MORRIS – The city of Morris on Monday approved an ordinance establishing the City of Morris Business Development Department. With this comes the appointment of the city’s first Business Development director, Julie Wilkinson.
Some may know Wilkinson as the senior development director for the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, the board president for Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity, or from the Will County Center for Economic Development as the vice president of investor relations.
According to the Will County for Economic Development website, “prior to the CED, Julie led nonprofit fundraising campaigns for health care, housing, scholarships, facilities and operations. She earned a B.A. from Illinois College, an M.A. from the University of Illinois and is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy from the American College.”
Of the more than 27 applicants who applied, the city was able to narrow it to seven potential candidates. Ultimately, the city chose Wilkinson for her knowledge and love for Morris.
City Planner Mike Hoffman discussed the qualifiers the city was looking for in the applicants during a development meeting Dec. 1.
“We wanted to make sure we found a person who was able to do that, someone with a lot of energy, and someone with some experience in economic development. The candidate we have picked came out on top for multiple reasons in our mind,” Hoffman said.
The City Council approved a job description for the role in October, following the news that Julie Applegate, the executive director of Morris downtown development partnership, would be retiring at the end of the year.
Mayor Chris Brown spoke on Wilkinson’s appointment, saying, “Julie is a resident in town; her husband is a business owner and chiropractor. She is heavily involved in our community and more than qualified for the position.”
Wilkinson will start Jan. 3 with a salary of $95,000.
“I am really excited for this opportunity. This is personally meaningful to me. As the mayor explained, I live in this community, my husband owns a business here, we shop here, we volunteer here. It feels really good to have the opportunity to make an impact in my hometown,” Wilkinson said.