As the RiverPlex superintendent for the Peoria Park District, Brent Wheeler is responsible for overseeing the facility’s fitness and recreation operations, as well as the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Youth Outreach and Intervention Department. When not at work, Wheeler can be found with his wife and two daughters, or serving the community through the E.L.I.T.E. Youth Program, the Catholic Church, and as an assistant basketball coach for Canton High School.
5 Favorite Albums
- George Winston—December. If the piano has ever sounded more beautiful, I have never heard it.
- Bruce Hornsby—The Way It Is. The track “Mandolin Rain” singlehandedly makes this a Top 5 selection.
- Kenny Chesney—No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. When life becomes stressful, listening to this album is like a mini-vacation.
- Metallica—Ride the Lightning. When it is time to work out, you need something with some kick.
- Jim Brickman—Simple Things. Helps me stay focused on the things that are truly important in life.
Get Back On Track
It’s 4pm, and you’re at another meeting. All of the tasks you still have to finish today run through your mind while a colleague goes off on a long-winded tangent. You’d like to ask your colleague to get back on topic, but is it your place to do so? According to business etiquette expert Ann Marie Sabath, “It’s the responsibility of the person spearheading the meeting to…redirect the off-track participant.” If you’re not that person, she says, it’s safe to ask questions of the whole group to try to steer the conversation back to the topic at hand, but it’s not your place to demand returning to the agenda. If you are running the meeting, and the points being made have some merit, propose discussing them at an upcoming meeting and get back to the current agenda.
Out of Mind, Not a Waste of Time
A study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, reported that productivity increases when workers’ days are made up of a combination of mindful and mindless activities. By alternating between duties that require more thought and simpler tasks like organizing their offices, overall efficiency and creativity soared. “Such mindless tasks,” the report noted, “introduced into otherwise chronically overenriched work, may provide critical opportunities for reflection and reinvigoration.” So, as you plan your next workday, try to incorporate a few “mindless” tasks and see if it helps to boost your performance.
As more Americans face layoffs, it’s important to keep in mind the tools needed to land new jobs, such as a good reference letter. When severance negotiations are underway, it’s important to remember to request reference letters from managers that acknowledge the departing employee’s high-quality work. This will be helpful in future employment searches, and can also boost an unemployed worker’s morale.
CityLink at 40
40 years ago, the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (GPMTD)—or, as most of us know it, CityLink—was formed by the Village of Peoria Heights, the West Peoria Township and the City of Peoria. Throughout 2010, CityLink will celebrate its 40th anniversary with special promotional events and appreciations for founding and current transit leaders, passengers, and employees.
The progress of CityLink over the last four decades is a testament to their positive relationship with the community. In 1970, at its inception, GPMTD received a federal grant for 33 buses. That year, they provided transportation for 667,142 passengers. Currently, CityLink has 55 buses in its fleet, 21 of which were bought last year with a $4.2 million grant. In 2009, the organization boasted a record-breaking ridership of three million passengers. And its growth cannot be confined to statistics.
Other changes over the years have included reduced fares for seniors, students and physically or mentally challenged passengers; the addition of a night service and park-and-ride shuttles that ease parking problems; and the creation of a modern off-street transit center in the 400 block of SW Adams. Administrative offices and maintenance facilities were constructed at 2105 NE Jefferson, and the agency now contracts with East Peoria, Pekin and Bartonville. It was also the first transit system in the country to run ethanol-fueled buses.
Future CityLink projects include a north-side transit center, an updated maintenance center and additional passenger shelters. With this and more in the works, the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District is poised for growth in the decades to come.