A Publication of WTVP

Business News – In Brief | November 2023

by Peoria Magazine |
Business News in Brief

Cindy Morris, president and executive director of the Peoria Public Schools Foundation, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Education Foundations (NAEF). She will join a distinguished group of 18 education foundation leaders from across the United States. The NAEF is dedicated to strengthening education foundations by developing and promoting best practices so students have robust educational opportunities.

Ed Andrews is the new director of the City of Bloomington Water Department. Andrews brings 30 years of engineering experience and expertise in the planning, design, and construction of highway, water and sewer systems, as well as site development projects for federal, state and municipal agencies. He most recently worked for Infrastructure Engineering as the Peoria operations manager.


Miguel A. Sanchez has joined CityLink as its new director of safety and training. He joins CityLink with more than 30 years of experience in operational leadership focused on safety. He will lead and coordinate the development and implementation of comprehensive safety, security, occupational health policies and training programs. He also oversees safety and security procedures, accident and incident handling, training and development initiatives.


Heartland Community College has named Jessica Pickel as its new dean of students effective Oct. 15. She will serve as the authority for student conduct and student appeals. The position is responsible for providing leadership and oversight for student-success-focused programming, including Success Education, Success Connections, Early Alert and Academic Standing programs.

Michael Cohlman is the chief financial officer for EP!C following the retirement of Steve Rollins in September. Cohlman has nearly 35 years of experience in finance with OSF HealthCare and Heartland Health Services.

A $249,000 state grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health to OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois aims to bolster pediatric emergency and disaster readiness. The grant will allow OSF Children’s Hospital to conduct assessments of its disaster plans that include pediatric components, develop resources and educational materials, and share best practices to address identified gaps and disparities in care.

Dr. Afrim Shabani, Heartland Community College associate adjunct professor in Humanities and Fine Arts, has been recognized as a Teacher of Distinction by The Royal Conservatory of Music, one of the largest music education institutions in the world. Only six teachers were selected for recognition this year. The awards celebrate educators across North America who exhibit exceptional dedication, innovation and impact in music education.

The Central Illinois Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has announced its 2023 National Philanthropy Day award recipients. They will be honored at the 39th Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon at the Gateway Building in Peoria on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. The 2023 National Philanthropy Day award recipients are: Outstanding Philanthropist, Barbara Gurtler; Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation, Kohl’s, Central Illinois District; Lewis J. Burger Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, Bob Woolsey; Dennis A. Steele Outstanding Philanthropic Organization, Peoria Women’s Club; Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation, Morton Community Foundation; Ian T. Sturrock Outstanding Fundraising Executive, Danielle Easton; Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy – Age 5-17, Aston Johnson; Giving Heart Award, Jim Clarahan; and Special Recognition, Picket Fence Foundation. Purchase tickets to the awards presentation at


Chris Manson, vice president of government relations for OSF HealthCare and founder of U.S. Ambulances for Ukraine, was recognized by the President of Ukraine during remarks made at the National Archives on Sept. 21. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented Manson and others from across the country with medals and other commendations on behalf of the people of Ukraine. Manson was awarded the Cross of Ivan Mazepa for his role in shipping 67 emergency vehicles to Ukraine since the invasion by Russia in February 2022, including 52 ambulances, eight fire engines, six SUVs and one utility truck.

Bradley University’s Center for Cybersecurity has been designated a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security. The designation means Bradley’s curriculum meets the rigorous standards put forth by the NSA and Department of Defense in formulating effective cybersecurity education. Obtaining the CAE designation is the result of a process that began in 2017. The designation is through the 2028 academic year.

Tri-County Airport in Yates City is one of six airports that received Airport of the Year awards from the Illinois Department of Transportation at the Illinois Public Airports Association Fall Conference. The small, rural airport was named private airport of the year. All of the facilities were selected because of their accomplishments, including an outstanding partnership with IDOT and a strong commitment to customer safety and satisfaction.


Carol A. Shields, former executive director of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce and a strong community advocate, was honored by the City of Pekin with signs designating Veterans Drive as the Carol A. Shields Memorial Highway. Shields championed the construction of Veterans Drive and worked diligently for years with local political leadership and government officials to bring the project to fruition. She passed away in January 2021. Signs are located at Veteran’s Drive, Griffin Avenue and Allentown Road.

The City of Bloomington Department of Parks and Recreation has announced three leadership updates. Dave Lamb, formerly superintendent of parks, is now assistant director of Parks and Recreation. His previous job will be filled by Jeff Hindman, who moves from assistant superintendent to superintendent. Jeff Meints, a former horticulturist and heavy machine operator, is now assistant superintendent.

