In his first monthly Facebook Live chat of the new year, Mayor Richard C. Irvin called them the "dynamic duo" as he introduced the new team leading the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.
"We have established the Mayor's Office of Economic Development as we partner with Invest Aurora to take development in Aurora to the next level," said Irvin. "I've been saying our goal is to have more shovels in the ground, cranes in the sky, ribbons cut and doors opened. David Dibo and Donald Hughes certainly have the experience and energy to help us do just that."
Both approved by the Aurora City Council at the end of last year, Dibo serves as Director of Economic Development and Hughes serves as the Downtown Development Coordinator.
A seasoned real estate professional and development consultant, Dibo brings more than three decades of experience to the table.
A graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics, his breadth of economic development success spans New York to Washington DC to Chicago. Dibo worked for VMS Realty Group, which was the second largest hotel owner in the United States at the time, with a portfolio of Four Seasons, Hyatt and Holiday Inn Hotels as well as major office, residential, retail, industrial and land holdings. There, he purchased and sold the company's most profitable assets. He also led the restructuring and sale of a hotel portfolio for a Xerox affiliate that soon transitioned to Morgan Stanley.
Most recently, Dibo made his Aurora connections during his tenure as Senior Vice President at Centrue Bank, a recently-sold one billion dollar publicly traded bank based in Illinois. Recruited by the executives of the bank to help turn the bank back to profitability, Dibo used a proactive entrepreneurial approach to negotiate, reposition, sell assets and help finance creative transactions, such as the transformation of the Comfort Suites to the Holiday Inn & Suites on Broadway in Aurora. Dibo has been a guest lecturer on the industry at the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Northwestern University.
"What I've learned about doing real estate throughout the world is that people have different perspectives," said Dibo. "You have unique insight from those who grew up in an area. On the other hand, sometimes it's good to have someone from an outside perspective. I have the latter and look forward to working collaboratively with those who have the former."
Hughes also brings a fresh perspective, but he is very familiar with Aurora through his work with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
After working for more than two years to help develop the Downtown Master Plan for Aurora, which won the Kane County 2017 Plan of the Year Award, Donald Hughes transitioned from his position at CMAP to join the City of Aurora as Downtown Development Coordinator.
"I fell in love the first time I drove through downtown Aurora," said Hughes. "Broadway is one of the most amazing views. So many communities have lost those good bones in their downtown. Aurora still has it. It has so much greatness and potential."
A native of Peoria, Illinois, Hughes earned his Bachelor in Sociology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and his Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois where he focused on community development for social justice.
He developed neighborhood revitalization strategies and collaborated with neighborhood organizations on community revitalization efforts in Peoria. His desire to implement change in communities took him throughout the country where he served as market research analyst in Dallas, Texas and the senior planner in Garland, Texas. Hughes returned to the Midwest, where he continued his real estate, market analysis and economic development work at CMAP. Hughes is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Urban Land Institute, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers.
"These two gentlemen have a strong history in and passion for economic and community development," said Irvin. "Without question, Aurora is open and ready for business."
The Mayor's Office of Economic Development will collaborate with Invest Aurora and the Aurora Economic Development Commission, which will be relaunched this year, to focus on new development opportunities in Aurora.