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• Press Release - 10/21/2013 •

Conserve Lake County Hires New Leader 

(Grayslake, IL) After a months-long search, Conserve Lake County recently hired Jim McConoughey of Janesville, Wisconsin to serve as president of the 18-year-old nonprofit conservation group. With a track record of building strong partnerships in the service of sustainable communities, McConoughey received the board’s unanimous support. McConoughey begins his new position immediately.

McConoughey was raised on a third-generation family farm in Ohio. He earned an undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan and an MBA from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. From 2002 to 2012, McConoughey served as president and CEO of Heartland Partnerships, an economic development organization serving the Peoria region. During his tenure there, McConoughey raised $75 million and played a leading role in development of the 100-mile-long Illinois River Road Scenic Byway, allowing the public to more fully experience the river’s natural, historical, and archaeological treasures.

An avid outdoorsman, McConoughey has long been committed to conservation and regional planning. He served on the board of the 2,000-acre Wildlife Prairie State Park, the advisory board of the Grand Victoria Foundation and the Metropolis 2020 initiative. McConoughey also served as managing director of Elgin Community College, vice president of the Elgin Chamber of Commerce, CEO of the Downtown Waterfront Development in Sandusky Ohio and, most recently, as vice president of Business Development for Federal Companies.
“We looked for a leader who will rally community support for compelling visions for the future and build the partnerships needed to realize those visions,” said Conserve Lake County board chair Keith Gray. “Jim is an exceptional leader who does just that. We’re excited about the difference he will make for conservation in Lake County.”

Through a grant from the Liberty Prairie Foundation, Conserve Lake County hired the search firm SAL Consulting to assist in identifying high quality candidates. The search committee was led by board vice-chair Gary Mitchiner and included Lake County Forest Preserve District commissioner Carol Calabresa; professor Jeffrey Sundberg, Ph.D., of Lake Forest College, and Charles O’Connell, director and senior portfolio manager of Harris Bank.

“Lake County residents understand the value of natural resources as part of a livable community,” says McConoughey. “I look forward to building on that tradition and working closely with the many people and organizations who care about Lake County’s future.” McConoughey replaces Steve Barg, who moved to the Galena area in June after serving ten years as executive director.

Conserve Lake County is a nonprofit organization that serves the many people who desire to keep Lake County’s land and water healthy for the wellbeing of people and wildlife. The member-supported group preserves open land and helps public and private property owners steward natural areas, farmland, and
landscaped sites. The organization has preserved over 400 acres of open space, including Dokum Mskoda Nature Preserve in Waukegan and Casey Farm in Libertyville. It recently led development of the Liberty Prairie Reserve Master Plan for central Lake County, and in just two years, its new Conservation@Home program for sustainable landscaping has provided ecological consultations to over 500 property owners in 31 municipalities.

CONTACT: Gary Mitchiner, Board Vice-chair Cell: 312-307-9718
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Conserve Lake County Hires New Leader - Press Release