Dave Lamb


Jeff Hindman


Jeff Meints


Jeff Kolbus of Edwards has been installed as the 2024 treasurer of Illinois REALTORS®. He is president of RE/MAX Traders Unlimited in Peoria and a member of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR), where he served as president in 2002. Kolbus has been active in his local community, serving in volunteer and leadership roles in numerous organizations. He is a past commissioner on Peoria’s Planning Commission.


Mose Rickey is the new public works director for the City of Bloomington, part of a reorganization of the Public Works Department. Rickey was formerly the assistant director of Parks and Recreation. In his new capacity he will oversee the restructuring of the department from its current form into Public Works, Water, and Operations and Engineering Services.

Chief Judge Katherine S. Gorman of the Tenth Judicial Circuit was elected to chair the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges effective Jan. 1, 2024. The Conference of Chief Circuit Judges meets monthly to consider problems relating to the administration of the circuit courts and other matters referred to the Conference by the Illinois Supreme Court.

For the 18th year, basketball fans are invited to Torry Gymnasium at Washington Community High School Nov. 21 – 25 for The Kevin Brown Memorial Tournament of Champions. The invitation-only tourney features some of the nation’s most talented players, with teams expected from California, Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Illinois. Proceeds benefit KBStrong to support research at OSF HealthCare and the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria that is advancing knowledge and understanding of brain cancer. Coach Kevin Brown, who founded the tournament and in whose memory the event is named, lost his battle with glioblastoma in 2019. Details are at

Peoria native and former Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood will be the keynote speaker at the 48th Annual Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Thanksgiving Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Peoria Civic Center Ballroom. General admission tickets are $90, or a VIP table of eight for $1,200. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. The program includes presentation of the annual Tom Connor Service Award, Community Wealth Award, Athena Woman of the Year Award and Outstanding Small Business. Details are at

The Peoria Historical Society will present its 2023 Holiday Home Tour from 5 – 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 and 1 – 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. Tickets are $20 in advance at or $25 at the door. VIP tours of the homes with private bus service are available by contacting the Peoria Historical Society office at 309-674-1921. Go to for more information.

Gale Credit Union has merged with Kembra Peoria Credit Union. Kembra in Peoria, 2318 W. Willow Knolls Rd., will continue to operate under the same name, adding a Division of Gale Credit Union. A new office at 2990 Court St., Pekin, formerly known as the Tazewell County Government of Gale Credit Union, will now operate as Tazewell Area Credit Union, a Division of Gale Credit Union. Membership is open to anyone living or working in a 10-county region that includes Peoria, Woodford, Tazewell and Mason counties.

Peoria Charter Coach recently took delivery of two 2024 MCI J4500 coaches from Motor Coach Industries (MCI). It was the 60th motor coach delivered to Peoria Charter Coach over the course of its seven-decade relationship. The new vehicles feature 56-passenger seating, a 180-degree color backup camera and a Cummins clean-diesel engine. Peoria Charter Coach, the largest privately owned charter bus company headquartered in Illinois, achieved a 96% gain in revenue while returning to pre-COVID-19, 2019 earnings. The privately held company transports more than 500,000 passengers annually.

Illinois Central College reported 7.6% growth in the number of students enrolled in the Fall 2023 semester. Total enrollment of more than 7,500 also represented an 8.6% increase in the number of credit hours compared to the previous year. It is the largest freshman class in four years. ICC attributed the growth to several factors, including better access to financial support through MAP and Pell grants, ICC scholarships, apprenticeships and expanded workforce development programming.

Tuesday, Nov. 28 is Giving Tuesday, a grassroots movement that “reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity.” Launched in 2012, the international movement has sparked millions of acts of generosity by people of all ages and raised billions of dollars for organizations around the globe. Learn how individuals, companies and organizations can get involved at

Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, president of Illinois Central College, had solar panels installed on her home by graduates of the ICC Solar Pipeline Training program. The program follows the Earn and Learn apprenticeship model, which combines training with concurrent work experience. Quirk-Bailey said many students complete the program with little to no out-of-pocket costs and 95% of individuals who earn industry certification after the program are employed. More about the ICC Solar Pipeline Training program is at

George Manias, longtime owner of George’s Shoeshine and Hatters at 101 SW Adams St., Peoria, was honored on Sept. 21 with the Peoria Historical Society’s 2023 Henri de Tonti Award. Among the speakers at the award presentation were former Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, business leaders John Bearce and Henry Holling and Phil Luciano, co-host of You Gotta See This! on WTVP.


Bradley University celebrated the opening of its new high-fidelity, multi-patient nursing simulation lab at a ribbon-cutting event on Sept. 29. The new $850,000 lab allows Bradley nursing students to access high-fidelity nursing manikins that provide medically immersive, life-like simulated medical scenarios in a controlled environment. Experiential learning like this has proven to decrease adverse patient events, such as medication errors. The lab will also allow Bradley to provide nurse simulation training for high school students at Manual High School and Peoria High School.