- Position sought: Will County Board, District 4
- E-mail address: Ken@KenCygan.com
- Phone: 708-420-5439
- Age: 32
- Family: Wife (Kelly) and two boys (Michael and Jeremy)
- Education: Bachelors Degree in Management from Loyola University, Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from The Project Management Institute, Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) from The Association of OperationsManagement.
- Occupation: Sr. Manager, Project Portfolio Management at AC Nielsen Company
- Political party: Republican
- Previous elected or appointed offices: None
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
My experience as a business leader prepares me for such an important role. I have experience leading large-scale business transformation, launching new products to market, as well as managing capital and expenses for both fortune 500 and international companies. I have consulted for many large companies in Illinois, and I served 8 years as a Director / Assistant Vice President of a large insurance company. My ability to create and understand complex business cases will also be an asset as a Will County Board member.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
- Promoting job growth by attracting businesses that hire residents and drive revenue.
- Prioritizing and optimizing investments in the community, especially as it relates to expanding infrastructure. We need Will County Board members who will properly allocate infrastructure investments.
- Stand against tax increases and work to make local government for efficient and effective. The current Will County Executive and some Board Members proposed a property tax increase last year, saying “it’s only a small increase”. A little increase here and a little increase there is how we’ve all become over-taxed and over-burdened by local and State governments overtime. It is not fair to increase property taxes when many residents are struggling in a difficult economy and stalled housing market.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I’m young and motivated to succeed. My family and I would not have made this commitment to seek elected office if I didn’t believe I could make an impact and drive innovative thought as a board member. I will work hard to make Will County residents proud of what gets done.
What can the county do to promote job growth and draw new business to WillCounty?
There is no suburban County better poised to grow a strong business climate than Will County. We are blessed with a great geographical location and significant infrastructure in roads, rail and rivers.
I would create jobs by doing the following:
- Attract and retain businesses by optimizing tax credits given to businesses. Tax dollars should only be given to businesses that will hire local employees and drive tax revenue. While the State of Illinois has created an environment that makes it difficult for local businesses to compete with other States, Will County has an opportunity to attract and retain businesses that will enable job growth and drive revenue.
- Expanding Infrastructure Wisely: We need Will County Board members who will properly allocate infrastructure investments.
- Investing in our Community: Will County Board Members have the ability to create smart investments in our community. For instance, the senior living facility in Bolingbrook (near Wal-Mart) would never have been accomplished without investments made from the Will County Board. The ongoing deterioration of many foreclosed properties is continuing a negative real estate market trend.I will work to find opportunities to invest back into the community, including incentivizing small businesses to refurbish and sell foreclosed properties to families who will in turn invest in our community.
Do you believe Cook County is encroaching on Will, and how would you makesure there isn't a negative influence from the city?
Now that Will County has been divided up into multiple Congressional districts, most residents will be relying on Congressmen living in Chicago or Cook County to represent their needs. That’s just not right! These new maps did not get created by accident. There is a coordinated effort to influence how Will County operates as well as how our tax dollars are spent. These outside interests are working to coordinate a Will County Airport without considering the needs of Will County residents.
No matter if you are a Republican, Independent, or Democrat; we should all agree that Will County is not simply an extension of Chicago. We are our own community with a strong identity. I will stand firmly as an advocate for our community, and will represent Will County interests and protect our hard-earned tax dollars.
Should it be Will County or a special commission in charge of a proposed airport? Why, and how would that work?
Will County should have full authority and oversight for an airport to be built in Will County. I don’t believe any commission made up of Cook County politicians such as Jesse Jackson Jr. can adequately represent the needs and interests of Will County.
All candidates have lauded the current board for work balancing the budget; what more would you do to practice fiscal responsibility?
Whether in business or in government, fiscal responsibility needs to be embedded in the culture or the organization. I believe the best approach is to make sound decisions over time. I have uses process improvement frameworks such as Lean and Six Sigmato implement sound processes and reduce expenses. I will bring my knowledge and experience to the Will County board, and will be a good steward of our tax dollars.
Besides Renewing Will County, would you propose any projects related tosustainability in the county?
I’m excited about the fact that Will County Board members also have oversight over the Will County Forest Preserve District. My family and I spend a lot of time at Whalon Lake and we bring our two Labrador retrievers to the dog parks in Will County. I am passionate about the responsibility to preserve these areas across the county. I was able to participate in the community garden this year with the Bolingbrook Park district near Hidden Lakes. I believe Will County can use this as a model and offer a similar opportunity to residents across the county.
What ideas do you have for improving the county's infrastructure and transportation?
I will work with other board members to be sure to focus our valuable resources toward improvements that make our roads safer, more efficient and contribute to our local economy.
In what ways can the county operate more efficiently and improve technologically?
There have been many projects over the last few years aimed at digitizing paper records into on-line storage and retrieval systems. I have a lot of experience leading large scale IT projects, and I know I can add value as it relates to providing oversight as we work to move Will County into the new world of web based systems. There have been a few times when I had to drive to Joliet for one reason or another, and if there are services that can be completed on-line, that would be the most efficient way service to the residents.