Passing the Torch: a New Executive Director for Illinois Valley Community Development Organization

by | Jan 18, 2018 | Community Strategic Plan, Nonprofit

Cave Junction, OR: The Board of Directors of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDo) is pleased to announce that Kenny Houck has been named the new Executive Director.  Houck succeeds Menno Kraai who served in the position for eight years. Kraai, who also serves as the General Manager of the Historic Oregon Caves Chateau, will continue in that position for one more season.

It is not Houck’s first run as a leader of IVCanDO.  He held the position of Interim Executive Director in 2001 when the organization was called the Illinois Valley Community Response Team. Since then, Houck has held positions on the IVCanDO Revolving Loan Fund Board of Directors including 3 years as the Board Chair.  He has also served on IVCanDo’s Board of Directors including 2 years as the Board Chair.

Kraai is confident in the Board’s decision: “I have a great deal of faith in our new director.  He has a lot of experience in our programs and projects.  We are looking at an exciting future with more projects focusing on people, place, and prosperity.  We have a good team and have developed excellent partnerships that continue to blossom and benefit the Illinois Valley.”

Houck praises Kraai’s successful tenure as Executive Director:  “He has led the organization through a strong period of growth and we are very glad to have him continue to manage the Chateau.  The Illinois Valley and southwest Oregon are in a time of transition, full of both challenges and opportunities.  IVCanDo has long played an important role in our local economic and community development and I look forward to building on that success.”

When Kraai announced his retirement from the position, the IVCanDo Board of Directors approached the transition with a deliberate, step by step process.  They held two retreats directed by Community Consultant, Roi Crouch and a succession plan was made.  The board was looking for an Executive Director who was committed to the area and held a depth of knowledge about the history of the valley.

Houck’s past experience speaks to his commitment here.  He has led several key projects in the valley for IVCanDo including the formation of the Kerby Water District, the Light Industrial Park at the Illinois Valley Airport, and the Pavilion Project at Illinois River Forks State Park.  Since these projects, Houck has held the positions of Business Development Coordinator for the Illinois Valley Business Entrepreneurial Center/Rogue Community College – Small Business Development Center and IVCanDo’s Community Development Manager.

The Illinois Valley Community Development Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to develop, implement, and evaluate a living Illinois Valley Strategic Plan that encourages stable community development and aims to improve local economic, social, and cultural conditions through cooperative programs and partnerships in rural southwest Oregon.

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