Please provide a brief biography.
Jim has been a resident of Lake Zurich since 2000. He and his wife Deb are the parents of three amazing children; James (13), Morgan (11) and Andrew (7).
As a volunteer coach for the Lake Zurich Flames Football program, the Lake Zurich Baseball/Softball Association and several activities through the YMCA, Jim is fully invested in teaching kids to play by the rules, to show good sportsmanship and teach them the value of being part of a team.
As an owner of two successful businesses, one of which in closely connected to the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry.
Jim understands the challenges that business owners face in this time of economic uncertainty. He knows that the purpose of rules and regulations are to help businesses succeed; not to stunt their growth.
Jim is a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He graduated with honors while earning a degree in Administration and a minor in Political Science. He also played for the Saluki Football team where he earned Gateway Academic All-Conference honors.
Include how long you have lived in LZ.
Jim has been a resident of Lake Zurich for 13 years
Why do you want to serve (or continue to serve) the village as a trustee?
As a resident of Lake Zurich, I realize that we face some large obstacles in the near future. However, I also strongly believe that the Village has tremendous untapped potential at the same time. I have been asked by fellow residents to consider offering my talents to the Village and provide my insights as a business owner and strong leader to ensure the future success of the Village. After sitting on the sidelines and observing the current path of our Village I felt that it was time to stand up and help make a difference.
What are your top priorities for the Village of Lake Zurich?
Key Issue 1
Improved Communication with the Hospitality Industry/Downtown Development. A large request from the residents of Lake Zurich is to have new places to eat and socialize at. The residents are tired of having to travel to Wauconda, Barrington and Palatine for an evening out. Unfortunately, Lake Zurich is known in the hospitality industry as being difficult to work with. I can bring to the table over 20 years of business experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries. I would like to use my established connections to open discussions between Lake Zurich and potential new establishments.
Key Issue 2
Customer Service Improvements There are a lot of what I like to call "opportunities" to enhance the lives of the residences of the Village and potential business partners. If elected I would look forward to meeting with the department heads and discussing ways to improve the services offered to the residents and businesses. As the owner of multiple businesses I understand how to evaluate, motivate and improve processes and procedures to attain the desired results. My hope is that a fresh look at the situation may provide positive results for all of Lake Zurich.
Key Issue 2
Increase Tax Base In order for the Village to sustain a long term growth plan, we cannot simply rely on the tax payers to continue to pay more and do with less. I want to work with business leaders, developers, and bankers to create a sustainable and long term income base. I believe that the Village can pay for the needed infrastructure improvements through development of unused land and empty space. Not only would this benefit the residents through greater services, but it also would help to reduce the tax burden at the same time and while restoring/improving the beauty of the Village.
What needs to be done to create a solid financial base for the village?
This will not be a simple one step process and it includes all of the above items/issues. We have to develop empty and under-utilized space, including the downtown area. Increase the leadership for current Village Employees including motivating and rewarding them for being fiscally responsible.
What is your vision for downtown development?
I believe that the downtown development has failed for two main reasons. First, as an owner of multiple businesses I value the art of negotiating deals that create a win-win? Situation for all parties. For years there has been a struggle amongst the Lake Property Owners' Association(LPOA) (who rightful want to preserve the quality and beauty of the lake by restricting /limiting access) and those non Lake Property Owners who want to enjoy the beauty of the downtown lake area. Additionally, there has been a strong desire among Non-Lake Zurich residents from surrounding communities to have a place to go and enjoy the visual beauty of the lake. I feel that we need to bring the Lake Property Owners' Association and the rest of the village together to create a proposal that provides for the creation of a couple of establishments that would allow for families to go and enjoy the beauty of the lake yet not allowing any additional access to the lake itself. This compromise could provide all sides with the needed "win-win" as follows: 1. The development of higher end fine dining establishments would increase the beauty of the downtown. 2. A compromised development would not allow for more lake right access which would preserve the quality of the lake for the Lake Property Owners' Association. 3. Satisfying the need for families to enjoy the beauty of the lake will provide much needed revenue for the entire Village of Lake Zurich. This increased tax base would protect the village against looming future TIF payments. 4. The more visitors that come to the downtown lake area to enjoy these newly created establishments would showcase this area as a true gem. Therefore creating an increased demand/desire for families wanting to have these sought after lake rights. Resulting in higher demands for the houses that are already entitled to the lake access. This higher demand for the coveted property of the Lake Property Owners' Association would certainly result in increased home values by applying basic supply and demand principals. I envision this compromise as a solution to clearing current obstacles for the residents of both the Lake Property Owners' Association(LPOA)and other non-lake right residents of Lake Zurich. Second, I believe that there has been lack of creativity or economic vision that the past and current leadership has displayed. I envision that by utilizing my successful business experience I could open communication lines with bankers and realtors to entice alternate means of attracting and funding the development of downtown. We need the financial community to "buy into" the vision of the future downtown. Once the investment community has bought into the vision, then it would be them who would and could bring this to their clients. This exposure would result in a situation that would increase the visibility of the opportunity that exists and ensure that the funding for these prospective businesses is rock solid. In summary I believe that if we can create a compromise to overcome the current "in-fighting" over the lake access and create more exposure amongst the right type of business leaders that we can and should be able to not only jump-start downtown development, but fast track the future prosperity for all current and future residents.
How much time do you have available to devote to this role?
As a business owner I have the unique ability to set my own schedule and spend the appropriate amount of time necessary to get the job done. For example I have already attended every Lake Zurich Board Meeting since I declared my candidacy for trustee. In addition I have had meetings with multiple Lake County elected officials. Including meetings with:
Current Lake Zurich Village Trustees, Several current Lake County Board members, Lake County Judges, Prospective Ela Board representatives, The Lake County Tourism Representative, Hawthorne Woods Mayor, Hawthorne Woods Trustees, The Lake County Treasurer, and Peter Roskam.
What traits do you have that make you a good leader for the village?
I believe that one of my strongest personal traits is my ability to get things done through leadership. I have always been a leader, from owning two successful businesses to coaching and developing our youth. My ability to identify needs and utilize resources to achieve desired outcomes has proven successful in my professional and personal career.