Belvidere's Growth Dimensions interviewing for new executive director
By Susan Vela
BELVIDERE — A handful of candidates are being vetted for the top job at Growth Dimensions, a Boone County and Belvidere organization tasked with sparking economic development throughout the region.
Interviews with “five very, very plausible candidates” were scheduled this week and a final round of interviews were tentatively set for next week, said Sherry Giesecke, a Boone County Board member who sits on the agency’s board of directors. The organization is working to replace Jarid Funderburg as executive director.
Funderburg left Growth Dimensions last month, board members said, to focus on his new duties as a Rock Valley College trustee. He had served as Growth Dimensions’ executive director since September 2014.
Giesecke; Belvidere Mayor Mike Chamberlain; John Wolf of the Jack Wolf Auto Group; Matt Branom of the Boone County Shopper; Mick Gronewold, a Fehr Graham principal; Greg Brown, chief operations officer for Belvidere schools; and Matt Roegner, Alpine Bank’s executive vice president and chief lending officer, make up the search committee.
Giesecke said the next executive director will be expected to build on the momentum generated by recent developments such as Fiat Chrysler Automobile's decision to build the Jeep Cherokee in Belvidere and General Mills Inc.'s $60 million expansion. She also cited the opening of several boutique stores downtown.
“We already have all sorts of land designated for building and development,” Giesecke said. “That is going to be a great challenge for somebody coming in and to continue it."
Funderburg, who declined to comment for this story, was field representative for Congressman Adam Kinzinger before he took Growth Dimensions' top job.
“We sell more cars, we sell more groceries, we sell more gifts … when we have good economic strength,” Wolf said. “That’s what Growth Dimensions is always striving for is a better economic climate for our communities and our region. Our potential is astronomical. Again, more employment (and) more jobs leads to less problems in my mind with our communities.”
Boone County Board Chairman Bob Walberg also sits on Growth Dimensions’ board of directors.
“If we can find someone with the qualities of Mr. Funderburg, we would be well served,” Walberg said. “He was very well connected. He had a good sense of humor. I just think he was a good fit.”