A Publication of WTVP

InterBusiness Issues is proud to present the latest class of 40 Leaders Under Forty. This is the 12th class, and like those before them, they comprise an impressive lot. So too, for that matter, do their employers. These 40 stood out among the more than 100 different nominations, but all are worthy of a pat on the back. Presenting our awards this year is Caterpillar Group President Doug Oberhelman and his wife and 1994 40 Leaders Under Forty Award winner, Diane Cullinan Oberhelman. Caterpillar recognizes leadership and has been a partner since the first program in 1994. Diane was a small business owner; now, she’s a commercial developer, local and state volunteer, political activist, and a contributing author.

It’s natural, I guess, to look the list over with an eye to “Who do I know?” “Who works where I work?” “What do they do?”

But, of course, it’s more than just “what they do” that matters. We like to think it’s very important to see “what they do for others.”

I urge you to take a close look at what these folks do in their “spare” time. They give their time generously to myriad organizations that help make the Peoria area a better place to live.

And just as they make their respective communities’ futures bright, so too are their individual futures. Their predecessors, for example, are managing non-profit organizations, financial institutions, and businesses. They’re researchers, attorneys, ministers, funeral directors, educators, small business owners…you name it.

While community service is nothing new to this latest group, we’d like to urge them to take their natural instincts to another level. That is, public office. Nowhere else is the courage and commitment these folks have shown needed more. We can use people like these to ensure our region thrives.

I’d like to quote a comment made by George Jacob when he was sworn in to the Peoria City Council: “Service for the greater good is not sacrifice, but an investment.”

George is a former 40 Leader Under 40, as are three of his fellow council members: Bob Manning, Bill Spears, and John Morris. It’s a critical time in terms of decisions that need to be made in Peoria, and it’s comforting to know that people to whom the public interest is no stranger will be making those decisions.

And there are other former 40 Leaders distinguishing themselves. There’s former District 150 School Board President Aaron Schock, who now serves as a state representative. There’s Kyle Ham, mayor of Toulon. There’s judges Steve Kouri and Jim Shadid. And Andrea Parker, director of the Peoria County Health Department, and Kevin Lyons, Peoria County State’s Attorney. Former East Peoria Mayor Jeff Giebelhausen still actively volunteers, while keeping up his hectic career and family schedule. They’ve all chosen a career path—in most cases, a part-time career path—that allows them to make the ultimate contribution to their communities. We all hope some in this current group will make the same choices.

Few experiences can make you feel as good about the future of this area.

Congratulations 40 Leaders Under Forty Class of 2005. IBI