Sauk hires new director for Small Business Development Center

June 19, 2018 GMT

DIXON – Sauk Valley Community College has a new director at the helm of the Small Business Development Center.

Stacy McCaskill, a longtime Rockford business manager and professor, was chosen to replace Dave Buchen, who has been director since the center opened in March 2016.

Buchen, 69, is retiring at the end of the month and moving back to New Mexico, Sauk President Dave Hellmich said Monday.

Monday was McCaskill’s first day on the job, and the Sauk Board of Trustees plans to make the appointment final at its meeting today.

McCaskill, one of 13 applicants, was a business professor at Rock Valley College for the past decade and also is the founder and CEO of web-tech start-up Fishwithme.net Corp.

She also has 2 decades of experience managing for-profit and nonprofit businesses, as well as experience with international business. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

McCaskill introduced herself to the Dixon City Council today. She said she is excited to put her experience to use in the community and looks forward to expanding the “web-tech ecosystem” in the area to reach out to existing and new businesses.

She has master’s degrees in organizational development and in international business. Her salary is $65,000.

Bond vote

Also Tuesday, the board also will vote to issue $5 million in bonds to pay for the bulk of 3 years’ worth of maintenance and remodeling projects for the 53-year-old school.

In February, the board agreed to spend $8.5 million to remove asbestos from the walls and ceilings in the Learning Commons, install solar panels, replace the boilers and air-circulators and upgrade a much-used conference room where the bookstore used to be.

About $2.5 million will come from the school’s Public Health and Safety fund, and the remaining $1 million will be paid by a bond issued in 2015.

The solar project will cost about $250,000, and the energy it generates will help reduce the school’s utility costs.

The boilers and air handlers are original to building, as is the asbestos in the commons, which is in the third-floor library and tutoring center.

Sauk has been investing in technology and remodeling to meet the changing needs of its students and the evolving curriculum, officials have said.

That work included $1.3 million to remodel the Health Care Professions area in 2017, and a $1.9 million upgrade to the Student Services Center, a new testing center business office and two new classrooms in 2015. The science, math and technology labs were remodeled a year or so before that.

Sauk also revamped its nursing program and in the fall added an agriculture program that emphasizes the science, technology and business aspects of the industry. Renovations also are nearly complete on $700,000 in updates to the science labs and classrooms on the third floor.