Boone County resident chosen to lead Growth Dimensions
FridayPosted Feb 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM
By Susan Vela
BELVIDERE — Pamela Lopez-Fettes, an Illinois native and Boone County resident, is the new executive director of Growth Dimensions, a public-private organization trying to ignite economic development throughout the region.
Lopez-Fettes decided to apply for the job after nearly a decade with the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance.
"We did an extensive search," said Belvidere Mayor Mike Chamberlain, who served on the search committee. "Pam has already demonstrated her abilities. We're going through a boom right now.
"There will be close to 2,200 new jobs created in the next 18 months. Pam's demonstrated abilities to put employers with job training (and) with employees is going to be an essential part of our success in the future."
Lopez-Fettes started her new position on Monday. She replaced Jarid Funderburg, who left Growth Dimensions in late 2016 to become a strategic philanthropy officer for OSF St. Anthony Medical Center and to focus on his new duties as a Rock Valley College trustee.
"It was a great fit, and the timing was right," she said of her decision to apply. "I've worked in the region for nine years. I want everyone to know what a wonderful place it is to live and work. (I'll stay) as long as they'll have me, as long as I feel I'm making an impact."
She wants to bring more health care and transportation logistics jobs to the county. She'll try to do so by building on the work she's already done for the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance. As business account manager for the alliance, Lopez-Fettes forged partnerships with business, education and economic development groups around the Rock River Valley.
"(For now), I'm getting to know all the players (and) all the partners (and) learning a lot about our internal processes and our external process in order to engage the community members," she said. "We're still learning and we'll identify additional strategies later."
The search committee selected Lopez-Fettes in mid-January, said Sherry Giesecke, a Boone County Board member who led the selection process. Giesecke liked the applicant's diverse background and her attention to details.
"We think she's a keeper," Giesecke said. "She's going to increase our investor pool. She's going to be very successful in building relationships within the county and with our neighbors, which is absolutely imperative."
Lopez-Fettes and her family have lived in Boone County for more than a decade. She serves as a catechist at St. James Catholic Church in Belvidere.
She has an associate's degree the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Loyola University in Chicago. She also has done graduate work in organizational development at Benedictine University in Lisle.