A native of Mercer County, Kyle works to improve the vitality of his home region as Executive Director of Mercer County Better Together (MCBT). As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, MCBT is one of few hybrid community and economic development organizations in rural Illinois. Through projects and programs, MCBT has made an impact of more than $2 million on the local economy since 2017.
Kyle also serves as Vice Chair on the University of Illinois Extension Unit 7 Advisory Committee, is a member of the Bi-State Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Committee and is one of just 33 Community Heart & Soul Champions nationwide.
Kyle brings a variety of perspectives and experiences to his professional role, having worked in local media and as a golf professional. Kyle resides in his hometown of Aledo with his wife Laura and daughters Audrey (5) and Sylvia (3). Kyle and his family are passionate about their Catholic faith and believe in doing what it takes to reach “missing voices” in the community.
Outside of his MCBT roles, Kyle can be heard on-air at WRMJ Radio in Aledo, broadcasting sporting events or hosting the Alternative County show “The Edge of Country”. A 2013 graduate of Monmouth College, Kyle is a lifelong racing fan and enjoys singing and playing guitar with his brother
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 since 1995. In addition, Albert owns and manages Heartland “Criations” Alpacas LLC, a farm business she started in 2000.
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.
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.