Jonathan Ferry remembers the first time his young age crept into his high-responsibility job as economic development director for Granite City, Ill. "On a trip with Mayor Ed Hagnauer to Chicago, several business prospects mistakenly thought the Mayor had dragged his son along to the meeting," he said.
Ferry's youth - he's 24 - belies his tremendous responsibility. A native of Granite City, he is responsible for assessing the economic development path for the city, evaluating industries, recruiting businesses, and securing grants and funding. And if there is any doubt about the trust that the city has in Ferry, consider this: he is the city's lead in working to secure a $350 million expansion of the U.S. Steel Granite City Works, which would add new jobs and secure 2,300 existing jobs at the mill.
Ferry received a bachelor of science in economics in 2005 from the SIUE School of Business and a master's in economics and finance in 2006. While he is a natural go-getter, Ferry credits much of his success to his educational experience at SIUE.
"The best thing SIUE gave me was the ability to think through problems economically and logically," Ferry said. "They gave me a toolkit. I learned problem-solving skills and different ways of viewing and thinking about problems. Those skills positively impact my work every day."
Ferry is particularly happy to be applying his skills for the betterment of his hometown. "I've lived here all my life and have firsthand knowledge of the area's economic past and future," he said. "My contributions feel particularly meaningful and satisfying for that reason."