Kyle serves as Project Coordinator for Mercer County: Better Together, Mercer County's emerging community & economic development organization. A Mercer County native, Kyle resides in Aledo with his wife and two young daughters. Kyle is a 2013 graduate of Monmouth College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. Years of experience working in the multimedia and golf industries helps Kyle best serve each of Mercer County's eleven unique population centers.
Over the past year, Mercer County: Better Together (MCBT) has worked to understand who county residents are, why they have chosen Mercer County as their home, and ways to improve their communities. Currently MCBT is conducting a research-based, community-driven countywide planning process to assess resources, identify priorities and implement plans to build a sustainable future. Through community forums and outreach, MCBT has already reached over 400 county residents from all eleven Mercer County communities. Information gathered from community forums and surveys creates a lens of sustainability through which future projects will be viewed. MCBT features active leadership & representation from all eleven Mercer County communities.
In addition, Kyle serves as Vice Chair on the University of Illinois Extension Unit 7 Advisory Committee and is a member of the Bi-State Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Committee. Aside from his work with MCBT, Kyle can be heard on WRMJ - an independent, community-oriented FM radio station located in Aledo.
Carrie McKillip is a Community Development Educator for University of Illinois Extension in Knox, Warren, Henderson and McDonough Counties. McKillip, a native of Knox County, holds an Associate of Arts from Carl Sandburg College, a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and an MBA from Western Illinois University. Prior to joining Extension in 2006, McKillip spent 20 years in not-for-profit management, including six years in higher education administration and business development. She currently serves as co-chair of the University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Team.
McKillip works directly with community groups and agencies in participatory community planning, strategic planning, community development, resource development, and business development education. Collaborating with other state agencies and local communities, McKillip has facilitated the development of multi-jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans, and serves as a delegate to the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). As part of EDEN, she has served on the Flood NEIL Group, and partnered with other states on the recent Extension led COAD development pilot project through EDEN. Additionally, she led the Extension portion of a partnership with Illinois State Water Survey in hosting and facilitating a FEMA-funded "Risk MAP" discovery process.
Jim Boyd is the Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center within the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs located on the campus of Western Illinois University. Jim works directly with entrepreneurs and small business owners in west central Illinois to start and grow businesses.
After graduating college with a degree in Business Education and working for a Fortune 100 company in sales and management, Jim bought a small manufacturing company starting his journey to present day. Jim has owned or partnered in 4 small business, ranging from wildly successful to dreadfully unsuccessful. These experiences have allowed him to look at Start-Up Businesses with a critical eye and understand the small business perspective.
Russell is a community and economic development professional with an M.S. degree in Urban and Regional Planning and 18+ years in the economic development and planning fields. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Kewanee Economic Development Corporation since 2009. Russell will work on issues critical to our local community including facilitating collaborative community-based efforts, skills training, and project management.
Kathy Albert, Executive Director-- Kewanee Economic Development Corporation Kewanee Economic Development Corporation (KEDC), a non-profit corporation, serves as the catalyst for business attraction, retention, expansion, and succession in Kewanee, Illinois. As a leadership organization, KEDC works to enhance community assets by stimulating capital investment, promoting business diversification, and fostering community improvement in order to grow and expand Kewanee’s prosperity and the quality of life of its residents. Having come from the Chicago area over two decades ago, Kathy Albert, Executive Director, is more-or-less a permanent transplant in west-central Illinois. Aside from working in economic development, Albert continues to work as a broker/realtor for Century 21-Tucker/Swanson, where she has sold real estate for 22 years. In addition, Albert owns and manages Heartland “Criations” Alpacas LLC, a farm business she started 17 years ago. Besides raising, showing and selling Suri alpacas, Albert provides broker and ajisting services, sells alpaca products in several locations and teaches fiber art classes. Prior to working in economic development, Albert spent 18 years working in education, both as a teacher and as a high school principal. It’s the melding of her experience, that best helps Albert assist clients with their business needs.
