Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Village of Oak Park partners with graduate marketing class

Village of Oak Park partners with graduate marketing class

Quinlan graduates Eric Pedersen (left) and Jeff Prior (right) in front of a recent Oak Park rehabilitation project using HUD’s CDBG funds.

Mikal Muhammad | Student Reporter 

Eric Pedersen (MBA '01) was looking for fresh marketing ideas for the Village of Oak Park's housing rehabilitation loan program — and found them at the Quinlan School of Business.

"The need was a short, consistent, and readily understandable message, combined with a visually appealing ad campaign," said Pedersen, of Oak Park’s Neighborhood Services team. “And we needed it in less than 60 days with a very modest budget.”

They reached out to a former professor, Marketing Department Chair Mary Ann McGrath, to see if the Quinlan School of Business could help with this project. Soon, Pedersen and his colleague, Neighborhood Services Manager Jeff Prior (MBA ’88), were connected with a graduate marketing class taught by Katie Hession.

Interest-free loans for homeowners

The rehab loan program is a HUD program using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds administered by Oak Park. It was created to provide interest-free loans to homeowners with modest incomes. Applicants to the program often include families with recent job loss, residents with disabilities, seniors, and single parents on a tight budget.

With the help of the program, Oak Park residents can make repairs and renovations necessary to maintain their home and ensure that it remains a financial asset, and not a drain.

One Oak Park resident who asked to remain anonymous expressed his gratitude for the program, saying “They provided me with people who respected my house and got all the work done as quickly as possible.”

A class project that exceeded expectations

Pedersen said the Quinlan graduate class project exceeded his expectations. The students’ marketing plan centered on the tagline of “Brick by Brick, Chip by Chip, Panel by Panel, and Picket by Picket,” which Pedersen described as “a simple, yet visually striking ad campaign.” The Village plans to launch the new campaign in summer 2019.

Pedersen was also pleased by Oak Park’s and Loyola’s shared values.

“Oak Park prides itself on inclusivity and equality, and Loyola and its students share these values.  It’s a perfect alignment between the two,” he said.

Alumni connections

Both Pedersen and Prior feel that their current work in Oak Park parallels the values of their Loyola education.

Pedersen ties his work for Oak Park into what he learned from Loyola saying, "I get great joy out of giving someone back their pride and sense of being. I’m helping a broader cross-section of people to improve their quality of life." 

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