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Intersect Illinois CEO Discusses How To Bring New Businesses to DeKalb County

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

The president and CEO of Intersect Illinois spoke with members of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation Thursday about how to bring new companies and projects to the state.

Intersect Illinois was established as the state's economic development organization in 2016. It works to entice companies into setting up shop in Illinois.

President Mark Peterson told members of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation that a key aspect of his organization is providing companies thorough research of communities -- especially if these areas aren’t well known. He said that gives businesses a better picture of what assets are available.

"Companies really care about 'How am I going to be able to do my business successfully? How am I going to be more profitable?'  If you can show them that, they’re a little less sensitive to where the geographic lines are," he said.  "They really just want to know: 'Can I get the workforce I need? Can I get the site I need? Can I get the business done that I need to get done?'”

He also says much of Intersect's work is long-term, so the organization doesn't rely on government funding.

"It’s important to have a close relationship with our government partners in order to get deals done, but where you’re funding comes from is equally important," he said.  "Being privately funded allows us to stay out of the political realm and to really focus on what’s in the best interest of the communities and the state of Illinois."

Intersect Illinois has worked on a variety of projects, such as Governor Bruce Rauner’s recent trade mission to Asia, and an attempt to bring a Toyota/Mazda plant to DeKalb County. Among its current projects, Peterson says Intersect is trying to make the Chicago area the home of Amazon’s new headquarters.