DANVILLE – It was a somber end to the Danville City Council’s Public Works Committee meeting Tuesday night at city hall where just upstairs Vermilion Advantage has its offices.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. learned that Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen died Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer.
Over the last few decades and whether it was a big economic development project like the casino or Carle at the Riverfront or a smaller project like a small business grand opening, it was common to hear praise for Haugen.
The community has lost a local cheerleader and tireless economic development representative.
“Vicki Haugen was an amazing woman and she did more for Danville and Vermilion County than anyone will likely realize,” Williams said tearfully.
“I couldn’t have made it through my first year, as acting mayor, without her help and support,” he said.
He added that all the work she did is going to help the next generations, and Danville and the county thrive into the future.
Williams said not many people can say that.
Aldermen had a moment of silence in her memory.
In a congressional record last year, Congressman John Shimkus, R-Illinois, entered a statement into the permanent Congressional Record recognizing Haugen, who took over leadership of Vermilion Advantage 37 years ago.
Vermilion Advantage is the lead economic development office for Vermilion County, Illinois.
“Vicki saw early on that if the community was to survive and prosper, the political, business, education, and community leaders would need to work together,” Shimkus said.
“More than simply an advocate for the community, Vicki had a comprehensive vision focused on creating the next generation of community leaders and a skilled and educated workforce, diversifying the economic base of the county, and developing a cooperative environment between labor and management, to name just a few of her initiatives.”