La Salle hires former Ottawa tourism director as new economic development director

New director Curt Bedei strives to continue encouraging businesses to develop

Curt Bedei, of Streator, took his post as economic development director for the city of La Salle on Monday.

Bedei worked as the executive director at the Ottawa Visitor’s Center for six years. Prior to that, he was a graphic designer at the visitor’s center.

Bedei succeeded Leah Inman, who announced her resignation in early July.

The relationship between tourism and economic development is the reason Bedei was chosen for the role. Bedei said he is used to introducing people to the community and getting people excited about it. His focus has been on people returning to the community and being involved in it.

“We had quality candidates that applied, but we liked his track record with Ottawa, and Ottawa’s had success similar to La Salle,” Inman said. “We’re hoping he will bring some of those skills to La Salle to fine tune our marketing efforts and branding and take this role to another level.”

Tuesday was his second day working for the city. Bedei said there’s a lot to learn about projects taking place, the ins and outs of the job and learning what will be expected of the position.

Bedei said he’s eager to get to know the businesses in town. One of his goals is to meet everyone involved in La Salle businesses. Bedei wants the community and business owners to feel comfortable reaching out to him.

“La Salle’s got a lot of opportunities,” Bedei said. “The biggest goal is to continue to strive to build the economy of La Salle and the quality of life and the overall nature of the community.”

Inman will continue to work with Bedei until Sept 9, her last day as a full-time employee with the city.

Bedei is married to Streator Mayor Tara Bedei.