Paul Schuytema

I'm a creative generalist who has the honor of serving as the Executive Director of the Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance.


In the past 25 years, I’ve worked as an entrepreneur, economic developer, writer, teacher, software developer, computer game designer, concert promoter, musician and creativity trainer.


Let's see what we can build together!

paul@schuytema.com
(906) 284-9875
Iron River, MI USA

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Skillsets


Business

Economic development, Entrepreneurship training, Strategic planning,  Business plan writing (narrative and financials), Team management.


Communication

Writing (technical, nonfiction, fiction, grant, web, speech), Public presentation and speaking, Classroom instruction, Marketing, Research.


Technical

Computer programing (Php, Lua, MySql), Web development (html, JavaScript, jQuery, Joomla, CodeIgniter, WordPress, Bootstrap, etc.), Software design.


Creative

Game design (computer and board), Creativity training, Event and concert planning, Project design, Digital art (Pixelmator, Procreate), Video creation, Blues guitar, Cooking.

America's Best Communities

In 2015, we learned about the national competition hosted by Frontier Communications, Dish Network, CoBank and the Weather Channel. I sharpened my pencil and told the story of Monmouth. The contest was judged by a team of nationally-recognized economic developers, and in May of 2015, we were named one of the 50 national quarterfinalists - and one of only three communities named in the State of Illinois.

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Going Against the Collar Counties

In 2014, the State of Illinois threw a wrench on one of our few powerful economic development tools: our Enterprise Zone. All expiring zones would no longer be allowed to be extended. Instead, it was to be a free-for-all competition for just 49 new EZs in the State that would be activated on January 1, 2016. And this time, instead of just downstate communities applying, the competition was now open to the affluent suburbs of Chicago. Communities hired consultants where hired left and right - we decided to go it alone. I drafted our application (150+ pages of narrative and planning) and worked with our City Administrator and Mayor to get all taxing bodies on board. And on December 17, 2015, the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced that we were recipients of one of the 49 prized new Enterprise Zones. Our grassroots effort trumped the consultants.

Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival

Anyone who knows me knows I love the blues - both old-school Depression-era blues (which I love to play!) and new innovative blues. In 2007, I created the Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival that brought world class blues acts to our little corner of the cornfields (in the historic old Rivoli Theatre). Throughout the years, the festival has brought in over 28 amazing acts - including both the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the legendary Bobby Rush - both right before they each won a grammy.

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Third Place and Crucible

When I took the economic development job in Monmouth, I knew a large focus of my efforts would be on retail entrepreneurship downtown. I had business experience, but not retail experience, and I felt like I needed a laboratory to explore real world data. My wife, Susan, was interested in starting a new business, so we decided that a retail wine shop in downtown Monmouth was the perfect fit: bottled wine, wine by the glass and gifts - hitting all areas of retail. Market Alley Wines (marketalleywines.com) opened in 2011 to an astonished community - they had never seen such a beautiful shop in a small farm town. Now, five years later, Market Alley Wines is a fixture in the community - a “third place” for friends across all economic and educational levels come together to talk, laugh and enjoy the ritual of fine wine. And along the way, I’ve had access to priceless real-world data on how retail works here in Monmouth, and we’ve used that data to help new businesses start, grow and thrive.

BaconFest!

I tend to lean towards crazy, audacious ideas and then try to make them a reality. So far, it's worked pretty well. A case in point is Monmouth's BaconFest (I bet you didn't know that Monmouth, IL is the bacon capital of the world? Yes, more bacon is produced here than anywhere else). 


I brought together a team of volunteers, we raised some cash and hosted an amazing bacon party featuring food vendors crafting insane bacon treats (Bacon cupcakes? Bacon apple pie? A bacon-wrapped turducken? Take my money!), a bacon eating contest (shown at right) and some killer bands - and sure enough - thousands descended on our town Square to pay homage to that delicious porky treat!

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Game Your Way Forward

In 2012, Western Illinois University economist John Gruidl and I began to explore the potential of a community development teaching game. We’d both worked with teaching games (often called “serious games”) for several years, and found that the ones that focused on economic and community development often had rather obvious biases in their message. What we wanted was an open game that simulated genuine community-level decision making and strategic thinking. In early 2013, we had our conceptual breakthrough and Up and Out: the Community Development Game was born.


