Black History Month 2021

Led by the Offices of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) and Regional Economic Development (RED) and Intersect Illinois, DCEO will celebrate Economic Development successes throughout the state, highlighting projects and Economic Development partners and hosting a series of webinars to learn more about best practices for success.

Webinar Series 

Reimagining Business Expansion & Attraction in Illinois: How to Navigate Business Development Post COVID-19
Monday | May 10, 2021 | 1:30PM

Welcoming Remarks: Director Sylvia Garcia, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity 

Moderator: Justin Heather, Deputy Director, Office of Business Development, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity


  • John Casey, Senior Manager, Deloitte Tax LLP
  • Mike Pomerantz, Head of Real Estate, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Bryan Gay, President, IEDA & CEO, Invest Aurora
  • Margo Markopoulos, Director, Office of Trade & Investment, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Paulina San Millan, VP of Business Attraction, Intersect Illinois


Workforce Attraction, Development and Engagement in Illinois: Cultivating A 21st Century Workforce for The Future
Tuesday | May 11, 2021 | 10:00AM

Welcoming Remarks: Representative Randy Frese

Moderator: Julio Rodriguez, Deputy Director, Office of Employment and Training


  • Chuck Bevelheimer, Director of Planning, City of Quincy - 45X30 Strategic Plan
  • Marcel Wagner, President, GREDF – Geo-Fencing Strategy
  • Blanche Shoup, LWIA 14, Western Illinois Works Inc.
  • Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director, Champaign Co. Economic Development Corp.
  • Mary McGrew, Vice President Human Resources, Litania Sports Group


Manufacturing Matters in Illinois
Thursday | May 13, 2021 | 10:00AM

Meeting number: 132 735 9658
Password: iyK68pU28Db

Welcoming Remarks:

  • Jonathan McGee, Deputy Director, Office of Regional Economic Development, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Alya Woods, Acting President & CEO, Intersect Illinois
  • Bryan Gay, Chairman, Illinois Economic Development Association


  • Mark Denzler, President & CEO, Illinois Manufacturers' Association


Illinois Economic Recovery Post Covid-19: Small Business Relief, Public Infrastructure, and Regional Economic Planning
Thursday | May 13, 2021 | 1:30PM

Moderator: Vanessa Uribe, Deputy Director, Office of Minority Economic Empowerment, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity


  • Darrin Fleener, US Department of Commerce EDA
  • Gisele Hamm, MAPPING Program Coordinator, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs Western Illinois MAPPING
  • James Patrick, Executive Director, South Central Planning Commission
  • LaTisha Paslay, City Administrator, City of Vandalia