The City of Springfield has a new acting director of economic development


Wooden Lynne his retirement from a four-decade career in banking was planned for a year and a half.

Then came a call from Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder.

Now Wooden will become the City’s acting manager. Office ofPlanningand economic development from next Monday.

Wooden, who will win $105,000, will not be submitted for City Council approval until after the April 4 consolidated general election.

The director’s office has been vacant since late March 2021 when Langfelder fired Val Yazel.

Langfelder and Wooden both worked at National Bank of Illinois. Wooden started there in 1981 before joining JP Morgan/Chase as Vice President of Treasury Services in early 1999. She returned to INB as Vice President of Business Solutions in 2012.

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Langfelder approached Wooden about the direction as she wrapped up her banking career last month, though it took a few conversations to get her on board.

“Honestly, it was a huge decision for me, front to back and front to back. When you’re ready to retire, you’re ready to retire,” Wooden said. “But after many discussions with my husband (Lonnie), he said, ‘Why not? I think you would like it.

“If I didn’t, I knew I would regret it, mainly because there are so many positive things happening right now.”

Langfelder said he had spoken to people in the last year or so about his arrival as director, but no one really wanted to make a change because “it’s an exempt position and you have an election coming up, so that plays a role.

Langfelder said he appreciates Wooden’s commitment to Springfield, noting that she previously served on a Y block committee under the former Ald. Herman Señor.

Wooden’s husband, Lonnie, spent his career as a barber in several downtown locations, starting with Forum 30, now the Downtown Wyndham.

“(Lynne Wooden has) always been downtown. She understands small business from that aspect,” Langfelder said. “What I wanted was someone who is focused on business.

“I think she was looking for something new. She felt intrigued by it. What she expressed to me was the opportunity to do something for the city she loves.”

Wooden brings “an entrepreneurial culture from the bank to OPED,” the mayor added. “We have great people there. I would like to focus more on the business side. Ravi Doshi has done a great job with the tax increase funding, the cannabis program and Justine Petersen (who started a fund microcredit in partnership with the city and local banks). solutions.

She can provide links to the bank or that (middleman) with Justine Petersen, which helps make people bankable. That’s going to be his greatest asset, his ability to work with others.

Civic Center West on Friday, April 22, 2022. [Thomas J. Turney/ The State Journal-Register]

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Langfelder said he was confident that if Wooden’s nomination came to the board it would be approved “but it will create angst. When I had Summer Griffith appointed (director of the Lincoln Library), I did not pressure the board members. I stuck to her credentials and firmly believed in the direction she wanted the library to take.

I don’t want to dive into the politics of things and that can happen. That’s why I want to avoid it.

Wooden has two adult children, both living in Springfield, and five grandchildren.

She graduated from Lincoln Land Community College.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, [email protected], twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

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