DCEDC Announces New Executive Director

DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation Board President Mike Kokott announced today that the public/private partnership has successfully recruited its next Executive Director.

“We are pleased to announce that Mark Williams, an accomplished northern Illinois economic development executive, has accepted the position,” said Kokott. “He has held a number of key positions in the region which gives him substantial knowledge of the area,” added Kokott.

Williams is currently Executive Director of the Greater Freeport Partnership, where he leads a team of professionals who are advancing business development, workforce development, tourism, downtown development, and community engagement in Stephenson County.

Williams’ accomplishments at the Greater Freeport Partnership include facilitating Intergovernmental Agreements between the City of Freeport and Stephenson County to develop shovel ready sites and expanding the Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone attracting investment of over $201 million creating and retaining 633 jobs since 2020 with notable projects that included Nuestro Queso, High Point Solar and The Meadows retail center.

Prior to that, Williams served as Economic Development Manager for the City of Rockford, where he led the Economic Development Division within the City’s Community and Economic Development Department and managed redevelopment projects throughout thirty-two Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, two Enterprise Zones and one River Edge Redevelopment Zone. Under his leadership, the Division accounted for 191 projects, generated $1.3 Billion in private investment and created/retained 6,145 jobs.

Mark’s accomplishments at Growth Dimensions for Belvidere-Boone County include leading the Belvidere/Rockford Region’s retention of the Chrysler Group in 2011 leading to investment of $700 million to retool and expand the Belvidere Assembly Plant, retaining 2,700 jobs and creating 1,800 new jobs. He also facilitated the development and co-location of six new Chrysler suppliers, creating another 1,500 jobs and the construction of six new facilities totaling over 1 million square feet.

Also, Mark developed collaborative working relationships with Northern Illinois University in Belvidere and was instrumental in the establishment of the Northern Illinois Regional Economic Development District and the Northern Illinois Commuter Rail Initiative.

Williams serves in board leadership roles with two statewide organizations, the Illinois Economic Development Association and the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association. He was awarded the Illinois Development Council’s Distinguished Economic Developer of the Year Award in 2012. Mark is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Williams is excited about becoming DCEDC’s Executive Director, stating “I’m honored for the opportunity to lead DCEDC at a time when it is one of the most highly regarded and thriving corporate investment counties in the state. I look forward to adding value to the excellent work that Paul Borek, the staff and the DCEDC Board have achieved.”

Kokott commented that “DCEDC is fortunate to attract a candidate with William’s experience, accomplishments and capabilities. We began a nationwide search in May and are fortunate to have someone with Mark’s skill set that also has knowledge of our region.” Kokott added that Mark has family in the area and is currently looking to relocate to DeKalb County. He is planning to start on September 18th.

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