The Logan County Alliance gives update after one month on the job

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[March 05, 2015]  LINCOLN - The Logan County Alliance Board of Directors have officially been on the job for one month, but have been hard at work and made great strides in a very short amount of time.

“The secret of making progress is to get started. The secret to starting is to divide your complex, overwhelming task into small, manageable tasks, and then start the first.” said Mark Twain. That is exactly what the new members of the Board of Directors for the Logan County Alliance have done. They began meeting right away after the election in late October to layout direction for the new organization, and to give staff guidance on work that was currently underway with the Tourism Bureau, Main Street Lincoln and the Chamber. The newly-elected board was officially inducted on January 31st at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner. Until the end of December all three boards for each organization continued to meet to finish out the calendar year and assist with the transition process. Chairman Tom O’Donohue and the other members of the new board attended multiple meetings of the other boards to further help with the transition process.

The new board members attended several trainings in November conducted by professionals in the non-profit governance sector. Also in November the group met to discuss the paid leadership position of the now named Logan County Alliance. After long discussion and careful consideration the group decided to retain Andi Hake then the executive director of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce for over six years. The group collectively felt that Hake had demonstrated the desire to serve the community and strong leadership skills that would be needed to guide the organization through its first year of transition. It was an important point for the members of the board that Hake was the only consistent staff that had the knowledge of what the UOC desired the new organization to become, and how all three existing organizations functioned and served the community. The group felt this knowledge would be integral in the merger process happening seamlessly.

The next big decision was naming the organization. Again, another long deliberation happened before the group officially landed with the Logan County Alliance. Through the process of naming and choosing an appropriate logo for the newly merged organization, the board sought feedback from the community. The first round of logo submissions was, in the community’s opinion, not good enough, so they literally went back to the drawing board, this time with a professional graphic designer. The final logo “….is clean and professional and represents Logan County well” said one survey respondent.

Recently the Alliance board successfully secured a funding agreement with the City of Lincoln to provide economic development services for Lincoln, IL, and is actively working on several projects including new webpages that target people wanting to do and bring business to Lincoln, working with Retail Strategies the consultant company hired by the City to recruit retail to Lincoln, kicking off a business retention and expansion program, among other initiatives that will be revealed as more logistics are solidified.

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Top on the to-do list for the Alliance is to fill the newly vacated seat of the tourism director. The goal is to have a highly qualified, self-motivated, and energetic individual in that seat by the end of March. Other positions created and filled this year is a part-time office assistant filled by Jonathan Butcher, and a full-time office manager filled by Sandra Wagy. Cara Barr was hired in early February to fill the newly formed full-time events coordinator position. Her duties include planning two of the special events that spun off from the popular Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival (Arts in the Park and Lincoln Balloon Festival); Barr is also coordinating meetings and helping with logistics for the Lincoln’s Pigs & Swigs weekend in June. “I’m very excited about our new staff structure and even more excited about the individuals that have filled the positions. We have a great team dynamic in the office—full of energy and excitement for the direction we are moving.” said Andi Hake.

Other projects that the Alliance is working on for the near future is to continue to make new additions and upgrades to the site to ensure that it will be more representative of the Alliance and all the services the organization now provides. A new temporary banner sign has been ordered and will soon be installed to replace the iconic, but deteriorating retro “Information Station” marquee that sits outside the Alliance office until a more permanent solution can be attained.

“It is easy to see there is much going on in the Logan County Alliance. All of it exciting and all of it is great for Logan County. We want to invite community members to get involved and have their voices heard in the organization. There are ample opportunities to get engaged from a council, committee to volunteering for one of the many events taking place in 2015.” says Hake.

To find out more information about the Logan County Alliance, Chamber membership, special events or Tourism initiatives, contact the Logan County Alliance at 217-735-2385 or

[Andi Hake, Logan County Alliance]

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