DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — “She has been the heart of the organization since its inception.” That’s what Vermilion Advantage Board Chair John Stalcup said in a release announcing the passing of their CEO/President, Vicki Haugen.
Haugen died Tuesday. She had worked as Vermilion County’s economic development leader for 38 years. She joined the Economic Development Corporation in Danville at its start in 1982. In 2002, she became the founding President/CEO of Vermilion Advantage, which incorporated the former Economic Development Corp. and Danville Area Chamber of Commerce. “All who had the privilege of knowing Vicki understand that Vermilion Advantage was not her occupation, it was her life’s mission,” said Stalcup. “Giving back to the community she loved so dearly was her calling and she put every ounce of energy into helping Vermilion County succeed.” As a result of her work, thousands of jobs were created and retained in the county.
Haugen was a driving force for developing new business locations and/or expansions for businesses like Thyssenkrupp (formerly Krupp Gerlach), Sygma, Watchfire Signs, and much more. Most recently, she led a a coalition that resulted in a $70 million Carle Hospital investment in the west downtown area of Danville.
She won several awards, which included Business & Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year; Danville High School Wall of Fame; United Way of Danville Area Women United Leadership Award; and Woman of Achievement by American Association of University Women.
Haugen is survived by her husband, Wayne Haugen. He has asked that instead of sending flowers to their house or the funeral home, donations be made to the OSF Healthcare Foundation to support cancer treatment and service in Vermilion County. Funeral services will be private and a public celebration of Haugen’s life will be held at a later date.