Connor and Moroney are distinguished alumni

by Mike Plunkett

A veterinarian who is an innovator in the hog industry and a CEO who is an innovator in public housing – both graduates of Hillsboro High School – will be honored this year with the Hillsboro Education Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr Joseph Connor of the Carthage Veterinary Services of the HHS Class of 1970, and Montgomery County Housing Authority CEO Kelly Moroney of the Class of 1980 will both be honored on August 5, Former Settlers Thursday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Abbey on the Broad, the former Church Street pub. Advance tickets are not required and the prize giving will start at 2:30 p.m.

Kelly moroney

“I found my niche when I got here,” Kelly Moroney said of her 1992 tenure with the Montgomery County Housing Authority. This niche? “Trying to work for better living conditions.”

Moroney’s professional career began at the office level. After working three years for Art Salsi CPA on School Street in Hillsboro, then a further eight years in Asarco’s office in Taylor Springs, she was hired as an entry-level secretary at the Housing Authority. in April 1992.

Since then, “I’ve had pretty much every job here,” Moroney said, culminating in his appointment as CEO in 2005 after two years of training under the leadership of Peg Barkley, CEO of Macoupin County Housing. Authority.

During his 16 years as CEO, she changed the look of the housing authority from rows of barracks-style social housing to multi-family and single-family homes and apartments.

The figures confirm it. When it started, the Montgomery County Housing Authority managed 255 public housing units across the county and 89 federal Section 8 bonds in which the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) subsidized rent to private landlords, provided that ‘they meet strict criteria.

And now? The only constant is the 89 vouchers in section 8. The number of typical public housing units increased from 255 to 141, but they were replaced by 87 multi-family and single-family HUD units, which in Hillsboro include the new units on Broad Street, Bluff Street and the 50 new units. which just replaced the old Long Avenue housing block. Added to this, however, are what the housing authority calls “tax credit” single-family homes (Liberty in Hillsboro and Freedom Place in Litchfield) and apartments (Brown Shoe in Litchfield), as well as 32 apartments in Litchfield. market rate (White Oaks to Hillsboro).

Where Moroney and the Montgomery County Housing Authority have gained statewide attention is through the use of grants and tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to fund the update of aging housing stock, such as the recently completed Long Avenue project.

“I kept looking for ways to build new housing, and HUD was not helping to fund that,” Moroney said. “So I hired Mike Niehaus from the Windsor Development Group and we started looking for other ways to fund projects. IHDA and tax credits were the answer. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Moroney said more than 10 other housing authorities have come to learn from the Montgomery County projects.

“All housing authorities are on the bandwagon,” said the CEO. “The social housing stock is aging across the state, and everyone is looking for solutions. “

For the work she had done to change the face of public housing even before Long Avenue began, Moroney won a statewide award in 2018 for “Outstanding Achievement for Operational Excellence” from the ‘Association of Illinois Housing Authorities, and has consistently achieved “high performance” scores in housing management.

Even though Long Avenue’s dramatic transformation in Hillsboro is a gem with a similar project at Kirk Terrace in Litchfield now in the pre-development stage, Moroney is very proud of the people the new developments are helping.

“I’m really proud of it for the kids,” she said. “They are not ashamed of where they live. It gives them a better perspective and they have a lot more self-confidence. I feel really good about it.

Dr Joseph Connor

A man who is credited with helping revive the Midwestern pork industry, Dr Joseph Connor of Carthage grew up in Hillsboro and went on to become one of the world’s leading swine vets.

He grew up on a farm in Hillsboro and, after graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1970, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois in 1974 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the prestigious U of I program in 1976. He then received a Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 2006, and completed the Executive Veterinary Program with the U of I in 2009.

He founded Carthage Veterinary Service in 1980 and built his customer service network to become one of the world’s leading swine veterinarians. The internationally renowned company now employs nine veterinarians, and its subsidiary, Professional Swine Management, employs 360 and maintains relationships with over half a million sows in the United States at all stages of hog production. .

His vision and tireless efforts have earned him numerous awards and accolades over the years, most recently as the recipient of the 2020 Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Distinguished Service Award.

According to the IPPA, “Dr. Connor is a leader in many technologies including segregated production, fish weaning technology, positive pressure filtration and disease elimination. “

He also won the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois in 2008, was the first honorary member of the Japan Association of Swine Veterinarians.

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