Kyle Kelley is the Client Manager for the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development. A Galesburg native and graduate of GHS, he returns to the community from Peoria, IL after 4 years in the banking industry. Kyle has specialized training in Economic Development from the IEDC and a certificate from the University of Oklahoma in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies. In the past two years, Kyle has worked with over 50 startup companies and met with over 100 entrepreneurs. Kyle brings a strong sales skillset to the Partnership in addition to his experience in working with small businesses. When he’s not meeting with clients or volunteering in the community, he likes to spend time with his family.
Jessica Linder has served as the Executive Director of the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau since August of 2016. Prior to moving to Western Illinois, Jessica worked in hotel management putting her expertise in service, training, hospitality, and data to work at multiple Hilton properties and one independent property abroad. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Business from DePaul University and is a Master’s Candidate for an M.S. in Community and Economic Development from the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development at Illinois State University. In her free time, Jessica enjoys watching theatre in Galesburg and volunteering in the arts community.
Theresa Mangieri brings over 20 years of banking experience to her role as VP Commercial Loan Officer at First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust. She has been a member of the Galesburg community since 1995, is married and has three adult children. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Prior to working for First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, Theresa worked for fortune 100 companies in various sales positions, and began her banking career as a Personal Banker, Credit Analyst and Commercial Loan Officer with other banks. She is an experienced professional with demonstrated skills in negotiation, customer service, underwriting, and commercial lending. She is committed to business and economic development in the region and enjoys working with entrepreneurs. She specializes in SBA lending and serves on First Mid’s internal SBA committee. She has been instrumental in planning First Mid-Illinois’ Business Resource luncheon which provides a venue for businesses to network and find valuable resources.
Theresa has been actively involved in several local organizations and even spent some time as Galesburg High School’s Football Cheerleading Coach. She has been a Chamber Ambassador since 2009 and served as the Committee Chairperson in 2016. Most recently she served as the United Way of Knox County’s Board Secretary and Search Committee Chairperson and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. In February 2018, she received the Distinguished Volunteer Award for her efforts and contributions to the United Way of Knox County.
Director, Stark County Economic Development Denny has a wide range of experience in economic development. He served on the governing board of the Rural Coalition Development in the Peoria area. He is a member of the Stark/Henry Economic Development network. He serves on the volunteer fundraiser board for Kewanee Hospital. He is a member the Wyoming Il, Illinois, Chambers of Commerce. He attended the Midwest Community Development Institute. And, he is active in several area programs that plan and provide opportunities for young people.
Tarah has served as the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Aledo since May of 2016. Born and raised in the Aledo area, Tarah is proud to work on behalf of her hometown and give back to the area. She is working to capitalize on existing strengths to attract and retain opportunities for Aledo and Mercer County. Tarah is also involved in Mercer County, Better Together, the Aledo Historic Preservation Commission, and the Mercer County Historical Society. Tarah holds a Bachelor’s degree from MacMurray College and a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
City Administrator of the City of Galva since March of 2005, Dyer has served as Secretary/ Treasurer of the Illinois Society of Certified Public Managers, has served as Secretary and Vice Chairman of the U.S. 34 Logistics Corridor Association, is Vice Chair of the Henry County Economic Development Partnership and has served on the board of the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development. Dyer serves with fellow city managers on the Advisory Committee of the Bi-State Regional Commission and belongs to both the International and Illinois City/County Management Association. Recently, Dyer joined the board of the University of Illinois Extension Service. Dyer graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Government and Politics and is accredited by the American Academy of Certified Public Managers.
Is the Coordinator of Business Programs, and Instructor of Economics and Business Administration at Carl Sandburg College. Williams returned to Sandburg in the fall of 2012, after a brief stint at Monmouth College as Assistant Professor from 2008 to 2012. Prior, he was an instructor at Sandburg from 1999 to 2008 and got his start as a Business instructor at Sauk Valley Community College as an adjunct in the mid-nineties. In a past life, he spent two years in financial sales and fourteen years in increasingly responsible management positions in the photofinishing industry.
Keith holds a B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an MBA from Rockford University and is A.B.D (all but dissertation) toward a DBA at Saint Ambrose University.
He is a father of three adult children and is a proud member of Galesburg Sunrise Rotary.