"Will the last one out of Peoria turn out the lights?" We didn't. No one else did. And we're glad of it. That pessimistic bumper sticker back in the early '80s saw no future in this place. We did. And we found our niche (writing and publishing a business magazine.) We've prospered and are now awaiting the new millennium with excitement.

Launched as an eight-page newsletter in 1989, InterBusiness Issues has now grown to 88 pages. Talk about a niche in need. When we began the publication, we intended for it to be the voice for business and community leaders in central Illinois. It still is. By providing accurate and relevant business news-by furnishing information and ideas to business leaders-and by promoting their interests and concerns as well as giving them recognition-InterBusiness Issues has filled a void for the business community. We think it's become a valuable resource.

InterBusiness Issues is a unique publication with a unique audience. We can be, and are, highly selective in who is profiled every month. Without exception, they are among the "movers and shakers" of the Peoria area. They deserve to be heard-and we give them the forum.

We also offer the monthly opportunity for leaders in many professions to share their insights. Development, banking, stock brokerage, government, legal, marketing, health, tourism, human resources, technology, and many more. Key voices in key areas of the business community.

Are we an "unbiased" news medium? We've never made that claim, and never intend to. Our college education was in business and philosophy, not journalism or English. So you won't find "pure journalism" on these pages. We are "pro-business" and "pro-central Illinois", and make no apology for that.

Among the businesses we've continued to applaud is Caterpillar, a global giant in a small metropolitan area. Let's face it-there aren't too many companies with sales at $21 billion and worldwide employment at 65,000 in communities this size. But they're as much a part of our community as we are-in fact, they've probably been around longer than most of us. Besides-they go to church on Sunday, eat at local restaurants, participate in Peoria's wide variety of recreational and cultural events-they're our neighbors. To paraphrase a famous cartoon character, "they are us."

Over the years, we've developed a relationship of trust with various leaders at Caterpillar. Past Chairman George Schaefer agreed to an interview in 1989, and Donald V. Fites in 1992, 1994, and 1996. When many business leaders were reluctant to go on record in support of Caterpillar during the years of the labor dispute, InterBusiness Issues was out in front. "Many people thought what I was doing was bold and controversial, I thought it was just common sense," said founding editor David C. Wright. "Aside from what I consider to be his technical and management brilliance on a global level; Don is a true "working CEO." He only smiled when InterBusiness Issues found its way onto the United AutoWorkers "blackball list."

Just the same, we feel deeply honored that the current Chairman and CEO Glen Barton has agreed to share his insights into the company and the community in this special anniversary issue. He takes the helm during a challenging global economy with a goal of guiding Caterpillar to a $30 billion company in the next decade. We believe it'll happen because there's a new Cat headquartered on Adams Street in Peoria.

We plan to keep our finger on the pulse of Peoria's leaders during the first decade of the new millennium. The skyline will change, new businesses will move in, businesses will change leadership, and others will fold their tent. The community will continue to adapt to the inevitable outside control of utilities and financial institutions. We will continue to cultivate, encourage and applaud Peoria's young leaders through our annual 40 Leaders Under Forty events. We will support newcomers to our area and encourage them to stay-to work, to play, to volunteer in our community. And we'll be the forum that business can't get anywhere else.

There won't be many dull moments in the years ahead. Peoria's riverfront changes every month, but not without some doubting Thomases. The city is promoting growth on the northwest side-yet will that growth include a new mall? Forces in Woodford County are at odds over a proposed new golf course. Others wonder whether there's a downtown ballpark in Peoria's future. On a wider scale, we are in the very early years of the Information Age, and we think there's a possibility the next 10 years will make the Industrial Revolution look like kid's stuff. Some futurists think a recession awaits us during the next decade. The Federal Reserve will put up a fight to keep it from happening.

We'll have ringside seats for all the action. Enough seats for all our readers and sponsors. We hope you'll all join us for the next ten years. IBI