'I've always served in some capacity': West Point graduate brings a wealth of experience to Glenview board
A very natural fit, Jim Bland called it.
Approved as a trustee by Glenview Village Board on Tuesday, Bland said his military background remains pertinent in this new position.
"Having attended West Point, part of the motto there is to educate and train cadets for a lifetime of service," he said.
"It's part of their mission statement. Really, the objective is to inculcate cadets and future officers, and that can happen in uniform and out of uniform."
Wearing a sharp suit on Tuesday at Village Hall with his two smiling children and wife, Jennifer -- a Glenbrook South High School graduate -- present in the board room, Bland had been selected by President Mike Jenny from a group of 28 applicants to fill the trustee position Jenny vacated when he was elected to his new position. Bland's term will run through April 2023.
A "very, very rigorous process," trustee Mary Cooper said, had Jenny's first choice for the position not been approved, he would have had to submit a second pick. This was unnecessary.
"As a candidate, I thought his qualifications are just exemplary," said trustee Tim Doron.
Bland continues his military affiliation as a 3-star general and civilian aide to the Secretary for the Army in Illinois and has held past leadership positions in the Army and Army Reserve.
"I've always served in some capacity," said Bland, a 13-year Glenview resident.
At least as pertinent to the trustees position, particularly with the board set to consider the Glenview Connect proposals for downtown redevelopment at its July 6 meeting, are his business and civic background.
As Jenny pointed out in his introduction, Bland has more than 20 years experience in investing, consulting, finance, mergers, and acquisitions. He's been a partner or sat on the boards of a variety of companies and funds.
Raised on Chicago's South side, Bland graduated from Marist High School and attained a master's of business administration degree from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He earned a science degree at the United States Military Academy in 1997.
Among other traits, Doron praised Bland's flexibility and commitment to fiscal policy and downtown redevelopment. Jenny also noted Bland had served on the Affordable Housing Commission in Georgetown, Texas.
Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2006 appointed Bland to the Chicago Development Commission which, as Bland noted in his LinkedIn account, included making recommendations on tax increment financing proposals to the City Council.
Bland on Tuesday pointed out his work toward alleviating food deserts in Chicago, including getting a Whole Foods in Engelwood using a TIF and aldermanic partnership.
"It was a real huge accomplishment to see that pass," he said.
The village also appointed new commissioners to its New Development and Development Adjustments commissions.
On Feb. 16 under former Village President Jim Patterson, the board consolidated its Appearance, Historic Preservation and Plan commissions and the Zoning Board of Appeals into two branches of the Glenview Development Commission, one for New Development and another for Development Adjustments.
The New Development Commission reviews development and redevelopment proposals; Development Adjustments reviews additions and modifications to existing developments and zoning variations for both new and existing single-family residences.
Ari Killian, Katie Siegel and Steve Toomey were approved for the New Development Commission, with terms through May 2022. Katie Jones and Jennifer Eun will serve on Development Adjustments until May 2024.
An omnibus motion on their approval gave Bland his first vote with the board, a motion that passed 6-0.
"It was great," he said. "I'm just pleased to serve and am very grateful to the trustees and to the process. I look forward to giving back to the village. I'm just very excited."