Executive Committee


Chuck Kaiser, President (Senior Vice President, First Midwest Bank)

Chuck Kaiser is Senior Vice President and Senior Lending Officer with First Midwest Bank, Sycamore. He has been in the banking industry for the past 36 years, with the last 18 years being at NB&T, now known as First Midwest Bank. Previous to joining the bank, he worked for 10 years with the First Chicago Corp at their St. Charles location as a manager of that division. His business motto has always been “help customers be successful.”

In addition to volunteering with the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, Kaiser represents various non-profit boards in leadership positions.  Most recently with DeKalb Area Retirement Center/Oak Crest, Sycamore Chamber of Commerce and Ben Gordon Center as President.

Kaiser earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Kaiser and his wife, Cindy, live in Sycamore with two grown children, Chris and Stephanie.


Cohen Barnes, Vice-President (Owner, SundogIT, Inc.)


Cohen Barnes is owner of SundogIT  www.sundogit.com,  a 25 year old Technology firm in DeKalb specializing in Outsourced IT and Business Phone Systems.

In addition to serving on the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, he also serves on the City of DeKalb’s Citizen Community Enhancement Commission, the Kishwaukee College CIS School Advisory Council, and is a School Board Member for the DeKalb Community Unit School District #428.

Barnes earned his Associate of Art’s Degree from Kishwaukee Community College and his Bachelor’s Degree in English from Northern Illinois University.  He is also a Veteran of the United States Army.

Barnes and his wife Amy, live in DeKalb with their two children Hank and Maddie.


Mike Milano, Secretary/Treasurer (Target Distribution Center General Manager)

James M. “Mike” Milano is currently a Senior Distribution Director for Target Corporation in DeKalb, IL, a position he assumed shortly after joining Target in May, 2012. Previous to joining Target, Mike enjoyed a 33-year career in the United States Army, rising to the rank of General Officer. His military service career featured command of combat units from platoon-level to division and installation command, including command of Fort Knox, KY and Fort Jackson, SC.

In addition to serving on the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, Mike is also a member of the Kane County Workforce Development Board.

Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Lafayette College in Easton, PA, and has earned two Master’s degrees: Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Strategic Operations from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth, KS.

Mike’s wife is Kim Milano, a registered pediatrics dietitian and doctoral student at Northern Illinois University and together Mike and Kim have two grown children, Nick, 28 and Tony, 26, both of whom live in Denver, Colorado. Mike has a son by a previous marriage, Jim, who is a lawyer in New Jersey. Mike is an avid guitar player, hiker and reader, and he values greatly physical and mental fitness.


Dr. Laurie Borowicz (President, Kishwaukee College)

Paul Callighan (Former External Affairs, ComEd)

Dan Curran (Vice President, Curran Contracting)

Gary Evans (Vice President-Business Development Director, First National Bank)

Dr. Lisa Freeman (President, Northern Illinois University)

Anne Marie Gaura (City Manager, City of DeKalb)

Brian Gregory (City Manager, City of Sycamore)

Gary Hanson (County Administrator, DeKalb County Government)

Jim James (Chairman & CEO, IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.)

Greg Millburg (Manager, DeKalb County Farm Bureau) *Immediate Past President DCEDC*

Karen Pletsch (Publisher, Shaw Media)

Appointed Proxy’s

Jo Ellen Charlton (Assistant Director Community Development, City of DeKalb)

Dr. Anne Kaplan (Vice-President for Outreach, Engagement & Regional Development, Northern Illinois University)

Jason Michnick  (Economic Development Planner, City of DeKalb)

Dr. Bill Nicklas (Executive Director Foundation, Kishwaukee College)

Vicki Slomka (Senior Vice President/Global HR, IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.)

President’s Council of Advisors (Non-Voting)

Robert “Bob” Boey (Sycamore Industrial Park)

Douglas Dashner (Community Consultant)

Dave Juday (Former CEO, IDEAL INDUSTRIES, Inc.-Community Consultant)