Person of the Month

Tim Neubeck is looking to make his new, part-time position as coordinator of the Marengo Economic Development Commission into a full-time career.

Neubeck started the position at the beginning of February 2011, after former coordinator, Dane Checolinski, accepted a new position in Wisconsin. Some of Neubeck’s responsibilities include: recruiting and retaining businesses; distributing marketing materials for local businesses and for the city; administering tax incentive programs; maintaining a database of available properties; and facilitating communication among the various entities in Marengo, (for example: the city, chamber of commerce, Marengo Main Street, convention and business bureaus, state agencies, etc.).

“On a daily basis, I work with city officials, the Marengo-Union Chamber of Commerce, and Marengo Main Street,” Neubeck said. “However, I receive a great deal of calls and e-mails from various companies and organizations to work with. For example, [one afternoon] I had lunch at the Golden Diners Senior Nutrition Program, sponsored by the Salvation Army. I do my best to help those who ask, [keep] myself visible in the community, [and] keep community programs, such as this, in the forefront of the minds of the citizens of Marengo.” Neubeck, who said he grew up on a farm in the Kankakee area, received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and a Master’s of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University in 2007 and 2010. He said he likes the, “overall feel of Marengo.” “Coming from a farm, and then to a smaller community of roughly 1,500 people, Marengo has much more going on than I am used to,” Neubeck said. “People know everyone else and are quite friendly. It did not take long to be accepted by the community. “ Neubeck said he wanted to work as the coordinator of the EDC since, “direct economic development experience is a major gap in [his] resume.” “I am always ready for new experiences and challenges,” he said. “Working here is definitely a learning experience; and I am very grateful to be here. Before coming to Marengo, I was working odd positions for various local government entities; because it is increasingly difficult for those of us 25 and under to get our hands on a job. Even though the EDC coordinator position is a part-time position, I am trying to raise capital in the community; and through grants, make this position full-time. [I] feel Marengo needs someone here most days of the week to assist local organizations. I feel my hands are tied being part-time because there is so much that needs to be done.”

Neubeck said it is an honor working with the commissioners of the EDC; the City Administrator, Deb Nier; the Assistant Administrator, Josh Blakemore; and all the businesses and organizations within Marengo. “Each day, I walk away with a feeling of accomplishment knowing my actions are going towards the benefit of the city,” he said. “Working with hands-on issues within the community is the best part of working for local government.” Some of Marengo’s strengths include: open lots at the edge of the city that are open for expansion; engaged residents; and the dedication of local businesses, Neubeck said. One of Marengo’s largest weaknesses are the vacant storefronts downtown, he said. “Filling these gaps downtown will bring more people into the area, which will help existing businesses,” Neubeck said. As for Neubeck’s advice to local business owners, he said businesses should, “plan, plan, plan, and plan some more.” “Develop a working and tested business plan [and] advertising techniques, and recruit dedicated employees,” he said. “If any business needs help, please contact the EDC, the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation, or the Shah Center at [McHenry County College].” Neubeck said some of his goals are: to fill vacant storefronts downtown; bring a train station to the city; increase Marengo’s visibility with respect to local tourism; and bring more employers to Marengo. “Little by little, Marengo can develop into so much more,” he said. “In 10 to 20 years from now, I hope Marengo becomes the economic motor for McHenry County. With more employers, a train station, and direct access to I-90, Marengo can become more of a transportation hub for the area. Marengo from the 1950s and 1960s is gone; and we must move ahead to reinvent the economic base. Retail is nice; but the city cannot live off it.”

For more information on the Marengo Economic Development Commission, contact Tim Neubeck at 815-568-5105, or e-mail him at edc@cityofmarengo.com.