A Publication of WTVP

Business News – In Brief | January 2023

by Peoria Magazine |
Business News in Brief

Michael Tchang

Mike Tchang has joined Cullinan Properties as senior vice president, director of real estate. He is based in Cullinan Properties’ Chicago office and is responsible for leading all aspects of Cullinan’s real estate holdings, including portfolio operations, strategy setting, budgeting, forecasting and reporting efforts.


Lucas D Myrna

Lucas D. Myrna is the new executive manager of the Central Illinois Chapter of the National Electrical Contractor’s Association’s (NECA), where he will advocate for and spread awareness of the electrical construction industry in central Illinois.


Libby Derry has been named executive director of communications and media relations at Bradley University. She most recently served as media relations coordinator for OSF HealthCare. Prior to that, she was a television journalist in multiple markets, including in Peoria at WEEK-TV.

Segun Babalola

Segun Babalola is the newly appointed president/CEO of Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity, Inc. (PCCEO). He previously served as city administrator for the City of Dellwood, Missouri.


Rebecca Losli has been named president of Illinois American Water. She joined American Water in 2021 as director of engineering for Missouri American Water. Kyle Smith has been named the senior operations manager for the company’s Western Division. He will oversee operations in the Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln Districts.

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP has announced principal and signing director advancements for professionals across the firm. In Peoria: Drew Foreman, principal, Manufacturing and Distribution; David White, principal, Agribusiness and Cooperatives; Jared Woiwode, signing director, Service Specialist. In Bloomington: Cory Hartke, signing director, Health Care. In Springfield: David Schahl, signing director, Agribusiness and Cooperatives.

Associate Judge Frank Ierulli has been appointed at-large circuit court judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael D. Risinger. The appointment took effect on Dec. 1, 2022 and will conclude Dec. 2, 2024, following the November 2024 general election.

Paul M. Jeziorczak, MD, MPH, has been installed as 2023 President of the Peoria Medical Society, succeeding Roby Lal, DO, who held the office in 2022. In addition, William Hauter, MD, was elected president-elect, James Geraghty, MD, was re-elected treasurer and Jessica Higgs, MD, was re-elected secretary.

Manual High School Principal Devon Hawks was honored with the Erma Davis Education Award from the George Washington Carver Community Center. During her tenure, Hawk has lifted the school and community from the Illinois State Board of Education’s lowest designation to one step below the top 10% of schools statewide. The Carver Center also recognized Derrick Booth, EdD with the Percy Baker Athletics Award.

Rebekah Bourland is the 2022 recipient of the ArtsPartners of the Year Award from ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc. The award recognizes exemplary support of and service to the arts in central Illinois. ArtsPartners also presented the Arts Legacy Award to two honorees: the Peoria Symphony Orchestra in recognition of its 125th season, and the Carver Center in recognition of its 100th anniversary.

Kathryn MilesThe New York Times has named Peoria native Kathryn Miles’ book Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders as one of the best true crime novels of 2022, and Slate Magazine has chosen it as one of the 10 best audiobooks of the year. Miles, who now resides in Maine after growing up in the Metamora area, and her latest literary effort were profiled in the April issue of Peoria Magazine.

Roberta KoscielskiRoberta Koscielski, the recently retired deputy director of the Peoria Public Library, has been named to the honor roll of Illinois Library Luminaries by the Illinois Library Association. She also was honored as the 2020 Librarian of the Year.

The Peoria Area World Affairs Council (PAWAC) has been named Council of the Year by the World Affairs Council of America (WACA). “I am thrilled that the Peoria Area World Affairs Council is being … recognized for its dedication to bringing the world to central Illinois,” said PAWAC Executive Director Angela Weck. The award was presented in November at WACA’s National Conference in Washington, D.C.

The McLean County Chamber of Commerce honored the best in 2022 McLean County agriculture with six awards at the 2022 McLean County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Awards Dinner. The Outstanding Conservationist Award went to Eric and Jenny Mennenga, owners and operators of Dolly Farms; Outstanding Young Farmer Award went to Jason Kieser, McLean County Farm Bureau; McLean County Farmer of the Year Award went to Carl Neubauer, owner and operator of Carl Neubauer Farms; Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award went to Jim Spradlin, retired, former CEO of Growmark; Outstanding Person in Agribusiness Award was presented to Mark Heil, Prairie Central Coop; the Emerging Leader in Agriculture Award was presented to Jenny Webb, Illinois Farm Bureau.

Swartz Back the Blue AwardSherrard Volunteer Fighter/EMR Donovan Swartz has been presented the Illinois FOP Back the Blue Award by the Valley Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 427. The award recognizes his outstanding performance at an emergency incident in April 2022. Swartz started his volunteer fire service with Sherrard Fire Department at the age of 14 in Sherrard’s Fire Cadet program.

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth helped the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce secure a $500,000 grant from the State of Illinois to attract more talent to the region.

Goodwill of Central Illinois has received a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Central Illinois via the latter’s Community Impact Fund. Goodwill says the funds will be used to provide client-specific assistance to unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers, specifically for transportation costs, interview clothing, work clothing, uniforms and tools.

Crossroads Cultural Connections logo

Crossroads Cultural Connections, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the power of music and the arts to Henry County,  is one of 27 organizations across the state to receive a $10,000 Foreground Rural Initiative grant from Illinois Humanities. The first-of-its-kind program is dedicated to supporting the arts and humanities in rural and small towns in Illinois.

Center for Prevention of Abuse

The Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA) has been awarded a $53,400 Safe Housing grant from RedRover to create a program designated to safely care for the pets of domestic violence survivors. CFPA is the only grant recipient in Illinois. With this grant CFPA created the Pet Peace program to help clients residing in its domestic violence shelters with the boarding, feeding, medical care and vaccination of their dogs and cats.

Mark Linder Walk for the Mind has donated $115,000 to the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria to support brain tumor and brain cancer research. The donation includes proceeds from the group’s 20th annual walk on Peoria’s Riverfront as well as other fundraisers throughout the year.

More than $13.8 million has been pledged to United Way chapters across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Panama by Caterpillar Inc. employees and retirees, and the Caterpillar Foundation as part of its 2022–23 campaign. This record amount is a $1 million increase from 2021.

The Foster College of Business at Bradley University is accepting applications for the Senior Consulting Project Program for the Spring 2023 semester. These faculty-led, semester-long projects give students a real-world experience while providing their clients with detailed analyses, specific recommendations and implementation suggestions. There is no cost to the participating client. Application deadline is Jan. 4, 2023.

The Peoria County Board’s Advisory Committee for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development has launched, a free, online dashboard for entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business or are in the early stages of development.

WTVP’s 11th Annual Virtual Golf Outing will be held Feb. 9 and 10, 2023, at Quail Meadows Indoor Golf Center, Washington. The fundraising event includes indoor golf, food, beverages, raffles, prizes and more. Contact Angie Spears at 309-495-0561 or email [email protected] for details.

ELM new building with signageELM Companies, a family of companies that includes ELM Utility Services in Peoria, has announced the construction of a new 125,000 square foot headquarters and manufacturing facility for its Microgrid and Solar Divisions in The Colony, Texas.