“What we really pride ourselves on here is being able to act as liaisons between government and business,” said Bailey. “Being a resource that can join those kinds of entities together and look at the bigger view is important.”
She believes that when businesses and government work together, it’s a recipe for growth for the whole community.
“There’s not a silver bullet to any one particular way that’s better than not, but I think for us and our community, it needs to be that collaborative partnership with public and private.”
Bailey has been with the CEP since its inception seven years ago following a discussion with Pioneer Rural Electric Co-op, the Champaign County Commissioners and the city of Urbana.
“I was able to get the office up and running, hire a staff person, get the CEP board created and organized, create the CEPohio.com website and the newest addition ChampaignWorks.com. The first big accomplishment was making this economic development agency a reality,” she said. “It’s through the support of the county commissioners, city of Urbana, villages of St. Paris, North Lewisburg and Mechanicsburg, and then private industry, helping to support this agency as a whole.”
Some of the projects Bailey has worked on include the clean-up, new ownership and redevelopment of the former Q3 building on Miami St., bringing the Cobblestone Hotel to Urbana under local ownership, Advanced Technology Products expansion to Mechanicsburg and the Sutphen Corporation announcement to consolidate three facilities into a new building in Urbana.
She was also instrumental in implementing a housing survey that she hopes will convince developers there’s a need for more housing in Champaign County.
The Legacy Place project (North and South elementary buildings and Douglas Hotel) are examples of housing redevelopment of landmark buildings in the community.
In addition to bringing new businesses and talent to the area, Bailey has worked to expand existing businesses, adding more jobs to the area and acted as a liaison to help existing businesses serve the local community in new ways.
Bailey was also instrumental in the creation of the Champaign County Manufacturers Council and the addition of a CEP Business Liaison that connects local students to the businesses through career exploration, internships and paid employment.
She hopes that the person who is hired to replace her will bring his/ her own ideas about how to help Champaign County grow and their enthusiasm and knowledge for existing projects like the redevelopment of Urbana University’s campus.
Overall, Bailey leaves behind a legacy of hope, perseverance and the belief that neighbors should look out for one another and help each other to grow.
“I’m so appreciative that I’ve been given the opportunity to put this all together and be the first director of this agency,” she said. “I’ve had so many opportunities to meet so many people, sit down with them and learn about their businesses in Champaign County, their products, their international commerce and the skills needed by their workforce.
“I’m also extremely grateful to the CEP Board members and the investors for their continued support of me and the agency, I will miss everyone immensely,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s colleagues on the CEP board know that her shoes will be tough to fill.
“Marcia has done an immense amount of work. She’s worked tirelessly to get this thing up and running,” said CEP Board President Kyle Hall. “We’re really going to miss having her here. She’s done a great job.”
He doesn’t believe anyone can truly replace Bailey, but he hopes that the next Director of the CEP will continue to respond to the business community’s needs and that he/ she will work to find solutions for the area’s need for housing.
CEP board member Dave Snyder said that Marcia has been instrumental in bringing together public and private entities. “She’s done a good job of bringing entities together like counties, townships, villages and the private sector with new and existing businesses,” Snyder said.
He expects that finding the right person to take over as director of the CEP will be a difficult task.
“It’s going to be hard to find somebody with her skill set and her personality,” he said. “We’re not going to try to recreate her, but we’re going to try to find someone with those skills.”