Mark Rothert is the executive director of the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development, the leading economic development organization for the Canton area. His duties include business attraction and development, tourism development, working with small business owners, writing grants and working toward community development. He has helped to transform Canton’s struggling economy into one that is booming with growth, new jobs and downtown renewal.
In a little over three years, Rothert has accomplished much for the City of Canton. He secured a commitment from Cook Medical, Inc. to build a manufacturing plant there, which will employ up to 300 people on a former industrial site. He has also been successful at writing and winning grants, which have helped the city obtain more than $4 million in federal, state and local funds. He helped create Canton Main Street, a grass-roots organization made up of community volunteers dedicated to downtown revitalization and historic preservation. Rothert is also committed to creating an entrepreneurial culture in Canton to help its small business owners succeed.
In addition to his work for the Spoon River Partnership, Rothert serves as a board member of the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway organization and as a planning and zoning commissioner for the City of Canton. He is an advisory panel member to the Retirees Leading Initiative in Canton, an Executive Career Advisory Board member for Spoon River College, and a member of the International City/County Management Association and the International Economic Development Council.
Rothert’s hard work has paid off with numerous recognitions, including the 2009 International Economic Development Council’s New Economic Developer of the Year Award. He was named one of 118 regional finalists for the 2009 White House Fellows Program, besting over 1,000 other applicants. Rothert helped Canton become a recipient of a 2008 Governor’s Hometown Award for the Retirees Leading Initiative, and has been certified by the Community Development Council as a Professional Community and Economic Developer. iBi