In the years that followed, we developed a hybrid board and web-based game experience that simulated multiple communities trying to grow within a county. The game was featured at several Midwest Community Development Institutes, as part of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (run by the University of Kentucky) and was adopted by Southeastern Missouri State University’s Extension program.

Words on Pages

Over the years, I've done a lot of writing - both fiction and technical. When I started Magic Lantern Playware (my game development company), we bootstrapped that company by writing strategy guides on how to play the latest games (back then, titles like Quake 2, Dungeon Keeper 2, Septerra Core and Star Wars Episode One Racer, to name a few).


As I became a more experienced software developer, I started writing more technical books, including Game Development with Lua (with my then-technical director Mark Manyen) and Game Design: a Practical Approach.


I've been lucky that my technical books are still selling (it's a small royalty check each quarter, but folks are still buying them!), and they've been adopted as text books at several colleges. The two books mentioned above have also been translated into Portuguese, Korean and Chinese.

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Covert Ops and Tom Clancy's Shorts

One of the coolest projects we got to do at Magic Lantern Playware (it was really the gig that launched our company) was to develop Covert Ops for Red Storm Entertainment. It was the third Rainbow Six title and the premise was simple: what if you were already a member of the Rainbow Six team - what would you need to learn to become the commander?


This title was heavy on infotainment - it had tactical missions, but you also got to learn all about weapons, terrorism and counter-terrorism. At the time, our included background material was one of the largest repositories of counter-terrorist info anywhere. And we got to meet Tom Clancy. At his house. He showed up in shorts (way too short shorts!). And we drank a bottle of scotch together (Tom, myself and our head writer Pete). He even ignored a called from Orin Hatch as we drank!

What Was I Thinking?

Several years back, we had a crazy idea: to take our Magic Lantern game engine (J5 - named after the Jackson 5) and use it to teach kids how to code games. We partnered with the local Extension folks and set up a 48-hour code-a-thon for high school kids. It was insane! The kids just mainlined Mountain Dew and donuts and I was a shambling wreck after 40+ hours and 20,000 questions about why this or that didn't work.


But some kids created genuine magic, and it lead directly to the creation of GameSmart, an "on rails" environment to teach game design and programming. It first ran on J5 and this Spring I converted it to Javascript using html5 canvas. I've had the pleasure to teach GameSmart to College for Kids students, in after-school clubs for high-achievers and also to autistic kids in junior high and high school. Who knew?

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Experience

Executive Director - Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance, Iron River, MI


Director of Economic Development, City of Monmouth, Monmouth, IL— 2010-2017

Manage economic development and community development for entire city. Oversee zoning department. In charge of downtown revitalization and downtown strategic planning. Entrepreneurial mentoring and business coaching. Design, coding and operation of all city websites. Creation and maintenance of City’s custom web applications including property and business databases, commercial and rental inspection system and building permit system. Completed the IEDC Basic Economic Development Course in 2011.

Technical Director, The Breakthrough Foundry, LLC, Monmouth, IL— 2013-Present

Technical director (and programmer) for The Breakthrough Foundry - a bootstrap company developing an online project management and collaboration solution for professional creatives. Designed software, developed initial application, managed programming team in Nepal, managed Monmouth College students in programming fellowship program for BTF. Anticipated launch in 2017.

Technical Director and Programmer, Grow Your Yields, LLC, Monmouth, IL— 2012-2013

Initial technical director and programmer for Grow Your Yields (which has since become the Farmers Business Network). Designed initial web portal for farmer data input. Managed team of three independent contractor programmers. Position was contract-based.

Extension Specialist, University of Illinois, Monmouth, IL— 2005-2010

Manager and programmer in the Office of Creative Software Development. Managed in-house team of four and coordinated with campus-based teams. Development of Going Solo (and online business simulation), Generic Curriculum Widget (a collaborative textbook authoring system), MarketMaker (a national platform to facilitate the farm-to-plate economy) and GameSmart (a tool to teach game development and programming to kids grades 6 through high school). Delivered programs and curriculum on entrepreneurship, writing, game development, physics and creativity.

