The Rock Island Community and Economic Development Department is fully staffed for the first time in three years, as the city prepares to implement projects with the help of $26.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“After more than three years without a complete management team, the Community and Economic Development Department is back at full strength and ready to work harder than ever for the people of Rock Island,” Miles Brainard, community and economic development director, said in a recent city release.

Four key employees are:

Tarah Sipes has been working as the economic development manager since March 2019.

She seeks opportunities for Rock Island that match the goals and needs of the community. She also offers technical assistance and connects businesses to financial resources to help them expand or grow, according to the release.

Sipes grew up on a farm north of Aledo. She has a bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice
and Spanish from MacMurray College and a master’s degree in public history from the
University of Illinois, Springfield. Prior to working for Rock Island, Sipes worked in admissions for a higher education institution for 10 years and served as the economic development coordinator for Aledo.

“My motivation for doing this job is to make Rock Island a better place for future generations, including my own kids,” she said. “I enjoy learning about the variety of businesses that make our city special.”

Jerad Irvine was promoted as the city’s building official in February 2022, working previously as a building inspector. Irvine oversees rental inspections, the health department, housing and property maintenance, and building inspections.

A Moline native, Irvine has 22 years of diverse construction experience, ranging from residential to industrial and commercial, including owning his own construction company.

Irvine was previously a construction manager for Hodge construction before coming to the city.

“I want to share the knowledge I’ve obtained through my experience in the construction
industry to help people in the community have successful projects,” he said. “It’s
important to build good relationships and help make Rock Island a place where people
want to build.”

Nichole Mata was hired by the city in May 2020 as the housing officer and was promoted to community development manager in April.

Mata oversees Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) grants and three different programs: Emergency, General and TARRP (Targeted Area Rehab and Repair Program).

Mata grew up in Hampton, Ill. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management and organizational leadership from St. Ambrose University. Mata previously spent four years working for Family Resources as a quality specialist, analyzing Department of Human Services contracts.

“My goal as the community development manager is to help projects have more and
happier engaged users,” she said. “I want to help individuals, families or whole communities bring about social change and improve the quality of life in their local area.”

Tanner Osing started with Rock Island as planning and zoning manager on Oct. 3. Osing is responsible for all land use regulation and long-range community planning efforts.

A native of Havana, Ill., Osing earned his bachelor’s degree in geography and public
health from Augustana College and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Iowa.

While earning his master’s degree, he worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Iowa until his graduation in May 2022.

Before that, Osing he worked for three years in transit planning for MetroLINK.

“I’m a Rock Island resident and fell in love with the different neighborhoods and businesses in the city,” he said. “I wanted to bring my expertise back to a place that I love and improve it for everyone.”

For more information, visit the city CED website.