The newly rechristened Oak Park Economic Development Corporation came to life Friday as it morphed from the OPDC into the EDC, accepted the resignations of most members of its former board, chose a new, smaller board of directors and moved toward the hiring of an interim executive director.
The EDC board met Friday morning to organize its board and elect executive officers. Martin Noll, the longtime chair of OPDC, will continue as chair of the EDC. Noll is also the chair of Community Bank Oak Park River Forest. Vice-chair of the EDC is Thomas Gallagher. Gallagher, a long-time Oak Park banker and OPDC board member, recently joined Community Bank as chief credit officer. EDC treasurer is William Fanter, a senior vice-president at US Bank. The board secretary is Frank Pellegrini, president of Prairie Title. Everett Ward, an attorney new to the board, will also serve on the executive committee.
Also chosen for the board were Mary Ludgin, director of global investment research for Heitman, a commercial real estate firm; Ward, an attorney with Quarles & Brady, LLP; and Cathy Yen, executive director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.
Non-voting members of the EDC are Village President Anan Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Peter Barber and Village Manager Cara Pavlicek. All three will also serve on the group’s executive committee.
Noll said Friday that he is hopeful the group’s executive board will be able to appoint its interim executive director early next week.
The remaking of OPDC is the culmination of several months of work and discussion between village officials and OPDC leadership to restructure economic development efforts in the village. The new EDC will have broad responsibility to “attract, retain and grow” business in Oak Park and expanded funding from village hall to support the effort. Within village hall, a newly created development customer service department, will merge multiple business and housing related functions into a single department headed by Tammie Grossman, a village hall vet. The work at village hall will be to smooth and speed the technical side of development efforts.