like to share your ideas.

Originally published in the Journal Standard.