A Publication of WTVP

Business News – In Brief | July 2023

by Peoria Magazine |
Business News in Brief


Central States Marketing (CSM) has announced the addition of two staff members: Mike Vujovich as associate media director, and Amy Paul as a senior project manager. Vujovich will lead a social media team that focusing on research and the development and implementation of strategic digital marketing campaigns. Paul will work with clients to identify and implement strategies.

Mike Vujovich
Mike Vujovich
Amy Paul
Amy Paul


Paige Herron has joined CityLink as its new director of human resources. She will manage the overall operation of the Human Resources Department, including benefit administration, talent acquisition, performance management and legal compliance for 175 full-time and part-time employees.


Kathleen Lopez Rodriguez
Kathleen Lopez Rodriguez

Kathleen Lopez Rodriguez, principal of Charter Oak Primary Academy in Peoria, was honored with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Golden Apple Foundation. The recognition, which carries a $10,000 cash award divided between the honoree and the school, honors exemplary performance in school leadership.

The Peoria Police Department has announced officer and civilian awards for 2022. They include Officer Sean Johnston, Police Officer of the Year, and Officer James Hodges, American Legion Meritorious Service Award. Also recognized for distinguished service were Keith Burwell, Patrick Nesterowicz, Felicia Smith, Christina Chavez, Scott Hulse, Amy Dotson, Zachary Jackson, Dillion Kelly, Brandon Prang, Eric Esser and Aaron Watkins. The Rookie of the Year went to Officer Nehemia Doyle, and Civilian of the Year to Jennie Urquiza-Whitiker.

Congressman Darin LaHood announced that Brooklyn Smith from Illinois Valley Central (IVC) High School is the winner of the 2023 Art Competition for the 16th Congressional District of Illinois. Her piece, Love Bears, will be displayed in the halls of the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. Second place went to Tianna Bond of Normal Community High School. Honorable mention went to Darah Hankins, Illinois Valley Central High School; Lucas Hallihan, Pekin Community High School; Morgan Viggers, Metamora Township High School; AJ Westley, Washington C ommunity High School; and Corinna Kahrs, Washington Community High School.

Rodney Billerbeck
Rodney Billerbeck

Rodney Billerbeck II, a student at Heartland Community College, has been awarded the Gigi Campbell Student Trustee Excellence Scholarship presented by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. The $500 award recognizes the Illinois community college system’s outstanding student board members. Billerbeck served as a student trustee from 2022–2023.


Peoria Historical Society has elected seven new board members: Kayla Phillips Boerckel, Angela Allen Henry, Beth Johnson, Jim Johnson, Reagan Leslie, Brian Slater and Greg Wahl.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has appointed Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe to the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board (IWIB). The board is responsible for guiding workforce development policies and initiatives throughout the state and providing oversight and strategic leadership for the state workforce development system.


Kevin Lowe
Kevin Lowe

Chief Judge Katherine Gorman has announced the appointment of Kevin Lowe as the Peoria County public defender. Lowe fills the Peoria County vacancy created by Nate Bach’s appointment as an associate judge in February. He has been practicing criminal defense for nearly 28 years and has been affiliated with the Peoria County Public Defender’s Office for 22 years.

Chris Spanos
Chris Spanos

The City of Bloomington has announced the appointment of Chris Spanos as the new corporation counsel. He will serve as the chief legal advisor to the city, providing legal guidance and representation on a wide range of municipal matters. Spanos also serves as first assistant state’s attorney for McLean County.



Illinois Central College has named Dr. Jon C. Neidy as vice president of student success. He will oversee student services, student development, student success, enrollment services and athletics. Neidy has served in this role on an interim basis since October 2022.


The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District is celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the second annual ADA WOW! Celebration and Resource Fair from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 25 at the Peoria Civic Center (Exhibit Hall C). Visitors can learn about the resources available to the local ADA community. Information at

The Central Illinois Agency on Aging is holding the 21st annual Dr. Laurence E. Norton Golf Tournament on Aug. 18 at Quail Meadows Golf Course. Proceeds benefit CIAA’s faith-based meals and New Year’s Day meal program for homebound seniors. For sponsorship opportunities and other information, contact Renee Razo at 309-550-5815 or [email protected].



Pekin Life Insurance Company’s Pathway® division announced it is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023. To mark the occasion, the Pathway division is introducing a special anniversary icon and launching a series of employee and client appreciation events. The Pathway® division helps clients and their families discover the benefits of pre-need funeral insurance.


The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University is offering a series of no-cost workshops to help businesses improve their social media skills and strategies. The Using Instagram Workshop will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, July 7. Branding, Messaging and Content will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. July 24. Both are at the Business and Engineering Convergence Center at Bradley. Using Canva as a Tool webinar will be online from noon to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 8. Learn more at

Nominations are being accepted for the 2023 40 Leaders Under Forty awards, sponsored by Peoria Magazine. Eligible nominees must be 39 years or younger as of Dec. 31, 2023, and must live and work within Peoria Magazine’s nine-county area of primary coverage: Fulton, Knox, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford counties. Submit a nomination at The nomination deadline is Aug. 1.

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC) and Peoria County have partnered with Design Nine, a nationally recognized broadband consulting firm, to conduct a comprehensive broadband feasibility study that includes a countywide survey. The survey results will be used to ensure that federal funding is used to address Peoria County’s most urgent broadband barriers and needs. All residents and businesses in Peoria County can take the survey at

Rubber ducks are now on sale for the Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA) 35th annual Duck Race. Community members can sponsor a duck for $5 through Aug. 26, when all 35,000 ducks will race down a giant water slide at EastSide Centre in East Peoria. CFPA is selling ducks online at and at select sites throughout central Illinois. Donors can also mail entry forms to CFPA, P.O. Box 3855, Peoria, IL 61612 or place an order over the phone at 309-691-0551.