GREDF tabs former Quincy mayor as its next president

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Kyle Moore, left, talks with Adams County Clerk/Recorder Ryan Niekamp, center, and Marcel Wagner, retiring president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation, before a press conference at the Oakley-Lindsay Center on Thursday.

Kyle Moore wasn’t out of work long.

The former two-term Quincy mayor will be the next president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation. Moore, who was introduced at a Thursday afternoon press conference, takes over for Marcel Wagner, who is retiring after 10 years at the agency’s helm.

Jim Mentesti had been GREDF’s president for 27 years before Wagner came aboard in 2013. Phil Conover, a former GREDF board chairman, served as president in an interim role between Mentesti and Wagner.

Moore was elected Quincy’s mayor in 2013, and a two-term term limit pledge was a plank in his campaign platform. He wavered on that pledge during the summer of 2020 and weighed his options, but Moore said when he saw qualified candidates for mayor emerge, he started considering post-mayoral life options. He left the mayor’s office about a month ago.

Moore said the possibility of this position only came into focus over the last few weeks.

“I had some mutual conversations with Marcel and Mike (Elbe, GREDF board president) …,” Moore said. “Economic development is something that I’ve been passionate about for years. I saw how important it was when I was a part-owner of Moore’s Floors. Back then, we would kind of change our territory based on what communities were investing in themselves. And then certainly, when I ran for public office, economic development was the centerpiece of why I wanted to run.

“What I focused on on a day-to-day basis as mayor was economic development, whether it was implementing a 45 x 30 program, Quincy Promise program or doing things like putting a committee together to save the Veterans Home. So economic development is something I’m passionate about, and to be able to continue working in that arena is really a dream come true.”

— new GREDF president Kyle Moore

“What I focused on on a day-to-day basis as mayor was economic development, whether it was implementing a 45 x 30 program, Quincy Promise program or doing things like putting a committee together to save the Veterans Home. So economic development is something I’m passionate about, and to be able to continue working in that arena is really a dream come true.”

Elbe, the president of John Wood Community College, said Moore was not an early applicant, but when Moore showed interest, Elbe said the former mayor’s qualifications put him in contention for the post immediately because of his familiarity with GREDF’s mission and function.

“Kyle’s background as a business owner and his record as mayor in terms of economic development, the strategic plan and the 45 x 30 plan made him a strong candidate,” Elbe said. “We had a phone interview and interviews with our executive board. As we made it through the interview process, it became clear he was the right fit.”

Elbe said he and the rest of GREDF’s executive board stressed to Moore during the vetting process the importance of the organization remaining apolitical. Moore, who was elected to the Quincy City Council and as mayor as a Republican, has been an active member of his party. He said he has worked in a bi-partisan manner for the good of Quincy and will do the same for GREDF.

How GREDF was started

A study was commissioned in 1977 from the Batelle Institute for a comprehensive economic development program for the Quincy-Adams County area. Based on the study, the Great River Economic Development Foundation was formed to coordinate a fund drive to establish an industrial park. The city and county, with support from the community, raised funds to buy 106 acres for the Edward Schneidman Industrial Park on North 24th in Quincy. Bonds were issued to develop infrastructure.

The foundation then merged with the existing Joint Industrial Commission in 1978 to form a single agency called Great River Economic Development Foundation to manage the park and launch an overall economic development campaign. Today, the Schneidman Industrial Park is home to more than 20 businesses, including Moore’s Floors, where Moore worked at his family business before becoming mayor.

Warm-up act

It appears Moore was sort of auditioning for the GREDF job at the 2019 Tri-State Summit when he talked about economic development, although he says the “stars aligned” for him to consider the position a few weeks ago as the GREDF Board was mulling over its candidates.

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said Moore’s institutional knowledge and passion is something that will suit him well to hit the ground running as he takes over the agency’s helm.

Moore starts at GREDF on Monday.

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