Two of NIU’s liaisons to government agencies have new titles and responsibilities thanks to the recent reorganization that created the Division of University Relations.
Ken Zehnder is now director of state and local relations and Lori Clark has been named director of federal relations. Their work will come under the banner of the Department of Government Relations, a new department within the Division of University Relations.
“These changes continue NIU’s interests in good hands. Ken and Lori are highly regarded experts in their field, given their long careers in government, and offer familiar faces to our friends in public service as we make this internal reorganization,” said Kathryn Buettner, vice president of University Relations. “I believe this new structure and their new roles will allow for a smooth transition and exciting opportunities for NIU’s research agenda in Washington, D.C., and our legislative initiatives in Springfield.”
Zehnder, who came to NIU in 2001 as associate director for External Affairs, served as director of the Illinois Department of Revenue from 1995 to 1999.
His responsibilities as special assistant to Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar from 1991 to 1995 focused on public advisory board appointments. From 1981 to 1991, Zehnder worked in the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois.
Clark came to NIU in 2005 after a 28-year career in Illinois government, 27 years of which were spent in at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and its successor agency, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
She held a variety of positions within the department, including a four-year stint as deputy director of the Bureau of Technology and Industrial Competiveness. She also developed, implemented and administered numerous technology, workforce and economic development programs.
Based at NIU’s Chicago office, Clark represents NIU on a variety of organizations, including the Illinois Development Council (where she is a member of the Board of Directors), the State Science and Technology Institute, Mayor Daley’s Council of Technology Advisors and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Economic and Community Development Committee.
As part of her new responsibilities, she will manage the creation and development of the university’s annual federal research agenda in conjunction with Provost Ray Alden.
“We have a great team in our newly formed Division of University Relations,” Buettner said, “and I am pleased to be able to help shape the development of a new communications division at NIU.”