September 18, 2008

Three appointed to research park board

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois Research Park Board is now complete. The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees last week appointed as community directors Trace Brown, Rex Budde and Allen Gill. The board oversees the economic development park, which includes the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The appointments fill the vacancies created by the retirements of Dr. Thomas Firestone, Jeff Doherty and Lee Roy Brandon. The new appointees will serve until February 2009.

Brown is a Carbondale native, earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1984 at SIUC and he’s been active in real estate since graduation. The SIUC College of Business named Brown the 2008 Southern Illinois Business Leader of the Year. He’s conducted appraisal and feasibility studies in many states and currently is co-owner of the Carbondale Holiday Inn, Houlihan’s and Candlewood Suites in Memphis, with plans for two additional hotel construction projects in the region. He has extensive management, communication and organizational experience. Brown and wife Heidi are the parents of Skyler, Adrianne and Chancellor.

Budde recently became president and chief executive officer of Southern Illinois Healthcare after serving eight years as chief financial officer. In all, he has 24 years of hospital management experience. Budde holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Illinois State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He’s a certified public accountant, fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and holds a number of board and association appointments throughout the region. He enjoys woodworking, golf and classic car restoration and resides in Herrin with his wife Kathy and two children.

Gill is the new Carbondale city manager, seated at that post July 1 after service since November 2002 as the city manager for Pittsburg, Kansas, home of Pittsburg State University. Gill brings more than 28 years of management experience to Carbondale, with previous positions in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. Gill has a master’s in public administration from Webster University, a master of social work from Washington University and earned his bachelor’s in psychology and sociology at the College of Emporia, Kan. An Alton native, Gill and wife Suzanne have two adult sons residing in the St. Louis area.

The Southern Illinois Research Park Board of Directors includes four directors from the University and eight from the community. Also serving on the board are: Mary Kay Moore (chairperson), retired chief executive officer and former co-owner of the Center for Comprehensive Services; John Koropchak (vice chairperson), graduate dean and vice chancellor for research; Mike Kearney (secretary), economic development director of Ameren Service Corp.; John Dosier (treasurer), president of First Southern Bank; SIU President Glenn Poshard; Interim SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman; Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Don Rice; Curtis Baird, vice president of sales and marketing for the School Center and president of NEON Internet; and Dennis Harmon, area manager of customer relations for Verizon.

Kyle Harfst is executive director of the research park. The research park incorporates two facilities on the Carbondale campus: the Small Business Incubator and SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development within the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center and One Enterprise Place. The Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center includes a computer lab, conference rooms, an atrium and rental space for business establishment and expansion that now houses about a dozen tenants. One Enterprise Place opened in 2006 is fully occupied with six tenants.

The Southern Illinois Research Park Board of Directors has much on its plate though in the near future. The University has secured $1 million in federal highway funds, with the assistance of U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, to construct an internal roadway connecting the research park to the SIUC campus via Saluki Drive. The new road is also part of a bigger development project at the research park.

“The interior roadway will add another dimension to the park, creating a direct access point to the central campus and will open up additional space for development,” Harfst said.

A new research park building is in the works. Plans call for a 15,000-square-foot structure to bring even more technology-based business activity to the park.