Blackhawk Hills Regional Council Hires Executive Director

GIS Mapping & Enterprise Zone Specialist also hired at September 26 council meeting.

ROCK FALLS, IL – Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, northwest Illinois’ regional planning commission, has named Daniel Payette as Executive Director and Andrew Shaw as GIS Mapping & Enterprise Zone Specialist. The board of directors of Blackhawk Hills voted to approve both hires at its September 26 council meeting in Lanark, IL, with start dates effective immediately.

Payette has worked at Blackhawk Hills since 2011, serving as both outreach coordinator and planning manager. During that period, he supported the deployment of the nine-county iFiber network, updates to the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), and numerous community and regional planning projects. Payette is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning. A current resident and native of Shannon, IL, he will take on operational and strategic responsibilities, as well as oversight of employees, programs, and projects.

“Our governing board believes that Dan’s professional demeanor, organizational knowledge, and work in local communities makes him a strong leadership fit,” stated Ed Juracek, council president. “I have great confidence in him.”

Shaw has worked part-time for the council since 2013 and is experienced in economic development, GIS mapping, and data analysis. He participates in the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association and has worked with local zones on expansion, eligibility testing, and new applications. In addition, he helped oversee the former Carroll County Economic Development Corporation. Shaw, a graduate of Northern Illinois University, holds a master’s degree in Urban Geography. A native of Carroll County, Shaw currently lives in Dixon, IL.

Juracek noted about Shaw, “Andy has taken the initiative to expand the council’s scope and impact in local communities. We look forward to using his talents to an even greater degree as a full-time employee of Blackhawk Hills.”

In other recent news Blackhawk Hills Regional Council was also awarded a $103,000 partnership planning grant from the Economic Development Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce). Announced October 14, 2016 the funding will enable BHRC to maintain the region’s economic development district (EDD) and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

The CEDS is a multi-county plan covering Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties. The Strategy is the culmination of a regional planning process, led by BHRC, meant to guide and support economic growth within BHRC’s EDD. The CEDS helps local citizens, governments, and economic development organizations coordinate with private business and industry leaders, especially to foster economic development. The Strategy is intended to:

1. Create employment opportunities for area residents
2. Foster more stable and diversified local and regional economies
3. Generally improve living conditions throughout the EDD

About Blackhawk Hills Regional Council

Blackhawk Hills Regional Council is a non-profit regional planning commission based in Rock Falls, IL, which serves Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties. Blackhawk Hills provides administrative, collaborative, fact-finding, grant-writing, mapping, and planning services to various constituencies, with emphasis on community and economic development and natural resources conservation. The council is sponsored by local county boards and Soil and Water Conservation Districts and is overseen by an 18-member council, consisting of three representatives from each of the six counties. Questions about the council may be directed to (815) 625-3854 or

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