A former longtime executive with Taliesin Preservation in Spring Green has been hired to lead economic development in one of Dane County’s fastest growing villages.

Carol McChesney Johnson will begin her duties Thursday as executive director for the Mount Horeb Area Economic Development Corp.

The entity was created about three years ago and had been led on a part-time basis by Brad Murphy, who is retiring in February.

Johnson, 49, will also work on a part-time basis, but sees continued growth for the community that is just 5 miles from Epic Systems Corp. and will soon be home to the corporate headquarters of Duluth Trading Co. The village has also seen rapid business and residential growth on its east side and has a robust downtown where the Driftless Historium is under construction for the Mount Horeb Area Historical Society. Blue Mounds State Park, Tyrol Basin Ski & Snowboard Area, Military Ridge State Trail and blue ribbon trout streams are nearby.

“Mount Horeb is an incredible community,” Johnson said. “There’s an incredible opportunity for change and for growth. The people of Mount Horeb are really committed to the community.”

Johnson grew up on Madison’s West Side, graduated from Memorial High School and UW-Madison and studied architecture at UW-Milwaukee. She worked for the state Preservation Office in the Department of Administration from 1994 to 1996 and for the Wisconsin Historical Society from 1996 to 1997 before taking a position as a preservation project specialist with Kahler Slater Architects from 1997 to 1999.

Johnson then joined Taliesin, where she was the director of preservation, research and planning from 1999-2015 and served as president from 2005 to 2015. The organization had a budget of $1.6 million a year, 18 full-time and 58 part-time seasonal employees.

She also administered 15 major capitol and planning projects at Taliesin totaling $18 million.

“Carol brings a lot of talent with fundraising as well as historical preservation, and her expertise and energy will be very welcome,” Murphy said.

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