University News

Greg Garrett Named Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center

April 5, 2011

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MACOMB, IL -- Greg Garrett, a native of Fulton County (IL), has been appointed director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Western Illinois University, according to Christopher Merrett, director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA).

Garrett's educational background, work experience and familiarity with the service area make him an excellent choice for the position at the Illinois Small Business Development Center, a unit of the IIRA, Merrett noted.

Prior to earning a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Arkansas, Garrett attended Cuba High School in Fulton County. After graduating from the University of Arkansas, he relocated to Houston (TX), where he worked for 16 years in various leadership roles within the energy industry. He served as the director of strategic planning and regulatory accounting for Duke Energy, a position in which he was responsible for assessing cost of service and filing market-based rates with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He also served as a senior manager for Shell Oil, leading project teams in financial and systems audits, as well as making recommendations for strategic solutions designed to provide companies with a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Since returning to the western Illinois region, Garrett has served as chief accountant for Fulton County and served as an instructor of economics for the University of Illinois at Springfield and accounting at Spoon River College. According to Merrett, he plans to continue teaching evening courses, with an emphasis on small business development curricula.

Garrett also holds a master's degree in business from Houston Baptist University and is a certified public accountant.

According to Merrett, the IIRA, housed at WIU, was created to improve the quality of life in rural areas by developing public-private partnerships with local agencies on small business development and community development projects.

"The IIRA's more than 40 professional and support staff members work on a variety of rural economic and community development projects, including value-added agriculture and renewable energy, health care, education, public transportation, public management policies, housing and technology," he said.

According to its website, the Illinois SBDC provides confidential, no-cost business counseling and low-cost training to help prospective and established business owners make sound decisions about the feasibility of starting a business and the successful operation of the business.

For more information, contact Karen Poncin at the IIRA at (309) 298-2622 or via email at To learn more about the IIRA, visit For more information about the Illinois Small Business Development Center, visit

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