November 20, 2019 – Executive search firm Waverly Partners has been selected to find the next president and chief executive officer for the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, an economic development corporation in Illinois. Managing directors and principals Eric N. Peterson and Deborah M. Galbraith are spearheading the assignment for the search firm.
“The president and CEO position of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance is an outstanding opportunity for an economic development, chamber, municipal leader or private sector executive to lead a well-respected organization committed to the success of the business sector and overall economy and quality of life in the Springfield and Sangamon County region,” said Waverly Partners. “The growth alliance’s regional impact will position the organization as an essential first point-of-contact for businesses interested in locating or expanding in the region.”
The alliance has established a search committee to work with Waverly Partners to help fill the role. “Our committee has developed a profile identifying the experience and leadership characteristics of our preferred candidate,” said Dan Dungan, alliance board chair and executive chairman of Springfield Electric Supply. “We are open to executives with backgrounds in economic development, chambers of commerce, business associations, nonprofits, private sector or other related experience.”
Similar searches usually take four to six months, Mr. Peterson told the State Journal-Register.in Springfield. Waverly has conducted such assignments for chambers of commerce and economic development councils in 38 states, he said.
An Important Role
The president and CEO of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance reports to the 20-member board of directors, said Waverly Partners. The individual is charged with leading the alliance staff, which currently includes the director of economic development and director of marketing and communications. As the organization continues to grow, the CEO will have the latitude to recruit and develop additional staff members.
The leader will be responsible for the recruitment of new industries and businesses to the region and plays an important role in the organization’s achieving its overall goals and objectives, said the search firm. The president and CEO is responsible for implementing economic development initiatives in collaboration with local business leaders, state and local government officials, site selection consultants and staff. The CEO’s specific economic development responsibilities include those associated with entrepreneurship development, workforce development, business retention and expansion, business recruitment and marketing.
The CEO position has a strong external focus, serving as a key spokesperson and advocate for the business community. This executive serves as a leader and ambassador for the region by working closely with the board of directors, the leadership of other public and private sector organizations, and key government, legislative and business leaders.
Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economic development, public policy or related field, said the search firm. An advanced degree is preferred. Demonstrated commitment to continued professional development through the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute, certified economic developer designation or other certification is strongly preferred.
The ideal candidate will have at least 10 to 15 years of experience in a broad leadership role focused on economic development in a complex market, said Waverly Partners. The individual could come from a variety of business leadership roles: the top executive of an economic development focused organization such as a complex municipal, countywide or regional economic development organization or a large chamber of commerce; a “No. 2” or other senior-level executive within an organization as noted above; a leader from a private sector business; or a public sector organization such as a growing municipality or county.
A successful track record of progressively responsible career growth and specific experience working with both the public and private sectors is important.
The Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance was created as the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corp. in 2018 as a public-private sector partnership dedicated to advancing economic development efforts in Springfield and Sangamon County. Led by a volunteered, diverse and industry-driven board of directors, its mission is to pursue economic prosperity and growth for Sangamon County and the City of Springfield.
Formed in 2001, Waverly Partners serves Fortune 500 service and manufacturing corporations, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, professional service firms, private equity firms, hospitals and healthcare systems and colleges and universities nationwide.
The firm has a national reputation of serving chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. The American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the national organization for chamber leaders, has designated Waverly Partners as the preferred provider of executive search services. It is the only firm in the country to have earned this distinction.
Mr. Peterson has 25 years of executive search consulting experience with a successful track record of recruiting top and senior leaders to executive management, finance, information systems, sales and marketing, operations and human resources positions. He has served Fortune 1000 corporations, hospitals and healthcare systems, privately held businesses and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Galbraith has almost 20 years of executive search consulting, recruiting and operations management experience. Her experience includes search assignments for executive, administrative, operations management, clinical, financial, technology, sales and marketing leaders.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media