"Unemployment is down to almost four percent nationally, lower in the Midwest. And there are no signs that it’s going to reverse itself. The pool of future employees has dwindled to a precious few. The Wall Street Journal reports that the country’s labor force is growing at less than one percent annually. Only a decade or so down the road, it will stop growing. America is aging. Our supply of young people is dwindling while the bulging set of baby boomers gets older."
-Jan Wright, Publisher
Home sales in the Tri-County Area set a record in 1998, with 4,200 homes sold. The previous record, set in 1977, was 4,014.
"98 months and counting. That’s how long the U.S. economy has been growing…Most economic observers have concluded that the country will set an expansion record by early next year. Is there a downside to all this euphoria? Well, the increasingly rare survival of the "mom-and-pop" stores is one. With mega-stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Office Depot, Lowe’s, etc., there’s not much a small, locally owned company can do to compete. Those that do compete-and survive-are those that can offer something like superior service."
-Jan Wright, Publisher
ON THE MOVE
Glen A. Barton became chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. on February 1st. Barton replaces Donald V. Fites, who retired following a 42-year career with Caterpillar.
John Garrett was appointed the new superintendent of District 150, replacing Interim Superintendent Edwin Griffith.
Bradley University President John Brazil accepted a position at Trinity University in San Antonio. Brazil served as president at Bradley for nearly seven years.
Lynn Scott Pearson was elected chairman of the Peoria County Board. Zan Ransburg was voted as vice chairman.
The board of directors of Methodist Health Services Corporation selected W. Michael Bryant to serve as president and CEO.
They’re light, compact and an integral part of life in corporate management. Cell phones are by far the financial executive’s favorite electronic communications device. Fifty-one percent of chief financial officers polled cited these instruments as the tool of choice for keeping in touch. Laptops came in a distant second.
One of the hot new pieces of technology is the digital camera. No longer do you have to wait until all the film is used, take it to be developed and wait to get the pictures back-your photos are instantly available.
Starting from zero in 1995, total electronic commerce exceeded $25 billion in 1997; it tripled in 1998 and is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2003 to 2005. Companies that adopt these technologies will have an advantage as the cost of business associated with the traditional "bricks-and-mortar" store nearly disappears.
Ironically, the proliferation of technology in the workplace is a primary factor making "soft skills" so critical for success. As we communicate more rapidly, more often and with greater numbers of people, the need for these skills will accelerate. Yet the reverse is also true. Those lacking in communication, diplomacy and problem-solving skills will reveal these shortcomings to wider audiences. Even the most brilliant ideas may never materialize if the concept’s creator can’t explain them clearly or persuasively.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on May 20th at One Technology Plaza in downtown Peoria at the site of the old Bergner’s building.
- Caterpillar will commit about 80 percent of the start-up costs to bring the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to Richwoods High School.
- The City of Eureka has been working to establish the Ronald Reagan Trail, along with the mayors of Dixon, Tampico and other towns. A joint Senate resolution awaits Governor Ryan’s signature.
- WTVP 47 launched its drive to take central Illinois into the digital broadcasting era with its $6.75 million Funds for 47 campaign.
- The Riverfront Business District Commission held a public symposium to provide input to urban designer Angelos Demetriou on the development of the former Sears Block. Suggestions included a park, museum, hotel, housing for city offices, theater, glass observational tower, retail and green space.
- District 150 school board members invited a representative of the Edison Project to give a presentation about operating one or more of District 150 schools.
The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District expects to transport more than two million passengers in 1999, the highest level since 1983. Last year, 1.8 million people rode GP Transit.
Peoria’s downtown bus transfer center is near reality. With IDOT accepting the Adams-Harrison site for the station, all that’s left is for the GP Transit Board to formally adopt the plan and for the council to agree to sell the property.
Complete reconstruction and modernization of 11 miles through Peoria on I-74 is tentatively scheduled for fiscal years 2000 to 2004. Gov. Ryan announced the highway project as part of Illinois First, a massive capital improvement program.
"They’ve got us surrounded. Really. Almost every major route into Peoria is undergoing some form of roadwork. Bridge painting. Patch work. Lane widening. You name it, and it’s being done to area roads."
-Jan Wright, Publisher
BRADLEY IN THE NEWS
The Bradley University Student Center was named in honor of Congressman Robert H. Michel at a dedication ceremony in the student center atrium.
Bradley University recognized the generosity of Caterpillar Inc. and its employees with the naming of the Caterpillar Global Communications Center and establishing Caterpillar professorships, Caterpillar graduate fellowships and the Caterpillar New Initiatives program.
"Our premier effort is the McCord Lecture Series, made possible through the financial support of Illinois Mutual Insurance Company and named for a role model of business and community leadership, Bob McCord. Through this series, students get a chance to meet leaders they read about in BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal…A real testimony to our community’s leaders is that I have never called a leader from this area and asked them to meet with my students and been turned down. Never!"
-Dr. Charles R. Stoner, Bradley University
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center broke ground at the site of the new OSF Saint Francis Center for Health near U.S. Route 150 and Route 91 in northwest Peoria.
They Said It…
"One of the major consequences of an integrated world economy is that an economic crisis in one region of the world can spread to other parts of the world with shocking alacrity…[This] is especially visible in the financial markets. The Asian financial crisis provides a good example."
-Dr. Shah M. Tarzi, Bradley University
Construction began on the Staybridge Suites on Romeo B. Garrett Avenue. It is the first hotel to be built south or west of downtown since Jumer’s Castle Lodge opened in 1970.
Located along Route 116 at EastPort Marina, the three-story, 108-room Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center is nearing completion and is scheduled to open in mid-November.
Maui Jim Inc., the fastest-growing polarized sunglasses maker in the world, opened a new facility at One Aloha Lane in Peoria.
The new Warner Homes will have a totally different look than the original project, first built 60 years ago and now scheduled for demolition. The new units are designed to look like a neighborhood, part of a philosophy called "New Urbanism." iBi