Programming Consultant, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Monmouth, IL— 2004-2010

Worked with the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs (through a USDA grant) to develop BasicSite, a custom PHP/MySQL Content Management System to develop websites for rural municipalities, Chambers of Commerce and economic development organizations. Developed and launched (and trained staff for maintenance) over 25 websites using BasicSite.

President, Magic Lantern Playware, Monmouth, IL— 1998-2005

Producer, manager and programmer on 20+ software titles released by Red Storm, Infogrames and eGames. Over a million units sold-through. Developed the third Rainbow Six title and the two official Survivor games (based on the reality TV show). Managed two offices (Monmouth and Dallas) and team of 17.

Project Leader, 3D Realms, Garland, TX— 1996-1998

Project leader, designer, writer and script programmer for the Prey project. Managed team of twelve developers. Earned “game of the year” awards at E3 in 1997 and 1998.

Lead Designer, FASA Interactive, Chicago, IL— 1996

Lead designer for MechWarrior 3 game project until company was acquired by Microsoft.

Freelance Writer and Editor— 1992-2007

Wrote weekly columns for local newspaper, reviews and features for Compute, Omni and other publications, technical books for CNET, Prima, Sybex and Charles River Media. Over 200+ published articles, 10+ published books.

Contributing Editor for Game Design, Computer Gaming World Magazine— 1992-1996

Wrote monthly “Hex, Bugs and Rock ‘n Roll” column for national magazine, ad-hoc editing and management tasks, traveling special feature reporter.

Director of Student Publications, Monmouth College — 1992-1996

Directed student workers on newspaper, creative arts magazine and yearbook. Managed budgets, printing logistics and technology. Managed both paid and volunteer workers. Taught journalism, multimedia and creative writing classes.

Assistant Director of Public Relations, Monmouth College — 1992-1994

Assisted with writing, layout and production of alumni magazine as well as the weekly faculty newsletter, photography and press release writing.

Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina at Greensboro — 1991-1992

Teaching assistant to Fred Chappell in the Department of English, lectured, developed tests, graded tests and papers.

Grant Assistant, University of North Carolina at Greensboro — 1990-1992

Graduate assistantship. Responsible for proofing and review of faculty grant applications, data entry and grant progress tracking.

Experience

Executive Director - Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance, Iron River, MI— 2017-Now

Oversee economic development and Chamber of Commerce for Iron County, MI, located in the western Upper Peninsula. Developing county-wide strategic plan focusing on business development, tourism, in-migration, education and asset development. Creating county-wide comprehensive tourism marketing plan. Manage staff, report to board of trustees and also oversee management of 32-site RV campground. Entrepreneurial mentoring and business coaching. Design and management of county-wide website focused on tourism marketing, Chamber services and economic development. Grant writing and grant management. Develop and implement an annual county-wide economic summit. Write monthly column educating community on economic development. Manage relationships with thirteen stakeholder governmental entities.

Director of Economic Development, City of Monmouth, Monmouth, IL— 2010-2017

Manage economic development and community development for entire city. Oversee zoning department. In charge of downtown revitalization and downtown strategic planning. Entrepreneurial mentoring and business coaching. Design, coding and operation of all city websites. Creation and maintenance of City’s custom web applications including property and business databases, commercial and rental inspection system and building permit system. Completed the IEDC Basic Economic Development Course in 2011.

Technical Director, The Breakthrough Foundry, LLC, Monmouth, IL— 2013-Present

Technical director (and programmer) for The Breakthrough Foundry - a bootstrap company developing an online project management and collaboration solution for professional creatives. Designed software, developed initial application, managed programming team in Nepal, managed Monmouth College students in programming fellowship program for BTF. Anticipated launch in 2017.

Technical Director and Programmer, Grow Your Yields, LLC, Monmouth, IL— 2012-2013

Initial technical director and programmer for Grow Your Yields (which has since become the Farmers Business Network). Designed initial web portal for farmer data input. Managed team of three independent contractor programmers. Position was contract-based.

