South Suburban development organization announces new CEO and $500,000 award from Cook County for pandemic relief business services

Chicago, Ill. (March 23, 2021)—The Southland Development Authority today announced that respected redevelopment and high growth specialist Bo Kemp is the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. Kemp will oversee the Authority’s ambitious efforts to grow the economy of Chicago’s South Suburbs, and his tenure begins with the announcement of an additional $500,000 awarded to the Authority by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development for small business recovery. 

Kemp brings over a decade of experience driving innovation in areas like the Southland that have a deep history and a legacy of economic innovation. He spent the first decade of his professional career in finance with Morgan Stanley and TSG Capital Group, a private equity group. Then, after leading Cory A. Booker’s successful transition to the office of Mayor of Newark, N.J., Kemp became the city’s Business Administrator. Kemp and the senior leadership team helped Newark evolve from a city close to bankruptcy to a community growing in population for the first time in 40 years. 

“Bo is ideally suited to continue the ongoing success of the Southland Development Authority’s excellent work,” said Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. “I have confidence in this organization’s proven track record and in Bo, who has a deep understanding of the needs of the residents and businesses.” 

The Southland Development Authority was launched in 2019 by business, civic and political leaders across the Southland to drive economic growth in the region. In 2020, the organization received $1 million from Cook County as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance program to deliver critical resources to South Suburban businesses impacted by the pandemic. The authority has assisted over 450 businesses in the South Suburbs, including 269 minority-owned businesses. 

“The Southland is the historic powerhouse of the Chicago regional economy,” Kemp said. “Despite decades of disinvestment, the South Suburbs still have enormous assets that are ready to be harnessed again. I’m delighted to be part of the team that is developing strategies, programming and resources to transform the region.” 

“Bo has the unique skill set required to build public-private partnerships and create a single entity that gives developers, investors, public officials and other key stakeholders the resources they need for development,” said Diane Williams, chair of the Authority’s board of directors. “He understands the complexities of inclusive economic development and how to build strong networks that support growth. Bo’s leadership will be a tremendous asset for a new organization like the Southland Development Authority.” 

About the Southland Development Authority 

The Southland Development Authority is a 501(c)3 non-profit business organization designed to grow the economy of the South Suburbs. Launched in 2019 by business, civic and political leaders across the Southland, the authority brings the resources and capacity necessary to achieve transformative and inclusive economic growth for the region. It focuses investment in industry, workforce, housing and communities. 


Media contact:

Amelia Aldred
773-966-4079 (o)
812-650-2016 (m)