Springfield isn’t the only city in central Illinois looking for a new leader for their economic development organization. Paul Ellis has stepped down as president of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation (JREDC) to take a position as director of economic development for the city of Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Ellis explained, “I was approached by some of the folks in Fairview Heights who knew me — I wasn’t looking for a job at that time — as they considered how to replace Mike Malloy, who is retiring at year’s end. It was a hard decision for me to make with Jacksonville’s recent designation of Ameren’s first elite site, progress in workforce development, and several big projects pending.”

However, Ellis ultimately decided that the challenge of working in Fairview Heights, the largest retail center south of the Chicago area, appealed to him. He was able to negotiate an early departure from his contract with JREDC so that he will be able to spend time learning from Malloy before his retirement.

Ellis had been with JREDC since August 2016 when he was hired to replace their previous director who had recently retired, Terry Dennison. Unlike the City of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, JREDC is a nonprofit corporation funded by a combination of public and private funds. The city of Jacksonville is a large contributor, but a variety of companies in the local area also play a role.

Shortly after assuming his new position in Jacksonville last year, Ellis was profiled in the Springfield Business Journal (“Paul Ellis means business for Jacksonville, Dec. 2016) and stated that he had chosen to move to Jacksonville because of their good reputation as a model and well-run EDC. He was already living in the state, having moved here in 2008 for a position in city government in Columbia, Illinois.

Now that Ellis has moved on, Bonni Waters, vice president of JREDC, says they are planning to get through the holidays before starting the search process and will begin looking for his replacement after the first of the year.