ST. CHARLES – St. Charles Economic Development Director Chris Aiston plans to retire this month after more than 30 years in the public sector.
It’s a decision he said he’s been thinking about since last fall. Several factors influenced his decision, he said, such as turning 55 in June, knowing there would be turnover on the City Council and wanting to try something different.
The timing was good “to make a move in my career path,” he said, noting plans to establish a private consulting business.
His last day with St. Charles will be July 31.
City Administrator Brian Townsend said the city intends to fill Aiston’s position, as well as another open position in the Economic Development Department. Michael Mertes, economic development coordinator, left this month for a job in another suburb.
Neither Townsend nor Mayor Ray Rogina has a timetable in mind to fill Aiston’s position, they said.
Aiston joined the city in November 2009, following positions at Kane County, Geneva and DeKalb County. Total, he has spent nearly 28 years in local government and – counting his three years of active duty with the U.S. Army and four years in the National Guard – has worked in the public sector for more than 30 years, he said.
“Chris knew his discipline very well,” Rogina said.
Having an expert of Aiston’s caliber helped elevate the city’s operation “a great deal,” Townsend said. He said Aiston brought a fresh perspective to St. Charles and was responsible for a variety of projects and initiatives, including Restaurant Week and the Shop St. Charles Challenge.
“There’s a lot of things Chris has worked on here over the past year or two that we won’t realize the benefits from until he’s long gone,” Townsend said.