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WJBD - Local News - Salem Has New Economic Development Director

Salem Has New Economic Development Director

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Salem has a new economic development director.  Jeanne Gustafson who has held the same position in Centralia for the past five years has accepted the job.  

Salem City Manager Bill Gruen says Gustafson was selected from several highly qualified people and has over 25 years worth of experience working in economic development and related professions.  "She's been effective, proven out with the projects she been involved with, but then also with several people that I spoke from people she worked with.  She comes highly recommended," said Gruen.     

Gruen says she already is familiar with all of Salem's economic development tools,  knows Southern Illinois and has many contacts throughout the state.

Gustafson has several initial goals.  "Obviously Kinney Boulevard will be a focus that I'll be looking at.  I'm very anxious to go out and meet with the existing businesses.  They have a lot to offer as far as ideas where to go.  That will be a priority as well as looking at our website marketing materials and getting a data base of information.    

Gustafson says she's leaving Centralia on good terms and wants to work with both Centralia and Mt. Vernon on projects in the future.  "I like the focus that Salem has for economic development.  I like the tools that they have.  I like the theme they have.  I have some very good friends here that I will continue to retain a regional friendship.  I have a great relationship with the chamber. I anticipate it will be the same when I get to Salem," said Gustafson.   

Gustafson will earn approximately $79,600, the same amount she received while working for the City of Centralia.  This compares favorably to her experience and to other senior, City staff who currently work for the City of Salem.  

Gustafson begins her new job on Monday, May 6th.   

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