RYAN WALTER (Write-In Candidate)
Why did you decide to run for Village Trustee?
First, my wife and I chose to start our life together in Sugar Grove 18 years ago. We chose Sugar Grove for its quiet, slower-paced, country feel and proximity to almost everything we need or want to do. Lord wiling, my family and I will continue to have our roots firmly in Sugar Grove. During the recent rezoning proposal, it became even more evident to me that I care deeply about Sugar Grove and my neighbors, schools and my church family. I’m willing to sacrifice my time and efforts to maintain and enhance what we love about Sugar Grove and to assist with thoughtful growth and development, as well as to be an independent voice on all Village matters. I have a vested interest in Sugar Grove for the long-term and have a passion to represent our resident’s views and interests well. A few friends recommended that I consider running for Village Trustee based on my personality and overall experience. After much prayer, thought and seeking of wise counsel, this opportunity to serve our community makes a lot of sense based on my interests, passions and reflection on how past events in my life have brought me to this unexpected, yet welcomed decision.
How will your personal characteristics and professional experience bring value to the Trustee role and future decisions for our Village?
Others would describe me as a servant-leader, or a person who puts the needs of others first and encourages others as opposed to wanting power and recognition. I believe they would say I am honest, trustworthy and not persuaded, or tempted by ulterior motives, or coercion because I am person of convictions and pre-determined boundaries. While many residents know me personally and can attest to my character, I see myself as a person of faith, humility, compassion, empathy and understanding. I am dedicated, patient, a good listener and genuinely care about getting to know people, or engaging them below a surface level. I believe these characteristics will help in creating an open and welcoming forum for the public to share their ideas and views comfortably and without preconception or judgments on my part.
For the past five years, I have served as the Vice President and Regional Controller for one of the largest building materials manufacturers in the nation. For six years prior to this leadership role, I was a Senior Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis for two Fortune 500 companies. I also worked 8 years as a Certified Public Accountant and Financial Statement Auditor with a large public accounting firm. To be a successful auditor, I absolutely needed a skeptical mindset, which means I enter a situation or problem without any preconceived notions, but alert to possible misstatements due to error or fraud. Therefore, I am a trained and experienced professional at conducting independent, critical assessments using evidence and not being persuaded to believe something without supporting facts and evidence. I believe my overall business experience, analytical and critical thinking skills will bring significant value to our Village’s decision making processes. I not only want to be informed by all relevant facts, opportunities and risks before I make a decision, but I also want all the other decision makers, and stakeholders to be just as well-informed. I’m able to be successful in this way because of my passion for tasks at hand and due to my strong written and oral communication skills.
While much of my knowledge, business, financial and analytical skills are transferable, the foundation of my experience will help me with the overall expectations of this role, even if I don’t have direct experience on a specific subject matter. I am the type of person that wants to understand the facts and weigh the pros and cons of any choice that will impact myself and others. I work both independently and cross-functionally with other team members to report results and develop corrective and forecasted plans. I am responsible for taking large of amounts of complex data and information, consolidating it quickly into concise evidential matter and presenting my findings and recommendations to team members so we can make informed, well-thought out decisions that will positively impact future results for our company and customers.
In summary, I believe my professional experience, coupled with my character will add significant value to our Village. I will not be overwhelmed by large, complex projects and I will ask direct and probing questions of our Village Administration before the Trustees make a decision about any request that is put before us.
What are your views or ideas for future growth and development?
The next few years are critical for the direction of our Village and its residents. Without dedicated, transparent Trustees in place, we can quickly lose much of what we love about Sugar Grove, what makes us unique and a desirable place to live. We need to approach every proposed development with an open mind, as we hear and see the evidence presented to us, as well as complete our own independent research. Our Village needs to work openly and constructively with a developer’s plans that will be acceptable to our community as a whole.
I believe in thoughtful development that will diversify our Village’s tax base, as our residents do want lower property taxes. Currently, we do pay extremely high taxes and in return receive the necessary governmental services to maintain critical needs. However, many do believe that the overall value, amenities, community and commercial infrastructure and options to invest in their community are far less than the value paid annually for property taxes.
I believe all future development plans need to maintain, or increase our quality of life and be fair and considerate to the following constituents: 1) current citizens of Sugar Grove 2) residents who live directly adjacent to any proposed development 3) townships that border a proposed development and 4) the developer who is petitioning their plan.
I am committed to representing the best interest of our residents first and foremost. I am open to listening to well-thought out development proposals that will maintain, or enhance our Village’s quality of life and sense of community. Our Village is in need for additional infrastructure and spaces that bring our community together, that is also inviting to those who live in surrounding communities. I personally do not have a specific vision for what “needs to be constructed” on the land along I-88, but I do support a truly “balanced mixed use” that provides desirable experiences and options that most of our citizens can embrace. I believe that the original intentions to build a residential community with commercial properties for the land southeast of I-88 is still a very viable option for our Village. However, I look forward to hearing our citizens and land owners ideas for development in the near future.
I’m aware that there is likely no large, or significant development that will be acceptable for every citizen of Sugar Grove. We all have personal preferences and interests. We live in a democracy and sometimes we need to be flexible, listen to and understand other people’s opinions and arrive at a mutual decision that incorporates compromise. I am a person that does appropriately balance others’ personal feelings, along with strong, persuasive objective evidence that drives my informed and factual decision making process.
Feel free to e-mail Ryan directly at [email protected]