QUINCY -- A familiar face is taking on a new role within University of Illinois Extension.
Longtime community and economic development educator Shelby Crow has been named county director, effective Wednesday, for the unit serving Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike and Schuyler counties.
Crow, 42, follows Earl Bricker, who retired June 29, from the job.
"I'm excited to take what I've learned, the relationships I've built and move forward in the new position as county director," Crow said. "I know our counties and the needs of our counties."
Extension Region 2 Regional Director Ryan Hobson said Crow's familiarity with the unit helped her stand out from other candidates for the job.
"She is well known within Unit 14 and Extension statewide because of her leadership skills," Hobson said. "She is well-respected, and well-respected by the staff in Unit 14 as well."
Crow said she is honored to serve the unit in a new role.
"I have enjoyed working for University of Illinois Extension for the past 12 years and am thrilled to be able to lead Unit 14," she said. "I am excited for what lies ahead for our organization."
Crow's base office will be in Quincy, but she will be spending more time at the other offices in the unit.
As a community development educator, she spent program-specific time in each of the counties. "This will shift to spending time with staff in each of our offices," she said.
Hobson said filling the county director's role was the key to addressing other staffing needs within the unit, which saw horticulture educator Kari Houle leave this month and will need to look at Crow's current position.
"I'll work with the county director as far as the budget goes," Hobson said. "The director will work with the Extension Council on prioritizing the needs of the unit."
Crow may retain some small pieces of her current role, but "she can't do two jobs," Hobson said. "Part of the county director's role is building partnerships and collaborations. She'll retain that piece."
Unit finances will be a deciding factor to "making a sound decision moving forward," Crow said.
Crow has a bachelor's and masters from Western Illinois University and extensive experience working in community and economic development in the former Adams/Brown unit and the larger five-county unit after a 2010 reorganization.
"I already had many of the relationships with many of our stakeholders, but I know I have a lot more relationships to make," she said. "Knowing our five counties really well, having a presence in the unit since reorganization, gives me a good opportunity to hit the ground running as county director."