Caterpillar Inc. hosted President George W. Bush at the company’s manufacturing facility in East Peoria in January. The president commended Caterpillar for demonstrating that U.S. companies can successfully compete on the world stage.
"This year will be remembered as a milestone year for the Peoria Civic Center. Not only did the venue celebrate a $55 million upgrade and expansion, it also celebrated its 25th anniversary as the place to be for live entertainment in central Illinois. On April 11th, the Peoria Civic Center cut the ribbon on its elegant new ballroom/flexible meeting space. The first public event to be held in the ballroom was the Creve Coeur Club’s 109th annual George Washington Banquet, with keynote speaker and presidential hopeful, U.S. Senator John McCain."
-Marc Burnett, Peoria Civic Center
- Horan Construction, Inc. was featured in Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the nation.
- The Peoria NEXT Board of Directors announced that Kyle Ham will be the organization’s first president and chief operating officer.
- CEFCU and Methodist Medical Center of Illinois were selected as winners of the 2007 Best Places to Work in Illinois competition.
- Firefly Energy, Inc. was honored by R&D magazine with an R&D 100 Award for 2007. The awards recognize the 100 most technologically significant products introduced worldwide over the past year.
- On August 30th, Manpower and Manpower Professional opened its new facility at 735 Main Street in Peoria.
- Morton Community Bank will purchase seven Associated Bank locations in central Illinois: Elmwood, Princeville, Farmington, Minonk, Lacon, Roanoke and Washington.
- AECOM, a leading global provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients around the world, has acquired STS Consultants, the engineering consulting firm.
On August 30th, a crowd of over 400 gathered at 801 W. Main Street in Peoria to witness the ribbon cutting of the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center. Sleek and magnificent, the $13.5 million building is situated right in the heart of Renaissance Park, a symbol of the convergence of our region’s R&D resources. With the nation’s largest agricultural research lab, a nationally recognized university, two regional medical centers and a world-renowned college of medicine all located here, a more perfect site could not be imagined.
THE VALUE OF EDUCATION
"Peoria Promise is being developed to place an emphasis on one of the most important values in our community, an education. Not just an education for some, but an educational opportunity for every Peoria high school graduate to receive up to 100 percent paid tuition towards a degree or certificate at Illinois Central College."
-Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis
This year, two premiere educational institutions, Bradley University and the Dirksen Congressional Center, have joined forces to launch the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service. The Institute’s mission is to educate ethical, collaborative and bipartisan leaders for successful careers in public service. On April 27th, the Institute held its kick-off banquet celebrating the outstanding congressional leaders that have served the Peoria area.
Bradley University officials broke ground for the 130,000-square-foot Markin Family Student Recreation Center. The center was named in honor of David Markin, a 1953 Bradley graduate, who has given a gift of $8 million to Bradley.
Bradley University announced its 10th president, Joanne K. Glasser-the first female to hold the position. She replaces David Broski, who retired in June after seven years of distinguished service.
CONGRESSMAN TO RETIRE
Congressman Ray LaHood announced that he will not run for re-election at the conclusion of the 110th Congress. After 30 years in public service, LaHood will retire with a legacy of area collaborations, including the LaHood Leadership Summit, the Peoria Riverfront Museum, I-74 reconstruction and community health clinics.
"LaHood and his predecessor and mentor, the Honorable Bob Michel, have, between them, represented the 18th District for more than half a century. It’s no wonder that his announcement caught us somewhat flatfooted-we’re simply not used to competitive elections for this seat. It’s practically uncharted territory."
-Jan Wright, Publisher
"I strongly believe the proponents of a gross receipts tax, led by Governor Blagojevich, are oblivious to the fact that businesses do not have bottomless profit margins. They fail to account for the number of businesses this tax will drive out of our state-permanently damaging our state’s tax base and the local tax base of the communities in which they reside. When that happens, the state will never receive the projected new revenue from the tax and will also lose the income taxes the business and their employees are paying under the current system."
-State Rep. Aaron Schock
"The year 2006 was a record-setting one for tourism in Illinois, including the Peoria area. Locally, tourism accounted for a $257 million economic impact in Peoria County and $138 million in Tazewell County. If you add up the numbers for all eight counties represented by the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, tourism had a total economic impact of more than $500 million. That’s half a billion dollars!"
-Brent Lonteen, Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
"Dozens of Peoria businesses are collaborating to bring the Federal Reserve’s Money Smart Week to Peorians of all ages this May. Money Smart Week will feature more than 40 free programs geared toward adults and children at several locations throughout Peoria. The objective is to strengthen the financial literacy and financial education for consumers of all ages."
-Larry Timm, Junior Achievement
NEWS OF NOTE
Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest insurer, announced that profits climbed to a record $5.32 billion in 2006. State Farm said catastrophe losses dipped by $4.1 billion from 2005, when hurricane claims and expenses alone hit a record $6.3 billion in the aftermath of Katrina, Rita and other tropical storms.
Mississippi’s Drumheller Bag Corporation brings a $4 million investment to town by expanding its operation to Peoria, creating 80 new jobs for the community. The company hopes to complete its purchase of the former Fleming Packaging plant at 1114 SW Adams, with production likely to start by June 1st.
Gary Matthews, president of EM Properties, announced the official opening of EM Properties’ new corporate offices and GEM Terrace, East Peoria’s new 23,000-square-foot office and professional building. GEM Terrace is the area’s first glass curtain building offering occupants views of the river valley and downtown Peoria.
The Fourth of July event at the Peoria Riverfront, formerly known as the SkyConcert, has been renamed Methodist Red, White & Boom! This year, the cities of East Peoria and Peoria are collaborating on the event, ensuring that the size, quality and intensity of the shared fireworks display will be taken to an unprecedented level.
Twenty-nine teams have filed letters of intent to participate in the first Springboard Business Plan Competition, launched this semester at Bradley University. Teams consisting of three to five Bradley undergraduate students will submit business plans and vie for monetary prizes and consulting services from Junction Ventures and other area sponsors. iBi