The Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation has a new name and a new location, although the mission remains the same. LLEDC was created in 2018 as a public-private partnership focused on economic development efforts throughout Sangamon County and originally operated out of a single office in the Innovate Springfield incubator in downtown Springfield.
“Everything that was put into place (for LLEDC) was a placeholder,” explained Josh Collins, interim CEO of the organization. “The entire thought process was to get staff and get going and then to develop the branding and marketing strategy.”
The new name, Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, came about as the result of working with a consultant to help with branding and marketing efforts. “They were telling us a lot of the things we were hearing already,” said Collins, noting that the original name had led to some confusion when working with other communities. “One of the things we found early on was that people outside of our community weren’t identifying ‘Land of Lincoln’ as Springfield, Illinois. Some people thought we were in Lincoln, Nebraska.”
As of Nov. 6, Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance now occupies the entire fifth floor of 531 E. Washington St., located at the northwest corner of the Old State Capitol Plaza.
“It makes a very nice presentation when we’re going to have people come in and see the community,” said Collins. “This is meant to be a more permanent space that we can grow into with staff and host folks.”
The organization will soon begin a search for a new CEO. Eric Berglund was hired as the first president and CEO in July 2018 after a nationwide search and fired less than a year later when an audit uncovered financial irregularities. At a court appearance in September, he pleaded guilty to one count of theft and was sentenced to two years probation.
Collins, who has been serving as the interim CEO, said, “The board has engaged a search firm, and we’ll actually be able to send out information early next week about how people can get ahold of the firm if they are interested in applying.”