Batavia hires economic development manager

Jarmusz hopes to attract and retain business for the city

BATAVIA – Shannon Jarmusz is bringing a wealth of training and experience in urban planning to improve Batavia’s economic fortunes.

Jarmusz is the city’s new full-time economic development manager, charged with attracting commercial and industrial businesses to the community.

“I have a passion for the built environment,” Jarmusz said.

Jarmusz comes to Batavia with seven years of experience as the community development director in the village of Itasca.

Before that, she served for eight years as a planner and then as assistant economic development director for the village of Westmont.

Jarmusz has a master’s degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago and bachelor’s degrees in English and urban studies from Elmhurst College.

The new economic development manager sees plenty of potential for Batavia.

“You can really see the effort and resources that have gone into retaining Batavia’s character and building up on it,” Jarmusz said. “I’m interested in the multi-generational aspect of the community.”

The economic development role previously had been handled on a contractual basis by consultant Chris Aiston, who retired.

In her full-time role, Jarmusz will earn $104,666 annually.

Hiring the full-time manager is part of City Administrator Laura Newman’s ambitious plan to aggressively market Batavia for business and to streamline the development process.

Newman, who came to city government in 2016 from a corporate background, wants to establish what she described as a seamless approach for businesses seeking to start or expand in Batavia.

“The economic development manager will be the single point of contact for new business opportunities in Batavia,” Newman said.

Jarmusz will report directly to Community and Economic Development Director Scott Buening, who heads a largely regulatory agency which oversees planning, zoning, building inspections and code enforcement.

Newman wants Jarmusz to act as a “hunter,” seeking big-ticket, tax-producing businesses like an auto dealership or a hotel.

At the same time, a big part of Jarmusz’ job will be to keep the commercial and industrial enterprises that Batavia already has in place.

“Retention is a big component,” Jarmusz said. “Existing businesses are the backbone of the community and I want them to think of me as a resource,” she said.