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BLOOMINGTON — For Patrick Hoban, leading the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council is "a dream job."

"Bloomington-Normal is a regional opportunity, and a public-private partnership is the best way to do economic development. So when it came available, I had to give it a shot," he told The Pantagraph.

"I was born and raised in Decatur, so I've spent a lot of time in Bloomington-Normal. It has great resources in State Farm. Rivian is extremely exciting, and there's a lot of opportunities that can spin off from that," he continued. "Economic development is in some ways a battle of workforce, and with those two universities and community college, you're really set up to do well."

Hoban will be charged with making that case as the new CEO of the EDC, starting Aug. 1. He'll lead an economic development effort with two full-time staffers; the potential for two more; and many community partnerships.

"I plan on taking advantage of as many stakeholders as possible," said Hoban; EDC is funded by private donors and government bodies including the city of Bloomington, town of Normal and McLean County. "At the end of the day, it all comes down to communication."

Hoban succeeds Kyle Ham, who left the position more than a year ago. Officials took a year to consider the organization's future before advertising the post, slotting in Ham's deputy, Mike O'Grady, as interim CEO. O'Grady retired from the EDC on June 28.

"My degree from Millikin is in organizational leadership. I'll focus on finding a balance of employees that have strengths I don't have," said Hoban. "We have to get a business retention and expansion specialist. The other (position), we'll wait and see."

Hoban most recently spent two years as economic development manager for the Village of Tinley Park but is better known in the region as vice president of business development for the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County, then in the city of Decatur's economic development office. He has a combined 12 years of experience in economic development roles.

John Hesse, chair of EDC's board, said that variety of experience made Hoban stand out among 40 applicants, six of whom were interviewed.

"He was one of the few who's taken the extra steps to attain credentials and certifications, a younger guy with a lot of drive and a desire to live in the Bloomington-Normal market," said Hesse. "We're excited to see him immerse himself in connecting with our investors, retention of those investors, expansion where it exists and job creation."

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Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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