Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation

Champaign, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, May 24, 2024

Position: Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director, Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC

Reports To: Executive Director, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation

Status: Full-Time

Classification: Exempt

Location: Champaign, IL

Minimum Salary: $70,000

About the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation:

Founded in 2001, the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is a public-private partnership dedicated to fostering a cooperative, county-wide approach to economic development. CCEDC works to improve the economic well-being of all Champaign County through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements, small business development, and promotion of quality of life. CCEDC brings together community partners to support economic development by aligning interests through productive relationships, open dialogue, and advocacy efforts.

CCEDC hosts the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Champaign County EDC, a program of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which includes an International Trade Center (ITC). The SBDC provides information, confidential business guidance, training, programs, and other resources for startups, existing small businesses, and those who wish to start or sell a business. These services are provided to hundreds of individuals each year.

CCEDC invites applications for the Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director position to lead the Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC.

About the Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC:

The Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC is a newly established Center by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as part of the Illinois APEX Accelerator network. Now under the management of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), the APEX mission is to provide guidance for government contracting success, assisting Illinois businesses with all their government contracting needs, whether federal, state, or local. For nearly 40 years, the Illinois APEX Accelerator (formerly known as PTAC) professionals have been providing businesses – including small, disadvantaged, and women-owned firms – the guidance they need to sell their goods and services to local, state, and federal government agencies.

As a direct report to the CCEDC Executive Director, the Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director is responsible for APEX's day-to-day management and operations, including advisory services to clients, oversight of budget activities, required reporting to DCEO, and more. The Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director will represent the APEX program at a local and regional level within the economic development and business communities and collaborate closely with stakeholders throughout Champaign County and central Illinois.

About the Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director position:

The Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director shall direct and monitor the center's program activities and financial affairs to deliver effective services to the small business community; ensure the APEX Accelerator’s compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and Executive Orders; implement the Cooperative Agreement; and serve as the principal contact point for all matters involving the Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC.

The Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director should devote approximately 60% of their time to advising and training clients and 40% to managing the center and performing outreach responsibilities. The Illinois APEX Accelerator Center Director shall provide at least 600 advising hours.

Required qualifications:

· B.A. or B.S. degree or equivalent experience

· Five (5) years experience in either government contract administration, purchasing, business, management, or small business ownership preferred

· Budget and program management experience

· Basic knowledge of manufacturing, quality control, and processes

· Ability to master technical literature

· Excellent written, verbal, communication, and presentation skills

· Must be a self-starter who can work with little supervision

· Ability to organize, budget, plan, and implement multiple projects and deadlines

· Must be able to respond quickly and accurately to changing project conditions in a fast-paced environment

· Proven strong customer service skills and ability to work with diverse constituencies

· Experience collaborating with multiple organizations

· Commitment to maintaining confidentiality

Job responsibilities – what you’ll do:

· Plan, coordinate, and manage programs, services, and activities consistent with the goals and objectives of the APEX Accelerator

· Provide direct business advising and training to clients

· Guide firms through the government contracting process, including assisting with understanding required government forms and reviewing government requirements, including Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and contract terms, and explaining the meaning and significance of these requirements and terms

· Provide specifications and standards to firms and assist them in understanding solicitation requirements

· Conduct research using reference material, government publications, and contacts with Federal, State, and local buying installations to identify the segments of these markets that match each firm's product mix and administrative and technical capabilities

· Provide bid leads to firms to market their products and/or services to Federal, State, and local agencies

· Establish and maintain contacts within the Federal, State, and local acquisition systems and call on these contacts for help in assisting firms

· Guide qualified firms that want to pursue special business certifications such as women-owned, minority-owned, DBE, 8 (a), or other special designations

· Provide follow-up and troubleshooting assistance to firms in every aspect of government contracting, from contract award through successful contract completion

· Conduct on-site plant surveys to assess the potential of a firm to perform successfully in government markets

· Develop and present training (workshops and webinars) on a variety of government contracting topics

· Maintain a current reference library and database as required by the APEX Accelerator program

· Establish linkages and working relationships with other Centers or small businesses that may provide additional resources to the Center

· Maintain current data on private sector consultants for referral to members of the small business community

· Create and maintain client and activity records to ensure accuracy and required reporting information; includes management of Neoserra, the CMS system used by DCEO

· Provide timely and accurate reports to the Illinois APEX Accelerator

· Maintain and analyze data on program effectiveness

· Promote the APEX Accelerator and the needs of the small business community

· Coordinate and cultivate a relationship with DoD, other Federal, State, and local resource partners, local business associations, professional associations, and economic development entities; provide leadership in the community around government contracting and help build, sustain, and expand partnerships

· Obtain the Certified Business Development Advisor credential within the first 60 days of employment; maintain professional standards by participating in professional development activities

· Champion the APEX brand in cooperation with the Illinois APEX network

· Travel as needed for meetings and engagement with clients and partners and/or to attend events and conferences (you must possess a valid Illinois driver’s license)

· In coordination with the CCEDC Executive Director, communicate with officials of Federal, State or local government agencies as well as community stakeholders, CCEDC investors, and business leaders to achieve the APEX goals

· Lead the Advisory Board for the Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC

· Work with the CCEDC Board of Directors and staff to ensure the APEX Accelerator is responsive to the target sectors and priority areas of the Champaign County economy

· Perform other duties as required to support the overall goals of the Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County EDC

Skills we are looking for:

· Creativity and resourcefulness in developing and implementing projects

· Ability to work in a fast-paced, highly independent environment and juggle multiple ongoing projects, responsibilities, and relationships

· Strong attention to detail, with a commitment to quality and accuracy

· Effective at removing barriers and establishing trust – can identify challenges and provide solutions

· Strong time management skills and dedication to providing prompt responses and follow-up to clients and stakeholders

· Passion and curiosity for business and entrepreneurship, and a willingness to develop new programs and resources

· Ability to work effectively as part of a management team

· Experience with Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Nice to have:

· Local community and/or regional knowledge

· Prior experience working for an APEX or SBDC program, a non-profit, and/or grant/contract program

· Prior direct business consulting, training, or teaching experience

Things to know:

· Although the position is primarily 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday, early morning or evening work may be required

· For the majority of the time, duties are performed indoors in an office or workplace environment; some remote work is available

· You’ll be an integral part of a small staff – this is an important position for CCEDC

This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list of job-related responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts, requirements, or working conditions, and this job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties that will be required in this position. Management reserves the right to revise the job or require other or different tasks to be performed or assigned.

The Illinois APEX Accelerator at Champaign County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is provided through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense (DoD). Program support is made possible by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and CCEDC; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations, and Office of Public Engagement/Office of the Chancellor; and the University of Illinois System's Office of the Assistant Vice President, Procurement Services. While the continuation of this position is foreseen for years to come, all APEX positions are contingent on continued grant funding.

Compensation is commensurate with education, experience, and qualifications. CCEDC offers a competitive benefits package. For full consideration, please submit a letter of interest, resume, and at least three professional references to carly@champaigncountyedc.org. Please note APEX Director Application in the subject line.

Review of applications will begin immediately. The position will remain open until filled.

CCEDC strongly encourages candidates who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Women, LGBTQIA+, and others who identify as being from an underrepresented group to apply. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to any of the above characteristics or others protected by law.

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation is an equal opportunity employer.