A Publication of WTVP

Business News – In Brief | April 2023

by Peoria Magazine |
Business News in Brief

Veloxity Labs, LLC, has welcomed Callie Celichowski as senior director of business development. She joins the bioanalytical services laboratory in Peoria after successful tenures with Covance, Seventh Wave Labs and Inotiv.

Brian Brown is the new director of probation and court services for Peoria County in the Tenth Judicial Circuit. He will assume his duties on April 17. Brown will report to the court administrator and chief judge and will oversee the divisions of adult probation, juvenile probation and juvenile detention.

Lisa Cook has joined the Morton Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council as business connection coordinator. She previously spent three years at Bradley University. Her career there concluded as the director of the Braves Club. Cook also helped organize Bradley University’s 2021 Day of Giving campaign, which raised more than $400,000.

The Board of Trustees at Bradley University has announced six new members for 2023. They are Brad Halverson (Peoria), the retired group president and CFO of Caterpillar Inc.; Leo Harmon Jr. (Chicago), a 1992 BU grad and senior managing director and chief investment officer of Mesirow Equity Management; Stephen Lewis, (West Bloomfield, Michigan), 1972 grad and retired director of strategic planning for Ford Motor Company, currently serving as president of the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program; Cheryl Procter-Rogers, (Buffalo Grove) 1978 grad and executive coach and associate director for EY Americas Coaching Practice; Matt Vonachen (Peoria), CEO of the Vonachen Group; and Garrett Williams, (Chicago), 1992 grad and senior vice president and global chief compliance officer of CNA Financial.

The Pediatric Resource Center has announced the addition of three members to its Community Board: Rebekah Williams, mortgage specialist at EZMortgage; Alicia VanRheeden, attorney at Quinn Johnston; and Jenna Grimm, president at Grimm’s Inc.

At its annual meeting in February, Pekin Insurance elected three directors to three-year terms: Anthony S. Burkhart, Vincennes, Indiana.; Brian K. Lee, Pekin; and Sheri N. Roser, Carmi. The three also were elected to The Farmers Automobile Insurance Association Advisory Committee, along with Daniel V. Connell of Tremont. Connell was elected chairman of the board, president and CEO. Craig W. Concklin now is board vice chairman.

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF) has received re-accreditation with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, indicating that IPCF meets the highest standards for philanthropic excellence. IPCF works in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties.

Two Bradley University online nursing programs have been named among the best in the nation for 2023. Nurse Practitioner Online, an advocate for advanced practice nursing and education, ranked Bradley’s online post-master’s Nurse Practitioner programs as fourth best in the nation. The group ranked Bradley’s online Family Nurse Practitioner program as eighth best in its category.

Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023. NFW is ranked fourth in the Energy and Sustainability category. The list spotlights honorees confronting the climate crisis head-on via innovation. Fast Company highlighted NFW’s work in creating plant-based leather.

Trouble Free Heating, Cooling and Plumbing has announced that Heather Dunbar of Peoria will be the recipient of a free furnace in this year’s Warmth from the Heart program. Dunbar is a single parent supporting her parents, who are struggling with health issues, and working to house homeless veterans across Illinois.


The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University is offering a no-cost, in-person training event, Social Media: YouTube—Creating and Using Video, from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 6 at the Business and Engineering Convergence Center at Bradley. Co-sponsored by SCORE Peoria, the session will explain how YouTube works, what to include in videos, types of videos and much more. For details call 309-677-2992 or email [email protected].

Peoria Historical Society will host its 5th annual Trivia Night fundraiser April 15 at the WTVP studio, 101 State St., Peoria. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with six rounds of trivia beginning at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided, and participants may bring their own food and drink, including alcoholic beverages. H Wayne Wilson, the host of WTVP’s At Issue, will emcee. Tickets are $35 per person and are available at or by calling the Historical Society office at 309-674-1921.

Nuria Fernandez

The Foster College of Business at Bradly University will host Nuria Fernandez as the 46th McCord Lecturer on Friday, April 21 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center on Bradley’s campus. Fernandez is administrator of the Federal Transit Administration in Washington D.C. and has served in leadership roles at some of the largest transit systems in America. A complimentary breakfast will be served. RSVP by April 14 to Matt Rieker at 309-677-3232 or [email protected].

The W. D. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America, has published a new historical review, 50+ Years of Scouting in Central Illinois, as part of its year-long 50th anniversary celebration. The 48-page book can be purchased in print and digital formats: $25 for the print, $15 for digital and $30 for both formats. Order at

Big Picture Peoria, the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission have unveiled an interactive story map of more than 60 public murals in the Tri-County. The Greater Peoria Mural Map was developed to help residents find and appreciate the myriad of public art permanently available in the Tri-County region. The map can be found on the websites of Big Picture Peoria ( and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council’s (

A partnership between Bradley University and the Dirksen Congressional Center has resulted in the Michel-LaHood Summer Congressional Internship Program, which provides stipends covering at least $7,000 in housing, living and travel expenses for up to three students a year to participate in summer internships in congressional offices on Capitol Hill. The program is named for former member of Congress and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his mentor Bob Michel, the former House Minority Leader. Bradley undergraduates from all academic majors are eligible to participate. A kickoff gala in support of the endowment fund will be held at the Peoria Riverfront Museum later this year.

The Pediatric Resource Center (PRC), a service provider for the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, will raise awareness and funds in the fight against child abuse with the 11th annual Kick Abuse 5K Trail Run/Fun Walk beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 15 at Donovan Park, 5805 N. Knoxville Ave., Peoria. Back this year is a Kids Fun Run for children 10 and under, starting immediately after the completion of the Run/Walk. The event is held in April to coincide with Child Abuse Prevention Month. Register at Registration is $30, $10 for children. All proceeds help PRC provide specialized medical exams and case management services to child victims of physical and sexual abuse and neglect.