DuPage economic development group's chief headed to tollway

Changes at the Illinois tollway are happening fast with a new executive director expected to start this week.

Greg Bedalov, president and CEO of Choose DuPage, an economic development organization, will take over as executive director at the agency, officials said.

The Illinois tollway board of directors was scheduled to discuss a replacement for Executive Director Kristi Lafleur Thursday. Lafleur stepped down along with Chairwoman Paula Wolff this month as Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed new directors.

Rauner's pick for Chairman Bob Schillerstrom told the Daily Herald that economic growth and job creation go hand-in-hand with the tollway.

It's expected Bedalov will reflect that philosophy as the tollway heads into the third year of a massive $12 billion road building program.

Choose DuPage is a public-private group that works to attract businesses to DuPage County and promote jobs along with economic growth.

In a 2012 op-ed piece for the Daily Herald, Bedalov talked about communities collaborating in the region instead of competing to create jobs.

“It is critical that local and county economic development agencies work collaboratively with state and federal agencies to uncover additional opportunities for economic wins,” he wrote.

The appointment had not been formally announced Tuesday, and Bedalov said he was unable to comment on the move.

State Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, called Bedalov a “natural leader” who is “inclusive and very team-oriented.”

With Choose DuPage, Bedalov worked on transportation issues ranging from the DuPage Airport to public transit in the county, Sandack said.

“I've no doubt he'll learn the tollway organization well and quickly and really work to invigorate it,” Sandack said.

Before Choose DuPage, Bedalov was president of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corp. and director of global business development and marketing for Pulsafeeder, a manufacturer of pumps and fluid meter technologies.

One of the tollway's key projects is the extension of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway to the airport, which is prominently featured on Choose DuPage's website as having the potential to “transform” the region and create thousands of jobs.

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