Extension Specialist, University of Illinois, Monmouth, IL— 2005-2010

Manager and programmer in the Office of Creative Software Development. Managed in-house team of four and coordinated with campus-based teams. Development of Going Solo (and online business simulation), Generic Curriculum Widget (a collaborative textbook authoring system), MarketMaker (a national platform to facilitate the farm-to-plate economy) and GameSmart (a tool to teach game development and programming to kids grades 6 through high school). Delivered programs and curriculum on entrepreneurship, writing, game development, physics and creativity.

Programming Consultant, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Monmouth, IL— 2004-2010

Worked with the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs (through a USDA grant) to develop BasicSite, a custom PHP/MySQL Content Management System to develop websites for rural municipalities, Chambers of Commerce and economic development organizations. Developed and launched (and trained staff for maintenance) over 25 websites using BasicSite.

President, Magic Lantern Playware, Monmouth, IL— 1998-2005

Producer, manager and programmer on 20+ software titles released by Red Storm, Infogrames and eGames. Over a million units sold-through. Developed the third Rainbow Six title and the two official Survivor games (based on the reality TV show). Managed two offices (Monmouth and Dallas) and team of 17.

Project Leader, 3D Realms, Garland, TX— 1996-1998

Project leader, designer, writer and script programmer for the Prey project. Managed team of twelve developers. Earned “game of the year” awards at E3 in 1997 and 1998.

Lead Designer, FASA Interactive, Chicago, IL— 1996

Lead designer for MechWarrior 3 game project until company was acquired by Microsoft.

Freelance Writer and Editor— 1992-2007

Wrote weekly columns for local newspaper, reviews and features for Compute, Omni and other publications, technical books for CNET, Prima, Sybex and Charles River Media. Over 200+ published articles, 10+ published books.

Contributing Editor for Game Design, Computer Gaming World Magazine— 1992-1996

Wrote monthly “Hex, Bugs and Rock ‘n Roll” column for national magazine, ad-hoc editing and management tasks, traveling special feature reporter.

Director of Student Publications, Monmouth College — 1992-1996

Directed student workers on newspaper, creative arts magazine and yearbook. Managed budgets, printing logistics and technology. Managed both paid and volunteer workers. Taught journalism, multimedia and creative writing classes.

Assistant Director of Public Relations, Monmouth College — 1992-1994

Assisted with writing, layout and production of alumni magazine as well as the weekly faculty newsletter, photography and press release writing.

Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina at Greensboro — 1991-1992

Teaching assistant to Fred Chappell in the Department of English, lectured, developed tests, graded tests and papers.

Grant Assistant, University of North Carolina at Greensboro — 1990-1992

Graduate assistantship. Responsible for proofing and review of faculty grant applications, data entry and grant progress tracking.

Education

Master of Fine Arts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1992

Studied under Fred Chappell and served as his teaching assistant. Studied science fiction writing, screen writing, the literature of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Mesoamerican archeology. Worked in office of Research Services for assistantship. Thesis was the novel "Abacus" (the first few chapters published in Aboriginal Science Fiction).

Bachelor of Arts, Miami University, 1990, Summa Cum Laude

English major with focus on science fiction literature and creative writing. Also studied high-fire ceramics and middle-eastern architecture. Served as assistant editor to College of Fine Arts alumni magazine.

Awards

2012 - Western Illinois University ACET Distinguished Speaker Award

2010 - USDA - NIFA Partnership award

2006 - National Association of Development Organizations Web Innovation Award

2006 - Illinois Development Council Business Partnership Award

2004 - Monmouth Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year

2002 - Governor’s Entrepreneurial Success Award

Service

  • 708 Board (Warren County Mental Health) - 2016 (Board Member)
  • Rotary - 2001 - present (President, 2015-2016)
  • Monmouth Business Council - 2010 - present (Director, 2015-present)
  • Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois - 2014 - present (Board Member) 
  • PUSH (Presidents United to Solve Hunger) 2014 - present (Committee Member)
  • Zoning Board of Appeals - 2002 - 2010 (Chair, 2005 - 2010)
  • Entrepreneurship Center - 2002 - 2008 (Board Member)
  • College for Kids, Monmouth College - 2002 - 2009, 2016 (Instructor) 


References and full CV available upon request.

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