Dan Seals


LinkedIn Profile

Dan Seals is the Chief Executive Officer of Intersect Illinois, a public private partnership focused on global business development for the State of Illinois.  He oversees all aspects of the organization, including marketing, sales, financing, and personnel.

Dan has spent his career in both the public and private sector.  He previously served as a Director at the American Medical Association, where he led both domestic and international marketing for a large portfolio of business services.  He has also led business marketing for a division of GE Capital, where he helped achieve double digit growth in the specialized real estate sector.  Prior to that Dan led a marketing team at T-Mobile, where he marketed telecommunications products nationwide.

Dan also served as the Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, where he oversaw programs for business attraction, small business support, workforce development, tourism, and international trade.  During that time he led the development of the first Illinois Economic Development Plan in years.  Dan has previously served as an adjunct professor of public policy at Northwestern University.  He also won the Presidential Management Fellowship—serving as an aide to the Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of Commerce and as an economic aide in the U.S. Senate.

Dan holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and a MIPP in International Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.  He was born and raised in Illinois where he resides with his wife and three daughters.

Kaitlyn Ezeocha

Vice President, Administration & Operations

LinkedIn Profile

Kaitlyn Ezeocha is Intersect Illinois’ Vice President of Operations and Administration, leading the organization’s operations and human resources functions. Kaitlyn joined Intersect Illinois as Chief of Staff during the organization’s formation in 2016.

Prior to her roles at Intersect, Kaitlyn served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the State agency focused on economic development. She started her career in economic development and communications as an intern for the State and has since excelled in multiple leadership roles.

Kaitlyn received her bachelor’s degree in communications from University of Illinois at Springfield. She currently resides in Berwyn with her family.

Merrill Holden

Business Development Associate

LinkedIn Profile

Merrill Holden is a Business Development Associate at Intersect Illinois. Before joining Intersect, Merrill worked for the Ames Chamber of Commerce as an intern project manager. Originally from Chicago, Merrill earned his master’s degree in Community & Regional Planning from Iowa State University and his bachelor’s from Louisiana Tech University in General Studies. Merrill also spent his time playing collegiate basketball at both universities and later went on to play professional basketball abroad in several different countries. During his time abroad he took a passion in global development and international relations, which he leverages in his position at Intersect.

Dustin Ingram

Business Development Director

LinkedIn Profile

Dustin Ingram is a development practitioner with experience in project management and building regional economies.  Before joining Intersect Illinois, he served as a director at the Ames Chamber of Commerce and worked with over a dozen communities to attract and retain residents, jobs, and businesses.  Prior to Ames, he was the Economic Development Director for Ackley, Iowa where he worked with neighboring communities on regional revitalization strategies.  He received his master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University and bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Religion from Piedmont College, located in his home state of Georgia.

Conor McGowan

Graphic Designer

LinkedIn Profile

Conor is a graduate of Columbia College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. He has also earned a certificate from Northwestern University in Web Development. As the leading “eye” of the organization he provides artistic direction & brand management for all things design including print materials, digital assets, and everything in between.

Paulina San Millan

Vice President, Business Development

LinkedIn Profile

Before joining Intersect Illinois, Ms. San Millan worked for Newmark Knight Frank as a Senior Consulting Analyst on their site selection team. Paulina moved recently from New Mexico where she worked in several positions related to economic development for the past 10 years.

Robert Stephan

Vice President of Downstate Relations

LinkedIn Profile

Robert Stephan has nearly twenty years experience in government, politics and the private sector. For the last nine years he has advised clients on governmental relations and communication issues in the education, healthcare and transportation industries, among others.

Robert is a is a leader on Downstate Illinois issues. His prior experience includes working as the Downstate Director for former Comptroller Dan Hynes, Deputy Downstate Director for U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Special Projects Director for former U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello. He also served as an Advance Associate for the Obama-Biden White House.

Robert is a 1999 graduate of Illinois State University and has completed Masters coursework at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He was appointed by Governor J.B. Pritzker to the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority in 2020. Robert resides in Godfrey, Illinois with his wife, Beth. They have two children, Alex and Maya.

Karley Sweet

Marketing & Communications Director

LinkedIn Profile

Karley brings a wide range of experience to Intersect Illinois, after working in communications at World Business Chicago for nearly 13 years. Prior to WBC, Karley worked for the City of Chicago, spearheading communications and marketing around the city’s marquee events. She also has agency experience, having worked at Edelman on major consumer, healthcare and technology clients. Karley holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Josh Weidenaar

Senior Research Manager

LinkedIn Profile

Josh Weidenaar is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a minor in economics. At Michigan State, he became interested in community and economic development and with EDA funding was able to research economic development tools for focused cluster development around particle accelerator technology transfer businesses.

Michael Zell

Research Associate

LinkedIn Profile

Originally from the Minneapolis area, Michael graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2018 with his bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in sociology. This spring, He graduated from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin with his master’s degree in public affairs and a certificate in strategic innovation from the Wisconsin School of Business. Michael’s research experience includes working as the Office of Public Policy intern for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and as a graduate research assistant for the La Follette School.