Extension Professional Staff
Extension Educator, Community and Economic Development
912 S Commercial Street
Harrisburg, IL 62946
Expert in: buy local as a sustainable communities initiative, growing your own entrepreneurs, business retention and expansion, youth entrepreneurship, personality assessments, team building
Susan Odum began working for the University of Illinois Extension in Unit #27 (Alexander, Johnson, Massac, Pulaski, Union) as an Academic Hourly Professional in November of 2005. In October of 2006, she accepted a full-time position with Unit #27 as a Community and Economic Development Program Coordinator.
In July of 2011, Susan transitioned into a new role with the University of Illinois Extension as an Extension Educator in Community Economic Development. In this role, Susan serves as an academic professional with primary responsibility for development, delivery and evaluation of educational programs supporting the mission of the University of Illinois Extension. As of July 2013, Susan’s primary service area includes the southeastern eleven counties included in Unit 24 (Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope, Saline, White) and Unit 25 (Edwards, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne).
Susan graduated Summa Cum Laude from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the College of Business and Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Advanced Technical Studies from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. In 2009, Susan received certification as a Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED) from the Community Development Council.
While with Extension, Susan has created opportunities to contribute to the University of Illinois Extension CED knowledge base by participation in professional development activities and trainings including completion of Years One, Two and Three of the Midwest Community Development Institute (CDI) and continued participation in the advanced programming offered to CDI graduates. In addition to CDI, Susan has received extensive training in the concept of Economic Gardening and has worked to educate local officials and community leaders on the benefits of “growing your own” as a sustainable economic development strategy.
During her time with Extension, Susan has worked closely with city and county governments, community leaders and community development organizations to facilitate community and economic development efforts in the region. In the fall of 2012, Susan completed a Retail MarketPlace Profile Study of the southernmost sixteen counties of Illinois. In addition to presenting the results of the Study to community leaders, elected officials and local stakeholders throughout the region, Susan has developed a series of interactive programming materials to assist both youth and adult audiences in understanding the importance of “Buying Local” to the sustainability of both their local economies and the region as a whole.
Susan has also engaged key stakeholder groups in community and economic development topics including: asset utilization; tourism development; small business development; business retention and expansion; downtown redevelopment; tax increment finance (TIF); and buy local campaigns.